Lunar endurance mission to act as ‘boot camp’ for Mars New Scientist

NASA chief Mike Griffin has outlined the punishing lunar endurance mission that would have to be completed before NASA could ever consider sending humans to Mars.
Speaking on NASA’s future mission priorities at this week’s International Astronautical Congress in Glasgow, Scotland, Griffin said that Mars is not automatically the next destination simply because humans have already been to the Moon. “The total human experience on the Moon is less than 27 human working days – on a world that is the size of Africa,” he says. “So whether the Moon is a stepping stone to Mars or a place of interest in its own right depends on knowledge we don’t have yet.” To improve that knowledge, and to test the logistics and human factors of potential Mars missions in the bargain, Griffin proposes an elaborate lunar mission experiment. It would mimic the travel and landing time of a Mars mission by using the International Space Station as a mock Mars spaceship – and the Moon as a surrogate Mars.