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Old 05-01-2009, 12:40 AM   #31
Urwumpe
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Originally Posted by Moonwalker View Post
 NASA is going to enter a proper path.
I have doubts.
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Old 05-01-2009, 01:19 AM   #32
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This program just seems to be getting worse and worse...
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:42 AM   #33
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The whole Constellation program looks more and more like Apollo on vitamins. What`s the point of going to to the Moon without the goal of establishing a permanent base. Even the Mars mission without the long term goal of building permanent science base is nothing more than show of a flag.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:00 AM   #34
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 What I see worse is the thinking, that NASA will solve all technical problems on the way to Mars just so and suddenly be able to have reduced the technological risk by work on Earth or in LEO. Reality does not work like that. All the unknown problems (UNK-UNKs) which you will encounter on the way to Mars, will not be found by Apollo 2.0 - otherwise, we would be going to Mars easily.

Flags and footprints are simple - staying on the moon for more than 2 days is hard.
I agree. Mars500 and Haughton-Mars type projects will reveal some unknowns but a prolonged lunar presence will reveal a lot more (experience with surface EVA and dust management being the most significant, IMHO).
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:59 AM   #35
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 What I see worse is the thinking, that NASA will solve all technical problems on the way to Mars just so and suddenly be able to have reduced the technological risk by work on Earth or in LEO. Reality does not work like that. All the unknown problems (UNK-UNKs) which you will encounter on the way to Mars, will not be found by Apollo 2.0 - otherwise, we would be going to Mars easily.

Flags and footprints are simple - staying on the moon for more than 2 days is hard.
A Lunar Base would have been a terrible money sinkhole.

Technologies relevant for Mars are better tested on Earth or in Space, rather than on the Moon. The Lunar environment is very dissimilar from Mars. Just because it's "in space" doesn't mean its the optimal testing ground for Mars operations.

What critical technology is tested on the Moon? Atmospheric resource utilisation? No. Mars EDL, the big unknown? No.

The only thing I can think about is dust migitation. But what the heck, Mars dust isn't as toxic as Lunar dust and you might as well test equipment on Earth is Mars simulation chambers or on actual sample-return missions from Mars.

I think it's a good idea to move away from the Moon-centric Bush vision, if missions to the asteroids and Mars receive more attention.
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Old 05-01-2009, 12:32 PM   #36
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 A Lunar Base would have been a terrible money sinkhole.
Have you ever heard about the rule "Money invested into spaceflight is spent on Earth"? It is no money sinkhole, and it is not terrible.

Do you know what a money sink hole is? Mars Missions, that never be. Or failed missions. While you learn a lot out of your errors, you learn more from successful missions.

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 Technologies relevant for Mars are better tested on Earth or in Space, rather than on the Moon. The Lunar environment is very dissimilar from Mars. Just because it's "in space" doesn't mean its the optimal testing ground for Mars operations.
Wrong, because you focus only on the target of the mission. Mars is not the moon, but you need to get to mars first.

Imagine building a ship for crossing the Atlantic. All you can learn on the Atlantic is useless, if your ship already sinks in the port. Or if you find out that your food selection gives people illnesses halfway over the Atlantic, because you did not test such medical issues by first learning sea travel close to the coast.

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 What critical technology is tested on the Moon? Atmospheric resource utilisation? No. Mars EDL, the big unknown? No.
Deep space operations and logistics, medical safety, in-flight maintenance, etc.

Why did Apollo 9 test the LM in LEO? They could have done it already in Lunar Orbit like Apollo 10 later. The decision was made to reduce the amount of unknown problems for each mission. That is engineering.

If you want to build the first manned mars spacecraft, you can't just start with right that. You need to split your big problem into small problems and solve the small, remaining, still unsolved problems in smaller steps.

Many small steps are faster than few big jumps.

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 The only thing I can think about is dust migitation. But what the heck, Mars dust isn't as toxic as Lunar dust and you might as well test equipment on Earth is Mars simulation chambers or on actual sample-return missions from Mars.
You forget the small problems of astronautics. Astronauts are human beings, with human requirements. You have psychological aspects, which you can only vaguely simulate on Earth (As the test persons will always know that Earth is only on the other side of the wall), you have to deal with waste, you have to get enough food. You need a spacecraft, which does not kill your astronauts when a leak occurs. In the ISS this is no problem - if the station is crippled, you return to Earth. Even on the moon, you have it harder - if your return vehicle is damaged, you can't return as well. If it happens on Mars, you will need to find a new solution for the next harder problem, but you can build on what you learned in LEO and on the moon.

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 I think it's a good idea to move away from the Moon-centric Bush vision, if missions to the asteroids and Mars receive more attention.
That is just dreaming. Not making the dream true. The idea of going to Mars is only good, if you can also make it true. Not like the European spaceflight planners and decision makers, who decide every time, that moon is boring and we want to go to Mars first. They don't decide like this for going to Mars. They decide like that for avoiding having to come up with concrete results. Nobody can complain if the situation changes so much in the 25 years, that the Mars landing became impossible and had to be delayed for the next 25 years...

If you go to the moon, you have a concrete, testable goal. People can estimate your success.
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:45 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Urwumpe
 Have you ever heard about the rule "Money invested into spaceflight is spent on Earth"? It is no money sinkhole, and it is not terrible.

Do you know what a money sink hole is? Mars Missions, that never be. Or failed missions. While you learn a lot out of your errors, you learn more from successful missions.
The Lunar base would become a second ISS, taking significant funds away from other projects. And in the end it has to be abandonend when it's time to move on to Mars because it would be too expensive to maintain it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Urwumpe
 Wrong, because you focus only on the target of the mission. Mars is not the moon, but you need to get to mars first.
Yes. That's why we should work towards getting to Mars. But going to the Moon is not necessary to do that. Technologies relevant for deep space travel can be tested and proven much more cheaply in High Earth Orbit and later on missions to Near-Earth Asteroids, which are, by the way, scientifically more valuable than a return to the Moon. Excursions into deep space would do far more to validate the technology used for Mars Transit Vehicles than any stay on the Lunar surface, simply because deep space is the environment the MTV is going to operate in.

Thankfully NASA is slowly realising that.

A Mars programme would progress incrementally from testing on Earth, to high orbit to deep space missions. EDL technology would be tested in Earth's Upper Atmosphere and later on Martian sample-return missions. Atmospheric ISRU would be tested on robotic sample-return missions as well.
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:04 PM   #38
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 The Lunar base would become a second ISS, taking significant funds away from other projects. And in the end it has to be abandonend when it's time to move on to Mars because it would be too expensive to maintain it.
Sorry, but I can promise you, in 2020, you will pray for the ISS to "do just another year, as we need it".

Where had been the naysayers when the Shuttle-Mir program started? The Mir station was pretty incapable compared to what we can do with the ISS for years, the only difference then was: The USSR paid the bill for the space station program. The USSR/Russia had spent approximately the same money for their space stations until 1994 as NASA for the lunar landing.

Still, nobody complained about Mir being "just a money sink". People had been happy then about the outpost in space, and the ISS is already ten or twenty times better than Mir was in it's best times. It gave us knowledge, like the ISS does.

I tell you: Like you want things to be done (Mars now, axe ISS and lunar programs, we don't need it) will result in Mars being still only explored unmanned until 2100.

Like Newton already explained it "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants", it is not different with other advancements. You need people to pave your roads, give you something to start with. Columbus was not the inventor of ocean capable ships or navigation, he was the first to use them for crossing the Atlantic. His ships had been developed in the mediterrean and the Red Sea, his exploration stretegy came from other explorers before him.

What made Columbus special was the will to use the existing technology for going where nobody went before.

Any mars mission will not have it easier. Even for just reaching Mars, you need technologies, which we currently don't have. Just imagine a spacecraft which has enough MTBF to reach Earth in one piece, after about 3.5 years of mission. You will need to find technologies for repairs in space, which are currently impossible. Or operations which allow you to have two manned spacecraft travel to Mars as convoy, so one has a chance to return.
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:20 PM   #39
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 What made Columbus special was the will to use the existing technology for going where nobody went before.
Prophetic and true! We could do it right now, if we wanted too, the point is, we don't have the will. Something significate will need to happen in order to push us away from Earth, and I suspect that when that happens, things will be so bad that no one will go anyway.

Unfortantly I believe, Mars will never see a human on it in our life time.
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:28 PM   #40
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 I tell you: Like you want things to be done (Mars now, axe ISS and lunar programs, we don't need it) will result in Mars being still only explored unmanned until 2100.
The only way NASA astronauts will get to Mars by 2100 is if they buy tickets on a commercial tourist flight...
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:48 PM   #41
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 Prophetic and true! We could do it right now, if we wanted too, the point is, we don't have the will. Something significate will need to happen in order to push us away from Earth, and I suspect that when that happens, things will be so bad that no one will go anyway.
It is not just the lack of will to go to Mars, it is also the lack of technology. We don't have solved all technical problems yet. And we won't have them solved by just saying "Now we fly to mars". They are always waiting for us.

When the USA decided to fly to the moon, nobody really knew if this was possible at all. The goal was catchy it was selected. But nobody then came and said: We should cancel Mercury and Gemini and go directly to the moon.

It was understood that each Mercury and Gemini mission following the decision to go to the moon, was one important step forward towards the goal. NASA could not have done without them.

You also had only very few people really suggesting "We don't need Rendezvous & docking, we can do Direct Ascent." Most engineers quickly realized that LOR was the only way to go, and that mastering rendezvous and docking are important, critical steps towards the moon.

And so, you have to think for going to Mars. You can't just make one big jump and hope you can solve all occurring problems on the fly. Sci-fi authors have never had any clue on how many problems astronauts will really face.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:00 PM   #42
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 It is not just the lack of will to go to Mars, it is also the lack of technology. We don't have solved all technical problems yet.
I disagree that we don't have the technology to go to Mars. We have it, at least in a crude but useful form. With "will" and "technology" alone won't slove it thought. Even Columbus needed finanical backing, and didn't get it until he could promise some finanical gain. It all spins around all three of theses.... 1) Will 2) Technology and 3) Money.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:03 PM   #43
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Yeah, the three pillars are perfectly correct.

I would maybe also add a forth pillar "luck". Without a good deal of luck, even the best program will be doomed.

But still, how do you think, could we get the food for 3.5 years Mars mission together? Greenhouses in space do work in small scales, but we have never even tested greenhouses large enough to support a crew, at least partially.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:41 PM   #44
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Maybe instead of, or with luck, flexibility would help too? The managers of a program can't control luck, but one than can adapt to what else is going on, like cut-backs won't suffer so badly.

Practically skipping the Moon and going to Mars could mean that after some cut-backs we have nothing. Establishing a lunar base first might be more resilient since it could establish some usefulness sooner.

Anyway, I'm not sure the technological gap for a Mars expedition is so big. Like greenhouses as basically necessary for a permanent settlement but food can be just consumed and thrown away, although water recycling is a must. Though how long humans can stand freeze-dried food seems like a good thing to test too.

Hm, can't the stored food be used to provide radiation shielding and then the human waste products be stored too for that purpose?
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:02 PM   #45
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In my point of view luck was even a major factor which made Apollo that much a success, including Apollo 13 which was just pure luck. But beside that, related to the 1960's, it was also amazing what the engineers did with what was available at those days.

I think that we temporarily have to reduce the mission duration anyway for the first missions to Mars (this will at least offer the use of canned food). A stay on Mars of several month is a little bit too optimisitic. It will also be a lot of physical stress for the crew. Remember how sick astronauts get when they return from the ISS after "only" about 6 month. Landing on Mars after 6 month of zero-g can become a problem, not to mention another month in zero-g and the return to Earth with full or usual gravitation our bodies are actually used to.

A mission to Mars would be possible, more or less only just. But it would be as risky as nothing else ever before in manned space flight. And I think that the crew might potentially never fully recover from the physical and psychological stress, which by the way can't be studied by any kind of Big Brother-like experiment down on Earth.
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