Lockheed Martin shared details surrounding its concept for the future Mars Base Camp on Thursday night at the International Astronautical Congress.
The ambitious prototypes shown pose a credible way of not only housing astronauts in Mars’ orbit but also getting them to the planet’s surface.
A large part of the company’s plans were aligned with NASA’s Deep Space Gateway project. It’s based around the ambitious goal of getting humans on Mars and beyond within the 2020s. Lockheed Martin is one of six companies NASA contracted to work on the Deep Space Gateway. The others are Boeing, Bigelow Aerospace, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Space Systems, and NanoRacks. (The Mars colonization plans of Elon Musk of SpaceX are totally separate from those held by NASA.) The first of these tasks is developing the Orion spacecraft, an exploration vehicle intended for deep space exploration.
Lockheed Martin’s Mars Base Camp would envelop the Orion spacecraft, which would serve as a command deck. According to a video released by Lockheed Martin, it’s an orbiting mission comprised of four main sections.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the Mars Base Camp is its proposed capability to actually send humans to the planet’s surface.
Earlier in the day, the company revealed its plans for the base camp’s lander that would be responsible for transporting people to Mars.
The lander would be made with reusability in mind, enabled with the capability of making three Mars trips per mission. This would be cost-efficient and enable the possibility of an unmanned test landing before astronauts were sent themselves. Which is, you know, probably a smart idea considering we’ve never sent a human being there before.
To get to Mars, NASA is researching a high-tech bear den for astronaut “hibernation.” Check out this video to find out more.