Community > Forum > Technology & Science > Populating Mars

Populating Mars

Posted by: Lancelot - Thu Oct 07, 2004 4:38 am
Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 32 posts ] 
Populating Mars 
Author Message
Spaceflight Trainee
Spaceflight Trainee
User avatar
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 3:16 am
Posts: 49
Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 2:08 am
TerraMrs wrote:
that or you'd kill yourself trying to maneuver a very large mass in microgravity. skill-wise, i think zero-g will be harder to work in than on earth, because on earth you can always just drop it and it'll stop, you can't do that when if you drop it it'll slam into whatever it was headed to. of course, it's easy to get stuff moving, but it's still just as hard to stop it or change directions. i also wouldn't want work on it without support, seeing as pushing at the wrong time would be liable to send me off into the abyss.


I was referencing doing it on earth. ;)

Either way, the point is that once we do have people and hardware and raw materials in space and it's cheap to get them up there, it could reach the critical point real fast. We just need to get there.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Spaceflight Participant
Spaceflight Participant
avatar
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 9:33 pm
Posts: 69
Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 2:17 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Hello, Cadet,

please take into account the cost straucture of Mars Direct and possible modifications and changes of that concept.

The spacecraft may be constructed reusable by left in space for ever and usable to go to other planets than Mars too.


1. You still need to lift everything to orbit. Even assuming that the cost to orbit goes down to half of what it is, down to $5,000 a pound or so, it is still enormously expensive. Assume a mission of 100 people, average 150 pounds each, with 3000 pounds of cargo per person to help set up the colony, for a total for 450,000 pounds of cargo, a low estimate of what it'll take to set up a colony. $2,250,000,000 just to get into orbit for the first load. But remember, there's 10,000 people, not 100. $225 billion, just getting people and cargo into orbit, and that's assuming we can drastically reduce the cost of getting to orbit.
2. Fuel. It's going to be a huge cost.
3. What's the point of being able to go to planets other than Mars if the intent of the ship is to colonize Mars?

Quote:
It may be reached by private spacecrafts as those under construction to go to orbit and it may take with it such private spacecrafts as carrieres to and from the other planet'S surfaces. The other plantes may be good locations for industrial production...


Why? The asteroid belt is where the mining will be, and the asteroid belt will be where the ships are fabricated. There's no economical reason to move fabrication to LEO or Mars.

_________________
Catholic Cadet: Apologetics and Evangelization.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moderator
Moderator
avatar
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:23 am
Posts: 3745
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 8:29 am
It doesn't make any sense to carry 100 people at once to Mars or another planet - and it doesn't make sense to do that with 10.000 people at once.

They will go there in small goups - and the room left free of people will be filled with products, equipment required for settling and living, for infratsructures etc. This will be so because people cannot carried to a place they cannot be provided with food, clothes, electricity, water, habitats, work and much more at.

So there will be people and cargo together or cargo allone in a spaceship. the initial colony will count ten men. Then it will grow not by months but by years - and not year by year but at least two years by two years.

Space industry never will be restricted to mining the asteroid belt. At Mars industries can be located that are polluting the environment at earth. The reason is that CO2-immitting industreis are "bad" on earth but never on mars - it just has been detected that really the solar wind is destroying the martian atmosphere and has removed the water that has been there in the past. Industries polluting earthian environment by other gases, fluids or chemicals find a good environment there because the solar wind will destruct these chemicals too.

And so on - Mars is a good location for some industries for economical and political reasons.

Additionaly the jovian moons provide raw materials too. The Lunar Reclamation Society or Peter Kokh himself has worked on that - look at theier website. And there is Io. Ass ong as man cannot go there the mining could be done by robots.

Titan might provide advantages too.

If we talk about the asteroids these planets too should be included.

And propellant, fuel can be got at Mars, Europa and Titan too - this will reduce these costs. And you shouldn't forget - there might be space elevators in the future and the might be clos. I recently reported that I#ve read of a progress - scientists can pull a nanocarbontube-cable as long as they want. And Mark Rejhon and Herman Desmedt have explained that at the moon for example normal materials instead of nanocarbontubes can be used. So in future orbits and interplanetary spaceships will be reached, boarded, unboarded, loaded and unloaded by using space elevators perhaps - then there will be a small amount of fuel consumption only.

The intent of a ship or the purpose of a ship never will be the colonization of a planet - the purpose of a ship ever will be to travel to a location in space only. Colonization, research, miming, tourism, cargo etc. only can be the intention of those who charter the ship or use it simply. So it could be sent to carry colonists to the Mars and load industrial products there first then go to the asteroids to load mining products and third to do research at Callisto.

So there are economical reasons enough...



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


Back to top
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
avatar
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:23 am
Posts: 3745
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Post    Posted on: Sat Dec 13, 2008 8:29 pm
In another thread I mentioned the problem, that Mars seems to have too few nitrogen.

But what about the possibility that this problem might rule out all arguments discussed here up to now?

May be Mars would not be populated but get a manned station only. The crew of that station seems to need food that must be grown on Mars. But this in turn requires nitrogen which is insufficiently available there.

So the lower gravity of Mars might be used to get nitrogen from elsewhere. Reusable rockets might be brought there to get that nitrogen.

But then the question is from where to get it. The answer is that Eris obviously has significant amounts of nitrogen which according to an article under www.wissenschaft.de gets closer to the surface via weather-like processes. The article refers to Stephen Tegler, Northern Arizona University.



This argumentation by me sounds strange and turned head down - but the idea behind it is that research of Mars might become easier this way and cause colonizing this way. Later colonizing might take over and become the main purpose of going there.

Of course - the long time to get Eris' nitrogen needs to be reduced or the schedules must be adjusted to it. ...
...
...
...



Which thoughts do you have?



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


Back to top
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
avatar
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:01 am
Posts: 747
Location: New Zealand
Post    Posted on: Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:04 pm
Cadet wrote:
1. You still need to lift everything to orbit. Even assuming that the cost to orbit goes down to half of what it is, down to $5,000 a pound or so, it is still enormously expensive. Assume a mission of 100 people, average 150 pounds each, with 3000 pounds of cargo per person to help set up the colony, for a total for 450,000 pounds of cargo, a low estimate of what it'll take to set up a colony. $2,250,000,000 just to get into orbit for the first load. But remember, there's 10,000 people, not 100. $225 billion, just getting people and cargo into orbit, and that's assuming we can drastically reduce the cost of getting to orbit.
2. Fuel. It's going to be a huge cost.
3. What's the point of being able to go to planets other than Mars if the intent of the ship is to colonize Mars?


$225 billion seems like chump change for a government program now doesn't it. $225 billion per year doesn't even seem like a big deal :(

_________________
What goes up better doggone well stay up! - Morgan Gravitronics, Company Slogan.


Back to top
Profile ICQ YIM
Rocket Constructor
Rocket Constructor
avatar
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 9:34 pm
Posts: 9
Post    Posted on: Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:31 pm
I'm fairly new to the forum, and haven't contributed much, but this topic really interests me.

It seems that a lot of the discussion here (and on most of the web) seems to focus on how various Governments can establish a colony on Mars. In other words, let the Govt...the ones with the big bucks...do it, and somehow the rest will follow.

I have a slightly different take on it. I suspect a lot of folks would jump at the chance to emigrate to mars...permanently, just like millions did during the early years of the US. All it took was free land, an opportunity for a new start, and settlers sold everything they owned to trek across the Great Plains and start from scratch. Mars immigrants would also likely liquidate and sell everything they own to equip themselves for life on Mars. All it would take is reasonable transportation to get plenty of volunteers. It doesn't even have to be cheap...just look at how much the space tourists are putting up to merely orbit the earth for a few days!


Back to top
Profile
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:15 pm
Posts: 1233
Location: London, England
Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:55 am
The cost to LEO would go down much further thanhalf of what it is now if thousands of people decided to live off world but the transportation costs would be huge.

NASA and other agencies have spent billions on trying to develop new space vehicles without anything flying. The system needed for colonisig Mars is likely to cost trillions of dollars and be decades if not centuries in the making.

A reusable transport ship taking 50 people with enough provisions and equipment to set home on Mars is so far beyond our current capability that you might as well be talking about matter transmitters where people could be beamed between planets. :(

_________________
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Walker
Space Walker
avatar
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:45 pm
Posts: 152
Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 15, 2008 1:18 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
NASA and other agencies have spent billions on trying to develop new space vehicles without anything flying. The system needed for colonisig Mars is likely to cost trillions of dollars and be decades if not centuries in the making.

Some would argue that NASA and those other agencies have severe disadvantages that have prevented them from performing the best they could. We're already starting to see private companies rivalling and even surpassing NASA in key areas of spaceflight.
Quote:
A reusable transport ship taking 50 people with enough provisions and equipment to set home on Mars is so far beyond our current capability that you might as well be talking about matter transmitters where people could be beamed between planets. :(

The difference being the former being theoretically possible with today's knowledge and the latter not being theoretically possible with today's knowledge.

If you extrapolate the advances in actual achieved spaceflight from 1970 to today and apply that to the next few centuries then yeah, we're stuck.

If, however, you take a slightly more optimistic view and assume that at least one of the numerous theories for how a reusable spacecraft (not counting suborbital flights) could be powered, will become reality within the next decade or two, and the not so far fetched view that as the price of spaceflight goes down, demand will continu to increase, I think there is a possibility that what you describe could become feasible within as little as half a decade (if you're optimistic like me) or one to two decades (if you're slightly less optimistic).

PS: Enjoy your nitrogen mix :)


Back to top
Profile
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:15 pm
Posts: 1233
Location: London, England
Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:57 pm
Minthos wrote:
Andy Hill wrote:
NASA and other agencies have spent billions on trying to develop new space vehicles without anything flying. The system needed for colonisig Mars is likely to cost trillions of dollars and be decades if not centuries in the making.

Some would argue that NASA and those other agencies have severe disadvantages that have prevented them from performing the best they could. We're already starting to see private companies rivalling and even surpassing NASA in key areas of spaceflight.


Disadvantages like having a huge budget, thousands of engineers and all those specialist facilities. What area is NASA being rivaled or surpassed in exactly?

Quote:
If, however, you take a slightly more optimistic view and assume that at least one of the numerous theories for how a reusable spacecraft (not counting suborbital flights) could be powered, will become reality within the next decade or two, and the not so far fetched view that as the price of spaceflight goes down, demand will continu to increase, I think there is a possibility that what you describe could become feasible within as little as half a decade (if you're optimistic like me) or one to two decades (if you're slightly less optimistic.


What may or may not be possible is not the point. When you look at how things have progressed over the last few decades or even the last 5 years it is not reasonable to expect such a ship to exist for a number of decades IMO. I wish it were otherwise and that a shuttle service between Mars and Earth was going to happen some time soon but I see no evidence that this is the case. I'm normally a pretty optimitic guy but successive failures of anyone to produce a much better transport system has made me more cautious. Even Bigelow is not holding his breath for an orbital transport to appear and has pretty much iven up on the ASP.

_________________
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:22 pm
Posts: 843
Location: New York, NY
Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:28 pm
I think it makes no sense to have the thing come back. Everyone gets excited when it comes to reusable rockets, but while they make sense when you're making a 2 hour trip, they don't make sense when you're making a 6 month (ish) trip... it would make far more sense to turn your big transport ship into a permanent space station at mars to be used for processing incoming shipments of goods, taking people coming via smaller craft, etc. Obviously the landers have to be reusable, but you don't want to bring the whole thing back.

_________________
Cornell 2010- Applied and Engineering Physics

Software Developer

Also, check out my fractals


Back to top
Profile
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:15 pm
Posts: 1233
Location: London, England
Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 15, 2008 6:46 pm
TerraMrs wrote:
I think it makes no sense to have the thing come back. Everyone gets excited when it comes to reusable rockets, but while they make sense when you're making a 2 hour trip, they don't make sense when you're making a 6 month (ish) trip... it would make far more sense to turn your big transport ship into a permanent space station at mars to be used for processing incoming shipments of goods, taking people coming via smaller craft, etc. Obviously the landers have to be reusable, but you don't want to bring the whole thing back.


You cant populate Mars with thousands of people and leave all the craft in orbit around it. Leave a couple to act as a way-station but you need a craft to make multiple jouneys. I agree that landers should be smaller and make a number of trips ferrying cargo and people from Mars orbit to its surface. Also a 6 month jouney time is to long it needs to come down considerably so new engine technologies would be needed, as I have said I see very little evidence that this stuff is being built beyond various paper studies that surface from time to time.

_________________
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:22 pm
Posts: 843
Location: New York, NY
Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:46 pm
well if you're talking thousands then it's obviously not going to happen without way more advanced engines - stuff that won't be around for at least 100 years in all likelyhood. but the threshold population for genetic stability is only 500 or so, it makes more sense to me to send a small number of people and let the population grow naturally. that is, if your goal is a permanent colony. that we're going to see "thousands" making the trip in our lifetimes is pure fantasy.

_________________
Cornell 2010- Applied and Engineering Physics

Software Developer

Also, check out my fractals


Back to top
Profile
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:15 pm
Posts: 1233
Location: London, England
Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:21 am
A figure of 10,000 people was spoken about earlier in the thread for the population (cadet), so I had assumed that was the number we were dealing with.

If you are talking about only 500 people you may be right that using current expendable technology could get us there but IMO it will still take many decades to do it. Current technology will produce an Apollo style glory shot not a sustainable colony.

Any settlement is likely to require resupply from Earth on a regular basis for stuff that cant be manufactured locally, they wont be setting up facilities to make high-end micro-chips or space age metal alloys for some time. If the main source of power is nuclear then I would think that the fuel would come from Earth (Uranium processing is not something done ad-hoc when the need arises, it hasn't been confirmed that Uranium even exists on Mars yet).

_________________
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:22 pm
Posts: 843
Location: New York, NY
Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:15 pm
well of course it will take decades. we haven't even started looking seriously at a mars colony, the amount of development required would be massive. and you're right about resupply (though wrong about the uranium, since you could just bring enough for 1000 years or something on the first flight), hence why having the ships used as stations would be nice. i think you may be surprised at the sophistication of rapid prototyping technology (both for circuits and mechanical items) in "decades". that is one of the big revolutions that is underway under the radar now.

_________________
Cornell 2010- Applied and Engineering Physics

Software Developer

Also, check out my fractals


Back to top
Profile
Space Walker
Space Walker
avatar
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:45 pm
Posts: 152
Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:00 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
Minthos wrote:
Andy Hill wrote:
NASA and other agencies have spent billions on trying to develop new space vehicles without anything flying. The system needed for colonisig Mars is likely to cost trillions of dollars and be decades if not centuries in the making.

Some would argue that NASA and those other agencies have severe disadvantages that have prevented them from performing the best they could. We're already starting to see private companies rivalling and even surpassing NASA in key areas of spaceflight.


Disadvantages like having a huge budget, thousands of engineers and all those specialist facilities. What area is NASA being rivaled or surpassed in exactly?

Economy of launch, for one. Case in point: SpaceX. That's a key area, if you ask me. Other key areas are up for discussion.

Major disadvantage for NASA: Politics. They have lots of money, but more responsibilities. Responsibilities are bad.

Quote:
Quote:
If, however, you take a slightly more optimistic view and assume that at least one of the numerous theories for how a reusable spacecraft (not counting suborbital flights) could be powered, will become reality within the next decade or two, and the not so far fetched view that as the price of spaceflight goes down, demand will continu to increase, I think there is a possibility that what you describe could become feasible within as little as half a decade (if you're optimistic like me) or one to two decades (if you're slightly less optimistic.


What may or may not be possible is not the point. When you look at how things have progressed over the last few decades or even the last 5 years it is not reasonable to expect such a ship to exist for a number of decades IMO. I wish it were otherwise and that a shuttle service between Mars and Earth was going to happen some time soon but I see no evidence that this is the case. I'm normally a pretty optimitic guy but successive failures of anyone to produce a much better transport system has made me more cautious. Even Bigelow is not holding his breath for an orbital transport to appear and has pretty much iven up on the ASP.


I think this is a glass is half-full or half-empty issue? SpaceX and other private companies are driving launch prices much lower than they have been previously. The optimistic view is regarding propulsion technologies currently being developed. You say it will not exist for a number of decades - I ask you: For how many more decades will it not exist? 3? 5? 10? 15? Much can happen in the not too distant future, and I intend to live to see at least half of it ;)


edit: just realized I made a mistake in my previous post. The less optimistic view is meant to be 1 to 2 centuries, not decades.


Back to top
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 32 posts ] 
 

Who is online 

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests


© 2014 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use