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#1 2005-07-27 03:07:10

srmeaney
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From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
Registered: 2005-03-18
Posts: 976

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

A Mars Colony or Sample and return?

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#2 2005-07-27 03:17:19

idiom
Member
From: New Zealand
Registered: 2004-04-21
Posts: 312

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

One way for someone or perhaps overlapping return. Like half of the first crew returns after two years, the other half returns with half of the second crew...

By ramping it up you end up with a lot of extra living space.


Come on to the Future

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#3 2005-07-27 03:55:38

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

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

Trying to establish a colony on the first mission is too much risk for no benefit. 

Regardless of all the science fiction based proposals calling for mining asteroids and lunar PGM's the benefit does not outweigh the cost, time wasted, and risk to human life.

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#4 2005-07-27 07:32:31

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

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

We're unlikely to go to Mars knowing exactly where we want our first colony to be, so we should send scouts on a round trip for the first mission.

Let the colonists arrive on the second.   8)


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

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#5 2005-07-27 07:43:13

Commodore
Member
From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

If we don't send all the needed equipment to live off the land to begin with, they may inadvertantly become permenent residents anyway. And not in a good way.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#6 2005-07-27 08:33:11

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

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

All the needed equipment?  You mean the following:
-A mobile machine to extract water from martian regolith
-A 100% efficient human waste recycling machine
-Long lasting, safe, lightweight power source (2 nuclear power sources with solar backup may be enough)
-Some way to make/grow food on planet
-Much better machines to get Oxygen from CO2

The Mars Direct plan required none of the above and it didn't survive the review process so why do you think that you can make it ten times more complicated and increase the risk of crew loss and suddenly it will pass?

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#7 2005-07-27 09:00:41

Rakial
Member
From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: 2004-02-29
Posts: 18

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

If we research first the best location, send all the nessessary equipment. I am ready to go and never come back.

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#8 2005-07-27 10:00:10

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

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

Me too.
Then again, I'm considered by many people to be mildly suicidal, at best... lol

I could see the Chinese pulling off a stunt like that, though. Not today or tomorrow, of course, but once they have the technology, I would not be in the slightest be amazed to see a one-way mission, done by military, tough engineering types.
And why not? If there was any way to survive a stunt like that, it would make stuff a lot easier for follow-up crews. Having veterans around when you exit your tin can after 6 months of flight would be an enourmeous advantage.


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

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#9 2005-07-27 11:09:12

Rakial
Member
From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: 2004-02-29
Posts: 18

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

If we research first the best location, send all the nessessary equipment. I am ready to go and never come back.

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#10 2005-07-27 11:20:10

Stormrage
Member
From: United Kingdom, Europe
Registered: 2005-06-25
Posts: 274

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

If we research first the best location, send all the nessessary equipment. I am ready to go and never come back.

Yes me to but why did you have to make 2 posts with the same message?


"...all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by."

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#11 2005-07-27 11:24:30

Commodore
Member
From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

Yes me to but why did you have to make 2 posts with the same message?

Double posts happen from time to time. Could be a site load error, connection issues, ect. It was probably not intentional.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#12 2005-07-28 20:24:20

Fledi
Member
From: in my own little world (no,
Registered: 2003-09-14
Posts: 325

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

Then again, I'm considered by many people to be mildly suicidal, at best...

lol  You too?

Now seriously, the timeframe of a Mars mission, even the very first one is several years. With this in mind it's no big step to let's say 20 years or more which means a permanent base. It would make sense to send along a return cabability on the first mission, but not neccesarily use it.
Also consider that we can send many more people with the same amount of resources if we go one way.
The Moon should be the playground for return missions, Mars is too far away to be used in the same way effectively.

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#13 2005-08-06 01:21:49

Mad Grad Student
Member
From: Phoenix, Arizona, North Americ
Registered: 2003-11-09
Posts: 498
Website

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

I hate to be the pessimist here, but there is no way in the world that the first mission to Mars will entail starting a colony on the red planet. It's easy to get so excited about the prospect of colonization that we sometimes forget just how staggeringly difficult such an operation will be. Think about everything that you need to be alive, not just the essentials that are usually discussed, like food and oxygen and water, but all the little prosaic items like toilet paper, toothbrushes, and tissues. A two-year there-and-back mission can slip by the bare minimum a few hardy well-trained astronauts need to survive for a relatively small time out in the wilderness. Even that will be a logistical nightmare, but imagine what would be needed for a colonization mission. Not only would the crew need to pack everything needed to survive, they'd need everything to live a decent life as well, well beyond the scope of anything possible in the near future.

If the right steps are taken, and the right people in power stay the course, I have no doubt that some day there will be humans born and raised on the red planet. It is unreasonable and a little bit childish to expect that to happen right off the bat, however. We need to take things one step at a time, just enjoy where we are right now. Otherwise, you're just setting yourself up for some big, inevitable dissappointments.

Hopefully that wasn't too depressing. You may now continue daydreaming about living on Mars. wink


A mind is like a parachute- it works best when open.

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#14 2005-08-06 02:13:49

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

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

tissue? You call that an essential item?  :shock:

Why, when we were young, we had to climb up a hill, four kilometres, -both ways!- to get us some thorny bark, to wipe our noses, and we were HAPPY!

Darn pampered youth!  roll






wink


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

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#15 2005-08-06 05:14:39

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

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

Heheh, self sustainablity on Mars would only cost maybe $2 million in research. And one extra all-cargo load. That's all. I voted for one way because it makes the most logical sense. Design and build the return vehicle while they're in transit, after they get there, send it along a year or two later. If you send hardcore scientists, such as the Arctic scientists who spend their lifetimes in some really desolate places (the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station has a scientists who lived out in the middle of nowhere on Devon Island in Canada for 20+ years), then they'll probably be happy to stay their lifetimes, regardless of return vehicle. This spreads out development costs over a longer period, and speeds up our ability to get there.

And no one seriously thinks the astronauts use toilet paper, do they? C'mon, this one was debunked years ago. tongue

Self sustainablity is not hard.


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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#16 2005-08-06 12:40:20

John Creighton
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 2,401
Website

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

Trying to establish a colony on the first mission is too much risk for no benefit. 

Regardless of all the science fiction based proposals calling for mining asteroids and lunar PGM's the benefit does not outweigh the cost, time wasted, and risk to human life.

Who says anything about a colony. Send a crew of 4-12 and just resupply the crew that is there instead of sending a new crew. It will be much cheaper to resupply an existing crew then send a new crew every two years. The benefit of course is the money saved per man hour on mars. I really think if people are serious then one way is the way to go. I would defer the roles to others but if no one is up for the job I would be glad to step up for the challenge, even if I new for political reasons there was a chance the supplies might get cut off.

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#17 2005-08-06 13:02:23

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

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

tissue? You call that an essential item?  :shock:

Why, when we were young, we had to climb up a hill, four kilometres, -both ways!- to get us some thorny bark, to wipe our noses, and we were HAPPY!

Darn pampered youth!  roll



wink

*Someone's been watching reruns of "Grumpy Old Man" skits on Saturday Night Livetongue  tongue  Teehee.

--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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#18 2005-08-06 16:36:19

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,810
Website

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

I saw an ad for a "settler" reality show that pointed out toilet paper was invented relatively recently, 1857. So I looked it up (love the internet).

America was settled before that, although the "Old West" was 1860-1900. Rich people used wool, lace, hemp, and poor people used rags, grass, water, corn husks, or anything else at hand. The French invented the bidet in "the 1710s". Considering the alternatives at the time, I understand why. In 1980 Japan invented a paperless toilet they call a Washlet. It's a combination toilet, bidet and air drier.

Facial tissue was invented in 1924. Before that people used cloth handkerchiefs, and washed them.

If the settlers of the West could survive without disposable paper products, you can too. On to Mars.

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#19 2005-08-06 16:48:49

John Creighton
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 2,401
Website

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

I saw an ad for a "settler" reality show that pointed out toilet paper was invented relatively recently, 1857. So I looked it up (love the internet).

America was settled before that, although the "Old West" was 1860-1900. Rich people used wool, lace, hemp, and poor people used rags, grass, water, corn husks, or anything else at hand. The French invented the bidet in "the 1710s". Considering the alternatives at the time, I understand why. In 1980 Japan invented a paperless toilet they call a Washlet. It's a combination toilet, bidet and air drier.

Facial tissue was invented in 1924. Before that people used cloth handkerchiefs, and washed them.

If the settlers of the West could survive without disposable paper products, you can too. On to Mars.

Corn Husks? That must be comfortable.

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#20 2005-08-06 22:52:53

Mad Grad Student
Member
From: Phoenix, Arizona, North Americ
Registered: 2003-11-09
Posts: 498
Website

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

The logistical problems entailed by a two-way scientific mission are trivial in comparison to those of a one-way colonizatoin mission. Besides, I highly doubt that any government would be willing to support a mission that offered no return for the daring astronauts involved, most of the general public would view that as being downright unethical. Realistically, we can't expect this to happen, at least, not at first.


A mind is like a parachute- it works best when open.

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#21 2005-08-06 23:52:46

John Creighton
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 2,401
Website

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

The logistical problems entailed by a two-way scientific mission are trivial in comparison to those of a one-way colonizatoin mission.

Why? If you send the same supplies for a one way mission to mars as you do for a two way mission it is still a lot cheaper because you don't have to send the equipment for the return flight home. For the same cost if nothing was reused you could support a crew at least twice as big. If equipment can be reused or enough can be produced In-situ then the size of a crew you can support with a one way mission is a lot larger then what you can support for a two way mission.

What makes it more logistically difficult? The number of launch windows does not change if you have a one way mission vs a two way mission. The crew still eats the same amount of food, breaths the same amount of air and uses the same amount of space. A one way mission is clearly cheaper easier and more robust. Also if you are only delivering cargo and not crew you have a lot more options for getting the goods from mars to earth. A lot of the cargo can be launched on smaller vehicles and it is possible to use ellectric propulsion for the transit flight.

Besides, I highly doubt that any government would be willing to support a mission that offered no return for the daring astronauts involved, most of the general public would view that as being downright unethical. Realistically, we can't expect this to happen, at least, not at first.

To view it as unethical shows a lack of vision. What is unethical is to spend over twice as much money as it cost for a one way mission to get half the result. People take great risks and make great sacrifices for things they believe in and there is no ethical reason people should be denied that opportunity on mars

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#22 2005-08-07 03:57:55

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

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

Toilet paper?  You think that's what's keeping us from colonizing mars? 

I guess if you just ignore the facts then everything seems so easy.  A child's view of the world. 

So what if your first 100 colonists suffocate from lack of oxygen in less than a year and the next 100 die of starvation because plants just don't grow very well in mars regolith because it completely lacks any organic nutrients. 

It's the price you pay to achieve Star Trek.

A small successful group will lead to colonization much more quickly than a large one that struggles to survive.

If you are really serious about this then solve the problems in my previous post, not to mention the many more problems-like cost. 

How about this, tackle just one of them.  How are you going to provide oxygen for your 100 colonists?

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#23 2005-08-07 05:10:11

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

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

Oxygen should be the least of your problems, once on Mars. There are at least a dozen ways to 'harvest' it In situ.

Biggest problems, semi-long time would be food, I guess: it might prove a lot harder to grow stuff in sufficient quantities, using reasonable amounts of (semi-)pressurized acreage, energy, labour(!)

Good example: Biosphere II project: those guys had *a lot* of problems, keeping themselves fed. It proved to be a lot more labour-intensive than thought for starters. And they needed a fair bit of acreage.


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

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#24 2005-08-07 09:18:34

Grypd
Member
From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,850

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

There are many problems to a permanent semi self reliant base on Mars. Starting with the first that will hopefully allow solutions to the others. These are Power, Air, Shelter and Food and Water production.

Power is a problem as we will need a constant source of electrical power and also heat so that our people there do not freeze. This problem is solved by the use of a nuclear power plant but if political pressures stop the use of a nuclear plant we are really in difficulty. The use of wind power is mute there is not enough pressure to provide a decent power source. Solar is also much reduced due to Mars distance from the sun and fuel cells need a constant fuel source though good for instant power. So a solution is to have a nuclear plant with batteries and fuel cell emergency backup especially good if we later crack the water produced by the cell to allow the resource to be used again.

Air is not so much a problem as long as we have plenty of power to crack the CO2 and the oxygen locked up in the soil of Mars. If we also have a rugged life support system that removes the impurities in the air and also has plenty of backup there should not be a problem just needs good engineering.

Shelter is a problem for people cannot really wish to live in a habitat we send and will crave extra space. When we build on mars we will need to get the new habitat airtight and able to function on the life support system we have already sent. We must also be aware that the base may well absorb oxygen we have made into its frame as we continue.( this has happened to the Biosphere where concrete absorbed oxygen to the point of dangerous deficiencies in the habitat)

Finally food and water. Water would be really helped if we landed near to a recognised source of water and this is just requiring good reconaisance before hand. Food though is a problem with the level of light in the region of Mars and since we also have to protect the crops from the ultra violet light then we need to find a means to solve this problem. Genetic solutions to create a breed of "Mars" crops that are ultraviolet tolerant, able to thrive in poor light conditions( improved Chlorophyll ?) very nutricious and best of all fast growing. Preparing the soil of Mars  to be able to grow crops again is an engineering problem. If we first of all crack the soil of the large amounts of oxygen in it and then also find less "harsh" rock to also crush we have a base material. This base material will provide either the "soil" for a hydroponics type farm if crompessed into balls or just spread out in a completely enclosed farm. Nutrients can be added some of which will be in the form of the packaging surrounding the stores and packages sent to Mars and waste the crew make. Others will be in the form of fertiliser material gleaned from the martian atmosphere and the water source we have found. Finally we need a good lot of worms to keep the soil healthy.

The Base will not be truly self reliant as there will be a constant need for resupply from Earth but these will grow a base into hopefully the first colony.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#25 2005-08-07 10:16:32

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,810
Website

Re: Mission One: a one way ticket to Mars?

We have solved a lot of the problems. Oxygen: there are several ways to generate oxygen:
- greenhouse
- water electrolysis (reverse fuel cell)
- direct [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3] electrolysis
Life support backups:
- stored whole air
- stored oxygen
- oxygen "candles"
- spacesuit

Plants produce oxygen but it's a tricky balance, Biosphere 2 found soil microbes consumed more than they thought, probably because they introduced more organic matter than normal soil. Microbes consumed the extra plant matter buried in the soil but that also consumed extra oxygen.

Water electrolysis is well documented. The "elektron" on the Russian service module of ISS generates oxygen by electrolysis. The details aren't published (Russian secret). Hamilton Sundstrand built a reverse fuel cell water electrolysis unit for the U.S. habitat module of ISS, the prototype was tested at the Johnson Space Center's advanced life support facility. They also built and tested prototypes for the toilet (works like a trash compactor), dehumidifier, reverse osmosis water filter, regenerable [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3] removal system, and Sabatier reactor. They also replaced the LiOH canister on spacesuits with silver oxide sheets so [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3] removal is regenerable there too. The total system as >90% recycling efficiency. Since oxygen generation is by water electrolysis it's an integrated system, efficiency applies to both water and oxygen.

The Advanced Life Support project hoped to achieve 97% water recycling closure, but that included an incinerating toilet rather than just a compactor. You could build an add-on that works like an electric oven set on self-clean, no combustion so no fire on the station, but that's not currently planed for ISS.

Direct [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3] electrolysis converts [tex:ba01027ba3]2 CO_2 \rightarrow 2 CO + O_2[/tex:ba01027ba3]. In practice it only converts 80%, but it can be used to supplement the water electrolysis system described above. Generating oxygen from [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3] means that much less water consumed. Human metabolism converts dry carbohydrate and oxygen into water and [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3], so generating oxygen via direct [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3] electrolysis will have the effect of accumulating water. Direct [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3] electrolysis consumes slightly more than twice as much electricity as water electrolysis, and the gas must be heated to 900°C instead of room temperature. It's power hungry but will replenish the losses. It can be used on ISS to close the loop, but Mars has a 95.32% [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3] atmosphere so if electrolysis of [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3] scrubbed from cabin air isn't enough you have an unlimited supply outside.

As for water, have you seen this image from Mars Express? It's a blue lake of water ice at the bottom of a crater with white frost along the crater rim. The caption says the crater is 35km wide and I measure the lake being roughly 32% the diameter so a little over 11km wide frozen lake. They also found this image that looks like pack ice. If it is ice, just use hot air to melt a cavern and pump out liquid water. The frozen lake is 70° north latitude but the pack ice is just 5° north of the equator. Choose your spot, either has lots of water.

So what are we left with? Lots of oxygen, lots of water, just need food. Using electro/mechanical means to recycle water and oxygen mean the greenhouse is easier to balance. I know a couple people working to a Mars greenhouse, one uses a grey water sewage system with hydroponics, the other uses a composting toilet with soil agriculture. Both are important areas of research. Guelph University has grown plants in a hypobaric chamber, they found lettuce and a small plant called arabidopsis will grow in pressure as low as 10kPa. That's lower than humans can survive so low pressure for Mars is fine for a greenhouse. There isn't any organic matter in Mars regolith, but "pioneer" plants draw [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3] from air to create organic matter. Part of a presentation I'll make at this year's conference includes making anhydrous ammonia from Mars air as nitrogen fertilizer for greenhouse soil. You could get fancy by growing vats of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that produces organic matter from water, [tex:ba01027ba3]CO_2[/tex:ba01027ba3] and some mineral nutrients. Treating Mars regolith to make soil is tricky, but you have to look at other things like salt, too much iron, too little potassium, etc. Those minerals can be balanced by chemically processing regolith before adding nitrogen and organic matter. This is soil analysis, agriculture stuff.

Any other show stopper?

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