Scientists at the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) are testing the design of new docking hatch for the Orion spacecraft which will take astronauts on Journey to Mars in 2020. The tests are being conducted at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to ensure that astronauts can get out of the spacecraft through the docking hatch in case of any emergency.
NASA explains, “While the crew will primarily use the side hatch for entry and exit on Earth and the docking hatch to travel between Orion and a habitation module on long-duration deep space missions, the crew will need to be able to exit out of the docking hatch if wave heights in the Pacific Ocean upon splashdown are too high. The work is being done to help ensure all elements of Orion’s design are safe and effective for the crew to use on future missions on the journey to Mars.”
Last year, NASA successfully tested the prototype of the spacecraft. Engineers have designed a new thermal protection system which will enable Orion spacecraft to withstand more than 2200 degree Celcius temperature. Since it will be the first manned mission to Mars, security of astronauts is very crucial.
NASA will test Orion’s endurability during next mission named Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) in which the spacecraft will fly for at least three weeks and return back to Earth at a faster speed so that it get can tested through even hotter conditions.
World’s most powerful rocket Space Launch Station (SLS) will be used to lift up Orion spacecraft along with 13 other miniature satellites. Astronauts will try to find traces of life on Mars. They will also grow vegetables including tomato. Moreover, scientists believe that the Red Planet was habitable in the past but somehow it lost it atmosphere, water and then life. Scientists will try to solve mystery of what made Mars a deserted place of today.