Lockheed Martin adds a lander to Mars vision

Mars lander
An artist’s conception shows Lockheed Martin’s lander on Mars. (Lockheed Martin Illustration)

Lockheed Martin has fleshed out its picture for sending astronauts to the Red Planet by adding a refuelable lander and a water-based fuel supply chain to its “Mars Base Camp” mission architecture.

The system, updated today at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia, could make use of resources provided by asteroid mining companies such as Redmond, Wash.-based Planetary Resources.

Danielle Richey, a space exploration architect at Lockheed Martin, said the updated Mars Base Camp concept could help NASA “start exploring the Martian system in about a decade.”

Although NASA has said it wants to start sending astronauts to Mars and its moons by the 2030s, the space agency isn’t yet anywhere close to selecting any detailed plan to get there.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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