Copyright © 2006 by Mark Moran. Published by the Mars Society with permission.
ON THE HEELS OF NASA’S
EARLY MANNED RECONNAISANCE:
MOUNTING AND SUSTAINING
SECOND-WAVE MARS PRESENCE
DECADES BEYOND APOLLO’S PRECEDENT
MSPH, BSAE, MDRS #18
During the Apollo program’s exploration of Earth’s moon, NASA committed itself to only seven manned landing attempts. Even if a variant of Mars Direct prevails with NASA, the program is pursued vigorously, and successful landings dominate world headlines, a powerful precedent has already been set by the U.S. government and NASA: “Don’t count on an endless stream of funds to dot the landscape of Mars with NASA landing sites.” In order to sustain exploration and habitation of Mars beyond the first quarter century of human presence, it is imperative that a program be mounted to implement a cost-effective longer-term infrastructure, one that can be achieve operations at the quarter century mark. This paper argues that the Space Elevator project is not a “parallel universe” with galactic-scale coffers designed to digest galactic-scale funds, but a remarkable and cost-effective opportunity to mount such a long-term second-wave project for Mars.