The US-based space agency NASA is planning to launch another mission to Mars. This will be different from the previous missions. It will be called the Mars Ice Mapper mission. Besides NASA, the mission will involve the ISA, CSA, and JAXA. The agencies will together work on the mission to identify potential objectives for future human missions to the Red Planet. The robotic mission will look for abundant and accessible ice on the planet. It will also help in identifying the future landing sites on the planet. NASA has sent several robotic missions to the planet. Its latest mission, called Mars 2020, will arrive at the planet on February 18. It will touch down in the Jezero crater.
NASA is planning to send humans to Mars for exploration. With the Artemis program, NASA is planning to take the next big leap to send astronauts to Mars. The Artemis program involves sending astronauts to Moon to set up a base camp. This camp will be used by NASA for greater exploration of the Moon and also send the first human mission to the Red Planet and deep into space. NASA said that the agencies under the statement of intent have agreed to develop a plan to launch a Mars ice mapping mission. Soon their roles and responsibilities will be defined to take forward the mission. According to NASA, if the concept is materialized, the mission will be launched in early 2026.
The mission will detect the location, depth, and abundance of ice deposits. NASA said that any data related to this will help scientists understand more accurately the planet’s history. It will also play a key role in determining the success of a crewed mission. The agency is planning to send humans to Mars by 2030. NASA expects that the robotic mission could also provide a map of water ice resources on the planet. The discoveries will support science objectives. NASA also underlined that as the concept evolves, opportunities will arise for other agencies and partners to contribute to the mission.