On the topic of redundant systems, would it be possible to send a robotic proto-pre base to Mars? Basically a very large scale probe that would land on the surfact where the base is projected to be, with large amounts of spare parts and consumables?
That is sort of the plan as of now from NASA.
The cargo lander and surface habitat would be sent to Mars separately, launched before the crew in December 2028 and January 2029.
Actually in the 2000 film Red Planet
that is what they did. The surface habitat though was destroyed before the astronauts arrival.
Due to the storms on the planet that is a real concern.
The extra cost of robots would be a good idea though so they could survey the actual area around the landing site after landing, a year before the humans arrive.
The study Project M
above mentions an orbital station around Mars
three pressurized modules: two of them will remain in a Low Mars Orbit for further human missions while the third module is used as an Earth Return Vehicle
. seems right on as it would be a lot less stuff to send at once with the mission. Extra fuel, oxygen, food, spacesuits, water could be sent as well in advance during an unmanned mission.
I can forsee the redundant systems being added to an orbital station long before a manned mission down to the planet itself.
Yes it would be a huge letdown but I think we will see astronauts travel that far to orbit the planet as the first part of 2 or 3 missions all planned together.
As far as training it is possible that NASA will send the actual crew to both
Mars Desert Research Station [MDRS] and Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station [FMARS] for 2 weeks to 1 month at each station during the winter but using real
spacesuits for all exterior activities to simulate Mars
NASA may even build a pressurized replica of the actual HAB to be used on Mars at the MDRS and FMARS sites and/or at Johnson Space Center
All Mars-mission astronauts would train there before going to an extended period at a desert or arctic research station location to simulate psychological isolation.