Future Mars Exploration Operational Simulation: Research Outcomes and Educational Benefit Conference Paper uri icon


  • © 2016 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved. A Mars Operational Simulation Exercise was performed by a class of senior undergraduates and graduates to educate the students both on how human spaceflight operations are currently done and on how these operations might evolve in the future. Four structured, operational “Tiger Teams” worked on a Design Reference Infrastructure for a hypothetical Mars exploration scenario that included novel aspects such as Mars moon bases, small vehicles for in-system transportation, and substantial teleoperation. The teams then developed operational plans to address an emergency scenario. Through extending the principles of human spaceflight to a future Mars exploration scenario, a number of key lessons were learned on how future Mars mission operations should be run. In particular it was found that there needs to be a tight feedback loop between technological development and operations, and that a paradigm shift is necessary in the way operations are performed to be applicable to a Mars system. A second, updated iteration of the exercise supported these findings. The exercises identified that similar, in-depth simulations can be powerful tools to drive current mission and system design for Mars exploration. This chapter presents the details on the Mars Operational Simulation Exercise and the key findings that resulted.

author list (cited authors)

  • Morrell, B. J., Read, J., Coen, M., Probe, A., Chamitoff, G., & James, G. H.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • May 2016