DailyDirt: Missions To Mars

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The future of manned spaceflight to other planets is a bit uncertain nowadays, but there are still plenty of people who are working on plans that could lead to people walking around on Mars before the end of the century. In the meantime, unmanned missions will have to suffice, but here are some quick links on traveling to Mars. By the way, StumbleUpon can also recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.


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    Violated (profile), Jan 16th, 2012 @ 5:28pm

    Space Stuff

    As to landing 40 to 80 tons on Mars then I always say they won't have a real answer until they have a real plan with a real problem. Since no one has a project to land this mass on Mars then that is why there is no budget to solve the problem.

    Also it is never good to describe NASA in terms of current technology when every single space mission they do leads to implementing new technology.

    Yes it would be interesting if SpaceX can make Mars first but their estimates are normally far too generous even if they get their in the end. The real first goal of commercial space should be a free return trip around the Moon.

    NASA ix usually flying worms or some small creatures. Most interesting is that they don't take their astronauts beyond a six month ISS stay.

     

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      abc gum, Jan 16th, 2012 @ 5:49pm

      Re: Space Stuff

      I understand there are several major issues standing in the way of a human journey to Mars and back.

      1) muscle atrophy and bone loss - Either artificial gravity or a lot of working out. Landing would otherwise be problematic.

      2) high energy particles and radiation - humans would need to seek shelter if hit by a storm. Said shelter would probably be lead based and small due to weight restrictions. Lack of exercise would become an issue, see number one.

      3) fuel for return trip - need easily obtained resources and refining equipment on Mars for making fuel. Should send the equipment first via robot.

      These are just a few of the items yet to be solved as far as I know.

       

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        Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 16th, 2012 @ 6:12pm

        Re: Space Stuff

        The impact on a human crew would be less if the journey didn’t take so long. I understand a conventional “coasting” trajectory with thrust burns only at the beginning and end would take something like 8 months. But continuously-accelerating-and-decelerating ion propulsion could cut this down to a month. That should help a lot.

         

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          Violated (profile), Jan 16th, 2012 @ 6:36pm

          Re: Re: Space Stuff

          They have made Argon Plasma Engines to move crew and cargo more quickly (and the ISS) but the problem is the 1+Megawatt power requirements. Get some real high power and you can then use an array to cruise the solar system.

          Currently they plan to use one with large solar arrays to move large cargo mass between Earth orbit and Luna orbit. It would take weeks on pulsed battery charge thrusting but it is very efficient.

           

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            Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 17th, 2012 @ 5:39pm

            Re: Space Stuff

            Naturally maneouvring into and out of low-Earth orbit in a timely fashion is going to require high-power thrusters. But that’s not what these ion rockets are designed for. They’re designed for much longer journeys, like getting to Mars.

             

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          George Samaras, Jan 16th, 2012 @ 7:45pm

          Re: Re: Space Stuff

          Yup! My Dad published two books on it a half century ago (prentice-hall). Been wondering whether the folks at NASA just don't read much ;))

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2012 @ 6:42pm

        Re: Re: Space Stuff

        Actually one of the major problems is the landing.
        With an atmosphere as thin as it is on Mars you cannot count on atmospheric friction to keep you from reaching terminal velocity.
        As well as greatly reducing the effectiveness of parachutes.

         

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          abc gum, Jan 16th, 2012 @ 7:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: Space Stuff

          Agreed.
          And planetary capture becomes even more problematic when increased velocity is used to decrease the travel time.

          Aero braking has been successfully employed several times with much smaller spacecraft. Without such techniques, additional fuel is necessary to obtain planetary orbit.

           

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            Michael Ho (profile), Jan 17th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Space Stuff

            It's all about the escape pods that can jettison human passengers and still land safely... and it'll be cool when NASA tries it out on a protocol droid and his counterpart R2 first... :P

             

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    Conscientiouspirate (profile), Jan 16th, 2012 @ 7:10pm

    Google Mars

    It would be interesting if a private company lands on another planet before any nation does


    My money is on Google sending some guys in a street view car, it's currently missing from www.google.com/mars

     

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    6, Jan 17th, 2012 @ 11:41am

    "It would be interesting if a private company lands on another planet before any nation does."

    Dude they could claim the red planet as theirs.

     

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    wedq, Jan 18th, 2012 @ 5:32am

    SOPA act: USA will loose first position on the web. mess with the web ?!!, far more complex old media think. Only stupids politicians go along. triggering a western spring/summer!

     

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