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#51 2005-05-06 09:22:32

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Dook:  No one is going to live in space for a very long time.  There is no reason to do it, there is no profit in it, there is nothing out there that we absolutely HAVE to do or have.  We are there only because we want to be. 

I want NASA to discover new things, not waste my money on building your space waste infrastructure just so you can live out your trekkie fantasies.

*That's akin to a bucket of cold water dumped over one's head.  You do have a point...to a point.  I'm not in entire agreement, but your forthrightness always gives one pause for thought, Dook.  smile

SpaceNut:  But would the rich Dennis Tito's be allowed to do so by our government? Would they be allowed to build a launch pad without large regulatory hurdles to clear

Probably not.  But then do we want to disregard safety and allow anyone to "try" willy-nilly?  I doubt that's what you are infering.  Some regulation is probably wise.  To what extent, though, I'm not qualified in the least to say.

Well while I am there in space if I should discover a miracle cure for a disease or some magical alloy that we are trying to make here on earth. Would that then justify my presense there?

I'd say yes, and likely possible.  But those are still "reaching", "pot at the end of the rainbow" type questions.

Just my 2 cents' worth.  :-\

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#52 2005-05-06 09:39:58

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

No one is going to live in space for a very long time.  There is no reason to do it, there is no profit in it, there is nothing out there that we absolutely HAVE to do or have.  We are there only because we want to be. 

I want NASA to discover new things, not waste my money on building your space waste infrastructure just so you can live out your trekkie fantasies.

Fortunately, its a free planet. And we all have the right to lobby Congress.  :;):

Read Michael Griffin's testimony to Congress from October 2003.

How long before people live and work in space may be open to debate, but UNLESS that is the ultimate objective, I say cut all human exploration funding because its not worth the risk and expense, except to initiate permanent human expansion out into the solar system.

That said, doing some cool science along the way is a terrific fringe benefit.

Finally, if we don't start going in the next half century or so, America's chance to lead that expansion out into space may very well evaporate. Why? Simple demographics.


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#53 2005-05-06 10:06:35

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

The ultimate objective of space exploration is discovery.  There is nothing good about people abandoning the earth for a life in space.  We are connected to this planet.  What we have evolved into is because of the earth being the way it is, it's level of gravity, the amount of sunlight it gets, large water stores, the temperature ranges. 

If you win and we inhabit space it won't be in a Star Trek Voyager style, it will be motor home style.  Cramped.  Dehydrated food for every meal.  No sports, or nature, no restuarants, same old places, same old work, and same old people each day.   

I can't believe so many people who put such a low priority on a human mission to mars spend so much time here at the MARS SOCIETY forums.  Aren't there some Battlestar Galactica forums somewhere that you should be at?

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#54 2005-05-06 10:34:07

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,728

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Keeping track of all those NASA Spinoffs
Presolicitation Notice: NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Analysis of Impact of NASA Technology Innovations

"NASA has been issued over 6,300 patents; nearly one in a thousand of all patents ever issued by the U.S. Patent Office (since 1790). NASA's programs have also resulted in at least 1400 commercial products, which have benefited the nation's economy. Thousands of lives have been saved through NASA's programs, e.g. search and rescue, or the quality of life of individuals has been significantly improved (e.g. cool suits)."

Presolicitation Notice: NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Analysis of Impact of NASA Technology Innovations

I guess Nasa wants to know like others what actually can be credited to nasa and not to the general publics efforts.

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#55 2005-05-06 10:57:00

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

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

And how long would it take to build such a minimal base? Ten years tops. Probobly closer to five...

Five years to develop a moon base?  I doubt it. 

What habitats are we going to use? 
What equipment to move and connect them on mars? 
What moon rovers?
What telescope array equipment?
What machine to separate the He3, platinum, and make oxygen from lunar dust?
What earth return vehicle for transporting people?
What moon launch material (He3, or platinum) return vehicle?
What rocket to launch all this equipment to the moon?

Also you are going to have to launch constant missions to the moon just to keep it stocked with the moon material return vehicles.

I see 20-30 years spent on this moon base, then it all gets destroyed in a Geminid meteor shower, 4 lives lost.

Your 20-30 year timeframe just isn't credible. This is not a mega-huge superbase that will take decades, but rather only a small foothold. Please, please illustrate why a decent rover will take dozens of years to develop? A regolith microwave furnace? A small LOX/LH2 condenser?

The vehicles I am talking about using are simply not that difficult either. The CEV capsule is just fine to operate a base, and w will have the heavy cargo lander and TEI stage leftover from the initial VSE flights, so all we really need is to build a reuseable lander/TLI/TEI rocket. This doesn't have to be alot bigger then the heavy lander, smarter then DART or Apollo LEM, nor need any super-advanced engine. It is an evolution, not a revolution

Delta-IV HLV or Magnum SDV will do just fine to send payloads of reasonable size, with Atlas-V being used to launch CEV. Once the base is set up, and Lunar water (or at least LOX) is available, then only Atlas-V would be required. (with the annual Methane or LH2 load sans Lunar water.)

I am not talking about setting up a base to do useful mining, but rather to prepare the way for one. As such, you only need pretty minimal supplies. I figure only two or three flights anually, costing around ~$150M each for supplies, plus two or three crew flights at $200-250M each, and the rest going to misc. equipment (2-4 supply-size flights) and operations.

The secret is to leverage Lunar propellant to eliminate (or at least mostly mitigate) the need for Lunar TLI/TEI/Lander fuel. Once you do this, then you only need a fraction of the Earth-launch capacity to operate a Lunar base.

"I see 20-30 years spent on this moon base, then it all gets destroyed in a Geminid meteor shower, 4 lives lost."

The chance is not much greater then you personally being struck by one and killed on Earth... of course the TransHab (which has already been prototyped) modules will be buried.


"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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#56 2005-05-06 12:57:04

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

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

The ultimate objective of space exploration is discovery

Curiosity is in all of us, but there is limited value in knowing accurate composition of Martian rocks and microclimate, without planning to use that knowledge to settle on Mars.

Better to be a King on Mars than a government domesticated slave on Earth. People want to be in control, not to be controlled, at least significiant numbers, to become pioneers.

Hence the motivation to expand.

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#57 2005-05-06 12:58:49

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

. . . so all we really need is to build a reuseable lander/TLI/TEI rocket. This doesn't have to be alot bigger then the heavy lander, smarter then DART or Apollo LEM, nor need any super-advanced engine. It is an evolution, not a revolution

What about just using RL-10s or an RL-60 for the re-useable lander?

How many times can an RL-10 fire? Establish a pressurized hanger (inflatable?) on Luna and service the engines and the landers.

Edited By BWhite on 1115406086


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#58 2005-05-06 13:12:44

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

but there is limited value in knowing accurate composition of Martian rocks and microclimate, without planning to use that knowledge to settle on Mars.

MarsDog, I wholeheartedly agree.

Better to be a King on Mars than a government domesticated slave on Earth. People want to be in control, not to be controlled, at least significiant numbers, to become pioneers.

Hence the motivation to expand.

As a wise old Prophet once said, f**kin' a.

If we aren't going to stay, what's the point of going? We can do spectral analysis of Martian rocks from here.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#59 2005-05-06 13:32:19

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

The ultimate objective of space exploration is discovery.  There is nothing good about people abandoning the earth for a life in space.  We are connected to this planet.  What we have evolved into is because of the earth being the way it is, it's level of gravity, the amount of sunlight it gets, large water stores, the temperature ranges. 

If you win and we inhabit space it won't be in a Star Trek Voyager style, it will be motor home style.  Cramped.  Dehydrated food for every meal.  No sports, or nature, no restuarants, same old places, same old work, and same old people each day.   

I can't believe so many people who put such a low priority on a human mission to mars spend so much time here at the MARS SOCIETY forums.  Aren't there some Battlestar Galactica forums somewhere that you should be at?

Mars is the second safest place in the solar system to raise a family. That's why I am here.  cool


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#60 2005-05-06 14:26:40

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Okay, two supply flights a year at a total of $300 million, then two crew flights a year totalling $400 million.  No private business could afford this so either NASA pays for it and a business gets the pure profit (likely an illegal business practice, definately a monopoly) or NASA does it all itself and keeps the slight additional income from the sale of platinum and He3. 

Also your idea doesn't test any equipment that we could use for a human mission to mars so all the time and money would be a waste as far as a mission to mars is concerned.  You may be able to convince me to support a limited moon base if it uses some kind of launcher (Ares?), habitat, Earth Return Vehicle that would work for a humans to mars mission.   

I don't like it because it's not science based.  Fuel cells won't replace bio-diesel engines if they need platinum and it makes them too expensive.  Having NASA subsidize this industry when it's not a critical need for our economy is wrong. 

All you abandon the earth trekkies need to realize that you have to make a first human mission to mars before any settlement ever happens.  You think NASA is going to build a giant colony ship and land 100's of people on mars without ever testing any of the equipment in an actual mars landing, and testing mars in-situ propellant production, building domes and greenhouses, and trying to grow food on mars? 

You are never going to convince me that we need to settle anywhere outside the earth (unless we can fully terraform mars) but by not supporting a first human mission to mars you are just hindering your own colonization desires.

MarsDog:  If you can't handle the competition on the earth you definately won't be able to handle it on mars, or anywhere else.  You think someone is going to suddenly recognize your hard work and make you a supervisor?  Mars isn't going to make you a starship captain.  Whatever kind of go'fer job you have here, you will have the same or worse there.

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#61 2005-05-06 15:01:46

RobS
Member
From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
Website

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

I am intrigued, GCN, by your comment about repair of telescopes on the moon. This is probably the best reason to put them there. From what I've read, gyroscopes have gotten plenty good enough to ensure that the telescope can be pointed accurately, and vibration is no longer a serious problem for a free-flying scope. So the moon as a platform is not necessarily needed. But as a repair facility? Yes, that is helpful.

Platinum and related metals will not become a big export for from the moon for some time, but just having a semi-permanently staffed facility will help. Research on nickel-iron composition in the regolith can be done. Simple extraction equipment can be tested and gradually scaled up.

Same with He3; a semi-permanent or small permanent base will be able to test things that we just can't test now.

And yes, the equipment to do all this really isn't difficult or too expensive to make, unless the shuttle-army approach is taken.

              -- RobS

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#62 2005-05-06 15:21:28

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

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Now did I say that private industry would use the same vehicles as NASA? Mining will probobly require a true RLV, and with one of those then the price of base operations comes waaay down. NASA's base is not intended to be economically useful, it is just a beach-head. Think of it as a pilot plant, not economical to operate, but to work the kinks out.

To give you some idea... Platinum right now costs a bit under $1,000/ounce, and demand just barely meets supply. Now, if there is a signifigant increase in demand, and the price were to rise signifigantly, you are talking serious money. One tonne of Pt at $1000/oz would yeild you $35M... if this price were to increase, as it doubtless would if demand were to skyrocket, we're talking about >$100M for each cargo load.

"Fuel cells won't replace bio-diesel engines if they need platinum"

In which case end-user energy technology will stagnate, and the country that controls the supplies of the materials needed to make fuel cells will then be just as the Saudis are today... powerful and rich.

"Also your idea doesn't test any equipment that we could use for a human mission to mars"

Oh but it does... Methane rocket engines, life support systems, compact nuclear reactors, airlocks, space suits, TransHAB modules perhaps, cryogenic liquifiers, and so on.


"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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#63 2005-05-06 15:53:24

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

End-user technology will stagnate?  Business is like life, survival of the fittest.  We don't have to have fuel cells.  If fuel cells are too expensive to make then other technology (bio-diesel, solar/electric...) takes it's place and NASA can keep it's nose pointed toward finding the next great discovery.

$100 million for each load of platinum sounds great, put it in NASA's general fund.  But how much is it going to cost to keep the moon stocked with moon material (platinum, He3) launch vehicles?  Also, what if the amount of platinum on the moon is very small and spread out. Now we need more than one base, sigh... 

We know how to make life support systems, airlocks, and space suits plus we can test them now on a shuttle flight so it's not necessary to waste money on an entire moon base to do test those things.  Transhab, methane rocket engines, and cryogenic liquifiers we could test but those are a very small part of the total equipment needed for a human mission to mars. 

I'm curious why you don't support using NASA DRM vehicles for a test use on the moon?  Some things would have to be modified but a great deal of the equipment would be truly tested: the launcher, lander (without heat shield and parachute, a cryogenic liquifier in place of the in-situ rocket propellant), pressurized rover, habitat (without heat shield and parachute), and the Earth Return Vehicle.

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#64 2005-05-06 16:31:47

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

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Economics however are a little different... you are either busy growing, or you are a busy dying. Technological improvement is one of the cornerstones of economics, and to say that a particular technology is "good enough" is tantamount to capitalist suicide. There will come a day when internal combustion engines of any type are no longer good enough for end-user energy needs... it is only a matter of time. Whoever is in control of the materials needed to employ this technology will have a signifigant economic edge over those who do not.

If all the vehicles you need to get from here to the Moon and back are all reuseable, then the costs per-sortie are going to be pretty low. The Kistler rocket for instance (or something like it), if it can be flown for $10-20M to carry a load of carbon black and a second load of Hydrogen or supplies to orbit (what you need to get the Pt) and buy a few round trips of the reuseable cycler, then yeah turning a profit should be pretty easy. >$100M of metal for $40-50M of materials & launch costs.

The Pt won't be spread out. It is almost certainly locked up in asteroid impacts, and so will be quite localized.

Yes yes we can make all these things seperatly and try them out on the ground... but you aren't actually using them. Remember what I said about NASA learning to go places again? Just using them for what they were intended goes a long way to re-educating NASA engineers, and helps spot problems you'd never think about sitting in a hanger on Earth... which you can't afford to have on a Mars mission, but you CAN on the Moon since getting home is so easy.

Why not use DRM for the Moon? Easy:
1: Its MASSIVELY, hugely, terribly overkill. And, being a nonreuseable system, would cost too much money to operate in parallel with base building.
2: I don't think NASA is ready yet to efficently build DRM. Sure they probobly could, but being so rusty by being stuck in LEO for so long, it wouldn't be easy. Getting to the Moon is easy.


"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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#65 2005-05-06 16:40:59

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

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Mars is the second safest place in the solar system to raise a family. That's why I am here.

Self interest in the form of drive to survive.
Idle curiosity is not so idle, just rooting around to find useful information.

=================================

MarsDog:  If you can't handle the competition on the earth you definately won't be able to handle it on mars, or anywhere else.

People awoid centers of cities; Serial killers, psychopaths managing corporations, drug addicts, etc., and sleep behind the gates of secured bedroom communities.

Some welcome the thrill and a chance for responsibility in a pioneering environment, while others are content to be domesticated  and controlled, their imagination consumed by ways to bypass the system through corruption.

What will Dook become ?
Chicken in the henhouse, or a Hawk, Dooking it out in the wild ?

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#66 2005-05-06 17:10:16

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

People awoid centers of cities; Serial killers, psychopaths managing corporations, drug addicts, etc., and sleep behind the gates of secured bedroom communities.

And you think somehow the people on mars will be different? 

Small communities have a much reduced crime rate for the most part because people are afraid of their friends and others they see each day thinking that they are bad people.

It's too easy to hide in a large city.  A criminal looks just like a mild mannered accountant. 

So this huge settlement you want on the moon, or mars, the more people the higher the crime rate.  What are you going to do when you can't escape it even by going to mars?

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#67 2005-05-06 17:18:02

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Why not use DRM for the Moon? Easy:
1: Its MASSIVELY, hugely, terribly overkill. And, being a nonreuseable system, would cost too much money to operate in parallel with base building.
2: I don't think NASA is ready yet to efficently build DRM. Sure they probobly could, but being so rusty by being stuck in LEO for so long, it wouldn't be easy. Getting to the Moon is easy.

Besides fuel cells what is platinum absolutely necessary for?  I don't think that internal combustion engines are good enough but they are the best option available for our vehicle fleet when you consider their cost of operation and the already in place infrastructure for supporting them.

In the future I would like to see higher storage batteries powering our vehicles recharged by much more efficient solar panels mounted on the roof of those vehicles but I know that is far in the future.

I really think something else is driving your desire for a moon base, it's not platinum.  Still, even if the platinum is in asteroid impacts they are spread out over the surface so at some point we will either need long range rover trucks or more than one base on the moon. 

You don't feel NASA is ready for a mars mission but somehow it is ready to build a moon base?  And you don't like Mars Direct because it is underkill but you don't like testing MD architecture to build a moon base first because that is overkill?  You are being unreasonable.

A Zubrin mars hab would be a great start for a moon base (I can't believe I just said that), much better than the bathroom sized crew area of the CEV.  Also how are you going to process all this lunar material in a CEV anyway? 

Testing Mars Direct on the moon is in itself building a moon base.  Landing an Earth Return Vehicle is a necessary step anyway and the landing habitat can basically be the base with a pressurized rover beneath it.   

Also this all fits nicely with Zubrin's idea that Mars Direct was to be a sustained mission architecture, just with a mixture of launches going to the moon and others to mars.

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#68 2005-05-06 18:06:00

Martin_Tristar
Member
From: Earth, Region : Australia
Registered: 2004-12-07
Posts: 305

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Dook,

If we had more people like you running the current space program that is why we haven't gone anywhere since landing on the moon. You have a tiny box for your perception of the world around you.

When you think about the development of a business methodology for outer space. You need to understand the risks, rewards, how to fund and the income streams for return on investment. Because space is new frontier for business the opportunities are enormous. An earth example would be the development of a new city from the planning to development of infrastructure such as roads, water, power and other utilities then onto the development of residential and business areas. The same applies when developing into space to create a viable presence in space you need to plan all necessary requirements and then develop those requirements and assembly the requirements in space.

For example an orbiting platform design for food production and processing would be a first step for presence in space, next would be manufacturing to recycle rocket modules and presence into new material components for other activities. Theses would help the creation of a permanent presence in earth orbit and on the moon  Again you need to continue the explorer / foothold missions while the development of the space infrastructure increases to a point for settlement missions for moon and mars planetary bodies.

Inclusion Dook,

Another thing, about the infrastructure on earth and in space we don't have the necessary facilities for large scale off world development yet.

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#69 2005-05-06 18:33:53

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Why not use DRM for the Moon? Easy:
1: Its MASSIVELY, hugely, terribly overkill. And, being a nonreuseable system, would cost too much money to operate in parallel with base building.
2: I don't think NASA is ready yet to efficently build DRM. Sure they probobly could, but being so rusty by being stuck in LEO for so long, it wouldn't be easy. Getting to the Moon is easy.

Besides fuel cells what is platinum absolutely necessary for?

Answer: Spinning dollars into space exploration that are not taxpayer derived. NASA funding is 100% taxpayer money.

= = =

ANYTHING (almost) that funds space exploration with non-tax revenue sources is good. Platinum can be sold, today, for almost $1000 per ounce. Sufficient reason, right there.

Nothing else on the Moon is remotely worth it. Lunar water? Too difficult to mine, if there is any.

He3? 30 years from now, maybe.

Platinum has a market, today. And fuel cells and catalytic converters predict a bigger market tomorrow. If we are getting Pt anyway, getting lunar Lox and nickel is an almost freebie spin off benefit.

As for platinum, start with a very thorough satellite recon. Photograph the entire moon down to 1 meter in resolution. Look for signs of intact Ni-Fe asteroid fragments. Then land there.

Collect Ni-Fe fragments and process.

=IF= we cannot find any, okay, the Moon is a dead end.

But back to the beginning. If space exploration remains single-payor (all funding is tax revenue based) then it will never amount to anything significant. Therefore, ANY prospect of getting real private sector interest (not to sell stuff to NASA but to invest) is worth pursuing.

Edited By BWhite on 1115426159


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#70 2005-05-06 19:54:07

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

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Besides fuel cells what is platinum absolutely necessary for?  I don't think that internal combustion engines are good enough but they are the best option available for our vehicle fleet when you consider their cost of operation and the already in place infrastructure for supporting them... In the future I would like to see higher storage batteries powering our vehicles recharged by much more efficient solar panels mounted on the roof of those vehicles but I know that is far in the future.

Still, even if the platinum is in asteroid impacts they are spread out over the surface so at some point we will either need long range rover trucks or more than one base on the moon. 

You don't feel NASA is ready for a mars mission but somehow it is ready to build a moon base?  And you don't like Mars Direct because it is underkill but you don't like testing MD architecture to build a moon base first because that is overkill?  You are being unreasonable.

A Zubrin mars hab would be a great start for a moon base (I can't believe I just said that), much better than the bathroom sized crew area of the CEV.  Also how are you going to process all this lunar material in a CEV anyway? 

Testing Mars Direct on the moon is in itself building a moon base.  Landing an Earth Return Vehicle is a necessary step anyway and the landing habitat can basically be the base with a pressurized rover beneath it.   

Also this all fits nicely with Zubrin's idea that Mars Direct was to be a sustained mission architecture, just with a mixture of launches going to the moon and others to mars.

What is Pt good for besides fuel cells? A few things...
-Making motor/jet fuel (including Biodiesel most likly)
-Hydrogenation of vegetable oils/fats
-Making silicone/siloxane polymers
-Making Sulfuric Acid, Formaldehyde, and Nitric Acid (all major multimillion tonne commodity chemicals)
-Making fertilizers
-Automotive catalytic converters
-Inert electrodes for electrochemical reactions
-Coatings on automotive spark plugs
-Jet engine nozzles
-Making fiber-optic cable
-Hard drive magnetic coatings
-Making Infrared CCDs
-Specialty capacitors/electrical componets (like computers, signifigant recent demand spike)
-Thermocouples (to replace those nasty household mercury themostats for instance)
-High quality glass (like LCD monitors, fiberglass, optics)
-Making explosives
-Making biodegradable detergents
-Active ingridient in some drugs
...any place you need high hardness, inert-ness, or high-temperature performance. And oh yeah, fuel cells too.

"I don't think that internal combustion engines are good enough"

Which is exactly why fuel cells are a forgone conclusion. Batteries aren't ever going to reach the energy density of Hydrogen fuel cells because on the fundimental chemical level Hydrogen weighs lots less per-atom then the ones in the battery. Hence, batteries are NEVER going to be as good as Hydrogen probobly. This is compounded by the fact that a fuel cell only carries the Hydrogen atoms, and gets the Oxygen free from the air rather then carrying it. A battery pack has to carry ALL its atoms.

Solar cells on car rooftops is a cute idea, but the amount of energy they produce versus what a car uses is pretty small. And then, what of all the people in parking garages, under trees, or during a cloudy winter? Etcetera etcetera.

Although figures vary I'm sure, the first credible link I googled said worldwide demand for PGMs in general is around ~120 tonnes anually... Thats about $4.2Bn today, but could be well north of $35M/MT if demand were to skyrocket as would happen with mass-production of fuel cells... Say you can bring in 30MT of Pt a year (ten trips of 3MT down each using a Kistler-class RLV and reuseable ferry) and supply much needed Pt to the global market at $70M/MT, thats a cool $2.4Bn dollars. >$3.0Bn if prices climb above $100M/MT... Did I mention we are having a hard time keeping up with demand today? Just imagine what will happen if fuel cells started being built en-masse.

And then there is the Helium-3, and the savings from having your Lunar-telescope repair men on hand rather then having to spend $1.0Bn to send them every few years. Or, yes, even doing what Bill has pined for, sell rocket fuel to reduce the cost of satelite launch (only send to LEO instead of GEO).
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Huh? If the stuff is from asteroid impacts, then it isn't going to disintegrate to dust and scatter over a thousand square klicks'... And there is nothing wrong at all with medium-range trucks, they can be little golf-cart sized robotic ones rolling over roads made of microwave-sinterd glass (which is actually being developed two buildings down from mine at University).

"You don't like Mars Direct because it is underkill but you don't like testing MD architecture to build a moon base first because that is overkill?"

Thats correct. The Lunar vehicle we need to efficently carry people to the Moon HAS to be small, under 10MT, and idealy as cheap/reuseable as possible. Because, the only way we can economically operate a base is to not have to build large vehicles to send crews or supplies, and preferably not build any expendable vehicles at all. MarsDirect is none of these things. It is not small, it is not reuseable, and it isn't cheap. NASA-DRM would be even worse for these reasons.

"Also this all fits nicely with Zubrin's idea that Mars Direct was to be a sustained mission architecture...Testing Mars Direct on the moon is in itself building a moon base "

Uh, no its not. Zubrin thinks MarsDirect is "sustainable?" THATS BS... another fine lie to chalk up to Zubrin's reccord of deception. And using MD as the base? MD is still pretty cramped compared to TransHAB, and if you don't have a small and efficent way of getting crews & stuff to the Moon, then you are out of luck anyway.

"...much better than the bathroom sized crew area of the CEV.  Also how are you going to process all this lunar material in a CEV anyway?"

What? The crew won't be STAYING in the CEV obviously, they'll be staying in a HAB on the surface. Thats the whole point of making CEV small, that you can launch people on it for short duration hops for a minimum of launch mass.

I won't bother going into detail about the technical reasons that MarsDirect is impossible... suffice it to summarize:
-All mass margins are too small or optimistic
-No possibility for growth, upgrade, or reuse.
-Ares is too expensive and not big enough without BIG nukes
-Both HAB and ERV are far too small
-Crew too small
-Zero-G spinning idea too risky


"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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#71 2005-05-06 20:00:10

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,728

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Yup smaller than MD but after the first few IMO land one oft he units for MD testing right near the others and put it though a complete design use test duration of use.

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#72 2005-05-06 20:15:39

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Martin:  Sigh...I am promoting a human mission to mars, what about that can't you comprehend?  You obviously are having a great deal of difficulty understanding this so maybe print it out and have your school teacher explain it to you.

Your world is fantasy, whatever you see reminds you of a Star Trek episode causing you to mumble quotes from LCDR Data.  You know that if you can just get off this damn planet your jedi powers will suddenly start to work.  Why don't you come up with a good space exploration mission?  Mars Direct is fourteen years old and we are still talking about it.  Do you think people are talking about your global billionaire funding of a space station idea?
 
Maybe you should go back to the coloring book and come up with something within the means of real human civilization, not the one you read about in your comic books.  Saying some fictional global entity will put billions of dollars to your scheme to move millions of people off the earth is not credible.  No business would do this because there is no return on the investment. 

All of you who so quickly sacrifice Mars for the moon.  You think it's close so it's more real, somehow better.  It's exciting to look forward to another Apollo, this time in color instead of black and white.  Too bad the moon is dull grey.  You settle for poor leadership saying "It's better than no leadership" and never realize that the people are the real leaders in America.  Do you even know who your Senator and Representative are?  Have you ever written them?  Probably not, after all what would you say?  Hopefully not something like this: Another thing, about the infrastructure on earth and in space we don't have the necessary facilities for large scale off world development yet.
Yeah, we really need that.  Wouldn't want to spend another moment as just a lowly padawa.


You know what the highlights of today's space news are at Moonsociety.org?  Two posts about mars!

Oh, that platinum we supposedly need so bad?  Look here:
http://www.mines.edu/researc....um'

A few quotes: 
Numerous sustitutes exist for platinum.  The major platinum reserve in South Africa has 333 million troy ounces and is expected to last 300 years, Zimbabwe has 139 million ounces, 50 million in Russia, 7 million in the US.  Platinum from spent auto catalytic converters is recycled, @ 430,000 oz in 1999 alone.

So now that going to the moon for platinum is not profitable what are your new justifications?  I'm sure you moononites will come up with something.

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#73 2005-05-06 20:25:11

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

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

A few quotes: 
Numerous sustitutes exist for platinum.  The major platinum reserve in South Africa has 333 million troy ounces and is expected to last 300 years, Zimbabwe has 139 million ounces, 50 million in Russia, 7 million in the US.  Platinum from spent auto catalytic converters is recycled, @ 430,000 oz in 1999 alone.

So now that going to the moon for platinum is not profitable what are your new justifications?  I'm sure you moononites will come up with something.

Its not quite so simple though... there is a difference between the metal simply being there and the metal being accessable. There probobly is 300 years worth of Pt in the ground, but there sure isn't 300 years worth of easy-to-get Pt guaranteed.

And, that "300 year" supply? Is that at current demand, or future fuel-cell/hydrogen-economy demand? I bet its the former... in which case, we're talking decades, maybe less if electronics uses continue their radical increase in demand.


"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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#74 2005-05-06 20:38:12

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

What is Pt good for besides fuel cells? A few things...
-Making motor/jet fuel (including Biodiesel most likly)
-Hydrogenation of vegetable oils/fats
-Making silicone/siloxane polymers
-Making Sulfuric Acid, Formaldehyde, and Nitric Acid (all major multimillion tonne commodity chemicals)
-Making fertilizers
-Automotive catalytic converters
-Inert electrodes for electrochemical reactions
-Coatings on automotive spark plugs
-Jet engine nozzles
-Making fiber-optic cable
-Hard drive magnetic coatings
-Making Infrared CCDs
-Specialty capacitors/electrical componets (like computers, signifigant recent demand spike)
-Thermocouples (to replace those nasty household mercury themostats for instance)
-High quality glass (like LCD monitors, fiberglass, optics)
-Making explosives
-Making biodegradable detergents
-Active ingridient in some drugs
...any place you need high hardness, inert-ness, or high-temperature performance. And oh yeah, fuel cells too.

That's great that platinum can be used in all those things, your $1 million an ounce moon platinum will never compete with South African platinum. 

Batteries don't have to reach the energy density of hydrogen to replace fuel cells.  Do I need a family vehicle with a 300 gallon fuel tank?  I said I would like to see more efficient solar panels to really make this work but by just adding a very small bio-diesel hybrid engine to the battery/solar vehicle would require it to be filled up only for extended trips.  Think about it, fueling three or four times a year.  There are just as many uncovered shopping mall parking lots, work parking lots, street parking, apartment complex lots, summer days, and daylight hours as shaded night hours.  Certainly these vehicles would be best in the southwestern states.

Savings from having lunar repair men on hand?  How is $700 million a year in moon base supply missions savings?  And that's not adding in the moon material return vehicle.

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#75 2005-05-06 20:47:05

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

Re: The reason to go to mars - Going to mars is not a waste of money

Except that South African Platinum will run out first, since it is the most mined...

Uhhh, I really don't think you have a grasp on exactly how much energy it takes to push a car. Dinky little solar cells and microscopic diesel engines will get you exactly nowhere. Refuel only several times a year? Impossible, especially for extended trips. If you are going long distances, you will have no bennefit from regenerative breaking, and no "save up" down time for solar cells to work. So, you will be forced to primarily rely on your diesel engine anyway.

Yes, savings for having Lunar telescope technitions available on hand. I did not say it was a sufficent sole reason for it, but a contributing bennefit to the operation of a small Lunar base. Its $300-500M dollars anually you wouldn't be spending for a bi/tri-annual servicing mission.

"And that's not adding in the moon material return vehicle."

...which will be reuseable and refueled on the Moon. Moderate one-time development cost, but low per-sortie and per-copy cost.


"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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