NIAC Focus: Mars Molniya Orbit Atmospheric Resource Mining

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Mars molniya orbit resource mining (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program recently selected 13 proposals for Phase I awards. Below is a proposal submitted by Robert Mueller of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Mars Molniya Orbit Atmospheric Resource Mining

Robert Mueller
NASA Kennedy Space Center

Mars planetary surface access is one of NASA’s biggest technical challenges involving advanced entry, descent, and landing (EDL) technologies and methods. This NASA Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) project intends to solve one of the top challenges for landing large payloads and humans on Mars by using advanced atmospheric In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) methods that have never been tried or studied before. The proposed Mars Molniya Orbit Atmospheric Resource Mining concept mission architecture will make Mars travel routine and affordable for cargo and crew, therefore enabling the expansion of human civilization to Mars.