Mars. Once a dream, a mere figment in our imagination. Our ancestors stared at space, aware of its vast potential, but inside they knew that they could never reach it. The years have gone by fast, in the 21st century, a mission to Mars is now viable. NASA and Obama had affirmed a pledge to send humans to Mars by the 2030s. Elon Musk,a prominent figure that has redefined the industry standards, has put a mammoth effort into the revival of such a large space programme. SpaceX launched the Falcon 9, a transport system ahead of its time, utilising unique reusable booster to ensure that the 225 million kilometre journey is no longer impossible.
Interest in space exploration has increased significantly, with many movies centering around the theme of space travel. Most interestingly being The Martian, based on the novel by Andy Weir. The movie itself demonstrates a realistic scenario as to how humans can get to Mars, and displays technological advances accordingly to this. Whilst the technology that they have envisioned is ahead of us, the rate at which our technology is advancing at, could supersede it quickly. Donald Trump has signed a bill that updates NASA’s mission to add exploration of Mars, and has authorized a budget just $500,000 shy of $20 billion. This the first authorization bill in 7 years, sparking a new fresh interest in a mission to Mars. However Elon Musk has been quick to rain on the bill’s parade, and has stated it makes no impact to NASA interests, and there is no added funding for the Mars mission.
Boeing is another contender in the space race, and confidently stated that they believe the first person to step foot on Mars will do so on a Boeing rocket. The company has a contract with NASA to build the Space Launch System (SLS), capable of sending up to 20 metric tons to Mars. Boeing has a close relationship with NASA, and has helped engineer the International Space Station. The SLS will play a large role in the blueprint of a mission to mars, it will be the most powerful rocket ever made. SpaceX has plans to launch the Falcon Heavy in the Summer of 2017, a rocket capable of lifting 13 metric tons to Mars. It is certain that the process will be long and complex, Musk himself has stated that there will be a high risk of death, however the leap that human civilisation will make, will be huge and of a large magnitude.