Mars Direct Case Study

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Mars Direct is a plan to send humans to Mars with a low cost budget and to reach there in a short amount of time possible. The plan intends for the spacecraft to go directly to Mars and establish a set of bases on the surface. It is intended for humans to live of Mars, rather than depending on Earth for resources.
This Mars Direct plan initialises with the launch of a rocket that would transport a 40 tonne payload to Mars. This payload includes an Earth Return Vehicle (ERV) and a propellant factory. Six months later the ERV and the propellant factory would land on the surface on Mars, when landed the ERV would release a rover which carries a nuclear reactor. The reactor would burn oxygen and methane and eventually create 108 tonnes of bipropellant …show more content…

It was research on choosing a fission reactor for spacecraft. It was also thought to be long lived, compact, lightweight and to power systems from 50 kWe to 1 mWe. The reactor would burn methane fuel and oxygen oxidiser and its main goal is to power the ERV. However, in 1994 the program was terminated in 1994 due to funding problems. (Wikipedia, 2015)

Nuclear energy has some benefits to it, such as a low weight to capacity ratio compared to solar cells. This means that it would take up less space when travelling to Mars. Another benefit would be that nuclear energy would maintain life support machines along with propulsion systems, which economically is very beneficial.
There is another alternative for nuclear energy power sources such as fission systems. Fission systems are used frequently on Earth as it takes little energy to split two atoms in a reaction. It is also known that the energy density is over 10 million times in regards of chemical reactions. The power levels are believed to range from 1 kWe to more than 1000 kWe. This system can withstand dust storms and high latitudes, which offers an ideal solution to place on Mars. (Houts,

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