Nasa outlines manned Mars vision

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itsfullofstars

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Just came across this on the BBC I dont see it here yet so thought I would post it.<br /><br />http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7116834.stm<br /><br />"The US space agency envisages despatching a "minimal" crew on a 30-month round trip to the Red Planet in a 400,000kg (880,000lb) spacecraft. "<br /><br />Talks a tiny bit about on orbit construction also.<br /><br />itfullofstars
 
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bobblebob

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Wheres there money coming from? Not even Nasa get a budget of 450 billion
 
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centsworth_II

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Heck, that's only 4.5 billion a year over 100 years.<img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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bobblebob

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And we all know what happens with Nasa and estimates <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />
 
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thereiwas

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400 tons? Yow. Sure looks like we need a new rocket for that, doesn't it? (not)<br /><br />From the article, <font color="yellow">"The details are subject to change, and may not represent the way Nasa eventually chooses to go to the Red Planet. However, the document says this is the agency's current "best strategy" for landing humans on the Martian surface. "</font><br /><br />Sounds like Apollo just before they switched to Lunar Orbit Rendezvous. Where is our Tom Dolan and John Houbolt?
 
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JonClarke

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You are not going to need to loft 400 tons in a single launch. It will be split over several launches sent over several windows. The Ares V is more than aequate for this task, in fact the mission is sized for it.<br /><br />LOR did not start with Houbold and Tom Dolan, it went back to Yuri Kondratyuk and was also argued by Oberth in the 30s and Ross in the 50s. In the early history of Apollo Michaels thought of the idea independently, but got scooped by Dolan and Houbold.<br /><br /><br />In the same way there have been an enormous number of mass reducing options for mars missions proposed in the last 60 years. Nuclear propulsion, electric propulsion, solar sails, efficient transfer orbits, cyclers, aeroassist, ISRU. The Martian equivalent of LOR for making mass requirements reasonable appears to be a combination of aeroassist and ISRU. Unfortunately the mission requirements are such that you need a big spacecraft however you do it. It's the difference between hundreds of tonnes and more than a thousand.<br /><br />Jon<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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dragon04

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If NASA is insistent on a Return to the Moon phase, I think 2051 would be "optimistic" for a landing on Mars. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <em>"2012.. Year of the Dragon!! Get on the Dragon Wagon!".</em> </div>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">Anyone think 2031 is abit ambitious in getting to Mars?</font>/i><br /><br />Yes.<br /><br />Retiring shuttle -- /> landing on the Moon (again): 10 years<br /><br />Retiring the Moon mission -- /> landing on Mars (first time): 6 years?<br /><br />I doubt it.<br /><br />Right now, NASA is leaning much more heavily on the 2020 date for the first Lunar Landing and the initial phase of Lunar operations (i.e., almost all the funding going to Lunar mission) extending to about 2025.<br /><br />Given that it will take NASA 10 years from the time the shuttle is retired to returning to the Moon in a relatively similar configuration that it did 50 years earlier, I think 6 years from the retirement of Lunar missions to a manned landing on Mars is a bit ambitious. And this assumes that the Moon program is abandoned in order to free up those funding resources.<br /><br />I think for America to realize goals like this, there is going to have to be a major shift in money being poured into space activities.</i>
 
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radarredux

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In case I wasn't clear, just as NASA decided it couldn't support STS+ISS and go to the Moon, I think the same will be true with Mars. NASA won't be able to support a manned outpost (and Lunar-based research) <i><b>and</b></i> go to Mars.<br /><br />Just as many people have been upset with NASA effectively pulling out early on ISS, the same will probably be true with the Moon. Also, NASA has essentially sent out the word to non-manned space science throughout NASA that they should redirect as much of their missions to exploiting the Moon as possible (e.g., radio telescopes on the far side of the Moon).<br /><br />If these other science groups do center a lot of their direction on a Lunar-based profile, it will be difficult for NASA to pull a plug not only on the manned space program to the Moon but to all the science programs that built their plans around a long-term presence on the moon.
 
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j05h

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<i>> If these other science groups do center a lot of their direction on a Lunar-based profile, it will be difficult for NASA to pull a plug not only on the manned space program to the Moon but to all the science programs that built their plans around a long-term presence on the moon.</i><br /><br />That is the danger of having all space development reliant on Uncle Sugar. At some point, space products have to become part of private-private exchange, or it will always face limited utilization. Ie, there is only so much development any government can do or be expected to do. <br /><br />The way around this for NASA is to use EELV and the new.space products that survive this round of development. Bigelow habs being the #1 easy-to-use item, followed by any long-duration upper stages and Falcon/Dragon. Nautilus for around $150M each makes for a lot of modules and don't require HLV. HLV-obsession is why this is all taking so long. NASA could have been on the Moon by 2012, had they stuck with OSP. We have to let go of Von Braun's vision and go the new way, or it won't happen. <br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">The way around this for NASA is to use EELV and the new.space products that survive this round of development.</font>/i><br /><br />I think it would be interesting if NASA was given a similar budget as it is today for maned spaced exploration but was forced to spend 90% on COTS products; that is, NASA should <i><b>not</b></i> pay ATK to <i><b>develop</b></i> the stick.<br /><br />If a product doesn't exist, and NASA can demonstrate that it is absolutely required and there is no alternative, and there will be no expected product available over the next 5 years, then NASA could pay a <i><b>fixed</b></i> price for for development.<br /><br />Pumping $5 billion every single year in COTS purchases will help attract private investment into the field.<br /><br />It would certainly be a different NASA.</i>
 
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j05h

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<i>> was forced to spend 90% on COTS products...</i><br /><br />Ain't gonna happen in the current climate, but is a great idea for an exploration agency. Also the idea of fixed-prices for aiding development is interesting but unlikely to see consistent deployment. I'll try to read their Mars report tonite. My general opinion is that they will either get with commercial sources of modules and launchers or be somewhat embarrassed as private explorers like Musk and Branson make for Mars. Elon is on record saying that he wants to go.<br /><br />$5G a year in COTS equipment is indeed a force to reckoned with. This would require exploration-oriented providers to actually exist. The economic leverage for NASA will be enormous. Bigelow hardware, for instance, will be mass produced and affordable compared to ISS development. It's just a big balloon of kevlar, and it's "just" a product in that sense. Bigelow will create vast economies of scale if successful. Bigelow, SpaceX, Scaled, SpaceDev are all showing the legitamacy of new.space, while providing real value to both govt and public spaceflight. Cash talks and eventually a rich person will stage a Mars or asteroid mission without NASA. Or, the federal space agency can lead the way, doing it Sooner and cheaper using new.space products. <br /><br />In this context, Bill Gates could place 300-1200t in Mars orbit using his entire fortune. Can NASA beat him or Sir Richard there? People are Going. Personally, I am not for any one party or another to get to Mars. The important thing is getting there, and starting basically Now. We have a unique opportunity in Earth's history and should take advantage of it. The dinosaurs went extinct because they didn't have a space program.<br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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thereiwas

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A Bigelow module is a lot more than "a balloon of kevlar" but I agree with your point. They are much easier to build and launch than ISS tin cans.<br /><br />If F9 and F9H work, <i>somebody</i> is going to Mars before NASA (on its current track) gets there. If only because they don't have to wait for Congress. In that AW&ST article a point is made that Bigelow doesn't <i>want</i> government development contracts.
 
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one_g

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This is a very conservative plan.<br /><br />Whatever happened to the Moon as that lesser gravity well that could better facilitate a Mars launch?<br /><br />This business about cryogenic fuel rockets. Whatever happened to ion rockets? To M2P2 plasma sails, which might have the added benefit of providing shielding from radiation? Whatever happened to nuclear, which might get us there in three months not six?<br /><br />As far as safety is concerned, NASA might want to revisit whether it is misapplying the paradigm appropriate to the Apollo program , and then toward Earth orbit missions like ISS, toward Mars.<br /><br />Maybe it's no longer appropriate to think "as small a crew as possible, and in the biggest, safest spacecraft we can afford."<br /><br />I propose that it would be safest to send a high number - 50, even 100 - in numerous, lighter craft. Probably more than ten individual craft, sent out together. In each craft, at least one astronaut is well-trained in making repairs while spacewalking. There are perhaps three doctors, at least two of them surgeons.<br /><br />Oh, and while we've got ten spacecraft, why not tether them and set them to rotating, creating artificial gravity.<br /><br />Nice being back. I used to be Tjackso.<br /><br />
 
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one_g

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At Mars, ten or more crews embark upon different destinations. One crew gets the ice cap. One gets Mons Olympus. Another two, Valle Marineris. Etc. <br /><br />Ahead of each crew's destination, we have landed living quarters, water, preserved food, as well as a hangar stocked with one long-range aircraft and two helicopters. (I assume that the most appropriate vehicle for exploring the Martian surface would have to be some sort of helicopter.) All these aircraft are also drone-capable, and so can be flight-tested in the Martian atmosphere without endangering the astronauts. <br /><br />One of the astronauts' jobs, while on Mars, would have to be building landing strips wherever they are. <br /><br />By "long-range aircraft" I mean something like a B-29 Superfortress.<br /><br />http://www.b-29s-over-korea.com/WasItNecToDropTheBomb/images/Boeing%20B-29%20Superfortress%20USAF.jpg
 
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tanstaafl76

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<br />I agree, there's no point in sending anyone to Mars until we have infrastructure there so they can stay awhile and do something productive. We need a meaningful long-term road map for exploring the planet and not just a one-and-done "flag planting" mission just so we can say we did it.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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holmec

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Unfotunately economics would prevent such an extensive plan. <br /><br />A single base would probably be a good start both economically and practically. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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thor06

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Did someone say new rocket? Check out Dr. Longmier <br />http://www.youtube.com/user/benwl<br /><br />P.S. I still laugh at this <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjiGH9QNiU0<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> <font color="#0000ff">                           www.watchnasatv.com</font></p><p>                          ONE PERCENT FOR NASA! </p> </div>
 
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dragon04

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I fail to understand the need, desire, and expense to go back to the Moon. To me, "proving out" habs and other technologies on the Moon is wasteful considering that it will only be a rough approximation of what will occur on a Mars mission.<br /><br />Lander technology will be completely different, and resources will arguably be easier to attain on Mars. Circumlunar missions would suffice to prove out launch and capsule capabilities and systems.<br /><br />More importantly, Lunar missions really do nothing but rob money and time if Mars is our ultimate goal.<br /><br />I'm by no means against a permanent presence on the Moon, mind you, but in terms of money, in addition to calling it Mars Direct, it should also be Mars First.<br /><br />I know there are grand ideas of a Moonbase, and setting up construction, manufacturing, and propellant production facilities on the Moon for future deep space missions, but the amount of money and time that would require makes a Mars Mission improbable in the next half century.<br /><br />It would be nice to see the NASA budget doubled, but even then, I question the ability of NASA to run parallel Moon/Mars mission programs.<br /><br />If we're insistent on going to the Moon, then I think we either have to take an international approach to either the Moon or Mars.<br /><br />The intangible here is that I don't know how receptive the ESA, Jaxa, Russia, and China would be to pooling resources jointly to do a truly integrated Moon or Mars program.<br /><br />Personally, what I'd like to see is a Bigelow Hab/Re-entry vehicle stuck on a booster and shot to Mars before we go any further.<br /><br />I think that would be a cost-effective way to prove out the two singular most important systems that any future manned Mars mission will require. Get a Hab on Mars, and monitor its critical systems for the 500 days proposed for a manned Mars mission.<br /><br />Some cost could be saved by not having to use a man-rated system to launch the prototype, right?<br /><br></br> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <em>"2012.. Year of the Dragon!! Get on the Dragon Wagon!".</em> </div>
 
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bobblebob

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Dont we need a moon base to act as a stepping stone to getting to Mars?
 
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nuaetius

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Dont we need a moon base to act as a stepping stone to getting to Mars? <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />We no more need a moon base to go to mars than a migrating bird must land at every lake it passes over. I think I remember reading somewhere that the Apollo Lander had enough thrust to get to mars in 12 months, one way trip and not enough consumables, but it could have made it there and burnt up in the atmosphere.<br />
 
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gunsandrockets

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<I fail to understand the need, desire, and expense to go back to the Moon. To me, "proving out" habs and other technologies on the Moon is wasteful considering that it will only be a rough approximation of what will occur on a Mars mission. Lander technology will be completely different, and resources will arguably be easier to attain on Mars.><br /><br />But there would be much overlap in technology, even some lander technology. EVA suits, pressurized rovers, inflatable habitats, semi-closed life support, surface power systems, all would have applicability to Mars operations.<br /><br />But most importantly there is one particular overlap that can not be minimized in importance -- understanding human health in long duration low gravity environments. Most inexpensive Mars mission designs such as Zubrin's Mars Direct require healthy human endurance in 3/8 g conditions for periods of at least 500 days. And current experience under prolonged zero g condition show a definite degradation of health over time. Hopefully that degradation does not occur in low g environments, but the fact is we just don't know right now if that is so.<br /><br />There are only two possible means of testing low g conditions. Either build a rotating space station in LEO or build a moon-base. All that a rotating space-station could provide that the ISS does not already provide is the low-g data we are looking for, wheras a moon-base can also aid exploration of the moon and aid development of surface ops technologies relevant to Mars. So lunar operations are a reasonable half-step towards eventual manned Mars flights.<br /><br />The design of a successful manned Mars mission could alter tremendously due to our understanding of human low-g endurance. So unless we want a very expensive style Mars mission as our defalt design choice, we must first find out more about human endurance off-world.
 
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gunsandrockets

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<The exact sentence is: "Estimates of the cost of mounting a manned Mars mission vary enormously, from $20bn to $450bn. "<br />$450bn comes from 1990. /><br /><br />Back in 2004 when the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) was announced some of the better reports showed the truth about the oft quoted $400 billion figure from 1990. It turns out the old number was just another hatchet job from the know-nothings in the news-media. <br /><br />Back in 1990 the news-media reported that $400 billion was the estimated cost of one flight to Mars, wheras in reality $400 billion was the entire price of the entire NASA multi-year space program that would include unmanned probes, an Earth orbital space-station, a lunar-base AND manned trips to Mars!<br /><br />
 
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