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#1 2005-09-27 17:18:01

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

I've been really, eh, out of it, to be posting, but I thought I'd try to get back in the whole posting thing. Hope you guys don't feel neglected.

Anyway, I'm wondering what you guys think about a one man one way suicide mission to Mars. It wouldn't be a suicide mission so much, as I'd want to go there with at least the ability to grow my own food, so I would definitely have to bring along a greenhouse of sorts. I was thinking a fairly large greenhouse which would be assembled once grounded, as a sort of Closed Ecosystem Life Support System.

A chloroplast device could suffice for food in the meantime, during the trip, and while waiting for actual food to grow in the greenhouse.

I haven't really thought about the logistics for such a trip, it's just been in the back of my head in general. "Could it be possible for a multimillionare/billionare to go to Mars for "cheap"?"

The first problem is getting there. So what would be the best rocket for such a mission? What's the biggest rocket capable of sending a, say, 5-10 ton payload to Mars? I'm thinking very small here, a ship whose internals are no bigger than most peoples bathrooms. In volume it would be only a little larger than the rover probe container was.

Help me realize my dream of suicidally going to Mars! big_smile


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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#2 2005-09-27 17:46:37

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

There is a rather big range of possible budget values between "millions" and "billions"

If you had hundreds of millions or billions... maybe

If you have millions, uh uh


"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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#3 2005-09-27 18:10:16

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Well, to my credit I did say "multimillion." Though I know that's a bit low, how about the hundreds of millions as a baseline? Would you be better off building your own rocket, or buying one from someone? Am I being too simple minded here?


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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#4 2005-09-27 18:20:58

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

The hardware needed to live on Mars doesn't have a reliable lifespan of ~70-80 years needed to support a man indefinatly. Thats just not happening... Solar cells, space suits, ISRU/greenhouse pumps, etc will eventually fail from regular wear-and-tear much sooner then you will. Trying to pack everything you would need to live out your entire life probobly means you will need either resupply or massive redundancy... Which means either a big ship, or regular resupply.

Hundreds of millions might get you there, but we're talking billions to stay.


"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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#5 2005-09-27 18:45:11

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Hmm, I'm not exactly a youngster, I think 30-40 years would be more than enough time, anyhow. Surely you as a chemical engineer could think of some suitable greenhouse material that can last twice that long? If you can come up with the material, I can do the growing hydroponically. This type of mission doesn't require significant technology, we don't even have to use electricity once we get there!

But right now I'm thinking about getting there, and the costs to get there, I'll be happy to get into the technology to survive there, but that's not important right now, imho. Knowing how much it would cost to send a given tonnage of material to Mars would be interesting. And would you be better off building your own ship? What's the simplist rocket technology we have capable of getting to Mars?


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

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#6 2005-09-27 18:59:08

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Well I'm not quite so pesimistic.  I think a one-man one-way mission is quite possible.  Although if you want the person to stay their indefiently so resupply is going to be needed.  It's not just a matter of chemical degredation (although that is a part) it's a matter of mechanical failure.  The moving parts on your fan's/pumps and what not will eventualy fail.  It's no so much a matter of if, it's a matter of when.  The rest of the components likewise have limited lifetimes, the Rovers, your powersource, tankage, whatever.  They can be made tough, but they can't be made unbreakable.

So some resupply is going to be necessary.  You would want some anyways just incase some no-predictable accident happened, such as a pressure loss in your Greenhouse, killing all your plants, or whatever.

But I think the more important question is why?  That one person would probably have to spend the vast majority of his time doing maintance and what not necessary to his survival.  He would have little time to do any science.  Also the sanity of anyone who wants to sign up for such a suicide mission must be called into question.  Suicide is not a sane/logical course of action, and we definetly want our first man on mars to be both sane and logical.


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

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#7 2005-09-27 19:28:03

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,806

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

The ship materials are probably all available but you would need to act like you can only spend money as if you are visiting your neighbors yard sale. Maybe even using some old ICBM or other military discards to utilize for parts or pieces and you might even be able to barter these for better parts from others if possible to make such an exchange.

5-10 ton payload to Mars? I'm thinking very small here, a ship whose internals are no bigger than most peoples bathrooms. In volume it would be only a little larger than the rover probe container was.

To do the exercise needs to have numbers for the amount of oxygen and water requirements for estimated time period. The tanks to hold these will determine the shape and some of the other factors of your ship.
The lander habitat area will most likely need to be aero capture into orbit, probably using parachutes with a final burst from the engine to land the ship softly. So the fuel and egines just added to the weigh of down mass of your ship.

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#8 2005-09-27 20:02:54

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

I don't think you fully appreciate the amount of equipment and the size of the greenhouse you'd need for perminant habitation. It would need to be a fairly large greenhouse to recycle 99% of oxygen, potable water, and food continuously.

You will also need a fair bit of hardware, since no system is completly closed. You will either need a water drill or resupply from Earth. You will need some electrical power to run the greenhouse/recycler/ISRU and to keep you warm in Martian winter/dust storm... That means either regular resupply of batteries or fuel cell parts and new solar cells, or a tonne or two (or more!) of replacements. Replacement or redundant power control hardware too. No nuclear reactor, since it wouldn't be cheap enough to develop nor have a long enough lifespan. You'd need a new space suit every few years, and they weigh quite a bit each, so thats a few hundred kilos over your lifespan. If you want to have a rover, you'll need an ISRU plant, which won't operate (nor keep cryogens cold) indefinatly either. Oh, and you'll need a new rover sooner or later too, unless you bring three or four. Heck, I doubt even a furnace-type toilet would operate indefinatly unless it were VERY solidly (read: heavy) built.

I think we're talking upwards of 20MT here easy if you include the metal transit pressure vessel.

Psychologically though, the chances of your survival, even with unlimited bandwidth to Earth, are slim to none.


"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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#9 2005-09-28 01:07:39

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,748
Website

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Hi Josh, interesting project. First a greenhouse, look a my web page for the local chapter for a greenhouse. The best material for an inflatable greenhouse on Mars is PolyChlorTriFluoroEthylene (PCTFE). That's sold by a few brand names, 3M used to sell it as Kel-F but they stopped making it in 1995. Now a Japanese company makes it but that have a brand name for all fluoropolymers so you have to use PCTFE. Honeywell sells it with 2 brand names: Aclar targeted at the pharmaceutical industry (blister packs for pills), or Clarus targeted at aerospace and military. They're the same thing but I suspect Clarus is more expensive. Plastic film just 2 mil thick will have a significant safety margin and it'll handle cold 100°C colder that the coldest spot of the Martian south pole in southern winter. But you want to land near the equator, within tropical latitudes for warmth (relative). Also pick a spot below the datum for radiation protection, and a spot close to a source of water. Permafrost could be melted and filtered to give water, you don't need a frozen lake or liquid aquifer.

As for life support: I strongly recommend a recycling chemical/mechanical system during the trip to Mars, then keep it as a backup to the greenhouse. Biosphere 2 found excessive consumption of oxygen by microbes breaking down plant matter they buried in the soil. You don't want some other surprise from the greenhouse depriving you of oxygen. Life support requires a few parts: dehumidifier, reverse osmosis filter for the urine collection tube, also RO filter for dehumidifier effluent. Another RO filter for wash water. Water electrolysis by proton transport membrane to make oxygen. Regenerable sorbent to scrub [tex:4c5cbb9410]CO_2[/tex:4c5cbb9410]. Human metabolism makes water from oxygen and carbohydrate, but the electrolysis tank will consume twice as much water; so you need a Sabatier reactor to combine all of the hydrogen from electrolysis with half of the [tex:4c5cbb9410]CO_2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] from the scrubber to make methane and water. That'll make the other half of water that electrolysis needs. There will be some losses but a direct [tex:4c5cbb9410]CO_2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] electrolysis system can make some oxygen to replenish oxygen, and surplus oxygen so you can turn down water electrolysis to let water accumulate. Direct [tex:4c5cbb9410]CO_2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] electrolysis is very power hungry so you want to use it as little as possible, but it replenishes loss of both oxygen and water.

A chloroplast system is great to produce starch paste, and you can grow yeast in that for protein, but in-vitro chloroplasts have a limited life span. I suggested bringing bags of chloroplasts in liquid nitrogen for the trip. Hopefully each bag will last 6 months, but that's only a hope; I have no data to base that. On the surface of Mars you'll have to grow pea seedlings to harvest new chloroplasts. You cut off leaves 2 weeks after germination, grind them and centrifuge to isolate chloroplasts. The centrifuge is about the size of a blender, and the lab procedure calls for a fancy (expensive) hand immersion blender sized for a test tube. I suspect a professional restaurant hand blender will do, just use a beaker instead of a test tube. But you will need chemicals: percoll, hepes, NaOH, sorbitol, acetone. There are a few different protocols, each with slightly different chemicals. I can tell you how to make NaOH and acetone, but right now I don't know the others.

Size: according to "The Case for Mars" paper back edition page 89, a piloted mission to Mars using [tex:4c5cbb9410]H_2/O_2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] fuel will require 40.6 tonne throw to trans-Mars trajectory to land 25.2 tonnes on the surface. Proton 8K82K/11S824F can throw 6.220 tonnes to a trans-Mars trajectory. That should be able to land 3.86 tonnes on the surface. Energia with EUS can throw 35,680kg to C3=0, 31,091kg to C3=10, or 17,446kg to C3=50. A manned mission to Mars will use C=15 so interpolating I get 24,207.5kg to TMI. Then calculating landed mass I get 15,025kg (15.025 tonnes). The problem with Energia is its vehicle assembly building roof collapsed in May, 2002. That will be expensive to repair. The price quote was $60-100 million to restore infrastructure and $120 million per launch including EUS, but that was in 1994. It would be more expensive now.

You could use the big version of Magnum that NASA is considering for the Moon. It would be big enough, but American rockets built by major aerospace companies for NASA tend to be very expensive.

A greenhouse can be made relatively light. Use a double layer PCTFE bladder with spectrally selective coating to block UV and control heat loss, and an aluminized Mylar curtain inside to reflect heat at night. Extract argon from Mars air to fill the gap between bladder layers (argon conducts less heat than air) and shovel in Mars regolith to weigh down the bag. Also use hold-down straps to squash it into an oval. An Earth greenhouse uses plant trays to hold soil, raising them up for ease of gardening, but you could plant at ground level like a vegetable garden. Growing in ground level soil requires something to prevent a shovel from puncturing the air bladder under the soil. PCTFE is probably strong enough that plant roots can't pierce it, but a gardening trowel could.

Most importantly you need a really, really good power supply. For the Mars Homestead Project I calculated life support power requirements for a 12 person base. I based it on life support equipment built by Hamilton Sundstrand for the US Habitation module of ISS, so it is flight equipment. Since that equipment is sized for 4 astronauts I multiplied by 3 for Mars Homestead. For your needs I would divide the Mars Homestead results by 12. That gives:
toilet: 31.25 watt peak, 0.005989583 kWh per day
water processor: 76.25 watt peak, 0.1167 kWh per day
oxygen generation: 144.167 watt continuous
[tex:4c5cbb9410]CO_2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] removal: 21.583 watt continuous
dehumidifier: 50 watt continuous
circulation fan: 26 watt continuous
Sabatier reactor: doesn't use energy, net heat producer
This adds up to a total of 246.860677 watts just to run life support. Then add lights.

I find 14 watt compact fluorescent light bulbs have the same light as a standard (cheap) 60 watt tungsten light bulb. The straight (not twisted) compact fluorescent lights from GE have a very nice spectrum. The spirals from Philips are easer to find and slightly cheaper, but have a slightly odd spectrum; some white paint looks slightly pink. I use a single GE 14-watt light bulb in my bathroom, but two bulbs in my home office. If you use compact fluorescent, use a modular fixture. That has a separate ballast from the bulb, so you can develop a ballast that uses DC power from solar panels. Modular bulbs also tend to last longer: 10,000 hours instead of 8,000 hour for GE bulbs or 6,000 hours for Phillips bulbs. White LEDs tend to last 10 times as long as compact fluorescent and use even less power, but expensive bulbs and you need a lot of really tiny bulbs. Considering the cost of transport from Earth, white LEDs are worth it. Budget 14 watts to light a single small room.

The greenhouse can use ambient light, but there will be many pieces of equipment that need power. Direct [tex:4c5cbb9410]CO_2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] electrolysis consumes slightly more than twice as much power as water electrolysis, and that doesn't include power to heat the gas to 900°C. I don't know right now how much power you'll need but it's significant. You would do well to reduce consumption to 1kW, 3kW might be more realistic. Ultra triple junction solar panels from Spectrolab are space rated, they produce 350[tex:4c5cbb9410]W/m^2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] beginning of life for panel area >2.5[tex:4c5cbb9410]m^2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] and mass 1.76[tex:4c5cbb9410]kg/m^2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] for panels with 3 mil Ceria Doped Coverslide. Efficiency is 28.3% beginning of life, 24.3% end of life, so expect 300[tex:4c5cbb9410]W/m^2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] end of life. To produce 3kW you would need 10[tex:4c5cbb9410]m^2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] of panel massing 17.6kg. That doesn't include substrate, you would need some sort of backing to support it and a frame to track the sun. Sunlight will only be up 50% of the time, so budget 500 watts during the day to run life support and recharge batteries for life support at night. This only gives you 2.5kW during the day to operate equipment for mining, refining, and manufacture.

NASA tried to support a single test subject for 90 days with a greenhouse. It was part of their advanced life support project. They used hydroponics with bright lights 24/7 and multiple levels of plant trays. You would use soil agriculture with a single layer (ground level) and ambient light. You can use mirrors on either side of the greenhouse to reflect more light, raising the light level to equal Earth. That would be most efficient but would require more floor space than NASA's experiment. Based on NASA's calculations growth area for 6 astronauts is 66.9[tex:4c5cbb9410]m^2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] so assume 11.15[tex:4c5cbb9410]m^2[/tex:4c5cbb9410] for just you. If you put a 0.5 metre wide isle down the centre, the greenhouse floor would be 3.5m wide by 3.71667m long. If growing area is 90% width of the ellipse of the pressure bladder, it will be 12.5kg of film. That assumes the ellipse is 2.5m high at the centre, subtract soil depth to get head room. Add mass for door, airlock, etc.

::Edit:: Correctin, you can't divide peak power for the toilet by 12. A toilet is a toilet, so peak power can't be divided. However it'll be used less often if there's only one person so the average power use per day is correct. That means total power required is still the same.

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#10 2005-09-28 01:33:47

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Beautiful post Robert! Geez! I laughed out loud at that! You did like 80% of the process here! God, great, no pussyfooting around or nitpicking, you just told me what you knew, thank you so much Robert, that made my freaking day. smile

You helped show that some of the payload mass wouldn't be that huge as I felt intuitively (the greenhouse and solar panels mass together less than 100lbs, I would've guessed 500 to be liberal about it! even if you factor in other things like wire for the solar panels and the structures which is sits on, it'd still be well under 500lbs).

Efficiency is definitely key, which is what's so cool about the stuff you said, it's like you read my mind. White LEDs for example (I also currently have a 14 watt fluorescent bulb lighting my bedroom, it's lasted 3 years without skipping a beat, beautiful invention, funnily enough).

I should get to sleep soon, but I enjoyed reading your post, thanks Robert. BTW, here's an unmunged version of that link you made: http://pet.jsc.nasa.gov/documents/simaD … 2-1167.pdf which I am downloading now and will read at my leisure. smile


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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#11 2005-09-28 05:56:54

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Keep in mind Josh, that "Mr USSA" Robert has a pretty tenuous grip on reality, is not in any shape form or fasion an engineer or expert, and has time and time again been radically and unjustifiably optimistic in his assumptions. He has a solid and unshakeable beliefe that ultrasimple, flimsy, often rube-goldbergish systems are to be relied upon, which really is suicidal. Astronauts live and die on how robust, solid, and well built their equipment is built and how much reserve capability they have, which Robert doesn't seem to understand in the slightest, instead clinging to his unrealistic "simple = good" mantra. The reason that REAL areospace engineers don't consider ultra-super-simple solutions is because they'd get their astronauts killed!

Chances are good that if you followed his directions, you'd die.


"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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#12 2005-09-28 07:10:19

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,806

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Do we know if the material can withstand Martian dust devils sand pelting?

Using LED's for lighting inside would be more of an energy mizer and would last longer.

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#13 2005-09-28 10:04:40

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,748
Website

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Oh come on GCNRevenger, you know better than that. Claiming I have "tenuous grip on reality" is just childish. Grow up.

As for calling me "Mr USSA", I don't say Russian stuff is better than American, just cheaper. I got the idea of using the Energia from Robert Zubrin's book "The Case for Mars". He wasn't the first one to consider Russian stuff either, the Atlas V uses RD-180 engines. The reason I mentioned Energia is that it and the new big rocket Mike Griffin will build are the only ones big enough for Josh's project. Energia already flew and I know what the cost was in 1994, I have no idea what Magnum will cost.

You're a chemist, GCNRevenger, not an engineer. You obviously aren't aware of the engineering principle "Keep It Simple Stupid - KISS". That's how you make something reliable. Computer programmers learned it from engineers; it works. My life support ideas are actually quite robust, you just don't understand. In fact I had an argument with one individual with the Mars Homestead Project. He's a retired project manager from Intel, used to be in charge of wafer fabrication. He wanted to use surplus gas from industrial gas production. I want that to be one backup. He also expected the habitat to be as leaky as Biosphere 2, which had acres of glass windows with just weather stripping as sealant. It leaked badly. I want it sealed as well as ISS. In fact the leakage rate he calculated from Biosphere 2 was so great it would have been a death trap, more than twice as much oxygen loss to leaks as human consumption. If power ever failed your dead.

My system has 6 systems for oxygen:
• electrolysis/sabatier/sorbent: [tex:a5dd6c0dc1]CO_2 + H_2O \rightarrow O_2[/tex:a5dd6c0dc1] + methane, dump methane & half [tex:a5dd6c0dc1]CO_2[/tex:a5dd6c0dc1]
• greenhouse
• chloroplast/sorbent/fermentation: [tex:a5dd6c0dc1]CO_2 + H_2O \rightarrow O_2[/tex:a5dd6c0dc1] + carbohydrate yeast paste
• [tex:a5dd6c0dc1]CO_2[/tex:a5dd6c0dc1] freezer/zirconia catalyst: Mars atmosphere [tex:a5dd6c0dc1]\rightarrow[/tex:a5dd6c0dc1] air; freezer makes diluent gas, zirconia converts [tex:a5dd6c0dc1]CO_2[/tex:a5dd6c0dc1] into oxygen and CO, dump CO
• stored oxygen, stored whole breathable air
• oxygen “candles”, a solid when “burned” generates oxygen

You can also mix & match for alternate backups.
• Water from Mars permafrost can feed electrolysis.
• [tex:a5dd6c0dc1]CO_2[/tex:a5dd6c0dc1] from the cabin sorbent to feed the zirconia catalyst to generate oxygen.

The last one is direct [tex:a5dd6c0dc1]CO_2[/tex:a5dd6c0dc1] electrolysis. That relies upon food to provide hydrogen and carbon atoms to human metabolism, which produces [tex:a5dd6c0dc1]CO_2[/tex:a5dd6c0dc1] and water as waste. As I mentioned earlier, this can be used to replenish losses in oxygen and water from dry food. Once you start growing food in a greenhouse you can't rely on that, at least not long term. However water and [tex:a5dd6c0dc1]CO_2[/tex:a5dd6c0dc1] from Mars will definitely sustain you.

The reason GCNRevenger has been critical lately is my assertion that America can make space stuff a lot less expensively than it does for NASA. There are many Americans who claim the same thing, that private industry could do it more affordably. There no reason it has to be that expensive for NASA, they have to control their contractors better. I for one want to be a NASA contractor and have every intent of providing high quality stuff for reasonable cost. I intend to land contracts by delivering on time and on budget, and underbidding major companies. I found anything I can deliver will cost 10% of Boeing's price, including a substantial margin for ancillary expenses and unexpected costs.

So, the life support equipment I recommend is a greenhouse plus stuff built by Hamilton Sundstrand for the International Space Station. You claim if Josh uses that he will die. NASA disagrees.

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#14 2005-09-28 10:18:21

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,806

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Also lets not forget that the more complex you make each item the more likely that it will break down and with no parts to repair it you will need all these other contingencies. KISS is not only about making it cheap it is also about how to repair it as well.

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#15 2005-09-28 13:55:06

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,806

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

A couple of references:
To make use of the available water and hydrogen as well as methane we will need to use fuel cells and electrolysis.

Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFCs)

LOW COST, HIGH EFFICIENCY REVERSIBLE FUEL CELL (AND ELECTROLYZER) SYSTEMS

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#16 2005-09-28 14:22:24

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,748
Website

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Oops. The power output I quoted for solar panels are in Earth orbit. Mars orbit gets 43% as much light. Based on 300[tex:4b0e1da5c8]W/m^2[/tex:4b0e1da5c8] end of life on Earth, Mars will give you 129[tex:4b0e1da5c8]W/m^2[/tex:4b0e1da5c8]. To produce 3kW you would need 23.2558[tex:4b0e1da5c8]m^2[/tex:4b0e1da5c8] which would mass 40.93kg.

Greenhouse: you may want extra area to produce a surplus. In case of crop failure you can eat stored food from that surplus. You may also want to grow non-food crops for fibre (industrial hemp), construction material (bamboo), or soap. Modern soap is made from industrially pure NaOH and/or KOH with vegetable oil.

Toilet paper will be a concern after a while. I gave power figures for the ISS toilet that uses an air stream to capture human waste in zero gravity, then a "trash compactor" to squeeze out air. Fine for space, but you have gravity on Mars and no ready source of toilet paper. An alternative is the washlet, a bidet seat on a conventional flush toilet. The bidet uses a water spout to clean your bottom, and it has a built-in air dryer that works like a hand dryer in a public washroom. Using water, air and electricity means you have an unlimited supply on Mars.

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#17 2005-09-28 14:29:14

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Also lets not forget that the more complex you make each item the more likely that it will break down and with no parts to repair it you will need all these other contingencies. KISS is not only about making it cheap it is also about how to repair it as well.

Not so, there are many times when a more complex and robust system can be more reliable then a simpler system.

And Robert: don't bother rebutting, I'm not listening.

PS: If some of you are curious about the source of my animosity, it is due to Robert's vicious, inhuman, brain-dead-moral-equivelence in his libel against my country, by stating that the United States of America acts no better than the bloody tyranny of Soviet Russia. Hence "USSA"


"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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#18 2005-09-28 16:00:44

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Send two Jesuit priests. Monks, sort of but scientists like the guys who work at the Vatican observatory.

= = =

The first problem is getting there. So what would be the best rocket for such a mission? What's the biggest rocket capable of sending a, say, 5-10 ton payload to Mars? I'm thinking very small here, a ship whose internals are no bigger than most peoples bathrooms. In volume it would be only a little larger than the rover probe container was.

About a year ago, I did some back of envelope calculations to make MarsDirect one-way-to-stay for two people.

I believe the Mars craft can be built with two launches of da' Stick with 2 astronauts ferried up in Soyuz or the t/space system.

= = =

Ask the Vatican to pay for it.


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

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#19 2005-09-28 16:01:38

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Toilet paper will be a concern after a while.

Washable silk. Heh!  tongue


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

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#20 2005-09-28 19:36:58

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,806

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Also lets not forget that the more complex you make each item the more likely that it will break down and with no parts to repair it you will need all these other contingencies. KISS is not only about making it cheap it is also about how to repair it as well.

Not so, there are many times when a more complex and robust system can be more reliable then a simpler system.

But there also as many reasons for why not to make the more complex choice. One of which is cost, value added testing of extreme temperature, failure mode debug and none of these make it robust.

Example of kiss
You go to the local store to purchase a toaster and there are two choices on the self.
Brand A costs $7 while brand B cost $40, both have the same looks, control features, power connection and neither brand says they will last forever. Which do you buy.

On a mission to Mars it would be the one you can repair with next to nothing.

Hint brand A was the old thermal metalic release, while brand B was the super duper unit full of sensors, a micro processor, relay to latch holder in down position and a lots more parts which you will not have.

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#21 2005-09-28 22:12:01

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

GCNRevenger, the point isn't to be safe, to be guaranteed, the point is to do it as cheaply as possible without being bizarre and requiring stuff that doesn't exist, half of the things Robert talked about are things I had thought about, especially regarding life support (I don't know if you were around but during one point life support was all I used to talk about, although it was intermixed with my political beliefs at some points). We have the technology already for a CELSS. And in the end non-existing technology should be considered last for this little project, and only if the existing technology is too heavy or expensive. It's a suicide mission, that's the point, the odds are against you. You don't have this ISS style structures between you and space, you have plastic.

Seriously, do you think I have a firm grip on reality if I'm proposing that this is actually possible? That some guy could come up with a few billion and go to Mars and live out the remainder of his life there?

It's a thought game, we don't have to be too serious here.

On the discussion of KISS. I think that's the best approach. I'm rebuilding my '71 Honda CB350K, it's a wonderful little machine, the components are just intuitive to understand. If you were to go to Mars wouldn't you want the simplist technology available? There's obviously a middleground you want to reach, you want components that last a long ass time, and if they do, then complexity isn't too much of a concern, but for things that might break easily you want something simple.

Be sure, though, that if you survived the trip your components would be well taken care of. You're not going to, assuming you took a rover along, be doing dune buggying out there on Mars.


Robert, I'd thought your energy numbers were a bit high! But I didn't want to say anything as it was late when I posted that. That's much more like it.

Concerning the greenhouse, I think that the greenhouse/CELSS components should be the last thing to go on the ship, I think that every remaining ounce of the payload should go into making the greenhouse as big as possible. You can't have enough greenhouse, imho. Hemp was also on my list of considerations, it is extremely reslient of a plant, so it would be a great oxygen producer, and of course, it can also be converted into a fuel for usage elsewhere. I'll save the "toking up" jokes for later, heh.

I used to get into arguments with clark about toilet paper, and you obviously have the solution, either you use a bidit (which over time would wear out, but the pump that it uses ought to me replacable, a few spares should last a lifetime), or as Bill notes, a washrag should suffice. You can make washrags out of hemp using some of the oldest technology around!


SpaceNut, I think you hit it right on target here. I think that, in the end, spares ought to be an insignificant portion of the payload.  I have complete belief in a CELSS that can last decades without any significant breakdowns occuring, if it is designed right, with as little moving components as possible.


Couple of things. Nuclear might not actually be out of the question. Remember that "Micro Reactor" that came up here before? Here's a random google link if you don't remember: http://www.primidi.com/2005/02/06.html As long as the weight of this thing isn't too significant, it might actually be able to come long. edit: reading more it's obviously too big for this mission. =/ Leavinv this in though because it's still an interesting piece of technology. A smaller version might be possible.


So Robert, I'm reading about Energia and it seems to be in a really bad state right now, are any of the Energia engines/modules for sell? I think you said something to that effect before. Basically, could we rebuild Energia for the cost of three to four Proton launches? How much would Proton cost us? I can't find anything on its cost on astronautix.com.

Right now, to me, getting there is the hard part.


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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#22 2005-09-29 00:27:57

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,748
Website

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

Energia is not as bad as American media seems to think. I did some serious study on this in 2000/2001. It was in great shape before the roof collapsed.

The strap-on boosters are just Zenit first stages with a simplified gimbal and some parachutes & air bags for recovery. The gimbal moves in one dimension instead of two; they're arranged in pairs with gimbals of two boosters pointing one way and the others 90°. The computer co-ordinates movement. This saves some weight. Zenit is now used by Boeing for Sea Launch. Yes, the manufacturer still has tools and jigs for the simplified gimbal.

I emailed the manufacturer directly about RD-0120 engines. They have 9 engines in storage with varying hot fire life time remaining and varying specific impulse. That's the way he put it. They also have most of the parts for a few more. They kept the plans and jigs but would require a new CNC machine. Most importantly the company is willing to swallow the cost of restoring this engine to production on the condition they get a solid order from a paying customer. So, yes, the engines are available.

The launch pad is in good condition. I have pictures from a tour group that went through in 1997, and one person on this board reported going through Baikonur. The launch pads are in the same shape as the Shuttle launch pad at Vandenberg. The 1997 pictures of the rail lines from the vehicle assembly building to the pad show rails and concrete ties in perfect condition. They just need someone with a weed whacker to cut down weeds. They have 3 "grasshopper" transporter/erectors. One was inside the vehicle assembly building when the roof collapsed. I don't know how badly it's damaged, but the other two were outside. The fully assembled Energia rocket and both spare core modules were inside when the roof collapsed on them. There was at least one extra set of strap-on boosters, also inside the building. Engines of the extra strap-on boosters were stripped for Zenit rockets sold to Boeing, but the one full Energia on the transporter was complete. They're all gone now.

Core module tanks were made by the same company that makes the R-7 line of rockets, including Soyuz launch vehicles. Obviously the Soyuz is in production. I don't know about jigs for the larger Energia tanks, but it shouldn't be hard to restore. The airplane that carried the oxygen and hydrogen tanks separately to Baikonur is still available. That plane landed at the Buran landing strip, which has been refurbished to support cargo planes carrying satellites for launch on Proton.

The big thing is the building. What I keep calling "vehicle assembly building" is actually called "building of assembly and test" which in Russian makes the acronym MIK. There is an MIK for each model of rocket; the one for Energia was designated building #112. Kazakh workers maintaining the roof stored 10 metric tonnes of roofing material on the flat roof because they had a problem with theft from Baikonur. Then there was a major rain storm. The roof collapsed. They moved the Buran orbiter from the orbiter processing building (building #240) so they could stage ISS modules there. They stored the orbiter in the safest place they could think of, assembled on the Energia launch stack in building #112. Because Russia stores there vehicles horizontally, the orbiter sat on the external tank. They pressurized it for strength, but used air for safety. When the roof collapsed all that air was released. Any part of the roof that didn't fall down was blown off by pressurized air. All 3 high bays have lost their roof. The "low bays" are actually high bays, just not so high. The "low bays" were not damaged; there were also used to stage ISS modules, and are still used for that today. Kazakhstan asked Russia to pay for the repair, but Russia demanded Kazakhstan pay for it. The high bays were in perfect condition before the collapse, but have been without a roof since May 12, 2002, including 3 winters. It'll be in bad shape now.

To see some pictures go to the local chapter web page for Russian rockets.

I made a table of launch vehicles for members of this board. It's here. This shows the 1994 price for a Proton K, but I don't know the current price or the price of Proton M. It appears to be something below $100 million, but the price is elastic; highly negotiable. The model of Proton I quoted to send 6.22 tonnes to trans-Mars trajectory is a Proton K plus an upper stage.

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#23 2005-09-29 01:33:23

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

GCN, let's not let politics influence our reading of other people's science. It's better to judge the science by its own terms. Besides, Robert's a great guy. If you came to the Mars Society meetings, you'd know that (he's even encouraged you to come on a few occasions, too, in spite of your different politics).

Regarding the greenhouse, Robert, I'm surprised 11 square meters would be enough. I'll have to take a look at your link. A NASA publication about L5 space colonies assumed about 50 square meters per person, and the agricultural area had access to 24-hour sunlight. Biosphere 2 used 200 square meters per person and they were sometimes a bit hungry. The forerunner of Biosphere 2 was a little cube about 25 feet/8 meters across and high that was supposed to feed and recycle the wastes of 1 person. It had about 64 square meters of space (including a little house, but there was agriculture on its roof and climbing plants on its sides).

But I wouldn't put Martian regolith straight on the floor of a greenhouse; I'd raise it off the floor in plastic trays set on rocks with air circulation under them. There are two reasons:

1. The ground underneath is an average of about 50 below zero, and plants don't like cold roots.

2. Water will inevitably leak on the plastic and "rot" it over time, especially water with organic acids in it. You want the plastic floor to stay dry.

I'd raise your food in two greenhouses instead of one for redundancy. You may want 100% extra space anyway for fiber crops, as Robert mentioned. Besides, a small greenhouse is achieved by raising only a few high-yield crops. A bigger area means a more diverse diet. My hunch is that you need 100 square meters, not 11, to eat reasonably well.

Regarding a 1-person, 1-way trip, no matter how efficient and redundant your systems are, it is better to plan for periodic resupply. It appears a $100 million Proton can land about three tonnes on Mars. I suspect you will need one of them every four years at least, maybe every two years. Considering the risk of losing your only resupply (probably at least 10%, maybe much higher), you will need to keep a four-year inventory of everything so that if a resupply vehicle failed, the next one 2 years later would not be too late.

                   -- RobS

EDIT: Now that I've read that NASA report concluding 11 square meters is sufficient per person, I am even more skeptical. It did not assume particular crops or known yields per square meter; rather, it assumed that a certain light level would produce a certain food output per square meter per day. Converting that number into particular crops is complicated. It is also worth noting that their 66 square meter greenhouse to feed six astronauts hads a mass of 52 tonnes, including all equipment!

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#24 2005-09-29 06:25:00

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

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

In order for me to have a minimally civil conversation here on this message board with someone, I have to hold at least a little bit of respect, or at the least not think very badly of someone.

Robert apparently is a typical brain-dead retired hippy type who has unrepentantly insulted my country with a deeply henious libel, which has erased whatever respect I used to hold about him... He can go take a long walk out a short airlock as far as I care, but his political view of my home is unconscionable and beyond the pale, and I will have no business with him.

And frankly, even before his attack, I don't think that Robert really knows what he's talking about on the balence, with his "research" generally consisting of just looking up people's numbers and facts uncritically, and slapping together a piece of hardware or mission plan... Continually coming up with schemes that are obviously under-built or unrealistic, then turning around and banging his drum and libeling again that NASA/Boeing/Lockheed/everybody are infact overdoing it in order to "conspire against the taxpayer." Lastly, he's just too optimistic to be taken seriously: time and time again he always makes assumptions that are too optimistic... optimistic about performance, reliability, complexity, and optimistic about what can be accomplished. His "science" is tainted by his unreasonable optimism.

These are not traits of someone I would give money or my time. He is not a great guy, and you shouldn't pay him any more attention.

"Seriously, do you think I have a firm grip on reality if I'm proposing that this is actually possible? That some guy could come up with a few billion and go to Mars and live out the remainder of his life there? "

Heck, this is just an interesting minimally reasonable hypothetical situation, but even then I'm sure that Robert's optimistic lack of margin and religious beliefe in simplicity would make it unrealistic I'm sure.

Edit: Anybody here think that Shuttle-C can be built in only six months? With engine recovery capability? Anybody? It would take that long just to take apart the back half of the orbiter.


"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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#25 2005-09-29 06:34:58

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: One man one way suicide mission...

In order for me to have a minimally civil conversation here on this message board with someone, I have to hold at least a little bit of respect, or at the least not think very badly of someone.

I take it to mean that you are able to have a minimally civil conversation with only yourself.  lol

I'd pay to send Josh to Mars. But he would still mope.  tongue

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