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#1 2019-04-23 18:47:50

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

Flying Saucer - Hoppers on Mars.

Well, I know that if I don't take precautions, I will face brutal pillory on this one, so I will start out right away defending myself,

Then I will present a trial balloon for this notion of "Flying Saucer - Hoppers on Mars.", in it's basic instance presumed to be a sub-orbital, vehicle which does have some atmospheric cruse methods to modify a ballistic trajectory even on Mars. 

Later, I will really get weird and try to justify upgrading it to a Mars Surface <> Low Martian Orbit device.

Then I will explore the chances it could work on the Moon and Earth, and perhaps why you might want to do that.

Finally I am going to upgrade the speculation to the point of using a "Ring of Fire" to receive heavy or emergency landings.

Then finally I will try to justify imaginative speculation on riding a created tornado on Earth up in such a device, and perhaps riding a dust devil up on Mars in one of these.

……

First of all my protective devices to attempt to avoid a bums rush out the door:

NASA is very often caught playing with flying saucers in missions to Mars.  So, I think I can be allowed to play with them also.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Ma … &FORM=VIRE

OK, with that defense now I will tilt out to some potential damage.  "Lost in Space", their spaceship.

Granted I don't endorse any kind of non-rocket engine propulsion method, so that part is a bit more real.  Nice pictures of approximately what I would want to drift towards.  However, get rid of the windows on top, and the projections on top.  In fact, if you are going to have a top, maybe a flip top.  I will explain that later perhaps.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=lo … 129&ch=555

I am inclined to believe that this TV program actually originally speculated on a notion of a spaceship that made sense, but maybe not so much in the Earth's troposphere.  But Mars does not have such a Troposphere.  Maybe ~~~.06% as much, but of course what it has is stacked higher.

I think you will at least agree, that for Mars the device would have one quality, at least that we might like.  That is it might be relatively topple proof.   Mars does seem to be treacherous as per the footing at places to land.

Darn it!  It happened again.  I type a bunch of stuff and go to save, and it does not save.  I get a message about not being able to go to that site.

But I will try again.

To keep it simple I will say that I am contemplating LOX and Liquid CO, but do not rule out other fuels, and propellant options.

I had a lot more to say that than, but I am getting tired.  Enough.


Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-04-23 19:11:48)


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#2 2019-04-23 19:22:31

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,823

Re: Flying Saucer - Hoppers on Mars.

Not afraid of any flying saucers as that just a shape?

Does the shape have any significants for Mars or any other places that it could be used there in?

If the atmosphere was thicker I would think that it would be perfect for use as a fuel provided we have the enerrgy sources to do so.

Could we do a rail beamed power to the saucer?

Could we do magnetic propulsion?

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#3 2019-04-23 19:31:14

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

Re: Flying Saucer - Hoppers on Mars.

SpaceNut said:

Not afraid of any flying saucers as that just a shape?
Does the shape have any significants for Mars or any other places that it could be used there in?
If the atmosphere was thicker I would think that it would be perfect for use as a fuel provided we have the enerrgy sources to do so.
Could we do a rail beamed power to the saucer?
Could we do magnetic propulsion?

A very pleasant conversation so far.

Umm....  I think one starts with the basic machine.  A robot.  Leave out human passengers until it can be proven to be safe and effective in service.

At first, just to port materials and parts from location to location on Mars where people are established, or perhaps even telepresence outposts of people established on Mars or it's vicinity.

Trying to respond effectively to your response/query.

I think that the saucer shape for a hopper on Mars has first the value of being relatively but not entirely topple proof.  Mars is a nasty place to trust for landings from what I seem to gather as per rocks and sand traps, and porous surface.  But hop and travel you must if you choose to try to live on Mars.  So, I think the shape is a good one for that reason.

However to evaluate it further, if you are landing normal on a Martian surface with engines below the bottom, you may experience a "Hover Craft" effect which might make landing a bit more workable.  And if you use those same bottom oriented engines you may also find a chance to levitate for a bit,  Maybe to even move the device like a hovercraft.

But then I am tempted to suggest other engines on the periphery of the craft, those being like engines on a rocket plane.  To land or hover, may very well as we seem to observe does not require such power as to launch to a high altitude.  So two sets of engines perhaps?  1) A landing and hovering set on the bottom, and 2) A altitude achieving set on the periphery of the craft.  That is where I am with it at this time.  To go sideways after you hover a disk in the Martian atmosphere may not be a prohibitive load on propulsion.

You mention exocytic propulsion methods.  I would not go their until later if possible.  However KBD512 has mentioned magnetic heat shields.  I would like to explore that as a possibility on upgrading capabilities for the inheritance of the progression of capabilities.

To begin with a relatively simple robot that moves things about, to help human efforts bear profit.

I mentioned a flip top.  I am currently thinking that the top, if we can define a definition of it could be "Double"  We could have a "Flip Top", over the fixed top.  The fixed top would have solar cells on it.  The "Flip Top" could have solar cells on its underneath, and heat shield on its top.  With Hydraulics or some other motive force, it could open up like an old time watch to present its solar cells effectively to the sun, and to also expose to solar cells of the fixed top to the sun.  And yet when folded down, it would be a rather stout heat shield if built correctly.

And if landed on the surface of Mars, the craft we might hope would refuel itself from CO2 of the raw Martian atmosphere, using electricity from the solar cells mentioned.


I think that is quite a bit for now.  I am older than you SpaceNut, need to go "Nite Nite". smile

Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-04-23 19:50:23)


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#4 2019-04-23 20:21:13

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,823

Re: Flying Saucer - Hoppers on Mars.

I agree that the shape is low profile and can even have legs that are permanent or retractable lifting up into its shape as you noted it will not really topple over.

Its shape allows for gimbal of engines for change of direction regardless of altitude so long as the engines are firing. The engines could even be along the edge of the shape as well to keep them high above the ground and could be slightly angled such to remove the gimbal hardware from complex controlling of direction

Accelarometers could be used to tell the tilt of the ship along the flight so as to make the engines throttle up and down to cause the change in direction desired and then leveld out to create forward or reverse motion.

The structure could be more of a composite inflatable with ridgid ribbing (thinking umbrella) to keep its shape as the fuel is expended.

The magnetic shield was for radiation exposure for men and not really for heat but since we are in a reduced speed level and air pressure level not going to orbit I do not think that a heat shield is needed at all.

The solar option sure would be plausible for internal power peak plus the onboard storage in battery. We have some idea of the energy that they can recieve for use with the helicopter topic and storage period for flight use.

Slept through the alarm this mornng but awoke in time this morning after just 3 or 4 hours of interupted sleep to go to work just making it in time for the start of shift. In either case have a good nites sleep....

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#5 2019-04-24 11:06:26

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

Re: Flying Saucer - Hoppers on Mars.

Well SpaceNut I hope you can get some of your stress off eventually, and some better sleep sooner.

I agree almost 100% with what you said in the previous post.  Except, indeed there will in the future exist the possibility of Magnetic heat shields.  However it is not ready now so it can be set aside.

I do like the fact that you were able to compose your own ideas about what sort of a craft this could be.  I think the range of options are enormous.

For Mars, I want eventually to see a robust robot that can move things about point to point.  I prefer that it not have to endure true re-entry heating.  I prefer that it's stresses would not be more than that for a Falcon 9 1st stage.  So, some consideration of heating, but not a full on burden requiring pica or whatever.

Before that however I would be nice to consider a mini-version, that would be for scouting.
And we might consider all the options we have previously proposed.  I do want it to be able to go into lava tubes as well as to scout the surface.  Of course if it goes into a lava tube, it better get out before it runs low on resources.  For such a bumpy place, inflatable portions may be helpful.

In this case, I am thinking that the top surface can be of solar cells, without a protective heat shield lid.  If the solar cells will be damaged on the leeward side of the craft, then just don't put it to speeds where the heating will be that severe.

The bottom and sides perhaps including inflatable portions for the purpose of withstanding bumps and thumps.  The engines however will need to be in a bump and thump protected position.  Landing legs?  Well whatever is useful and practical.  Maybe inflatable even.

So, a scout could be built one way, and a mover another.  And beyond that I feel that eventually, there could be crewed version, but lets suppose that is rather down the road.


As for the Scout, I feel it would be wonderful if starship could deliver some.  Even the un-crewed versions might do it.  But elsewise, then standard NASA methods, where you have to shed a heat shield, and other protective materials.

More to come, but I will leave space for comments from others.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-04-24 11:17:58)


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#6 2019-04-25 11:59:11

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

Re: Flying Saucer - Hoppers on Mars.

Here is a possible method to obtain Oxygen and CO from the Martian atmosphere with a form of "Cold Plasma Reforming".  I am still trying to learn about this, so expect that I am only half aware of liabilities and potentials for this.  It does look good for many things.

https://phys.org/news/2017-10-mission-m … ology.html
Quote:

A mission to Mars could make its own oxygen via plasma technology
by Institute of Physics

Credit: NASA
Plasma technology could hold the key to creating a sustainable oxygen supply on Mars, a new study has found.

It suggests that Mars, with its 96 per cent carbon dioxide atmosphere, has nearly ideal conditions for creating oxygen from CO2 through a process known as decomposition.
Published today in the journal Plasma Sources Science and Technology, the research by the universities of Lisbon and Porto, and École Polytechnique in Paris, shows that the pressure and temperature ranges in the Martian atmosphere mean non-thermal (or non-equilibrium) plasma can be used to produce oxygen efficiently.
Lead author Dr Vasco Guerra, from the University of Lisbon, said: "Sending a manned mission to Mars is one of the next major steps in our exploration of space. Creating a breathable environment, however, is a substantial challenge.
"Plasma reforming of CO2 on Earth is a growing field of research, prompted by the problems of climate change and production of solar fuels. Low temperature plasmas are one of the best media for CO2 decomposition – the split-up of the molecule into oxygen and carbon monoxide – both by direct electron impact, and by transferring electron energy into vibrational excitation."
Mars has excellent conditions for In-Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) by plasma. As well as its CO2 atmosphere, the cold surrounding atmosphere (on average about 210 Kelvin) may induce a stronger vibrational effect than that achievable on Earth. The low atmospheric temperature also works to slow the reaction, giving additional time for the separation of molecules.
Dr Guerra said: "The low temperature plasma decomposition method offers a twofold solution for a manned mission to Mars. Not only would it provide a stable, reliable supply of oxygen, but as source of fuel as well, as carbon monoxide has been proposed as to be used as a propellant mixture in rocket vehicles.
"This ISRU approach could help significantly simplify the logistics of a mission to Mars. It would allow for increased self-sufficiency, reduce the risks to the crew, and reduce costs by requiring fewer vehicles to carry out the mission."

I expect that I will begin a repeat of this in Life Support.

Done.


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#7 2019-04-25 18:30:27

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,823

Re: Flying Saucer - Hoppers on Mars.

What happens when you merge a plane and a blimp you get a mars transportation simular to a sauce shape that flies without the wings of course. Sure its not quite the thought that you were thinking about I am sure but no real amount of fuel is required.

One of the things that I was reading about had a bag for air to be pumped into rather than using sand ballast to allow for lift and cooling for descent one would instead inflate and deflate the air balloon to make it rise and descend instead.

Giant helium-filled airship Airlander takes off for first time
1-giantheliumf.jpg

The Airlander is designed to use less fuel than a plane, but carry heavier loads than conventional airships. Its developer, Hybrid Air Vehicles, says it can reach 16,000 feet (4,900 meters), travel at up to 90 mph (148 kph) and stay aloft for up to two weeks.

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#8 2019-04-25 21:49:50

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,823

Re: Flying Saucer - Hoppers on Mars.

I guess that I was lucky that not all of the post went into the vaccumn of the internet as I had lots more for the thoughts.

Delivery to mars would be collasped in a can and unpacked once on the surface for use.

screen_shot_2017-09-19_at_11.34.07_am.png?itok=uX_BpFRE&fc=50,50
A composite carrier for the balloon to attach to.

Saucer shaped balloon is fine for mars as its low profile, wide base dimension to keep from topling over. One could make the legs pneumatic telescoping to allow for them to retract while in flight.

The topside of the saucer could have the flexible solar cells attached for power, with a fuel cell backup of co + O2 to generate power if the batteries run low before completing a flight profile.

The design for the props for forward motion could come from the helicopter designs from mars or used conpressed gasses for controlling motion and direction of the flight as in jet pulsing along the rim of the saucer.

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#9 2019-04-26 08:52:38

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

Re: Flying Saucer - Hoppers on Mars.

Interesting stuff SpaceNut.  But before I comment, I need to apologize in advance to GW and others who might be distressed for things I will say.  I understand that I don't have the best library of facts for this stuff, or likely the most accurate calculations.  However I am working on it.  Probably a somewhat mentally challenged objective, but I am going to have a go at it.

Your version SpaceNut is not wrong, please keep working it.

However after the stimulus of your post #7, and before reading your posts #8, I then spun ideas around in my head as to what could be proposed that might have a chance of being of use.

I took your idea, and presumed a blimp.  But I kept rocket engines on it.  I got rid of the solar cells and the in craft refueling from the atmosphere, to reduce weight.

I migrated to Hydrogen/Oxygen rocket engines, because I have other uses for Hydrogen on the craft, and for in atmosphere operations, we don't have to worry so much about Hydrogen boil off.  A trip between Earth and Mars would be a concern for Hydrogen boil off, but here we can just route the Hydrogen boil off into the blimp.

Of course now we have to visit ground based fueling stations to refuel the craft, which will impose limits on it's use.

And I have gone for Heated Hydrogen as the buoyancy method for the Blimp.  This will be limited by the tolerance of the blimp's tolerance of heat.  The heat would be shunted from running rocket engines.

In the event that you choose to reduce heating of the lifting gas Hydrogen, then the contraction of it, will have to allow a vent to let Martian atmospheric gasses in.  For Mars however, I don't think we want to bother to make the ship heavier while it is in flight.  To be honest, I look at this as an atmosphere traveling rocket ship.  Allowing heated Hydrogen and Martian atmosphere to mix, might risk combustion and explosion as well.

As this is going to be a shaped device, that can travel at high speeds, we can hope for some lifting body effects (Maybe).

I think for buoyancy purposes it will work the best in cold episodes of the atmosphere.  Nighttime and winter.

Another reason to favor nighttime and winter, is that if the fabric of the ship is being cooled additionally by nighttime or winter, you may heat the interior Hydrogen more I think, as it will be less likely to exceed the thermal tolerance of the blimp envelope.

However thermal shock could be a problem.  That is rising and falling temperature in the blimps envelope.

While I might hope to see the blimp traveling at relatively high speed have lifting body characteristics, I also want to see it exploit ground effects upon landing.  That is rocket engines firing downward to do a hover slam, the reflection from the approach to ground and the significant surface area of the craft might allow a parachute like speed slow down.  But there could be problems with rocks being flung upwards to impinge on the blimps envelope, and perhaps damaging it.

We can indeed consider pneumatic legs for the device as a further shock absorbing method.

The we could consider "Gondola Load Tricks".

This would be a crate below the craft where you might put your load.  As I intend that the load can be dropped in the event of a craft threatening emergency, it would not normally be used for Human transport.  (Only in a rescue situation, maybe).

But there could be another gondola trick.  It being suspended below the blimp, could impact the ground first, and then perhaps the load being removed from the lifting processes of the blimp rocket ship, the blimp rocket ship can be further protected from the shock of impact.  Of course then your load in the gondola has to be tolerant of such an impact shock.

Short pause....Then a ring of fire...and a created vortex.....

Before that, lets mention a "Fixed Catchers Mitt".  That would simply be an on ground shock absorber.  Think of what you want.  A bouncy house per Elon Musk, or soft pillow such as bags of packing peanuts.  If you land the gondola on that, then you have protected your chicken eggs from breakage to a greater extent.  If you miss, then I guess it is scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Or maybe chicken droppings if you didn't even get it local to the "Catcher".

And now the "Ring of Fire".  Well, here again "Maybe" Hydrogen/Oxygen engines arranged in a circle around the "Catchers Mitt".  So they fire upwards, as the gondola comes down.  The gondola and blimp can have a reduced impact by this method.  However the rocket plumes are probably too hot for the blimp.  So, to cool them down, try to use a damper fluid.  Water, Nitrogen, and CO2 come to mind.  Just a rocket engine, and then arrayed around the bell nozzles squirting a damper fluid into the plume, to be vaporized, thus increasing the flow mass of the plume and yet cooling it.  Each of these damper substances will have problems.  Water for instance will want to freeze after the event, so methods needed to deal with that.  Anyway that is the ring of fire  For a E.Musk-ish saucer you might consider stainless steel, and forget about buoyancy.  That could tolerate hotter temperatures.

Another pause....then an attempt on a ship boosting ground engine(s) mass driver, with terraform potential for Mars.

OK, this is like the "Catchers Mitt" but you would fire a ring of ground engines to assist the takeoff of a ship.  Helping it lift off, and maybe even being able to give assistance for 5000 -10000 feet on Mars and maybe even Earth.

We could hope to generate a "Firenado".  this would be a vortex cause by heat, and water vapor emitted by a fuel containing Hydrogen, and Oxygen.  The problem with this is that with such a hot plume you will loose a lot of energy quickly as the hot gasses radiate heat away.  To modify this and attempt to do a terraform at the same time, again use water nozzles to add more vapor, and reduce the heat.

And again, reduced heat will put less thermal stress on the ship being launched by this "Mass Driver". 

I will take a pause, and then bring supporting materials for a vortex mass driver process and how moisture can assist it, and also the terraform aspects.

OK, this is important for my arguments for both Mars and Earth vortex, mass driver process:

http://www.theweatherprediction.com/habyhints/260/

It should be remembered that water vapor may not easily condense to a liquid or solid without nucleation, and proper temperature loss.  So, on Mars, unless saturation and a freezing process are possible, the vapors might condense only well below freezing.  However, I do not even necessarily rely on that.  The rocket plume with moisture should remain warm/hot quite a distance into the sky.  Also, going into the sky the air pressure will drop, so the condensation process should be suppressed.  It would be the reverse of sublimation.  Where with sublimation at lower pressures the temperature of conversion from ice to vapor will be lower than 0 degC, I suspect that the conversion of vapor to ice will also be at a lower temperature.  And the velocity of the plume, and its heated nature may protect the plume well up into the sky.  Of course if not done correctly then the craft might experience icing, so that could be a concern.

A saucer shape could have merit for riding a vortex upward.  I expect the ships engines to be firing as well.  Upon leaving the vortex, then engines at the perimeter of the craft would fire to push the saucer sideways and upward, in thinner air and with less of a impingement surface this could be acceptable.

As for terraforming Mars with this, my argument is that the dark morning hours might be the best time to fly this ship, as the buoyancy may be better.  Small factor though.  There is a concern that the moisture will condense out to snow.  Well some may.  That which hits the ground will soon be vaporized back into the atmosphere upon sunrise.  As for that that then exists in the atmosphere as super cooled vapor, and ice fog, that also will be warmed by the sunlight and the plume of water vapor will tend to rise in the sky, to where the harsh U.V. will split it.  The result should be Oxygen that tends to stay in the atmosphere, and Hydrogen which drifts into space.

There is some argument that the moisture will all just come right down.  I don't necessarily agree.  If you fired such a plume into the sky of Arizona, when it's relative humidity was low, that moisture would tend to persist in the atmosphere for a time.  In the case of Mars, all we want is the time to have it split.  Can then then raise the Oxygen content of the Martian atmosphere significantly?  Well I guess if you do it a lot.

What about Ozone from the Oxygen?  Well maybe.


A pause....Then I will talk about doing this on Earth, and just maybe tapping the latent power in the atmosphere using a created vortex.

Ok, so obviously Hurricanes and Tornados happen.  I think moisture has a lot to do with both of them.  I believe it is a bit like subduction in the Earths crust.  You can build up a situation where a more dense upper layer overlies a less dense lower layer.  This likely has to do with water vapor in the lower layer, greater heat in the lower layer, and condensate particle clouds in the upper cooler layer.  If you can punch a hole in that, I think you can make the atmosphere assist lifting loads into space.  (Maybe).

It might be safest to attempt to do this out on a warm ocean surface.  I feel if you were able to create a vortex with upward firing rocket engines, then that would be amplified by the energy stored in the atmosphere.  The purpose of this of course would be to use it to Mass drive a ship through the troposphere.


I need lunch.  Probably done with this for now.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2019-04-26 10:11:04)


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