Author Topic: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.  (Read 14384 times)

Offline meberbs

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #40 on: 04/25/2017 02:49 PM »
My point exactly: getting a few percent water out of dirt does not fit the standard English definition of "easy". Easy would be pulling up to a Martian lake and pumping out water, or at least sinking a shallow well and pumping up liquid water.
We are talking about space nothing fits the standard definition of "easy." Compared to other problems, this doesn't seem like a particularly hard one. Put some soil in an oven at 20-30C. Pump the air from the oven (with the boiled off water) to a separate chamber at about 10x pressure (0.1 atm) Harvest the condensed water. There are obviously more details than that and other approaches as well, but while this is very important it doesn't seem hard on a relative scale.

Anyways, even if SpaceX is working on autonomous mining rovers, I can see why they might want to keep some design details proprietary, but why keep the very idea that they're working on such rovers a secret?
Same reason many aspects of ITS were kept secret. Releasing details of their plans at early stages of R&D doesn't help anything and will confuse people especially when the final product inevitably looks completely different.

As for the general topic of this thread, there is no way they are planning to send humans in 2020. It would be way more reckless than putting humans on EM-1, even with volunteers for a suicide mission, the backlash on a likely failure would delay their plans far more than any slight increase in their pace if things go well.

He repeated it three times. Trump is not a space but. Someone must have told him something. Doesn't mean it will happen, of course.
Trump repeating something doesn't mean it is based on any sort of reality. I shouldn't need to list examples here of all the things he has said repeatedly that are known to be false. Probably what he was told is that NASA's long term plan is Mars, and he decided he wanted that now, because of course he does. And he has no idea why it is a horrible idea to even attempt on that schedule (to the extent that a serious attempt is even possible).
« Last Edit: 04/25/2017 02:57 PM by meberbs »

Offline francesco nicoli

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #41 on: 04/25/2017 02:51 PM »
Did not EM promise an update on the Mars Architecture by the end of the month?

Offline guckyfan

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #42 on: 04/25/2017 02:52 PM »
Anyways, even if SpaceX is working on autonomous mining rovers, I can see why they might want to keep some design details proprietary, but why keep the very idea that they're working on such rovers a secret?

They don't keep it secret. Look at the RedDragon Mission Objectives from slide 15 of the IAC presentation.

Identify and characterize potential resources such as water.
Demonstrate key surface capabilities on Mars.

They just don't blare out we are going it all alone. We build that City. The intent is hoping to get others to join in.

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #43 on: 04/25/2017 03:17 PM »
"Did not EM promise an update on the Mars Architecture by the end of the month?"

Maybe 'mentioned an update' would be a better way to phrase it.  If everything I mentioned that I might do was taken to be a promise I would be in serious trouble.

Offline Warren Platts

Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #44 on: 04/25/2017 04:24 PM »
Anyways, even if SpaceX is working on autonomous mining rovers, I can see why they might want to keep some design details proprietary, but why keep the very idea that they're working on such rovers a secret?

They don't keep it secret. Look at the RedDragon Mission Objectives from slide 15 of the IAC presentation.

Identify and characterize potential resources such as water.
Demonstrate key surface capabilities on Mars.

Right. That's what everybody says. Nothing there that implies they've got prototype rovers practicing mining water.

And it's not like SpaceX/Musk is bashful about announcing future technologies. How many decades now has Falcon Heavy been on the drawing board? MCX? Hyperloops? Rovers would seem comparatively easy. There's plenty of electric car and even autonomous driving tech at Tesla that could transfer over potentially, maybe. Yet, nothing specific in this regard, as far as I've heard. But I don't follow SpaceX particularly closely, so correct me if I'm wrong.
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #45 on: 04/25/2017 04:39 PM »
Rovers would seem comparatively easy. There's plenty of electric car and even autonomous driving tech at Tesla that could transfer over potentially, maybe. Yet, nothing specific in this regard, as far as I've heard.

Nothing specific. I mentioned a likely reason if you care to read my post.

Offline envy887

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #46 on: 04/25/2017 05:20 PM »
... Easy would be pulling up to a Martian lake and pumping out water, or at least sinking a shallow well and pumping up liquid water.

Anyways, even if SpaceX is working on autonomous mining rovers, I can see why they might want to keep some design details proprietary, but why keep the very idea that they're working on such rovers a secret?
Water might be easily accessed from glaciers in some areas by drilling a few meters down and pumping down a hot fluid (gas or liquid) like warmed CO2. The hot fluid melts the glacier and the pump pressure lifts liquid water back to the surface.

But, they don't need automated water mining at all if they ship the methane for the first few return flights from Earth. Water mining equipment would likely require a dedicated cargo shipment, and that vehicle could simply carry methane and wait to return later when fuel production is running. LOX can be sourced directly out of the atmosphere or electrolyzed from CO2.

Offline scienceguy

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #47 on: 04/25/2017 10:00 PM »
Didn't Trump talk to Elon some time ago? How do we know he didn't ask Elon if he could get to Mars by the end of his presidency?
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #48 on: 04/25/2017 11:45 PM »
Didn't Trump talk to Elon some time ago? How do we know he didn't ask Elon if he could get to Mars by the end of his presidency?
More like the other way around. Musk offered it to Trump, maybe when space policy came up.
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Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #49 on: 04/26/2017 09:45 PM »
I think a Mars flyby with a crew of two or so is possible by 2020, while landing would be much more difficult in that same timeframe.
Would take several FH launches and refueling (which is probably the main new tech for Spacex to develop for that).

Offline topo334

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #50 on: 04/26/2017 09:54 PM »
As interesting as this spec. forum is, remember that Trump wanting NASA on Mars by 2020 is as realistic as Trump's wall and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Ain't. Gonna.Happen. Big hat. no cattle.
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Offline envy887

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #51 on: 04/26/2017 10:06 PM »
I think a Mars flyby with a crew of two or so is possible by 2020, while landing would be much more difficult in that same timeframe.
Would take several FH launches and refueling (which is probably the main new tech for Spacex to develop for that).

A fly-by could probably be done with two FH launches and no refueling.

Offline spacenut

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #52 on: 04/26/2017 10:12 PM »
I think it will happen, but probably not by 2020 unless several billion are poured into it. 

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #53 on: 04/26/2017 11:25 PM »
I think it will happen, but probably not by 2020 unless several billion are poured into it.
I only consider 2020 a possibility, but a remote one. They really could accomplish it given enough money and risk acceptance. And even with a bunch of money, things would have to go right for them.

But 2022 and 2024 are more achievable.
« Last Edit: 04/27/2017 02:48 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #54 on: 04/27/2017 12:49 AM »
I think a Mars flyby with a crew of two or so is possible by 2020, while landing would be much more difficult in that same timeframe.
Would take several FH launches and refueling (which is probably the main new tech for Spacex to develop for that).

A fly-by could probably be done with two FH launches and no refueling.
2x FH launch 2x Dragon 2's on TMI. One Dragon has life support system, food and water stores. The other has a single crew member. After TMI, the two Dragons dock nose to nose, sharing power and resources. One Dragon has a high gain antenna in the Trunk module and the other Dragon carries ejectable Cubesat probes. With one Astronaut, the two Dragons should have enough room and supplies to make the Mars flyby mission and return to Earth. 2x Dragons should also have enough delta-v for maneuvers. I've also thought about using a third, windowless Dragon 1.0 modified to be a docking node/storm cellar/logistics module. Specs? the Dragon Node has no heatshield but it features a docking port at both zenith & nadir of the capsule so that all Dragons can dock inline in a 'train' configuration.

The Node Dragon would feature solar cells mounted on the capsule hull and additional insulation and polyethylene radiation shielding so the Node can function as a solar storm shelter. These three Dragon pressure hulls should feature enough habitable volume for two crew members for the long Mars flyby mission. There would still be enough mass potential for a Falcon Heavy to send both it and a full crew Dragon on TMI.
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Offline envy887

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #55 on: 04/27/2017 01:17 AM »
I think a Mars flyby with a crew of two or so is possible by 2020, while landing would be much more difficult in that same timeframe.
Would take several FH launches and refueling (which is probably the main new tech for Spacex to develop for that).

A fly-by could probably be done with two FH launches and no refueling.
2x FH launch 2x Dragon 2's on TMI. One Dragon has life support system, food and water stores. The other has a single crew member. After TMI, the two Dragons dock nose to nose, sharing power and resources. One Dragon has a high gain antenna in the Trunk module and the other Dragon carries ejectable Cubesat probes. With one Astronaut, the two Dragons should have enough room and supplies to make the Mars flyby mission and return to Earth. 2x Dragons should also have enough delta-v for maneuvers. I've also thought about using a third, windowless Dragon 1.0 modified to be a docking node/storm cellar/logistics module. Specs? the Dragon Node has no heatshield but it features a docking port at both zenith & nadir of the capsule so that all Dragons can dock inline in a 'train' configuration.

The Node Dragon would feature solar cells mounted on the capsule hull and additional insulation and polyethylene radiation shielding so the Node can function as a solar storm shelter. These three Dragon pressure hulls should feature enough habitable volume for two crew members for the long Mars flyby mission. There would still be enough mass potential for a Falcon Heavy to send both it and a full crew Dragon on TMI.
Replace the node Dragon with a dedicated support module with Dragon 2s docked to each end, and that's about right. Should be reasonably easy to build off something like Cygnus.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #56 on: 04/27/2017 01:37 AM »
Absolutely true. Though I was only suggesting 3x Dragon hulls so as to keep the whole supply chain in-house with SpaceX. If one was to do something with only Dragon and another Habitat; they could do worse than 1x Dragon Rider and a double or even triple-barrel Cygnus as the Hab module. Though I would advocate encasing it in layers of Kevlar and mylar for extra thermal and micrometeorite protection.
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Offline envy887

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #57 on: 04/27/2017 02:01 AM »
SpaceX isn't going to do this on their own, it would take some NASA money. Which is a lot more likely to be forthcoming from Congress if Orbital and ULA get some. Maybe a super Cygnus on DIVH to LEO rendezvous with Dragon on FH, doing a combined TMI burn after docking.

Offline Jimmy_C

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #58 on: 04/27/2017 02:13 AM »
Can we get a human to Mars by 2020? Yes (technically). Can we get a human to Mars alive by 2020 and then return him to Earth alive (possible after 2020)? I'm skeptical. Safely? I'm very skeptical. I thought the mission of NASA's Cis-Lunar Habitat will be to figure out how to keep humans alive in deep space without succumbing to radiation sickness, cancer, dementia, muscle and bone loss (partly solved IIRC), social isolation, etc. And to do that there also needs to be a life support system robust enough to last the journey in the same harsh environment. The proving grounds missions are really important before sending humans beyond LEO. I don't see them being completed before 2020.
« Last Edit: 04/27/2017 02:24 AM by Jimmy_C »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: How SpaceX may get crew to Mars by 2020.
« Reply #59 on: 04/27/2017 02:53 AM »
I don't get the idea of exposing people to space radiation just to see how bad it is to expose people to space radiation. Hyperbolic articles (and individuals looking for funding) aside, we are confident the astronauts will be fine for during of the mission. If we're going to expose people to space radiation for tests, they might as well be exposed while doing a Mars mission (and not TOO high exposure, so we'll have to land them on the surface...).

FWIW, I also wasn't imagining Dragon (Red or otherwise) to be used anywhere in this architecture with the sole exception of perhaps an extra safety measure for launching crew to orbit. Everything else would be just like full scale ITS. And the idea is an uncrewed mini-ITS sent in 2018 with cargo, not a Red Dragon as Red Dragons don't fit enough cargo. Perhaps 2 mini ITSes using atmospheric water mining to minimize risk and development time (the water mining equipment could be used for regolith processing once crew are on hand, but not strictly necessary for capturing enough water.).
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