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#1 2002-06-24 04:09:39

Gibbon
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 25

Re: small, high speed buggies

A possible mode of transport could be the use of small one or two man buggies. They would be open air and would effectively be just a roll cage with with wheels and an engine.

A base design would be something like the US Navy SEAL desert attack vehicles.

Does anyone know what is the most likely fuel source to be mined on Mars during a visit? Are there any effective hydrogen engines available at the moment or in the short term future (5 years max.)

Electric buggies would be OK, but I'm assuming that a hydrogen or LPG engine would be better because of speed and power.

Does anyone know if it would be possible to convert motorbikes (2 wheel) to electric?

These are basically ideas for use around the main base area and for short scout trips. They could also be trailed behind a rover and used further afield.

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#2 2002-06-24 20:48:10

Aetius
Member
From: New England USA
Registered: 2002-01-20
Posts: 173

Re: small, high speed buggies

Robert Zubrin and Richard Wagner mention a fuel called Silane (SiH4) in their book, "The Case For Mars" (pages 202-204). Silane burns in carbon dioxide in the same manner that gasoline does in oxygen. Silane can be mass-produced from native materials: It's a byproduct of manufacturing hyperpure silicon for Martian-made computer chips.

A combustion engine fueled with Silane might be just what you're looking for.

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#3 2002-06-26 04:50:53

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

Re: small, high speed buggies

If all the pictures we've seen of the rock-strewn plains on Mars are anything to go by, it's hard to imagine a wheeled vehicle getting very far unless its wheels are flexible and about 5 metres in diameter!!
                                          sad


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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#4 2002-06-26 18:20:54

Aetius
Member
From: New England USA
Registered: 2002-01-20
Posts: 173

Re: small, high speed buggies

I'd thought of that myself when I answered the question. 'High speed' vehicles would be of limited value at first. However, after a settlement is built, it would make sense for the colonists to clear boulders and build paved roads (radiating out towards peripheral outposts). Ground transportation will finally be able to move a lot faster at that point.

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#5 2002-06-26 18:35:52

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: small, high speed buggies

Higher speed would also mean higher energy expenditure, which might be bad in itself.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#6 2002-07-20 07:18:43

Gibbon
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 25

Re: small, high speed buggies

you may not have noticed but I did say AROUND THE BASE. It would be common sense to clear the area in which the base is and also roads between colonies.

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#7 2002-07-20 12:21:04

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

Re: small, high speed buggies

*Wouldn't something akin to a motorcycle [with the option of small storage compartments attached on the sides or pullable from the back] work just as well?  Would get around all those rocks and boulders more easily, and would do just as well around the base.

--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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#8 2002-07-20 15:11:36

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: small, high speed buggies

*Wouldn't something akin to a motorcycle [with the option of small storage compartments attached on the sides or pullable from the back] work just as well?  Would get around all those rocks and boulders more easily, and would do just as well around the base.

--Cindy

I love the idea of a motorcycle on Mars, actually.  It would be small and nimble enough to navigate the rocky terrain, and you wouldn't be faced with the risk of upset of a 4-wheeled vehicle, which would happen more frequently on Mars than on Earth due to the low gravity.

I guess the 'cycle would have to have big, fat tires to prevent it getting stuck in the sand and to provide decent traction.  But even if you did get stuck, it should be a snap to hop off that thing and hoist it to a firmer patch of ground (that .38 gee coming in handy this time..lol.)  The biggest risk of motorbikes of course, would be the rider's tendency to go a bit too heavy on the throttle and risk running into a boulder or a crater rim..so it would be still be a good idea to stick to "charted" terrain and maintain a reasonable speed limit...

B

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#9 2002-07-20 15:22:42

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

Re: small, high speed buggies

*Wouldn't something akin to a motorcycle [with the option of small storage compartments attached on the sides or pullable from the back] work just as well?  Would get around all those rocks and boulders more easily, and would do just as well around the base.

--Cindy

Byron:  I love the idea of a motorcycle on Mars, actually.  It would be small and nimble enough to navigate the rocky terrain, and you wouldn't be faced with the risk of upset of a 4-wheeled vehicle, which would happen more frequently on Mars than on Earth due to the low gravity.

I guess the 'cycle would have to have big, fat tires to prevent it getting stuck in the sand and to provide decent traction.  But even if you did get stuck, it should be a snap to hop off that thing and hoist it to a firmer patch of ground (that .38 gee coming in handy this time..lol.)  The biggest risk of motorbikes of course, would be the rider's tendency to go a bit too heavy on the throttle and risk running into a boulder or a crater rim..so it would be still be a good idea to stick to "charted" terrain and maintain a reasonable speed limit...


*Speaking of tire size, traction, and getting stuck:  Would it be possible to rig up a motorcycle with [dang, I don't know the proper term, not knowing much about military stuff!] the enclosed [by those shingle-like-looking things] wheels of a tank? 

Yeah, go ahead and snicker folks wink  I obviously don't know military technological terms.  smile

How fast could such a motorcycle go?

--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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#10 2002-07-20 15:23:38

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: small, high speed buggies

Something like a quad would probably make good transportation on Mars.  I don't know about motorcycles, it might be hard to maneuver them around in bulky spacesuits and the chance of falling off or getting thrown off would be a lot higher since motorcycles aren't as stable as other modes of transportation.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#11 2002-07-22 22:53:26

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

Re: small, high speed buggies

Hi Cindy!
   Tanks, like bulldozers, have 'tracks'. As you rightly suppose, the tracks give far superior grip on unmade surfaces.
   From this it's easy to jump to the conclusion that a motorcycle with a track should have better traction too. And maybe it would. But the trouble is, you wouldn't be able to steer it! The front wheel of a motorcycle needs to turn independently of the back wheel in order to change the bike's direction. A track connecting the front and back wheels would prevent this.
   Incidentally, tanks can be steered because they have two tracks ... one on each side. Steering is achieved by controlling the speed of each track independently of the other. In fact, with one track driving forward and the other driving backward, a tank can rotate on the spot.
                                    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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#12 2002-07-23 06:53:15

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: small, high speed buggies

If the Sabatier reactor is used to produce fuel from local CO2 and a hydrogen feedstock, then propane and butane (LPG) will be unavoidable byproducts of the reaction.  It would be easy to store these and use them for fuel on the surface, seeing as they have to be dealt with anyway. 

Considering that multiple modules at a Mars base not only couldn't be landed close together but might find themselves initially separated by distances of several miles, I think using a grader to lay a dirt road between them would be an excellent idea.  A relatively lightweight grader, weighted with native rock instead of its own steel, could do the trick. 

Perhaps the most useful vehicle to send to Mars is not a bulldozer or motorcycle, but a good old fashioned farm tractor.

CME


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

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#13 2002-07-23 09:46:35

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

Re: small, high speed buggies

Hi Cindy!
   Tanks, like bulldozers, have 'tracks'. As you rightly suppose, the tracks give far superior grip on unmade surfaces.
   From this it's easy to jump to the conclusion that a motorcycle with a track should have better traction too. And maybe it would. But the trouble is, you wouldn't be able to steer it! The front wheel of a motorcycle needs to turn independently of the back wheel in order to change the bike's direction. A track connecting the front and back wheels would prevent this.
   Incidentally, tanks can be steered because they have two tracks ... one on each side. Steering is achieved by controlling the speed of each track independently of the other. In fact, with one track driving forward and the other driving backward, a tank can rotate on the spot.
                                    smile

*LOL!!  I'm laughing at myself.  Duh!!  Oh GEEZ, I feel so embarrassed!  :*(  Of course, you're right -- how could such a motorcycle be steered?  It couldn't.  That didn't occur to me.  Oh BROTHER!!  sad 

Okay, well in order to save SOME face at least, I was thinking along the lines of a snowmobile when I posted about a motorcycle with tracks.  ???

I guess I'd better quit posting ideas about machinery.  ???

--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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#14 2002-07-24 01:47:33

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

Re: small, high speed buggies

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we make really obvious mistakes. I'm way too good at embarrassing myself to ever be in a position to point the finger at somebody else!
                                           big_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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#15 2002-07-24 14:18:04

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

Re: small, high speed buggies

Dune buggies with giant oversized tires -and - the tire inflation valves opening to the inside of the wheel so a microchip could direct the inflation/deflation of tire pressure as the terrain called for. . .

Flat ground, relatively free from boulders - pump up that tire pressure and go faster - otherwise soften the tires for better traction.

4 independent axles - one for each wheel.

The tire pressure idea came from watching a History Channel show about WW2 DUKWs. . .

Having sufficient replacement tires will be difficult - until someone sets up one of those rapid prototype machines. . .

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#16 2002-07-24 14:44:37

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

Re: small, high speed buggies

Dune buggies with giant oversized tires -and - the tire inflation valves opening to the inside of the wheel so a microchip could direct the inflation/deflation of tire pressure as the terrain called for. . .

Flat ground, relatively free from boulders - pump up that tire pressure and go faster - otherwise soften the tires for better traction.

4 independent axles - one for each wheel.

The tire pressure idea came from watching a History Channel show about WW2 DUKWs. . .

Having sufficient replacement tires will be difficult - until someone sets up one of those rapid prototype machines. . .

*Gosh darn it, Bill!  You beat me to the punch!  sad  I was just going to post the same exact ideas, after taking a 48-hour super-duper-concentrated megacrash-course in machinery!  Oh well, better luck to me next time! 

Yes, just joking, of course!  wink

--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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#17 2002-10-03 13:53:13

sethmckiness
Member
From: Iowa
Registered: 2002-09-20
Posts: 230

Re: small, high speed buggies

Well, I would ask people to look at rockcrawlers here on earth.  they are capable of relatively high speeds and properly setup for weight they can go over just about anything and could be assembled easily, and most importantly, for very little money.

keys to crawler are

- four wheel drive with hi and low and maybe super low gears

- duribility over power

- SOLID AXLES!!! solid axles have much more strength and  endurance then Independent suspension setups, plus they can articulate, so when one wheel is going over a rock it pushes the other wheel down.

-Suspension could be air sprung, coil sprung or leaf sprung.
      I would recommend air sprung for adjustable load
      capability.

-Tires could be specially designed, if at all possible I would recomment against auto adjusting inflation of tires, it could be done manually and leave one less thing that could break and leave you stranded if far from base.

many trucks have intricate roll cages and winches, onboard welders things that could be put on them for fixing them away from a mechanic. 

While not high tech, they are very functional, very safe, driven and maintained properly they are reliable, and if materials could be obtained on Mars and someone had some fabrication equipment, a MIG welder and a CNC machine, many of the components could be fabricater or repaired to ensure a long life
http://www.allprooffroad.com/pics/solidpics/4443.jpg
http://www.allprooffroad.com/pics/solidpics/2906.jpg

Here a couple pictures of capabilities of near stock trucks, with no body work, less gravity, All terrain Firetruck tires, thes trucks could go anywhere carry a load of around 1000-2000 lbs or more if desired (plus the Martian G factor.)

Also tires not need as many plys, so a C load tire could carry a lot of weight on Mars.  I am sure some sort of weigh to fabricate a tire could be though up in lieu of the weight of larger tires.

Another plus factor would be if steel could be used in construction on Mars it would be much easier to work on, and Rust would not be that much of an issue with the lack of Oxygen in the atmosphere.  Synthetic lubricants could most likely be produced from the environment and even an electric power plant would work, emergency solar cells could be kept in the rear of a vehicle for an emergency recharge or power source.

if anyone is interested could look into matter further if anyone know what they would want to carry and how many passengers and such.


We are only limited by our Will and our Imagination.

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#18 2002-10-13 04:23:06

Austin Stanley
Member
From: Texarkana, TX
Registered: 2002-03-18
Posts: 519
Website

Re: small, high speed buggies

I was thinking, are regular air-inflated ruber tires realy necessary?  Since the G is lower, could some other more sturdy material be subsituted, one that couldn't "go flat?"

Also, while certianly the idea of fast speed buggies on Mars is realy cool, I don't see the point.  Faster = more dangerous = less fuel efficent = bad.  Getting to place to place quickly is important, but getter there safely and cheaply will probably always be more important on mars.


He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.

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#19 2002-10-15 11:01:52

sethmckiness
Member
From: Iowa
Registered: 2002-09-20
Posts: 230

Re: small, high speed buggies

I take the approach of go anywhere over speed, also, with a light enough vehicle and a strong enough tire, there are methods to attach a tire(Bead locks) that will allow you to run it uninflated, as long as you can keep the tire seated and from spinning,  I vote simplicity for transportion.  Rock Crawlers work, can go decently fast, but can also go over extremely rough terrain and won't require any expensive engineering.


We are only limited by our Will and our Imagination.

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#20 2002-12-02 13:32:42

halmot
Member
Registered: 2002-12-02
Posts: 3

Re: small, high speed buggies

Newbie here -- I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere and a search didn't turn up any references, but regarding the issue of personal transportation around the base, has anyone considered a Segway-like vehicle?  Assuming the basic design could be modified to suit the environment, it seems to me to have some distinct advantages.  Obviously, they are a lot smaller, lighter, and simpler than larger vehicles.  They should also be much easier to mount and operate by astronauts wearing environment suits.  Their automatic stabilization would be tremendously helpful to an explorer wearing a top-heavy suit, carrying cumbersome equipment and/or sample containers.

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#21 2002-12-02 18:33:04

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

Re: small, high speed buggies

Hi Halmot!

    Welcome to New Mars!

    Is a Segway thingy one of those contraptions like a two-wheeled pogo-stick?
                                    :0


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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#22 2002-12-02 22:31:56

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: small, high speed buggies

Is a Segway thingy one of those contraptions like a two-wheeled pogo-stick?

A $4500 two wheeled pogo-stick. smile  I don't know about their use on Mars, I think it would be better for the astronauts to walk around using their two legs to keep themselves in physical shape.  We don't want to make it too easy on 'em. smile


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#23 2002-12-03 00:25:05

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

Re: small, high speed buggies

The whole question of the best mode of locomotion in differing gravity fields is quite interesting.

    On Earth, a human can cover distance most economically, from an energy standpoint, by walking.
    As we've seen on T.V., in lunar conditions the most efficient way to move around is by one-foot-in-front-of-the-other bounding.
    Experiments suggest that on Mars a loping run will be the easiest and least tiring means of getting your body from A to B.
    I was trying to visualise the kind of rocky terrain we know to be present in many places on Mars (from Viking and Pathfinder pictures) and how the Segway would cope with it. I'm beginning to think that a human, loping along and jumping over rocks in his/her path, might actually cover more ground more quickly, and maybe more enjoyably(! ), than by using a personal wheeled vehicle.

    Another question is: How well do these Segways handle sandy, dusty conditions? If larger 'tyres' were needed to prevent sinking into the soil, would this make them too bulky to manoeuvre around and between boulders?

    I genuinely don't know the practical capabilities of such machines, so maybe I'm underestimating them. Any thoughts about my tentative objections to using them on Mars?

                                         :0


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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#24 2002-12-03 08:56:26

halmot
Member
Registered: 2002-12-02
Posts: 3

Re: small, high speed buggies

Well, clearly a stock-standard $4500 vehicle 'downloaded' from Amazon would be out of its element.  Significant modifications would have to be made.  Actually, I was thinking more along the lines suggested by another poster; that 'paths' may be cleared around a base and Segways could be used to quickly move from station to station.  As for speed, I seem to recall that the current models may have a top speed of up to 20mph (yikes!  get off the sidewalk! ).

I wouldn't give up on Segways for all-terrain use, either.  This is the same company that is now testing a stair-climbing wheelchair that appears to employ a similar type of gyro-stabilization.  During the Apollo program, wasn't there a fair amount of concern about astronauts falling over and being unable to get back up, or worse, damaging their suits or backpacks?  It occurs to me that a self-stabilizing transport could be an advantage to explorers in environment suits, particularly when they are not fully acclimated to lunar or martian gravity.

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#25 2002-12-03 18:40:21

AltToWar
Member
Registered: 2002-09-28
Posts: 304

Re: small, high speed buggies

Air inflated rubber tires will explode in the matian atmosphere.


If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. -Henry David Thoreau

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