But rather than two different landers like Mars Direct, have one common lander, that could be used either as the crew hab, or as a cargo lander. The lander part would be common though. Inflatable descelerators could be used as well, but I'm just wondering if there would be a problem igniting engines into a supersonic slip stream. So having a big circular shield on the bottom could give protection to the engines until they are ready to ignite. The thrust would jettison the shield while slowing the lander letting the shield fall away. Then the whole lander, once refueled, would lift off and burn directly for TEI. A Dragon capsule would be mounted on top, and that's what would be used to land the crew back on Earth along with samples and such. That same Hab is then used fro the Earth-Mars Transit, the surface stay on Mars, and then back to Earth.Mars Direct had the crew occupy a Hab lander on the way out, and on the surface, but then a much smaller hab area on the ERV for the return home. Two different landers altogether.I'm wondering if it can be done in one common lander platform?
It would ... depend on whether the tanks could be converted to living spaces and back again.
... you need to allow for sufficient propellant for a powered return, slightly reducing the total mass to Mars ...
QuoteIt would ... depend on whether the tanks could be converted to living spaces and back again.Oof! And to think I have trouble stopping O2 + N2 leaks at 1 ATM around my house's doors and windows. I just guessing sealing up a LH2 or even LCH4 tank would be a bit tougher.
Or is there doubt that the people suddenly decide the colony was a bad idea and everyone wants back to Earth
Not according to the Musk-Tinker exchange, not for the manned transport at least.