Bridenstine said that the United States's effort to return to the surface of the moon would not in any way compromise the country's mission to be the first to place humans on Mars.
Instead, he explained that NASA sees its vision of the return to the moon as constructing a railroad or pathway that would help pave the way to the red planet. Both the moon and Mars missions, he added, will support each other.
"In fact, our return to the surface of the moon will allow us to prove and advance technologies that will feed forward to Mars: precision landing systems, methane engines, orbital habitation, surface habitation, surface mobility, long duration life support operations and much more that will enable us to land the first Americans on the red planet," said Bridenstine.
A New Railroad In Space
During the Humans to Mars Summit, which took place in Washington D.C. on May 9, Bridenstine spoke about the current space situation. He compared it to the time when the United States had just acquired the Louisiana territory from France back in the 1800s.
At the time, the U.S. government managed to take advantage of the western territory after successfully constructing a railroad. Bridenstine then reminded his audience about the first Apollo mission, which accomplished landing the first humans on the moon. He said that it's time for the United States to construct a new railroad in space.
InSight And Mars 2020
In addition, Bridenstine also spoke about NASA's Mars missions, including InSight Mars lander and the Mars 2020 rover mission.
The Mars 2020 rover is expected to search for potentially habitable environments on the Red Planet. Among its missions are to gather soil samples, possibly bring them back to Earth, and also test a method that would allow the processing of oxygen. This test is known as the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Experiment.
The InSight Mars lander, on the other hand, was launched on May 5 on an Atlas V vehicle from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Unlike NASA's other rovers, the InSight Mars lander is a stationary probe that is designed to examine Mars's interior and study how tectonically active it is. The InSight mission is expected to land on Mars on Nov. 26.