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Flying to Mars Is Hard

Living reference work entry

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Abstract

Aphelion

The point on an elliptical orbit around the sun that is farthest from the sun.

Communication latency

The time it takes for a signal to travel from the sender to the receiver, typically in reference to radio communication.

Free return

A trajectory through space that brings a spacecraft back to the Earth without any major propulsive course changes.

Habitable volume

The amount of volume available to the crew for living and working. Does not include space behind panels, underneath equipment, or otherwise inaccessible to the crew.

Hohmann transfer

An elliptical path that takes a spacecraft from one circular orbit to another of larger or smaller diameter with the minimum amount of propellant used.

Perihelion

The point on an elliptical orbit around the sun that is closest to the sun.

Planetary protection

Preventing both the contamination of potentially habitable environments on celestial bodies by organisms from Earth and the contamination of the Earth’s biosphere by organisms from space.

Regenerative life support

A system that recycles air, water, and possibly also food on board a spacecraft, as opposed to a system that relies on massive stores of consumable commodities.

Superior conjunction

The condition that occurs when the sun lies directly between two planets, as described by an observer on the planet farther from the sun.

References

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Graham B. I. Scott
    • 1
  • Mark J. Shelhamer
    • 2
  1. 1.BioScience Research CollaborativeNational Space Biomedical Research Institute, (NSBRI)HoustonUSA
  2. 2.Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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