Author Topic: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention  (Read 2558 times)

Offline baddux

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I didn't see a thread about Mars Society Convention so here it is.



I think it is not good progress that they are pushing towards this Falcon Heavy based Mars Direct which is  clearly unrealistic and makes Mars Society to look more like Mars One.

In some earlier speech Zubrin was proposing Mars Flyby mission for the next US president to launch and complete in 10 or so years, to me that sounds much better plan, if NASA is concerned about radiation that could initially be a lunar orbit mission first for smaller duration (like Apollo 8, 9, 10). I agree with Zubrin that asteroid redirection mission or anything which needs some additional hardware which is not used in Mars landing is not good idea.

Zubrin has said that NASA should have a goal, now they have it (although in some distant future). He also wrote in some letter that NASA  should build the heavy lift and build it now. Now NASA is doing that. The next step should be to have the deadline and a mission, Mars flyby in 10 years.

Offline savuporo

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #1 on: 10/15/2016 07:30 PM »
The list of handwaved concerns remain largely the same as always

- Mars ascent propulsion and return propulsion don't exist
- required pinpoint landing doesn't exist
- robust life support systems required doesn't exist
- ISRU technologies required don't exist
- radiation gets ignored
- low gravity effects during transition are ignored
- power source on mars is a Russian Topaz reactor ? Can you order these on Amazon ?
- the launch windows to develop iterations of these things are infrequent
- .. and many more, once you start looking at actual details
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Online Pipcard

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #2 on: 10/15/2016 08:00 PM »
The "we haven't done it before, so it can't be done" attitude will get us nowhere.

Offline savuporo

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #3 on: 10/15/2016 08:04 PM »
The "we haven't done it before, so it can't be done" attitude will get us nowhere.
I don't think i have that attitude, I'd like to so see much more focus on the actual difficult parts and will need to get done. Handwaving will get nobody nowhere, unless you are hitchhiking maybe
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #4 on: 10/15/2016 08:45 PM »
I don't think i have that attitude, I'd like to so see much more focus on the actual difficult parts and will need to get done. Handwaving will get nobody nowhere, unless you are hitchhiking maybe

Are you assuming the SpaceX development engineers just handwave those away and are not actually designing hardware to do these tasks?

Offline savuporo

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #5 on: 10/15/2016 08:51 PM »
I don't think i have that attitude, I'd like to so see much more focus on the actual difficult parts and will need to get done. Handwaving will get nobody nowhere, unless you are hitchhiking maybe

Are you assuming the SpaceX development engineers just handwave those away and are not actually designing hardware to do these tasks?
I'm assuming SpaceX is currently and for foreseeable future very focused on building rockets and delivering on their contractual commitments. And this thread was about Zubrin's talk about his revised crewed Mars mission ideas
« Last Edit: 10/15/2016 08:52 PM by savuporo »
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Offline Arb

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #6 on: 10/15/2016 08:54 PM »
I don't think i have that attitude, I'd like to so see much more focus on the actual difficult parts and will need to get done. Handwaving will get nobody nowhere, unless you are hitchhiking maybe

Are you assuming the SpaceX development engineers just handwave those away and are not actually designing hardware to do these tasks?
I'm assuming SpaceX is currently and for foreseeable future very focused on building rockets and delivering on their contractual commitments. And this thread was about Zubrin's talk about his revised crewed Mars mission ideas
All 5000+ of them?

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #7 on: 10/15/2016 08:55 PM »
That has been confirmed by recent public statements from top management, but they also point to smaller groups of staff working on other projects such as Red Dragon.  So you are right, but only partly right.

Offline savuporo

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #8 on: 10/15/2016 08:57 PM »
I don't think i have that attitude, I'd like to so see much more focus on the actual difficult parts and will need to get done. Handwaving will get nobody nowhere, unless you are hitchhiking maybe

Are you assuming the SpaceX development engineers just handwave those away and are not actually designing hardware to do these tasks?
I'm assuming SpaceX is currently and for foreseeable future very focused on building rockets and delivering on their contractual commitments. And this thread was about Zubrin's talk about his revised crewed Mars mission ideas
All 5000+ of them?
SpaceX doesn't have 5000+ engineers. Why is this in a Zubrin / Mars society thread ?
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #9 on: 10/15/2016 09:01 PM »
SpaceX doesn't have 5000+ engineers. Why is this in a Zubrin / Mars society thread ?

OK my bad. Somehow I missed this is the Mars society thread when I responded. Limited to the Mars society plan, I cannot disagree. They probably don't have access to those technologies.

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #10 on: 10/15/2016 10:10 PM »
Maybe because it was a proposal calling for the development of those technologies? Also, they were attempting to use as much existing or soon-to-exist technology (this presentation took place before the ITS reveal) as possible.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2016 10:45 PM by Pipcard »

Offline redliox

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #11 on: 10/16/2016 08:28 AM »
The list of handwaved concerns remain largely the same as always

- Mars ascent propulsion and return propulsion don't exist
- required pinpoint landing doesn't exist
- robust life support systems required doesn't exist
- ISRU technologies required don't exist

A lot of it actually does, the technology that is.  What ultimately doesn't exist is the money to build it or a common goal among rocket scientists. 

- radiation gets ignored
- low gravity effects during transition are ignored

That sounds like every day on the ISS if you think about it.

- power source on mars is a Russian Topaz reactor ? Can you order these on Amazon ?

I'd hope not, but I've heard stories about Ebay and Craig's List!  :P


- the launch windows to develop iterations of these things are infrequent

Define infrequent.  The hardware can be sent up once every 2 years, and if you're really willing to wait plans for SEP flights assume 3 years even on a slow route.  Launch windows have nothing to do with R&D, it's just funding it.

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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #12 on: 10/16/2016 07:54 PM »
The list of handwaved concerns remain largely the same as always

- Mars ascent propulsion and return propulsion don't exist
YES. This is the most important point (and it's what SpaceX is working on first). This is the only really new thing we need.
Quote
- required pinpoint landing doesn't exist
This is just engineering, not a huge deal. We can do this just fine on Earth, and on Mars we could do it the same way, by using a few GNSS birds and maybe small pre-landed ground beacons (could be on rovers if you insist). And precision landing is far easier without parachutes.
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- robust life support systems required doesn't exist
Disagree. What we have is sufficient, especially if you have plenty of mass to spare
Quote
- ISRU technologies required don't exist
Not necessarily true. Depends on what technology you plan to use. But agree this needs significant development to get lots of water (which is ultimately the best approach).
Quote
- radiation gets ignored
And rightly so.
Quote
- low gravity effects during transition are ignored
And rightly so. We have records of 6 people spending >300 days in space. They were fine. Polyakov, who spent >437 days in orbit, even was able to walk after landing (partly because he's a tough SOB, but anyway, Earth's gravity is nearly 3x Mars, and that time is over twice as long as transit to Mars... 4x as long if you pick SpaceX's mission architecture).
Quote
- power source on mars is a Russian Topaz reactor ? Can you order these on Amazon ?
Valid point. Solar would work, too. As would a bunch of RTGs along with solar, which is basically what NASA has baselined.
Quote
- the launch windows to develop iterations of these things are infrequent
- .. and many more, once you start looking at actual details
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Offline savuporo

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #13 on: 10/17/2016 12:10 AM »
So Robotbeat, we could have had this same back and forth ten years ago right here on this forum, and we even may have, and the list of arguments has not changed by one bit - there is no measurable progress in terms of actual hardware that has been put through its paces - with the exception of MSL/Curiosity, really.

This is just engineering, not a huge deal.

Thats just the thing, it's all engineering. Apollo was all engineering, so was ISS. But very, very expensive kind of engineering, which has very rare opportunities to test, iterate and fix things, and takes a huge number of people to get right. If you don't recognize that this engineering is a big deal then that's exactly handwaving.

At the minimum, about 7000 people were directly involved in getting Curiosity built, and a large number of them had experience building Pathfinder and MER's before, with experience and data to learn upon.

Shall we go into arguing every point one by one, again ?
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #14 on: 10/17/2016 02:34 AM »
We have supersonic retropropulsion and pinpoint landing demonstrated on Earth. That's new, and significant.
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Offline savuporo

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #15 on: 10/17/2016 02:46 AM »
We have supersonic retropropulsion and pinpoint landing demonstrated on Earth. That's new, and significant.
SRP in would count as 1 or 2 notches in TRL ladders, and pinpoint landing on Mars has completely different constraints to Earth, pinpoint rocket landing on the Moon was demonstrated before and has as little relevance.
So if 10 years gave you 2 TRL steps, extrapolating from that at the current rate, you'll be anywhere between 50 to 150 years away from a crewed Mars landing.
Translated: you need a lot more people working on solving these hard problems than there currently are.
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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #16 on: 10/18/2016 11:22 PM »
Supersonic retropropulsion on Falcon 9 was tested in "Mars-relevant" conditions, so that's higher than TRL 1 or 2. Or do you think it only counts if there is a subscale test on Mars? Red Dragon is supposed to launch in a few years and demonstrate that.
« Last Edit: 10/18/2016 11:38 PM by Pipcard »

Offline savuporo

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Re: 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention
« Reply #17 on: 10/18/2016 11:55 PM »
Supersonic retropropulsion on Falcon 9 was tested in "Mars-relevant" conditions, so that's higher than TRL 1 or 2.
Maybe i didnt write it very clearly: i meant pushed it up 1 or 2 notches in the TRL ladder.

Quote
Or do you think it only counts if there is a subscale test on Mars? Red Dragon is supposed to launch in a few years and demonstrate that.
Subscale well instrumented  test on Mars EDL would be awesome. MEDLI3. Especially if the engine would be anything similar to an actual lander engine that is supposed to be on the full scale system. Going with pressure fed hypergolic monoprop vs a turbopumped cryogenic propellant biprop is not a very high fidelity test.
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