10 technologies needed to fly to Mars

10 technologies needed to fly to Mars

If we want to fly to Mars to populate it rather than just explore, we need to expand our planning beyond smaller exploration-type projects and focus on larger, reusable systems capable of enabling massive Mars missions.

Of course it will take a lot longer - and a lot more money. Below is a list of 10 "must-have" technologies we will need to fly to Mars - ASAP!

Reusable launch vehicles

These are vehicles that can be launched, returned and reused - over and over again.

The idea is that if fully launch launch systems are implemented, launch costs will be much lower. Lower costs will mean easier access and more interest. Higher demand will mean more competition and therefore even lower costs for a flight to Mars.

Such developments are already being carried out by SpaceX and there are first positive results. Russia also has some groundwork in this direction, but so far only in the form of projects.

Space station in orbit

A kind of outpost, a transshipment point, from where they will fly to the nearest planet. The location of such a station will be in low-earth orbit or the orbit of the Moon, which may be more efficient for the actual flight to Mars. Such a station would not only be a gathering place, for dispatch it could serve as a filling station for ships for long-distance flights.

Radiation Protection

Protection against solar and high-energy cosmic ray events - for travelers in space and for those who are about to populate Mars, as well as for the equipment they need.

NASA wants to land humans on Mars by 2035. To do this, he needs to develop a spacecraft that can fly 55 million kilometers. According to the researchers' calculations, at best, overcoming this path will take 7-8 months. During this time, anything can happen, ranging from a conflict between crew members and ending with a lethal dose of cosmic radiation. Therefore, the faster the device can deliver people to a distant planet, the better. Representatives of Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) have proposed to equip the spacecraft with a nuclear engine. In their opinion, thanks to him, it will be possible to reach Mars in just 3 months. But how safe is it to send a nuclear reactor into space? After all, the crew members of the ship can suffer from its radiation, and during launch, it can simply explode. The company has already figured out how to make a nuclear engine as safe as possible.

Nuclear engine could speed up flights to Mars

Nuclear engine for spacecraft

According to USNC-Tech chief Michael Eades, a nuclear propulsion will be more efficient for flights to distant planets than a chemical propulsion. At a minimum, it will allow you to quickly cover long distances, burning less fuel. The use of less fuel should significantly reduce the cost of space flights. A fast flight will shorten the time of exposure to space radiation on the organisms of the ship's crew members. People have never flown to distant planets. But it is believed that cosmic radiation can cause radiation sickness, increase the risk of cancer throughout life and destroy the human nervous system.

In addition, flying quickly increases the likelihood of mission success:

The longer people are in flight, the more likely something will go wrong, ”explained Jeff Sheehy, chief engineer at NASA's Space Technology Administration.

How does a nuclear engine work?

How the nuclear engine works was briefly reported by CNN. First, a nuclear reactor produces heat from uranium fuel. The resulting thermal energy then heats the liquid fuel, which is usually liquid hydrogen. The fuel expands into gas and is expelled from the nozzle, creating thrust. The nuclear engine is twice as much as the fuel unit than the engines based on chemical processes.

For the first time about the use of nuclear engines in space, they thought in the 20th century <

But to use a nuclear engine in space, you need to find uranium fuel, which is able to withstand high temperatures inside the engine. USNC-Tech assures that it has developed fuel that can even work at 4400 degrees Celsius. It contains silicon carbide, which is often used as a coating for nuclear fuel elements in high-temperature reactors.

It will look like this will look like the production of USNC-tech rocket engines <

risk of rocket engines

So, the company was able to develop suitable fuel. But how to protect the crew members from radiation? According to Michael IDCA, stored between the engine and the residential segment of the ship, liquid fuel should be well blocked by radioactive particles. When designing the ship, it will be important to make that the future colonists of Mars are as far as possible from the reactor. And everything, the problem can be considered solved.

Cosmos Agency • Planets • Mars - Survival Guide: Find food, water and shelter on the red planet <

In classical scientific fiction stories about Mars, the pitcheglase marcians are often described, exciting land for its valuable resources. However, the reality is that in the next two decades, despite the technical lining and a limited budget - it is people who will fly to grab the Red Planet.


This year NASA announced the freshest development plan for the fourth planet from the Sun, which includes several stages. One of them will be the construction of an intermediate station in the orbit of the moon, which will serve as transit for distant space flights to Mars.


DEEP SPACE GATEWAY (Gateway in Deep Space), the piloted-based advancepost will be the starting platform for the Deep Space Transport project (transport for deep space), the USS ENSPRISE route.


In the first half of the 2030s astronaut, whose name is not a Damon Mett leaves the first imprint of the human leg on an extraterrestrial body since 1969. He or she will need a set of cunning gadgets to survive in a freezlom, the non-smart world away from home.

water, everywhere water

There are many evidence indicating the presence of water on Mars. Appearing and disappearing stripes on the surface of Mars, recently observed by scientists, became a reason for the conclusion that water in liquid state is really present. Also, last year, NASA announced that a huge reservoir of ice was discovered under the rocky surface of the planet.

However, for the first travelers to Mars, none of these sources of water will become easily accessible, and if it does, then with exorbitant energy costs. Instead, future astronauts will be able to use one of the water catchers first developed by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley.

The device, powered by the energy of the sun, uses a special material - a metal-organic framework, MOF (metal-organic framework, MOF) to extract water in conditions of 20% + humidity. The study was published last month in the journal Science.

The prototype was able to collect about three quarts (2.8 liters) of water from the air in 12 hours using 2 pounds (1 kg) MOC. MOCs combine metals such as magnesium with organic molecules in a lint-like device to create rigid, porous structures for storing gases and liquids.

“If Mars has a relative humidity of about 20 percent or more, I don’t understand why this device cannot work there,” says Omar Yagi, co-author of the article at UC Berkeley who first invented the MOC around 20 years ago.

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On Tuesday, April 11, I attended a lecture by Vitaly Egorov about Mars. Vitaly is known on the Internet under the nickname Green Cat. He works as a public relations specialist for a Russian aerospace company that makes satellites for the government, telecom operators and other commercial customers. Vitaly is a fan of space and conducts lectures for a wide audience, so as not to strain his friends and family with stories about the stars. I go to such lectures so as not to dry my brain - work with work, text with text, but only the flow of new information helps not to lose my grip.

Vitaly was brought to Saratov by my friends from the Pioneer Center. The guys are making a cool popular science non-profit project # a little smarter. They give lectures by well-known scientists and scientific journalists. Last year, Asya Kazantseva spoke at their venue, and I did not attend her lecture. The movement is significant for the city, so stay tuned for the announcements.

The Green Cat lecture lasted about two hours and was very intense. I misunderstood something, I wrote something wrong, so feel free to mark where I lied and what was wrong.

What to do on Mars

Do science, not war. We know very little about our space neighbor. There is no technology that could heat up the soil and bring it to Earth. All data about the planet, scientists have received from meteorites that fell to Earth. They found cavities of gas and something similar to a fossilized cell. But there are not enough meteorites for everyone, you need to work with the rock live. The depth of Mars has been studied by seven centimeters, exactly such a drill of the Curiosity rover. In 2020, an apparatus with a two-meter drill will fly to Mars. There's still plenty of work to do for scientists.

Ecological tourism. Mars has huge mountains and canyons. On Earth, people spend money to visit the Great Canyon, but it's tiny on a Martian scale. The giant canyon can cut Russia in half. We do not know how it was formed. The largest volcano on the planet is 600 kilometers in diameter and 27 kilometers high. On earth, the formation of such a volcano is, in principle, impossible. Tectonic plates move beneath us, and terrestrial volcanoes are formed by friction. On Mars, volcanoes form a mantle plume, which is impossible on Earth. You can fly to Mars for natural beauty and vivid photos on Instagram.

And nothing else. The planet is not intended for life: the atmosphere is rarefied, water is frozen or evaporates, we know nothing about minerals. It is not clear why build cities and organize colonies. It makes sense to fly there only for scientists and tourists, it is impossible to live on Mars. To understand the conditions of Mars, Vitaly advises to go to Norilsk - the money is cheaper, but otherwise the same. On Mars, a normal person will have nothing to do.

Myths about Mars

Mars is a red planet. Journalists often frighten readers that the terrible red star Nibiru is moving towards us. Stay tuned, they will reappear in a year, when Mars is clearly visible. In reality, the terrestrial desert does not differ in color from the Martian one. In Kazakhstan, the color of the soil is the same, only there is water and vegetation. If oceans, seas, rivers and forests are removed, the Earth will look like Mars.

Elon Musk dreams of colonizing Mars. He began to dive into these dreams back in the early 2000s, when he founded his private space company SpaceX. But what was the surprise and at the same time disappointment of a young millionaire at that time when he found out that the state space agency NASA did not make any efforts to one day deliver people to the Red Planet, thereby booking an additional place for humanity to survive in that if the Earth turns into a scorched desert (and judging by the latest forecasts, everything is heading towards this).

Musk thinks a lot. Therefore, he constantly comes up with something.

In general, Musk has developed several impressive aerospace systems since then: Falcon 1, the company's first orbital rocket; Grasshopper - small test rocket; Falcon 9 - reusable orbital-class launch vehicle; Dragon - a series of space trucks (and in the short term a manned spacecraft that will be used to deliver NASA astronauts into Earth orbit); and Falcon Heavy, a super-heavy launch vehicle that sent a mannequin in a prototype spacesuit of the future, also developed by SpaceX, on a Tesla electric car (Musk's personal car) on space travel.

Mars, however, is a target of a different caliber. This is a cold, almost airless and unforgiving huge piece of stone, or rather a giant desert, located about 225 million kilometers from the Earth. Landing even a small spacecraft on the Red Planet at the current level of technology requires tremendous effort and incredible ingenuity. What can we say about a giant spaceship filled with people and cargo? That is why SpaceX has been systematically, slowly gaining experience over the past 16 years, expanding its staff and increasing the amount of money invested in the development of technologies. Everything in order to start a project to build a giant Big Falcon Rocket or BFR.

The fully reusable, 117-meter space system will consist of two huge stages: the roughly 18-story Big Falcon Spaceship and the roughly the same size Big Falcon Booster. The launch vehicle will launch the spacecraft into low-earth orbit, from where it will reach its destination on its own, and then, after refueling, will be used again.

Timing is an ignoble affair, especially when it comes to manned space travel, but Musk's very daring predictions of when SpaceX will be able to get people to Mars reflects how obsessed the entrepreneur is.

The (largely controversial) deadlines below are based on earlier statements from Musk himself, SpaceX officials, insiders, and the huge Reddit community of fans of the private space company.

Current progress in the development of plans related to Mars

A schematic representation of the Big Falcon Rocket system with an accelerator and a spacecraft

Musk previously stated that the BFR spacecraft is the “most difficult” space system to implement, so the company is currently busy concentrating all its resources around it. For example, SpaceX has begun construction of a plant about 15 kilometers from the Port of Los Angeles, where the BFR will be assembled. While construction is underway, the company's engineers are busy creating a prototype spacecraft with an area of ​​1,860 square meters, which will be made using advanced carbon materials.

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