Author Topic: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin  (Read 15316 times)

Offline Lar

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http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/12/mars_is_within_reach.html

This is in response to an op-ed:

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-wohlforth-hendrix-20161128-story.html

saying "Humans may dream of traveling to Mars, but our bodies aren’t built for it"
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline JH

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #1 on: 12/30/2016 02:26 AM »
Unfortunate venue.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #2 on: 12/30/2016 03:33 AM »
Unfortunate venue.
Off-topic.
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Offline JH

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #3 on: 12/30/2016 04:22 AM »
My point was that advocacy for space exploration really shouldn't be done through obviously partisan channels. I wasn't expressing an opinion on the flavor of partisanship.

Offline Stan-1967

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #4 on: 12/30/2016 05:09 AM »
Unfortunate venue.
I think Zubrin writes there because they give him a microphone. ( so to speak)   If he could get a louder microphone with higher readership, I'm sure he would have much more to say.   The points he rebutted the LA times article on were well thought out, which is why Zubrin is still deserving of respect when he writes about Mars.

I give credit to Zubrin for taking the time to write what he did.   I could also put together many of the points he did, but I have no audience.   Articles like the one in the LA times will influence the thinking of many people.  Someone has to put alternate fact based analysis of traveling to mars, as any proposed mission to mars will likely need some ( if not complete) government funding.  The funding issue puts the entire endeavor into the political realm, hence the need to persuade as many people as possible.


Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #5 on: 12/30/2016 05:10 AM »
Zubrin is essentially correct - the radiation bogey-man gets bandied about quite a bit. But reality should be somewhere in between his optimism and other people's pessimism. Use several inches of polyethylene and some water tanks to protect the crew and they should be good to go. The biggest barriers to putting humans on Mars is a cluster of reasons - commitment/leadership/money/public support. Grandiose schemes of colonization barely avoid the 'giggle factor' when at this point in history; we cannot even mount sortie missions to the Lunar surface or Martian orbit, let alone the Mars surface itself.

Relatively simple Sortie Missions, done as cleverly and cheaply as possible, within a 10-to-12 year time frame will slay the Dragons of Doubt and silence a lot of skepticism. Do the pioneering groundwork first, as the sailing ship & dogsled teams did first with the Antarctic, then make big plans for the followups, knowing full well that someone did the 'donkey-work' first. Use off-the-shelf launchers; Falcon Heavy, Vulcan, Ariane 6 etc to send modified Crew Dragons, Power Modules (Solar/Stirling/RTG) and inflatable Habs to the Martian surface for a 30 or 40 day Sortie mission. Then get them, some rocks & regolith and memory cards full of hi-def pictures and video back to Earth. Keep the crew small - just 3 persons or 4 at the very most.

Maybe a technology and DRM sortie mission could be done first, to test out propulsion and life support, by visiting Deimos or Phobos - or both. But even all the above will be pushing the very limits of operational capability as it is. If this is too ambitious - revive the Mars Flyby mission idea first. Two persons in a Dragon, docked either to another Dragon or to a stretched, Cygnus derived Habitat module.
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Offline high road

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #6 on: 12/30/2016 06:42 AM »
Zubrin is essentially correct - the radiation bogey-man gets bandied about quite a bit. But reality should be somewhere in between his optimism and other people's pessimism. Use several inches of polyethylene and some water tanks to protect the crew and they should be good to go. The biggest barriers to putting humans on Mars is a cluster of reasons - commitment/leadership/money/public support. Grandiose schemes of colonization barely avoid the 'giggle factor' when at this point in history; we cannot even mount sortie missions to the Lunar surface or Martian orbit, let alone the Mars surface itself.

Relatively simple Sortie Missions, done as cleverly and cheaply as possible, within a 10-to-12 year time frame will slay the Dragons of Doubt and silence a lot of skepticism. Do the pioneering groundwork first, as the sailing ship & dogsled teams did first with the Antarctic, then make big plans for the followups, knowing full well that someone did the 'donkey-work' first. Use off-the-shelf launchers; Falcon Heavy, Vulcan, Ariane 6 etc to send modified Crew Dragons, Power Modules (Solar/Stirling/RTG) and inflatable Habs to the Martian surface for a 30 or 40 day Sortie mission. Then get them, some rocks & regolith and memory cards full of hi-def pictures and video back to Earth. Keep the crew small - just 3 persons or 4 at the very most.

Maybe a technology and DRM sortie mission could be done first, to test out propulsion and life support, by visiting Deimos or Phobos - or both. But even all the above will be pushing the very limits of operational capability as it is. If this is too ambitious - revive the Mars Flyby mission idea first. Two persons in a Dragon, docked either to another Dragon or to a stretched, Cygnus derived Habitat module.

The obvious flaw in there is that 'modified Crew Dragons' can't launch astronauts back to Earth. Let alone that short stay opposition-class missions require a considerably longer transit time in microgravity. Not saying it's not doable, but saying 'off the shelf' while ignoring the main hurdles to small, short-stay crew missions is not going to help.

That said, there are commercial suppliers already developing habitats, and one MAV is already being looked at. After Red dragon has flown successfully for a few times, it seems likely to me that Congress would be more willing to at least pay for a development programme for a 4-6 astronaut Mars architecture, and that commercial partners, now having experience with landing bigger payloads on Mars, would propose ideas for that scale, based on technologies they are developing with a different scale in mind.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #7 on: 12/30/2016 08:50 AM »
I should have had a wink and grin after I'd typed "off the shelf"! :)
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #8 on: 12/30/2016 09:01 AM »
I admit to some generalization and a little hand-waving when mentioning crew Dragons. I was imagining unsaid Crew Red Dragons being one-way  descent vehicles and a Martian Ascent  Vehicle Dragon would be fueled by previously landed propellant supplies. Using a type of In-Situ Resource utilization could have LOX being created from Martian CO2 to complement hydrazine already aboard the MAV Dragon or loaded from a cargo Dragon. The MAV need only ascend to a waiting Earth Return Dragon mounted on a propulsion stage and small Habitat.
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Offline high road

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #9 on: 12/30/2016 11:30 AM »
That is what I had in mind too before the presentation in september, and I still think this is the way the first manned mission will be done. Although maybe with methane made from a supply of H2 from earth, considering that Dragon is supposed to use that fuel anyway.

And I'd like that architecture to do at least one (unmanned?) flyby of Mars, to test all procedures: entering orbit, landing, fueling, launching, docking and leaving orbit, all without being able to call Houston when something goes wrong, before the first humans ever land on Mars. Pick up a return sample if possible.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #10 on: 12/30/2016 12:43 PM »
Yes, it's very fun to imagine alternative Mars architectures, but I'm more and more convinced that won't save any money (if surface and two way) compared to a simpler architecture like ITS. Making a smaller ITS would save money. But I honestly think those complex Mars architectures using in-space habs, a separate MAV, crewed dragons, etc, would be no cheaper than the full ITS.
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Offline Oli

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #11 on: 12/30/2016 02:06 PM »

Titan? Seriously? It's gravity is like 0.14g.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #12 on: 12/30/2016 02:19 PM »
Yes, it's very fun to imagine alternative Mars architectures, but I'm more and more convinced that won't save any money (if surface and two way) compared to a simpler architecture like ITS.

That's where the imagination of most people fails. They look at ITS and they don't think "that's simple". They think "monstrous" or "megalomaniac".

Making a smaller ITS would save money. But I honestly think those complex Mars architectures using in-space habs, a separate MAV, crewed dragons, etc, would be no cheaper than the full ITS.

I wonder too, how Elon came to that size. Half the size would still be very well in the range what was announced before. Probalbly it is what he thinks he can get away with. Making it half the size would not make it that much faster and cheaper to develop. Maybe cheaper to operate with lower ambitions.

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #13 on: 12/30/2016 02:23 PM »
ITS could be a fifth or even a tenth the size and still be more than good enough for NASA's ambitions. However it definitely wouldn't be cheap enough for mass settlement of Mars.
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Offline Oli

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #14 on: 12/30/2016 05:18 PM »
That's where the imagination of most people fails. They look at ITS and they don't think "that's simple". They think "monstrous" or "megalomaniac".

I think it's a bad design for Mars colonization. Transportation will be dominated by one-way cargo.

I wonder too, how Elon came to that size. Half the size would still be very well in the range what was announced before. Probalbly it is what he thinks he can get away with. Making it half the size would not make it that much faster and cheaper to develop. Maybe cheaper to operate with lower ambitions.

Maybe because Elon knows the mass fractions are super ambitious. If ITS ends up being twice as heavy or more there's still plenty of payload left.

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #15 on: 12/30/2016 05:20 PM »
That still would be true if it were half or a fifth the size. ITS is way overkill for establishing a base, but roughly a good size for mass settlement.
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Offline Oli

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #16 on: 12/30/2016 05:40 PM »
That still would be true if it were half or a fifth the size. ITS is way overkill for establishing a base, but roughly a good size for mass settlement.

a) With a smaller design the mass fractions would be even more difficult to achieve.
b) The vehicle must be big enough for the return payload. If the vehicle ends up being twice as heavy, the return payload would dwindle to ~50t (7km/s).

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #17 on: 12/30/2016 06:07 PM »
This gets to what I admire about Musk in any of his activities - a clear eye on objective setting.
Yes, it's very fun to imagine alternative Mars architectures, but I'm more and more convinced that won't save any money (if surface and two way) compared to a simpler architecture like ITS.

That's where the imagination of most people fails. They look at ITS and they don't think "that's simple". They think "monstrous" or "megalomaniac".
You're more right than you know.

And its more than imagination. Vision and a feel for how a business will roll out. Have watched it many times. And he sticks with what is important, changing/compromising on things that are less important.

On the aerospace side, we've gotten used to calling this "wrong" too often - usually to forestall failure of some kind.

And Musk's ambitions are misread. Like with EELV - because Falcon challenges that "space", others try to view it as such. It's not. Just .. in that space.

Making a smaller ITS would save money. But I honestly think those complex Mars architectures using in-space habs, a separate MAV, crewed dragons, etc, would be no cheaper than the full ITS.
Again, you have no idea how understated you are here.

Everyone underestimates the development time of component SC and overestimate the benefits of them. Also, when you reach a critical size/scope of a SC, specialization can go on within its confines, meaning that you can serve a great diversity of missions off variants of the same SC.

Why this was not done prior was due to the forced economics of SHLV like Saturn/Shuttle. If the economics of flight frequency take most of that bias away, things shift more to a mission and "time on orbit" cost structure.

Quote
I wonder too, how Elon came to that size. Half the size would still be very well in the range what was announced before. Probalbly it is what he thinks he can get away with. Making it half the size would not make it that much faster and cheaper to develop. Maybe cheaper to operate with lower ambitions.
Suggest more of "lifetime of the vehicle".

He wants BFS to be the Model T Ford of HSF (e.g. a long run). Actually - more than that, in that you can use BFS in many, many modes - instead of building a SC from the ground up for each.

BFS is only "special" for its early development stage. Because when you build any scale of BFS, its a huge program to qualify - so doing multiples of it at various scales - are BFS's worst enemy. Because too much of it - doesn't scale well.

While if you build the one you are going to use at volume first, the additional capability can be repurposed for other missions.

Because outside of early development, the only vehicle that makes for practical, frequent super heavy lift ... is BFR. Duh.

They scaled BFS starting "backwards" from a HSF Mars landing, to parking Earth orbit. Then they scaled BFR as a means to get BFS to Earth orbit. Then added the mode of BFS tanker ... to make BFS capable of departure/mission.

To do what they want, lots of BFS'es eventually. BFR's to suit/support getting them there.

In the way Dragon does lander/cargo/crew/lab/whatever.

Offline Vultur

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #18 on: 12/31/2016 07:26 PM »
Yeah the radiation thing is purely an artifact of setting "acceptable risk" on a level absurdly low for early exploration. Amundsen and Scott and Shackleton IMO wouldn't even have thought about a 5% greater chance of dying of cancer 30 years down the road, much less considered it a showstopper.

(Those chance of dying numbers are essentially meaningless anyway - given that we're not going to Mars yet, and that it's slow developing, you'd be dealing with the cancer with something like 2050s medical tech so mortality rates are unknowable. Expecting them to be the same as today's is a ridiculously conservative assumption.)

I believe an earlier thread showed records of really large solar flares... showing that none of them since we've been measuring solar radiation were large enough to kill.

Online sanman

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #19 on: 01/18/2017 02:16 AM »
The robots will deal with the harsh environments for us - we will live inside our expanding zones of comfort, which will only get larger and more robust out there on the frontier.

As Mr Zubrin said, engineering is the art of making the impossible into the possible.

And yet the Moon is within closer reach - it's lower-hanging fruit - and it could help jumpstart the technologies necessary for living on Mars, serving as a dry run for that more distant frontier, while still being mere days from Earth.

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #20 on: 01/18/2017 03:50 AM »
I actually wouldn't mind touching down on the Moon just for old times' sake, but only if it's cheap. The lessons to learn on the Moon are FAR different from those on Mars due to the vastly different environments. I'd argue Antarctica and Mars are more similar to each other (at least from a logarithmic perspective) than the Moon and Mars are.
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Offline jbenton

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #21 on: 01/18/2017 04:39 AM »
In what way is long-duration living on the Moon different/easier than Antarctica that makes Antarctica a better comparison to Mars than the Moon? Is it just communication time? Would the Moon actually be easier to supply than Antarctica is now (if we developed the tools to send humans to the Moon for long-duration stays of course)? I hear the  winter Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station analogy to living at Mars all the time, but I don't hear it much with regards to the Moon. Just Curious

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #22 on: 01/18/2017 04:44 AM »
Pressure, logarithmically, is closer between Earth and Mars. Length of day. Temperatures. Temperature difference. Quality and quantity of raw materials. Dust (in some environments on Earth).

We'd just be learning the wrong lessons on the Moon.
« Last Edit: 01/18/2017 04:46 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline IRobot

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #23 on: 01/18/2017 05:22 AM »
The moon just has the "wrong" size to make it attractive as a next step in space exploration.

If it were smaller, it would require a low delta-v to get on and off, so it would be great for resource mining.
If it were bigger, it could potentially contain an atmosphere, making it attractive for long term settlement.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #24 on: 01/18/2017 07:51 AM »
I have said this before. If I had one wish free from the interplanetary fairy, how to make the planet that would be first target for settlement, I would wish for something like Mars.

Maybe with one somewhat bigger moon and its own water and CO2 resources for fuel ISRU.

Offline Nilof

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #25 on: 01/18/2017 12:39 PM »
The moon just has the "wrong" size to make it attractive as a next step in space exploration.

If it were smaller, it would require a low delta-v to get on and off, so it would be great for resource mining.
If it were bigger, it could potentially contain an atmosphere, making it attractive for long term settlement.

Eh, the size of the moon does have some general benefits. It's reasonably close to the sweet spot for stable Lagrange points and asteroid capture. It's big enough to have big polar regions with cold traps. It's also still kind of small enough that mining it is still feasible. Liftoff delta-v isn't trivial like it would be for an Enceladus or Mimas sided moon, but with the lack of atmosphere it's low enough that landing a mass driver is viable.
For a variable Isp spacecraft running at constant power and constant acceleration, the mass ratio is linear in delta-v.   Δv = ve0(MR-1). Or equivalently: Δv = vef PMF. Also, this is energy-optimal for a fixed delta-v and mass ratio.

Offline savuporo

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #26 on: 01/18/2017 03:50 PM »
Eh, the size of the moon does have some general benefits.
- signal lag of 2 seconds
- no atmosphere is a big asset
- solar flux
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Offline TakeOff

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #27 on: 01/18/2017 04:21 PM »
- no atmosphere is a big asset
An Lunar atmosphere would have allowed for aerobraking and saved the fuel now needed for landing.

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #28 on: 01/18/2017 04:36 PM »
The Moon is a much better location for tourism. The amount of people willing to briefly visit rather than settle on another planet is likely a much larger pool of candidates, given the local conditions. Mars requires months to transit to, not a practical proposition for most tourism. The Moon however can be visited within a week or two. Much less mass needs to be sent to support people going for short periods of 1 or 2 weeks. It also has big safety advantages.

I've little doubt people will eventually go to Mars and Beyond, but I'm of the opinion that Cislunar space is going to be where most of the action is happening in this century.
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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #29 on: 01/18/2017 05:10 PM »
The Moon is a much better location for tourism. The amount of people willing to briefly visit rather than settle on another planet is likely a much larger pool of candidates, given the local conditions. Mars requires months to transit to, not a practical proposition for most tourism. The Moon however can be visited within a week or two. Much less mass needs to be sent to support people going for short periods of 1 or 2 weeks. ...
...this and my earlier point can (and are) both true simultaneously. There is no contradiction.
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Offline savuporo

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #30 on: 01/18/2017 06:00 PM »
- no atmosphere is a big asset
An Lunar atmosphere would have allowed for aerobraking and saved the fuel now needed for landing.
Delta-v is one of the least of the problems for any serious scale space development, and easily quantifiable and manageable.
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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #31 on: 01/18/2017 09:05 PM »
Oh really? Then might as well just launch everything from Earth, since delta-v isn't a problem.
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Offline scienceguy

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #32 on: 01/18/2017 09:10 PM »
I just wanted to add that the moon rotates once every 27 days, which is bad for plants, and the moon doesn't have appreciable quantities of CO2 or N2, which is also bad for plants.

Mars rotates once every ~24 hours and has CO2 and N2, which is much better for plants.

Also Mars has water.
e^(pi*i) = -1

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #33 on: 01/22/2017 05:34 AM »

- no atmosphere is a big asset

No atmosphere is also a huge handicap.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline Oli

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #34 on: 01/22/2017 06:26 AM »

- no atmosphere is a big asset

No atmosphere is also a huge handicap.

That depends. If your goal is the extract resources, no atmosphere is great since you can use a mass driver.

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #35 on: 01/22/2017 01:37 PM »
There are fewer resources to extract without an atmosphere. Both less water and almost no CO2 and nitrogen and Argon on the Moon. Also, you meteorites (which may be a very important mineral asset) are smashed to smitherines on the Moon, whereas smaller meteorites arrive intact on Mars due to the atmosphere.

Mars actually has the best of both: the atmosphere is pretty thick in Mellas Chasma and Hellas Basin, but thin enough for a mass driver on Mount Olympus. This will remain true even after initial terraforming due to just how high Olympus Mons is.

Atmosphere also means you can use aircraft for long distance transport. This turns out to be much more efficient than roving, besides being much, much faster.

Atmosphere also protects you from all micrometeorites and the vast, vast majority of solar particle event radiation at low altitudes (where initial settlements will be).
« Last Edit: 01/22/2017 01:40 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #36 on: 01/22/2017 05:31 PM »
Zubrin is essentially correct - the radiation bogey-man gets bandied about quite a bit. But reality should be somewhere in between his optimism and other people's pessimism. Use several inches of polyethylene and some water tanks to protect the crew and they should be good to go. The biggest barriers to putting humans on Mars is a cluster of reasons - commitment/leadership/money/public support. Grandiose schemes of colonization barely avoid the 'giggle factor' when at this point in history; we cannot even mount sortie missions to the Lunar surface or Martian orbit, let alone the Mars surface itself.

Relatively simple Sortie Missions, done as cleverly and cheaply as possible, within a 10-to-12 year time frame will slay the Dragons of Doubt and silence a lot of skepticism. Do the pioneering groundwork first, as the sailing ship & dogsled teams did first with the Antarctic, then make big plans for the followups, knowing full well that someone did the 'donkey-work' first. Use off-the-shelf launchers; Falcon Heavy, Vulcan, Ariane 6 etc to send modified Crew Dragons, Power Modules (Solar/Stirling/RTG) and inflatable Habs to the Martian surface for a 30 or 40 day Sortie mission. Then get them, some rocks & regolith and memory cards full of hi-def pictures and video back to Earth. Keep the crew small - just 3 persons or 4 at the very most.

Maybe a technology and DRM sortie mission could be done first, to test out propulsion and life support, by visiting Deimos or Phobos - or both. But even all the above will be pushing the very limits of operational capability as it is. If this is too ambitious - revive the Mars Flyby mission idea first. Two persons in a Dragon, docked either to another Dragon or to a stretched, Cygnus derived Habitat module.

Another show stopper they like to point out is the vision change problem but could be solved with drugs to treat  idiopathic intracranial hypertension or simply screening crew for elevated levels of the hormone homocysteine.

Though I'd want to use a Russians DOS module or a Bigelow module as the hab.
« Last Edit: 01/22/2017 06:50 PM by Patchouli »

Offline savuporo

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #37 on: 01/22/2017 05:46 PM »
There are fewer resources to extract without an atmosphere...

.. but at least we have means to do so. Fleets of remote operated vehicles with a few second signal latency operate in terrestrial mines, on battlefields in air and on the ground, underwater, and are employed by law enforcement, in disaster areas and elsewhere.
These operations paradigms can be demonstrably applied to lunar machines, proven by Lunokhod-s with over 40 year old technology.
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline TomH

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #38 on: 01/23/2017 01:44 AM »
Yes, it's very fun to imagine alternative Mars architectures, but I'm more and more convinced that won't save any money (if surface and two way) compared to a simpler architecture like ITS. Making a smaller ITS would save money. But I honestly think those complex Mars architectures using in-space habs, a separate MAV, crewed dragons, etc, would be no cheaper than the full ITS.

ITS could be a fifth or even a tenth the size and still be more than good enough for NASA's ambitions. However it definitely wouldn't be cheap enough for mass settlement of Mars.

Agreed on all counts. The legacy designs upon which SLS is predicated are far too old. The architects of CxP and SLS could not foresee that reusability would obsolesce their designs before the LV could even fly. Just as battleship construction should have ended in favor of carriers before WWII began, SLS should be euthanized as it simply has no chance of competing against coming technology. NASA would be better served by working with commercial companies, either supporting ITS, or in designing a smaller but similar vehicle (as you allude above) which could accommodate sortie missions.

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #39 on: 01/23/2017 02:39 AM »
Yes, it's very fun to imagine alternative Mars architectures, but I'm more and more convinced that won't save any money (if surface and two way) compared to a simpler architecture like ITS. Making a smaller ITS would save money. But I honestly think those complex Mars architectures using in-space habs, a separate MAV, crewed dragons, etc, would be no cheaper than the full ITS.

ITS could be a fifth or even a tenth the size and still be more than good enough for NASA's ambitions. However it definitely wouldn't be cheap enough for mass settlement of Mars.

Agreed on all counts. The legacy designs upon which SLS is predicated are far too old. The architects of CxP and SLS could not foresee that reusability would obsolesce their designs before the LV could even fly.
Perhaps they did. Which might be why reusability didn't get off the ground - it reshapes too much!

Quote
Just as battleship construction should have ended in favor of carriers before WWII began, SLS should be euthanized as it simply has no chance of competing against coming technology.
Assuming it gets there. And keep in mind what the primes and those billion dollar contracts do to Congress.

You might want to let them have a graceful way out of this, as I've suggested elsewhere.

Quote
NASA would be better served by working with commercial companies, either supporting ITS,
Agreed. Modulo above.

Quote
... or in designing a smaller but similar vehicle (as you allude above) which could accommodate sortie missions.
Never going to happen, no matter what Robotbeat says.

Suggest one consider the additional program cost of a "little" BFS as being about the same as BFS, thus doubling the cost of things for the benefit of retiring a fraction of the overall risk.

So while potentially benefitting NASA, not so much SX. It might even slow them down.

Offline Danderman

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #40 on: 01/23/2017 03:02 AM »

Though I'd want to use a Russians DOS module or a Bigelow module as the hab.

There are no more Russian DOS modules, and their capability to make more is evaporating.

The 4.1 meter platform has not been built since 1985, so RSC Energia is moving towards a 3.3 meter platform that they can make in-house. I don't know if that platform would be sufficiently robust for a Mars mission.

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #41 on: 01/23/2017 03:02 AM »
I agree a smaller ITS is almost surely not going to happen. If Musk had a customer who wanted a smaller ITS, he'd just parlay the offer to accelerate the full scale ITS. It's what SpaceX has always done.
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Offline TomH

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #42 on: 01/23/2017 03:02 AM »
So while potentially benefitting NASA, not so much SX. It might even slow them down.

Oh, I agree. This smaller but similar architecture might be a good project for BO. I agree with Robotbeat, however, that this simplified architecture (fewer components), but on a smaller scale, would be excellent for sortie missions.


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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #43 on: 01/23/2017 03:11 AM »
The architects of CxP and SLS could not foresee that reusability would obsolesce their designs before the LV could even fly. Just as battleship construction should have ended in favor of carriers before WWII began, SLS should be euthanized as it simply has no chance of competing against coming technology. NASA would be better served by working with commercial companies, either supporting ITS, or in designing a smaller but similar vehicle (as you allude above) which could accommodate sortie missions.
It was because those architects believed that reusability would only make sense economically at flight rates that were at least half the global number of launches (40-60 flights/year, like what was expected of STS near the beginning of the program), and that there would never be practical demand for heavy-lift RLVs in the foreseeable future.

Some people in the past have advocated the use of very small RLVs instead of expendable HLVs, to take advantage of high flight rates. But no one was thinking about a reusable HLV until Elon Musk started teasing the "BFR."
« Last Edit: 01/23/2017 08:41 PM by Pipcard »

Offline Nilof

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #44 on: 01/23/2017 03:20 AM »
I think that leveraging the ITS for smaller architectures is definitely viable, but if that happens I think the best path for SX would be to not scale down but instead develop a cargo version of the ITS. Anything Nasa decides to do in the future could be put on top of that, whether the goal is to explore Mars or to properly distribute spending over the important electoral districts.
For a variable Isp spacecraft running at constant power and constant acceleration, the mass ratio is linear in delta-v.   Δv = ve0(MR-1). Or equivalently: Δv = vef PMF. Also, this is energy-optimal for a fixed delta-v and mass ratio.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #45 on: 01/23/2017 03:24 AM »
This smaller but similar architecture might be a good project for BO.
Assumes BO could, would, should ... do it. Very big assumptions.

My understanding of BO is that they have different, incompatible ambitions. Especially no landers. Not counting on asteroids ...

Quote
I agree with Robotbeat, however, that this simplified architecture (fewer components), but on a smaller scale, would be excellent for sortie missions.
Possibly.

Understand the vision. However, suggest it might "self narrow" on too small a scope for ROI to ever close. While BFS might matter as a solar system "Model T". An enormous ROI over a very long time because of the huge future of missions.

If you try using BFS/tanker at scale, where tanker prepositions consumables, you can reach all solar system bodies with missions. That's a remarkable capability, irrespective of Mars colonization ITSelf.

Offline high road

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #46 on: 01/23/2017 06:22 AM »
I just wanted to add that the moon rotates once every 27 days, which is bad for plants...

You're assuming building radiationproof yet transparant domes is going to be more efficient at any scale than using greenhouses with their own lighting.

Offline woods170

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #47 on: 01/23/2017 08:08 AM »
Eh, the size of the moon does have some general benefits.
- signal lag of 2 seconds
- no atmosphere is a big asset
- solar flux

The Moon is a bad stepping stone for getting to Mars IMO.
1.
A signal lag of just 2 seconds is no enticement to learn to operate a mission in non-realtime. Communications delay to Mars is 4 minutes at minimum and 21 minutes at maximum. And once every 26 months there will be no communications at all, for a few weeks, because Mars and Earth will be at opposite sides of the Sun (Solar conjunction). So, having a near-direct communications line to Earth from the Moon is not gonna help much in learning to live at/on Mars.

2.
The Moon has no atmosphere. However, Mars does have an atmosphere (albeit it very thin compared to Earth's atmosphere) and it is exactly for this reason that Lunar soil is very different in behaviour and phyical properties compared to Mars soil. It also affect the weather on Mars differently from that on the Moon. Temperature extremes are less on Mars than on the Moon for example.

3.
Solar Flux at Mars is significantly lower than it is on the Moon and is tempered slightly further by the Mars residual atmosphere. So, systems that are sufficient for a Lunar environment will be inadequate for a Mars environment.
« Last Edit: 01/23/2017 03:13 PM by woods170 »

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #48 on: 01/23/2017 12:10 PM »
I just wanted to add that the moon rotates once every 27 days, which is bad for plants...

You're assuming building radiationproof yet transparant domes is going to be more efficient at any scale than using greenhouses with their own lighting.
Mars' atmosphere actually blocks most of the radiation, plenty for growing plants.
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Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #49 on: 01/23/2017 02:26 PM »
And once every 26 months there will be no communications at all, for a few weeks, because Mars and Earth will be at opposite sides of the Sun (Solar conjunstion).
A minor point - this one is easily fixed with a relay satellite at a location such as Sun - Earth L5.

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #50 on: 01/23/2017 03:12 PM »
And once every 26 months there will be no communications at all, for a few weeks, because Mars and Earth will be at opposite sides of the Sun (Solar conjunstion).
A minor point - this one is easily fixed with a relay satellite at a location such as Sun - Earth L5.
Correct. But the minutes-long delay will still be there.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #51 on: 01/23/2017 03:37 PM »
I just wanted to add that the moon rotates once every 27 days, which is bad for plants...

You're assuming building radiationproof yet transparant domes is going to be more efficient at any scale than using greenhouses with their own lighting.

Greenhouses don't need radiation proofing. Plants are not very susceptible to cancer 20 years down the road.

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #52 on: 01/23/2017 04:01 PM »
Not only that, but surface radiaton on Mars is low enough that the workers in the greenhouses will be below current dose limits, too, provided they're not on top more than, say, 30 hours per week. And it's likely Martians will be more flexible on such limits than Earthlings.
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #53 on: 01/23/2017 07:40 PM »
And it's likely Martians will be more flexible on such limits than Earthlings.

After natural selection die-off of the Earthlings on Mars yields the bootstrap Martians who also endure the winnowing of their progeny ...

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #54 on: 01/23/2017 07:44 PM »
And it's likely Martians will be more flexible on such limits than Earthlings.

After natural selection die-off of the Earthlings on Mars yields the bootstrap Martians who also endure the winnowing of their progeny ...
If they don't smoke, they'll already be ahead of where many Earthlings are.

It's useful to put risks in perspective.
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #55 on: 01/23/2017 09:17 PM »
And it's likely Martians will be more flexible on such limits than Earthlings.

After natural selection die-off of the Earthlings on Mars yields the bootstrap Martians who also endure the winnowing of their progeny ...
If they don't smoke, they'll already be ahead of where many Earthlings are.

It's useful to put risks in perspective.
Ah ... but you had to broaden it outside of radiation. Having studied the various risks, and less than an hour ago responded to a habitability issue, you couldn't be more wrong here.

Even with human "bad choices",  induced modern risks of culture ... humans evolved to advantage on the Earth. This means that all that comes along to Mars. When it's not there, risks climb. It's that simple.

In some parts of Mars (and the Moon), the mineralogy brings with it potentially cancer causing substance exposure of a very significant kind. In aerosols, common alkali salts of Mars can cause lung and kidney damage. I could do this for a few thousand known issues.

add:

And if I wanted to play "whack a Zubrin", I could knock him around for 20-30 hours with the stuff, citing medical references and other op cit ad nauseam.

And yes I've run into Musk and other SX at the Mars Society for years. It's old hat to me.

Bottom line - Zubrin's all about beginning the process, which means little regard for risk, as with explorers.

Musk's view eventually becomes more "long ranged", gradually. If you ask him about this, it's among the reasons why he fully expects that deaths will occur eventually. No one is fooling anyone about what this endeavor is all about.

And one of the experts on Mars conditions I know (am even talking too at this moment) doesn't want to ever go to Mars themself - it's too risky and damaging.
« Last Edit: 01/23/2017 09:44 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Offline high road

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #56 on: 01/24/2017 06:56 AM »
Not only that, but surface radiaton on Mars is low enough that the workers in the greenhouses will be below current dose limits, too, provided they're not on top more than, say, 30 hours per week. And it's likely Martians will be more flexible on such limits than Earthlings.

I was indeed more worried about the people working inside the greenhouses, rather than the plants themselves. But this solution is another example of every solution being connected to a lot of other problems. With people working outside or in the greenhouses for 30 hours a week, what do they do with the other 82 waking hours every week? Is there enough work to be done inside the radiationproof area for people not to get bored after a few weeks? Do they have enough room to not irritate each other too much? How many jobs does a person need to be specialized in if their 'main' job takes them only a quarter of their time? etc.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #57 on: 01/24/2017 07:16 AM »

In some parts of Mars (and the Moon), the mineralogy brings with it potentially cancer causing substance exposure of a very significant kind. In aerosols, common alkali salts of Mars can cause lung and kidney damage. I could do this for a few thousand known issues.

Be more specific.  What minerals, which alkali salts?


Quote
And if I wanted to play "whack a Zubrin", I could knock him around for 20-30 hours with the stuff, citing medical references and other op cit ad nauseam.

And yes I've run into Musk and other SX at the Mars Society for years. It's old hat to me.

In your opinion.

Quote
Bottom line - Zubrin's all about beginning the process, which means little regard for risk, as with explorers.

Zurbin does consider risk and does not argue for excessive amounts.

Quote
And one of the experts on Mars conditions I know (am even talking too at this moment) doesn't want to ever go to Mars themself - it's too risky and damaging.

I'd like to see more evidence of that expertise.

I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the risks myself and I would certainly go.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #58 on: 01/24/2017 07:18 AM »
Quote
With people working outside or in the greenhouses for 30 hours a week, what do they do with the other 82 waking hours every week? Is there enough work to be done inside the radiationproof area for people not to get bored after a few weeks?

I would be surprised if a typical office person spends more than 30 hours per week under the open sky. The rest consists mostly of sitting in an office and being at home, and both locations are easily shielded (and shielding doesn't necessarily mean a dark cave...). So no, even on Earth, people do not get bored if they are not under the open sky for less than 30 hours per week.
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #59 on: 01/24/2017 08:33 AM »
Quote
With people working outside or in the greenhouses for 30 hours a week, what do they do with the other 82 waking hours every week? Is there enough work to be done inside the radiationproof area for people not to get bored after a few weeks?

I would be surprised if a typical office person spends more than 30 hours per week under the open sky. The rest consists mostly of sitting in an office and being at home, and both locations are easily shielded (and shielding doesn't necessarily mean a dark cave...). So no, even on Earth, people do not get bored if they are not under the open sky for less than 30 hours per week.

A lot of people, even couch potatoes, will enjoy the occasional stroll through some green environment. Or at least need to know that they could if they wanted to. That is one reason to have surface greenhouses to walk through at least as a complement to LED lighted grow houses with their horrible looking redblue plant light.

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #60 on: 01/24/2017 08:55 AM »
Quote
With people working outside or in the greenhouses for 30 hours a week, what do they do with the other 82 waking hours every week? Is there enough work to be done inside the radiationproof area for people not to get bored after a few weeks?

I would be surprised if a typical office person spends more than 30 hours per week under the open sky. The rest consists mostly of sitting in an office and being at home, and both locations are easily shielded (and shielding doesn't necessarily mean a dark cave...). So no, even on Earth, people do not get bored if they are not under the open sky for less than 30 hours per week.

A lot of people, even couch potatoes, will enjoy the occasional stroll through some green environment. Or at least need to know that they could if they wanted to. That is one reason to have surface greenhouses to walk through at least as a complement to LED lighted grow houses with their horrible looking redblue plant light.

I fully agree. The greenhouses might well double as recreational parks. But all that strolling will not need to be more than 30 hours a week. If you work and live in a shielded position during the week, you could actually be outside most of the weekend (assuming "Martian EVA ever become routine") and still easily stay within limits. I don't see a problem there. The only requirement for that kind of life-style is that the main habitation and work environments are radiation shielded, e.g., in a lava tube. Which seems like a good idea anyway.
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Offline high road

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #61 on: 01/24/2017 10:21 AM »
Quote
With people working outside or in the greenhouses for 30 hours a week, what do they do with the other 82 waking hours every week? Is there enough work to be done inside the radiationproof area for people not to get bored after a few weeks?

I would be surprised if a typical office person spends more than 30 hours per week under the open sky. The rest consists mostly of sitting in an office and being at home, and both locations are easily shielded (and shielding doesn't necessarily mean a dark cave...). So no, even on Earth, people do not get bored if they are not under the open sky for less than 30 hours per week.

A lot of people, even couch potatoes, will enjoy the occasional stroll through some green environment. Or at least need to know that they could if they wanted to. That is one reason to have surface greenhouses to walk through at least as a complement to LED lighted grow houses with their horrible looking redblue plant light.

I fully agree. The greenhouses might well double as recreational parks. But all that strolling will not need to be more than 30 hours a week. If you work and live in a shielded position during the week, you could actually be outside most of the weekend (assuming "Martian EVA ever become routine") and still easily stay within limits. I don't see a problem there. The only requirement for that kind of life-style is that the main habitation and work environments are radiation shielded, e.g., in a lava tube. Which seems like a good idea anyway.

I wasn't talking about spending that time recreationally. People away from their industrial base need to do far more than 30 hours a week of labour to survive (let alone thrive).

The main task colonists would do is producing food, replenishing stocks of raw materials, maintenance, construction, and if there's some time left, research and exploration. Construction, maintenance and producing food will easily gobble up 30 hours per week for the usual two-jobs-per-astronaut approach. So replenishing stocks of raw materials, and as much maintenance as possible, and all recreation time will have to be done inside radiation protected areas, in order to use as much of those 82 hours per person per week as possible for doing something useful that the colony/outpost sorely needs. All these things require considerable amounts of space. Radiation proofing the greenhouses (to a certain extent) to allow more work to be done 'inside' might be a lot easier than doing enough construction or maintenance from the inside, and certainly more desirable than doing enough exploration from the inside.

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #62 on: 01/24/2017 12:33 PM »
The nature of work is changing, as is the "Industrial Base" upon which it is founded... both of which in 34 yrs, (which happens to be half my age :) ) when this colony is envisaged, will be firmly fixed in that new paradigm and advancing... A 30 hour work week may even be too much... Even if it weren't it is quite possible that in a population of 10,000, with 8-9,000 of working age, the numbers that put in 30 hours may be the exception...

Think 1948 to 1982, and the advances that were made... then take the advances from 1948 to 2016, and compress them into that 1948-82 time frame, and you'll have an idea of what I am talking about... and even that may be conservative, according to some people...

The only reason I can see for putting in more hours, is if the colony were doubling every synod, and they needed to double the infrastructure to accommodate the new arrivals in 26 months time... even then a lot of the "work" would be done robotically or through AI, with humans just monitoring... or there were a shortage of trained people in a particular field...
"Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but it has not solved one yet." Maya Angelou
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #63 on: 01/24/2017 01:39 PM »
The only reason I can see for putting in more hours, is if the colony were doubling every synod, and they needed to double the infrastructure to accommodate the new arrivals in 26 months time... even then a lot of the "work" would be done robotically or through AI, with humans just monitoring... or there were a shortage of trained people in a particular field...


      In other words, welcome to the world of the Jetsons...
My God!  It's full of universes!

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #64 on: 01/24/2017 06:12 PM »

In some parts of Mars (and the Moon), the mineralogy brings with it potentially cancer causing substance exposure of a very significant kind. In aerosols, common alkali salts of Mars can cause lung and kidney damage. I could do this for a few thousand known issues.

Be more specific.  What minerals, which alkali salts?

Normally I'd not be adverse to going 20 rounds with you as I respect your profession, but am busy with others at the moment. You can use the toxicology/bioactivity/EH&S databases just as well as I can with Mars/lunar silicates/manganesates/other.

You're missing my point, and like Robotbeat, drawing the thread further off topic. So won't oblige this time.

Quote
Quote
And if I wanted to play "whack a Zubrin", I could knock him around for 20-30 hours with the stuff, citing medical references and other op cit ad nauseam.

And yes I've run into Musk and other SX at the Mars Society for years. It's old hat to me.

In your opinion.

In general I don't play "whack a Zubrin" and often interrupt others attempting so. But understand why it occurs, and the vulnerability present.

Quote

Quote
Bottom line - Zubrin's all about beginning the process, which means little regard for risk, as with explorers.

Zurbin does consider risk and does not argue for excessive amounts.

I admire Zubrin and his interest, although think he gets carried away much of the time. That is my opinion.

And he does get excessive. Many not just me notice that. IMHO, its his way of evading things that block his objectives of the moment. Too much "ends justifies the means" sucks us all down the rathole. As we are about to see on a somewhat larger scale.

Quote
Quote
And one of the experts on Mars conditions I know (am even talking too at this moment) doesn't want to ever go to Mars themself - it's too risky and damaging.

I'd like to see more evidence of that expertise.
As an anonymous "talking head" (like you), that veracity will have to come from a different means. Especially in the increasingly erratic political/funding environment now forming.

Quote
I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the risks myself and I would certainly go.
I'm sure you and the Mars One crew would do so.

Bottom line - building a colonization effort is not the same as doing planetary exploration. Long term health consequences are an addition. If you study the problem at length, suggest that you'll find that the benefit of having a minimum of a certain amount of health risk means that your colony/inhabited planet thrives instead of dies off.

And remember, Musk wants Mars to be "fun". It's no fun watching people/progeny die off. Also, the economics of replacing them are very bad - you want them to do well to have the effort/enthusiasm grow not diminish.

Which is my point that you should focus on, instead of arguing from the nits on up.

See the forest for the trees, not the mitochondria inside the plant cells.

add:

Giving up on this thread because of too much romantic notions disabling intellect. Enjoy the ecstasy of your current enthusiasm. I'd rather spend time with things measurable, testable and longitudinally studied. Especially as they are now more in sight than ever in my lifetime. Back to work.
« Last Edit: 01/24/2017 10:53 PM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #65 on: 01/24/2017 07:21 PM »
It's worth pointing out that breathing dust on Earth is bad for you and will give you lung cancer, too. People still live in deserts and near volcanos. A sealed colony may be better off than the typical city near a desert that gets regular dust storms in this regard.
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Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #66 on: 01/24/2017 09:46 PM »

In some parts of Mars (and the Moon), the mineralogy brings with it potentially cancer causing substance exposure of a very significant kind. In aerosols, common alkali salts of Mars can cause lung and kidney damage. I could do this for a few thousand known issues.

Be more specific.  What minerals, which alkali salts?

Normally I'd not be adverse to going 20 rounds with you as I respect your profession, but am busy with others at the moment. You can use the toxicology/bioactivity/EH&S databases just as well as I can with Mars/lunar silicates/manganesates/other.

You're missing my point, and like Robotbeat, drawing the thread further off topic. So won't oblige this time.

Quote
Quote
And if I wanted to play "whack a Zubrin", I could knock him around for 20-30 hours with the stuff, citing medical references and other op cit ad nauseam.

And yes I've run into Musk and other SX at the Mars Society for years. It's old hat to me.

In your opinion.

In general I don't play "whack a Zubrin" and often interrupt others attempting so. But understand why it occurs, and the vulnerability present.

Quote

Quote
Bottom line - Zubrin's all about beginning the process, which means little regard for risk, as with explorers.

Zurbin does consider risk and does not argue for excessive amounts.

I admire Zubrin and his interest, although think he gets carried away much of the time. That is my opinion.

And he does get excessive. Many not just me notice that. IMHO, its his way of evading things that block his objectives of the moment. Too much "ends justifies the means" sucks us all down the rathole. As we are about to see on a somewhat larger scale.

Quote
Quote
And one of the experts on Mars conditions I know (am even talking too at this moment) doesn't want to ever go to Mars themself - it's too risky and damaging.

I'd like to see more evidence of that expertise.
As an anonymous "talking head" (like you), that veracity will have to come from a different means. Especially in the increasingly erratic political/funding environment now forming.

Quote
I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the risks myself and I would certainly go.
I'm sure you and the Mars One crew would do so.

Bottom line - building a colonization effort is not the same as doing planetary exploration. Long term health consequences are an addition. If you study the problem at length, suggest that you'll find that the benefit of having a minimum of a certain amount of health risk means that your colony/inhabited planet thrives instead of dies off.

And remember, Musk wants Mars to be "fun". It's no fun watching people/progeny die off. Also, the economics of replacing them are very bad - you want them to do well to have the effort/enthusiasm grow not diminish.

Which is my point that you should focus on, instead of arguing from the nits on up.

See the forest for the trees, not the mitochondria inside the plant cells.

I am familiar with mineral hazards and extrapolation to Mars, I as far as I can see it does not support your reading.   So I will take this as an indication that your statements on these risks are unsubstantiated. 

I do not see Zubrin as avoiding issues.  Certainly, he is passionate and dedicated.  This is a good thing.  Zubrin  doesn't avoid discussing hazards in my experience, rather he emphasises solutions to those hazards that reduce risk. 

Not sure why you bring in Mars One –this is not the topic of conversation, nor am I an avocate (or critic) of it, or associated with Mars One in any way. Ditto Musk and his plans.

I know all about people dying off – friends, family, colleagues.  It's a part of life.  The question comes down to what is an acceptable level of risk (expressed in chances of dying on the mission for a Mars expedition for you.  Is it 10%, 1%, 0.1%?
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #67 on: 01/24/2017 09:53 PM »
It's worth pointing out that breathing dust on Earth is bad for you and will give you lung cancer, too. People still live in deserts and near volcanos. A sealed colony may be better off than the typical city near a desert that gets regular dust storms in this regard.

You are quite right.  In the quarrying, mining, construction, farming, and fabrication industries we have gained a lot of experience with hazardous dusts.  We can manage risks to acceptable levels with respect to dusts that are toxic, carcinogenic, reactive, explosive, biologically active, disease-bearing, abrasive, conductive, and magnetic.  It's an understood and manageable problem.

Martian dust is basically slightly weathered basalt.  Standard hygiene - cleaning suits, sweeping and vacuuming floors, and filtering air will keep the issue manageable.

I attach a photo from drilling in a dust storm I took a few years ago.  We are all still here!
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline high road

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #68 on: 01/25/2017 07:59 AM »
Think 1948 to 1982, and the advances that were made... then take the advances from 1948 to 2016, and compress them into that 1948-82 time frame, and you'll have an idea of what I am talking about... and even that may be conservative, according to some people...

Exactly. During that era, we have seen production, including basic materials like food, clothing, construction materials, etc being produced in places where it's most effective/efficient to produce them, and shlepped all over the world to wherever people can pay for them. We have seen the rise of ever more capable technologies, requiring greater and greater numbers of specialisms capable of maintaining all of these technologies. During the last hundred years, the industrial base of this planet has come together more than in the previous 10000 years. Productivity is high because there are up to 7 billion people we can produce for, rather than just the local city. And there is enough production so people can focus on a single job, and become specialists in it, rather than having to juggle many jobs just to make a living. Which is still true for many people today, but is less the rule (in the industrial world) than it was just 80 years ago (in Europe at least). Without those specialists, infrastructure would quickly crumble. Specialization makes things cheaper, but high quantities are needed to allow specialization.

The fact that you can order anything without leaving your home, only hides the fact that thousands of people are required to get that product from the cradle to your doorstep. (Actually, make that hundreds of thousands just for the electricity, the grid, the computer, the internet, and the applications you use to order whatever it is that you want).

A colony on a different planet (or this planet for that matter), that has no export product or other value that can be turned into enough money, and still uses all of those technologies to make life easier, will have to work hard to keep everything running.

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #69 on: 01/25/2017 08:46 AM »
Good for Zubrin. More people need to stand up and snub this anti-science BS we have going around.

Really astounds me how the last few years people in this country seem to have totally lost their minds, if they ever had them to begin with. It seems like the closer we get to solving major engineering and scientific problems and the better our technology gets, the more people believe disinformation, outright lies, and myths, and the more said people hate the very advances we all depend on to live. This anti-science stuff is not limited to just spaceflight I have seen the same attitudes expressed against a variety of bleeding edge research and industries all across the board the last few years.

Really hoping things start turning around and people wake up and stop acting so unbelievably stupid, but I won't hold my breath. If more folks would do what Zubrin is doing that might help.
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Offline tdperk

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Re: Mars is within reach - op-ed piece by Robert Zubrin
« Reply #70 on: 01/28/2017 11:17 PM »
Grandiose schemes of colonization barely avoid the 'giggle factor' when at this point in history; we cannot even mount sortie missions to the Lunar surface or Martian orbit, let alone the Mars surface itself.

In contrast, I view it as a certainty we can mount a sortie to the Lunar surface--we have already done so.

The question is only the details of the engineering that will do it, not if it can be done--and will the resources be put to do the engineering.

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