mikegarrison

Colonization Discussion Thread (split from SpaceX)

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12 hours ago, YNM said:

Actually, the simple question is : if we take a one-way mission to Mars, would that be acceptable ? Is this yet another "exploration" age, where lost parties are just numbers ?

I've read a few books on the age of exploration and early colonies. The casualty rates are almost too incredibly high to believe. With modern communication and sensitivities being what they are, there is no way modern people would accept such loss of life. The government would step in and shut that down in a split second even if people where still that adventurous. But people are not that adventurous anyways nowadays.     

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16 minutes ago, Kerbal7 said:

I've read a few books on the age of exploration and early colonies. The casualty rates are almost too incredibly high to believe. With modern communication and sensitivities being what they are, there is no way modern people would accept such loss of life. The government would step in and shut that down in a split second even if people where still that adventurous. But people are not that adventurous anyways nowadays.     

Don't overestimate any governing body's willingness to make tough calls. If it weren't the case, car transportation would be banned decades ago :P After all, thousands upon thousands of people die every year in car crashes - one would think a benevolent government would put a stop to such dangerous activity :wink:

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15 minutes ago, Kerbal7 said:

I've read a few books on the age of exploration and early colonies. The casualty rates are almost too incredibly high to believe. With modern communication and sensitivities being what they are, there is no way modern people would accept such loss of life. The government would step in and shut that down in a split second even if people where still that adventurous. But people are not that adventurous anyways nowadays.     

You are right, in my opinion unfortunately. I think that common attitude must change before humans can take great steps in manned space activities. Technological development is not enough. We have to learn to accept that manned space exploration is dangerous pioneering work which is impossible without deaths and failed missions. Currently it is not possible and this kind of things take generations to change. But they may change. Maybe possibility to safe working conditions for average workers are so new achievement (after WW2 many common works, for example in factories, were very dangerous in modern standards) that people overdo it. But maybe after 50 or 100 years safety is obvious for everyone who want it and daring individuals are allowed to take higher risks.

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13 minutes ago, Scotius said:

Don't overestimate any governing body's willingness to make tough calls. If it weren't the case, car transportation would be banned decades ago :P After all, thousands upon thousands of people die every year in car crashes - one would think a benevolent government would put a stop to such dangerous activity :wink:

Doesn't compare. Your chances of dying in an automobile accident is very low. If someone sets up a colony on Mars and it is suffering a 50%, 60%, 70+% death rate like the age of exploration colonies on earth, that thing is getting shut down by the government yesterday.  

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23 hours ago, Kerbal7 said:

Doesn't compare. Your chances of dying in an automobile accident is very low. If someone sets up a colony on Mars and it is suffering a 50%, 60%, 70+% death rate like the age of exploration colonies on earth, that thing is getting shut down by the government yesterday.  

Who owns Mars such that they could govern over it. The rules that apply are the rules of the high seas or Antarctica. Lots of people have died exploring the poles and taking risks on the high seas.  If anyone does anything that incurs a social, political, or economic cost on another entity, the state which that entity resides is free to sanction the causal body.

Edited by Val
Removed comment regarding being off-topic in SpaceX thread.

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48 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

What "massive engineering problems" are you thinking of, exactly? Lifting-body entry has been tested extensively with the Shuttle. SpaceX already has firsthand experience with blunt-lifting-body entry. Supersonic retropropulsion is figured out. BFR is smaller-diameter than Saturn V.

This makes me think you haven't even paid attention to the actual plans. The first few BFSs will be one-way and unmanned, and will carry a rudimentary ISRU rover and associated equipment that will be craned down to the surface. 

Yeah well, all that sounds really great and easy when Musk delivers the power-point presentation but in the real world things are different. The soft landing success rate at Mars is not good, at all. It's been getting better, but this is still a very high risk operation. No, soft landings on Mars are not all figured out. Not for 1 metric ton landings, and for sure not landing a giant, 150 ton loaded BFS cargo ship. Just in 2016 the Schiaparelli EDM lander crashed and burned trying to soft land on Mars.

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Landing one on mars will be non-trivial, to be sure. I’ll take that more seriously when I see it flying, and actual plans (putting some gps around mars, for example).

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3 hours ago, Kerbal7 said:

Yeah well, all that sounds really great and easy when Musk delivers the power-point presentation but in the real world things are different. The soft landing success rate at Mars is not good, at all. It's been getting better, but this is still a very high risk operation. No, soft landings on Mars are not all figured out. Not for 1 metric ton landings, and for sure not landing a giant, 150 ton loaded BFS cargo ship. Just in 2016 the Schiaparelli EDM lander crashed and burned trying to soft land on Mars.

There is one difference. Elon, going re-usable can test on Earth first. Many of the NASA and other efforts have been "one shot" attempts. Then getting it right second/third time. If Mars is the second/third attempt, then we can have more confidence.

It's a claim to difficulty, not possibility. Everything they wish to do is difficult, expensive and time consuming. Not impossible. So it's just how much of all 3 they have to invest or not.

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1 minute ago, Technical Ben said:

There is one difference. Elon, going re-usable can test on Earth first. Many of the NASA and other efforts have been "one shot" attempts. Then getting it right second/third time. If Mars is the second/third attempt, then we can have more confidence.

It's a claim to difficulty, not possibility. Everything they wish to do is difficult, expensive and time consuming. Not impossible. So it's just how much of all 3 they have to invest or not.

Okay, well, maybe before Elon Musk sends giant space freighters to land on Mars to start his Martian city he should focus on being able to put one single person into space and bring them back alive.  

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1 minute ago, Kerbal7 said:

Okay, well, maybe before Elon Musk sends giant space freighters to land on Mars to start his Martian city he should focus on being able to put one single person into space and bring them back alive.  

He's going to do that this year, or next year. But it is going to happend.

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3 hours ago, Kerbal7 said:

Okay, well, maybe before Elon Musk sends giant space freighters to land on Mars to start his Martian city he should focus on being able to put one single person into space and bring them back alive.  

There is this big silvery object with surface features that floats through the night sky over a monthly cycle (come to think of it the word "month" might be named after the cycle) and you can practice landing and taking off all you want. I hear, conspiracies aside, its been done 6 or so times before.

Jokes aside, its not even the the grasshopper stage.

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9 hours ago, Kerbal7 said:

If someone sets up a colony on Mars and it is suffering a 50%, 60%, 70+% death rate like the age of exploration colonies on earth, that thing is getting shut down by the government yesterday.  

You can't just use data from centuries ago and extraolate it to Mars.  Why would a Mars mission suffer a 50% death rate?  

Diseases? None.

Food?  We have MREs.

Water?  We have reclycers, and there's plenty of ice.

Billions of dollars and communication with experts 24/7? Yep.  

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@PakledHostage fwiw I was thinking the same thing as I read it, because I’d call the lunar stack S-IVB and up, since that’s the part that headed towards the Moon.

5 minutes ago, DAL59 said:

You can't just use data from centuries ago and extraolate it to Mars.  Why would a Mars mission suffer a 50% death rate?  

Diseases? None.

Food?  We have MREs.

Water?  We have reclycers, and there's plenty of ice.

Billions of dollars and communication with experts 24/7? Yep.  

Any use of historical colonization WRT the colonization of Mars is mostly nonsense, as even the least habitable places on Earth that have never been colonized by people are far, far better places to live than Mars.

Mars could easily suffer very high death rates, however. Anyone with an illness that they cannot care for properly, for example. Does the first wave include a full spectrum of medical specialists, plus all they need to practice at state of care? Highly unlikely. They could also ALL die. If you landed 2 colonies, and one had life support break in a way that could not be fixed, they all die. You now just lost 50% of your colonists.

^^^ this belongs in the Mars colonization thread, BFR/BFS stuff is fine here, and colonization is OK as long as it is tangential.

Edited by tater

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10 minutes ago, tater said:

Any use of historical colonization WRT the colonization of Mars is mostly nonsense, as even the least habitable places on Earth that have never been colonized by people are far, far better places to live than Mars.

Mars could easily suffer very high death rates, however. Anyone with an illness that they cannot care for properly, for example. Does the first wave include a full spectrum of medical specialists, plus all they need to practice at state of care? Highly unlikely. They could also ALL die. If you landed 2 colonies, and one had life support break in a way that could not be fixed, they all die. You now just lost 50% of your colonists.

^^^ this belongs in the Mars colonization thread, BFR/BFS stuff is fine here, and colonization is OK as long as it is tangential.

Yes, we have more tech, and yes, Mars is harder.  There isn't much point in this argument as all.  Its like comparing apples to oranges.

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43 minutes ago, DAL59 said:

You can't just use data from centuries ago and extraolate it to Mars.  Why would a Mars mission suffer a 50% death rate?  

Diseases? None.

Food?  We have MREs.

Water?  We have reclycers, and there's plenty of ice.

Billions of dollars and communication with experts 24/7? Yep.  

I wasn't making an opinion on what the death rate would be at a Mars colony. The other person asked what human loss of life would be acceptable today at a Martian colony. I was just saying a large number of lives lost wouldn't be acceptable in today's world like it was in times past.  

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42 minutes ago, tater said:

@PakledHostage fwiw I was thinking the same thing as I read it, because I’d call the lunar stack S-IVB and up, since that’s the part that headed towards the Moon.

Any use of historical colonization WRT the colonization of Mars is mostly nonsense, as even the least habitable places on Earth that have never been colonized by people are far, far better places to live than Mars.

Mars could easily suffer very high death rates, however. Anyone with an illness that they cannot care for properly, for example. Does the first wave include a full spectrum of medical specialists, plus all they need to practice at state of care? Highly unlikely. They could also ALL die. If you landed 2 colonies, and one had life support break in a way that could not be fixed, they all die. You now just lost 50% of your colonists.

^^^ this belongs in the Mars colonization thread, BFR/BFS stuff is fine here, and colonization is OK as long as it is tangential.

Oh I would put even more physically than that. Given that an efficient launch from Earth is going to begin at the bottom of the gravity well, even a fully filled vessel will need 4000 dV to intercept Mars, another 500 dV - 1000 dV to land and 4500 dV to reach orbit along with 1500 dV to return to Earth, there is near physical impossibility for a rocket with chemical propulsion ISPs (<500 sec) to both break into Martian orbit land, lift off and return to Earth.

Unless some sort of additional provision (Staged fuel, fuel drops, etc) there is a general presumption at this point that any one who travels to Mars will either die in transit, in attempting to land, in trying to survive on Mars or desperately trying to return to Earth. If you provide (give) that these are not colonizers, just travelers or career scientist who will retire back to Earth . . .then 100% fatality rate as it stands at the moment. Nothing that Musk has disclosed so far changes that. The reason is that while he claims he will send robot ships first to process methane and O2 from the martian surface, there are no details that a safety engineer might want to validate the process. So as its stands right now based on the technology we have, 100% fatality. If you are sending elderly astronauts there as an explicit one-way trip, then the fatality rate would be considerably lower because we can depreciate the rest of their lives versus alternative death risks (like say like fall injuries on Earth or this kind of thing). Again, this assumes that aid packages reach them in a periodic manner and they don't otherwise starve to death, dehydrate, suffocate, or become infected with bacteria because the waste disposal systems fail.

To change the paradigm on Martian survival as NASA explains it we need something tangible not vaporware.

 

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Hate to break it to you, but on Earth fatality rate is 100% too. And it will stay that way in the foreseeable future. Old age, sickness, accident or plain bad luck will eventually get us all. We can only choose how much difference we can make before the inevitable departure from the land of living.

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So, sending a crew age of 80 they can minimize the risks.

4 hours ago, Kerbal7 said:

The other person asked what human loss of life would be acceptable today at a Martian colony. I was just saying a large number of lives lost wouldn't be acceptable in today's world like it was in times past.  

A human loss of life looking bad on TV unlikely would be acceptable.

A looking good one would start a new talk show.

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On 19/02/2018 at 11:21 PM, PB666 said:

There is this big silvery object with surface features that floats through the night sky over a monthly cycle (come to think of it the word "month" might be named after the cycle) and you can practice landing and taking off all you want. I hear, conspiracies aside, its been done 6 or so times before.

Jokes aside, its not even the the grasshopper stage.

No atmosphere, so different and somewhat obsolete landing profile.

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On 2/19/2018 at 10:19 PM, Scotius said:

Hate to break it to you, but on Earth fatality rate is 100% too. And it will stay that way in the foreseeable future. Old age, sickness, accident or plain bad luck will eventually get us all. We can only choose how much difference we can make before the inevitable departure from the land of living.

But on Earth our bodies  are the limiting factor, largely, on Mars the risk of exterior forces are the limiting factor. (e.g. sublimating, radiation, exposure to erosive martian soils, being crush while trying and failing to leave a gravity well)
On Earth the equivilent would be risk of beging killed in an accident, risk of asbestos exposure, risk associated with smoking and industrial pollution. The risks are much lower.

Apples and oranges.

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On 2/18/2018 at 10:31 AM, tater said:

On topic: if we made the world more Blade Runner like (a dystopia), then this would provide a rationale for the "off world colonies" that some here desire :D

 

Don't bet against that not happening...

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If a dystopia happens, noone should escape.

P.S.
If naive and rosy-cheeked Blade Runner is a dystopia, then what Warhammer 40k is?

P.P.S.
Not to mention Bakker's 2nd apoc.

P.P.P.S.
In Blade Runner they at least ask what somebody feels.
In WH40k they destroy the whole planet if they feel that someone feels wrong.

Edited by kerbiloid

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9 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

f naive and rosy-cheeked Blade Runner is a dystopia, then what Warhammer 40k is?

First world problems: I consider it a dystopia because the city is dirty/unattractive.

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Spoiler
10 minutes ago, tater said:

dystopia because the city is dirty/unattractive.

So, dystopia is noir utopia

 

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Why at all that methane?
Martian atmosphere contains 6% of nitrogen to make ammonia.
Ammonia is liquid at -70..-30°C, so during almost full Martian day (-100..+30°C) with lesser effort than methane's -160°С. It's easier to store it.
It's a well-known rocket fuel. Ammolox ISP*g ~3200 m/s.
It can be easily combined with hydrogen to make an ammohydrolox engine (as Martian atmosphere is puny, so hydrogen has high ISP even at surface).
It's useful to produce and store UDMH, NTO, hydrazine hydrate.
It doesn't crap pipes and tubes. You can easily convert it into different things.

Methanol (can be produced out of the same CO2 and H2O) + hydrazinehydrate+ water is C-Stoff. Together with HTP it's a famous German jets propellant from WWII.
It's a natural cheap fuel for drills and other high-power plants without carrying reactor  on your rover.

Methane is not needed.

Edited by kerbiloid

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