The Unsupported Transpolar Assault on the Martian Geographic North Pole

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C.S. Cockell (2005), JBIS, 58, 28-33

Refcode: 2005.58.28
Keywords: Mars polar, unsupported, snow, Antarctica, expedition

I describe the unsupported (no vehicles and no resupply and supplies manhauled along the entire route), overland assault on the Martian Geographic North Pole by two people. The total initial mass of each hauled sledge should be no greater than 420 kg based on previous expeditions in Antarctica and taking into account the Martian gravity. If the expedition is accomplished in approximately 80 days at a mean progress of 16 km/day, it will be possible to carry sufficient oxygen for the duration of the expedition, thus removing the requirement for in situ oxygen harvesting. The gathering of oxygen in-situ can reduce the required daily progress to about 6 km/day because extra food can be carried, assuming that equipment mass is not signifi- cantly greater than without in situ oxygen use. I estimate food and water requirements and describe some of the major parameters of the expedition. The unsupported crossing of Antarctica provides a significant number of other insights into how such an expedition would be implemented at the Martian polar caps. The unsupported overland assault on the Martian North Pole will be a significant milestone in Martian polar exploration and could provide a useful science return.


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