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NASA's #NextGiantLeap

The first humans who will step foot on Mars are walking the Earth today.

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"The first humans who will step foot on Mars are walking the Earth today."

You know we've been to the moon. Here's how we're preparing for our Next Giant Leap – sending humans to Mars!

The International Space Station is home to NASA astronauts 260 miles above Earth – and we've been living there continually for almost 14 years.

NASA / Via nasa.gov

The space station is our toehold to deep space because what we learn there is preparing us for longer missions. (Bonus: Technology and science on space station is benefiting life down here on Earth.)

And they're getting a coffee maker (thanks European Space Agency!)

LAVAZZA / Via youtube.com

A trip to the moon = three days. A journey to Mars = six-nine months.

NASA / Via nasa.gov

NASA is building a big rocket to go farther than we've gone before – the Space Launch System.

Our astronauts will ride to Mars inside the crew capsule we're building for their journey – Orion.

NASA / Via nasa.gov

Once our Mars astronauts are in space, we'll need new systems – like solar electric propulsion - to get them to the Red Planet.

NASA / Via nasa.gov

(No warp drive -- yet!)

NASA needs to know more about the Red Planet.

NASA / Via nasa.gov

Missions like the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, and that cute rover named Curiosity (aka - the Mars Science Laboratory), and the forthcoming Mars 2020 rover are making Mars give up its secrets.

We're going to find an asteroid, tow it to a stable orbit around the moon, and have astronauts study it.

NASA / Via nasa.gov

The Asteroid Redirect Mission will push our rocket system, our crew capsule, our astronauts and our technology systems to the limits of human exploration – it's our proving ground for Mars.

Then bam: Americans take the first steps on Mars!

NASA / Via nasa.gov

And when they get back to Earth, they'll meet with a future POTUS – just like the Apollo 11 astronauts did this week!

(Here's the Real Buzz and Michael Collins meeting with President Obama this week)
NASA

(Here's the Real Buzz and Michael Collins meeting with President Obama this week)

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