Mars remains our horizon goal for human exploration because it is one of the only other places we know where life may have existed in the solar system. What we learn about the Red Planet will tell us more about our Earth’s past and future, and may help answer whether life exists beyond our home planet.
Like the Moon, Mars is a rich destination for scientific discovery and a driver of technologies that will enable humans to travel and explore far from Earth.
The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or MOXIE, is helping NASA prepare for human exploration of Mars by demonstrating the technology to produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere for burning fuel and breathing.
Astronauts on a roundtrip mission to Mars will not have the resupply missions to deliver fresh food. NASA is researching food systems to ensure quality, variety, and nutritional values for these long missions. Plant growth on the International Space Station is helping to inform in-space crop management as well.
NASA is developing life support systems that can regenerate or recycle consumables such as food, air, and water and is testing them on the International Space Station.
Like we use electricity to charge our devices on Earth, astronauts will need a reliable power supply to explore Mars. The system will need to be lightweight and capable of running regardless of its location or the weather on the Red Planet. NASA is investigating options for power systems, including fission surface power.
Spacesuits are like “personal spaceships” for astronauts, protecting them from harsh environments and providing all the air, water, biometric monitoring controls, and communications needed during excursions outside their spaceship or habitat.
Human missions to Mars may use lasers to stay in touch with Earth. A laser communications system at Mars could send large amounts of real-time information and data, including high-definition images and video feeds.
An astronaut's primary shelter on Mars could be a fixed habitat on the surface or a mobile habitat on wheels. In either form, the habitat must provide the same amenities as a home on Earth — with the addition of a pressurized volume and robust water recycling system.
First CHAPEA Crew Begins 378-Day Mission
The inaugural CHAPEA, or Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog, mission began Sunday, June 25, when the four-person volunteer crew…
Together with our partners, we will pioneer Mars and answer some of humanity’s fundamental questions: Was Mars home to microbial life? Is it today? Could it be a safe home for humans one day? What can it teach us about life elsewhere in the cosmos, or how life began on Earth? What can it teach us about Earth’s past, present, and future?