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#1 2018-07-17 12:32:41

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,886
Website

direction of New Mars & Mars Society

I'm concerned. This forum used to have wonderful technical discussions how to get to Mars. Lately it's become nothing but political. Yes, I'm guilty too. But some people cut short our technical discussions, saying we should leave it to Elon Musk. He has done a lot, but he isn't God. His current plan is a very impractical BFR. That's great for the first colonization transit, but not for exploration. And BFR needs infrastructure in place *BEFORE* the first one. We have discussed how to get NASA off their butt, however that always immediately degenerates into partisan politics. In the first few years of the Mars Society we accomplished great things. Now we aren't accomplishing much of anything. Have we become a bunch of incompetent spectators?

Last edited by RobertDyck (2018-07-18 01:56:49)

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#2 2018-07-17 13:27:54

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,199

Re: direction of New Mars & Mars Society

Rob,

There seems to be a bit of intolerance towards political ideas that don't match those of a particular political ideology.  I can understand why creative people tend towards that sort of ideology because it's part of their psychology.  It's not intrinsically right or wrong, it's just a different viewpoint.  When it comes to principles of governance applied to humans that are implemented by humans (and governments don't exist without human involvement), some things empirically work better than others.  Some systems that work in certain instances won't work in others, not because there's anything intrinsically wrong with the system, but because humans and their human proclivities are involved.  I don't respond merely to antagonize people, no matter what they believe to the contrary.  However, when someone proposes something that's mathematically or logically invalid or has already been tried and produced undesirable results, I will point it out in an unambiguous way.  If it comes across as crass, perhaps something is lost in translation on the internet.

I have a hard time believing that some of the responses I've received would be communicated that way in a face-to-face conversation, but if they would be, then maybe that's part of the problem.  When we're out of math and logic arguments, for or against something, then maybe it's time to call it a day.  One thing's crystal clear to me.  A house that's fundamentally divided will not stand.  It would help if everyone developed a little thicker skin and learned to take the point, rather than the arrow, of different ideas and opinions.

I really like Elon Musk and his vision for the future, but some of the things he wants to do won't work well for technical reasons that basic science and engineering have yet to solve.  Most of the stuff he wants to use can be tested at sub-scale with existing hardware.  Prior to building a much larger and more expensive version of what he already has, SpaceX should confirm that tests deliver the desired results.

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#3 2018-07-17 14:18:38

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,800

Re: direction of New Mars & Mars Society

kbd512 wrote:

Rob
I really like Elon Musk and his vision for the future, but some of the things he wants to do won't work well for technical reasons that basic science and engineering have yet to solve.  Most of the stuff he wants to use can be tested at sub-scale with existing hardware.  Prior to building a much larger and more expensive version of what he already has, SpaceX should confirm that tests deliver the desired results.

I wholeheartedly endorse this statement.

I also admit to having been a bit abrupt to others posting on this forum, but it's based on my scientific background and industrial experience. For this I apologize, but don't retract my views.

I too, have been wanting a more realistic approach than Elon is taking. There needs be a resurrection of the Red Mars project; land SOMETHING on Mars without wrecking it! For landing accuracy, there needs be a Mars GPS system. My various architectures have always been based on a stepwise and logical approach, not the orders of magnitude jump that the BFR promulgates.

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#4 2018-07-17 14:20:26

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,886
Website

Re: direction of New Mars & Mars Society

I'm don't want this thread dragged down into the same political name-calling. I recognize Thump is working to solve some problems that other politicians don't even want to acknowledge is a problem. But frankly, every time I try to defend Trump, he opens his mouth and inserts foot. But he has given NASA the directive to have humans orbit the Moon on 2019, and humans on the surface of Mars in 2024. NASA has refused, demands more money. We need a president with the guts fire a few key people. A lot of us thought that was Trump, but he's not giving this the necessary attention to get it done.

But again, that's politics. New Mars was about us designing equipment. Not cheerleaders, but actual engineering. That's why I'm here.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2018-07-18 02:27:01)

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#5 2018-07-17 14:53:50

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,800

Re: direction of New Mars & Mars Society

I too, have my political viewpoint, but really make a sincere effort for it to not color my statements. There are other websites where political mud can be slung with great abandon, but this should not be one of them.

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#6 2018-07-17 15:17:57

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,199

Re: direction of New Mars & Mars Society

Oldfart1939,

Something akin to a real interplanetary transport vehicle, a real lander with wide track landing gear, a real tracked surface rover, a real GPS system, and a realistic surface power system must all be designed and tested, first on Antarctica and then on the moon.  Whether it's at all possible to make other systems work is irrelevant to the point that when requirements dictate ultimate reliability and durability, you go straight to the best technologies for a specific purpose or task and accept no substitutes.  It's going to cost far more than any single company can afford, which is why SpaceX, Blue Origin, ULA, and NASA need to collaborate to combine best-of-breed technologies into a coherent technology set that services stated use cases.

I propose that NASA start a coherent technology development and integration program that I call the Pinnacle Program.  This program is all about creating, developing, combining, and testing the best technology that science can devise and industry can manufacture in an efficient and cost effective manner to produce complete solutions to known problems.

Pinnacle's Three Over-Arching Program Objectives:

* Identify technology or capability gaps and tightly focus research and development efforts on filling the gaps using emerging technologies
* Take basic concepts that are proven to work and refine them into flight-quality hardware
* Integrate existing space flight technologies into reliable and durable space exploration and colonization

There is no coherent program to do this.  We develop new technologies without specific use cases in mind.  After basic research and development, we don't transform the working concepts into flight hardware.  If there are existing technology sets that could be combined to solve the overall problem, we seldom do that.  Those practices need to end, or no space exploration beyond Earth orbit will be possible.

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#7 2018-07-17 17:08:23

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,800

Re: direction of New Mars & Mars Society

kbd512-

Thanks for your rational thoughts. I've accused other members (to remain unnamed) of being cheerleaders, and taking too much on absolute faith. But we have to start getting real, or "it ain't gonna' happen." I proposed the Mars GPS system as something SpaceX COULD do with the existing Falcon Heavy system. They themselves wanted to do the Red Dragon landers, which could demonstrate the landing technology, and in due course, learn the problems requiring a wide track lander.

Maybe we should start a new topic in the Interplanetary Header, and have a reality check thread?

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#8 2018-07-17 17:41:26

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,885

Re: direction of New Mars & Mars Society

RobertDyck, I read you post early this morning once I got to work and could not post to it until now. At one time in the free talk area was closed all to gether along with a few others. There was many members that were bounced in the old admin days for getting out of line, then the crash happened and it was hard to get people back due to how long the site was down.

Opening the area's seemed like a good way to get people back but I can see that unless we all take our time with what we post in the other areas it can go quickly a-rye.

We have become a working group in most topics leaving the politics out of them but we can do a bit better. Like others have said less cheerleading and more facts in a logical step pattern to get us to success.

We do have an ear to the Mars society here but its seemingly very busy and unless you can afford to go to a convention most likely it will stay that way.

So what are the things that Mars Society is working?
Will these get us to Mars?
Do they have the funds to do some of what we think could go along wasy to getting us to mars?
What ear of the players in the building arena does Mars Society have to implementing these things?

We know that the analog stations are providing great details on mission performance and scope of activity but is that enough?

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#9 2018-07-17 17:48:20

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,199

Re: direction of New Mars & Mars Society

Oldfart1939,

Yes, let's do that.  Since nobody else seems to know what "right" looks like, maybe we need a comprehensive plan of the sort that NASA puts together, except using real technologies or technology demonstrators.  The plan should be mission payload centric and not include any magical power or propulsion technologies that don't exist.  That means real space flight hardware or things in an advanced state of active development, no matter how nice something better would be.

* no NTR / fusion / EM / warp drives, electric or magnetic sails, etc
* LOX/LH2 / LOX/RP-1 / APCP rockets
* AJ X3 ion engines for in-space propulsion
* commercial capsules (Dragon / Starliner / Soyuz / Orion only if required)
* ISS modules for deep space habitation
* Cygnus modules for cargo storage or transport
* Ascent Solar thin film solar arrays (Orbital ATK's fans are truly superb, but too expensive and heavy)
* 18650 or 2170 or pouch Lithium-ion batteries
* CAMRAS and IWP for ECLSS or legacy ISS equipment
* Aluminum or Titanium alloys / composites / kevlar fabric structures
* storable NTO/MMH propellants and AJ-10-190's (STS OMS derivatives) for descent / ascent vehicles

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#10 2018-07-17 18:18:39

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,800

Re: direction of New Mars & Mars Society

Sounds like a really viable start point. Let's DO IT!

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#11 2018-07-17 20:06:03

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,885

Re: direction of New Mars & Mars Society

Not to bad of a list of parts and pieces to make use of.

I agree no futuristic engine drive systems.

Cryogenic fuels is an issue for energy whether for boiloff control or to insitu manufacture.
Insitu RP-1 is that even possible without a lot more energy to convert Methane into this fuel?
Or are you looking a one fuel to go outward with while the other is for a return?

I see that storables are an agreed upon early lander mission to mars but are we looking to keep going with this as engines are different for a lox ch4 or are we going to see if we can find the source for insitu manufacture of storables?

Ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP) is a modern solid-fuel rocket but is this a return insitu or are we trying to get off from the ATK SRB's?


Current capsule are not there yet for manned flight but hopefully soon but these will only be capable of short term use until they are modified with a more capable life support system.

The company for the ISS modules and Cygnus is the same company so a design for the modules is all that would be required as the shielding will need to upgraded in the design for the journey duration.

Agreed that light mass materials for ship and all other parts of a mission are required.

Ascent solar flexible arrays need to have structural support and roll out capability to unfurl on landing , as in no men required to set up.

Batteries are going to be required not only for the systems use but for all other powering means and methods to be used as well as backup cells as lithium batteries can be damaged quite easily.

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#12 2018-07-18 08:18:45

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,768
Website

Re: direction of New Mars & Mars Society

Suggest:  add Bigelow to the list of module makers we should consider.  BEAM is already at ISS,  and B-330 should fly pretty soon now.  On an Atlas-5,  I think is the intention.  Looks pretty near-term to me,  and the multiple-layer thick construction with various synthetic fibers offers better radiation protection than a thin-wall "tin can". 

As for APCP solid rockets,  I think those are a well-proven idea for some (but not necessarily all) surface launch vehicles leaving Earth.  You do have to fling your hardware up there. 

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2018-07-18 08:20:50)


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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