Pioneering Objectives and Activities on the Surface of Mars.




Human Mars missions have been a topic of sustained interest within NASA, which continues to use its resources to examine many different mission objectives, trajectories, vehicles, and technologies, the combinations of which are often referred to as reference missions or architectures. The current investigative effort, known as the Evolvable Mars Campaign (EMC), is examining alternatives that can pioneer an extended human presence on Mars that is Earth independent. These alternatives involve combinations of all the factors just mentioned. This paper is focused on the subset of these factors involved with objectives and activities that take place on the surface of Mars. "Pioneering" is a useful phrase to encapsulate the current approach being used to address this situation - one of its primary definitions is "a person or group that originates or helps open up a new line of thought or activity or a new method or technical development". Thus, in this scenario, NASA would be embarking on a path to "pioneer" a suite of technologies and operations that will result in an Earth independent, extended stay capability for humans on Mars. This paper will describe (a) the concept of operation determined to be best suited for the initial emplacement, (b) the functional capabilities determined to be necessary for this emplacement, with representative examples of systems that could carry out these functional capabilities and one implementation example (i.e., delivery sequence) at a representative landing site, and will (c) discuss possible capabilities and operations during subsequent surface missions.



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