Terraforming Mars

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GIThruster
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Terraforming Mars

Postby GIThruster » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:28 pm

https://gondica.wordpress.com/2015/02/0 ... boardgame/

I've played Sid Meier's Civilization and it is a kick. One hopes this is just as much fun.
"Courage is not just a virtue, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C. S. Lewis

williatw
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby williatw » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:21 am

Mars Missions Are A Scam

Despite claims by NASA and private outfits such as Mars One, we don’t have the know-how or funding to send people to the Red Planet, according to many scientists, policy experts, and one outspoken lawmaker. “To say we have put the cart before the horse is an understatement,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said.

Image
Bryan Versteeg/Mars One

Last week, the nonprofit reality-television project Mars One announced its selection of 100 volunteers who may get one-way tickets to Mars. It’s only the latest in decades of celebrated Mars colonization projects. And just like all the rest, this one is unlikely to ever happen, experts say.

“It looks like a scam,” John Logsdon, a space policy expert at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., told BuzzFeed News. “They don’t have any technology, they don’t have any agreements with the space industry. It looks very shaky.”

The bigger problem? Mars One’s flaws — too few spaceships, nonexistent life-support technologies, not nearly enough money, and, really, no good reason for going — discredit all Mars exploration plans, including NASA’s.

Although these hurdles are obvious to everyone in the space industry, politicians have spent decades trumpeting Mars plans, only to cut and run when presented with the bill for their interplanetary adventures.

In Congress, the House science committee sent a bill to the Senate this month, to “make clear that Mars should be NASA’s primary goal,” according to a committee statement. And in his State of the Union speech last month, President Obama invoked “a re-energized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars.”

But all of that is mostly theater, political scientist Alan Steinberg of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, told BuzzFeed News.

NASA’s budget, adjusted for inflation, has steadily shrunk for decades. And that’s because the public and voters don’t want Martian cities more than they want stuff on Earth, such as Social Security checks or a Defense Department.

Last year, a National Research Council report on Mars missions came to a similar conclusion. Asked by Congress to come up with one solid rationale for going to Mars, the report panel instead offered a grab bag of vague reasons for blasting off, such as inspiration, industrial goals, and prestige. But those squishy notions won’t cut it, not as NASA’s buying power continues to plummet, Steinberg said. “Talking about Mars just looks like a way to placate the public while they cut NASA’s budget.”

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Calls for Mars colonization continue an imaginary real estate rush first launched in the 1890s.
That’s when astronomer Percival Lowell claimed, mistakenly, that there were canals — and therefore Martians — on Mars. Sixty years later, the rocket pioneer and former Nazi Werner von Braun wrote a popular series in Collier’s magazine outlining how to send 70 men to populate Mars. The idea of Mars landings has been embedded in NASA’s mind-set ever since.

Despite decades of Red Planet rhetoric, Congress has never really increased NASA’s budget for manned Mars missions. When it comes to Mars, Logsdon said, “there has been a mismatch between aspirations and reality since Nixon.”

And now there’s Mars One, the Netherlands-based nonprofit that aims, a decade from now, to establish a “permanent human settlement on Mars.”

Mars One plans to finance the estimated $6 billion cost of the one-way trip to Mars with donations and through a reality TV show that follows the selection of its volunteer Martians. In crews of four, those colonists would depart in 2024 and 2025, traveling six months in a trailer-sized box to land on the planet and live out the rest of their lives.

But their lives would last only about 68 days, according to a study published last year. “Keeping people alive on Mars is a lot harder problem than most people realize,” MIT aerospace engineer Sydney Do, one of the study’s authors, told BuzzFeed News.

Mars makes Antarctica look like paradise, with a near vacuum atmosphere, radiation as intense as multiple chest X-rays, temperatures that average -67 degrees Fahrenheit, and toxic chlorinated hydrocarbons carpeting its cratered surface. No technology exists today to survive under these conditions, let alone a human body.

Mars One’s engineers say they can overcome those natural barriers with a crew habitat made of six modified SpaceX Dragon space capsules equipped with inflatable greenhouses. The trouble is, according to Do’s report, the plants growing the colonists’ food would quickly make too much oxygen and suffocate them.
That’s just one of many fatal problems. Spare parts, for example, would take up 62% of the mission’s supplies. And the colony’s intended water supply — H2O baked out of that chlorinated Martian soil — relies on a technology that hasn’t been invented yet.

Then there’s the expense. The Mars One launch would need 15 interplanetary rockets, nine more than Mars One suggests, the MIT report found. Those rockets, which have yet to be tested, would alone cost $4.5 billion, never mind the cost of habitat modules, developing technologies, and resupply missions. “Mars One is not going to be the one to colonize Mars,” Do said.

In response, Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp told BuzzFeed News that the MIT study “made many wrong assumptions and sub-optimal design solutions.” All of the study’s critiques “were already taken into account,” he wrote by email, and these issues will be addressed in a report in early March. “We hope to have the public report soon after that,” Lansdorp said.

Even if Lansdorp is right that MIT’s engineers know less about space survival than a reality TV show, plopping people down on Mars to live permanently would only work if they were constantly resupplied at ridiculously expensive costs by a fleet of rockets filled with replacement air purifiers, electronics, and anything else breakable, as well as tons of astronaut chow.

Food, as analyzed in the MIT study, would actually be cheaper to send to Mars than to grow there, even shipped on rockets that cost $300 million a pop, because of infrastructure costs.

For years, SpaceX rocket entrepreneur Elon Musk has talked about a Mars mission that would do just that: constantly launch rockets to resupply a Martian settlement. If they somehow managed to beat the suffocation problem, “people might live for five decades after a landing,” Do said. “It’s like trying to drive a car for 50 years — you start to need a lot of spare parts to keep things going.”

“And at a certain point, you’d have to ask yourself,” Do added, “if all I’m doing on Mars is maintenance work in a cave to keep myself alive, why did I even come?”


http://www.buzzfeed.com/danvergano/mars ... nna-happen

Diogenes
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby Diogenes » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:14 pm

williatw wrote:Mars Missions Are A Scam




That's how I see it too. Talk about getting the cart before the horse...
‘What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.’
— Lord Melbourne —

williatw
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby williatw » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:25 pm

Diogenes wrote:
williatw wrote:Mars Missions Are A Scam




That's how I see it too. Talk about getting the cart before the horse...


Most likely unless....

Blankbeard wrote:
williatw wrote:And yet if it is legitimate I would strongly suspect some variation on my "Bank of Mars" is probably calculated into the cost/benefit equation behind the scenes.


viewtopic.php?t=3383&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0


You should pitch the idea to them. I bet the overlap between financial geeks and space geeks is small enough they've never thought of it.

The worst they can do is say no.

6 billion is more affordable than I thought it would be. I hope they can hit that price point.


I did send them an E-mail with my idea...only got a form letter type response thanking me but no specific reply. But if maybe Musk is involved in some capacity, bet he could secretly push the idea. The ultimate tax shelter.

GIThruster
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby GIThruster » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:37 pm

Mars One is obviously a scam. No one is going to build a spacecraft to send people one way to mars, no matter how many idiots would want to go and rot in a tin can. No responsible adult will trust they can pull off a reality show to pay for this. Musk may do it, but it won't be for cheap.

Honestly the right way to do it is not only to bring down the costs with reusable rockets, but to replace rockets with Spacedrives. Bring down the cost of transport and make it "safe, quick, convenient and economical" and then it's a no brainier.
"Courage is not just a virtue, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C. S. Lewis

hanelyp
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby hanelyp » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:39 pm

A realistic proposal for colonizing Mars needs to look at how to bootstrap to produce everything needed to survive and grow from local materials. Everything including pressurized shelters, greenhouses for food and oxygen production, electrical generation, and all the machine tools to build the above. Planning on ongoing regular resupply from Earth is planning to fail.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.

GIThruster
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby GIThruster » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:14 pm

It depends upon transportation costs. If you can make the flight from Earth to Mars in 2 days or less with a completely reusable spacecraft that needs no more maintenance than a modern commercial jet liner, then you can make all manner of economic case for an ongoing building project. A one gee solution to Mars is two days travel even when the planets are opposed in their positions around the sun, which means 2 days max and you can fly every day. Let people split the costs. Let Hilton build the hotels, and Disney build the low gee rides. Let Monsanto build the greenhouses, etc. There are thousands of financial concerns who can work out their own business case if you get the cost of transportation down to a manageable level. How many fantastically wealthy developers do you think there are who would want to pay to put up condos?
"Courage is not just a virtue, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C. S. Lewis

Diogenes
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby Diogenes » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:46 pm

GIThruster wrote:Mars One is obviously a scam. No one is going to build a spacecraft to send people one way to mars, no matter how many idiots would want to go and rot in a tin can. No responsible adult will trust they can pull off a reality show to pay for this. Musk may do it, but it won't be for cheap.

Honestly the right way to do it is not only to bring down the costs with reusable rockets, but to replace rockets with Spacedrives. Bring down the cost of transport and make it "safe, quick, convenient and economical" and then it's a no brainier.



Fusion or Fission powered VASIMR just to get there feasibly.



Anyone done the calculations on the viability of a space elevator for Mars? Lower gravity would seem to make the task easier, but slower rotation would seem to make the task harder.


Providing thrust all the way from Orbit down to the surface of Mars doesn't strike me as very feasible, and that's if you don't want to leave again.
‘What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.’
— Lord Melbourne —

Diogenes
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby Diogenes » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:49 pm

hanelyp wrote:A realistic proposal for colonizing Mars needs to look at how to bootstrap to produce everything needed to survive and grow from local materials. Everything including pressurized shelters, greenhouses for food and oxygen production, electrical generation, and all the machine tools to build the above. Planning on ongoing regular resupply from Earth is planning to fail.



If you don't have an energy source better than solar, it's not going to work.


The concept of Terraforming Mars must necessarily rely heavily on some form of abundant Energy production, for which this Polywell thing might be the answer. (Or something like it.)
‘What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.’
— Lord Melbourne —

GIThruster
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby GIThruster » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:59 pm

The follow on to the SP100 space fission reactor work of the 80's was NASA's Prometheus reactor originally planned to go into JIMO. When that project was cancelled, all that work went over to US Navy and is supposedly still intact, and ready to be updated for use on Mars, etc.

Back in the 80's, Three Mile Island was still on everyone's minds, but now with the global warming issue so hot, fission is viewed much more favorably. So who knows?
"Courage is not just a virtue, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C. S. Lewis

Tom Ligon
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby Tom Ligon » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:55 pm

I don't see ideas like Mars One as a scam. Not exactly. They're a movement whereby ordinary people can stand up and say we ought to go.

They are pressure to tell governments to $#!+ or get off the pot.

I didn't volunteer to go because I think the low gravity problem is intractable, but I applaud the audacity. They're not being ignored and they have people, including you guys, talking.

Me? I want my own asteroid. I'll make my own gravity. The "terraforming" is more scalable to a pioneering effort.

Too much is being made of the "Die On Mars" angle. There is, at the moment, only one option, and that's Die On Earth. I'm here because a Tom Ligon circa 1640 decided to Die In Virginia. About 80% of people who came here around that time were dead in two years.

I say, three cheers for people willing to light a fire under our sorry butts.

I quote now a couple of passages from a story I published in the last millenium, "Dear Colleagues." The highlighted line is the key ... if we are so concerned with avoiding risk that we never again accomplish something great, well, I'd say American Exceptionalism really is dead.

Do you old-timers remember the Challenger disaster? We all knew spaceflight was dangerous. Then, suddenly, we knew it for real. Seven people died. Tragic, but, if you will excuse my saying so, big deal! Throughout history, in enterprises both great and small, people have died in much greater numbers. But this time, instead of pressing on with renewed determination to make their sacrifices meaningful, we paralyzed the space program with the attitude that we must never again have another accident because every human life is precious.
Folks, the more we believe that, the less true it becomes.
And I have been just as guilty of it as the next person.
Until now.
.
.
.
The pioneers with their saws and axes, and the engineers at the Skunk Works, are the sorts of people who made America great. The chunk of real estate they occupied had little to do with it. Today, most of the occupants of that patch of land are fat and timid. But there are still a few, in this country and around the world, of the kind of people who made "American" a label to be proud of. Space will be populated by them. At this moment, I can't bear the thought of hanging around down here while something like that is going on. I'd like to think I am, after all, an American.

GIThruster
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby GIThruster » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:28 pm

Suppose someone is idiotic enough to launch these folks. They all get to Mars, they set up to live inside their tin cans, and the newest reality show on "Cat's Who Cough Up Furballs" crowds the martians off prime time.

Now you're gonna hear every few weeks about the people who are all going to die, because the public won't support them. Creative dramas ensure that remind of our reality TV, where the Martians learn that interpersonal conflicts between hordes with cabin fever ends up with people jumping atop one another's homes and pounding the thing like a drum, and the people are all gonna die. . .

"We can't have another Jamestown!" they cry and finally, the public takes up a fund to pay for a bunch of ill equipped, idiotic twits who would otherwise die. We send space ships and they come home.

Then Elon Musk does it right. Or some mach Effect craft does it right. Someone in their right mind dies it right. I'd say if anything, this sort of stupid stunt will hurt the space advocacy cause if anything.

Do you really think funding a colony with a reality TV show is a credible idea?
"Courage is not just a virtue, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C. S. Lewis

Tom Ligon
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby Tom Ligon » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:45 pm

I think "Reality Television," as currently practiced, is a bad idea. "Survivor Mars" would be the worst idea ever ... unless ... Jeff Probst were sent one-way to Mars. That would be a step in the right direction.

I think getting Americans to think seriously about Mars is a GREAT idea. And I think a show about how one actually survives in a strange place would be a refreshing change. And it is NOT done by voting people off the island.

This is not all that different from what the Artemis Society had in mind for the Moon, but it is getting far more press.

Diogenes
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby Diogenes » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:55 pm

They are pressure to tell governments to $#!+ or get off the pot.




No they're not. Besides, why would we want them to be? I really don't think the world will be a better place if one more interest group starts trying to push governments to fund their pet projects.




The Reality is that they are dreamers without hardware. Till some hardware catches up to their dreams, their dreams are just wishful thinking.


They are like a cargo cult playing at Astronautics and Flight. (Like the Biosphere People) It remains to be seen if they will manage to gain enough interests to attract some real money.


In the meantime, Space X and others are building a real stairway to heaven.
‘What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.’
— Lord Melbourne —

hanelyp
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Re: Terraforming Mars

Postby hanelyp » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:22 am

With a day less than 25 hours Mars doesn't spin much slower than Earth. A space elevator there should be easier than on Earth, at least once you get Phobos with it's 7 h 39.2 min orbit out of the way. An EM catapult up the side of Olympic Mons seems to me an easier option. Shorter term SSTO from Mars is a lot easier than from Earth.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.


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