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Students develop Mars mission to Phobos


Posted on Saturday, 16 November, 2013 | Comment icon 8 comments

Could the moons of Mars be visited before Mars itself ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A NASA sponsored mission concept aims to send humans to explore Phobos within the next 11 years.
The mission plan was put together by students at the International Space University and details the complete process of sending humans on a trip to the Martian moon of Phobos, a small body with a radius 11.1km across.

Known as the Mars-X mission, the endeavor would begin with technology development between 2018 and 2022 including the sending of satellites and rovers to Mars for later use by the astronauts.

During the years 2023 and 2024 the main spacecraft would be constructed in low-Earth orbit in preparation for a late 2024 launch. It would then take 8 months to reach Phobos after which the astronauts would spend 495 days exploring and studying the moon before embarking on a 5-month return trip.

"It paves the way to Mars. It will be the initial step towards the landing mission on the Martian surface, but without the extra risk involved in order to land directly to Mars," said ICU's Piotr Murzionak.

Source: Phys.org | Comments (8)

Tags: Mars, Phobos

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Razer on 16 November, 2013, 17:14
Almost seems a shame to get so close the big prize and settle for Phobos.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 November, 2013, 22:30
Almost seems a shame to get so close the big prize and settle for Phobos. Not really. Phobos has no atmosphere thus negating the need for heavy heat shielding. It has a minuscule surface gravity, hugely reducing the fuel needed to land and take off again, and so reducing the weight and complexity of the lander. A mission to Phobos, whilst still technically challenging, could be accomplished with less risk and at less cost than a mission to Mars itself. It would make an excellent target before a mission to the red planet is attempted.
Comment icon #3 Posted by promKing on 17 November, 2013, 10:50
Come on one of the major and I mean major "problems" NASA and alike claim is radiation on the way and now they don't mention it for Phobos? Fuel for lifting off could be easily made on Mars and whatever the exact landing details turn out to be, it looks as if the technology for an assault on Mars will be available soon, especially if we adopt Zubrin's most audacious idea. Send just two explorers, riding a Dragon-style landing capsule, with perhaps a lightweight inflatable module deployed in space to provide extra leg room. The word 'cramped' barely describes such a voyage, but it could be done... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 17 November, 2013, 11:06
Come on one of the major and I mean major "problems" NASA and alike claim is radiation on the way and now they don't mention it for Phobos? You might want to red the entire article before you comment. That way you you would have read this: It would travel during solar maximum in 2024 to reduce the effects of cosmic radiation from outside the solar system, since the sun's activity would blow the radiation further away. Further, the crew would be protected from solar flares with high-density polyethylene, as well as a temporary solar storm protection chamber lined with 50 centimeters of water.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 17 November, 2013, 11:11
Fuel for lifting off could be easily made on Mars You have a different definition of "easily" to the one I'm used to, I've never seen it used to mean "hypothetically" before. Whilst it is possible that methane could be produced on Mars it has not actually been achieved using those conditions yet. Further methane powered rockets are only at the experimental stage and no vehicle has yet flown using that fuel. Whilst I believe this technology WILL be used by future Mars mission I found it doubtful that it will be mature enough to be used for a crewed mission as early as 2024, which is the launch ... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Chooky88 on 17 November, 2013, 19:27
495 days on that dull place. They will need to have a higher boredom threshold and a better temperament than me!
Comment icon #7 Posted by highdesert50 on 18 November, 2013, 3:21
A well thought-out document, the group is to be commended. Yet, I go away pondering a phrase they used “We choose to go to the Moon … not because it is easy but because it is hard.” –John F. Kennedy" thinking that I would have liked to see this energy go into developing their version of a surface landing on Mars. As the group so aptly quoted Nil difficile volenti or Nothing impossible to the one who wants it.
Comment icon #8 Posted by promKing on 18 November, 2013, 13:38
You have a different definition of "easily" to the one I'm used to, I've never seen it used to mean "hypothetically" before. Whilst it is possible that methane could be produced on Mars it has not actually been achieved using those conditions yet. Further methane powered rockets are only at the experimental stage and no vehicle has yet flown using that fuel. Whilst I believe this technology WILL be used by future Mars mission I found it doubtful that it will be mature enough to be used for a crewed mission as early as 2024, which is the launch date for this proposed mission. You see there is a... [More]


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