NASA’s chief of human spaceflight, William H. Gerstenmaier, just announced that on its current budget agency can not achieve the Mars goal.
“I can’t put a date on humans on Mars, and the reason really is the other piece is, at the budget levels we described, this roughly 2 percent increase, we don’t have the surface systems available for Mars,” Gerstenmaier said during a propulsion meeting of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. “And that entry, descent, and landing is a huge challenge for us for Mars.”
For the 2017 fiscal year, NASA has a budget of $19.5 billion, a figure that many scientists have said is inadequate. The proposed total Federal budget for 2018 is $4.1 trillion.
Fortunately for Red Planet dreams, it isn’t just up to NASA. This month Elon Musk announced we might be getting an update about the SpaceX Mars mission in September at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Australia. For now, though, SpaceX has set a deadline of 2018 for an unmanned Mars mission and 2025 for a manned mission. Both Boeing and Blue Origin are also planning to put humans on Mars.