posted on Apr, 3 2004 @ 09:04 PM
Everyone thinks we need to actually send people to the Marsian surface to get that MISSION ACCOMPLISH sensation. But heres a different idea. Well,
I assume its different. All of the scientific benefits can be accomplished, with much greater safety, with just a Mars Orbital mission.
A re-usable interplanetary spaceship can be built in earth orbit. It should be a long life project, built like a battleship, but modular so it could
be upgraded with time. Ideally, some kind of continuous propulsion system is needed. This is the biggest technology hurdle at the moment. But I
think some solid fuel boosters could be strapped on for the heavy orbital velocity deltas needed for leaving Earth, entering Mars orbit, departing
Mars, and re-entering Earth orbit. The crew and samples would return to Earth via something like the shuttle. The ship can then be fitted for the
The spaceship should have a rotating feature where the crew spends most of the time in a simulated gravity environment.
So how would this work? I am thinking that computer and robotic technology will be 2 orders of magnitude better than it is today. When the ship gets
to Mars orbit, a number of satellites are released to build a real-time communications network for the probes being sent to the surface.
These would be no ordinary surface probes. At least 2 are capable of returning samples. With these return modules are sent several other robots
(probably more human like) and very analogous to current deep-sea ocean exploration. The crew would don virtual reality visors and experience Mars in
3D and control the movements as if they were there themselves. All of this is recorded live for broadcast back to Earth. In this one respect, it
would be indistinguishable from a real manned landing. At least to us, here on Earth.
The robots could flip over rocks, hammer off chips, or do anything a man could do. The robots would then drop off the samples to the Return Module.
And at the end of surface operations, the return modules would blast off and dock with the Mother ship with their precious payloads of virgin Mars
material. The robots can continue exploration for as long as they last even after the humans are long gone.
I think the whole thing is much less risky for the first expedition, and achieves 100% of the scientific goals. I havent heard of any proposal like
this. Any thoughts?