Boeing suggests Deep Space Gateway for Mars missions

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002
Boeing has suggested building a manned station which it names the Deep Space Gateway, on the other side of the moon, for staging missions to Mars:

Boeing details 'Deep Space Gateway' for Mars mission staging

First, the “Deep Space Gateway”, a space station it's envisioned will be positioned in Cislunar space, which is to say in or beyond the orbit of the Moon rather than in Earth orbit. Boeing's developed a design for that facility it says could be hauled into place with just four SLS missions. NASA's fact sheet (PDF) for the SLS explains its cargo-carrying variants should have sufficient capacity to launch “a small deep-space habitat module” so we're guessing Boeing's singing from that hymn sheet with variation or two of its own.


The Gateway would also be the staging point for the “Deep Space Transport vehicle” that would make the trek to Mars.


The cynic in me thinks this is more of a sales & marketing pitch than a serious science project. Still, it's an interesting concept to note.
We'll see how much Boeing wants from the US to build it. Perhaps an independent company will beat them to it, and merely charge for usage.
I believe the biggest problem is dealing with radiation, at least it should be close to the top of their list. People getting sick and dying is not great for your reputation. Surely they must be aware of this...
Oh, they will find the money. Don't forget there are others interested to be the first to explore whatever minerals could be found on Mars. Human on Mars is tomorrow's reality.
At the very least this is the right track for solar system exploration. With the cost of getting out of earth's gravity well, any ship with today's technology is doomed to an incredibly long flight to Mars. Building and flying from outer space is the way to go! (I would bet there's at least one Fredrick Pohl fan in the group.... "Gateway." I love the name.)
It wouldn't surprise me if a private company or association of linked companies got there "first". Private international companies have a vast pool of wealth and resources and are not bound by the same needs to support things like education, infrastructure etc... that drains government budgets.

Also whilst they have accountability they don't have to think in election year stretches; although if they've shareholders they do end up often thinking in shareholder meeting stretches.

Space travel will happen, its more a case of when than if - although the if is still sort of there as it will only happen during periods of relative stability. Whilst conflict advances science its unlikely that any major war would accelerate development in that direction. The reward might be there, but it might take decades to realise.
Right now, the goal is to send astronauts on Mars in early 2030's, which means we all be alive to witness it. :)

NASA is on a journey to Mars, with a goal of sending humans to the Red Planet in the 2030s. That journey is already well under way.

For decades, the agency and its partners have sent orbiters, landers and rovers, dramatically increasing our knowledge about the Red Planet and paving the way for future human explorers. The Curiosity rover has gathered radiation data to help us protect future astronauts, and the upcoming Mars 2020 rover will study the availability of Martian resources, including oxygen.

Journey to Mars Overview
Whilst I'd like to believe that, we've not been to the moon in a very very long time. One would think a prelude to going to Mars would have been multiple more lunar landings.
Whilst I'd like to believe that, we've not been to the moon in a very very long time. One would think a prelude to going to Mars would have been multiple more lunar landings.

I don't think they found anything worth exploring on the Moon. No reason to go back and spend so much money and energy, if you cannot get anything in exchange.

The photos below were taken on the Moon by China in Feb, 2016.



There might not be resources there, but there's an alien world and ample space to practice landing and take-off. A chance to collect data and build up more reliable models for spacecraft design for landings; plus give astronauts more expensive on another world not just in the dead of space. Currently there are no astronauts of fit and able body who have ever walked on anything but the Earth.

It would make sense to me to practice even if the moon is a very different environment.
The way I understand it, the Moon is a great outpost for further exploration, there is ice there, which can be split into hydrogen and oxygen, and will be useful for fuelling rockets. It is also a sixth of Earth's gravity with no atmosphere so it is easy to launch from there.

Everything is still quite theoretical in my head though, I am not convinced from what I read.

Edit: @Overread you beat me to the punch. :)
Here's the thing, even if you launch from there you've still got to get all the raw resources for construction there. So you've still got to launch a lot of rockets - potentially even more than if you launched the actual mars mission from Earth. The bonus is really in launching many smaller packages instead of fewer bigger ones.

We've already enough smaller packages in space that there's a whole legal system that has arisen to govern and sue each other for when satellites bump into each other.
NASA made a very strange statement 7 or 8 years ago, when they were talking about "going back" to the moon. The statesman said, "It'll take some time; we'll have to develop the technology."


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