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Old 08-03-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glitch View Post
It is indeed a suicide mission. Anyone going to Mars within the next decade will not live beyond a year on the surface of Mars, assuming they can even reach the planet still alive. Solar radiation alone will kill everyone. They most certainly will not live out their natural life.

Then there is the issue of supplies. Where are they going to get their oxygen and water? They cannot ship enough to Mars from Earth, and I read nothing about producing their own. While they may be able to separate oxygen from CO2, there is no hydrogen on Mars to make water.

We do not even know if the gravity on Mars is sufficient to prevent bone loss.

Currently, and for the foreseeable future, any trip to Mars is indeed a suicide mission.
If there's water in liquid or ice form below the surface, then there's hydrogen. The presence of water (or at least suspected to be) below the surface has been detected by orbiters, and the Phoenix Lander managed to dig up a few chunks. However, drilling down to it has to be done to conclusively confirm it.

I agree that questions need to be resolved first before sending anyone to Mars. Sending machines is the safest and currently the cheapest way to explore the planet. If the results turn out okay, then fine, send people.

The lack of a planet-wide magnetic field could be a problem, although there are smaller localized fields scattered around the planet. It could be that occupying such areas might provide enough protection to reduce exposure to radiation.

Radiation from solar flares as well as the galaxy present a hazard. Equipment aboard the MSL has been checking radiation levels both in space and inside the craft to measure the differences. It has been found that the protection of the shell shows a reduction in radiation. The downside is that it's still not enough. That's just looking at one way trip just to get there. That can probably be resolved by improving the design of the craft.

Once the MSL lands, it will be measuring radiation levels at the surface of Mars. That's never been done before and it will provide some vital information as to how well a human can survive on the planet. For a round-trip manned mission to Mars, that could mean a duration of 2 to 3 years for such a mission.

Sending people on a one-way suicide trip in the near future sounds insane to me. There may be people willing to do it, but it's irresponsible and just plain nuts. It's better to let bots do the trailblazing, set up equipment, assemble habitats, and conduct other work, until we have enough information to determine that such a trip can be relatively safe for humans.

Mars probe records radiation blasts that could affect future astronauts - Cosmic Log
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Old 08-03-2012, 11:58 AM
 
419 posts, read 365,766 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
If there's water in liquid or ice form below the surface, then there's hydrogen. The presence of water (or at least suspected to be) below the surface has been detected by orbiters, and the Phoenix Lander managed to dig up a few chunks. However, drilling down to it has to be done to conclusively confirm it.

I agree that questions need to be resolved first before sending anyone to Mars. Sending machines is the safest and currently the cheapest way to explore the planet. If the results turn out okay, then fine, send people.

The lack of a planet-wide magnetic field could be a problem, although there are smaller localized fields scattered around the planet. It could be that occupying such areas might provide enough protection to reduce exposure to radiation.

Radiation from solar flares as well as the galaxy present a hazard. Equipment aboard the MSL has been checking radiation levels both in space and inside the craft to measure the differences. It has been found that the protection of the shell shows a reduction in radiation. The downside is that it's still not enough. That's just looking at one way trip just to get there. That can probably be resolved by improving the design of the craft.

Once the MSL lands, it will be measuring radiation levels at the surface of Mars. That's never been done before and it will provide some vital information as to how well a human can survive on the planet. For a round-trip manned mission to Mars, that could mean a duration of 2 to 3 years for such a mission.

Sending people on a one-way suicide trip in the near future sounds insane to me. There may be people willing to do it, but it's irresponsible and just plain nuts. It's better to let bots do the trailblazing, set up equipment, assemble habitats, and conduct other work, until we have enough information to determine that such a trip can be relatively safe for humans.

Mars probe records radiation blasts that could affect future astronauts - Cosmic Log
An article I read a couple weeks ago basically said that. They are planning on sending supplies there ahead of time. The people that go then will use it to get set up. They will hope to produce oxygen and create a stable environment to survive in. Then, on a regular schedule more and more will follow.

I wonder how long it will take for babies to be born there. I'd predict not long. People grouped together in confined areas tend to do that.
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Old 08-03-2012, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,824 posts, read 20,768,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
If there's water in liquid or ice form below the surface, then there's hydrogen. The presence of water (or at least suspected to be) below the surface has been detected by orbiters, and the Phoenix Lander managed to dig up a few chunks. However, drilling down to it has to be done to conclusively confirm it.
I have seen those maps of sub-surface "water" on Mars, but is it actually H2O or is it more frozen CO2? Also, those maps seem to indicate that the sub-surface "water" on Mars is located around the northern pole. This could pose a problem for solar panels, not to mention the people on Mars who would have to endure months of total darkness near the poles.

As someone who lives not far from the Arctic Circle, the long summer days and long winter nights do take a toll on people. It is one of the reasons why the suicide rate in Alaska is twice the national average.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
I agree that questions need to be resolved first before sending anyone to Mars. Sending machines is the safest and currently the cheapest way to explore the planet. If the results turn out okay, then fine, send people.

The lack of a planet-wide magnetic field could be a problem, although there are smaller localized fields scattered around the planet. It could be that occupying such areas might provide enough protection to reduce exposure to radiation.

Radiation from solar flares as well as the galaxy present a hazard. Equipment aboard the MSL has been checking radiation levels both in space and inside the craft to measure the differences. It has been found that the protection of the shell shows a reduction in radiation. The downside is that it's still not enough. That's just looking at one way trip just to get there. That can probably be resolved by improving the design of the craft.

Once the MSL lands, it will be measuring radiation levels at the surface of Mars. That's never been done before and it will provide some vital information as to how well a human can survive on the planet. For a round-trip manned mission to Mars, that could mean a duration of 2 to 3 years for such a mission.

Sending people on a one-way suicide trip in the near future sounds insane to me. There may be people willing to do it, but it's irresponsible and just plain nuts. It's better to let bots do the trailblazing, set up equipment, assemble habitats, and conduct other work, until we have enough information to determine that such a trip can be relatively safe for humans.

Mars probe records radiation blasts that could affect future astronauts - Cosmic Log
MIT is working on a system to generate magnetic fields for spacecraft that will protect crews from solar radiation, but it will not be ready until 2027.

The Space Review: Magnetic shielding for spacecraft

As far as living on Mars, the best choice would be an underground structure. Then they can be protected from solar radiation, even if they are unable to generate a sufficiently strong enough magnetic field. Since Mars is geologically inactive, compared to Earth, Mars quakes would most likely be a very rare event.

I agree with your assessment. The first step toward colonization should be sending robots to manufacture the habitats, and either obtain or manufacture the resources necessary to ensure survival. That way we can be sure everything is ready before we send anyone.

Currently, with chemical rockets, the shortest period we could spend going to, staying on, and returning from Mars is just short of one year. It would take 104 days to reach Mars, a 40 day stay on Mars, followed by a 209 day return trip, or 343 days total. However, with ion propulsion we can significantly reduce our travel time and at least provide some gravity through constant acceleration to prevent bone and muscle loss.

Technologically we are almost there, but not quite. Within another 15 to 20 years I think it will be possible to send a crew to Mars without it being suicidal.

Whether or not we stay on Mars permanently will be determined by the gravity. At 0.375 G, some question whether that is sufficient to prevent bone and muscle loss. The consensus seems to be that it will be sufficient, but we have never put it to the test.

Last edited by Glitch; 08-03-2012 at 01:10 PM..
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:31 PM
 
5,366 posts, read 8,363,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RuralMissionary View Post
An article I read a couple weeks ago basically said that. They are planning on sending supplies there ahead of time. The people that go then will use it to get set up. They will hope to produce oxygen and create a stable environment to survive in. Then, on a regular schedule more and more will follow.

I wonder how long it will take for babies to be born there. I'd predict not long. People grouped together in confined areas tend to do that.
I agree. It'll take time just to gradually establish a base. Some things will require the direct involvement of humans. But I'm inclined to think that as robotics are improved, a lot of the grunt work can be done more safely by machines, in the same way that the rovers are being controlled by onboard programming and commands from the Earth.
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Old 08-03-2012, 05:55 PM
 
5,366 posts, read 8,363,922 times
Reputation: 3412
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glitch View Post
I have seen those maps of sub-surface "water" on Mars, but is it actually H2O or is it more frozen CO2? Also, those maps seem to indicate that the sub-surface "water" on Mars is located around the northern pole. This could pose a problem for solar panels, not to mention the people on Mars who would have to endure months of total darkness near the poles.

As someone who lives not far from the Arctic Circle, the long summer days and long winter nights do take a toll on people. It is one of the reasons why the suicide rate in Alaska is twice the national average.
Thats exactly the point. We don't know for sure if it's H2O or not. To get to what appears to be sub-surface water, it's going to require drilling to get to it. And that could be done remotely by machines. The MSL has a drill that's larger than those of previous rovers, but still not long enough to reach some serious depths. IMO if we can't access water on Mars, then Mars would remain unsuitable for any long term missions any time soon. Water is needed to drink, for oxygen to breath and to make fuel. Some things could be sent, but probably not on a regular basis. And crew or colony will have to be self-sustaining and be able to make do with what's available there in order to survive.

As for water from the Martian poles, again, it may be possible to delegate such tasks robotically. It may be a major task to accomplish, but it might be feasible to send machines to the poles, harvest the ice, store it in movable containers, and return it to the base to liquify and filter.

We won't know what can or cannot be done until we try it. The first thing on the list is going to have to be to find water, either liquid or ice, and be able to extract it.

What's the plan for the one-way suicide trip to Mars in the next 10 years or so? Wish them a fond farewell, and put up a nice memorial plaque in their honor back here on Earth? They're going to need resources, equipment and food to be self-sustaining. If they don't have that, they'd be as good as dead. Food can be hydroponically grown, but enough of a variety? a daily diet of lettuce, tomatoes and asparagus could get pretty boring. They'll need more nutrition than that, and they'll need more space to grow a wider variety of plants. In addition, they'll need nutrients for the plants to survive. They're also going to have to manage to take care of any medical needs that should occur. It's going to take a lot of work ahead of time before it'll be feasible to send people there on a one-way trip.

You raise an excellent point. What happens if the one-way crew has a change of mind after a period of time, and start getting stir crazy. With a round-trip plan, even though they'll be gone for 2-3 years, they can at least look forward to returning to Earth. With a one-way trip, that's it. There is no option if they want to return.

Quote:
MIT is working on a system to generate magnetic fields for spacecraft that will protect crews from solar radiation, but it will not be ready until 2027.


The Space Review: Magnetic shielding for spacecraft
Other options are also being considered, such as thicker shielding, and water between the inner and outer hulls.

Quote:
As far as living on Mars, the best choice would be an underground structure. Then they can be protected from solar radiation, even if they are unable to generate a sufficiently strong enough magnetic field. Since Mars is geologically inactive, compared to Earth, Mars quakes would most likely be a very rare event.
There are cave-like lava flow tubes that could provide a good shield. Another suggestion for habitats on the surface is to completely cover them with a thick layer of rock.

Quote:
I agree with your assessment. The first step toward colonization should be sending robots to manufacture the habitats, and either obtain or manufacture the resources necessary to ensure survival. That way we can be sure everything is ready before we send anyone.


Currently, with chemical rockets, the shortest period we could spend going to, staying on, and returning from Mars is just short of one year. It would take 104 days to reach Mars, a 40 day stay on Mars, followed by a 209 day return trip, or 343 days total. However, with ion propulsion we can significantly reduce our travel time and at least provide some gravity through constant acceleration to prevent bone and muscle loss.

Technologically we are almost there, but not quite. Within another 15 to 20 years I think it will be possible to send a crew to Mars without it being suicidal.
You may be right about the shortest period of time for a first time mission. Most scenarios I've seen seem to suggest longer missions of nearly 2-3 years total. But you're right. An ion propulsion system would greatly reduce the travel time. Before any landing occurs on Mars, the plan seems to be following that of the Moon landing. Before anyone landed on the Moon, astronauts were sent to only orbit around it. With Mars, I'd guess a landing on one of the Martian moons, probably Phobos, would be likely, sort of a practice run. It'll still be a while before anyone actually lands on the planet. Once on the surface of the planet, there'll need to be enough fuel to lift off from the planet for the return trip home. The Martian gravity is a lot stronger than that of the Moon. With a chemical rocket, I can't really picture what kind of lander would be used for a Mars landing mission, one with enough fuel to life off the surface and return to Earth. Maybe a fuel tank in orbit for refueling? The same system being used for the MSL might be useful for landing a manned mission.


Quote:
Whether or not we stay on Mars permanently will be determined by the gravity. At 0.375 G, some question whether that is sufficient to prevent bone and muscle loss. The consensus seems to be that it will be sufficient, but we have never put it to the test.
I would guess to minimize bone and muscle loss, routine exercise would be essential, such as that in the ISS.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:48 PM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,205 posts, read 22,801,825 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollytree View Post
Leave it to Fox news to call it a suicide mission. Why not just call it colonization?
I agree with the use of the phrase suicide mission, but in reality, the first to go will not last long. Whether you believe in evolution or intelligent design, humans are built to live here, on Earth. OUr planet is our optimal environment. Everything from the level of gravitational pull, levels of radiation, our distance from the Sun, the speed of the rotation of Earth, the atmosphere, [most] bacteria/viruses, heck, even weather and climate are all things that we are "tuned" to and can deal with. Living on Mars, even within an enclosed ecosystem that could block, or limit, solar radiation will still have unforeseen effects on human physiology. This might not spell certain doom, but no one knows with absolute certainty what would happen. These first people are essentially an experiment. The experiment is to see not only if it could be done, but what happens to them, the changes, that occur over time. My guess is they all go batsh*t crazy before any real "results" are noted.

Not sure how I feel about private organizations colonizing Mars, though. I guarantee you it is not for the betterment of humanity. Yeah, let's own the Solar System! $$$$


Quote:
Originally Posted by D. Scott View Post
The planet is not conductive to support life as far as we know now. 10 years to travel so far and start on a new world? No way. Only Earth can sustain us currently. There are other worlds that are Earth-like no doubt but they may already be home to someone else and are far. Too far to get to anytime even remotely soon.

I will stay on Terra. She is still beautiful despite our tarnishing her- Both morally, environmentally and otherwise.
I read an article in Omni back in the late 80s. It was about the future colonization of Mars and how it could be done. According to the article, the first step would be to set up factories that would pump the necessary compounds into the Mars atmosphere that would over time build into the necessary atmosphere suitable for sustaining various types of flora. From that, the rest of the atmosphere would develop into something similar to what is found on Earth. I believe it said it would take 100 years or so.

I heard about the "one-way ticket" sometime last year and seriously considered it. It would just be too cool to pass up. I mean, holy cow, it would be a cosmic epiphany far beyond any "spiritual" experience found here on Earth regardless of anyones Religious or non-Religious beliefs. That would be too cool. But, you would have few to share the experience with. It's like watching a gorgeous sunset alone. Awesome for sure, but kind of the experience that is preferred with company.

To be honest, I think it is rather egotistical to be among the first to go. In particular since there is no real reason to go. It is a way to be remembered in history books and on postage stamps. It's not like they are explorers or anything.

I also find it interesting that people are willing to put up the billions of dollars in order to make this sort of thing happen when there are many aspects to life here on Earth that could use a little addressing, and that money. Yeah, let's not try and "fix" the planet we currently live on. Let's just go somewhere else. But hey, I'm one of those "anti-Fox" types
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:24 PM
 
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Sorry to be so cynical but I think the only portion of this plan that would possibly come to fruition would be the "reality" show based on the test colony. After the show is done, the company would announce that they've abandoned plans to colonize Mars. It would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to fund such an endeavor. How would a tv show possibly earn this much. The supposed Mars mission is just a ruse to build interest in the TV show. I'm sure they'll cast typical reality show characters who are aggressive and combative. Anyone with the intellectual prowess to colonize Mars wouldn't be interested in becoming a TV show character.
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Old 08-07-2012, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,824 posts, read 20,768,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K-Luv View Post
I agree with the use of the phrase suicide mission, but in reality, the first to go will not last long. Whether you believe in evolution or intelligent design, humans are built to live here, on Earth. OUr planet is our optimal environment. Everything from the level of gravitational pull, levels of radiation, our distance from the Sun, the speed of the rotation of Earth, the atmosphere, [most] bacteria/viruses, heck, even weather and climate are all things that we are "tuned" to and can deal with. Living on Mars, even within an enclosed ecosystem that could block, or limit, solar radiation will still have unforeseen effects on human physiology. This might not spell certain doom, but no one knows with absolute certainty what would happen. These first people are essentially an experiment. The experiment is to see not only if it could be done, but what happens to them, the changes, that occur over time. My guess is they all go batsh*t crazy before any real "results" are noted.

Not sure how I feel about private organizations colonizing Mars, though. I guarantee you it is not for the betterment of humanity. Yeah, let's own the Solar System! $$$$


I read an article in Omni back in the late 80s. It was about the future colonization of Mars and how it could be done. According to the article, the first step would be to set up factories that would pump the necessary compounds into the Mars atmosphere that would over time build into the necessary atmosphere suitable for sustaining various types of flora. From that, the rest of the atmosphere would develop into something similar to what is found on Earth. I believe it said it would take 100 years or so.

I heard about the "one-way ticket" sometime last year and seriously considered it. It would just be too cool to pass up. I mean, holy cow, it would be a cosmic epiphany far beyond any "spiritual" experience found here on Earth regardless of anyones Religious or non-Religious beliefs. That would be too cool. But, you would have few to share the experience with. It's like watching a gorgeous sunset alone. Awesome for sure, but kind of the experience that is preferred with company.

To be honest, I think it is rather egotistical to be among the first to go. In particular since there is no real reason to go. It is a way to be remembered in history books and on postage stamps. It's not like they are explorers or anything.

I also find it interesting that people are willing to put up the billions of dollars in order to make this sort of thing happen when there are many aspects to life here on Earth that could use a little addressing, and that money. Yeah, let's not try and "fix" the planet we currently live on. Let's just go somewhere else. But hey, I'm one of those "anti-Fox" types
The Mars Society was established in 1998 specifically for the purpose of putting humans on Mars. They have plenty of volunteers, and they have been testing the human component for some time. They have a desert research center in southern Utah where they spend anywhere from a week to two weeks living in conditions similar to what they might find on Mars. They also have an Arctic Research Station on Devon Island in Canada, simulated missions lasting up to four months. They live in a habitate module similar to what they would be living in on Mars and do not venture outside without wearing their environmental suit, just like they would on Mars. The Mars Society consists primarily of various university, NASA, and international personnel.

The Mars Society

As far as terraforming Mars, we are not sure how long it took for the solar winds to strip off the Martian atmosphere. We may never be able to build up enough atmospheric pressure, or it may take considerably longer than a single century. Without a strong magnetic field Mars will continually lose atmosphere, we just do not know at what rate.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Texas
5,070 posts, read 9,165,594 times
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Reminds me of a bunch of people living in the bottom of the sea, someplace and the tension kind of got the best of them.

Ring any bells?
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,824 posts, read 20,768,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian.Pearson View Post
Reminds me of a bunch of people living in the bottom of the sea, someplace and the tension kind of got the best of them.

Ring any bells?
The closer they are to the equator, the better off they will be psychologically. Unfortunately, the subsurface H2O they detected during the 2001 spectral survey of Mars found that the subsurface water is concentrated near the poles. Mars' axial tilt is 25.19°, which is very close to Earth's axial tilt of 23.44°. Which means Mars will experience seasons similar to Earth. So the closer they are to the poles the longer the days will be during the Martian summer, and the longer the nights will be during the Martian winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) would have to be taken into consideration, just as it is on Earth. The Martian summers and winters are almost twice (1.88 times) as long as those on Earth.
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