Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Sarasota Florida
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Help make "MARS Direct" known.
There are lots of ways to plan voyages to Mars.
Many plans involve launching lots of pieces of a large ship to near-Earth orbit, then assembling those pieces and flying a complex ship to Mars, including the craft that will return the astronauts to Earth.
This craft is unnecessarily large and costly and prone to disaster.
"Mars Direct" starts by sending an unmanned ship to Mars. The ship's principal cargo is some Hydrogen, which is one of the components needed to manufacture rocket fuel, drinking water, and breatheable air. The atmosphere of Mars, tenuous though it be, provides all the rest of the raw materials for the three processes. The lander contains all the apparatus to make those vital fluids, and it starts doing that. When it is done, it reports that it is ready to provide a safe habitat for four astronauts, and it is fueled to carry them home.
The second ship has a simple flight plan. It takes off from Earth, and it does not go into orbit, but instead heads for Mars, taking several months to get there. It has to land near the first ship, but that landing is a solved problem, and the first ship provides a fine signal to help the landing.
The second ship provides a choice of housing, or a source of parts in case of malfunction. If all goes well, the machines to manufacture fuel, water, and air, are moved from the first machine to the second at the end of the visit, and the second ship prepares to become the way home for the second expedition, which eventually arrives in the third ship.
The entire scheme is much more complex than the above, but you have the gist: the way home is ready before anyone leaves Earth; no rendezvous is necessary; no in-orbit assembly is needed; everything is as simple as possible.
Just think about the Mars Direct plan, and maybe something like it will happen.