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How can we help pave the way for human exploration of space?

At the dawn of the space age, JPL prepared the way for the Apollo astronauts to reach the Moon by sending forerunner robotic missions, and in recent years we have taken on a similar role in NASA’s Journey to Mars. As the agency charts plans to send humans to the Red Planet, JPL’s trove of scientific and engineering experience at that planet will prove indispensable. In addition to robotic rovers and orbiters, JPL is developing new technologies to support future human exploration, including such initiatives as the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator and a possible Mars Helicopter. To demonstrate and prove new capabilities needed for future human missions, JPL is leading the proposed Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission. An important side benefit of that mission would be experiences and information that would help us understand how to use asteroids as resources when humans embark on explorations beyond our Moon.