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8 charts reveal mind-boggling numbers about the monster rocket NASA is building to shuttle astronauts to Mars

Earlier this month, NASA announced the first mission it will be launching aboard its monster rocket, called theSpace Launch System.

In 2018, NASA will send 13 shoe-box sized satellites, called CubeSats, to study, for example, different aspects of life in space and ice deposits on the moon.

Eventually, this rocket is destined for NASA’s future deep-space missions to Mars, and beyond.

Taller than the Statue of Liberty and capable of carrying more than twice the payload weight of any of NASA’S former space shuttles, the Space Launch System will transport four astronauts at a time on board the agency’s Orion spacecraft farther into space than any human has ever ventured before. The first unmanned test flight of this rocket is scheduled for September 2018.

NASA’s Marhsall Space Flight Center has created a series of charts and infographics that show just how revolutionary this rocket will be for the future of spaceflight.

NASA will have to step it up to get a human into deep space -- something they haven't done for more than 40 years. Here's where they're starting from:

Check out past achievements for how far humans have ventured into space and where the SLS will take us next:

And here's how the SLS compares to its predecessors:

Learn about the work horses of the rocket: the two rocket boosters on either end highlighted in blue. Each are taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Inside of SLS's monster rocket boosters is the most powerful rocket motor in the world. They call it QM-1. Check it out below:

The first version of SLS, called '70t' (shown on left), will carry over 150,000 pounds to space. Over time, NASA will upgrade the rocket to its '130t' version (on right) capable of transporting over 285,000 pounds to deep space.

Here's a piece-by-piece break down of the 70t SLS.

And a breakdown of the more powerful upgrade: the 130t SLS.

Now that you know everything about the tech that will take us to Mars, check out these amazing pictures of the Red Planet.

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