Obama Asserts Manned Mars Missions Within 15 Years, Says Firms Already At Work On Space 'Habitats'

Humanity has come a long way since its first big leap to the moon. Now, it has set its eyes on a farther frontier: Mars. One of the most powerful world leaders has recently reinvigorated his call upon the U.S. to help send humans to the red planet, with Barack Obama vowing that within 15 years, this goal will be realized with the help of over 1,000 firms.

Companies Granted Contracts To Develop Space Habitats

The US president has revealed his space explorations plan in an opinion piece to CNN, including manned missions to Mars with the ultimate goal of staying on the Red Planet "for an extended time." Obama said that the U.S. government will be working closely with private companies in creating habitats to sustain life on Mars. 

There are six companies that have been recently awarded contracts to build these habitats. One such dwelling, an inflatable room, is currently being used inside the International Space Station.

SpaceX and Boeing are among those that have been granted contracts, and its is expected that within two years, they will ferry private company astronauts into the ISS. The six companies that were given contracts are to begin developing systems for the Next Space Technology for Exploration Partnership program, reported The Guardian.  

Furthermore, NASA will also start the process of allowing companies to add modules to the ISS this Fall in order to develop possible uses for a docking port. This move will be an initial preparation for the capabilities of taking over the space station when it finally retires on 2024, according to the Daily Mail.

Obama Wishes To Inspire Future Generations

The U.S. President is planning to discuss all these initiatives in Pittsburgh this coming Thursday where he will meet with scientists, engineers, and academics at an innovation summit. He hopes that this call-out will inspire future generations in taking up fields where they can contribute to humanity being a multi-planetary species and "keep America on the cutting edge."

While Obama did not elaborate on how much money this ambitious endeavor will cost, he did say it would take years of patience, testing and education to realize it. He went on to add that this venture will not only benefit related advances in energy, medicine, agriculture and artificial intelligence. The president also said that the mission will provide a "better understanding of our environment and ourselves."

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