Boeing, one of the six companies teaming up with Nasa to develop a deep space habitat, has released concept images of the docking station and a deep space transport vehicle that could hopefully send humans to Mars from a lunar base one day.

The Deep Space Gateway as shown above aims to be a habitat that Boeing wants to send to cislunar space. It could house crucial research for space exploration and be a docking site for other space vehicles similar to the International Space Station (ISS).

The plan is to dock the Deep Space Transport vehicle Boeing at the gateway to someday send humans to Mars from there. Depending on the atmospheric conditions on the red planet, astronauts can either stay on board or send a lander to Mars for surface missions.

The transport vehicle will be built in such a way that astronauts are protected from deep space's harsh environment. The gateway will on the other hand be a long lasting, flexible, reusable and sustainable infrastructure that can operate for decades of human spaceflight.

The orbital space near the Moon offers a deep space environment for testing new and emerging techniques for exploration. Missions to the lunar surface can be launched with the ability to return to Earth in days as against months as estimated by Nasa. The space agency plans to launch at least one Space Launch System (SLS) mission to the deep space gateway every year.

Boeing Deep Space Transit Vehicle
Boeing Deep Space Transit Vehicle approaching Mars in a concept sketch Boeing