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We could put humans on Mars in 5 years — if we’re willing to pay for it

NASA’s former chief scientist explains why we should dream even bigger on Today, Explained.

Noam Hassenfeld is the host and senior producer of Unexplainable, Vox’s science podcast about everything we don’t know. He co-created the show with Brian Resnick and Byrd Pinkerton, and he also composes the show’s music.

After President Donald Trump revealed his budget proposal Monday, NASA had a forward-looking event of its own. The agency plans to build a space station orbiting the moon, send humans back to the moon by 2028, and eventually send them all the way to Mars.

NASA has been exploring Mars for decades with rovers, but Ellen Stofan, the director of the National Air and Space Museum and the former chief scientist of NASA, says that the only way to fully explore Mars is to send humans.

We talked with Stofan on the latest episode of Today, Explained, where she discusses NASA’s strategy on Mars, its relationship with Elon Musk, and its dreams of far-away space exploration.

You can listen to the full episode here, or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts.

Learn more:

NASA just landed InSight, a robot geologist, on Mars by Vox’s Brian Resnick

NASA’s Opportunity rover is dead. Here’s what it saw during its 14 years on Mars. by Vox’s Brian Resnick

This is what wind on Mars sounds like by Vox’s Brian Resnick

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