Getting people to Mars is a multi-faceted problem. Our mission is a manned mission, and the selection of a competent group of people, is essential to success. Mission 2004 needs a competent crew, trained in geology, bio-chemisty, medicine, engineering, and space-craft operations. This team needs to be capable of getting to Mars and applying the guidelines of our definition of life.
A capable crew is worthless, however, without a well-designed spacecraft. How do we get the astronauts to Mars? How will we transport their equipment? How will our spacecraft sustain the crew in space? A major feasibility factor is the time involved in getting to Mars. The trajectory of our unmanned spacecraft minimizes the energy costs through the spiral transfer, while the free-return trajectory of the manned mission minimizes time and maximizes safety.These transfers specify our launch windows, and give us an idea of how long the crew can stay on Mars.
Another constraint on our Mission is the distance of Mars, and the effect it has on communications. Lag times of between 4 and 40 minutes must be taken into account, and a satellite network must be sent to Mars before the mission can begin. This is a safety issue, as it is essential that we minimize the communication black-out periods, and ensure that the communication link is operational before the astronauts launch, and during their stay on Mars.