NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has claimed that the space agency would enable humans to fly to Mars by 2035.
“If we are accelerating the moon landing, we are accelerating the Mars landing,” Bridenstine said during a panel discussion at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC).
“I suggest we can do it by 2035,” he added.
Bridenstine told lawmakers in April that NASA astronauts could make it to the red planet by 2023, pushing up the time frame by two years.
“We can move up the Mars landing by moving up the moon landing (to 2024),” Bridenstine told the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. “We need to learn how to live and work in another world. The moon is the best place to prove those capabilities and technologies. The sooner we can achieve that objective, the sooner we can move on to Mars.”
Vice President Mike Pence— who also spoke at the IAC— said that NASA should use its Artemis Mission to return astronauts to the moon in 2024 as a building block for its mission to Mars.
“With Apollo in the history books, the Artemis mission has begun, and we are well on our way to making NASA’s moon-to-Mars mission a reality,” Pence said.
Pence added that America is the leading force in the world when it comes to space exploration, but appeared to be open to partnering with other like-minded countries on some missions.
A journey to Mars is becoming more of a reality for America in the future. In November 2018, NASA announced the location on Mars where the Mars Rover will land. NASA expects the Rover to reach the red planet’s surface by February 18, 2021.