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Posted: 11/20/2011 11:58:44 AM EDT
Anyone else read this book?The Case for Mars

The premise is Mars exploration is not only affordable but doable with (mostly) off the shelf technology. The author was engineer at NASA and he has some interesting concepts. For example there is a process that will allow us to pull fuel (methane) and water from the Martian atmosphere. This would let us send up a spaceship and have it arrive with empty tanks and it can refuel while the astronauts explore.

Any opinions on this?
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:04:28 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:04:36 PM EDT
I have not read the book, but I have seen him on TV talking about the subject several times.

He makes strong, knowledgeable arguments that I found to be persuasive and convincing. Apparently the author is involved with a program that has been testing Mars exploration using his proposals, kind of like a biodome sort of method, and they have proven that it is doable.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:06:55 PM EDT
I just wished we could go back to the moon again. that would be a good start!
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:13:46 PM EDT
I read the book.

I think it's a pretty solid idea, but even if the US was financially in a position to go for a Mars shot, the politicians are too risk averse to ever attempt it. The over 9000 redundant systems and back-up plans they'd mandate would make the entire scheme unworkable.

Also, NASA engineers working on it would face random design changes every six months, and would never be able to make financial plans beyond a single fiscal year.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:15:43 PM EDT
The case for Mars is simple.

Not because it is easy, but because it is hard.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:17:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AeroE:
Nothing about Mars is amenable to human exploration, let alone habitation. Forget all that goofy "terraforming" silliness, the Sun is too far away, it won't work.



As I understand it, Mars has no magnetic field as Earth has. As such, there is no way to get any atmosphere you make to stay there.

YMMV, I'm not a scientist. Still, I think we should have a colony there now.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:18:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/20/2011 12:20:20 PM EDT by DSRV]
I hope it can happen in my lifetime.

Getting rid of Obama will be 'a giant leap for mankind', and the space program.


Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:18:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MXandSXracer21:
I just wished we could go back to the moon again. that would be a good start!



No, it wouldn't.

Read the book.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:23:53 PM EDT
It should be a human goal to explore the universe. Unfortunately, we cannot set aside our differences so it won't happen.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:24:46 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AeroE:
It's nerd analysis.

The Martian environment is hostile. Think of the worst place on Earth; Mars is at least one order of magnitude more difficult for humans, and more likely two magnitudes.

Nothing about Mars is amenable to human exploration, let alone habitation. Forget all that goofy "terraforming" silliness, the Sun is too far away, it won't work.




That's totally untrue, man. I'll bet you didn't even know that the surface of Mars is covered in fire swamps.




Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:26:30 PM EDT
Go to the Moon. Harvest helium-3 for He3 fusion cycle. Profit.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:27:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DontShootMyDog:
Originally Posted By MXandSXracer21:
I just wished we could go back to the moon again. that would be a good start!



No, it wouldn't.

Read the book.


Explain why. I'm not going to buy the book.
I rather go back and setup a base on the moon.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:34:18 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Daps:
Originally Posted By DontShootMyDog:
Originally Posted By MXandSXracer21:
I just wished we could go back to the moon again. that would be a good start!



No, it wouldn't.

Read the book.


Explain why. I'm not going to buy the book.
I rather go back and setup a base on the moon.


There's nothing you can use on the moon as raw material for construction or sustaining life, whereas you can use the Sabatier reaction to produce fuel on Mars, so long as you can locate sufficient ice to melt into water/hydrogen. Mars is also thought to possess useful metals.

Also, the moon is no better as a base than Mars in terms of delta-V.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:47:12 PM EDT
Methane is not a very powerful fuel. Modern liquid propelled rockets run on hydrogen and oxygen. It would take a lot of methane to launch the vehicle and return it to Earth. IMO, it would make more sense to launch two vehicles. One carries the explorers and the other contains supplies and fuel to get back.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:47:16 PM EDT
If we could just send all the liberals and other undesirables to Mars the rest of us could stay here and enjoy a much nicer Earth.

Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:49:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/20/2011 12:49:56 PM EDT by Tony-Ri]
I remember reading it 10 years ago. Interesting ideas.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 12:55:15 PM EDT
Originally Posted By sigp226:
Methane is not a very powerful fuel. Modern liquid propelled rockets run on hydrogen and oxygen. It would take a lot of methane to launch the vehicle and return it to Earth. IMO, it would make more sense to launch two vehicles. One carries the explorers and the other contains supplies and fuel to get back.


Mars has ~1/3 the surface gravity of Earth, making methane more than sufficient.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:07:37 PM EDT
Yeah,but what about all the fuel in the Pyramid mines? Oh yeah,Quaid ignited that already.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:09:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dominus:
Originally Posted By sigp226:
Methane is not a very powerful fuel. Modern liquid propelled rockets run on hydrogen and oxygen. It would take a lot of methane to launch the vehicle and return it to Earth. IMO, it would make more sense to launch two vehicles. One carries the explorers and the other contains supplies and fuel to get back.


Mars has ~1/3 the surface gravity of Earth, making methane more than sufficient.

Word. A lot of work has been done on this.


Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:13:59 PM EDT
If he was willing to be hone of the guys to arrive on empty tanks, then I might believe him.

So I wonder if he would be willing?
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:16:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/20/2011 1:16:40 PM EDT by ElectricSheep556]

Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
If he was willing to be hone of the guys to arrive on empty tanks, then I might believe him.

So I wonder if he would be willing?

I would be. Men need frontiers.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:18:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
If he was willing to be hone of the guys to arrive on empty tanks, then I might believe him.

So I wonder if he would be willing?

If he's not then I am.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:23:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By motown_steve:

Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
If he was willing to be hone of the guys to arrive on empty tanks, then I might believe him.

So I wonder if he would be willing?

If he's not then I am.


My point is if he's not willing to go, then he doesnt have faith in his own theory.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:24:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Daps:
Originally Posted By DontShootMyDog:
Originally Posted By MXandSXracer21:
I just wished we could go back to the moon again. that would be a good start!



No, it wouldn't.

Read the book.


Explain why. I'm not going to buy the book.
I rather go back and setup a base on the moon.


Mars has elements we can use to make steel, fuel and water from the atmosphere, and other such stuff. The moon is just a hostile wasteland. (in a nutshell)
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:26:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
If he was willing to be hone of the guys to arrive on empty tanks, then I might believe him.

So I wonder if he would be willing?


His solution was to send an unmanned "Mission Zero" with supplies. It begins to refuel it's empty tanks while the first manned mission gets ready. The astronauts know they will have a fully fueled return ship before they leave.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:29:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/20/2011 1:32:52 PM EDT by kelone]
Originally Posted By DaGrandPoobah:
Originally Posted By AeroE:
Nothing about Mars is amenable to human exploration, let alone habitation. Forget all that goofy "terraforming" silliness, the Sun is too far away, it won't work.



As I understand it, Mars has no magnetic field as Earth has. As such, there is no way to get any atmosphere you make to stay there.

YMMV, I'm not a scientist. Still, I think we should have a colony there now.


Solar wind has a very tiny effect of removing atmosphere.
Mars has an atmosphere, but it is thin and mostly carbon dioxide.
The issue with no magnetic field is increased radiation.

Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:30:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ElectricSheep556:

Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
If he was willing to be hone of the guys to arrive on empty tanks, then I might believe him.

So I wonder if he would be willing?

I would be. Men need frontiers.


Yes we do.
We need colonies on mars, not camping trips.
If we make it a one-way trip, we don't have to worry about the return fuel
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:30:48 PM EDT
Originally Posted By red_on_black:
Originally Posted By AeroE:
It's nerd analysis.

The Martian environment is hostile. Think of the worst place on Earth; Mars is at least one order of magnitude more difficult for humans, and more likely two magnitudes.

Nothing about Mars is amenable to human exploration, let alone habitation. Forget all that goofy "terraforming" silliness, the Sun is too far away, it won't work.




That's totally untrue, man. I'll bet you didn't even know that the surface of Mars is covered in fire swamps.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLaHJvF59Fg


And water and tasty food and rocks that give off air. I watched that movie a bunch when I was a kid. I wanted to be an astronaut sooooo bad.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:33:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By weptek911:
Originally Posted By red_on_black:
Originally Posted By AeroE:
It's nerd analysis.

The Martian environment is hostile. Think of the worst place on Earth; Mars is at least one order of magnitude more difficult for humans, and more likely two magnitudes.

Nothing about Mars is amenable to human exploration, let alone habitation. Forget all that goofy "terraforming" silliness, the Sun is too far away, it won't work.




That's totally untrue, man. I'll bet you didn't even know that the surface of Mars is covered in fire swamps.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLaHJvF59Fg


And water and tasty food and rocks that give off air. I watched that movie a bunch when I was a kid. I wanted to be an astronaut sooooo bad.



Me, too, but only if the job came with an awesome monkey.


Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:37:39 PM EDT
With "off the shelf" technology? Nope, not going to happen. It would be hugely inefficient and costly, and mars does not have a significant magnetic field. An astronaut would have to be shielded at all times from radiation, so even being on mars they would be pretty well confined to being inside a lander. Mars will be the land of robotic golf-carts for a long time yet.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:40:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ElectricSheep556:

Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
If he was willing to be hone of the guys to arrive on empty tanks, then I might believe him.

So I wonder if he would be willing?

I would be. Men need frontiers.

Absolutely. If someone told me they would send me to Mars but I likely would not be coming back I would sign up in a heartbeat.

My name would forever be etched into the history books for not just my family, not just my country, but the entire human species.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:43:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By fettesbrotde:

Originally Posted By ElectricSheep556:

Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
If he was willing to be hone of the guys to arrive on empty tanks, then I might believe him.

So I wonder if he would be willing?

I would be. Men need frontiers.

Absolutely. If someone told me they would send me to Mars but I likely would not be coming back I would sign up in a heartbeat.

My name would forever be etched into the history books for not just my family, not just my country, but the entire human species.



If somebody forgets the inches-to-centimeters conversion again your DNA could be etched into a mile-long smear on the surface of the planet, too.

Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:44:03 PM EDT
Our society lacks the strength of will to do it. We would have to literally jettison millions of left wingers, leeches, and "lowest common denominator" types before we could attempt it.

America has changed too much since the moon missions. We were a focused people then......committed to the tip of the spear. Now, we focus on the dregs of society.

The Chinese will be the first to go to Mars.



Link Posted: 11/20/2011 1:50:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By red_on_black:
Originally Posted By fettesbrotde:

Originally Posted By ElectricSheep556:

Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
If he was willing to be hone of the guys to arrive on empty tanks, then I might believe him.

So I wonder if he would be willing?

I would be. Men need frontiers.

Absolutely. If someone told me they would send me to Mars but I likely would not be coming back I would sign up in a heartbeat.

My name would forever be etched into the history books for not just my family, not just my country, but the entire human species.



If somebody forgets the inches-to-centimeters conversion again your DNA could be etched into a mile-long smear on the surface of the planet, too.


I'd still do it.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 2:05:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Dominus:
Originally Posted By sigp226:
Methane is not a very powerful fuel. Modern liquid propelled rockets run on hydrogen and oxygen. It would take a lot of methane to launch the vehicle and return it to Earth. IMO, it would make more sense to launch two vehicles. One carries the explorers and the other contains supplies and fuel to get back.


Mars has ~1/3 the surface gravity of Earth, making methane more than sufficient.


You have to get back. You 'll need to go a lot faster than escape velocity to get back.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 2:13:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ElectricSheep556:

Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
If he was willing to be hone of the guys to arrive on empty tanks, then I might believe him.

So I wonder if he would be willing?

I would be. Men need frontiers.

I'd go. If something bad happens, it'll probably be quick right? May as well go down in history.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 2:20:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 3:38:37 PM EDT
Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
sadly we no longer have the money to even consider such an undertaking.


One of the tenets of the Mars Direct plan in that book is it could be extremely inexpensive. Talking tens of millions rather than tens of billions.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 3:41:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Schlange:

Originally Posted By ElectricSheep556:

Originally Posted By InfiniteGrim:
If he was willing to be hone of the guys to arrive on empty tanks, then I might believe him.

So I wonder if he would be willing?

I would be. Men need frontiers.

I'd go. If something bad happens, it'll probably be quick right? May as well go down in history.


I think I'd go too.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 3:41:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/20/2011 3:43:02 PM EDT by AeroE]
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 3:46:16 PM EDT
Of all the reasons to go to Mars I thought the best was a chance to get the nekkid Dejah Thoris's. But I do agree men need frontiers. It would be nice if the frontier was

useable.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 3:47:27 PM EDT
1954 and still a fun watch.

Link Posted: 11/20/2011 4:09:41 PM EDT
we need something like this as a nation
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 4:22:27 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Tony-Ri:
Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
sadly we no longer have the money to even consider such an undertaking.


One of the tenets of the Mars Direct plan in that book is it could be extremely inexpensive. Talking tens of millions rather than tens of billions.



Better do it privately, then. NASA can't sharpen a pencil for ten million bucks.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 6:23:13 PM EDT
The profit motive will the deciding factor in the future of manned space exploration. It will have to offset risk with reward. As it should be.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 8:02:47 PM EDT
I think returning to the moon would be a good investment. We can start colonization there, plus it is not too far time wise. So if something went wrong, whoever is up there wouldn't be stranded there (unlike with Mars). I think it would be good to establish the "basics" of space colonization on the moon that way we are better prepared for Mars and beyond. The last time man has been on the moon was 1972, technology has changed a substantial amount since then. As a result, I think we can learn a lot more with the new resources available compared to almost 40 years ago.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 8:07:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MXandSXracer21:
I just wished we could go back to the moon again. that would be a good start!

I just wish we could get into space on our own again.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 8:10:50 PM EDT
It would be a long jaunt. Longer than you think.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 8:20:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By deadelk:
The profit motive will the deciding factor in the future of manned space exploration. It will have to offset risk with reward. As it should be.

Yup. No government is ever truly going to exploit and colonize the solar system.

Private enterprise will take us there to stay.
Link Posted: 11/20/2011 8:24:25 PM EDT
No reason to go there. "Just because" ain't good enough. Let private industry send people there if there's profit in it.
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