[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

starship-design: Re: One-way to Mars?

Here goes an excerpt from an article:
"Boston NSS February Lecture Summary" by Bruce Mackenzie,
available in full at:


Look also at the other articles in the  SpaceView online space journal:

-- Zenon

No Deposit, No Return
There are 2 basic reasons to go to Mars:

  1. Science - to study geology, meteorology, biology.
  2. To Live on Mars - Mars is a likely second home for us.

If half the reason to go is to stay on Mars; then
we should assume we can stay, and try it.
     A major cost and risk of Mars missions is
bringing the people back to Earth. In Zubrin's
Mars Direct plan, one of every 2 launches was
devoted to the Earth return vehicle and its fuel
manufacture. And, the most dangerous time may be
liftoff from Mars in a relatively untested rocket
which has been sitting on Mars for 4 years with
minimal maintenance. Other mission plans have
similar high cost and risk for the return trip.
     The life support systems you would have used
for the long trip home could support you while you
build simple building, such as these brick
structures. Rather than taking fuel for the return
trip, take tools and extra inflatable greenhouses.
Suddenly, after the first mission, you have a
permanent base.
     Obviously, we will not send people to Mars
without the ability for them to get home. But that
capability can be held in reserve and used in
other ways later. Faced with half-year return
trips and launch windows every two years, the new
Martian would be safer to stay on Mars, then to
risk a return trip to Earth.
     It would be the ultimate irony to never
colonize Mars or anywhere else, simply because it
was too expensive to insure safe passage back to Earth.