NASA is in the process of ensuring a human mission to Mars and as the first step in this direction, it is planning an explorer mission in 2022. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, an affiliate of NASA which is headquartered in Pasadena kick started the NeMo mission. The JPL has also released finances to five companies to start concept studies.
The Curiosity Mars Rover has been scouring the red planet and is presently in the lower regions of Mount Sharp. The higher layers of the Mountain will be the future destinations for the mission.
The geography of the red planet, the presence of water, and other elements have been extensively studied by NASA to find out a suitable location for the possibility of human habitation. The next rover mission to the red planet has been titled as Next Mars Orbiter or NeMO. The next mission is being planned for 2022. At present, the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers currently are sending amazing pictures of the planet.
The latest discovery of the Mars Curiosity Rover is of Organic materials on the planet. The presence of organic material in samples drilled out from rocks. It hints and also helps in the search for the existence of life in the past and future endeavors. It will also assist in gauging the habitability potential on the red planet.
The need for a new Mars mission will be a very challenging one with several issues faced by the spacecraft of present days such as communication, ageing machines and source of energy. NASA is planning a Mars rover in 2020 and the NeMO mission in 2022.
The plans of sending humans to Mars by 2030s will depend a lot on the amount of water on the planet and other factors which will decide the possibility of having a human habitation on the planet. At present communication between the Rovers and Earth happens via the Mars Orbiter. However, the process is very slow. During human missions to the planet, a faster means of communication must be perfected. The present rocket fuelled craft will also have to be replaced by solar electric propulsion. All these factors make the next Mars mission crucial and will serve as a stepping stone for the future human mission to the Red Planet.