Lockheed Martin has revealed new details of its Mars Base Camp vision, a station in orbit around Mars that will allow scientists to conduct experiments. The details were revealed at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia. The Mars Base Camp is a human outpost on the Red Planet, and is aligned with NASA's Deep Space Gateway in orbit around the Moon. The Deep Space gateway will act as a staging area for missions into the outer solar system, as well as provide valuable experience to spacefarers for staying in space for extended periods.
Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager of Commercial Civil Space at Lockheed Martin says, "Sending humans to Mars has always been a part of science fiction, but today we have the capability to make it a reality. Partnered with NASA, our vision leverages hardware currently in development and production. We're proud to have Orion powered-on and completing testing in preparation for its Exploration Mission-1 flight and eventually its journey to Mars."
The Mars Base Camp mission hopes to send humans to Mars in about a decade. The Mars Base Camp will be built in a low gravity environment at the Deep Space Gateway, before making the hop to Mars, a three year journey. Once in orbit, a re-usable landing craft will fuel up at the base camp, land on Mars carrying up to four humans at a time, and then take off from the Martian surface, back to the Base Camp. Once docked with the orbiting station, the landing craft can be re-fueled for further missions to the surface of the Red planet.
The Base Camp has been designed with redundancy in mind in case something goes wrong, and there are two copies of almost all the components. The spacecraft is powered by electricity generated by four large circular solar arrays. Liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen is used for the propulsion system, stored in two tank farms. The ride home after the mission will be provided by the Orion spacecraft, which is integrated into the Base Camp. A video released by Lockheed Martin is embedded below: