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Mars NASA Space Transportation Science Technology

NASA Wants Spacecraft For Mars Return Trip 193

Posted by timothy
from the oh-a-mockup's-fine-actually dept.
coondoggie writes "If we ever do get to Mars, getting home might prove to be as difficult. NASA today selected three companies — Alliant Techsystems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman — to being the task of defining the spacecraft that will leave Mars, presumably at first loaded with red planet rock samples, then later possibly humans — for a safe trip back to Earth. The engineering challenges those three companies face are immense."
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NASA Wants Spacecraft For Mars Return Trip

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  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @02:10PM (#35325268) Journal
    I'd design it so it had just enough thrust to get back in Mars Orbit. Then I'd send a 2nd craft from Earth to ferry it back. I figure there is a lot of problems that could be solved by reducing that added fuel weight from it.
  • WTF (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @02:10PM (#35325272)

    planning is fine but we have no realistic way to even get there let alone getting bulk material there

    this is like buying tires for a car you may not even buy sometime in the future, way to pork out some contractors licenses NASA

  • Challenges (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @02:28PM (#35325414) Homepage Journal

    "The engineering challenges those three companies face are immense"

    The bureaucratic challenges will be even more so.

  • by cjonslashdot (904508) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @02:29PM (#35325424)

    These big contractors will never come up with an efficient solution. It is against their interests. They will design some very capital intensive approach. Then they will bid on the contracts to build it.

    It will take a startup company to come up with a innovative and viable approach.

  • Re:One Way (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 26, 2011 @02:45PM (#35325528)

    Who even has the money to pay for a Mars boondoggle, one-way or not?

    Where's the payback for the billions of dollars this will require? A new flavor of Tang? Another cool pen that writes upside down? Seriously, where is the cost-benefit analysis, who can possibly show that the price is justifiable to the taxpayer?

    We, along with Russia, simply do not have the money for such a frivolous project, even if the technical hurdles were surmountable. This is just another NASA pipe dream, stoked by science fiction and movie lore. Every dollar spent pursuing this project is a dollar flushed straight down the toilet (or, as some would say, graft for the contractors like Lockheed and Grumman who get the $ and don't have to produce anything tangible)

  • Re:One Way (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 26, 2011 @03:20PM (#35325774)

    The potential payoff is acquiring an entire planets worth of resources. Calculate that into your risk analysis.

    It actually goes farther than that. If we developed the technology for a mars trip it makes exploiting NEO's and the asteroid belt trivial.

    Every single generation will be able to say the same thing as you. Technology does not magically invent itself. There is no time like now to start working towards the ultimate goal of our species.

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