What would it take to put an astronaut on Mars?

What would it take to put an astronaut on Mars?

A joint European and Russian space mission - the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) - has left for Mars to study methane and other rare gases in the Red Planet's atmosphere, and drop a lander on its surface. The TGO is expected to take seven months to travel the 500 million km (311 million miles) to Mars, and then almost another year to manoeuvre itself into position, meaning the satellite's observations will not properly start until late 2017. What does this mean for plans to put an astronaut on Mars? In 2010 President Obama tasked the US Space Agency Nasa with the goal of putting an astronaut in Martian orbit, and later onto the planet itself. But the challenges - technical, political and financial - are enormous. A recent report from the US Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel raised safety concerns about the proposed transportation spacecraft and criticised Nasa for a lack of detail in its overall Mars plans. Four experts - including two senior figures from Nasa - talk to the BBC Inquiry programme about what it would take to put a man on Mars. Read More: BBC News
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