Lunar resource utilization concept: (a) A crew of four descends to the lunar surface in a spacecraft designed to utilize oxygen produced on the moon for propellant. Because of the high performance advantages of in-situ propellants, the spacecraft does not need to rendezvous with a second spacecraft in lunar orbit. (b) A lunar habitat has been assembled out of components delivered by automated cargo flights. Pressurized rovers, logistics modules, and a spacesuit maintenance and storage module combine to provide the living and working quarters for the crew. (c) Pressurized surface rovers allow lunar explorers to extend their travel capabilities far beyond the limitations imposed by their spacesuits. The crew can service remote facilities, such as lunar telescopes, and conduct long-range geological traverses. (d) The lunar crew refills the propellant tanks on their spacecraft with oxygen produced on the moon. This allows them to return directly to Earth, reentering the atmosphere in the conical crew module and touching down at a prepared landing site. (courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center and John Frassanito & Associates).
A Mars exploration strategy: (a) Systems to support the crew on Mars are delivered to the planet nearly 26 months prior to the first crew’s arrival. The first elements delivered include the crew’s ascent vehicle, which arrives with empty propellant tanks, propellant production equipment, and various surface habitation and exploration systems. (b) The crew of six spends the 180-day journey to Mars in the habitat they will live out of on the planet’s surface. This habitat is a duplicate of one delivered to Mars nearly 26 months earlier. (c) Once on Mars, the crew connects the two habitats together and begins a variety of surface exploration and habitation activities. By using resources available on Mars and emphasizing the development of a robust set of surface systems, the crew’s safety and the scientific and economic return of human missions to Mars are dramatically increased, while the cost of such missions decreases substantially. (d) After spending nearly 500 days on Mars, the six crew members begin their 180-day voyage back to Earth by ascending into orbit to rendezvous with their Earth-return vehicle. Subsequent human missions have the option of returning to the site established by the first crew, or placing additional footholds on the surface of Mars. (courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center and John Frassanito & Associates).
For additional information about the Center contact:
Professor Ahmed K. Noor
Director, Center for Advanced Engineering Environments firstname.lastname@example.org