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#1 2015-02-05 07:19:03

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,969

Overview of Mission Design

I'm finding some of the discussions a bit confusing at the moment!

Wondered whether it was possible to construct an overview with the help of people here.

Feel free to answer/comment underneath and if I get enough responses I will construct an overview that people might find helpful.  There might be key factors in mission design that I have left out - feel free to point those out.

I am particularly interested in who is proposing what - so if you can indicate that, that will be v. helpful.

MISSION SIZE

What options are being given serious consideration?  Who is backing which option as far as we know?

One person mission?  (Usually associated with a one way ticket mission?)

Two person?

Three person?

Four person? 

Is anyone proposing a double mission (my own favourite) e.g. 2x 3 people = 6 in total - going in on basically two identical craft (bit like Viking if you like).

Which agencies are backing these?

TRANSIT TO MARS


1. What are thought to be the main potential methods?


A. Conventional rocket?

What different types of fuel might be used?

B.  Nuclear power?

C.  Solar electric?

Am I right in thinking only conventional rocket has so far been used for missions to Mars?

2.   What different configuration are there for the Mars Transit?

I would favour (a) Lander/Ascent vehicle (b) supply module (c) Bigelow style Hab (d) Transit rocket - assembled in LEO.


3.  If there is assembly involved what are the options - where best to assemble: LEO or  elswhere.

4.  Who is proposing artificial gravity ?

5.  What are the options for radiation protection.



ENTRY, DESCENT AND LANDING

1.  What are the different proposals for entry and descent?

2. What are the different strategies for landing?

Parachute/ablative shield (inflated or non-inflated)/retro rockets?

3.  How much tonnage do the different proposals envisage landing?

4.  How much do the different proposals rely on pre-landing of cargo.


ENERGY AND LIFE SUPPORT


1. What are the options for energy production ? Solar (PV Panelling - concentrated or not); solar heating; nuclear; wind? Any others?

2. How will life support be maintained ?  By imported material or through ISRU?  What will be the balance between the two.


MISSION CONTENT


1. What is the mission content? 

Flags and footprints?

Exploration?

Food production?

Mining and ISRU?

Rocket fuel production for return journey?

Any others?

2. Will there be a separate hab or will the crew stay in the lander?

3. What will be the ascent options (if ascent forms part of the mission).


COST 

What are the cost estimates for the various proposals?

To what extent are these covered by income generation e.g. commercial sponsorship.

How will net costs be covered (e.g. one agency or several?)


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#2 2015-02-05 09:59:30

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,384
Website

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Mission size: I support 4 people in one craft. Like Mars Direct. As Dr. Zubrin and his partner David Baker said, that would be 2 scientists and 2 engineers. The engineers would fix stuff. Dr. Zubrin got pressure from NASA to increase crew size to 6, including one medical doctor. There was some discussion to compromise: 5 including the doctor. But I argue astronauts can be trained as paramedics, and with modern high tech medical equipment they can do whatever is required.

Transit: convention chemical rocket. SLS with LH2/LOX upper stage for transit to Mars. ISPP for return, so methane/LOX. I propose one SLS launch for the Mars Ascent Vehicle, sent unmanned. Then a cargo lander with lab and pressurized rover with backup life support. Then assemble the crew vehicle in LEO, using ISS as construction shack. The Interplanetary Transit Vehicle (ITV) would be reusable, used for transit from ISS to high Mars orbit. The MAV would have over-size fuel tanks so it could be the TEI stage. The ITV would have the lander/hab attached. This has the advantage that if a free return is required, all food and supplies for the surface stay and the return trip are still with you. A free return will not be 6 months, that trajectory will take a lot longer. The lander will include an open rover in case they land too far from the MAV. And yes, I do prefer artificial gravity, but if NASA really panics about that, the ITV can use zero-G.

Entry/Descent/Landing: Aerocapture into Mars orbit. The ITV will also aerocapture into Earth orbit on return, then aerobrake down to LEO, before finally using rockets to rendezvous with ISS and dock. Because aerocapture is tricky, the ITV will require an emergency escape pod that can directly enter Earth's atmosphere. That would be a Dragon spacecraft. Lander EDL: carbon fibre umbrella style heat shield that NASA is currently working on, then parachute, and finally landing rockets with legs. Rather than a single large landing engine like the Apollo LM, instead use rocket engines around the periphery like the sky-crane of the Curiosity Rover. The lander/hab would be smaller than Mars Direct, because the lab would not be included. The lab would be pre-landed. The crew lander could be a capsule with inflatable habitat. This lab would also be inflatable. An inflatable requires a storage bag with micrometeoroid shield for transit, but once erected on Mars it does not require a micrometeoroid shield. Instead it requires a thermal insulation compatible with Mars atmosphere, and a dust/scuff layer to protect against dust storms and astronauts rubbing against it. The best external layer for Mars would be Tennara architectural fabric, which is the same material as the outermost layer of Orthofabric, but without the Nomex/Kevlar backing. Or should we just use Orthofabric itself?

Energy and Life Support: the MAV will use a small nuclear reactor for ISPP. Specifically the SAFE-400 because it's already developed. The lab and  habitat will use solar: PV without concentrator. That's the same mix as Mars Direct. Life support will be recycling, but with a mix of technologies with ability to mix&match components for even more options. ISRU for a couple of the backups. One mode: the MAV will harvest CO2 from Mars atmosphere for ISPP, one component of recycling life support is direct CO2 electrolysis, so as backup these can be combined to produce oxygen from Mars atmosphere. Another backup: harvest Mars permafrost, melt and filter for clean water, run through the electrolysis tank of primary life support. So oxygen from Mars permafrost.

Mission Content: I argue that so much time has been wasted and so many unmanned rovers sent that we need to start building the permanent base with the first human mission. Each mission will land at the same location. Initial exploration from base via rover, but eventually add a land-on-your-tail rocket for extended exploration range. Explore, do science, but also grow food in greenhouses, and use ISRU for construction material to expand the base. The first two missions will use a cargo lander to pre-land a lab, but subsequent missions will use the labs left there. Each mission will land a new habitat, so with all missions landing at the same location this will build up quite a base.

Cost: I've tried to estimate cost, but that keeps changing. That's a long discussion.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2015-02-05 23:20:25)

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#3 2015-02-05 10:48:31

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,344
Website

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Re. doctor - you're probably going to be sending a biologist, and it's not going to be hard to find a biologist who has retrained as a doctor, and who also wants to go to Mars. I know some universities do 4 year medical degrees for people who have got a good degree in a biological science, so you could even send your biologist to go get a medical degree, if you're picking the crew 5-6 years before they launch. tongue It just seems dumb to not pick a biologist-doctor for the team


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#4 2015-02-05 16:23:10

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,969

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Thanks Robert, that's very helpful.

I agree with you about the doctor being replaced by a paramedic if necessary. Things have moved on a lot. We now have computer systems that are better at diagnosis than the average GP (general doctor). We also have some surgical procedures that can be carried out by robots. 

Anyway, let's forget the idea of a "risk free" mission.  We can minimise many risks. But ultimately the solution may be to carry a lot of morphine.

Is this basically your own mission design you are quoting?



RobertDyck wrote:

Mission size: I support 4 people in one craft. Like Mars Direct. As Dr. Zubrin and his partner David Baker said, that would be 2 scientists and 2 engineers. The engineers would fix stuff. Dr. Zubrin got pressure from NASA to increase crew size to 6, including one medical doctor. There was some discussion to compromise: 5 including the doctor. But I argue astronauts can be trained as paramedics, and with modern high tech medical equipment they can do whatever is required.

Transit: convention chemical rocket. SLS with LH2/LOX upper stage for transit to Mars. ISPP for return, so methane/LOX. I propose one SLS launch for the Mars Ascent Vehicle, sent unmanned. Then a cargo lander with lab and pressurized rover with backup life support. Then assemble the crew vehicle in LEO, using ISS as construction shack. The Interplanetary Transit Vehicle (ITV) would be reusable, used for transit from ISS to high Mars orbit. The MAV would have oversize fuel tanks so it could be the TEI stage. The ITV would have the lander/hab attached. This has the advantage that if a free return is required, all food and supplies for the surface stay and the return trip are still with you. A free return will not be 6 months, that trajectory will take a lot longer. The lander will include an open rover in case they land too far from the MAV. And yes, I do prefer artificial gravity, but if NASA really panics about that, the ITV can use zero-G.

Entry/Descent/Landing: Aerocapture into Mars orbit. The ITV will also aerocapture into Earth orbit on return, then aerobrake down to LEO, before finally using rockets to rendezvous with ISS and dock. Because aerocapture is tricky, the ITV will require an emergency escape pod that can directly enter Earth's atmosphere. That would be a Dragon spacecraft. Lander EDL: carbon fibre umbrella style heat shield that NASA is currently working on, then parachute, and finally landing rockets with legs. Rather than a single large landing engine like the Apollo LM, instead use rocket engines around the periphery like the sky-crane of the Curiosity Rover. The lander/hab would be smaller than Mars Direct, because the lab would not be included. The lab would be pre-landed. The crew lander could be a capsule with inflatable habitat. This lab would also be inflatable. An inflatable requires a storage bag with micrometeoroid shield for transit, but once erected on Mars it does not require a micrometeoroid shield. Instead it requires a thermal insulation compatible with Mars atmosphere, and a dust/scuff layer to protect against dust storms and astronauts rubbing against it. The best external layer for Mars would be Tennara architectural fabric, which is the same material as the outermost layer of Orthofabric, but without the Nomex/Kevlar backing. Or should we just use Orthofabric itself?

Energy and Life Support: the MAV will use a small nuclear reactor for ISPP. Specifically the SAFE-400 because it's already developed. The lab and  habitat will use solar: PV without concentrator. That's the same mix as Mars Direct. Life support with be recycling, but with a mix of technologies with ability to mix&match components for even more options. ISRU for a couple of the backups. One mode: the MAV will harvest CO2 from Mars atomsphere for ISPP, one component of recycling life support is direct CO2 electrolysis, so as back these can be combined to produce oxygen from Mars atmosphere. Another backup, harvest Mars permafrost, melt and filter for clean water, run through the electrolysis tank of primary life support. So oxygen from Mars permafrost.

Mission Content: I argue that so much time has been wasted and so many unmanned rovers sent that we need to start building the permanent base with the first human mission. Each mission will land at the same location. Initial exploration from base via rover, but eventually add a land-on-your-tail rocket for extended exploration range. Explore, do science, but also grow food in greenhouses, and use ISRU for construction material to expand the base. The first two missions will use a cargo lander to pre-land a lab, but subsequent missions will use the labs left there. Each mission will land a new habitat, so with all missions landing at the same location this will build up quite a base.

Cost: I've tried to estimate cost, but that keeps changing. That's a long discussion.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#5 2015-02-05 16:46:07

Quaoar
Member
Registered: 2013-12-13
Posts: 518

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Terraformer wrote:

Re. doctor - you're probably going to be sending a biologist, and it's not going to be hard to find a biologist who has retrained as a doctor, and who also wants to go to Mars. I know some universities do 4 year medical degrees for people who have got a good degree in a biological science, so you could even send your biologist to go get a medical degree, if you're picking the crew 5-6 years before they launch. tongue It just seems dumb to not pick a biologist-doctor for the team

There are a lot of medical doctors who are also very well trained in biochemistry and molecular biology base research: if you send on Mars two of them, they can perform research on microbial alien life and also take care of other astronauts, aided by Earth based specialists.

Last edited by Quaoar (2015-02-05 16:48:40)

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#6 2015-02-05 16:53:48

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,344
Website

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Would you want to send two biologists on a four crew mission, though? I would expect to be sending a biologist and a geologist, if we're sending "two Spocks". Sure, you don't get the resiliency that comes from having two doctors, but if you're having such a small crew, you can't have a backup for every major but not mission critical job.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#7 2015-02-05 17:41:39

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,248
Website

Re: Overview of Mission Design

I like RobertDyck's mission plan.  That's about the minimum mission that makes any sense at all.  Anything less is flags-and-footprints nonsense. 

I think all 4 could have paramedic training,  which sort of makes up for sending only one biologist/doctor,  enabling us to send the geologist.  It makes no sense not to send a geologist. 

Here's my concern,  and it is based on a gut-feel assessment of government behavior over the last 4+ decades.  I think there will be one (and only one) government-sponsored/funded mission to Mars.  No followups at all.  Not ever!  That's where Robert and I differ fundamentally.   

Any subsequent missions will be funded almost entirely by visionary private/commercial entities (and there are precious few of these).  If the base ain't there,  I doubt they go,  anytime soon.  Even Musk. 

That means you do absolutely as much as you possibly can,  in that one first government mission.  Period.  Not worth going otherwise.  And that extends to precursor missions to Mars orbit.  Do that,  or land.  Not both.  Never happen. 

My other concern is picking exactly the right site for the base before we go and get some ground truth.  Ground truth has always been different from expectations and remote sensing,  since the very first probes.  That's just history.  Expecting different is foolish. 

That ground truth effect is why I'd like to see multiple sites visited before we build a base.  But that's inherently not a minimal mission!  You have to base from orbit to do that for the first part of the stay,  until you select your "best" base site. 

"Best" is defined in terms of the ISRU techniques that work most productively,  and every site will differ in that measure.  "Every site is different".  That's been another truth we have known since the dawn of time,  even here at home.  To ignore that is also foolish.

Somewhere between those extremes is the (one-and-only) mission we can really afford. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#8 2015-02-05 19:03:12

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 21,310

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Politics aside for the control of what can be done and of the factors that go with it for defunding or giving the pork barrel another spin you ask whats important to a mission as if these are of a sort of priority that would govern the outcome and as well you should ask.

So is cost number one or is it mission design but these are not just factors as they create what can be done for the dollars that we have to spend.

Mission crew size: the problem with cutting the crew size down is safety risk to any of them under the topic of unknown event that could happen on such a long mission. That said if we go to small we loss out of exploration and are destined to be just in survival mode.Its the combine duration and crew size that causes the cost to rise with bringing the complications of proplusion, energy and so much more. We might just only be able to go just once so we would want to send as many as we can even if it means landing the crew in multiple smaller landers all at the same site for safety.

Transit to Mars: this is a cargo versus man question with only just what we need taken along with the crew to help in minimizing the propulsion needs. This seperation does add cost but it allows base building materials to be ready for more than just survival as well as to maximize the science that could be done. So each has there place in the frame work of a mission. If mission time were the only factor for AG then the answer could be no but due to the time period of years its almost a must to implement. We do know that as time increases so does the exposure to radiation and with it is a raising cost as does AG to the design.

ENTRY, DESCENT AND LANDING: As meantioned before the size of the  chunk landing all at once makes the mission costs rise as we do not have the technology as yet for them. That does not mean these will not be available sometime in the future just set a goal and live with the technology that we have to keep cost in check. The use of sending small landers and just what we need with a crew to a preloaded landing site helps to not force us to wait for the future technology to be available.

ENERGY AND LIFE SUPPORT: currently there are 2 legs to the mission which have different needs. The outbound and return mission is a leg that can still use both but I question if panels that see the spinning of AG would be the risk we want as we need to keep them sunward pointing. The nuclear power of the RTG is ok but do we want to not have a fuel that will out last the mission duration if we do not plan to reuse the vehicle. The on surface mission needs a much more robust system that has to survive dust storms and still be able to provide the power levels that the crew needs. I do favor both power sources for the surface for we need that backup for expansion for the future as well unless we know right up front that we not be going back at all.

MISSION CONTENT: this is the highest of cost factors for what we can do as it drives all other parts of the design. WE know that use of surface resources lower landing mass and does set up the mode of the surface for future use. We know that food is a future need and is more physcological in value than it is from a consumables need. It is the future planning that dictate what we will do in the first mission as well as follow up ones.

Cost: wrapping it up is just a measure of what we have chosen for all facets of going to and back from mars as well as to answer the questions that we want to have answered. This is not about just going but to say we are going to stay for our future and to aid with the past and present course that we take as man here on Earth.

To sum it up control costs and the make the best of what we can do.

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#9 2015-02-05 19:16:41

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,384
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Re: Overview of Mission Design

Crew: we need at least one engineer who can repair stuff, one geologist, and one astrobiologist. All could have paramedic training, and advanced medical equipment including a laptop or tablet with diagnostic software. Remote robotic surgical equipment won't work when the surgeon has 8 to 20 minute one way transmission lag. But there's all sorts of automation now. And anyone with paramedic training can follow an instruction video for fairly sophisticated procedures. Would it be too much to ask for a millimetre wave scanner integrated with a smartphone? Millimetre wave can penetrate tissue; not far, but enough to image bone close to the skin. A "tricorder" that can scan for broken bones without an X-ray.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2015-02-06 11:24:47)

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#10 2015-02-05 19:50:08

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,384
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Re: Overview of Mission Design

louis wrote:

I am particularly interested in who is proposing what

louis wrote:

Thanks Robert, that's very helpful.
...
Is this basically your own mission design you are quoting?

Of course. You want to know who is proposing what; this is what I'm proposing.
http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php … 45#p116645

Last edited by RobertDyck (2015-02-05 19:52:50)

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#11 2015-02-05 20:22:44

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 21,310

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Just how much time should we spend in exploration when we know that to survive its more than exploring that will keep us safe on mars? Its science of geology, mineralogy and useage of mars that allows for the crew to go on into the future.

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#12 2015-02-06 02:51:33

Quaoar
Member
Registered: 2013-12-13
Posts: 518

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Terraformer wrote:

Would you want to send two biologists on a four crew mission, though? I would expect to be sending a biologist and a geologist, if we're sending "two Spocks". Sure, you don't get the resiliency that comes from having two doctors, but if you're having such a small crew, you can't have a backup for every major but not mission critical job.

I intended five people with two pilot engineers, two MD trained in molecular biology and biochemistry and a geologist. If we have to reduce the number to four, only one MD/biologist, two pilot engineers and a geologist. All the astronauts have to be cross trained in paramedics, piloting, geology and basic lab technics.

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#13 2015-02-06 11:43:14

Quaoar
Member
Registered: 2013-12-13
Posts: 518

Re: Overview of Mission Design

P.S. It's improbable we will find fossil on Mars, but we cannot exclude it a priori. So it will be better if the geologist will be also trained as a paleontologists.

It's also important medical/biologist and another astronaut will have some training in dental care: in a more than two year mission it may be very useful.

Last edited by Quaoar (2015-02-06 11:45:41)

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#14 2015-02-06 12:39:55

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,969

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Of course it all depends how you view these first human visitors to Mars as to who you send.

I would refer to them as colonists not as astronauts.

Therefore my emphasis would be more on mining, construction, engineering, electrical maintenance and farming. Ideally, i would like the first colonists to be experiment with a range of ISRU techniques and also undertaking detailed medical assessments of their own performance.

Detailed exploration of geology and so on, can wait a few years would be my view - though obviously some geological knowledge will be needed to find minerals and water.

The important thing for me is to get a continuous colony established.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#15 2015-02-06 22:15:42

Impaler
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From: South Hill, Virginia
Registered: 2012-05-14
Posts: 286

Re: Overview of Mission Design

The first people will NOT be colonists, that is pure Mars One fantasy land.  Even if we had ALL the necessary systems, technology and vehicles (like SpaceX Mars Colonial Transports capable of hauling 100 people at a time to Mars), we would STILL not have the first people on Mars be colonists.  They would be SCOUTS to find the most desirable colony location.  Plopping yourself down on the first place you find at your destination is ALWAYS the wrong move at any scale, all the way from backpacking to crossing an ocean to crossing space.

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#16 2015-02-07 07:28:29

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,969

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Impaler wrote:

The first people will NOT be colonists, that is pure Mars One fantasy land.  Even if we had ALL the necessary systems, technology and vehicles (like SpaceX Mars Colonial Transports capable of hauling 100 people at a time to Mars), we would STILL not have the first people on Mars be colonists.  They would be SCOUTS to find the most desirable colony location.  Plopping yourself down on the first place you find at your destination is ALWAYS the wrong move at any scale, all the way from backpacking to crossing an ocean to crossing space.

My own view is that we know a lot about the surface conditions now and with further rover missions as part of the build up to the human mission, we would be able to identify a suitable location for the first colony.  The first colonies in the Americas were not necesarily in the best locations. It took a while to identify those. I believe we already have plenty of potential sites but space agencies tend to be a bit mute on this subject you might notice.

My view is that what makes for a colony is continuous human habitation.  In that sense the first arrivals can be colonists, because there is no reason why Base One would not be continously inhabited by humans for many decades thereafter.  You wouldn't want to waste the infrastrucuture - the PV panels, the habs, rocket fuel faciltiies etc while they were operational.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#17 2015-02-07 08:28:20

Terraformer
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From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,344
Website

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Habs can be moved. Indeed, one mission design (from MarsDrive) had the habs be actual vehicles, with the intent to travel around the planet looking for the best location. Much easier to do if you have your return ship in orbit, and a light SSTO to reach it...

If you were to attempt such a mission design using solar, you'll want to be moving during the night. Stop during the day, lay out the solar panels to recharge your fuel cells, and explore the area. Once you've refuelled, move on to the next location. You don't need to move that fast; 10 km/hr would allow you to cover a lot of ground during the mission. But I don't know how much energy that would take, and whether the advantages are worth it.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#18 2015-02-07 10:27:42

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,969

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Terraformer wrote:

Habs can be moved. Indeed, one mission design (from MarsDrive) had the habs be actual vehicles, with the intent to travel around the planet looking for the best location. Much easier to do if you have your return ship in orbit, and a light SSTO to reach it...

If you were to attempt such a mission design using solar, you'll want to be moving during the night. Stop during the day, lay out the solar panels to recharge your fuel cells, and explore the area. Once you've refuelled, move on to the next location. You don't need to move that fast; 10 km/hr would allow you to cover a lot of ground during the mission. But I don't know how much energy that would take, and whether the advantages are worth it.

I would be looking to minimise the complexity of any mission, whilst maximising ISRU. Therefore, for me, moving habs or even exploration is relatively low priority.  If people want exploration, let them pay for it through commercial or scientific sponsorship.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#19 2015-02-07 10:37:27

Quaoar
Member
Registered: 2013-12-13
Posts: 518

Re: Overview of Mission Design

louis wrote:

I would be looking to minimise the complexity of any mission, whilst maximising ISRU. Therefore, for me, moving habs or even exploration is relatively low priority.  If people want exploration, let them pay for it through commercial or scientific sponsorship.

You are interested in colonization, but how can you do it, without exploring many possible sites to find a reliable source of water?
Even ISRU will result better and better if you put your base on a buried glacier and use its water for synthesize propellant. But to find the ideal place you have to explore before.

Last edited by Quaoar (2015-02-07 10:38:22)

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#20 2015-02-07 16:03:00

JCO
Member
Registered: 2015-01-22
Posts: 35

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Colonization will not begin until we have enough exploration data to make a good guess about a colony location. Any colony that is attempted before then is doomed to certain failure. That said Mars "covered wagon" colonies to explore secondary site sound like a very good idea to me. Though initial exploration will provide enough data to choose a site with a very high chance of a successful colony it will not find prime locations for a colony to thrive. A mobile colony seems like a good idea of a way of prospecting for a prime location.

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#21 2015-02-07 17:44:13

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,969

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Quaoar wrote:
louis wrote:

I would be looking to minimise the complexity of any mission, whilst maximising ISRU. Therefore, for me, moving habs or even exploration is relatively low priority.  If people want exploration, let them pay for it through commercial or scientific sponsorship.

You are interested in colonization, but how can you do it, without exploring many possible sites to find a reliable source of water?
Even ISRU will result better and better if you put your base on a buried glacier and use its water for synthesize propellant. But to find the ideal place you have to explore before.

The weakness in your argument is that we have very good data on lots of sites already through orbital observation and rover exploration. 

No one would put humans on Mars without proper prospecting of a favoured site.  If - for some reason - you discover a site you thought was good proved bad, then obviously you have to re-think the mission.  But the idea it will take more than 2-4 years to determine that is ridiculous. 

Basically a first mission needs a bit of solid flat ground. Not a lot more.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#22 2015-02-07 17:47:54

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,969

Re: Overview of Mission Design

JCO wrote:

Colonization will not begin until we have enough exploration data to make a good guess about a colony location. Any colony that is attempted before then is doomed to certain failure. That said Mars "covered wagon" colonies to explore secondary site sound like a very good idea to me. Though initial exploration will provide enough data to choose a site with a very high chance of a successful colony it will not find prime locations for a colony to thrive. A mobile colony seems like a good idea of a way of prospecting for a prime location.


"Certain failure"?  That's the sort of "Beyond there be dragons" mentality that kept medieval Europe constrained.

Your idea of the colonisation process sounds very Earth-bound.  We aren't looking for lush pastures - because there are no lush pastures on Mars. We are simply looking for somewhere that has flattish ground, not too polar  with ideally some good water, clay and iron resources close by.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#23 2015-02-07 22:22:23

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,384
Website

Re: Overview of Mission Design

Ideal location: flat ground, low altitude (more atmosphere overhead for radiation shielding), close to equator (warm), plentiful water, iron (hematite is easitest to smelt), aluminum (bytownite is common), white sand (for glass, the only deposit found so far is a cup-full), thorium (nuclear fuel), and potassium salts (greenhouse fertilizer). That's a lot of stuff, and conflicting. The best location so far is Elysium Planetia; it has everything but thorium. Thorium appears to be at high altitude, dry locations.

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#24 2015-02-07 22:35:18

JCO
Member
Registered: 2015-01-22
Posts: 35

Re: Overview of Mission Design

louis wrote:
JCO wrote:

Colonization will not begin until we have enough exploration data to make a good guess about a colony location. Any colony that is attempted before then is doomed to certain failure. That said Mars "covered wagon" colonies to explore secondary site sound like a very good idea to me. Though initial exploration will provide enough data to choose a site with a very high chance of a successful colony it will not find prime locations for a colony to thrive. A mobile colony seems like a good idea of a way of prospecting for a prime location.


"Certain failure"?  That's the sort of "Beyond there be dragons" mentality that kept medieval Europe constrained.

Your idea of the colonisation process sounds very Earth-bound.  We aren't looking for lush pastures - because there are no lush pastures on Mars. We are simply looking for somewhere that has flattish ground, not too polar  with ideally some good water, clay and iron resources close by.

No it is my prediction of the outcome of anything like Mars One if they actually do succeed in landing people on Mars. Without proper exploration missions attempts at colonization will almost certainly be lethal. In point of fact the reason map makers put "there be dragons" was not because of any belief in dragons but because most people who strayed from mapped territory never returned. They did not think dragons ate them but they may as well have as far as they were concerned.

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#25 2015-02-07 22:51:55

Impaler
Member
From: South Hill, Virginia
Registered: 2012-05-14
Posts: 286

Re: Overview of Mission Design

RobertDyck wrote:

Ideal location: flat ground, low altitude (more atmosphere overhead for radiation shielding), close to equator (warm), plentiful water, iron (hematite is easitest to smelt), aluminum (bytownite is common), white sand (for glass, the only deposit found so far is a cup-full), thorium (nuclear fuel), and potassium salts (greenhouse fertilizer). That's a lot of stuff, and conflicting. The best location so far is Elysium Planetia; it has everything but thorium. Thorium appears to be at high altitude, dry locations.

Actually 15 degrees north of the Martian Equator is the optimum solar latitude, the total solar irradiance over the Martian year is highest AND the most constant, basically all the features we associate with the equatorial sun zone on Earth are moved ~15 degrees North on Mars due to the eccentricity of it's orbit.  As we know Mars is wettest at the North pole and dryer towards the equator we would likely compromise somewhere between the pole and the 15 latitude to balance warmth/wetness, but we would never go south of 15 degrees.

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