The human exploration of the Martian poles Part 1 – from early expeditions to a permanent station
The establishment of a permanent human scientific presence at the Martian poles requires the identification of a strategy for growth, from localized field parties to a permanent polar infrastructure. Using terrestrial polar stations as a template and experiences from the terrestrial High Arctic, four phases of Martian polar exploration are suggested. The first phase provides for six people to operate at the edge of the north polar cap for a Martian summer period (similar to350 sol), with excursions limited to the immediate area <5 km distant from the station. With intermediate phases, this limited access phase expands to a final fourth phase that allows for the presence of 6 over-winterers and 20 summer personnel at a permanent polar station. This station will provide opportunities for scientists to investigate the geology, chemistry and organic chemical/exobiological potential of the Martian polar caps. The station will ultimately provide the means for unsupported overland assaults on the Martian geographical poles to be accomplished. The equipment and logistics required to support field parties from a permanent Martian polar station are considered. Preliminary concepts are provided for techniques of station maintenance (Martian polar regions engineering) in the light of data on the extent of seasonal snow and ice deposition at the Martian poles. Energy requirements for these methods are estimated.