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#1 2020-05-04 09:17:09

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,325

The Mars Foundation

The Mars Foundation may already be listed in the NewMars forum Index, but in the absence of SpaceNut, I was unable to confirm that.

The Mars Foundation was brought to my attention by LinkedIn, which suggested a name because some of my space interested friends are linked.

This is just a preliminary post to start a series on this foundation, its founder and members, and its activities.

Apparently (according to Google) the founder of the Mars Foundation has given talks at the Mars Society.

In the LinkedIn page for the Mars Foundation founder, he invites email at:

BMackenzie@alum.mit.edu

If anyone (? RobertDyck ?) is acquainted with this gent, I'd appreciate your posting about him, his (possible) history with the forum, and anything else that seems appropriate.

(th)

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#2 2020-05-04 09:26:17

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,325

Re: The Mars Foundation

To follow up, Bruce MacKenzie has indeed been cited (by RobertDyck) in posts in this forum.

I tried searching for just the last name and found that that last name comes up in multiple contexts.

A more limited search might work better with the full name.  The citations I found reported a proposal to make bricks on Mars.

(th)

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#3 2020-05-04 12:32:33

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,865

Re: The Mars Foundation

Here's the website:

http://www.marsfoundation.org/

Doesn't seem very up to date, which is a shame as it has some interesting topic areas.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#4 2020-05-05 13:48:42

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,094

Re: The Mars Foundation

go to the team link to see status of members
http://www.marsfoundation.org/the-team/
at one time some of the mars groups were more interested in IP cash and patents rather than the efforts to actually get to mars.

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#5 2020-05-05 17:24:40

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,743
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Re: The Mars Foundation

Bruce founded the Mars Foundation, and recruited a team to design the first ever permanent base. Bruce asked me to be part of that team. That was the Mars Homestead Project, phase 1, the Hillside Settlement. Unfortunately the group broke up, some members were more interested in IP, and wanted to create a theme park with a full-size copy of the Mars Homestead. They had a major disagreement with Bruce, separated to form their own company. Bruce is definitely interested in Mars.

Mark Homnick (CEO) and Joseph E. Palaia, IV (Vice-President of R&D) started the company. They invited Bruce to join at first, but eventually had a falling out. Too bad. The name refers to Earth orbit, Moon, Mars, and Asteroids.
https://www.4frontierscorp.com/

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#6 2020-05-05 18:03:01

tahanson43206
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Posts: 7,325

Re: The Mars Foundation

For RobertDyck re #5 and topic!

Thanks for giving this new topic a substantial boost! 

I took a quick look at the web site you showed.  The team members appear to have been on a roll in 2008.  The web site shows copyright through 2017.

What I have in mind for this topic is to create a series of "bite sized" posts that might tempt a reader to start at the top and pursue the topic to where-ever it goes.

If you have already written about your participation in the project (as seems quite possible over your 5,915 posts (and counting)) then the posts in ** this ** topic might simply point to those earlier items (if you can still find them << grin >>).

It's possible posts here may stimulate other members to contribute memories of working with Bruce, or perhaps other connections that would be interesting.

If SpaceNut were here (at full strength) it is likely he'd use his remarkable search skills to pull numerous citations out of the archive..

Edit#1: The idea of making a Mars Theme Park based upon a serious Homesteading Vision makes sense to me, in light of the success of other theme parks over the years.  Of course, ** right NOW ** is not a good time for ** anything ** << sigh >>

The My Hacienda topic is still sitting in a "ready" state, waiting for 2750 individuals who have an interest in building a virtual community based upon Specialization, Division of Labor and a free flowing Market.

I'd be interested in learning (in bite sized chunks if possible) what the folks working on the Mars Foundation came up with.

(th)

Last edited by tahanson43206 (2020-05-05 18:36:25)

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#7 2020-05-05 23:54:35

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,743
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Re: The Mars Foundation

Ok, shall I throw it at you? Old website...
http://marshome.org

New website...
http://www.marsfoundation.org

From the old website, document library...
http://marshome.org/documents.php

Image gallery...
http://www.marshome.org/images2

A little history from my perspective. Bruce invited me to join the Homestead project in 2005. The focus was designing the first settlement, starting with landing on the planet with nothing but we bring with us. To ensure we don't get distracted, I proposed we assume the lander is a group of Mars Direct habitats. One reason is I gave a presentation at the Mars Society convention of 2002, proposing a modification of Mars Direct. To say the audience did not accept my idea, or any modification of Mars Direct, would be an understatement. Today members of this forum are creative, propose all sorts of things. In 2002 the members for the most part were excited to learn or Mars Direct, a practical way to go to Mars, so viewed anything else as heretical. So still stinging from that, I proposed we stick with Mars Direct. That was quickly accepted. Bruce and Mars wanted to start with 12 settlers, so we started with 3 habitats (4 in each). Bruce wanted to Earth Return Vehicles, this would be one-way. So for safety, Mark suggested a 4th habitat as backup, just in case. Mars Direct includes one rover with enough fuel for up to 1,000km one-way, in case it lands far off the landing site. If it lands correctly, the rover can be used for exploration. For Mars Homestead, the rover can be used to prospect and harvest resources. The 4th habitat would have full life support and crew accommodations, so it could be a backup. But would be packed with extra tools instead of crew, and a mini-track loader instead of a rover.

Bobcat is a brand name, Brandt makes a competing vehicle. And there are other brands. With tires they're called skid-steer loaders. That's because the wheels don't turn; the vehicle turns by stopping wheels on one side while wheels on the other move forward. Or spin in place by turning wheels on one side the opposite direct to the other. Skid-steer works great on firm ground or pavement, but not so much on loose soil. It especially has a problem with steep hillsides with loose soil/sand/gravel/dirt. Our intention was to build the permanent habitat by digging into a hillside, build the pressurized modules there, then drive the loader up the hill to push dirt down to bury the habitat. That means driving up a steep hillside with loose soil. A track vehicle works better in that environment. On Earth, tracks tear up grass and can scar or break pavement. But on Mars, a track loader makes sense. Besides, a track loader is normally built with solid metal wheels mounted on shock absorbers, with tracks consisting of interlocking metal segments coiled around the wheels. So we wouldn't have the problem of rubber tires, or wear/dents caused by wire wheels of the Apollo lunar rover. This was before Curiosity Rover, but Curiosity has had problems with it's aluminum wheels getting badly damaged. I proposed a custom track loader, based on the mini-track loader of a commercial manufacturer. Steel is very durable, aluminum is not. But we want to reduce launch mass for anything from Earth. So make it out of titanium alloy. Technically titanium is just as heavy as steel, but aircraft grade titanium alloy is 3 times as strong. That allows the parts to be thinner to save weight, but just as strong and durable. Furthermore, Mars 38% gravity means the vehicle can be built lighter. Mass is still the same on Mars, but weight isn't.

So the base starts with 4 Mars Direct habitats. Each habitat will bring an inflatable greenhouse. Each Mars Direct greenhouse will be as wide as a double-car garage, but twice as long. It will be squished down to reduce ceiling height and increase width; squished with hold-down straps tied to large tent pegs. Force on the tent pegs will be significant, so thing of steel rebar.

The guys asked me what is the most practical material for a greenhouse. That actually has two answers. Anything transported from Earth must be light-weight, so PCTFE film. Coated with the same vacuum deposited extremely thin metal coating that NASA developed for windows of spacecraft and space stations. The coating will block UV light, and control IR. You need to control heat. One idea that existed before me was a double layer greenhouse, with the gap between layers pressurized more than Mars ambient, but less than the greenhouse interior. This can be monitored for leaks. If the gap increases in pressure, there's a leak in the inner layer. If the gap drops pressure, a leak in the outer. Each layer strong enough to work on it's own: if one layer completely fails, the other will contain pressure. For additional heat control, the gap can be filled with argon gas. Mars atmosphere is 1.6% argon, according to the 1976/'77 Viking 2 lander. We can harvest Mars atmosphere to get that.

However, the best material for a greenhouse built on Mars with in-situ materials is glass. Just normal glass. Well, tempered glass. Soda/lime glass is melted white sand with sodium oxide and calcium oxide added. This can be added in the form of calcite from limestone. Calcite is calcium carbonate; the heat of molten glass will break down the carbonate to CO2 gas leaving calcium oxide. This is how glass is made on Earth. And the Mars rovers found white side. To ensure the windows don't scratch or craze, the material must be harder than minerals in dust/sand storms. Normal glass is softer than minerals that Mars rovers have found on Mars, but tempered glass is harder. Glass is tempered with a heat treatment. This makes it both harder and stronger.

One intense debate was over greenhouse design. Some guys wanted to bury greenhouses for radiation protection. I argued the atmosphere of Mars reduces radiation to half that of ISS, and the most dangerous forms of radiation are blocked. Plants are more hardy vs radiation than humans, they won't have a problem. But most importantly, I was responsible for life support design. I wanted to use multiple life support systems, with mix-and-match components. This gives lots of options. However, all life support systems have a single point of failure: power. You could store oxygen or whole air, but that won't last several weeks or months. A greenhouse recycles oxygen with plants. In fact, a study by NASA found a greenhouse designed to provide all the food astronauts need will produce 3 times as much oxygen as astronauts breathe. So it's great! Furthermore, grey water from sewage treatment can be used to water the soil that plants grow in. Plant leaves will transpire water, producing high humidity. Cold windows of the greenhouse will condense that humidity. A collection trough along the bottom of windows can collect that water. After being filtered by plants, that water tastes better than the best filtration system NASA has ever devised. So greenhouses can recycle both oxygen and water while being powered by nothing but sunlight. So if there's a prolong power failure, astronauts will continue to live. Another argument was a dust storm would block ambient light. A greenhouse would have to use artificial light during a dust storm. I pointed out industry would be shut down during a dust storm, that power directed to artificial light. When there isn't a dust storm, greenhouses would use no power at all for light, all power could be used for industry. The guys still invoked the radiation argument. I argued for a seed bank in a vault buried in the deepest part of the hill. The compromise was half the greenhouses would use ambient light, the other half buried. Note: I still argue for 100% ambient light greenhouses. However, I wasn't invited to phase 2: the Plains settlement. That settlement used 100% buried greenhouses.

A couple staffing issues. Our architect was taking his master degree in architecture from MIT. Our project was his master thesis. He got his degree. Our power expert was a student taking his master degree in nuclear reactor engineering at MIT. Bruce is an alumnus of MIT. Mark Homnick was a retired manager of wafer manufacture at Intel. I was honoured to be asked to work with these guys!

Architectural images of our Hillside settlement...
http://www.marshome.org/images2/thumbnails.php?album=90

Artwork by an artist they hired for this project...
http://www.marshome.org/images2/thumbnails.php?album=79

We chose a real location on Mars. Obviously construction work is fictional. (aspirational?) Overview of the site...(click for larger image)
normal_MHP-4FC-Image003.jpg

Closer view...(click for gigantic image)
normal_MHP-4FC-Image001.jpg

Cross-section showing 2 Mars Direct habitats on the left, then an ambient light greenhouse (glass), then buried greenhouse, then chamber near the edge of the hill, a deeper section connect to the atrium on the right. The atrium is two story made of brick. Weight of Mars dirt is greater than air pressure to ensure the bricks don't blow out. Near the hill edge the soil could blow out sideways, so chambers there are fibreglass or steel. The brick atrium is painted with an air-tight elastomer (rubberized) sealant coating. Above the atrium are parabolic mirrors to reflect sunlight into a light pipe. A light pipe is just an unpressurized hollow pipe coated with a mirror surface on the inside. The light pipe reflects sunlight down it's length. The apex of each groin arch of the atrium has a light diffuser. So the atrium is filled with natural sunlight even though it's deep within the hill.

Again, click for larger view...
normal_MHP-4FC-Image016.jpg

Artist's view inside the atrium...
normal_MHP-4FC-Image029.jpg

Artist's view of an apartment...
normal_MHP-4FC-Image026.jpg

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#8 2020-05-06 06:54:52

tahanson43206
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Posts: 7,325

Re: The Mars Foundation

For RobertDyck re #7

Thank you for your (impressive to me) follow up.  I was (and am) hoping your presentation here will be inspiring to Yoda, who expressed an interest in life support.

It is encouraging (to me for sure) to see the compromise worked out by the members of the team, to allow for expression of both the above ground and below ground visions. 

It is possible you noted the discussion started by Void, about the possible use of balloons to land materials and people gently on Mars.  I bring this up because of your mention of recommendation of a specific material to make the walls of the greenhouses.  The question I have for you then, is whether the material you recommended could be used for balloons for delivery of goods and people to the surface.

As a quick summary for Yoda, who may not have seen the original discussion, it appears to be feasible to eject a landing package from Phobos at a velocity sufficient to reduce to zero the horizontal velocity with respect to the surface of Mars.  At that point the package would inflate a balloon with Hydrogen gas, which is needed for all kinds of manufacturing activities on Mars, including manufacture of rocket fuel.  The package with inflated balloon would then descend gently to the surface of Mars.  The rate of descent would be determined by the loadmaster's calculation of mass of the package vs lift provided by the hydrogen gas.

I have revised my concept of what the balloon would look like to a sausage instead of a sphere, and I was encouraged to see your external greenhouse concept would appear to consist of half cylinder shapes.  Thus, the landing balloons imagined by Void could be emptied of hydrogen and then cut in half to make greenhouse of outside storage sheds, if the material can be reused for that purpose.

Yoda, if you happen to catch this post, the start of the Void's Conjecture series starts here:
http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php … 69#p167469

(th)

Last edited by tahanson43206 (2020-05-06 06:57:37)

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#9 2020-05-06 12:27:01

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,743
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Re: The Mars Foundation

Cross section of buried greenhouse for Mars Homestead. Not exactly half cylinder. Again, click for larger image. Measurements in millimetres. Credit: architect Georgi Petrov.
normal_MHP-4FC-Image017.jpg

Last edited by RobertDyck (2020-05-06 12:29:14)

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#10 2020-05-06 12:46:57

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,743
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Re: The Mars Foundation

Inflatable greenhouse would use 2 mil thick film of PolyChloroTriFluoroEthylene (PCTFE). Reinforced with thermally applied shim of fibreglass. "Thermally applied" means heat the film so the shim melts into it. "Shim" is a loose gauze of fibreglass; this adds strength as well as acting as rip-stop. Every 2 metres the inflated greenhouse has a hold-down strap made of ballistic nylon or more likely technora. Technora is a strong fibre, it's an aramid. Kevlar is also an aramid; technora is actually stronger than Kevlar. Spirit and Opportunity rovers used parachute cords made of technora. One reason to place straps at intervals of 2 metres, is each segment of film about 2 metres x 2 metres will transfer stress to the straps. So the film doesn't have to carry more than 4 square metres of stress.

PCTFE used to be made by a company called 3M; their brand name was Kel-F. However, they stopped making it in 1995. Now Honeywell makes PCTFE, sold under the brand name Aclar to the pharmaceutical industry for blister packs for pills. PCTFE is the most impermeable to moisture of any know polymer, so this a very thin film of this materal will keep the pills dry. Blister packs use a back of aluminum foil, which also seals out moisture, but can be easily pierced with fingers. The top transparent plastic film has layers, PCTFE is a very thin layer because it's more expensive, a stronger and cheaper transparent plastic film is added for strength. Honeywell also sells PCTFE to the aerospace and military industries under the brand name Clarus. Aclar and Clarus are made in the same factory, with the same machines. They're the same stuff. However, Aclar is only available in certain standard sizes, while Clarus can be customized. For a Mars Greenhouse, you would use Clarus.

A Japanese company called Daikin also makes PCTFE. They use the brand name "Neoflon" but in this case they used that brand name for all fluoropolymers. You have to order it specifically as "Neoflon PCTFE".

Could you use PCTFE to deliver gasses from Phobos? Probably. You could also use cheaper polymers, that will leak but if transit from Phobos to Mars is only a matter of hours or minutes, leakage would not be significant. If you want to use the good stuff just so the gas bags can be recycled as greenhouses? Ok. You probably want a strong fabric outside the polymer bag, to protect from rocks. Spirit and Opportunity used a "bounce and roll" landing system with air bags. They used several layers of fabric made of a material called Vectran. Tests showed you can't make a single layer of fabric strong enough, no matter how heavy. However, multiple layers of thin fabric does work.

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#11 2020-05-06 14:17:14

tahanson43206
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Re: The Mars Foundation

This post slot is reserved for reply to RobertDyck #9 and #10

Thank you for the details of product and capability.  I would note that the shape of the cross section of the greenhouse/habitat/storageroom is determined by the outer material.  An inflated half cylinder would be cylindrical, of course, but the diagram you showed seems (as I interpret it) to imply an outer structure of regolith shaped into an ellipse or similar non-cylindrical shape. 

The qualities you've described for some of the products seem (as I understand the text) to be more that strong enough for the balloon phase of life, and then for extended service on Mars for a variety of purposes.

One thing I have (apparently) not conveyed adequately is that there would be NO bouncing or rolling or other misbehavior by a properly designed balloon delivery system.  The buoyancy of the balloon would be designed to just match the total mass of the package at the point of contact with the surface of Mars.

That means that the loadmaster will have to adjust the payload to the expected conditions during descent and at the intended customer site.

A delivery to the deepest location on Mars, on a day when atmospheric density is greatest, would have the greatest yield for a given quantity of hydrogen.

Temperature inside the balloon can be adjusted as needed to fine tune the buoyancy.

SearchTerm:ContinueBalloonDesign

Edit#1: The straps you described for one of the products would (I ** think **) help to transfer load between balloon and payload.  Having no experience designing balloons, I was concerned about how that might be done.

If the payload is a passenger compartment, that could be long and thin, so weight is distributed as evening as possible over the envelope of the balloon.

(th)

Last edited by tahanson43206 (2020-05-06 14:26:24)

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#12 2020-05-06 15:27:17

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
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Re: The Mars Foundation

tahanson43206 wrote:

Edit#1: The straps you described for one of the products would (I ** think **) help to transfer load between balloon and payload.  Having no experience designing balloons, I was concerned about how that might be done.

If the payload is a passenger compartment, that could be long and thin, so weight is distributed as evening as possible over the envelope of the balloon.

220px-2006_Ojiya_balloon_festival_011.jpg
Wikipedia: Hot air balloon design

Envelope
Modern hot air balloons are usually made of materials such as ripstop nylon or dacron (a polyester). During the manufacturing process, the material is cut into panels and sewn together, along with structural load tapes that carry the weight of the gondola or basket. The individual sections, which extend from the throat to the crown (top) of the envelope, are known as gores or gore sections. Envelopes can have as few as 4 gores or as many as 24 or more.

Envelopes often have a crown ring at their very top. This is a hoop of smooth metal, usually aluminium, and approximately 1 ft (0.30 m) in diameter. Vertical load tapes from the envelope are attached to the crown ring.

At the bottom of the envelope the vertical load tapes are sewn into loops that are connected to cables (one cable per load tape). These cables, often referred to as flying wires, are connected to the basket by carabiners.

So your idea of re-using material, the load tapes of a balloon could be used as hold-down straps for an inflated greenhouse.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2020-05-06 15:31:20)

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#13 2020-05-06 17:39:56

tahanson43206
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Posts: 7,325

Re: The Mars Foundation

For RobertDyck re #12

Thank you for that ** very ** helpful image, and for the text that includes description of the crown ring!

And! Thank you for your encouragement of exploration of how far it might be possible to go with Void's Conjecture!

It should be noted that Void himself has washed his hands of the entire subject << grin >>  Void has gone on to newer and even more amazing ideas, as his talent leads him.

Picking up on the crown ring idea, and combining with the idea of designing the balloons to serve as habitat/greenhouse/storage enclosures after delivery of their payload, it am imagining a crown ribbon of some suitable material, running the length of the top seam of the balloon fabric, and along the bottom seam. These seams would thus be the logical separation points for preparing the balloon for a new life on Mars as an enclosure. 

Since the expectation would be that the enclosure would hold pressure, either fully or in compression against shaped regolith, it would be helpful if the seam material used to hold the balloon halves together for the descent were capable of serving as an attachment anchor for ground stakes or equivalent holding devices.  Thus, manufacture on Earth would be comparatively straight forward for the greater part of the balloon envelope.  The hemispherical ends would still require design for the needed shape, which would be similar (I would think) to the top of the balloon you showed in the image.

(th)

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