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View Full Version : Buzz Aldrin Says, "Mars NOW!"



Tuckerfan
2009-Jul-03, 01:55 AM
Okay, so maybe's he not quite that emphatic about it. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8131706.stm)
In fact Aldrin does not believe that the Moon should be Nasa's destination target at all - he has called instead for Nasa to refocus its efforts on Mars.

"It is the only other habitable planet," he told Newsnight. "We have sent many rovers there and we have found conditions there that I feel can be made suitable for human existence much easier than the Moon can."

"It is just further away," he added.He's due to speak before the Augustine Commission shortly, so let's hope "Battling Buzz" fires up the ol' guns when he addresses them.

Ara Pacis
2009-Jul-03, 05:02 AM
I think the only thing that could really get them fired up is money to burn.

01101001
2009-Jul-03, 05:21 AM
Okay, so maybe's he not quite that emphatic about it.

Yes, on a morning San Francisco Bay Area local news radio show call-in interview he was very much not that emphatic about it. It was more along the lines of its being the next logical step that an international consortium should attempt some day, with the economic realities to be considered.

He's hawking his book, so watch for local appearances near you.

Tuckerfan
2009-Jul-03, 05:34 AM
He's hawking his book, so watch for local appearances near you.
I doubt if he'll show up in my neck of the woods, he earned his nickname after an encounter with one of the residents of the closest big city to me. (Though, admittedly, I and a lot of other people would no doubt pay big money to watch a rematch. Do it Vegas, and allow people to bet on the fight, and Buzz could no doubt make a fortune. :D)

novaderrik
2009-Jul-04, 06:32 PM
we've had 3 successful mars rovers so far- to Buzz that is "many"?

Tuckerfan
2009-Jul-05, 03:58 AM
we've had 3 successful mars rovers so far- to Buzz that is "many"?

Its more than we had before Buzz went to the Moon! ;)

Candymancan
2009-Jul-07, 04:43 AM
It'll never happen with NASA'S current budget. Funding was cut again by the administration, and if there new rocket doesnt work like planned then they have to start ALL over again. Hell they dont even have anything to replace the current space shuttles due to be scrapped here soon..

I wish the Government would spend more money on space exploration.

thoth II
2009-Jul-07, 12:56 PM
The biosphere experiment didn't work too good. Bionauts had to be removed for medical reasons. If people are going to travel to Mars, that'll probably be a 2 year round trip. Is it really possible they will be able to live that long in space? And think about long term, will each crew that goes there be able to survive, or will a high percent of the trips be disasters.

I put this out there for your contemplation and have not much more to say about it.

djellison
2009-Jul-07, 01:30 PM
The biosphere experiment didn't work too good. Bionauts had to be removed for medical reasons..

They had to be removed because the Oxygen was dropping and they couldn't figure out where it was going. It turns out it was being absorbed by the concrete in Biosphere 2.

http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_poynter_life_in_biosphere_2.html

Some astronauts live on Mir for > a year.

Tuckerfan
2009-Jul-07, 04:19 PM
They had to be removed because the Oxygen was dropping and they couldn't figure out where it was going. It turns out it was being absorbed by the concrete in Biosphere 2.

http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_poynter_life_in_biosphere_2.html

There were other problems with the design and location, as well. (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1510/is_n89/ai_18109922/)
The location in Arizona placed Bios 2 at a latitude of strong solar seasons with the need for more light in winter and more cooling in summer. The giant glass greenhouse sat in a valley. It missed dawn and late afternoon sunlight - reducing the flow of photons to Bios 2 plants. It had a north-south orientation, so the southern desert was swathed in radiance but the rainforest contracted the winter chills.

The hardest choices concerned the structure itself. White piping in weblike Bucky Fuller geometric arrays both dazzle the eyes (especially from inside) and block solar photon flow. The pyramidal glass walls cascade to flat glass surfaces, then return to pyramidal angles. They evoke the Mayans and Egypt. Unfortunately, during the rains, each slanted glass wall washes the desert dust onto the flat glass surfaces, where the rainwater ponds, grows bacteria and algae, and further blocks photon flow. In winter the ponded water freezes to translucent ice - and once again reduces photon flux. Cost considerations (or something) changed the overall design at the last minute and my poor savanna (planned to bathe in western light) found itself blocked by a solid wall with no glass. Reduced photon flux.

Perhaps all these radiant-light blockages could have left plant life happy. But the "invisible shield," the "transparent" glass walls, needed double panes to effectively seal the closed ecosystem. Even the cleanest double-glass window blocks 40 to 50 percent of the photon flow, starving plant pigments of radiant energy.

Larry Jacks
2009-Jul-07, 05:48 PM
Some astronauts live on Mir for > a year.

Mir had regular resupply flights to bring up food, oxygen, water, propellant, etc. So does the ISS. Neither space station had a fully self-contained life support system. Resupply on a Mars mission will much more difficult.

Tuckerfan
2009-Jul-07, 05:55 PM
Some astronauts live on Mir for > a year.

Mir had regular resupply flights to bring up food, oxygen, water, propellant, etc. So does the ISS. Neither space station had a fully self-contained life support system. Resupply on a Mars mission will much more difficult.

But Mars has ample resources available on it, while the only way to replenish your space station is to either build it large enough that it can grow its own food and make its own oxygen or ship stuff up to it from either the Earth or the Moon (assuming you have a large enough lunar base).

raptorthang
2009-Jul-07, 06:19 PM
Some astronauts live on Mir for > a year.

Mir had regular resupply flights to bring up food, oxygen, water, propellant, etc. So does the ISS. Neither space station had a fully self-contained life support system. Resupply on a Mars mission will much more difficult.

True

And this is why the ISS is important. There are a thousand and one little things that have to be worked for human survival for an extended period before being sent off for two years.

As for using Martian resources...it will be many many decades before it becomes a rational choice. So many redundancies need to be built into any two year mission. The 'what ifs' need to worked out from broad concepts such as not landing near previously sent supplies to things such as what if the can opener doesn't work.

Larry Jacks
2009-Jul-07, 06:34 PM
But Mars has ample resources available on it, while the only way to replenish your space station is to either build it large enough that it can grow its own food and make its own oxygen or ship stuff up to it from either the Earth or the Moon (assuming you have a large enough lunar base).

True, but that doesn't help during the months long trips between the Earth and Mars. It's also possible - as raptorthang asserts - that the first trips may not want to depend on Mars resources for flight safety reasons. Consider this scenario: the vehicle has provisions to grow food for the two year trip. Wonderful! The plants absorb CO2 and give off O2. They can provide a substancial portion of the crew's diet. They add variety to the menu. Only, what happens if the plants die enroute? Do you let the crew live without the calories or do you have emergency rations to cover this potential failure? Going without the calories and nutrients might compromise crew health and morale so the prudent thing to do is have extra food on board. Only, if you're going to do that and pay that mass penalty, why bother trying to grow your own food? The same thing can happen if you design the mission to depend on being able to use martian resources. That's all well and good until the equipment breaks. In addition to the equipment itself, you have to allow for all of the redundant equipment and spares. It's possible all of that equipment would have more mass than the consumables you're trying to save.

The hardest thing about a mission to Mars is anticipating the different ways the mission could fail and devising at least one way to counter each failure mode. There is little or no opportunity for resupply and Murphy's Law does work in space.

iquestor
2009-Jul-07, 06:34 PM
Robert Zubrin has covered all this in The Case For Mars. Its a great book , logical and well though out. His idea is a multi-step approach which can work with current technology. link (http://www.amazon.com/Case-Mars-Plan-Settle-Planet/dp/0684835509)

Tuckerfan
2009-Jul-07, 07:51 PM
But Mars has ample resources available on it, while the only way to replenish your space station is to either build it large enough that it can grow its own food and make its own oxygen or ship stuff up to it from either the Earth or the Moon (assuming you have a large enough lunar base).

True, but that doesn't help during the months long trips between the Earth and Mars. It's also possible - as raptorthang asserts - that the first trips may not want to depend on Mars resources for flight safety reasons. Consider this scenario: the vehicle has provisions to grow food for the two year trip. Wonderful! The plants absorb CO2 and give off O2. They can provide a substancial portion of the crew's diet. They add variety to the menu. Only, what happens if the plants die enroute?How likely is that to happen, however? Yes, plants do get infected with disease and pests, but a significant risk of that can be eliminated simply by ensuring that the plants selected are healthy and free from pests before you ever leave the Earth. Keeping crops in their own isolated system and not allowing unsterilized tools into the plant area will also reduce the risk of contaimination. If you do get a disease, then its highly unlkely that it will be able to wipe out more than one crop. You lose a crop, you're still okay, as you'll have plenty of others to keep you going while you sterilize the one container and attempt to restart the crop.

Do you let the crew live without the calories or do you have emergency rations to cover this potential failure? Going without the calories and nutrients might compromise crew health and morale so the prudent thing to do is have extra food on board. Only, if you're going to do that and pay that mass penalty, why bother trying to grow your own food?Ever see the emergency rations that food agencies pass out in disaster areas in the developing world? They're basically high calorie, high nutrient candy bars. A couple of them a day will give you the same number of calories a healthy diet and provide fairly complete nutrition. They're not as tasty as a full meal, but they beat starving by a long shot. They're also fairly lightweight and small (aid agencies also have to worry about things like mass, since the more stuff they can cram on a plane, the fewer planes they need and the more people they can help at one time).


The same thing can happen if you design the mission to depend on being able to use martian resources. That's all well and good until the equipment breaks. In addition to the equipment itself, you have to allow for all of the redundant equipment and spares. It's possible all of that equipment would have more mass than the consumables you're trying to save.Possible, but not really likely. Not matter what, you're going to have to have air purifying equipment onboard. Even if you bring along enough plants to scrub the CO2 out of the air, you're going to need to be able to clean out things released if there's a fire, as well as unpleasant odors (submariners supoosedly are a little "off" smelling after they've been relying on their internal air supply for a month or so). That same equipment is going to be needed to purify any Martian oxygen that you produce while on the surface.

The additional equipment needed to produce that oxygen, doesn't need to be all that complex to begin with. This solar furnace in France can reach temps up to 5,400 F (3000 C) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_furnace). That's more than enough to melt steel, and in the case of lunar soil (which probably isn't as oxygen rich as Martian soil), is more than enough to cause it to release the oxygen trapped in it. Okay, so the Earth gets more sunlight than Mars does, but since Mars has a very thin atmosphere, and almost no clouds, more of the sunlight is available to use, so its pretty much a wash. (Robert Heinlein talks about this in the non-fiction sections of his Expanded Universe, BTW.) Also, for reasons of safety, you'd want such a system to be "overbuilt," in the sense that it would be capable of producing far more oxygen than the crew would ever need. (Not going to hurt anything if you vent the surplus into the local atmosphere, either.) This would allow for storage during times when sunlight wasn't available, or if the equipment did malfunction.


The hardest thing about a mission to Mars is anticipating the different ways the mission could fail and devising at least one way to counter each failure mode. There is little or no opportunity for resupply and Murphy's Law does work in space.That's the nice thing about having humans onboard, something goes wrong and they can fix something which you might not have originally planned on breaking. That's one of the important lessons of Apollo 13. NASA had assumed that the kind of accident which damaged the service module would be immediately fatal to the crew. When that turned out not to be the case, they had to develop procedures on the fly and radio them up to the crew. No matter what, spaceflight will never be completely safe, and the risk of something going wrong will always be at your door. I think that I speak on behalf of a great many space geeks when I say, I'd rather die on the way to Mars because of something unexpected going wrong, than I would get ran over by a milk truck. At least if I died on the way to Mars, my death would have a great deal more meaning than if I was to be hit by a truck. (I'd also be willing to sign up for a mission to Mars that had only a 10% chance of survival, but I'm weird like that, I'll admit.)