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#1 2005-08-12 20:37:05

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,766

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

After the near fatal under belly space walks to remove the matting between the tiles. I recalled that such a scenario of planning had been undertaken during the years since Columbia. The make shift saw that was not used however was sort of a Mcgiver moment for those that have seen the show. A little bit of duct tape and walla a miracle rescue was made.

But what would happen if such an event of a primary system did fail. When no redundancy was ever intended or thought was necessary.

Here is how it stacks up. The crew has been on mars for most of the 9 months on the surface. Let’s say 7 months for a number. We have brought with us a rover, methane powered with recharging system for its batteries such as an alternator or dc generator perhaps 12Volt. The solar power battery recharging has not been filling the batteries used for night time heating very well and the main transformer to connect to the saber reactor has burned up at a very inopportune moment as night is coming. Other things we did bring are wind mill, a green house, gardening tools; maybe a small methane powered rotor tiller and lots of other stuff that we wanted to try on the first mission.

What are the crew’s options?
Does the crew freeze to death, have a Mcgiver moment or play chicken not willing to take the risk and try to limp home ahead of time.

What might be your possible solutions in order to stay, survive the night or just not take the risk of failure and death for trying?

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#2 2005-08-12 21:14:04

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

That would be when you switch the coolant loop or remove the IR mirrors from the radioisotope backup power generator you brought along, which convienantly pumps out several kilowatts of heat and a kilowatt or two of electricity with good ol' nuclear power. Might get chilly and dark, but you wouldn't freeze.

That would buy you time to get to your ERV/MAV and safely to another operating spacecraft.

Or both MAV/ERV and the HAB could carry independant nuclear power reactors, which could be switched if the HAB's reactor failed.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#3 2005-08-13 20:50:14

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,766

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

Well that is one solution, are there possible others?

Could another be to use the methane powered rovers alternator recharging system, say once you park it in the greenhouse and run a smaller localized heater or into the solar power panels batteries.

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#4 2005-08-13 20:50:55

srmeaney
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From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
Registered: 2005-03-18
Posts: 976

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

Put in an order for a new one! Delivery time six months. No chance in hell the critical systems are going to be usable on the way home, so that is scrubed.

Holiday to Mars just became an extended (if not permanent) stay. We wait for resupply.

Other things we did bring are wind mill, a green house, gardening tools; maybe a small methane powered rotor tiller and lots of other stuff that we wanted to try on the first mission.

The Windmill is an unreliable source at best, The Methane using equipment...just got unusable. You have sufficient use of it to prove (or disprove) viability. no point in wasting methane on frivilous things.

Hopefuly amongst the diverse items you brought along is an exercise bike with a small component add-on to convert that to the thing that turns the generator and charges the batteries.

Rover time is over unless you need to go out and meet the resupply lander- even methane production and processing requires electricity. Suit Oxygen is limited to important survival critical tasks. No personal sightseeing.

Meanwhile the transformer must be checked for what can be salvaged, 'astronaut Bob' is unwinding the transformer and cleaning the burned insulation off the wire. Some of these big suckers are thousands of turns, so this is going to take a while...

There is no way you are going to Mars without the food you need. So there is no reliance on the Greenhouse as anything other than experimental- The greenhouse just made the list of things to possibly shred for transformer wire insulation (but only if its cloth).


As a best option the (I assume the Sabre reactor is supposed to be a portable Nuclear reactor?) can be used to generate electricity for boiling water into steam rather than electricity. If The greenhouse can contain the steam and recover the water, it may be the better location to spend the night. Two hours in the Sauna, looking up at the stars.

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#5 2005-08-13 20:57:53

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
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Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

very good others are now thinking, but as you said rewinding the transformer may take time but you will still need insulated wire of the right guage to fix the burned section.

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#6 2005-08-15 20:46:21

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Posts: 17,766

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

Well no further replies yet so I will go again.

How about that less than reliable windmill.
Well you could dismount it from the pole and take the propeller off it and bring it into the greenhouse. Leave the wiring intact for it already matches the correcy output for the batteries. Next take the methane powered roto-tiller and connect the shafts together after a few simple modifications are made to them. Pull start the engine and we now have a backup generator to power the heating system.

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#7 2005-08-15 20:47:07

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,766

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

Now is anyone else up to the challenge to survive?

Note any in the box not listed in the survive guide as prepared by Nasa will take 20 minutes to communicate to Nasa and then another 20 for there reply to be heard by the crew.

Oh and by the way the high speed laser comunications or MTO was cancelled as not needed right now to free up money for the CEV, ISS and shuttle at this time.

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#8 2005-08-16 09:57:52

srmeaney
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From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
Registered: 2005-03-18
Posts: 976

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

Note any in the box not listed in the survive guide as prepared by Nasa will take 20 minutes to communicate to Nasa and then another 20 for there reply to be heard by the crew.

"I'm Sorry Dave, I cant do that!"

The point of Knowing what you can do with the tools in event of failure is so you dont have to wait for some bunny to do your thinking for you at twenty minutes out thirty think tank, and twenty back.

If the Transformer is burned and "irreparable" Use the pressurised Greenhouse as a freaking Sauna and Boil water with the HV line from the reactor for as long as it takes. My problem is that there should be a basic HighVoltage (non transformer) plug in the side of the HAB to simply Heat the Framework and distribute generated heat through the HAB. Worse case scenario, All you got is a HV Element Heater and a big oven full of cold Cosmonauts.

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#9 2005-08-26 09:08:17

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,766

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

So no one else thought of anything else that could be done?

Another thought would be to scare up some metal tubing that would take the heat from burn methane gas. Every .25 inches or so drill a small hole in the tubing, coil it and plug the far end leaving a foot or so between the gas coming into the tube and the first hole. Place a metal plate over it, a pan of water to rest on top of it and make a methane gas heater.

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#10 2005-08-26 11:06:41

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

Look, it goes something like this... forget all of this jerry-rigging of windmills or circulated reactor coolant (which you don't have power to operate its pump!), none of which will ever work for any useful length of time, it really is very simple... you either bring along a spare means of making power, or else you have to abandon the mission. Or die, if you can't. This is simply a risk that you have to take. If the worst happens, thats too bad, but this kind of talk is not ever going to lead anywhere useful, its just going to instill a false hope in Rube Goldberg style jerry-rigged solutions.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#11 2005-08-26 15:24:13

TwinBeam
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From: Chandler, AZ
Registered: 2004-01-14
Posts: 144

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

Well, the nuke should still be capable of producing a decent DC current at high voltage.   So just use the DC directly for heat.  Maybe bring the transformer inside and run the DC current through it for heat.  Or, you probably have a lot of worklights that'll work with DC - set up enough of them in series and run the DC current through them.  Put them in metal cans to keep the light level tolerable - all the power they consume eventually becomes heat.  If it gets too hot, put some of them outside instead.

But is heat really your biggest problem?  I'd think you'd be worried more about circulating and scrubbing your air supply.  Otherwise you'll be stuck dumping stale air and replacing it with low pressure O2 - and continuously monitoring to make sure you've got a safe mix.  And that'll eat up your O2 supply FAST.

Perhaps that's where your windmill generator comes in.  Since you've stepped the nuke's voltage down with all those lamps in series, you can probably route the DC current through the power conditioning unit from the windmill to generate enough AC to run your fans and scrubber, maybe even a few appliances.

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#12 2005-08-27 21:56:16

srmeaney
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From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
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Posts: 976

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

This is why you need a hab lander for every colonist...That way your four colonists can select any of the four habs for current use.

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#13 2005-08-27 23:35:54

TwinBeam
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From: Chandler, AZ
Registered: 2004-01-14
Posts: 144

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

Maybe not one per colonist, but at least two seems pretty common-sensical.  But I think that was in Zubrin's original Mars Direct, wasn't it?

Two habs for the transit to Mars makes sense for the same reason.  And if you want two habs, two launches makes sense.  Which might mean that the individual habs don't have to be quite as big.

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#14 2005-09-06 10:45:12

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,766

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

With the recent Huricane that literally drowned the city, left behind are the survivers which when push come to shove have improvised and gone back in time to those days to which we were more of a hunter gatherer.

[url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9225611/]New Orleans residents ‘back to the Flintstones’
After Katrina disaster, survivors rely on primitive skills to stay alive[/url]

The image says it all, using what you can to do what you need done.

Any space fairing colonist will need that same survival skills when we do go forth to the moon and to mars.

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#15 2005-09-07 03:56:05

Palomar
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From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

With the recent Huricane that literally drowned the city, left behind are the survivers which when push come to shove have improvised and gone back in time to those days to which we were more of a hunter gatherer.

[url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9225611/]New Orleans residents ‘back to the Flintstones’
After Katrina disaster, survivors rely on primitive skills to stay alive[/url]

The image says it all, using what you can to do what you need done.

Any space fairing colonist will need that same survival skills when we do go forth to the moon and to mars.

*But let's keep in mind that New Orleans is in the drastic dilemma/pickle that it is because of poor pre-planning, political apathy and just plain political stupidity.  I'm not referring this to the victims; I'm referring it to the Governor's Office of Louisiana and other State officials who should have had those levees built up more, reinforced, should have taken the extra precaution of perhaps draining Lake P by 1/4 at least (further buffer against flooding), etc.  New Orleans would still be an occupied, liveable and productive city if the Louisiana "leadership" had been on the ball a long time ago.  It only takes one time to destroy/undo something.

Future missions to anywhere (Moon, Mars, whatev) had better take every precaution because it is true:  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

There can be no hunting/gathering on Mars except what the colony possesses/produces, at least in the early generations.  There are no deer to hunt, no apple orchards to pick from -- already naturally there.

Future explorers will need to be smarter than the dumbasses in the Louisiana Government.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#16 2005-09-07 05:22:47

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,766

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

Yup agreed that the government in power choose to look at the bottom dollar when it came to tax increases and dollars spent for these types of projects.

The same though will hold true for the future Moon and Mars missions in that if the bottom dollar dictates choices disasters are then just waiting to happen. Challenger and Columbia are just those examples of looking at the bottom dollar and ignoring the engineers by those in power.

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#17 2006-04-29 19:40:16

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,766

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

While the title of the article ( NASA Testing Prototype Software For Future Spaceflight ) would make you wonder why I posted it here it is as follows:

where scientists are field-testing a computer network to monitor space power systems.

We will experiment with sensors and software that will help us manage a generator and batteries that provide power to a habitat, while we are living and working inside (of it),"

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#18 2006-05-10 06:49:42

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,766

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

Murphy's law seems to even extend to orbit as well as indicated by what can go wrong when the follow of supplies are restricted or lessened by the lose of shuttle flights.

Station blips as teaching tools Food supply, space suit fixes among lessons for astronauts

While traditional science has suffered on the International Space Station with the lag in shuttle flights, astronauts say NASA's practical experience on board is invaluable.

"Some of the most important things that we've learned, I think, actually are more operational and technology development," said Peggy Whitson, who was the station's first NASA science officer.

"You don't learn these things until you try them. Because you have a plan, and until your plan's been blown out of the water by a problem, you can't fix it or you can't make it better."

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#19 2006-05-21 18:35:28

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,766

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

whether on the moon or on Mars the developing of insitu resources and creation of a water storage system is a must.

Solve this senerio:

Near surface water storage tank has sprung a leak and threatens colonies people plus habitat.

The water treatment facility can only hold half of the tank and the leak is at the end of the tank. This is a gravity fed water system.

Oh my we forgot to pack a sump pump and tank welding torches. How do we save the colony and the water?

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#20 2006-05-21 20:21:21

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

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

Shovel or bulldoze dirt at 50 below zero against the leak; it will block and freeze solid the hole.

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#21 2020-02-05 21:35:30

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,766

Re: Mars first mission experience critical power failure

The original Clarks Calamity topic in which I was trying to get people to think about planning, process and ...I forget....when it comes to all defect repair training that we might get for the equipment that goes to mars.
Sure we will have tons of videos, self help and computers but that will not work if we lose power....

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