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#1 2015-01-01 10:15:07

From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,445

2015 Space Exploration Alliance Legislative Blitz

Next event advertised on the Mars Society website...

The 2015 SEA Legislative Blitz in Washington, DC - Feb. 22nd-24th

The Space Exploration Alliance (SEA) will be holding its annual grassroots “Legislative Blitz” in Washington, D.C., from February 22 through February 24, 2015.

With unprecedented budgetary pressures facing the legislative and executive branches of government, it is uncertain which path our nation’s leaders will take with respect to our nation’s space programs. More than ever before, it is absolutely critical that the voices of the space advocacy community be heard in this debate.

Come join space advocates from around the country to let Congress know that there is strong constituent support for an ambitious and sustainable path forward.

My question is what should we advocate. As mentioned elsewhere in this forum, Orion has now flown in space. But could it be used to return to the Moon? Constellation required the Altair lunar module to use its engines to enter lunar orbit. Without re-hashing everything, should we push for a new, larger Orion service module? Should we encourage Congress to return to the Moon with Orion? Just another Apollo style mission? Or something else?

I would like to see ISS used to demonstrate a life support system for Mars. Right now the life support system requires resupply of water and spare parts from Earth. It can't last the entire duration of a Mars mission. It needs:

  • Replace the toilet with one that can recover moisture from solid human waste. I have suggested a reality TV show, an engineering challenge, pitting NASA vs Russia to design the best toilet. Let NASA build one that uses an electric oven to bake out moisture, while Russia installs their vacuum desiccator toilet. The TV show could pay for the whole thing, so no cost to NASA or the taxpayer at all. I have suggested this to individuals from NASA at a Mars Society convention, but NASA pointed out current legislation does not permit them to do so. Congress would have to authorize NASA to do this. If not a TV show, then just upgrade the toilet at taxpayer's expense. Get the job done!

  • Install a sink and shower. The American side of ISS already has the water processing assembly, which processes water recovered by the cabin dehumidifier, as well as output from the urine processing assembly. NASA documents state the water processing assembly can process wash water right now. We only need only to collect wash water with a sink to wash hands, and shower. The sink looks more like a glove box, without gloves, but you get the idea.

  • Install a clothes washer. NASA currently does not wash clothes on ISS. They wear uniforms until they're too stinky, then throw them in the garbage to be de-orbited and burnt up in the atmosphere when a spent cargo ship leaves. Fresh uniforms are sent with cargo. But a Mars mission can't afford that. We need a washing machine. Again, start by installing it on ISS first.

  • Direct CO2 electrolysis device. I've suggested this before. I don't think NASA is even considering it. Based on the ISPP precursor designed for the Mars 2001 lander, it would generate oxygen directly from CO2. This would not replace the current life support system, it would augment it. Recover oxygen from CO2 that is currently dumped in space. This would help replenish recycling losses.

  • Upgrade the urine processing assembly so it doesn't clog with calcium deposits. NASA is already aware of the need for this, but I haven't seen any announcement that it's designed, much less installed. Get the job done.

A mission to Mars is expected to take 6 months to get there, 6 months back, and 500 days on the surface. That's a total of 28 1/2 months. ISS has never operated for 28 1/2 months without resupply. I've argued to cut a Mars mission a little short, reducing surface stay to 425 days so that we could launch a mission to Mars every time the planets align, and the first mission would return a couple days before the second one leaves. That's 26 months. The ERV would require a little extra fuel, but it can be done. ISS hasn't operated for 26 months without resupply. Even if no single crew lasts 26 months on the station, can they survive that long without cargo resupply? If not, then no mission to Mars would survive.

Or do we want the legislative blitz to focus on larger issues? On setting a goal. We really don't want the Moon guys arguing with us; that would be contra-productive. What's the objective?

Last edited by RobertDyck (2015-01-01 13:46:19)


#2 2015-01-01 13:07:36

From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 21,683

Re: 2015 Space Exploration Alliance Legislative Blitz

RobertDyck you pretty much nailed what needs to be looked at, with lots of great ideas. The travel out and even back I see no problem with supplies but the surface stay does show that we would need to preload the site for the 14 month stay with propably double the need.
Nasa and partners control there own individual parts and respective crew but colaberate in cooperation for the purpose of safety and experimentation. I think Nasa tried to pass experiment control over to a private company .
Here is what is happening on the ISS

Space Station User's Guide
ESA ISS operations

We should be striving to do more than flag n foot prints...


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