Recent changes in the air strongly suggest that we are going to Mars to colonize. But we are not going to colonize Mars because we can make a lot of money in Mars real estate and we are not going because colonization will make an exciting reality show for TV. We are going to colonize Mars because it is the next step in developing a space-faring civilization. As Elon Musk has said: “There’ a fundamental difference, if you look into the future, between a humanity that’s out there exploring the stars…compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event.”

As lifelong advocates of space exploration, we see NASA and SpaceX developing the giant rockets that will take us to Mars in the near future. We also see plans for landing on the surface of the planet and setting up an exploration mission. But after stepping down from the Mars Colonial Transport, what’s next? What we don’t see is an assembly of well-tested devices and equipment for setting up a colony. Above ail; we don’t see a set of detailed instructions for colonists to follow in carrying out a colonization plan.

This website was established to help NASA and SpaceX by developing a handbook for colonists. When NASA or SpaceX lay down a plan, we will incorporate it as our own. However, where the exact procedure is not yet determined, we will specify a construction strategy and the equipment needed to carry it out. By coincidence the author has compiled a lifetime of blue-collar and white-collar careers that allow him to visualize what is required to set up a Mars colony and to employ the necessary equipment.

Please incorporate these ideas into your own plans; they are not patented. If we propose an idea in error we will throw it out and revise the handbook. Critique the handbook; you will make it better.

Then press “go” for launch!

Roy Paul (IonMars)

July 2014

Update November 11, 2014
Unofficial Guidelines for EVAs on Mars’ Surface

IonMars has adopted a Section from the official Mars Design Reference Architecture 5.0 (March 2014 update) that lists the set of assumptions that went into the planning study. He changed the word “assume” into “will” or “shall” and entered some clarifying edits. The result is an unofficial Guideline for EVA on Mars’ Surface. It is a useful tool for understanding NASA’s current concept of operations and the procedures to be followed by Mars Explorers. From the home page click on “LIBRARY”, then “ARCHIVE OF TECHNICAL MANUALS”, then “UNOFFICIAL GUIDELINES FOR EVAS ON MARS’ SURFACE.”

Update November 10, 2014
“Prelude to Pioneering (1)” is published

In the first of two articles on Mars exploration, IonMars points out that just as expeditions of past centuries, the colonization of Mars will be preceded by a period of exploration. NASA has been planning for the human exploration of Mars through a series of planning documents that specify the techniques to be employed as well as what facilities, vehicles and equipment will be required. A Mars pioneer should become knowledgeable about these systems because these equipment and vehicles will likely be employed in colonization.

In the NASA plan, six Astronaut/Explorers will be launched from Earth inside an Orion spacecraft atop the Space Launch System (SLS). Once in orbit they will transfer to Transhab, one of three components of a Mars Transfer Vehicle (MTV). The other components will be a Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) propulsion system and a large, disposable fuel tank. Once in Mars orbit, the crew will transfer to a Mars habitat/lander that will place them onto the surface of Mars.

At the landing site the crew will engage with cargo that was pre-deployed to the same location. This will include an In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) plant to produce fuel and oxidizer for the return trip. It will also include a Fission Surface Power System (FSPS) to provide electrical power for the ISRU plant and for crew requirements. The crew will deploy a two-man rover to explore Mars’ surface. After the 1-yearmission is completed, they will launch inside a Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) that was previously landed with a cargo lander as a Descent/Ascent Vehicle (DAV). They will re-enter the Transhab for a long trip to Earth orbit, where they will land on Earth in an Orion capsule.

Update October 6, 2014
“Flex House” is Published

In this article IonMars shares personal thoughts derived from his Boy Scout youth that if you are not using ISRU at the beginning of Mars colonization you are “cheating.” Nevertheless, a flexible house plan (Flex House) will be constructed from materials imported from Earth or materials produced on Mars after industries have been established. Each Flex house will exhibit an arched roof covered by regolith. It will feature vertical sidewalls and double shell construction. Air will circulate between the shells to prevent condensation, which in turn will prevent mold colonies from forming. The structural elements of floor joists, wall studs, and ceiling rafters will be placed in alignment so as to facilitate air circulation around the house. Three practical sizes of houses will be 6, 8, and 10 meters wide and feature 1, 2 or 3 floors. An example one-floor plan exhibits amenities for 12 persons living in a compact space. Robot operators will utilize one room where they will control the robots operating on the surface.