So the problem is Mars has the wrong amount of atmosphere.
We’ve been able to land there before, she replied.
Nothing this heavy.
We could use thrusters like on the moon.
It would take too much fuel, he said.
Why not airbags, she inquired.
Above a metric ton they won’t work. Besides you will hit with between 10 and 20 g’s. Ok for robots but people break easier.
Not enough atmosphere. To slow you down enough it would have to be about 100 meters across. And there is no way to get something that large to open safely at supersonic speeds. You would be on the ground before it fully inflated. You can use aerobraking down to about mach 5. From there you have 90 seconds to get sub sonic or crash.
You’re telling me we’re screwed.
No, I’m saying that if we don’t figure out a way to get humans to the surface, it just isn’t worth the trip.
Wilson coughed. I have a thought. What if we…
There are times I wonder about Wilson, and other times I’m sure. And this time he sure got it right.