Scientists are working in secret to construct the first interstellar space craft, and the goal is to return it to Earth to explore the universe.
But, according to a new report from a former NASA astronaut, the crew will not be the only ones to arrive in deep space, and they will be the ones who are likely to make contact with extraterrestrials.
In fact, the space agency is building an interstellar network of orbiting satellites, with a goal of reaching “near-Earth space” and sending the spacecraft back to Earth.
“We’re in a race with ourselves to get there first,” says the former astronaut, who requested anonymity to share the details of the secret program.
“If we’re going to be able to send people out to other stars, we’re gonna have to make a deal with the aliens.
That’s what we’re doing.”
According to the report, NASA’s new mission to Mars will be known as the Mars 2020 Mars Orbiter Mission.
Its first phase will include two Mars-bound satellites, and it will launch two more spacecraft to the Red Planet before the spacecraft returns to Earth in 2022.
NASA will be building four more satellites for this mission, the report says, including a communications satellite, a lander, and a “multispectral rover.”
The report adds that NASA has been developing the concept of sending human explorers to Mars since 2003.
But it’s not clear if these human missions will actually happen.
NASA’s plan to send humans to Mars may not be possible, according a former astronaut who served as NASA’s deputy director of human spaceflight.
“This is not an obvious idea to us, because it is not something that’s really been done before,” he told ABC News.
“But we do have an idea that we can get humans out there, and we’re pretty confident we can do that.”
But the report goes on to state that the goal of sending humans to space is not a one-way endeavor.
“There’s always the possibility that there could be another mission to go,” he said.
“It’s just a possibility.
And that’s the reason why we are putting this in writing.”
NASA’s plans to send its astronauts to Mars could be very controversial, however, because they are using the terms “space station” and “station crew” in their mission statements.
But former NASA engineer Bruce Jakosky, who served in the agency’s human space flight program from 2003 to 2007, told ABC that the agency is just trying to get out there and “get to the edge of the solar system” before returning to Earth, which would be a far cry from the original goal of colonizing other planets.
“That’s what this is about, right?
This is about getting to the solar neighborhood, where we can have some kind of settlement,” he says.
“To me, it sounds like the whole thing is just to make space station, station crew, and to send a crew, which means we’re still going to send crews to the planets that we want to go to.”
The new mission will be a first step toward the eventual goal of going to Mars, which is the goal NASA hopes to achieve by the 2030s.
“NASA is trying to be as ambitious as possible,” Jakoskey told ABC.
“In the early 2020s, when they were going to go back to the moon, they started talking about sending humans into space and all that kind of stuff, and this is the first step in that direction.
I think it’s the right way to go.”