Author Topic: Election 2024 trip to Mars' moons  (Read 997 times)

Offline TakeOff

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Election 2024 trip to Mars' moons
« on: 06/06/2017 08:09 pm »
This paper calculates launch windows to Mars:

By adding the political cycle I narrow down when the first crewed trip to Mars will happen. The first trip will be to the moons of Mars, to be followed up by a surface mission a couple of conjunctions later.

A trip to Mars' moons is an entire trip in microgravity (or milligravity at the moons). Thus the trip time versus stay time doesn't matter as much as for a surface mission. A trip to the moons could be done almost as well at any conjunction. For the first surface mission 2033-2035 would be optimal. The astronauts would then spend so much time on Mars that they will feel homesick when back on Earth.

By launching a month before election day 2024 a president can celebrate his 8 years in office with a historic space adventure. We need to take advantage of his vanity. If he identifies with it personally it will be done and the deadline is crystal clear.

The dates of departure and arrival would be:
Earth-Mars October 12, 2024 - May 20, 2025
Mars-Earth August 11, 2026 - May 12, 2027

31 months makes it a long trip for a visit to Mars. And microgravity is the big challenge for a Mars moons mission. Even if I think that the microgravity health problem is often overstated, some kind of centrifuge would be nice to have here. The astronauts would spend a large part of their grown up lives on this trip. Such a long stay would not be simulated on the ISS. Further visits to Mars' moons would be done from a base on Mars' surface or on the way to and from the surface. The only use of staying so long in microgravity is to visit Mars' moons before a surface mission. There no use for a permanent solution to spending 31 months in microgravity.

The opportunities to use Venus between Mars conjunctions open up a couple of possibilities. A round trip using Venus on the way out could be made from September 12, 2023 to March 31, 2025 in only 18 months(!!!) but that offers just one month at Mars. That month is July 2024, i.e. at the end of an administration and during the formal nomination of presidential candidates. People have done 18 months in microgravity without problem. A month at the moons would still be longer than all Apollo time spent on the Moon, and it can of course be stretched a bit by using more fuel.

An alternative would be to use Venus both out and back in October 2021 to September 2023, a 23 months trip with a 2 months stay at Mars, however that is certainly too early.

The colors in the contour graph show the delta-V from 3.4 km/s in blue to 4.4 in red. In the other plot blue is Mars-Earth direct conjunction missions while red use a Venus flyby.

« Last Edit: 06/06/2017 09:10 pm by TakeOff »