sevenperforce

Mars in three years

107 posts in this topic

Do NOT make this political.

Use passive voice if you must.

Funding has been authorized for a manned Mars mission by 2030, but plans have recently been suggested for a manned Mars mission as early as 2020. Without ANY discussion of who authorized funding or who suggested the earlier timeframe...discuss.

Is it possible to put flags and footprints on Mars with a launch in December 2020?

In theory, maybe. There's no way we could possibly do this in a single launch -- there's no vehicle nearly large enough -- so it would have to go in piecemeal with Mars Orbit Rendezvous. Launch an MAV to Mars with one vehicle, launch a Mars Descent Vehicle with another vehicle, and then launch the crew in a transfer vehicle which doubles as the Earth Re-entry vehicle in a third launch.

Falcon Heavy can send an uncrewed Dragon 2 into Martian orbit for the descent. SLS can send the crew on Orion. Nothing that can really serve as an MAV, that I can think of....

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Posted (edited)

It's not remotely feasible. Boots on Mars means propulsive landing, and the first real data would be Red Dragon. That's forgetting all the other issues. That alone would need to be tested (not to mention ISRU, etc. Mars has been 20 years off forever, and the only way to even hit that target would be to actually throw real money at it, IMO.

SLS can send Orion to Earth orbit. No one is living in a capsule for a couple years. There still needs to be a transfer vehicle, etc.

Edited by tater
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            ATTENTION!

 

8 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Do NOT make this political.

 

 

 

 

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No, we don't have a habitat for the trip.

And I don't mean in the sense of "there's not enough funding to pull it off". I mean in the sense of "nobody told anyone to start until now, so even if they did start now, it'll never make it in time". A few studies and isolated life support trials don't make a full integrated spacecraft anytime soon.

(This has been one of the main points of criticism towards ventures like Mars One, by the way: the "no hardware exists" argument. You can't buy anything, it just does not exist. Until a prospective venture can show hardware they developed themselves that fills the gaps of what doesn't currently exist, their premise is unviable by default.)

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22 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Is it possible to put flags and footprints on Mars with a launch in December 2020?

Sure thing. The problem is to return back.

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Posted (edited)

24 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Is it possible to put flags and footprints on Mars with a launch in December 2020?

If you don't intend to bring the boots back... maybe. If a massive international crash-program were started right now. But even then, highly improbable.
While one may well be able to get the required mass into LEO with existing boosters (SLS not being ready and all) You've still got the teensy problem of: No transfer vehicle, no lander, and no return vehicle. No hardware at all.
A good lander is going to be kinda important, assuming you're not going for lithobraking... and as far as I am aware there's nothing anywhere near ready that can land the mass we'd be talking about for a manned mission. Let alone getting them back into orbit.
Studies have been done on how to keep people alive and well for the trip... that's it. Studies. No hardware.

If it were a team of engineers who said '2020' (and had some plausible hardware to show), I might believe them... but it wasn't, was it?
Pure. Pipe. Dream.

Edited by steve_v

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That's two and a half years ahead. I think the 2018 moon trip is already ambitious.

I hope they can find a sink for the money that makes more sense. Like another vlbi capable big fat telescope.

 

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This plus Curiosity

Spoiler

p6-3-031012-233131.jpg

 

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1 minute ago, Green Baron said:

I hope they can find a sink for the money that makes more sense. Like another vlbi capable big fat telescope.

Indeed. Keep the mars program fed for sure, but it's not a viable short-term goal.
If [redacted] wants to throw money at NASA, there are plenty of other projects on the back-burner that could be up and running by 2020.
Telescopes sure are nice. Not as high-profile as a mars shot, but more useful... and actually realistic given the timeframe.

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It's possible that the statement was a bit of a joke, or just exaggeration - a few news sources have said this.

 

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Boots on the Moon in that time frame is trivial by comparison, and I don't think that is even possible.

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What are the transfer windows like in that time frame?  I mean, is it helpful and the [hypothetical] launch could occur toward the end of the timeframe, or would planetary alignment cut the time in half due to bad alignment?

I'd love to see this happen, but I know it isn't going to.  I could maybe see it rushed to 2025 maybe, if NASA/Whoever used every trick they've ever come up with, and increased reliability at the cost of mass and used, say, NERVA to push the additional mass.  But even that would require a massive funding boost to get a Man capable Mars return vehicle, so...

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6 minutes ago, tater said:

Boots on the Moon in that time frame is trivial by comparison, and I don't think that is even possible.

Boots on the moon by 2020 is easy enough if you really wanted to do it. Two Falcon Heavy launches and a redesigned Dragon 2 is all you need.

Getting to Mars by 2020? Well, what would we need?

  • One F9 Dragon 1 launch to send supplies to the ISS along with a BEAM.
  • One Delta IV Heavy launch to send Orion to the ISS.
  • One SLS launch to send a custom-built, rigid utility tunnel/docking adapter to the ISS.
  • One F9 Dragon 2 launch to send the crew to the ISS along with a second BEAM.
  • Another SLS launch to send the cryogenic propulsion stage to the ISS.

With assembly at the ISS, that's enough for getting crew to Martian orbit and back.

For landing, you'd need a Falcon Heavy launch of Dragon 2 to Mars orbit. You might need a methalox upper stage to go along for the ride and execute a propulsive orbital insertion.

For Mars ascent, you'd need either FH+Raptor US or a three-stage New Glenn to send a custom MAV to the Martian surface...maybe something like Mid-L/D.

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Posted (edited)

No way. To get there in 3 years means that you need to launch the mission in 2 years. The next launch window is April-May 2018, and after that, the next one closes in July-September 2020, which gets you to Mars in 2021. Too late.

There simply is no realistic way to design and build a manned lander for 2020, let alone 2018. And I won't even bother with building a spacecraft to get there. And an unlimited budget wouldn't make it go faster. I doubt you could even write the procurement contracts or hire the personnel in that timeframe.

Edited by Nibb31
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55 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Is it possible to put flags and footprints on Mars with a launch in December 2020?

Possible?  Certainly.

 

If you don't mind throwing all of humanity's resources into it, it would be doable.  Just ignore every safety protocol, dump the entire population into building ships, and launch as many as we can, and by pure chance, at least one of them will make it to plant some flag.  Even better, you don't have to worry about them wanting to return to the burned-out, strip-mined, ruined funeral heap of a planet they destroyed to get there.

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Gosh, they should have equipped Schiaparelli with a flagpole on one side and a stick with a shoesole on the other. Just to settle the matter with all due imprint :-)

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

No way. To get there in 3 years means that you need to launch the mission in 2 years. The next launch window is April-May 2018, and after that, the next one closes in July-September 2020, which gets you to Mars in 2021. Too late.

There simply is no realistic way to design and build a manned lander for 2020, let alone 2018.

What if we say that a launch within three years meets requirements? September 2020. 

You'd launch the MAV and the lander at the end of July 2020, so that you have a month or so to confirm MAV landing successfully; if not, it just reverts to an orbit-and-out mission.

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41 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Boots on the moon by 2020 is easy enough if you really wanted to do it. Two Falcon Heavy launches and a redesigned Dragon 2 is all you need.

FH/Dragon 2 would first need to:

1. Actually fly.

2. Actually fly crew.

3. Complete the tourist mission at the very least (free return). That's planned (barring any slip ups) in late 2018.

4. Design a service module than can do the LOI and TEI burns. 

5. Design a lander (using D2 as a lander seems like a really bad idea for numerous reasons).

Utterly impossible? No, as I said, those non-trivial milestones are inf act trivial compared to Mars.

 

41 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Getting to Mars by 2020? Well, what would we need?

  • One F9 Dragon 1 launch to send supplies to the ISS along with a BEAM.
  • One Delta IV Heavy launch to send Orion to the ISS.
  • One SLS launch to send a custom-built, rigid utility tunnel/docking adapter to the ISS.
  • One F9 Dragon 2 launch to send the crew to the ISS along with a second BEAM.
  • Another SLS launch to send the cryogenic propulsion stage to the ISS.

With assembly at the ISS, that's enough for getting crew to Martian orbit and back.

For landing, you'd need a Falcon Heavy launch of Dragon 2 to Mars orbit. You might need a methalox upper stage to go along for the ride and execute a propulsive orbital insertion.

For Mars ascent, you'd need either FH+Raptor US or a three-stage New Glenn to send a custom MAV to the Martian surface...maybe something like Mid-L/D.

There is no possible way NASA tries the first ever heavy craft propulsive landing with crew. Even with your MAV sent ahead (which would require that it go in 2018, which won't happen), that vehicle would be different from the MDV, and again, no way NASA puts crew in the MDV untested.

I didn't listen to the ISS phone call. The idea that it was said jokingly seems more likely than not.

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14 minutes ago, tater said:
1 hour ago, sevenperforce said:

Boots on the moon by 2020 is easy enough if you really wanted to do it. Two Falcon Heavy launches and a redesigned Dragon 2 is all you need.

FH/Dragon 2 would first need to:

1. Actually fly.

2. Actually fly crew.

3. Complete the tourist mission at the very least (free return). That's planned (barring any slip ups) in late 2018.

4. Design a service module than can do the LOI and TEI burns. 

5. Design a lander (using D2 as a lander seems like a really bad idea for numerous reasons).

Utterly impossible? No, as I said, those non-trivial milestones are inf act trivial compared to Mars.

Steps 1-3 are on schedule already. Steps 4 and 5 could be conducted in parallel to steps 1-3. Step 4 only requires a handful of modifications to the Falcon 9 upper stage to allow extended persistence and additional restarts, and the upper stage could even act as a crasher stage to reduce the lander's dV requirements.

D2 as a lander makes a lot of sense to me. Remove the aeroshell, the heat shield, the parachutes, the landing legs, and four of the SuperDracos. Give the remaining SuperDracos vacuum nozzle extensions and place a secondary fuel tank plus landing legs in the trunk. There's some development there to be sure, but not as much as a new lander. The lander would launch unmanned on FH inside a fairing and rendezvous with the crewed Dragon 2 in cislunar space.

47 minutes ago, tater said:

There is no possible way NASA tries the first ever heavy craft propulsive landing with crew. Even with your MAV sent ahead (which would require that it go in 2018, which won't happen), that vehicle would be different from the MDV, and again, no way NASA puts crew in the MDV untested.

I agree, but just playing devil's advocate...

...the MAV doesn't need to launch in 2018; it can launch in 2020 a few months ahead of the crew.

The FH Red Dragon mission would have already demonstrated heavy-craft propulsive landing.

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38 minutes ago, tater said:

There is no possible way NASA tries the first ever heavy craft propulsive landing with crew. Even with your MAV sent ahead (which would require that it go in 2018, which won't happen), that vehicle would be different from the MDV, and again, no way NASA puts crew in the MDV untested.

NASA has to do what it's told. It might be told to do something insane.

38 minutes ago, tater said:

I didn't listen to the ISS phone call. The idea that it was said jokingly seems more likely than not.

Anyone have the link? The intended meaning could be as simple as, "I've told my people to start looking into this and report back to me." Their answer can be "No," or "Yes, but it will take twice as long."

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20 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

NASA has to do what it's told. It might be told to do something insane.

Anyone have the link? The intended meaning could be as simple as, "I've told my people to start looking into this and report back to me." Their answer can be "No," or "Yes, but it will take twice as long."

Without making this political, here's the conversation:

Quote

During the call, the [unnamed official] also asked about NASA's Journey to Mars and whether any of the astronauts, including Whitson, Rubins, and Jack Fischer, wanted to go to Mars. They all did. "Tell me, for Mars, what do you see a timing for actually sending people to Mars. Is there a schedule, and when do you see that happening?" he then asked.

Whitson replied with a stock answer, namely that NASA could do it in the 2030s with enough funding and international cooperation. "Unfortunately spaceflight takes a lot of time and money," Whitson said. "Getting there will require some international cooperation, a planet-wide approach in order to make it successful just because it is a very expensive endeavor."

"Well, we want to try and do it during my first term, or at worst during my second term, so we'll have to speed that up a little bit, OK?" [the official] responded.

Again, NOTHING POLITICAL. Just copying over the conversation.

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6 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Without making this political, here's the conversation:

Thanks. In context, it does sound like the sort of light humor you'd expect to hear on The Apprentice.

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Posted (edited)

30 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

Steps 1-3 are on schedule already. Steps 4 and 5 could be conducted in parallel to steps 1-3. Step 4 only requires a handful of modifications to the Falcon 9 upper stage to allow extended persistence and additional restarts, and the upper stage could even act as a crasher stage to reduce the lander's dV requirements.

D2 as a lander makes a lot of sense to me. Remove the aeroshell, the heat shield, the parachutes, the landing legs, and four of the SuperDracos. Give the remaining SuperDracos vacuum nozzle extensions and place a secondary fuel tank plus landing legs in the trunk. There's some development there to be sure, but not as much as a new lander. The lander would launch unmanned on FH inside a fairing and rendezvous with the crewed Dragon 2 in cislunar space.

Stripping down D2 is certainly possible, but then it is not D2, its something else.

The LEM was tested 3 times. Unmanned, in LEO, and in LMO. For 3 years they better get cracking, and they have a launch backlog as it is.

Quote

I agree, but just playing devil's advocate...

...the MAV doesn't need to launch in 2018; it can launch in 2020 a few months ahead of the crew.

No, it needs to land ahead of crew, assuming it is doing any ISRU. Well ahead. I don't remember the rule of thumb, but how much mass in LEO is required for every kg of props brought to the Martian surface?

 

Quote

The FH Red Dragon mission would have already demonstrated heavy-craft propulsive landing.

Red Dragon is set for 2020 launch, not 2018. It slipped with the whole tourist thing, did it not? Even assuming it was somehow put back, moving forward would require that it works the first time. Any failures would be fatal to the effort.

Now leaving in 7 years is a different story, and perhaps worth more serious consideration as a fun exercise for the reader (Mars orbit being far more plausible than landing, and the moon being easy in that time frame).

30 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

NASA has to do what it's told. It might be told to do something insane.

Without getting into the disallowed weeds, this is simply untrue, they don't have to do anything. If someone without 2 clues to rub together tells them to do something impossible, they'd say, "Sorry, that's impossible, give us a few weeks, and we can brief you on what is possible at various budgetary commitments."

Edited by tater

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A relevant, semi tongue in cheek comment by Neil.  Disregard the video title pls.

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3 minutes ago, tater said:

Without getting into the disallowed weeds, this is simply untrue, they don't have to do anything. If someone without 2 clues to rub together tells them to do something impossible, they'd say, "Sorry, that's impossible, give us a few weeks, and we can brief you on what is possible at various budgetary commitments."

If it's impossible for physical reasons, yes. If it's impossible because standard practice specifies it has to be done a certain way, then that's a different question. The specific thing I was responding to was, "There is no possible way NASA tries the first ever heavy craft propulsive landing with crew." In this case, NASA could be told, "Try the first ever heavy craft propulsive landing with crew." It's unwise, but it's not impossible.

But I've probably contributed enough to this particular tempest in a teapot. We're trying to read deeply into an off the cuff joke.

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