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#1 2012-03-17 19:34:38

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,186

First settlements

Good locations for early settlements...does anyone want to give some suggestions?

(There was this list at the old Red Colony site -  http://www.redcolony.com/art.php?id=0008150  )

I think the prerequisites will be safe landing sites,  access to water and iron ore and interesting objects of research.

Somewhere near the Valles Marineris has got to be a prime candidate in terms of object of research, but I am not sure how far it meets other criteria.

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/martia … 70820.html

Does anyone know the location of equatorial glaciers on Mars?


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

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#2 2012-03-18 09:21:40

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,831

Re: First settlements

The following is a list of possible landing sites where Colony I could be located:

Dao Vallis (Outfow Channel)
Gusev Crater (Impact Crater)
Hebes Chasma (Outfow Channel)
Mare Tyrrenum (Lava Flow Plains)
North Pole (Polar Ice Cap)
Parana Valles (Cratered Land)

Some of these are actually in the final selection list for MSL

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#3 2012-03-18 15:26:44

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,517
Website

Re: First settlements

I always liked the idea of building a colony somewhere near Elysium, say at 0 latitude by 150 longitude (155-160 longitude would be a little better).  There is a giant frozen sea there, about 800 km by 900 km, 45 m deep, and I gather not very far below the surface.  It is located within 5 degrees of the equator.  This is also an area high in Iron, relatively high in silicon (with the oxide Silica being vital for glass production).  Given its proximity to Elysium, there will definitely be basalt around.  So, we have Water, Iron, Basalt, and Silicon.  I think that's a pretty good start.  That article also mentions volcanic ash, which should have a good variety of different resources that can be harvested within it.


-Josh

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#4 2012-03-18 18:41:20

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,186

Re: First settlements

JoshNH4H wrote:

I always liked the idea of building a colony somewhere near Elysium, say at 0 latitude by 150 longitude (155-160 longitude would be a little better).  There is a giant frozen sea there, about 800 km by 900 km, 45 m deep, and I gather not very far below the surface.  It is located within 5 degrees of the equator.  This is also an area high in Iron, relatively high in silicon (with the oxide Silica being vital for glass production).  Given its proximity to Elysium, there will definitely be basalt around.  So, we have Water, Iron, Basalt, and Silicon.  I think that's a pretty good start.  That article also mentions volcanic ash, which should have a good variety of different resources that can be harvested within it.

Sounds good to me.

A frozen sea is an object of interest in itself.


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

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#5 2012-03-18 21:35:48

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,517
Website

Re: First settlements

Quite.  Frozen lake may be more accurate, only in that it is not very deep as far as seas go.  However I do think that this location has a lot of potential plusses in terms of local material availability.


-Josh

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#6 2012-03-19 17:08:26

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,186

Re: First settlements

Josh -

So - it would be somewhere just north and a bit to the east of Aeolis?

http://www.google.com/mars/

Last edited by louis (2012-03-19 17:09:42)


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

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#7 2012-03-20 12:38:17

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,517
Website

Re: First settlements

More or less.  Seems like a pretty well endowed area in terms of resources, which is the basic concern.


-Josh

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#8 2012-03-21 13:11:24

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,727
Website

Re: First settlements

Elysium 0 lat 155-160 long sounds like a pretty good site for the first manned exploration trip.  Need a geologist-type to go prospecting for the ice,  the lava rocks,  the iron ores,  etc.  He'll need a real drill rig,  too. 

I'd bet you've got a least a dozen similar such sites you could make very good arguments for.  Maybe a lot more than that. 

A smart first manned mission would visit all of them,  and leave transponders.  It's a lot of trouble to send men that far.  Why just make one landing?

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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#9 2012-03-21 21:49:44

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,517
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Re: First settlements

A good reason to visit one site and not a multitude of them is that you can only put your colony in one place.  It takes a long time to do a sufficient geological survey, and to find ore-grade reserves of everything that will be needed.  Even though the area that we're proposing putting the colony in is small by geological standards, it is still big in human terms.  Most Mars missions involve a crew of 4 or 6.  I'm not quite sure what geological surveys and prospecting on Earth require in terms of people and time, but given that we're looking for a good number of different resources I think that much of the time of 6 people over 500 days or less could definitely be spent proving one area for colonization.  After all, you can only build your first colony in one spot (to say nothing of the second and third, of course; but it will be a lot cheaper to bootstrap exploration and prospecting on top of an already existing colony).  I think it's a lot more important to use your first missions to demonstrate that one area has water, Iron, Silica, Aluminium, Copper, Basalt, Sulfates, Nitrates, Phosphorus, and whatever else than ten locations, one of which has demonstrated ores of water and Aluminium, another of which has Iron and Silica, the third of which has Basalt and and Phosphorus, etc.  When you're doing prospecting for just one initial colony on which to base future exploration, quality is definitely better than quantity.

I understand that it is entirely possible that the chosen location will not have all of these resources.  I think most people would accept the idea of sending numerous prospecting missions; investigate the spots that appear, from the exploration we've already done, to be the five most promising locations.  Explore them in depth and do our best to find all of the resources that are going to be needed to support a heavily industrialized and rapidly expanding colony.  I would contend that given an intelligent selection of landing sites, it should be possible to find all of the resources that will be needed in some quantity.  The primary concern would thus become where they are available in the best quantities.  The Elysium area looks good to me, but given the limited information we have I would not be surprised if there were a better area.  Something to consider for those top five, at least.


-Josh

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#10 2012-03-22 09:50:31

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,727
Website

Re: First settlements

The reason I asked the questions I did is the history of government behavior re: space since the space race ended with Apollo 11.  You don't get to do what's smart because no one wants to spend the money.  You actually get to do very little in the way of missions. 

Private corporations are largely even worse:  they invest in nothing that's not near-term profitable.  Musk's Spacex launcher business is exactly that.  His Mars dreams are the exception to the rule.  I cannot name one other.

I rather suspect the US government (probably partnered with the others) will support 1,  or maybe 2,  trips to Mars with men,  and that will be it.  No more.  Period.  All else is fantasy. 

The prospecting and resource development you spoke of,  and the real exploration that makes it possible (that I keep yammering about),  will have to get done in those 2 missions,  or else no one will ever have the necessary info to successfully locate a  survivable settlement!  You can't turn over rocks peering down from an orbiting robot,  that's just not good enough. 

We do not have the resources or the opportunities to go there and do these things in too-small a way on each mission,  because there won't be enough missions to get it all done that way.  It's going to have to be just about all-or-nothing,  on each mission. 

A smart plan responding to a financial squeeze like that would be a multi-landing exploration on the first mission,  based from orbit.  The more sites (identified from all these probes) the better,  and concept prototypes for ISRU also get tried out as experiments.  That was the gist of my paper at the Mars Society convention in Dallas last August. 

The second mission visits the best one (or at most 2) sites,  as verified from the first mission,  but is based on the surface,  located at that one site or two.  That mission does the heavy-duty prospecting and tries out engineering-prototype ISRU equipment identified as promising from the first mission. 

Then,  later,  if "somebody" decides to fund a permanent base or settlement of some sort,  it'll be the best one of those sites verified by the second mission.  That's about where Musk might jump in,  in the lead role.  And if he is successful,  others might follow.  But the governments will not.  They never have.  Never will. 

"Cassandra has spoken" (and her news is never good)

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 2012-03-28 11:57:38

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,186

Re: First settlements

GW Johnson wrote:

The reason I asked the questions I did is the history of government behavior re: space since the space race ended with Apollo 11.  You don't get to do what's smart because no one wants to spend the money.  You actually get to do very little in the way of missions. 

Private corporations are largely even worse:  they invest in nothing that's not near-term profitable.  Musk's Spacex launcher business is exactly that.  His Mars dreams are the exception to the rule.  I cannot name one other.

I rather suspect the US government (probably partnered with the others) will support 1,  or maybe 2,  trips to Mars with men,  and that will be it.  No more.  Period.  All else is fantasy. 

The prospecting and resource development you spoke of,  and the real exploration that makes it possible (that I keep yammering about),  will have to get done in those 2 missions,  or else no one will ever have the necessary info to successfully locate a  survivable settlement!  You can't turn over rocks peering down from an orbiting robot,  that's just not good enough. 

We do not have the resources or the opportunities to go there and do these things in too-small a way on each mission,  because there won't be enough missions to get it all done that way.  It's going to have to be just about all-or-nothing,  on each mission. 

A smart plan responding to a financial squeeze like that would be a multi-landing exploration on the first mission,  based from orbit.  The more sites (identified from all these probes) the better,  and concept prototypes for ISRU also get tried out as experiments.  That was the gist of my paper at the Mars Society convention in Dallas last August. 

The second mission visits the best one (or at most 2) sites,  as verified from the first mission,  but is based on the surface,  located at that one site or two.  That mission does the heavy-duty prospecting and tries out engineering-prototype ISRU equipment identified as promising from the first mission. 

Then,  later,  if "somebody" decides to fund a permanent base or settlement of some sort,  it'll be the best one of those sites verified by the second mission.  That's about where Musk might jump in,  in the lead role.  And if he is successful,  others might follow.  But the governments will not.  They never have.  Never will. 

"Cassandra has spoken" (and her news is never good)

GW

I think you are being a  bit too pessimistic.

Once we have a basic energy, industrial and agricultural infrastructure in place, follow up missions would be relatively cheap. We would be spreading the cost of the Mars transit vehicles over maybe 10 years.  If you can get the cost of say a 3 person mission down to say £25 million I think you have the opportunity to cover that through revenue earning and sponsorship.  Once you can produce a surplus NASA become irrelevant.  Later, once the colony is sufficiently large, the colony can subsidise the cost of transit, effectively by making the bulk of the transit vehicles and the propellant on Mars.


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

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#12 2012-03-28 15:09:50

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,727
Website

Re: First settlements

Quote:

"Once we have a basic energy, industrial and agricultural infrastructure in place, follow up missions would be relatively cheap."

You just made my pessimistic point.

None of the mission plans I have ever heard of since 1956 was planned to establish anything like useful infrastructure of any kind.  Since the 60's,  it's been flag-and-footprints with 1-12 men,  and usually only one vehicle making a single landing. 

One or two limited-objective missions is all that the government(s,  all of them) will ever do.  Until there is at least some infrastructure on Mars ,  business will not go.  Chicken-and-egg.

Except maybe Elon Musk.  He bucks the trend,  and resembles the more adventurous companies of about 5 centuries ago in what he wants to try.

Hope springs eternal.

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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#13 2012-03-28 15:24:54

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,186

Re: First settlements

GW Johnson wrote:

Quote:

"Once we have a basic energy, industrial and agricultural infrastructure in place, follow up missions would be relatively cheap."

You just made my pessimistic point.

None of the mission plans I have ever heard of since 1956 was planned to establish anything like useful infrastructure of any kind.  Since the 60's,  it's been flag-and-footprints with 1-12 men,  and usually only one vehicle making a single landing. 

One or two limited-objective missions is all that the government(s,  all of them) will ever do.  Until there is at least some infrastructure on Mars ,  business will not go.  Chicken-and-egg.

Except maybe Elon Musk.  He bucks the trend,  and resembles the more adventurous companies of about 5 centuries ago in what he wants to try.

Hope springs eternal.

GW

I agree - but I think Musk is indeed the exception, the vital exception. He understands firstly that creating human civilisation on a new planet is something on an epoch-making scale.  It is one of those great challenges to humanity that anyone with the spirit of adventure in them will want to take on.

He is so thorough in how he approaches problems that I can't imagine he doesn't understand the issues. And anyone who examines the problem logically will quickly see that we need to recreate an industrial infrastructure (but on a much smaller scale) on Mars.  Then they will realise that, while difficult, it is entirely possible to achieve that. We can import lots of machines - for mining, smelting, lathe work, pressing and assembly etc.; we can recreate the agriculture of Earth on Mars. 

I think on this occasion, given all that Musk has said and wrought - his real launch capacity -  we are entitled to hope, without deluding ourselves.  What we really need to see now is Space X's coffers filling up, with maybe hundreds of millions of dollars surplus each year.  After 5-10 years he may be in a position to begin the Mars project in earnest.


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

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#14 2012-03-30 00:16:08

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

Re: First settlements

I see things differently. First, I disagree that the governments can only be counted on to do 1 or 2 missions. We did six moon missions and they were pretty expensive at the time. The government commitment to Antarctica is continuous and long term, has nothing to do with resources, and nothing to do with business. It is primarily scientific, with some government prestige thrown in. If the Falcon Heavy really can get 53 tonnes into low Earth orbit for $100 million, a Mars mission can be mounted every two years for maybe $2 billion. That's a commitment that's a lot smaller than our two-decade long commitment to the International Space Station.

I also don't see multiple landings likely in the first or second mission because of the propellant that's necessary and safety issues. But a crew in one place could run a lot of robotic explorers.

I also don't see self sufficiency to be a high priority right away because a Mars colony will be dependent on imports for a long time. We aren't growing much food on Antarctica.

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#15 2012-03-30 16:48:53

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,186

Re: First settlements

RobS wrote:

I see things differently. First, I disagree that the governments can only be counted on to do 1 or 2 missions. We did six moon missions and they were pretty expensive at the time. The government commitment to Antarctica is continuous and long term, has nothing to do with resources, and nothing to do with business. It is primarily scientific, with some government prestige thrown in. If the Falcon Heavy really can get 53 tonnes into low Earth orbit for $100 million, a Mars mission can be mounted every two years for maybe $2 billion. That's a commitment that's a lot smaller than our two-decade long commitment to the International Space Station.

I also don't see multiple landings likely in the first or second mission because of the propellant that's necessary and safety issues. But a crew in one place could run a lot of robotic explorers.

I also don't see self sufficiency to be a high priority right away because a Mars colony will be dependent on imports for a long time. We aren't growing much food on Antarctica.

The importance accorded to self sufficiency depends on your objectives. I think Musk would give it a pretty high priority.

I think we need to emphasise revenue generation because that could cover all or nearly all of the early colonisation effort.


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

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#16 2012-03-31 09:34:37

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

Re: First settlements

Self sufficiency is also a function of transportation costs. If Musk can develop reusable Falcons and can transport stuff to Mars for hundreds of dollars per pound, then it is practical to export Mars rocks for those who want to buy them, argon and nitrogen for use on the moon, gold if very rich deposits can be found, etc. If the cost is closer to $100,000 per pound (which is what it would have been with the Space Shuttle, for example) then self sufficiency is impossible and long-term expansion is virtually impossible.

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#17 2012-03-31 09:45:44

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

Re: First settlements

For the last three days, I have been obsessing about ways to use the Falcon Heavy to send people to Mars and have devoted far too much time thinking about it. Two Falcons can put 53 metric tonnes of cargo into low Earth Orbit  plus a 2-tonne fairing, which can be integrated into the cargo in some cases, giving one up to 55 metric tonnes. The Ares booster of Mars Direct could launch 140 mt; three Falcons can launch 165 mt, so three have a comparable lift. One can design a Mars Semi-Direct system involving three pairs of launches, two pairs to transport a Mars Descent/Ascent Vehicle (MDAV) and three crew each to Mars and two to transport an Interplanetary Transit Vehicle ITV). The two MDAVs would depart on a Hohmann trajectory and arrive in Mars orbit about the same time as the ITV, which would carry the astronauts. They would transfer to the MDAVs and land at the Outpost, which would be supplied and partially set up already via remote control. After 18 months they would launch back to the ITV, fire its methane/oxygen engine, and head for Earth, leaving the MDAVs in Mars orbit, unfueled but potentially reusable for orbital transport.

Anyway, here is my plan. I'll paste it into two or three messages for convenience.

PROJECT FALCON

YEAR 1: EXPLORATION OF POTENTIAL OUTPOST SITES
Telerobotic vehicles (probably larger than Spirit and Opportunity but smaller than Curiosity; about 500 kg each) are landed at two or three final candidate sites to determine where to site the Outpost.

YEAR 3: FALCONET REUSABLE MARS CARGO VEHICLE IS SENT TO MARS

The Falconet is launched by a Falcon Heavy, which is capable of placing 53 mt of payload and a 2 mt fairing into orbit. The Falconet does not need a fairing, so it masses 55 mt. It is 5.5 meters in diameter and about 10 meters high. It comprises:
Structure            4 mt
Heat Shield            3 mt
LH2/LOX TMI propellant    32 mt (mass ratio 2.35, ΔV 3.4 km/sec)
CH4/LOX landing propellant    5 mt (ΔV = 0.8 km/sec, Ve = 3.65 km/sec, mass ratio 1.25)
Cargo                11 mt, consisting of
4.5 mt pressurized vehicle (includes small methane supply, oxygen supply, and tankage)
2.5 mt solar panels able to produce equivalent of 25 kw of continuous power
0.5 mt methane/oxygen production plant from water and CO2
2.0 mt deep drill
1.5 mt 3 telerobotically operated vehicles (TROVs)

MISSION OBJECTIVES:
•  Demonstrate ability of Falconet to land on Mars safely and test technology for Mars Ascent/Descent Vehicle
•  Demonstrate capability of pressurized vehicle on Mars (with its 2 powerful manipulator arms) to set up a large drill
•  Demonstrate ability to remove surplus methane and oxygen from Falconet to refuel pressurized vehicle, transfer waste water from vehicle to methane production plant
•  Demonstrate ability to set up a large solar array using TROVs
•  Explore the outpost site thoroughly via three TROVs.
•  Optional: Drill for water and use the solar power to vaporize it from deep rock and recover it

Note: If the Falconet can be refueled on Mars, it can hold up about 40 mt of methane and oxygen. Its engine can use methane or hydrogen. Its cargo hold is located above the engines but below the propellant tanks.

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#18 2012-03-31 09:50:03

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

Re: First settlements

YEAR 5: THE OUTPOST EXPANDS

The Outpost site having been carefully chosen and explored and the first robotic mission having landed, the MADV that lands astronauts and returns them to orbit is now tested robotically and its cargo is unloaded and added to the outpost robotically. A second Falconet is sent with additional outpost supplies and equipment. An orbital Falconet mission is also proposed to set up an emergency shelter on Phobos that can be moved around in Martian orbit. Including the optional mission, the plans require 4 Falcon Heavy launches.

A.    MARS DESCENT/ASCENT VEHICLE (MDAV) LANDS ON MARS

The MDAV is a single stage vehicle that carries astronauts from Martian orbit to the surface and back to orbit. It is 5.5 meters in diameter. It has a small crew cabin and a cargo bay located immediately above the engines and below the propellant tanks. Since drops its heat shield before landing, it cannot land a second time, though it could be reused in Martian orbit. It requires two Falcon Heavy launches.

Falcon Heavy 1: LH2/LOX propulsion stage, 5 mt stage and 50 mt propellant (normally, mass to LEO is 53 mt cargo and 2 mt fairing, but no fairing is needed here)

Falcon Heavy 2: 54 mt payload and 1 mt fairing (dropped before TMI). Propellant is LH2/LOX.

After Falcon Heavy 2 is launched, their payloads are docked. Falcon Heavy 1’s propulsion stage burns its propellant and drops away, achieving a ΔV of 2.7 km/sec (mass ratio 1.84). Falcon Heavy 2’s small propulsion stage (18 mt propellant, 2 mt structure) burns 18 mt propellant and achieves a ΔV of 1.7 km/sec (mass ratio 1.48). The remainder is 34 mt (5 mt heat shield, 29 mt MADV). The propulsion stage is discarded after TMI.
MDAV aerobrakes into orbit, then deorbits. It ejects its heat shield, opens drogues and parachutes, fires its landing engines, and lands. Its mass is allocated as follows:
Cabin                        3.0
Buggies (2)                    0.8
Greenhouse                    2.0
Plastic manufacturing system            1.5
Cabling                    0.5
Consumables, surface                2.7 (18 months)
Consumables, ascent                0.1
Geological analysis equipment        1.0
Electrical Power                2.5 (25 kw continuous)
Hydrogen feedstock                3.0 (makes 25 mt propellant, 9 mt fuel, 9 mt water)
Propulsion stages                3.0
Propellant Production Plant            0.5
TROVs                    0.6
Margin                        0.8
Parachute                    1.0
Landing propellant (CH4/LOX)        6.0
TOTAL                    29 mt

B.     SECOND FALCONET LANDS.
The Falconet delivers additional 11 mt cargo to the surface
3 mt     machine shop (for parts manufacture and repair)
1 mt     solar panels able to produce equivalent of 10 kw of continuous power
0.5 mt     power cables
0.5 mt    water storage tanks
2 mt     airlocks and inflatable pressure tunnels
2 mt     metal carbonyl production unit
1 mt    1 large TROV
1 mt    margin
The Falconet brings metal production and shaping equipment, repair equipment, and outpost support equipment. Most of the cargo is for use during the manned mission. The Outpost now has 60 kw of power.

SURFACE MISSION OBJECTIVES:
•  Demonstrate ability of MDAV and Falconet 2 to land safely within 2 km of Falconet 1
•  Deploy MDAV’s 25-kilowatt solar array, and convert 3 mt of hydrogen feedstock into 34 mt of methane and oxygen and 9 mt of water
•  Demonstrate ability of MDAV to refuel pressurized rover
•  Demonstrate ability of pressurized rover to stretch power cables between the three vehicles, thereby linking their power systems together.
•  Demonstrate ability of pressurized rover to prepare a place for the habs landed in year 5, by deploying the greenhouse in MDAV.
•  Demonstrate ability of TROVs to bring geological samples into the cargo hold and place them in the geological analysis equipment.
•  Optional: If water has been extracted from the ground, demonstrate ability to transfer it to Falconet 1 and convert it and CO2 to methane and oxygen

C.    FALCONET ORBITAL MISSION
1 Falcon Heavy launches a Falconet into Mars orbit. Its cargo consists of:
0.5 mt        One compact Canadarm, giving the Falconet the ability to capture or deploy satellites from its cargo hold and perform other orbital operations
1.5 mt        Emergency inflatable hab, life support system, and 500 kg consumables
4.5 mt        Five communications/GPS/science satellites for deployment in aerosynchronous orbits
1.0 mt        One deep drill
1.0 mt        Solar array (15 kw)
0.5 mt        Volatile (methane/oxygen/hydrogen) processing plant and cryo refrigerator
0.5 mt        Anchoring system (4 mortars that fire a harpoon downward and a countercharge upward to keep the vehicle in place in microgravity)
0.5 mt        Margin
6.5 mt        CH4/LOX propellant

Falconet aerobrakes into an elliptical orbit. It deploys the five GPS/communications satellites, which use their ion engines to move into circular aerosynchronous orbits to provide the outpost with GPS and communications services.

The Falconet then lowers its apoapsis to the altitude of Phobos (6,000 km from the Martian surface), and fires its engine to circularize its orbit. It lands on the moon upside down (engine up) using its reaction control system. Docked to the Falconet’s nose is a drilling platform and volatile processing plant. The drilling platform fires harpoons into the surface to anchor itself and deploys its drill to drill into the chondritic rock as much as 50 meters. The Canadarm adds extensions to the drill as it goes. The drill bit includes a heater, causing water, carbon dioxide, methane, and other volatiles to outgas. They are rise up the shaft, are captured, routed to the processing plant, and stored in the Falconet’s tanks. Ideally, the Falconet will be able to refuel itself over time.

Falconet uses 3.25 mt of CH4/LOX to go to Phobos and retains 3 mt of CH4/LOX to move the 7 mt Falconet, 0.5 mt Canadarm, and 1.5 mt of emergency shelter to almost anywhere in Mars orbit in case of an emergency. It will serve as an outpost on Phobos whenever a human mission lands there.

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#19 2012-03-31 09:51:35

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

Re: First settlements

YEAR 7: LANDING OF SIX ASTRONAUTS ON MARS

The outpost is supplied and partially set up, emergency supplies are in place in Mars orbit, and the technology for landing on Mars has been demonstrated. The mission requires the launch of six Falcon Heavies, two each to launch two MDAVs to Mars, each to land 3 astronauts at the Outpos, and two to launch the Interplanetary Transit Hab. No Falconet cargo flights are included.

The 2 MDAVS are equipped as follows:
Descent from Mars Orbit:
Cabin                        3.0
Crew, personal effects, suits            0.6
Buggies (2)                    0.8
Inflatable surface hab [1000 m3] & airlock    1.5
Life support system                2.5
Consumables, surface                2.7 (18 months)
Consumables, ascent                0.1
Equipment                    1.0
Electrical Power                2.5 (25 kw continuous)
Hydrogen feedstock                3.0 (makes 25 mt propellant, 9 mt fuel, 9 mt water)
Propulsion stages                3.0
Propellant Production Plant            0.5
Margin                        0.3
TOTAL                    21.5 mt

SURFACE MISSION OBJECTIVES
• Set up both inflatable surface habs, link them together, move the science and engineering equipment inside
• Set up greenhouse
• Set up 2 more solar arrays and create outpost electrical grid with 110 kw continuous output
• Complete effort to drill for water if it has not yet succeeded and begin storing methane and oxygen in the Falconets to serve as emergency energy and propellant supplies
• Improve robotic/human interaction in field geology
• Perform at least one 400-kilometer expedition from the outpost

After 18 months on the surface, the cargo having been unloaded and the hydrogen feedstock having been converted into methane and oxygen propellant and water, the vehicles are ready to return to space:

Ascent:
Cabin                        3.0
Crew, personal effects, suits            0.6
Ascent consumables                0.3
Solar power, reaction control            0.5
Samples                    0.2
Propulsion stages                2.5
Margin                        0.2
Subtotal                    7.3 mt
Propellant                    25.0 mt (sufficient for Δv of 5.3 km/sec, Mfr 4.3)
TOTAL                    32.6 mt

Note that, including the MDAV from Year 3, the six astronauts have 3 MDAVs available. One will be left behind to serve as a backup launcher for the Year 7 crew.

The Interplanetary Transit Vehicle (ITV) is launched to LEO with all six astronauts in board. It docks with a propulsion stage orbited by another Falcon Heavy days or weeks earlier and is pushed to Mars, where it aerobrakes into a highly elliptical 24.6 hour orbit. The two MDAVs, sent to Mars on a Hohmann trajectory earlier, rendezvous. The crews transfer to them and descend to the surface, 3 in each vehicle. After 18 months they return to the Interplanetary Transit Vehicle and fire its small CH4/LOX engine to return to Earth. The ITV consists of the following, outbound and inbound (the latter being marked with asterisks):

Dragon     Capsule                8.0*
Hab                        1.0*
Consumables, outbound            4.0 (200 days)
Consumables, return                4.0 (200 days)*
Surface samples                0.2*
Crew (6), personal effects, suits        1.2*
Spares and Margin:                2.6 (1.0)*
Trans-Earth injection stage            0.7*
Trans-Earth injection propellant        7.5*
(CH4/LOX, Ve = 3.65 km/sec, ΔV = 1.3 km/sec, so mass ratio is 1.44)
Outbound mass, total:                21.5 + 7.5 = 29.0 mt
Inbound mass, total:                 15.8 + 7.5 = 23.1 mt

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#20 2012-03-31 09:52:48

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

Re: First settlements

YEAR 9: FURTHER EXPANSION OF THE HUMAN PRESENCE

The mission involves 8 Falcon Heavy launches:

2 MDAVs (2 launches each). They still bring hydrogen feedstock, probably the last mission to do so (which means subsequent missions could land 4 or 5 in each MDAV, rather than 3). The large inflatable hab and life support system can be replaced by other specialized inflatable structures, like a garage or science lab (which could still serve as habs if one MDAV lands in the wrong place)

1 Interplanetary Transit Vehicle (2 launches) with 6 astronauts

1 Falconet with 11 mt of surface cargo:
    4.5 mt        Second pressurized vehicle
    2.0 mt        Second greenhouse
    4.0 mt        Aerial exploration equipment (solar-powered airplanes, thermal rockets, balloons)
    0.5 mt        Spares and margin

1 Falconet with 16 mt of cargo for Mars orbit; more GPS/Communications satellites, a Deimos outpost or second Phobos outpost.

If methane/LOX fuel has been manufactured successfully on Phobos, several possibilities open up:

1.    The Interplanetary Transit Vehicle no longer needs to include a small trans-Earth injection kick stage, as a refueled Falconet or a refueled MDAV abandoned in orbit could provide the propulsion. This would allow the ITV to transport 8 or more, instead of 6.

2.    Falconets with cargo for Mars orbit no longer need to bring delta-v propellant with them; a refueled Falconet could dock with them and move them.

3.    MDAVs can be refueled and used for human missions to the moons (though not to the surface; they lack a heat shield)

If Falconets can now be refueled on the Martian surface:

1.    One Falconet can be kept fueled and supplied with a hab, consumables, small drill, and a solar array. It could be used to transport a mission to another part of Mars or to deploy emergency supplies to a MDAV that landed far away. The Falconet might not have round-trip capability, depending on how far away it has to go, so it needs a drill and solar power to obtain water and refuel itself over 6 months or so.

2.    A Falconet could be launched to an ITV to provide it with trans-Earth injection.

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#21 2012-03-31 16:53:00

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,186

Re: First settlements

RobS wrote:

Self sufficiency is also a function of transportation costs. If Musk can develop reusable Falcons and can transport stuff to Mars for hundreds of dollars per pound, then it is practical to export Mars rocks for those who want to buy them, argon and nitrogen for use on the moon, gold if very rich deposits can be found, etc. If the cost is closer to $100,000 per pound (which is what it would have been with the Space Shuttle, for example) then self sufficiency is impossible and long-term expansion is virtually impossible.


I agree entirely - there is a relationship between self-sufficiency and transportation costs. That's one thing Musk has been changing.

NOrmally the higher the transfer costs, the greater the imperative for self-sufficiency... but you are right there is a cut off point where it becomes too expensive to even import self-sufficiency equipment and you are reduced to a flags and footprints mission if anything at all.

I wouldn't confuse the concept of self-sufficiency with the concept of profit and loss. We could have a fully self-sufficient Mars colony that was loss making or we could have a totally dependent Mars colony that made a huge profit.


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

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#22 2012-03-31 17:06:19

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,186

Re: First settlements

RobS wrote:

YEAR 9: FURTHER EXPANSION OF THE HUMAN PRESENCE

The mission involves 8 Falcon Heavy launches:

2 MDAVs (2 launches each). They still bring hydrogen feedstock, probably the last mission to do so (which means subsequent missions could land 4 or 5 in each MDAV, rather than 3). The large inflatable hab and life support system can be replaced by other specialized inflatable structures, like a garage or science lab (which could still serve as habs if one MDAV lands in the wrong place)

1 Interplanetary Transit Vehicle (2 launches) with 6 astronauts

1 Falconet with 11 mt of surface cargo:
    4.5 mt        Second pressurized vehicle
    2.0 mt        Second greenhouse
    4.0 mt        Aerial exploration equipment (solar-powered airplanes, thermal rockets, balloons)
    0.5 mt        Spares and margin

1 Falconet with 16 mt of cargo for Mars orbit; more GPS/Communications satellites, a Deimos outpost or second Phobos outpost.

If methane/LOX fuel has been manufactured successfully on Phobos, several possibilities open up:

1.    The Interplanetary Transit Vehicle no longer needs to include a small trans-Earth injection kick stage, as a refueled Falconet or a refueled MDAV abandoned in orbit could provide the propulsion. This would allow the ITV to transport 8 or more, instead of 6.

2.    Falconets with cargo for Mars orbit no longer need to bring delta-v propellant with them; a refueled Falconet could dock with them and move them.

3.    MDAVs can be refueled and used for human missions to the moons (though not to the surface; they lack a heat shield)

If Falconets can now be refueled on the Martian surface:

1.    One Falconet can be kept fueled and supplied with a hab, consumables, small drill, and a solar array. It could be used to transport a mission to another part of Mars or to deploy emergency supplies to a MDAV that landed far away. The Falconet might not have round-trip capability, depending on how far away it has to go, so it needs a drill and solar power to obtain water and refuel itself over 6 months or so.

2.    A Falconet could be launched to an ITV to provide it with trans-Earth injection.

Rob -

Brilliant work - very interesting ideas. I hope to make some more detailed comments before too long.

I certainly agree with the idea of getting 6 people to the surface as part of Mission 1. I think that makes it possible to do a whole range of things that would be difficult with 3 or 4 people.

I am not sure we would need hydrogen feedstock after humans are in place. I think we can get a basic industrial infrastructure in place within a few days of landing, including mining, smelting, metal production and manufacture with use of scaled down automated machines.

One thing I had a problem with: I do not like the idea of those first colonists leaving the planet without their follow ups having joined them on the surface.   For me it's a case of "never again" - no repeat of Apollo! - we must demonstrate from the beginning that a permanent settlement is possible.


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

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#23 2012-03-31 19:30:37

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

Re: First settlements

One can launch to Mars, as you know, only once every 26 months, during a window that lasts a few months. The normal time to launch back to Earth from Mars is before anyone can get to Mars from Earth. The exception is if you have a lot of fuel.

We won't have a lot of fuel during the first mission, either. Possibly some people can stay two cycles, but I doubt that would normally be part of mission 1. So Mars probably will be abandoned for about 9 months, at first (except in the novel I wrote).

But I don't think that equates to flags and footprints. Next time we return to the moon it will be an "Antarctic commitment"; in other words, there's no obvious commercial, political, or military advantage, but many nations nevertheless have made a long-term funding commitment to the scientific exploration of Antarctica. Falcon Heavy may made such a commitment financially practical for the moon and I hope for Mars as well. With Falcon Heavy, you can send six people to Mars every two years for less than a billion dollars in launch costs. Once the equipment is developed, it can probably be had for a similar amount as well. A consortium of several nations can easily make such a long term commitment.

Such a commitment needs to be build into the initial plans. In fact it has to be, because the humans will probably fly during the third launch opportunity. You need at least two earlier launch windows to do the preparation. So I'm not too worried about a commitment to at least a half dozen missions. After that, perhaps, there will be questions about what direction to take. We can't predict Martian development beyond the first few missions very well because we don't know the unknowns. If they find evidence of past life, that will be immensely important because Mars possesses vast amounts of rocks that date from the precellular period. It may tell us how life went from organic soup to cellular life, and that's very important. Perhaps we will learn how RNA came into existence and then evolved into DNA. It will also tell us a lot about climate change. So it's a gigantic "Antarctica" of huge scientific potential. People will win Nobel prizes in biology and physics from their research on Mars.

As for manufacturing infrastructure, I doubt it can be set up in a few days. Not much manufacturing equipment is designed for sub-Antarctic temperature conditions, for example. It will take a lot of money and experimentation to develop effective equipment that operates under Martian conditions. Just obtaining water will take time, until we figure out exactly what works well and easily. It may be that the first expedition will take a year or two to figure out how to drill a water well and extract water, but 30 years later, a half million dollars of equipment will allow someone to homestead almost anywhere on Mars (because if you have water and sunshine, you have just about everything you need, and there's probably water everywhere if you drill down far enough).

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#24 2012-04-01 07:15:52

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,186

Re: First settlements

RobS wrote:

One can launch to Mars, as you know, only once every 26 months, during a window that lasts a few months. The normal time to launch back to Earth from Mars is before anyone can get to Mars from Earth. The exception is if you have a lot of fuel.

We won't have a lot of fuel during the first mission, either. Possibly some people can stay two cycles, but I doubt that would normally be part of mission 1. So Mars probably will be abandoned for about 9 months, at first (except in the novel I wrote).

But I don't think that equates to flags and footprints. Next time we return to the moon it will be an "Antarctic commitment"; in other words, there's no obvious commercial, political, or military advantage, but many nations nevertheless have made a long-term funding commitment to the scientific exploration of Antarctica. Falcon Heavy may made such a commitment financially practical for the moon and I hope for Mars as well. With Falcon Heavy, you can send six people to Mars every two years for less than a billion dollars in launch costs. Once the equipment is developed, it can probably be had for a similar amount as well. A consortium of several nations can easily make such a long term commitment.

Such a commitment needs to be build into the initial plans. In fact it has to be, because the humans will probably fly during the third launch opportunity. You need at least two earlier launch windows to do the preparation. So I'm not too worried about a commitment to at least a half dozen missions. After that, perhaps, there will be questions about what direction to take. We can't predict Martian development beyond the first few missions very well because we don't know the unknowns. If they find evidence of past life, that will be immensely important because Mars possesses vast amounts of rocks that date from the precellular period. It may tell us how life went from organic soup to cellular life, and that's very important. Perhaps we will learn how RNA came into existence and then evolved into DNA. It will also tell us a lot about climate change. So it's a gigantic "Antarctica" of huge scientific potential. People will win Nobel prizes in biology and physics from their research on Mars.

As for manufacturing infrastructure, I doubt it can be set up in a few days. Not much manufacturing equipment is designed for sub-Antarctic temperature conditions, for example. It will take a lot of money and experimentation to develop effective equipment that operates under Martian conditions. Just obtaining water will take time, until we figure out exactly what works well and easily. It may be that the first expedition will take a year or two to figure out how to drill a water well and extract water, but 30 years later, a half million dollars of equipment will allow someone to homestead almost anywhere on Mars (because if you have water and sunshine, you have just about everything you need, and there's probably water everywhere if you drill down far enough).

Your prediction of an "Antarctic commitment" may come true - certainly that is the closest model we have on Earth. But there are alternatives. There is no reason why NASA had to give away moon rock for free, or why Apollo wasn't sponsored by Coca Cola, except it was a matter of politics and organisational pride.

Equally it depends on your objectives as to how quickly you set up an industrial infrastructure. Virtually all industrial processes. I am sure you have a been to a science museum at some point and seen those fascinating scaled down steam engines at work, or indeed ridden on a scaled down steam train. There is absolutely no reason why we can't mine the local iron ore from day one using robot diggers much like the little rovers, under tele-radio control from the base. They will be able to operate on Mars just like the rovers do. Once back at the base, there is no reason why the industrial processes shouldn't take place in a temperature controlled industrial inflatable hab. I've seen on the web mini industrial lathes weighing less than a hundred kgs. Small lathes could be stabilised with local regolith by the way. NO reason we can't have mini steel furnaces; small scale brick furnances.

It just depends how serious you are about wanting to start ISRU.


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

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#25 2012-04-01 09:02:58

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

Re: First settlements

I agree we can do all those things. But right now your 100-kg mini industrial lathe might get shaken apart by launch vibrations and gee forces, and its standard computer brain isn't radiation hardened, so if we have a solar storm on the way to Mars its brain could get damaged. Everything flown in space now has to use special radiation-hardened electronics. And our iron ore digger might have its blade break because the rock, though loose, is at -60 Celsius.

Since you don't want the mini lathe to arrive partially broken, you'll need to hire a team to spend a million dollars to take it apart, replace some of the parts with stronger ones, and replace some of the electronics. Of course, they'll want to replace steel parts with aluminum or titanium, to save mass. And then when the thing gets to Mars, the engineers won't have taken into account the heat conductivity of the new metal, or the expansion coefficients, or the way it conducts vibrations in a lower atmospheric pressure environment, or the way heat is shed by the equipment more slowly in a lower atmospheric pressure environment, or the fact that the electric motors for lifting items are now too powerful for Martian gravity, and the thing will break prematurely (or injure an operator). So it'll have to be reengineered.

So I doubt we can simply launch a small industrial infrastructure to Mars and set it up. It'll have to be done in steps, standard terrestrial equipment will have to be modified. And the Martians will, in the process, patent new designs, making Mars money.

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