In this paper a novel global optimisation approach is used to search for potentially interesting solutions for a mission to Mars. The approach blends the characteristics of evolutionary algorithms with the systematic search, typical of branching 11 techniques. Solutions for a roundtrip to Mars, either direct or via Venus, considering long and short stays on Mars or free return trajectories are considered, thus providing a comprehensive view of all the opportunities within a wide range of possible 13 launch dates. Finally, electric propulsion options are investigated including the possibility of using Mars’ Lagrangian points for a low cost capture. The proposed global search was effectively able to find globally minimal Av solutions for Earth–Mars 15 roundtrips giving the expected characterisation of the problem under study. Moreover, it will be shown how the method was able to automatically rediscover known solutions along with new ones of practical interest for future Mars exploration.
- evolutionary branching
- space flight