Mars Mission Designs: Comparing the Near Term Options

by Malcolm A. LeCompte, Aerodyne Research Inc, Billerica, United States,
Julie P. Stets, Aerodyne Research Inc, Billerica, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III


The benefits to be derived from manufacturing chemical rocket propellants from native resources on the Martlan surface are so great that it will almost certainly be a component of any future manned Mars exploration program. Different Mars mission designs recently proposed are examined to illustrate their salient features. A simple analytic tool has been developed to compare different mission approaches including the impact of in-situ propellant production. Quantitative criteria to evaluate competing approaches to achieve global Mars exploration are proposed. The immediate advantages of each design option, and its impact for long term programs will be compared. The prospects for, and benefits to be derived from, an evolutionary program of propellant manufacture will be discussed.

Subject Headings: Space exploration | Space colonies | Flight | Resource management | Manufacturing | Field tests | Chemicals

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