Author Topic: Mars Life Explorer  (Read 3858 times)

Offline redliox

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Mars Life Explorer
« on: 04/24/2022 03:41 am »
The decadal recommended a lander that searches for life on Mars (whether past or present unsure). Beginning this thread so details can be noted as the concept hopefully matures into machinery.

[Moderator: Updates and discussion.

Please be aware that the mission planning assumes payload masses that can be landed on Mars that are lofted from Earth using currently available launch vehicles, American or allied.

This means that superheavy launch vehicles of the near or more distant future, like Starship, are off-topic here.

There are suitable discussion threads in the SpaceX section of the forum for discussing Starship-enabled Mars missions, crewed and robotic.

I deleted 11 off-topic posts.

Zubenelgenubi]
« Last Edit: 04/25/2022 02:57 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars Life Explorer
« Reply #1 on: 04/24/2022 03:52 am »
The decadal recommended a lander that searches for life on Mars (whether past or present unsure). Beginning this thread so details can be noted as the concept hopefully matures into machinery.

There are a number of potentially life detection experiments that have been developed but not yet flown, such as Urey (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urey_instrument) and the Life Marker chip (https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Exploration/Life_marker_chip).  Maybe, with Rosalind Franklin grounded, some of the instruments from the Pasteur package, such as MOMA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Organic_Molecule_Analyser) and perhaps the drill could also be included.

Mind you, these instruments are now close to two decades old, so a fresh start might be better
« Last Edit: 04/24/2022 07:18 am by Dalhousie »
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Offline deadman1204

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Re: Mars Life Explorer
« Reply #2 on: 04/24/2022 02:10 pm »
The decadal recommended a lander that searches for life on Mars (whether past or present unsure). Beginning this thread so details can be noted as the concept hopefully matures into machinery.

There are a number of potentially life detection experiments that have been developed but not yet flown, such as Urey (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urey_instrument) and the Life Marker chip (https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Exploration/Life_marker_chip).  Maybe, with Rosalind Franklin grounded, some of the instruments from the Pasteur package, such as MOMA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Organic_Molecule_Analyser) and perhaps the drill could also be included.

Mind you, these instruments are now close to two decades old, so a fresh start might be better
Life Explorer won't land until close to 2040 (won't even get a program start until sample return is on the down hill). ExoMars will certainly fly before then, and if it doesn't - we wouldn't want 20yr old instruments.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Mars Life Explorer
« Reply #3 on: 04/25/2022 01:51 am »
NASA/ESA should have some plans in place for Mars Life Detection missions of some sort from the late 2020s to the early 2030s if they want to beat the crowd that the commercial Mars flights will generated. Presuming the commercial Mars flights will happened by the late 2020s..

Online edzieba

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Re: Mars Life Explorer
« Reply #4 on: 04/25/2022 02:15 pm »
Missions that bet on new technology/capabilities existing in the future as part of their critical path, but are not technologies/capabilities being developed as a core part of that mission, vary rarely succeed.
Starship may be ready in its current form in time for a 2030s launch opportunity. But it also may not be ready at all. Or it may be ready for Cislunar operations but not suitable for interplanetary coasts and Mars landing. Or it may have morphed into a different vehicle than it is currently intended to be.
Betting your entire mission architecture on a single commercial provider developing an as-yet-unproven capability is very high risk, and an uncontrolled risk. i.e. nobody within the MSR or MEL programmes could do a damn thing about it if Starship were not available in time, in a form that can land on Mars, or at all.
What you ideally do is design a mission architecture that is fail-safe when it comes to external factors. e.g. design such that it could launch on one of several launch systems. That means when it comes to launch your mission there is a very low chance of not having a launcher for it available. Failing that, design for the single launch vehicle that exists with the capabilities you need, and any more vehicles developed in the intervening years may offer a benefit if available (e.g. as happened with Europa Clipper).
Flagship missions like these are decades in the making, and have far more factors in play than just the launch vehicle selection to worry about. Designing a mission architecture around capabilities you have today rather than capabilities you hope to have in a decade is a huge piece of risk reduction for a mission that has plenty more risks to reduce ahead of it.

Once Starship is flying (and doing so regularly and reliably) then it becomes a target for mission architectures that can fly on nothing else. Until then, the risk of sinking $billions into a mission that cannot fly is too great.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Mars Life Explorer
« Reply #5 on: 04/25/2022 02:59 pm »
Moderator:

Please see the edited original post of this thread for guidance on what is on-topic and off-topic for this thread.

TL;DR: No Starships.  Plenty of Starship discussion threads on the forum.

Thread trimmed.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2022 03:14 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars Life Explorer
« Reply #6 on: 04/27/2022 07:07 am »
The decadal recommended a lander that searches for life on Mars (whether past or present unsure). Beginning this thread so details can be noted as the concept hopefully matures into machinery.

There are a number of potentially life detection experiments that have been developed but not yet flown, such as Urey (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urey_instrument) and the Life Marker chip (https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Exploration/Life_marker_chip).  Maybe, with Rosalind Franklin grounded, some of the instruments from the Pasteur package, such as MOMA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Organic_Molecule_Analyser) and perhaps the drill could also be included.

Mind you, these instruments are now close to two decades old, so a fresh start might be better
Life Explorer won't land until close to 2040 (won't even get a program start until sample return is on the down hill). ExoMars will certainly fly before then, and if it doesn't - we wouldn't want 20yr old instruments.

What makes you think that it will take 18 years for this to reach Mars?

Insight took 8 years from proposal to landing, as did Curiosity.  Perseverance took nine years.

I already noted that some of these instruments are not new.  Feel free to nominate newer and better life detection instruments.
"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 deadman1204

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Re: Mars Life Explorer
« Reply #7 on: 04/27/2022 06:28 pm »
The decadal recommended a lander that searches for life on Mars (whether past or present unsure). Beginning this thread so details can be noted as the concept hopefully matures into machinery.

There are a number of potentially life detection experiments that have been developed but not yet flown, such as Urey (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urey_instrument) and the Life Marker chip (https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Exploration/Life_marker_chip).  Maybe, with Rosalind Franklin grounded, some of the instruments from the Pasteur package, such as MOMA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Organic_Molecule_Analyser) and perhaps the drill could also be included.

Mind you, these instruments are now close to two decades old, so a fresh start might be better
Life Explorer won't land until close to 2040 (won't even get a program start until sample return is on the down hill). ExoMars will certainly fly before then, and if it doesn't - we wouldn't want 20yr old instruments.

What makes you think that it will take 18 years for this to reach Mars?

Insight took 8 years from proposal to landing, as did Curiosity.  Perseverance took nine years.

I already noted that some of these instruments are not new.  Feel free to nominate newer and better life detection instruments.
Its reasonable to assume that this mission won't really get a start until about 2030 (when MSR budgets are decreasing). Then maybe 10 years for planning, making, ect. 2040 is a round number because this is all just rough estimates. It could be earlier or later. Its all just spit balling at this point.
« Last Edit: 04/27/2022 06:29 pm by deadman1204 »

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars Life Explorer
« Reply #8 on: 05/21/2022 09:26 am »
The decadal recommended a lander that searches for life on Mars (whether past or present unsure). Beginning this thread so details can be noted as the concept hopefully matures into machinery.

There are a number of potentially life detection experiments that have been developed but not yet flown, such as Urey (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urey_instrument) and the Life Marker chip (https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Exploration/Life_marker_chip).  Maybe, with Rosalind Franklin grounded, some of the instruments from the Pasteur package, such as MOMA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Organic_Molecule_Analyser) and perhaps the drill could also be included.

Mind you, these instruments are now close to two decades old, so a fresh start might be better
Life Explorer won't land until close to 2040 (won't even get a program start until sample return is on the down hill). ExoMars will certainly fly before then, and if it doesn't - we wouldn't want 20yr old instruments.

What makes you think that it will take 18 years for this to reach Mars?

Insight took 8 years from proposal to landing, as did Curiosity.  Perseverance took nine years.

I already noted that some of these instruments are not new.  Feel free to nominate newer and better life detection instruments.
Its reasonable to assume that this mission won't really get a start until about 2030 (when MSR budgets are decreasing). Then maybe 10 years for planning, making, ect. 2040 is a round number because this is all just rough estimates. It could be earlier or later. Its all just spit balling at this point.

From concept to launch took Phoenix 6 years, MSL 8 years, Insight 8 years, Perseverance 8 years.  So 18 years from now
 seems very unlikely.  There is no reason to suspect it will take this long especially when a lot of work has been done in instrument development already and both lander and rover technologies are mature.

"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 Blackstar

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Re: Mars Life Explorer
« Reply #9 on: 05/21/2022 12:46 pm »
From concept to launch took Phoenix 6 years, MSL 8 years, Insight 8 years, Perseverance 8 years.  So 18 years from now
 seems very unlikely.  There is no reason to suspect it will take this long especially when a lot of work has been done in instrument development already and both lander and rover technologies are mature.

The issue is when the budget is available to fund it, not how long it takes to develop a spacecraft.

And there's another factor. I've been involved in the decadal survey process for 15 years now. (I ran two decadal midterms and worked on two decadal surveys, including the most recent one.) Something I've noticed that happens is that as you get closer to a new decadal survey, NASA will tend to defer some decisions until after the decadal survey comes out. Their reasoning is that if something was put on the list 8 years earlier, the conditions that led to that decision may no longer be valid, so they will want to see what the community says about it at the next decadal survey and they defer any decisions on it. Now I think there are some other things that run counter to that, where NASA has made decisions late in a decade. But I just remember noticing this in the 2000s. The result is a kid of dip in decision-making before and during a decadal survey. (I'd add that available budgets affect this as well, because late in a decade a lot of the money is tied up in the projects that were approved earlier in the decade.)

So thinking this out, with a lot of money going to pay for MSR, this mission is unlikely to get a new-start before 2030. And at that point NASA might defer giving it a new-start because the next decadal survey will be starting and they will want to hear what the priorities are from that group.

Now the counter to my above argument is MSR itself. The 2011 decadal survey did not say "do MSR." It said to "develop the technologies to enable MSR," and let the 2022 decadal survey decide if MSR was a good mission to pursue. But in 2017 the political winds changed and there was suddenly an opportunity to get MSR moving. And so NASA began working on it rather than waiting for the decadal survey.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars Life Explorer
« Reply #10 on: 07/06/2022 04:46 am »
Mars Life Explorer presentation (June 9)

https://cosmiclog.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/MARS-Life-Explorer.pdf

2035 launch window target (with further windows in 2037 and 2039).

Insight lander, EDL, and cruise stage heritage.

« Last Edit: 07/31/2022 11:02 pm by Dalhousie »
"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 Blackstar

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