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Would it be possible to move the ISS to an orbit of the sun, say 120 million miles away from the sun, putting it halfway between Earth and Mars? If it was purged of oxygen there would be little or no oxidation. Heating and cooling might be tricky! Perhaps it could be a staging/emergency post for Mars?

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    $\begingroup$ Orbits do not work that way. In order to go to Mars, you don't first go half-way to Mars. Look up Hohmann transfer. $\endgroup$ – Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Sep 14 '17 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ I think the ITN could better be used as we could use the moon as a gravity assist. As I said ISS used as a way station with supplies etc, even fuel maybe. Just in case something going wrong early on in a journey. $\endgroup$ – Bernard Smith Sep 14 '17 at 12:02
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    $\begingroup$ @BernardSmith you cannot "stop at the fuel station" when flying from Earth toward Mars. That's just not how spaceflight works. $\endgroup$ – jkavalik Sep 14 '17 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ Earth and Mars can be at the same side of the Sun, but also at opposit sides of the sun. Halfway is not a fixed location and there is no orbit around Sun possible where the ISS would stay between Earth and Mars. The orbits of Earth, Mars and the ISS have different periods. If Earth and Mars will be in minimal distance next time, the ISS may be yery far away at opposite side of the Sun. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Sep 14 '17 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ @called2voyage I figured that was covered in the warranty clause ;-) $\endgroup$ – Tristan Sep 14 '17 at 14:18
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Putting it half-way between Earth and Mars doesn't make as much sense as you think. It's something akin to putting a ship half-way between two other ships. It's a moving target, and doesn't really make sense as a result. The closest is something like the Deep Space Gateway, which orbits the Moon, although that is of questionable value.

There is some discussion of moving the ISS to be a deep space space station. At best, a small part of the station could be used. Simply put, the radiation, thermal, and power systems are all designed to be in low Earth orbit, and wouldn't function well at anything else.

A purposely build mission to store fuel could quickly and easily be developed, and would be far easier than trying to bring the entire Space Station somewhere. It would also probably do the job better.

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  • $\begingroup$ I understand the radiation issues with LEO vs. elswhere but I have not heard the thermal and power systems are similarly designed for LEO. $\endgroup$ – Brooks Nelson Sep 14 '17 at 18:28

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