Example of student work: project presentation on an extensible planetary surface transportation system. This year’s design effort focused on crewed surface mobility systems for the Moon, Mars, and analog sites on Earth, supporting the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE). The VSE calls for human exploration of the Moon, preparing the way for human Mars missions. In this plan, lunar exploration begins with robotic orbital and surface missions while crewed vehicles are developed. Crewed missions to the Moon would begin with so-called sortie missions operationally similar to the Apollo J-type missions, with multiple EVAs and geologic excursions from the lander. Subsequent missions would build up a permanently occupied outpost similar to Antarctic research stations. Later missions would begin Mars development, beginning around 2030, using conjunction-class trajectories to provide surface stays of 500-600 days.
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