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View Full Version : What will be the best place to land (manned) on Mars?



Denis12
2006-Jul-06, 12:36 PM
The poles or just the equator ,high on Olympus Mons or somewhere else on the planet. I think that a manned landing can be done when Mars is perihelion (closest to the Sun) because it is less extreme cold then ,and that a landing at the top of the volcano Olympus Mons can also be interesting to explore the volcanic activity on Mars ,but the pressure at the top will be lower than on the surface ,that needs good spacesuits with (moderate) solarprotection. What do you think? Lets discuss about it. Denis12

NEOWatcher
2006-Jul-06, 12:44 PM
... What do you think? Lets discuss about it. Denis12
Before discussing it, I think there will be an earlier debate on what the goal of the landing is.:hand:
Once that is established, where we land is not as much of an issue.

Wolf-S
2006-Jul-06, 01:32 PM
I think such mission would be really strict on safety, so the landing ellipse might be entirely on a plain area, at least for the first mission.

Romanus
2006-Jul-06, 03:36 PM
^
Ditto.

What I'm thinking, is that they will pick a safe, relatively boring place to set down, but within "driving distance" of a dramatic feature, like a valley or canyon. I think the first Mars mission should focus on areas that are relatively rugged, like Valles Marineris, because those are the locations were humans particularly excel over rovers. For instance, imagine trying to explore the Grand Canyon with the MERs, instead of rappeling with a camera and a rock hammer.

ToSeek
2006-Jul-06, 03:42 PM
For Apollo 11 they picked about the safest, most boring spot they could find. But Romanus is probably right - for the cost and duration of a Mars mission, they can't afford a pure test flight, they'll find a safe site that still has something of geologic interest. Meridiani Planum (where Opportunity landed) might be a good option. It's nice and flat but also has interesting geology, as well as being close to the equator.

Cugel
2006-Jul-06, 09:19 PM
I think they will land as close as possible.... to the earth return vehicle!
Hahahahaaha!
Silly humans.

ps. this lame joke is dedicated to Robert Zubrin's 'Mars Direct' plan.

Stealth Poster
2006-Jul-06, 10:07 PM
I think they will land as close as possible.... to the earth return vehicle!

Maybe they decide they prefer mars to earth and want to stay.

Cugel
2006-Jul-07, 02:25 PM
To make it up (for that exceptionally poor joke of mine) I have actually thought about the issue and came up with the 'ultimate' landing spot on Mars:

The northern rim of Hellas basin.

It's 8 or 9 km. below average surface levels on Mars, which give it an atmospheric pressure of 12 milibar, instead of the usual 6. This means it is above the triple point of water and with max. summer temperatures hovering around freezing point this means it will have some liquid water. (brine probably) Not lakes or swamps, but microscopic pockets of moisture beneath small rocks. Enough for those small and elusive critters we're all hoping to find there. Besides current liquid water, it also features ancient riverbeds flowing down to the crater floor. Which means past liquid water signs as well.
It's an interesting place to investigate!

aurora
2006-Jul-07, 03:02 PM
Hellas might turn out to be very interesting, we should send a robotic mission there first to make sure.

I was thinking a polar landing might be best if there is any intent to use the ice to replenish supplies.

Cugel
2006-Jul-07, 07:08 PM
Hellas might turn out to be very interesting, we should send a robotic mission there first to make sure.

I was thinking a polar landing might be best if there is any intent to use the ice to replenish supplies.

True, the poles are attractive for their ice. However, there are a few major problems as well:

1. It's COLD out there. -150 C does make a difference.
2. It's dark for many months during winter.
3. It takes more energy to launch the return booster (missing the bonus planetary rotation you get at the equator)

Note that the Phoenix lander, which will land there in 2008, has a life expectancy of only 3 months. It's a harsh environment.

Wolf-S
2006-Jul-07, 07:31 PM
I wonder if there are possibilities of some unknown ice deposits, ideally, ice lakes around in the place you described. That would be awesome.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jul-08, 02:21 AM
The northern rim of Hellas basin.

It's 8 or 9 km. below average surface levels on Mars, which give it an atmospheric pressure of 12 milibar, instead of the usual 6. This means it is above the triple point of water and with max. summer temperatures hovering around freezing point this means it will have some liquid water. (brine probably) Not lakes or swamps, but microscopic pockets of moisture beneath small rocks. Enough for those small and elusive critters we're all hoping to find there. Besides current liquid water, it also features ancient riverbeds flowing down to the crater floor. Which means past liquid water signs as well.
It's an interesting place to investigate!

Sounds good. If there is life on mars it should be there. Even if there is no photosynthetic life on mars it sounds like a good place to go looking for rock living bacteria.