London, August 12 (ANI): A committee appointed by the White House to review NASA's aims has put forward the idea to send astronauts on progressively longer space trips to asteroids, in order to prepare them for a landing on Mars.
According to a report in New Scientist, committee member Edward Crawley of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said that the first mission would fly by the moon.
Later missions would include rendezvousing with one or more of the many asteroids whose orbits bring them close to Earth.
Asteroid missions would take several months each.
Later, astronauts could fly by Venus and Mars, and touch down on Mars's moon Phobos, which is 27 kilometers across at its widest.
Each of these missions would take more than a year.
Although Crawley did not say when the first human visit to an asteroid might be, he said it could happen within six years of starting a project to accomplish this goal. (ANI)