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#51 2021-09-05 15:34:52

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,700
Website

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

99+% of Mars is dry sand and dust with rocks of varying sizes imbedded in it.  There is no cohesion between the sand and dust particles,  or between them and any of the rocks.  This mix is laying atop a shattered bedrock full of meteor craters and debris,  that has formed over the last 2-3 billion years of dry,  vacuum-thin atmospheric conditions. 

In some places,  remote sensing suggests that there are massive ice deposits sitting atop the shattered bedrock,  in turn overlain by varying amounts of the dry,  wind-blown sand and dust and embedded rocks.  When the wind blows this stuff around,  the embedded rocks remain behind as a loose layer sitting atop whatever is "solid" below them.  We see this from Earth as the seasonal color changes.

There is no cohesion ever seen from any of the landers between the sand or dust grains.  There is no cohesion ever seen by any of the landers between the sand/dust and the embedded loose rocks.  The polar lander saw some isolated lozenges of ice among this debris,  identified by the fact that it sublimed away within hours of being exposed.  That lander could only dig 2-3 inches deep.  Not much use there.

The other landers never saw anything but the sand/dust mix and the occasional small rock,  also only able to dig 2-3 inches deep.  Not much use there,  either. 

What should be painfully obvious from that track record is that there is a world of difference between the science instruments we have sent to Mars since 1964,  and the engineering measurements required to determine if we even want to land a crew on a given site,  much less how to do that without toppling-over their spacecraft and killing them. 

Scientists are NOT engineers!  Remote sensing from orbit has differed with actual ground truth since 1964 on Mars,  sometimes drastically, sometimes only just lethally to a crew.  Unless you intend to kill your crew,  you had better get on with some real engineering!  At EVERY SINGLE proposed crew landing site.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2021-09-05 15:38:19)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

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

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#52 2021-09-05 16:48:35

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,088

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

kbd512 wrote:

GW,

Copied from post 320 in Recruiting topic

I didn't specifically mention it, but low gravity solids removal efficiency also affects ROP, thus circulation losses.  Drilling slowly nearly assures greater fluid system losses, thus more demand for power and material consumption.  The fluid system does a lot of things.  It cools and lubricates the drill bits, entrains and helps remove cuttings, provides the weight necessary to assure that the bore hole doesn't collapse, and prevents greater fluid system losses with the correct additives.  You're not going to drill a mile down to the water / ice table without it.  If you're only drilling a hundreds of feet, then you can probably get away with some kind of high strength liner, but this will be very heavy.  It's better to locally source the ingredients for a fluid system.  An oil-based mud is always preferable to water-based if you can produce the oil, but if not, then you're stuck with what is essentially a "throw-away" fluid system.

Also, good luck.  You'll need it.

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#53 2021-09-05 16:50:09

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,088

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

GW Johnson wrote:

Quoted from Recruiting topic ...

There's no doubt Kbd512 knows a hell of a lot more about oilfield drilling than I do.  Perhaps he should be part of this team.  Kbd512?

I was intrigued by the Canadrill that RobertDyck told us about.  This is a limited dry-drilling device that was intended to reach 10 m below the surface on Mars,  perhaps 20 m if you take the extra drill supplies.  If the picture posted of it is any guide,  it is not all that large,  and might fit rather well on a quarter-to-half ton lander.  One or two holes,  and that's it,  was my impression.  That's all we need.

I know nothing more about it;  RobertDyck might.  And that's why I for sure wanted him on the team.

He has seen it drill through both simulated regolith and hard rocks,  plus right on through the bottom of the box this stuff was in.  I am presuming that (somehow) the drill recovers some sort of a cored sample.  Otherwise,  what would be the point? 

For the evaluation of ice below the landing site,  all we need do is weigh the sample,  then warm that sample enough to melt any ice in it, and then pour that meltwater out and weigh it.  The ratio of water weight to original core sample weight is a direct measure of just how "massive" any buried ice deposits really are. Which is a major chunk of what we need to know. 

About the only other things you could do,  would be to measure the salinity and the peroxide content of that meltwater.  That gives you rather critical information as to the "quality" of the buried ice resource.  Which is the other major part of what we need to know.

Here is why those two answers are critical:  knowing how much,  and how pure,  the water ice is at the landing site is crucial to deciding what equipment to bring with you,  or even if you want to land there at all.  And it is real ground truth,  not an indirect guess from remote sensing.  Everyone here knows my (justifiable) low opinion of the reliability of remote sensing. 

I'm hoping RobertDyck knows where to find,  or at least remembers,  more information about this Canadrill drill rig.

What I had in mind was a quick-and-dirty,  limited-life probe to answer the most crucial questions about any crewed landing site candidates,  or even uncrewed,  if we are landing something big.  The desirability of the site at all,  depends upon how much,  and what quality,  any buried ice resources there are. 

The other critical issue is just how much bearing pressure under landing leg "feet" can the local soil safely carry?  There is simply no substitute for ground truth about that.  So I looked at engineering field tests conducted routinely at Earthly construction sites,  and extracted the essential features for a small lightweight rig that could get us the information we have to have to land big things successfully on Mars. 

I'm still thinking about the arm flexure issue;  if there is a change in the instrument concept,  I will let everybody know immediately,  of course. 

This soil strength issue I understand far better than I understand the drilling issue.  After the end of my 20-year aerospace defense career,  I did some civil engineering and a lot of teaching as a second 20-year career.  Part of the civil engineering was foundation design,  part of it was foundation inspections.  (The rest was water/wastewater permitting,  fire protection engineering,  and environmental cleanup and disposal of hazardous materials.) 

There are others out there who know more about soil strength and foundations than I do,  but I know enough to know how to design residential slabs on extremely-highly-expansive clay,  slabs that do not bend and crack the building superstructure.  It ain't cheap,  but it works.  Those houses NEVER cracked.

My role in this team as "leader" is because of the related expertise.  This is a concept design,  I have not run numbers on any particulars.  I have been (and still am) looking for ways to answer the two critical questions about a candidate landing site:  how much/how good is the ice,  and how strong is the soil?  As leader, I drafted this notion up as a letter proposal. I need all of your help to polish this up.  We ourselves won't be building this thing,  but we do hope to get the right folks to build it.

GW

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#54 2021-09-05 16:51:14

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,088

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

kbd512 wrote:

Copied from Recruiting topic ...

GW,

If you only need to drill 20m, then you don't need a fluid system.  Since the gravity is much lower on Mars, you should be able to drill deeper before bore hole collapse becomes an issue, but that's entirely dependent upon the rheology associated with the formation.  In that case, RobertDyck may very well be the correct person for that kind of drilling operation.  If you want to drill 200m to 2,000m+, then you will need a fluid system, because the bore hole will collapse unless you have a correctly weighted fluid system to drill with.  The deeper you drill, the faster the collapse will occur.  That's basic physics in action.

Normal operations go like this:

1. Identify the nature of the formation you expect to drill through using seismic tests and pilot holes used to obtain data from other test equipment, like radioactive sources and electronic sensors that indirectly measure the chemical properties of the formation you're drilling through.  This is where Canadrill would be most helpful.  You drill lots of pilot holes in a given field before you commit to a full-blown drilling operation with a rig and fluid system and engineers monitoring the operation.  We have geophysicists on staff to collect this kind of data.
2. Review your wireline data from the pilot holes, offsets and recap reports for drilling in that field, if you have any, to estimate the required fluid system properties and daily loss rates and "ground truth" regarding what you find.  Some of this is experience-driven guesswork and some of it is rheology and chemistry.  The less you know about what you're drilling through, the more guesswork that's involved.  This is where an experienced project engineer is needed most.
3. Consult with your fluid systems specialist to determine the chemical properties required, unless that's dictated to you by the client.  Some clients have favored fluid systems, others want the job done cheaply as possible, and still others want to experiment to determine what works best.  Sometimes that's even the same client, dependent upon their experience with a given operation- they want to experiment at first, then they want to use something that "just works" according to what they see, and then they inevitably want lowest cost, and there's nothing wrong with that.  The scientists in the chemistry lab are always coming up with new ways to accomplish the same task for less money or faster or with better results.
4. Drill the top section.
5. Clean the bore hole in that section with a brine.
6. Case that section with cement.
7. Repeat that process for all intermediate and target / pay zone sections.  The "pay zone" may be a very thin layer, and hydraulic fracturing may be required to extract from it.
8. Onshore, it's very common to do batch drilling and/or directional drilling from a single well head in a field, because the stuff you want to get at is often contained in small pockets.  Whether this is necessary on Mars is entirely dependent upon the nature of the resource you want to extract.

If there's oil and gas on Mars, then this is almost certainly what you will find.  You also want to determine if you can obtain liquid brine, because this is much easier to pump and requires far less energy than something you have to melt.  You can also save some of that brine for future drilling operations.  Brines are used to clean bore holes prior to cementing / casing operations.  If there are large reservoirs of liquid water and natural gas on Mars, then nobody in their right mind would resort to dehydrating the Martian regolith or melting surface ice or carting their Acme Starter Sabatier Reaction Set with them from Earth, on account of the energy consumption.  Drilling for resources is far and away the most energy-efficient way of obtaining liquid water / oil / gas, which is why we do so much of that here on Earth.  And yes, eventually we'll have to resort to more energy and resource intensive CO2 recycling to reuse combustion products.  Industrialization occurred here on Earth due to the discovery of buried hydrocarbons, not batteries and solar panels, which were energy inventions made possible by industrialization.

In all cases, there is an active system in the well (drilling fluid or brine), because if there's not the Earth (or Mars) will fill it back up for you.  Mud engineers exist to monitor and constantly adjust your fluid system additives, especially the weight (pounds-per-gallon or kilograms-per-cubic-meter).  They're monitoring the rig for safety (both to respond if you take a kick by quickly weighing up the system, aka "containing pressure", and ensure you don't fracture the formation, aka "weigh up the fluid system so much that hydrostatic pressure overcomes the structural integrity of the formation").  You figure this out by accurately knowing TVD, or total vertical depth.  The project engineer does the initial planning for the mud engineer, which includes determine TVD and total length and total volume of mud to cover normal operations and losses.  You will lose some mud, and that's a given.  If you're going to do this kind of exploratory drilling, then it's best to have some spike mud on the rig for contingencies, in addition to your LCM package.  Again, you only need LCM to contend with drastic unexpected loss of circulation.  You don't need that much of it and it's pretty light but bulky to store.

So..., in terms of "tanks" and "piles":

Grinding tank to store your weighting agent as a fine powder
Active system tank (whole mud)
Reserve system tank (contingency whole mud)
Brine tank (for bore hole cleaning prior to cementing, and possibly cementing itself as well if you can spare the water)
Cuttings removal tank that contains your shakers and screens, with a way to periodically discharge the cuttings
Sometimes you can grind up cuttings to re-inject them into the well, essentially using them as part of your fluid system
Additives piles - salt / lime / bentonite
Cementing piles - sulfur and aggregate, primarily, but if you do get liquid water then you'll want the cement we use here on Earth, which is proven to last for many decades (for this use, Sulfacrete is a giant question mark in my mind, but you will need to case completed sections)

A mobile land rig with a small train of autonomous support vehicles like dump and tanker trucks would obviously be ideal.  If you're going to live on Mars, then this is ultimately what you need.  The moment we discover natural gas and liquid brine reservoirs, nobody will be talking about colonizing the planet using Sabatier reactors and batteries.

Finally, trying to do this "on the cheap" is an utter waste of time.  If you ultimately have to get at the buried resources and those are hundreds of meters down, then you ultimately need real drilling equipment, which means using drilling fluid systems derived from local resources.  Apart from brine, pretty much everything else you need to drill to depths of a couple kilometers or more is sitting there somewhere on the surface of the planet, so you have to figure out how to use it.  Otherwise, Mars will remain a very expensive outpost crewed by a handful of scientists.

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#55 2021-09-05 16:55:04

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,088

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

For GW Johnson .... I get the impression kbd512 would like to be included in the team you have formed.

I'll copy all files to the email address kbd512 has on file.

Update at 19:51 local time ...

I just sent four files (at least) to kbd512 ...

The two CV/resume documents, plus Draft 3 of the letter, plus an image #2 of the lander.

For kbd512 ... please report what you received (just identification) so GW Johnson knows what you will be looking at.

(th)

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#56 2021-09-05 20:42:35

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,920

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

tahanson43206,

I would like a geophysicist and a project engineer with extensive experience as a mud engineer included on the team.  The only topic I've taught to project engineers and mud engineers is forecasting materials consumption.  I don't have the rheology knowledge of the expertise in running drilling operations.  I do work with these people on a daily basis, but that's who GW really needs on his team.  Knowing what the book says about the topic versus many years of first-hand experience is two entirely different things.  The map is not the territory.  I read their book because my friend who teaches mud school recommended that I read it and solve some of the sample problems to merely scratch the surface of what these people are facing when they start designing wells and running fluid systems for customers.

If you drill without a fluid system, then you only need a very good mechanical engineer with basic knowledge of geology and rheology.  Someone who is a civil engineer who designs structures (highways / bridges / dams and sewage systems especially) likely has this type of knowledge.  An experienced rough neck may also have the knowledge required to do this type of drilling, quite frankly, but he won't be designing any equipment.  I'm unaware of any rough necks who know half as much about drilling as a project engineer of an experienced mud engineer , and it shows in their comments and "ideas".  After these mud engineers obtain college degrees from some of the best schools on the planet, we spend months to years training them.  Do you think the company would spend the kind of money involved to further educate these people for giggles?

If you drill with a fluid system, then you need mechanical engineers who design oilfield equipment (shakers / screens / centrifuges / drill pipe / drill bits / downhole tools to clear debris or stuck pipe / the list goes on), a geophysicist (to interpret and analyze data regarding what you're about to drill through), a project engineer with good working knowledge of hydraulics and rheology- and enough good sense to run numbers rather than guess at consumption rates (yes, some of them have a good sense for this over time, but running numbers tends to be more accurate than even well-educated guesses), and a chemist who specializes in drilling fluids (to design the fluid systems using what you have to work with on Mars and confirming that whatever mix of ingredients you come up with will have the desired properties).  You may think you're getting away with less than that, but only by dumb luck would allow that to happen.  Historically, nobody has been that lucky when it comes to drilling operations.  It's hard-won institutionalized experience and "the good book" is only a basic guide.  That's why we spend so much money on education, training, and technology development- because all that stuff really does work when you use it.

Anyway, I'm only trying to open your eyes as to what's involved.  It's not trivial.  This is not a Saturday afternoon science project.  I think Calliban is a petroleum engineer, but in what capacity I don't know.  If he is, then ask him about what I've stated if you want further confirmation of this from someone else in the business.  You really have your work cut out for you, and I think you need people who specialize in this type of work, irrespective of how simple or complex you think the task will be, because very few drilling operations go off without a hitch, even after months of planning by entire teams of experienced people.  I can probably get the man who teaches mud school to talk to you guys to give you a sense of what you need to know.  My only advice is that you give careful consideration to what he tells you, because he knows what he's talking about.

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#57 2021-09-05 21:02:40

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,903

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

I would agree that kbd512 should be included as there is much more knowledge than mine for the mission goals.

The kbd512, posts expand the simple scope of proving ice layers and surface compactness which pushes the mission out of having multiples to having just 1 to scout the site which is not enough to determine the goals with a single launch on a Falcon 9 heavy.

Ther use of additives for the drill to not bind cuts into the launch mass and number of units that could be created for a single launch which is desired.

The addition of seismic sensing is a plus to detection of the drilling as it does its work to penetrate the surface of mars.

Current missions of Nasa with parachutes require about 15 mT on orbit entry to get the 1 mT on the ground.

Our current design is to land a much higher value while not changing the on orbit levels other than to try and make them less.

https://drillyourownwell.com/
How to Drill Your Own Water Well

https://knowledgeweighsnothing.com/step … ater-well/

https://www.howtodrillawell.com/

https://www.ircwash.org/sites/default/f … WA-526.pdf
IIIZS WATER WELL DRILLER'S BEGINNING TRAINING MANUAL

http://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/water/oper … lowner.pdf
WATER WELL DRILLING FOR THE PROSPECTIVE WELL OWNER

https://geodatadrilling.com/blog/2021/0 … viscosity/

Drilling mud, also called drilling fluid is use for water borehole drilling. Drilling mud is pumped down the hollow drill pipe through the by-bass hose to the drill bit, where it exits the pipe and then is flushed back up the borehole to the settling pits at surface. Water remains the primary constituent of water well drilling fluids.

here is a folding solar panel array company of which I am sure that we could find others which is simular to the drawings
https://sparkwing.space/satellite-solar-panels
Smallsatstowed.316.small__0.png

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#58 2021-09-05 22:15:05

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,903

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#59 2021-09-05 22:20:49

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,920

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

tahanson43206,

I'm definitely interested in getting someone for GW to talk to who can explain the ins-and-outs of drilling operations to his team.  So that their efforts are not without result, let's see if Dr. Zubrin can bring this to the attention of SpaceX and JPL first.  I don't think they're seriously thinking about this problem, and are presently focused on landing on Earth.  However, there's a two year lead time for shipping anything to Mars and a 5 year lead time for a serious project, but it would be to everyone's benefit to have the physics of landing worked out ahead of time.

Of course GW's idea is a good idea, but the idea has to be picked up by SpaceX and JPL as "their idea".  NIH is much much stronger within the government than at SpaceX, but I get the feeling that that concept is still ever-present, nonetheless.  All I want to do is to see the ball moved down the field, closer and closer to our shared goal of landing humans on Mars and maintaining a permanent presence there.  I think GW's project is required to do that, and agree 100% with his assessment of what we need to know before we just send a Starship there, as much as that will cost, merely to "see what happens" when it tries to land.  I'm all for boldly going where no human has gone before, but not foolishly going someplace where we can't even land because the regolith won't bear the weight of the machine we attempt to park on top of it.  We obviously need water for many purposes, and can't bring all of it from Earth, so if we can find it just below ground level, then that's an automatic benefit for follow-on missions.  These ships that SpaceX wants to land are not modestly sized tinker toys for scientists to play with, either.  They're as big or bigger as any other aerospace vehicles in operation, and much heavier when fully fueled.  If they fail in any significant way, then people will die, and every government agency in the country will question the wisdom of what we're doing, if only to avert attention away from the wisdom of what they're doing, and we don't need that.  As such, let's do our homework ahead of time so we can land with confidence or at least know which areas to steer clear of.

To reiterate again, GW should be the one who decides who he wants on his team, not you or I.  Leaders should get to pick their teams.  If I wasn't on it, then there's probably a good reason for that, and he certainly doesn't have to explain himself to me.  I'm still interested in the result, because I think interplanetary colonization is a hard requirement for humanity to continue to thrive.  If I can simply get someone with the requisite experience to talk to GW's project team about drilling operations, then mission accomplished in my eyes.  For drilling without fluids, someone with knowledge of bits, drill pipe, and rudimentary understanding of geology is all that's required.  The deeper you drill, the more sophisticated the solution becomes, out of necessity.  The people at NASA and JPL need to come to terms with the fact that the one course they took in geology in college 10 years ago doesn't imbue them with the knowledge and experience required to run drilling operations, even though they have a PhD in some other type of engineering.  Expertise in mechanical and electrical engineering doesn't automatically "transfer over" to chemistry and Earth sciences, nor vice versa.

If we find subsurface lakes of liquid water and hydrocarbons on Mars, then the red planet becomes prime real estate for human colonization within the next decade or so.  We're making excellent progress on preparing the mission hardware, and GW's project is another logical step that retires risk and clears another major snow day hurdle / excuse for not going.  The abundant energy supply comes first, then all the other human activities that use energy.  My final thoughts on this are that SpaceX will have to work this problem to reliably land on the moon, NASA has contracted them to do so, and prior to sending a probe to Mars for similar tests, why not send one to the lunar poles first?  If it works on the moon, then it'll probably work on Mars as well.  Beyond that, we need ice core data from the lunar poles for scientific reasons and for our full dress rehearsal for Mars landings.  The mission cost is much cheaper, results will be forthcoming much faster (no 8 month wait), we avoid the difficulties associated with Mars reentry, and we can directly control the rig from Earth.  If there's a problem, then there will eventually be crews available to work on the rig and examine failures in-person.  There's NASA money for going to the moon as well.  I know it doesn't directly translate over to Mars landings, but if all the equipment works on the moon, it'll work on Mars, and that should be the very next mission after a successful trial run on the moon.  NASA typically builds a few copies of a given probe design, so we can get at least two probes and double the data return for twice the cost.  I know that's government thinking, but I was one of their employees in a past life.

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#60 2021-09-06 07:44:23

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,088

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

For kbd512 re Post #59

Thank you for your council in this situation, and for your review of the overall future options.

One correction I would like to offer (very minor) ... The next launch window is September of 2022, so we have **one** year to put everything together.

It would be helpful to find knowledgeable persons to advise Dr. Johnson, but ** I ** am looking for self-starters who want to grab this opportunity and run with it. In particular, I am looking for a major company or educational institution that would like to establish pre-eminence by taking the risks of developing one or more of the probes.

I will be recommending to Dr. Johnson that the probes be separated.  In his opening vision, he has brought two very different technical challenges together in the same lander.  I will be recommending the functions be separated.

In any case, thank you for your careful review of the materials, and your offer to help to move the project along!

(th)

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#61 2021-09-06 07:52:41

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,088

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

For GW Johnson ...

Draft #3 is here, printed, and ready for careful study today.

However, as indicated in the just prior post to kbd512, I'd like to suggest you separate functions for the Landing Site probe.

I'd like to see one probe with mobility, able to visit the entire landing site to take the pressure measurements you've suggested.

The drill probe may not be mobile, because it will have to spend so much time in one location to reach the 20 meter depth that (I understand) was a design objective of CanaDrill.   Your design may well go further.

It is time to think about the "ask" .... the work we are doing now is developing a vision for presentation to decision makers.

However, a proposal without a specific "ask" is unlikely to achieve anything useful.

The "ask" needs to be tailored to the decision maker.

In the case of the Mars Society, while there are risks of failure (Planetary Society failed on the first solar sail launch attempt), the rewards for success are significant.  Mars Society can be a major player in setting up post-NASA exploration of Mars.

In  ** this ** case, it seems to me that a joint venture ** with ** NASA will provide the optimum results.  GW Johnson has suggested enlisting JPL to design the lander.  That is a good idea, but the launch is just one Earth year away!  If we want significant effort to be invested by JPL to reach that launch date, then we need to have the resources allocated within the next few weeks.

(th)

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#62 2021-09-06 09:59:06

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,700
Website

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

I think we're more-or-less on the same page here.  We do not detail-design the lander,  JPL does.  We have to create the idea in such a way that both Spacex and JPL can make it "theirs",  just like Kbd512 said.  It needs to be built fairly quickly,  but I doubt it would fly before the 2024 opportunity.  2022 is too close for JPL to build and test the thing to work out the bugs (and there will be bugs to work out,  there always are). 

We have a baseline lander concept depicted in the letter concept proposal (unless someone has a better idea).  We know what this thing has to do.  I don't know if the outfit that built Canadrill still exists,  but RobertDyck probably has the contacts in Canada to find out,  since he is Canadian.  We do need that info,  as it is the Canadrill the probe needs.  Why reinvent what somebody already built and tested?

What we have to do is get Zubrin enthused about this notion,  so that he can get Musk enthused about it.  Zubrin could do that,  we cannot.  Then together,  Musk with Zubrin could get JPL enthused.  That plus some private $,  and this thing could fly.  We need Musk,  it's his big ship that is at risk trying to land in the dirt on Mars;  now do you understand why I wanted to fly multiple copies of the probe on a Falcon-Heavy,  to visit most of the proposed landing sites?  We use one of Musk's own assets to solve a problem that Musk already knows that he has.

What we have to do is polish this letter proposal up,  so that it has a chance of getting Zubrin enthused.  Having a nod of approval from James Burk would raise the probability that Zubrin would like our idea.  I've already drafted the thing,  I need the team to help me polish it up.  I took a shot at moving details into an appendix.  That's draft #4.  After another read-through,  I will send it to TH.

I do need everybody's name and email,  to finish the letter,  and to speed up dissemination to the team.  Plus resumes or cv's for RobertDyck and Kbd512.  I have one from Spacenut already.  I forgot whether I already have one from TH,  will have to go look. 

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2021-09-06 10:05:10)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

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

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#63 2021-09-06 10:48:24

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,088

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

For GW Johnson re #62

If you think 2024 is a better bet for the kind of probe you have in mind, then the urgency to take action now is much reduced.

On the other hand, JPL is not the only space qualified lander builder on Earth.

Back on the ** first ** hand, JPL is certainly the MOST qualified lander builder.

I'd like to think JPL could rise to this challenge, given the opportunity, but I agree one year is really tight.

In the mean time, I recommend ** everyone ** keep alert for alternative lander designers.  I know of at least one (with no flight experience) and there may well be others.

If we go with a non-JPL builder and launch in 2022, no one will expect success, so anything beyond another crater on Mars would be an accomplishment.

***
I'm still working on (thinking about) the format of a CV/Resume ...
***
Update at 13:24 local time ...

After thinking about your recent posts, and those of kbd512, I came to the conclusion that another bit of lore from the commercial organizational environment may come in handy here ...

The first was familiar to many in business ... "No Surprises"  That applies first of all to one's immediate superior, but it goes all the way up the line.

Here is a related concept that I've seldom encountered, primarily because I've generally been given direction and asked to fill in the details.

RuleOfThumb: Never put decision maker in position of having to say NO!

In the present case, our initiative has many risks.  The mission itself is risky, the business partners that are needed may not be available in the time frame we might prefer, funding is uncertain at best and downright questionable at worst.   I think the team leader will pass muster, but from the perspective of the decision maker, the team itself is unknown (at present) and there will surely be risks associated with betting on the team at this point.

For those reasons, and for others that I'm sure are present but not remembered, I recommend we NOT send an unsolicited Proposal.

There is a tried and true solution to this dilemma!  That is the RFP mechanism.  Request For Proposal signals interest on the part of a decision maker in a very specific concept or set of concepts.

The ideal source for an RFP would be NASA, and there may well already exist RFP's in existence that touch on some or all of the technology  developments in discussion here.

Another ideal source would be SpaceX itself.  If a reader of this topic has connections at SpaceX, an RFP that looks a lot like the proposal of GW Johnson (lander to test soil and drill for water) would be most welcome.

(th)

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#64 2021-09-06 11:34:24

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,920

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

GW,

If there's interest, then I want to obtain the resumes of the project engineer who teaches mud school and our chief scientist (chemist) who runs the lab, if I can swing it.  Those resumes have merit for this project.  The resume of someone who writes software and teaches forecasting does not.  I only know enough to know that what you're proposing may not be so simple.  For drilling 10 meter to 20 meter pilot holes without a fluid system, then you probably don't need much in the way of engineering support.  For drilling down 2,000m, you'll need all of those people and more.  The only PhD geophysicist I knew from wireline is no longer with the company, but she may be interested or it's probable that the man who teaches mud school knows other people over in wireline since they work with each other.  I can't talk to any of them until they return to work tomorrow.

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#65 2021-09-06 11:42:15

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,700
Website

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

TH:

I just sent you draft 4.  Spread it around to the whole team.  Which includes Kbd512.  I need feedback from all of you.  It's now a fairly simple 4-page letter proposal,  with an appendix full of details and numbers.  The two sketches of the concept design are still in the 4-page letter,  so there's really only 3 text pages.  I've added example numbers in the Appendix.

You will see what's still missing.  I've got your name,  and I have Spacenut's name and a copy of a resume he sent me.  I'm pretty sure RobertDyck's name is Robert Dyck,  but I need his cv or resume,  and yours.  That leaves Kbd512:  I need his actual name and a resume or cv from him. 

I'm thinking that my cv would be more appropriate for this,  instead of the shorter resume,  simply because I am team leader.  Zubrin needs to understand that I am "real" in the sense of qualified to have come up with something useful.  Otherwise,  he will never get enthused about this thing. 

Draft 5 should have all the names,  plus any other feedback from y'all.  It may actually be the final draft.  If so,  we show it to James Burk,  asking for his opinion.  If favorable,  we can then send it plus the resume materials to Zubrin,  with the notation that Burk likes it.

That's as much as we can do.  From there,  if Zubrin gets enthused,  he shows it to Musk.  They show it to JPL,  and from there I think it's over the top.  I put that path in the letter,  by the way.

Just saw some feedback from Kbd512.  He has some heavy-duty contacts in the oilfield drilling business.  There might be a way to work that in,  too.  Somehow. 

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2021-09-06 11:46:55)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

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

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#66 2021-09-06 11:48:43

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,088

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

For kbd512 re deep drill concept ...

It is encouraging to see your thinking along these lines ....

I see your proposal/suggestion as attractive to large organizations (such as exist in Texas) who are familiar with big bets. 

For GW Johnson .... kbd512 seems (as I read his text) to be offering a pathway towards a larger scale investment suitable for a large non-governmental organization.  I am wondering if you are willing to allow yourself to be perceived as the Project Leader for both the small landing pad initiative you have started, and a much more ambitious deep-drill investment that kbd512 may be able to put together.

For kbd512 ....as described earlier, the optimum path for a proposal such as you've suggested is an RFP.

If you can find a resource within your industry able and willing to issue an RFP for a deep drilling venture on Mars, then publication of such an RFP should produce some interesting results.

(th)

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#67 2021-09-06 12:37:54

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,088

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

Update at 14:35 local time

Draft 4 of the Lander Proposal was emailed to 5 members of the Project Team.

Please report if you did ** not ** receive your copy.

(th)

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#68 2021-09-06 13:32:02

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,903

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

The real issue for a mission is to set the design so as to meet the goals as to not keep incurring costs for the options and greater capability that takes longer to integrated and eventually pushes the mission costs higher with more delay to go in time so that more sites can be tested that would favor a manned landing in the future.

Getting JPL hooked should not be all that hard with proposal since its based impart to what they had for a sample return concept using the dragon capsule. Which brings to mind the issue of a lander versus a rover with penetrating the ground conditions to prove out the foot print requirements and for water/ice sub surface. You need a mass to be able to push the drill downward as it grinds its way down. A rover while mobile will not have the same depth capability that a lander will have for drilling.

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#69 2021-09-06 16:37:08

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,920

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

GW,

A draft that needs to be sent that includes the names of project engineers who teach the subject matter to other project engineers and mud engineers, chemists who specialize in designing / analyzing drilling fluids, analyzing core or product samples, geophysicists who interpret wireline data gathered during the exploration phases of project planning, and downhole tools specialists who can tell us what kind of tooling is required.  I don't know who I can dig up who specializes in cuttings removal equipment (shakers / screens / centrifuges).  Since we have and use fully automated rigs for real drilling operations, with no onboard operators present, you probably want to talk to the people who designed those as well.  Any real drilling project needs to start with the knowledge and experience provided by people who have been there and done that.  Guessing at what works or doesn't, or trying to use book knowledge as a substitute for real world drilling experience, won't cut it.

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#70 2021-09-06 16:37:53

kbd512
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Posts: 4,920

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

tahanson43206,

I sent my resume and received the latest draft copy of the proposal.

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#71 2021-09-06 16:56:47

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,920

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

Do we know anything at all about what's beneath the surface?  What different types of materials will we be drilling through?  Did that little probe tell us anything?  We don't need to know what's in the core of the planet, only what we find a kilometer or less beneath the surface.  We need to know what drilling fluid ingredients we can locally source as well.

Drilling Fluid Solutions, Systems, and Products

Edit:

Please take note of the free drilling software on offer:

Mudware Mud Drilling Software

There are lots of tools and info offered that would not otherwise be easy to come by, but you really need to talk to an expert.

Last edited by kbd512 (2021-09-06 17:08:47)

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#72 2021-09-06 17:14:15

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,088

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

For kbd512 re #70

Thanks for confirming the draft #4 file arrived!

I'll forward the resume tomorrow when I visit the NewMars Portal.

I have no idea how this initiative is going to turn out, but I am greatly encouraged by your decision to help!

(th)

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#73 2021-09-06 17:48:24

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,920

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

Also, please take a look at the following:

HDD Mining and Waterwell - Product listing and applications

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#74 2021-09-06 18:12:08

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,088

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

For GW Johnson re Draft #4

I was able to focus intently on Draft #4 this evening, and I have a couple of nits to report.

That's what you pay us volunteers to provide, after all!

Page 1 ... nice!  (one observation .... I noticed the 10 meter ice probe depth)  The CanaDrill could go deeper, but less is more in this case.

Page 2 ... nit: T in The before Apollo does not need to be capitalized.

At the bottom of Page 2.... suggest moving See Figure 1. below line that starts "Communication"

In my reading, I felt a speed bump at that point. 

Page 3 ... more than a nit ... words are missing after "cope with".

Page 4 .... Paragraph beginning "The soil ..."

This isn't a nit, but it ** is ** a concern .... the pressure exerted by the tool will be communicated back to the mass of the lander.

Thus, the tip pushing into the soil will end up lifting the lander if the probe is "looking" at a rock.

I understand the concept of taking the pressure in the piston cylinder as the measurement to be reported.

Your explanation of the physics may be just right for most readers.  I'd like to invite feedback from other team members.

Is this detail understandable to everyone else?

Page 5 .... this is more a question of style than anything else ...

The backup paragraph might deserve it's own heading?

It seems to me that a break between the primary recommendation and the backup suggestion could be more clearly defined.

Overall ... I like the style of writing, which is unique to your personality.  Hopefully it will "sound" agreeable to most "inner ears".

Page 6 .... For those who are from a business/commercial background, I would imagine the Resume format might seem more familiar.

There is only one ** true ** academic in this crowd, and you have over performed with ** both ** formats.

(th)

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#75 2021-09-06 18:24:21

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,903

Re: Scouting Mars for Landing Sites

Mars has had 10 successful landings using https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/ca … space.html but this design will be a bit different to all of these others. With that we know that the diameter of these are critical for landing mass which we have not given a size for as of yet.

These have been small from the era of pathfinder to persaverence 5M. https://www.space.com/mars-rover-persev … step-guide with sensor being employed for data https://www.space.com/11995-nasa-mars-s … hield.html

Of course the sensing was for the atmospheric density of which we have the lift equations for the parachutes and likewise for the heat of friction of that same atmosphere for the heat shield material and respective thickness.


.

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