The assertion that “we can accomplish in hours what robots take years to do” has generated interest in the potential for manned missions to the Red Planet.
While rovers and robotics have been the primary means of exploring Mars’ surface for an extended period, the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) now contends that the time is ripe for human missions.
MEPAG experts argue that humans excel at processing data, outpacing the slower rovers and consequently accelerating the exploration of Mars.
Bruce Jakosky, the study leader, informed Space.com that planning for manned Mars missions is actively underway. He acknowledged a lack of adequate discussion on the scientific objectives of these missions and criticized NASA’s forthcoming Artemis missions.
Jakosky emphasized the crucial collaboration between science and engineering for the success of exploration endeavors.
Of particular importance, Jakoski highlighted the role of human involvement in collecting data and samples from Mars’ surface. He stressed that astronauts on-site can perform these tasks more swiftly and efficiently than robots.
Jakosky called for the development of specialized tools and technologies to support astronauts in conducting impactful scientific research on Mars.
Additionally, Jakosky expressed confidence that any Mars mission holds the potential for significant scientific discoveries, underscoring the urgency to send people to this enigmatic planet.
However, he underscored the necessity for multiple missions to comprehensively explore the diverse facets of Mars, recognizing that a single mission cannot unveil the entire truth about this mysterious planet.
Experts advocate for a new phase of Mars exploration, envisioning humans as the key researchers capable of unraveling the mysteries of this geologically complex planet more effectively than ever before.