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 2 added 22 characters in body edited Apr 28 '16 at 19:34 Russell Borogove 105k44 gold badges373373 silver badges455455 bronze badges It's definitely viable. By the rocket equation: $$∆v = v_e \ln \frac {m_0} {m_f}$$ Methane-LOX gives an exhaust velocity around 3500m/s. Mars surface to orbit requires the expenditure of about 3800 m/s of ∆v. So the ratio of initial (fully fueled) mass to final (fuel spent) mass need only be around  : $$e^{\frac {3800} {3500}}$$ = or $$e^{1.09}$$  or about 3:1 -- 2 tons of propellant per 1 ton of empty ship/payload. This is as compared to an Earth-launched SSTO, which needs about 9500 m/s, about a 15:1 mass ratio for methalox! It's definitely viable. By the rocket equation: $$∆v = v_e \ln \frac {m_0} {m_f}$$ Methane-LOX gives an exhaust velocity around 3500m/s. Mars surface to orbit requires the expenditure of about 3800 m/s of ∆v. So the ratio of initial (fully fueled) mass to final (fuel spent) mass need only be around  $$e^{\frac {3800} {3500}}$$ = $$e^{1.09}$$ or 3:1 -- 2 tons of propellant per 1 ton of empty ship/payload. This is as compared to an Earth-launched SSTO, which needs about 9500 m/s, about a 15:1 mass ratio for methalox! It's definitely viable. By the rocket equation: $$∆v = v_e \ln \frac {m_0} {m_f}$$ Methane-LOX gives an exhaust velocity around 3500m/s. Mars surface to orbit requires the expenditure of about 3800 m/s of ∆v. So the ratio of initial (fully fueled) mass to final (fuel spent) mass need only be around: $$e^{\frac {3800} {3500}}$$ or $$e^{1.09}$$  or about 3:1 -- 2 tons of propellant per 1 ton of empty ship/payload. This is as compared to an Earth-launched SSTO, which needs about 9500 m/s, about a 15:1 mass ratio for methalox! 1 answered Apr 28 '16 at 19:28 Russell Borogove 105k44 gold badges373373 silver badges455455 bronze badges It's definitely viable. By the rocket equation: $$∆v = v_e \ln \frac {m_0} {m_f}$$ Methane-LOX gives an exhaust velocity around 3500m/s. Mars surface to orbit requires the expenditure of about 3800 m/s of ∆v. So the ratio of initial (fully fueled) mass to final (fuel spent) mass need only be around $$e^{\frac {3800} {3500}}$$ = $$e^{1.09}$$ or 3:1 -- 2 tons of propellant per 1 ton of empty ship/payload. This is as compared to an Earth-launched SSTO, which needs about 9500 m/s, about a 15:1 mass ratio for methalox!