NASA has always wanted to send humans to Mars. In fact, they’ve been planning and keeping us updated with their ideas for years.
But unfortunately, according to William H. Gerstenmaier, NASA’s chief of human spaceflight, sending people to Mars isn’t achievable on their current budget. Gerstenmaier explained the situation during the propulsion meeting of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics this Wednesday.
I can't put a date on humans on Mars, and the reason really is the other piece is, at the budget levels we described, this roughly 2 percent increase, we don't have the surface systems available for Mars. And that entry, descent, and landing is a huge challenge for us for Mars.
The last SLS rocket and the Orion cost NASA a handsome amount. Because of this expense, NASA has had to postpone designing the vehicles that would land on Mars.
Their Next projects will depend on funding. Gerstenmaier hinted at more in depth moon exploration instead of their most current lunar plans to build Deep Space Gateway in the Moon’s orbit.
Gerstenmaier says it’ll be more than just a gateway for further space exploration but could "support an extensive moon surface program."
If we want to see humans on Mars there needs to be support from Government bodies. At the moment they are using what resources are available to them. To optimise their funding, NASA has turned to funding from private companies.
Elon Musk set a deadline for 2018 for an unmanned mission to Mars and a manned mission by 2025.With Boeing and Blue Origin planning a Mars trip, though no specific plans or dates have been set.