Mission #3: First Mars Landing

Image credit – Unknown (internet)

Image credit – Unknown (internet)

The Gen1 Enterprise will be designed to be able to travel to Mars in no more than 90 days. Unquestionably, the highlight of this trip will be when a Universal Lander takes crew members down to the surface of Mars and human beings then take their first steps on the surface of another planet. This will be a wonderful moment in human history.

But this first Mars mission includes much more. Just as with the first moon mission, all the laser-digging and robotic base-building equipment needed to construct the first phase of a permanent underground base will be sent down to the Mars surface. When the Enterprise later returns for the second mission to Mars, a rudimentary base will be ready for humans. And then, like with the moon second mission, the Enterprise will return to bring the first humans to the base as well as much more hardware to build a more comfortable long term base. This will include adding 1g gravity made possible by building an underground gravity wheel.

A very large number of robotic probes will be sent down to Mars on this first mission. These robotic probes developed by NASA will include rovers, Mars planes, and satellites. The idea is to flood the planet with probes on a scale never done before as is made possible by the huge cargo-carrying capacity of the Enterprise. This should greatly increase the speed of expanding human knowledge about Mars.

The base digging equipment will include a secondary use. It will be diverted from base digging for a time to dig deeply through layers of surface material on the crust of Mars at sites of interest. One reason for doing this is to look back into the Martian past to search for fossils or other signs of ancient life on Mars.

Control of some probes, both rovers and planes, can be periodically handed over to classes of students back on earth for a few weeks so that they can explore Mars for themselves. This fits with the idea of inspiring young people to take an interest in studying STEM subjects.