When NASA goes to Mars

NASA goes to Mars

Piloted spaceflight planning typically emphasizes the transportation to the target site but astronaut activities on the surface of a target world normally receive little attention. The reasons are the many challenges inherent in moving humans between worlds, according to  a Wired article by David S. F. Portree.

But as early as 1965, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center turned its attention to the scientific tasks astronaut-scientists might perform on Mars.

Paul Swan worked with Cornell astronomer Carl Sagan in 1964 to identify landing sites for automated Voyager Mars landers. In a summary paper presented at the March 1966 Stepping Stones to Mars meeting, Swan and three of his colleagues explained that an “understanding of the possibilities and limitations of [human astronauts on Mars] should serve both to keep our eyes on a far horizon, and to guide our footsteps on the early stepping stones which must be negotiated.”

The first successful robotic Mars probe a 261-kilogram Mariner IV had flown past the planet on July 15, 1965.

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Stig Björne

About Stig Björne

Stig Björne bor i Sverige och ibland utomlands. Han jobbar inom IT och PR som anställd. Stig har fru (Annika) och ett barn, spelar golf och hänger på landstället nära havet så ofta han kan.