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Mars Direct; Habitation module

The habitation module is launched using the same type of booster as the Earth Return Vehicle, and contains a crew of four.

The module stands about 5 meters high, and about 8 meters in diameter, consisting of 2 decks each with 2.5 meters (about 8 feet) of headroom and a floor area of about 100 square meters (about 1000 square feet).

The hab has a closed loop life support system capable of recycling oxygen and water, whole food for 3 years, and a large supply of dehydrated emergency rations.

It also has a pressurised ground car powered by a methane / oxygen internal combustion engine.

The crew consist of a biogeochemist, a geologist, a pilot who is also a competent flight engineer, and a jack of all trades flight engineer with a science and medical background.

After launch, the habitation module and the spent upper stage of the launch vehicle rotate at 2 rpm around each other on a 330 meter long, unpowered tether. This proves adequate to provide artificial gravity on the journey to mars.

The journey takes 180 days, but as there is gravity, this is no hardship. After the crew have spent a year and a half exploring the planet, they climb into the earth return vehicle, and launch themselves on a six month journey back to earth.