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Friday, December 30, 2005

Popular Mechanics, Buzz Aldrin, Mars

An artist's concept of the Cycler.
An artist's concept of the Cycler.
Credit: Popular Mechanics (Jeremy Cook)
The December 2005 issue of Popular Mechanics has an article from Buzz Aldrin with David Noland explaining their concept of how to make missions to the Red Planet regular. Their proposal uses a spacecraft permanently orbiting between Mars and Earth. The goal is to use as little propellant as necessary to launch the crews and then use the momentum of the orbiting craft to carry the crew the rest of the way. Aldrin and his team at Purdue, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Texas wrote in a report to JPL: “We believe these regular planetary flybys would create an entirely new economic and philosophic approach to space exploration. Reliable, reusable, and dependable cycler transportation can be the key to carry humanity into the next great age of exploration, expansion, settlement and multi-planetary commerce.” The concept has been around for a while, but Aldrin and his team are showing its feasibility, and giving a plan for regular travel to Mars a push in the scientific circles as well as the popular press.

The Popular Mechanics article can be found here. A release from Purdue in February is here, as well as an article on Aldrin's site here

- posted by Jim @ 17:13 EST