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Thread: Mars One mission

  1. #1
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    Cool Mars One mission

    A privately funded, one way, manned trip to Mars

    Maggie Lieu (one of the people long-listed for the trip) was just on Radio4 talking about it

    http://www.mars-one.com/
    "Just have fun"

  2. #2

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    I really wanted to go for that, but it was made absolutely clear that I would be going singly.
    I was still tempted though even after that 0.o

    From what I've heard about it though, it seems like a bit of a scam. There is absolutely no serous detail on designs for vessels, habitats, training, etc, etc, etc.
    My money would be on that after the TV show they come clean with 'oh it was all a prank, aren't we funny, ho ho'.

    Shame though.
    I want to be Cultured

  3. #3
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    I find the whole idea of colonising Mars quite barmy. Short of bringing in a new atmosphere from materials elsewhere in the solar system it's always going to be an artificial habitat. Without an ecosystem to recycle water and oxygen the long term prospect is ever reducing resources. The only real advantage of a planet over, say, a habitat in the asteroid belt is gravity, which you can simulate with spin. Access to raw materials would be so much easier in space. Maybe the idea is to use it as a staging post for exploiting the asteroids? I suppose it's a stage humans need to go through to advance to something more ambitious.

  4. #4
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    When is the TV show? I missed that bit

    I did hear the travellers would be voted for by members of the public (which I found rather odd)
    "Just have fun"

  5. #5
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    I vote for Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins for the one way trip. Don't care where, as long as it's one way.
    Lurker at the threshold

  6. #6
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    It's a lot easier to commit suicide right here on Earth rather than travel great distances through space, at huge expense, to do it. If you are paying attention to some of the serious studies now emerging, you realize it's a physical impossibility to support people on Mars with the technology available. Thus going would be a one way suicide mission. But good luck and bon voyage anyway.

  7. #7
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    This should be done in steps.
    First send some robots and machinery that can do some resource gathering and storing, and then , if step 1 works send the people. If step 1 doesn't work it will be a waste of resources but it will not end as a tragedy.
    Excentric - Torturer Class - Right Winger's Nightmare

  8. #8
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    Resource gathering without infrastructure seems like a tall order.
    Look at power generation: on earth we can burn stuff to make heat to boil water to drive turbines. On Mars there's nothing to burn, no easily accessible water but mostly, no oxygen to burn it. The possibilities that you can make on Mars would be wind power or solar, but you need to manufacture the components on Mars since you can only bring a few tons of cargo from Earth. To manufacture the components you need refined minerals which you have to mine. Mining and refining take power... we're back at the beginning again.
    Assuming they make this work at all, allowing for things wearing out and having to be replaced then I assume it's going to be a slow old business of gradual accumulation of capability taking probably centuries until it's at the point of being able to sustain a human population.
    Then again, if fusion power gets cracked some day soon then it'll be a much easier ride.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Vig View Post
    Resource gathering without infrastructure seems like a tall order.
    Look at power generation: on earth we can burn stuff to make heat to boil water to drive turbines. On Mars there's nothing to burn, no easily accessible water but mostly, no oxygen to burn it. The possibilities that you can make on Mars would be wind power or solar, but you need to manufacture the components on Mars since you can only bring a few tons of cargo from Earth. To manufacture the components you need refined minerals which you have to mine. Mining and refining take power... we're back at the beginning again.
    Assuming they make this work at all, allowing for things wearing out and having to be replaced then I assume it's going to be a slow old business of gradual accumulation of capability taking probably centuries until it's at the point of being able to sustain a human population.
    Then again, if fusion power gets cracked some day soon then it'll be a much easier ride.
    An alternative would be to ship a fision reactor, that would give them enough power for the resource gathering. The toughest task would be constructing an actual spaceship that can ferry cargo and humans from earth to mars.
    Excentric - Torturer Class - Right Winger's Nightmare

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelatorre View Post
    An alternative would be to ship a fision reactor, that would give them enough power for the resource gathering. The toughest task would be constructing an actual spaceship that can ferry cargo and humans from earth to mars.
    I beg to differ, we pretty much have all the technology to get small amounts of mass to mars, including presumably people. I struggle with your suggestion of shipping a reactor, just on amount of mass involved. I read about small modular reactors designed with up to 50 Mw outputs that run for 15 years on one fuelling. Maybe that would do it, but getting the 300 tons involved into space then down to Mars in one piece seems beyond my perception of human capability. The point Henry electric aluminium smelter uses 76MW to produce 185,000 tons of refined aluminium per year, so our reactor could theoretically produce a lot of refined metals during it's lifetime. Not the whole story though, because you also have to mine the raw materials, transport them, and have all the required other materials for the process which seem to include cryolite, molten pitch, antracite, graphite and so on; better hope to find some fossil organics on Mars too. Reactors can be more powerful, but the mass scales up too, so for 1Gw reactor you want 25 tons of enriched uranium per year, and the equipment is the size of 3 mile island.

    I think the best chance for the endeavour is not this sort of brute force engineering, but more likely a bioengineered solution. You want a biological organism that has the ability to sequester minerals which you then harvest in relatively pure form. Like leguminous plants that sequester nitrogen into the soil, but gene engineered to concentrate metals instead. As an example there are suggestions that the largest gold deposit Africa was the result of a primitive bacteria concentrating the gold from seawater.
    The trouble is that our organism has to survive in an atmosphere 1% as thick as on earth, made up mostly of CO2, and where free water seems unlikely.

    In short, I see this taking centuries not years.

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