Video: What is NASA Investing in to Get Us to Mars?


It will take more than just guts to get us to the Red Planet.

NASA's big plan to get humans to Mars is exciting and challenging.

"We're taking people to where we've never been before, and facilitating imagination and hope and inspiration," Dava Newman, deputy administrator of NASA, said. "We're going to the unknown."

But it will also be expensive and require the development of several emerging or entirely new technologies. 

The journey to get there will take about six to eight months -- much longer than the trips up to the International Space Station currently being conducted. So a new form of travel called solar electric propulsion, which uses 10 times less of the propellant required for conventional methods of space travel, may just be the thing to get us to the Red Planet.

Along the journey, the team aboard the craft will need a foolproof way to communicate with Earth and send back information. Enter the Laser Communications Relay Project, a breakthrough technology that will help transmit high-bandwidth data between Earth and spacecraft.

Another big investment: the spacesuit. It will need maximum mobility to allow astronauts to move around once they're on Mars. With less gravity and less atmosphere than on Earth, the next generation of spacesuit will also have to be durable, as it carries the very essential life-support system.

"A spacesuit is really the world's smallest spacecraft all-in-one," Newman said.

To see what these technologies might look like, check out the video below from NASA: