Lessons Learned from Antarctica Applied to the Phased Development of a Long-term Martian Station Design
As preparations are made to send the first humans to Mars, it is important we look beyond short-term goals to develop a long-term plan for human presence on Mars. Currently, NASA plans to resume crewed missions to the Moon within the next few years and send the first crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s. The Moon will be used as a technology testbed in preparation for Mars, while Mars will eventually become a center for scientific research and part of a support infrastructure to allow further deep space exploration. To accomplish this goal, a long-term station will be necessary to provide the functions and infrastructure required. While NASA and other organizations have proposed designs for the initial habitat for a Martian surface mission, there has been little research on how the station will transition past this point. Although we have yet to develop and operate extraterrestrial surface stations, we can draw from our experience designing and operating long-term stations in extreme conditions on Earth. Using Antarctica as a design precedent, lessons can be learned from the design evolution of Antarctic stations and the operational logistics, functions, and human design factors. These lessons can be applied to the phased development of a Martian station and its growth. The goal of this thesis is to use lessons learned from Antarctica to inform the transitional phase of a long-term Martian station to enable growth towards a sustainable mature station.