In contradiction to a previous report that deemed the 2033 Mars Mission to be an impossibility, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement that it is still be done with the right technological strategies,
“There are technologies that can be developed that accelerate the path and there are new approaches that I don’t think are being considered,” Bridenstine said to the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, who are in charge of fund appropriation for the mission. “I think if we could do that, I think we can accelerate the timeline. I have said publicly I am not willing to rule out the 2033 timeline.”
The Senate Committee is also responsible for the Artemis program, which aims to repeat lunar landing by humans – a mission constantly being pushed by the Trump Administration. In an announcement back in March, Vice President Mike Pence demanded a return to the moon no later than 2024.
2033 is being vigorously targeted for a manned mission as, during that time, the planetary trajectory between Earth and Mars will be the shortest for a launch window. A missed opportunity would push the timeline back for 26 months.
The Mars Mission, however, is facing a very high chance of being delayed to 2039 due to the unrealistic timeline established by the Trump Administration. It has been criticized by the Science & Technology Policy Institute in a February report.
The report said, “We find that even without budget constraints, a Mars 2033 orbital mission cannot be realistically scheduled under NASA’s current and notional plans. Our analysis suggests that a Mars orbital mission could be carried out no earlier than the 2037 orbital window without accepting large technology development, schedule delay, cost overrun, and budget shortfall risks.”