In depth Mars flight trajectory studies

In summary: But there are also online tutorials that go into more depth.In summary, Bandersnatch says that someone with a college-level understanding of astronomy should be able to understand the basics of the Hohmann transfer orbit, which can be found on the NASA website. He also recommends supplementing this information with online tutorials. Marcus agrees that Orbiter is a helpful tool, and provides some additional advice for people just starting out.
  • #1
Can anyone point me in the direction of any published scientific work involving the study of Earth to Mars flight trajectories? I am thinking of researching this topic for a project and I would like to know about the work that has already been done.
 
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  • #2
What is your level of knowledge on the subject?
 
  • #3
Bandersnatch I really like your responses to newcomer questions (e.g. this guy's second post). You hit the nail on the head every time AFAICS and often go into more depth, more concisely, than many are used to.
Taylor, you could not do better than tell Bander your level of knowledge and see what he says.

I can GUESS what he'll say based on what I GUESS you'll say your level is. It sounds like a HS project you are considering.

my guess (just for fun) is that he will say to look up "Hohmann transfer ellipse." or "Hohmann transfer orbit". It is the first type of orbit you should understand. Just wait. I'll bet that's the next topic of conversation.

Bander, thanks for supporting forum quality like you do.
 
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  • #4
Cheers, marcus. You're way too kind.

Luckily, the OP seems to have left, so I won't have to try and possibly fail at living up to the hype. Perhaps your mentioning of Hohmann transfer orbits was enough after all.

But in case he does come back sometime later, and so as not to make your post - praising a single sentence - look like a sarcastic quip, let me add some hopefully useful ramblings.The thing about orbital manoeuvres is that they've been mostly figured out theoretically by the early pioneers like Hohmann, Oberth and Tsiolkovsky some hundred years ago. As such, they will be covered not in original scientific papers, but in venerable textbooks.

The Hohmann transfer orbit is one such age-old concept. Any college-level introductory book on astronomy will have it at least mentioned. A dedicated book on orbital mechanics will do so in more detail.
If you can't access, or be bothered to sift through such books, there is also a plethora of very good material available online.
The very basics presented conceptually only can be found on the NASA website:
http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/basics/bsf4-1.php
and a fine rigorous treatment is accessible from MIT open courseware:
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/aeronautics-and-astronautics/16-07-dynamics-fall-2009/lecture-notes/
(lecture #17 specifically - it's in-depth but doesn't require any advanced calculus)

In general, the fundamentals of Hohmann transfer orbits can be understood with little more than energy conservation equations.

As far as I can tell, most of advancements in the area are left to the engineering and number crunching side of things. But there is some theoretical research trying to fine-tune some of the details too. This paper, for example:
Earth--Mars Transfers with Ballistic Capture; F.Toputto, E.Belbruno
is one of such attempts. If this is the level of 'in-depth studies' required, then I'd advise to follow the sources from that article and see where they get you.
 
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Likes marcus
  • #5
Thanks Bandersnatch, my knowledge of the subject isn't very advanced right now. I recently began studying orbital mechanics due to my own interest in the subject as well as my interest in Mars.
 
  • #6
Alright! For people new to the subject, but driven, I always recommend the free spacecraft simulator Orbiter as a supplement. It's one thing to learn about orbits in a dry textbook-and-equation format, another to sit in a cockpit and make use of the ideas to actually fly around the solar system.
Get it from here:
http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/
The manual itself is a good primer on orbital mechanics.
 

1. What is a Mars flight trajectory study?

A Mars flight trajectory study is a detailed analysis of the path that a spacecraft would take to travel from Earth to Mars. It involves considering various factors such as the positions of the planets, the gravitational pull of different celestial bodies, and the spacecraft's propulsion system to determine the most efficient and accurate route for the spacecraft to take.

2. Why is it important to conduct in-depth Mars flight trajectory studies?

Conducting in-depth Mars flight trajectory studies is crucial for the success of any mission to Mars. It helps scientists and engineers understand the complexities involved in space travel and ensures that the spacecraft reaches Mars safely and accurately. These studies also help in optimizing the use of resources and reducing the overall cost of the mission.

3. What methods are used in in-depth Mars flight trajectory studies?

In-depth Mars flight trajectory studies use a combination of mathematical models, computer simulations, and real-world data to determine the most efficient and accurate flight path. Scientists also take into account various factors such as the spacecraft's launch date, the position of Mars in its orbit, and potential hazards along the way.

4. How long does it take to conduct an in-depth Mars flight trajectory study?

The length of time it takes to conduct an in-depth Mars flight trajectory study can vary depending on the complexity of the mission and the resources available. It can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete these studies, as they involve extensive research and testing to ensure the accuracy of the results.

5. What are some of the challenges in conducting in-depth Mars flight trajectory studies?

One of the main challenges in conducting in-depth Mars flight trajectory studies is the constantly changing nature of space. Factors such as solar flares, gravitational pull from other planets, and other unforeseen events can affect the trajectory of a spacecraft. Therefore, scientists must continually monitor and adjust the flight path to ensure a successful mission to Mars.

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