The human exploration of the Martian poles Part 2 – support technologies

In Part 1 of this paper, we presented a phased approach to the development of a Mars pole human-inhabited research station modelled on those in the terrestrial polar regions. To support this phased growth, a number of critical technology issues need to be addressed. In this Part 2 we review some of the important technologies for the establishment of a human presence at the poles. Transport, both robotic and manned will be required to provide range of exploration on Mars. Much of the critical technology revolves around the robust provision of significant amounts of power to support both robotic and human activities. Nuclear sources of power are highlighted as the only viable option for providing the power levels required for station infrastructure. Independent materials provision through in-situ resource utilisation is examined, especially the extraction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water from the polar ice and subsurface in the circumpolar erg. Drilling technologies relevant to this objective are reviewed. Finally, the issue of the provision of materials for life support systems is discussed. Generally, the technological requirements are based on the provision of energy and materials to support a human-inhabited infrastructure near the poles – this imposes significant requirements for the sustainable growth of Mars pole exploration stations.


Publication status:
Authors: Ellery, A. Alex, Cockell, Charles S.

1 January, 2003
JBIS: Journal of the British Interplanetary Society / 56