NASA's Deep Space Gateway Puts Mars Colonization Within Our Grasp

Wednesday, 06 December 2017 - 10:38AM
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 - 10:38AM
NASA's Deep Space Gateway Puts Mars Colonization Within Our Grasp
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Image credit: Pixabay
The future of space exploration across the solar system is about to get a lot more clear, as NASA works alongside 14 other space agencies around the world to design the Deep Space Gateway.

It's been announced that the paper which will detail the specifics of the Gateway will be published in January of next year, bringing with it a concrete look at the plan for of one of the most ambitious space exploration projects to date.

The "Global Exploration Roadmap" will set out the specifics of how Earth's scientists will establish an orbital base, before moving on to travel elsewhere in the cosmos.

The Deep Space Gateway will be a large space station that will serve as a base of operations from which to launch missions, both manned and unmanned, across known space.

Essentially, it will act as a stop-gap between Earth and distant planets, providing a permanent base among the stars to allow for greater ease in assembling, preparing, and undertaking missions.

The current plan is to position this space station part-way between Earth and the Moon, in order to best enable the Gateway to function as a bridge between the two bodies.

"We see an orbital platform as playing a vital and synergistic role with anything you do on the surface," said NASA advanced exploration systems deputy director John Guidi

"Cislunar orbit is the sweet spot. It's close enough to Earth and the moon but out of the gravity wells."

It's significant that NASA is going to be working with so many other agencies on the project.

The Deep Space Gateway will represent a phenomenal investment of time and resources from the global community, but should therefore also be able to benefit all of mankind, as any of the involved groups will have a claim in being able to use the Gateway in order to send out future space missions.

With Japan, India, and even Australia getting more invested in the space race, launching their own missions to explore the solar system, the space surrounding our planet is about to get a lot more crowded, and a structured, organized orbital platform makes sense to help these missions run as smoothly as possible.

This is to say nothing of the benefits of a Deep Space Gateway on commercial space flight.

As privately funded bodies continue to look to space as an avenue for financial gain, a Gateway will make it far easier for commercial missions to set up cell phone towers on the moon, or ferry resources back to the Earth.

Long-term, this will also prove useful in taking people and materials to other planets, aiding plans for a permanent Martian colony that will need regular supply trips in order to keep running.

The Global Exploration Roadmap is going to be a big deal for the way many of these missions play out over the coming decades.

Phase Zero, which we're currently seeing in its initial stages, will involve the testing and research aboard the International Space Station that will be needed to build the Deep Space Gateway.

Phase One will involve the actual construction of the Gateway, as well as missions to the moon, that will all take place during the next decade.

Finally, in the futuristic 2020s, the Gateway will be used to launch a manned mission to Mars.

When this roadmap is official next month, scientists will have their work cut out for them trying to find a way to make the plan a reality.

This will be a huge endeavor that will take decades to bear fruit, but before long, mankind will start taking its first, faltering steps across the solar system to begin colonizing planets beyond our own blue-green sphere.

There's a lot to do, but the future of space travel feels exceptionally exciting.
NASA's Deep Space Gateway Puts Mars Colonization Within Our Grasp