We have landed a man on the Moon decades ago and since that day we have not looked back. Space exploration is a topic of great debate and fuels our curiosity about reaching out to planets closest to Earth. NASA often talks about sending a human mission to Mars and this week it is conducting a flight test that is very well going to be the first step in that direction. On December 4th, NASA is going to launch the first flight test of the Orion.
Orion is the first spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts that has been designed for deep space, it is the first spacecraft of its kind since the last Apollo trip to the Moon in 1972. Orion is capable of traveling far beyond the moon and during its first flight test, uncrewed, it will travel some 3,600 miles from the Earth, orbiting it twice with 1,200 sensors on board, flying for nearly four and a half hours.
The trip will provide NASA with valuable data that will help in future human Mars missions. The first crewed flight of the Orion is expected in the 2020s where astronauts will be sent to explore an asteroid which will be redirected into a stable orbit around the Moon by using a robotic spacecraft. Astronauts will then return to the Earth with samples, after testing a collection of tools and techniques that will be used in future Mars missions.
NASA expects that these tests will put Mars within the reach of astronauts by the 2030s.