NASA’s Orion spacecraft will launch Thursday morning, performing an unmanned test flight for the machinery that will eventually bring humans to asteroids, before ultimately transporting them to Mars. While “eventually” has always been sort of a given, NASA has finally announced projected dates.
During a press conference today on NASA TV, it was announced that Orion will bring four astronauts at a time to asteroids between Earth and Mars by 2025, and the first humans will reach the red planet in the mid-2030s. This venture into deep space will be the farthest humans have gone since Apollo 17 went to the moon in 1972. (David Palinode and Jesse Williams have made a fantastic website that illustrates Earth’s relative distance from the Moon and from Mars. Spoiler: it’s a heck of a lot further than you’d think)
Photo courtesy of NASA