• Question: Why will the people who are going to Mars not coming back?

    Asked by Lucy to Steve, Shefali, Kevin, Katie, Floris, Delma on 12 Jan 2016. This question was also asked by georgiajohnson, cat1402.
    • Photo: Floris Van Den Berg

      Floris Van Den Berg answered on 12 Jan 2016:

      Hi Lucy.

      With the current technology we can not fly to Mars and back yet. You can imagine that just flying to Mars is easier than flying there and coming back. So, some companies focus on one-way trips for this reason. The bigger space agencies don’t like this concept so much, so they prefer to focus on a return mission.


    • Photo: Steve Price

      Steve Price answered on 12 Jan 2016:

      There are some commercial enterprises that are of offering one way trips. The thinking behind that is that once there the people will have to make it work.
      The main space agencies like ESA and NASA are planning two way trips. This would be with staying on Mars for about one year.
      A lot of research has been done to work out how to produce the return fuel and oxygen to breathe when there, from the Martian soil.
      The machines to produce fuel and oxygen would land first before the human part of the mission.
      In the next few years I expect to see the machines sent to Mars to prove that the manufacture of fuel and oxygen is possible. Once successful the human mission could proceed.