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SLS / Orion / Beyond-LEO HSF - Constellation => Missions To Mars (HSF) => Topic started by: Chris Bergin on 05/02/2018 07:12 pm

Title: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Chris Bergin on 05/02/2018 07:12 pm
Could have gone in a number of sections. Let's go here and move it to another if we need to later:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/05/mars-msr-gains-traction-sls-had-eye-involvement/
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: TripleSeven on 05/02/2018 07:21 pm
not going to happen
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Rocket Science on 05/02/2018 07:46 pm
not going to happen
Welcome to the forum, all opinions are appreciated. Thanks for the article Chris and render Nathan! :)
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: clongton on 05/02/2018 07:58 pm
It would be terrific if this became a reality but based on NASA's recent history and the latest troubles with SLS/Orion I would be truly surprised if this amounted to anything. Let's just say that I am, for the moment at least, underwhelmed.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Coastal Ron on 05/02/2018 08:26 pm
not going to happen

Yes, congratulations on your first post! And wow, you have already given over 50 likes to other posters - well done!

Would you like to expand on your opinion? Perhaps share what factors you think will keep this proposal from happening?
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Dao Angkan on 05/02/2018 09:27 pm
Pertinent to this, especially regarding the use of Orion in order to "break the chain of contact". Zubrin also argues that a MAV landed with the same mass as Curiosity could send a sample direct to Earth, cutting out the requirement for a Earth return vehicle.

What Are We Protecting Mars From ó And Why Do We Bother? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0PxJt_09sQ&t=32m50s)

I would also question the requirement of a "fetch rover" for collecting samples from another rover. Why not have Mars 2020 come to the MAV lander. A robotic arm on the MAV lander can transport the samples from the rover to the MAV.

Edit, added timestamp
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: RonM on 05/02/2018 09:44 pm
I would also question the requirement of a "fetch rover" for collecting samples from another rover. Why not have Mars 2020 come to the MAV lander. A robotic arm on the MAV lander can transport the samples from the rover to the MAV.

What if the Mars 2020 rover breaks down before the MAV lander arrives?
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Dao Angkan on 05/02/2018 10:10 pm
I would also question the requirement of a "fetch rover" for collecting samples from another rover. Why not have Mars 2020 come to the MAV lander. A robotic arm on the MAV lander can transport the samples from the rover to the MAV.

What if the Mars 2020 rover breaks down before the MAV lander arrives?

What happens if Mars 2020 breaks down before it collects a sample, or if the extra rover we send breaks down before making it back to the MAV lander? I guess we'd have to send another rover or MAV lander. I say that in slight jest as Mars 2020 samples are really just a proof of concept. So let's use them to do a (relatively) low cost POC sample return mission. When we have really exciting samples to return then we can add extra redundancy such as an additional rover.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: redliox on 05/03/2018 12:39 am
If MSR gains traction, I suspect it will be thanks to ESA's interest.  SLS could be useful, but smaller ways could be utilized.  I would advocate that whatever retrieves the samples from the 2020 rover should send it back to Mars as directly as possible.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: EnigmaSCADA on 05/03/2018 04:35 am
I'd like to be convinced of the usefulness of the scientific value of having a small batch if Martian rocks here on Earth vs just investigating the same right there on Mars. Are there really reasons to bring a few chunks back that could be well characterized in-situ?

As far as this tax paying space enthusiast is concerned, "Look ma, I got some rocks from Mars!" is absolutely not a worthwhile reason to allocate the extra resources needed for a sample return. But I'm certainly open to hearing a pitch for why it is absolutely necessary to bring a sample back.

On the other hand, put all the resources from these ridiculous half-measures, political pork farms, false starts, and utter failures into a thoroughly planned step by step execution of the capabilities necessary for human space travel to Mars, well I'd be on board in heart beat.

As of now, I'm with the guy who posted it ain't gonna happen, what's the point? What could possibly justify what extra examination could be done to returned samples at the enormous extra cost of doing so? Conversely, I simply don't even need justification for efforts that are directly aimed at getting humans beyond LEO, I'll be happy when we stop clowning around about it. I realize not everyone feels this way, but I do, and I think you're wrong if you don't agree, so...
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Darkseraph on 05/03/2018 11:04 am
That is a very convoluted way to carry out a sample return mission. There are numerous single point failures in that whole sequence of events. Also, none of the techniques developed for that mission are applicable to any future crewed mission. It seems it would be less complicated and risky to retrieve the samples in one launch on either SLS or a commercial heavy lifter like New Glenn or Falcon Heavy
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: SimonFD on 05/03/2018 11:32 am
Is there any money allocated to this?
It sounds like it could be a significant investment and Orion/SLS units are (seemingly) hard to come by and expensive.



Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: kevinof on 05/03/2018 11:46 am
Ok. I know everyone has an opinion and I'm no different.

Scrap this project. take all the money you would waste on it and pump it into BFR. In return you get free seats/whatever on X launches.

Rant off.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: clongton on 05/03/2018 12:39 pm
Ok. I know everyone has an opinion and I'm no different.

Scrap this project. take all the money you would waste on it and pump it into BFR. In return you get free seats/whatever on X launches.

Rant off.

No! NASA needs to keep its hands off SpaceX's BFR program. NASA money would only add YEARS of time and lots of extra COST to get to operational status. NASA is really, REALLY good at some things. REALLY GOOD! But when it comes to efficiency and good money management, NASA absolutely sucks!
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: kevinof on 05/03/2018 01:01 pm
Ok I agree 1000% - my thinking was simply the funds. Not oversight or ANYTHING else.  Just give the cash and get X seats in return. SpaceX will let you know when to pick up your tickets - until then don't call us.


Ok. I know everyone has an opinion and I'm no different.

Scrap this project. take all the money you would waste on it and pump it into BFR. In return you get free seats/whatever on X launches.

Rant off.

No! NASA needs to keep its hands off SpaceX's BFR program. NASA money would only add YEARS of time and lots of extra COST to get to operational status. NASA is really, REALLY good at some things. REALLY GOOD! But when it comes to efficiency and good money management, NASA absolutely sucks!
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: chrisking0997 on 05/03/2018 04:23 pm
seriously, is there ANYONE here who thinks this plan makes sense?  honestly to me it feels like something a group of interns came up with (or, worse, a group of people trying to increase their funding).  Thinking out of the box is fine and all, but this one is out there.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: whitelancer64 on 05/03/2018 04:45 pm
I'd like to be convinced of the usefulness of the scientific value of having a small batch if Martian rocks here on Earth vs just investigating the same right there on Mars. Are there really reasons to bring a few chunks back that could be well characterized in-situ?
*snip*

Laboratories here on Earth are much, much, much better equipped than anything we could send to Mars. We have a lot better, larger, and more diverse instruments here on Earth that can study samples in ways we just plain can't do on Mars. Everything a rover can do has to be built in, a limitation that Earth-bound labs don't have.

A university's chemistry lab could outclass the Curiosity rover any day of the week. That's not to say the science instruments on Curiosity are bad - they are excellent, though limited in what they can do - but that they are the next best thing to having samples being studied in labs here on Earth. Having samples here on Earth is always going to be better, because we can simply do much more with them.

Plus if we come up with a novel avenue of study, or a different question to ask, we can run new tests. For example, the lunar samples that were brought back by Apollo are still being distributed to researchers today.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: whitelancer64 on 05/03/2018 05:21 pm
seriously, is there ANYONE here who thinks this plan makes sense?  honestly to me it feels like something a group of interns came up with (or, worse, a group of people trying to increase their funding).  Thinking out of the box is fine and all, but this one is out there.

I thought people LIKED the idea of distributed launch? That's what this plan is. Three separate launchs for sample collection, sample retrieval and launch, and sample return. It has the bonuses of reducing weight and complexity, and thereby, costs for all parts of the mission.

I do think that a viable option is for the 2020 rover to keep the samples on the rover, and have the retrieval and launch portion land close by the 2020 rover and let the rover trek back to it; that could save some weight and costs for a rover for the R&L portion, but it depends on how many synods later the R&L mission launches. It IS risky to depend on the unknown state of health of the 2020 rover after several years on Mars.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: envy887 on 05/03/2018 08:43 pm
...
I thought people LIKED the idea of distributed launch?

It's a bit odd for missions that can be done with a single medium lift launch...
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 05/04/2018 05:00 am
seriously, is there ANYONE here who thinks this plan makes sense?  honestly to me it feels like something a group of interns came up with (or, worse, a group of people trying to increase their funding).  Thinking out of the box is fine and all, but this one is out there.

Three landings suggests to me that the team could not get all the Mars equipment on a single lander. So they split it. The original design may have assumed the launch vehicles were Atlas V or Delta II.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: chrisking0997 on 05/04/2018 06:04 pm
seriously, is there ANYONE here who thinks this plan makes sense?  honestly to me it feels like something a group of interns came up with (or, worse, a group of people trying to increase their funding).  Thinking out of the box is fine and all, but this one is out there.

Three landings suggests to me that the team could not get all the Mars equipment on a single lander. So they split it. The original design may have assumed the launch vehicles were Atlas V or Delta II.

distributed lift or not, the thought of having one rover collect samples and just drop them on the surface and then another rover coming along later and playing an interplanetary game of pokemon go to collect said samples kinda makes my eyes fog over.  Ill readily admit Im just a software developer with zero mission planning experience...but I just cant possibly see how that plan makes sense.  I started to wonder if there werent secondary mission objectives (like proving out search and rescue processes, for example), but theres not anything I can think of that cant be done in a desert on earth.  Or, maybe Im confused and this is a decades-old plan that is not based on the capabilities we have developed with recent Mars misssions.  Or, maybe I just mis-interpreted this entire thing (wouldnt be the first time)
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: AegeanBlue on 05/04/2018 10:48 pm
seriously, is there ANYONE here who thinks this plan makes sense?  honestly to me it feels like something a group of interns came up with (or, worse, a group of people trying to increase their funding).  Thinking out of the box is fine and all, but this one is out there.

Three landings suggests to me that the team could not get all the Mars equipment on a single lander. So they split it. The original design may have assumed the launch vehicles were Atlas V or Delta II.

distributed lift or not, the thought of having one rover collect samples and just drop them on the surface and then another rover coming along later and playing an interplanetary game of pokemon go to collect said samples kinda makes my eyes fog over.  Ill readily admit Im just a software developer with zero mission planning experience...but I just cant possibly see how that plan makes sense.  I started to wonder if there werent secondary mission objectives (like proving out search and rescue processes, for example), but theres not anything I can think of that cant be done in a desert on earth.  Or, maybe Im confused and this is a decades-old plan that is not based on the capabilities we have developed with recent Mars misssions.  Or, maybe I just mis-interpreted this entire thing (wouldnt be the first time)

Having Mars Sample Return in one mission has historically meant great risk and great weight requirements, beyond the launch abilities of most available rockets. Furthermore a full MSR mission costs as much as three flagship missions, since not all planetary scientists are Mars specialists spending the entirety of the robotic budget on Mars has been undesirable. MSR means three things:

1. Collect Mars samples
2. Send them off Mars
3. Recover them on Earth.

Collecting good indicative samples with robots is something that literally takes years. We do not have an astronaut on Mars to eye and select unique rocks as did the Apollo astronauts. Mars's gravity well is not as strong as the Earth's, but we have never launched anything from Mars. Making a launcher requires more development than making caches. Finally getting something from Mars to Earth, while it has not happened yet, is relatively well understood. Considering that a single shot MSR would cost twice what Cassini cost and require a heavier launcher than Titan IV/Delta IV Heavy, let alone the detail that the robotic program preferred to launch Delta IIs because of their cheap cost, this is why breaking of the mission was adopted
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: MATTBLAK on 05/04/2018 11:22 pm
So distributed launch/dual launch of medium-heavy boosters could accomplish the mass budget and delta-v for an MSR?
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: MATTBLAK on 05/04/2018 11:34 pm
I'm thinking that an MSR architecture could/would be three-fold:

1: Rover collects regolith and small rocks, then rendezvous with an RTG-powered ascent vehicle that made it's ascent oxidizer by sucking in Martian CO2 and splitting it into oxygen and carbon monoxide. CO is dumped overboard but oxygen is refrigerated to make LOX and this supplements the fuel already aboard: LNG or high grade alcohol. The Rover hands off the samples to the Ascent Vehicle then backs right away.

2: The Ascent Vehicle - Option 1: flies all the way back to EML-2 and meets a crewed Orion that takes the sample capsule(s) back to Earth. Option 2: The Ascent Vehicle just flies into Martian orbit (much less delta-v) and rendezvous with a robot Earth Return vehicle powered by hypergolic motors. The ERV then either takes the samples in a hand-off, or just tugs the whole assembly back to EML-2 to a waiting Orion.

Other options of course include just flying the Martian samples straight back to Earth; no expensive crewed Orion involved. Then again; the probe return vehicle would have to be made larger and more sophisticated. I also like the idea that the robot ERV would have gone to Phobos first to get some samples there.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: AegeanBlue on 05/05/2018 12:01 am
The 2003 MSR mission, which is the most mature so far and only one that actually had a launch date less than 5 years before it was cancelled due to the twin failures of 1999, used a solid booster rocket dating to secret US Navy work from the 1960s. Introducing ISRU and putting it on the critical path for success only adds risk in the view of the planetary scientists. The 2020 rover does have an instrument to produce oxygen from electrolysis of CO2 into O2 and CO, but it is an experiment, not a requirement for success of the caching mission. Planetary scientists are reluctant to add risk.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: MATTBLAK on 05/05/2018 02:04 am
A solid ascent stage is certainly a very viable option if it's only going to low Martian orbit. Another RCS system would then be needed, of course to rendezvous with an Earth Return Vehicle. Or the ERV could merely be a propulsion bus/tug that then pushes the Ascent vehicle onto TEI - avoiding a complex robotic handover of the sample cache. Whether the Ascent vehicle also includes an Earth Entry capsule or makes its way to a loitering, human crewed Orion is another thing to look into, mission architecture-wise.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: EnigmaSCADA on 05/05/2018 02:36 am
I'd like to be convinced of the usefulness of the scientific value of having a small batch if Martian rocks here on Earth vs just investigating the same right there on Mars. Are there really reasons to bring a few chunks back that could be well characterized in-situ?
*snip*

Laboratories here on Earth are much, much, much better equipped than anything we could send to Mars. We have a lot better, larger, and more diverse instruments here on Earth that can study samples in ways we just plain can't do on Mars. Everything a rover can do has to be built in, a limitation that Earth-bound labs don't have.

A university's chemistry lab could outclass the Curiosity rover any day of the week. That's not to say the science instruments on Curiosity are bad - they are excellent, though limited in what they can do - but that they are the next best thing to having samples being studied in labs here on Earth. Having samples here on Earth is always going to be better, because we can simply do much more with them.

Plus if we come up with a novel avenue of study, or a different question to ask, we can run new tests. For example, the lunar samples that were brought back by Apollo are still being distributed to researchers today.
Yeah, I get that. But what would extra fussing around with a few kilos of Mars rocks which would almost certainly be entirely from within a tiny radius of surface area actually yield? My guess is not that much, and definitely not enough to justify the actual cost and especially the opportunity costs of funding and carrying out the mission. In my mind, the same amount of funding and time spent toward some aspect of human exploration would pay off far more in the end. Alternatively, yet another robotic mission could pay off nearly the same at a lower price point to do whatever it is that they plan to do with MSR. I work with robotics all day and am of the belief that what's available COTS blows away any rover to date. The amount of abstraction and autonomy is far beyond current rovers. Pretty much all the major industrial robot manufacturers make arms that withstand extreme environments full of dust, solvents, vibrations, etc that are quite possibly worse than the rigors of the journey to Mars and the surface of Mars with a very dexterious end effector to manipulate & handle Martian material and instruments. If there's something in particular that just NEEDS to be done with Martian rocks here on Earth I'd like to know what that is, I'm open and willing to do a 180 on my opinion depending on that.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/05/2018 05:34 pm
Just ask SpaceX folks to pick up the samples that 2020 is gonna cache. Will be already sealed up, just need to collect them.

Itís not as if Mars material hasnít been bombarding Earth for billions of years and vice versa. And our spacecraft to Mars have never been perfectly sterilized, either.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Dalhousie on 05/06/2018 10:54 am
Just ask SpaceX folks to pick up the samples that 2020 is gonna cache. Will be already sealed up, just need to collect them.

Itís not as if Mars material hasnít been bombarding Earth for billions of years and vice versa. And our spacecraft to Mars have never been perfectly sterilized, either.

Can we please NOT drag spacex into everything?
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: AbuSimbel on 05/06/2018 11:05 am
Just ask SpaceX folks to pick up the samples that 2020 is gonna cache. Will be already sealed up, just need to collect them.

Itís not as if Mars material hasnít been bombarding Earth for billions of years and vice versa. And our spacecraft to Mars have never been perfectly sterilized, either.

Can we please NOT drag spacex into everything?

Why? This is exactly what SpaceX is working on...
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Dalhousie on 05/06/2018 11:08 am
If there's something in particular that just NEEDS to be done with Martian rocks here on Earth I'd like to know what that is, I'm open and willing to do a 180 on my opinion depending on that.

Let's see.... SEM, TEM, BSE, EDX, laser ablation stable isotope studies, laser ablation ICPMS, nanoSIMS, electron probe, ion probe (SHRIMP), proton probe (PIXE), cathodoluminescence, thin section petrography, fluid inclusion studies, reflected light microscopy, TSEM, high precision geochronology for whole rock, cosmogenic, mineral separates,and individual grains (some using the SHRIMP), fluorescence microscopy  a wide range of organic geochemistry using non-thermal decomposition (including mass spectroscopy, gas chromatography, MinIon, selective dissolution, AFM (OK that last has been tried on Mars without much success)...

That's just off the top of my head. 

Physical and chemical properties of martian fines at all scale would be very valuable for designing bearings, coatings, and materials for use on Mars.

Plus archiving of sample splits for future analysis bytechniques not yet invented.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Dalhousie on 05/06/2018 11:09 am
Just ask SpaceX folks to pick up the samples that 2020 is gonna cache. Will be already sealed up, just need to collect them.

Itís not as if Mars material hasnít been bombarding Earth for billions of years and vice versa. And our spacecraft to Mars have never been perfectly sterilized, either.

Can we please NOT drag spacex into everything?

Why? This is exactly what SpaceX is working on...

Because it's off topic and irrelevant and gets dragged into everything.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: clongton on 05/06/2018 01:34 pm
Just ask SpaceX folks to pick up the samples that 2020 is gonna cache. Will be already sealed up, just need to collect them.

Itís not as if Mars material hasnít been bombarding Earth for billions of years and vice versa. And our spacecraft to Mars have never been perfectly sterilized, either.

Can we please NOT drag spacex into everything?
Why? This is exactly what SpaceX is working on...

Because whatever they are or are not working on has nothing to do with the NASA MSR mission - nothing. It is off topic!!
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: AbuSimbel on 05/06/2018 05:28 pm
Just ask SpaceX folks to pick up the samples that 2020 is gonna cache. Will be already sealed up, just need to collect them.

Itís not as if Mars material hasnít been bombarding Earth for billions of years and vice versa. And our spacecraft to Mars have never been perfectly sterilized, either.

Can we please NOT drag spacex into everything?
Why? This is exactly what SpaceX is working on...

Because whatever they are or are not working on has nothing to do with the NASA MSR mission - nothing. It is off topic!!

Edit: I wrote an answer but I think it's better to delete it.
I'm interested in the actual discussion here, not pointless arguing about what's on topic or not.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/07/2018 12:42 am
Fine, whatever. It’s just going to get increasingly absurd for everyone to discuss overly complicated unfunded Mars plans without acknowledging the elephant in the room (actually two elephants, as any Mars surface HSF mission will make a lot of the hoops jumped through for MSR architectures look ridiculous). But at least it has been mentioned. We can continue on with the fictional Mars sample return architecture.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/07/2018 12:52 am
It wasn’t out of line to mention commercial partners. The article mentions commercial cooperation (including launch on a SpaceX launch vehicle as “backup”) multiple times: “it is highly likely NASA would look to both the commercial and international sectors as partners to conduct such an MSR mission.”

So blame the article and NASA for dragging SpaceX into it.

...and BFS is basically the only way to do this anywhere near the planned 2024, as BFS is literally the only Mars ascent vehicle actively under development right now.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Negan on 05/07/2018 01:23 am
There's some revealing cost information in this document. Commercial alternatives should definitely be considered.

https://www.nap.edu/resource/13117/App%20G%2009_Mars-Sample-Return-Lander.pdf
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: redliox on 05/07/2018 02:26 am
Robert Zubrin would argue MSR could be done with a single flight assuming some ISRU even without SLS.  On the other hand Blackstar (among many insiders or otherwise tech-savy folk) says the technology for an ascent to Mars orbit actually exists now even without using ISRU.  However either way progress seems painfully slow for the moment....

...emphasis on moment.  ESA's interest is promising, and ultimately I'd like to see what is offered on the table that will succeed the 2020 rover's sampling efforts.

Getting back to the thread though, trying to throw SLS and (especially) Orion into the mix seems too political, if not just foolish overkill.  A smaller rocket, either from ULA or SpaceX, could do the job more efficiently and cheaply.  If SLS is going to be used at least add a a permanent relay orbiter into the mix along with a return lander that can send the samples back directly to Earth.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Dalhousie on 05/07/2018 04:49 am
Robert Zubrin would argue MSR could be done with a single flight assuming some ISRU even without SLS.  On the other hand Blackstar (among many insiders or otherwise tech-savy folk) says the technology for an ascent to Mars orbit actually exists now even without using ISRU.  However either way progress seems painfully slow for the moment....

...emphasis on moment.  ESA's interest is promising, and ultimately I'd like to see what is offered on the table that will succeed the 2020 rover's sampling efforts.

Getting back to the thread though, trying to throw SLS and (especially) Orion into the mix seems too political, if not just foolish overkill.  A smaller rocket, either from ULA or SpaceX, could do the job more efficiently and cheaply.  If SLS is going to be used at least add a a permanent relay orbiter into the mix along with a return lander that can send the samples back directly to Earth.

It does seem to make it excessively complex.  the real thing that people are concerned about is back contamination. However it would seem easier to be to ensure that your Earth entry capsule would survive lithobraking.  you could even design this in to avoid the complexities of parachutes and other devices.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/07/2018 04:54 am
Robert Zubrin would argue MSR could be done with a single flight assuming some ISRU even without SLS.  On the other hand Blackstar (among many insiders or otherwise tech-savy folk) says the technology for an ascent to Mars orbit actually exists now even without using ISRU.  ...
True. Just a couple solid or hypergolic stages would do it. mars' thin atmosphere helps a lot with the usually-brutal scaling laws for small rockets.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/07/2018 05:49 am
Just ask SpaceX folks to pick up the samples that 2020 is gonna cache. Will be already sealed up, just need to collect them.

Itís not as if Mars material hasnít been bombarding Earth for billions of years and vice versa. And our spacecraft to Mars have never been perfectly sterilized, either.

Can we please NOT drag spacex into everything?
Why? This is exactly what SpaceX is working on...

Because whatever they are or are not working on has nothing to do with the NASA MSR mission - nothing. It is off topic!!

I'm sorry, but that makes no sense at all.  If what SpaceX is working on can have an impact on the NASA mission, it's on-topic.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: envy887 on 05/07/2018 02:12 pm
Robert Zubrin would argue MSR could be done with a single flight assuming some ISRU even without SLS.  On the other hand Blackstar (among many insiders or otherwise tech-savy folk) says the technology for an ascent to Mars orbit actually exists now even without using ISRU.  ...
True. Just a couple solid or hypergolic stages would do it. mars' thin atmosphere helps a lot with the usually-brutal scaling laws for small rockets.

It also helps that you only need about 6 km/s to get from Mars' surface to Earth's surface, including gravity and drag losses. A 500 kg 2-stage hypergolic MAV should easily be able to launch a 30 kg or larger return vehicle to Earth transfer.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: clongton on 05/07/2018 03:25 pm
Just ask SpaceX folks to pick up the samples that 2020 is gonna cache. Will be already sealed up, just need to collect them.

Itís not as if Mars material hasnít been bombarding Earth for billions of years and vice versa. And our spacecraft to Mars have never been perfectly sterilized, either.

Can we please NOT drag spacex into everything?
Why? This is exactly what SpaceX is working on...

Because whatever they are or are not working on has nothing to do with the NASA MSR mission - nothing. It is off topic!!

I'm sorry, but that makes no sense at all.  If what SpaceX is working on can have an impact on the NASA mission, it's on-topic.


Ok I give up. The thread titled "MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement", which is all about a NASA mission to Mars using SLS and Orion is really a SpaceX thread because maybe, someday, NASA might want to ditch SLS and Orion and fly to Mars on a SpaceX rocket. Ah, I get it now. I see.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: notsorandom on 05/07/2018 07:24 pm
I'm sorry, but that makes no sense at all.  If what SpaceX is working on can have an impact on the NASA mission, it's on-topic.
Back in 2016 SpaceX said they were going to launch a Dragon capsule in 2020 to land on Mars using a Falcon Heavy rocket. Elon promised a launch at every synod providing a regular cargo service to the surface of Mars. At the time many argued that NASA should stop work on the 2020 rover and follow-up missions including MSR. Since Red Dragon was totally, 100%, definitely going to be successful so why spend any money on any other programs?

Thankfully those in charge of NASA's Mars policy didn't change those programs just because SpaceX put out a press release. SpaceX canceled Red Dragon and we still have missions going to Mars. BFR is even less certain than Red Dragon so it makes even less sense to cancel MSR. If SpaceX lands astronauts on Mars to watch the MSR robots do their thing then we can all have a good laugh about it. If they don't then we can at least be happy there is some Mars exploration going on.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: envy887 on 05/07/2018 08:55 pm
I'm sorry, but that makes no sense at all.  If what SpaceX is working on can have an impact on the NASA mission, it's on-topic.
Back in 2016 SpaceX said they were going to launch a Dragon capsule in 2020 to land on Mars using a Falcon Heavy rocket. Elon promised a launch at every synod providing a regular cargo service to the surface of Mars. At the time many argued that NASA should stop work on the 2020 rover...

Did anyone actually argue that though? That doesn't make any sense, and wouldn't even if Red Dragon were flying right now.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: whitelancer64 on 05/07/2018 08:58 pm
I'd like to be convinced of the usefulness of the scientific value of having a small batch if Martian rocks here on Earth vs just investigating the same right there on Mars. Are there really reasons to bring a few chunks back that could be well characterized in-situ?
*snip*

Laboratories here on Earth are much, much, much better equipped than anything we could send to Mars. We have a lot better, larger, and more diverse instruments here on Earth that can study samples in ways we just plain can't do on Mars. Everything a rover can do has to be built in, a limitation that Earth-bound labs don't have.

A university's chemistry lab could outclass the Curiosity rover any day of the week. That's not to say the science instruments on Curiosity are bad - they are excellent, though limited in what they can do - but that they are the next best thing to having samples being studied in labs here on Earth. Having samples here on Earth is always going to be better, because we can simply do much more with them.

Plus if we come up with a novel avenue of study, or a different question to ask, we can run new tests. For example, the lunar samples that were brought back by Apollo are still being distributed to researchers today.

Yeah, I get that. But what would extra fussing around with a few kilos of Mars rocks which would almost certainly be entirely from within a tiny radius of surface area actually yield? My guess is not that much, and definitely not enough to justify the actual cost and especially the opportunity costs of funding and carrying out the mission. In my mind, the same amount of funding and time spent toward some aspect of human exploration would pay off far more in the end. Alternatively, yet another robotic mission could pay off nearly the same at a lower price point to do whatever it is that they plan to do with MSR. I work with robotics all day and am of the belief that what's available COTS blows away any rover to date. The amount of abstraction and autonomy is far beyond current rovers. Pretty much all the major industrial robot manufacturers make arms that withstand extreme environments full of dust, solvents, vibrations, etc that are quite possibly worse than the rigors of the journey to Mars and the surface of Mars with a very dexterious end effector to manipulate & handle Martian material and instruments. If there's something in particular that just NEEDS to be done with Martian rocks here on Earth I'd like to know what that is, I'm open and willing to do a 180 on my opinion depending on that.

Ultimately, if you're asking what "needs" to be done - exploration of any kind is unnecessary. It's all a costly venture out into the barely known to study the poorly understood. Why do any of it? Why bother to better understand the universe around us? From that viewpoint, this is just a waste of time and money that could be better spent doing other things here on Earth.

The Apollo lunar samples are still being utilized today, they were and are a scientific bonanza of the first order. I don't think you grasp the scale of what has been done with just a few kg of samples from the Moon. About half of the lunar samples are still pristine - not even taken out of the sample containers the astronauts placed them in - to preserve them for future scientists. That's how valuable they are for understanding the Moon. We are still learning new things about the Moon from them.

A sample return from Mars is pretty much the holy grail of all Mars exploration. Prior to actually sending people to Mars, getting a sample is on the end of NASA's "to do" list, and has been since the whole Mars Exploration kick started in the 90s. Send a lander to Mars. Send an orbiter to study the weather. Follow the Water. Map Mars in detail with the MRO. Seek signs of Mars' habitability and signs of life. Sample return.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: whitelancer64 on 05/07/2018 09:01 pm
I'm sorry, but that makes no sense at all.  If what SpaceX is working on can have an impact on the NASA mission, it's on-topic.
Back in 2016 SpaceX said they were going to launch a Dragon capsule in 2020 to land on Mars using a Falcon Heavy rocket. Elon promised a launch at every synod providing a regular cargo service to the surface of Mars. At the time many argued that NASA should stop work on the 2020 rover...

Did anyone actually argue that though? That doesn't make any sense, and wouldn't even if Red Dragon were flying right now.

Plenty of people did that, both here and elsewehre. Just like people are doing in this very thread for BFR / BFS.

That it doesn't make any sense to stop work at NASA because of what SpaceX may or may not be doing is the point.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: joek on 05/07/2018 09:10 pm
I'm sorry, but that makes no sense at all.  If what SpaceX is working on can have an impact on the NASA mission, it's on-topic.

SpaceX is working on many things, and could be working on most anything.  Unless there is credible evidence otherwise, it is pointless speculation and does not belong in these discussions.  Otherwise every thread in this forum will devolve into "SpaceX should... could... might... do X, and that may have an impact on what NASA is doing."  Which is an invitation to an infinite number of hypothetical and pointless posts in every-which-direction (which this thread is dangerously close to becoming).
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: AegeanBlue on 05/07/2018 10:07 pm
I'm sorry, but that makes no sense at all.  If what SpaceX is working on can have an impact on the NASA mission, it's on-topic.
Back in 2016 SpaceX said they were going to launch a Dragon capsule in 2020 to land on Mars using a Falcon Heavy rocket. Elon promised a launch at every synod providing a regular cargo service to the surface of Mars. At the time many argued that NASA should stop work on the 2020 rover...


Did anyone actually argue that though? That doesn't make any sense, and wouldn't even if Red Dragon were flying right now.

Plenty of people did that, both here and elsewehre. Just like people are doing in this very thread for BFR / BFS.

That it doesn't make any sense to stop work at NASA because of what SpaceX may or may not be doing is the point.

I remember getting attacked on a thread because I dared utter the heresy that SpaceX might not succeed in making the Red Dragon in 2020. Per a mob of posters, if it came out of Elon's mouth/twitter feed, it cannot but be completely achievable and on time. Anything NASA does which is not giving all its money to Elon is a waste. Any architecture that does not involve SpaceX is a waste. Any signed NASA contract to anyone other than SpaceX is a waste.

There have been studies and presentation around the web on MSR for decades now. I doubt that SLS/Orion is necessary in the process, but if that is what is takes for the project to go through... SMD, as proven by Europa Clipper, is planning under the assumption that SLS may never fly. The latest iteration of plans I have seen on FISO telecon archive was 3 Atlas V. Let's see what goes through in the current planning
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/08/2018 12:02 am
Have any of your read the article?
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/08/2018 12:29 am
I'm sorry, but that makes no sense at all.  If what SpaceX is working on can have an impact on the NASA mission, it's on-topic.

SpaceX is working on many things, and could be working on most anything.  Unless there is credible evidence otherwise, it is pointless speculation and does not belong in these discussions.  Otherwise every thread in this forum will devolve into "SpaceX should... could... might... do X, and that may have an impact on what NASA is doing."  Which is an invitation to an infinite number of hypothetical and pointless posts in every-which-direction (which this thread is dangerously close to becoming).

BFR to Mars is not in the category of pointless speculation without credible evidence.  SpaceX is most certainly working on it.  They've built and tested the engines.  They've built a prototype propellant tank.  They've shown photos of tooling built specifically for it.  They've announced timelines for flying it to Mars.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/08/2018 12:32 am
I'm sorry, but that makes no sense at all.  If what SpaceX is working on can have an impact on the NASA mission, it's on-topic.
Back in 2016 SpaceX said they were going to launch a Dragon capsule in 2020 to land on Mars using a Falcon Heavy rocket. Elon promised a launch at every synod providing a regular cargo service to the surface of Mars. At the time many argued that NASA should stop work on the 2020 rover and follow-up missions including MSR. Since Red Dragon was totally, 100%, definitely going to be successful so why spend any money on any other programs?

Thankfully those in charge of NASA's Mars policy didn't change those programs just because SpaceX put out a press release. SpaceX canceled Red Dragon and we still have missions going to Mars. BFR is even less certain than Red Dragon so it makes even less sense to cancel MSR. If SpaceX lands astronauts on Mars to watch the MSR robots do their thing then we can all have a good laugh about it. If they don't then we can at least be happy there is some Mars exploration going on.

That's a textbook example of a straw-man argument.

You want to close off all discussion that mentions SpaceX from this thread because you claim to know what it will be.  Why don't you try letting people speak, then, if you disagree, respond to what they actually say, not to caricatures of what they might say?
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: su27k on 05/08/2018 04:57 am
I read the article, the connection to SLS/Orion is tenuous at best, basically there's some old study of this, and recently MSR appears in a promo video for SLS/Orion, that's it. Seems to me BFR should be fair game, yes SpaceX may or may not have BFR on Mars, but NASA may or may not use SLS/Orion on MSR either, it's all conjecture at this point, I don't see why the speculation involving SLS is more realistic than the speculation involving BFR.

As for "cancel MSR", it's not even started, is there enough budget for this in the out years with Europa orbiter/lander on the books?
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: Lar on 05/08/2018 05:15 am
Less squabbling please. Credible concrete alternatives are on topic but that's not a wide open door. Better to stay on the specifics of this proposal.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: notsorandom on 05/08/2018 04:16 pm
I'm sorry, but that makes no sense at all.  If what SpaceX is working on can have an impact on the NASA mission, it's on-topic.
Back in 2016 SpaceX said they were going to launch a Dragon capsule in 2020 to land on Mars using a Falcon Heavy rocket. Elon promised a launch at every synod providing a regular cargo service to the surface of Mars. At the time many argued that NASA should stop work on the 2020 rover and follow-up missions including MSR. Since Red Dragon was totally, 100%, definitely going to be successful so why spend any money on any other programs?

Thankfully those in charge of NASA's Mars policy didn't change those programs just because SpaceX put out a press release. SpaceX canceled Red Dragon and we still have missions going to Mars. BFR is even less certain than Red Dragon so it makes even less sense to cancel MSR. If SpaceX lands astronauts on Mars to watch the MSR robots do their thing then we can all have a good laugh about it. If they don't then we can at least be happy there is some Mars exploration going on.

That's a textbook example of a straw-man argument.

You want to close off all discussion that mentions SpaceX from this thread because you claim to know what it will be.  Why don't you try letting people speak, then, if you disagree, respond to what they actually say, not to caricatures of what they might say?
Its not a straw-man, its what actually happened. SpaceX said they were going to Mars, faster, better, and cheaper than anyone else. The argument was made that because that was going to happen no other efforts made sense anymore and should be canceled. Now the Red Dragon has been replaced with BFR and the same argument is being made. BRF is much more technically challenging, and requires vastly more funding than Red Dragon. It is even more of a risk to pin the entire US Mars program to.

I can take SpaceX entirely out of my argument too. Until recently NASA was on a Journey To Mars and would be sending humans there in the 2030s. There is still some talk about doing that in that timeframe. If humans are going to be landing only ten or so years after MSR what sense does it make to do MSR?

MSR as outlined in this article, at least the original plan not dealing with Orion/SLS, is the lowest cost and lowest risk plan to advance our knowledge of Mars. It is the result of over four decades of learning about how to successfully do Mars missions. Our ability to do this mission throughout that time has improved while our ability to launch a human mission to the planet hasn't.
Title: Re: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/08/2018 05:04 pm
Returning sample to LOPG reduces high risk earth return stage plus heavy hardware. Once at LOPG crew can exam sample before returning with it to earth.

Use same vehicles as Mars 2020 for entry and descent but replace rover with MAV small sample collection rover.
The only new HW is MAV and sample collection rover which could use proven Spirit/Opportunity platform.

The 2023 orbiter can return samples from Mars to LOPG as added bonus refuel orbiter at LOPG and return it to Mars.