NASA recently announced that is has chosen five aerospace companies to begin four-month long studies for a potential mission to Mars.
The chosen companies are The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Orbital ATK, and Space Systems/Loral. The companies are located throughout the U.S. in Colorado, California, and Virginia.
According to Aerospace Technology, the mission will “continue with key capabilities including telecommunications and global high-resolution imaging in support of NASA’s journey to Mars.”
“We’re excited to continue planning for the next decade of Mars exploration,” said Geoffrey Yoder, associate administrator for NASA.
Considering that three out of every four trips are for leisure purposes, if NASA succeeds with its goal to establish life on Mars, it could become a trending vacation destination.
Through research and the studies performed by the five chosen companies, NASA hopes to confirm whether a new Mars orbiter will provide communications and imaging capabilities or not. As of yet, they do not have access to such capabilities.
Along with optical communications, there is also a possibility for the implementation of other scientific instruments to be assessed on the planet.
Through the use of solar electric propulsion, the orbiter concept studies will help provide versatility in launch, mission, and orbit capabilities. These capabilities will allow for future missions to occur.
Six months ago, a report was published stating recommendations for science objectives for a Mars orbiter. The report was published by the Mars Exploration Programme Analysis Group, an organization working with NASA that’s made up of members of the Mars research community. Its members offer input on the likelihood of reaching the intended objectives.
The Mars Exploration Programme is being managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
No further details have been released by NASA, nor the selected companies for the studies on the beginning stages of the studies.