Author Topic: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission  (Read 211102 times)

Offline deadman1204

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #760 on: 04/17/2024 02:45 pm »
“ As opposed to the current $11 billion dollar plan that probably won't return samples until the 2040s when many of the current researchers who want the samples are either retired or dead.  Go it.”

If nasa or esa do a mission to Uranus it won’t arrive until the mid to late 2040s?  Should we stop planning missions to Uranus?
Or do we save a lot by just bringing samples back from Mars with human crews returning in the 2040s?  The 2040s is when NASA is projecting a human mission to Mars.  There is no alternative realistic projected way to get to Uranus in 20 years.  Or do we see how industry responds to this RFP from NASA before wasting $11 billion dollars that could potentially fund missions to other planets instead?
ehhh... humans on mars is like fusion power, its always 20ish years away, and thats not gonna change any time soon

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #761 on: 04/17/2024 03:19 pm »
“ As opposed to the current $11 billion dollar plan that probably won't return samples until the 2040s when many of the current researchers who want the samples are either retired or dead.  Go it.”

If nasa or esa do a mission to Uranus it won’t arrive until the mid to late 2040s?  Should we stop planning missions to Uranus?
Or do we save a lot by just bringing samples back from Mars with human crews returning in the 2040s?  The 2040s is when NASA is projecting a human mission to Mars.  There is no alternative realistic projected way to get to Uranus in 20 years.  Or do we see how industry responds to this RFP from NASA before wasting $11 billion dollars that could potentially fund missions to other planets instead?
ehhh... humans on mars is like fusion power, its always 20ish years away, and thats not gonna change any time soon
And reusable rockets are never gonna happen.  They aren't feasible.   ::)

The biggest roadblock for fusion has been the inability to produce strong enough and stable enough magnetic fields for a small tokamak.  Check that huge milestone very recently off the box:

https://cfs.energy/news-and-media/cfs-mit-high-field-magnet-technology

Commonwealth Fusion is hitting their milestones since the development of REBCO superconductors.  I guess within a few years we will see if fusion is still 20 years away.

Sending people to Mars in twenty years just requires the will to do it.  Eventually people figure out how to do this stuff.  Things are always twenty years away until someone with the means decides to do them.

Offline deadman1204

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #762 on: 04/17/2024 04:28 pm »
“ As opposed to the current $11 billion dollar plan that probably won't return samples until the 2040s when many of the current researchers who want the samples are either retired or dead.  Go it.”

If nasa or esa do a mission to Uranus it won’t arrive until the mid to late 2040s?  Should we stop planning missions to Uranus?
Or do we save a lot by just bringing samples back from Mars with human crews returning in the 2040s?  The 2040s is when NASA is projecting a human mission to Mars.  There is no alternative realistic projected way to get to Uranus in 20 years.  Or do we see how industry responds to this RFP from NASA before wasting $11 billion dollars that could potentially fund missions to other planets instead?
ehhh... humans on mars is like fusion power, its always 20ish years away, and thats not gonna change any time soon
And reusable rockets are never gonna happen.  They aren't feasible.   ::)

The biggest roadblock for fusion has been the inability to produce strong enough and stable enough magnetic fields for a small tokamak.  Check that huge milestone very recently off the box:

https://cfs.energy/news-and-media/cfs-mit-high-field-magnet-technology

Commonwealth Fusion is hitting their milestones since the development of REBCO superconductors.  I guess within a few years we will see if fusion is still 20 years away.

Sending people to Mars in twenty years just requires the will to do it.  Eventually people figure out how to do this stuff.  Things are always twenty years away until someone with the means decides to do them.
Commercial fusion has nothing to do with MSR, and neither does reusable leo rockets, nor people on mars.  There are other posts/sections to endlessly speculate on how spacex will solve all problems. Lets stay on nasa/msr here and things that are actually happening. People on mars is not a reasonable cost effective solution, nor is it actually happening outside of reddit speculation.
« Last Edit: 04/17/2024 04:36 pm by deadman1204 »

Offline edzieba

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #763 on: 04/18/2024 11:16 am »
If your solution for "this mission architecture costs too much and will take too long due to complexity" is "wait even longer for a vastly more complex and more costly mission architecture, and then try and piggyback on it" then you probably don't have an actual solution.

Offline thespacecow

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #764 on: 04/20/2024 02:40 am »
Bigwigs are starting to realize what some of us have been saying all along: SpaceX’s Starship Could Save NASA’s Beleaguered Mars Sample Return Mission

Quote
NASA might be soliciting ideas with one specific vehicle in mind, Casey Dreier (senior space policy adviser for the Planetary Society) says: SpaceX’s massive new Starship rocket. “It’s encouraging companies to use infrastructure built for Artemis,” he says, referring to NASA’s massive effort to return astronauts to Earth’s moon. “The only conclusion you can really draw from that is they’re hoping Starship somehow is the solution here.” That could provide MSR with a whopper of a solution. NASA is already funding Starship, the largest rocket in history, to the tune of billions of dollars to ferry astronauts to the lunar surface—but Starship also has the potential to launch immense payloads off other worlds and back to Earth.

Quote
Jim Green (former chief scientist at NASA) thinks the idea of using Starship for MSR is plausible. “We need to leverage assets that we didn’t have” when MSR was first devised, he says. SpaceX is also hoping to ultimately send humans to Mars in the coming decades. “How are we going to learn to launch humans off the surface of Mars?” Green asks. MSR could provide the opportune test mission.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2024 02:43 am by thespacecow »

Offline deltaV

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #765 on: 04/20/2024 03:24 am »
A three-part "industry day briefing" has been posted on https://go.nasa.gov/RASMSR24 under "other documents". The three parts are titled "Solicitation Summary", "Reference Mission Design Summary", and "Planetary Protection Reference".
« Last Edit: 04/20/2024 03:39 am by deltaV »

Offline deltaV

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #766 on: 04/20/2024 05:01 am »
A three-part "industry day briefing" has been posted on https://go.nasa.gov/RASMSR24 under "other documents". The three parts are titled "Solicitation Summary", "Reference Mission Design Summary", and "Planetary Protection Reference".

The industry day slides repeatedly mention backward planetary protection (PP) but not forward. I'm now 95% convinced that forward PP requirements are in fact purposefully being waived. Hopefully the recording next week will confirm that and give a little information on why (I wrote some speculations a few posts ago).

Not having forward PP requirements is excellent news for the success of the current cost cutting effort. It's not just the Mars architecture of the company who shall not be named here - there are several other companies with experience with cost effective lunar landers (HLS and CLPS) who have one less requirement that makes Mars unique to worry about if they decide to tackle Mars. There's also Impulse's Mars lander (hat tip chopsticks in the other thread). I'll leave speculations as to specific possible architectures to the other thread.

Edit: from the industry day video it looks like I was wrong and forward PP requirements apply. I guess the MSR folks are so used to forward PP that they don't consider it worth talking about.
« Last Edit: 04/24/2024 09:24 pm by deltaV »

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #767 on: 04/20/2024 08:29 pm »
The industry day slides repeatedly mention backward planetary protection (PP) but not forward. I'm now 95% convinced that forward PP requirements are in fact purposefully being waived. Hopefully the recording next week will confirm that and give a little information on why (I wrote some speculations a few posts ago).

Now it's my turn to be skeptical of this--or at least to add some weasel words:

1) Any attempt to reclassify some areas of Mars will either require ignoring COSPAR or convincing COSPAR to adopt new guidelines.  Both activities are less scientific than diplomatic questions, so the State Department and White House will be involved.  That doesn't mean that reclassifying some areas to a quasi-Cat II is off the table, but it does mean that there are political questions that aren't completely in NASA's control.  So a Cat IV-compliant solution probably gets a few extra points over a Cat II solution.

2) I still think that Jezero Crater itself is highly unlikely to be reclassified as Cat II; it will remain Cat IV.  So any "dirty" solution will only be able to land in a Cat II area that's a fair distance away.  That increases risks from the fetch rover / helicopters / whatever.

3) Cat II regions need to be approached along instantaneous impact tracks that don't cross Cat IV regions.  That likely means that NASA won't be able to reclassify just one or two regions around Jezero as Cat II; they'll have to do an extensive survey of large chunks of the entire planet to find an acceptable IIP track.

I agree that somebody needs to say the quiet part out loud in the Industry Day transcript.  NASA's clearly being cagey about forward contamination.  That caginess seems likely to indicate that they don't want to rule out a Cat II reclassification, but they don't want to embrace it, either.

Offline ccdengr

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #768 on: 04/20/2024 09:25 pm »
NASA's clearly being cagey about forward contamination.
I honestly think it's more likely that the RFP just wasn't written very clearly.  "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_razor

I guess we'll find out soon.

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #769 on: 04/20/2024 09:53 pm »
NASA's clearly being cagey about forward contamination.
I honestly think it's more likely that the RFP just wasn't written very clearly.  "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_razor

I guess we'll find out soon.

It's not just the RFP; the Industry Day slides have the same omissions.  They simply don't talk about forward contamination.

Offline deltaV

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #770 on: 04/20/2024 11:07 pm »
1) Any attempt to reclassify some areas of Mars will either require ignoring COSPAR or convincing COSPAR to adopt new guidelines.  Both activities are less scientific than diplomatic questions, so the State Department and White House will be involved.  That doesn't mean that reclassifying some areas to a quasi-Cat II is off the table, but it does mean that there are political questions that aren't completely in NASA's control.  So a Cat IV-compliant solution probably gets a few extra points over a Cat II solution.

I have a hunch that omitting forward planetary protection requirements only happened because someone far above MSR in NASA HQ and/or the White House pushed for it. Maybe it was a specific order, or maybe someone simply reminded the MSR folks that budgets are limited and crewed Mars missions are coming soon so if scientists want to get samples back before crewed missions contaminate Mars they better think outside the box. If this hunch is right the needed political support is probably already in place.

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #771 on: 04/21/2024 03:39 am »
I have a hunch that omitting forward planetary protection requirements only happened because someone far above MSR in NASA HQ and/or the White House pushed for it.

Or someone at HQ just didn’t think it through and/or screwed up and misphrased the RFP and/or didn’t realize what they were leaving off and/or forgot to run the last draft by the Planetary Protection Officer (or the Officer forgot to comment before release), etc.  Honestly, that’s more likely than someone with enough authority to ignore the established guidelines agreed to ignore them this early in the process.  Leadership rarely sticks its neck out — especially on these kinds of safety issues — until it absolutely has to.

You’d be surprised at how easily HQ bungles documents and clearances.  I once cleared legislative language for prize competitions thru NASA’s general counsel’s office, got the language inserted into a bill that became law, then went back to the general counsel’s office to get clearance on the first prize agreement only to be told that they had goofed up and that I’d have to wait until the next authorization bill came around in a few years to get additional prize authority added.

(I threw a pencil in that meeting and got my AA to remove the lawyer working the issue.  Turned into a lucky break.  His hyper-competent replacement was key to getting another program off the ground legally.)

I don’t know that anything like that happened with this RFP, but I’d bet on a screw-up on the planetary protection language in the RFP over those guidelines getting relaxed or rescinded in some way.  We’ll probably find out for sure in the industry day and/or industry Q&A.

Offline deltaV

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #772 on: 04/21/2024 05:27 am »
I don’t know that anything like that happened with this RFP, but I’d bet on a screw-up on the planetary protection language in the RFP over those guidelines getting relaxed or rescinded in some way.  We’ll probably find out for sure in the industry day and/or industry Q&A.

That theory was plausible when all we had was the RFP but seems pretty unlikely now that the industry day slides have been posted. The first part of the slides mentions backwards PP but not forward (and the other parts do the same). The first part of slides will be presented by either Lindsay Hays (presumably https://science.nasa.gov/people/lindsay-hays/) according to the industry day PDF or by her and Paul Hertz (presumably https://science.nasa.gov/people/dr-paul-hertz/) according to the slides themselves. Either way Lindsay Hays has almost certainly looked over the slides she'll be (co-)presenting. She does exobiology and astrobiology and has written at least one paper on forward planetary protection (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273064016_FORWARD_PLANETARY_PROTECTION_ISSUES_AND_CONSTRAINTS_RELATED_TO_PLANNING_FOR_THE_POTENTIAL_HUMAN_EXPLORATION_OF_MARS) so I'm confident she would notice if forwards PP were accidentally omitted. Of course she may be really busy and not had time to prepare properly, but I don't think that's the most likely explanation.

As you say the industry day on Monday will probably shed more light.
« Last Edit: 04/21/2024 08:35 am by deltaV »

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #773 on: 04/23/2024 04:55 am »
Does anybody know if the audio and transcripts are out from Industry Day?  I looked on the NSPIRES page where the invite said they'd be, and they're not there (yet).

Offline ccdengr

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #774 on: 04/23/2024 06:06 am »
Does anybody know if the audio and transcripts are out from Industry Day?
Patience.  They said it would take a day or two at the end of the Webex.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #775 on: 04/24/2024 02:54 pm »
MEPAG meeting going on now. Also streaming online.

https://www.lpi.usra.edu/mepag/meetings/mepagapril2024/
« Last Edit: 04/24/2024 03:54 pm by Blackstar »

Offline deltaV

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #776 on: 04/24/2024 06:43 pm »
Does anybody know if the audio and transcripts are out from Industry Day?  I looked on the NSPIRES page where the invite said they'd be, and they're not there (yet).
NASA has posted a YouTube link for the industry day: .

That video's description says "Presentations made at the meeting, including answers to all questions addressed at the meeting, are posted under 'other documents' on the NSPIRES page for this program element at https://go.nasa.gov/rasmsr24" but I can't find the Q&A document there yet.
« Last Edit: 04/24/2024 06:47 pm by deltaV »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #777 on: 04/24/2024 06:51 pm »
One thing answered at MEPAG today is that the planetary protection requirements have not changed. Nothing has been waived.

Offline deltaV

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #778 on: 04/24/2024 09:19 pm »
NASA has posted a YouTube link for the industry day: .
Around 4:55 Lindsay Hays said "Of course both back and forward planetary protection apply to MSR". A written Q&A answer about forward planetary protection (PP) is coming soon [Edit: it's FAQ questions #17 and #37]. At around 42:00: another answer about forward PP.

Q&A starts at 30:40. 33:18: bidders can submit multiple bids. Around 34:20: NASA won't say how much the existing MSR elements cost, so I guess anyone proposing using those just has to guess. Later: you can use SLS, but NASA won't say now how much it will cost.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2024 01:44 am by deltaV »

Offline deltaV

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #779 on: 04/24/2024 09:29 pm »
That video's description says "Presentations made at the meeting, including answers to all questions addressed at the meeting, are posted under 'other documents' on the NSPIRES page for this program element at https://go.nasa.gov/rasmsr24" but I can't find the Q&A document there yet.

A FAQ document has now been posted.

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