Scientists calls for Base-Camp Out-Post on Mars

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by American Horse, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    in just twenty years time.
    During the more than 40 years since the last Apollo mission, no human has set foot on a planetary body beyond Earth.

    Among those who were witnesses to the first and last moon landings, there is skepticism that we will ever step onto another planet sized body again.

    “ - President Obama informed NASA last April that he "believed by the mid-2030s that we could send humans to orbit Mars and safely return them to Earth. And that a landing would soon follow - ” said agency spokesman Michael Braukus.”

    The following news appeared in Yahoo! News the first of this week, and the only comment it got here at USMB was in a thread about healthcare, perhaps likening sending “senior” astronauts to Mars as the ultimate in “death panels,” with the tag-line: “I knew the Healthcare Bill was bad, but come on.... do we really want to just ship the elderly to Mars?”

    The thrust of the proposal was that if a mission to Mars was only in one direction, and manned by people (4-on two separate vehicles) who would willingly go with the understanding that their return was not planned for, that the costs would be a fraction of one with a plan to return. The crew could best spend their time setting up infrastructure for a permanent colony with the equipment that had been sent by earlier unmanned missions.

    “ - The first colonists to Mars wouldn’t go in "cold." Robotic probes sent on ahead would establish necessities such as an energy source (such as a small nuclear reactor augmented by solar panels), enough food for two years, the basics for creating home-grown agriculture, one or more rover vehicles and a tool-kit for carrying out essential engineering and maintenance work. - ”

    The paradigm of the proposal is comparable to that of the settlement of the “New World." Those who arrived from Europe aboard the Mayflower in 1620 had no plans of returning to their former homeland.

    Their journey took 66 days. A trip to Mars requires 6-months in the best orbital situation. This is about two-and-a-half times the Mayflower transit for a one way journey. In this plan, fuel could be used more extravagantly; so If a return was planned, a trip which used fuel out and back most efficiently would require about 44 months, with 26 months spent on planet.

    A large part of those 26-months would be spent logistically, partly preparing fuels for the return mission. During the trip, about 18 months would be spent in zero gravity, and the 26 months on planet would be spent in gravity only 38% of earth’s. Undoubtedly there would need to be an intense rehabilitation program after being exposed to a long period of zero gravity and for an extended period, Mar's gravity.

    If the trip was only one way, the time spent on preparing for the return could be spent in making their habitation permanent, and laying the foundation for future permanent habitants, which would recruited on an ongoing basis.

    The pioneers suggested by the two scientists who make this proposal would be people who “were a bit older, around 60 or something like that.” Consider the people who explored Antarctica a century ago; since they saw that many of those who had gone before never returned they understood the risks. They were up to a challenge even though they went less prepared than our hypothetical Mars pioneers.

    This kind of a mission will never come from the NASA agency. I suggest that is because it would be politically incorrect to consider such a plan. As the colonization of North America was economically driven, this will be too. The people who landed at Plymouth Rock, had no expectation of becoming rich. Only their “sponsors” did; by investing in the passengers, they were after a stake in relatively unknown possibilities for future trade, and as yet undefined opportunities.

    An optimistic take on this one-direction-colonization would be that technology would catch up with the reality of the pursuit, and in a few decades some would be able to return; but to what purpose? They would have been transformed by their experience in ways that would make their return to earth a hazardous proposition.


    Here's the TEXT OF PAPER by the two scientists

    TITLED: To Boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars
    Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Ph.D.1, and Paul Davies, Ph.D.2,
    1School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Washington State University
    2Beyond Center, Arizona State University

    Davies is a physicist whose research focuses on cosmology, quantum field theory, and astrobiology. He was an early proponent of the theory that life on Earth may have come from Mars in rocks ejected by asteroid and comet impacts.

    Schulze-Makuch works in the Earth Sciences department at WSU and is the author of two books about life on other planets. His focus is eco-hydrogeology, which includes the study of water on planets and moons of our solar system and how those could serve as a potential habitat for microbial life.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  2. psikeyhackr
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    psikeyhackr VIP Member

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    And how did life get to Mars?

    Why is it any more likely that it spontaneously developed on Mars than on Earth? What good is such a theory besides having something else to talk about?

    Why not set up a robot base on the Moon? It is close enough so that the robots could be tele-operated. Explore the Moon. NASA could even let people rent robot time on the Moon. I would pay $50 to operate a robot on the Moon for 30 minutes. They found water near the pole. Where is the iron and aluminum? How much could be built in preparation for people.

    We need better rockets for Mars.

    Trip to Mars in 39 Days | International Space Fellowship

    psik
     
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  3. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    I too find that implausible, but seeming to be implausible doesn't necessarily make it less likely it began there than on earth.

    There is a theory that the kind of matter (organic molecules) that is common to life exists in cooler conditions, Saturn's moon Titan, comets, asteroids
    since the outer solar system cooled first
    Matter in the outer solar-system - the Oort Cloud where the above mentioned matter is relatively common
    Is periodically perturbed to fall toward the sun
    into collisions with more inward planetary objects
    The Earth was hotter later,
    It was as a more hostile environment for the beginning life in the early solar system
    Mars cooled earlier, and was ready earlier for the introduction of life

    and

    We know it is almost common for planets like Mars, or Earth, Earth's moon, and Martian moons to be struck by space debris which might carry primitive living matter into space which would fall on a planet further in: I.e, Mars to Earth

    Could any kind of life or proto-living matter survive in the cold of space? It is theorized by scientist who study that possibility (Davies is one) who believe that can be proven - I don't know how.

    Paul Davies is no schlub; HERE'S A LINK to 98-scientific papers he either authored or collaborated with other scientist on. These titles can be clicked and followed to the full documents.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  4. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    We are not investing in such an advanced transport system. There is no incentive to do so because a trip to Mars, as has been shown, is just something a few people really want.

    The equipment the two scientists proposed using is pretty much off the shelf, right now, or only a generation away from our present abilities.

    We have been doing nothing much more than drilling holes in space for 43 years, and every five years or so going back to the drawing board for a look, but not advancing. Obama's plans, nor Bush's plans included a project like the one in your link.
     
  5. CrusaderFrank
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  6. American Horse
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    Bradbury's "THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, would have to be classified as "fantasy" rather than straight "hard" science fiction"

    First short story (of 28) in The Marian Chronicles.
    Rocket Summer
    (January 1999/2030)
    (First published in Planet Stories, Spring 1947)

    The stories of the book are arranged in chronological order, starting in January 1999, with the blasting off of the first rocket. "Rocket Summer" is a short vignette which describes Ohio's winter turning briefly into summer due to the extreme heat of the rocket's take-off, as well as the reaction of the citizens nearby.

    And the final short story in The Martian Chronicles:
    The Million-Year Picnic
    (October 2026/2057)

    (First published in Planet Stories, Summer 1946)
    A family saves a rocket that the government would have used in the nuclear war and leaves Earth on a "fishing trip" to Mars. The family picks a city to live in and call home. They go in and Dad burns tax documents and other government papers on a camp fire, explaining that he is burning a way of life that was wrong. The final thing to go on the fire is a map of the Earth. Later, he offers his sons a "gift" in the form of their new world. He introduces them to Martians: their own reflections in a canal.
     
  7. geauxtohell
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    geauxtohell Choose your weapon.

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    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hKSYgOGtos[/ame]
     
  8. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    NASA-Funded Research Discovers Life Built With Toxic Chemical; ARSENIC

    This has changed the fundamental knowledge about what comprises all known life on Earth.

    Researchers conducting tests in the harsh environment of Mono Lake in California have discovered the first known microorganism on Earth able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic. The microorganism substitutes arsenic for phosphorus in its cell components.

    "The definition of life has just expanded," said Ed Weiler, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency's Headquarters in Washington. "As we pursue our efforts to seek signs of life in the solar system, we have to think more broadly, more diversely and consider life as we do not know it."

    "We know that some microbes can breathe arsenic, but what we've found is a microbe doing something new -- building parts of itself out of arsenic," said Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow in residence at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., and the research team's lead scientist. "If something here on Earth can do something so unexpected, what else can life do that we haven't seen yet?"
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010
  9. Mobius
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    Manned exploration's a bit of a gimmick, to be totally honest. Yeah, live video feed of dudes walking on the surface of the Moon is nice and all, but it's much cheaper and less of a hassle to simply have robots go out and collect data. I guess a similar principle is at work with the increasing acceptance of drone aircraft for military purposes.
     
  10. American Horse
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    The flexibility of any robotic equipment is inadequate as compared to the abilities of human beings walking on the surface, especially when we consider the elapsed time between what we perceive after an image is sent back, and then the signal to perform an action or a task, and then the-wait-to-see how the action actually played out once initiated. The Mars rover Spirit is stuck or hung-up on Mars at the moment and we have been trying to free it for almost, what; 18 months now?

    A drone has all the flexibility of a bird in flight, and the instantaneity of communications of being right here on the home planet. We can send robots of different varieties and for different purposes until the cows come home, and we will still not have approached what a set of crews arriving there after a base has been pre-positioned in place would be able to accomplish.

    If they do not need to return, then they can set about improving and developing a presence there. And it won't be about prancing around on the surface for a sideshow. It will be about science, economic development, and the preservation of human life against some threats we have only recently begun to recognize. Once there, we would make the most of it, just like the first pilgrims in North America did because they had to.

    Chances are that they would be as or more self sufficient in a few years than our human presence is at Antarctica
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010

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