WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin unveiled its plans Thursday to send humans to Mars during the International Astronautical Congress held in Adelaide, Australia.
The proposal, called Mars Base Camp, hopes to send humans to Mars in about a decade. The plan would include an orbiting base station that would transport vehicles with the ability to land on the Red Planet, according to the Bethesda, Maryland-based company.
Lockheed Martin’s plan calls for “sending astronauts from Earth via the moon, to a Mars-orbiting science lab, where they can perform real-time scientific exploration and confirm the ideal place to land humans on the surface in the 2030s,” the company said.
The company’s proposal for NASA’s Deep Space Gateway mission could begin sometime in the early 2020s.
The base camp components would be sent separately and then assembled in space during the journey to Mars. Six astronauts would travel to the Red Plant using the Lockheed Martin-built Orion capsule, designed for NASA for longer human missions into space.
The mission would also use a Mars lander, which Lockheed Martin said would dock with the base camp. The Mars lander is reusable and also capable of descending to the surface of Mars using what the company calls “supersonic retropropulsion.”
Surface missions could last two weeks with up to four astronauts, before the astronauts would return to the orbiting base camp.
The lander would be powered by engines that use liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants, both of which could be generated by water – a resource that can be found on Mars.
Read more about the proposal here.