JF make 308
JF Nav
JF Nav
Creation Date: 2004-01-12
Tonight's lesson is about Mars. Since my video game is about Mars, it makes sense to tell you a bit about the history of Mars habitation (colonization). Today I went to a lecture given by Robert Zubrin. It's a pretty historic speech, I think, since the topic explains our current state. Here is a brief synopsis of Zubrin's lecture and his book, Case for Mars.

A Human to Mars Mission can be achieved in 10 years. The mission will cost a reasonable amount of money, approximately 1/6 of the current NASA budget. A mission would have to involve a two stage heavy lifter to Mars. A heavy lifter to the tune of Saturn V would be required. Ares is the current plan. It will lift 40 metric tonnes to Mars. Ares will use shuttle components. Waiting for exotic lifters will not achieve a Mars Mission in a decade. If the development (and money) starts now, the first launch can be 2012 and the first landing can happen in 2014. The plan involves an ERV being launched in 2012. When it arrives on Mars, it will use the Sabatier reaction to turn hydrogen and Martian carbon dioxide into methane/oxygen fuel. This allows 95% of the fuel to be made on Mars. In 2014, a simple tuna can habitat using artificial gravity with four astronauts will fly to Mars. The habitat will have an airlock in the center to be protected from solar flares. The cosmic rays will dose each crew member with 130 rem, which will increase their likelyness of getting cancer in their lifespan by 1%. NY Times and Washington Post are simply wrong for stating that this is a significant risk. An important part of the Mars mission will be a pressurized rover that runs on methane/oxygen which will have a 900 km one way range. They will stay on Mars for over 500 days giving them plenty of time to do research. After seven Mars missions, the size of Texas will have been surveyed. A good reason for Mars exploration is to search for signs of life. While robotics can do some of this, humans are far more mobile and capable geologists. Another good reason for Mars exploration is that Mars is a planet. It has resources, room, potential, and everything that life needs. Creating a frontier such as Mars will motivate our generation and future generations to achieve higher and greater goals than Earth alone can create. Currently, Mars Society has three major missions: public outreach and education, political lobbying, and scientific research. They are currently running a research station in Utah to test field tactics and mechanics of a harsh environment mission. The type of astronaut team that would qualify for a Mars mission would be two field scientists and two engineers, more than one with medical experience, all with repair/maintenance skills.

At the end of the lecture, Robert Zubrin signed my Case for Mars book, saying: To Joel, See you on Mars! R Z 1/12/04

I say that it is due time that the ten year clock start tonight. How does one start the clock? By starting the development. Zubrin started development with the Sabatier reaction, the book, and the Mars Society's Research Stations. Much of the research and engineering that needs to be done involves very few resources. I will read up on what is needed. I will make a list and I will start at the bottom. I will publish my results in a journal, open my source to engineers who wish to build upon it.

Zubrin's conservative estimate is that the Mars Direct will cost $20B over 10 years. $2B per year divided by 1000 people would be $2M worth of results. That means for the year 2004, I will put $2M worth of effort towards Mars Direct. Considering a Hollywood blockbuster costs $120M, it's just rocket science. The question I ask is: Are there 999 more people who are each willing to put $2M of effort onto the table? I think there are many more than that.

JF Nav
Home Characters Making Of Technical Mail News Links |< First < Prev Next > Latest >|  bandwidth version Goto Scene