Author Topic: Modelling Mars  (Read 122283 times)

Offline AlexA

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #420 on: 03/02/2016 12:26 PM »
How much detail does Baxter gove on what USSR was doing in space during the timespan of the novel? (it's a long time since I read it).

What launcher did the Soyuz/Moonlab mission use? Aparently (see Zond) Proton only had enough dV for a free-return lunar trajectory, so wouldn't be suitable for lunar orbit rendezvous with Moonlab. Was it N-1 (programme continued and fixed in response to Ares?)? Or maybe the dual-launch recently proposed by Space Adventures (Soyuz s/c on Soyuz rocket + Block D on Proton).

I assume there wouldn't be a Buran shuttle in the Voyage timeline. So what did USSR do instead?
Use N-1 for big LEO spacestations? Or maybe next Mars mission after Ares would be Soviet lead (though if USSR still collapsed in 1989 could cause problems). Joint USSR/Nasa Mars missions instead of Shuttle/Mir?
« Last Edit: 03/02/2016 12:27 PM by AlexA »

Offline Ronpur50

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #421 on: 03/02/2016 01:18 PM »
They did use the N-1 for the Moonlab mission.  Since the US never had a shuttle, there was no mention of Buran as well.  The Soyuz used for the Moonlab flight did not have an orbital module. 

There is actually a lot more with the Soviets than you would expect.  Natalie York is friends with a Russian cosmonaut, Vladimir Viktorenko.  He fly the Soyuz to Moonlab and does some training with York and Gershon after the Apollo-N disaster.  He is one of the first to congratulate her when she is named to the mission.  She carries a little bit of grass he gave her for good luck in the mission and gave her a small cosmonaut figure that was named Boris.  She carried all the way to Mars.  He also represented the Soviet Union at Jim Dana's funeral and was present at the launch of Ares, saying farewell to the crew as they entered the Astrovan.

They only kept flying Soyuz and Salyut as in our timeline.  No mention of further lunar flights, but they had to have happened.  Another mention was a Soyuz being sent up to photograph the remains of the Apollo-N reactor.  I want to believe that Ares II would have launch within 10 years and Vladimir Viktorenko would have been on that flight or the next.   But he would have been Russian by then, not Soviet.


FYI, I have a digital copy of Voyage that I can search for these references, I don't have the thing memorized,LOL.
« Last Edit: 03/02/2016 01:30 PM by Ronpur50 »

Offline Archibald

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #422 on: 03/03/2016 06:41 AM »
Baxter said the Soviet have abandonned their lunar landing program and there is no trace of a Soviet Mars shot. I don't think that's very realistic - the Soviets just seat on their hands and do nothing as the U.S goes to Mars.

Offline Ronpur50

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #423 on: 03/03/2016 11:46 AM »
They also sent unmanned landers to Mars that were very successful. So why the US looses all of those Voyagers and Vikings, the Soviets gain them. And they develop their long term space flight as well. So with that and the success of the N-1, they could have come up with a Mars shot. I like to think that in the 1990s, the two countries decide to go back together, as we decided to do ISS.

Offline AlexA

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #424 on: 03/03/2016 01:08 PM »
They also sent unmanned landers to Mars that were very successful. So why the US looses all of those Voyagers and Vikings, the Soviets gain them. And they develop their long term space flight as well. So with that and the success of the N-1, they could have come up with a Mars shot. I like to think that in the 1990s, the two countries decide to go back together, as we decided to do ISS.

Some detail on Soviet plans for Mars Rover (Mars-4NM) and Sample return (Mars-5NM):
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/mars5nm.htm
Cancelled in 1974 in RL, presumably continued in Voyage TL as a challenge to Ares (as they did with the moon race).
Is it plausible that a Soviet rover and/or sample return "beat" Ares but wasn't meantioned in the novel?
More likely they had multiple failures and only succeded in laters launch windows (1988/90?).

As for manned Mars plans, see here:
http://www.astronautix.com/fam/rustions.htm

Quote
1972 During the Year - . Launch Vehicle: UR-700M. •Soviet Mars expedition work ends - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei. Spacecraft: MK-700. Chelomei's preliminary draft project for the UR-700M launch vehicle and LK-700 spacecraft was reviewed by a government expert commission. Based on the decades worth of development and tens of billions or roubles required to realise the project, the state commission recommended that further work on manned Mars expeditions be deferred indefinitely.
From http://www.astronautix.com/craft/mk700.htm

With NASA manned Mars programme announced 15 JAN 1972, the outcome of the above meeting would have been very different. We know they pressed on with N1 to achive Moonlab mission in 1980.
I suspect they may have dusted off the TMK-1/MaVr plans which were N1 launched flyby mission instead of devleoping the massive UR-700 rocket.
See: http://www.astronautix.com/craft/tmk1.htm and http://www.astronautix.com/craft/mavr.htm

So maybe Russian "Aelita" in 1992 window (maybe slipped to 1994 due to collapse of USSR).
Followed by joint Nasa/Russian Ares2/Aelita2 mission in late 1990s (instead of ISS). Maybe long-stay instead of 30 days.

Summary:

1972-1986 N1 fixed and man-rated. Multiple unmanned Mars mission failures. Large N1-launched LEO spacestations. Manned mars flyby developed in secret.
27 NOV 1980 N1/Soyuz Moonlab
[1986 Nasa Ares-1 landing]
1988 Mars 4NM "Marsokhod" rover succesful
1989 USSR collapses
1990 Mars 5NM successful Mars sample return
1994 Aelita Manned mars flyby - N1/TMK-1
1998 Nasa/Russian Ares2/Aelita2 long-stay manned landing

Offline Ronpur50

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #425 on: 03/03/2016 01:21 PM »
I think he would have mentioned the Soviets getting samples back, if it had happened.  And I double checked, there wasn't any mention of a Soviet Mars rover. 

I have a great book on the N-1 that has a lot of info on that Soviet Mars mission  I am coming up with an idea to join Salyut and Saturn components into a International Mars Mission in the 90s.  I will bring that to Alt History with my own post Voyage Timeline when ready!

It has to lead to a base on Mars today, Chaffee Base.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #426 on: 03/03/2016 04:49 PM »
Baxter said the Soviet have abandonned their lunar landing program and there is no trace of a Soviet Mars shot. I don't think that's very realistic - the Soviets just seat on their hands and do nothing as the U.S goes to Mars.

Not that difficult to see under the circumstances actually. Instead of Apollo-Soyuz they "joined" in the Moonlab program and then "participated" in the Ares program (York went to Russia for training after all) but overall both in intent and fact "Voyage" is all about America with Russia being a "sideline" at best. (Reagan would have seriously attempted to cut them out after his election as possible anyway) At that point they might have tried to set up a competing Mars program but it's highly doubtful they'd have the time or resources to actually do anything before they collapse.

It's never mentioned or hinted at but I'd suspect they do about what they do in out TL and with the N1 and Soyuz build up a LEO and possibly Cis-Lunar program.

Ronpur: I'd love to see an extension of the Voyager time-line but realistically I don't see it leading to a Mars base I'm afraid. Voyage presumes enough interest and support to push past the post Apollo-11 "slump" but doesn't actually show how that is accomplished. (Kennedy surviving would not do it unless he has a serious change of heart and pulled us out of Vietnam among other things) And it seems pretty evident that the US and NASA are straining to get the single landing done, with no indication of a follow up in the works. (You would think someone would have mentioned the parts or process' of Ares-2 being in the background if they were in fact there) While it's possible a joint US-Russian mission to Mars could occur in the mid-to-late 90s instead of the ISS it's probably not likely given the circumstances. (The US "won" the Cold War Economically, which the Ares program is going to seriously decrease the "margin" thereof :) ) With Reagan's military build up during the 80s, the fall of the USSR in the early-90s along with the push in the US for a "peace dividend" in the mid-to-late-90s I don't see any logical way to NOT have the post-Apollo slump after Ares-1 if not worse.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #427 on: 03/03/2016 07:40 PM »
The book definitely says it's a one-off mission.  I suppose it is possible that a very successful mission and some major findings by the crew could change that, but I suspect it is unlikely.  Also inconsistent with Baxter's generally nihilistic outlook on things.
"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 Ronpur50

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #428 on: 03/03/2016 08:09 PM »
Very likely he intended it to be a one off, but I want to be optimistic, lol. 

Offline AlexA

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #429 on: 03/04/2016 03:12 PM »
My (very rough) post 1986 timelime is based on following assumptions/contraints:

No US-only Ares-2. The joint US/Russian 1990s mission takes the place of ISS. US could well be lesser partner - maybe there's a flight-spare MEM which they'll barter for a couple of seats?
The USSR "participation" in Ares limited to single Moonlab mission and a some training exchanges (much like ASTP). [If they were a major participant I'd expect one of the Ares crew to be Soviet].
N1 not cancelled which means the planned N1 based Mars missions (unmanned & manned) aren't cancelled.
Soviet response to Ares similar to what they did with Apollo: Unmanned rover & sample return and manned flyby. Paid for by money not spent on Buran. Developed in secret/disguise and true purpose only announced when they are successful.
No major USSR Mars successes prior to 1986 - so I pushed everything later.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #430 on: 03/04/2016 03:14 PM »
Very likely he intended it to be a one off, but I want to be optimistic, lol. 

Well it IS "Book 1 of the NASA Trilogy" you know :) (All three books having nothing to do with each other though) The main point however is that Ares is Apollo taken to it's logical (and extreme) conclusion which ends up being a dead end. It's telling that the book has the passage where someone bemoans the decision to NOT go after a Space Shuttle because that would have changed thing significantly and made the "space program" more affordable/sustainable. The 'in-joke' being we know from our own time line this isn't true, but the other 'in-joke' being how much of what was accomplished in OTL that we lose in order to put flags-and-footprints on Mars and still end up with no clear plan on what comes next. It is a harsh look at the whole idea that if we'd "just kept going" the whole thing would never have stopped which ignores the reality in both time lines.

Well if you get right down to it "Voyage" is nothing but fiction anyway, so you don't have to truly "justify" continuing the time line. But as I'm sure you're already aware, (IIRC you've been on the AH forums :) ) most people who are serious about AH can find numerous flaws in the time line where butterflies have to be replaced with B-52 sized Alien Space Bats to keep things going. In my case I say go for it as I'd like to see what happens. For a good (heck even a fair one to be honest) story I'm willing to suspend a great deal of reality to support the story.

Similarly Baxter required certain things to "happen" to allow the story he wanted to present so he invoked "reasons" for those outcomes, most of which do not stand up to any critical scrutiny, or for that matter any basis in reality (Nerva-II comes to mind) but he required the outcomes so the story took precedence over any other factor. I'd say you can't really go "wrong" if you follow his lead in following up his story :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Ronpur50

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #431 on: 03/04/2016 03:27 PM »
Mission Elapsed Time [Day/Hr:Min:Sec] Plus 349/11:14:03 (March 5, 1986)
Two months out, Mars had been the brightest object in the sky save the sun, but still a starlike point. Then — twenty days from orbit insertion — Mars had opened out into a disk. And where the line between light and dark crossed the planet, she could see, with her naked eye, wrinkles and bumps: craters and canyons, catching the light of the sun.
Gradually, as the days had unfolded, she’d made out more and more recognizable detail on the surface. There was the huge gouge of the Valles Marineris — a wound visible even from a million miles out — and the polar cap in the north, swelling with water ice in advance of the coming winter, and the great black calderas of the Tharsis volcanoes.
It was remarkable how much she could recognize. Almost as if she had been here before.

Offline Ronpur50

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #432 on: 03/04/2016 03:42 PM »
Very likely he intended it to be a one off, but I want to be optimistic, lol. 

I'd say you can't really go "wrong" if you follow his lead in following up his story :)

Randy

I am looking at one simple line in the book by York during her interview:
"Find water, and there will be lots more flights, guys. Seats for you all. But you need me to find the water."
And since water is discovered by her in the very end of the book, that is where I start that there will be a return, but it will be a long time coming. :)

Offline Archibald

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #433 on: 03/04/2016 08:51 PM »
my own take about the post-1986 Voyage-verse: the MEM was turned into a fat lunar lander and a lunar base was created as the next logical step after Moonlab.
That's how Tim Josephson salvaged the MEM large development cost: build more of them as lunar landers, and the unit cost should drop.
 Without the heavy heatshield and with a much weaker gravity rate, the L-MEM scrapped a lot of propellant tanks and thus there was more room for the crew. 30 days on Mars probably meant much more days on the Moon.

Return to Mars is like our universe Return to the Moon: always ten years in the future.

The Voyage-verse manned space program is just like ours, but one step upward - Ares is like our Apollo, while their lunar base is our ISS (boring, a retreat when compared to Ares)

In both universes NASA takes a step backward
Mars > Moon instead of Moon > low Earth orbit
« Last Edit: 03/04/2016 08:54 PM by Archibald »

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #434 on: 03/05/2016 12:58 AM »
We're also forgetting there actually WAS a "sequel" to Voyage dealing with the British Space Program:
"Prospero One"
http://web.archive.org/web/20050310032846/http://www.cix.co.uk/~sjbradshaw/baxterium/prospero.html

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #435 on: 03/05/2016 01:02 AM »
my own take about the post-1986 Voyage-verse: the MEM was turned into a fat lunar lander and a lunar base was created as the next logical step after Moonlab.
That's how Tim Josephson salvaged the MEM large development cost: build more of them as lunar landers, and the unit cost should drop.
 Without the heavy heatshield and with a much weaker gravity rate, the L-MEM scrapped a lot of propellant tanks and thus there was more room for the crew. 30 days on Mars probably meant much more days on the Moon.

Return to Mars is like our universe Return to the Moon: always ten years in the future.

The Voyage-verse manned space program is just like ours, but one step upward - Ares is like our Apollo, while their lunar base is our ISS (boring, a retreat when compared to Ares)

In both universes NASA takes a step backward
Mars > Moon instead of Moon > low Earth orbit

Not a bad idea actually. Though I'd think the Voyage-verse would still end up mostly defaulting to LEO with the Moon being a secondary prize IF they can keep the funding going. I'd also throw in the note that Reagan announced SDI in 1983 and the Ares program capability represents a larger capability than what the Shuttle could have supported which makes it more likely to me that it might get more traction for actual orbital hardware. That having been said I don't see the Soviets reacting at ALL well to such a development, more so than the Shuttle.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Ronpur50

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #436 on: 03/05/2016 11:05 AM »
We're also forgetting there actually WAS a "sequel" to Voyage dealing with the British Space Program:
"Prospero One"
http://web.archive.org/web/20050310032846/http://www.cix.co.uk/~sjbradshaw/baxterium/prospero.html

Randy

That was a weird sequel/prequel!  LOL.  I have had the plastic to do that model for about 6 months, but haven't started it.  I still haven't figured out how it was really ending. 
« Last Edit: 03/05/2016 11:05 AM by Ronpur50 »

Offline Archibald

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #437 on: 03/05/2016 07:54 PM »
Btw the MEM used LOX/methane and they actually tested a Sabatier reaction on Mars. For all the pessimism about future manned Mars shots in the book, I felt Baxter opened a door to a sequel there (ISRU = much less fuel = cheaper missions). God knows what happened to Bob Zubrin in the Voyage alternate reality...
« Last Edit: 03/05/2016 07:57 PM by Archibald »

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #438 on: 03/08/2016 05:23 PM »
We're also forgetting there actually WAS a "sequel" to Voyage dealing with the British Space Program:
"Prospero One"
http://web.archive.org/web/20050310032846/http://www.cix.co.uk/~sjbradshaw/baxterium/prospero.html

That was a weird sequel/prequel!  LOL.  I have had the plastic to do that model for about 6 months, but haven't started it.  I still haven't figured out how it was really ending.

Yes and it "fits" (and adds to) the overall depressing nature of the Time Line I'd say. The Brits kept pushing the original Black Arrow launcher because the cost for continuation wasn't that much overall. But a MANNED program with a sizable increase in the launcher AND decades behind both Russia and the US doesn't really sound at all plausible to me.

Notes say that the ending wasn't meant to be as ambiguous as it came out. He survived the reentry and the whole program was closed so it's considered a folly/failure but looked back to "fondly" with a HUGE amount of AH "What could have been" generated in the Voyage-verse :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Modelling Mars
« Reply #439 on: 03/08/2016 05:23 PM »
Btw the MEM used LOX/methane and they actually tested a Sabatier reaction on Mars. For all the pessimism about future manned Mars shots in the book, I felt Baxter opened a door to a sequel there (ISRU = much less fuel = cheaper missions). God knows what happened to Bob Zubrin in the Voyage alternate reality...

Really? I don't recall that at all but it might make sense for some purposes like generating oxygen for the crew and methane for a rover but I don't see them "topping off" the lander significantly in 30 days. There's a significant power issue due to no use of nuclear power in the Voyage-verse. The lander as I understood it runs on fuel cells using LOX/LH2, so I thought, but even if they use methalox there's not going to be enough power to spare for significant ISRU.
(@6 months to fully fuel the ERV in MD with a nuclear reactor)

I'd discussed with Ronpur50 that most of the current "incentive" for Zubrin to come up with Mars Direct is gone in the Voyage-verse as his main point has always been simply to GET people to Mars. That's already happened in Voyage and there is no groundswell of renewed public or political support for going back or colonization. The main difference is that Zubrin's argument of "that's not how we did Apollo" in regards to orbital assembly and infrastructure building is negated because that's mostly what they DID do for Ares and while OTL Mars Direct uses only two launches to get everything to Mars the nuclear moratorium seriously hinders the architecture due to the power available.

Further it's quite clear that there's little interest at the time for extended or extensive Mars missions anymore than there was for similar expansion for post-Apollo Lunar missions so there is going to a lull no matter what. By the time the Ares crew returns, Reagan will have proposed SDI in 1983 (three years prior) and probably that NASA focus on orbital or Cis-Lunar work in support of that, though actual political and public support, and even administration support, will likely be pretty low. (Reagan is modernizing and building up the military as well and that has priority, so I don't see him actually proposing or supporting another Mars mission) NASA will gladly tie into the SDI program for the money if nothing else. None of this is going to make the Soviet's feel any more secure than they did in OTL.

Then along comes the Soviet Collapse and G.H.W. Bush and his Space Exploration Initiative which with the fall of the Soviet Union may actually include a suggestion of a return to Mars, but the major "problem" with the SEI OTL was the amount of money and effort spent on building an infrastructure in LEO and Cis-Lunar space to support the mission to Mars which Zubrin compared to the "simple and direct" approach of how Apollo was carried out. Again Zubrin's primary goal was (and always has been) to get people to Mars as soon as possible rather than focusing on relying on 'long-term' public or political support. The main fault in MD has always been the assumption that once begun such a program would be more 'difficult' to stop and would automatically engender renewed interest and support from a basically apathetic public and governments. Zubrin's own example of comparing MD to Apollo should be a clue how wrong the former assumption is and the latter is an assumption in OTL with no supporting facts and in the Voyage-verse time line is fully counter-factual.

Voyage-verse is a lot less adverse to orbital assembly and the arguments for fully reusable interplanetary transfer vehicles, landers and such are more potent as well. Throw in that between the end of Ares and the proposal of SEI we may have actually gone back to the Moon already and even if Congress is less than willing to spend "big" on SEI simply keeping things going from Reagan-Bush may in fact build up that very infrastructure anyway.

Which is were/when things get interesting, by the time Clinton get into office, (if the butterflies allow it :) ) you're again looking at a perceived need to keep Russian scientists "employed" so the don't sell themselves to the highest bidder and instead of an ISS a joint Mars mission might look intriguing. On the other hand, I have to point out it might not as well. A Saturn-VB/N-1 based space station using size-appropriate parts might look better depending on the politics.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

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