Hotel billionaire Robert Bigelow is dedicating part of his fortune toward designing and building compact yet inflatable space habitats.
On Thursday, his company Bigelow Aerospace unveiled its “Mars Transporter” test unit in Las Vegas. Astronauts plan to spend three days inside on a faux mission as part of a two-week-long NASA ground test.
Bigelow is pitching a similar design, called the B330, to NASA in support of its Artemis moon-landing missions. Later on, Bigelow envisions a similar unit enabling travel to Mars.
“It is important to listen to what President Trump has been saying about Mars. The way to Mars is to the moon,” Bigelow said in a statement.
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Hotel mogul Robert Bigelow wants to take his idea to build inflatable space habitats and run with it — apparently, all the way to Mars.
On Thursday, the billionaire publicly unveiled Bigelow Aerospace’s latest model of an expandable space station prototype, called the “Bigelow Mars Transporter Testing Unit.” It has the volume of roughly four mid-size cargo containers and was built in part for a two-week-long test by NASA astronauts and engineers.
Bigelow’s ultimate goal is to convince NASA — which is also testing prototypes made by four other companies — to fund a space-worthy unit, called the B330 (so named because it would have 330 cubic meters of volume), in support of Artemis: the space agency’s $20-30 billion moon-landing program.
The Artemis plan currently calls for housing astronauts inside a moon-orbiting space station called the Gateway. That way, astronauts have a pit stop to visit between the lunar surface and Earth. In the more distant future, the Gateway may serve as a stepping stone to Mars.
“It is important to listen to what …read more
Source:: Business Insider