A migratory martian base: using the polar summer, escaping the polar winter

Cockell, Charles S. (2004). A migratory martian base: using the polar summer, escaping the polar winter. Journal of The British Interplanetary Society, 57(1-2) pp. 40–44.

URL: http://www.bis-spaceflight.com/sitesia.aspx/page/3...


Placing the first human base on Mars near the poles is attractive because of the easy access to water ice on the surface, the scientific interest in these regions and 24 hr of light during the summer. However, it brings with it the logistically difficult problem of dealing with polar winter. At latitudes above 64.8°, days of complete darkness are experienced with an increasing length of winter darkness towards the pole. At the edge of the polar ice cap up to 9 months of continuous darkness will be experienced. In this paper I propose a mobile base that would migrate to the edge of the polar ice cap in summer to provide easy access to water ice and access to the scientifically interesting polar regions during 24 hr light periods when scientific productivity could be very high. It would rove southwards to ~50°N during the onset of polar winter to place itself back within regions of light/dark so that solar power could be gathered and safety will be maximized. At this southern location the team would change scientific focus to non-polar geology. At both locations the roving base would assemble permanent structures to establish a permanent human presence on Mars. To achieve this mobility the base would be constructed of pressurized, inter-connectable rovers with a redundant ability to pull one another during the twice yearly expeditionary migration.

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