List of manned Mars mission plans in the 20th century

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Artist's conception of a human mission on the surface of Mars
1989 painting by Les Bossinas of NASA's Lewis Research Center

This list of manned Mars mission plans in the 20th century is a listing of formal proposals, studies, and plans for a human manned mission to Mars during the 20th century. It is limited to serious studies done with engineering and scientific knowledge about the capabilities of then current technology, typically for high-budget space agencies like NASA. Mission profiles included manned flybys, manned landers, or other types of Mars system encounter strategies. For later plans see Manned mission to Mars.

Many mission concepts for expeditions to Mars were proposed in the late 20th century. David Portree's history volume Humans to Mars: Fifty Years of Mission Planning, 1950—2000 discusses many of these.[1] Portee notes, every 26 Earth months a lower energy Earth to Mars transfer opportunity opens,[1] so missions typically coincide with one of these windows. In addition, the lowest available transfer energy varies on a roughly 16 year cycle, with a minimum in the 1969 and 1971 launch windows, rising to a peak in the late 70s, and hitting another low in 1986 and 1988.[1] Also of note, the Mariner 4 Mars flyby in 1965 provided radically more accurate data about the planet; a surface atmospheric pressure of about 1% of Earth's and daytime temperatures of -100 degrees Celsius (-148 degrees Fahrenheit) were estimated. No magnetic field[2][3] or Martian radiation belts[4] were detected. The new data meant redesigns for planned Martian landers, and showed life would have a more difficult time surviving there than previously anticipated.[5][6][7][8] Later NASA probes in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s confirmed the findings about Mars environmental conditions.

The first "engineering analysis" of a manned mission to Mars was made by Wernher von Braun in 1948.[9] It was originally published as Das Marsprojekt in West Germany in 1952, and as The Mars Project in English in the United States in 1953. Von Braun's Mars "flotilla" included ten 4,000-ton ships with 70 crewmembers.[10] The expected launch year was 1965.[9]

List[edit]

The list is in semi-chronological order, with some groupings, as variation can exist in the dating of a given plan. Various references were consulted.[1][11][12] LEO mass refers to how much hardware must be put in low Earth orbit for the mission. For comparison, the low Earth orbit payload capacity per launch of the U.S. Space Shuttle is about 25 metric tons, and that of the Saturn V, 120 metric tons.

Name Crew LEO mass
(metric tons)
A planned
launch year
Von Braun Mars 1952 (Das Marsprojekt) 70 37200 1965
Von Braun Mars 1956 (The Exploration of Mars) 12 3400 1970
Stuhlinger Mars 1954–1957 20 660 1980
Stuhlinger Mars 1962 15 1800 1975
Bono Mars 1960 8 800 1971
NASA Lewis Mars 1960 6 614 1971
Martian Piloted Complex 1958–1962 6 1630 1975
TMK-1 1961 (flyby) 3 75 1971
TMK-2 (TMK-E)[13] 2 1971
EMPIRE Aeronutronic 1962 6 227 1970
EMPIRE General Dynamics 1962 8 900 1975
EMPIRE Lockheed 1962 3 100 1974
Faget Mars (heavy) 1963 6 1140
Faget Mars (light) 1963 6 280
TRW Mars Expedition 1962 6 650 1975
Project Deimos 6 3965 1986
UMPIRE Douglas 1963 6 450 1975
Douglas MORL Mars Flyby 1965 3 360 1973
NASA JAG Manned Mars Flyby 1966 [1][14] 4 1975
NASA NERVA-Electric Mars 1966[15] 5 1552 1986
Korolev KK (TMK) 1966 3 150 1980
Titus FLEM 1966[16] 3 118 1985
Boeing IMIS 1968 6 1226 1985
Mars Expeditionary Complex (MEK) 1969 3 150 1980
Von Braun Mars 1969 12 1452 1981
NASA Mars Expedition 1971 6 1900 1987
Mars in 30 Days (Ragsdale 1972)[17] 5 2041
MK-700 1972 2 1400 1980
Chelomei 1974 (MK-700 flyby) 2 250 1980
British Interplanetary Society Mars 1982 8 1300
Planetary Society Mars Expedition 1983 4 160 2003
Paine 1984 (Pioneering the Space Frontier) 2026
NASA-LANL Manned Mars Flyby 1985[18] 358
NPO Energia Mars 1986 4 365 2000
Case for Mars II 1986 30 1900 2007
NASA Ride Report 1986 6 210 2004
NASA Mars Evolution 1988 8 330 2013
NASA Mars Expedition 1988 8 1628 2007
NASA Phobos Expedition 1988 4 765 2003
NASA 90 Day Study 1989 4 1300 2017
NPO Energia Mars 1989 4 355 2001
Mars Evolution 1989 5 2007
NASA Mars Expedition 1989 3 780 2004
Mars Direct (Zubrin 1991) 4 220 1997
STCAEM CAB 1991 4 800 2016
STCAEM NEP 1991 4 500 2016
STCAEM NTR 1991 4 800 2016
STCAEM SEP 1991 4 410 2016
NASA Synthesis Study 1991 6 1080 2014
International Space University 1991 [19] 8 2016
NASA Design Reference Mission 1.0 1993 6 900 2007
Kurchatov Mars 1994 5 800 2010
Zubrin Athena (flyby) 2 100 2001
NASA Design Reference Mission 3 1997 6 410 2011
NASA Mars Combo Lander 1998 4 280 2011
NASA Dual Lander Mission 12 600 2011
NASA Design Reference Mission 4 1998 6 400 2011
Mars Society Mission 1999 10 900 2011
Marspost (Gorshkov 2000)[20][21] 6 400 2017

See also[edit]

Further reading and external links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e David S. F. Portree, Humans to Mars: Fifty Years of Mission Planning, 1950 - 2000, NASA Monographs in Aerospace History Series, Number 21, February 2001. Available as NASA SP-2001-4521.
  2. ^ O'Gallagher, J.J.; Simpson, J.A. (September 10, 1965). "Search for Trapped Electrons and a Magnetic Moment at Mars by Mariner IV". Science, New Series 149 (3689): 1233–1239. Bibcode:1965Sci...149.1233O. doi:10.1126/science.149.3689.1233. PMID 17747452. 
  3. ^ Smith, Edward J.; Davis Jr., Leverett; Coleman Jr., Paul J.; Jones, Douglas E. (September 10, 1965). "Magnetic Field Measurements Near Mars". Science, New Series 149 (3689): 1241–1242. Bibcode:1965Sci...149.1241S. doi:10.1126/science.149.3689.1241. PMID 17747454. 
  4. ^ Van Allen, J.A.; Frank, L.A.; Krimigis, S.M.; Hills, H.K. (September 10, 1965). "Absence of Martian Radiation Belts and Implications Thereof". Science, New Series 149 (3689): 1228–1233. Bibcode:1965Sci...149.1228V. doi:10.1126/science.149.3689.1228. PMID 17747451. 
  5. ^ Leighton, Robert B.; Murray, Bruce C.; Sharp, Robert P.; Allen, J. Denton; Sloan, Richard K. (August 6, 1965). "Mariner IV Photography of Mars: Initial Results". Science, New Series 149 (3684): 627–630. Bibcode:1965Sci...149..627L. doi:10.1126/science.149.3684.627. PMID 17747569. 
  6. ^ Kliore, Arvydas; Cain, Dan L.; Levy, Gerald S.; Eshleman, Von R.; Fjeldbo, Gunnar; Drake, Frank D. (September 10, 1965). "Occultation Experiment: Results of the First Direct Measurement of Mars's Atmosphere and Ionosphere". Science, New Series 149 (3689): 1243–1248. Bibcode:1965Sci...149.1243K. doi:10.1126/science.149.3689.1243. PMID 17747455. 
  7. ^ Salisbury, Frank B. (April 6, 1962). "Martian Biology". Science, New Series 136 (3510): 17–26. Bibcode:1962Sci...136...17S. doi:10.1126/science.136.3510.17. PMID 17779780. 
  8. ^ Kilston, Steven D.; Drummond, Robert R.; Sagan, Carl (1966). "A Search for Life on Earth at Kilometer Resolution". Icarus 5 (1-6): 79–98. Bibcode:1966Icar....5...79K. doi:10.1016/0019-1035(66)90010-8. 
  9. ^ a b "Von Braun Mars Expedition - 1952". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved September 23, 2009. 
  10. ^ Portree 2001, ch.1, p.1.
  11. ^ astronautix manned mars missions
  12. ^ Annie Platoff, Eyes on the Red Planet: Human Mars Mission Planning, 1952-1970, (1999); available as NASA/CR-2001-2089280 (July 2001)
  13. ^ http://www.springerlink.com/content/w71218th36318144/
  14. ^ Beyond Apollo Planetary JAG manned Mars flyby (1966) : Planetary Exploration Utilizing a Manned Flight System, NASA Office of Manned Space Flight, October 3, 1966.
  15. ^ Beyond Apollo: NERVA-electric Mars ship (1966): "Study of a NERVA-Electric Manned Mars Vehicle," Ernst Stuhlinger, Joseph King, Russell Shelton, and Gordon Woodcock, A Volume of Technical Papers Presented at the AIAA/AAS Stepping Stones to Mars Meeting, pp. 288-301; paper presented in Baltimore, Maryland, March 28–30, 1966."
  16. ^ Beyond Apollo: Flyby-Landing Excursion Mode (1966): "FLEM - Flyby-Landing Excursion Mode," AIAA Paper No. 66-36, R. R. Titus; paper presented at the 3rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, New York, New York, January 24–26, 1966.
  17. ^ Beyond Apollo : "To Mars in 30 Days by Gas-Core Nuclear Rocket," Robert G. Ragsdale, Astronautics & Aeronautics, January 1972, pp. 65-71.
  18. ^ Mark Wade - NASA-LANL Manned Mars Mission 1985 - Encyclopedia Astronautica
  19. ^ Wendell W. Mendell - A Mission Design for International Manned Mars Mission (1991)
  20. ^ Marspost. "December 2000 Leonid Gorshkov of RKK Energia proposed"
  21. ^ Yuri Karash (18 October 2000). "Onward, to Mars! Russia needs to set a course toward the development of Mars Piloted Orbital Station". Nezavisimaya Gazeta.