Author Topic: Speculation and Discussion: Crew for first SpaceX Mars mission  (Read 40973 times)

Offline kch

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The first mission will defiantly need astronauts rather than customers ...

Why would they be defiant about it?  ;)

Offline Ludus

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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.

I'm talking about the first mission too. I think the default assumption will be that most people who go to Mars will stay there permanently from the very first mission. This isn't in any sense a footprints and flags thing. What useful purpose is served by sending people there at enormous cost and then expending even more resources to bring them back only to send new people the next synod?

It isn't that they'd be stranded or doomed to stay. The system is capable of bringing people back. Likely some people would return. Since it does cost resources that might be better used for other things though, I think the default is that people stay indefinitely.

Online 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.

I'm talking about the first mission too. I think the default assumption will be that most people who go to Mars will stay there permanently from the very first mission. This isn't in any sense a footprints and flags thing. What useful purpose is served by sending people there at enormous cost and then expending even more resources to bring them back only to send new people the next synod?

It isn't that they'd be stranded or doomed to stay. The system is capable of bringing people back. Likely some people would return. Since it does cost resources that might be better used for other things though, I think the default is that people stay indefinitely.

So if you want to send people in their late 20's that will stay there for the rest of their life, you will force them to forgo having a family. Or do you propose that they should have kids on what will basically be an exploration base for decades?

And, BTW, I don't see returning the initial crew as that much of a problem. The MCT/BFS will return anyway and having a smallish crew on an almost empty ship sized for 100 colonists shouldn't be a serious drag.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2016 04:03 pm by jpo234 »
You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. That's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and believing the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than being out there among the stars.

Offline guckyfan

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I agree that mostly young people will be needed to build a colony. BTW that's where I see a flaw in Elon Musks idea of selling tickets to settlers. Those who can afford them have already have their kids on earth. Young people won't have the money unless their parents spend all their lifes savings to send them.

But for the first missions people near 50 are still a good choice IMO. They may stay 4 to 6 years or stay, health permitting. No high cost involved sending them back to earth though as the rockets are going as Elon Musk has stated clearly.  ;)

I also don't think that 20 years will pass before colony building starts. I fully expect the first children born on Mars no more than 8 years after first landing, quite possible earlier. Nothing like children to motivate people to work for the common goal.

Besides the more technical fact that we need to know that healthy children can be raised on Mars before starting to build a colony. 4 years is plenty of time to raise animals for a few generations before young people have children.

Online jpo234

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I also don't think that 20 years will pass before colony building starts. I fully expect the first children born on Mars no more than 8 years after first landing, quite possible earlier. Nothing like children to motivate people to work for the common goal.

I think there are serious ethical issues with this. Before you can have children on Mars, you have to prove that the colony is viable. Adults can understand and accept the risks, children can't. And there are huge risks.
You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. That's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and believing the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than being out there among the stars.

Offline Lar

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This thread is about the first mission. Colony growth stuff, ethical considerations of later missions etc? Off topic. This thread was gone for a while to allow surgery on it. Stay on topic or it will go away again.
"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 Ludus

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So if you want to send people in their late 20's that will stay there for the rest of their life, you will force them to forgo having a family. Or do you propose that they should have kids on what will basically be an exploration base for decades?

Unlike Space Missions with astronauts who are effectively under military style command, I think the assumption here is that people who go to Mars are more independent. I don't think the system would force them to do either. I think some would choose to have kids even in an "exploration base" environment. I expect that would be a fairly rare choice while living conditions remain difficult.

Especially among the early settlers, I'd expect many to be motivated by a sense of the opportunity to be founders of a new planetary civilization. Having a place in history. For some that may not be enough to stay through hardships so they'll return. I wouldn't be real surprised if kids are born on Mars within a decade though.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2016 04:27 pm by Ludus »

Offline Ludus

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I also don't think that 20 years will pass before colony building starts. I fully expect the first children born on Mars no more than 8 years after first landing, quite possible earlier. Nothing like children to motivate people to work for the common goal.

I think there are serious ethical issues with this. Before you can have children on Mars, you have to prove that the colony is viable. Adults can understand and accept the risks, children can't. And there are huge risks.

I don't think humans reason these things through in that way. When have humans ever acted on the basis that their children should have a say in what risks they accept? People just have kids. I'm not arguing for it as Ethically proper, just saying that's how it works.

Offline Ludus

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Maybe having children on Mars is close to being off topic but it does connect to Crew for the first SpaceX Mars mission in the sense of asking what the expectations of that crew are. Is the crew like NASA astronauts for a Mission or like volunteers who are going to settle Mars? Is the expectation that authorities on Earth make decisions and set rules?

It does impact who is selected to go. Is having a strong sense of wanting to be a founder of a new civilization or having a mate who also qualified a plus or a minus?

It also probably matters who is paying for the crew member. NASA might have a different answer from other space agencies or SpaceX itself.

Offline guckyfan

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I think there are serious ethical issues with this. Before you can have children on Mars, you have to prove that the colony is viable. Adults can understand and accept the risks, children can't. And there are huge risks.

I don't think humans reason these things through in that way. When have humans ever acted on the basis that their children should have a say in what risks they accept? People just have kids. I'm not arguing for it as Ethically proper, just saying that's how it works.

I have place my reply here.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40178.msg1561304#msg1561304

Lar is right that this is not the thread for this exchange.

Online Bob Shaw

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For the first SpaceX crew you'll want qualified people at all levels - a test-pilot to get you there, environmental engineer to keep you breathing, general spacecraft engineer to keep the wheels turning. You'd probably keep the crew as small as possible, despite the temptation to double-up for safety.

Your choices re age and experience/lack thereof may be defined by externals, such as likely cumulative radiation exposure on previous flights - if you're already old, radiation won't matter to the same degree in terms of life-shortening, as you're going to die sooner than a 25-year-old anyway, so a NASA pilot-astronaut from the shuttle era would have a good shout. In general, too, you'll want people who already have kids or are unlikely to breed after their flight - again, that favours older people and gay crewmembers.

An international crew, I'd rule out if there are small numbers - taking non US citizens along if they are passengers on a bigger expedition is fine, but if ITAR rears up and bites... ...just stay on Mars!


Offline JamesH65

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For the first SpaceX crew you'll want qualified people at all levels - a test-pilot to get you there, environmental engineer to keep you breathing, general spacecraft engineer to keep the wheels turning. You'd probably keep the crew as small as possible, despite the temptation to double-up for safety.

Your choices re age and experience/lack thereof may be defined by externals, such as likely cumulative radiation exposure on previous flights - if you're already old, radiation won't matter to the same degree in terms of life-shortening, as you're going to die sooner than a 25-year-old anyway, so a NASA pilot-astronaut from the shuttle era would have a good shout. In general, too, you'll want people who already have kids or are unlikely to breed after their flight - again, that favours older people and gay crewmembers.

An international crew, I'd rule out if there are small numbers - taking non US citizens along if they are passengers on a bigger expedition is fine, but if ITAR rears up and bites... ...just stay on Mars!

You need engineers and labourers, electronic engineers and computer people, farmers, biologists, chemists, doctors. People who can weld, turn, mill, make concrete, fix stuff, program hardware, grow test crops, do chemical analysis . Since there are going to be fairly few people going at first, the ability to multi skill is essential. These people are going to have to be intelligent, but also have lots of manual skills.

Offline meekGee

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Fuel ISRU is an integral part of the MCT architecture. MCT cannot fly without it. They need to carry the equipment on the first flights, nominally in 2022. They cannot defer it to anyone in general.

There's a certain set of technologies that have to go together, and it's not a small set:

Rocketry
EDL
Power
On-surface ice mining
ISRU
Habitats
Surface technology (e.g. vehicles, tools)

And it's very difficult to bootstrap it all robotically.

My prediction is that the MCT transportation system will be used to support a small first crew in a very traditional way (saturate them with supplies) and have them set up the rest of this first technology set while dependent on the supplies.

So you won't have "ISRU working and tanks are full" before the first crew launches.  This probably shortens the timeline by several synods.


Looking forward to next month...
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Online Robotbeat

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I think SpaceX will encourage people to join SpaceX missions earlier than that. First crewed mission, even.

Not for the first crews, maybe, but for the first wave indeed, EM could approach the collective Jim with such proposition. It would be a token of respect as much as a challenge and a magical opportunity for the willing.
I think there's virtually zero chance that the first crew to land on Mars won't include at least one NASA astronaut (if not several). How that gets worked out, I have no idea, but I'm sure it will.
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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 meekGee

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I think SpaceX will encourage people to join SpaceX missions earlier than that. First crewed mission, even.

Not for the first crews, maybe, but for the first wave indeed, EM could approach the collective Jim with such proposition. It would be a token of respect as much as a challenge and a magical opportunity for the willing.
I think there's virtually zero chance that the first crew to land on Mars won't include at least one NASA astronaut (if not several). How that gets worked out, I have no idea, but I'm sure it will.

So, on related note, is "astronaut" the preferred term for a Martian settler?
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Offline the_other_Doug

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I think SpaceX will encourage people to join SpaceX missions earlier than that. First crewed mission, even.

Not for the first crews, maybe, but for the first wave indeed, EM could approach the collective Jim with such proposition. It would be a token of respect as much as a challenge and a magical opportunity for the willing.
I think there's virtually zero chance that the first crew to land on Mars won't include at least one NASA astronaut (if not several). How that gets worked out, I have no idea, but I'm sure it will.

I'm pretty sure you're right, but I bet it will also include several non-NASA types, as well -- experts in various of the systems and machinery that will be needed to set up the initial base, plus a heavy emphasis on mechanics and engineers, to fix, repair and jury-rig systems to get them working optimally.  (This could be stretched to include medical and botanical "engineers" as well, i.e., doctors and agriculturalists.)

I think the first flight is too early to consider sending lottery winners, though.  I really, really think that lotteries to select a few people per synod who can get free rides to Mars will be a tremendously useful tool to involve the general public in the adventure.  But probably that's not going to happen until the third wave/synod, or after.

What I can't figure out is who the heck "the collective Jim" is supposed to be?  Sixty-ish, laconic aerospace engineers who are needed to tell any prospective ET's to get off our Martian lawns?  ;)
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline the_other_Doug

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So, on related note, is "astronaut" the preferred term for a Martian settler?

Naw -- they'll be "Mars Colonization Participants"... :D
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Online Robotbeat

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I think SpaceX will encourage people to join SpaceX missions earlier than that. First crewed mission, even.

Not for the first crews, maybe, but for the first wave indeed, EM could approach the collective Jim with such proposition. It would be a token of respect as much as a challenge and a magical opportunity for the willing.
I think there's virtually zero chance that the first crew to land on Mars won't include at least one NASA astronaut (if not several). How that gets worked out, I have no idea, but I'm sure it will.

I'm pretty sure you're right, but I bet it will also include several non-NASA types, as well -- experts in various of the systems and machinery that will be needed to set up the initial base, plus a heavy emphasis on mechanics and engineers, to fix, repair and jury-rig systems to get them working optimally.  (This could be stretched to include medical and botanical "engineers" as well, i.e., doctors and agriculturalists.)...
NASA calls those people "mission specialists." And there are lots of them at NASA. You wouldn't know it, but there are more people at NASA than just flight jocks. ;)
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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My prediction is that the MCT transportation system will be used to support a small first crew in a very traditional way (saturate them with supplies) and have them set up the rest of this first technology set while dependent on the supplies.

So you won't have "ISRU working and tanks are full" before the first crew launches.  This probably shortens the timeline by several synods.


Looking forward to next month...

That was my expectation too. Elon Musk stated clearly the opposite, there would be fuel ready when people land but he has changed his mind before.

But about his announcement. If this becomes a generic statement about a colony without detailed announcement of the BFR/BFS architecture it is not what was announced. It would be a let down and a retreat from his announcement. I cannot believe that yet, just from this eMail by the organizer.

Online Robotbeat

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The email was interesting because it seems to hint the talk won't be just about the logistical side of building a colony, as was kind of the idea before (or at least that was what I remembered).  If the talk includes more colony stuff, that'd be interesting to me, too.

I'm sure they'll tell us all about MCT. But I'm interested in how he imagines a city to be built. Sources of funding, partnerships, etc.
« Last Edit: 08/22/2016 02:18 am by Robotbeat »
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

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