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#51 2016-05-02 11:03:39

Tom Kalbfus
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: What If NASA Had Continued Its Lunar Program?

RobertDyck wrote:
Tom Kalbfus wrote:

2001...Orion Shuttle... appears to be launched by a track on the ground, it is propelled by some kind of ramjet I suppose with a minimum takeoff speed which is way greater than that which a runway will allow. So a rail accelerates the shuttle to ramjet speed and the Orion takes off, goes to a certain altitude and speed and then fires its rockets to reach orbit.

There's a group within NASA that was working on that. The idea was a magnetic linear accelerator would throw the craft in the air at mach 1, minimum speed to start a RAM jet engine. It would then have a Rocket Based Combined Cycle engine (RBCC). That engine would start as RAM jet, transition to SCRAM jet, then close off intake and add LOX to become LH2/LOX rocket. Boeing had the contract to develop the engine. GW Johnson argued against such an engine, but NASA had a tiny budget for a group to study it.

Tom Kalbfus wrote:

and the Moon Base is enormous. Just think about it, in the movie the Lunar shuttle lands, and is lowered on an elevator to an underground hangar, in the book, it is met by a pressurized rover with a docking port.

Sounds like Moon Base Alpha, from the 1970s TV show named "Space 1999".

Space 1999 shares a lot in common with the latest Star Wars movie The Force Awakens. in both they just throw all physics out the window, space is a place with a lot of planets and moons floating around, just like marsh mellow in a Lucky Charms cereal box. What I don't get is so many planets parked in one system, there is the capital of the Republic, the Starkiller Base, Maz'z hideout. A planet drains the energy out of an entire sun, and fires a beam that splits and destroys multiple planets at once, and our heroes can see them all get blown to bits just by looking in their sky! Seems like the Star Wars Galaxy is just one big Solar System with multiple stars and planets. I suppose in the next movie, The First Order will have a "Galaxy Killer!" I think draining a sun of its energy would be a more destructive act than blowing up a mere handful of inhabited planets, but that's just me! in the end of the movie, the Starkiller base itself turns into a Sun, never mind that their is a huge difference between a star and a planet, but in the minds of Star Wars writers, its just semantics.

I guess with Space 1999, the writers weren't a whole lot educated, their grade school science teacher must have been frowning when the released that television show. I can imagine some long haired writer discussing the plot. "So you see dude, we have this nuclear waste dump on the Moon, and you know nuclear waste is really bad stuff!" "Yeah man, I've been trying to close that nuclear reactor in my neighborhood for years!" "Yeah so we need to make a statement against nuclear energy in this TV show we're doing. So how about this. They've been dumping nuclear waste on the Moon for years, and suddenly Kapow!" all that nuclear stuff explodes like an atomic bomb, and knocks the Moon out of its orbit!" "Yeah man,  nuclear waste is some dangerous stuff! We should stop using it, lest we blow up the planet!" "So you see, instead of like star trek with its warp engines and planets that look like beach balls, we just have this moon careening out of control, and the inhabitants are looking for a place to call home so they can get off the Moon before it goes somewhere else!" "Sounds very plausible to me!" "And we use special effects just like in 2001 A Space Odyssey" "Yeah man, that last sequence in particular was quite a trip, reminds me of when I used to do LSD!" "Cool!"


#52 2016-05-02 12:44:32

GW Johnson
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,820

Re: What If NASA Had Continued Its Lunar Program?

What I wrote about orbit-to-orbit flight was about practical mission architecture as long as we are restricted to chemical propulsion technology.  You do not want launcher limitations constraining your designs too tightly,  or else all you will ever send are small one-way probes,  which fit the rockets you have. 

We have been doing direct shots to Mars since 1965,  and all we have ever sent in all those years are small one-way probes.  Not even a sample return,  not yet.  Surprise,  surprise,  as Gomer Pyle sarcastically says.

To send a manned two-way trip to Mars requires a vehicle or cluster about the size of a couple of railroad cars or more,  even for just a couple of people.  Much bigger for 4,  bigger still for 6.  SLS is not and will never be capable of sending packages that big to Mars in one launch.  The rocket to do that is the size of a small mountain,  which is utterly ridiculous.

On the other hand,  if you assemble it piecemeal in LEO,  you CAN build something the size of a few railroad cars and send it to Mars and back.  And you only need the kind of rockets we have now or within two years. 

This has been known for decades,  and completely ignored by companies and agencies too hung up on how we stumbled our way to moon with the one mission/one launch Apollo-Saturn approach.  Take a look at the 1956-vintage Disney "Tomorrowland" feature "Mars and Beyond".  Don't get hung up on the actual hardware and technologies depicted.  Don't even get hung up on sending a whole fleet instead of just one ship.  Look instead at the basic orbit-to-orbit architecture,  and then realize this was filmed over 60 years ago.

Werner von Braun and Ernst Stuhlinger had this architecture worked out years before that film was made, as the most flexible,  most expedient,  and most cost-effective way to mount interplanetary travel.  It does not require gigantic rockets to build giant orbital transports,  any more than it does space stations.  You do NOT have to waste time and resources building rockets so big that nobody else could ever use them.  Which error is exactly what NASA is doing now.  (Yet Spacex could well soon surpass them in payload capability,  for factor-10 less cost,  with a rocket that has customers already signed up to use it.) 

Besides,  "hard hats in space" is the best incentive I can imagine to get on with developing a supple,  workable space suit.  What they have now,  or on the drawing boards,  will not work on Mars (or even on the moon).  You die if you fall over while alone,  because you cannot roll over and get back up by yourself.  How stupid is that?


Last edited by GW Johnson (2016-05-02 12:45:23)

GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"


#53 2016-05-02 17:50:17

From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 25,311

Re: What If NASA Had Continued Its Lunar Program?

While the triple first stage would be easy to initially implement the fact is that each single stage has extra mass that could be reduced by going with a new stage that has the single tanks for fuel and oxydizer and the 3 engines mounted. They can keep the recovery with slight modifications to the legs due to increased mass but the fuel need to return it would be just abpout the same for the singles as it would for a just a larger first stage booster for Space x and same would hold true for even the Delta IV that Boeing is or already has discontinued....
Space x should also look at a more powerful engine too for this new single larger stage rather than using the currently tiny engines that require way to many of them to all work leaving little error for margin if several fail.
Any space x rocket will still be cheaper even in a larger form....


#54 2022-05-12 12:54:43

Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 2,039

Re: What If NASA Had Continued Its Lunar Program?

Powering the moon: Designing a microgrid for future lunar base … nar-1.html

This Tiny Moon-Bound Satellite Could Carve a Path For a Lunar Space Station … 1848879901
The NASA-funded CAPSTONE mission will evaluate a unique orbit that could help establish a long-term presence on the Moon.

Not coincidentally, this is the orbit of choice for the upcoming Lunar Gateway, an orbital outpost that will enable NASA and its partners to establish a long-term presence on the Moon. This orbit would have the added benefit of “allowing Gateway to have optimal communications with future Artemis missions operating on the lunar surface as well as back to Earth,” Elwood Agasid, deputy program manager of Small Spacecraft Technology at NASA’s Ames Research Center, said in an agency release. “This could unlock new opportunities for future lunar science and exploration efforts.”

Why Exactly Should We Go Back To The Moon—And Onto Mars? … moon-mars/

Last edited by Mars_B4_Moon (2022-05-12 13:01:00)


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