For the first time NASA has asked industry about private missions to Mars - Living Strong Television Network
For the first time NASA has asked industry about private missions to Mars

Enlarge / NASA is interested in whether private companies have the right stuff for Mars. (credit: NASA)

NASA is starting to take its first steps toward opening a commercial pathway to Mars.

This week the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory issued a new solicitation to industry titled, “Exploring Mars Together: Commercial Services Studies.” This is a request for proposals from the US space industry to tell NASA how they would complete one of four private missions to Mars, including delivering small satellites into orbit or providing imaging services around the red planet.

“The Mars Exploration Program Draft Plan through the next two decades would utilize more frequent lower cost missions to achieve compelling science and exploration for a larger community,” the document states. “To realize the goals of the plan, government and US industry would partner to leverage current and emerging Earth and lunar products and commercial services to substantially lower the overall cost and accelerate leadership in deep space exploration.”

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