NASA's chief technologist has revealed that in some areas humans are already 'halfway' to landing on Mars.
David Miller was speaking to Motherboard editor Victoria Turk about the hurdles that NASA would need to overcome before a manned mission could take place.
He outlined the many obstacles that needed to be overcome, most notable of which being getting the astronauts back to Earth.
Whereas the Mars One mission considers the possibility of a one-way trip to the red planet, Miller believes that frankly, this approach is unacceptable.
“If we don’t have the technology to come back, I don’t think we have the technology to go.”
Then of course there's the problem of radiation, how do you protect humans from eight months of cosmic rays, including down on the surface where Mars' atmosphere is far far weaker.
While some of these questions remain unanswered MIller is keen to point out that actually NASA is just being remarkably humble about just how far they've come.
“I think one of the things NASA does poorly is that we always talk about the challenges ahead, but we don’t talk about the challenges that we’ve addressed, as I got to NASA and started looking at the programs, I saw that in some ways we are already halfway to Mars with humans. We are there with robots today, but we are halfway there with humans.”
Of course the big question everyone will now want answering is whether, with the current rate of technological advancement, can NASA stay within President Obama's bold target of having humans in orbit around Mars by 2030.
Orbiting and landing are two very different things of course however Miller remains optimistic that the organisation is already well on the way to fulfilling that goal.