Author Topic: Liquid Water found on Mars  (Read 5871 times)

Offline Russel

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Re: Liquid Water found on Mars
« Reply #40 on: 11/01/2018 07:12 PM »
Once again I feel compelled to point out that if your purpose is to land a few people on Mars for exploration and scientific purposes and to get them safely home, there is absolutely no reason to extract local hydrogen for the purpose of propellant production.

That's not my purpose. I want us to become a spacefaring, multiplanetary, and ultimately interstellar species. Exploration for the next 20 years won't cut it.

Occupy Mars.

So that means ISRU of everything. If it makes sense initially to only do partial ISRU, viewed in the context of an ever increasing traffic level, sure. But I don't think it does.

Also, strip mines on lifeless planets don't bother me much.

YMMV.

Well, I'm not so gung ho about this. Whilst I'm quietly hopeful that my species will eventually become civilised and earn the right to be space-faring, the reality is that this kind of evolution is going to take some time. Decades if not longer.

In any case, even if I were to accept the inevitability of permanent human settlement on Mars, insisting on full ISRU as a precondition is just going to delay exploration.

When it comes to having a permanent presence - and in particular one that involves random ordinary people - delay is a good thing. It allows us to develop better technology. It allows us to understand - if by no other means actually doing the experiment - what effects there are on humans. Delay means that when you get to the point of permanent (but limited I hope) human presence, we are better prepared and less likely to kill and maim people. You may not like this but I think that 20 years of exploration phase is actually optimistic.

Pertinent to the topic here. I think that full ISRU will depend as much on luck as anything. Unless we get really fine grained data from remote sensing, there is every possibility that finding that vein of ice that is easy to mine and in the right location for other reasons may just require good old fashioned human exploration. Maybe I'm wrong about that. Maybe it will be done by robot, but we'll see.
« Last Edit: 11/01/2018 07:28 PM by Russel »

Offline Russel

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Re: Liquid Water found on Mars
« Reply #41 on: 11/01/2018 07:25 PM »
Atmospheric condensation is the way to guarantee a water source for a small base. Mars' temperature swings and low pressures will provide all of the work. The colonists need only have a collection method worked out. As long as you have condensers and the means to collect frost from it, you can always have a relatively free local water supply. I can't imagine a base where some sort of emergency condensing capability is not always available.

I fully agree here. A couple of points though.

a) A tight enough life support system may actually have a net gain of water because of the hydrogen in imported food.
b) Importing hydrogen for ascent fuel will probably be done with a large margin.

However, having the ability to condense water is one I'd strongly argue for.

The best way to do it is to land the water vapour extraction gear years ahead of a manned landing. That way you have a secure store of water before you get there. The capacity of the plant when you get there is just another backup (you may need the electrical power for other things).

The scale this needs to be done at is tractable. Perhaps hundreds of Kg per year.

Offline Slarty1080

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Re: Liquid Water found on Mars
« Reply #42 on: 11/17/2018 09:17 AM »
Atmospheric condensation is the way to guarantee a water source for a small base. Mars' temperature swings and low pressures will provide all of the work. The colonists need only have a collection method worked out. As long as you have condensers and the means to collect frost from it, you can always have a relatively free local water supply. I can't imagine a base where some sort of emergency condensing capability is not always available.

I fully agree here. A couple of points though.

a) A tight enough life support system may actually have a net gain of water because of the hydrogen in imported food.
b) Importing hydrogen for ascent fuel will probably be done with a large margin.

However, having the ability to condense water is one I'd strongly argue for.

The best way to do it is to land the water vapour extraction gear years ahead of a manned landing. That way you have a secure store of water before you get there. The capacity of the plant when you get there is just another backup (you may need the electrical power for other things).

The scale this needs to be done at is tractable. Perhaps hundreds of Kg per year.
I don't think there is enough atmospheric water on Mars to make its extraction viable.
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 Lar

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Re: Liquid Water found on Mars
« Reply #43 on: 11/18/2018 11:15 AM »
Once again I feel compelled to point out that if your purpose is to land a few people on Mars for exploration and scientific purposes and to get them safely home, there is absolutely no reason to extract local hydrogen for the purpose of propellant production.

That's not my purpose. I want us to become a spacefaring, multiplanetary, and ultimately interstellar species. Exploration for the next 20 years won't cut it.

Occupy Mars.

So that means ISRU of everything. If it makes sense initially to only do partial ISRU, viewed in the context of an ever increasing traffic level, sure. But I don't think it does.

Also, strip mines on lifeless planets don't bother me much.

YMMV.

Well, I'm not so gung ho about this. Whilst I'm quietly hopeful that my species will eventually become civilised and earn the right to be space-faring,
"earned the right" ?? From whom? There is no supreme authority granting the right to not become extinct. We will earn the right by developing the technology and doing it.

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the reality is that this kind of evolution is going to take some time. Decades if not longer.
If you want to "earn the right" to exploit resources, it's going to take forever, in fact. We are an imperfect species and a naysayer can always find reasons to say nay.
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In any case, even if I were to accept the inevitability of permanent human settlement on Mars, insisting on full ISRU as a precondition is just going to delay exploration.
Happily I didn't insist on it. But as I said, I'm not as interested in exploration at this point. It's time to shift to exploitation.
Quote

When it comes to having a permanent presence - and in particular one that involves random ordinary people - delay is a good thing. It allows us to develop better technology. It allows us to understand - if by no other means actually doing the experiment - what effects there are on humans. Delay means that when you get to the point of permanent (but limited I hope) human presence, we are better prepared and less likely to kill and maim people. You may not like this but I think that 20 years of exploration phase is actually optimistic.
Happily, NASA agrees with you. But real people are going to make this happen anyway, despite NASA and forests of powerpoints about the journey to Mars.
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Pertinent to the topic here. I think that full ISRU will depend as much on luck as anything. Unless we get really fine grained data from remote sensing, there is every possibility that finding that vein of ice that is easy to mine and in the right location for other reasons may just require good old fashioned human exploration. Maybe I'm wrong about that. Maybe it will be done by robot, but we'll see.
Maybe it will be done by boots on the ground as part of expanding a base that was started with partial ISRU. That's the best way, not robots. We are currently waiting to see if one of our robots wakes up after a duststorm. Not a good place to be. Boots on the ground, to stay, is how to explore effectively.

If it seems like I picked your post apart, point by point, that's because I did. It is in dire need of point by point refutation, as it's so wrong on so many levels, I'm not even sure I found them all.
"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

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