Man On Mars Closer Than Ever

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In the movie, “The Martian,” Matt Damon was a fictional astronaut stranded on Mars, in reality, the head of NASA says astronauts could set foot on the Red Planet, within the next twenty years.

“We think we’re on the right trajectory to get humans to Mars in the 2030’s,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told CNBC’s “On the Money” in an interview this week.

He should know: Prior to assuming NASA’s top job in 2009, Bolden was himself an astronaut for 14 years, commanding two space shuttle missions during that time. The U.S.’s top space official says he’s confident the agency’s “Journey to Mars” goal can be accomplished, building on years of space exploration.

“If we were just starting out, I would have doubts,” Bolden explained. “But we’ve been sending precursor missions to Mars for almost 50 years now.”

Now in his seventh year as leader of the space agency, Bolden told “On The Money” that a big part of his legacy will involve “making sure we’re on a steady path to Mars and that we can get there in the 2030’s. We’re a lot closer than ever before.”

This year marks the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s 58th birthday. It was in 1961 that President John F. Kennedy pledged Americans would land astronauts on the moon.

That ambitious goal was ultimately accomplished in 1969, as millions of Americans watched Apollo 11’s moon landing live from their living rooms.

Decades later, Bolden believes a mission to Mars has become the modern day equivalent of a trip to the moon. Reaching the Red Planet is “critically important,” he said.

Mars “is similar to Earth, we think, and its history will help us understand our own planet better,” Bolden added.


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