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#1 2017-11-12 14:36:43

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

5 Reasons Going to Mars Is Terrible Idea...

Really?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESQ1bKd7Los

A good job Joe Scott wasn't an advisor to Ferdinand and Isabella!

1. Radiation - we've been over this countless times but trying to draw on the evidence of lunar astronauts is pretty pathetic. If you've read about them, you'll know they all had a tendency to party hard as well as working hard.  More than that, to get to the top,  to be a lunar astronaut they were subject to all sorts of stresses and strains prior to the flights. It's going to take its toll on the body. Starting off physically fit is no protection.  Plus most of them will have been fighter pilots, already exposed for many hours to raised levels of radiation (i.e. not just from a few days on a lunar flight).

2. Thin atmosphere.  No more of a problem than extreme cold in my view for living on Mars. He seems to conceded that Space X have probably got the right solution for landing.

3.  Biosphere experiment/perchlorates/dust (he's actually confused several issues). This is pretty much irrelevant. The Biosphere was an attempt to create a CLOSED life support system.  A rather stupid project I always thought.  The Mars habitats will be OPEN system with inputs coming in from the outside and waste going out. There is no requirement to attempt to grow foods in perchlorate saturated soils.  If necessary we can make the soil from scratch. We know how to do that.  But in any case the first pioneers won't be relying on growing food on Mars, they will have all their food with them.

4. Low gravity.  He doesn't even seem to address the idea of wearing weighted suits to simulate gravity on Earth while on Mars.  And Scott Kelly looks very top heavy!  I hope Space X think long and hard about the body shape of the pioneers...

5. Contamination by microbes. Lots of contradictory stuff from him. But he concedes robots can contaminate. As long as humans remain inside the habs and all waste is pyrolised, then the additional contamination risk is small. The vast majority of Earth microbes should in any case die within a few hours if exposed to Mars conditions.  It's really the extremophiles we have to worry about.

Then at the end he tries to have his cake and eat it by waxing all lyrical about the human spirit of adventure!


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

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#2 2017-11-12 15:02:57

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,312

Re: 5 Reasons Going to Mars Is Terrible Idea...

Ahah, a critique of article incorrect arguments for why we are not already there, something that we are proving by each of the forums discusions to be correctible for the human condition and mission.

Will post links to our own posts for each topic that you have numbered.

1. radiation by multiple players to which we have 2 as surface versus journey are different.
       A. Journey protection Post #35 by kbd512, post #8 by kbd512, Post #4 by GW Johnson
     
B. Surface ie regolith piling
Post #9 by GW Johnson. post # 11 by 3015, post #16 by RobertDyck


2. Large mass EDL landings
        A. Adapt and other projects
        B. retro-propulsion

3. Biosphere experiments
        A.

4. Low gravity of journey and surface again as 2 different options to combat the effects
        A. Journey Artificial gravity
        B. Suface weighs, exercise

5. Microbial contamination
        A.

Saving post for later return....

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#3 2017-11-12 15:46:45

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

Re: 5 Reasons Going to Mars Is Terrible Idea...

The key is water. If you can find a spot with plenty of water, you can run a lot of your life support mostly open cycle. And perchlorates only form in extremely dry conditions; if you add water to Martian regolith, the perchlorates break down, and one byproduct is oxygen! That's what happened with the Viking biology experiments. It should be possible to take regolith, soak it, break down the perchlorates, pour off the water (which will be full of salts), desalt the water and reuse it, or just add new water from your well. If you have huge amounts of water, you may be able to produce all the oxygen you need by wetting perchlorates.

My guess is that when humans first arrive on Mars, life support systems will cost millions of dollars per person, even with cutting corners like these. Thirty or forty years later, with a lot of experience, technological improvements, and robotic production of the systems on Mars, the price will come down to something a family can afford. That will happen sooner if the population on Mars grows faster and later if it stalls at the level of an Antarctic station.

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#4 2017-11-12 19:02:30

IanM
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From: Chicago
Registered: 2015-12-14
Posts: 276

Re: 5 Reasons Going to Mars Is Terrible Idea...

1) Radiation - pioneers could simply wear white suits to deflect much of the radiation. Somewhat more realistically, piling regolith on would protect habs from it.

2) Thin atmosphere - would in pre-terraformation times probably be a bit of a boon for civil engineering purposes, so stuff like the beginning of The Martian doesn't happen. In any case probably irrelevant since we'd be living in habs and wearing suits outside.

3) Agreed, rather irrelevant for the first pioneers, and in any case perchlorates can be filtered out for native-regolith agriculture and producing Oxygen as RobS said.

4) Low gravity - again likely a boon for civil engineering/construction purposes (shallower foundations are needed, can build taller buildings, etc.), and I guess those who plan to return to Earth would probably have to lift more weights at the gym to compensate.

5) I'm not so sure how relevant microbial infection will be. On one hand I doubt any native life on Mars would be complex enough to wreak havoc on our immune systems like HIV, it would almost certainly consist of extremophiles, which could themselves be devastating for our bodies.


The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. -Paraphrased from Tsiolkovsky

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#5 2017-11-12 19:15:29

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: 5 Reasons Going to Mars Is Terrible Idea...

I think a number of approaches may be viable. One I suggested was that you don't really have anything to do much with the Mars surface as it is now. You take into your habitat various relatively pure forms of material - e.g. iron ore, silica or basalt - and then you work on the material (e.g. crushing the rock to tiny particles) to create a soil analogue, using carbon additives (derived from the Mars atmosphere), water, human waste, food waste and microbes you've brought from Earth.


RobS wrote:

The key is water. If you can find a spot with plenty of water, you can run a lot of your life support mostly open cycle. And perchlorates only form in extremely dry conditions; if you add water to Martian regolith, the perchlorates break down, and one byproduct is oxygen! That's what happened with the Viking biology experiments. It should be possible to take regolith, soak it, break down the perchlorates, pour off the water (which will be full of salts), desalt the water and reuse it, or just add new water from your well. If you have huge amounts of water, you may be able to produce all the oxygen you need by wetting perchlorates.

My guess is that when humans first arrive on Mars, life support systems will cost millions of dollars per person, even with cutting corners like these. Thirty or forty years later, with a lot of experience, technological improvements, and robotic production of the systems on Mars, the price will come down to something a family can afford. That will happen sooner if the population on Mars grows faster and later if it stalls at the level of an Antarctic station.


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

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#6 2017-11-12 19:20:18

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: 5 Reasons Going to Mars Is Terrible Idea...

Yes, we certainly need to be mindful of the potential threat of contamination by Mars pathogens in the human body.  But no enterprise (including staying in bed with the duvet over your head) is without risk! smile  Out of our 7 billion people on this planet there are at least 100 with the requisite skill set and physical wherewithal to undertake this task, even knowing that it may shorten their life either very quickly or at the margins.  Come on - let's do it! smile

IanM wrote:

5) I'm not so sure how relevant microbial infection will be. On one hand I doubt any native life on Mars would be complex enough to wreak havoc on our immune systems like HIV, it would almost certainly consist of extremophiles, which could themselves be devastating for our bodies.


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

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#7 2018-01-17 05:59:36

judygrifin
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Registered: 2018-01-17
Posts: 2

Re: 5 Reasons Going to Mars Is Terrible Idea...

Maybe we haven't all necessary technologies for this mission but I think that this is just a question of time. And in the nearest future scientists will deal with these problems. I hope so


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#8 2018-01-17 10:47:17

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,419

Re: 5 Reasons Going to Mars Is Terrible Idea...

IanM wrote:

1) Radiation - pioneers could simply wear white suits to deflect much of the radiation. Somewhat more realistically, piling regolith on would protect habs from it.

Uhh....really? I am referring to the white suits statement. Better do your research, IanM.

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#9 2018-01-17 12:07:21

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,312

Re: 5 Reasons Going to Mars Is Terrible Idea...

judygrifin wrote:

Maybe we haven't all necessary technologies for this mission but I think that this is just a question of time. And in the nearest future scientists will deal with these problems. I hope so

Welcome to NewMars judygrifin, Risk adversion seems to be the issue when saying we need all the technology to go. Whether  Nasa told the Lunar astronauts what the risks were for being the pioneers to the moon or not. In later years they all knew the effects from going would be some form or cancers, cataracts ect but they all took that risk with pride in doing so for mankind. Going to Mars is no difference other than the distance and wanting to not end in death for this pioneering crew that goes. They will be men and woman with the right stuff for sure.

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#10 2018-01-17 13:47:35

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 5,615
Website

Re: 5 Reasons Going to Mars Is Terrible Idea...

Radiation:  GCR is an acceptable risk for explorers.  Maybe not so much for colonists,  but they come later.  Solar flare events are easy to shield:  all you need is a suitable material to hide behind.  20 cm water equivalent.  There's hulls lined with plastic,  water and wastewater tanks,  and even propellant tanks you can hide behind.  On the surface,  about a meter or two of regolith is more than enough,  especially if you wet it down for ice content.

Thin atmosphere:  just use a pressure suit.  MCP preferred for mobility,  repairability,  and launderability.

Bioenvironment/perchlorates,  etc:  if you find ice you have water.  If you have water,  just wash the contaminated regolith.  This reduces perchlorates to acceptable levels,  just as it does here.  Add organic matter (such as sewage) and you have farm dirt ready to go,  inside some pressurized space with the right atmosphere.

Low gravity:  for the trip,  just spin the ship!  We have known to do this since the late 1930's.  Why it hasn't yet been done is beyond me.  Why fight it when the microgravity diseases (plural,  and not all discovered yet) are so easily avoidable?  On Mars,  there will be some as yet unquantified benefits and limits to what 0.38 gee can do for you.  Working out,  and maybe weighted clothing while inside,  should certainly help. 

Microbes:  our own cannot hurt us any more there than here.  The effects of any Martian microbes are the risk you take when you decide to go there.  The main thing is not to bring any plagues home.  As for contaminating Mars with Earth microbes,  well,  if you go,  that is ultimately unavoidable.  You accept doing that when you decide to go.

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

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

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#11 2018-01-19 16:42:27

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: 5 Reasons Going to Mars Is Terrible Idea...

Generally in agreement, but I think the issue of our immune system has not yet been fully resolved and so we can't be sure that Earth-origin microbes will affect us no more on Mars than on Earth.  It's possible that if we are in what amounts to an abiotic environment off Earth, perhaps our immune systems wind down because they are not being triggered all the time. If that is the case, the longer we are away from Earth, the worse this could be. So far people have only been off Earth for just over a year. Negative effects on the immune system have been found though people seem to recover pretty well on return.  It might that our immune systems run down so much over 4 or 5 years that otherwise relatively harmless Earth-origin microbes could be a threat... I doubt enough research has been done in this area yet. It may be the case that Mars pioneers should deliberately be exposed to a range of microbes...similar to taking a trip on the New York subway, in order to keep their immune systems functioning well.


GW Johnson wrote:

Radiation:  GCR is an acceptable risk for explorers.  Maybe not so much for colonists,  but they come later.  Solar flare events are easy to shield:  all you need is a suitable material to hide behind.  20 cm water equivalent.  There's hulls lined with plastic,  water and wastewater tanks,  and even propellant tanks you can hide behind.  On the surface,  about a meter or two of regolith is more than enough,  especially if you wet it down for ice content.

Thin atmosphere:  just use a pressure suit.  MCP preferred for mobility,  repairability,  and launderability.

Bioenvironment/perchlorates,  etc:  if you find ice you have water.  If you have water,  just wash the contaminated regolith.  This reduces perchlorates to acceptable levels,  just as it does here.  Add organic matter (such as sewage) and you have farm dirt ready to go,  inside some pressurized space with the right atmosphere.

Low gravity:  for the trip,  just spin the ship!  We have known to do this since the late 1930's.  Why it hasn't yet been done is beyond me.  Why fight it when the microgravity diseases (plural,  and not all discovered yet) are so easily avoidable?  On Mars,  there will be some as yet unquantified benefits and limits to what 0.38 gee can do for you.  Working out,  and maybe weighted clothing while inside,  should certainly help. 

Microbes:  our own cannot hurt us any more there than here.  The effects of any Martian microbes are the risk you take when you decide to go there.  The main thing is not to bring any plagues home.  As for contaminating Mars with Earth microbes,  well,  if you go,  that is ultimately unavoidable.  You accept doing that when you decide to go.

GW


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

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