Exploring the Martian Moons

A Human Mission to Deimos and Phobos

  • Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Also part of the Space Exploration book sub series (SPACEE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. The Current Plan

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
      Pages 2-8
    3. Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
      Pages 9-16
    4. Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
      Pages 17-61
    5. Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
      Pages 62-79
    6. Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
      Pages 80-100
  3. A Safer, Quicker and Cheaper Plan

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 101-101
    2. Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
      Pages 102-121
    3. Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
      Pages 122-132
  4. The Major Players

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 133-133
    2. Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
      Pages 134-145
    3. Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
      Pages 146-149
    4. Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
      Pages 150-154
    5. Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
      Pages 155-166
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 167-255

About this book


This book explores the once popular idea of 'Flexible Path' in terms of Mars, a strategy that would focus on a manned orbital mission to Mars's moons rather than the more risky, expensive and time-consuming trip to land humans on the Martian surface. While currently still not the most popular idea, this mission would take advantage of the operational, scientific and engineering lessons  to be learned from going to Mars's moons first. Unlike a trip to the planet's surface, an orbital mission avoids the dangers of the deep gravity well of Mars and a very long stay on the surface. This is analogous to Apollo 8 and 10, which preceded the landing on the Moon of Apollo 11. Furthermore, a Mars orbital mission could be achieved at least five years, possibly 10 before a landing mission. Nor would an orbital mission require all of the extra vehicles, equipment and supplies needed for a landing and a stay on the planet for over a year. The cost difference between the two types of missions is in the order of tens of billions of dollars.  

An orbital mission to Deimos and Phobos would provide an early opportunity to acquire scientific knowledge of the moons and Mars as well, since some of the regolith is presumed to be soil ejected from Mars. It may also offer the opportunity to deploy scientific instruments on the moons which would aid subsequent missions. It would provide early operational experience in the Mars environment without the risk of a landing. The author convincingly argues this experience would enhance the probability of a safe and successful Mars landing by NASA at a later date, and lays out the best way to approach an orbital mission in great detail. Combining path-breaking science with achievable goals on a fast timetable, this approach is the best of both worlds--and our best path to reaching Mars safely in the future.


Mars travel Mars orbital mission plans aerospace contractors and Mars mission NASA Mars plans Mars moons Travel to Mars orbit Travel to Solar System moons

Authors and affiliations

  • Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
    • 1
  1. 1.Lago VistaUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Physics and Astronomy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-52699-7
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-52700-0
  • Buy this book on publisher's site