Spending time on the Moon and collaborating with commercial and other international partners will help prepare the groundwork to allow humans get to Mars, Nasa’s chief exploration scientist Dr Jacob Bleacher has said.

If the goal was to reach Mars, humans needed to learn how to survive in deep space, Dr Bleacher explained.

He added that orbiting around the Moon was a good place to learn, as you could still get back to the Earth fairly quickly.

The US space agency plans to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024.

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