Selection on Mars Based on Optimal Collocation of Indigenous Resources
Donald Barker, M.S., M.A.
George James, Ph.D.
Gregory Chamitoff, Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org
Like the Earth, Mars is a planet with an abundance of natural resources, including accessible materials that can be used to support human life and to sustain a self sufficient Martian outpost. Major in situ resources required by the initial inhabitants and explorers include water, atmospheric and material consumables, and various energy and fuel reservoirs. This paper examines the potential for supporting the first manned mission with the objective of economically achieving self-sufficiency through well understood resource exploration and identification, followed by a program of rigorous scientific research aimed at extending and expanding in situ resource utilization capabilities. The potential for initially extracting critical resources from the Martian environment is examined, and the scientific investigations required to identify additional resources in the atmosphere, on the surface, and within the subsurface are discussed. The current state of knowledge regarding the planetŐs geomorphology is examined, particularly as it pertains to the question of locating water and other useful resources. Questions of scientific necessity and feasibility are examined with respect to the concepts of resource utilization and habitability. Throughout the next decade, unmanned precursor missions, including Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor, and the Mars 98, 2001, 2003 and 2005 missions, can and should be targeted and utilized to construct an initial resource knowledge database that will serve to support the selection of an initial manned landing site. Considerations are presented for determining the optimal landing site based on the best combination of the known and potential existence and accessibility of Martian resources. The primary goal of achieving self-sufficiency on Mars would accelerate the development of Human colonization beyond Earth, while providing a robust and permanent Martian base from which humans could explore and conduct long term research on the evolution of planets, the solar system, and life itself.