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Old 12-30-2011, 03:45 AM   #1
MaverickSawyer
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Question OFMM Science Goals - Surface: Discussion

OK, Gary gave the go ahead to discuss science objectives for OFMM surface excursions.
My : perform research into structural properties of the regolith, and how it could be used as a building material for permanenet habitats with integral radiation shielding. My idea runs along the lines of Underhill from Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson. We can't model that right now, but it's a possible RL objective.
Another science mission: Ground-based Areology, specifically regarding feedstock materials for manufaturing processed materials, such as metal, glass, fuel, etc.

From a planetary protection standpoint, we should land near the equator, since there is little water there to support life as we know it.

Last edited by MaverickSawyer; 03-26-2012 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:12 AM   #2
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Someone mentioned a trip to the rovers I think? Maybe rendevous with one nearby, as to see what time on Mars has done to it, retrieve something from it as a sort of tribute to bring home?

Scientifically, I'd also like to investigate the ability of the soil to possibly support plant life if given water and sun. Get some in-atmosphere readings from inside of a dust storm. Bring a few samples of the soil to investigate for Earth-like minerals.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:14 AM   #3
Chub777
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How about weather based experiments?
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:44 AM   #4
MaverickSawyer
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@Napalm42: great idea. I think we should avoid MSL, due to the RTG powerplant. However, Spirit or Opportunity are excellent choices. We could also do an orbital survey to locate Beagle 2, MPL, and other lost landers. That would require a polar orbit, which also opens up the entire planet to landings. However, we have only 2 shots at rendevous with the Cook per day.
The soil experiments are an excellent idea, though we do know that most of the regolith on the surface contains toxic levels of peroxides and salts. Removing the peroxide is easy: just add water! The salt's gonna be tough. We may need to pack halophile plants to try in a greenhouse. Something from Death Valley or the Dead Sea regions would be a starting point.
I like the Dust storm idea from a research perspective. No one has done that on the ground, just orbital observing. Definitely on the suggestion list.

@Chub777: definitely on the schedule, but not much we can do short of making a UCGO weather station that just sits there.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napalm42 View Post
 Scientifically, I'd also like to investigate the ability of the soil to possibly support plant life if given water and sun.
Agree. What about some sort of long-term hab module with remote control and monitoring? Simulated of course...

Could some mass be allocated for the return voyage for soil for the same purpose? Say maybe 250 lbs? May be too small an amount, but it's all about the fuel budget.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:55 AM   #6
MaverickSawyer
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Hell, we brought back less than half a ton of moon rocks on 6 Apollo Missions. We can make 250 lbs easy. The biosecurity requirements are gonna be a bear, though.

---------- Post added at 08:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:49 PM ----------

OK, Arrowstar has been asked about the max return mass. I let him know that the dV budget comes first.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:35 AM   #7
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More soil for study would be better of course... More samples for labcoat wearing folks to study and create a recipe for fertilizer to assist in plant growth.

Plus other things as well, like is it a good aggregate for making some sort of in-situ concrete for building mat'ls, clay, etc...
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by MaverickSawyer View Post
 @Chub777: definitely on the schedule, but not much we can do short of making a UCGO weather station that just sits there.

Well that goes for everything, doesn't it? The actual experiments happen all in your mind.

Getting back on topic, I was also thinking of an airborne device of some sort. Something like a weather balloon.

EDIT: You could either use
this
(for a weather balloon) or
this
(for a drone).

Last edited by Chub777; 12-30-2011 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Chub777 View Post
 Well that goes for everything, doesn't it? The actual experiments happen all in your mind.

Getting back on topic, I was also thinking of an airborne device of some sort. Something like a weather balloon.
Don't think that's a good idea if there's a Dust storm heading you way, maybe a small probe that hovers above the surface while collecting data.
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:12 AM   #10
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 Don't think that's a good idea if there's a Dust storm heading you way, maybe a small probe that hovers above the surface while collecting data.

True, but how would a probe hover? Just thinking of VTOL rockets, that would add a lot of weight. Also would it be feasible to collect Martian regolith from dust storms (I don't t think so, but I'm just wondering)?
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:17 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Chub777 View Post
 True, but how would a probe hover? Just thinking of VTOL rockets, that would add a lot of weight. Also would it be feasible to collect Martian regolith from dust storms (I don't t think so, but I'm just wondering)?
Or maybe 2 forms, one that can maybe inflate something so it can float (something that can resist dust storms), and many archanid legs for a walker.

EDIT:

Maybe something like this, only smaller

Last edited by Luke Skywalker; 12-30-2011 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:07 AM   #12
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Off topic:

Without the sound? That noise drove me mad back in Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire

On topic:

It seems a puncture resistant weather balloon would work best for collection over one area, but the Ares mission would be better for wide area recon.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:10 AM   #13
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I think we should focus on what you need humans for. While rovers can for example do coarse investigations for years and detect interesting sites, humans can gather samples over a wider area on a single day, return them to a lab in their Mars base and analyze them.

It should thus be assumed, that the rover part of science is already done and the Mars base already has a good set of sites to prospect.

Humans can also place seismic sensor nets over a place with higher accuracy and much faster than robots could (assuming the ability of robotics that could be reached in the next 10 years). So, one task could be placing seismic sensors over a few football pitches on a day and on the next day ignite a small explosive charge some kilometers away and gather seismic data of the deep underground of Mars.

Another thing is the assembly of bigger science tools. Humans can assemble rather easily, what you couldn't land in one piece. for example a large drill for going deeper under the Martian soil.

Astronomy could work well by remote control, but the assembly of a Martian observatory would be better done by humans.

Weather stations could be placed by robotic landers, but humans could install more and better weather stations on Mars with less extra mass (aside of being human payload). So, one possible mission might be extending the network of weather stations or replace aging robotic weather stations by new ones. Or swap batteries and wipe the solar arrays.
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:16 PM   #14
Lord Wasteland
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I think we should go for prior to main-landing, send one or two Ares near planned LZ's, and recon them ahead of time, and then send a rover to each area to investigate it. Or we can do it all manned.
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:15 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Lord Wasteland View Post
 I think we should go for prior to main-landing, send one or two Ares near planned LZ's, and recon them ahead of time, and then send a rover to each area to investigate it. Or we can do it all manned.
So you want to change the already posted and approved missions? No, not happening.

This discussion is purely about the MANNED landing science ops. Nothing more.
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