Ariane V
Ariane is too small to really take up a great deal,  20 tonnes at best. Like moving house in a station wagon.

A good rocket, but for a manned mission, too small.

Shuttle-C The space shuttle was always critically flawed through the fact that the shuttle must ride with the booster stack to orbit since the main boosters engines are on the shuttle and not the tank (unlike Energia!).

So, in essence, the STS booster stack always has to carry 60 tonnes of dead weight up in the form of the Shuttle! Shuttle-C proposes building a special cargo type shuttle which could be loaded with more equipment. The problem, itís hella expensive, the STS booster stack also uses primitive solid rocket boosters, and again, cargo space is somewhat limited. This is just a primitive, expensive version of Energia that doesnít exist.

Magnum - No, not the Derek Zoolander look, but rather a rocket proposed by NASA to launch a Mars mission.

The main problem with Magnum is that it does not exist and would take YEARS to develop and test and LOTS of money. It requires a lot of new technology (think X-33 fiasco). Magnum would require the creation of liquid propellant boosters, which would first have to be tested on the Space Shuttle. It would also have less capacity than Energia anyway. All up, potentially an OK rocket but why wait to design/build/fund this when you can just use Energia! This thing will take FOREVER to get off the ground, if at all.

Saturn V
Some people say revive Saturn-V, well this is a 40 year old rocket design! The costs of reviving this rocket would also be prohibitive.

Besides NASA apparently lost the plans! In any case, Saturn V is dead and buried.

So you see, itís really quite simple, the easiest method to get a real Mars mission up into space soon is to restart Energia. Itís by far the cheapest and most realistic scenario out of all those available.

Small note: I still have to add the Delta rocket to this list and Proton, but the outcome is the same;)

Hereís a look at some of the other heavy lift options other than Energia...

Photos/3d models from
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