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2 hours ago, K^2 said:

US wants to go to Mars, because that's where they wanted to go to during cold war to beat USSR and back then, we didn't know just how crappy Mars' surface is. Not that we cared too much. All you had to do was get boots on the ground, not establish any sort of long term colony. Today, China just wants to go there to compete with US, and that's it. Russia's claims about having a Mars program aren't even credible, and even China's are in way too early of a stage to call it anything concrete. So really, US wants to go to Mars as some sort of cold war vestige and publicity stunt, and that's about it. "Every single national program," is such a huge overstatement here.

And do what with them? Surface structures on Mars aren't suitable for long term habitation. Between radiation and toxicity and abrasiveness of Martian dust, just waiting out for next departure window on Mars is a huge challenge. You have to dig to build anything remotely sustainable for long term habitation. And that's not something you're going to be able to do with a few landers. You need to land an entire infrastructure on Mars before you can make it habitable. There are a few projects that suggest turning Martian dust into printable material to construct mounds over landed habitats, but even that's a huge undertaking.

Contrast this to Venus where a single lander with a balloon and additional inflatable sections can be suitable for long term habitation. Something like Starship would actually work perfectly, as it can survive the re-entry and has enough volume to bring in the inflatables. You'll have to find a way to resupply it, and you'll have to find a way to dock a return vessel to it, but at least you don't have the fundamental problem of people not being able to survive there with minimal equipment.

No. It's a problem for humans, though. A big one. And since we're trying to find a place where people can live long term, picking a place that's better for equipment is hardly the best criterion.

Yeah, it's a lot easier to organize a return trip from Mars. So if you want to just visit it for a few months, just to put a check mark that you've had boots on the ground, by all means. Go to Mars. I mean, honestly, that's all these gov't space programs are trying to do. Get good publicity stunt of having people walk on another planet. But that solves absolutely none of the long term issues.

Gravity problems can be overcome if you have enough space, and radiation if you have enough shielding. You can't do either with a few landers. You have to build major infrastructure. And then you're still living short miserable lives in cramped underground tunnels, because that's the best you can hope for on Mars. I just don't even see the point.

May I remind you that Venus is still not a good option? Most of the reasons why happen to do with the atmosphere.

Venus, because of it's enormous levels of greenhouse gasses, is incredibly hot, meaning that anything that lands on the surface of Venus will have to be built to not only be strong against the atmospheric pressure, but temperature resistant against a day time that can melt lead. The planet's day is longer than its year, making it so that such a material would have to sustain a constant stream of heat.

Inflatable habitats would probably not be able to sustain humans; I'm not a scientist, but if you even want a chance of properly inflating a habitat module capable of withstanding 92 bar without crushing the hapless astronauts involved, you'll probably want to use a lot of Helium, since it is the second least dense gasses in the universe. Hydrogen is a horrible idea because it is reactive to oxygen, but regardless of whether it's helium or not, you'll still have to make sure a large chunk of your air is breathable, otherwise the hapless astronauts are either gonna be short of breath, constantly tired and gasping, or very, very dead. But you can't use an earthlike atmospheric make up for something that's supposed to be inflated unless it's at a high pressure that would otherwise crush the astronauts. Like I said, I'm not a scientist, so there could be a way for an inflatable habitat to work on Venus, but it really does not seem like there's a way that's possible with practical science.

I haven't even gotten into the fact that the data we have on Venus suggests that sulfuric acid rain is a common occurrence on the planet. I don't need to explain why that's bad.

But okay, lets just assume that we somehow manage to overcome all of those challenges and land on Venus with the first supplies for a proper base. How do you plan on getting the rocket back? How are you going to make continuous and repeated supply missions to Venus cost effective and sustainable? Any other KSP player whose done an interplanetary mission can tell you that atmospheric rocket launches back to Eve orbit are some of the most difficult things anyone can do in the game. Now Venus has a little less than half of Earth's gravity, but that is not the problem. 92 bar atmospheric pressure would make it that even an F-1 engine strapped to a small fuel tank couldn't fly there. The only way you could possibly get a craft to rise from Venus's atmosphere would be using propellers, and that would be impractical, or at the very least difficult to design around with a rocket that needs to enter the atmosphere in the first place. But you also have to put into perspective that we use multi-stage rockets to get to Earth orbit just with our own atmosphere. Fully reusable rockets are an impossibility for a  Venus colonization mission, even if it was possible, and that makes such a venture infinitely more expensive.

Now I can raise the counterpoint that there have been proposals to create floating colonies on Venus that would sustain themselves above the Venetian sulfuric cloud layer. This is actually a somewhat good idea on paper, solving most of the problems caused by the atmosphere, and could possibly be done in practicality, but designing for that type of colony would be grueling and resource expensive on a scale humanity might not be ready to handle for it's first colony beyond the Earth-moon system.

In your post you question what the point is in colonizing mars when the ground is toxic, the sun blasts ionizing radiation on it, and the gravity will make keeping humans healthy an issue, and then point to a planet with conditions up to 40 times worse than Mars that would make colonization significantly harder, maybe impossible without terraforming or floating platforms, both of which we can't do to the level needed for a colonization mission with the technology we have now. If we were talking about the moon this would be a completely different situation, as it would be significantly easier to establish a human colony on the moon than on mars, and would be more rewarding from an Earth-centric point of view, despite that coming with its own challenges. But that would be just what it would be - Earth-centric. Colonizing Mars to many people is not about the practicalities of creating a self-sustaining colony on Mars, it's about expanding humanities' horizons beyond the sphere of Earth by creating it, practicalities be damned. It's about taking the first steps to bringing humanity into a truly extraplanetary future for the first time ever. As mentioned before, to some, it even could relevant to the survival of the human species itself. You talk about the US government wanting to colonize Mars for petty reasons, but the US government largely doesn't want to go to Mars, at least not until the current Artemis program plans are finished. Support for a colony on mars in the US is largely coming from the people (and by "the people" I don't mean rich billionaires like Elon). People fantasize about it, romanticize it, sometimes to a distracting degree. But they do it because they genuinely see it as the next giant leap for mankind, the natural next answer to the question "where will we go next?", perilous dangers and life threatening conditions be damned. Not many people outside theoretical scientists and sci-fi artists can say that they feel the same way about Venus. The gas giants are too far, the asteroid belt too low gravity, and Mercury too small and irradiated to be used for much more than distant-future dyson-sphere materials. Really the only two places we can go right now are Mars and the moon. In the role of the dice that caused our solar system to be made this way, our two closest next door homes are a cold, toxic rock that gets bathed in solar radiation, and a close, lifeless rock that at one point in it's orbit gets absolutely blasted by solar radiation for a few days straight. This is the hand we've been dealt and a lot of people are willing to role with it if it means that a human can step foot and stay on another world.

Edited by NXDIAZ
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3 hours ago, southernplain said:

I don't think Venus is a bad option overall, but it is not clear to me that preferring Mars over Venus is "entirely silly" when every single national space program targets human Mars landings first.

Venus has the problem of the surface being literally hell for human life. At least we can be on the ground at Mars and build initial surface structures (which may be able to share design lessons from 2020's heritage Lunar landing infrastructure).

The Martian gravity well is quite a bit less of a problem for spaceflight infrastructure than Venus as well (Venusian escape velocity is pretty much Earthlike). Starship (Marsship?) can SSTO at Mars, it is not clear that it could SSTO at Venus or what Starship "landing" at Venus even looks like.

I think gravity and radiation are the obvious biggest threats at Mars. If 0.38g is too low for long term human habitation or if mitigating the radiation threat is insurmountable, then Venus really is our best option. 

SpaceX isn't designing SSTOs.

The thing about Mars is interesting. To add more on to what K^2 said, the reason people got interested in going there in the first place originally was because of the "canals" that were popularized by Percival Lowell in the late 1800s. Then in the early 50s when ICBM development began, space travel became a very serious possibility which numerous entertainment companies took advantage of. Part of the reason Mars is automatically accepted as the next target for space exploration after the Moon is "because Von Braun said so"; Disney's Tomorrowland episodes on space exploration were instrumental in shaping US public perception of space. Likewise I wouldn't be surprised if the interest in Mars in the USSR/Russia comes from early 20th century works of art (like the movie Aelita), and then considering these same people responsible for propaganda then had to create new works during early Space Race, they naturally chose Mars as a dreamy target, as it is what they did before. And it has stuck since then, often quite simply because "they said so" (they dreamed it first and now I like it too), not because of any logic reason.

Sadly Venus isn't considered often despite Soviet papers on floating colonies in the early 70s and Geoffrey A. Landis's work on proposals for balloon based exploration. That's not to say Mars is at fault, but "just because they said so" is a poor reason to choose it as a colonization target.

I don't think the ground is that important. A colony would fly/float, and would likely be so massive it would be hard to tell you were even in the air. To use an Earthly example, despite regularly getting sea-sick on ocean liners or having trouble sleeping on trains, many passengers of German trans-Atlantic rigid airships in the 20s and 30s found no issues travelling and staying multiple nights aboard the airships. And if the gravity is lower anyways, you are likely going to feel uncomfortable to a certain extent. Versus Venus with its Earth like gravity, which coupled with the nature of lighter-than-air-esque flight should not create major comfort issues.

Starship would not land on Venus. This is just random thinking based on experience with space history (but not engineering), but it would probably make sense to build a Gateway-like space station in Venus orbit. Starships travel their, unload their cargo and crew, which then board a specialized Venus Descent Vehicle. The VDV then *descends* in a similar manner to the following-

Proposed_NASA_HAVOC_Missions_to_Venus2.jpg

The airship then docks at the colony. The VDV could carry its own VAV (Venus Ascent Vehicle) for returning to the "Venus Gateway" or the first settlers could wait until they can construct the "colony structure" (the balloon) which would perhaps have launch facilities for a reusable Venus "Lander" (it would only land at the colony of course). Whereas the Venus colonies themselves could be built inside the balloon (nitrogen-oxygen mix for humans is a lifting gas there), the reusable Venus Lander- perhaps which could simply be Starship itself, eliminating the need for airships and a Gateway type space station- will land on an unpressurized structure built above the balloon.

In case you find a Starship landing pad balloon/dirigible/airship to be preposterous, here is a quote from the article linked below-

Quote

Venus settlers would float where Vega 1 and Vega 2 floated, but Landis rejected helium balloons. He noted that, on Venus, a human-breathable nitrogen/oxygen air mix is a lifting gas. A balloon containing a cubic meter of breathable air would be capable of hoisting about half a kilogram, or about half as much weight as a balloon containing a cubic meter of helium. A kilometer-wide spherical balloon filled only with breathable air could in the Venusian atmosphere lift 700,000 tons, or roughly the weight of 230 fully-fueled Saturn V rockets. Settlers could build and live inside the air envelope. 

Again, this is just a random idea and likely has some flaws and could be rectified, but with an architecture roughly like this, a Venus colony would be very much doable with Starship.

Some other thoughts-

1. No need to worry about Marsquakes destroying or damaging the colony

2. Colonies can crowd around eachother for support, no need to build them far apart as dictated by Mars surface geography, which eliminates the need for Starship SSTO

3. Safety and perhaps mental anxiety for colonists is a huge improvement, if the Mars city suffers a breach it has the potential to explode, the counteraction of such a problem of which would require building the city in segments that can seal off in an emergency. Versus on Venus where while the air will begin to leak, it will do so slowly, and it poses no threat to the colony itself (the outside toxic atmosphere will not mix with the inside fast, and it will not drop altitude quickly). I would feel much more comfortable in a floating Venus balloon-craft than in a lunar or Mars habitat.

4. No need to worry about dust storms interrupting supply of energy through a solar farm.

Excellent article to read about Venus colonization pros-

http://spaceflighthistory.blogspot.com/2020/08/venus-is-best-place-in-solar-system-to.html

To go back to the point of the thread- what is SpaceX doing wrong- I think they are investing way to much into a plan with too many unknowns.

As you said Martian gravity and radiation are some of the biggest problems, and SpaceX has no presented no idea how to solve them- in fact, they haven't even looked into whether Martian gravity is safe or not. This is beyond irresponsible, and not only threatens human lives- it threatens SpaceX's goal itself. This is not to shame SpaceX employees (including Musk)- they likely simply haven't realized it. Mars is cool after all. But they need to take the colony aspect more serious right now, to prevent massive monetary and human losses in the future.

19 minutes ago, NXDIAZ said:

May I remind you that Venus is still not a good option? Most of the reasons why happen to do with the atmosphere.

Venus, because of it's enormous levels of greenhouse gasses, is incredibly hot, meaning that anything that lands on the surface of Venus will have to be built to not only be strong against the atmospheric pressure and temperature resistant against a day time that can melt lead. The planet's day is longer than its year, making it so that such a material would have to sustain a constant stream of heat.

Inflatable habitats would probably not be able to sustain humans; I'm not a scientist, but if you even want a chance of properly inflating a habitat module capable of withstanding 92 bar without crushing the hapless astronauts involved, you'll probably want to use a lot of Helium, since it is the second least dense gasses in the universe. Hydrogen is a horrible idea because it is reactive to oxygen, but regardless of whether it's helium or not, you'll still have to make sure a large chunk of your air is breathable, otherwise the hapless astronauts are either gonna be short of breath, constantly tired and gasping, or very, very dead. But you can't use an earthlike atmospheric make up for something that's supposed to be inflated unless it's at a high pressure that would otherwise crush the astronauts. Like I said, I'm not a scientist, so there could be a way for an inflatable habitat to work on Venus, but it really does not seem like there's a way that's possible with practical science.

I haven't even gotten into the fact that the data we have on Venus suggests that sulfuric acid rain is a common occurrence on the planet. I don't need to explain why that's bad.

But okay, lets just assume that we somehow manage to overcome all of those challenges and land on Venus with the first supplies for a proper base. How do you plan on getting the rocket back? How are you going to make continuous and repeated supply missions to Venus cost effective and sustainable? Any other KSP player whose done an interplanetary mission can tell you that atmospheric rocket launches back to Eve orbit are some of the most difficult things anyone can do in the game. Now Venus has a little less than half of Earth's gravity, but that is not the problem. 92 bar atmospheric pressure would make it that even an F-1 engine strapped to a small fuel tank couldn't fly there. The only way you could possibly get a craft to rise from Venus's atmosphere would be using propellers, and that would be impractical, or at the very least difficult to design around with a rocket that needs to enter the atmosphere in the first place. But you also have to put into perspective that we use multi-stage rockets to get to Earth orbit just with our own atmosphere. Fully reusable rockets are an impossibility for a  Venus colonization mission, even if it was possible, and that makes such a venture infinitely more expensive.

Now I can raise the counterpoint that there have been proposals to create floating colonies on Venus that would sustain themselves above the Venetian sulfuric cloud layer. This is actually a somewhat good idea on paper, solving most of the problems caused by the atmosphere, and could possibly be done in practicality, but designing for that type of colony would be grueling and resource expensive on a scale humanity might not be ready to handle for it's first colony beyond the Earth-moon system.

In your post you question what the point is in colonizing mars when the ground is toxic, the sun blasts ionizing radiation on it, and the gravity will make keeping humans healthy an issue, and then point to a planet with conditions up to 40 times worse than Mars that would make colonization significantly harder, maybe impossible without terraforming or floating platforms, both of which we can't do to the level needed for a colonization mission with the technology we have now. If we were talking about the moon this would be a completely different situation, as it would be significantly easier to establish a human colony on the moon than on mars, and would be more rewarding from an Earth-centric point of view, despite that coming with its own challenges. But that would be just what it would be - Earth-centric. Colonizing Mars to many people is not about the practicalities of creating a self-sustaining colony on Mars, it's about expanding humanities' horizons beyond the sphere of Earth by creating it, practicalities be damned. It's about taking the first steps to bringing humanity into a truly extraplanetary future for the first time ever. As mentioned before, to some, it even could relevant to the survival of the human species itself. You talk about the US government wanting to colonize Mars for petty reasons, but the US government largely doesn't want to go to Mars, at least not until the current Artemis program plans are finished. Support for a colony on mars in the US is largely coming from the people (and by "the people" I don't mean rich billionaires like Elon). People fantasize about it, romanticize it, sometimes to a distracting degree. But they do it because they genuinely see it as the next giant leap for mankind, the natural next answer to the question "where will we go next?", perilous dangers and life threatening conditions be damned. Not many people outside theoretical scientists and sci-fi artists can say that they feel the same way about Venus. The gas giants are too far, the asteroid belt too low gravity, and Mercury too small and irradiated to be used for much more than distant-future dyson-sphere materials. Really the only two places we can go right now are Mars and the moon. In the role of the dice that caused our solar system to be made this way, our two closest next door homes are a cold, toxic rock that gets bathed in solar radiation, and a close, lifeless rock that at one point in it's orbit gets absolutely blasted by solar radiation for a few days straight. This is the hand we've been dealt and a lot of people are willing to role with it if it means that a human can step foot and stay on another world.

1. You don't use helium, you use the same nitrogen-oxygen mix you use for humans in spacecraft.

2. Sulfuric acid is easy to protect against. Vega 1 and Vega 2 balloons used a simple fabric cover and were just fine. Literally, Earth-use protective gear should be fine, coupled with oxygen tank and mask you should be able to take walks on an external platform of the balloon with no need for a pressure suit.

3. In general, just look at my suggestion above. It certainly has some issues, but a floating colony is by no means impossible with current and reasonable near-future technology. For the colony design itself, I recommend reading the article I linked. It is fairly short and covers most of your critiques.

This is not to say "don't colonize Mars forever", but Venus is much better habitability wise. No one is talking about a Venus surface colony by the way. That is silly and even the speculative Venus surface expedition discussed many months ago in the thread about phosphorus on Venus was iffy.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. Musk, if you are lurking on these forums, please don't get hyper focused on Mars just "because Mars". Doing so actually puts the purpose of the colony at risk- protecting homo sapiens from a/the mass extinction event. Put human life first, and then choose the most efficient target no matter the "coolness" factor!

Edited by SunlitZelkova
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Still waiting for somebody's explanation of the Venusian cloud agriculture, not just a living room hanging under balloon.

Also I can't recall, is SpaceX asking for help in Venusian colonization, or they are the Martian living force providers?

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25 minutes ago, SunlitZelkova said:

The thing about Mars is interesting. To add more on to what K^2 said, the reason people got interested in going there in the first place originally was because of the "canals" that were popularized by Percival Lowell in the late 1800s. Then in the early 50s when ICBM development began, space travel became a very serious possibility which numerous entertainment companies took advantage of. Part of the reason Mars is automatically accepted as the next target for space exploration after the Moon is "because Von Braun said so"; Disney's Tomorrowland episodes on space exploration were instrumental in shaping US public perception of space. Likewise I wouldn't be surprised if the interest in Mars in the USSR/Russia comes from early 20th century works of art (like the movie Aelita), and then considering these same people responsible for propaganda then had to create new works during early Space Race, they naturally chose Mars as a dreamy target, as it is what they did before. And it has stuck since then, often quite simply because "they said so" (they dreamed it first and now I like it too), not because of any logic reason.

Sadly Venus isn't considered often despite Soviet papers on floating colonies in the early 70s and Geoffrey A. Landis's work on proposals for balloon based exploration. That's not to say Mars is at fault, but "just because they said so" is a poor reason to choose it as a colonization target.

I don't think the ground is that important. A colony would fly/float, and would likely be so massive it would be hard to tell you were even in the air. To use an Earthly example, despite regularly getting sea-sick on ocean liners or having trouble sleeping on trains, many passengers of German trans-Atlantic rigid airships in the 20s and 30s found no issues travelling and staying multiple nights aboard the airships. And if the gravity is lower anyways, you are likely go to feel uncomfortable to a certain extent. Versus Venus with its Earth like gravity, which coupled with the nature of lighter-than-air-esque flight should not create major comfort issues.

Starship would not land on Venus. This is just random thinking based on experience with space history (but not engineering), but it would probably make sense to build a Gateway-like space station in Venus orbit. Starships travel their, unload their cargo and crew, which then board a specialized Venus Descent Vehicle. The VDV then *descends* in a similar manner to the following-

Proposed_NASA_HAVOC_Missions_to_Venus2.jpg

The airship then docks at the colony. The VDV could carry its own VAV (Venus Ascent Vehicle) for returning to the "Venus Gateway" or the first settlers could wait until they can construct the "colony structure" (the balloon) which would perhaps have launch facilities for a reusable Venus "Lander" (it would only land at the colony of course). Whereas the Venus colonies themselves could be built inside the balloon (nitrogen-oxygen mix for humans is a lifting gas there), the reusable Venus Lander- perhaps which could simply be Starship itself, eliminating the need for airships and a Gateway type space station- will land on an unpressurized structure built above the balloon.

In case you find a Starship landing pad balloon/dirigible/airship to be preposterous, here is a quote from the article linked below-

Again, this is just a random idea and likely has some flaws and could be rectified, but with an architecture roughly like this, a Venus colony would be very much doable with Starship.

Some other thoughts-

1. No need to worry about Marsquakes destroying or damaging the colony

2. Colonies can crowd around eachother for support, no need to build them far apart as dictated by Mars surface geography

3. Safety and perhaps mental anxiety for colonists is a huge improvement, if the Mars city suffers a breach it has the potential to explode, the counteraction of such a problem of which would require building the city in segments that can seal off in an emergency. Versus on Venus where while the air will begin to leak, it will do so slowly, and it poses no threat to the colony itself (the outside toxic atmosphere will not mix with the inside fast, and it will not drop altitude quickly). I would feel much more comfortable in a floating Venus balloon-craft than in a lunar or Mars habitat.

4. No need to worry about dust storms interrupting supply of energy through a solar farm.

Excellent article to read about Venus colonization pros-

http://spaceflighthistory.blogspot.com/2020/08/venus-is-best-place-in-solar-system-to.html

To go back to the point of the thread- what is SpaceX doing wrong- I think they are investing way to much into a plan with too many unknowns.

As you said Martian gravity and radiation are some of the biggest problems, and SpaceX has no presented no idea how to solve them- in fact, they haven't even looked into whether Martian gravity is safe or not. This is beyond irresponsible, and not only threatens human lives- it threatens SpaceX's goal itself. This is not to shame SpaceX employees (including Musk)- they likely simply haven't realized it. Mars is cool after all. But they need to take the colony aspect more serious right now, to prevent massive monetary and human losses in the future.

1. You don't use helium, you use the same nitrogen-oxygen mix you use for humans in spacecraft.

2. Sulfuric acid is easy to protect against. Vega 1 and Vega 2 balloons used a simple fabric cover and were just fine. Literally, Earth-use protective gear should be fine, coupled with oxygen tank and mask you should be able to take walks on an external platform of the balloon with no need for a pressure suit.

3. In general, just look at my suggestion above. It certainly has some issues, but a floating colony is by no means impossible with current and reasonable near-future technology.

This is not to say "don't colonize Mars forever", but Venus is much better habitability wise.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. Musk, if you are lurking on these forums, please don't get hyper focused on Mars just "because Mars". Doing so actually puts the purpose of the colony at risk- protecting homo sapiens from a/the mass extinction event. Put human life first, and then choose the most efficient target no matter the "coolness" factor!

Looking back on it, I probably should've clarified that floating Venus colonies were something I hadn't really done too much research on. Anyway, this is all some pretty interesting information you've provided. It's not as if I haven't discounted the idea of a floating Venetian colony. It's just always seemed as something that would be an extreme design challenge like nothing humanity has not seen in it's entire existence, even compared to a Mars colony. I mainly bring this up because this is one of those situations where it's a concept that has never been done before. Call me uncreative, but it just seems hard to imagine people living inside a Venetian fleet of zeppelins, surviving in the upper atmosphere without much maintenance in a realistic way. Then again, we did say similar things about reusable rockets in the past, and now Falcon 9s are landing so often they might as well be air liners, and two fully reusable rockets are on the way in the US alone, so who really knows.

Edited by NXDIAZ
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On 7/12/2021 at 10:02 PM, Beccab said:

He isn't

SpaceX is doing exactly zero SSTO, please get at least a single fact right if you want to call everyone a fanboy

I'm not calling "everyone" a fanboi, [snip]

And fine, call me when he puts a man into space with his mess. All he seems to care about is sending a rocket up, and trying to get it to land on a tiny platform in the ocean. And failing.

Is that accurate enough to get people to stop pleading his freaking case at me multiple, multiple times? Y'all making me hate the dude.

Edited by Vanamonde
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On 7/13/2021 at 12:49 AM, Slyguy3129 said:

I'm not calling "everyone" a fanboi, [snip]

And fine, call me when he puts a man into space with his mess. All he seems to care about is sending a rocket up, and trying to get it to land on a tiny platform in the ocean. And failing.

Is that accurate enough to get people to stop pleading his freaking case at me multiple, multiple times? Y'all making me hate the dude.

I'm sorry, but you seriously seem to have come straigh out of 2014.

Falcon 9s have been landing orbital class boosters since 2015. Since then, there have been 89 successful landings of a falcon 9 and (after the first successful droneship landing) 4 failures.

Falcon 9s have also been launching people to the ISS, which is in space, since may 2020. Three capsules with 4 people each have since been launched, one of which is docked to the ISS right now (Crew Dragon Endeavour) and are the only crew rated vehicle the US has.

So no, it is not accurate enough. In fact, it is completely wrong.

Edited by Vanamonde
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11 minutes ago, Beccab said:

I'm sorry, but you seriously seem to have come straigh out of 2014.

Falcon 9s have been landing orbital class boosters since 2015. Since then, there have been 89 successful landings of a falcon 9 and (after the first successful droneship landing) 4 failures.

Falcon 9s have also been launching people to the ISS, which is in space, since may 2020. Three capsules with 4 people each have since been launched, one of which is docked to the ISS right now (Crew Dragon Endeavour) and are the only crew rated vehicle the US has.

So no, it is not accurate enough. In fact, it is completely wrong.

So has he put a man into space yet?

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Just now, Slyguy3129 said:

So has he put a man into space yet?

Yes, that's what I said. First time in 2020, and by now three times for 12 people total

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4 minutes ago, Slyguy3129 said:

Has it put a man on the Moon yet?

No, they haven't . SpaceX is building the lander to go back to the moon in 2024 in the artemis program, the 50 meters high starship with a 100 tons payload that has already done multiple 10 km atmospheric hops testing the system and will do the first orbital flight in august/september on the biggest rocket ever. Does that answer your question?

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1 hour ago, kerbiloid said:

Still waiting for somebody's explanation of the Venusian cloud agriculture, not just a living room hanging under balloon.

Also I can't recall, is SpaceX asking for help in Venusian colonization, or they are the Martian living force providers?

Construct an agricultural area with a green house above the balloon. Something would likely need to be below too, but I am not familiar with airship design.

In any case, if the Moon and Mars colonies can do it (as the Moon and Mars colony supporters claim) it can be done *above* Venus.

1 hour ago, NXDIAZ said:

Looking back on it, I probably should've clarified that floating Venus colonies were something I hadn't really done too much research on. Anyway, this is all some pretty interesting information you've provided. It's not as if I haven't discounted the idea of a floating Venetian colony. It's just always seemed as something that would be an extreme design challenge like nothing humanity has not seen in it's entire existence, even compared to a Mars colony. I mainly bring this up because this is one of those situations where it's a concept that has never been done before. Call me uncreative, but it just seems hard to imagine people living inside a Venetian fleet of zeppelins, surviving in the upper atmosphere without much maintenance in a realistic way. Then again, we did say similar things about reusable rockets in the past, and now Falcon 9s are landing so often they might as well be air liners, and two fully reusable rockets are on the way in the US alone, so who really knows.

Mars would be similar however. No outside support, only what is there. The only difference is one is floating and one is on the surface.

Something like the concept of a Mars colony has not been done either- even the Antarctic stations rely on resupply. Historical colonization is a poor comparison, as the colonists were surrounded by a wealth of resources and did not need to worry about maintaining a breathable atmosphere.

I agree we can not know what "will" happen and I think we have to wait and see instead of declaring ideas "dead".

The way I look at it is this- if we are going to build an at least semi-self-sustaining colony/base on another planet, it is going to be a huge engineering challenge no matter what- humans still need a set amount of things to survive. The only difference is that one is floating, and in my opinion, it is worth taking up the challenge if it means eliminating the still unknown prospect of human development being impeded by 0.38g. This is all within the context of building a colony "now" of course, as the topic of the thread stipulates, not spending 20 years with a Mars research station before building a colony to research the effects of Martian gravity on humans.

Edited by SunlitZelkova
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3 minutes ago, Beccab said:

No, they haven't . SpaceX is building the lander to go back to the moon in 2024 in the artemis program, the 50 meters high starship with a 100 tons payload that has already done multiple 10 km atmospheric hops testing the system and will do the first orbital flight in august/september on the biggest rocket ever. Does that answer your question?

A no would have sufficed.

So like the last 40 years he's still stuck playing around in LEO.

Maybe you can explain exactly what it is that is so impressive that he is doing? Clearly you are........."passionate "........about him. I admitted in my first few post that I don't follow the man like he's Jesus Christ, there was no need to jump down my throat because I'm from "2014".

This is why it's hard to follow the guy. You get anything wrong, and the angry horde gets their pitch forks.:lol:

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8 minutes ago, Slyguy3129 said:

A no would have sufficed.

So like the last 40 years he's still stuck playing around in LEO.

Maybe you can explain exactly what it is that is so impressive that he is doing? Clearly you are........."passionate "........about him. I admitted in my first few post that I don't follow the man like he's Jesus Christ, there was no need to jump down my throat because I'm from "2014".

This is why it's hard to follow the guy. You get anything wrong, and the angry horde gets their pitch forks.:lol:

I am not passionate about him, in fact I couldn't care less about musk. But spacex isn't musk.

There is of course nothing wrong with not following someone or something, it's very normal. But if you don't know something simply say that, don't make stuff up:

52 minutes ago, Slyguy3129 said:

trying to get it to land on a tiny platform in the ocean. And failing.

There are no hordes with pitch forks going against you, you simply said something incorrect and people are correcting you. It's how life works, nothing wrong with that.

As for spacex, since you were wondering what people like about them:

They are the only company capable of sending up astronauts from the US, which hasn't been possible since 2011. (The only other vehicle for these 10 years was the russian soyuz)

They are the only company landing rockets and reusing them, instead of throwing them in the ocean (or on land, see china)

They already have the most powerful available rocket, the Falcon Heavy

They are building the most powerful rocket in history as I mentioned before, the first rocket fully reusable and that has a lot of uses planned for it (human lunar lander, human mars lander, super heavy unmanned launcher, point to point transportation. Obviously not all will materialise, but these are the planned ones)

They are extremely open about their development and current status of things, you can see about everything they are building re starship in the open in Texas which is unlike almost any space company

Lots and lots of extremely cool videos (not renders) on youtube and the like

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On 7/13/2021 at 12:49 AM, Slyguy3129 said:

I'm not calling "everyone" a fanboi, [snip] 

And fine, call me when he puts a man into space with his mess. All he seems to care about is sending a rocket up, and trying to get it to land on a tiny platform in the ocean. And failing.

Is that accurate enough to get people to stop pleading his freaking case at me multiple, multiple times? Y'all making me hate the dude.

Or, you know, I could be passionate about a Mars base, and he's the only one thats actually making it happen right now. [snip]

On 7/13/2021 at 2:13 AM, Beccab said:

... point to point transportation. Obviously not all will materialise, but these are the planned ones)

This last one isn't planned anymore, and frankly for some obvious reasons. No country would want something that looks like a ballistic missile coming in 2000 miles away from their shores. Just wanted to get that one out there, since a lot of detractors have been latching onto this even though they dropped that idea sometime early 2020.

Edited by Vanamonde
Elon Musk is the only one actively working for a Mars base.
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1 hour ago, SunlitZelkova said:

Construct an agricultural area with a green house above the balloon. Something would likely need to be below too, but I am not familiar with airship design.

Possible, but I'd rather go with a dedicated inflatable section. Breathable air is a lifting gas, so you can have an inflatable greenhouse floating alongside the main habitat. So long as you bring plants that require small amount of soil and can be sustained with drip irrigation, the whole thing can be light enough to require almost no additional support.

Since you'll have plenty of sunlight and you can run the greenhouse a bit CO2 rich, you can have very fast growth cycles with some plants. Fully sustainable might still be a reach for something that can reasonably be deployed from a single launch, but it can certainly supplement mission supplies allowing for much longer stay before resupply is needed.

Under peak CO2 conditions, plants can get to about 5% efficiency of incident solar to carbohydrate energy. Venus gets 2.6kW/m2 under direct sunlight. That's about 400W/m2 of average* insolation. A 2,000cal diet averages out to about 100W, so you can in theory sustain a person with just 5m2 of plants under ideal conditions, but I don't think anyone has figured out how to get these levels of efficiency from agriculture. It does sound like a possible avenue for exploration, though.

The other limiting factor is water. You have about 0.1g/m3 of sulfuric acid haze at relevant altitude. I don't know how much water content is in it, but worst case scenario, if it's exceptionally dry, you get 18g of water from 98g of pure sulfuric acid. The 2,000cal diet is designed around 2L of water intake. Biosynthesis of 2,000cal of starch will take up another 300g of water. So very conservatively, say about 2.5L per person per day. So that comes out to capturing almost 140,000m3 of atmosphere for the condensers. That isn't actually that much, as it's just 1.6m/s average through a 1m2 aperture, which is a very reasonable flow, but it's a significant amount of hardware that has to work day and night for the duration of the mission.

But again, all of this can be improved with resupply. We don't currently have anything like a working plan for a self-sufficient colony on Mars. I mean, there are ideas, but they all involve massive infrastructure - nothing you can bring along on a few Starships. So if we're doing a resupplied mission either way, Venus is still way easier, as you won't have to worry about gardening or water capture. And if we want to go towards self-sustaining, there is a clear opportunity to gradually scale up operations on Venus, vs having to build entire infrastructure on Mars before it's even a consideration.

* Note that for day-night cycle, we really don't care about planet's rotation, as it's super slow. But the winds super-rotate, resulting in a day-night cycle of about four Earth days. So at equator, the average insolation is roughly 1/2pi of peak.

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The biggest problem with a venus colony is coming home. Earth equivilant gravity and pressure means you're going to need a superheavy to get starship back to orbit, and the logistics of superheavy launch and landing from an airborn, floating platform boggles the mind. Not to mention SSTOing a superheavy into space to get it to venus in the first place.

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If the colony is vegetarian, at least to begin with, things get easier but by no means easy. I agree with @GoSlash27 on this one, it is no easy thing to get not just an ecosystem but a complex interplay of ecosystems in place.

Honestly, I don't think they are going to do it. But I do want to see a lot of massive rockets flying and I would love to see a manned Mars base become a reality. Whether or not it ever becomes a self-sustaining colony, I think the journey there will be quite exciting. SpaceX never claimed to be able to do all of it themselves. Is that where they're going wrong, do you think? Perhaps no other companies will be interested in making that kind of investment with so little promise of return? Would they be more likely to get an outpost-possibly-future-colony established by bringing absolutely everything in house? 

 

As for floating cities on Venus being an easier option, not a chance. 

Edited by Deddly
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2 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

Construct an agricultural area with a green house above the balloon.

Basic calculations, please. Mass, area, amount of soil and water, productivity of the support industry.

The words are cheap, the potato costs money.

Edited by kerbiloid
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8 minutes ago, Deddly said:

If the colony is vegetarian, at least to begin with, things get easier but by no means easy.

Deddly,

 Easier, yes... But since humans are evolved to be omnivores rather than herbivores, a strictly vegetarian diet leads to nutritional deficiencies, requiring vitamin and mineral supplements supplied from Earth.

11 minutes ago, Deddly said:

Honestly, I don't think they are going to do it. But I do want to see a lot of massive rockets flying and I would love to see a manned Mars base become a reality. Whether or not it ever becomes a self-sustaining colony, I think the journey there will be quite exciting. SpaceX never claimed to be able to do all of it themselves. Is that where they're going wrong, do you think?

I think the fundamental problem is that Elon is a futurist at heart, proposing ambitious goals with no real consideration given to the practical difficulties beyond "someone will figure something out eventually". My vocation as a technician leads me to the opposite view.

 This is one of those "you break it, you bought it" scenarios. Once you start down this road, you're committed to what is (currently and for the foreseeable future) a futile and incredibly expensive task. Once all those humans are there, SpaceX is committed to keeping them alive, and if they fold under economic hardship, the rest of humanity is committed to keeping them alive essentially forever. Bringing them home will be made very politically difficult thanks to the sunk cost fallacy.

 I would prefer a much more pragmatic "crawl before you walk" approach, first exploration, then long term habitation, then colonization (assuming it proves feasible). Jumping directly to "Mars City" is foolhardy IMO.

Best,

-Slashy

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12 minutes ago, GoSlash27 said:

... a strictly vegetarian diet leads to nutritional deficiencies, requiring vitamin and mineral supplements supplied from Earth.

That's the common belief, but it is actually only true if the diet is not carefully planned (one of many sources). A carefully planned completely vegan diet can include all the nutritional values needed for a healthy life. It seems to me that a completely plant-based diet would be a much better solution for the short/mid-term, maybe even for the duration of the colony. 

18 minutes ago, GoSlash27 said:

I would prefer a much more pragmatic "crawl before you walk" approach, first exploration, then long term habitation, then colonization (assuming it proves feasible). Jumping directly to "Mars City" is foolhardy IMO.

I completely agree, although my understanding was that long-term habitation was the idea anyway, but that Elon hopes it will gradually morph into a self-sustaining colony eventually. 

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@GoSlash27 why would a slow expansion be less problematic than a "minimize imports ASAP" approach, if the risk is sunk cost and supplying these people forever?

A research outpost would be just as vulnerable to  spaceX going under, and would require more imports per person than even a partially sustainable mars city.

 

One advantage to the mars rush approach is the same advantage SpaceX has when it's willing to test to destruction when oldspace believes failure is not an option. When something goes wrong, you know exactly what actually went wrong. They key aspect is to allow for failures of this sort without risking lives by having backup supplies ready to go, as they did in Biosphere 2 (though the biosphere 2 management hid it, and the various resupply mission from the press- another flaw of "failure is not an option" thinking) This kind of high-pressure feedback on research and development is exactly what's needed to make advances quickly.

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The main contradiction of this thread is that it immediately turns into a discussion about the everyone views on a proper colony building rather than the help in the unknown SpaceX design.

So, it looks pointless from both sides. Any suggestion is not about SpaceX, any SpaceX suggestions lack the SpaceX subject.

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24 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

The main contradiction of this thread is that it immediately turns into a discussion about the everyone views on a proper colony building rather than the help in the unknown SpaceX design.

So, it looks pointless from both sides. Any suggestion is not about SpaceX, any SpaceX suggestions lack the SpaceX subject.

This is thread at this point is basically no different from:

 

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1 hour ago, Rakaydos said:

@GoSlash27 why would a slow expansion be less problematic than a "minimize imports ASAP" approach, if the risk is sunk cost and supplying these people forever?

A research outpost would be just as vulnerable to  spaceX going under, and would require more imports per person than even a partially sustainable mars city.

 

One advantage to the mars rush approach is the same advantage SpaceX has when it's willing to test to destruction when oldspace believes failure is not an option. When something goes wrong, you know exactly what actually went wrong. They key aspect is to allow for failures of this sort without risking lives by having backup supplies ready to go, as they did in Biosphere 2 (though the biosphere 2 management hid it, and the various resupply mission from the press- another flaw of "failure is not an option" thinking) This kind of high-pressure feedback on research and development is exactly what's needed to make advances quickly.

Rakaydos,

 The most problematic parts of the "minimize imports ASAP" approach are the increased stakes (a whole lot of humans), the massively increased dependence on a single platform not having a catastrophic failure, and increased pressure of "sunk cost" that comes with going with the full intent to stay rather then visiting to learn *how* to stay. Dude's not going to build an entire city, run into an insurmountable problem, and then just shrug and say "oh, well in that case nevermind". 

JMO,

-Slashy

30 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

The main contradiction of this thread is that it immediately turns into a discussion about the everyone views on a proper colony building rather than the help in the unknown SpaceX design.

So, it looks pointless from both sides. Any suggestion is not about SpaceX, any SpaceX suggestions lack the SpaceX subject.

The point as I understand it is to talk about what we think they're doing "wrong", and this approach to taming Mars is the #1 thing that sticks out to me.

 But if we're going to stick to strictly technical issues that they might want to address, I've already commented on the plan to use entire Starships to land on the surface, refuel, and relaunch. I think they'd be better- served to use dedicated bugs for that role.

 I'll also mention that while they should be able to aerobrake at Mars with little difficulty, their vision of the 'skydive / flip/ suicide burn' landing isn't going to pan out with the current design. The 10 km test hops have shown that the drag generated is insufficient at 30,000' on Earth, which means it's insufficient for the Martian surface as well.

Best,

-Slashy

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18 minutes ago, GoSlash27 said:

The 10 km test hops have shown that the drag generated is insufficient at 30,000' on Earth, which means it's insufficient for the Martian surface as well.

What? In what way did they prove that exactly?

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