SpaceX has downselected 7 potential Mars landing sites for Starship

On September 2019 it was revealed SpaceX has chosen a number of Starship candidate touchdown websites on Mars. The candidate websites have been situated in Southern Arcadia Planitia East of Erebus Montes and one in Phlegra Montes.

Since then SpaceX has performed a number of workshops with the Mars science to guage and slim the record of candidate touchdown websites. All of the websites should match a number of standards:

  1. near important deposits of water/ice, a required useful resource for in situ propellant manufacturing and a consumable to help habitation;
  2. elevation under -2 km (with respect to the MOLA geoid) that may help the supply of enormous payloads, with -Three km most popular;
  3. latitude should be <40° for solar energy and thermal administration, and nearer to the equator is fascinating;
  4. a number of separate touchdown areas spaced inside just a few km of one another, to help the a number of missions wanted to develop an outpost;
  5. slopes ought to be <5° over a 10 m size scale and the prospect of impacting a higher than 0.5 m excessive (1 m diameter) ought to be <5%;
  6. touchdown web site should be radar reflective to allow measurement of the space to the floor, and it should be load bearing to help the spacecraft at landing.

Not too long ago an summary with the conclusions has been printed, mentioning four prime and Three secondary potential Starship touchdown websites chosen for additional examine and situated in Phlegra Montes, Erebus Montes and Southern Arcadia Planitia:

  • PM-1 has the bottom latitude and elevation of the Phlegra Montes websites, a transparent affiliation with LDAs (native ice deposits expressed as lobate particles aprons), properly developed polygons, and has the best SWIM (Subsurface Water Ice Mapping) rating for geomorphic indicators of ice;
  • AP-1 (Arcadia Planitia) seems to be one of many most secure websites and has a average mixed SWIM rating for ice;
  • AP-9 has the thickest ice from radar returns (of the Arcadia Planitia websites) and geomorphology indicating shallow ice. It has the best mixed SWIM rating for ice, however seems rocky and tough;
  • EM-16 has a transparent affiliation with an LDA with close by mind terrain and the strongest radar for shallow ice and the best mixed SWIM rating of the Erebus Montes websites;
  • AP-8 (Arcadia Planitia) seems to be one of many most secure websites and has the best neutron and mixed SWIM scores for ice;
  • EM-15 (Erebus Montes) is related to a outstanding however much less intensive LDA, has properly developed polygons, close by mind terrain and seems easy;
  • PM-7 is adjoining to lineated valley fill (attributed to glacial stream) and appeared the most secure of the Phlegra websites.

We highlighted chosen ★ prime and ★ secondary websites on the map:

7 potential sites for SpaceX Starship Mars landing
Mars heightmap (180 in center)

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