Neowin Think Tank: Mars Colony One (and Two ... and Three ... and ... )


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Beittil

Guess you could stuff all the rovers and such in a single return flight :p Failed equipment, hmm. I don't see it just yet,  analysis could very well be done on Mars itself. Make the scanes, video's, etc and email that home. etc.

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FloatingFatMan

Do we need to limit ourselves to a 100 tonne BFR launcher?  Can we not build a larger cargo vessel in orbit, that never lands? It's just a robot cargo ferry that travels between Mars & Earth on a slower trajectory. Load it on up, send it off on autopilot, then send the actual colonists later on a smaller, faster ship. When they get there, everything they'll need is already in orbit, they just need to send it down to the colony using Dragon 2 style landers.

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FloatingFatMan

^ In fact, to add to that... They could bolt a bunch of bigelow modules together, stick a small booster (for initial acceleration and braking) and a couple of ion engines for main drive on it, and Bob's your auntie... Space only space ships don't have to be streamlined, or super-elegant looking, after all... You just need a bunch of containers to put stuff in to...

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Tuskd

We could build on this idea. Load up the cargo in batches (don't want to put all eggs in the same basket) and place them in orbit. These batches then join together to form a basic mothership and then send personnel and conduct any other analysis while in orbit(if needed) before finally sending a team to the ground. Then send in more batches to complete the ship. I believe there is no real need to send stuff directly back to earth (atleast initially, all the resources obtained would be used to satisfy the needs there). Send everything to the mothership,... repairs, maintenance and analysis, rather than sending it to Earth (only thing is that we need a large mothership) . Once a shop is setup on the ground, there's no need for that too. The mothership will later serve as an exchange center for people and new equipment. 

 

 

Another thought, what about the psychological stress the crew has to face? Travelling in space for months could take a huge toll on their mental and physical health. Also they need to get down to work immediately. Any ideas? I have heard about the Mars 500, but I believe its just staying in solitary confinement. What about their state of mind when they get to work, critical thinking and decision making skills? In all these experiments, the test crew were very well aware that they are on Earth. Even though many want to take the ride to Mars, how many are actually ready to face it?

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FloatingFatMan

It's not really too different situation to the early days of exploring Earth if you think about it.  At sea for months at a time, no idea how long until you discover something, and so on.  We just need to make sure the crew have plenty of leisure facilities to relax with, and have the ability to send/receive video messages with friends & family.

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Draggendrop

Keep up the good work guys....excellent suggestions........coffee is on me....... :D

 

I am a firm believer in having the mothership in orbit for an indefinite time...it does not leave. Like Doc said, we could have large freighters running both directions on a regular basis. We are starting a setup outpost, starting a small mining unit to see the equipment and processes work in a real situation. This will take time. Meanwhile in the mothership, crew could be dong surveys for more raw materials, carrying out science missions and monitoring Martian weather and  solar activity. As the plan progress's, a lot of equipment will be sent, and ships are expensive. Some trips will have equipment, samples, rovers/landers like Doc said, and personnel back to earth. If the ship is mostly empty, doesn't really matter....cheaper than building ships all the time.

 

The mother ship will become large over time by adding modules and/or ships to it on a regular basis. It will have many usefull modules as time goes by....ie: hospital module, life sciences, climatology, repair depots,computer engineering, environmental engineering, gym, chemical lab, orbital debris mitigation, lander maintenance and the list goes on.......Cheers

 

The mothership is going to need an upgrade in the future...gravity ring...asap, for crew well being during long stays.

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Arachno 1D

It could as as a sudo warehouse/staging point processing incoming and outgoing personnel and stock as required with a stabilization/transition area between long haul flight and ground postings.It might at some point also have extra lifeboats for those on the planet if theirs ship fails for whatever reason or if extreme radiation events are expected.

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Draggendrop

It could as as a sudo warehouse/staging point processing incoming and outgoing personnel and stock as required with a stabilization/transition area between long haul flight and ground postings.It might at some point also have extra lifeboats for those on the planet if theirs ship fails for whatever reason or if extreme radiation events are expected.

Exactly.....Cheers

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Tuskd

Can a single mothership handle it all? It sounds more like a city in the skies. We could have multiple motherships, one for personnel and another for equipments etc.., but that would make transportation between these a headache. How big will it be compared to the ISS? Discussing about just the mothership alone would require a separate thread :p

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FloatingFatMan

I don't think it really needs to be any bigger than 3 or 4 Bigelow modules. It's just somewhere for the cargo & passenger ships to dock, and hold a couple of lifeboat capsules for emergencies, plus a shield generator of course...

 

And there's an important thing.  These ships are going to need a shield generator against the solar winds.. Have NASA got theirs working yet?  It's gonna be kinda important!

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Draggendrop

Can a single mothership handle it all? It sounds more like a city in the skies. We could have multiple motherships, one for personnel and another for equipments etc.., but that would make transportation between these a headache. How big will it be compared to the ISS? Discussing about just the mothership alone would require a separate thread :p

Just my opinion......The mothership would be a reasonable size to start, then expand with additions as we go....it has a very vital role to play in our survival on Mars....will it get big..very much so...is it going to be bigger than the ISS, it will probably the same size as module assembly, if not bigger on first launch...We have a mess of cargo to move and that will demand a large ship...being in orbit...as long as orbital velocity is maintained....we stay there for any length of time    hope that helps...Cheers

 

Note...it is going to take years to get a functioning site to where we want it...the mothership is everything.....

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Draggendrop

I don't think it really needs to be any bigger than 3 or 4 Bigelow modules. It's just somewhere for the cargo & passenger ships to dock, and hold a couple of lifeboat capsules for emergencies, plus a shield generator of course...

 

And there's an important thing.  These ships are going to need a shield generator against the solar winds.. Have NASA got theirs working yet?  It's gonna be kinda important!

If shield generators are not available...still not a big deal...the mothership can have a shielded central core "safe area"......we will also have to incorporate this on the surface in some manner........we can track the dangerous event times and deal with them.....Cheers

 

Just a note....This is going to be a difficult place to deal with initially....crew rotation up and down will be required...tough on machines and the body initially.....we need a lot of resources in a "friendly" spot to achieve this....

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Unobscured Vision

Good afternoon, Colonists. :)

 

Great discussions going on. Keep up the great work!

 

Can a single mothership handle it all? It sounds more like a city in the skies. We could have multiple motherships, one for personnel and another for equipments etc.., but that would make transportation between these a headache. How big will it be compared to the ISS? Discussing about just the mothership alone would require a separate thread :p

I don't think it really needs to be any bigger than 3 or 4 Bigelow modules. It's just somewhere for the cargo & passenger ships to dock, and hold a couple of lifeboat capsules for emergencies, plus a shield generator of course...

 

And there's an important thing.  These ships are going to need a shield generator against the solar winds.. Have NASA got theirs working yet?  It's gonna be kinda important!

Depends on what launchers are used to get the gear off Earth, and where everything is assembled once it's in space. All of that has yet to be determined.

 

Remember (as DD has just said) that building the CoS, the Mining Sites and the Mothership will take several years and several missions. It's a committed process. The Mothership will obviously take priority as that one will be arriving at Mars first. It'll be many times larger than the ISS and likely get larger as the need requires.

 

As for Solar Wind shielding. There could be Shelter Locations inside the Water Storage areas with Physical Shielding that will more than protect crews during times of need. We can generate artificial Magnetic Fields around our areas (and they don't need to be particularly powerful, either) to mitigate Solar Wind exposure to Crews, since that's the majority of the Radiation they would experience in space and on Mars. We would need to test this during the "Proving & Testing Process" on Near-Earth and Lunar Missions for viability, though.

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Arachno 1D

Much as any military campaign its also about getting the right stuff to the right place when its required so having cargo and crew disembark before going onwards will help no end in the logistics,Especially in the packaging and unpacking of equipment and storage of spares locally within a few hours of where it could end up being an urgent requirement.

 

Given the bigallow technology we could in theory make the structure much larger than the present restriction caused by rocket size too.Think of it as a vast warehouse where storage is on all four walls.

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Draggendrop

These units may very well be used. I imagine the mothership will dwarf present versions of the modules...but they are scalable...... :D

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Arachno 1D

Now all we need to design is the one man Goa'uld descent pod from Star Gate and were good to go

 

180?cb=20070327204617

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Draggendrop

Mar's atmosphere really presents some problems...as NASA is finding out with the LDSD parachute trials.....Mars is a little smaller than earth but gravity still applies. Next, the atmospheric density is 1/100th of the Earth;s...therefore heat shield still required for entry of a fast moving vehicle. Once through and into the atmosphere, the density is not enough to slow us down unless we have a light load and big chute due to free fall speed (low resistance)...hence NASA's problem. Then, depending on where you land, hope it is not in a really sandy area or the sand will be churned every where.

 

That is why SpaceX is for propulsive and controlled landings....once established on Mars...landing pads can be constructed with local materials ....first one to design a good space concrete gets a dozen donut's.

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Unobscured Vision

After pouring over the Science and Engineering data and opinions that we've collected and analyzed, it is the conclusion of the first Neowin ThinkTank concerning a theoretical Martian Colony to conclude the following:

 

- A cooperative, dedicated, sustained and committed long-term Mars Mission which would include an orbiting Outpost (called "Mothership"), a Colony Site (referred to as a "Colony Operations Site", or "CoS") and several Mining Outposts and Processing Facilities is achievable in the near future (~8-15 Earth years) if an equally dedicated and committed push to develop and/or perfect the needed technologies and procedures were to begin as soon as possible.

 

- It is more likely, however, that the necessary funding, research and development required for such a massive undertaking would not be made available in the volume needed in the aforementioned timeframe; thus, the likely timeframe expands to 21-40 Earth years until such technology is developed, perfected, and built. Likewise, the scale of such a project would require a commitment that few Corporations (if any) would likely sign on to.

 

Thank you for your participation, everyone. :)

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Arachno 1D

[Click] This is Mars Outpost One calling mothership One,,,,,This is Mars Outpost One calling mothership One, come in please [/click]...........

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Draggendrop

We began this think tank with a budget of 200 Billion US dollars.....is this a lot of money, and would it have been sufficient. Yes, this is a lot of money, and No, it would not have been sufficient for a full fledged community, but it would have put us there with production to sustain a small crew following the SpaceX pattern of achievements.

 

Let's put 200 billion dollars into perspective.

 

NASA was created in 1958....and since that time, this organization has been accused of bloating the cost's due to the constructs that they are forced to operate under. True...BUT...some of the greatest discoveries and achievements of mankind have had their stamp on it....everything we take for granted was some way influenced by their research and exploration.

 

NASA budget total since 1958 to today...slightly under 1 trillion dollars for 57 years of work...yes..includes the moon landing......amazingly reasonable cost.

 

US Bank Bail outs...due to "criminal activity and corruption", incompetence, and willful negligence by many......This cost gas been analysed by many think tanks and university reports, as well as financial institutions....THE COST

 

                                                                                7 TRILLION to 29 TRILLION

 

                                                THE GDP of Planet Earth 5 years ago was estimated at 83 TRILLION

 

                           So I don't want to hear that it is too expensive from any politician.....find another excuse....greed.

 

http://www.cnbc.com/id/45674390

http://www.usfederalbailout.com/

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/12/bailout-total-29-616-trillion-dollars/

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/12/05/nasas-cost-versus-the-bailout/

 

Just a reminder.........

 

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Unobscured Vision

Agreed. The ones who make the "big decisions" in the U.S. Government (generally Lawyers and Career Soldiers whom have learned to be Politicians) generally are not those who are interested in what is better for Humanity -- they are interested in the next Election and their own interests.

 

It's a shame that things as petty and foolish as greed and the need to control others will be our undoing.

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Draggendrop

The End.....

 

post-546174-0-46109900-1434761796.jpg

 

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Tuskd

What!? The End!!  :|:o  :s:cry: F### the Government!

 

 

 

- Sent from Ganymede ;)

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DocM

Elon Musk on the Mars Colonial Transport fleet CONOPS,

I mean, if you do a densified liquid methalox rocket with on-orbit refueling, so like you load the spacecraft into orbit and then you send a whole bunch of refueling missions to fill up the tanks and you have the Mars colonial fleet - essentially - that gets built up during the time between Earth-Mars synchronizations, which occur every 26 months, then the fleet all departs at the optimal transfer point.

So the plan seems to be to send a fleet of MCT's at once, which could provide redundancy if one fails. Assuming it's not in an uncontrolled state a "good" one does a rendezvous and takes off part of the cargo and/or crew. Rinse, wash, repeat. Presumably reserve space would be left empty on each MCT for such a contingency.

Seeing a fleet of MCT's lighting up in orbit for Mars departure could be quite a backyard show. Pop the corn and chill the beer.

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Draggendrop

Elon Musk on the Mars Colonial Transport fleet CONOPS,

So the plan seems to be to send a fleet of MCT's at once, which could provide redundancy if one fails. Assuming it's not in an uncontrolled state a "good" one does a rendezvous and takes off part of the cargo and/or crew. Rinse, wash, repeat. Presumably reserve space would be left empty on each MCT for such a contingency.

Seeing a fleet of MCT's lighting up in orbit for Mars departure could be quite a backyard show. Pop the corn and chill the beer.

I'll bring the lawn chairs....... :woot:

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