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Old 07-25-2012, 05:08 PM   #21
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The issue ends up being that with current fuel sources you can't lift off with the load to get back.
I read a book after college called the Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin. The original concept was outlined in Mars Direct and refined in the book.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Direct

I'm sure it could improved upon, but the original concept had an Earth Return Vehicle (ERV), a chemical plant, and a nuke reactor launched to start making fuel for the return trip prior to the astronauts ever leaving. It would carry Hydrogen as well, which would be needed to create methane and O2. If they could find a reliable water source, the hydrogen would be unnecessary. Astronauts would not leave until it was confirmed that the chemical plant was operational and making fuel.

The risk is the astronauts miss the ERV landing site. The beauty of his plan was that a second ERV setup would follow just behind the astronauts. It could then be targeted to the site where the astronauts had landed. If all went to original plan, this second ERV would start making fuel for the next crew.

All seems like a far superior design to making a ship that carries the fuel to Mars thats needed for the return trip. Kind of like airplanes carrying a 1/3 of their fuel just to carry the fuel. With earth orbit launches, its even more pronounced.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:35 PM   #22
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I would love to be alive to see a manned mission to mars as well. I'd also like to be alive to see the first interstellar jump/warp/fold/whateveryoucallit.

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Old 07-25-2012, 11:07 PM   #23
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I hope I live long enough to see my kids actually have the opportunity to get decent jobs like I did (they are both 12 so there's still time...lol). But, Mars exploration does interest me. Love the space stuff....

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Old 07-25-2012, 11:41 PM   #24
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I'm definitely interested in this. When I was a young engineer in '71-'72 I worked for Martin Marietta in Denver on the Viking mission to Mars (Martin was the contractor for the lander). I was in an electronics worst-case analysis group. All the subcontractors had to submit a detailed analysis and report of all the electronics in their piece of the project - my group went over these with a fine-tooth comb looking for things they had missed or bad designs (we weren't very popular with the subcontractors ). I remember thinking that the landing sequence was so complex that it would be a miracle if either of the two landers made it down in one piece, but both of them landed successfully in '76.

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Old 07-25-2012, 11:45 PM   #25
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I would love to be alive to see a manned mission to mars as well. I'd also like to be alive to see the first interstellar jump/warp/fold/whateveryoucallit.
Granted im only guessing at what the government is researching, but I think we are a few generations away from hitting near/greater than light speed travel. Unless of course we get a visit to boost our technology....



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Old 07-25-2012, 11:46 PM   #26
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I'm definitely interested in this. When I was a young engineer in '71-'72 I worked for Martin Marietta in Denver on the Viking mission to Mars (Martin was the contractor for the lander). I was in an electronics worst-case analysis group. All the subcontractors had to submit a detailed analysis and report of all the electronics in their piece of the project - my group went over these with a fine-tooth comb looking for things they had missed or bad designs (we weren't very popular with the subcontractors ). I remember thinking that the landing sequence was so complex that it would be a miracle if either of the two landers made it down in one piece, but both of them landed successfully in '76.
very jealous!
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:43 AM   #27
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well less than one hour away! yeah the clock above is off.

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Old 08-06-2012, 05:36 AM   #28
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Its first image has been received. Just awesome.

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I certainly don't think a manned mission to Mars would have to be of the "suicide" variety. Granted it makes immensely more complex and expensive to provide a rocket with fuel to return home. But there is no reason, besides cost and time that this hurdle could not be overcome. Its basically a Moon Shot with higher fuel/supplies requirements. Our first trip to the Moon was 43 years ago when the memory of a graphing calculator took up an enormous room. You could probably run what all of Nasa's mainframes did on an IPad.
It's not even close to a moon trip. Escaping the gravity well of Mars is a hell of a lot more challenging than it is with the Moon.

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So leave the return load in orbit around Mars. Lift then would just be the rocket and people and samples on board. Of course I make rocket science sound sooooo easy. lol
That's the only way it COULD happen, with anything resembling modern rocket technology.
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:41 AM   #29
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multiple images and video feed of celebrating geeks!

Now they will spend some days checking the rover's systems i bet.

Whoop!

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Old 08-06-2012, 05:43 AM   #30
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multiple images and video feed of celebrating geeks!

Now they will spend some days checking the rover's systems i bet.

Whoop!
And sadly, this is largely being covered nowhere.
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