|An artist's depiction of a rocket carrying humans to Mars. (Image: © NASA/John Frassanito and Associates)|
Topics: Mars, NASA, Space Exploration, Spaceflight
The roads of human spaceflight all seem to lead to Mars. For decades now, it's been the logical next step after the moon.
But if you're an astronaut or a cosmonaut on your way to or from Mars, you might make a surprising pit stop along the way: Venus.
A flight to (or from) Mars can happen more quickly and cheaply if it "involves a Venus flyby on the way to or on the way home from Mars," Noam Izenberg, a planetary geologist at Johns Hopkins University, told Space.com.
Izenberg is one of a number of scientists and engineers advocating that a crewed mission to Mars also visit Venus. This group of researchers has drafted a white paper on the subject, to be submitted for peer review at Acta Astronautica. According to that paper, using Venus as a stepping stone to Mars isn't just one option — it's an essential part of a crewed Mars mission.
Astronauts bound for Mars should swing by Venus first, scientists say, Rahul Rao, Space.com