No Man’s Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go? – Scientific American

Some 20 years from now, if current timelines are to be trusted, that dream will at last become a reality. Housed in a crew capsule called Orion, NASA astronauts will soar into orbit on an advanced version of the Space Launch System, a rocket bigger than the Saturn 5 that took their predecessors to the moon. In orbit they will dock with other spacecraft, including a deep-space habitat, then fly away, leaving Earth far behind. Months later they will arrive at Mars, descending to the planet in a habitat lander. They will spend up to several hundreds of days on the surface constructing a base, exploring their surroundings and manufacturing rocket fuel. At the end of their stay, that rocket fuel will power a Mars Ascent Vehicle, which will launch those first pioneers back to the deep-space habitat and then to Earth. The base will remain for use and expansion by future crews as part of a broader “Evolvable Mars Campaign.”

Source: No Man’s Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go? – Scientific American

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