Lockheed Martin has revealed new details about its Mars Base Camp prototype, including the ways that the spacecraft interacts with NASA’s lunar Deep Space Gateway and a Mars surface lander.
The Mars Base Camp concept is part of the space organizations’ methods to send humans to Mars in about a decade. The structure is centered on an orbital outpost where scientist-astronauts can perform real-time scientific exploration of the red planet.
"Sending humans to Mars has always been a part of science fiction, but today we have the capability to make it a reality," says Lisa Callahan, VP and GM of Commercial Civil Space at Lockheed Martin. "Partnered with NASA, our vision leverages hardware currently in development and production. We're proud to have Orion powered-on and completing testing in preparation for its Exploration Mission-1 flight and eventually its journey to Mars."
The space structure is aligned with NASA’s lunar Deep Space Gateway approach to developing and testing systems, including Orion, in cis-lunar space before using them to go to Mars. NASA’s gateway allows astronauts to live and work in orbit around the Moon for months at a time.
Astronauts on the Gateway can perform lunar science and test out systems and operations such as habitats, airlocks, solar electric propulsion, surface telerobotics and even landers. Lockheed Martin says the Mars Base Camp would be built at the Deep Space Gateway away from Earth’s gravity before being deployed to Mars.
The first mission of the Mars Base Camp will be an orbiting mission around the red planet and then the station would proceed with a surface lander mission. The lander is designed to be a reusable, single-stage spacecraft that is capable of descending to the surface from Mars' orbit with each surface mission lasting about two weeks with up to four astronauts. Then the lander would return to orbit where it would be refueled and readied for another mission.
To view the webcast of the Mars Base Camp presentation, visit: https://www.australiascience.tv/live-from-the-68th-iac-lockheed-martins-mission-to-mars/