Copyright © 2009 by Nicola Sarzi AmadŽ. Published by the Mars Society with permission
MARS RAPID ROUND TRIPS MISSION DESIGN
Nicola Sarzi AmadŽ
Microcosm, Inc., Hawthorne, CA
The proposed presentation focuses on the analysis of the constraints of Mars round trips mission design. Round trip missions will become more common in the near future, especially when the human exploration of Mars will become a reality. The fundamental problem is that the increase of the for a mission has only a very small impact on the overall mission duration, because there is the need to wait for the Earth to go around the Sun and realign with Mars. But for a sufficiently high , the total trip time can suddenly drop by a great amount.
Rapid round trips to Mars are characterized both by a rapid transfer and by a short stay on the surface. The main possible kinds of Mars missions are unmanned missions, human exploration, human colonization, human tourism, and human commerce. In some of those cases, a rapid round trip mission could be the best choice. Thus, there is the need to identify the rules for Mars round trip travels and to apply them to the design of rapid round trip missions. New results are presented. In particular, the total round trip times and stay times on Mars for several transfer types and different Õs are presented, and for each case the possibility of a step reduction in total mission duration is evaluated.
Possible advantages of rapid round trips to Mars are the savings on the life support systems (water, oxygen, and other consumables), on operational costs and infrastructures, and the reduction of exposure to zero-g and radiation. A short stay mission could allow for a smaller amount of resources created on Mars by ISRU, and for a smaller payload delivered in advance to Mars. Short-transfer, short-stay missions can allow for realistic scenarios of routine travels between the Earth and Mars. However, the disadvantages of rapid round trip missions are the high Õs required and the need for appropriate propulsion systems.