Section 2.5.1.
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The Plan For Mars

Contrary to what many expect, the Moon Society is actually in favour of going to Mars we just have a different view of how it should be done. Conventional thinking is that a rapid journey is made, flags and footprints left behind, then a rapid retreat to Earth executed. Based on past experience with Apollo missions, that is likely to be humanity's lot with Mars for the next 50 years.

There are a number of problems with getting to Mars:

These are all problems generated by the attitude of rushing at it to get the flags and footprints down first. Our solution circumvents all these issues and was possible with 1980's technology.

Economies Of Scale

R. H. Goddard, Don Davis
Image by Don Davis.
Courtesy of Space Studies Institute
Our proposal is to send a spherical craft to Mars with shielding a couple of metres or so thick, and room inside for a whole community, agricultural areas, medical facilities, workshops, and several thousand tonnes of supplies and landers for colonisation. The design is loosely based on G.K. O'Neill's transfer ship design, the R H Goddard.

The craft has a long "tail" of solar panels that power a mass-driver that runs along the tail. The fuel is essentially moondust. Radiation is eliminated by the use of thick, and admittedly heavy, layers of lunar-derived material. Mass-drivers are highly efficient and get their energy from the sun, reducing fuel requirements. The unit is self-contained, feeding itself through a closed environmental life support system (CELSS) so food supplies are not an issue. Fully equipped workshops and heavy gear are available, making running repairs practical.

Finally, by rotating the craft's spherical body, gravity at any level can be simulated to acclimatise the crew to Mars, Lunar, and Earth levels.

Such a craft would be capable of repeated journeys, and excursions out as far as the asteroid belt. Any further, and the solar cells will be running short on sunlight. Trips inward to Venus are also possible. What we have to do is establish an industrial presence on the moon in order to manufacture craft like this.

So you see, it's not a question of Mars or Luna. We want to get to both of them, and do much more.


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