The Trans-Mars Expedition - A Long-Distance, Long-Duration Scientific EVA

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C.S. Cockell (2002), JBIS, 55, 291-306

Refcode: 2002.55.291
Keywords: Mars, expedition, poles, ISRU, Trans-Mars

Of Martian expeditionary accomplishments, the Trans-Mars Expedition is the most audacious in terms of the logistical challenges imposed upon it and diversity of scientific foci it could encompass. The ~21,000 km expedition requires two transpolar assaults on the Martian north and south geographical poles, a traverse across the summit of Mount Olympus and traverses across the interconnecting desert regions of Mars. Taking lessons suggested for Martian desert, polar and mountain expeditions, I describe this expedition using a 120W, 300W longitudinal route. I quantify the in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) requirements for oxygen, water and fuel. Calculations suggest that ISRU of the martian atmosphere can be used to supply vehicle fuel and to replenish oxygen and water throughout the expedition duration at mean rates of progress and with certain assumptions on oxygen and water usage. Equipment requirements are reviewed with a special focus on equipment that can be modified for use in all of the environments encountered. As its scientific objective, the expedition would undertake a study of volcanism, desert and polar processes over a planetary transect contributing significantly to the inventory of samples gathered across the Martian surface. The planning of such an expedition provides a reference expedition for considering ISRU and scientific requirements for any long- duration, long-distance scientific expeditionary EVA on Mars.


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