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


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DocM

You could, but what's the benefit other than scenery?

The big downside to Olympus Mons and the rest of the Tharsis region is the elevation is higher than other locales, which means not as much atmosphere for aerobraking before landing and radiation mitigation. Olympus is at the edge of Tharsis, but the best locales below are shaded blue.

1024px-Mars_topography_%28MOLA_dataset%2

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Draggendrop

So theres no way to build near Olympus Mons?

Theres always a chance...but so far not so good...

1) This structure is massive...only 12% of martian atmosphere..we can't use shute braking

2) primarily volcanic

3) 5% slope to top removes a lot of area out of the equation

4) Presently can't find any data on water unless we are a long way off and drill hoping for aquafer

5) High erosion and directional winds

6) Potential for giant landslides

7) one of the dustiest regions on Mars

 

 

 

Because of the size of Olympus Mons and its shallow slopes, an observer standing on the Martian surface would be unable to view the entire profile of the volcano, even from a great distance. The curvature of the planet and the volcano itself would obscure such a synoptic view.[12] Similarly, an observer near the summit would be unaware of standing on a high mountain, as the slope of the volcano would extend beyond the horizon, a mere 3 kilometers away.[13]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympus_Mons

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazonis_quadrangle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tharsis_quadrangle#Dark_slope_streaks

Resources for hunting.....play with these two.. :)

http://www.google.com/mars/#lat=-42.7&lon=70

http://crism.jhuapl.edu/

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DocM

Mars water

Mars_Full_Planet_Water_Map.jpg

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Draggendrop

We need water...Doc's picture shows the story....In my opinion we need to be around the 20 to 30 Wt% for water...implying 30 to 40 degree latitudes...must be low elevation with an area for protection and landing......and these are the area where we will get minerals.....We have to stay away from dry, windswept volcanic area's...just my opinion though....

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123456789A

Theres always a chance...but so far not so good...

1) This structure is massive...only 12% of martian atmosphere..we can't use shute braking

2) primarily volcanic

3) 5% slope to top removes a lot of area out of the equation

4) Presently can't find any data on water unless we are a long way off and drill hoping for aquafer

5) High erosion and directional winds

6) Potential for giant landslides

7) one of the dustiest regions on Mars

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympus_Mons

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazonis_quadrangle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tharsis_quadrangle#Dark_slope_streaks

Resources for hunting.....play with these two.. :)

http://www.google.com/mars/#lat=-42.7&lon=70

http://crism.jhuapl.edu/

 

Fair enough. How about directly north of Olympus Mons, like 45 degrees up where there's water and lower elevation/flatter terrain?

 

I know about dust storms, but does Mars have earthquakes... marsquakes to worry about? Or other "natural disasters" for that matter?

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Draggendrop

Fair enough. How about directly north of Olympus Mons, like 45 degrees up where there's water and lower elevation/flatter terrain?

 

I know about dust storms, but does Mars have earthquakes... marsquakes to worry about? Or other "natural disasters" for that matter?

There's water % there...now we have to check weather, protection, check maps for elements, compound minerals......and particularly sat photo's of glacial or permafrost activity to narrow it down.

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Draggendrop

I am wondering if others can put in suggestions...then we make a list of high percentage spots AND....then decide....Do we have the funds for an exploratory multidrop for a short period to put boots on the ground and take samples. Then bug out and make a decision based on available data.....????would that be the way to go????? Sending a big ship and toys should be for a very high percentage spot......any idea's on that approach........

 

Don't mind me....having way too much fun...some one throw water on me... :woot:

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123456789A

There's water % there...now we have to check weather, protection, check maps for elements, compound minerals......and particularly sat photo's of glacial or permafrost activity to narrow it down.

 

sc2mars.png

 

Not really sure where I can get real data on Mars mineral locations but at least according to Star Control 2 there are minerals in the area I was suggesting.

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Unobscured Vision

Nice discussion flow, everyone. DocM's maps + information and DD's very useful fact-finding + potential CoS Candidates have moved the caret forward. :yes:

 

So we're all agreed that a Northern Hemisphere site is going to be best from a Water%, Terrain and Elevation perspective, aside from a couple of potential "garden spots" in the Southern.

 

[EDIT] I was looking at a couple of spots myself, but nothing stood out. Will keep looking. ;)


I hear ya, DD. I'm ignoring company at the present time.  :laugh:

 

Let me tend to my guests. I'm having way too much fun with this thread as well.  :rofl:

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Draggendrop

sc2mars.png

 

Not really sure where I can get real data on Mars mineral locations but at least according to Star Control 2 there are minerals in the area I was suggesting.

You can use the wiki for Mars as an example or water on Mars......check geographical areas by name, click on the links or do a google for the geographical area and narrow down to NASA or EDU reports on the area of interest...some of it is dry reading but invaluable for mineral content. Also if you know of a Mars mission there, you can google the mission reports and tech papers...Cheers

 

Once we narrow the field...all eyes will tear the sites apart till we have prospective area's...

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Unobscured Vision

Company has been taken home ... nothing important to do tomorrow ... let's do Science! :D

 

/me rubs hands together maniacally, muttering something about future generations appreciating all of the enthusiasm ... and Teriyaki Noodles I'll be consuming tonight.

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flyingskippy

I am wondering if others can put in suggestions...then we make a list of high percentage spots AND....then decide....Do we have the funds for an exploratory multidrop for a short period to put boots on the ground and take samples. Then bug out and make a decision based on available data.....????would that be the way to go????? Sending a big ship and toys should be for a very high percentage spot......any idea's on that approach........

Don't mind me....having way too much fun...some one throw water on me... :woot:

Send an unmanned mission with multiple probes on it to determine true water concentration. This could be done a few months ahead of the start of the manned mission and the CoS could be determined while the crew is enroute.

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Unobscured Vision

Send an unmanned mission with multiple probes on it to determine true water concentration. This could be done a few months ahead of the start of the manned mission and the CoS could be determined while the crew is enroute.

Agreed. Half a dozen Curiosity-Class Rovers, one at each candidate site with an array of instruments; including GPS, Multispectrum/Stereoscopic Imaging, Weather Station, GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar), Magnetometer, Charged Particle Detectors, and Chemical Analysis.

 

Have them be deployed from a single Mother Craft, ala' SpaceX-style, to transmit the data back to the approaching Setup Crew as well as Earth. This Mother Craft can also serve as a High-Bandwidth Communications Relay and Surveyor (like Mars Global Surveyor currently does).

 

Nice idea! :)

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Draggendrop

Myself...I am not much of a fan of the rovers and their toy tools...100's of millions of dollars, many rovers and all we really have is an extremely detailed bunch of collaborating data that "suggests" the same thing that our 70's probes and Carl Sagan said long ago...there is water on Mars...It just took another 45 years of BS to say the same thing. Don't mind me......I am a firm believer of "boots on the ground", real tools and "real field engineers" (no office suits need apply). We have had ample sat's in orbit doing a great job....Now is the time for real exploration...put all the RC toys away please.....

 

A mission of this magnitude has to have the odds increased BEFORE we go....We don't know the site specifics for tooling and processing. We have too many launch penalties as is.

 

1) boots on the ground with tooling on a few deemed sites

2) get back and decide on site(s)

3) prep mission from this point...reduce launch penalties

4) assembly in orbit

5) "punch it"

 

Just my opinion...I hate wasted time and prolonged experimental guess's....send field engineers

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flyingskippy

I see your point. However, now you are talking about putting boots on the ground on sites that could potentially have very little yield. Which would then in turn require the surveying mission to have a means of return increasing mission cost exponentially.

If you send the rovers a year ahead of the manned mission, they then will have time to fully survey the sites. All this without putting anyone in danger. Millions of dollars vs. Risk losing lives just to determine a site for a colony.

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Draggendrop

I see your point. However, now you are talking about putting boots on the ground on sites that could potentially have very little yield. Which would then in turn require the surveying mission to have a means of return increasing mission cost exponentially.

If you send the rovers a year ahead of the manned mission, they then will have time to fully survey the sites. All this without putting anyone in danger. Millions of dollars vs. Risk losing lives just to determine a site for a colony.

That would be repeating what we have been doing in real life for the last 15 years and have gotten nowhere...we actually may have gained more data from sat surveys.

The dirty work has to be done anyway... and yes there is going to be dangers....the weak of heart should stay home....

 

A mission of this size is extremely expensive...4 year delay is nothing...send the boots and equipment...land V2 like craft at a few predetermined likely spots (We have the data now to pick very likely spots) with small mothership in orbit (a month at most)...meaning we have a very good hunch...this is just proving the point and validating the kind of equipment to bring along...and the original workship can be attached to the main mothership for the big exodus.In fact, as the findings are transmitted back, the proper tooling can be collected and loaded before arrival back home of explorer ship.

 

Don't mind me...but people would line up for this opportunity even if it was a one way death trip...which this is not...this is just a REAL quick exploratory of a few area's with very high potential ...which will actually reduce overall main mission costs by allowing an informed decision of what materials and tooling are REALLY required...reduce launch penalties is the prime directive..... :)

 

Edit...example...why bring 10 tons of equipment that we guessed we might need and probably will not get used when it could have been water,food and/or fuel because the prior trip told us what we need.

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Unobscured Vision

I agree with flyingskippy on this. Rovers and the extra time (and money) spent surveying the sites in great detail are better than putting lives at risk and all of the gear needed to support Manned Missions. If it takes more time so be it, but sending Manned Exploratory Missions to several sites would burn the budget before we get the Colony up and running.

 

Technological Achievements, certainly -- and it would proof-of-concept most of the other Technologies we want to use for the CoS (and test out a few new ones we haven't thought of yet), but we'd burn the budget in all likelyhood. Commercialization, perhaps, to generate revenue? It would still fall short of costs unless there was a highly lucrative reason for investment and partnership.

 

I also see where DD is coming from -- delays and "waiting" are frustrating as hell. We've been exploring Mars since the 70's. We should have enough data to choose some good CoS sites.

 

It's a pickle.

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Draggendrop

Before this mission even starts...will there be a chance of fatalities, even with the best safety intentions....in my opinion...YES, and probably a few...This will be an adventure like the first time to unknown lands, with not much hope of waiting for assistance...But this never stopped real explorers who knew the danger but also knew the rewards...

 

To get to where we are today...

 

1) 33 deaths of astronauts

2) 157 support lives

3) ? not reported or grouped to be out of space programs

 

These deaths were not in vain...the least we can do is face it and choose to explore.....

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_spaceflight-related_accidents_and_incidents

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Unobscured Vision

Thinking about this for a few minutes ... maybe there's a "happy medium"? Suppose that we've identified some good Candidate Sites ahead of time. We send the Setup Crew along with a pack of Curiosity-Class Rovers and the initial Habitation Gear plus Supplies to get things moving. I'm thinking an Earth-to-Mars transit mass of no more than 100 tons.

 

We keep the Setup Crew in orbit for a few weeks. Think of them as being in "Observation Mode" at this point, collecting data from the Rovers.

 

Here's the kicker. When we've arrived at Mars and achieved our desired orbit, we deploy the Rovers to land at the Candidate Sites. Once there, we perform almost-realtime surveys and scans of everything we need to know about each site in exquisite detail. We then choose the best site from there, phone it in to Earth, and land there to set up shop.

 

During the long wait for the next launch window, Earthside will construct three vessels (or more) which will bring another load of everything that is needed, including people; send those to Mars, and so on. By year five, the Colony should be up and running and self-sustaining for the most part aside from needing more people; at which time the primary shipments to Mars will be Colonists and Replacement Parts for things like Computers and things of that nature. By year ten, who knows what the state of the Colony will be -- hopefully bustling with activity.

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Draggendrop

Yes...sounds more like it...small mothership in orbit with setup equipment...send what RC toys needed for a short time...but then make decision with crew there and comm back home...pick a spot and those in orbit put the boots on the ground and set up temp shop to validate area by hands on verification.....the comm back home for final choice....then set up permanent shop.....this decision may be the most important one of the whole adventure...literally boom or bust.

 

Think of this as the first wave...those there comm back home and needed supplies sent as needed...re-supplies to mothership already in orbit at Mars...This mothership is the evac home in case of emergency and always there for many years...just resupply continually.

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DocM

From what SpaceX has leaked they plan numerous Falcon Heavy launches to Mars before the first unmanned MCT logistical flight. These will be used to test a Sabatier reactor for producing propellants, and use robotics to mine water ice for O2 and H2 production, survey and prepare landing zones etc.

This is one reason why they're headhunting hardware people from Microsoft, Apple, other aerospace companies, NASA, optics & robotics outfits, and game coders skilled with realtime, sims and GPU processing from nearly everyone between Seattle and LA including Palo Alto.

They're vacuuming up a wide array of talent like an F5 tornado.

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Draggendrop

@Doc....thorium...liquid salt reactor....I have been a proponent of these since 80's speculation of designs....in my opinion, this is the reactor design we should have sunk a lot of money into...last I heard, India is doing the recent work on them.

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DocM

Unknown by many, the US DoE and China are working on a molten salt cooled pebble bed reactor. The plan is that this project will lead to the development of a molten salt thorium reactor.

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Draggendrop

Unknown by many, the US DoE and China are working on a molten salt cooled pebble bed reactor. The plan is that this project will lead to the development of a molten salt thorium reactor.

Now.. That is exciting.....

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DocM

The US is also working with Canada

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