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#26 2018-10-03 14:15:48

Belter
Member
Registered: 2018-09-13
Posts: 184

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

louis wrote:

It's only necessary if you think it's a good idea having humans perched 20 metres up on rockets - probably with residual fuel and propellant on board.  Will there be an airlock to the outside?  If so, that's a whole new bit of engineering you have to put in place. If not, they have to do an EVA (takes hours to get into a conventional EVA suit, and even an MCP won't be quick - probably 30 mins or so).

Either Space X haven't thought this through (quite possible, but a bit surprising) or they are throwing out chaff to confuse their competitors (possible, but less likely I feel).

Belter wrote:

Because it's necessary, and it won't be that much mass.

I don't.  That's the stuff on 1950s sci-fi.   Wrong aspect ratio.   And super inconvenient logistically.    I think they're trying to do too much with a single design.

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#27 2018-10-03 14:28:43

spacetechsforum
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Registered: 2018-08-18
Posts: 32

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

GW I think you are missing the point here.
Parking BFR in orbit is proposed as faster option for safe Mars mission.

Firstly you do not send crew on that flight. You pack just enough supplies for return trip and tank the rocket full, then you send it to Mars.

Secondly, since TPS can survive land, in this scenario you do not need a lot of aerobreak passes. You do a single heavy aerobrake (just a little weaker as the max to not crash with worst weather). If the weather is bad (a big density) you do not need anything more, but most probably you will need a small burn to adjust the orbit (or another very weak pass). Now, as you did not use the fuel to land and you did not fly with maximum payload (or part of the payload is just a tank with more fuel), you may end up having a very safe return option for the astronauts sent with next flight, as long as they have alternate way to go to LMO.

Imagine that the BFR with crew will damage the heat shield during a storm on Mars or we wont be able to provide enough fuel for return trip (inefficient ISRU, tank damaged, etc.). Now you cannot go back - you will burn on Earth or you wont make it. With BFR in orbit the crew may swap the ship and safely return home.

Now, at the first glance this plan looks good, but the numbers indicate that the amount of fuel left is not sufficient for return trip, so the SpaceX would need to send another rocket just to pump the fuel from both into one, which skyrockets the costs, and so this idea is useless. This is exactly why I have no idea why I did write the post...

BTW. Is there any progress on the GCR topic? The GW's reply on REM doses looks optimistic, but i think the researchers knew what they were doing. Maybe the radiation further away from Earth is somehow different and has larger impact on health? (like heavier particles are destroyed with very weak magnetic field so the ISS is safe but a spacecraft's crew would not last). The look at the study would clear the doubts but I am unable to find the link to that paper (maybe it is available only in US?).

Louis, I think they are going one step at a time - first design the rocket that can go to Mars, then go loud "we did it" and gather founds to design the shelters. The first crew will probably go to Mars just to plant the flag (from ignorant's perspective to be precise - crew will have their hands full reporting all problems, checking all devices and gathering a lot of useful data on the trip to Mars and on the Mars surface). Also, as I stated before, I think the automatic machinery (remotely controlled) will prepare and refuel the "goback" rocket prior to crew sending, so they will almost immediately go back. This also means that the "arrival rocket"'s  tanks can be vented after touchdown for safety.

Last edited by spacetechsforum (2018-10-03 14:32:23)

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#28 2018-10-03 15:17:28

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,104

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

The purpose of this thread is to discuss how Space X plans will affect the specifics of colony development. Space X have no plans for parking BFRs in orbit. I think perhaps you should start another thread discussing alternative ways of using the BFR. But, in passing, I would say there is no way a dust storm on Mars (the wind force is very weak even at high speeds because of the low atmospheric pressure) would damage a heat shield, and you can build in a lot of redundancy re propellant production when you land 600 tonnes on the surface of Mars.

If they are going "one [consecutive] step at a time" they will never achieve their 2024 target.  You need to have everything in place for testing with human flights  by 2022 in my view...there's no way you can fly to Mars without extensive testing, analogous to the Apollo 8 flight.

spacetechsforum wrote:

GW I think you are missing the point here.
Parking BFR in orbit is proposed as faster option for safe Mars mission.

Firstly you do not send crew on that flight. You pack just enough supplies for return trip and tank the rocket full, then you send it to Mars.

Secondly, since TPS can survive land, in this scenario you do not need a lot of aerobreak passes. You do a single heavy aerobrake (just a little weaker as the max to not crash with worst weather). If the weather is bad (a big density) you do not need anything more, but most probably you will need a small burn to adjust the orbit (or another very weak pass). Now, as you did not use the fuel to land and you did not fly with maximum payload (or part of the payload is just a tank with more fuel), you may end up having a very safe return option for the astronauts sent with next flight, as long as they have alternate way to go to LMO.

Imagine that the BFR with crew will damage the heat shield during a storm on Mars or we wont be able to provide enough fuel for return trip (inefficient ISRU, tank damaged, etc.). Now you cannot go back - you will burn on Earth or you wont make it. With BFR in orbit the crew may swap the ship and safely return home.

Now, at the first glance this plan looks good, but the numbers indicate that the amount of fuel left is not sufficient for return trip, so the SpaceX would need to send another rocket just to pump the fuel from both into one, which skyrockets the costs, and so this idea is useless. This is exactly why I have no idea why I did write the post...

BTW. Is there any progress on the GCR topic? The GW's reply on REM doses looks optimistic, but i think the researchers knew what they were doing. Maybe the radiation further away from Earth is somehow different and has larger impact on health? (like heavier particles are destroyed with very weak magnetic field so the ISS is safe but a spacecraft's crew would not last). The look at the study would clear the doubts but I am unable to find the link to that paper (maybe it is available only in US?).

Louis, I think they are going one step at a time - first design the rocket that can go to Mars, then go loud "we did it" and gather founds to design the shelters. The first crew will probably go to Mars just to plant the flag (from ignorant's perspective to be precise - crew will have their hands full reporting all problems, checking all devices and gathering a lot of useful data on the trip to Mars and on the Mars surface). Also, as I stated before, I think the automatic machinery (remotely controlled) will prepare and refuel the "goback" rocket prior to crew sending, so they will almost immediately go back. This also means that the "arrival rocket"'s  tanks can be vented after touchdown for safety.


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

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#29 2018-10-03 15:27:21

Belter
Member
Registered: 2018-09-13
Posts: 184

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

This is more or less what I'm imagining here.   10-12m wide, 10-12m high.  The bottom is more like a ring attached to a mushroom.  The outer engines would lift it off the pad, and then the main engine would engage for lift off.  The struts would then lower dropping the habitat ring to the ground.    The curve on the bottom would be a heat shield, with a center that would get blown out to expose the engine.   Just my imagination for the most part.   

OGTJ9qb.png

The fun thing is i used lamps to make the struts.  But if the struts could retract and drop the structure to the ground, you could turn it into a permanent habitat.       Another option to the mushroom/donut design would be a more conventional two stage system with dual motors, dual tanks.

Last edited by Belter (2018-10-03 20:08:03)

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#30 2018-10-03 16:39:40

Belter
Member
Registered: 2018-09-13
Posts: 184

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

louis wrote:

The purpose of this thread is to discuss how Space X plans will affect the specifics of colony development. Space X have no plans for parking BFRs in orbit. I think perhaps you should start another thread discussing alternative ways of using the BFR. But, in passing, I would say there is no way a dust storm on Mars (the wind force is very weak even at high speeds because of the low atmospheric pressure) would damage a heat shield, and you can build in a lot of redundancy re propellant production when you land 600 tonnes on the surface of Mars.

If they are going "one [consecutive] step at a time" they will never achieve their 2024 target.  You need to have everything in place for testing with human flights  by 2022 in my view...there's no way you can fly to Mars without extensive testing, analogous to the Apollo 8 flight.

I don't think there are any plans.  I don't think they've gotten far enough.  They have sketches and no way to realize them.   Anything Musk does in the 2020s is going to resemble Apollo, except with a 15 month landing duration.   I think they will have the main goal of just leaving stuff.  These people are going to be locked up in that BFR, assume it survives landing.    No base, no exterior habitats.   At best, they'd be smart to only send 4-6 people and a ton of supplies.  Having 20-40 people would be a recipe for disaster.  Send two cargo ships in 2022 (maybe), send two half-crewed ships in 2024.  Then maybe 2 each more in 2026, etc.    But where will they land?  I don't think they have an idea.   The only place they can mine for fuel, as far as I can tell is at the north pole, but I don't think they even believe they can do this in any of the first several missions *anyway*, but they might go to the north pole to collect water.

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#31 2018-10-03 17:06:52

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,545

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

As far as dust storm and sand in the air would depend on content amounts at altitude as that would at the higher speed of entry would snad blast the crap out of the ship until its descending slowly.

Using the BFR as a habitat for plumbing would require the vaccum to be disabled on the surface and a higher pump head pressure to be able to lift the water to where the crew is living in the top of the ship.

Any building of a habitat with a small crew would mean little to no science exploration so we would need a full up mission which cuts into the payload that can go with the crew for use and for the science that they will be able to do.

So now building a structure on mars will depend on what we bring for cargo on the preload of the site and construction materials that we can not make insitu for the purpose of building to support life. It will also depend on time to make what we need, the energy to do the process and the equipment required to do so plus where it fits in what we need at the schedueled point for the build.

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#32 2018-10-03 17:55:12

Belter
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Registered: 2018-09-13
Posts: 184

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

The only way I think we can do habitats in the near term is for Bigelow to drop them on the surface and inflate them.

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#33 2018-10-03 19:13:35

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Posts: 16,545

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

As Louis would say in that its not part of Space x's plan....but I do agree that shipping even a partial habitat would be a plus in an inflateable.

https://www.space.com/38315-spacex-mars … mages.html

Time elapsed building...

gallery-1506701650-mars.gif

SpaceX-Mars-City-2.png

SpaceX-Mars-City-3.png

dims?quality=100&image_uri=http%3A%2F%2Fo.aolcdn.com%2Fhss%2Fstorage%2Fmidas%2F924887b234b0dfcad7d8733279062183%2F205718108%2Fmars-plans.jpg&client=cbc79c14efcebee57402&signature=db4605f54d9cd3dd3ea9d16ba2780c0a4a64cf23

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#34 2018-10-03 19:56:47

Belter
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Registered: 2018-09-13
Posts: 184

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

Interesting picture because it shows the landing fields only 200m from the base, the landing pads only about 60m from each other and the first two landers even closer than that, enough that they could probably fall into each other.

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#35 2018-10-04 07:28:52

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,104

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

Yes that is definitely "an artist's illustration" and not to be taken seriously. Another inaccuracy is the layout of PV arrays.  For one there's probably enough energy being produced to boil no more than ten kettles! For another the surrounding buildings are throwing shade all over the arrays!  In reality the arrays are going to cover at least x2 the area of the settlement and probably more like x10.

The way I see it,  the spaceport - a large spread out area of landed BFSs, propellant plant and terminal building will be at a considerable distance from the main settlement. Possibly as much as 5 kms.  There will probably be a major communications centre either at or near the spaceport.  The main settlement is likely to be strung out over 3 or 4 kms along a line (or several parallel lines) north of south facing PV arrays (assuming a northern hemisphere locations with discrete areas for industry, materials and chemicals processing, life support plants, agriculture, warehousing, and accommodation habitats. 

Belter wrote:

Interesting picture because it shows the landing fields only 200m from the base, the landing pads only about 60m from each other and the first two landers even closer than that, enough that they could probably fall into each other.


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

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#36 2018-10-04 07:40:20

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,104

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

I don't think we know yet how Space X intend to approach this.  But certainly one option is to take a Bigelow in the cargo hold, off-load it and tow it to the required location, there to inflate it on the surface.  But I don't think there is necessarily any problem with just building a hab on the surface from panels bolted together. The "construction" could be done robotically by rovers with appropriate tool attachments, guided by humans inside the pressurised rovers.

I like this video as an example of what a little ingenuity might achieve - obviously adapting this process for a pressurised environment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mya2cMDACKg

Or there's this concept (only a graphic animation at the moment I think):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8tD-tBzSQo



Belter wrote:

The only way I think we can do habitats in the near term is for Bigelow to drop them on the surface and inflate them.


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

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#37 2018-10-04 09:09:56

Belter
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Registered: 2018-09-13
Posts: 184

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

I think habitats would be more likely delivered on lunar module type landing platforms.  Bigelow has some primitive designs for this.   Basically, you could send a small swarm of landers with inflatable habitats mounted to them.  Drop them on the planet close to each other and inflate.  Ideally, close enough that you could extend inflatable tunnels to each other in a grid.    Another option would be something more like the Viking lander or Space 1999 Eagle, where a vehicle would be designed to lower a habitat to the ground via tether, or land, release and then pull away.   But the goal should be to get these directly onto the ground, or even dig into the ground part way and then using rovers to scoop soil and drop on top of them for radiation protection.    I guess a Mars base that looks like mounds of dirt isn't that sexy for an illustration.

But I think the fly in the Space X ointment is that they haven't been able to put forth any kind of vision for habitats other than staying on a cramped ship and dropping to the surface and back with a crane, while allowing everyone else to fill in the blanks with their imaginations.   The ability to produce and store large quantities of fuel in space seems incredibly sketchy at this point. Obviously possible, but I think they're soft selling just what a monumental effort it will be to gather up that much H2O and break it up safely and drop it into tanks.  I'm thinking more that residual fuel from multiple BFRs would more more likely to be transferred to a single returning ship for the foreseeable future.   At the very least there is a shitton of equipment that would need to be delivered, mainly mining robots and transporters, solar panels or miniature nuclear reactors.   So these ships will be left there, unless they send swarms of Curiosity style missions that drop this machinery.   Maybe 5-10 mining drones with their own landing system in a single shot.    But it seems to me that being able to send 1-way ships that drop their payload and then are converted into habitats kills two birds with one stones.   Instead of a "graveyard of ships" as he calls it, a city of habitats and machinery dropped in a 1-way mission.

Last edited by Belter (2018-10-04 09:27:19)

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#38 2018-10-04 15:23:05

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,104

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

There's no evidence Space X are going to be using separate landing systems from the BFS.  The equivalent of anything like say a 5 tonne hab lander can be contained in the cargo hold of a BFS. Space X appear committed to BFSs landing all the cargo and human passengers.

I agree that any habitats are likely to need a regolith covering.  They might be designed to actually hold such regolith on top and at the sides behind metal  retainers.

I agree Space X have been disappointingly vague about all the surface action in the Mars Mission - habitats, water mining, propellant production etc. Of course, they might simply not be telling us at this stage.  I really can't believe they haven't got teams working on the detail of this. There is still time to get it right - about Q1 of 2021 would be a likely final deadline for having everything in place in terms of design and test prototypes manufactured.

While I have some sympathy with the "multi-drop" approach to a Mars Mission (because that's what I used to proposed for a minimalist ISRU mission at under 40 tonnes to the surface) Space X mission design wins out in its ability to deliver huge tonnage to the surface.  With 600 tonnes to play with potentially (let's call it 500 tonnes, making allowance for cargo configuration) you can do a hell of a lot. Habs won't be much more than a couple of tonnes. I think the propellant plant facility will probably be less than 50 tonnes. The PV energy system (with perhaps some supplemental methane/oxygen to deliver energy in a dust storm) will come in under 100 tonnes. So there is plenty of tonnage left over for rovers and mining robots.  A lot will depend on whether Space X can be certain there is exposed ice - which makes the job of water mining so much easier. Large quantities of water could also be extracted directly from the atmosphere in summer. 

I think the original BFS spaceport will become a Mars heritage site - and will be a great tourist attraction. 

The more I think about it, the more I am drawn to the idea of automated assembly of habs at the surface as opposed to inflatables. I am not sure the Bigelow inflatable approach is the best. Aerogel-filled panels could be off loaded from the BFS, and towed by rovers to the assembly site. Life support units, coms units, hygiene units (bath/shower/toilet) and kitchen units etc could then be "plugged in" once the structure is assembled.

For the couple of sols between leaving the BFS and taking up residence in the surface hab, personnel involved in the construction could live inside the main explorer rover which would have its own integral life support unit. The remainder of the crew would live on the BFS until the hab was ready. A basic automated PV array (mounted on a robot rover) could deliver power from the get-go.


Belter wrote:

I think habitats would be more likely delivered on lunar module type landing platforms.  Bigelow has some primitive designs for this.   Basically, you could send a small swarm of landers with inflatable habitats mounted to them.  Drop them on the planet close to each other and inflate.  Ideally, close enough that you could extend inflatable tunnels to each other in a grid.    Another option would be something more like the Viking lander or Space 1999 Eagle, where a vehicle would be designed to lower a habitat to the ground via tether, or land, release and then pull away.   But the goal should be to get these directly onto the ground, or even dig into the ground part way and then using rovers to scoop soil and drop on top of them for radiation protection.    I guess a Mars base that looks like mounds of dirt isn't that sexy for an illustration.

But I think the fly in the Space X ointment is that they haven't been able to put forth any kind of vision for habitats other than staying on a cramped ship and dropping to the surface and back with a crane, while allowing everyone else to fill in the blanks with their imaginations.   The ability to produce and store large quantities of fuel in space seems incredibly sketchy at this point. Obviously possible, but I think they're soft selling just what a monumental effort it will be to gather up that much H2O and break it up safely and drop it into tanks.  I'm thinking more that residual fuel from multiple BFRs would more more likely to be transferred to a single returning ship for the foreseeable future.   At the very least there is a shitton of equipment that would need to be delivered, mainly mining robots and transporters, solar panels or miniature nuclear reactors.   So these ships will be left there, unless they send swarms of Curiosity style missions that drop this machinery.   Maybe 5-10 mining drones with their own landing system in a single shot.    But it seems to me that being able to send 1-way ships that drop their payload and then are converted into habitats kills two birds with one stones.   Instead of a "graveyard of ships" as he calls it, a city of habitats and machinery dropped in a 1-way mission.


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

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#39 2018-10-04 16:47:57

Belter
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Registered: 2018-09-13
Posts: 184

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

I think Bigelow has the best option for the first habitats.  They won't be as durable, perhaps, but they would be a great setup for the first decade.   Until we can turn the regolith into some sort of concrete or convert the ferric oxide into steel with some large plant, inflatables will be a good first start.  I don't think living in nose cones 30m above the ground is very practical.    SpaceX needs to come up with some other options for getting large habitats on the ground.

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#40 2018-10-04 18:36:16

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,104

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

Look at the figures:

http://bigelowaerospace.com/pages/beam/

I think flat pack panels probably take up less volume than a bigelow set up.

I can't say for sure. Obviously it's something that would require a lot of analysis. But a Bigelow isn't like a balloon that gets blown up. It is already a substantial structure before it gets inflated but its inflatability I think means it's not as compact as a panelled hab could be.

Belter wrote:

I think Bigelow has the best option for the first habitats.  They won't be as durable, perhaps, but they would be a great setup for the first decade.   Until we can turn the regolith into some sort of concrete or convert the ferric oxide into steel with some large plant, inflatables will be a good first start.  I don't think living in nose cones 30m above the ground is very practical.    SpaceX needs to come up with some other options for getting large habitats on the ground.


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

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#41 2018-10-04 20:14:45

Belter
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Registered: 2018-09-13
Posts: 184

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

Yes, but a Bigelow system just inflates.   The ability to construct something air tight in -200 degree temperatures in a space suit is limited.  But even to get to that point, you need places for the workers to live.   Besides, the people going to Mars aren't going to be welders and carpenters, they will be scientists.    Blowing up a habitat by pressing a button is at the edge of their construction experience.

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#42 2018-10-05 04:27:14

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,104

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

Yes, they inflate.  But I don't think they are going to be so appropriate for a surface environment. Inflating in space is relatively problem free.  To inflate on the surface will require a substantial redesign I suspect.

I am most definitely NOT suggesting people conduct EVAs to construct the hab. Any work required to construct should be conducted via robot rover with appropriate attachmens e.g. drills

There are ways you could have quick assembly of a non-inflatable structure. I linked to this video before:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mya2cMDACKg

I don't see why something similar couldn't be developed for Mars which would be largely automated in its assembly. .

The way I would envisage it would be a main cuboid block which will be the hab which would be attached to two smaller cuboid blocks (two air lock chambers). The blocks would have metal retainers for regolith on top and at the sides. The panels making up the blocks would have aerogel infill for insulation. As well has being secured by nuts and bolts, the panel could be held together by electromagnetic interfaces.



Belter wrote:

Yes, but a Bigelow system just inflates.   The ability to construct something air tight in -200 degree temperatures in a space suit is limited.  But even to get to that point, you need places for the workers to live.   Besides, the people going to Mars aren't going to be welders and carpenters, they will be scientists.    Blowing up a habitat by pressing a button is at the edge of their construction experience.


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

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#43 2018-10-05 07:56:55

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,263

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

For Louis #42:

Your observation about the advantage of inflating in space (compared to on land) leads me to ask if it might make sense to inflate habitats in space?

But that leads to a question of how the inflated habitats could be delivered safely to the surface.

Setting that aside for the moment, if the habitats are inflated in space, then that could be done in Earth orbit, and the habitats could then be used for occupancy by crew headed to Mars. 

And ** that ** possibility leads to an option of spinning up a wheel of habitats to Mars gravity for the flight to Mars.

The habitats could be held close during acceleration, and then deployed on tethers.

(th)

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#44 2018-10-05 08:16:07

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,545

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

Beam is a trial run of materials to test thickness and other aspects of what we need in space whioch it is meeting the desired out come. It has shown promise for future designs to which they do not how shape when packed for launch as they are drawn down in size volume to be put into the launching container. They inflate but if a vaccum draws out the air it will lose shape once more as its not a ridgid product after inflating.

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#45 2018-10-05 08:29:09

Belter
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Registered: 2018-09-13
Posts: 184

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

That is Nautilus X - https://falsesteps.wordpress.com/2015/0 … -in-style/

I just saw an article of a proposed Bigelow lander that would land and inflate on the surface.    The idea for inflatable habitats could be something like a series of discs that are fully enclosed and drop to the surface.   After the shielding fell away, the inflatable would rest on a platform and you could use inflatable tunnels to connect them.   Though the shorter term versions appear just to be conventional lander type vehicles, self contained.

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#46 2018-10-05 09:00:27

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Posts: 16,545

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

Beam
https://phys.org/news/2016-04-inflatabl … itats.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nautilus-X is the in space station transport.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigelow_Aerospace has the BA 330 Nautilus intended for in space useage expandable spacecraft modules and a central docking node, propulsion, solar arrays, and attached crew capsules.

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#47 2018-10-05 09:17:01

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

I am very excited by everything recently posted here.  Stimulated.  Maybe needing a cooldown smile

But before I start a new topic I want to provide the opportunity for what I will present to be pilloried.  Just in case I do need medication.

Once upon a time I talked about a "Catchers Mitt" which would be a device with a skirt which would use an air cushion to travel horizontally across the Martian surface to "Catch" a falling load.  Of course that falling load would have had to slow it's speed considerably, in order to not pulverize the "Catchers Mitt".

Because of your conversation I have thought of a "Leaping Catchers Mitt".

It's basic structure might be toroidal with a net in the center.  Three versions:  Venus, Earth, Mars.  None for the Moon.  I just don't see how it could be of benefit for the Moon.

For Venus, the problem is to have an object aerobrake to a ballistic descent, and then to have the interior of the object filled with a lifting gas such as air or Nitrogen.  The catchers Mitt being a lighter than "Venus" air aircraft, would then maneuver with engine driven propellers to intercept the object and I suppose go under it and move up to catch it in it's net and then lock it down, and bring it somewhere in the habitable floatisphere.  smile  Winds being a major problem.

For Earth the device would likely be jet engine propelled, for operation in the troposphere.  Possibly altering into a semi-ballistic trajectory.  The object falling down with or without a parachute.  Have to get under it and "Catch it".  Winds an issue.

For Mars rocket engines required.  Ballistic capture.  Very high speed, and not for humans to control directly.  A.I. I presume.

A suborbital launch of the "Catchers Mitt".  It plans to intercept the falling load on it's falling part of the ballistic path.  Will the falling object have additional braking methods other than aerobrake?  That will need consideration.  Thrusters?  Parachutes?

So, perhaps in many cases no need for thrusters on the falling load.  No need to bring rocket propulsion into orbit and back into the thick of the atmosphere.  Some advantages I hope.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2018-10-05 09:32:39)


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#48 2018-10-05 11:12:42

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,263

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

For Void in #47 ...

Could your idea be adapted for Elon Musk and his attempts to catch fairings with Mr. Steven ... I understand the attempts have been unsuccessful so far.

Musk is using a boat for the catch attempts, and as I understand your idea, it would be capable of faster movement. 

As I understand the situation, there is considerable economic advantage to catching the fairings before they hit the water.

https://www.space.com/41614-spacex-mr-s … close.html

Begin Quotation:
In the past, fairings have been severely damaged when they've slammed into the water or been exposed to the briny water. During a pre-launch call (ahead of May’s Bangabhandu launch), Musk stressed the corrosive nature of salt water, explaining that the company wants to reduce costs by cutting down on the refurbishments that each fairing half goes through after landing in the ocean.
End Quotation.

(th)

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#49 2018-10-05 13:20:27

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,545

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

The reusability of the second stage as well has not been achieved which would make the Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 heavy an even less expensive launch vehicle.
If the shrouds where smaller I would go with a heliocopter catch just as we did with the stardust capsule return.
So could we add fold out wings to the shroud part to control the descent of it which would slow it for the final catching of it by the Musk catcher ship net system?

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#50 2018-10-05 17:42:21

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Looking at the Mars Colony's development, based on Space X & BFR

Well both of you have interesting responses.  It may be important to remember that falcon 9 is to be held mostly in stasis in character, until phase out.  And yet SpaceX is experimenting with a catchers mitt notion on the sea.

I actually am the most interested in the Mars application but it will be the hardest to achieve, but most rewarding at first.

The Venus version is really the easiest, but then you are in the atmospheric column of Venus with little infrastructure until much later.

The Earth version I added just to be complete.  What do you want to return from orbit?  Better be really good at it if you are going to catch containers with people in them.  Rather at first and perhaps always cargo.  But what cargo?  Maybe precious metals or space manufactured materials that are special.  Don't know what they are.

Maybe also you could catch a pod full of engines and avionics from a craft that has lifted off from the surface of Earth to the Orbitsphere of Earth.  That market is poorly defined at this time and rather futuristic.

For now, I really think the emphasis is on Mars, but Venus is very intriguing.  The easiest "Catchers Mitt" of all possibly.  However, I really think that the key to Venus is to start in it's orbitsphere, provided that safe and cost effective methods can be provided for that.  Then study, experiment on small scale with robots in the atmosphere of Venus, then work your way up to floating cities in the atmosphere of Venus.

However I think Mars is the best focus, but not the only focus. 

A very hard game, but if you mastered it a profitable game.  You launch a sub-orbital "Catchers Mitt" that on its down slide intercepts and catches a load that has aeroburned from low Martian orbit, into a crashing with the surface sub-orbit.  It gets catched smile and the "Catchers Mitt" catches it in it's net, and brings it down with it's rocket thrusters, and the "Catchers Mitt" has landing legs.  On the ground, you release the net, fly the catchers mitt a short distance away, and take the load to whatever.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2018-10-05 17:53:45)


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

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