We are thiiiiiiis close to sending a human to Mars, says NASA

It’s official, everybody: we’re going to Mars!

Well, in the 2030s (which isn’t that far away, if you really think about it). According to NASA, they’re working on plans to send human beings to this otherworldly red planet. “We are farther down the path to sending humans to Mars than at any point in NASA’s history,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We have a lot of work to do to get humans to Mars, but we’ll get there.”

While NASA does have a lot of work ahead of them, it just so happens to be some super cool, futuristic work. In 2020, the next Mars rover will launch. What’s so special about that, you ask? Well, this technological vehicle will be carrying something called the Mars Oxygen ISRU experiment (also known as MOXIE). When conducting this experiment, the rover is going to be doing something straight out of a sci-fi movie: it will take the carbon dioxide out of Mars’ atmosphere and replace it with oxygen. No big deal.

If MOXIE (we really love that name) is a success, that means that humans will one day be able to set foot on Mars. It also means that a rocket can use this oxygen to power its trip back to Earth (also very important).

“We’re going to make oxygen on another planet – the first time ever to make oxygen on another planet,” NASA deputy administrator Dava Newman explained. “These experiments – they’re real, they’re here.”

The only problem is that NASA may not receive the funding that they need to make this mission a reality. The author of The Martian, Andy Weir, believes that this will be a significant obstacle. “I don’t have faith in Congress to give them enough money to make that happen, so I’m being a little more conservative,” he said, after stating that the year 2050 would be a more accurate estimation.

Speaking of The Martian – which is now a movie starring Matt Damon – is was given a special screening over the weekend at a remarkable location: the International Space Station. Now if we can screen movies in space, sending human beings to Mars surely isn’t out of the question, right?

People are “finding life” on Mars in these rover pictures

People are spotting a mysterious woman in this photo of Mars. Can you see her?

[Image via Shutterstock]

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