Could you explain a little bit about how you came to work on this project?

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SpaceWorks has evaluated a number of Mars mission architectures over the years, from both a performance and cost perspective. Mars exploration is a tough problem that will require a lot of technology development work to get to a feasible system in the foreseeable future. Traditionally, the technology focus is on the propulsion system, as there are a lot of gains to be made there. However, propulsion technology tends to be a very expensive investment area. We wanted to focus on a different aspect of the mission that may be equally advantageous and could be synergistic with any advances in propulsion capability. This naturally led to a focus on the crew and associated systems, with a goal of trying to reduce their ‘footprint,’ or mass contribution to the system.