Space Shuttles to Mars?

Space.com Article: Mars trip proposed for Space Shuttles
From the article:
The co-founder of a
rocket launch firm has proposed an audacious plan to send astronauts on a one-way trek to Mars using a pair of tethered U.S. space shuttles that would parachute to the Martian surface.
"My thought paper is a mental exercise to encourage new ideas," Knight told SPACE.com in an e-mail interview.

Instead of mothballing NASA's aging shuttle fleet in 2010, two of the orbiters could be launched with SpaceHab's Research Double Modules in their respective cargo bays for living space.

The two shuttles would be connected in orbit - cargo bay to cargo bay - by a truss outfitted with a central rocket engine to provide the thrust necessary to leave Earth orbit. An inflatable connecting corridor between the two shuttle airlocks would provide astronaut access between the linked spacecraft.


Once underway, the spent rocket engine and its support truss could be jettisoned, and the connecting corridor and a cable tether linking the two space shuttles to extended outward a few hundred feet. The shuttles would then fire their thrusters in concert to enter a gentle spin that could provide slight gravity for the months-long flight through interplanetary space.

Crazy? or... Crazy?

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