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NASA Announces Forum on Manned Missions to Mars

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station test spaceflight technology.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station test spaceflight technology.

NASA has scheduled a forum “to showcase Human Path to Mars” for April 29, 2014. The event, which begins at 12:30 PM in Washington DC, is open to the public. Those of us here in California can watch it on NASA Television or at NASA’s website, NASA. gov.

A tour of NASA’s website shows that the agency is working on a very clear plan to get humans to Mars by the 2030’s. The goal is to eventually gain “planetary independence”, a stepping-stone approach that will let us use Mars as a launching point for further exploration.

The forum will highlight processes already in place, such as the technologies undergoing tests aboard the International Space Station at this very minute, that are aimed at helping build “the road to Mars.” Charles Bolden, NASA’s Administrator, plans to highlight the preparations for a 2025 mission to capture an asteroid, park it in orbit around Earth’s moon, and explore it for information that will help us better understand Mar’s structure.

A number of top NASA analysts are scheduled to appear at the forum, including representatives from the commercial spaceflight, space technology, and planetary exploration directorates.

The term “commercial spaceflight” is especially important to Santa Barbara’s aerospace community. Several businesses here in the county provide manufacturing and technical services to what the burgeoning industry.

If you can’t log into NASA Television on April 29 at 9:30 AM, you can still watch a podcast of it at NASA’s website,