Author Topic: MSR mission gains traction - SLS and Orion had an eye on involvement  (Read 8232 times)

Offline ChrisWilson68

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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.

Offline envy887

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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.

Offline clongton

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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.
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Offline notsorandom

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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.

Offline envy887

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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.

Offline whitelancer64

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.
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Offline whitelancer64

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.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
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Offline joek

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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).

Offline AegeanBlue

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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

Online Robotbeat

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Have any of your read the article?
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Offline ChrisWilson68

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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.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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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?

Offline su27k

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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?

Offline Lar

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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.
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Offline notsorandom

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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.

Offline TrevorMonty

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.

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