Some information about my research project – “Theoretical concept of global navigation satellite system for Mars”.
Proposed name for the system:
FATIMA – Fix And TIme provisioning system for MArs
Precise positioning on Mars is one of the critical aspects of any exploration mission. Current complex planetary exploration systems (orbital and surface) rely on complex navigation and positioning systems, which make these systems complicated, expensive and their missions dangerous. The project of global navigation satellite system for Mars can make these and even the future manned missions more safe, less expensive and the whole positioning in a real time more reliable. The proposed GNSS for Mars (system FATIMA) can be used by more systems or users in the same time simultaneously.
The interesting is the answer for the question of application of satellite navigation system for the first manned mission to Mars. The private space companies and government space agencies often describe their visions of manned Mars exploration from the very general point of view. But one can imagine that Mars isn’t Moon and it isn’t such near the Earth. Mission to Mars will last very long time. Crew will have to spend a lot of time on the surface of Mars. The question is, how will we land on Mars all the necessary modules (habitats, experiment modules, etc..) if we will not have any reliable satellite positioning service? What will happen if the crew will land just a few kilometers (miles) away from the life support systems and modules which would have landed some time before? Martian world is very nice. But can you imagine a crew lost somewhere in this world, with no idea where exactly they’ve just landed and where exactly is the nearest life-support system? Planning a mission to Mars isn’t a Hollywood movie. It is a real thing. Real lives. All the risks have to be minimized to zero.
We all can remember the situation of Apollo 13 astronauts. They were approximately 384 400 km away from Earth. Even the resolution of their technical problems on board of Apollo spacecraft was making a huge headache for many engineers and scientists on Earth. And they were just 384 400 km away. But what if we have a crew of astronauts lost on Mars? Remember, the average distance from Earth to Mars is 225 000 000 km. So they will really need to know where they exactly are in case they will get lost or in case they will land in unexpected distance away from the previously landed equipment and mission modules.
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Research lead: Dr Jozef Kozár (contact)