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[PCMag]NASA Unveils New Mars Rover Mission for 2020 - Page 2

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by HK_47 View Post

am I the only one who thinks nasa should send a bio-test kit? rover with small inflatable dome, various types of plant seeds, and a few hundred gallons of water? you can test the soil a million times, but its all just speculation until you actually successfully plant something.

It costs millions to launch things into space, I don't think you want to waste stuff without knowing first.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by HK_47 View Post

am I the only one who thinks nasa should send a bio-test kit? rover with small inflatable dome, various types of plant seeds, and a few hundred gallons of water? you can test the soil a million times, but its all just speculation until you actually successfully plant something.

That would contaminate Mars and skew scientific data. I'm sure they want to explore 100% of what they would possibly want to explore before they even consider doing anything like that.
    
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post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dronac View Post

Investigating the possibility of terraforming perhaps?

Maybe they should try terraforming here on Earth first.

I mean it's not like they have the technology to terraform even a location the size of an aircraft hanger. To think they can to that on a planetary scale, much less millions of miles away is still Science Fiction.
post #14 of 23
Hoping to see people step foot on mars in my life time.
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post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TSXmike View Post

Hoping to see people step foot on mars in my life time.

They might step foot on it, but the first thing they should do when they get there is dig their own graves, because we aren't going to have a return trip from Mars in our lifetimes.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by 47 Knucklehead View Post

They might step foot on it, but the first thing they should do when they get there is dig their own graves, because we aren't going to have a return trip from Mars in our lifetimes.

This... at least not until we have the technology to create significant and continuous amounts of power that can be used for propulsion. (Cold Fusion)
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by 47 Knucklehead View Post

Maybe they should try terraforming here on Earth first.
I mean it's not like they have the technology to terraform even a location the size of an aircraft hanger. To think they can to that on a planetary scale, much less millions of miles away is still Science Fiction.

Terraforming, by definition, occurs on a planetary scale. Indeed, it would be virtually impossible on a body without enough gravity to retain a significant atmosphere.

It is currently within the realm of science fiction. While conceivable, any attempt with any forseeable technologies would require thousands of years. However, no one is seriously considering attempting to terraform Mars anytime soon.

Colonies are another matter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 47 Knucklehead View Post

we aren't going to have a return trip from Mars in our lifetimes.

I would bet against this.

Most plans for manned missions, which could be executed now, or in the very near future, budgets willing, assume that a return trip is a given. Keeping people alive on Mars for extended periods of time (more than a few years), is a lot harder than bringing them back, unless you go all in with a full-scale colonization effort. The first manned missions to Mars will almost certainly be two-way. The fuel to return will be somewhat less than what it took to get there in the first place (space launch, and lesser martian gravity), and certainly less than the consumables that would be required to sustain a crew indefinitely away from Earth.

I think we are going to put people on Mars and retrieve them sooner rather than later. We could well use spacecraft with VASIMR engines that would be able to go from earth to Mars in ~90 days, stay for ~26 months (Earth and Mars are closest every 26 months), and return in another ~90 days. If time on Mars is sacrificed due to practical or budgetary reasons, the whole thing could be condensed into about 250 days. There is also a 15 year cycle where peak energy requirements can be halved if taken advantage of. The next low point will occur in only a few years, which is too soon, but there will be a low after that about 20 years from now, which would be ideal; the technology will almost certainly be ready by then (we are testing VASIMR in space in less than three years).
Quote:
Originally Posted by muels7 View Post

This... at least not until we have the technology to create significant and continuous amounts of power that can be used for propulsion. (Cold Fusion)

Cold fusion may well be a myth. It's certainly not a serious or practical solution to any current problems.

We already have mature power sources that could do the job, conventional fission reactors, and solar.
Edited by Blameless - 12/11/12 at 3:43pm
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post #18 of 23
I was under the assumption the way we would be able to terraform Mars is that we would need to establish large devices that would continuously pump out greenhouse gasses until an artificial atmosphere is created and heats up the surface of Mars to a livable tempature, sort of like intentional global warming.
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post #19 of 23
Problem with that engine, is that people would not survive the acceleration that it would produce.
Quote:
Other applications for VASIMR such as the rapid transportation of people to Mars would require a very high power, low mass energy source, such as a nuclear reactor (see nuclear electric rocket). NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said that VASIMR technology could be the breakthrough technology that would reduce the travel time on a Mars mission from 2.5 years to 5 months.[23]

In August 2008, Tim Glover, Ad Astra director of development, publicly stated that the first expected application of VASIMR engine is "hauling things [non-human cargo] from low-Earth orbit to low-lunar orbit" supporting NASA's return to Moon efforts.[24]

At least from what I'm reading. But I am by no means an expert (or even a novice) on this.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by 47 Knucklehead View Post

Problem with that engine, is that people would not survive the acceleration that it would produce.
At least from what I'm reading. But I am by no means an expert (or even a novice) on this.

This is incorrect.

A VASIMIR engine is a mid point between conventional chemical rockets, and ion engines. It's thrust and acceleration are extremely poor relative to standard chemical rockets.

Chemical rockets have enormous thrust, but low exhaust velocities, and enormous fuel consumption, thus low specific impulse.

The advantage of VASIMIR is that it can be run constantly (it needs very little reaction mass), and has very high exhaust velocity, so could continually acclerate a craft through out it's journey, and to much higher velocities that chemical rockets, given enough time. It has much higher specific impulse, and is more suited to long journeys where thrust to weight ratio isn't a concern.
Edited by Blameless - 12/11/12 at 4:06pm
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