NASA had announced last year that they were planning a series of manned and unmanned missions to Mars by the end of 2030. This mission would have been, if successful, one of the milestones for mankind. But things are not going according to their plan and as announced by the former NASA Astronaut Jerry Ross on Friday, NASA’s herculean task planned for 2030 is not going to materialize.
We just don’t know everything we need to know yet. We need to go out and do types of experiments and tests to get to that point. But it’s not going to be a straightforward thing and will take a couple of design cycles before we get to systems that work. For this, we need to increase budget and work effort on aspects, including nuclear power plants for the moons. However, if we get politicians to support space programmes on a continuum basis, we can do it. – Jerry Ross, gave his statement regarding the mission at a press conference of International Ideas Festival
According to him, one of the hindrances faced by NASA is centered around the political agenda. The leaders of a democratic country, such as the U.S, will change every other term. A new leader may equate to new agendas or new priorities. He further added, “But the problem in a country such as the United States, which is democratic, is that the leadership changes from time to time. New leaders have a different set of ideas on what’s important.
There ought to be some way in which there’s a control on logic and the system that allows programmes to be ongoing instead of being interrupted every time when politicians come to power.” Ross certainly has pointed to one of the limitations faced by NASA which they need to overcome but which takes a backseat when a new leader is introduced.
Ross had met the late Indian astronaut Kalpana Chawla before and when asked about her and about possible ways they could have at least salvage the mission.
We could have possibly launched another space shuttle immediately but it would have taken time to do it. The question is, we did not know exactly what had gone wrong. Would you be putting another vehicle and another crew at equal risk? There are things we could have done that would have given us more information but was not done, and I think it was because of some people who were in the management structure of NASA. – Jerry Ross, Former NASA Astronaut