Feb 25 2015

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A very comprehensive, yet incomplete, study of how to get to Mars

The Second Mars Affordability and Sustainability Community Workshop: structure, findings, and recommendations. An interesting read…yet it’s missing something…

Here are it’s recommendations:

  • Fully utilize the capabilities of the ISS.
  • An affordable, crew-tended habitat in the vicinity of the Moon intended to be a prototype Mars transfer habitat. This should include international participation.
  • Flying astronauts beyond low Earth orbit at least once per year beginning with EM-2. This means the SLS Block 1B should be implemented by the EM-2 flight. This does not exclude crewed missions on other vehicles, for example to ISS.
  • Taking advantage of the opportunities for human exploration to support meaningful science missions in the 2020s using co-manifest capability on SLS Block1B.
  • Although there are other viable mission concepts that could demonstrate high-power solar electric propulsion (SEP), the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) mission is a useful step toward demonstrating SEP for Mars missions.

Here is another quotable section:

We note that a minority of AM II participants felt that, if effective aerobraking in the Martian atmosphere could be demonstrated, an all-chemical propulsion solution to travel to Mars may be more attractive than one that includes SEP.

What’s missing…what’s missing…oh yeah — SpaceX!! Indeed, any mention of the Emerging Space industry!

The study’s recommendations are NASA-centric, conveniently building a manifest for the SLS (sending crews beyond LEO once a year just ’cause). And I don’t understand why SEP is suddenly being talked about for Mars missions; it hasn’t before (unless I’ve missed something). It makes me think that talking SEP for Mars gives some badly-needed legitimacy to the ARM mission…but I’m sure that’s just crazy talk.

For the record, I think SpaceX will have boots on the ground with a Mayflower mission (staff and technicians to get the pre-placed habitats and such up and running) around 2029, and the Colony open for business around 18-24 months later.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/02/25/a-very-comprehensive-yet-incomplete-study-of-how-to-get-to-mars/

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