US President Barack Obama to send people to Mars by 2030

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk speaks about the Interplanetary Transport System which aims to reach Mars with the first human crew in history in the conference he gave during the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara Mexico on September 2

Former space policy chief of George Washington University, John Logsdon said that it is merely a refocusing of the fact that he set these goals and NASA has been pursuing them. "We'll still look to the stars in wonder, as humans have since the beginning of time", he writes.

"Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we're already well on our way", wrote President Obama.

President Obama started plans to send astronauts to Mars by the 2030s by having NASA switch focus to developing ships for deep space travel in 2010. "By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth", he said at the time.

However, many experts agree that, at the moment, it would not be feasible for humans to return after staying on Mars for a prolonged period of time.

"NASA is on an ambitious expansion of human spaceflight, including the Journey to Mars, and we're utilizing the innovation, skill and knowledge of both the government and private sectors", said Jason Crusan, director of NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems in a statement.

The first initiative Bolden discussed is the "NextSTEP" program, which is laying the groundwork for missions to deep space by asking private companies to design space habitats.

Read Obama's full op-ed here. In effort to see if the ISS can serve as a "jumping-off point" for other space stations, NASA will allow companies to add their modules and other capabilities to the ISS.

Six years ago, on October 11, 2010, Obama signed into law a redirection in NASA's road map to Mars, skipping the moon and developing the technologies to visit an asteroid and then send a human mission to the Red Planet. 11, 2016, to reinvigorate his call for the send humans to Mars by the 2030s, showcasing budding partnerships between the US government and commercial companies to develop spacecraft capable of carrying out the extraterrestrial mission.

Obama "will be keen for such an achievement to form part of his legacy as he nears the end of his second term", says Sky News.

The lofty ambitions are a wonderful ending note to Obama's presidency, as well as a hint towards the sustainable future of space travel, which is likely to feature private companies at the center. NASA notes on its website, "Astronauts on the space station are only hours away from Earth, but the proving ground is days away, a natural stepping stone to a Mars mission, which will be months away from home".



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