Making the Trip to Mars Cheaper and Easier: The Case for Ballistic Capture
A new proposal for sending craft to Mars could save money and offer more flexible launch windows. Credit: NASA
When sending spacecraft to Mars, the current, preferred method involves shooting spacecraft towards Mars at full-speed, then performing a braking maneuver once the ship is close enough to slow it down and bring it into orbit.
Known as the “Hohmann Transfer” method, this type of maneuver is known to be effective. But it is also quite expensive and relies very heavily on timing. Hence why a new idea is being proposed which would involve sending the spacecraft out ahead of Mars’ orbital path and then waiting for Mars to come on by and scoop it up.
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