Longer Range Space Exploration Possibilities 680379
Although there have been no specific proposals by the Space Agency for long range future planetary spacecraft other than those typified by the unmanned Mariner and Viking Programs, studies have been performed during the past few years which indicate the feasibility, technological requirements and suggested directions to be pursued for more advanced alternatives. As the Apollo Program reaches an active flight phase it becomes important to identify the alternatives which seem most practical for space exploration of the future. Steps beyond the Apollo Lunar Landing which will provide flexible capabilities for missions following the 1970 time period are discussed. With the option of manned exploration of Mars and Venus, including exobiological and geological surface exploration on Mars, promise of much scientific return appears within our operational grasp.
Assuming that the delays in our space planning created in the past budget cycle will not continue indefinitely, some possibilities for accomplishing longer range planetary exploration missions to Mars and Venus are presented. The importance of the early step beyond Apollo with long duration flights in Earth orbit providing actual flight experience is discussed. This experience will establish man's capability to operate effectively for extended periods and provide enhancement of experimental space activities. This phase is treated as a logical space program element preceding actual accomplishment of manned missions to the nearby planets.