Author Topic: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?  (Read 17419 times)

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #20 on: 01/24/2016 08:55 AM »
Going to the Moon may have an additional "psychological effect" on the public by having them get accustomed to the idea that we can "live off world" on a regular basis on "another" celestial body and that is not under the realm of science fiction... Let's keep in mind that it doesn't have to always be NASA...
« Last Edit: 01/24/2016 08:55 AM by Rocket Science »
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Offline mikes

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #21 on: 01/24/2016 09:25 AM »
How similar are the regolith fines in the two environments? Both are near vacuum, but Mars perhaps has enough atmosphere that the particles will be more rounded than the Moon's notoriously sharp, interlocking granules.

Nevertheless, I think a lot of work could be done in learning how to manage dust in a nearly-Mars-like environment, with normal cyclng of seals and mechanical joints. You might counter-argue that it could be done with regolith simulant in vacuum chambers on Earth.

Paul451: why would suits be significantly different? Heat-load is the only major difference I can think of.

(Edit: lunar suit would need micro-meteoroid protection. Optional extra layer?)
« Last Edit: 01/24/2016 09:45 AM by mikes »

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #22 on: 01/24/2016 12:47 PM »
How similar are the regolith fines in the two environments? Both are near vacuum, but Mars perhaps has enough atmosphere that the particles will be more rounded than the Moon's notoriously sharp, interlocking granules.

Nevertheless, I think a lot of work could be done in learning how to manage dust in a nearly-Mars-like environment, with normal cyclng of seals and mechanical joints. You might counter-argue that it could be done with regolith simulant in vacuum chambers on Earth.

Paul451: why would suits be significantly different? Heat-load is the only major difference I can think of.

(Edit: lunar suit would need micro-meteoroid protection. Optional extra layer?)
Mars dust is more along the lines of being a "fine talcum powder"...
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Offline TakeOff

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #23 on: 02/03/2016 10:46 AM »
It's like going to Sahara in order to prepare for an expedition in Antarctica. The greatest benefit is the organizational experience of having done any kind of exploration mission. But much of the equipment and operations must be different. The Alaskan Husky and the skis are not so useful in Sahara. And the differences between the Moon and Mars are greater than differences between any regions on Earth.

Gravitation affects all kinds of structural requirements and mechanics of machinery. With less than half the gravity, the mass sent to the Moon could be smaller than the mass sent to Mars to do the same thing. I do think that if a system works both on Earth and in microgravity, then it will work also on both the Moon and Mars. But a one-design-fits-all-g will cost more than an optimization.

Temperature variations affects many aspects of construction and choice of materials as well as what activities can and must be performed when. But there are big geographic variations in temperature, so the choice of landing site might mitigate this.

The diurnal cycles make the energy supply system requirements very different. A day or a month, and a factor of two difference in insolation daytime, are important differences not only for solar electric generation and power storage and usage, but also for day and night activities for both robots and humans. Power and daily schedule are of course most fundamental for mission activities, which in turn dictate the design of many aspects of the mission. But a mission to a Lunar pole would be much more Mars like.

Travel distance put the Moon and Mars in two different categories. Apollo could fly astronauts without a toilet, for example. Radiation and microgravity are problems for a Mars mission which are not relevant for a Moon mission.

Time spent on the surface is a similar major difference. A two week Moon mission could spend all the time on the dayside or on the nightside and does not need to design for both cases. It can also abort to Earth over a weekend any day. A Mars mission on the other hand would last almost an entire Martian year with its seasonal changes. (One can make a short Mars mission, staying only a week or so on the surface, but that would drastically lower science return and increase the return travel time anyway).

Light travel time requires autonomous operations on Mars, while a Moon mission could be remotely controlled from Earth. The ISS is more of a laboratory than a spaceship, many of its systems are managed by staff on the ground, and still it is criticized for having its crew spend much more time on maintenance than science. A concept similar to the ISS could be used as a Lunar base, but in order to fly to Mars everything has to be redesigned so that the crew and onboard computers can handle everything which needs to be done within an hour or so themselves.

Dust is different. On the Moon they are very abrasive, while on Mars it blows around with the wind. Opportunity spending 10+ years on Mars demonstrates that this is not one of the biggest concerns. Nor do micrometeorites or mars-/moonquakes seem to be important considerations for early missions.

In situ resource utilization will be very different. Mars CO2 atmosphere is relatively easy to refine while on the Moon heavy mining equipment is the only option, unless polar ices can be extracted simply by heating it.

Science goals would be different. Several branches of planetary scientists are interested in one of the objects but not both. Astrobiology and atmospheric science for example.

In many ways we can simulate Mars' environment better in labs on Earth, than we could on the Moon. I'm tired of all the talk about the Moon as a "stepping stone to Mars". It would actually be much more expensive and take much more time to design equipment that can work both on the Moon and on Mars, than to just simply go to one of them and optimize for that. We should go to the Moon to stay on the Moon. And we need different kinds of mission designs for Sahara and Antarctica.
« Last Edit: 02/03/2016 11:08 AM by TakeOff »

Offline floss

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #24 on: 02/03/2016 07:30 PM »
The Moons value is that is at the top of the deep gravity field of earth and you can reach it with only 1 launch .

You can  build far more comfortable vessels on the Moons surface  for the expansion of humanity out into the Solar System .

Offline TomH

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #25 on: 02/11/2016 12:48 AM »

Powered descent and landing does not need to be tested on the Moon first;  this is well understood technology on both Earth and Mars.

Mars landing is radically different to a Moon landing, though some technologies are common - but not enough to justify test missions to the Moon on the way to Mars. The Moon remains, however, a worthwhile near-term goal - and probably a more politically acceptable one for state space agencies.

The Moon and Mars are sufficiently different that I don't think it would be efficient to reuse much technology between the two missions. So I agree that the argument of reuse of technology is not a good one. However, what I do see as useful is the experience gained in performing complex Lunar missions. That experience is what I believe will lead to a successful Mars mission.

As far as NASA, I am in agreement.

For SpaceX, even though Luna and Mars are quite different, landing BFS on the moon would be one way to check out some functionality before heading to Mars. NASA would likely need completely different equipment for each destination. However, BFS is so robust that they might possibly be able to do some practice landings on Luna with little to no modifications. They might even be able to several takeoffs and landings with the same craft before heading back to Earth. Sort of a celestial version of touch and go.

I could even see NASA leasing a BFS and purchasing BFR services for a lunar science program while SpaceX focuses on Mars.
« Last Edit: 02/11/2016 12:54 AM by TomH »

Offline hydra9

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #26 on: 02/20/2016 06:04 PM »
A reusable lunar crew lander capable of traveling round trip between the Earth-Moon Lagrange points and the Lunar surface on just on fueling would also be capable of landing and taking off from Mars-- if it utilized an ADEPT or HIAD deceleration shield.

The delta-v for landing on Mars after the deceleration shield is discarded would be less than 550 meter per second. So most of the vehicle's propellant could be used for taking off from the Martian surface to low Mars orbit.

Landing on Mars with ADEPT Technology

http://newpapyrusmagazine.blogspot.com/2015/10/landing-on-mars-with-adept-technology.html

Offline whitelancer64

About the only commonality would be equipment within the pressurized habitat. Virtually everything else will have to be different.

ISRU methods will be different. Thermal control (for both surface habitats and spacesuits) will be different. Power production and storage will be different. Lander design will be different.

Moon: Day / Night cycle of 28 days (~200 C temperature swings from day to night), no atmosphere (thermal control must be done by radiating away the heat), much less water (excepting polar locations with permanently shadowed craters), 0.16 g gravity. ~3-4 days transit time from Earth, very frequent launch windows. <1 second radio delay for communications with Earth.

Mars: Day / Night cycle of 24 1/2 hours, less temperature extremes (~90 C from day to night), very thin atmosphere (but sufficient for some radiation protection and allows for thermal regulation by convection), much more water available in the top soil, 0.376 g gravity. ~6 months transit time from Earth with launch windows every 18 months or so. 15-40 minutes delay in radio communications with Earth.

Things like rovers and spacesuits that are designed to work on the surface of the Moon will not work on Mars, and vice versa.

If your end goal is to go to Mars, then yes, going to the Moon first is nothing but a very expensive diversion from your goal. If you want to go to Mars, then go to Mars. If you want to go to the Moon, then go to the Moon. Both are very worthy destinations for science, exploration, and future economic exploitation, but going to one does not really help you in going to the other.
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #28 on: 05/09/2016 06:02 PM »
About the only commonality would be equipment within the pressurized habitat. Virtually everything else will have to be different.

ISRU methods will be different. Thermal control (for both surface habitats and spacesuits) will be different. Power production and storage will be different. Lander design will be different.

Moon: Day / Night cycle of 28 days (~200 C temperature swings from day to night), no atmosphere (thermal control must be done by radiating away the heat), much less water (excepting polar locations with permanently shadowed craters), 0.16 g gravity. ~3-4 days transit time from Earth, very frequent launch windows. <1 second radio delay for communications with Earth.

Mars: Day / Night cycle of 24 1/2 hours, less temperature extremes (~90 C from day to night), very thin atmosphere (but sufficient for some radiation protection and allows for thermal regulation by convection), much more water available in the top soil, 0.376 g gravity. ~6 months transit time from Earth with launch windows every 18 months or so. 15-40 minutes delay in radio communications with Earth.

Things like rovers and spacesuits that are designed to work on the surface of the Moon will not work on Mars, and vice versa.

If your end goal is to go to Mars, then yes, going to the Moon first is nothing but a very expensive diversion from your goal. If you want to go to Mars, then go to Mars. If you want to go to the Moon, then go to the Moon. Both are very worthy destinations for science, exploration, and future economic exploitation, but going to one does not really help you in going to the other.

Mars has a smaller temperature range. So habitat, rover and spacesuit cooling (and heating) systems designed for the Moon will work on Mars. They will be heavy over engineered but radiating heat away still works. Same for radiation protection. A common dust protection system can probably be designed.

Having the human environment systems debugged on the Moon will save the Mars team a fortune.

Offline Jonathan_Blatter

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #29 on: 05/09/2016 07:00 PM »

Team work Moon an Mars
I imagine a class with professors and students before who do both geleichzeitig. the school administration collects the knowledge and spread it back to the developer. So can all learn something. and developments are not duplicated.
It's like 2 large aerospace company that can work together. and utilize the synergies. and so less tax money consuming. and move faster.
« Last Edit: 05/09/2016 07:01 PM by Jonathan_Blatter »

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #30 on: 05/09/2016 07:48 PM »
Having the human environment systems debugged on the Moon will save the Mars team a fortune.

That was the common wisdom going in to Constellation, and after a rather short while the NASA mission planners started coming back with "If you want to go to the Moon, fine, but it's an expensive side-trip if what you really want to do is go to Mars."  In other words, the common-sense thought that "wringing out the bugs" on the Moon will save a fortune in going to Mars turned out -- at least while Constellation was being planned -- to be actually not true.

This isn't to say we ought not go back to the Moon.  Just that going to the Moon isn't a great cost-savings testbed for Mars.  By the end of Constellation, the planners were basically being told "Just go ahead and plan on the lunar option, don't worry about how it might apply to Mars."  This led to the Antares lander -- which was completely optimized for lunar surface work, with practically no application to Mars planning.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline savuporo

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #31 on: 05/09/2016 09:51 PM »
Extensive high performance tele-robotic operations with gradually increasing autonomy.
This is slowly being done on ISS now, lunar base would push this into much sharper focus.

Note that there are multiple terrestrial markets for this too, which keep pushing the envelope, but space robotics and mechatronics is subject to unique constraints, and even more constraints outside of the relatively radiation protected environments of LEO
Plus terrestrial tele-robotics is always up against cheap human labor, so industry led applications are somewhat limited by that. In space, there won't be any cheap human labor for a long time
« Last Edit: 05/09/2016 09:56 PM by savuporo »
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline Paul451

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #32 on: 05/10/2016 03:03 AM »
The thread essentially asks if what is developed for the moon could be useful for a Mars mission. But the order in the question leads to false assumptions.

There's very little that, if developed for lunar missions, would assist with Mars missions.

But oddly, discussions about using SpaceX's proposed Mars infrastructure for lunar missions shows that the opposite may not be the case.

Hardware optimised for a Mars mission might be modified for a lower cost lunar mission.

A retro-propulsion rocket-landing system build for Mars, could land a significantly larger payload on the Moon. A stage capable of getting from LEO to Mars orbit is capable of getting from LEO to lunar orbit and back. A refuelling infrastructure in LEO for reusable Mars hardware would be identically useful for reusable Lunar hardware. (Mars atmospheric ISRU probably wouldn't be transferable, but some of the actual surface refuelling infrastructure should be modifiable for a lunar-polar ISRU system.)

Likewise, an EVA suit optimised for the moon's harsh thermal regime with a soft 1/6th gravity may not be suitable for 1/3rd gravity. But a suit light enough for 1/3rd gravity might be more easily modified to carry a beefed up thermal system under 1/6th gravity.

Focus on Mars, and some of the hardware might be able to be modified for a lunar infrastructure. Focus on the moon, and very little will be useful for Mars.

[I don't mean solely MCT either. If you had a DRA 5.0 Mars system with an LEO-LMO transfer ship with separate lander(s), those landers and the engine and power module for the LEO/LMO ship would be useful for lunar missions. You just wouldn't need the long duration habitat and life-support for the Earth/Mars trip.]

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #33 on: 05/10/2016 04:35 AM »
{snip}
Focus on Mars, and some of the hardware might be able to be modified for a lunar infrastructure. Focus on the moon, and very little will be useful for Mars.

[I don't mean solely MCT either. If you had a DRA 5.0 Mars system with an LEO-LMO transfer ship with separate lander(s), those landers and the engine and power module for the LEO/LMO ship would be useful for lunar missions. You just wouldn't need the long duration habitat and life-support for the Earth/Mars trip.]

A LEO-LLO transfer ship may not need a long duration habitat and life-support but a Moon base does.

Time for Meccano not Lego.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meccano

Offline Paul451

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #34 on: 05/10/2016 04:56 AM »
A LEO-LLO transfer ship may not need a long duration habitat and life-support but a Moon base does.

A surface life-support is likely to be significantly different from a micro-g ECLSS. One intended for either polar or equatorial lunar day/night cycles is going to have radically different requirements to one intended for LEO, BEO-space or Mars surface.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #35 on: 05/10/2016 09:31 AM »
A LEO-LLO transfer ship may not need a long duration habitat and life-support but a Moon base does.

A surface life-support is likely to be significantly different from a micro-g ECLSS. One intended for either polar or equatorial lunar day/night cycles is going to have radically different requirements to one intended for LEO, BEO-space or Mars surface.

Certain?

Cooling and energy may be outdoors but life support is indoors.

An ECLSS that works at 1-g (lab on Earth) and micro-g (spacestation & transfer vehicle) is likely to work at 1/3-g and 1/6-g

Offline sghill

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #36 on: 05/12/2016 12:03 PM »
In what ways could the Moon serve as a convenient testing ground for things that might be used on Mars?

What things could be tested on the Moon before trying them out on Mars?

What are the differences between the 2 environments that would have to be accounted for?

What kind of projects might be beneficial for lunar science even while supporting greater goals for Mars?

The moon can be used to test the business case for a Mars colony.

Most of the GDP of a colony will be the generation of intellectual property. Much like Antarctica,  the vast majority of people there will be researchers who's institutions or governments are paying for their time there. Residents will be a fraction of the total population.

A moon outpost let's you try out all your support functions for that economic activity,  but without the time, expenses, and danger of a two year trip.
« Last Edit: 05/12/2016 12:45 PM by sghill »
Bring the thunder Elon!

Offline Jonathan_Blatter

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #37 on: 05/12/2016 12:54 PM »
In what ways could the Moon serve as a convenient testing ground for things that might be used on Mars?

What things could be tested on the Moon before trying them out on Mars?

What are the differences between the 2 environments that would have to be accounted for?

What kind of projects might be beneficial for lunar science even while supporting greater goals for Mars?

The moon can be used to test the business case for a Mars colony.

Most of the GDP of a colony will be the generation of intellectual property. Much like Antarctica,  the vast majority of people there will be researchers who's institutions or governments are paying for their time there. Residents will be a fraction of the total population.

A moon outpost let's you try out all your support functions for that economic activity,  but without the time, expenses, and danger of a two year trip.
as of First maybe but i hope that Company like mars One a non governments Organisation will take or be a part of that colony

Offline turbopumpfeedback2

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #38 on: 05/12/2016 02:08 PM »
US and China collaboration.

Offline sghill

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Re: What Could Be Tried on the Moon Before Going to Mars?
« Reply #39 on: 05/12/2016 04:49 PM »
US and China collaboration.

...is prohibited by law.
Bring the thunder Elon!

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