Copyright © 2011 by Gary W. Johnson. Published by The Mars Society with permission
GOING TO MARS (or anywhere else nearby)
Gary W. Johnson, PE, PhD
Professor of Mathematics, Texas State Technical College, Waco, Texas
Adjunct Professor of Engineering, McLennan Community College, Waco, Texas
A simple pencil-and-paper bounding study says this is possible: one 9-month round trip, 6 men, 16 one-week landings, nothing thrown away, minimal technology developments (but fairly certain of success), no new launch rockets, under $8 billion in direct launch costs, possibly as soon as 5 years.
This mission study is a clean-sheet design. The differences with other studies are: (1) legacy hardware and contractors are ignored, (2) new developments are minimal, and (3) maximum self-rescue is designed into every phase.
Only direct launch costs were computed: under $8 billion. A guess for the overall program might be 3-4 times that amount, if done by a lean, efficient contractor. All mission assets are reusable, and left in place around Earth and Mars for the next mission to refuel and reuse.
Bounding analysis, feasibility analysis, configuration, clean-sheet design, Mars mission, assumptions, fast trip, life support, safety, self rescue, exploration (definition).