Daily Archives: June 6, 2013

General Dynamics, Why Aren’t We On Mars Yet?

We’ve already conquered extra-planetary supply management with our ability to supply the International Space Station on a regular basis and keep our astronauts fed, which means the next challenge is for us to supply inter-planetary supply chains between Earth and Mars.

Fifty years ago today, Andrew Kalitinsky a spokesman for General Dyanmics told scientists at a two day symposium called “The Exploration of Mars”, hosted by the American Astronautical Society that a manned mission to the planet Mars could be launched in 1975 and would likely consist of a convoy of four multi-ton spaceships. (Fifty years and one day ago, one day before this announcement, NASA announced plans to send two satellites to Mars in November 1964 as the first step toward a mission.)

Since then, we’ve only successfully sent:

  • Mars 2, a Soviet probe that crashed into Mars in 1971
  • Mars 3, a Soviet probe that landed on Mars but stopped transmitting after 14.5 seconds
  • Mars 4, a Soviet orbiter that flew by the planet and sent back images and radio occultation data
  • Mars 5, a Soviet orbiter that transmitted 60 images
  • Mars 6, a Soviet fly-by / lander that failed on impact
  • Mariner 4, an American spacecraft that few past Mars on July 14, 1965
  • Mariner 6 and 7 American fly-by probes that reached Mars in 1969
  • Mariner 9, an American orbiter that was the first probe to successfully enter Martian orbit
  • Viking 1, an American orbiter/lander module that was the first spacecraft to successfully land on Mars
  • Viking 2, an American orbiter/lander module that was the second spacecraft to successfully land on Mars
  • Mars Pathfinder, an American spacecraft that landed a base station with a roving probe on Mars on July 4, 1997
  • Mars Global Surveyor, an American orbiter that entered Martian orbit on Sep 12, 1997
  • 2001 Mars Odyssey, an orbiter that reached Martian orbit in 2001
  • Mars Express, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) orbiter that reached Martian orbit on Dec 25, 2003 (giving the ESA a Merry Christmas 10 years ago)
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, an American spacecraft designed to conduct reconnaissance and exploration of Mars from orbit that attained orbit on Mar 10, 2006
  • Rosetta, an ESA probe that flew within 250 km of Mars on Feb 25, 2007
  • Curiosity, the American rover that landed on Mars on August 6, 2012 (and may have spotted a Martian Lizard)

Not a single manned mission in the lot of them! And not a single planned manned mission in the next 10 years! the doctor wants to optimize those inter-planetary supply chains. GD, you’re 38 years late. Get a move on!