EarthlingX":y7b9qhtz said:

Astro_Robert":y7b9qhtz said:

Short trip times also increase the pool of volounteers. If you have 10 months each way, and potentially 10 or more on the surface waiting for a launch window, you will find some but few people willing to sign up for almost 3 years away from friends and family. Yes some 'internet communication' but that is not the same. If we could actually get to Mars in a little over a month then it is almost like an ocean crossing at the turn of the last century, and there would likely be more volounteers willing to take advantage of it.

I don't think we will soon have as much capability as there are potential volunteers, no matter how long the trip.

If they take me, i don't even need to return, but some people would probably want to, at least some day.

Agreed. You don't even need 10 months. That's travel time on a low energy Hohmann transfer orbit (or is it a Venus flyby that Phoenix took?). But if you go on a Hohmann orbit and burn your engines longer, you can achieve the delta-v needed for a 6 month one-way flight. And frankly, if I were offered a one-way, one-man trip to Mars, like the Spirit of the Lone Eagle plan (

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/669/1), I'd agree in a heartbeat!

As for launch capability, there's a solution. Launch an Ares V core stage into LEO (the big external tank will reach about 98% orbital velocity anyway), and outfit it as a wet-workshop space station. Then, push it into an orbit that takes it by earth every two years, and then moves over the course of 4.5 months, approaches Mars. You'd just need a small capsule to launch your colonists to the space station, and then land them on Mars. I'm sure that the SpaceX Dragon will be fully capable of such a mission.

@Darkened One: Actually, through the use of the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, we can see that both Ares V and Saturn V can make it to Mars. Assuming the use of aerobraking to reduce the necessary delta-v, we see that a six month flight would require a delta v from LEO of 4.2 km/s.

The equation, therefore, is 2.72 with an exponent of 4.2/(specific impulse multiplied by earth gravity, km/s). The exponent we're attaching to 2.72 is therefore 4.2/(448, which is the Isp of J-2X engine, times 0.0098). This works out to an exponent of .957. 2.72 to the exponent .957 is 2.61. Dividing the Saturn V LEO payload by this number reveals a dry mass to Mars of 45.5 tonnes. Assuming about 8 tonnes for rocket motors and fuel tanks, that works out to over 35 tonnes delivered to Mars's surface with each launch. That's just for the 118.8 tonne to LEO Saturn V. That same equation applied to Ares V goes up to over

*60 tonnes* to Mars. That's almost the mass of the skylab space station. I'm sure that that kind of weight will be sufficient to house and carry a crew of 4 or 5 to Mars, just on chemical rockets.