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metalAZZman

Manned mission to mars

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A stopgap to the need for orbital construction, could be to design some good and flexible berthing connections wich INCLUDES things like ventilation, lifesupport, cooling, power, fuel transfer (where needed) and such.

This way, pretty large constructions could be made with next to no assembly on site needed except docking the parts together. The rest can be done from inside the vehicles. Today, too much work is required because they save weight by not using docking connections.

Just because something is done this and that way today doens´t mean we have to do it the exact same way tomorrow.

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Who needs a shipyard? The Russians didn't need a shipyard to build Mir, neither did the ISS need to be built in a shipyard.

.

When you are just docking together prefabricated parts, you won't need shipyards. Things change however, once you have access to resources off Earth and you have to actually build the parts from raw materials mined elsewhere.

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.

When you are just docking together prefabricated parts, you won't need shipyards. Things change however, once you have access to resources off Earth and you have to actually build the parts from raw materials mined elsewhere.

Which we won't be doing in the next 30 years (and probably even this century), so the point is moot.

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Which we won't be doing in the next 30 years (and probably even this century), so the point is moot.

Besides, this thread is for a manned mission to Mars, right?

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A couple of points I thought I would mention, which haven't so far. I think Phobos and Deimos are better targets for several reasons. Of course, as already mentioned, they are cheaper targets due to their lower gravity. This means lower delta-v requirements, and thus less fuel and a lighter spacecraft. But also, the crew would not have to readjust to a high gravity after nine months of weightlessness.

But first and foremost, some speculate that Phobos and Deimos may indeed contain chemically bound ice. Their low density should apparently suggest that possibility. This would really make them priceless. Ice equals fuel, and as a fuel depot Phobos and Deimos would be even cheaper to mine than the Moon (ie. fuel-wise when transporting it back to Earth).

Actually, bringing along a lump of ice for fuel might be preferable to conventional fuel. Storing ice is easy, as you only have to shield it from the Sun with foil, whereas liquid hydrogen and oxygen is difficult to store in comparison - it needs to be cooled to very low temperatures.

Dust may indeed be a significant problem on the moons, but I would expect the same to be a problem on Mars itself (although less so). There you also have the violent dust storms to consider.

As for the return journey some have suggested a flyby of Venus to shorten the trip. Apparently this should make it possible to stay for only two months around Mars, and not imprison the crew for the 15 months required to wait for another Hohmann transfer to Earth. However, it would similarly restrict the launch window to line up three bodies (Earth, Mars, Venus).

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So how about landing on Phobos, hollowing it out then spinning it to create your spacestation with resources you don't need to bring with you.

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So how about landing on Phobos, hollowing it out then spinning it to create your spacestation with resources you don't need to bring with you.

Phobos is roughly 22km wide, so that could take a while...

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Phobos could made well as staging area on mars orbit, but sending people for long term mission on Phobos is very similar to asteroid missions... Mars at least had some gravity :P.

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Phobos could made well as staging area on mars orbit, but sending people for long term mission on Phobos is very similar to asteroid missions... Mars at least had some gravity :P.

The current mission calls for an manned American habitat base to be landed on Phobos by 2035, for robotic operations. In the demo of the mission I saw, thee gravity would be enough to sustain a small base. The base would serve as a Plan B for Mars missions, or as a stopover point, like a gateway.

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Which we won't be doing in the next 30 years (and probably even this century), so the point is moot.

While technically true that we won't mine resources in space in the next few millenia ( this civilization is throughoutly decadent will collapse in next few decades, and it will take time till we get from small isolated tribes back to current level ), your attitude is still wrong.

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While technically true that we won't mine resources in space in the next few millenia ( this civilization is throughoutly decadent will collapse in next few decades, and it will take time till we get from small isolated tribes back to current level ), your attitude is still wrong.

I think asteroid mining will start around the mid-2930's for Commercial Companies. Such collapse and a Dark Ages is unlikely to happen, I think.

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I think asteroid mining will start around the mid-2930's for Commercial Companies. Such collapse and a Dark Ages is unlikely to happen, I think.

Is that supposed to be the 2030's or are you being very specific...? :P

I personally think that as soon as the NASA asteroid return mission and companies such as Planetary Resources demonstrate the feasibility of collecting and returning asteroid material to Earth, many companies and individuals will be willing to invest in space infrastructure, including asteroid mining. I reckon that it could possibly be commercially viable by the 2040's or '50's.

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Such collapse and a Dark Ages is unlikely to happen, I think.

Then look around you. It is already happening. The landslide moves initially too slowly to be immediately noticeable, but it is already moving. And we are all caught in it ;.;

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CEO of Company who harness asteroids will become Rockefeller of 21st century.

Also fuel produced from ice on near earth asteroids can eliminate need of launching fuel from earth for most uses, reducing price of travel beyond LEO by many folds.

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Phobos could made well as staging area on mars orbit, but sending people for long term mission on Phobos is very similar to asteroid missions... Mars at least had some gravity :P.

But if they take some rovers they will be able to operate them from orbit without lag. Plus they will have unique opportunity of studying the geological features of an asteroid. Not some miligrams of samples but tens of kilograms. So Mars moons ain't a bad idea.

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Then look around you. It is already happening. The landslide moves initially too slowly to be immediately noticeable, but it is already moving. And we are all caught in it ;.;

You sound like those people who believe in the M-12, and the fake moon landings. Unless you have solid proof, there is no reason for worry.

All I saw was highly factual and convincing proof that we would be a full-fleged spacefaring race by the end of the 21st Century.

Frankly, thanks to the fact that almost all youngsters today have an almost total dependency on technology, and at the rate we are advancing (Mostly in computing and earth-bound technologies. Most of your interplanetary engines never get into space because of budget cuts), such and sudden collapse of technology would...well...drive people insane.

Edited by NASAFanboy

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I personally think that as soon as the NASA asteroid return mission and companies such as Planetary Resources demonstrate the feasibility of collecting and returning asteroid material to Earth, many companies and individuals will be willing to invest in space infrastructure, including asteroid mining. I reckon that it could possibly be commercially viable by the 2040's or '50's.

Your "as soon as" makes it sound like a certainty that asteroid mining is feasible and economically worthwhile.

What if NASA fails to demonstrate that feasibility?

There are some huge roadblocks to asteroid mining. Of course, the first is the economical and technological viability. The second is the availability of target asteroids that are:

- Near enough to be reached with current technology.

- Contain minerals in concentrations that make mining activities worthwhile.

- Not tumbling on multiple axes. (This is currently an unsurmountable problem for landing on or capturing an object in space).

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It seems that quite a few people here have no idea what they're on about, (but to be honest I don't either, but yea)

I see a few people thinking that It would be easy to land on phobos...which to some extent may be true, but from what I can gather, it would be absolutly rediculously way too hard, due to the fact that It doen't have an atmosphere, so slowing down enough for a landing would require far too much fuel. Even landing on mars will require quite a sophisticated landing system, since mars' atmosphere is too thin for just parachutes...even the curiosity rover had a 3 (around that amount) stage landing system, so the large 7 man lander would have to be a bit more sophisticated than the rover.

and now back to near the start of the thread,..water is not sufficient for radioactive shielding.

I havn't put any actual thought into the following, so just bear with me. There is no (or at least very little) radioactive shielding, on he ISS, because it is close enough to earth that earth's magnetic field deflects a large majority of the harmful radiation, so with that logic, would a extremely high tech electromagnet work for deflecting radiation?

Next: the artificial gravity solution for the trip to and from the planet would in theory work, though the 26 months on mars where these artificial gravity designs won't work, will still result in some quite bad bone decay. But I am yet to see an artificial gravity design that will actually work, and then even for one that does work, being on board will not be a pleasant experience.

So far I have only seen two different styles artificial gravity designs (only on KSP, and not a single one in real life (not that ive been looking)), One of the designs is a simple spinning room (like that carnival ride), this will not do anything aside from make everyone vomit,...the other design I've seen is that which Scott Manley did in his reusable space program (Youtube, for those of you who don't know what im on about) , this design would actually somewhat work, but to the astronauts it would not feel anything like normal gravity, and will only work at the outermost points, and will be angled so really is not a good design, also aside from the fact that it would rip itself apart in real life.

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Your "as soon as" makes it sound like a certainty that asteroid mining is feasible and economically worthwhile.

What if NASA fails to demonstrate that feasibility?

There are some huge roadblocks to asteroid mining. Of course, the first is the economical and technological viability. The second is the availability of target asteroids that are:

- Near enough to be reached with current technology.

- Contain minerals in concentrations that make mining activities worthwhile.

- Not tumbling on multiple axes. (This is currently an unsurmountable problem for landing on or capturing an object in space).

I will admit that I phrased that a little bit optimistically, so I'll try and explain my reasoning:

Asteroid mining is very likely to be commercially viable simply because of the huge cost of lifting materials and fuel into space. If you could get a large amount of those materials, especially water ice which can be used to make propellant, you save a good deal of money when carrying out space missions of any kind, as less fuel etc. needs to be brought up from Earth.

As for the availability of target asteroids, there are around 1,100 near Earth asteroids that have been classed as "moveable" by Deep Space Industries and NASA.

There are some problems if the target asteroid is tumbling; currently there is no real way of stopping that easily and economically.

It is also easier to reach many of these "target" asteroids than it is the surface of the moon (In terms of Delta-V), and current technology has already visited asteroids, such as NASA's Dawn mission, which is currently cruising through the asteroid belt on it's way to Ceres.

Lastly, the asteroids with large amounts of minerals in them account for roughly 20% of the asteroids discovered so far, and more are discovered every week. If a target asteroid weighed 15,000 tons, it would be roughly 20-25m in diameter. Such an asteroid could be brought back to lunar orbit, where it could be studied and then mined. If this asteroid was an M-Type asteroid that contains mostly metals, it is likely to have a mineral content of around 88% iron, 10% nickel and 0.5% cobalt. As you can see they are almost pure metal, and if those metals were sold at today's prices then that one tiny asteroid would be worth $222,000,000 at today's prices. However, the cost of putting nearly 15,000 tons of usable metal into LEO would be around $45 billion assuming that the launch price is that of the Falcon Heavy, one of the most economical rockets in development today.

Obviously it would take a ridiculously long time to use up that much metal, but having it out there, safely orbiting the moon would bring down the amount of materials needed to be launched from Earth for future missions. And I'm not even going to start figuring out how much an icy asteroid would be worth in terms of rocket fuel... :P

Sorry for the wall of text, but I felt that I should explain myself a bit better than before. :) Feel free to poke holes in my points as much as you like, constructive criticism is welcome...

EDIT: Bringing this post back on topic, having all that stuff already in space would dramatically lower the cost of a Mars mission. :D

Edited by GJames

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It seems that quite a few people here have no idea what they're on about, (but to be honest I don't either, but yea)

I see a few people thinking that It would be easy to land on phobos...which to some extent may be true, but from what I can gather, it would be absolutly rediculously way too hard, due to the fact that It doen't have an atmosphere, so slowing down enough for a landing would require far too much fuel.

It may be a bit harder to get into an orbit since the orbit would need to be much slower than on a large planet, but after that it would be much easier to land on Phobos than a planet. You don't have to fight very hard against the low gravity in order to get a soft landing and taking off would be a hell of a lot easier. Just think of how much easier it is to get from the moon to Earth than vice versa. This means that you will not have to carry as much fuel to the surface, which means easier landing. Parachutes are not the only way to land somewhere.

and now back to near the start of the thread,..water is not sufficient for radioactive shielding.

Why not?

I havn't put any actual thought into the following, so just bear with me. There is no (or at least very little) radioactive shielding, on he ISS, because it is close enough to earth that earth's magnetic field deflects a large majority of the harmful radiation, so with that logic, would a extremely high tech electromagnet work for deflecting radiation?

I believe that's been thought of by many in the past but it would simply take too much energy and be too heavy to be anywhere near as practical as regular shielding.

Next: the artificial gravity solution for the trip to and from the planet would in theory work, though the 26 months on mars where these artificial gravity designs won't work, will still result in some quite bad bone decay. But I am yet to see an artificial gravity design that will actually work, and then even for one that does work, being on board will not be a pleasant experience.

So far I have only seen two different styles artificial gravity designs (only on KSP, and not a single one in real life (not that ive been looking)), One of the designs is a simple spinning room (like that carnival ride), this will not do anything aside from make everyone vomit,...the other design I've seen is that which Scott Manley did in his reusable space program (Youtube, for those of you who don't know what im on about) , this design would actually somewhat work, but to the astronauts it would not feel anything like normal gravity, and will only work at the outermost points, and will be angled so really is not a good design, also aside from the fact that it would rip itself apart in real life.

It would only rip itself apart if it were not made from suitably strong materials. If you make the habitats and whatever connects them strong enough to survive hanging in whatever gravity level you would be simulating they should be strong enough for the spinning force (practically speaking you would never make it a full 1G unless it was for a big station). As for the disadvantages of this gravity simulation, they're well known and given a sufficiently long radius should be fairly negligible once it's been going for a while, but obviously would never feel exactly like regular gravity. The curved gravity issue is not really an issue at all. You just make the floor curved. There's also another method of creating gravity, which is simply accelerating at the desired force for half the journey and then slowing at the desired force on the second half. This is more like regular gravity except that it would be a massive fuel cost.

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MetalAZZ man, what can I say... it shows you don't have much idea about this, I guess... :rolleyes:

Pretty much everything you said is wrong, but to go quickly about it yes, plain water makes a perfectly good radiation shielding, it's all about mass, and no, magnets make a poor one, they end up weighting more. And artificial gravity is really, really easy to implement (at least tumbling pigeon style), and it feels just like the real thing. Not that people haven't already spent in zero-g more time than a Mars mission would take without dying or something.

As to mining Phobos and/or Deimos, and building bases there, which seems to be the new detour of the thread:

Assuming a fuel depot on Mars orbit would lower the cost of a Mars mission (dubious if the cost of the depot is taken into account), then (again) why would you want to land anything other than the bare minimum mining equipment on the surface. Granted, landing is a breeze (orbital velocity must be on the order of hundreds of m/s), but it still must be easier to remain on orbit. Even if you want to build something with materials mined from the moons, you don't have to build it on the moons. It is better in independent orbit anyway, whatever it is.

Rune. I'm all for asteroid mining, but that is not a manned mission to Mars.

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I will admit that I phrased that a little bit optimistically, so I'll try and explain my reasoning:

Asteroid mining is very likely to be commercially viable simply because of the huge cost of lifting materials and fuel into space. If you could get a large amount of those materials, especially water ice which can be used to make propellant, you save a good deal of money when carrying out space missions of any kind, as less fuel etc. needs to be brought up from Earth.

You are assuming that there will be a demand for materials in space that would justify the tremendous infrastructure cost of building deep space mining facilities. Smeltering hundreds of tons of minerals on an asteroid and turning those minerals into useful hardware is going to require a lot of infrastructure, probably in the range dozens of SLS flights, just to set up.

Nobody has a budget for deep-space missions that would require such a huge investment. Nobody needs hundreds of tons of water in orbit because nobody is ready to pay to go up there and use it. And it will be a long time before it becomes cheaper to launch dozens of rockets to build an orbital refinery than to simply launch a couple of rockets loaded with fuel.

This might happen in a couple of centuries (if we are still around and capable of spaceflight), if we ever get to Star Trek sci-fi level, but it is certainly not on the roadmap of any manned space exploration roadmap or a viable private business plan.

Lastly, the asteroids with large amounts of minerals in them account for roughly 20% of the asteroids discovered so far, and more are discovered every week. If a target asteroid weighed 15,000 tons, it would be roughly 20-25m in diameter. Such an asteroid could be brought back to lunar orbit, where it could be studied and then mined.

There is no way we can move a 15000 ton asteroid with current or even near-future technology.

If this asteroid was an M-Type asteroid that contains mostly metals, it is likely to have a mineral content of around 88% iron, 10% nickel and 0.5% cobalt. As you can see they are almost pure metal, and if those metals were sold at today's prices then that one tiny asteroid would be worth $222,000,000 at today's prices. However, the cost of putting nearly 15,000 tons of usable metal into LEO would be around $45 billion assuming that the launch price is that of the Falcon Heavy, one of the most economical rockets in development today.

It would cost way over $45 billion to develop, build, and maintain a large-scale orbital mining operation capable of processing that much metal and a construction facility to turning it into something useful. Nobody is going to pay for 15000 tons of iron in space, because nobody can do anything with it.

EDIT: Bringing this post back on topic, having all that stuff already in space would dramatically lower the cost of a Mars mission. :D

Not really, because you are assuming that orbital mining is cheap. It's beyond our technology and tremendously expensive to develop, therefore not economically viable.

If you want to drive across the desert in a car, you can either bring extra jerricans with you, or you can build a gas station in the desert. You're going to need a lot of traffic before the latter is more viable than the former.

Edited by Nibb31

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Then look around you. It is already happening. The landslide moves initially too slowly to be immediately noticeable, but it is already moving. And we are all caught in it ;.;

Only thing is, this landslide is heading uphill.

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There is no way we can move a 15000 ton asteroid with current or even near-future technology.

It would cost way over $45 billion to develop, build, and maintain a large-scale orbital mining operation capable of processing that much metal and a construction facility to turning it into something useful.

My example of a 15,000 ton asteroid obviously wasn't given as the first asteroid we would capture. It was supposed to be an example of what we could do once the technology and processes of asteroid retrieval are somewhat understood.

A more relevant example would've been an 8.2m diameter asteroid, much like the one that NASA is designing it's retrieval mission for: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_Retrieval_and_Utilization . This asteroid would still weigh hundreds, if not thousands of tons.

And who said that you would need a large-scale processing plant. Have a look at Deep Space Industries Microgravity Foundry. It can "print" components made from nickel while in orbit, and is very small-scale, as most technologies are when they start out.

There is no way we can move a 15000 ton asteroid with current or even near-future technology.

Lastly, although I said I wanted constructive criticism, bluntly shooting down my points without any explanation doesn't normally lend itself well to a discussion. :)

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You sound like those people who believe in the M-12, and the fake moon landings. Unless you have solid proof, there is no reason for worry.

Widespread paranoia and mistrust is just another sign that this civilization is already decaying. Solid proof you want ? Don't you see how all governments are oozing corruption and incompetence from each pore ? Don't you see that the common people grow stupid, and as they get poorer and poorer, are more filled with frustration fueled hate ? Don't you see that general attacks on science are coming more and more from all directions ?, that people see the democracy itself as inherently corrupt, and because the memory of world war suffering is largely erased, they are slowly starting turning towards fascism ?

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