Author Topic: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars  (Read 17101 times)

Offline jsgirald

Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« on: 11/06/2014 12:01 PM »
Since Mars is the stated target of Spacex, I think this is the right place for this thread.

Probably any self respecting space nerd has, at  some point, selected a place for the first Mars colony so I'll give it a try and explain mine:

Noctis Labyrinthus, a maze of deep valleys and canyons close to Valles Marineris. Just going by the amazing name seems worthwhile, but it's also deep (more atmosphere) with narrow canyons that could be roofed/enclosed one day. This would allow for larger habitats with less construction. It might provide also usable caves (either natural or artificial). And being close to the equator will be useful too for orbital operations.

Please feel free to provide your own preferred places, or criticism.

(I couldn't find any thread dealing with this, which is odd. If it exists please forgive me and kindly point me to the right place.)
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Offline Beittil

Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #1 on: 11/06/2014 12:18 PM »
Somehow I don't think using deep canyons on Mars for 'more atmosphere' is going to make much a of a difference, it still wouldn't be survivable without a pressurized suit :)

I do like the line of thinking where (natural) caves could/should be used of expansion of habitats. Being naturally underground like this not only benefits because of the need of less construction materials, it also provides much better shielding against radiation.

Offline jsgirald

Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #2 on: 11/06/2014 12:24 PM »
Somehow I don't think using deep canyons on Mars for 'more atmosphere' is going to make much a of a difference, it still wouldn't be survivable without a pressurized suit :)


Actually I was thinking in terms of radiation than pressure, thanks for pointing!
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Online docmordrid

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #3 on: 11/06/2014 01:14 PM »
I was thinking the deeper atmosphere would aid EDL.
DM

Offline spectre9

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #4 on: 11/06/2014 01:44 PM »
Since this is in the SpaceX forum I must ask.

What needs would a SpaceX base have that another Mars base wouldn't have?

I say this because there are already plenty of Mars base threads in the Mars forum. If this topic is to be in the right forum it needs to be related to SpaceX.

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #5 on: 11/06/2014 01:54 PM »
Once we lick the issue of higher altitude landings, at the Base of Olympus Mons.

Lava tubes for the colony, possible geothermal power/heating for colony, protected against both Metor impacts and radiation, possible access to deep ground water sources.

And when the terraform Mars, it won't be underwater like most canyon designed colonies would be.
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Offline Beittil

Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #6 on: 11/06/2014 01:58 PM »
What needs would a SpaceX base have that another Mars base wouldn't have?

If you compare the case versus something like a Mars One base for example. MO has no plans for return trips, so they could in theory go for polar regions where the ice is. SpaceX does want return trips, so they would aim for equatorial regions which is better for launching the return vessels.

But other than that, I don't really see SpaceX requiring a much different scenario.
« Last Edit: 11/06/2014 01:59 PM by Beittil »

Offline Hotblack Desiato

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #7 on: 11/06/2014 02:12 PM »
hello

first time posting (after reading a lot here...):

noctis labyrinthus is a fine area with lots of interesting features, i'm just a bit afraid that the terrain makes landing somewhat challenging, and from what I've read in the mct-thread, the martian atmosphere wouldn't provide any substancial aid at landing.

one of the maybe biggest both advantages and disadvantages of NL would be the deep valleys, which provide extra radiation-shelter (GCR), just because there are shielding mountains. solar arrays however need to be mounted on the tops of the mountains, in order to receive enough sunlight.

and NL might have lots of different precious metals, which are mandatory for a colony after the initial settling-phase.

I'd suggest a different site: Arsia Mons.

a 20km high mountain, very close to the equator. if MCTs powered landing requires less atmosphere for landing, that might help. Arsia Mons shows some evidence of having glaciers (up to 200m thick), which is essential for the ISRU-systems, and there might be lava tubes, which could be an early radiation shelter (no need to cover the buildings with regolith, when there is a nice natural roof).

one of the disadvantages of AM is that there is nothing interesting nearby (it's a long journey to the next volcano, and a even longer journey to other martian features, whereas NL offers vallis marineris close by).

another disadvantage might be the weather. wikipedia describes a weather phenomenon which occurs every year. winds form and transport a lot of dust which forms sediments on AM, and that stuff would cover solar panels (happens once a martian year, and that means, that the panels need periodical cleaning).

ETA: olympus mons would have similar advantages, and having the biggest volcano everywhere would be nice. but it's a bit off-center from the equator, which leads to higher fuel-requirements during launch. and OM isn't much higher than AM.
« Last Edit: 11/06/2014 02:16 PM by Hotblack Desiato »

Offline MarsInMyLifetime

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #8 on: 11/06/2014 03:06 PM »
Other factors for location include:


1. Science that may be done close to the selected habitation area
2. Amenability to ISRU resource generation for oxygen, fuel, etc.
3. Suitability for more extensive agriculture (available ice for water, soil that can be amended, site for a greenhouse)
4. Landscape able to support current and future surface operations (landing sites, solar arrays, roads, plans for eventual trade routes--always a hub for human economies)
5. Interesting views for colonists/tourists. Unless I could get out and about for diversion, living in a lava tube is unappealing. And considering the number of pit collapses we see on known tube networks, I'm not sure I trust the integrity of those "found habitats". My "Bora Bora" view on Mars would be from the rim near a bend of the river channel that drains into Gale Crater. Radiation abatement is just a Simple Matter of Engineering if the cost is worth the view to someone rich enough to move there.
Don

Offline jsgirald

Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #9 on: 11/06/2014 03:31 PM »
The thing about SpaceX Mars goals, as someone pointed in another thread, is that they seem to jump from "manned capsules in LEO" to "a colonial fleet of spaceships carrying hundreds" without any clue of intermediate milestones.

Surely they have a plan, but has anyone heard from SpaceX anything stating at least a roadmap to that ultimate goal? Why so secretive? It's clear that they cannot have detailed blueprints but I can't see any reason for not being more specific regarding the challenges ahead.



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Offline solartear

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #10 on: 11/06/2014 03:32 PM »
Additional atmosphere and shading would make heat radiation easier for propellant generation/storage and later human habitation.  This will be less of an issue when significant mining services are developed.

Offline solartear

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #11 on: 11/06/2014 03:43 PM »
Surely they have a plan, but has anyone heard from SpaceX anything stating at least a roadmap to that ultimate goal? Why so secretive? It's clear that they cannot have detailed blueprints but I can't see any reason for not being more specific regarding the challenges ahead.

They expect the plans to keep changing as they find better ways and learn particular ways are not practical. Like when they switched from hydrogen to methane fuel, and Merlin 2 to Raptor. Their competitors and (some) media would use this against SpaceX, reducing their perceived credibility.

Offline su27k

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #12 on: 11/06/2014 03:53 PM »
The thing about SpaceX Mars goals, as someone pointed in another thread, is that they seem to jump from "manned capsules in LEO" to "a colonial fleet of spaceships carrying hundreds" without any clue of intermediate milestones.

Surely they have a plan, but has anyone heard from SpaceX anything stating at least a roadmap to that ultimate goal? Why so secretive? It's clear that they cannot have detailed blueprints but I can't see any reason for not being more specific regarding the challenges ahead.

They already shared a lot more than manned capsule in LEO:
1. Get a significant share of commercial/NASA/DoD launch market
2. Perfect 1st stage reusability with F9/FH
3. Full reusability and heavy lift with Rapter powered BFR

That's about 5 to 10 years of work, predicting further than that is not going to be credible.

Online guckyfan

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #13 on: 11/06/2014 03:53 PM »
The thing about SpaceX Mars goals, as someone pointed in another thread, is that they seem to jump from "manned capsules in LEO" to "a colonial fleet of spaceships carrying hundreds" without any clue of intermediate milestones.

There will be no intermediate devlopments. They cannot afford that luxury.

It's Dragon then MCT.

It's Falcon9/Falcon Heavy then BFR.


Edit: For sure there was not even the slightest hint of something inbetween. Unless you count the initial flights of few MCT as inbetween. Or MCT flights to the moon. Or a loop around the moon with Dragon.
« Last Edit: 11/06/2014 04:01 PM by guckyfan »

Offline BobCarver

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #14 on: 11/06/2014 05:09 PM »
We don't yet know enough about Mars to pick a site for a permanent colony. We need exploration missions to determine the parameters for choosing a site. Given that requirement, Olympus Mons seems to be a good choice for an initial exploration base. Using robots deployed from that base, we could cover a great deal of ground and collect a lot of data to analyze.

Once we have a much better understanding of the planet, we can choose a site for the initial colony. Until we have more information, any choice is so full of unknowns as to be irrelevant.

Offline philw1776

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #15 on: 11/06/2014 06:57 PM »
Agreed we do not know enough about Mars to pick a credible colony site. 
This lack of knowledge has never stopped me before, so here's my current favorite site, Kasei Valles (Mars Valley) about 27 North degrees from the huge equatorial rift valley and at 295 degrees East, this interesting complex of valleys, mesas, et. al.appears as if it was cut by water flow eons ago.

HRSC images used to make this ESA Mars Express movie.  Check it out.

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Offline RanulfC

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #16 on: 11/06/2014 07:47 PM »
The thing about SpaceX Mars goals, as someone pointed in another thread, is that they seem to jump from "manned capsules in LEO" to "a colonial fleet of spaceships carrying hundreds" without any clue of intermediate milestones.

There will be no intermediate devlopments. They cannot afford that luxury.

It's Dragon then MCT.

It's Falcon9/Falcon Heavy then BFR.


Edit: For sure there was not even the slightest hint of something inbetween. Unless you count the initial flights of few MCT as inbetween. Or MCT flights to the moon. Or a loop around the moon with Dragon.

Actually wasn't there mention of some FH/F9 "precursor" missions? Even if SpaceX has to partner with someone they have to have some direct data for building the MCT.

Randy
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Online guckyfan

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #17 on: 11/06/2014 08:12 PM »
There will be no intermediate devlopments. They cannot afford that luxury.

It's Dragon then MCT.

It's Falcon9/Falcon Heavy then BFR.


Edit: For sure there was not even the slightest hint of something inbetween. Unless you count the initial flights of few MCT as inbetween. Or MCT flights to the moon. Or a loop around the moon with Dragon.

Actually wasn't there mention of some FH/F9 "precursor" missions? Even if SpaceX has to partner with someone they have to have some direct data for building the MCT.

Randy

I am not sure there are statements by SpaceX. If there is any pointer would be appreciated. But it was widely discussed that precursor missions are likely necessary. I was thinking along the line of development of major intermediate hardware which has not been suggested. Though developing Red Dragon might fall in that category. Deploying Com Sats was mentioned. But IMO that would not fall in the category of intermediate development.

Offline jsgirald

Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #18 on: 11/06/2014 09:30 PM »
There will be no intermediate devlopments. They cannot afford that luxury.

It's Dragon then MCT.

It's Falcon9/Falcon Heavy then BFR.


Edit: For sure there was not even the slightest hint of something inbetween. Unless you count the initial flights of few MCT as inbetween. Or MCT flights to the moon. Or a loop around the moon with Dragon.

Actually wasn't there mention of some FH/F9 "precursor" missions? Even if SpaceX has to partner with someone they have to have some direct data for building the MCT.

Randy

I am not sure there are statements by SpaceX. If there is any pointer would be appreciated. But it was widely discussed that precursor missions are likely necessary. I was thinking along the line of development of major intermediate hardware which has not been suggested. Though developing Red Dragon might fall in that category. Deploying Com Sats was mentioned. But IMO that would not fall in the category of intermediate development.

I've created a new thread to deal with this:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36028.msg1284630#msg1284630
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Offline Hotblack Desiato

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Re: Possible locations for Elonsville, Mars
« Reply #19 on: 11/06/2014 09:56 PM »
I agree, precursor missions are necessary.

what should this precursor mission look like? my opinion: after they tested MCT on mars, they can send a crew over there, landing with a cargo-MCT, carrying a large rover. then they set it up for ISRU fuel production, and depart with the rover, which has enough living-space and supplies for the crew. they head for a second MCT, which waits at the target destination. their mission is to check a bunch of more or less promising colony-sites. a third MCT could wait in orbit, if they encounter any problem. that thing lands close to them to rescue them. or it lands over there because they found what they were searching for.

the mission could be simplifyed to two MCTs, but on the expense of extra time (if it works, the second MCT is done with fuel production when they arrive, and if that MCT has to wait in orbit, it can't produce any fuel).

Tags: Kasei Vallis ESA