April 1, 2015
NASA's future plans to explore Mars may end up using astronauts as space messengers.
A special team has been looking for a new Mars plan since budget cuts earlier this year killed two future robotic flights. A preliminary report released Tuesday gives NASA several options. A decision won't be announced until next year.
Mars exploration so far has been done with orbiters and robots, like the rover Curiosity that landed last month. None of the options would put astronauts on the red planet.
One plan calls for a robotic explorer to grab Martian rocks and take them back into space. Then astronauts would pick them up and take them home for detailed scientific examination.
NASA sciences chief John Grunsfeld said that could help prevent contamination issues.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.