Donald Trump's administration is working for NASA's human mission to Mars also called "Journey to Mars." It is purposely to assess the possibilities of sending humans to Mars. The red planet is being eyed as the next habitable planet if studies prove that Mars can sustain humans.
The new U.S. president has signed a law to prioritize manned missions to space. Initially, NASA has worked on two missions through its Orion capsule. The space agency has planned to send an uncrewed Orion mission in 2018 and a manned one in 2021. The unmanned Orion will travel into Distant Retrograde Orbit, which is farther than what was reached by an Apollo spacecraft.
The first launch of the Orion spacecraft atop the planned Space Launch System is scheduled to happen in November 2018 and the second one carrying astronauts is scheduled in August 2021. By the 2030s NASA will work towards astronauts going to Mars.
However, Daily Mail reported that technical and financial challenges arose which could possibly delay the two launches. European Space Agency will develop the Orion service module but there were reported delays which were also another reason for the difficulties. The same happened with the development of the software for the Orion, SLS, and ground systems at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The cost for these will reach $23 billion.
At present, the White House has asked NASA to conduct feasibility studies on the safety, cost, and technical constraints of a manned Orion mission in 2021. NASA has to prove that the 2030s or early 2040s Mars exploration is feasible.
There will be preparatory works for the Mars mission such as in-space transportation, deep space habitat, and Mars landing and ascent vehicles in the 2020s. The timetable for these verifications is within the next five years.
According to Science World Report, this could be the most expensive space mission in history as the estimated cost will reach $450 billion over the next 30 years. The estimated cost will cover a one-month stay on Mars' surface in 2037, a manned landing on Phobos, Mars' moon in 2033, and a one-year stay on the planet's surface in 2041 and 2046. Inclusive of the cost is the new International Space Station or a docking station. The reason behind is that NASA will end support for ISS in 2024. These cost estimates are exact with no allowance for future missions.
NASA is also exploring the possibilities of recycling systems and subsystems to save cost. It is also planning out new purchase strategies and using technology innovations to lessen the cost of the space explorations.
Donald Trump's administration has to make decisions on these issues. With NASA's human mission to Mars, the administration has to explore all possibilities for this almost impossible mission to space.