Bases on Mars? What's the holdup?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by HGVonGalten, Apr 2, 2008.

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  1. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    moist tissues would be a waste or resource, more like a luffa sponge, but that beside the point, your telling me that a person would go insane from 2 years of having the cleaning them selves with a luffa sponge? True a nuclear submarine is not as bad as 2 years in space travel, then again a nuclear submarine does not provide the reward of traveling to an another world, going where no man has gone before, the excitement of seeing things no one has seen before.
     
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  3. orcot Valued Senior Member

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    honnestly by the time we finally will be able to travel to mars then humanoids and AI might have been advanced far enough to postpone a human visit to the point when the first golf courses are opened. ( a humanoid robot equipted with a umbilical cable that has a lifespan of rougly 20 years with minimal life support controlled by the best of the best engeniers supervised by people who builded those robots would be far more efficient then any individual astronaut who has to make up his lost weight from return fuel,food advanced life support systems and can only stay like half a year on the surface.
     
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  5. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Yeah, sure you are. I'm sure your fellow crew members would trust you to diagnose a short circuit, when you start cutting wires,....
     
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  7. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Finally someone that gets it!
     
  8. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    You seem to forget that to prevent muscle atrophy astronauts must exercise for about 2 hours each day on prolonged trips. That luffa is going to start smelling real bad after a week, let alone 2 years, so how you going to clean it?


    No, but in the interest of science, why don't you try it as your only form of sanitation for a few months and see how you get on ;-) .

    You think the excitement of that is going to prevent cabin fever? Or make it worse? Try spending two years in a cramped environment, and get back to me.
     
  9. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Microwave it, its a minor engineering challenge, really. In fact making a shower that recycles water is feasible as well.


    "Cabin fever" or in this case "Space Maddness" is not likely to kill or ruin a mission. We have already done experiments in long term human artificial habitation, we know the psychological problems and we know how to deal with them, space madness is simply not a creditable threat, its like saying humans will never travel faster then 100 miles per hour because the sight of things wezzing by would cause seizures (common fear during 1800's of the potential of high speed travel). Your argument is an appeal to ignorance, it simplifies to: We can't perfectly simulate X and don't know for sure what will happen because of X, we suspect bad things, there forth we should never do X. Imagine Columbus falling for that fallacy "We don't know whats between here and the Indies, we should not sail that way, being away form the shore that long could cause psychosis!"
     
  10. orcot Valued Senior Member

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    This is not necesairly a bad thing
     
  11. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    You have to remember that phlogistician started out trying to claim that we couldn't have a base with a nuclear reactor in Mars in 20 years because that wouldn't be enough time to build a nuclear reactor that people could operate in space, we couldn't design and build a large launch vehicle, we couldn't get nuclear-thermal engines working, and couldn't carry enough supplies. Once it was pointed out that nuclear reactors and nuclear-thermal rocket engines for space have already been built and tested, that it only took 6 years to design and build the Saturn V, and that the mass of supplies for the crew isn't really a problem, he retreated back to these claims about psychology and time in space.
     
  12. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Not true, I just didn't want to debate on too many facets at once, but if you want to bring up the reactors again, let's go at that.

    You claimed large output fission reactors could be made that required no maintenance,.. odd then that the Russians plan to launch something that requires six people to maintain it then!!!!!!!!!!

    Nuclear engines in space,.... nothing that has moved a significant payload, and nothing on the flight plan in the near future, chemical rockets still rule the skies.

    And you never covered off the mass of supplies for a Mars mission, unmanned missions don't have a good record of landing on Mars, so supply via that method cannot be guaranteed.

    So, hand wave over the issues all you like, but it's not going to happen; Russia will not have a crew of six maintaining a nuclear reactor by 2030.
     
  13. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    All the current air and water recycling plant (I say all, I refer to of course the Mir derivative in use on the ISS) at the moment require resupply, and that is done fairly frequently, for the small crew of the ISS. It would require new technology to make something better, and NASA were incapable of beating the efficiency of the Mir unit for Alpha/Freedom/ISS, and the Mir unit was launched in 1986,... 22 years later we still do not have a better version.


    Oh yes it is. Simulations are just that, and the in this instance fail to deliver comparable results, because it's imposible to double blind the subjects.


    It was 10mph, the phenomenon was termed 'Railway Spine' and the supposed flaw was that people would not be able to draw breath at that speed, except people can run faster than 10mph, so the criticism wasn't scientific in the first place. Going 'stir crazy' however is a well documented phenomenon.
     
  14. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Sure going "stir crazy" is documented, likewise are ways to prevent it.

    A Nuclear reactor is not even necessary to get to mars though. Both mars direct and mars reference do it chemically. But a minimal maintenance nuclear reactor is also not a hard task. Thermoelectric and thermoionic reactor have been used for years by the Russian, since the 60's, in space. Since these reactors have no moving parts they can last for decades, RTG do so already.

    ISS and Mir did not actually recycle their CO2 and it was not a close loop system. Even so CO2 electrolysis is not a hard task, a molten carbon cell can do that, alternatively converting CO2 with hydrogen into Methane, then plasmifing the methane into carbon solid and hydrogen would also possible, this would also work well with existing research on refining Martian atmosphere: http://rtreport.ksc.nasa.gov/techreports/2001report/100/106.html

    I do agree it is a major engineering challenge to keep humans alive in space or on a planet like mars, but so far it does not require technology that is not within short term development. As for finding a crew that won't go stir crazy all that is needed is putting them through years of simulated flights, and choosing the ones that can take it. Crews of couples might help, or some kind of free love arrangement.
     
  15. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    They probably want the crew of six to do other things. Like, you know, explore the planet.
    This has already been covered. Nuclear engines with specific impulses above 800 seconds were successfully tested on the ground in the late 1960s/early 1970s. NASA assumed that they would be using nuclear engines in the upper stages of the Saturn V by the late 1970s, before the Saturn V was scrapped. The engine was basically done - the main problem was that they had to completely redesign the SIV-B stage to carry lots and lots of liquid hydrogen fuel instead of the normal hydrogen/oxygen fuel mix. So, yeah, if NASA assumed that they would be using them in a few years back in the 1970s, I suspect that we could get them working within 20 years. But now I am repeating myself.
    Again, this has already been covered. The ISS can go 5 months between resupply flights with a crew of 3. The flights bring 2.5 tons of supplies. This works out to 167 kg per person per month. This means that assuming a Mars mission isn't any better at recycling than the ISS, you would need 30 tons of supplies for a crew of six for 30 months.

    And, as has already been pointed out, you can always just launch extra supplies to mars before the crew departs. If the supplies crash, just try again and wait a little longer to send your crew. Resupply is not an issue.
    And once again, I will point out that I never said they would. I am not sure who you think you are arguing with here, because no one has ever disagreed with you on that point. I said that we could do it if we wanted to and if we were willing to spend the money. How many times am I going to have to repeat that? Of course the Russians aren't going to have a base on Mars by 2030. They are even worse about announcing things and then canceling projects than the U.S. Hell, they spent billions to build a working space shuttle and then scrapped it after its first successful flight. So no, of course they almost certainly aren't going to follow through with this.
     
  16. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Thankyou.
     
  17. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    For what, exactly? No one here ever claimed that they would. Building a base on Mars by 2030 is quite possible, if we really wanted to. It's just that no one is willing to actually pay for it.
     
  18. HumanBeast Registered Member

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    I wonder if somebody could invent a device that contiously shoots out an energy ball out of, say, a thruster, and then in .05 seconds, grab it back. The force of this energy ball gun thruster would push a space ship 100 miles a second.
     
  19. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Now imagine in 2030 AI is advanced enough to replace a human (not likely but by 2050), what do we need to send it to mars? Lets say a robotic body for it will weight ohhh 500kg, with RTG power supply and all the fixings. Do we need any new technology other the the AI?

    HumanBeast,

    Why stop there? why not ask for an Infinite Improbability Drive?
     
  20. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    I can't tell if you're serious or not.
     
  21. Enmos Staff Member

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    LOL

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  22. orcot Valued Senior Member

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    They could still be controlled from earth with it's 20-30minute delay it does not have to be sentient to be commanded to perform a task and con stantly evaluating himself correcting itself by known possible errors or ultimatly give up explain the situation to earth and uses it's hour for response to do the most basic stuff like cleaning up or yust sitting there watching the moons and defragmenting.

    And abouth the weight: humans weight on average what 70 kg? But he also needs rougly 1kg of oxygen a day (let's say your life support can recup 80% of that so you need a 160 kg to last 600 days not quit 2 years...

    Your person weights now 230kg!!
    ad 1600kg dryfood 3200kgwhole food and 2080 kg on waisted water. (all for 600 days)

    The 500 kg robot is now competing with a 7110 kg man who doesn't got his return fuel yet or many other extra's not also that 600 days isn't quit 2 years).

    AI is a big word we do not want it to recite poetry or organise strikes in it's free time, but yust to recognise artificial objects in it's enviroments and perform the mechanical tasks it's instructed to do while knowing enough of the task to visually determine if it's progressing smoothly or not, and if not to abandone the task and ask for human help who would be a trainend engineur in stead of a a pilot who has grade school mechanical knowledge
     
  23. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks for detailing my point. It should also be mentioned that man flight usually will have a return trip, a robot will stay their forever (and will function as long as it is kept in working order), and if something wrong does happen there is no funereal back on earth. I figure optimistically we will have chimp like intelligent by 2030. It should be mentioned though that AI is not the only technological hurdle: there is also the need for radiation hardening, but its likely that high powered compact AI will use analog or composite digital analog neural nets (field programmable gate matrix) which will be very fault tolerant as is, but material components may be prone to radiation damage. Radiation hardening of todays digital CPUs leaves space bound processing power a decade behind the state of the art (Todays RAD750, was long ago's PowerPC G3) so we might need to add a decade in AI time to mars.
     
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