October 23, 2021

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NASA’s lunar Gateway moon-orbiting space station explained in pictures

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11) Waystation for Mars?

Gateway’s design is still evolving, and it is hard to make predictions about how it will support lunar exploration, let alone Mars exploration. In 2020, for example, media reports indicated that Gateway would be removed from the “critical path” to Artemis exploration. However, NASA maintains that many of the “lessons learned” from Artemis and Gateway will be useful for eventual Mars exploration, ranging from how to supply astronauts from far away, to keeping crew members safe, to learning to “live off the land” on another world via in-situ resource utilization.

While Mars connections remain speculative and subject to change, past proposals for Gateway with regard to the Red Planet include using it as a waystation for samples, building up international partnerships with an eye to preparing for Mars, and using Gateway as a “Mars analog” to prepare for Red Planet missions.

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