John F Kennedy said “We choose to go to the Moon! … We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”
And now, we choose to go to Mars. A brief from NASA on the ‘ISRU & Civil Engineering Needs for Future Human Mars missions’ along with the ‘Briefing for First Landing Site/Exploration Zone Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars’ makes interesting reading.
The first two items in the workshop – shortened to ICE WG – is to identify capabilities and resources that will be key to establishing a sustainable human presence on Mars and to characterise activities that must be carried on the surface of Mars in order to advance these capabilities to a level where they can be relied upon without routine support from Earth. So, if you’re having one of those ho-hum days at the office, just think – there is probably every chance that some of you are (whether you know it or not) currently on track to take up the challenge of engineering on the Red Planet.
While you’re waiting, watch Elon Musk’s Case For Mars.