NASA opened the doors to its Moon to Mars Program Office last week and tapped Amit Kshatriya to take the helm. The office will oversee and coordinate NASA’s crewed lunar and Mars missions.
“The Moon to Mars Program Office will help prepare NASA to carry out our bold missions to the Moon and land the first humans on Mars,” said NASA chief Bill Nelson. “The golden age of exploration is happening right now, and this new office will help ensure that NASA successfully establishes a long-term lunar presence needed to prepare for humanity’s next giant leap to the Red Planet.”
The office will also handle complex legal, technical, and scientific challenges associated with sending humans to the Moon and eventually to Mars.
The Moon to Mars Pipeline
The office, which lawmakers ordered NASA to establish in the NASA Authorization Act of 2022, will manage:
- Landing astronauts on the Moon in 2025
- Supporting SLS, Orion, ground systems, human landing systems, spacesuits, and the lunar Gateway
- Setting up a sustainable permanent lunar presence by the end of the decade
- Planning a crewed mission to Mars
A giant leap to Mars: NASA’s return to the Moon is an intermediate step in the Artemis program’s ultimate goal of landing humans on Mars by 2040. The new office will leverage the knowledge from the lunar missions to build the roadmap to ensure a safe mission for humanity’s first trip to another planet.