NASA recently conducted a successful engine test. They tested an RS-25 rocket engine for 500 seconds on Thursday (March 10).
It went just fine, and the next time they fire it, it will be powering the shuttle that humans take on their first deep-space mission, which will be in a little more than 45 years.
"Not only does this test mark an important step towards proving our existing design for SLS's first flight, but it's also a great feeling that this engine that has carried so many astronauts into space before is being prepared to take astronauts to space once again on SLS's first crewed flight," Steve Wofford, engines manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, said.
This is just one step closer to getting to Mars. NASA has already started to prepare for going into deep space missions, and will use this engine to carry humans to Mars, and hopefully, an asteroid as well. Landing the first humans on Mars, or on an asteroid, will make history throughout the world, and lead to more knowledge for what else is out there, and more intriguingly, if there is life on Mars or if there can be sustainable life on this planet.
"What a great moment for NASA and Stennis," Rick Gilbreth, director of NASA's Stennis Space Center, said. "We have exciting days ahead with a return to deep space and a journey to Mars, and this test is a very big step in that direction."
Going to Mars is a mission that would take years without this kind of test or this kind of engine, and now, the dream of sending astronauts to deep space to uncover the mysteries of the Universe is becoming a reality.
"One more powerful step forward accomplished on the SLS journey," Ronnie Rigne, RS-25 project manager at Stennis, told NASA. "It really feels great to be part of such an important program in our nation."
You can learn more about NASA's quest for Mars here.