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#1 2004-06-19 22:50:47

Timeslicer
Member
From: Arizona
Registered: 2004-06-19
Posts: 27

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Why not plan a one-way colonization mission to Mars?

Take Zubrin's plan to the next step - send a fuel and air factory, but also send a food factory, able to produce simple sugars or starches from scratch.  Send along plants and fish grown from eggs in robot tended container farms.  (Test a variety of animals at Mars gravity in a spinning orbital lab. )  Send plenty of spare equipment and tools to let colonists make just about anything. 

When it's all working well, send humans TO STAY, with a lifetime-financed support staff on Earth to provide them with information and advice.  And of course resupply missions can be launched every few years - or if they're doing fine, send more people.

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#2 2004-06-20 05:34:59

smurf975
Member
From: Netherlands
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 401
Website

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Well this is going to cost more then the 32 Billion US dollars of Mars Direct and which NASA doesn't have.

1. Fuel factory
2. Air factory
3. Food factory
4. Plants, animal embryos send into space
5. Robots that manage things
6. Spare equipment
7. Orbital spinning lab
8. Support staff
9. Resupply missions
10. More people

This all is very expensive list. There are somethings you must consider and that is

1. cost
2. research and development
3. reason
4. return on investments.

If you want to discuss this idea with any people other then sci-fi and Mars nutheads you will need a business plan.

As congress and the budget makers already have a hard time juggling all the tax income to make a solid budget, they will be hard to confince to take your idea as something more then an idea.

So basically you will have to explain:

1. How much this will cost?

2. If the things can be done with off the shelf technology and how much time it will take to develop and test something and then apply?

3. Why would we want to invest in your idea? Why do we need humans on Mars? Why not take your money and develop anti - meteor/comet technolgy and green energy?

4. What will we get back from this investment and how long will it before we see profits and as its governmental investment: How does you plan do affect the general American public?

---
Note: In reality this does not only count for your plan but all projects put forward on this forum. Basically the idea is to sell your plan to a non idealist agency with a lot of cash.

If you can do this, then maybe you can skip NASA and the government (who still support space as an idealist thing but have limited funds and a lot of independent goals) and get corporate support. You personally can still have idealist goals of course.


Waht? Tehr's a preveiw buottn?

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#3 2004-06-20 05:54:36

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

As a cost comparison,

One way trip to a Martian Lava Tube,
with a yearly resupply by Santa Claus ?

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#4 2004-06-20 08:39:15

Martian Republic
Member
From: Haltom City- Dallas/Fort Worth
Registered: 2004-06-13
Posts: 855

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Why not plan a one-way colonization mission to Mars?

Take Zubrin's plan to the next step - send a fuel and air factory, but also send a food factory, able to produce simple sugars or starches from scratch.  Send along plants and fish grown from eggs in robot tended container farms.  (Test a variety of animals at Mars gravity in a spinning orbital lab. )  Send plenty of spare equipment and tools to let colonists make just about anything. 

When it's all working well, send humans TO STAY, with a lifetime-financed support staff on Earth to provide them with information and advice.  And of course resupply missions can be launched every few years - or if they're doing fine, send more people.

You also might consider Biosphere I and II in Arizona with there test of six people which cost about twenty million dollars and it was not near as aggressive as what your talking about and it basically failed the test of being self-sufficient for only two years.

There is no way to sneak around the issue of developing the technology and building the infrastructure to do a Mars Mission and/or build a colony and/or City on Mars.

Larry,

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#5 2004-06-20 10:26:05

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

I've done some cost estimates, and I reckon it could cost about 10-20k to build a CELSS (closed ecosystem life support system). With or without R&D depending on how lucky you get. There are already materials out there to build a greenhouse. Others here have talked about a chloroplast chamber, which is also equally as feasible (just imagine a tub of delicious alge), and may be even cheaper to build on a large scale... though I'm unsure as to whether or not it could provide enough protein for very many.

You could attach a CELSS to Mars Direct and basically live there almost indefinitely (the only problem is that things can and will break down, and without the ability to repair them, you're kind of screwed; which is why I say throw some 'replication' technology in there, but of course it doesn't exist yet and the R&D to make it exist would be astronomocial...). And I think it could be very economically feasible. Just send it on its own shipment, a transhab-style (inflatable) greenhouse could be very big. Oh, and another thing, make them cover a lot of area but not be very high, the taller they are they most volume you're wasting to what could've been more land area (thus more sunlight).

Also, I have a gripe with the Biosphere 1/2 examples. They were designed to simulate nature. Not going to happen, nature needs to be very large so that extreme variations in populations can actually recoup if something happens. I mean, bacteria ruined Biosphere 2! If it was as big as a planet, it would've worked eventually. To survive on Mars, though, you don't need Bioshpere 1/2 technology, you need Russia's Bios-3 which was completely self contained (albeit on a very small scale).

Google for CELSS, imagine a transhab-style greenhouse. Even if it costed million, even five million extra, it would be worth it (especially if no return trip was envisioned- and I personally don't get in to the various "ethical" posts about it, but here's where I'll state that I don't think it's "wrong," as long as you at least throw in the ability to survive there indefinitely).


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#6 2004-06-20 18:11:47

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Nice post, Josh!
    Your comment about making the inflatable greenhouse lower and wider started me thinking. I thought about inflatable mattresses and decided a scaled-up, UV-resistant, super-tough, transparent version of one of those might do the trick.
    You could bring a few hundred wheel-barrow loads of regolith inside to line the bottom of the inflatable - providing ballast against the winds and a flat surface to walk on.

    In fact, I wondered about eventually scaling up the 'mattress' to much larger dimensions, as an alternative to huge spheres for a village-sized habitat. Admittedly, you'd have vertical cables of kevlar or CNT every so many metres, to maintain the hab's essentially slab-like shape, but you could theoretically make the internal volume as large as you like.
    The roof could be a double layer of transparent material with water stored between the layers, in pockets, for radiation protection. Over the crops, the water pockets could provide a gentle artificial rain at intervals - or would that be an inefficient use of water?
                                          ???   smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#7 2004-06-22 21:40:58

TwinBeam
Member
From: Chandler, AZ
Registered: 2004-01-14
Posts: 144

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Well this is going to cost more then the 32 Billion US dollars of Mars Direct and which NASA doesn't have.

If you want to discuss this idea with any people other then sci-fi and Mars nutheads you will need a business plan.

Well, your demand for a business plan in a discussion forum is amusing, to say the least.  Sure, if I were proposing this to NASA or a group of billionaire philanthropists, I'd need a detailed plan.  Are you either of those?   tongue

However some responses:

Much of the stuff on your lists is already in Mars Direct - and you left out several big pieces that are in Mars Direct without mentioning the savings.

In Mars Direct and my proposal - fuel factory, Air factory, lots of spares, staff, robots.  Also a nuclear power plant and HAB.

In Mars Direct, not in my proposal - spare HAB, spare nuclear power plant, two landers able to re-fuel and lift off.  BIG savings in R&D as well as manufacture and launch - probably around $5B.   Repeat missions at $7B (or more) a pop are dropped.

Not in Mars Direct, added by my proposal - several large inflatable modules (to be buried) for added living, work and greenhouse space; more variety of larger machine tools; fish and turtle eggs and plant seeds.  More people - mainly adds more life support mass for the trip and first few years - they're volunteers, not employees, and training costs are relatively small if you pick highly skilled people to begin with.  Probably about an extra $500M to launch the extra mass of life support and supplies.  Use an inflatable compartment to add more living space for the long transit, at modest added cost - call it $1B total added cost.

I also need a lander whose only purpose is to get the colonists safely down - I'm thinking that a very large dirigible or a blimp might be just the thing - lots of drag to slow the small mass of the landing capsule quickly down from orbital velocity and let it fall with a moderate terminal velocity until it hits "thicker" Mars atmosphere.  Yeah, it'll need to be BIG, but it won't need that much gas to inflate it in the near vacuum Mars conditions, and the material would be a valuable resource as well.  It can be tested, lowering the first HAB to Mars.  I'd guess maybe $2B to develop it and produce one to drop the HAB and one to drop the crew lander - and only that much because we'll want to focus on safety.

Since only the crew landing craft needs to enter orbit, the rest of the Mars Transit craft would continue on, in a cycling orbit that brings it back near Earth - allowing another group of colonists to rendezvous if desired, for maybe $2B a pop.

Resupply missions could be sent every two years, if needed.  Raw materials like refined metals can just crash land a few hundred KM away.   More senstive stuff can chute/bounce down like the rovers or blimp down like the lander.  I'd guess these missions will each cost under $200M.  The interest saved on the $7B of one Mars Direct "second mission" would pay for these, indefinitely.

Dropped from my original thinking - food animals other than fish and turtles, at least initially.  Drop orbital animal test labs too - eventually we'd send other animals there, and just see how they do - chickens probably.  Starch (food) factory to be made by colonists only if needed to supplement greenhouse production.

The colonists would make just about every other major component of their colony.

Ok - by my count, I'm coming in around $2B cheaper on the first mission, and $6.8B more every couple years after that as we don't need to send additional missions - or just $5B more if we decide to send another 10 colonists on the cycler.

And of course, this plan leaves more and more colonists on Mars, creating more and more infrastructure to make life on Mars safer and more comfortable and self-sustaining, as well as doing lots of good exploration/science.

And that's enough of a "business plan" for a discussion formum cool

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#8 2004-06-22 23:18:36

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Buy Russian boosters and supplies can be sent relatively cheaply. . .

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#9 2004-06-23 04:54:45

smurf975
Member
From: Netherlands
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 401
Website

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

If you launch using the russian Energia you can ship Mars Direct + your enhancements in one go:

As it currently stands, Russia's Energia heavy lift booster can lift up to 175  tonnes of payload into orbit (8 boosters + Energia-M upper stage). That is 75 more than the Mars mission requirement, and 145 more than the U.S shuttle. The Energia system is  safe, strenuously developed over 20 years and running on liquid propellant. It has a 100 percent launch success rate and is designed to be fully reusable, in addition the Energia-T derivative offers flyback booster options!

See english website here


Waht? Tehr's a preveiw buottn?

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#10 2004-06-23 06:15:55

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Only problem is: energyia has been mothballed ages ago...
A launcher system, using flyback-boosters, OTOH, is being developed, though they're still looking for additinal monetary backers (it is a private company)

"In cooperation with NPO Molniya, Energomash  is developing the Baykal reusable  booster stage using the RD-191 engine. Baykal is intended for use with the Angara SLV, which is being development by  the Khrunichev Center. The cost of the project, which is to  be borne equally by the two companies, is estimated at $130 million. The first test  launch of Baykal is planned for 2004"


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#11 2004-06-23 11:58:35

TwinBeam
Member
From: Chandler, AZ
Registered: 2004-01-14
Posts: 144

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Regarding greenhouses - I suspect that the biggest issue will be protection against radiative heat losses at night. 

Probably you'd want a fully transparent dome to admit maximum daylight, covered with a reflective shell every night.  During the day, the reflective shell could be spread like flower petals to reflect in extra light.

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#12 2004-06-23 12:22:04

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

The greenhouse would have to withstand extreme temperature cycling. Some materials used on Earth might not stand up.
-
The unfolding petal concept to concentrate sunlight could be made larger by locating the greenhouse at the center of a crater and using the sides of the crater to support mirrors.

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#13 2004-06-23 12:25:17

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

I think everybodies cost estimates are a little low... it takes big money and skilled technitions just to package these things, much less develop or avoid making them too heavy for launch. (steel bolt: $0.25 titantium bolt: $5.00, etc). Building a CLSS system for such a small price doesn't sound reasonable to me, alot of the money goes into making sure that everything is engineerd correctly. (Whoops! the solvent in your pipe glue killed the crew. Whoops! your contaminated alge tank hose killed the alge, crew suffocates... etc etc)

I do like the idea of a pancake-shaped inflatable dome though, pile up dirt around the outside and cover it with mylar at night... I don't know if the radiation is as big a concern for plants or aquaculture as it is for humans, shielding may not be nessesarry. Oh, and an air heater powerd by nuclear reactor waste heat should be a top-list item.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#14 2004-06-24 07:28:54

quasar777
Member
Registered: 2002-05-05
Posts: 135

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

actually josh, replication technology & has for some time now. it just hasn`t caught on yet & gotten cheaper. 3d stereo lithography has been around for awhile. this was only available for creating plastic objects & when i first noticed this abt 15 yrs ago thinking yes this would be perfect for OuterSpace.

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#15 2004-06-24 07:41:01

quasar777
Member
Registered: 2002-05-05
Posts: 135

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

& now along comes: Mobile Parts Hospital. which is essentially same as 3D Stereo Lithography only this has the capability of replicating metals!! & i can`t possibly think of a more important item to be carried along in space exploration, save medical supplies, food, & air. as a matter of fact there should be one of these @: L1, the Lunar Surface, GEO, Phobos, or wherever we can reach. i`m not sure of the extent of it`s capabilities, but no doubt it will become streamlined just as 3D Stereo Lith has since it`s inception.

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#16 2004-06-24 14:53:43

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

One Way - No Way !
There has to be an outpost on Mars.
Leave the return decision with the astronaut,
If he wants to come back to Earth with the shipment of rocks.

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#17 2004-06-24 16:23:50

TwinBeam
Member
From: Chandler, AZ
Registered: 2004-01-14
Posts: 144

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Leave the return decision with the astronaut

Absolutely - just insist that they make that decision before they go.   big_smile

Seriously though - the astronauts will actually be at greater risk trying to return, than staying!  Consider the hazards of returning  (estimated as 1% or 5% - obviously very rough guesses) :

- The lander has to be designed to lift off again, rather than just landing.  ANY time you add capabilities to a system, you end up with compromises.  In this case, you'd compromise the safest possible landing, in return for the capability of lifting off again.  (Added Risk of Death [ARoD]: 5%)
- Rocket launches are always hazardous - and they'll have no ground support crew on Mars. (ARoD: 5%)
- They'll be leaving behind most of the supplies (especially the Hab) that made life on Mars tolerable and safe, to squeeze into a rocket for a 6 month trip home. (ARoD: 1%)
- They'll absorb another radiation dose equal to the one they took on the trip to Mars  (ARoD: 1%)
- Landing back on Earth may be even more hazardous than landing on Mars, due to the higher gravity and thick atmosphere.  (ARoD: 5%)
- They'll have to adjust to full gravity again - more strain on their bodies. (ARoD: 1%)

The risks of having to stay on Mars?  I see:
- The Unknown - something totally un-anticipated that they can't deal with.  The probability seems small, given the broad capabilities they should have and their support by earth's best minds.  (ARoD: 1%)
- Disaster - something big goes wrong - not big enough to kill them all outright (or prevent them from returning if they had the means), yet big enough that they can't use their many resources to recover.  An O2 fire in the Hab early on that destroys most of their equipment and food while some of them are outside.   (ARoD: 1%)
- Very Long term progressive debilitation (muscle, bone, organs) due to lower gravity.  Frankly, I expect they'll experience some of this - but as long as they stay on Mars they will probably live nearly as long as they would have on Earth.  (ARoD: 1%)
- Psychological issues due to isolation.  Mostly avoided by testing in advance and by having a larger crew, and ideally by having more colonists join them a few years later.  (ARoD: 1%)

In short - given the hazards of staying on Mars for a year or two in the first place, the added risks from staying on Mars for the rest of your life and skipping the ride home seem small.

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#18 2004-06-24 16:25:40

smurf975
Member
From: Netherlands
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 401
Website

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Good idea but will the American public accept paying $15 billion a year to keep that astronaut alive?


Waht? Tehr's a preveiw buottn?

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#19 2004-06-24 16:36:34

TwinBeam
Member
From: Chandler, AZ
Registered: 2004-01-14
Posts: 144

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

I guess I should have included the added risk of death simply from being in a hazardous environment much longer.  If we assume that in a 2 year period on Mars the chance of death is around 10%, you might expect that anyone staying for 20 years would be very likely to die. 

But the risk of death will decline as the colonists improve their colony and learn more about living on Mars.   And more to the point - they would know the risks when they signed up - and in return for accepting that...

  :up:   THEY GET TO GO LIVE ON MARS!  :up:

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#20 2004-06-24 16:39:25

smurf975
Member
From: Netherlands
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 401
Website

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Thats all cool but I'm not going to pay for their ideals.


Waht? Tehr's a preveiw buottn?

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#21 2004-06-24 16:41:09

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Good idea but will the American public accept paying $15 billion a year to keep that astronaut alive?

US voter and taxpayer owes it to the world,
Having borrowed a large portion of the world's resources.
-
Did the Roman Empire hesitate on entertainment ?
Christians, lions, slaves, virgins, gladiators.

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#22 2004-06-24 16:46:15

TwinBeam
Member
From: Chandler, AZ
Registered: 2004-01-14
Posts: 144

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Good idea but will the American public accept paying $15 billion a year to keep that astronaut alive?

Uh - Mars Direct estimates $7B for each mission subsequent to the first.  My estimate is that a re-supply mission every 2 years would probably take about $200M - so $100M even if the colonists can't become mostly self-sufficient.  And that's for 10 colonists, so it's about $10M per colonist.

My more optimistic projection is that we'd end up sending another group of colonists along instead of just a re-supply mission.  If we do that every 2 years for $8B each time, that'd be $100M/person_yr for the second mission, $67M/person_yr for the 3rd, $50M/person_yr for the 4th, etc.

If we then stopped sending colonists at 40, and just sent $200M supply missions every 2 years, it's only $2.5M/person_yr.   Quite a bit below your $15B estimate!
smile

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#23 2004-06-24 16:48:53

smurf975
Member
From: Netherlands
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 401
Website

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Did the Roman Empire hesitate on entertainment ?
Christians, lions, slaves, virgins, gladiators.

The only reason they did that was so that the people wouldn't riot. I can imagine people rioting with humans on Mars.

BTW: You forgot that the Roman Empire give a lot and even more then a lot of free food during these events.

US voter and taxpayer owes it to the world,
Having borrowed a large portion of the world's resources.

Maybe it just owes improving the daily lives of people on Earth? Not some elite group of military/sciencitists astronauts.

If the people really believed these kinds of things then the soviet empire wouldn't have fallen as it proved it was at least equal to the west in space technology. But no they wanted improvements in their daily lives.


Waht? Tehr's a preveiw buottn?

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#24 2004-06-24 16:51:38

smurf975
Member
From: Netherlands
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 401
Website

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

Good idea but will the American public accept paying $15 billion a year to keep that astronaut alive?

Uh - Mars Direct estimates $7B for each mission subsequent to the first.  My estimate is that a re-supply mission every 2 years would probably take about $200M - so $100M even if the colonists can't become mostly self-sufficient.  And that's for 10 colonists, so it's about $10M per colonist.

My more optimistic projection is that we'd end up sending another group of colonists along instead of just a re-supply mission.  If we do that every 2 years for $8B each time, that'd be $100M/person_yr for the second mission, $67M/person_yr for the 3rd, $50M/person_yr for the 4th, etc.

If we then stopped sending colonists at 40, and just sent $200M supply missions every 2 years, it's only $2.5M/person_yr.   Quite a bit below your $15B estimate!
smile

So if I decide to live in Antartica, that means the US goverment is obliged to invest $10 a year in me, just so that I can keep my personal believes?


Waht? Tehr's a preveiw buottn?

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#25 2004-06-24 16:52:23

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: One-way ticket - An obvious cost cutting step

it's only $2.5M/person_yr

Just let Martha Stewart go, as her public service,
to support a few Mars men, instead of a legal firm.

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