Date
16 January 2017
Long, frozen streaks believed to have been formed by water, covers the surface of Mars. Efforts are under way to help humans live long-term on the planet. Photo: Reuters
Long, frozen streaks believed to have been formed by water, covers the surface of Mars. Efforts are under way to help humans live long-term on the planet. Photo: Reuters

Obama says work under way on habitats to help humans reach Mars

US President Barack Obama says efforts are under way to build habitats that could help humans live long-term far from Earth, highlighting his pledge to send people to Mars by the 2030s.

The mission is a joint venture between the public and private sectors, Reuters reports.

“We are working with our commercial partners to build new habitats that can sustain and transport astronauts on long-duration missions in deep space.

These missions will teach us how humans can live far from Earth — something we’ll need for the long journey to Mars,” Obama said in an opinion piece on CNN’s website.

His comments come ahead of a meeting planned by the White House in Pittsburgh this week to team up scientists, students and others to advance the commercial space market, Obama said.

NASA is coordinating with commercial space companies to develop “deep space habitat modules” and create opportunities for companies to use the International Space Station’s docking port.

Obama has previously sought to boost space exploration and renewed that pledge on Tuesday: “We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America’s story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time.”

The two-term president’s recommitment comes in the final months of his tenure and faces an uncertain future after he leaves office in January.

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