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The "Case for Mars" ConceptThe Case for Mars workshops conducted in 1984 dealt with a program to establish a permanent scientific research base at Mars. The participants, viewed a Mars base as the much needed long-term focus for the space program. A permanent base was chosen rather than the more conventional concept of a series of individual missions to different sites became the permanent base offers much greater scientific return plus greater crew safety and the potential for growth into a true colony. This paper summarizes the results of the workshops.

The Mars base will strive for self-sufficiency and autonomy from Earth. Martian resources will be used to provide life support materials and consumables. The Martian atmosphere will provide a convenient source of volatiles: C02, N2, and water. Rocket propellant, fuels for surface and air vehicles and possibly power plants, breathable air, and fertilizers will be manufactured from the Mars atmosphere. Food will be grown on Mars using Martian regolith as a growth substrate.

A permanent human presence will be maintained on Mars beginning with the first manned landing via a strategy of crew overlap. This permanent presence will ensure safety and reliability of systems through continuous tending, maintenance, and expansion of the base's equipment and systems. A permanent base will allow the development of a substantial facility on Mars for the same cost (in terms of Earth departure mass) as a series of temporary camps. A base equipped with surface rovers, airplanes, and the ability to manufacture consumables and propellant will provide far more extensive planetary exploration over a given period of years than would an Apollo-style approach.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Document Type
Conference Paper
J R French
(Jet Propulsion Lab La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States)
Date Acquired
September 5, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1986
Publication Information
Publication: Manned Mars Missions Working Group Papers: Volume 1, Section 1-4
Publisher: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Subject Category
Astronautics (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Manned Mars Missions Workshop
Location: Huntsville, AL
Country: US
Start Date: June 10, 1985
End Date: June 14, 1985
Sponsors: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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