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Old 09-10-2020, 07:05 AM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Default The REAL Mars Snooper?

Hello All,

Seeing the illustration of the real (actually proposed) Mars Snooper, which John Brohm is now using in his YORF message headers (*here* is a larger version, with a vehicle description), got me wondering--are there dimensioned drawings of, and/or information on, the full-scale vehicle still in existence? This is why I ask:

At the Lutheran school in Miami where I attended the fourth grade in the mid-1970s, the school library had--in addition to then-current books--a good number of 1950s-vintage books about aviation and space flight, including interplanetary exploration. One of them had another painting (by the book's artist, who depicted it from a different angle than the linked-to illustration) of the Mars Snooper. Also:

The book's text described the Mars Snooper as an actual atomic-powered (rocket *and* ramjet [in Mars' atmosphere <and maybe in Earth's, too>, where it would fly like an airplane]) spaceship design, which was then under study. Its name came from its intended mission profile; it would "snoop out" Mars from close range, but couldn't land on the planet, although it could (as shown in the illustration in this posting) land on the tiny Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, because their gravitational fields are negligible. The vehicle's spindly landing legs could easily support it on either satellite (where its effective weight would be measured in pounds rather than tons), and:

The actual vehicle, as the included illustration shows, had a many-ribbed (cooling fins, or close-fitting covers for coolant fluid tubes, perhaps?) spherical atomic engine section at the rear (which became the front when the ship flew backwards through air, under atomic ramjet power). Presumably Estes, to make their Mars Snooper kit easier to produce, simplified the ribbed sphere to be a double-frustum (with a few, "representative ribs") section instead, and this raises another question:

Was the Mars Snooper's "companion kit," the Mars Lander, a wholly fictitious design dreamed up by Estes, or was there an actual--although perhaps a bit different--proposed Mars Lander design, which Estes adapted for their Mars Lander kit? I have read many--although not all--of the 1950s and 1960s Mars expedition proposals, and I've never come across any landing vehicle design that looked like the Estes Mars Lander. (The closest were the lifting body Martian Taxi [see: and <a little way down the "screen-page">], and the later--after Mariner 4 revealed how thin Mars' atmosphere really is--MEM [Mars Excursion Module, which looked like an over-sized Apollo Command Module: <beginning about 6/7ths of the way down the "screen-page"; there are plenty of MEM drawings and paintings, with dimensional and performance data>].) Both would make nice Future/Fiction Scale model rockets--the Martian Taxi could be a boost-glider (the full-scale Martian Taxi would work on Titan), and the MEM would make a good, simple Mars Lander-type model, with working deployable landing gear (Quest Aerospace's conical Planet Probe kit could be kit-bashed into a simple MEM model).

I hope this information will be helpful.
Black Shire--Draft horse in human form, model rocketeer, occasional mystic, and writer, see:
All of my book proceeds go to the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre
NAR #54895 SR
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