NASA administrator Charles Bolden, a retired United States Marine Corps Major General with over 680 hours in space under his belt, was quoted by Forbes as having told lawmakers at a Thursday morning hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology that “no commercial company” is going to reach Mars “without the support of NASA” and the U.S. government.
No commercial company without the support of NASA and government is going to get to Mars
His statement came in response to one committee member’s suggestion that the agency could be entering into a space race to Mars with commercial companies such as SpaceX— which aims to have humans set foot on Mars by the mid-2020s; ahead of NASA’s planned date of arrival scheduled for the 2030s.
In an interview with CNBC, SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk said that he was “hopeful that the first people can be taken to Mars in 10-12 years” and that he thinks “it’s certainly possible for that to occur.”
I’m hopeful that the first people can be taken to Mars in 10-12 years […] I think it’s certainly possible for that to occur.
As for sending astronauts to Mars is such a hot topic, Bolden explained that “we need to understand Mars and what happened to it to understand what might happen to Earth,” in regards to its potential loss of habitability.
According to astronomers who published their findings last month in the journal Science, Mars had an ocean four billion years ago which spanned roughly 19 percent of its surface.
Who do you think will be the first to send astronauts to the red planet?