This curious answer shows an image of a liquid-fueled Mars Ascent Vehicle with a sign in front that only says

Two Stage Mars Ascent Vehicle

enter image description here

Question: Is there some NASA program associated with it so that we could read about it further?

Hopefully that would allow us to learn

  • Does it have another name?
  • Are there really two stages present in this image?
  • How does that work?
  • Where do you sit?

So far I haven't located the control panel with YeTMS the Astronaut Bear:

enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It was probably for a sample return mission. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 3:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ google image search leads to this 2013 Wired article $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say that vehicle is 1 m tall (it's sitting on a table). Not a manned vehicle. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 11:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think the "where would you sit" is a humorous reference to red planet Hobbes $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ Val Kilmer? What are you talking about? $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 13:12

1 Answer 1

  1. It was just called the MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle), and was part of a 1997 study on how to do MSR (Mars Sample Return). The purpose of the study was to guide technology development, and in fact it resulted in the development of thruster that could use MON-3 oxidizer (instead of the standard MON-25), in order to lower the freezing temperature of the propellants. That would greatly reduce the thermal control required while the MAV waited on the surface of Mars for samples to be collected.
  2. Yes. The circle of larger tanks on the bottom is the first stage. If you look carefully, you can see the bottom half of another set of tanks, which are the second stage.
  3. The second stage engine is in the middle, and the two first stage engines are around the periphery. To some extent, the first stage is a torus that is wrapped around the second stage. You can see two small attitude control thrusters for the second stage.
  4. It was designed to get 500 grams of Martian samples into low Mars orbit.
  • $\begingroup$ Wired sez (found here) "...twin main engines and four attitude control thrusters in the MAV’s first stage and four main engines in its second stage would need to burn exotic chemical propellants that would not freeze during the frigid martian night. This would complicate MAV engine design, increasing cost and introducing risk." Are there any non-laurel-based sources you can add? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ I don't doubt your information, but it's always good to add supporting links or citations, and I asked "Is there some NASA program associated with it so that we could read about it further?" Or if you can point me in the right direction with some key words or author names I can do some searching myself. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 23:49
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Sorry, I don't have any references. It's just from memory, since I was in charge of those studies. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Adler
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 16:49

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