Stepped Approach to the Moon and Mars
Jim Bickford, firstname.lastname@example.org
With the eventual goal of settling both the Moon and Mars, a carefully planned and stepped approach should be utilized. The first steps involve modifying space station components and off the shelf technology to create a simple manned spacecraft that will make a quick flight to Mars and rendezvous with supplies previously orbited about the planet. The vehicle will return to Earth where it can be partially reused for several subsequent missions. Human flights to Mars will not only provide public motivation for continued development of space but also the strong technical background required for subsequent success. A better understanding of Phobos and Deimos as well as the Martian environment will provide engineers of future missions the information needed to properly utilize the natural resources of the planet and avoid the costly approach of bringing everything from Earth. After the completion of the initial human Mars exploratory sequence, flights to Mars will be temporarily suspended and the focus will turn to the moon. During the moon development period the data gathered from the Mars missions could be thoroughly analyzed. This detailed analysis will funnel the eventual focus of Mars exploration. In addition to the science obtained from Moon exploration and development, the resources of the moon will eventually be utilized in future space endeavors.