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Orion’s Mission: Men on Mars in Two Decades

NASA will launch an unmanned spacecraft named Orion today, December 5th. This 4.5 hour mission will test  Orion’s ability to endure extreme temperatures, high speeds, and large amounts of radiation. Orion was originally scheduled to begin its mission yesterday, but technical glitches postponed the flight.

What makes this event so highly-anticipated is the kinds of  technology that Orion is equipped with. Although it bears similarities to previous capsules, including the Apollo, NASA built Orion to travel deep into space well beyond where humans have reached thus far.

According to plan, Orion will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, before orbiting the Earth twice and reaching an altitude of 3600 miles above the Earth. No spacecraft built to carry humans has covered this distance in over 40 years.

The news has stirred up considerable excitement for both NASA and the general public. William Hill, an important official at NASA, deemed this test flight “the biggest thing that this agency is going to do this year.”

Still not convinced this is a big deal? How about this: NASA claims this test flight would “put Mars within the reach of astronauts in the 2030s.”

Written by Andrew Zhang’16


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