At the Humans to Mars summit held in May of this year, Lockheed Martin announced that it will be joining SpaceX and NASA, just to name a few, in exploring Mars. Lockheed currently plans on building a staffed space laboratory that will orbit the red planet by 2028. A goal that is ambitious, not only because a manned mission to Mars has yet to take place but because they intend to beat NASA’s already anticipated goal by 2 years. This is Lockheed’s attempt to convince the space agency to implements the firm’s design plans before it sends astronauts to Mars in the 2030s.
The first mission is set to launch by 2018. Lockheed Martin aims to execute this goal successfully by utilizing knowledge of proven technologies. This is to ensure that the mission is practical, safe, and affordable. One of the technologies Lockheed can use is their deep space crew capsule, Orion. It is the first of its kind, with capabilities to hold a command-and-control center that is sure to facilitate communication and navigation during the astronauts’ exploration of Mars, and with sufficient life support to enable the mission to last 1,000 days.
“Exploration augmentation modules”, are also being developed to support human life in deep space. These forms of habitats would provide a place of security where astronauts would live and work. Bill Pratt, a program manager at Lockheed claimed that placing the habitat at a location too far to easily return would enable a long-term mission to take place.
In the meantime, Lockheed, SpaceX, and other firms will continue to race each other to reach the completion of their Mars manned missions first.
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