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NASA Establishes New Moon to Mars Program Office To Manage Crewed Missions

Key Highlights

  • NASA has set up a new office, the Moon to Mars Program Office, to manage crewed activities in the vicinity of the Moon and Mars. 
  • The new program office has been set up in preparation for its ambitious missions to establish a long-term lunar presence and eventually send astronauts to Mars.

NASA has established a new program office, the Moon to Mars Program Office, to manage the agency’s crewed activities near the Moon and Mars. 

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson Announces New Moon to Mars Program Office

According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, this new office will help prepare the agency to carry out their bold missions to the Moon and eventually land the first humans on Mars.

Establishing this new office is required by the 2022 NASA Authorization Act and will be part of the agency’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, reporting to its leader, Jim Free. Its focus will be on the following:

  1. Hardware development
  2. Mission integration
  3. Risk management functions 

The above factors are for programs critical to the agency’s exploration approach that uses Artemis missions on the Moon to open a new era of scientific discovery and prepare for human missions to Mars.

Artemis Program Aims To Establish Permanent, Sustainable Presence On and Around Moon

NASA’s Artemis program aims to establish a permanent and sustainable presence on and around the Moon, with Artemis 1 already demonstrating the flight-worthiness of the spacecraft and its rocket ride, the huge new Space Launch System. 

Artemis 2, scheduled for late 2024, will send four astronauts around the Moon, and Artemis 3, set for 2025, will land boots near the Moon’s south pole, a region believed to be rich in water ice.

The program also includes a small, moon-orbiting space station called Gateway, which will serve as a jumping-off point for missions to the lunar surface, both crewed and uncrewed. These plans are viewed as stepping stones to Mars, with NASA aiming to get astronauts to the Red Planet by the late 2030s or early 2040s.

Amit Kshatriya to Head New Moon to Mars Program Office at NASA

The Moon to Mars Program Office will lead planning and analysis for long-lead developments to support human Mars missions, including the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, supporting the following:

  • Ground systems
  • Human landing systems
  • Spacesuits
  • Gateway, and more related to deep space exploration

Amit Kshatriya will head the office, previously serving as NASA’s acting deputy associate administrator for Common Exploration Systems Development.

This new office is a significant step forward for NASA’s exploration goals. It is expected to enable the agency to achieve its ambitious mission objectives. With its establishment, NASA is well on its way to preparing for its most daring mission yet, to send humans to the Red Planet and continue the golden age of exploration.

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