New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: We've recently made changes to our user database and have removed inactive and spam users. If you can not login, please re-register.

#51 2016-03-05 23:14:12

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

SpaceNut wrote:

Nice images RobertDyck....

The rover that kbd512 is envisioning is probably a decade down the road once we are able to land man on mars so the need to explore long range from a base will need to wait as we will be trying to dig in a good solid foothold within that first decade.

The lynchpin technologies required for any Mars exploration program are oxygen production from Martian CO2 and water production from Martian soil or frozen brine deposits on the surface.  If that technology is ten years away, then any surface habitation technology is also ten years away because all the stationary surface habitats NASA has been working on require EDL technology that's at least that far away from readiness and we simply don't have chemical rockets that can push 40t surface habitats, never mind EDL mass, through TMI and still won't even after SLS Block II and an upper stage have been developed.  To deliver that kind of tonnage, we need more affordable rockets so we can launch more often, more efficient in-space propulsion, or both.

As I've stated quite often, human exploration of Mars requires life support, energy generation, and energy storage development programs, not rocket or capsule development programs.

I've attempted to devise a relatively complete mobile surface exploration tool that uses available technology or near-term technology development efforts to produce a technologically feasible and affordable surface exploration solution.

The technologies I want funding directed towards are the very same technologies that NASA has identified as requirements for human missions to Mars.

In any event, if there's insufficient EDL or ECLSS technology development to deliver a pressurized rover with a mass of just 2.5t, there's a low probability that solutions requiring much higher landed masses are more feasible.

Online

#52 2016-03-05 23:19:01

RobertDyck
Member
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,043
Website

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

kbd512 wrote:

I think NASA is already hard at work here, but what's the primary advantage of silver oxide sorbents over other technologies?  Is it simplicity, cost, developmental status, or a combination of all of some or all of those?

How much power does the microwave oven require to bake the silver oxide spheres to revitalize the sorbent and how long does the process take?

The advantage of silver oxide is that baking completely removes CO2. Trying that with LiOH doesn't work, you only get a fraction of sorbent capacity back. And after only 3 cycles, you don't get anything back. Amine also bakes completely, so you can recycle amine any number of times. The problem with amine paste painted on styrofoam beads is that you have a giant bag to carry. Low mass, but completely unwieldy. One possibility for a Mars rover is to use liquid amine, the same stuff used on nuclear submarines. Not safe in zero-G, but does work when there's gravity to separate liquid from air.

I have a copy of the NASA contractor report, purchased from the NASA technical report server. Dated August 1996.
Document ID: 19960045813
Accession Number: 96N32683
Report/Patent Number: NASA-CR-201945, NAS 1.26:201945, URC-80647
Contract/Grant/Task Num: NAS2-14374

A very similar paper by the same authors was published by SAE, dated July 1997. So you can read it yourself, click here...
Microwave-Powered Thermal Regeneration of Sorbents for CO2,Water Vapor and Trace Organic Contaminants

Molecular Sieve 5A also worked, although required higher temperature to regenerate, and it absorbed/regenerated water. Carbogenic Molecular Sieve also worked, and didn't absorb water, although it required even higher temperature to regenerate. If you want to route CO2 to a Sabatier Reactor, then you don't want a composite sorbent that can sorb moisture or organics.

The carbogenic molecular sieve material (0.52 g) received from NASA's JPL was also evaluated as a CO2 sorbent. Initial tests with this material indicated an extremely high heat-up rate, actually melting the glass wool end plug. It is noteworthy that the softening point for borosilicate glass is ≈7:00°C. This temperature was apparently achieved inside the packed bed, while the indicated exit gas temperature never exceeded 92°C. A subsequent sorption/desorption cycle indicated a 1% bed weight CO2 loading. It is not known whether the performance of this material was adversely affected by temperatures ≥ 700°C achieved during the first microwave desorption. Insufficient material was available to continue this investigation.

Offline

#53 2016-03-05 23:57:54

RobertDyck
Member
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,043
Website

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

kbd512 wrote:

I really don't understand the desire to build bases in locations that we really know next to nothing about.

We need a Mars base to live. What's the alternative? Just a rover? No way you can put everything you need to live in a rover. This discussion thread says "Light weight rover for Mars", not heavy rover.

The other issue is time spent. In the 1990s Robert Zubrin argued to send human explorers, not robots. Some at NASA wanted robotic explorers first. That argument is now moot, robotic explorers were sent. But that preparation by robots is done, finished, complete, over. It's time to send humans. However, Mars Direct could have been started when President George H. W. Bush wanted to send humans to Mars, starting late 1989. The first humans could have walked on the surface by 1999. Dr. Zubrin's plan was Mars Direct missions here, there, to scout locations. After that was done, then pick a location for a permanent base. To ensure the last 17 years haven't been a complete waste, we need to use data from robotic explorers to chose a permanent base location.

But we still need a couple technology demonstrators anyway. Before committing human lives, we need to demonstrate aerocapture and ISPP. So that means another orbiter, and a light-weight robotic sample return. Not the proposed Mars 2020 mission, that's best described as rediculous. Another big 2,000 pound rover the size of Curosity will collect samples, then "cache" those samples on the surface of Mars. Yet another rover must be sent to pick up that sample container, and bring it back to Earth orbit. But not LEO, it will be cis-lunar orbit. Then astronauts in an Orion capsule will be launched with SLS to pick up that container from orbit. Can you say "Rube Goldberg"? I knew you could.

Chosing a location will require confirmation. Based on recommendations by members of this forum, and science we have so far, I think the frozen pack ice at Elysium Planetia looks good. But presence of ice has to be confirmed. I suggest a rover similar to the one proposed by the Canadian Space Agency president in 2003. He wanted to send a rover the size of Spirit or Opportunity, but built in Canada. It would include a multi-segment core drill, each segment 1 metre long with 10 segments. So it could drill up to 10 metre depth. Sample handling and analysis on the back of the rover. Parliament didn't approve funding. One artist image shows a lander (not rover) with the drill. Click the image for a news report.
Canadrill-1_hr.jpg
Photos from the news article of the actual prototype drill.
norcat_prototype2_030704.jpg norcat_prototype030704.jpg

Offline

#54 2016-03-06 00:15:17

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

Rob,

Thanks for the paper.  That was pretty interesting.  It appears as though experimentation was not completed.  The time required for regeneration was not specified.  How long does the silver oxide sorbent have to be irradiated to regenerate it?  How does that compare with the Microlith solution I provided links to?

The power requirements for the Microlith regenerable sorbent are roughly half the power levels required by the solid oxide electrolysis method that MOXIE uses and operating temperatures are far lower, but both technologies require testing on Mars to determine which method will work best.

Online

#55 2016-03-06 01:09:46

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

RobertDyck wrote:

We need a Mars base to live. What's the alternative? Just a rover? No way you can put everything you need to live in a rover. This discussion thread says "Light weight rover for Mars", not heavy rover.

Rob,

You need oxygen, food, water, and shelter to live.  Some would say you also need human companionship.  Four humans and four pressurized vehicles provide all of that.  It's not fancy, but it's functional.  Should we engineer solutions that relatively inexpensive commodity rockets can deliver or wait another ten years to complete development of an insanely expensive rocket that won't be launched more than once or twice a year, assuming it isn't killed off by the next political administration.

Even though Congress could allocate more funding for NASA, it won't.

RobertDyck wrote:

The other issue is time spent. In the 1990s Robert Zubrin argued to send human explorers, not robots. Some at NASA wanted robotic explorers first. That argument is now moot, robotic explorers were sent. But that preparation by robots is done, finished, complete, over. It's time to send humans. However, Mars Direct could have been started when President George H. W. Bush wanted to send humans to Mars, starting late 1989. The first humans could have walked on the surface by 1999. Dr. Zubrin's plan was Mars Direct missions here, there, to scout locations. After that was done, then pick a location for a permanent base. To ensure the last 17 years haven't been a complete waste, we need to use data from robotic explorers to chose a permanent base location.

We're just now at the point to where energy production and storage technology are efficient and reliable enough for sustaining humans to Mars.  I think a 1999 mission was optimistic, to put it mildly.  The last 17 years were not a waste, but now it's time to send human prospectors to the surface to investigate the geology of the planet.  The only real way for that to happen is with unlimited surface mobility.  Once the astronauts / prospectors have located a region that is reasonably rich in water, minerals, and ores, then we can build a base there.

I want to build a base on Mars, but I don't want to build a base on Mars for sake of having a base on Mars.  I want a location selected based on actual human exploration that has determined what different sites have to offer so that the manned space program is not reduced to a resupply service for the Mars base in the same way that it has been reduced to a resupply service for ISS.

RobertDyck wrote:

But we still need a couple technology demonstrators anyway. Before committing human lives, we need to demonstrate aerocapture and ISPP. So that means another orbiter, and a light-weight robotic sample return. Not the proposed Mars 2020 mission, that's best described as rediculous. Another big 2,000 pound rover the size of Curosity will collect samples, then "cache" those samples on the surface of Mars. Yet another rover must be sent to pick up that sample container, and bring it back to Earth orbit. But not LEO, it will be cis-lunar orbit. Then astronauts in an Orion capsule will be launched with SLS to pick up that container from orbit. Can you say "Rube Goldberg"? I knew you could.

If the Mars 2020 rover was landed using HIAD or ADEPT, that's our EDL technology demonstrator.  If the sample return mission delivers the samples to EML1 or EML2 and astronauts retrieve the samples as part of a long duration DSH mission, that's our DSH / MTV demonstrator.

ISPP is simply not required.  Storable chemical propellants can easily deliver a MAV to an awaiting DSH / MTV.  Similarly, aerocapture is not required of the DSH / MTV.  It may be desirable for the rovers to aerocapture / aerobrake to minimize propulsion requirements, but the humans lose a maximum of sixty days as a result of spiraling in to LMO and spiraling in to EML1.  Big deal.  If aerocapture fails on a crewed flight, then there is no mission because there is no crew and likely no more funding to use to kill more astronauts with.  Aerocapture does work, but it's inherently more dangerous than spiraling in.

RobertDyck wrote:

Chosing a location will require confirmation. Based on recommendations by members of this forum, and science we have so far, I think the frozen pack ice at Elysium Planetia looks good. But presence of ice has to be confirmed. I suggest a rover similar to the one proposed by the Canadian Space Agency president in 2003. He wanted to send a rover the size of Spirit or Opportunity, but built in Canada. It would include a multi-segment core drill, each segment 1 metre long with 10 segments. So it could drill up to 10 metre depth. Sample handling and analysis on the back of the rover. Parliament didn't approve funding. One artist image shows a lander (not rover) with the drill. Click the image for a news report.

Why can't we just use a mobile surface exploration architecture to start with and then transition to a permanent base after enough observations and data have been collected to determine what the best locations are?

Please explain what the rush is to build a base there.

Online

#56 2016-03-06 10:01:07

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

With a roving achetecture there is no reason to go back as its explored, Mars needs roots to allow as well as to  to force continued growth to explore when we stay on its surface long term and this will allow us to not comeback to earth creating a permanent base.

A rover must return at some point for supplies if no cargo drop zones have been created and must go to the nearest MAV to return home. This all creates a disposable achectecture when using a mobility exploration living combination.

Any first as well as second will return to current infrastructure left behind....and that is when the small pressurized rovers should be ready for dropping to the bases for larger area of exploration. That makes 3 mars cycles (2yrs +7 weeks) which will be pretty close to the decade number for more R&D to have completed more work towards getting hardware mature for use.

Thanks for the nasa links from both of you as that shows where we are with needed technology. When we read them plus find questions as to how long, how much, whats required to make it work; one can see we still need more work on developement....

Offline

#57 2016-03-06 14:03:45

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

SpaceNut wrote:

With a roving achetecture there is no reason to go back as its explored, Mars needs roots to allow as well as to  to force continued growth to explore when we stay on its surface long term and this will allow us to not comeback to earth creating a permanent base.

My light and heavy roving mission architectures are all about maximizing surface exploration per mission.  Even Dr. Zubrin has always said that the purpose for going to Mars is because that's where the science is and that's where the challenge is.  Now it sounds like we have an ulterior motive for going, which would be establishing a permanent human presence on Mars.  I'm not in favor of nor opposed to a permanent human presence on Mars, but the mission of NASA is to explore.  Base building is not exploration and in point of fact ISS base building has severely inhibited actual space exploration.

SpaceNut wrote:

A rover must return at some point for supplies if no cargo drop zones have been created and must go to the nearest MAV to return home. This all creates a disposable achectecture when using a mobility exploration living combination.

My rovers don't need to return to bases or cargo dumps because everything required for crew sustainment is carried in the rovers.  The disposability of the architecture is a matter of practicality and cost.

It's far easier to send two or three more Falcon Heavy with the entire surface exploration architecture (one rocket carries all four rovers and the other two rockets deliver the MAV's) than it is to refurbish the rovers on Mars and no surface time is lost to that endeavor.  The roving exploration concept is simple, practical, and affordable in comparison to base building alternatives.

Maintaining a regular launch cadence using affordable rockets is a substantial part of what makes my mission architecture so practical.  Launching Falcon Heavy and Vulcan 3-5 times per year is well within NASA's human space flight budget, keeps SpaceX / ULA / NASA busy with delivery of human space flight hardware, and operations have a minimal level of complexity.  Without the requirement to maintain a $3B a year fixed cost launch vehicle operations and development program, there is sufficient funding to allocate to payload development.

SpaceNut wrote:

Any first as well as second will return to current infrastructure left behind....and that is when the small pressurized rovers should be ready for dropping to the bases for larger area of exploration. That makes 3 mars cycles (2yrs +7 weeks) which will be pretty close to the decade number for more R&D to have completed more work towards getting hardware mature for use.

Small pressurized rovers can be ready before a Mars base is ready.  All the supporting hardware development program requirements are much lower.  EDL is easier because the payloads are much lighter, no super heavy lift vehicle is required to deliver the surface exploration hardware, power generation and storage requirements are the same, and mission flexibility is much higher.

My assertion is that building and maintaining a base is a substantially more difficult and expensive proposition.  With enough time and money, anything is possible, but my mission architectures have revolved around what's most practical from a funding and technology availability standpoint.  There's no "science fiction" involved with delivering a 2.5t payload to Mars.  Delivery of 10t for the surface exploration architecture is imminently reasonable and affordable.

SpaceNut wrote:

Thanks for the nasa links from both of you as that shows where we are with needed technology. When we read them plus find questions as to how long, how much, whats required to make it work; one can see we still need more work on developement....

The assertion has been repeatedly made that we can go to Mars with the technology we have or had decades ago.  I think that apart from ECLSS, that's true.  Our 1970's era rockets were good enough and our 1970's era spacecraft were good enough.  However, ECLSS technology of the time was back in the stone age compared to what we have today and will have in the near future.  Our data storage and transmission technologies of that era were laughably poor compared to what we have today.

Anyway, if we're dead set on building a base on Mars, it will be another two decades or more before NASA can do that.  How long do you want to wait?

Online

#58 2016-03-06 16:31:47

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 2,712
Website

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

quote:  "Once the astronauts / prospectors have located a region that is reasonably rich in water, minerals, and ores, then we can build a base there.
I want to build a base on Mars, but I don't want to build a base on Mars for sake of having a base on Mars."

The unstated presumption behind that notion is that government will send more than one expedition to Mars.  But that presumption is there.  It is the wrong presumption to make.  I have said for a long time now that the government (any of them) very likely will send one and only one expedition,  period,  end of issue. 

So:  how do you accomplish the exploration for a suitable site,  plus the establishment of the core of that base,  all in one mission?  If that core of a base exists,  the it becomes far more likely that a Spacex might then return to it and continue the work. 

But hoping the government will follow through like that is a very,  very,  very futile hope.  The decades of going nowhere but LEO since Apollo are the proof.  QED.

That is why I keep saying what I do about the architecture of that one-and-only government-funded mission.  Base in LMO,  and send down very large one-stage reusable landing boats to explore multiple sites with men,  for about the 1st half of their stay there.  That will identify the best site,  at which everybody goes down during the 2nd half of the stay,  and establishes the core of that base. 

Sure,  it's a lot more thrown mass.  Sure,  it's a lot more expensive.  Sure,  you are talking about landing boats too big to fling to LEO even with SLS.  But as near as I can tell,  there is simply no other way to do what needs to be done,  in that one-and-only mission. 

Fail to do all of that,  in that one-and-only mission,  and it very quickly devolves into nothing but an Apollo flag-and-footprints stunt on Mars (stingy Congress will force that outcome).  If that happens,  then it'll be the best part of another century before private enterprise decides to go in any major way. 

Be warned..

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

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

Offline

#59 2016-03-06 18:17:39

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

GW Johnson wrote:

quote:  "Once the astronauts / prospectors have located a region that is reasonably rich in water, minerals, and ores, then we can build a base there.
I want to build a base on Mars, but I don't want to build a base on Mars for sake of having a base on Mars."

The purpose of having a base there is not simply to have a base there.  The base must serve some greater purpose than its mere existence or its existence will be questioned by Congress and probably never built as a result.

GW Johnson wrote:

The unstated presumption behind that notion is that government will send more than one expedition to Mars.  But that presumption is there.  It is the wrong presumption to make.  I have said for a long time now that the government (any of them) very likely will send one and only one expedition,  period,  end of issue.

If we build a base more than one expedition will be sent?  Why?  Congress can pull the plug any time it wants to, no matter the cost.  If NASA turns this program into some insanely expensive variation on ISS, the result will be no different irrespective of architecture.  The STS, SLS, ISS, and Orion programs have two things in common.  Both were or are an enormous drain on NASA's limited resources and all have produced very little result, with respect to actual space exploration.

GW Johnson wrote:

So:  how do you accomplish the exploration for a suitable site,  plus the establishment of the core of that base,  all in one mission?  If that core of a base exists,  the it becomes far more likely that a Spacex might then return to it and continue the work.

SpaceX has the billions socked away for that?  Unlikely.  A base that's never built during a mission that never happens because it costs too much won't help them at all.

GW Johnson wrote:

But hoping the government will follow through like that is a very,  very,  very futile hope.  The decades of going nowhere but LEO since Apollo are the proof.  QED.

Then the many tens of billions required to use SLS, Orion, and non-existent in-space propulsion, EDL, surface habitats, and more is even more futile.  Devise an architecture that is expensive and complicated enough and the result is that the mission never happens.

There were four incarnations of SLS (ALS, NLS, Shuttle C, and Ares V) that failed to deliver any results because the programs cost too much.  SLS will be the fifth attempt at the impossible (making the world's most expensive reusable hardware affordable by throwing it all away after every launch).  It's outright ridiculous on the face of it and no cosmetic makeover that changes the name of the program is going to change that.

GW Johnson wrote:

That is why I keep saying what I do about the architecture of that one-and-only government-funded mission.  Base in LMO,  and send down very large one-stage reusable landing boats to explore multiple sites with men,  for about the 1st half of their stay there.  That will identify the best site,  at which everybody goes down during the 2nd half of the stay,  and establishes the core of that base.

If delivery of four light trucks and two MAV's is too difficult then using a reusable rocket on Mars, which is something that's never been done on Earth, is even more improbable.

GW Johnson wrote:

Sure,  it's a lot more thrown mass.  Sure,  it's a lot more expensive.  Sure,  you are talking about landing boats too big to fling to LEO even with SLS.  But as near as I can tell,  there is simply no other way to do what needs to be done,  in that one-and-only mission.

I think what you're proposing is so difficult and expensive that it won't be done within the next twenty years and maybe not even in the next thirty years.

GW Johnson wrote:

Fail to do all of that,  in that one-and-only mission,  and it very quickly devolves into nothing but an Apollo flag-and-footprints stunt on Mars (stingy Congress will force that outcome).  If that happens,  then it'll be the best part of another century before private enterprise decides to go in any major way. 

Be warned..

GW

Congress is stingy with funding because for the better part of the last three decades NASA has come up with one infeasible solution to human space exploration technology problems after another.  There's no explanation as to why CL-ECLSS isn't current technology.  The agency was too involved with LEO base building to develop the technologies that were actually required for real space exploration.  To this day, closed loop life support, adequate in-space propulsion, and affordable (meaning easily reusable) launch vehicles are still developing technologies.  There's no cohesive plan behind any part of the human space exploration program.  It's all "Let's throw some money out there and see what sticks."  Well, I got news for everyone.  The only thing that "stuck" was the bill.

We can prove that we can go there, explore, and come back using the architecture that I've laid out.  It's the least technologically demanding and most affordable mission architecture I've seen thus far.  Virtually every other plan involves obscenely expensive super heavy lift rockets to deliver payloads that Saturn V would have had difficulty delivering or kamikaze missions.  Apart from life support technology development, little other technology development is required to do the mission I've laid out.  We already have the propulsion, communications, energy production, energy storage, and EDL technology to do what I want to do.  Even if it's "flags-and-footprints", which is most definitely not the case with my mission architecture, then some human exploration of Mars is better than no human exploration of Mars at all.

I think it's going to be at least another fifty years before private enterprise does anything in space that doesn't provide a clear economic incentive to do so and that's with or without public funding for space exploration.

Online

#60 2016-03-06 18:31:57

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

kbd512 "roving mission architectures are all about maximizing surface exploration" , I ask for what as the current rovers tell me more than I need for exploration science other than answering is there any signs of past or current life and as well is there an undergound water table; not just ice to get water from?

Everything else is planetary science or geology for the life sycle of Mars and gives nothing back to benefit man. Its just another giant leap for mankind if we do not go to stay.

Offline

#61 2016-03-06 18:40:44

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 2,712
Website

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

NO one has EVER identified a financial reason for going to Mars.  The reason to do so won't be identified until several decades after someone goes,  same as it was for going to North America from Europe starting in the late 15th century.  THERE IS NO CURRENTLY-KNOWN FINANCIAL REASON TO GO. 

It was,  it is now,  and it will always be,  a chicken-and-egg sort of problem.  Nothing about that is new.  Nothing about that will ever change. 

That means visionaries will do the trips to Mars (if these are done at all),  not the general business community,  and certainly NOT government as we know it in the late 20th century/early 21st century. 

Actually there is a reason to go to Mars (or any of the other places),  but it will take around a century to uncover (and we know NOTHING about that right now).  This just the same as it was half a millennium ago.  Those few who do go will do so on faith:  the same faith that caused the early 16th century expeditions to North America to take place. 

It wasn't until the 17th century that an economic reason to do so was actually identified (the triangle trade around the Atlantic in rum,  slaves,  and recovered resources like tobacco and wood,  versus manufactured goods from "home"). 

Government-in-general at this time in history is so completely and incomprehensively brain-dead that it is utterly foolish to rely solely on them to do anything constructive,  for any purpose whatsoever.  Or had you not noticed that? 

I have seen that ugly little fact of life every night on the evening news for some 4+ decades now.  It is so pathetically obvious,  it makes me sick,  and has made me sick for those same 4 decades.  (It was NOT like that when I was very young.) 

The best we can hope for is to get a lot done on that one and only trip,  IF it actually does take place!  Otherwise we who have been debating this on these forums,  will NOT live to see men on Mars.  "Cassandra has spoken",  based on the last half century of demonstrated data. 

The worst we can hope for is nothing but a flag-and-footprints mission which will lead exactly nowhere.  Which is exactly what NASA management has had in mind,  ever since there actually was a mission scheduled,  back in the 1980's.  They have never had any other conception,  excepting some of the subordinate groups.  Those groups do NOT set policy or plans.  We are talking about the same basic management culture that caused the 3 fatal crew losses over the last few decades. 

Musk has a vision,  but he may not have the resources to do anything about it,  acting alone.  If funded by government,  the bureaucratic BS I cuss so roundly will slow him down until he dies,  before he can send significant numbers of people to Mars.  And that's a fact,  Jack. 

Once again,  place not all of your trust in government.  You have been warned,  again.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2016-03-06 18:58:20)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

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

Offline

#62 2016-03-06 18:45:02

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

kbd512 wrote:

The lynchpin technologies required for any Mars exploration program are oxygen production from Martian CO2 and water production from Martian soil or frozen brine deposits on the surface.

These are mass to Mars reducers and even with the current level of developed or in development will be enough to satify that need to lower the launch mass that we need for a mars mission.

kbd512 wrote:

The last 17 years were not a waste, but now it's time to send human prospectors to the surface to investigate the geology of the planet.  The only real way for that to happen is with unlimited surface mobility.  Once the astronauts / prospectors have located a region that is reasonably rich in water, minerals, and ores, then we can build a base there.

Design the mission for what we know or we will be waiting along time for that perfect base location.

Offline

#63 2016-03-06 19:14:21

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

SpaceNut wrote:

kbd512 "roving mission architectures are all about maximizing surface exploration" , I ask for what as the current rovers tell me more than I need for exploration science other than answering is there any signs of past or current life and as well is there an undergound water table; not just ice to get water from?

The current rovers can't and don't dig ditches or drill to any significant depth, lack any equipment to directly prove the existence of life, and have covered a tiny fraction of the surface of Mars.  Taking a few samples from a handful of sites and saying "We know all about Mars" is disingenuous.  We have no real idea what's there because all we have there are a handful of science experiments, a lot of data, and more questions than answers.  We have to send humans there to literally ring the planet, digging up rocks, taking samples, and drilling through ice as they go, in an attempt to find flowing liquid water with livable levels of salinity.

The robotic rovers have pretty much reached the practical limit of what tele-operated robots can do.  The recent robotic missions cost nearly as much as mission involving humans.  I think the $2.5B spent on MSL is a considerable sum of money to dump into a robot.  We can make human exploration missions really complicated and expensive and drag out development for another twenty years or so or we can develop simple solutions that have near term feasibility and reasonable cost.

If there is not enough funding to deliver four light trucks and two MAV's, then there's certainly not enough funding for more sophisticated habitation and exploration solutions.  How many more decades should we wait to go?  There's never a "perfect" time to do anything.

Every launch in my mission architecture (4 FH launch opportunity #1, 4 FH and 1 F9 for launch opportunity #2, 1 FH to recover the crew upon return to GEO or EML1) fails to approach half the price tag attached to MSL.  I'd be shocked if the total cost for hardware procurement (not development) and operations was more than $5B over four years.

SpaceNut wrote:

Everything else is planetary science or geology for the life sycle of Mars and gives nothing back to benefit man. Its just another giant leap for mankind if we do not go to stay.

How do you imagine having a base on Mars benefits man more than pressing forward with greater exploration of our solar system?

If we don't find life on Mars, or evidence of past life, I'd like to continue the search elsewhere in our solar system.  I want to keep exploring and keep advancing the state-of-the-art.  People who are interested in colonization are welcome to devote their money and their lives to that effort, but the very core of NASA's charter is exploration.  You know, "To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

Online

#64 2016-03-06 19:53:34

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

GW Johnson wrote:

NO one has EVER identified a financial reason for going to Mars.  The reason to do so won't be identified until several decades after someone goes,  same as it was for going to North America from Europe starting in the late 15th century.  THERE IS NO CURRENTLY-KNOWN FINANCIAL REASON TO GO.

Why do you take such exception to a mobile surface exploration architecture that is arguably the least expensive of all available options?

GW Johnson wrote:

It was,  it is now,  and it will always be,  a chicken-and-egg sort of problem.  Nothing about that is new.  Nothing about that will ever change.

There were at least a million and one reasons why the Apollo program should have failed completely, but it didn't.  It was an absolutely stunning success in every sense of the word.  I want NASA to prove to our people, our government, and the rest of the world that it still has "the right stuff".  Give NASA technology development and exploration goals that are within their capability, not something that might one day be possible if their budget was doubled or tripled.

GW Johnson wrote:

That means visionaries will do the trips to Mars (if these are done at all),  not the general business community,  and certainly NOT government as we know it in the late 20th century/early 21st century.

Our government is paying for SLS, Orion, and now a DSH.  Give them a little bit of credit.

GW Johnson wrote:

Actually there is a reason to go to Mars (or any of the other places),  but it will take around a century to uncover (and we know NOTHING about that right now).  This just the same as it was half a millennium ago.  Those few who do go will do so on faith:  the same faith that caused the early 16th century expeditions to North America to take place.

The only reason we're having this conversation over the internet right now is that throughout our history, some of us have had displayed some foresight.  Foresight lead to America.  The desire of Americans to innovate lead to our space program and the internet, along with quite a few other technologies that make going to other worlds possible to begin with.

GW Johnson wrote:

It wasn't until the 17th century that an economic reason to do so was actually identified (the triangle trade around the Atlantic in rum,  slaves,  and recovered resources like tobacco and wood,  versus manufactured goods from "home").

Any corporate venture requires time, opportunity, and capital.

GW Johnson wrote:

Government-in-general at this time in history is so completely and incomprehensively brain-dead that it is utterly foolish to rely solely on them to do anything constructive,  for any purpose whatsoever.  Or had you not noticed that?

Governments make lots of mistakes and frequently repeat them, but without governments we never would have gone to the moon and without government there is a low probability of going to Mars within our lifetimes.

GW Johnson wrote:

I have seen that ugly little fact of life every night on the evening news for some 4+ decades now.  It is so pathetically obvious,  it makes me sick,  and has made me sick for those same 4 decades.  (It was NOT like that when I was very young.)

Everything is always changing all around us, GW, but the mere fact that the world is not what you knew as a child does not make the change better or worse.

GW Johnson wrote:

The best we can hope for is to get a lot done on that one and only trip,  IF it actually does take place!  Otherwise we who have been debating this on these forums,  will NOT live to see men on Mars.  "Cassandra has spoken",  based on the last half century of demonstrated data.

We're going to accomplish far more actual exploration with a mobile surface exploration architecture.  No army in the field ever won a war by building bases.

GW Johnson wrote:

The worst we can hope for is nothing but a flag-and-footprints mission which will lead exactly nowhere.  Which is exactly what NASA management has had in mind,  ever since there actually was a mission scheduled,  back in the 1980's.  They have never had any other conception,  excepting some of the subordinate groups.  Those groups do NOT set policy or plans.  We are talking about the same basic management culture that caused the 3 fatal crew losses over the last few decades.

I'm not trying to change the culture at NASA, but I am urging them to start small and simple.

GW Johnson wrote:

Musk has a vision,  but he may not have the resources to do anything about it,  acting alone.  If funded by government,  the bureaucratic BS I cuss so roundly will slow him down until he dies,  before he can send significant numbers of people to Mars.  And that's a fact,  Jack.

Maybe so.  I want to explore the planet and demonstrate the feasibility of sending people to other worlds and bringing them back first before concerning ourselves with colonization.

GW Johnson wrote:

Once again,  place not all of your trust in government.  You have been warned,  again.

GW

In general, I don't trust our government.  In my lifetime, they've repeatedly demonstrated that they're not deserving of trust.  However, I do trust that the behavioral traits of politicians are largely the same.

Getting back on topic, I trust that four 2.5t light trucks are easier to build and deliver than a 20t or 40t surface habitat module.

Online

#65 2016-03-06 20:51:48

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

kbd512 wrote:

The current rovers can't and don't dig ditches or drill to any significant depth, lack any equipment to directly prove the existence of life, and have covered a tiny fraction of the surface of Mars.

Thats true as of today but there are missions to come that will but that will take over the next decade before they will all happen.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_2020_rover_mission

The mission's predecessor, the Mars Science Laboratory, cost US$2.5 billion in total.

With that being the first in a design to which the follow up useage of that design in the 2020 mars mission rover is to cost by far less...

The new rover mission and launch is estimated to cost roughly US$1.5 billion, plus or minus $200 million, according to The Aerospace Corporation.

Lest we forget we are awaiting for Nasa to fix INSIGHT mission so that it can fly to mars as well.

As for reuseability and mission masses when it comes to launching these always from earth to do missions it would be better to make bases where we go in order to build this infrastructure to make it possible to continue the outward exploration of the solar system not at the depth of the gravity well that we live on.

As for sending 4 pressurized individual "light trucks" on a single mission for them all to rove single file from stop to stop to explore an area while circling the globe of mars until time is up and they must head back to the MAV to go home leaves what for infrastructure?

Offline

#66 2016-03-06 21:00:35

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

I think a light truck falls into the size larger than a land rover to which I happened upon a magazine which was for just that http://www.roversnorth.com/Land-Rover-Parts/WebHomePage
in it contained the after market components to rebuild a rusted out land rover.

171-defender-page-5-lrg.jpg

lengthen the frame to allow for the electric motor plus batteries and we are almost there with regards to a lunar rover with COTS parts.....

Offline

#67 2016-03-06 21:45:09

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

SpaceNut wrote:

Thats true as of today but there are missions to come that will but that will take over the next decade before they will all happen.

You and I have both seen the missions that are on the books.  Can you really tell me that any of those missions will provide as significant a science return as actually sending humans with geology and biology tools to determine what's actually there?  Probes are quite useful to gather general information about otherwise inaccessible locations within our solar system, but even with current technology are not a like-kind replacement for human eyes and hands.

SpaceNut wrote:

Lest we forget we are awaiting for Nasa to fix INSIGHT mission so that it can fly to mars as well.

Yep.

SpaceNut wrote:

As for reuseability and mission masses when it comes to launching these always from earth to do missions it would be better to make bases where we go in order to build this infrastructure to make it possible to continue the outward exploration of the solar system not at the depth of the gravity well that we live on.

Now we're talking about science fiction.  A Mars base will not be a staging location for solar system exploration within our lifetimes.

SpaceNut wrote:

As for sending 4 pressurized individual "light trucks" on a single mission for them all to rove single file from stop to stop to explore an area while circling the globe of mars until time is up and they must head back to the MAV to go home leaves what for infrastructure?

Well, I never said the rovers should converge on a single site.  As long as each rover is within one hour's driving distance from each other, that's sufficient.  Think about how much ground you can cover with astronaut visiting site clusters from each rover.  It's substantial.

With respect to infrastructure, no infrastructure is required for exploration apart from a space program that builds and delivers the deep space habitats, lander vehicles, ascent vehicles, and rovers.  Each vehicle can be rather small and of relatively modest cost, assuming no more than two astronauts per vehicle.

Online

#68 2016-03-06 21:47:34

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

A search for 2.5 ton trucks came up with the M220....
id_m220_01_700.jpg

Basically a box truck....

Looks very heavy and quite large but then again we would be modifying it quite a bit to make it mars friendly....

Offline

#69 2016-03-06 21:54:25

RobertDyck
Member
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,043
Website

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

kbd512: I would like to start by quoting...

GW Johnson wrote:

That is why I keep saying what I do about the architecture of that one-and-only government-funded mission.

We lived through the Apollo space program. We saw great wonderful things! We saw NASA go from nothing to men on the Moon! The American public lost interest after Apollo 11, and politicians lost interest as soon as voters did. Almost no one watched Apollo 13 until the accident. They got interested when they realized how dangerous it was. They wanted to see blood! They wanted adventure. They initially watched when there was danger of Russia beating us, but didn't care anymore once it was safe and routine. More astronauts died in training than Apollo 1. I feel losing interest after so many gave their lives was horrible. However, they did.

Then Richard Nixon got elected. He was the other political party. He thought Apollo was an irresponsible stunt. He shut it down as soon as he could. LBJ was vice president to JFK, not just the same party. LBJ ensured Apollo continued. But as soon as there was a change, the next president killed it.

And it wasn't the only one. Ronald Regan started US space station Freedom. George H. W. Bush killed it, replacing with Alpha. George H. W. Bush announced Strategic Exploration Initiative, and humans to Mars! NASA asked for everything under the Sun, Congress killed it due to cost. Bill Clinton shrunk space station Alpha even further, to the point NASA felt there was no point. NASA initiated talks with the Russian Space Agency to build ISS. Bill Clinton started VentureStar to replace Shuttle. That got bogged down by a greedy contractor. George W. Bush killed it. George W. Bush started Constellation. Barack Obama killed that. Congress revived Constellation as SLS & Orion. Obama changed it to an asteroid mission.

Are we seeing a pattern? Human space ventures don't last a change of administration. Shuttle lasted as long as it did because it was reusable, and was supposed to be less expensive than alternatives. JFK knew Apollo may be a flash-in-the-pan. By the way, that expression comes from a time when photography used powder to produce a flash of light, flash powder held in a pan. So it means the duration of a camera flash. LBJ wanted a major NASA centre in Texas because he was a senator for Texas before he was Vice President. The Johnson Space Center was built as a university campus because it was expected that once the Apollo program was over, it would be converted into a campus of Rice University.

This is one reason my architecture includes a reusable interplanetary spacecraft. Yes, it would be a Deep Space Habitat. But built for artificial gravity, and with a heat shield for aerocapture. But the idea is build it once, and just keep using it. Congress and multiple presidents can agree to that. And has many have noted, there are people in NASA who want to justify their program. The first use for ISS is to test/demonstrate life support for a Mars mission. I still argue it has to be tested there for the full duration of a Mars mission before we go to Mars. And the reusable DSH has to be parked somewhere. ISS has an arm and capability for maintenance work, and several vehicles that can deliver crew and supplies, so park it there. Those who want to justify ISS will like that.

But yes, we do have to build a Mars surface base with the first mission. A reusable surface base. With a base sitting there waiting to be used, and a DSH parked at ISS waiting to be used, it won't be hard to convince some future politician to provide funding to operate them. That means more missions.

Offline

#70 2016-03-06 22:04:34

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

SpaceNut wrote:

I think a light truck falls into the size larger than a land rover to which I happened upon a magazine which was for just that http://www.roversnorth.com/Land-Rover-Parts/WebHomePage
in it contained the after market components to rebuild a rusted out land rover.

lengthen the frame to allow for the electric motor plus batteries and we are almost there with regards to a lunar rover with COTS parts.....

SpaceNut,

The light pressurized rover sizing was a determination I made by figuring out what was required to store or manufacture all the food, water, oxygen, and power for a 500 day surface stay.  Any unpressurized rover is of limited utility on Mars if it's not operated near a base.  A pressurized surface habitat module is basically a 20t minimum delivered mass requirement for four people and NASA seems to think a 40t delivered mass is required.  In other words, it's not feasible with technology available within the next ten years or so.

BTW, the base unit wouldn't look much like the Land Rover chassis in the picture you posted.

Online

#71 2016-03-06 22:14:51

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

SpaceNut wrote:

A search for 2.5 ton trucks came up with the M220....

Basically a box truck....

Looks very heavy and quite large but then again we would be modifying it quite a bit to make it mars friendly....

SpaceNut,

My rover has a loaded mass of 2.5t.  It actually weighs .95t on Mars.  In other words, a Ford Fiesta has a curb weight approximately 200kg in excess of my rover's loaded weight on Mars.

Edit: The M220 truck has a curb weight of 6.8t, so if you added the weight of two of my rovers together you're still not as heavy as the M220 is empty.

Last edited by kbd512 (2016-03-06 22:59:35)

Online

#72 2016-03-06 22:23:16

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

Googled for Nasa Mars future missions and there is not much beyound the ones I have already covered https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars … uture.html
Nasa instrument supplied gets the exomars missions...
With the only others were projects that were seen for after 2009 for ballooning or flying around Mars.....as scout missions.

Offline

#73 2016-03-06 22:34:59

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

RobertDyck wrote:

We lived through the Apollo space program. We saw great wonderful things! We saw NASA go from nothing to men on the Moon! The American public lost interest after Apollo 11, and politicians lost interest as soon as voters did. Almost no one watched Apollo 13 until the accident. They got interested when they realized how dangerous it was. They wanted to see blood! They wanted adventure. They initially watched when there was danger of Russia beating us, but didn't care anymore once it was safe and routine. More astronauts died in training than Apollo 1. I feel losing interest after so many gave their lives was horrible. However, they did.

I'm only 35.  I didn't live through Apollo, but my father did.  He watched every single mission.

RobertDyck wrote:

Then Richard Nixon got elected. He was the other political party. He thought Apollo was an irresponsible stunt. He shut it down as soon as he could. LBJ was vice president to JFK, not just the same party. LBJ ensured Apollo continued. But as soon as there was a change, the next president killed it.

What can I say?  Some parts of our history are better than others.

RobertDyck wrote:

And it wasn't the only one. Ronald Regan started US space station Freedom. George H. W. Bush killed it, replacing with Alpha. George H. W. Bush announced Strategic Exploration Initiative, and humans to Mars! NASA asked for everything under the Sun, Congress killed it due to cost. Bill Clinton shrunk space station Alpha even further, to the point NASA felt there was no point. NASA initiated talks with the Russian Space Agency to build ISS. Bill Clinton started VentureStar to replace Shuttle. That got bogged down by a greedy contractor. George W. Bush killed it. George W. Bush started Constellation. Barack Obama killed that. Congress revived Constellation as SLS & Orion. Obama changed it to an asteroid mission.

The cost of each of those efforts was absolutely outrageous and NASA still hasn't learned the lesson.

RobertDyck wrote:

Are we seeing a pattern? Human space ventures don't last a change of administration. Shuttle lasted as long as it did because it was reusable, and was supposed to be less expensive than alternatives. JFK knew Apollo may be a flash-in-the-pan. By the way, that expression comes from a time when photography used powder to produce a flash of light, flash powder held in a pan. So it means the duration of a camera flash. LBJ wanted a major NASA centre in Texas because he was a senator for Texas before he was Vice President. The Johnson Space Center was built as a university campus because it was expected that once the Apollo program was over, it would be converted into a campus of Rice University.

The pattern is that if the program is obscenely expensive and doesn't produce results quickly, Congress and/or the President will kill the program.

RobertDyck wrote:

This is one reason my architecture includes a reusable interplanetary spacecraft. Yes, it would be a Deep Space Habitat. But built for artificial gravity, and with a heat shield for aerocapture. But the idea is build it once, and just keep using it. Congress and multiple presidents can agree to that. And has many have noted, there are people in NASA who want to justify their program. The first use for ISS is to test/demonstrate life support for a Mars mission. I still argue it has to be tested there for the full duration of a Mars mission before we go to Mars. And the reusable DSH has to be parked somewhere. ISS has an arm and capability for maintenance work, and several vehicles that can deliver crew and supplies, so park it there. Those who want to justify ISS will like that.

No such animal as a reusable interplanetary spacecraft has ever existed.  It's science fiction for a variety of technical reasons.

I agree with your DSH idea.

RobertDyck wrote:

But yes, we do have to build a Mars surface base with the first mission. A reusable surface base. With a base sitting there waiting to be used, and a DSH parked at ISS waiting to be used, it won't be hard to convince some future politician to provide funding to operate them. That means more missions.

Congress or the President can stop future missions to a Mars surface base just as easily, if not more easily, than it can stop future missions to ISS.  To start with, none of the technology actually required to deliver a Mars surface base exists in the form of flight hardware.  There's no DSH, no surface habitat, no ADEPT lander that can deliver 20t, let alone 40t, to the surface of Mars, no MDV, and no MAV.  See any pattern there?  None of what you want exists and it won't exist for another two decades at the earliest.  SLS will still be in development into the middle of the next decade, assuming Congress or the President doesn't kill it sooner.  Do you want to do the mission at all?  If so, then think small.

Online

#74 2016-03-06 22:50:58

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,187

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

I never thought a simple and light surface exploration architecture that gets humans on Mars ten years, if not twenty years, sooner than any other proposed plan would be such a hard sell to people who are say they're disappointed with the lack of progress made towards that goal thus far.

As Dr. Zubrin would say, the light pressurized rover program does not de-justify your Mars base.  It makes a base unnecessary for initial surface exploration attempts and gets us there a lot faster because far less technology development is required.  Maybe that's what the problem is.  I haven't adequately tied these simple and light vehicles to a ridiculously expensive and heavy stationary Mars base.

Online

#75 2016-03-06 23:18:49

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: Light weight rover for Mars

kbd512 you are not alone with wanting to get to mars within the next decade and the mobility design has been talked of before as a method to do so.

Another member Michael Bloxham did feel the same...and yes I did work with that member to try and make it possible...

Marsdrive Mission Design

Shouldn't there be more focus on surface mobility?

Then we had the great crash and lots of work was lost.....

found another needing cleanup...

Combining the Rover and Hab - Go RV'ing!

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB