Author Topic: Speculation and Discussion: Crew for first SpaceX Mars mission  (Read 33278 times)

Offline JamesH65

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I think you missed the bit about 'precise Earth re-rentry', which AIUI was computer controlled.

He wasn't talking about the landing - although the tech for that is solved for airliners, and therefore for shuttle, should it fly again!

Hmm. Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle#Re-entry_and_landing says:
Quote from: Wikipedia
Almost the entire Space Shuttle re-entry procedure, except for lowering the landing gear and deploying the air data probes, was normally performed under computer control. However, the re-entry could be flown entirely manually if an emergency arose. The approach and landing phase could be controlled by the autopilot, but was usually hand flown.

Er, isn't that what I said? The re-entry was computer controlled. The landing was manual (even though it didn't need to be)

Offline rickyramjet

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What crew would SpaceX send on the first manned mission?

My guess: About 10 people
* Commander/Pilot/Comms
* Pilot/BFS Engineer/Comms
* Doctor/Biologist/Cook
* Vehicle Engineer/Driver
* Chemist/ISRU Engineer
* Geologist/Scout/Driver
* Geologist/Scout/Driver
* Hab Engineer/Builder/Driver
* Biologist/Gardener/Cook
* ??
Skills like driver and cook and Comms are things that can be done by anyone with basic training.  I think it would be important to have more than one doctor, in case he is the one that gets sick.  If this crew is going to be there for any length of time, you probably want to have a couple of dentists in the mix too.

Online Lar

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From Human Needs: Sustaining Life During Exploration
Quote from: NASA Fact Sheet
A crew of four on a three-year martian mission eating only three meals each day would need to carry more than 24,000 pounds (10,886 kilograms) of food.

With consumables pre-deployed by the unmanned precursor mission in 2022, a crew of 10 would be in range.

"Carry" ? Not necessarily.... "Have means to generate" 10K kg of food? Yes, of course.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Robotbeat

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460grams per day of Soylent would require just ONE FIFTH that amount, about 2000kg of food for 4 crew and 3 years.

You could drop that to about 300 grams per day with a lipids-heavy diet, but one-fifth is a pretty good number.

And if they complain, then send astronauts that don't care about it. Or if they want different food, then they can grow it themselves.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2016 05:00 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline guckyfan

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460grams per day of Soylent would require just ONE FIFTH that amount, about 2000kg of food for 4 crew and 3 years.

It is not necessary to go to such extremes. Dry goods like flour, rice, noodles, cooking oil, dried meat, legumes, milk powder, quark powder, egg powder, dried fruit, allows a varied diet with a good cook and some herbs and vegetables as local produce. That would not require that much more weight than soylent.

Offline Robotbeat

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460grams per day of Soylent would require just ONE FIFTH that amount, about 2000kg of food for 4 crew and 3 years.

It is not necessary to go to such extremes. Dry goods like flour, rice, noodles, cooking oil, dried meat, legumes, milk powder, quark powder, egg powder, dried fruit, allows a varied diet with a good cook and some herbs and vegetables as local produce. That would not require that much more weight than soylent.
Soylent is good, can be flavored. Super convenient, saves you time and mass of cooking equipment, too.

I think it's worth making a few astronauts eat Soylent and use that few billion dollars you'll save to build out surface equipment for long-term food production.

Just countering the idea that 3 years and 4 astronauts necessarily means 10 tons of food, as if it's some sort of law of nature.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline guckyfan

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Just countering the idea that 3 years and 4 astronauts necessarily means 10 tons of food, as if it's some sort of law of nature.

We are sure in agreement on that point.

Offline llanitedave

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The crew would have little to no opportunity to review the quality of the landing site prior to the final approach.  If any last-minute change to the landing site is required, it's will probably be initiated by the ground.  There's just no need for crew control.

I think you underestimate what can be determined by orbital surveillance around Mars. I was surprised how many things they evaluated for potential NASA landing sites and how much they know, that they need to know. They will come down on the exact location that was determined from such data sets. No last minute changes initiated by a pilot.

Unlikely but not impossible that for some reason the landing site changes during flight due to new data. I think they did that with Opportunity. After they knew that Spirit was safely on the ground, they selected a landing site with slightly more risk. If memory serves me on this one. But that would be done from the ground on earth weeks or days before landing.

You're agreeing with me.  Changes to the landing site would not be made during the atmospheric entry period.  They would be made well in advance.  Those changes could be uploaded by controllers from Earth, or by the crew in route.  But it wouldn't require a "pilot" making changes in real time.  That simply wouldn't be possible.
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Offline BobHk

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Small females, the entire crew.  Females consume on the order of half the gasses and food a male does.  They're just as qualified in STEM.  IMHO this is what the crew should be.  Mars will probably need a LOT of females to have a viable breeding population as well, so we should get used to a lopsided crew compliment of females.  We won't need a lot of astronauts on the surface of Mars, they'd be wasted there.

Offline MajorBringdown

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Soylent is good...

I'm not sure 'good' is the word I would use to describe soylent... I think adequate is a closer description.  I think the downside of relying solely on something like soylent would be the morale-draining nature of consuming nothing but gritty smoothies during the entire trip.

Scene - Mars colony, sol 1045
Mars colonist #1 - What's for breakfast?
Mars colonist #2 - Chewy dirt-water flavoured with 'orange drink' powder... again...
Mars colonist #1 - <sigh> Where's the nearest airlock?

Offline Robotbeat

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Soylent is good...

I'm not sure 'good' is the word I would use to describe soylent... I think adequate is a closer description.  I think the downside of relying solely on something like soylent would be the morale-draining nature of consuming nothing but gritty smoothies during the entire trip.

Scene - Mars colony, sol 1045
Mars colonist #1 - What's for breakfast?
Mars colonist #2 - Chewy dirt-water flavoured with 'orange drink' powder... again...
Mars colonist #1 - <sigh> Where's the nearest airlock?
Colonists will be growing their own food.

Explorers will have to make do (or at least they would if I were in charge. ;) ).
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Offline MajorBringdown

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Soylent is good...

I'm not sure 'good' is the word I would use to describe soylent... I think adequate is a closer description.  I think the downside of relying solely on something like soylent would be the morale-draining nature of consuming nothing but gritty smoothies during the entire trip.

Scene - Mars colony, sol 1045
Mars colonist #1 - What's for breakfast?
Mars colonist #2 - Chewy dirt-water flavoured with 'orange drink' powder... again...
Mars colonist #1 - <sigh> Where's the nearest airlock?
Colonists will be growing their own food.

Explorers will have to make do (or at least they would if I were in charge. ;) ).

I agree that they will grow their own food, eventually.  In the first few years though I suspect it will mostly/all be pre-packaged stuff from Earth.

In any case, something like soylent is probably going to be a key component of the food supply.  I just don't think it should be the only component.  Throw some whiskey in there maybe.  You'd need that if soylent was all you had.

Offline Robotbeat

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Yeah, with the weight you'd save with dense foods like Soylent, you could bring some dehydrated beer and instant coffee (GOOD instant coffee, like Via) with you.

I tell you what. If I had to choose between one and the other, I'd much rather have more than enough Soylent than not enough fresh food.

But I don't think "colonists" will have this discussion, as they'll only have food from Earth in the case of delicacies (dehydrated beer, wine, coffee) or emergency rations (Soylent) or perhaps vitamins and minerals (in the early years). Their macronutrients will be taken care of by local grown food (probably most of the calories will come from a vat of some sort and then grilled up or made into bread, though no doubt they'll also grow lots of lettuce, etc, as a psychological pick-me-up).

But the original topic is first crewed mission (and not necessarily manned).
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Offline guckyfan

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Explorers will have to make do (or at least they would if I were in charge. ;) ).

Maybe with you in charge. But NASA would not do that. SpaceX would not have to do that with their available mass. With a crew of 10 or more they should also mostly be able to have someone to do the cooking. SpaceX will want to provide palatable food from the beginning, to show colonists what they will get, until they grow all of their own food.

Offline virnin

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1. Less people means less strain on ECLSS, remember 6 people is all we can support right now on ISS, a 12 person crew would double the current state of art in terms of long term ECLSS. I'm sure given enough time they can push the envelope, but if they want to make the 2024 window they need to pick their battles.

This isn't exactly correct.  ISS crew is limited to six by the size of the "lifeboat" Soyuz craft.  ISS has supported more than a dozen during Shuttle visits (somewhat augmented by Shuttle ECLSS) and 8 during a relatively recent visiting crew overlap.  CCV will raise crew to 7.

Offline Hotblack Desiato

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I expect the MCT to have some sort of at least semi-automatic landing. Means, regular automatic landing, but in case of a landing site being not that good, they can change the location (essentially select your new landing location on a touch screen and press enter, the computer handles the rest). This wouldn't require a real pilot, but somebody who at least knows where to press onto that touch panel and what the consequences are).

Regarding food, I could imagine that they create some sort of one way landing capsule, essentially a larger and yet simpler dragon capsule, capable of landing 10t on the surface (without any option to launch back to orbit). On the other hand, MCT should be capable of landing a 100t, food shouldn't be a major problem.

Regarding the skill-requirements of the first crew:

2-3 medical doctors (with additional skills in analytical chemistry and geology or botany, aswell as psychology, cooking would be a great additional skill. furthermore they could be maintaining ISRU and ECLSS)
2-3 additional people skilled in chemistry, mechanical engineering, maybe even to the point where they can weld or otherwise fix things.
2-3 people with skills at maintainance. this involves computer-skills for fixing broken computers, regular maintanance of several other systems.

At this point, I expect having 6-9 crewmembers (there are still overlapping skillsets) and another 3-8 (if MCT should fly with 12, maybe even 14) crewmembers with not yet determined skills. So I would say, that there should be crewmembers, who are skilled in using special payloads, like rovers, greenhouses, excavators or have special skills like constructing or welding during EVA (or by controlling a robot doing that work). This will be rather complicated, and yet there need to be at least 2 skilled in doing that, as otherwise losing a person means losing that ability.

Offline chalz

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If 20th century astronauts, broadly speaking, came from the armed services then I reckon that 21st century astronauts, broadly speaking, will come from Silicon Valley. The first mission will defiantly need astronauts rather than customers and they will probably (hopefully) come from both schools.

Also the second mission, a mere two years later, could be very different than the first.

Offline Ludus

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Inspiration Mars (Whatever happened to them??) planned to send an older couple beyond child bearing age to Mars. The rationale was threefold:
1) They would not pass radiation damage to eventual kids.
2) They would have less time left to develop cancer from radiation damage.
3) Older = more mature = more psychological stable

1) could be mitigated by freezing germ cells before the start of the mission, 3) is up for debate but 2) seems to be solid.  So: Average age of the crew around 50?

Inspiration Mars goal however was just a "stunt" mission to do a Mars flyby. Consequently nothing mattered other than the ability of the passengers to survive the trip with minimal bad effects.

SpaceX intent is to start the settlement of Mars and the default assumption is that many of the passengers will never return to earth but will live out their lives on Mars. There's not much reason to emphasize older people who would on balance contribute less and have more medical issues.

I'd guess average age late 20's. About as young as people can be who are very educated and have proven ability.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2016 02:44 PM by Ludus »

Offline jpo234

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SpaceX intent is to start the settlement of Mars and the default assumption is that many of the passengers will never return to earth but will live out their lives on Mars. There's not much reason to emphasize older people who would on balance contribute less and have more medical issues.

I'd guess average age late 20's. About as young as people can be who are very educated and have proven ability.

We are speculating about the FIRST mission(s). These are the people that have to build an initial base and explore Mars to find the ideal spot for the actual colony. Since there is no colony yet, I would assume that most of them will return after a synode on Mars.

The game changes, when the exploration phase is over and the actual colony building starts. But I think this is at least a few decades in the future.
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Offline gospacex

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Scientific research will likely be limited to applied research in support of that goal or that carried out on behalf of organisations willing to pay for it.

I think the Musk way of looking at it is that exploring Mars for scientific purposes, learning about the origin of planets, etc, is a good project for the settlers to undertake once they are there.

"Origin of planets", that's not useful for the colonists, therefore it is way down on the list of priorities, such as "have something to breathe and eat". I bet they will be very busy with other stuff to do during first few years, decades even.

Mars is not going to dissolve in a vacuum, all the scientific discoveries it contains aren't going to disappear.

I wonder how to defend Mars missions from environuts who are already objecting to any and all manned landings on Mars.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2016 03:14 PM by gospacex »

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