The Perfect Mars Spot

“In the winter that seat is close enough to the radiator to remain warm and yet not so close as to cause perspiration. In the summer it’s directly in the path of a cross breeze created by opening windows there and there. It faces the television at an angle that is neither direct, thus discouraging conversation, nor so far wide as to create a parallax distortion. I could go on but I think I’ve made my point.”

Sheldon Cooper, “The Big Bang Theory”

Introduction

NASA is developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s – goals outlined in the bipartisan NASA Authorization Act of 2010 and in the U.S. National Space Policy, also issued in 2010.

Credits: NASA

While robotic explorers have studied Mars for more than 40 years, NASA’s path for the human exploration of Mars begins in low-Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station. Astronauts on the orbiting laboratory are helping us prove many of the technologies and communications systems needed for human missions to deep space, including Mars. The space station also advances our understanding of how the body changes in space and how to protect astronaut health.

Problem

The first human explorers on the journey to Mars are expected to be quite mobile, with the ability to explore long distances from their habitat, a region being called an “Exploration Zone.” In current planning activities, NASA assumes an Exploration Zone radius of approximately 60 miles (100 km).

NASA plans to use existing assets at Mars, such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and the Odyssey spacecraft, to support the selection process of potential Exploration Zones. However, the life expectancy of MRO and Odyssey are limited. NASA is eager to take advantage of the remaining operational years of those Martian imagers to gather high-resolution maps of potential Exploration Zones while the spacecraft remain operational.

NASA’s first Landing Sites/Exploration Zones Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars was held at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. The agency is hosting the workshop to collect proposals for locations on Mars that would be of high scientific research value while also providing natural resources to enable human explorers to land, live and work safely on the Red Planet.

It was the first, but not the last workshop for this problem. Maybe you have your own ideas and proposals for landing sites. Share your thoughts and how you see the landing and “Exploration Zone” organization.

Output

Any format: writing, schemes, pictures, video or anything else to explain your thoughts for this problem.

Useful Resources

NASA’s First Landing Sites/Exploration Zone Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars

Journey to Mars

Online Atlas of Mars

Credits

NASA

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