Possible International Cooperation in Organizing a Mission to Mars
At present, only two countries, Russia and USA, have the intellectual resources, the experience in the implementation of large manned spaceflight
projects, and the industrial infrastructure required for independently developing an interplanetary vehicle to put man on Mars.
However, the experience of the international space station construction has demonstrated the feasibility and advisability of developing such
large-scale space projects on the basis of the international cooperation.
Such cooperation can take different forms.
For example, US has a considerable experience in crew landing on and taking off from the lunar surface, as well as in landing robotic spacecraft
on Mars. That is why it would be reasonable, if it were US who would assume the prime role for developing the lander, one of the most critical
elements of the mission.
Russia has accumulated a considerable experience in building and operating space stations. The tasks performed by the Interplanetary Orbiter are
very similar to those of habitable modules of space stations. That is why Russia could assume the prime role in the development of such spacecraft.
If RSC Energia's concept for the Interplanetary Vehicle is accepted, the prime role in the development of the solar-powered space tug could
belong to both US and Russia. But in any case, it will use Russian technologies for creating transformable structures and for their deployment by the
This is just one of the possible cooperation options, but there could be others, where European countries, Japan and Canada could also take part.
In case a decision to proceed with this work is made, it is advisable to establish an international committee to coordinate preparation of
materials required for decision making at the level of the governments of the partner countries. This committee will set up working groups
to address mutual relationships of the partners with regard to cooperation, distribution of work, and generation of the mission concept.