NASA partners with Elon Musk for ‘Red Dragon’ mission to Mars
Dragon capsule in the past has made several trips to the worldwide Space Station (ISS) since 2010.
An ambitious project that aims to bring rock samples from Mars – collected by NASA’s 2020 Mars rover – to Earth to find out traces of ancient life on the Red Planet can be launched as early as 2022, Space.com reported, citing NASA officials. Prior to SpaceX starts to fly operational missions to the orbiting outpost in the next two to three years, the company’s first Crew Dragon to fly with NASA astronauts aboard will follow the in-flight abort test.
Of course, the project has not been approved by NASA yet (or SpaceX, we assume), so Red Dragon may not even happen. The mission would also be of benefit for SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk’s own Mars ambitions, which include a privately founded settlement on the Red Planet.
The infographic, which cleverly evokes Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, goes through all the basics, such as Kelly experiencing the amount of radiation that we would experience after flying from Los Angeles to New York 5250 times, and that he will drink 730 liters of recycled urine and sweat.
Landing on the surface of Mars becomes an increasingly tricky problem as you increase in mass. The atmosphere is too thin for parachutes to do all the work, and delicate components don’t take kindly to hard impacts.
That is where Red Dragon could come in, Gonzales and his team said.
However, this sort of rough, bumpy ride might have destroyed any valuable evidence within the rocks that could point to past life on Mars.
The MAV would then blast off, sending the ERV on its way back to Earth.
Getting samples of Martian soil back to Earth would be the best way to learn about the history and composition of Mars. Once it’s in low-Earth orbit, a second Dragon capsule will be sent up to retrieve it. Having fresh samples would accelerate things greatly.
The Mars mission portrayed in the movie is only “one version” of what a manned mission to the Red Planet could look like, officials said Tuesday, and there are aspects of Weir’s story that are still more science fiction than fact.