Sample Abstract

Here is a sample abstract for the Mars Society Annual Conventions

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The Mars Gashopper

Robert Zubrin

Pioneer Astronautics

11111 W. 8th Ave, unit A

Lakewood, CO 80215

303-980-0890 (phone) 303-980-0753 (fax)


The Mars Gas Hopper, or “gashopper” is a novel concept for propulsion of a robust Mars flight and surface exploration vehicle that utilizes indigenous CO2 propellant to enable greatly enhanced mobility. The gashopper will first retrieve CO2 gas from the Martian environment to store it in liquid form at a pressure of about 10 bar. When enough CO2 is stored to make a substantial flight to another Mars site, a hot pellet bed is heated to ~1000 K and the CO2 propellant is warmed to ~300 K to pressurize the tank to ~65 bar. A valve is then opened, allowing the liquid CO2 to pass through the hot pellet bed that heats and gasifies the CO2 for use as main rocket propulsion and attitude control. Ballistic hops of tens of kilometers range are feasible, while evolutionary gashoppers employing wings could travel hundreds of kilometers each flight. The advantage of the gashopper is that it provides Mars exploration with a fully controllable aerial reconnaissance vehicle that can repeatedly land and explore surface sites as well. As a low flying aerial reconnaissance vehicle, the gashopper offers a unique platform for searching for subsurface water using ground penetrating radar. In addition, because the exhaust gas from the gashopper’s propulsion system is carbon dioxide, it will not contaminate any sites it visits with propulsion chemical residues that are alien to the Martian environment. This makes the gashopper uniquely advantageous for astrobiological research programs which involve sniffing for the gaseous products of biological activity. This paper will discuss gashopper technology and show its benefits for several important Mars exploration applications.