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Can Private Space Travel Take us to Mars?

Posted by: Senior Von Braun - Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:38 am
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Can Private Space Travel Take us to Mars? 
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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:21 am
What are private property rights? Basically, that you claim a certain area, and are willing to fight for it. If you do so on the Moon or on Mars, you will likely hear some complaining, but I doubt they'll send the Colonial Marines to oust you - A: it just isn't worth it, B: they'd have to form them first. Now, you'll just have to deal with the upkeep of your Martian homestead. :)

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 11:15 am
The aspect of private property will be a large factor in building a working private space colony. Although I still believe it's a launch costs issue. Currently with lanch costs in the thousands of dollars per pound nobody is going to be putting up a base or colony anywhere. Once that comes down you will see a lot more people heading out. The number of people going off world as colonists will be directly related to what launch costs are. If someone gets those costs down below $10/pound I'm sure you will see a private Mars colony at least started within 5 to 10 years after that point. I think it will be along the lines of Robert Zubrins 'Mars Direct' plan. While I believe a lunar base or colony will be built first simply because of transit times a Mars outpost or colony will become a much larger entity because a lot of critical resources, mainly water will be easier to find on Mars than the moon. Those resources will be what decides whether or not a Mars colony will be successful. I think that nitrogen is going to be the 'big thing' for a Mars colony as far as resources go. That could mean the difference between an Earth dependent outpost and a self sustaining colony.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 11:54 am
Hello, Autochton,

I know the term "property rights" as a terminus technicus used in economics.

The focus of the term is the right to decide something and to dispose over something and imlies that this right is protected by laws, contrcts, courts etc..

"private property rights" mean the private rights of individuals to decide without asking anyone else and especially without asking the government - "public property rights" mean the rights of the government to decide - for example. In this last case the individuals are bound to the decisions of the government.

These Property Rights are of a very large importance for economical processes, developments and chances - they are the basic elements of the economical system. The most basic Property Rights are the Rights declared in the constitutions of the countries like the "Grundgesetz" of the Federal Republic of Germany, the "Bill of Rights", the "Habeas Corpus Act" and others. I'm sorry not to know this moment what the US constitution is called.

Today those Property Rights important for space travels perhaps don't meet sufficiently the requirements yet.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:52 pm
"The United States Constitution"


That is the name of the US Constitution.

:lol:


BTW I've been wondering, how hard is nitrogen to find in space?

And, yes, we need private property rights in space.

Which treaties is the United States bound by that need to be repealed in order to allow private ownership of the moon etc.

What treaties are other nations bound by that we are not-they are bound by the moon treaty which we did not sign-right?

How many limitations are there for American Citizens owning private property in space under current Law?

For Swedish Citizens? (I just wanted to know, they are a good example of socialism.)


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 1:51 pm
I'm sure the Federal Republic of Germany is forbidden to close treaties that have negative impacts upon private property rights protected by the constitution. If a private property right being subject to such impacts gains prctical relevance the civilian will take the fact to the courts. The last instance will be the "Bundesverfassungsgericht" (Federal Constitutional Court) - this court might disable the relevant part of the treaty causing the negativ impact concerning civilians of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Propoerty rights layed down as "Grundrechte" in the german constitution are superior to government treaties and to laws.

I suppose the situation of the USA to be similar.

May be NASA as a governmental agency mustn't use nuclear drives in space because of treaties closed between the US government and other governments - but that doesn't mean automatically that those drives are forbidden to private spacecraft users too.

But please ask jurisprudential experts of US laws - it's an interesting question.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 2:15 pm
fellow spacenerds, please go to my poll in the "cafe"


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 2:16 pm
So does anyone know what treaties the US is bound by that might hamper space colonization and private property ownership in space?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:40 pm
Texan wrote:
fellow spacenerds, please go to my poll in the "cafe"


please stop advertising your other threads, most of us read everything posted here. if we're ever too big to do that, then you can, but we're not, so don't.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:01 pm
<--- sure thing.

But what laws and regulations is an American citizen in space currently bound by?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:43 pm
as far as i know, a private citizen would be bound the same way they would be in international waters, the exact details of which i'm not sure about. obviously a government employee is still going to be bound by the same rules they've always been bound by though.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:07 pm
Texan wrote:
So does anyone know what treaties the US is bound by that might hamper space colonization and private property ownership in space?


I believe that there are two UN treaties on this subject, the first that the US has signed to my knowledge has to do with just about everything out in space can not be claimed by a state or government. The second which the US has not signed I believe is basically similar but it specifies the moon. I never really paid attention to the whole UN space treaty bit since I didn't sign either of them and several people have made the point that none of the UN treaties bar an individual from making a claim. That would pose something of a problem for the US for example if someone managed to make good a claim of ownership for an asteroid (like Gregory Nemitz has tried with the asteroid EROS) the US would be unable to collect any property tax revenue from that asteroid without violating the treaty. That also means that any state that has signed and is abiding by that treaty can not make good or validate any property claim in space. Nemitz has an interesting write up on the subject here http://www.erosproject.com/reason.html?source=ErosProject but I think Nemitz is barking up the wrong tree by trying to get the US to legally recognize his claim since that would indicate that the US has the ability to do so in the first place and secondly it comes close to implying that the US can transfer the property rights of an object in space to an individual which seem to me awfully close to implying that the US has the rights to that object. No matter what Nemitz may try to do as long as the US is willing to be bound by that treaty there will be no official US recognition of any property rights, as far as validating any claims to that property anyway.

Additionally while Nemitz spins a good tale of ownership the whole claim is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. I admire that he is trying to clear the matter up legally but I really think that until someone actually goes out and puts up a claim to someplace they've actually been to and does something to improve that claim all claims of extraterrestrial ownership are bogus.

Even when someone finally does go out there and make a claim it still won't mean anything until someone else goes out there and tries to claim the same object.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 06, 2005 2:10 am
Private Mars Flights will happen, and will be the first manned flights to that planet. The money will come from the entertainment industry. If 5 Billion dollars is spent to pay for each chance to see sweating humanoids in an arena, then this is a BIG, RICH industry.

This price is for a recent event named after a mountain, whose lawyers fight any unauthorized mention of “their” mountain. (I have known some (mountain name deleted) aspirants who were reasonable people, but it is suggested that those who win are the product of chemical modification). But that is not my point; BIG MONEY IS.

I don’t mean NASA sized money. Anyone who can make those “mountain” athletics seem low budget yet make their activities boring deserves a special kind of prize. A Billion Dollars is not too much for an exciting, well communicated, multiyear adventure.

Next throw away all those NASA clone spacecraft drawings. I understand that George Mallory started out climbing Mt. Everest in wool shirts (not very high tech). Think about crossing the Atlantic in a rowboat. Think about circling the world in a solo aircraft. There are people who do these things. They will line up for a chance to go to Mars, and won’t mention OSHA rules. One man (just conceivably two, although it won’t be that lonely with continuous communication) for the lowest weight and cost. Think LITTLE guys (or even better, gals): overeducated jockeys. Forget health risks: they will accept serious risks. George Mallory became famous for not climbing a mountain! Speed is not a problem: two to three years used to be a common duration for a windjammer sailing “round the Horn” with trade goods. Now we live longer – why do we have to live faster?

This grubby little hovel will weigh just a few hundred pounds. But you can put a nice paint job on it (which I usually don’t).

Outgoing fuel is the standard LOX + other stuff. It is amazing how little extra delta V is needed to boost to Mars instead of to the Moon! Actually less Delta V to get onto the ground. Aerobraking from transfer orbit to final descent in several loops. A Ballute is nice because it’s light, reliable and offers adjustable drag. A big,filmy parachute brings you close to the ground, and a tiny solid motor pack stops the descent.

How are you going to get back? Talk to Dr. Robert Zubrin. (Come to think of it, he’s compact enough that he might qualify for the trip!) Once he stops thinking NASA style and adjusts his plans to look like a 1922 Everest expedition, he will be on the right track. He did this a couple of years ago, with a fiberglass prototype of a Mars habitat perched in the arctic (Ellesmere Island ?) SOLAR powered systems will produce the necessary fuel from Martian CO2.

Food is the big problem. Not water – water is a product of human metabolism. Water will be recycled of course. The squeamish don’t like to be reminded that all the water on this planet is recycled from you know what. Oxygen is not a problem. Half of it can be released from metabolic water by electrolysis. The other half can be released from metabolic Carbon Dioxide using the “Water – Gas” reaction, with excess hydrogen, to free more water. ( H2 + CO2 -> H2O + CO), then converted to Oxygen. System losses can be covered by small amounts of free water in the food, or by cracking some of the Carbon Monoxide. Carbon Monoxide will be stored and used in attitude jets.

Unless some basement experimenter gets serious about hydroponics, we are going to need to feed my midget for two years. Some 700 pounds of food! Space craft, astronaut and supplies could still weigh 1000 pounds!

If you can’t think in these terms, you won’t be among the first to go. Early arctic explorers lived this way. Early Himalayan climbers lived this way. So will Mars pioneers.

Yes, I remember that the fuel plant has to be sent ahead to land on Mars and start making fuel, but it doesn’t need to be any heavier. This means two separate, 1000 pound payloads, with the first serving as a systems test for the second.

These masses are on the low end of present GEO satellites, so launchers are no problem. In fact ALL PRESENT geosynchronous launch systems CAN DELIVER EQUAL MASS TO MARS or any resource rich, near Earth asteroid.

But using more optimistic launch numbers of $2000 per pound, and a mass ratio of 3 for LEO to transfer orbit, the total launch cost runs $12. Million. Yes, this is absurdly low. If you like, add a factor of 80 for over optimism and you get my “entertainment” budget. But use “zero based accounting”: I couldn’t care less what someone else paid for a party, or a trip to Paris, or a trip to the Moon. What is the NECESSARY cost?

NOW GET BUSY EITHER PROVING THAT MY FIGURES ARE SERIOUSLY WRONG (no quibbling about percentage points) OR GET BUSY PRODUCING THE OUTLINED HARDWARE SO WE CAN DO IT!


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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 06, 2005 12:31 pm
You could combine a Mars sample return mission with placing the fuel plant on the surface which would save money.

Since it is likely that a sample return mission would be undertaken before any manned mission it makes sense to use a small fuel plant to produce the rocket fuel for the sample return craft, once launched the fuel plant would still be operational. If additional storage tanks were included it could continue to manufacture more fuel for a follow up manned return craft.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 06, 2005 5:55 pm
Regarding the propellent "problem" we allways should have in mind that currently the first manned Mars mission is estimated to launch in 2015 or later. In parallel there is a competition to develop a space elevator not only (elevator:2010) but several meaningfiul breakthroughs in productionmethods for nanocarbontube cables too.

So the elevator may be ready before the launch of the first manned Mars mission - perhaps that mission will carry a space elevator to the Mars.

This again would simplyfy private Mars trips to a large degree because much of propellant consumption is removed not only - no propellent production plants would be required then.

Perhaps private Mars trips will get a kick by the parallel development project - and the development project "Space Elevator" may get a kick by manned mars trips projects regardless of them being NASA-owned or private.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 07, 2005 7:22 pm
"You could combine a Mars sample return mission with placing the fuel plant on the surface which would save money. "

That is an excellent idea.

"we allways should have in mind that currently the first manned Mars mission is estimated to launch in 2015 or later."

Actually I have been thinking of 2006 or 2007. It looks to me like the Falcon 1, plus a "Space Dev" motor like the one used on SpaceShipOne, could launch a midget on a one way trip to Mars. The sample return mission would be practical with the fuel plant prototype a big plus. NASA (or Japan) (or private collectors) might pay enough for the samples to pay for the $5.9M SpaceX launch. One man (or two petit woman), could do Mars round trip with no fuel processing complications using the promised Falcon 5.


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