Austere Human Missions to Mars
Austere Human Missions to Mars was a vision for a human mission to Mars by the United States space agency, NASA. Released in 2009, it proposed a modified and even less costly version of DRA 5.0, itself a combination of nearly 20 years of Mars planning design work. The mission profile was for a conjunction class with a long surface stay, pre-deployed cargo, aerocapture and propulsive capture, and some in-situ resource production.
Technologically and financially conservative, with both peak yearly and total funding to be less than the ISS up to the first mission. The plan would use standardized systems to launch a crew of 4 every four years, but accomplish the same major goals as DRA 5.0. For comparison, DRA 5.0 included a crew of six. Mission elements include Mars Surface Habitat, Mars Surface Power and Logistics (unmanned lander supporting other surface elements), combined Human Descent/Ascent vehicle (DAV), and Mars Transit Habitat with Earth Crew vehicle. The Transit Habitat would carry the crew to Mars where it would dock with the pre-sent MAV. The MAV would allow landing on the surface where crew would live in the habitat supported by the power and logistics module. They would use the ascent stage to return to the Mars Transit Habitat. (see also Mars Orbit Rendezvous)
A standardized LOX/LH2 propulsive stage would send each element out of Earth orbit to Mars. The DAV, Mars Surface Habitat, and Cargo elements would be sent to Mars unmanned. The DAV would aerocapture into Mars orbit, preparing it for rendezvous with the manned Transit Habitat. The Surface Habitat and Cargo would likely do direct entry. One advantage of the Descent/Ascent Vehicle or DAV (the spacecraft used for the manned landing), is that it could perform an abort to orbit. A number of technologies for the descent stages were looked at especially supersonic retro-propulsion for Mars atmospheric entry, but were otherwise very traditional with a large heat shield and retro rockets for final landing.
Some concepts for the Surface Habitat include an inflatable structure and using the descent propellant tanks for waste storage. Estimated Mass of the Surface Habitat in the study was 52 metric tons. The Power/Logistics lander had the same predicted Mass (they would weigh less on Mars than on Earth). The Power/Logistic module would contain 2 Pressurized Rovers, with space for 2-Crew each. The pressurized rovers would be powered by a 5 kilowatt radioisotope sterling generator on each rover. The P/L module would also include 2 mobile generators for surface power, as well as additional consumables and science equipment.
The surface habitat would have 2 5 kilowatt radioisotope sterling generators and an ISRU oxygen generator. Unlike DRA 5.0 however, ISRU would not be used to produce propellent for the ascent into Mars orbit.
- Human Missions to Mars: Comprehensive Collection of NASA Plans, Proposals, Current Thinking and Ongoing Research on Manned Mars Exploration, Robotic Precursors, Science Goals, Design Reference Mission (2012)