In spring 2017 a very important legislation about the future of NASA, about sending humans to Mars in 2030s, was also signed by Trump. But then Trump seemed more interested to fulfill this mission in his presidency.
Peggy Whitson spent the longest time in space. In April 2017 Trump called her from the Oval Office to the International Space Station. Almost 10 minutes before the call president asked Robert Lightfoot Jr. about sending humans to Mars in his presidency. Lightfoot is the acting administrator of NASA, he replied that it would be very difficult before 2030. Lightfoot explained the technical challenges of a Mars mission.
“But what if I gave you all the money you could ever need to do it? What if we sent NASA’s budget through the roof, but entirely focused on that instead of whatever else you’re doing now. Could it work then?” asked Trump. Lightfoot’s reply disappointed the president.
During the call to the International Space Station Trump asked the same question to Whitson, the astronaut. Whitson replied that according to her it will be possible in the 2030s. She also said that the bill also directs that it Mars mission will not be possible before 2030. President trump asked the same question by adding that then we have to speed it up. Whitson replied, “We will do our best.”
President Trump was apparently very serious about the Mars mission but according to Lightfoot, this will not be possible in recent years due to the complexity of the space mission. Lightfoot said that government will not approve this much budget for NASA. As in the era of Apollo, the NASA’s budget was 4.5% of the federal budget, but then it was shrunken to less than half in the era of Richard Nixon. And from that time it is the same.
Lightfoot also said that budget is important but time is more important than budget. Space missions cannot be done in hurry. Like, it took 8 years for the first astronaut to go to the moon after the declaration of John F. Kennedy about going to the moon. Earth and Mars will come close together once in two years. In the era of Trump, it will happen in 2020 and in 2021. And this is a very short time period for NASA to send humans to go to Mars.
To send astronauts to the International Space Station United States cannot launch its own Launchpad so it pays tens of millions dollars to Russia for only one seat on the Soyuz launch. Currently, NASA is working on its own rocket, but at present, it is impossible to make it before 2022.
According to scientists, it would take nine months to go on Mars. A lot of complex technology and protection from the cosmic rays would be needed.