Virtual Prototyping of a Lander for the Fast Transfer of Humans to Mars

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M. Paton; A. McSorley (2009), JBIS, 62, 369-377

Refcode: 2009.62.369
Keywords: Virtual, prototyping, humans, mars, landing, aeroshell

This paper uses virtual prototyping as a technique to elucidate the challenging problem of landing humans on Mars. If no countermeasures are taken during the transit from Earth the capability of humans to perform effectively on the surface of Mars will be seriously compromised. Microgravity will cause atrophy of load bearing bones and muscles weakening the crew. New treatments and technologies together with a fast transfer to Mars could help mitigate these effects. A consequence of using fast interplanetary trajectories, however, is the high arrival speed at Mars and if aerocapture is used, high mechanical and heat loads on the lander. The high decelerations could be non-survivable for weakened crewmembers. It is therefore highly desirable to use a vehicle aeroshell that can reduce the g levels to a safe level. Aeroshell options in terms of g-levels were considered using computer simulations together with other mission requirements such as sufficient living space and good payload mass efficiency. The results were then used to choose an aeroshell for the lander. Some details of the lander, such as internal layout, aerodynamic control surfaces, location of rocket engines, were then further prototyped in virtual environments.

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