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Sixteen landmark papers, studies, reports, and proposals from 1968 through September 2012 trace the evolution of NASA-related concepts for the human exploration of Mars. Manned missions to the red planet have been rejected by some presidents (Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton) and endorsed by others (Bush 41, Bush 43, and Obama). In the past five decades, planners and scientists have drawn up plans that attempt to overcome serious obstacles to these missions, which - as the saying goes - always seem to be decades away. This unique compilation provides a superb overview of manned Mars flight planning.

The compilation, arranged in chronological order, begins with the first volume of the 1968 Boeing "manned interplanetary spacecraft" study and von Braun's 1969 Space Task Group presentation. The 1986 Working Group Summary Report contains the Shuttle-era ideas presented at an LANL/Marshall meeting. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush unveiled the Space Exploration Initiative; our compilation includes the incisive book about the failure of the SEI, Mars Wars, as well as the infamous NASA 90-day study report. Our next reports come from 2005 and 2008, with planning group analysis of scientific exploration goals of human missions.

From 2009, we have the latest NASA Mars Design Reference Architecture 5.0, along with an alternative austere mission concept, both using elements of the Constellation program.

There are seven reports and documents from 2012, including the newly released and influential Mars Program Planning Group report on robotic and manned missions; papers on human exploration and precursors, strategic knowledge gaps for solar system exploration, two NASA headquarters documents outlining potential manned exploration missions under the latest Obama administration plan, and testimony in September 2012 before House and Senate space committees on exploration goals, the Space Launch System rocket, and the Orion crew capsule.

Contents: Chapter 1 - 1968 - Boeing Integrated Manned Interplanetary Spacecraft Concept Definition * Chapter 2 - 1969 - Manned Mars Landing Presentation To The Space Task Group * Chapter 3 - 1986 - Manned Mars Missions Working Group Summary Report * Chapter 4 - 1989 - Mars Wars * Chapter 5 - 2005 - Mars Human Precursor Science Steering Group * Chapter 6 - 2005 - Analysis of the Precursor Measurements of Mars Needed to Reduce the Risk of the First Human Mission to Mars * Chapter 7 - 2008 - Planning for the Scientific Exploration of Mars by Humans by the MEPAG Human Exploration of Mars Science Analysis Group * Chapter 8 - 2009 - Austere Human Missions to Mars * Chapter 9 - 2009 - Human Exploration of Mars Design Reference Architecture 5.0 * Chapter 10 - 2012 - Human Exploration and Precursors * Chapter 11 - 2012 - NASA Exploration Destinations, Goals, and International Collaboration * Chapter 12 - 2012 - Mars Program Planning Group September 2012 Report * Chapter 13 - 2012 - Strategic Knowledge Gaps: Planning for Safe, Effective, and Efficient Human Exploration of the Solar System * Chapter 14 - 2012 - Analysis of Strategic Knowledge Gaps Associated with Potential Human Missions to the Martian System * Chapter 15 - 2012 - Voyages: Charting the Course for Sustainable Human Space Exploration * Chapter 16 - 2012 - Senate and House Hearings on Exploration Goals, SLS, and Orion

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