Pathfinder class

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This will probably be a solo mission with a two week long surface stay.

The explorer will be launched, ride out in, and land "standing" in the lander, in their Surface_Suit. Once on site, the explorer will dig in using any number of techniques and equipment varying from a pick and shovel to a powered machine to explosive loosening/clearing.

Once in the cleared hole, he will either place a small inflatable structure, or more likely, an overhead cover. The overhead cover will be recovered with the removed regolith to provide a 2-3m thick cover for thermal and radiation protection. Whatever power, communication or other equipment will be set-up. (Probably removed from the lander.)

Once completed, the explorer will do a combination of scientific studies and prepare the site for the Outpost to follow on the next mission.

After a productive length stay (2 week nominal), if the explorer is still in good shape/spirits, the build team will be sent with additional consumables supplies. If not the explorer will again mount the lander, and use it to launch back to Earth. The lander may provide some limited braking before Earth orbital entry.

Landing will either be in the form of a GE "Project Moose" style or an inflatable heat shield. (Note, there are several examples of each. a simple web search will provide many of them.) This discussion of inflatable re-entry is also interesting. Georgia Tech has done some very cool research on the use of Ballute Entry Systems for Lunar Return Missions

Parachute to safety from the last 30,000 to 100,000 feet, and all is well!

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