NASA’s three-phase plan to put humans on Mars by the year 2040 proves that not all mega-projects are earthbound. Step one is for Lockheed Martin to complete the $20 billion Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. It will be the first modern spacecraft capable of carrying humans beyond where the International Space Station currently exists in low earth orbit, to reach asteroids and—eventually—the Red Planet. For these trips, astronauts will need a vehicle that can support them for extended periods of time, while protecting them and their equipment from radiation, extreme temperatures, and micrometeoroid strikes.
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