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News from Micro-Space: Mars Team One

Published by Rob on Mon Jun 4, 2007 5:08 pm
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Tom and Tina Sjogren (founders and operators of the http://www.explorersweb.com.html ) have revealed their plans to embark on a private expedition to Mars by the year 2014. This was disclosed in an interview with “Outside” magazine, and published in the June 2007 issue (Page 72 – 79). These accomplished adventurers reached the top of Mount Everest (on Tina’s birthday) in an unguided 1999 effort. They accomplished back to back, human powered, unsupported expeditions to both the North and South Poles in 2002 as a two person team.

Note that nothing focused on their personal efforts or plans can be found on the http://www.explorersweb.com.html website, but a great deal about other’s efforts worldwide, on the oceans, poles, peaks and space. A Google search on their names reveals much more. Example: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/05/0521_020521_ADVpolarswim.html

Also read: http://www.thepoles.com/expguide/dream.htm : start with “The Dream” and read all the sidebar topics. Understand that this reflects the Sjogren’s personal expedition experience, and you will know more about this team. Add to this the fact that Tom integrated and perfected the global satellite communication packages he sells, and has used on his own expeditions. Keep in mind that the Sjogrens mastered all the skills and challenges required in environments more dangerous than the Moon with modest help, organized, raised the necessary funding and completed these adventures. Soon after their 2002 polar expeditions, the Sjogrens turned their attention to Mars as a new frontier, and began similar preparations.

I had the good fortune to meet Tom and Tina at the X-Prize Cup event, Oct. 2006. We quickly found that we had reached nearly identical conclusions about the feasibility and cost of a small, private Mars expedition ($100 Million). Micro-Space was working, as discussed in these forums, from the standpoint of identifying and prototyping appropriate hardware.

Tom and Tina, with their prestigious adventure website, have had access to NASA, SpaceX, Armadillo, and many other experts. They brought their practical expertise related to expedition supplies into the calculations and scaled down NASA thinking appropriately. Using their knowledge of what capable, hardworking adventurers could accomplish, and what they would need to do it at acceptable risk, they found that commercial launch vehicles would be adequate to get their expedition supplies into orbit. They had a multinational corporate sponsor for their polar expedition, know global race sailing teams, and judge sponsorship for their Mars effort to be available.

Most of the cost of a Mars expedition will be “freight” to deliver 50,000 pounds of fuel, food and equipment to LEO (at an estimated $1500 per pound). The 5000 pounds dry mass of special equipment (including pressurized habitat, small rocket motors, reentry systems, navigational and communications gear) will cost a fraction of this.

Considering what they in fact faced in their polar expeditions, I have an idea of what their “Acceptable Risk” looks like: examine the efforts of John Wesley Powell to get an idea, and know that adventurers with similar attributes still exist!

While cooperation between the Sjogrens and Micro-Space has not been formalized, they have visited our facility and been able to “try on” our full scale, ultralight Lunar and Mars ascension systems. We discussed in some detail the operational hardware we have for an expedition like theirs. Micro-Space remains committed to producing affordable specialized hardware for cislunar and interplanetary expeditions like theirs.

Richard P. Speck, (Micro-Space, Inc.) 5/31/2007

Please feel free to discuss this further in the General Micro-Space Forum…

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