Assist NASA in Retrieving Martian Rocks: A Call to Action

NASA’s decision to scrap its $11 billion, 15-year mission to Mars to bring back samples could create a startup feeding frenzy, TechCrunch reports. Describing its plans as too slow, and too expensive, NASA is going back to the drawing board, with an eye on getting the space industry to help. But space startups are not worried about it. So, the NASA money might have a bunch of startup-sized buckets to drip into, and I am here for it. To that end, if any startup that works with NASA on the Mars rock mission needs a human to send up there to check on the dials and such, I’m your guy.

NASA has announced its decision to cancel its 15-year, $11 billion mission to collect samples from Mars. This unexpected move has caused a stir in the industry, with TechCrunch reporting that it could lead to a frenzy of startups vying for a piece of the space pie.

The reason behind this decision is that NASA deems its plans for the mission to be too slow and expensive. As a result, the space agency is going back to the drawing board and looking for ways to involve the space industry in its quest.

One might question NASA’s ability to manage its own missions within an acceptable timeline and budget, but the potential influx of funding for startups working towards making space more accessible is reason for excitement.

While startups often conjure images of social media apps, enterprise software, and NFT-based online games, there is a growing number of ventures focused on the bits-and-atoms side of technology. And even though the idea of building advanced hardware without a software element may seem unthinkable, hardware startups are successfully straddling both worlds.

But the potential dilemma of balancing digital and physical aspects does not seem to faze space startups. Just take a look at recent TechCrunch space headlines to see the proof. Dark Space is developing a solution for clearing space debris, True Anomaly is working towards landing on the Moon, Varda Space is manufacturing drugs in space and bringing them back to Earth after securing $90 million in funding, and Orbital Fab has its sights set on refueling satellites. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

The cancellation of the Mars mission means that NASA now has a plethora of startup-sized buckets to pour its funding into, and I, for one, am here for it. As a self-proclaimed science-fiction enthusiast, I am beyond exhilarated at the thought of our species’ potential future in space. And if any startup working with NASA on the Mars rock mission needs a willing human to assist with dial-checking and other tasks, consider me on board. Press play, because it’s time to have some fun in space!

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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