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First stop Venus! NASA proposes using the planet to slingshot the first crewed Mars mission to save fuel and time

Scientists suggest that the only way humans will get to Mars is by going to Venus. 
The team believes Venus's gravity could be used as a 'slingshot' to whip the spacecraft towards the Red Planet, greatly reducing time and fuel.
Doing a flyby of the planet would also allow astronauts to explore two different Martian terrains during a single mission and possibly provide double the discoveries in one shot.  
NASA is eyeing the first crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s – and officials say the mission could launch as early as 2035.
Scientists suggest that the only way humans will get to Mars is by going to Venus. The team believes Venus's gravity could be used as a 'slingshot' to whip the spacecraft towards the Red Planet, greatly reducing time and fuel
Scientists suggest that the only way humans will get to Mars is by going to Venus. The team believes Venus's gravity could be used as a 'slingshot' to whip the spacecraft towards the Red Planet, greatly reducing time and fuel
Putting humans on Mars has been a goal since the 1950s, when aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun wrote the first detailed technical study for a mission to the planet.
And now, the document will soon become a reality as NASA is gearing up to put boots on the Red Planet.
Scientists from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, North Carolina State University and NASA are proposing a slight tweak to the journey.
'There is reason to be excited by this 'two planets for the price of one-plus' approach,' the study published in arxiv reads.
Doing a flyby of the planet would also allow astronauts to explore two different Martian terrains during a single mission and possibly provide double the discoveries in one shot. The crew can deploy drones and rovers to explore Venus, while using virtual reality headsets and a joystick to control the devices
Doing a flyby of the planet would also allow astronauts to explore two different Martian terrains during a single mission and possibly provide double the discoveries in one shot. The crew can deploy drones and rovers to explore Venus, while using virtual reality headsets and a joystick to control the devices
'A dedicated year-long Venus flyby mission could serve as a valuable 'shakedown cruise' for the deep-space transport systems needed for the first human mission to Mars.'
Using Venus as a pit stop provides a number of benefits to missions to Mars.
Astronauts could use the planet's gravity as a slingshot to whip the spacecraft towards the Red Planet, which will also save time on the long voyage.
Researchers also note that Venus could be a safety net if problems arise on the trip, as it is closer to Earth and would allow them to return home faster.
NASA is eyeing the first crewed mission to Mars (pictured) in the 2030s ¿ and officials say the mission could launch as early as 2035
Researchers also note that Venus (pictured) could be a safety net if problems arise on the trip, as it is closer to Earth and would allow them to return home faster.
Researchers also note that Venus (right) could be a safety net if problems arise on the trip to Mars (left), as it is closer to Earth and would allow them to return home faster.
'Venus flybys directly enable shorter, less expensive crewed missions to Mars—and, as preparation, humanity's first planetary mission beyond the Earth–Moon system could feature a one-year flyby exploration mission of Venus,' reads the study.
'Not only would such a mission provide exploration and science opportunities at and on Venus, but would also serve as valuable deep space practice for the first humans-to-Mars mission, on a more rapid cadence than an Earth– Mars flyby can be accomplished.'
The crew could deploy rovers on Venus and control them using a virtual reality headset and joystick to gear up for exploration on Mars.
'Without such a presence, those controlling drones have to contend with the time delay as messages travel between Earth and Venus, which can take anywhere from five to 28 minutes,' shares the scientists.
The team notes the most beneficial reason for taking advantage of Venus - the window of opportunity would be greatly reduced. 
Earth and Mars only ever align for space travel every 26 months, which means astronauts on such a craft would have to spend more than a year on or near Mars. 
With opposition missions, the window is reduced to just 19 months.

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