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#1 2017-02-02 13:30:58

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,895

Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

I've commented elsewhere about the SLS and that it's a rocket without a mission. Howzabout destination Jupiter? The SLS could readily fly 2 probes to the Jovian moon system. NASA has already pontificated about a possible probe to Europa, and my interest is in the outermost of the Galilean moons, Callisto. What I'm proposing is that one of the otherwise worthless and hyper-expensive SLS rockets do a piggyback payload and send 2 lander/explorer probes at once; the stages could separate after passing the asteroid belt, and become independently targeted after any midcourse corrections are made. The extreme Van Allen-type radiation on Europa would probably doom any lander to an extremely short mission lifetime, but the Robert Zubrin idea of a thermally heated penetrator could be utilized and signal transmission to an orbiter might just work there? Callisto, on the other hand, is out of the Jovian Van Allen Belt and has been suggested as another possible site for a human outpost. How about a lander to do some regolith sampling and atmospheric studies. The radiation exposure is also important to measure.

Although I'm strongly a "let's go to Mars first" man, getting our money's worth from the SLS system would bring some return on the taxpayer's investment in NASA.

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#2 2017-02-02 18:03:56

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,694

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

I sort of like the idea of using the SLS to launch probes quicker to places that take forever using ION drives and Chemical engines that do not have the fuel to really accelerate them there quicker.
The trouble with Nasa thou is these would not be discovery class but Flagship missions which they are famous for at a billion plus a pop....

Time to hand over a copy of the prints to Space x with a request to turn it into a lower cost heavy lift BFR....

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#3 2017-02-02 18:45:23

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,895

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Well, with an already built SLS rocket waiting for a payload (or 2), the price would seem to me somewhat already amortized by the billions already spent on the development of this monster rocket? So--how much $$$ would 2 surveyor type vehicles cost us...we the taxpayers? Building a Mars type rover for Callisto should not be an issue, but only the power source is in question. It would need a mini nuclear reactor in order to have rover power as well as ample power for signal transmission. The Europa mission would require a lot more thought, which at NASA is expensive.

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#4 2017-02-03 11:02:32

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,528

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Well, using it where it does not duplicate the works of SpaceX, and the presumed intentions of Jeff Bezos, seems reasonable.
It is going to be a throw away item no matter what is it not?

Callisto is very interesting indeed.

Here is something completely different though:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/101955_Be … escription
Quote:

101955 Bennu (provisional designation 1999 RQ36)[9] is a carbonaceous asteroid in the Apollo group that was discovered by the LINEAR Project on September 11, 1999. It is a potential Earth impactor that is listed on the Sentry Risk Table with the second-highest rating on the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale,[10] due to a 1-in-2,700 chance of impacting Earth in the late 22nd century.[11] It is the planned target of the OSIRIS-REx mission which is intended to return samples to Earth in 2023 for further study.[12][13][14][15]
101955 Bennu has a mean diameter of approximately 492 m (1,614 ft; 0.306 mi) and has been observed extensively with the Arecibo Observatory Planetary Radar and the Goldstone Deep Space Network.[1][2][16]
Selection for OSIRIS-REx mission[edit]
The OSIRIS-REx mission of NASA's New Frontiers Program was launched towards 101955 Bennu on September 8, 2016. It is expected to reach the asteroid in August 2018 and return samples to Earth in 2023.[15]
Bennu was selected from over 500000 known asteroids by the OSIRIS-REx selection committee. The primary restraint for selection was close proximity to Earth, due to the low Δv required to reach it from Earth orbit.[26] The criteria stipulated an asteroid in an orbit with low eccentricity, low inclination, and an orbital radius of 0.8–1.6 AU.[27]
Furthermore, the candidate asteroid for a sample-return mission must have loose regolith on its surface, which implies a diameter greater than 200 meters. Asteroids smaller than this typically spin too fast to retain dust or small particles.
Finally, a desire to find an asteroid with pristine carbon material from the early solar system, possibly including volatile molecules, organic compounds and amino acids reduced the list further.
With the above criteria applied, five asteroids remained as candidates for the OSIRIS-REx mission and Bennu was chosen,[27] in part due to its potentially hazardous orbit.

So if OSIRIS-REx is successful, it is a near term mission already in motion, which we might wonder how could its discoveries suggest a use for the SLS, and how could the discoveries suggest support for efforts such as the Moon, Mars, and asteroid mining?

It seems that Bennu is a rubble pile that may have water in its content, along with other possible useful things.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonaceous_chondrite
Quote:

Composition and classification[edit]


Some carbonaceous chondrites. From left to right: Allende, Yukon and Murchison.
Carbonaceous chondrites are grouped according to distinctive compositions thought to reflect the type of parent body from which they originated. These C chondrite groups are now each named with a standard two-letter CX designation, where C stands for "carbonaceous" (other types of chondrites do not begin with this letter) plus a capital letter in the spot X, which is very often the first letter of the name of a prominent meteorite — often the first to be discovered — in the group. Such meteorites are often named for the place where they fell, thus giving no clue as to the physical nature of the group. Group CH, where H is for "high metal" is so far the only exception. See below for name derivations of each group.
Several groups of carbonaceous chondrites, notably the CM and CI groups, contain high percentages (3% to 22%) of water,[2] as well as organic compounds. They are composed mainly of silicates, oxides and sulfides, with the minerals olivine and serpentine being characteristic. The presence of volatile organic chemicals and water indicates that they have not undergone significant heating (>200 °C) since they were formed, and their compositions are considered to be close to that of the solar nebula from which the Solar System condensed. Other groups of C chondrites, e.g., CO, CV, and CK chondrites, are relatively poor in volatile compounds, and some of these have experienced significant heating on their parent asteroids.

Perhaps I have gone a bit off topic here as Bennu is not "Outer Solar System".  But if SLS could assist in making the resources of Bennu available for missions elsewhere then it becomes more of a lever for such intentions.

In some sense, a "Rubble Pile" is preferable.  It is already chewed.  Next would come the eating of it, and the digesting of it, if it does indeed prove to be the "Food" that is desired.

Perhaps OSIRUS-REx will determine it's "Nutrition Value".

I am thinking that any eating of it would be primarily by robotics, since that is a skill we are told will envelop us and we hope not destroy us soon.

We should complement NASA on this one.  For purpose and justification, its potential chemistry, for space efforts are good,  The information about the early solar system is good.

Also, for the fruit cups who always want a "Mission to Earth", you can use the notion that we are studying a potential hazard to Earth!

And, if it is decided to "Eat" the thing, then problem all gone little fruit cups smile

The "Eating" of Bennu, may make more sense than trying to support a Mars effort with a Moon effort.  However, I am going to bet that a Moon/Bennu?/Mars effort is the best path to the outer solar system for humans.

However, yes if you are going to have an SLS, why not light one off to send probes to outer solar system objects as you have suggested OldFart.  It does not have to be an or proposition, it can be an and proposition.

Get something for all the pork paid for.

Last edited by Void (2017-02-03 11:31:57)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#5 2017-02-03 17:37:29

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,694

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Curiosity is an RTG powered unit and the 2020 unit going to Mars is also slated to be one as well....the price tag for it was higher than normal and was a flagship mission. The total cost of the MSL project is about US$2.5 billion. If I recall correctly there were problems with actuator parts which cause a cycle delay....

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

Eventually the costs for developing the rover reached $2.47 billion, that for a rover that initially had been classified as a medium-cost mission with a maximum budget of $650 million, yet NASA still had to ask for an additional $82 million to meet the planned November launch.

The modified version of the MSL curiosity for 202 is looking along the same lines for cost as well. Mars 2020 rover mission to cost more than $2 billion

mars2020_large-879x485.jpg

Why not take an exisitng rover design to reduce cost and send it to more places instead of these 1 off designs each time....

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#6 2017-02-03 17:48:21

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,895

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

SpaceNut-

These "one-off" designs keep more engineers and scientists employed...and keep NASA in business.

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#7 2017-02-03 20:26:59

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,694

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Not every mission needs newly designed cutting edge equipment at over 2 billion plus the cost of the launch vehicle...The engineers can be redesigning for lower costs and for bringing tech to commercial off the shelves manufacturers.
We will want to explore each heavenly body in time but when we are dumping tons of money into a high priced launch system and very expensive probes we are not going to have very many built or very many places explored due to there cost.
Probes need to be made to last for a very long time in order to get the most science out of each exploration which also adds to mission overall costs.

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#8 2017-02-03 22:15:22

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,895

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

These probes must also have adequate power for data transmission. An awful (wasteful) amount of the weight and volume is comprised by solar panels. TGIs are not enough. Small Nuclear Reactors are the wave of the future. It makes no sense at all to develop great instrumentation and then lack adequate power to return the data other than in driblets.

Why have I suggested Callisto? Easy: the only Galilean moon of Jupiter which is long-term habitable and relatively unaffected by the Jovian Van Allen Belt radiation. It has reasonable gravity and a trace atmosphere. It's also at the limits for a manned mission, if nuclear thermal rockets are used (Nerva engine). Another possible lander/rover destination might be Ceres?

What I'm looking for is maximum scientific return for the money spent.

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#9 2017-02-04 09:33:05

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,694

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

If we can define what "maximum scientific return for the money spent"  then there is no reason to not be going beyond LEO if there is a payday with science.
That is the current trouble with the ISS is that all the budget dollars going to LEO are not being seen as a payday, sure we are gaining in knowledge but thats not a profit...as this would self fund NASA if it were.
I do agree that the scientific exploration of this moon and others is a huge gain in planetary science.
To make space nuclear possible we need to convince the partners that allowing this power plant in orbit is a plus for all and not a weapon.

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#10 2017-02-04 10:40:56

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,895

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

We've been stuck in LEO for 50 years! Any use of the SLS should be, considering the cost, have much more ambitious goals. We certainly don't need it for the ISS, since both SpaceX and Orbital ATK have that covered. The "planned" asteroid fragment retrieval seems to be an awful waste of capability in contrast to dollars spent; there needs be a more ambitious scientific purpose in mind!

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#11 2017-02-04 13:01:55

Tom Kalbfus
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Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

SpaceNut wrote:

I sort of like the idea of using the SLS to launch probes quicker to places that take forever using ION drives and Chemical engines that do not have the fuel to really accelerate them there quicker.
The trouble with Nasa thou is these would not be discovery class but Flagship missions which they are famous for at a billion plus a pop....

Time to hand over a copy of the prints to Space x with a request to turn it into a lower cost heavy lift BFR....

I think Titan deserves a flagship mission, I would say a rover/orbiter mission. Lets get some high resolution maps of the entire surface of Titan!. We need an orbiter to orbit Titan just above its atmosphere. The orbiter would also act as a communications satellite to relay information from the rover to Earth I think the Titan Rover should be similar to Curiosity on Mars, it would be powered by a radiothermo generator. Another question is whether we should have a flying rover? Titan's atmosphere is much thicker than on Mars, it should allow probes to fly. I think we would want a probe that can craw, fly, and swim. We might want to check out the bottoms of liquid hydrocarbon lakes and rivers, we might want to fly over them, and we might want wheels as well. What do you think?

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#12 2017-02-04 13:04:10

Tom Kalbfus
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Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Oldfart1939 wrote:

These probes must also have adequate power for data transmission. An awful (wasteful) amount of the weight and volume is comprised by solar panels. TGIs are not enough. Small Nuclear Reactors are the wave of the future. It makes no sense at all to develop great instrumentation and then lack adequate power to return the data other than in driblets.

Why have I suggested Callisto? Easy: the only Galilean moon of Jupiter which is long-term habitable and relatively unaffected by the Jovian Van Allen Belt radiation. It has reasonable gravity and a trace atmosphere. It's also at the limits for a manned mission, if nuclear thermal rockets are used (Nerva engine). Another possible lander/rover destination might be Ceres?

What I'm looking for is maximum scientific return for the money spent.

Then there is Titan, a most unusual moon.

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#13 2017-02-04 13:05:37

Tom Kalbfus
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Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Oldfart1939 wrote:

We've been stuck in LEO for 50 years! Any use of the SLS should be, considering the cost, have much more ambitious goals. We certainly don't need it for the ISS, since both SpaceX and Orbital ATK have that covered. The "planned" asteroid fragment retrieval seems to be an awful waste of capability in contrast to dollars spent; there needs be a more ambitious scientific purpose in mind!

Well there is the next generation telescope. The SLS could lift a large telescope which may be able to find extrasolar planets, that would be well worth an SLS.

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#14 2017-02-05 12:11:19

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,895

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Then there is Titan, a most unusual moon.

The problem re: Titan is distance and travel time to the objective. In order to get a realistic science return, there would by necessity be a nuclear reactor involved as part of the payload. Power = data return. The Jovian environment is about the furthest we can go without reliance on an exotic onboard propulsion system for the probe. Yes, I agree that Titan is scientifically interesting, but very little has been done in regard to the 4 Galilean moons of Jupiter. They're big enough to be considered planets, were they in orbit about the Sun and not around Jupiter. Ganymede and Callisto are both larger than Mercury, although less dense. There is some evidence of subterranean oceans on both these moons, making them "very interesting" w/r to ongoing manned exploration of our solar system. Ganymede is still within the Jupiter Van Allen belts, but Callisto is NOT, making it suitable for a distant human outpost on our way to the stars.

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#15 2017-02-07 22:08:11

Tom Kalbfus
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Posts: 4,401

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Whats wrong with using an exotic propulsion system? The SLS could haul one into space, then we can test it out, and if it works, we can send something to Titan, and later on perhaps this technology could be used to get to Mars. We already sent a probe to Saturn, but with the SLS, we can send a bigger and more capable one, I think this time we ought to focus on Titan, have a probe directly orbit that Moon instead of Saturn and making a number of flybys. I was thinking perhaps a probe in polar orbit around Titan to map the entire surface, get a real good look at it, it would be sort of a Titan Viking type deal, except we would land a rover instead of a fixed lander.

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#16 2017-02-08 22:30:07

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,895

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Titan's atmosphere is too dense for any sort of photographic reconnaissance mission; it would need a Nuke reactor to do a radar surface mapping, and for data transmission. I'm opposed to doing anything with one of the exotic propulsion systems due to very low thrust produced. We need to get a Nuclear thermal system running AGAIN! The NERVA back in the 1960s was well suited for outer Solar System exploration. It has an Isp of 900 seconds, versus H2/LOX at maybe 450 sec. That way we could get a lot bigger delta V, especially after a slingshot around Jupiter.

A mission to the Jovian moons is one that I would like to see, followed by one to the Saturnian moons.

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#17 2017-02-08 22:40:53

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,895

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

One way to get a reactor into orbit is through use of Thorium as the radionuclide. This isn't a "bomb in orbit, or a bomb in space." We had a Thorium critical mass nuclear reactor on the University of Wyoming Campus back in the 1960s. Naturally the tree huggers had it shut down and dismantled in the 70s.

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#18 2017-02-08 23:11:09

SpaceNut
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Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,694

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

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#19 2017-02-09 12:51:07

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,528

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Nice post Spacenut, I borrowed from it>
https://feet2thefire.wordpress.com/2013 … -new-idea/
Quote:

<blockquote> Thorium reactors can be an export from the Moon to provide megawatts of power for space ships and to be delivered to Mars to provide power on the surface there.</blockquote>

If we consider the Boston Dynamics Robots could eventually be used to do physical manipulations on the Moon, then the idea of making such power plants from Moon materials, to provide for space needs, is not a diversion from Mars.
https://medium.com/@TheLeadingEdge/bost … .gmidn19vi

And here is some helpful news:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor … 8601a918aa
Quote:

7. Yucca Mountain finally begins accepting nuclear waste. Nuclear power is currently hampered by strong government headwinds. The Yucca Mountain storage facility for spent nuclear fuel is essentially ready to accept spent fuel but the Obama administration and Obama’s Senate ally Harry Reid have blocked Yucca Mountain from accepting spent fuel. Some states have enacted laws prohibiting the construction of new nuclear power facilities until Yucca Mountain is available to accept spent fuel. Expect the Trump administration to streamline the opening of Yucca Mountain, relieving states and local communities from the burden of storing spent nuclear fuel.
8. Next-generation nuclear power surges forward. Nuclear power faces many obstacles in addition to spent fuel issues. Energy economics and excessive government regulation make traditional large nuclear power plants uncompetitive with coal and natural gas power. However, there is substantial promise for small, next-generation nuclear reactors utilizing new technologies. For example, many scientists, economists, and environmentalists see tremendous promise for small molten salt reactors powered by thorium. Any new nuclear technologies, however, must receive government scrutiny and approval. To date, the federal government has been dragging its feet studying and approving new nuclear reactor designs. Expect the Trump administration to prioritize removing government obstacles to new nuclear power designs, which coincidentally would provide more emissions-free power.

One thing I have wondered about is if a reactor could be put down on an ice body, say at Utopia Planetia.

An unpersoned mission.  Set down, melt water under the soil layer.  Of course the Reactor/Robot would have to be able to float on dirt, ice and water.  It would then have it's own source of power, water under it, and the Martian atmosphere to do chemistry with.

If this were possible, then this would be precursor to a personed mission.  Fuel, Oxygen, water, and food could all be made available in advance of any human arrival.

The food would likely be from microbial fermentation.  Say Methane and Hydrogen, maybe CO for the Microbes food, Oxygen for the Oxidizer.  The "Soup" could be containerized and frozen.  That might require some robotics, but I would think that a reflective package of frozen soup would keep rather well on the surface of Utopia Planetia, for a suitable period of time.

So the humans would have a light weight lander, perhaps one that could afford to hop a bit, if they did not land precisely at the location of the reactor at first.   If they made it to the reactor/robot, they would do an inventory to confirm that the life support was as desired.  If not they would leave, but most likely they would not have come at all if they did not believe that the food, water, Oxygen, and rocket fuel were not there.  And of course the reactor would supply electricity.

So this thing could be growing "SOUP" for 5 to 10 years before the arrival of any humans.

Last edited by Void (2017-02-09 13:16:28)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#20 2017-02-09 17:11:47

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,528

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Now that I think about it, maybe freeze dried soup would keep in the Martian environment indefinitely, if it had appropriate packaging.
Technically, you could actually dump it on the ground and it might hold up for some time, but why do that?  I guess to save on packaging?
Bullion Cubes? Boink! Out shoots another one?  Maybe some how a protective coating generated and applied while the soup is fermenting?
Then no packaging ship from Earth to Mars.

Or are you soup Nazi's?
No soup?


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#21 2017-02-09 17:22:11

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,895

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Uhhh....you can have MY share.

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#22 2017-02-09 17:34:14

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,528

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Thanks for the cold shower.  Might be the first time you even acknowledged my existence.

I am thinking that a machine like that would likely end up in a sinkhole, as water was consumed.  If it were convertible into a habitat, then after it's primary use, when the humans arrived, they then would not need to dig a hole, but could perhaps shovel dirt over it for radiation protection.

And about the soup, there is no prohibition on making it palatable if possible, and perhaps several types.
I mean what is Yogurt?  Why so fussy?

A variation of the scheme might work for other locations, probably not as easily.


Here you go, lets put your bib on!
https://www.newscientist.com/article/21 … ls-and-us/

Video.  Spacemen at the end!
https://youtu.be/VZuNdZTIUcc
calysta_feedkind_01-800x533.jpg
Quote:

Food made from natural gas will soon feed farm animals – and us


Food from fossil fuels
Calysta
By Michael Le Page
All of the food you’ve ever eaten was made with sunlight captured by plants just a few months or years before you ate it. But some of the energy on your plate could soon come from sunlight captured by plants millions of years ago, thanks to plans to feed livestock with fossil fuels.
A biotechnology company called Calysta, based in Menlo Park, California, is set to announce the first ever large-scale factory that uses microbes to turn natural gas – methane – into a high-protein food for the animals we eat. The factory, which will be built in the US in collaboration with food-giant Cargill, will produce 200,000 tonnes of feed a year.
The methane-made food has already been approved in the European Union for feeding to farmed fish and livestock such as pigs. Calysta is seeking approval in the US, too – and not just for farm animals. “We want to take it all the way to cats and dogs, and potentially even humans,” says the head of Calysta, Alan Shaw.

In September, Calysta opened a small facility in Teesside in the UK to produce up to 100 tonnes a year of feed for farmed fish. Unibio, a rival biotech company based in London, opened a similar-sized facility in Denmark in October. Both companies want to rapidly scale up production.
Warming up
Is turning fossil fuels into food for livestock a good idea? That depends on what you think is most important when it comes to protecting the environment.
If done on a large scale, the process would reduce the demand for land to grow food for livestock, as well as the demand for fish meal to feed to farmed fish. “You need millions of tonnes to have an impact,” says Shaw.
But it would also increase emissions of carbon dioxide, accelerating global warming. “Using fossil fuels as an energy source as opposed to sunlight is not very environmentally sound,” says Bob Rees, who studies greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture at Scotland’s Rural College in Edinburgh, UK.
The technology might one day also feed explorers of other planets. For instance, SpaceX head Elon Musk’s plans for Mars exploration include generating methane and oxygen for making rocket fuel. Some could be used to make food, too. “We have been in touch with SpaceX,” says Shaw.

The process relies on microbes that feed on methane. These methane-munching methanotrophs essentially “burn” methane (CH4) to get energy, producing CO2 and water as waste products. Some of this energy is then used to combine other methane molecules to make more-complex carbon molecules – food, in other words.
This ability first evolved billions of years ago – it likely predates photosynthesis – and today methanotrophs can be found wherever there’s methane to feast on, from cold seeps on the sea floor to ponds and marshes.
Some biologists think that “dark food” from these methanotrophs plays a much bigger role in many ecosystems than thought.
Methane explosion
Calysta is using a bacterium called Methylococcus capsulatus. The bacteria are grown in vats, fed methane, and are then dried and turned into pellets.
The idea was first explored in the 1980s by Norway’s state-owned oil company, Statoil, which in the 2000s built a plant capable of producing 10,000 tonnes of feed a year. But at the time, gas prices were high and the product had not been approved in the EU. The plant was closed, and the technology was sold to Calysta.
With approval now in place and natural gas prices lower, Shaw is betting that the technology is ready for the big time – and rival company Unibio thinks so, too.
Both companies are promoting the process as having environmental benefits. Shaw has said it “heralds a new era in the race to sustainably feed the world’s growing population”. Unibio’s website goes further, claiming a “52% cut in CO2 emissions”. So are they right?
Calysta commissioned a report on the environmental impact of methane-derived food from the Carbon Trust, which advises governments and companies on how to reduce emissions. The report compared how much land is needed, how much water is used and how much CO2 is emitted by the various ways of producing feed.
It concluded that when methane from a fossil source is used, several times as much CO2 is produced per tonne of feed than by almost all other ways of making feed. Only chicken blood meal has higher average CO2 emissions per tonne of feed.
Unibio’s claim is based on the fact that after the feed has been made – but not eaten – only half as much CO₂ will have been emitted into the atmosphere than if the gas were just burned, or flared.
Release fate
But this is only half the story: in the long term, just as much CO2 will be released. “Any carbon that is fixed into a food substance is going to be released as CO2 back into the atmosphere eventually,” says Rees. “That claim really does not make any sense at all.”
“It is true that animals respire CO₂ in their metabolism, just as humans do. Our calculation does not take this into consideration,” says the head of Unibio, Henrik Busch-Larsen. “We believe the CO₂ calculation compared to gas flaring is valid but acknowledge it has to been seen in the context mentioned above.”
In theory, carbon emissions could be greatly reduced by using methane from a renewable source, such as biogas from farm waste or landfill sites. This would reduce emissions to levels comparable to those for feeds made from wheat or soya, for instance.
“Feeds that have lower carbon emissions, lower land use and lower water use are absolutely needed,” says Tom Cumberlege of the Carbon Trust, one of the authors of the report.
The catch is that there are no big and cheap sources of biogas. “It’s just not going to happen,” says Shaw. The US factory will use natural gas from a conventional source, not from fracking.
On the plus side, the report concluded that Calysta’s feed has tiny water and land use requirements compared with all the other methods of producing feeds. Some may think this is even more important than cutting carbon emissions.
The technology cannot be expected to do everything, Shaw says. “I’m addressing a food security issue and saving the oceans and not cutting down rainforests for soya,” he says. “Taking fish out of the sea that you then feed to other fish, that is unsustainable.”
Read more: Massive vats of fake meat brewed in goo could change how we eat

I am thinking that rather than drilling and then melting water, a better method could be to warm the ground below with microwaves, and perhaps also passive solar heat.  Maybe the machine could be a passive solar heat collector.

Then the vapors of water passing upwards would be suctioned into a condenser.

In-situ and then some.

Perhaps this method would be able to support scouting missions as well.

And they mention Mars in the video, so I win!  Ha Ha.

Chemosynthesis!  Little nuclear reactors, Thorium?

Last edited by Void (2017-02-09 17:58:40)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#23 2017-02-09 17:48:13

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,694

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

Void been poking about for why not thorium power for moon or mars and here is what I have found.

A Lunar Nuclear Reactor; Tests prove the feasibility of using nuclear reactors to provide electricity on the moon and Mars.

fission_b_x220.jpg?sw=280

Generating power: A power-conversion unit consisting of two Stirling engines, sitting opposite each other, is set up for testing at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Pumped liquid metal is used to transfer heat from the reactor to the engines, where it is converted to electricity.

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#24 2017-02-09 17:54:15

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,528

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

I'm glad, that you, I, Trump finally have a point of convergence.

The thing is, countries which have lots of Thorium are going to do a lot of research because they want it for Earth.  Particularly if they are forced into a anti-Carbon theory of life.

We might as well see the bright side of things, and work with what is "In Season".

I have read about double reservoir salt Thorium reactors.  Supposedly the outer reservoir has Thorium in it which gets converted to Uranium, and burned in the inner reservoir.  Supposedly it will not run away.  Supposedly, if the "Core" overheats, the salt will simply expand out of the inner reservoir, and turn down the reaction.  Something like that.

This is a point from your post that I regard as very important.
Quote:

“They are very efficient and robust, and we believe [it] can last for eight years unattended,” says Lee Mason, the principal investigator of the project at Glenn. The system performed better than expected, Palac says, generating 2.3 kilowatts of power at a steady pace.

That would be very good.  Perhaps the first 4 years it could generate food, then later Oxygen, and stored water and rocket fuel.
Then perhaps the last 2 years it would host humans.

I think you have things pointed in a good direction now.

Last edited by Void (2017-02-09 18:06:35)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#25 2017-02-19 11:24:52

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,694

Re: Using the SLS for outer Solar System exploration?

It appears Congress is gearing up to protect workfare by creating law as a  Bill introduced to redirect NASA to Moon, establish sustained presence

A bill that would direct NASA to return to the Moon and establish a sustained presence was referred to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Feb. 3, 2017.

Sponsored by Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., HR 870 would direct NASA to plan to return to the Moon and develop a sustained presence on the Moon. It has two co-sponsors, Rep. Sheila Jackson, D-Texas, and Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas.

According to Space Policy Online, a similar bill is being readied by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Babin. Its goal, like last year’s attempt, would be to achieve some form of continuity as to avoid a drastic change in direction, similar to what happened in 2010 when then-President Obama canceled the Constellation program in favor of a flexible path. Smith said that the first space-related hearing the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology would likely be in mid-February and look at NASA’s past, present, and future.

When the Obama administration took over in January 2009, it formed what became known as the Augustine Commission to review the human spaceflight plans for the U.S. It found the Constellation program to be behind schedule, over budget and underfunded, and would not meet the goals set forth by President Bush under the current conditions.

In May 2009, the committee made three recommendations for deep space exploration. The first, called “Mars first”, would have seen a crewed landing on Mars. The second, called “Moon first”, would be similar to the Constellation program with a return to the Moon focused on the development of capabilities to enable a Mars landing.

In the 2015 omnibus spending bill, NASA was ordered to develop a prototype habitat by 2018.

Under the agency’s NextSTEP program, it is doing just that. Currently, six companies are competing to develop a prototype deep space habitat that could be used in cislunar space.

However, if there is a massive change, be it to go to the surface of the Moon or directly to Mars, NASA will need additional funding. Will Congress and the president allocate the funds to achieve such a goal? If the past is any indication, the outlook isn’t good.

Additionally, if a change in direction ultimately does happen, does that mean NASA is destined to have its direction changed every 4 to 8 years when presidential administrations change? Only time will tell.

Thats the problem witha new administration that can change direction in a wim.....

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