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Deep Space Hardware (MARS)

Posted by: rpspeck - Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:57 am
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Deep Space Hardware (MARS) 
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Post    Posted on: Mon May 22, 2006 10:51 am
G'day Andy,

Before I respond to your post I want to make clear where I stand so below is something I posted on another forum.

ta

Ralph


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f you want to see people on Mars in our lifetimes forget about national plans , government agencies and professional astronauts. Instead encourage adventurers and entrepreneurs.

Remember this. Despite decades of human space travel no true explorer has yet gone into space! True explorers are people like, Jacques Cousteau polar explorers Mawson and Roald Amundsen and in today's world cave diver Bill Stone and even movie maker James Cameron. These people are defined by the exploration. They plan the expedition, raise funds, invent new technology and importantly they go. The current astronauts are contract explorers, doing someone else's mission or the occasional tourist. As such space agencies like NASA have to go to great expense to safe guard national hero astronauts. If an astronaut is killed in space expect a government inquiry and delays in further exploration. Adventurers like mountain climbers understand the danger and except it. The death toll climbing Everest is about 10%. This has not stopped people climbing Everest.

The adventurer explorer developed SCUBA , worked out how to live of the land in the arctic and are now developing rebreather gear and kite polar sleds. They are just the sort of people space exploration needs but have been kept out by the high cost of reaching orbit. If the cost of going into orbit can be reduced from the current $20 million to even just $2 million expect the adventurers to accept the challenge of space exploration.

If that happens don't be surprised to find that the first person on Mars is an Edmund Hillary type not another Armstrong Heres how they might do it.

Mars Alpine style

Mountaineers use the term Alpine Style to describe expeditions that take the bare minimum of equipment. They travel light and fast. For the true space explorer with limited funds but wants to go this is ideal.

Take the Zubrin 4 person 40 MT vessel or NASA's 60 tonne version. The bare minimum we need to send is one person. Although he\she might want company. So shrink it into a 1-2 person vehicle. Aluminum and steel are heavy. So use an inflatable design for great weight saving. How much furniture do you really need? If a foldaway camping chair and sleeping bag are OK for hiking the Arctic they good enough for Mars. Use a low pressure pure oxygen breathing gas. It was good enough for Apollo and theres weight savings and less complexity. Theres no need to radio back high definition TV. That takes a lot of energy and weight. The explorer send daily voice reports or even just e-mail reports. He brings numerous high density media disks back with him. You get the idea. Richard Speck has done much work on this as www.micro-space.com. I think a 5 tonne vessel (minus propulsion module) is achievable for a 1-2 person vessel. Richard thinks he can do it for less.

Do it incrementally and live off the land.

If you want to go to Mars quickly don't go to Mars first off. Its far big a jump. So go to the Near Earth Asteroids instead. The Amors are Mars crossers and it may be possible to hitch a ride on one. The carbonaceous chondrite asteroid contain water so an early mission to such an asteroid can develop water extraction technologies. Phobos and Deimos, the Martian moons are both carbonaceous so hardware proved on an asteroid
can be used to obtain water at Mars moon base camp. That greatly improves your life support and return fuel situation. Also a reusable Mars lander can do multiple sorties to Mars surface. Opening the planet to extensive exploration.


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Post    Posted on: Mon May 22, 2006 10:54 am
G'day Andy,

This December will mark the centenary of one of the greatest feats of exploration in history. The crossing of the North West Passage by Roald Amundsen. The North West Passage was the great goal of polar exploration that had defeated explorers was centuries. Even the British navy, the most powerful naval force of the era failed. They would send mighty ships with a hundred men, but would only get so far, then get stuck in the ice. With luck they got out before their rations expired.

The the Master Explorer Amundsen came along. He spent time learning how to live of the land from Eskimos. Trained himself to be a sea captain. Then with a crew that totaled only seven, he set on his quest in a small 47 ton fishing boat. The small team was an advantage not a hindeaence. Amundsen refused to take a doctor with him as he thought they were trouble makers. It took him three years but he finally did it. More here if you are interested.

http://www.framheim.com/Amundsen/NWP/NWPassage.html

Have a look at wind surfers Raphaela Le Gouvello web site.

http://www.raphaela-legouvello.com/inde ... ge=accueil

Its an excellent example of a well planned modern expedition. She may be wind surfing the Indian Ocean solo but she has a fine team at mission control. With modern communications there is less need to take large crews.

Todays explorers teach us how to cope with long periods of isolation, how to adapt off the shelf technology to survive extreme environments, how to plan and execute affordable missions and how to develop new technology cheaply. All are applicable to space missions.

Also, 40 years of unmanned probes have blazed the trail to the planets already. The information which they provide allow a minimum manned mission to be considered.

Having stated all the above I'm not foolish enough to suggest a Mars expedition be done right away. Its far to dangerous for anyone to do. There are real problems such as radiation and lack of gravity to solved first. The moon and asteroids are the early destinations.

ta

Ralph


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Post    Posted on: Mon May 22, 2006 12:56 pm
Hello Ekkehard and Andy,

I agree 100% with the near Earth test mission. It would be foolhardy to trust the lives of the crew to a vehicle for 2 years if it had never been proven to work as expected for that long. However, I would make 2 changes. The vehicle would stay at an Earth Moon Lagrange point instead of orbiting from Earth to the Moon and back. Staying far from the Earth and Moon would more accurately simulate the interplanetary space environment. Second, I would make the simulated Mars base on the Moon and not Earth. The 1/6 gravity and zero atmosphere more closely simulate Mars conditions of 1/3 gravity and 1/1000 atmosphere than Earth does.


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Post    Posted on: Mon May 22, 2006 5:39 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
The vehicle would stay at an Earth Moon Lagrange point instead of orbiting from Earth to the Moon and back. Staying far from the Earth and Moon would more accurately simulate the interplanetary space environment.


Fair point, it would also give the opportunity to try out various forms of radiation screening. The only reservation I would have is the cost of setting it up and supplying it, the ISS already exists at a vast cost and I think it makes sense to get your money 's worth out of it.

campbelp2002 wrote:
Second, I would make the simulated Mars base on the Moon and not Earth. The 1/6 gravity and zero atmosphere more closely simulate Mars conditions of 1/3 gravity and 1/1000 atmosphere than Earth does.


I think that you are right that the moon would be a better simulator but I thought the Earth might be better from the viewpoint of doing something now and speed/ease of making equipment changes and trying different things. Plus in some cases you might want to have the developer/inventor right on hand to make modifications to equipment and this might not be possible on the moon. I think creating something on Earth will be easier to get the cash for than a moon facility.

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Post    Posted on: Tue May 23, 2006 6:43 am
My concept of the vehicle orbiting Moon and Earth would have had the advantage that periodically there would be the opportunity to return to Earth in case of emergency. Also a rescue to the Moon would be possible but that wouldn't be that safe a place I think.

Of course later - after some experineces regarding the safety and reliability of the vehicle - the orbiting concept could be given up.

This could be a test for the vehicle really to go to Mars.

The location of the artificial martian environment - which should have a chemical compostion as similar as possible to Mars - should be first be Earth because of the same reasons I listed for the concept of the vehicle orbiting Moon and Earth: in case of emergency quick and sudden rescue would be possible - directly to the normal earthian environment.

After some time during which there were no dangerous problems the location of that artificial martian environment could be moved to the Moon.

rpspeck, what thoughts and ideas etc. do you have regarding this?



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Post    Posted on: Tue May 23, 2006 1:26 pm
Actually, one of my reasons for choosing a Lagrange point for the test is because we need to pretend that re-supply and rescue is impossible to make it a realistic test. The test is a failure if either re-supply or rescue is needed. Anyway, re-supply and rescue from a Lagrange point would be about as easy as from an Earth-Moon orbit.
Actually, I am not sure a repeated Earth-Moon-Earth free return orbit is stable or even possible. Plus it would pass through the Van Allen radiation belts every week or so, which is a much harsher radiation environment than interplanetary space.


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Post    Posted on: Wed May 24, 2006 12:35 am
ralphbuttigieg wrote:
G'day,

As I write this there are adventurers sailing around the world solo, a journey that can take a year, Raphaela le Gouvello is windsurfing the Indian ocean, Italian Alex Bellini is recovering from having spent 225 days rowing the Atlantic solo. Numerous small teams have trekked the Arctic and Antarctic climbed great mountains etc. A New Zealander a few days ago became the first person to climb Mt Everest without legs! Yep, these explorers take calculated risk and the death rate from climbing Everest is 5-10% but people still do it.

Even a one person flyby can do useful science.


I agree completely. I will work on a comparison to Zubrin’s Mars mission plan, but not quickly.

My primary interest is in the lightest possible missions – one person, quite possibly, one rather small person. Ellen MacArthur set a solo round the world sailing record Feb. 7, 2005. I don’t know how tall she is. But at 294 pounds myself (77 inches tall), I am painfully aware that people come in more than one size. Scaling of mission mass doesn’t stop at a single 180 pound participant. It may go down to a single, 90 pound, petit woman!

Since I believe that pioneering missions beyond the Earth will never again be publicly funded (the public as a whole doesn’t care enough), motivated special interest groups will probably fund the most spectacular of them! Can women’s organizations raise $100 million to make a member of their gender the first person to walk on Mars? I think they can!

More modest efforts will be funded directly or indirectly by “richâ€


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Post    Posted on: Wed May 24, 2006 9:36 am
I am not arguing that a solo mission cant be done, just that a larger mission is better for Mars. I believe the moon is a much better target for private missions.

I think that if a private manned mission failed it would be a huge set back for Mars exploration and virtually destroy private investment in any future attempts. That is why I believe that a government agency should be the first, any commercial manned mission will always have a tendancy to cut costs to a bare minimum, this is not entirely a bad thing but sometimes the lines get a bit blurred between saving money and penny pinching that could cost lives.

Saying all that I think that you are right that NASA seems to be so risk adverse that I am becoming increasingly sceptical that they will ever to the moon let alone Mars. I can see the lunar lander coming down to settle in the car park of a McDonalds and the astronauts being disturbed by a pizza hut delivery boy banging on the hatch.

With regard to weight/cost increases, I dont understand why the current Mars missions seem to be so heavy and feel that weight could be significantly reduced even with a crew of 4-6.

Using Mars rocks to generate revenue is a good idea but does not require a manned mission so I would guess that the prices will not be that high by the time someone sets foot on the planet due to sample return missions already having been done.

I am not sure using smaller people to save weight is really a realistic option although the USSR did something similar for their tank crews, picking them mainly from their mongolia regions because of their smaller stature. This allowed them to build tanks that were squater and hence had a smaller profile making them less easy to see/hit when outlined on a horizon. The US way was of course the exact opposite, big is beautiful when it comes to the Abrahams M1 main battle tank.

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 24, 2006 9:53 am
The problem with marketable Mars rocks may be that a few need to selected which can't be done by robots for a few simple reasons:

1. A robot can't select them and pick them up quickly from that a large area one human could do that - a human simply moves faster per unit of time than Spirit or Opportunity.

2. A selection and pick up by robots requires the transmission of images got by cams.

a) The cams send images which aren't precisely like what a human eye would see it is not known yet how large the difference really is

b) Up to now the cams see it all from a different perspective than human eyes would.

Because of 2.a) and 2.b) robots may select rocks that aren't marketable and 1. might prevent them from the right selection even if they were capable of it.

I can't but agree to rpspeck for a historical experience - some of the adventurers and conquerors pioneering the access of european people to new earthian locations were people looking and searching for Gold, Diamonds etc. at those formerly new locations. In other words colonization was driven by what rpspeck said... This holds for Columbus as well as for Cortez and Pizarro.



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Post    Posted on: Wed May 24, 2006 10:46 am
G'day Richard,

I think is more a matter of people wanting to go rather then being sent. Fossett, Post, le Gouvello etc are examples of the true explorers I mentioned. They want to do it so they do. They raise the money anyway they can, they plan the mission, develop the technology and they go. It is their expedition not anyone elses.

There are good reason to regard women as superior space travellers. William Rowe MD, has done much work on this. See:

http://www.femsinspace.com/

ta

Ralph


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Post    Posted on: Wed May 24, 2006 11:21 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
A robot can't select them and pick them up quickly from that a large area one human could do that - a human simply moves faster per unit of time than Spirit or Opportunity.


Why is speed an issue? If a rover takes 3 months to select a number of rocks why is that a problem?

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
A selection and pick up by robots requires the transmission of images got by cams.


Again why is that a problem, developing better cameras/transmission/software recognition is going on all the time and hopefully we will see at least an order of magnitude improvement in these areas in the next decade. This is likely due to the benefits for other non-space related applications. I would have thought even a manned mission would need these things, no one will want to look at jerky images of the Mars surface or stills of astronaunts standing there, we need streaming video.

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
The cams send images which aren't precisely like what a human eye would see it is not known yet how large the difference really is


As I said imaging techniques are improving all the time and there is no reason why you couldnt run a trial on Earth to compare a geologist (suitably garbed in Mars equipment) against a robot. Identify differences and compensate for them.

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Up to now the cams see it all from a different perspective than human eyes would.


You can have stereo vision cameras if you wish to duplicate human sight but you can tune a vision system to look for specific things in a particular way, also a rover can have other vision systems such as ultra violet, magnetic or chemical composition. Such equipment might not be available on a lightweight mission.

I dont think that arguments stand up for favoouring a manned mission for just rock collection and sample return. That is why I think that rocks will have been returned and the prices will have fallen already when someone steps on the Mars surface. I think the reason for sending astronauts there is so that humanity can eventually stay. The question of life on Mars is not as important to me personally (with the exception of finding a prosperous alien civilization living underground of course :) ), finding a few bacteria there is IMO while interesting is less than riveting.

Another thing to remember is that explorers in the early 20th century or before did not have any alternative to going there themselves to blaze a path, competition from robots did not exist. The question of whether we would have sent a sample return mission did not exist as the technology was not there, not sure whether a plane had flown over Everest before it was climbed.

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 24, 2006 11:23 am
Andy Hill wrote:
I am not arguing that a solo mission cant be done, just that a larger mission is better for Mars. I believe the moon is a much better target for private missions.



Firstly no one is going to do a Mars expedition before they have been a few Moon expeditions. There are great goals for Lunar adventures, to be the first to circumnavigate the Moon over land, the first to reach the poles, to cross the farside etc. Don't be surprised if some of those missions are done solo. Ands as far a bigger mission being "better". Fine if you want to organise a big government expedition go ahead. The true explorer will go with what he/she can get.

Andy Hill wrote:

I think that if a private manned mission failed it would be a huge set back for Mars exploration and virtually destroy private investment in any future attempts. That is why I believe that a government agency should be the first, any commercial manned mission will always have a tendancy to cut costs to a bare minimum, this is not entirely a bad thing but sometimes the lines get a bit blurred between saving money and penny pinching that could cost lives.




Why would stop it private attempts? Adventures are killed all the time. An Everest climber lost his life a few days ago. It does not stop people attempting the feat. In fact it spurs others on. If several people die before you succeed then their failure magnify your glory. Beside every failure provides information to the successor. Admunsen studied Shackelton's expedition in great detail before he set for the South Pole.

This whole thread reminds me of what Robert Kennedy said when asked if he feared what happened to his brother would happen to him if he became President. His response was " Men are not meant to live safe lives"

I really think you should read up on polar and other explorers to learn what drives these people.

ta

Ralph


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Post    Posted on: Wed May 24, 2006 12:02 pm
Hello Ralph

As I said I didn't say that it wasn't possible, just unlikely to be first.

I agree that explorers are likely to have already undertaken Moon explorations, I can even see some disgruntled NASA astronaut doing a private solo Mars mission. But in that kind of time frame I would have hoped that a manned mission will have already been sent. I always think that if something can be done then eventually someone will do it, then the next to do it makes it harder for themself so that they have a bigger challenge than the last lot who did it. Eventually someone will go to Mars while holding their breath and spinning plates. :)

As to reading up on people trying to windsurf across an ocean, I have no interest in this at all. Personal gratification and recognition (however it is dressed up and presented) does not seem a worthwhile cause. I'm sure these people all feel that they contributing something, to me its one step up from bungy jumping. The windsurfer will undoubtedly be followed by someone else using something even more risky, an inflatable lifejacket or something, all of which does not IMO really further human achievement or knowledge.

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 24, 2006 12:05 pm
Hello, Andy Hill,

time may be a problem because rpspeck has in mind to sell the rocks down here on Earth. The market requires that the rocks are picked up within a certain period of time and that their "Sammlerwert" ("sampler's value"?) is stable within long periods.

More important - higher speed means that more rocks could be picked up and sold.

Regarding the colour-difference between the images got ba the cams and what a human eye sees according to my informations to some degree is due to the difference of the reception by human viewing neuron cells and the reception by physical or chemical receptors of cams or photo-plates or -papers.

As a whole I want(ed) to say that the perspective of the cams and robots can't fit into the requirements of human fascination of samplers and collectors as a human eye or a human can do that. This is no argument against robots - it is only an argument against using them to satisfy human desire for fascinating rocks.

An example might be the service of jewelers and diamond experts. They have learned to look at things like rich people fond of beautiful things do and under the aspect of arts. They incorporate the environments and surroundings nearly completely into this view - this is impossible by using cams and robots, they must see it themselves. And this was what Columbus, Cortez, Pizarro and a lot of others did - it was the only way to tell their queens, kings etc. something that could turn them into enthusiasm causing them to fund more expeditions...

A problem regarding the rocks would be if they are really toxic down here on Earth - this wouldn't only break down the market: The market would be forbidden then I suppose.



Hello, ralphbuttigieg,

FAA etc might prohibit private Mars flights - Andy Hil, did you have that in mind?



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Post    Posted on: Wed May 24, 2006 3:05 pm
By the way, Ralph,

Radiation risk on a Mars journey is not “significantâ€


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