Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mars for Less: The Blue Period

Ariane SRB Sep
I've been working with Andy McSorley, Mark Paton, and Grant Bonin on an Orbiter add-on to simulate the MarsDrive Consortium Mars for Less (MFL) mission (work in progress, more info here). Andy just sent over his latest mods to the Ariane-5 booster (I like the logos) and his "Proteus" modular booster stage. Four of these 25 tonne modules will be assembled (possibly by remote control) in LEO and mated to one of two Mars bound spacecraft, the initially uncrewed ERV (Earth return vehicle) or the crewed MTSV (Mars transfer and surface vehicle). The spacecraft are Mark's area, still in progress (I've shown some sneak previews in earlier posts). For the complete MFL story, see the MarsDrive web site.

I installed EndeavorCmdr's recent "atmospheric realism" enhancement, and while it does have a few small artifacts I'm not sure about (e.g., the visible steps in the horizon gradient), those deeper blues do make the screen shots a lot more reminiscent of astronaut photos of the Earth (especially from the Gemini era). More pix on Flickr.

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