CS272 – Tech A

How we might go to Mars

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pit-Stop at the International Space Station

In order for humans to travel to Mars successfully, extensive research and development must be put in to determine the best method of travel.  Numerous factors go into the decision on how to arrive at Mars.  Money for one is a huge factor, developing new methods of travel is expensive and some methods are too expensive, even for the government.  Next, the effect that the travel will have on human beings is being researched.  As one can imagine the trip to Mars will not going to be a short one.     The length of a direct route to mars will take about nine months.  There has not been an extensive amount of research conducted on humans in space for that long period of time.  The nine months is just to get there, there is another nine or so months to get back.  With the timing of launching and so forth the whole trip will take around two and half years.  The most feasible option is to take and indirect route to Mars through the International Space Station.  For the next decade or so the International Space Station will be frequently utilized by astronauts for all kinds of missions and research in space.[1]

The idea of the International Space Station is to create a sustainable living environment in outer space.  When humans launch a mars mission, stopping at the space station could provide some advantages.  First, the trip to mars is going to be long and very tough on the astronauts.  The space station could provide a “pit-stop” where the astronauts would benefit from a better living environment before continuing on to mars.  The space station has a greenhouse within it, the greenhouse has been used to produce oxygen, a vital resource.[2]  The astronauts could not only take the plants with them for oxygen in the future, but the oxygen tanks on-board could be refilled to maximum capacity.  Next, the shuttle could refuel and any repairs needed could be done at this time.  The stop at the space station would give NASA a chance to prepare even more for the trip, in terms of collecting new data and  inspecting the shuttle and instruments.  After stopping at the space station the shuttle heading to Mars is essentially fully prepared as it would be on Earth; with full tanks and prepared astronauts.  The stop at the space station not only makes the trip to mars safer, but it makes the trip more feasible in terms of the reality of extended space travel and the well-being of the astronauts.  In my opinion, man will never land on Mars unless a stop at the International Space Station is made.


[1] http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=31927

[2] http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/

posted by NickRumberger at 6:08 PM  

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