Author Topic: Speculation and Discussion: Crew for first SpaceX Mars mission  (Read 41006 times)

Online rakaydos

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Remember, earlier versions of BFS were suppose to carry 100 people. Maybe that's down to a lower number, say 70. A crew of 12 will still leave room for cargo. There's also 2 cargo Starships landing the previous synod, 2 more cargo Starships, and the two crew Starships. There will be plenty of cargo for 12 to 24 crew to work with.
keep in mind, thats 100 people with 4 months of supplies for a fast transit and places waiting for them on the other side. Thats different than a transit+synod+saftey margin in supplies, and basic "get out the door" exploration options. (more advanced exploration tools can be in a presupply rocket.

Offline Slarty1080

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Remember, earlier versions of BFS were suppose to carry 100 people. Maybe that's down to a lower number, say 70. A crew of 12 will still leave room for cargo. There's also 2 cargo Starships landing the previous synod, 2 more cargo Starships, and the two crew Starships. There will be plenty of cargo for 12 to 24 crew to work with.
keep in mind, thats 100 people with 4 months of supplies for a fast transit and places waiting for them on the other side. Thats different than a transit+synod+saftey margin in supplies, and basic "get out the door" exploration options. (more advanced exploration tools can be in a presupply rocket.
Yes I agree the early descriptions of BFR did mention carrying 100 people, however these figures refered to much later missions not the first missions. If you have sufficient infrastructure set up on Mars then the numbers change significantly.

More than 4 crew may end up going on the first mission. If this is the case then the need for extra crew will have been well argued and the associated risks (less other stuff) accepted.
The first words spoken on Mars: "Humans have been wondering if there was any life on the planet Mars for many decades … well ... there is now!"

Offline RonM

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Remember, earlier versions of BFS were suppose to carry 100 people. Maybe that's down to a lower number, say 70. A crew of 12 will still leave room for cargo. There's also 2 cargo Starships landing the previous synod, 2 more cargo Starships, and the two crew Starships. There will be plenty of cargo for 12 to 24 crew to work with.
keep in mind, thats 100 people with 4 months of supplies for a fast transit and places waiting for them on the other side. Thats different than a transit+synod+saftey margin in supplies, and basic "get out the door" exploration options. (more advanced exploration tools can be in a presupply rocket.

Daily requirements for a person are 0.84 kg oxygen, 1.77 kg dried food, and about 4 kg water. Water recovery on ISS is 70% efficient, so that drops the new daily water down to 1.2 kg. so, we're looking at 3.81 kg per person. Let's round that up to 4 kg per day per person to cover items such as CO2 scrubbers.

At 4 kg per person, 1000 kg (metric tonne) can support a person for 250 days. A Earth-Mars synod is 26 months and let's say the flight to Mars is 4 months and the flight back is 6 months. That's 36 months or 1080 days. So, for the entire trip, each person will require 4.32 tonnes of supplies. Throw in the mass of the person and some personal baggage and we get 5 tonnes.

Crewperson, baggage, and life support supplies at 5 tonnes for the whole trip. So, a 12 person crew will take 60 tonnes on a ship that can carry over 100 tonnes.

Offline philw1776

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Daily requirements for a person are 0.84 kg oxygen, 1.77 kg dried food, and about 4 kg water. Water recovery on ISS is 70% efficient, so that drops the new daily water down to 1.2 kg. so, we're looking at 3.81 kg per person. Let's round that up to 4 kg per day per person to cover items such as CO2 scrubbers.

At 4 kg per person, 1000 kg (metric tonne) can support a person for 250 days. A Earth-Mars synod is 26 months and let's say the flight to Mars is 4 months and the flight back is 6 months. That's 36 months or 1080 days. So, for the entire trip, each person will require 4.32 tonnes of supplies. Throw in the mass of the person and some personal baggage and we get 5 tonnes.

Crewperson, baggage, and life support supplies at 5 tonnes for the whole trip. So, a 12 person crew will take 60 tonnes on a ship that can carry over 100 tonnes.

Conservative estimate

I'd posted 12 person Flight Engineer crew capabilities elsewhere here on NSF
   
FLIGHT ENGINEER CREW      
   Primary Expertise       Backup
1   MD      
         
2   Electronics Systems Engr      Mech Sys
         
3   Mech Systems Engr              ECLSS
         
4   Geologist Mining Engr       
         
5   Geologist Mining Engr #2      
         
6   ECLSS Specialist              EMT
         
7   Roboticist/Mechanic              Mech Sys
         
8   Chemist Soils & In Situ propellant      
         
9   Roboticist/Mechanic #2      
         
10   Chemist Soils & In Situ #2      
         
11   Electronics Systems Engr #2      
         
12   Mech Systems Engr #2      

Need to support the people (MD & EMT), the ship, the equipment, and mine water for propellant manufacturing
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Offline Mongo62

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   Primary Expertise       Backup
1   MD      
         
2   Electronics Systems Engr      Mech Sys
         
3   Mech Systems Engr              ECLSS
         
4   Geologist Mining Engr       
         
5   Geologist Mining Engr #2      
         
6   ECLSS Specialist              EMT
         
7   Roboticist/Mechanic              Mech Sys
         
8   Chemist Soils & In Situ propellant      
         
9   Roboticist/Mechanic #2      
         
10   Chemist Soils & In Situ #2      
         
11   Electronics Systems Engr #2      
         
12   Mech Systems Engr #2      

Need to support the people (MD & EMT), the ship, the equipment, and mine water for propellant manufacturing

That leaves 4 unused secondary or backup slots available. One of those slots would presumably be for Captain. I would recommend at least one more medical backup slot as well. The other two slots? Perhaps one secondary slot would be for a journalist or historian position, to document the expedition? There would be video or other records regardless, but somebody on board who knows what records would be most useful to future historians would be invaluable. The final secondary slot? I don't know, maybe a chef (or an artist, a la DearMoon)?

Offline Slarty1080

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Remember, earlier versions of BFS were suppose to carry 100 people. Maybe that's down to a lower number, say 70. A crew of 12 will still leave room for cargo. There's also 2 cargo Starships landing the previous synod, 2 more cargo Starships, and the two crew Starships. There will be plenty of cargo for 12 to 24 crew to work with.
keep in mind, thats 100 people with 4 months of supplies for a fast transit and places waiting for them on the other side. Thats different than a transit+synod+saftey margin in supplies, and basic "get out the door" exploration options. (more advanced exploration tools can be in a presupply rocket.

Daily requirements for a person are 0.84 kg oxygen, 1.77 kg dried food, and about 4 kg water. Water recovery on ISS is 70% efficient, so that drops the new daily water down to 1.2 kg. so, we're looking at 3.81 kg per person. Let's round that up to 4 kg per day per person to cover items such as CO2 scrubbers.

At 4 kg per person, 1000 kg (metric tonne) can support a person for 250 days. A Earth-Mars synod is 26 months and let's say the flight to Mars is 4 months and the flight back is 6 months. That's 36 months or 1080 days. So, for the entire trip, each person will require 4.32 tonnes of supplies. Throw in the mass of the person and some personal baggage and we get 5 tonnes.

Crewperson, baggage, and life support supplies at 5 tonnes for the whole trip. So, a 12 person crew will take 60 tonnes on a ship that can carry over 100 tonnes.

Taking your argument to its logical conclusion there should be room for a crew of 20, so why not take 20?

Reason being there will be a need for a lot of additional “stuff”. I could see the sub team designing the rover arguing about whether it should be 10 ton or 12 tons and whether they can take two or not. And the ISRU sub team who want most of the mass allowance from an entire Starship just for their solar array.

I hope they do find the mass for 12 people; it would be great, although I doubt it. But to join in with the thread and in the spirit of compromise I suggest:

MD
Electronics engineer
Mechanical engineer
Geologist
Biologist
ECLSS specialist
Robot mechanic
ISRU chemist

One would also be commander and each would act as backup for one other and have general training and familiarity with a third role.

This would save an additional 20 tons or so for some fancy pressurized rovers, a sizable drilling rig and extra solar energy capacity (or whatever stuff).
The first words spoken on Mars: "Humans have been wondering if there was any life on the planet Mars for many decades … well ... there is now!"

Online AC in NC

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Crewperson, baggage, and life support supplies at 5 tonnes for the whole trip. So, a 12 person crew will take 60 tonnes on a ship that can carry over 100 tonnes.

A couple points.  This discounts pre-positioned tonnage from the previous synod's uncrewed landings.  And it doesn't address the capacity of the sortie that is landing.  Although certainly there's an element of you want to know you have enough to make it for unexpected contingencies, I suspect there will be some tradeoffs.  And you'll know some things about what you can depend on at Mars.

I'm not sure if the Mission Profile by synod changed in 2018 but recall 2017's.

I don't think 12 is as limiting as the 60 of 100 tonnes number implies.


ETA:  Had missed RonM's earlier point about 12 or 24 not being limiting on cargo.
« Last Edit: 01/01/2019 07:02 pm by AC in NC »

Offline RonM

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Crewperson, baggage, and life support supplies at 5 tonnes for the whole trip. So, a 12 person crew will take 60 tonnes on a ship that can carry over 100 tonnes.

A couple points.  This discounts pre-positioned tonnage from the previous synod's uncrewed landings.  And it doesn't address the capacity of the sortie that is landing.  Although certainly there's an element of you want to know you have enough to make it for unexpected contingencies, I suspect there will be some tradeoffs.  And you'll know some things about what you can depend on at Mars.

I'm not sure if the Mission Profile by synod changed in 2018 but recall 2017's.

I don't think 12 is as limiting as the 60 of 100 tonnes number implies.

I mentioned the six ships earlier. I added some ballpark numbers to the conversation to show that 12 people can fit on one ship for a 36 month mission. Better to have an estimate than hand waving. My estimate doesn't even include recovering oxygen from CO2. Better life support systems could lower the mass.

Offline mshear

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   Primary Expertise       Backup
1   MD      
         
2   Electronics Systems Engr      Mech Sys
         
3   Mech Systems Engr              ECLSS
         
4   Geologist Mining Engr       
         
5   Geologist Mining Engr #2      
         
6   ECLSS Specialist              EMT
         
7   Roboticist/Mechanic              Mech Sys
         
8   Chemist Soils & In Situ propellant      
         
9   Roboticist/Mechanic #2      
         
10   Chemist Soils & In Situ #2      
         
11   Electronics Systems Engr #2      
         
12   Mech Systems Engr #2      

Need to support the people (MD & EMT), the ship, the equipment, and mine water for propellant manufacturing

That leaves 4 unused secondary or backup slots available. One of those slots would presumably be for Captain. I would recommend at least one more medical backup slot as well. The other two slots? Perhaps one secondary slot would be for a journalist or historian position, to document the expedition? There would be video or other records regardless, but somebody on board who knows what records would be most useful to future historians would be invaluable. The final secondary slot? I don't know, maybe a chef (or an artist, a la DearMoon)?

Every time I see one of these lists I notice that there's generally an MD included as a primary slot, usually (although not always) with no secondary slot listed for that position.  This always strikes me as unnecessary, even a little silly; I've given a fair bit of thought to the medical needs of this kind of mission and frankly there's not going to be a lot of benefit to a physician over, say, a couple of paramedics (if there's only one, that will be the one person who gets sick or injured!).  There are very few things (I can't actually think of any offhand) where having a doc is going to make a difference compared to a paramedic, given that there will be radio consultation with medical support back on the ground with ~1hr of lag time and most paramedics I know are perfectly capable of the first hour of treatment for any illness or injury that's going to be survivable at all given the circumstances - after all, there's no operating room to try to get an unstable trauma into within the golden hour!  I'd argue that the medical support should consist of every member of the crew having fairly advanced first aid training, and at least two having something along the line of paramedic or PA level of training...but that this should be their *secondary* slot and have something more mission critical as their primary slot - or at least if their primary role is medical support, having a strong secondary role (ECLSS support would fit well here).

Having said that, you could almost certainly find a physician who could play the tune of ECLSS (or other) engineer as well - I certainly would not have any objection to that being the case, my objection is more to dedicating a slot exclusively to medical support and also specifying that the medical support slot must be specifically a physician rather than more generically "medical support" to give a bit more flexibility.  If I were on the crew, I'd rather have a really capable ECLSS engineer who also happens to be a reasonably competent paramedic rather than a really capable physician who also happens to be reasonably competent at ECLSS engineering!

Background: I used to be a paramedic before med school, now have been a practicing emergency physician (which is arguably the specialty you'd want if you took a doc along on this kind of mission) for the last eight years.  Which means that I'm all too aware of how few serious injuries can be adequately treated by one or two people, as most things that are going to need more than something like a fracture reduction and casting will require the services of a large team of trained people well beyond the resources of an early Mars mission.  Minor orthopedic injuries (by "minor" I mean "does not require open surgery"), laceration repairs, etc could all be dealt with quite easily by a paramedic or PA especially since they could get coaching over the radio from Earth; most things beyond that are going to have to be dealt with by patching up as best as possible and hoping that they heal regardless of who is in the medical support role. 

Sorry about the rant - this is an assumption (that an MD is needed) that's been bugging me for years! [grin]

Offline Slarty1080

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Snip...

Every time I see one of these lists I notice that there's generally an MD included as a primary slot, usually (although not always) with no secondary slot listed for that position.  This always strikes me as unnecessary, even a little silly; I've given a fair bit of thought to the medical needs of this kind of mission and frankly there's not going to be a lot of benefit to a physician over, say, a couple of paramedics (if there's only one, that will be the one person who gets sick or injured!).  There are very few things (I can't actually think of any offhand) where having a doc is going to make a difference compared to a paramedic, given that there will be radio consultation with medical support back on the ground with ~1hr of lag time and most paramedics I know are perfectly capable of the first hour of treatment for any illness or injury that's going to be survivable at all given the circumstances - after all, there's no operating room to try to get an unstable trauma into within the golden hour!  I'd argue that the medical support should consist of every member of the crew having fairly advanced first aid training, and at least two having something along the line of paramedic or PA level of training...but that this should be their *secondary* slot and have something more mission critical as their primary slot - or at least if their primary role is medical support, having a strong secondary role (ECLSS support would fit well here).

Having said that, you could almost certainly find a physician who could play the tune of ECLSS (or other) engineer as well - I certainly would not have any objection to that being the case, my objection is more to dedicating a slot exclusively to medical support and also specifying that the medical support slot must be specifically a physician rather than more generically "medical support" to give a bit more flexibility.  If I were on the crew, I'd rather have a really capable ECLSS engineer who also happens to be a reasonably competent paramedic rather than a really capable physician who also happens to be reasonably competent at ECLSS engineering!

Background: I used to be a paramedic before med school, now have been a practicing emergency physician (which is arguably the specialty you'd want if you took a doc along on this kind of mission) for the last eight years.  Which means that I'm all too aware of how few serious injuries can be adequately treated by one or two people, as most things that are going to need more than something like a fracture reduction and casting will require the services of a large team of trained people well beyond the resources of an early Mars mission.  Minor orthopedic injuries (by "minor" I mean "does not require open surgery"), laceration repairs, etc could all be dealt with quite easily by a paramedic or PA especially since they could get coaching over the radio from Earth; most things beyond that are going to have to be dealt with by patching up as best as possible and hoping that they heal regardless of who is in the medical support role. 

Sorry about the rant - this is an assumption (that an MD is needed) that's been bugging me for years! [grin]

Yes good point - I fear many people (me included) might well have thought, well we need a doctor in case any medical treatment is required so MD on the team - next. But you are right that a) the medical expert needs a backup and b) they don't need to be an MD a paramedic would also be an ideal choice.

The key point being that you want someone who has very good general abilities with dealing with a wide range of emergencies, not someone with an encyclopaedic knowledge of medicine. Any chronic issues can be advised on from Earth, any acute issues must be dealt with there and then by the crew.

As I said somewhere before what they need is to maximise on the Spocks and Scottys and minimise on the Kirks and McCoys  ;D
The first words spoken on Mars: "Humans have been wondering if there was any life on the planet Mars for many decades … well ... there is now!"

Online AC in NC

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Any chronic issues can be advised on from Earth, any acute issues must be dealt with there and then by the crew.

Or if something new crops up, Bezos can send a "Pill Pack" via one of those Film Canister drops they used in the 60's for spy sat photos.   8)

mshear's point is good and shouldn't be considered a rant.  Important to consider what can be done vs. what might be needed.

Online rakaydos

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As far as crew lists are concerned, I also feel there is a secondary role that is left off.

NASA can mandate no sex in space, but at some point, it's going to happen, and if birth control isn't up to date, there will be a new volunteer for a variable gravity pediatric study.

How's that for a threat to keep it in your pants for about 3 years?

Offline Slarty1080

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As far as crew lists are concerned, I also feel there is a secondary role that is left off.

NASA can mandate no sex in space, but at some point, it's going to happen, and if birth control isn't up to date, there will be a new volunteer for a variable gravity pediatric study.

How's that for a threat to keep it in your pants for about 3 years?

That won't be a problem as NASA won't be in charge Mr Musk will be.

Gasp! x :o - no wait – it’s a big problem. Would assume Elon will ensure the necessary contingency supplies will be included. No doubt the press will have a field day.
The first words spoken on Mars: "Humans have been wondering if there was any life on the planet Mars for many decades … well ... there is now!"

Online rakaydos

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As far as crew lists are concerned, I also feel there is a secondary role that is left off.

NASA can mandate no sex in space, but at some point, it's going to happen, and if birth control isn't up to date, there will be a new volunteer for a variable gravity pediatric study.

How's that for a threat to keep it in your pants for about 3 years?

That won't be a problem as NASA won't be in charge Mr Musk will be.

Gasp! x :o - no wait – it’s a big problem. Would assume Elon will ensure the necessary contingency supplies will be included. No doubt the press will have a field day.
that's why I said there was a missing role in the crew lists... Pediatrician/gynocoligist, to monitor the experiment.

Offline DistantTemple

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Kim Stanley Robinson mapped out the future development quite succinctly. Its already future fact. Yes it would be a massive oversight not to make at least some preparation, and a great wast of opportunity, as well as possibly increased risk to mother and child.

EM keeps news very tight when he wants to. However any medical person signing on will probably generate ar thorough and exhaustive backstuddy  here, on Reddit, in the press etc. Did s/he do a module in paediatrics? ... every hospital they worked at...

I watched some film of Antarctic overwinter base participants being trained in surgical support. How to maintain sterility, how to respond to the surgeon, how to assist in stitching, how to lift a patient between trolleys etc.  Engineers and scientists have expert technical knowledge, and learning skills to learn a lot in a few weeks crash (ha ha) course. They are skilled with tools and procedures. Also if they have been hoping/planning to get some astronaut time in if they can, they may have kept acquired some "expedition emergency medicine" skills.
« Last Edit: 01/03/2019 06:32 pm by DistantTemple »
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Offline marcon

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Any conception on such an expedition will be terminated immediately and absolutely quietly.

This is far too dangerous an issue for both mother and child medically, as well as for the whole mission in terms of public opinion, let alone of questionable morality.

In fact, I am sure that the crew will include several rodents for research into reproduction in low gravity over several generations and subsequent return to higher gravity.

Edit : There will be need for gynaecological supervision and research, for any female pre-menopausal astronauts are on board, though.
« Last Edit: 01/03/2019 10:00 pm by marcon »

Offline guckyfan

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This is far too dangerous an issue for both mother and child medically, as well as for the whole mission in terms of public opinion, let alone of questionable morality.

Any such statement gets me boiling mad. Who do you think you are that you can make such a judgement? Here on earth everybody can have children regardless of any considerations. Why should this be different during a space expedition?

Not that I think this should happen on the first expedition and without animal tests. I hope such tests will be made on Starship test flights that evaluate ECLSS, NASA failing to do them on the ISS.

Offline marcon

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This is far too dangerous an issue for both mother and child medically, as well as for the whole mission in terms of public opinion, let alone of questionable morality.

Any such statement gets me boiling mad. Who do you think you are that you can make such a judgement? Here on earth everybody can have children regardless of any considerations. Why should this be different during a space expedition?

Not that I think this should happen on the first expedition and without animal tests. I hope such tests will be made on Starship test flights that evaluate ECLSS, NASA failing to do them on the ISS.

It's the health of the potential mother and implications for the life of a baby, I am considering. There is so much that can potentially go wrong during a pregnancy, let alone in zero or low gravity.

I am considering the morality of bringing a child into this world, when we don't yet know, if it's even possible to live healthily in low gravity on Mars long term. Let alone, whether such a child could ever be brought to earth. As long as we don't have a permanent settlement on Mars, and/or have done the necessary medical research and preparation to make it safe and long term survivable for the child.

And giving the fact how delicate a subject sex and procreation are in the US, there would be a tremendous public backlash, if something involving pregnancy or a baby were to go wrong. It's one thing about expecting trained astronauts and explorers to undergo substantial risk. It's something else to bring children into it.

Edit: Removed unneccessarily confrontational tone of my post.
« Last Edit: 01/04/2019 11:09 am by marcon »

Online AC in NC

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Any such statement gets me boiling mad. Who do you think you are that you can make such a judgement?

As far as "making the statement", the answer is "an observer of what makes sense".

As far as "an individual that finds themselves in the described situation", the answer is "an individual with human agency to enter in an agreement for association with a group in challenging circumstances, with common goals, and subject to restrictions that further overall success of the endeavor."

You aren't walking onto Mars with a mile-long list of civil rights that you get to sue for.

This is a discussion for somewhere else as it trends very close toward off-topic and is unnecessarily passion-raising for some it appears.

Offline alexterrell

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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
* ??
I think the roles of "driver" and "cook" will probably be removed and done by the entire team.

Driver - because flexibility demands that at some point everyone will need to drive.

Cook - because everyone can do it, and it will probably be good for team morale if everyone takes it in turn to cook. Nutrition and ingredients planning will have been done on Earth.

You might need more "Engineers" - not to say someone who is an engineer, but someone who has spent a lot of time disassembling, and reassembling, a specific bit of equipment. Perhaps 2 people who can do each piece of equipment:
- Life support expert
- Launch engine expert
- Communications and IT expert
- HVAC expert
- Airlock expert
- Vehicle expert (car mechanic?)
- ....

what are the dozen main and critical systems? Each crew member would then know how to fix TWO of these "blind folded whilst breathing 0.1 bar Oxygen."

Of course, one of the main system types is "human" and we'll need 2 engineers - commonly called "Doctors", to maintain and fix these.

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