NASA Logo

NTRS

NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
A Novel Approach to Exploring the Mars Polar CapsThe Martian polar caps contain some of the most important scientific sites on the planet. There is much interest in exploring them with a view to understanding their role in the Mars climate system. By gaining access to the stratigraphy of the polar terrain, it is probable that one can access the climate history of the planet. Additionally, investigations aimed at localizing subsurface water--liquid or solid--are not only of great scientific interest but are also germane to the long-term interests of the manned space flight program. A major difficulty with polar exploration is access. Current techniques using chemical propulsion, Holman transfers, and direct-entry landers with aeroshells have limited capability to access the polar terrain. For the near term the authors propose a new approach to solving this transportation issue by using Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP), recently flight demonstrated on NASA's DS1 Mission to an asteroid and a comet. For a longer-term approach there are additional ways in which access to Mars, as well as other planets, can be significantly improved. These include the use of Chaos orbit theory to enable transportation between LaGrange points in the solar system, gossamer structures enabling very low-mass mobility, and advanced ascent vehicles. In this paper the authors describe how a 1000-kG payload can be transported to the surface of Mars and a polar sample obtained and returned to Earth in less than five years using SEP. A vision of how this approach can be integrated into a long-term Mars exploration strategy building toward the future is also discussed.
Document ID
20010002414
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Brophy, John R. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Carsey, Frank D. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Rodgers, David H. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Soderblom, L. A. (Geological Survey Flagstaff, AZ United States)
Wilcox, Brian H. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
August 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Related Records

IDRelationTitle20010002405Analytic PrimarySecond International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration