Lockheed Martin Mars Base Camp could take us to the Red Planet in a decade

Lockheed Martin is at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Australia and at the event it has offered up details on its Mars Base Camp. Among the detail is how Lockheed would align it vision with the NASA lunar deep space gateway and Mars surface lander plans. Mars Base Camp is Lockheed's vision of how to send humans to mars in about ten years.

Lockheed's VP and GM of Commercial Civil Space, Lisa Callahan says that we have the technology today to put people on Mars. NASA's lunar Deep Space Gateway is a plan to develop and test systems, like Orion, in lunar space before sending the gear on to Mars. the idea is that NASA's Gateway would let the astronauts live and work in orbit around the moon for months and gain experience with the equipment and skills needed to operate far from Earth.

NASA's gateway allows testing of habitats, airlocks, solar electric propulsion, telerobotics and landers. Lockheed says that Mars Base Camp would be built up at the Deep Space Gateway and then be deployed to Mars. The first mission for Base Camp would be to orbit Mars.

After orbiting, the tech Lockheed has created allows a surface lander to be sent to the Red Planet. The concept design is a single stage, reusable lander that could support missions of about two weeks and up to four astronauts. After that duration the lander returns to Mars Base Camp to be refueled and used for another mission.

Mars Base Camp would not be placed on the surface of Mars, it would be an orbiting habitat. SpaceX's Elon Musk recently outlined his plans for sending humans to Mars and they do involve surface colonies.

SOURCE: Lockheed Martin