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Thread: How long until we have colonize Mars?

  1. #1141
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    Travel time is absolutely an issue. You're talking about shipping propellants to Earth to enable flights to Mars. You'd be moving Starship propellant loads with a round trip longer than Starships going to Mars and back (possibly much longer, it will take OSIRIS-REx 7 years to make its trip to Bennu and back), with openings less frequent than Starships have to Mars. Exactly how many of these tankers do you want to keep in operation to enable each Starship to make its trip? A Starship tanker operating from Earth with multiple launch/landing sites could conceivably deliver multiple payloads per day, matching the throughput of a whole fleet of NEO tankers. And of course it would launch when needed, to the orbit the propellant is needed in, as opposed to burning a good chunk of it to match orbital plane.
    So you're foreseeing no changes in propulsion methods between now and when we set up lifetime human settlements on Mars? I wouldn't count on OSIRIS-REx or Starship still being relevant designs by then.

    As for how many tankers, I'd say given the goals of human colonization a fleet should be established with as many vessels as possible. Mars isn't the only destination.


    And volatiles, no, it doesn't "remain to be seen". NEOs get too close to the sun to still have significant ices. Your volatiles will be limited to water (no nitrogen, argon, etc), and that will be in the form of hydrates that require high temperatures to extract...very high temperatures if you want to get all of it, similar to those used in pottery kilns. If you're mining propellant to be shipped across the solar system for use elsewhere, you're going to want to go after bigger fish.
    Hot dry stone... like Mercury or the Moon. Surely no water there!

    You are probably right. But the only way to find out for sure is to go and look.

    It has the same problem as suggestions that we use the moon or the lunar "Gateway" as an intermediate. Craft going to or from Mars will be passing through the neighborhood at several km/s.
    OK.
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  2. #1142
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    So you're foreseeing no changes in propulsion methods between now and when we set up lifetime human settlements on Mars? I wouldn't count on OSIRIS-REx or Starship still being relevant designs by then.
    It doesn't matter what the propulsion methods are, they are all subject to the same orbital mechanics.


    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    As for how many tankers, I'd say given the goals of human colonization a fleet should be established with as many vessels as possible. Mars isn't the only destination.
    That's crazy. The fleet should be as few vessels as possible, or you aren't going to be able to afford anything else. If it takes a fleet of asteroid-based tankers to equal a single Earth-based tanker, you build Earth-based tankers.


    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Hot dry stone... like Mercury or the Moon. Surely no water there!
    Slight difference in scale there, don't you think? About 12 orders of magnitude difference in the case of the moon and Bennu.


    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    You are probably right. But the only way to find out for sure is to go and look.
    No, it isn't. There are no cold traps on bodies this small. The lowest temperatures on Bennu are over 100 K too high.

  3. #1143
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    It doesn't matter what the propulsion methods are, they are all subject to the same orbital mechanics.
    But not the same travel time.

    That's crazy. The fleet should be as few vessels as possible, or you aren't going to be able to afford anything else. If it takes a fleet of asteroid-based tankers to equal a single Earth-based tanker, you build Earth-based tankers.
    Establishing a space infrastructure for human expansion was never going to be cheap. Go big or go home. And it will enable far more than just Mars to have this system in place. Part of a bigger picture of the future of space travel.

    A reusable mining site will do far more than "equal" Earth based launches. It will come to be much cheaper, once the "hump" of initial investment is passed.
    Slight difference in scale there, don't you think? About 12 orders of magnitude difference in the case of the moon and Bennu.
    No, it isn't. There are no cold traps on bodies this small. The lowest temperatures on Bennu are over 100 K too high.
    Internal composition might prove more informative than surface temperature. I maintain that direct examination will determine the answers, not thought experiments no matter how repetitively asserted.
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  4. #1144
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    Applicable to Mars: Could We Populate Another Planet With Genetically Modified Organisms? Earlier this year, a research team made waves by suggesting that we should disseminate Earth’s microbes on Mars in a preemptive effort to foster a climate hospitable to human life. To the “anti-contamination” school of celestial thought, this was heresy; to the most others, this was an obscure theoretical squabble over an issue they’d never heard about. Still, given that our descendants may well spend their most productive years on Mars, it’s worth trying to grasp these early, pre-colonial debates before they assume life-or-death urgency.

    https://gizmodo.com/could-we-populat...dif-1845955932
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  5. #1145
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    Roger E. Moore;2527497] Still, given that our descendants may well spend their most productive years on Mars, it’s worth trying to grasp these early, pre-colonial debates before they assume life-or-death urgency.
    I disagree with that proposal. Settling Mars, even if it's a century from now, will take place in an environment not very different from today. Terraforming is not only an extremely long term project, it's going to be massively disruptive and destructive to anyone living there.

    It's certainly not something we should kick off before we've even explored much of the planet. It's far, far too soon to be thinking about disseminating organism into an alien environment.
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    These days humanity simply prefers consumption to the conquest of space - "drinking beer and watching TV shows," as the writer Ray Bradbury once lamented. So, we will be waiting for a long before at least reach Mars or when Elon Musk reaches it.

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    Making methane on Mars. Among the many challenges with a Mars voyage, one of the most pressing is: How can you get enough fuel for the spacecraft to fly back to Earth?

    https://phys.org/news/2021-01-methane-mars.html
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  8. #1148
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    Quote Originally Posted by cannongray View Post
    These days humanity simply prefers consumption to the conquest of space - "drinking beer and watching TV shows," as the writer Ray Bradbury once lamented. So, we will be waiting for a long before at least reach Mars or when Elon Musk reaches it.
    These couch potatoes are not generally the types of people involved in space travel to begin with. Professional and enthusiasts alike, are more activist in their attitudes.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  9. #1149
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    Seven things to know about the NASA rover about to land on Mars. 1. Perseverance is searching for signs of ancient life.

    https://www.marsdaily.com/reports/Se..._Mars_999.html
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    This transforming NASA rover can go places others could only dream of. DuAxle (short for dual-Axel) gets its name because it’s made of a combination of a pair of two-wheeled Axel rovers. The Axel rover is a simple, two-wheeled rover with a long tether that connects to a larger vehicle and stabilizes the rover as it descends into and explores craters that other rovers would not be able to handle. The Axel is equipped with a robotic arm that can collect samples, as well as stereoscopic cameras to gather imagery. DuAxel combines two of these innovative rovers, with the back end acting as an anchor and the front end detaching to explore rough terrain. When DuAxel finds a crater, pit, scarp, vent, or other extreme terrains, it can stop, lower its chassis and anchor itself to the ground before separating into two parts. The back half of the rover stays put and the front half separates, using a long tether to stay connected to its anchor and maintain stability while exploring. The front half can then be reeled back in when it's finished.

    https://www.space.com/nasa-transform...ry-exploration
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    Interplanetary Challenges Encountered by the Crew During their Interplanetary Transit from Earth to Mars.

    Mars is the next destination after Earth to support terrestrial life. Decades of Mars exploration has fascinated space explorers to endeavour for a human expedition. But human Mars enterprise is complicated than conventional mission as the journey is endowed with a profusion of distinct challenges from terrestrial planet to the planetary surface. To perceive and overcome the implications of interplanetary challenges, we conducted a study to manifest every challenge encountered during interplanetary transit from Earth to Mars. Our study concluded entire challenges were attributed to the options for trajectory correction and maneuvering, management of space vehicles, the hazards of exposure to galactic radiation, effects of crew health in a microgravity environment, deficit solar power production, hazards of nuclear elements, psychologic and health effects, interrupted communication interlink from the ground, the complication in fuel pressurization and management, recycling of space wastes, execution of the extra-vehicular activity, and Mars orbital insertion. The main objective of this paper is to underline all possible challenges and its countermeasures for a sustainable crewed mission beyond low earth orbit in forthcoming decades.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.04723
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  12. #1152
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    The UK Is Developing Nuclear-Powered Space Exploration for Faster Mars Trips. The UK Space Agency and Rolls-Royce are teaming up to hopefully get humankind deeper into space. The two English entities are teaming up to conduct a contemporary study on nuclear-powered space travel. Not to be confused with the luxury car brand, Rolls-Royce plc is an aerospace company. Both entities say the study will ideally result in longer missions that go deeper into the unknown of space than ever before. The two organizations claim this type of propulsion would cut travel time to Mars in half—meaning a ship could make it there in 3-4 months—compared to traditional chemical propulsion.

    https://www.vice.com/en/article/93wz...ter-mars-trips
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  13. #1153
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    Mars Needs Minerals: Researchers Are Trying to Turn the Red Planet Green. Thanks to NASA’s rovers and landers, scientists know about the pH and mineral makeup of the planet’s soil, which is known as regolith. Mars gets its red color from the oxidation of its rocks, regolith, and dust. Below the dust is the crust, which contains iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and more elements, according to NASA. But their presence isn’t enough to ensure plants can thrive there. The nutrients may not exist in a usable, or bioavailable, form. The levels of some may be toxic.

    https://www.ign.com/articles/mars-ne...d-planet-green
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    Energy Production in Martian Environment -- Powering a Mars Direct-based Habitat (Gianmario Broccia)

    This thesis work aims to study the possibility of energy production on Martian soil and, in particular, to establish what might be an optimal configuration for an energy system. This goal has been contextualized in the will to feed a scientific base, based the concept of "Mars Direct" (Robert Zubrin, 1990). This habitat has been recreated in its thermal features, in order to perform an analysis of the heat loss over a Martian year (1,88 terrestrial years). As part of this analysis, two possible scenarios have been studied: clear sky with medium solar radiation ("sun season") and sand storm season ("storm season"). Subsequently, a basic life support system have been simulated thanks to Aspen PLUS. Using the results of the thermal analysis, it has been possible to obtain a thermal and electrical demand profile for the Hab. After identifying every possible energy source (solar, wind, nuclear, fuel cells, rtg), a calculation on Excel has been set with the purpose of finding one of the configurations with the lowest possible mass and pave the way for a further, more rigorous, optimization. It is indeed clear that shipping 1 kilogram to Mars has a cost of hundreds of thousand of dollars.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.07165
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    A new type of rocket thruster that could take humankind to Mars and beyond has been proposed by a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The device would apply magnetic fields to cause particles of plasma, electrically charged gas also known as the fourth state of matter, to shoot out the back of a rocket and, because of the conservation of momentum, propel the craft forward. Current space-proven plasma thrusters use electric fields to propel the particles. The new concept would accelerate the particles using magnetic reconnection, a process found throughout the universe, including the surface of the sun, in which magnetic field lines converge, suddenly separate, and then join together again, producing lots of energy. Reconnection also occurs inside doughnut-shaped fusion devices known as tokamaks.

    https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/N...lares_999.html


    Link to original article (though behind paywall)

    An Alfvenic reconnecting plasmoid thruster
    Abstract: A new concept for the generation of thrust for space propulsion is introduced. Energetic thrust is generated in the form of plasmoids (confined plasma in closed magnetic loops) when magnetic helicity (linked magnetic field lines) is injected into an annular channel. Using a novel configuration of static electric and magnetic fields, the concept utilizes a current-sheet instability to spontaneously and continuously create plasmoids via magnetic reconnection. The generated low-temperature plasma is simulated in a global annular geometry using the extended magnetohydrodynamic model. Because the system-size plasmoid is an Alfvenic outflow from the reconnection site, its thrust is proportional to the square of the magnetic field strength and does not ideally depend on the mass of the ion species of the plasma. Exhaust velocities in the range of 20 to 500 km s−1, controllable by the coil currents, are observed in the simulations.
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journ...86EA79117E2514
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2021-Jan-29 at 06:09 PM.
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  16. #1156
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    A new type of rocket thruster that could take humankind to Mars and beyond has been proposed by a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The device would apply magnetic fields to cause particles of plasma, electrically charged gas also known as the fourth state of matter, to shoot out the back of a rocket and, because of the conservation of momentum, propel the craft forward. Current space-proven plasma thrusters use electric fields to propel the particles. The new concept would accelerate the particles using magnetic reconnection, a process found throughout the universe, including the surface of the sun, in which magnetic field lines converge, suddenly separate, and then join together again, producing lots of energy. Reconnection also occurs inside doughnut-shaped fusion devices known as tokamaks.
    ...that is a remarkably bad article. Magnetic reconnection doesn't produce any energy, for starters. It also talks a lot about fusion, how great a source of power it would be, etc, but the thruster isn't fusion powered and is only indirectly related to fusion power.


    Long-distance travel takes months or years because the specific impulse of chemical rocket engines is very low, so the craft takes a while to get up to speed
    That's exactly the opposite of reality. High specific-impulse engines take a long time to get up to speed because of their low thrust. Low specific-impulse chemical rocket engines get the craft up to speed in a matter of minutes. High specific impulse engines only give an advantage if the trip is long enough.


    Second, the new thruster produces movement by ejecting both plasma particles and magnetic bubbles known as plasmoids. The plasmoids add power to the propulsion and no other thruster concept incorporates them.
    Aside from power being a poor way to describe a reaction engine, plasmoids involve a lot of particle motion that could otherwise be directed toward producing thrust. This will be a type of energy loss similar to molecular motions in chemical rocket engines. And even if the plasmoids move quickly, how much of the propellant actually ends up in them?

  17. #1157
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    NASA is considering changing the orbit of one of its oldest Mars spacecraft, a move intended to support the Mars 2020 mission after landing but which could affect both its science and support of other missions. NASA launched the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in 2005 with a suite of six science instruments, including a high-resolution camera. The spacecraft has increasingly been used as a communications relay, supporting spacecraft on the surface of Mars.

    https://spacenews.com/nasa-may-chang...ort-mars-2020/
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  18. #1158
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    ...that is a remarkably bad article. Magnetic reconnection doesn't produce any energy, for starters. It also talks a lot about fusion, how great a source of power it would be, etc, but the thruster isn't fusion powered and is only indirectly related to fusion power.
    Here is a different version of the article from an engineering website.

    New Rocket Thruster Concept to Take Humans to Mars 10 Times Faster.
    https://interestingengineering.com/n...0-times-faster
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  19. #1159
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Here is a different version of the article from an engineering website.

    New Rocket Thruster Concept to Take Humans to Mars 10 Times Faster.
    https://interestingengineering.com/n...0-times-faster
    That one's not very good either.

    "However, Ebrahimi's new plasma thruster concept was able to create exhaust with speeds of hundreds of kilometers a second — or ten times faster than current thrusters."

    10x exhaust velocity does not mean the trip is 10 times faster.


    "The thrusters would significantly boost the start of the journey, ultimately reducing the entire trip's travel time. "

    This again is completely backwards from reality.


    "the new concept creates movement as it ejects plasma particles and plasmoid; the latter adds extra power to the thruster"

    It adds power consumption. That's not really desirable. There's ideally only one motion in the exhaust particles, straight backward. Other motions represent energy that didn't go into producing thrust.


    "And lastly, magnetic fields permit plasma inside the thruster to consist of light or heavy atoms."

    This really isn't the first thruster to use magnetic fields, and the claimed advantage of magnetic fields makes little sense. Light atoms are avoided because of the energy cost of ionizing them and difficulties in storing them, not because light ions can't be accelerated electrostatically.

  20. #1160
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    A new type of rocket thruster that could take humankind to Mars and beyond has been proposed by a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
    Knowing, of course, that 99% of proposed new space drives end up going nowhere. (Pun intended)
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  21. #1161
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    Good to know in case you are mining Mars.

    The M3 project: 1- A global hyperspectral image-cube of the Martian surface

    Lucie Riu, François Poulet, John Carter, Jean-Pierre Bibring, Brigitte Gondet, Mathieu Vincendon

    This paper is the first paper of a series that will present the derivation of the modal mineralogy of Mars (M3 project) at a global scale from the near-infrared dataset acquired by the imaging spectrometer OMEGA (Observatoire pour la Minéralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces et l'Activité) on board ESA/Mars Express. The objective is to create and provide a global 3-D image-cube of Mars at 32px/° covering most of Mars surface. This product has several advantages. First, it can be used to instantaneously extract atmospheric- and aerosol-corrected near-infrared (NIR) spectra from any location on Mars. Second, several new data maps can be built as discussed here. That includes new global mineral distributions, quantitative mineral abundance distributions and maps of Martian surface chemistry (wt % oxide) detailed in a companion paper (Riu et al., submitted). Here we present the method to derive the global hyperspectral cube from several hundred millions of spectra. Global maps of some mafic minerals are then shown, and compared to previous works.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.12448

    ===


    The M3 project: 2 -- Global distributions of mafic mineral abundances on Mars

    Lucie Riu, François Poulet, Jean-Pierre Bibring, Brigitte Gondet

    A radiative transfer model was used to reproduce several millions of OMEGA (Observatoire pour la Minéralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces et l'Activité) spectra representative of igneous terrains of Mars. This task provided the modal composition and grain sizes at a planetary scale. The lithology can be summarized in five mineral maps at km-scale. We found that the low albedo equatorial regions of the Martian surface (from 60°S to 30°N) are globally dominated by plagioclase with average abundance ~50 vol% and pyroxenes with total averaged abundance close to 40 vol%. An evolution of the LCP/(LCP+HCP) ratio is observed with time at the global scale, suggesting an evolution of the degree of partial melting throughout the Martian eras. Olivine and Martian dust are minor components of the modelled terrains. The olivine distribution is quite different from the other minerals because it is found on localized areas with abundance reaching 20 vol%. A statistical approach, to classify the pixels of the abundances maps, using k-means clustering, highlighted seven distinct mineral assemblages on the surface. This classification illustrates that diverse mineralogical units are found in the Noachian and Hesperian terrains, which suggests the presence of various and complex magmatic processes at a global scale during the two oldest eras. The chemical composition was derived from the modal composition maps. The OMEGA-derived chemical composition is quite consistent with several distinctive geochemical characteristics previously considered as fingerprints of the Martian surface. A major discrepancy is in regards to the Fe content that is significantly smaller than soil and rock analyses from GRS and in situ measurements. The discrepancy could be partly explained by the assumptions used for the spectral modelling or could also indicate surface alteration rinds.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.12450
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2021-Feb-01 at 02:51 PM.
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  22. #1162
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    Possible future landing place for Mars-onauts? Also, note one of the co-authors' names.

    Mawrth Vallis, Mars: a fascinating place for future in situ exploration

    François Poulet, Christoph Gross, Briony Horgan, Damien Loizeau, Janice L. Bishop, John Carter, Csilla Orgel

    After the successful landing of the Mars Science Laboratory rover, both NASA and ESA initiated a selection process for potential landing sites for the Mars2020 and ExoMars missions, respectively. Two ellipses located in the Mawrth Vallis region were proposed and evaluated during a series of meetings (3 for Mars2020 mission and 5 for ExoMars). We describe here the regional context of the two proposed ellipses as well as the framework of the objectives of these two missions. Key science targets of the ellipses and their astrobiological interests are reported. This work confirms the proposed ellipses contain multiple past Martian wet environments of subaerial, subsurface and/or subaqueous character, in which to probe the past climate of Mars, build a broad picture of possible past habitable environments, evaluate their exobiological potentials and search for biosignatures in well-preserved rocks. A mission scenario covering several key investigations during the nominal mission of each rover is also presented, as well as descriptions of how the site fulfills the science requirements and expectations of in situ martian exploration. These serve as a basis for potential future exploration of the Mawrth Vallis region with new missions and describe opportunities for human exploration of Mars in terms of resources and science discoveries.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.12479
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  23. #1163
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    This is what happens when you date Elon Musk.

    Grimes Willing to Travel to Mars “After Age 50” Even if It Requires “Manual Labour Until Death”

    https://consequenceofsound.net/2021/...es-mars-death/
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  24. #1164
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    A long journey but a short stay on Mars. “When we talk about our mission to Mars, our initial trip, it’s about a two-year round trip that includes about a month on the surface,” said Jacob Bleacher, NASA chief exploration scientist.

    https://www.thespacereview.com/article/4115/1
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  25. #1165
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    A long journey but a short stay on Mars. “When we talk about our mission to Mars, our initial trip, it’s about a two-year round trip that includes about a month on the surface,” said Jacob Bleacher, NASA chief exploration scientist.

    https://www.thespacereview.com/article/4115/1
    "Long journey" means a total of nearly two years of microgravity and full interplanetary radiation exposure, including a swing past Venus with radiation levels around double those near Earth and quadruple those near Mars. The justification of these opposition-class missions is the shorter mission time, but the biggest benefit of shortening mission time is the reduced health risk, and opposition class missions only make those worse while reducing the science they can do, and doing basically nothing to make future missions any easier.

    Michelle Rucker said it was to get there as fast and as soon as possible, but this would be a mission sometime in the 2030s. This isn't as fast or as soon as possible.

  26. #1166
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    Happy new year! If you're a Martian! When it's Sunday, February 7, 2021 on Earth it will be January 1, 36 (yes, just 36) on Mars: The first day of a new year.

    https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/happy-martian-new-year
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  27. #1167
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    NASA and international partners to study Mars Ice Mapper mission, a precursor for human missions there.

    https://spacenews.com/nasa-and-inter...apper-mission/
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  28. #1168
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    NASA Wants to Set a New Radiation Limit for Astronauts. As the agency considers sending people to the moon and Mars, it’s taking a fresh look at the research on cancer risk and recalculating acceptable thresholds.

    https://www.wired.com/story/nasa-wan...or-astronauts/
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  29. #1169
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    Early crewed travel to Mars: Based on the cost and complexity of traveling to Mars, landing on the surface, sustaining life for many months and returning to Earth, it is logical that early travel to the red planet would entail only relatively simple mission objectives. The simplest trip is not the most desirable. For example, a one-way excursion is possible at relatively low cost.

    https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/E..._Mars_999.html
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  30. #1170
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    For example, a one-way excursion is possible at relatively low cost.
    A one-way trip is not on the table for any existing space or science program. I am not sure why it would even be suggested.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    By Superstring in forum Space Exploration
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    Last Post: 2002-Oct-24, 09:37 PM

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