Manned missions to Mars: what are they going to do about this problem

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Crossover_Maniac

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<p>I have been doing some thinking.&nbsp; Now, even the shortest missions to Mars, which would be 40 days, will place the rocket engine used to get the astronauts off planet in less than clean room conditions and subjecting the engines to dramatic shifts in temperature, dust, and just letting the rocket components sit around unused.&nbsp; Now, if it takes a team of workers months to work on the space shuttle's main engines, what will Mars explorers do about maintaining their rocket engines for 6 months to 2 years from the day the Ares rocket is put on the pad till the ascent stage fires up and launches the crew from the surface of Mars to its Earth trajectory orbit around the Sun?</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Edit: Sorry, I put this in the wrong catagory.&nbsp; Can the mods give me a boot and put this discussion on the mission and launches board?&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Feel the Hope-nosis </div>
 
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Carrickagh

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<p>I am far from a rocket expert but I would think they would have the engines sealed and encased in a "dormant" mode. The classic MEM designs I have seen employ a sort of conical lander. After the thing touches down and the marsnauts explore the MEM gets taken apart and prepped for launch. Then the upper stage, housing just the men and the rocks returns to some mother ship in Mars orbit, ala Apollo. The image below sort of captures it, and is from a 1969 NASA/Von Baraun study.</p><p>I would think reliability is key, as well as the ability to store cryogenic propellants in the long term. Back in the day when Space Station Fred was called Space Station Freedom, part of the rationale of building it was to provide a testbed for storage of cryogenic propellant, tankage design, and propellant transfer techniques. Not sure how far along any of this progressed.</p><p>&nbsp;But I think you raise a good point.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br /><img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/5/6/353e4f57-6a10-41a3-86ee-65a444d30b9a.Medium.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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Crossover_Maniac

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I am far from a rocket expert but I would think they would have the engines sealed and encased in a "dormant" mode. The classic MEM designs I have seen employ a sort of conical lander. After the thing touches down and the marsnauts explore the MEM gets taken apart and prepped for launch. Then the upper stage, housing just the men and the rocks returns to some mother ship in Mars orbit, ala Apollo. The image below sort of captures it, and is from a 1969 NASA/Von Baraun study.I would think reliability is key, as well as the ability to store cryogenic propellants in the long term. Back in the day when Space Station Fred was called Space Station Freedom, part of the rationale of building it was to provide a testbed for storage of cryogenic propellant, tankage design, and propellant transfer techniques. Not sure how far along any of this progressed.&nbsp;But I think you raise a good point.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by Carrickagh</DIV></p><p>I do know that one solution would be pressure-fed rockets and non-cryogenic fuels.&nbsp; The lower escape velocity means that the rocket system won't need to be optimized for performance.&nbsp; ISTR that the Apollo lander and command modules were pressure-fed.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Feel the Hope-nosis </div>
 
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Carrickagh

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<p>I'm not sure about the nut-and-bolts details around Apollo. But the reliability would be a bit beyond a 6-10 day lunar mission. By that I mean the flight out to Mars would take at least 9 months in which the descent and ascent systems would be dormant, plus however long they plan to stay on the surface.</p><p>I would hope the need for the lander is not a show-stopper for at least a first mission. By that I mean it might be necessary to send a mission, perhaps, to Phobos and Deimos, with no Mars landing intended. This might be good for public support as well as a dress rehearsal for an actual landing. They could have engineering or prototype models of the rockets along just to test. </p><p><br /><img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/4/2/24fd8d00-2f9c-41c2-92a4-3ebb4d4ca2a1.Medium.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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