Scientists don\'t know how to land people on Mars

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Scientists don't know how to land people on Mars

You think it would be easy, with landings on the moon, and robotic spacecraft on Mars, but it seems that scientists cannot work out how to land a metic ton of weight safely on Mars.

The real problem is the combination of Mars atmosphere and the size of spacecraft needed for human missions.

So far, our robotic spacecraft have been small enough to enable at least some success in reaching the surface safely.

But while the Apollo lunar lander weighed approximately 10 metric tons, a human mission to Mars will require three to six times that mass, given the restraints of staying on the planet for a year.

Landing a payload that heavy on Mars is currently impossible, using our existing capabilities.

... Quote:
Theres too much atmosphere on Mars to land heavy vehicles like we do on the moon, using propulsive technology completely.

And theres too little atmosphere to land like we do on Earth. So, its in this ugly, grey zone.

said Manning,

But what about airbags, parachutes, or thrusters that have been used on the previous successful robotic Mars missions, or a lifting body vehicle similar to the space shuttle?

None of those will work, either on their own or in combination, to land payloads of one metric ton and beyond on Mars. This problem affects not only human missions to the Red Planet, but also larger robotic missions such as a sample return.
... Quote:
Unfortunately, that’s where we are. Until we come up with a whole new trick, a whole new system, landing humans on Mars will be an ugly and scary proposition.
said Manning.

Much more on the link
By netchicken: posted on 19-7-2007

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