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What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/08/2014 10:22 AM

Considering the forum, I'll gloss over the details and just say this.. I would recommend a modular system. Send payload modules aboard two (min) heavy lift rockets into orbit and join them together. one is essentially a live/work space partially filled with a larger payload of water and additional liquid hydrogen fuel. Of course how much can one really bring$?
The second module contains the astronauts and most of the support systems. Both mission modules are constructed in a cylindrical tube shape.. The tube is actually a thick polyethylene tank with a hollow interior for the mission astronauts. The tank and the water are both quantified for maximum radiation absorption / protection / use and reuse. The payload module with the additional (bagged)water would fill the large cylindrical, hollow tank that is that acts as of the passenger module after docking in orbit. To avoid the problems with windows they are all but removed in favor of panoramic interior displays that can double as control surfaces. On the way to mars the tube would be spun to create enough artificial gravity during the long flight to avoid significant bone loss, demineralization etc. .
A series of external cameras would use a program to stitch the images together and create a view of what's outside the craft, or even a look out the kitchen window from home. A virtual back porch to the world. In general, the interior of spacecraft make minimalist design seem a warm and cozy memory. to combat this it might be a good idea to put a cover over every possible control surface or any reminder that you are on a spacecraft. Something similar to an automated drapery cover. Stretchy covers could look nice as well as serve a function. A Command Module by day could instantly close any of the covers and create a cozy lounge at the end of a long day. Flight chairs would double as plush recliners. Use functional furniture that looks like it was designed for earth instead of a science fiction movie. The days things had to look a certain way because of machining constraints are gone. Advanced techniques and additive manufacturing give designers freedom to follow natural forms. Is it absurd to think a little wood veneer would psychologically improve a few large flat surfaces?
Make sure you can see the plants and grow them in different areas if possible. Design the enclosure as if it were for a nice home instead of a lab. Try for 'Home Spacecraft Home'. The additional liquid hydrogen would be used for radiation shielding during the long flight and power the landing of the individual modules on the red planet where they would be rejoined. Perhaps the water could be re-bagged and drop in via a parachute or two and then be used to refill the exterior tanks after landing.
Go against conventional wisdom and encourage relationships between astronauts. The best candidates would eventually show themselves. The interest in the program would increase and draw even more qualified candidates in what could become the ultimate journey for a couple .. or a couple couples. Getting along with less frustration would increase the likelihood of mission success. Despite the technical challenges there is still a strong desire to get there, so I'm just throwing this out there for the rocket scientists to copy 100%.. Just in case there's a mix up and I get selected for a mission. I've left out a few details, but it's a start.

And another thing.. about the end of the movie Gravity. Consider this as an alternate ending.
Sandra actually does see George out her window after her little dream that she saw him. Remarkably she is able to supply him with additional oxygen and he hitches a ride all the way to the other space station on the exterior of her craft, but no matter how hard they try there is still no way to get him inside where he can return with her in the re-entry craft. George decides he's not being left behind and she's not going home alone. Even though Sandra at first hates the idea. She can't stop him and he tearfully rides (to his fiery fate) back to earth on the front side of her re-entry vehicle.. a real shooting star ending. ..For me.. that would have been the far more Hollywood ending.. The current one.. Not so much.. ... Just like a mission to mars.. Nobody asked me for my opinion. and when I try to give it they don't return my calls.

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#1

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/08/2014 10:33 AM

How much is a one-way ticket?

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#2

Re: What about a mission to mars? design considerations

01/08/2014 10:35 AM

Why send anybody to Mars?

What's the point? Really?

MAYBE a robot, but, even then, we know a lot about the hunk of iron already.

I made a living for years in the industry of shooting stuff into orbit and on into space, but, we're making advancements in engineering and science that in my mind negates the need to exploit whatever is up there. We will soon enough be able to make it right here on Earth, so why spend trillions of dollars and twenty years time going to some place that will offer nothing in return for our efforts.

I know, negative waves. But the return does not justify the cost in money, time and lives, in my mind.

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#3

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/08/2014 10:46 AM

Did JP76 ghostwrite this?

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#4

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/08/2014 10:54 AM

your water calculations are laughable, each person requires about 1/2 gallon per day, so if you had just 2 people and they were on a 2 year flight the weight at liftoff is enormous(water weights 8.33 lbs /gallon). you'd have to recycle quite a bit or you'd have a tiny travel window. i'm not bashing but this plush design with lazyboys you envision for a zero gravity environment is no where near practical

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/08/2014 11:10 AM

Hey - that's a good suggestion for the ticket details.

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#6

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/08/2014 11:12 AM

It's a tough house to play to.

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#7

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/08/2014 11:56 AM

Just for the record.. I'm not in favor of sending anybody to Mars.. It's a laughable idea at best and a terrible waste of money for all the citizens of earth.

As for the water calculations. I know we only need a fraction of what I'm proposing for human consumption. I'm only thinking of it in terms of a radiation shield for deep space and then again on Mars. The H part of H2O is pretty handy in that regard as well as the thick polyethylene.

If we can build bombers that cost 4 times their weight in gold. Then we can put a few extra gallons in space. There are many uses for water.. squirt guns come to mind.

Anyhow.. with all the outlandish plans out there.. I just wanted to add mine to the mix.

If the Mars reality show ever gets off the ground it would be a good idea to survive the journey in good health. so to speak..

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#8

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/09/2014 2:25 AM

I was more interested in the 'Gravity' alt ending anyhow..

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#9

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/09/2014 9:43 AM

Forty-five years ago we got out of our wheel chair a few times and walked across the room (Apollo trips to the moon), and we haven't gotten up since. Now we are dreaming about running the Boston marathon. I doubt that we still have the technology to send men to the moon, much less Mars, which is 100 times as far away as the moon.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/09/2014 10:02 AM

It's not about "technology", it's all about money!

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/09/2014 10:06 AM

if you go back to the 1950s when the whole idea of going into space really got traction the motivation came from the rocket programs of WW2. when that was ended America sifted through the rubble and were shocked to find out how far behind they ere in so many areas of research and development on airplanes, jets and rockets. when the Russians successfully launched and proved Sputnik our world changed. prior to that there were no spy satellites or GPS intercontinental missiles balistic missles so there was strong motivation to build a space program capable of a lunar landing and return. I don't see a big driver to push manned flights to Mars, theres nothing there to warrant a mission.

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#12

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/10/2014 12:03 AM

Why Mars? Why people?

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#13
In reply to #2

Re: What about a mission to mars? design considerations

01/10/2014 10:02 AM

4FUN

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#14

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/10/2014 10:48 AM

I'm only speaking in the hypothetical.

If only to point out how ridiculous an idea..

Money as an aside.. I'm only looking for feedback on the design..

I guess I should ask something more arbitrary..

If you fell victim to spaghettification, what would be the width and length of said spaghetti?

Question #2 - In what order do you suppose such a strand would arrange itself once inside a black hole?

P.S. - I was wondering how large or small a black hole needed to be in order to create these conditions.

P.S.S. Could you go fly inside a chunk of iron through a wormhole to get there? Sheesh..

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#15
In reply to #2

Re: What about a mission to mars? design considerations

01/11/2014 12:25 AM

Not worth it even if we could stop all major metals extraction on planet Earth?

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#16
In reply to #11

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/11/2014 4:10 PM

No driving issue to push Mars exploration? Except for the private space ventures that want to put people on Mars. That, all by itself is all the driving force the U.S. needs. Until the U.S. government knows that no one else has any chance of putting people or machinery of concern on Mars, we'll be going there.

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#17

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/12/2014 4:56 PM

Ok-you asked for a specific reply.

Your design has nothing new or improved and is in fact pretty much the same as many others that are well known--except in that you seem more concerned with the astronaut triptime comfort and very much less than concerned with the actual mission on the surface. Astronauts do not vie for positions on these missions with comfort on their minds. They are typical type A's that fashion results from hard problems--while demanding conditions like 'highspeed, low drag'. This craft you have has them doing nothing other than dating.

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#18

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

01/24/2014 12:38 PM

Obviously I'm not qualified to provide a precise and complete plan, so the following should be evaluated by a "team" of qualified professionals.


Stage 1)

Design, launch, land, and successfully activate 1 modular (unmanned) habitat which could house the desired number of astronauts/explorers for at least 1 mission cycle (~26 months). This module should include sufficient (and redundant) food, and water/waste/oxygen processing equipment. Habitat water and oxygen would not need to be fully transported from Earth since they could be obtained from a chemical processing plant using resources from the destination.

Stage 2)

Design, launch, land, and successfully activate a dedicated (unmanned) chemical processing "plant" that could synthesize enough fuel from Mars resources for a complete return journey. This chemical processing plant would also be used to synthesize and store other critical needs (water, oxygen, etc.) from the target environment. Return trip water, oxygen, and fuel payloads would not be required on a manned mission if a Mars "refill station" was ready and waiting.

Stage 3)

IF and ONLY IF both previous mission stages were ON Mars and functioning as designed should we seriously "consider" sending a manned mission. IMHO any less prepared manned mission is far too likely to fail, resulting in the tragic deaths of the astronauts/explorers. Another negative impact of a failed mission would be a manned space exploration backlash/phobia/defunding that could cripple any space exploration for many decades.

This basic concept was probably outlined and evaluated decades ago and may still be a viable mission plan. The main point I'm trying to make is that if we cannot successfully complete stages 1 & 2, then we are NOT YET smart/skilled enough to send humans to Mars. The wheelchair to marathon analogy in post #9 describes the magnitude of the challenge

I'm in agreement with many other people that we can gather good information and perform useful experiments using robotic missions for at least a couple more decades. Manned missions are just too risky and expensive at this time. Eventually we will be ready to send explorers to Mars and someday we may even want to establish a multinational research base there. Similar to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_stations_in_Antarctica, just far more remote and inhospitable.

More in-depth knowledge about Mars (current state and its history) and future experiments in Terraforming planets like Mars might help us take better care of the precious and rare blue jewel we currently inhabit.

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

02/13/2014 11:09 PM

So mine is awesome.. Thanks

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#20

Re: What About a Mission to Mars? Design Considerations

02/13/2014 11:14 PM

I never said I was in favor of manned missions to mars.

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