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Resource Utilization and Site Selection for a Self-Sufficient Martian OutpostAs a planet with striking similarities to Earth, Mars is an important focus for scientific research aimed at understanding the processes of planetary evolution and the formation of our solar system. Fortunately, Mars is also a planet with abundant natural resources, including assessible materials that can be used to support human life and to sustain a self-sufficient martian outpost. Resources required include water, breathable air, food, shelter, energy, and fuel. Through a mission design based on in situ resource development, we can establish a permanent outpost on Mars beginning with the first manned mission. This paper examines the potential for supporting the first manned mission with the objective of achieving self-sufficiency through well-understood resource development and a program of rigorous scientific research aimed at extending that capability. We examine the potential for initially extracting critical resources from the martian environment, and discuss the scientific investigations required to identify additional resources in the atmosphere, on the surface, and within the subsurface. We also discuss our current state of knowledge of Mars, technical considerations of resource utilization, and using unmanned missions' data for selecting an optimal site. The primary goal of achieving self-sufficiency on Mars would accelerate the development of human colonization beyond Earth, while providing a robust and permanent martian base from which humans can explore and conduct long-term research on planetary evolution, the solar system, and life itself.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Barker, Donald
(Houston Univ. TX United States)
Chamitoff, Gregory
(United Space Alliance Houston, TX United States)
James, George
(Barrios Technology, Inc. Houston, TX United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1998
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:206538
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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