The International Space Station (ISS) will soon turn into a launch port for voyages to Moon and then to Mars, says the US’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The ISS, being built in orbit and targeted for completion by 2010, would provide a “toe-hold in space” from where humanity can travel first to the moon and then to Mars, says Michael Griffin, administrator of NASA. “We are planning many missions. Our long-term game-plan is to put man on Mars by 2037, so that by 2057, when the International Aeronautical Congress (IAC) holds its centenary, we should be celebrating the 20th year of putting man on the red planet. With manned missions to the moon from 2020 onwards and Mars a decade later, we want to build a space civilization for tomorrow and beyond,” he told about 2,000 space scientists at the first plenary of the 58th IAC on the inaugural day here on Monday.
The NASA administrator called for enhanced private investment in satellite and rocket launches for reducing the cost of space transportation and make missions to the moon and Mars commercially viable. “As of now, it appears space tourism may be the only way out to make space transportation economical,” he said.