Mankind's dream of finally leaving its home planet and going on an interplanetary journey is finally going to happen. NASA has officially announced that the long-discussed, planned and even temporarily suspended mission to Mars will ultimately be realized.
It's going to become a fact after decades of dreams, sci-fi plans and research in all scientific fields.
Just days ago, President Trump gave NASA a deadline to send humans to Mars by the year 2033.
NASA is to execute the planned flight to Mars in 5 stages, with the administration currently at stage 0, conducting tests on the ISS.
In this preliminary stage, NASA is working out the terms with private companies that are also interested in putting man on Mars.
The actual 1st stage of the plan of conquering Mars will begin no earlier than 2018 and continue until the year 2025. Within this 7-year-time frame, there will be a series of tests on SLS rockets, whose goal will be to bring materials to the new orbital station.
The space station, called the Deep Space Gateway, is to be built near the Moon with the primary goal of preparing future flights to the Red Planet.
The new orbital station is expected to be completed by 2027 and ready to accommodate astronauts. During stage II of the journey to Mars, the station is expected to have already had astronauts who have spent more than 400 days in its weightless environment.
Preparation in Earth orbit is going to occur within the 4th stage, starting in 2028 and concluding by 2030. At that time, the station is also scheduled to be fully ready to take in SLS rockets.
Only then will the 5th and final stage of the plan, which includes the flight to Mars, occur. Or in other words, humanity will be en route to the Red Planet by 16 years' time.
A number of issues regarding the future flight will have to be resolved within that time, including ones related to the equipment and cargo in the rocket in which the astronauts will be traveling.
It needs to contain everything needed for the survival and sustenance of life during the flight to Mars, which is expected to last at least 2-3 years.
There are still quite a number of things that are unclear about the upcoming flight. NASA's plans to send humans to Mars are in direct competition with Elon Musk and his company SpaceX's plans to be the first to colonize the Red Planet.
Musk's ambition is to send a flight as early as the year 2022. Only time will tell who will be the first in the race to send a man to Mars.