Difference between revisions of "Mars Direct"

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(Mass Figures)
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*Spares and Margin (16%): 3.5 tonnes
*Spares and Margin (16%): 3.5 tonnes
===ERV (Earth Return Vehicle)===
Total Mass: 28.6 Tonnes
*ERV Cabin Total: 11.5 Tonnes
**ERV cabin structure: 3.0 tonnes
**Life support System: 1.0 tonnes
**Consumables: 3.4 tonnes
**Electrical Power (5 kWe Solar) 1.0 tonnes
**Reaction Control System: .5 tonnes
**Communications and Information Management: .1 tonne
**Furniture and Interior: .5 tonnes
**EVA suits (4): .4 tonnes
**Spares and Margin (16%): 1.6 tonnes
*Aeroshell: 1.8 tonnes
*Light Truck: .5 Tonnes
*Hydrogen Feedstock: 6.3 Tonnes
*ERV Propulsion Stages: 4.5 tonnes
*Propellant Production Plant: .5 tonnes
*Power Reactor (80 kWe): 3.5 tonnes
== See Also ==
== See Also ==

Revision as of 21:29, 19 March 2010

The Mars Direct mission sequence.

Mars Direct is a proposed mission architecture, developed by Robert Zubrin and David Baker at Martin Marieta in 1990. Mars Direct uses a reduced set of technologies to land a small crew on Mars for a long duration science mission. This plan was summarized in the book, The Case For Mars, written by Robert Zubrin and Richard Wagner. Mars Direct was innovative for its use of in situ resource utilization (ISRU) and for its use of direct launch from Earth to Mars without orbital construction or Mars orbit rendezvous. Mars Direct relies on separate outbound and return vehicles, and a pipelined mission architecture for improved redundancy. It has inspired several later proposed mission plans, including NASA's Design Reference Mission.


There has only ever been one one Mars Direct proposed mission architecture. However, in some circles "Mars Direct" has become shorthand for any mars mission profile which reduces payloads and costs with ISRU and direct launch trajectories, including variants that make use of nuclear thermal rockets and NASA's Design Reference Mission. The term "Mars Semi-Direct" was coined by Robert Zubrin to describe otherwise similar mission architectures that employ of Mars orbit rendezvous.

This wiki article is about the original proposed mission architecture, and includes secondary discussion of only those variants described by the original authors, Robert Zubrin and David Baker.


In The Case for Mars, Robert Zubrin estimated the cost of development and operation of 3 missions at $20 - $30 billion.

Mass Figures

On page 93 of The Case For Mars Zubrin gives the following numbers for the masses of each component. These are the masses to Mars's surface and not to orbit. Basically all of the mass is assigned either to the Hab or to the ERV.


Total Mass: 25.2 Tonnes

  • Hab Structure: 5.0 Tonnes
  • Life Support System: 3.0 Tonnes
  • Consumables: 7.0 Tonnes consisting of (TCFM page 92):
    • Oxygen: 160 kg total (1 kg/man*day at 80% reuse)
    • Dry Food: 1600 kg total (.5 kg/man*day at 0% reuse)
    • Whole Food: 3200 kg total (1 kg/man*day at 0% reuse)
    • Potable Water: 0 kg total [?] (4 kg/man*day at 80% reuse)
    • Wash Water: 2080 kg total (26 kg/man*day at 90% reuse)
  • Electric Power (5 kWe solar): 1 tonne
  • Reaction Control System: .5 tonnes
  • Communications and information management: .2 tonnes
  • Lab Equipment: .5 tonnes
  • Crew: .4 tonnes
  • EVA Suits (4): .4 tonnes
  • Furniture and Interior: 1 tonne
  • Open Rovers (2): .8 tonnes
  • Pressurized Rover: 1.4 tonnes
  • Field Science Equipment: .5 tonnes
  • Spares and Margin (16%): 3.5 tonnes

ERV (Earth Return Vehicle)

Total Mass: 28.6 Tonnes

  • ERV Cabin Total: 11.5 Tonnes
    • ERV cabin structure: 3.0 tonnes
    • Life support System: 1.0 tonnes
    • Consumables: 3.4 tonnes
    • Electrical Power (5 kWe Solar) 1.0 tonnes
    • Reaction Control System: .5 tonnes
    • Communications and Information Management: .1 tonne
    • Furniture and Interior: .5 tonnes
    • EVA suits (4): .4 tonnes
    • Spares and Margin (16%): 1.6 tonnes
  • Aeroshell: 1.8 tonnes
  • Light Truck: .5 Tonnes
  • Hydrogen Feedstock: 6.3 Tonnes
  • ERV Propulsion Stages: 4.5 tonnes
  • Propellant Production Plant: .5 tonnes
  • Power Reactor (80 kWe): 3.5 tonnes

See Also

New Mars Forum Discussions

A Bigelow Mars Direct?

The Biggest Real Problem with Mars Direct

Euro Version of Mars Direct

Has Dr Zubrin Addressed Mars Direct Objections?

Long Duration Lunar Mission Dry Run for Mars Direct

My Change To Mars Direct/Semi-Direct Mission Plans

Documentary on Mars Direct Trailer - Based on Zubrin's Case for Mars

Space Elevator vs. Mars Direct - Anyone Compare the Costs?

Where Exactly is Mars Direct with NASA?

Reasons Against Mars Direct

Mars Direct Still on the Table?

How to Kill Mars Direct

Mars Direct - How Much Does It Cost?

How to Sell MArs Direct

An All Solar Mars Direct

Mars Direct Rethought - Fixing the Potholes in Zubrin's Plan

Mars Direct International

Merits of Mars Direct - Is It Too Optimistic?

Mission Risk Involving Mars Direct

Revive the Saturn V for Mars Direct

External links