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Author Topic: Working on a Mission to Mars  (Read 2120 times)

Offline PmbPhy

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Working on a Mission to Mars
« on: 25/02/2015 06:44:04 »
I was thinking that it might be fun to set aside a portion of my new website to discuss the Mars Mission. I was wondering if anybody here would like to work on the problem with me. I won't be putting a lot of time into it though but I will spend a good amount of time on it per week. Is there anybody here who thinks that they'd enjoy working on the problem themselves?

I'll try to contact people at Nasa and make a few friends with the folks there who are working on the Mars mission and get their input. Who knows. They might use something we create. :)

Please PM me if you're interested.


 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Working on a Mission to Mars
« Reply #1 on: 25/02/2015 07:43:22 »
Any particular problem? As I see it, the main problem is that they seem to be recruiting young travellers.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Working on a Mission to Mars
« Reply #2 on: 25/02/2015 19:45:10 »
Any particular problem? As I see it, the main problem is that they seem to be recruiting young travellers.
Things like figuring out how to deal with the radiation problem. The engineering problem of how to land such a heavy spacecraft and take off. How to prepare for unforeseen medical problems, building a place to live while on the surface, new spacesuits one can use while on the surface, etc.
 

Offline Colin2B

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Re: Working on a Mission to Mars
« Reply #3 on: 25/02/2015 22:52:18 »
I was thinking that it might be fun to set aside a portion of my new website to discuss the Mars Mission.

Any particular problem?

Even if they don't want help with specific designs, they might want independent folks to bounce ideas off or do sanity checks.
Sounds like fun
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Working on a Mission to Mars
« Reply #4 on: 26/02/2015 04:55:23 »
I was thinking that it might be fun to set aside a portion of my new website to discuss the Mars Mission.

Any particular problem?

Even if they don't want help with specific designs, they might want independent folks to bounce ideas off or do sanity checks.
Sounds like fun
Actually the main purpose is to have fun with it.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Working on a Mission to Mars
« Reply #5 on: 26/02/2015 07:54:58 »
I think a major problem is fuel.
  • A large rocket can carry enough fuel to take off from Earth, and stop at Mars.
  • A large rocket can carry enough fuel to take off from Earth, fly past Mars, and stop at Earth.
  • But even the largest rockets we have can't carry enough fuel to take off from Earth, stop at Mars, take off from Mars and stop at Earth.
  • Probably some sort of ion drive will be necessary to provide enough specific impulse for this trip. 

Additional fuel is needed for landing and taking off from the surface, but forseeable ion drives can't help here.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Working on a Mission to Mars
« Reply #6 on: 26/02/2015 08:11:17 »

Things like figuring out how to deal with the radiation problem. The engineering problem of how to land such a heavy spacecraft and take off. How to prepare for unforeseen medical problems, building a place to live while on the surface, new spacesuits one can use while on the surface, etc.

Send old people.

Radiogenic tumors take about 15 - 20 years to express, so anyone over 60 is more likely to die from a natural cancer than one induced by radiation.

At the age of 70 I have no reason or desire to die on this planet rather than another, so no need to take off from Mars, thus vastly simplifying the problem of getting there. I would appreciate occasional resupply but any one-way vehicle is a heck of a lot cheaper than a returnable ship.

Unforseen medical problems? No more a big deal than unforseen technical problems with a robot lander. If I can't fix it, I'll kill myself and leave more food for the others. Given the biological sterility of the Martian environment, the only problems will be those we take with us. I would expect my artificial hip to outlast me in low-g. I always fly with spare spectacles (god knows why! It's a licence endorsement but I can't imagine how to break my specs without breaking the plane!) and I wouldn't expect my prescription to change much in the next 10 years. A year's pre-flight quarantine should eliminate 'flu and any other transmissible diseases, which doesn't leave a lot of potential malfunctions that would be curable on Earth anyway.

I'd favour an underground primary habitat, so minimal material requirement, and most of that from the one-way lander. Imagine a caravan buried in sand. No great problem - except that Mars would be populated by geriatric trailer trash, and once the dust got in, we'd all be rednecks.

Outdoor wear? No problem. British explorers have always worn tweed. You will find the finest wool on every mountain, desert or swamp in the world, wrapped round a whisky-pickled corpse with a pipe in his mouth. The only question is Harris or Donegal? For long-term comfort I prefer the softer Irish stuff, and the same goes for the whiskey. 

Seriously, though, I think the main problem will be laundering underwear. Motorbike leathers are fairly  comfortable to work in, and seem to solve the problems of abrasion and holding all the bits in against low external pressure, but can get very sweaty after a while. I'd hope that we'd have some means of generating water or extracting it from the environment rather than recycling every molecule, and that would eliminate a lot of complications.

I strongly recommend reading "The Martian" by Andy Weir - a very well-researched novel that gets most of the physics and chemistry right.   

 

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Re: Working on a Mission to Mars
« Reply #6 on: 26/02/2015 08:11:17 »

 

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