Credit: Paul Hudson/NASA

Credit: Paul Hudson/NASA

NASA’s quest to place boot prints on Mars in the 2030’s is advancing, bolstered by new studies on a multi-function next-generation Mars Orbiter and how best to use Red Planet resources to sustain expeditionary crews on the planet.

Last year, nearly 50 locations on Mars were proposed by scientists as future locales for human landings. Those landing zone sites also flag “regions of interest” that can be reached from touchdown spots.

Credit: NEX-SAG

Credit: NEX-SAG

Now the call is out for a multi-functional next-generation Mars Orbiter that carries advanced telecommunications gear and makes use of powerful radar to scout out and better classify Martian resources for human landing parties. If approved, the spacecraft might be headed for Mars as early as 2022.

For more information, go to my new Space.com story at:

Humans on Mars: Scouting Needed for Red Planet Resources

http://www.space.com/32882-nasa-crewed-mars-missions-resources-orbiter.html

2 Responses to “Humans on Mars: Studies Flag Reconnaissance, Resource Needs”

  • Ben says:

    What’s the inventory – and mass – of infrastructure that must be delivered from Earth for a starter colony? That is, you’d need some basic mining and extracting as well as refining to get oxygen, water, basic structural materials and so on to build a presence. Dropping in payloads of 1 ton at a time won’t suffice. What will be interesting is proving super sonic retro propulsion on Mars as SpaceX is planning for it’s venture. If that passes the test, doors open.

    Antarctica is a good analog, but I’m not aware of the research teams developing mining, manufacture, and refining of the kind that’ll be needed on Mars. The shame is NASA is so hampered by unpredictable politics.

  • Dave Cline says:

    I have a reconnaissance idea I’ve dreamed up. It’s called BumbleBot. I say your tumbleweed style science rovers and Bumblebot predates them, perhaps, but the idea is similar. Additionally I include a space to surface vehicle insertion idea too.

    Thanks for any response:
    https://goo.gl/SM4i3D — a google drive presentation.

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