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#1 2021-04-26 10:08:57

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
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Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

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Thomas, here it is!

I am suggesting as a first Starship Mission to the Red Planet Mars and having a crew composition of 17 astronauts

This is based on the "Triad concept," and a somewhat military style organization. There will be a relatively loose hierarchical structure, but there needs to be a leadership pyramid established before anyone sets foot inside a Starship.

Triads: Three astronauts with a particular set of skills assigned to complete a certain set of tasks; particularly important for working outside in the hazardous desert-like environment. It's not possible to find a single individual who has all the necessary skills that will be utilized when the skill set required is enormous. There also needs to be inspection of work done by at least a second individual when so much is "on the line." Medical skills are also sometimes requiring a second or third set of skilled hands.

What have I planned as the necessary sets of skills"

Leadership: A group commander and an assistant commander; both with great communications skills and abilities to do lots of data management. They will be tasked with work assignments and difference resolution. There needs to be a final authority when differences of opinion arise between crew members.

Geologist triad: They will be tasked with collection of samples and determination of WHERE to put the permanent habitation modules. Do studies of weight bearing capabilities of potential landing sites and layout of the landing complex. Search for water.

Construction and maintenance triads; there will be 2 of these because they will be the most important set of tasks needed to keep everyone else alive. Maintain the rovers, Set up a solar farm or a nuclear reactor system.

Scientist triad: a good biologist and microscropist to examine samples looking for signs of life, past and present; a chemist with skills in elemental analysis to determine the contents of various samples returned by the geologist triad. A molecular biologist with instrumentation skills (polarimetry, gas chromatography, HPLC, and other skills needed to analyze samples for signs of life).

Medical triad: One Surgeon, one GP, cross trained as a dentist, and one nurse with Nurse Practitioner certification.


OK, this is my baseline for a crewed mission.

Last edited by Oldfart1939 (2021-04-26 10:09:18)

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#2 2021-04-26 14:32:49

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

Several reasons that I limited this to 17 astronauts; it's not about available launch capacity anymore with the advent of Elon Musk's Starship designs. It's sort of the right group size that we tend to have for a gathering of friends at a home. Anything larger and the personal interactions simply aren't there. This first mission needs to become a team of team players. Any smaller size and we're inviting work overload by mission planners. As much as the planners would like, everyone going needs some R & R time where there are no (or alt least minimal) demands on their time. There will be between 9 and 11 astronauts working outside the Hab as their primary workplace. I'm thinking that the construction triads will be outside doing construction or equipment maintenance most of the time. The team leader and /or assistant leader will be involved in outside supervision and participation in the labor pool. The geologist and planetary science triad will be mapping and collecting samples, but could be augmented by the other scientists on occasion. One member from each triad should be cross-trained as a vehicle driver, and the medical triad should be involved there as well. They won't be treating such things as "common colds," since the extreme pre-flight precautions should preclude anything being brought along from Earth w/r certain diseases. They are there for emergencies and monitoring the vital signs of all the team members. They can also be in charge of any biological/gardening projects, and shouldn't be adverse to getting Mars "dirt: under their fingernails.

I don't think we'll be bringing any farm animals or poultry or aquaculture projects along, but with Elon running his program, anything is possible.

Here's a short list of priorities:
(1) Stay alive and healthy
(2) Do the primary tasks assigned
(3) Make the efforts pay off through establishment of a permanent outpost and habitation center for future visits that pave the way for colonization.
(4) Do some significant exploration and make finding water the top priority
(5) Return home safely

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#3 2021-04-26 23:46:58

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

I envision the original 17 person crew as the skeleton crew, in order to get a base up and running with safe habitation available for all members and sufficiently protected from Solar Flare events that there will be no log term health issues arising.

Each of the groups I have described will burgeon into the industrial basis for long term habitation.

A second Starship landing site could be congruent with the first, thereby doubling the hands available to build Marsbase 1.

I indicated there will be at least 2 to 4 supply vessels already landed or accompanying the first crewed lander. If we bring in a second crewed vessel in the same Hohmann transfer window, additional supplies will be needed for support.

This means at least another 2-3 cargo ships with additional food and building supplies/heavy equipment. Musk has indicated that many of these cargo vessels would be making one-way flights to Mars and could be disassembled for building materials.

The plan for going to mars needs a manifest of what we take and quite possible how and when its to be used but it means we need a logistics person. Record keeping of what is made use of is part of the plan to be successful. Duties also includes the schedule for all to follow for the work load aspects for each day activities.

In order to have NASA as a partner on Mission 1, Science has to have a very high priority. SpaceX hasn't really worked that much on habitat design or long term life support systems, whereas NASA has been in the business with ISS for 20+ years. It's a perfect symbiosis: NASA needs SpaceX and SpaceX needs NASA. No science = no NASA participation.

1) Scientific value
-Finding life
-Development of cutting edge technology
-Increasing efficiency 
-A Step Towards commoditized interplanetary travel and deep space exploration
2) Economic value 
-Developing cutting edge Technology
-Mining for valuable natural resources 
-Boost for global cooperation
3) Inspirational value
-Inspiring children   
-Restoring the 'Can Do' spirit in society
4) Growing as a species
-'Safety' planet 
-Drive to expand beyond the solar system

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#4 2021-04-28 09:32:50

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

Louis-
I am a career professional scientist, and I consider finding out as much as we can on a first mission in case there are problems and NO immediate second mission. For me--finding evidence of life, past or present, is my overriding interest in "going there." I find the concept of colonization very appealing, but that's going to take a lot more time and financial input than even Musk has available. There is very little supporting infrastructure to support a colonization effort now, and that needs to be developed first.

In a follow-up post to this, I will outline why a laboratory needs to be brought along, what instrumentation will be needed, and why. This will become part of the proposal of Mission 1.

Last edited by Oldfart1939 (2021-04-28 10:53:51)

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#5 2021-04-29 09:47:45

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

Composition of the science triad:

(1) Chemist. The principal investigator will be doing sample analysis of many things: soil (regolith) samples from the surface and from excavated samples. Mineral specimens collected by the geologist/exploration triad will also be subjected to analysis. Water testing when found; is it potable (drinkable); what needs to be done to make it suitable for human consumption and bathing. Be in charge of starting an electrolysis system for production of Hydrogen and Oxygen. Monitor performance of this system. In charge of starting and operating the Sabatier reaction system

(2) Microscopist and biochemist. Examine samples for evidence of past bacterial and monocellular life forms. Do testing of samples for organic molecules that are related to life (as we know it) forms. Look for amino acids and other stable molecules of biological origin.

(3) Chemical technician. Will keep instrumentation working and do sample preparation. Keep working area clean from sample cross-contamination. Will do cataloguing of samples and results. Operate both electrolysis and Sabatier reactor systems and monitor performance.

This activity should be accomplished in  a standard 6 hour workday. Then the triad members will assist in construction labor and/or accompany the geology field triad for about 3-4 more hours. I am planning on a 6 Sol work week. I do not want the expedition to become burned out by overwork for 18 months on Mars.

There needs to be some time for EVERYONE  to get out and "go exploring."

Note added in Edit: I may require the principal Chemist to be a Chemical Engineer and at least a MS in Chemistry. Running the Sabatier and Electrolysis systems will be more of an engineering task than chemistry.

Last edited by Oldfart1939 (2021-04-29 10:01:41)

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#6 2021-05-01 16:24:27

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

Thomas-
I'm not envisioning this mission as a descent party from a much larger orbiting spacecraft. This is how I would load out the first SpaceX Mars lander. The size of the crew would make possible copious supplies for long term survival, along with necessary heavier equipment. I'm a "belt and braces" planner, and always plan for the worst possible scenario; in this case, that means missing a Hohmann transfer window for a return to Earth because the fuel manufacture fell short of expectations. Food and other consumables need to be more than doubled that of a 18 month stay.

Trip to Mars on a fast track of 185-200 days; stay on Mars as 550-575 days; return to Earth as 185-200 days. For grins, I'm estimating food for 2000 days for a crew of 17 and theses are on the average 185 pounds per person. My best information regarding food consumption required for both weight maintenance and having sufficient energy for heavy tasks is based on the Colorado State University Veterinary school figure of 2% of body weight per day. This is food already prepared and ready to eat. Food required for the entire mission with the 100+% emergency quantity included:

Food Required = (0.02)x(170)x(17)x(2000); FR = 115,600 pounds of food; this includes dry, long term storage foods such as beans, split peas, rice, and whole grain wheat and barley; also included would be freeze dried meals; fresh-frozen foods require freezer storage, and canned or otherwise vacuum packed foods are also included. Altogether 52.5 metric tons of food alone.

Water recycling is a "given," and I'm estimating 30 metric tons of water taken along. Weight of crew is 1.31 tons. Oxygen is another consumable, and I'd appreciate input on Oxygen needed for the overall trip and with scrubbing and conversion of CO2 back to breathable Oxygen using Moxie or electrolysis of water.

Here's a recalculation on the food taken along; I doubled the time required for return flight to Earth in my initial calculation.

Food required = (0.2)x(170)x(17)x(200+200+1150) =41 tons

The food and water requirements can vary with what is found on Mars as available water resource, and Oxygen can also be replenished via electrolysis. I am confident that water will be found and through either distillation or combination of filtration and using ion exchange columns, can  be made into potable water.

This leaves about 30 tons of capacity for equipment and habs, instrumentation for laboratory, and construction supplies. We'll need at least 2 rovers, and a Bobcat-type tracked front loader with auger attachments. Either a small nuclear reactor and a modest number of solar panels, or a duplicate reactor. I'm asking for other members to input some estimates on the mass involved.

I may be too conservative in my estimates and have too much food along; this could be altered significantly by having a prepositioned food and some habs and heavy equipment.

Last edited by Oldfart1939 (2021-05-01 16:34:21)

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#7 2021-05-01 16:42:26

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

What needs to be prepositioned includes a Sabatier Reaction system and either a moxie or electrolysis plant, including tankage for storage of these cryogenic fuel components. It really wouldn't hurt to have a nuclear reactor built into a Dragon-sized capsule and landed within wiring distance of the base site.

Either a prepositioned set of equipment or a pair of duplicate starship freight vessels accompany the crewed vessel.

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#8 2021-05-03 00:06:38

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

Geology Triad.

Hydrologist. Need this particular specialty for finding easily obtainable water and doing some seismic studies.

Stratigrapher. This is for determining which formations may yield fossils, and supports the work of hydrologist in finding water.

Minerologist. Finding usable minerals is extremely important for future development of Mars based industry.

Identification of water ice isn't necessarily the problem, but finding easily extractable water is advantageous. That's where these skills are invaluable.

All geologists will participate in seismic studies.

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#9 2021-05-17 10:44:06

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

The first full day in which we get to use the days light is the most time compressed for activities that must be completed as they lay the ground work of mans survival outside of the can (starship) that we came in....

1 unloading equipment
2 unloading nuclear reactor
3 move and bury or create a berm for the reactor
4 connecting reactor and turning it on
5 unload equipment shelter


Construction and Maintenance Triads:

All members of this particular group should be qualified and experienced operators of a tracked Bobcat style front end loader and all the associated accessories. I also think that we should include 2 such pieces of equipment, as preparation of a future landing site is paramount for any ongoing research station/colony headquarters. I'm including 2 of these because of the individual size is pretty small and the jobs are large. Having some duplication is prudent as a backup in case of an accident with one of them or irreparable damage during use.

Electrician/electronics technician: 2 of these with the primary specialty. There will be lots of wires involves running from Hab to shop to power sources. Hooking up all the necessary equipment and construction will keep them very busy.

Heavy equipment operators: 2, with this as as their specialty and also primary maintenance tech for the earth(Mars regolith) moving equipment.

Habitat construction specialists. 2  I envision some temporary inflatable habitation vis a vis Bigelow-style, or more recently Sierra Nevada Corporation designs. Until the permanent living accommodations are finished, living onboard the Starship is fine. I'm thinking that once the inflatable Habs are ready, this will allow the construction crews to start building more permanent structures. I'm envisioning either excavation into a hillside as the basis of permanent facilities, or if landed in a non-hilly area, using the front loaders to excavate large trenches for "pit houses." The construction crews will be responsible for airlock installation and all the associated electrical, heating, and life maintenance equipment--including sanitation. These structures will be in a prefabricated form. Some of this work will be too much for the construction triads and everyone will be involved.  suggested pit house construction, and the spoil from the excavation can subsequently used for a regolith layer over the roofs to reduce radiation exposure of the occupants. After the regolith layer is in place, a set of Solar panels can be installed where they can be easily maintained and "dusted off." This also reduces the line loss of the generated power. I envision at least 5 pit-style buildings. Initially, a living module for sleeping, bathing, food preparation, recreation time. Second module will be a shop for vehicle maintenance: 2 rovers and 2 Bobcat-style regolith movers. Third module will be the science and sample analysis building. Module 4 will be a storehouse for food, and where samples destined for transshipment to Earth will be held. These will all require lots of airlocks. My mission envisions a crewed vessel with most of the primary living essentials onboard, and a second freighter with the nuclear reactor and solar panels as their loads. This will be a larger than necessary nuclear reactor for fuel preparation and the necessary chemical processing apparatus; Sabatier reactor and Moxie system, and a water hydrolysis system. Actually there will be two of such loadouts on duplicate transport Starships--in case one goes missing. If we are doing well, the 2 transport craft will be making Methane and Oxygen for the return to Earth within the first month of setup. The primary crewed Starship will have a small nuclear reactor onboard for life maintenance requirements. 
Moving on to module 5, which will be a greenhouse module for food growing experiments and dietary supplementation. It would be best if this module could be built into a hillside to prevent radiative heat loss during nighttime, and allow steeper window panels to be included.
I'm envisioning that the primary nuclear reactor will be located more remotely from the camp, as a self-contained and exposure to the elements should not bother this module.

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#10 2021-05-17 10:52:33

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

Some self-criticism and evaluation: everyone on the mission will be physically fit and able to pitch in with construction at least 4 hours of their on-duty shifts. As the base takes shape and construction of the essential habitat construction winds down, the scientists can get to work doing science, and the geologists doing the bulk of exploration and looking for water and other useful minerals for base use.
After the initial construction phase requires less input from the construction triads, they can be utilized in the greenhouse and food growing business. There will be a LOT of work in setting up the base, and why I'm self-critical is that the workers will be initially overloaded and scientists, geologists, and medical staff will be somewhat underutilized.

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#11 2021-05-23 11:39:24

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

Use of Habs: I am in agreement with others, Louis in particular, that initially we will use inflatable habs for short term living quarters, but they lack adequate protection from various forms of ionizing radiation, and particularly for solar flare activity.
I'm considering having some prefabricated rigid structure as am outer "hard shell," so they can be either partially buried or covered with regolith.
The Tuna Can style Habs are not the current basis, nor is the Bigelow style, for my base plans.
I don't know how many folks here recall something called a Quonset Hut, which was a rapidly erectable half-cylinder that was made from corrugated steel? I'm thinking of a similar structure made from composites; a structure very strong ad will be supported internally by having an inflatable habitat inside. I envision a trench excavated which would allow partial burial, and then the whole works covered with at least a meter or more of regolith. This is why I included experienced heavy equipment operators in my mission planning. The rigid composite structures would be made from high density linear polyethylene, reinforced with carbon fiber filaments. These structures could be connected by tunnels for ease in moving from structure to structure without need for any EVA activities by the crews. This would visually create a series of mounds, the southern sides which could be the basis of a small solar panel array. One of these would be larger by sheer necessity as a shop for inside storage and maintenance activities for the rovers and excavation equipment. This is a lot of construction type work, hence my 2 construction/maintenance triads. Not everything can be done robotically as Louis seems to project as the way things will be done. Doing construction is a very "hands on" activity.
Each module will have it's own outside airlock at one end and an second one exiting to the connecting tunnel system at the other end.
An advantage to this system is radiation protection. The outside airlocks will generally be used for occasional egress, and most of the time travel between modules will be by means of the tunnel.
Sanitation systems will be in a smaller module with toilets and shower facilities. There will also be a module with a dining and cooking facility, as well as recreation and exercise equipment. Each crewperson will have a small personal bedroom--a private space with storage of personal belongings and a computer capable of doing interplanetary communication "home."

Will continue more later...

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#12 2021-06-23 11:05:50

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

A laboratory for the scientists. What should it have for instrumentation?
(1) FTIR spectrometer. Make fingerprint spectra of all compounds found and isolated.
(2) Polarimeter to examine substances for Optical Activity ( D & L isomers),
(3) HPLC chromatograph for purification/isolation of chemicals in mixtures.
(4) Digital microscope.
(5) Equipment for sample preparation; saws for cutting rocks.
(6) Standard laboratory equipment for wet chemistry.
(7) Oven for sample treatment and drying.

This is an initial "short list," but what I as a chemist would want available to determine whether or not we have found evidence of life--past or present.

I elected to go with HPLC rather that a GLC chromatograph because of sample volatility issues.

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#13 2021-07-13 22:13:12

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,270

Re: Mars Expedition Number One; 17 crew members.

Vehicles:
Large rover, capable of carrying a driver and up to 6 passengers. Either a 6 wheel or even 8 wheel drive vehicle. Could serve as an ambulance with an injured explorer.
2 small rovers, capable of carrying 3 persons, with a "pickup truck" style bed in the back for equipment and samples retrieved.
2 smaller Bobcat tracked front loaders.
2 larger Bobcat style tracked front loaders with a backhoe attachment
Trailers for all vehicles. Capable of carrying mined ice to a purification facility.

I've included wheeled vehicles where possible because tracked vehicles require considerably more maintenance than wheeled vehicles.

This is a typical Bobcat skid-steer loader. There are various sizes. This one is S450. ("S" for skid) Rated Operating Capacity: 1,370lb. Operating weight: 5,370lb
bobcat-s450-model-page-s6c4539-20p3-fc-ko-238x200_pm_list.jpg
The thing that makes it "skid-steer" is it's wheels. It's wheels don't turn, to steer the vehicle you turn the wheels on one side while wheels on the other do not turn. Or to pivot in place, turn wheels on the other side backward. This means the wheels literally "skid" across the ground as it's steering. Be advised: operating this on grass will tear up the grass. This works very well on pavement or hard or very firm ground. It doesn't work so well on loose soil/dirt/sand/gravel at an incline.

This is a typical Bobcat compact track loader. This one is T450. ("T" for track) ROC: 1,490lb. Operating weight: 6,424lb
bobcat-t450-mg4253-14e6-fc-ko-238x200_pm_list.jpg
Track vehicles work better on loose ground and inclines. The track provides more traction. I'm suggesting a compact track loader would be more appropriate for Mars.

An excavator can be compact. The first is E10, Rated Lift Capacity 527lb, Operating weight 2,593lb. The second is E20, RLC 1,098lb, Operating weight 4,306lb.
bobcat-e10-nav_pm_list.jpg bobcat-e20-nav_pm_list.jpg

Bobcat has become known for compact construction vehicles. Other brands manufacture competing vehicles: John Deere, Case, Caterpillar, New Holland, others.

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