Delivery and Return Transport System (DARTS)


Getting to Mars
   Brief Summary
   Extensive Solution
   Manifest List

Landing on Mars
   Brief Summary
   Extensive Solution/Justification
   Landing Manifest

Returning to LEO
   Brief Summary
   Extensive Solution
   Returning Manifest

   Check terminology here.

Returning to LEO: Brief Summary


The basic requirement is that the system be able to return personnel and necessary equipment and samples to Earth orbit.

Abstract Solution:

The ascent vehicle, Falcon is the only system leaving the Martian surface. The Falcon will contain the six-member crew and collected samples. The Surface Habitat, the experimental equipment that are not necessary for sample return, the surface robots-Little Martian Rovers, and the rover will remain on the Martian surface. After proper storage of returning materials, the Falcon will fire the liquid propulsion engine located in the center of the lander to detach from the Surface Habitat and return to Low Mars Orbit (LMO).

Once in LMO, the Falcon will rendezvous with the Transfer Vehicle orbiting around Mars to begin the return to Earth's orbit. The Falcon and the Transfer Vehicle will use nuclear propulsion and follow a Hohmann transfer return trajectory to optimize energy efficiency. Once in Earth's orbit, Soyuz vehicles will be launched from Earth for a crew and samples retrieval mission.


The type of liquid propulsion used to ascend has not been determined. More research must be conducted to isolate the best type of liquid propellant for the Falcon.

mitCopyright © 2000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Comments and questions to Last updated: 10 December, 2000