Since this is the Science and Technology forum I'd like to address the trip from Earth to Mars. I believe it will be the 7 month journey but to the astronauts it will feel like they are just on the Intl.Space Station and not moving.
Will any EVAs be required every 60 days for inspections of the hull? Will a robotic arm with an HD camera be able to do it?
Is a centrifuge like in "Mission to Mars" (2000), "Red Planet" (2000) and "2010" (1986) going to really happen?
Re: Budgetary/Funding discussion
I swear I am going to create a thread in the Misc. subforum for that!. Please can you get back to the Science and Technology of the topic? As science fiction fans we all are speculating on the science anyway...
Agreed, I'll stick with the actual topic.
I'd definitely say that EVA walks will be necessary, even in addition to a robotic repair arm. I mean, what would you do if the arm itself was what needed repairing/inspection? How easy it would be to repair may be another matter, or the hull in fact.
I'm not sure about a centrifuge being used for such a journey, how big would a vessel have to be for the circular nature of the floor not to be unobtrusive (if that concern means anything)? Such curvature in a small vessel might make the actual design of the workspaces inflight more complicated to make the simulated gravity worth anything.
Unless say you were to have certain sections with a centrifuge, say the gynasium, which I'm pretty sure would be required in a vessel for such a long journey, if the astronauts are to keep up their muscular strength.
Such modularisation might require a lander module, for a dedicated landing and take off, while other modules are responsible for intra-planetary flight control and the like.