This morning NASA launched an unmanned test of Orion, the “do-everything” spacecraft developed by Lockheed Martin that is said to culminate American space exploration and NASA’s vision of visiting Mars in the next twenty years.
Orion is simply NASA’s next big step following the Curiosity Rover which has been roaming the red planet since August of 2012.
Although this was just a test-run by the Orion program, the launch performed beautifully, sending the craft in two orbits and allowed NASA to obtain more data needed for the spacecraft’s future in carrying astronauts further into deep space, to Mars and beyond.
NASA’s congressional supporters hope that the launch will reignite public support of the space program which in turn will lead to the approval of more government funding for the Orion program.
Orion’s deep space exploration mission is looking promising after the European Space Agency’s interplanetary Rosetta mission was able to land the Philae Lander on comet 67P (Churyumov-Gerasimenko) on November 12th 2014.
NASA aren’t the only ones looking to send humans to Mars within the next twenty years, the Mars One program is now in its second stage of its astronaut selection process for their one-way trip to Mars in 2023.