DailyDirt: How Can We Get To Mars?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

We already have a bunch of robots exploring various aspects of Mars, but even though we’re not running out of things that bots can do in space, it would be nice to get astronauts walking on another planet someday. We could go back to the moon, but Mars is a more ambitious and noteworthy goal. Getting to Mars safely is a challenge because it’ll take several weeks (at least) to get there, and no one has ever tested radiation shielding on such a long trip in open space. Still, it should be possible if we’re committed to doing it. Here are just a few baby steps towards making a trip to Mars happen.

If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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Companies: nasa

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Comments on “DailyDirt: How Can We Get To Mars?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

several weeks (at least)

“Getting to Mars safely is a challenge because it’ll take several weeks (at least) to get there”

To get to Mars in “several weeks” would require a propulsion system with considerably more punch than standard fuel-oxidizer type rocket engines. Current estimates range from 7 to 9 months in space flight to reach Mars. Both legs of the trip would require waiting for the planet’s orbits to align correctly before launching. (and if you miss it, it’s another two year wait until the next launch window.)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: several weeks (at least)

While it’s very clear that chemical propulsion is rather inadequate for a trip to mars (for two reasons — they’re very slow, as you point out, and you need to take quite a bit of fuel with you), there are two technologies right now that could get people to mars in about two months: ion propulsion and nuclear thermal propulsion.

RonKaminsky (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: several weeks (at least)

Or we could just stop suppressing the discoveries of Dr. Thomas Townsend Brown.

You don’t understand! If we (you know, those of us really in charge) shut off the Brown effect suppression field, terrorists will be able to block the gravity of the Sun, sending the Earth spinning out of its orbit and killing us all!


Anonymous Coward says:

They Just Need Gaming Servers on Board

I know that if I was put on a mission to Mars, I would be totally happy with a World of Warcraft Private Server to toodle around in just to kill time on the trip.

I know people have been killing time for 10 years now on that game. haha. (Can’t poke too much fun since it’s been 6 years myself.)

RonKaminsky (profile) says:

Moon first, please...

I find the preoccupation with Mars as a place for human settlement silly. It seems obvious to me that we’d be much better off using the Moon as a site for improving our technical ability to make robots which could be useful (and probably essential) to “break ground” before sending humans (since neither Mars nor the Moon have strong enough magnetic fields for radiation shielding, the only way for humans to survive there for long periods is to stay deep underground most of the time).

Mars has the advantage of having an atmosphere and (probably more) water, but it is just too cold and too far away from the Sun. Temperatures in the shade there are approximately the temperature of dry ice.

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