We don't have the money to put humans on Mars

NASA Can’t Afford its Planned Manned Mars Mission

He said: "I can't put a date on humans on Mars, and the reason really is that at the budget levels we described, this roughly two per cent increase, we don't have the surface systems available for Mars".

NASA said it lacks the funding to conduct manned missions to Mars, reported Ars Technica.

And he said the budget was to blame, since it didn't allow for descent and landing.

Does Gerstenmaier's admission mean NASA's human mission to Mars is off?

This would make launches incredibly expensive, and landing on Mars would be out of the question.

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It is believed the cost to build the Space Launch System, and spacecraft, Orion, went higher than expected, due to which the agency failed to begin designing vehicles to land on Mars or ascend from the surface.

Furthermore, Gerstenmaier pointed out that the agency might be interested in a Moon exploration mission - one that is more widespread than the existing plan to construct the Deep Space Gateway in the Moon's orbit, as per Futurism. However, it turns out that the space agency is far too broke to send people to Mars, contradicting what the Trump administration recently touted. "We are working on the human and rocket technologies required for the long mission".

Mars has always been touted as humanity's next step, but any plans may be scuppered after a senior official revealed tightened purse strings of the space agency may put a halt to the ambitious plans.

Mr Gerstenmaier's admission comes just days after Vice President Mike Pence said that the United States will "usher in a new era" of American space leadership, but budget cuts for Nasa from the Trump Administration seem to have taken its toll.

The agency, which has successfully sent rovers and landing craft to Mars, may fail to reach the goal of sending humans to the planet within the time it envisioned. As much as $19.5 billion appears to be, though, it is not enough to achieve this lofty goal, according to NASA itself.

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