Lockheed Martin: Mars Base Camp


“Mars. It’s humanity’s next giant leap. And we’re closer than we’ve ever been.

What will a human Mars mission look like? How can we keep astronauts safe, healthy and productive for a three-year journey into deep space? What can they discover when they get to Mars? How do we build a road map from today’s low-Earth orbit missions to our first interplanetary journey?

At Lockheed Martin, our job is to challenge ourselves and our industry teammates to drive the innovation that helps make those grand achievements possible – quickly, safely and affordably.

Mars Base Camp is Lockheed Martin’s vision for sending humans to Mars by 2028. The concept is simple: transport astronauts from Earth to a Mars-orbiting science laboratory where they can perform real-time scientific exploration, analyze Martian rock and soil samples, and confirm the ideal place to land humans on the surface in the 2030s.

Mars Base Camp lays out a proposed technology road map to support NASA’s Journey to Mars. This is a mission designed to be led by NASA and its international and commercial partners. As exemplified by collaboration on the International Space Station, the contribution of additional resources, technology, expertise and investment, will enhance the level and number of scientific investigations performed at Mars.”1469560331857

“The Mars Base Camp concept is built on a strong foundation of today’s technologies – making it safe, affordable and achievable:

  • Orion: The world’s only deep-space crew capsule, built with long-duration life support, deep space communications and navigation, and safe Earth re-entry capability. This is the mission Orion was born to do.
  • Space Launch System: Super heavy lift designed to send critical labs, habitats and supplies to Mars.
  • Habitats: Building on our NextSTEP research, deep space habitats will give astronauts room to live and work on the way to and at Mars.
  • Solar Electric Propulsion: Based on technology already in place on satellites, this advanced propulsion will pre-position key supplies in Mars orbit. 
How does Mars Base Camp work?

The major components of the architecture will be launched separately. Some are pre-positioned in Mars orbit ahead of time. Others are assembled in cis-lunar space for the journey to Mars. Six astronauts will launch on Orion, which serves as the heart of the Mars Base Camp interplanetary ship.”1469560366693

What is the mission timeline?

This notional timeline lays out the major stepping stone missions that will refine and test the technology to make Mars Base Camp possible.

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“Mars Base Camp is Lockheed Martin’s concept for humanity’s first crewed mission to Mars. Built on proven technologies like the Orion deep-space crew capsule, the Mars Base Camp concept would send astronaut-scientists to Mars orbit as early as 2028. Their mission: collect Martian surface samples, operate scientific rovers and UAVs in real-time, and confirm the ideal spot for a landing mission.”