Mars Colonization Thread

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:19 pm UTC

No, what I believe is that you crawl before you walk. For instance this from The University of Wisconsin at Madison.
In the microgravity experiments, Gilroy is exploring the genetic basis of a phenomenon known to gardeners and horticulturalists for many years. Plants that grow up without mechanical stresses — due to wind, rain or other disturbances — "are much more susceptible to pests, are not as robust," Gilroy says, "but if you go into a greenhouse and shake the plants, they grow up more compact, strong, and resistant to stress. They are even more resistant to plant diseases."

It turns out that the same signaling system used to detect mechanical stresses like gravity is also used to defend against pathogens. That may explain why plants in space appear more susceptible to disease.
Obviously that problem is not overwhelming, but there is much work to be done. And if you are using it to survive, it can't fail. The same with the engineering. When you go, get one system working and then add to it.

You say the technology exists, yet it doesn't. We don't have a booster that will give us the energy needed to do the deed. Falcon Heavy will eventually, at a price point that merely makes you scream. The Dragon capsule isn't crew rated and won't be for a while. And it isn't suitable to go to Mars. Elon Musk has spoken to that.

However we will do it, if it is worth doing. One interesting thought I had was the idea if one of the ways of paying for Mars would be to produce fuel there and export it back to LEO. Would the economics of unmanned transfer vehicles carrying fuel produced on Mars and boosting in .3 or so g's be cheaper then fuel produced on Earth and boosted up through 1 g. For that matter you could ship water as ice. With no life support to worry about would the mechanics be simpler?

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:29 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Obviously that problem is not overwhelming, but there is much work to be done. And if you are using it to survive, it can't fail. The same with the engineering. When you go, get one system working and then add to it.
Again, that problem is in microgravity. Mars does not have microgravity, it has .3g.

morriswalters wrote:You say the technology exists, yet it doesn't. We don't have a booster that will give us the energy needed to do the deed. Falcon Heavy will eventually, at a price point that merely makes you scream. The Dragon capsule isn't crew rated and won't be for a while. And it isn't suitable to go to Mars. Elon Musk has spoken to that.
Tell me what bit of technology doesn't exist? No one is proposing landing a fully functioning aquaponics plant on Mars. Literally everything you need to manufacture one can be landed on Mars. If you don't want to do that, the parts themselves are extraordinarily light compared to just about any other thing, as you're talking about stacking plastic bins and tubes.

So is your issue now that we don't have the rockets required to boost stuff to Mars? Need I remind you that even Mars One, in their various shortsighted hilarity, has proposed starting the foothold with at least 6 launches? It's getting frustrating to repeat to you every other post that this need not be a 'single launch, ready to sustain 50 people forever from the box' scenario. No one is suggesting we have the Colonization Ship from Master of Orion ready to go forth and terraform, and that we don't have said ship is not actually a blow against any colonization efforts.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:33 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Again, that problem is in microgravity. Mars does not have microgravity, it has .3g.
You don't know that, because there is currently no way to test. And it isn't that it is impossible, it's that you have to know before you go.
Izawwlgood wrote:Tell me what bit of technology doesn't exist?
Bulletproof systems that can go upwards of 2 years with no failures that you can't carry spares for. That on the transfer ship. No known reliable way to shield from radiation in route. There are some interesting things on the horizon but no tested solution. However all of these can be engineered. Mars One isn't going to do it.
Izawwlgood wrote:No one is suggesting we have the Colonization Ship from Master of Orion ready to go forth and terraform, and that we don't have said ship is not actually a blow against any colonization efforts.
I'd settle for a discussion of funding. How do you pay for the first mission?

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:45 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:You don't know that, because there is currently no way to test. And it isn't that it is impossible, it's that you have to know before you go.
Are you saying I don't know that plants will grow alright in .3g? Againagain, simulated microgravity experiments have been conducted on Earth, as well as actual microgravity experiments on the ISS. And as I stated a few posts back;
Izawwlgood wrote:So, again, fish and plants can thrive in microgravity. Mars does not have microgravity. It has .3g. You're right, it's unknown if fish and plants can be grown in sufficient volume to feed people, but what is known is that in less optimal conditions, fish and plants can thrive. It does not seem a dangerous presumption that placing them in more optimal conditions that they will also thrive.


morriswalters wrote:Bulletproof systems that can go upwards of 2 years with no failures that you can't carry spares for. That on the transfer ship. No known reliable way to shield from radiation in route. There are some interesting things on the horizon but no tested solution. However all of these can be engineered. Mars One isn't going to do it.
So, againagain, the mission calls for multiple redundencies. You can actually factually carry spares/replacement parts/repairs with you. The radiation exposure has been examined on animals, and found to be within acceptable limits, and shielding can be utilized.(EDIT: Link) The materials required to do so aren't science fiction.

morriswalters wrote:I'd settle for a discussion of funding. How do you pay for the first mission?
Get a bunch of billionaires to work with governments? Increase federal funding to NASA? If you want to shift the center issue now to funding, sure, I agree, man, it's going to be expensive. Damn shame NASAs budget is at a virtual all time low since the years after it's creation at .5% of the Federal Budget.

What's this have to do with techniques or tricks for establishing a self-sufficient colony on Mars? Or do all discussions of potential applications of R&D have to be curtailed by expense? Perhaps we should have notified Ford that manufacturing cars is a stupid idea, since they're expensive and everyone is familiar with horses.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:43 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Are you saying I don't know that plants will grow alright in .3g? Againagain, simulated microgravity experiments have been conducted on Earth, as well as actual microgravity experiments on the ISS. And as I stated a few posts back;
Yep they have grown some plants under controlled conditions in the ISS, that is not the same as doing it at scale and all the hand waving in the world won't change that. One suggestion from people thinking about this is to set up a test bed on the Moon to validate the concept.
Izawwlgood wrote:So, againagain, the mission calls for multiple redundencies. You can actually factually carry spares/replacement parts/repairs with you.
Which spares and how many? Which systems will fail how often? How much mass?
Izawwlgood wrote:What's this have to do with techniques or tricks for establishing a self-sufficient colony on Mars?
There are no tips and tricks. Tips and tricks come from having done it. We haven't. NASA has been looking at this for a long time, they are asking exactly the same type of questions I have been asking you.
Izawwlgood wrote:Perhaps we should have notified Ford that manufacturing cars is a stupid idea, since they're expensive and everyone is familiar with horses.
Ford could build cars because he had backers willing to assume the risk. And not everything that Ford tried succeeded. Kill 5 people on the way to Mars and you won't get a second chance. You want to talk about raising fish, feel free and I'll leave you be. I'm interested in how you get there and how you pay for it.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:33 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Yep they have grown some plants under controlled conditions in the ISS, that is not the same as doing it at scale and all the hand waving in the world won't change that. One suggestion from people thinking about this is to set up a test bed on the Moon to validate the concept.
So your issue on this matter is a scaling one? I.e., we can grow plants in simulated microgravity on Earth, we can grow plants on the ISS, so there's absolutely no way we could extropolate and grow plants on Mars?

Sure, why not, test on the Moon. I'm all for that. I don't think you've refuted the plausibility of aquaponics on Mars.

morriswalters wrote:Which spares and how many? Which systems will fail how often? How much mass?
You're checking me now by asking for a by weight manifest?

morriswalters wrote:There are no tips and tricks. Tips and tricks come from having done it. We haven't. NASA has been looking at this for a long time, they are asking exactly the same type of questions I have been asking you.
There... Jesus... There are literally entire conversations to be had about various things that can be done to surmount various issues that pop up with colonization. That's what I've been talking about, often in response to people asking about said issues. The questions NASA is asking they have asked by conducting science, and have learned things. Learning things often results in more questions, because you have a better understanding of the thing. NASA is not wholly ignorant of how these things operate, or how to do these things, and that is evident by the links I have provided you, and the efforts NASA is making. This is getting really circular and semantic. If you have issues with some of the suggestions beyond 'that's expensive' or 'no one has done that yet', please bring them up, otherwise I will start ignoring your remarks.

morriswalters wrote:Ford could build cars because he had backers willing to assume the risk. And not everything that Ford tried succeeded. Kill 5 people on the way to Mars and you won't get a second chance. You want to talk about raising fish, feel free and I'll leave you be. I'm interested in how you get there and how you pay for it.
Hilariously, this point is refuted by the very thread we're posting in. Whether or not Mars One works with respect to this is moot - it's existence indicates people are interested, and willing to take the risk.

People will die in the process. The Challenger explosion didn't stop us from sending people into LEO.

As for how interested you are in getting there, I think you should start by actually reading the Mars One website, and then maybe poking aroundthis wiki. If you have any questions about the ideas presented, bring them up.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:30 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I don't think you've refuted the plausibility of aquaponics on Mars.
I don't refute it, my objections involve the timeline. What thing when? They also involve the economics. Finding a way to make Mars pay.
Izawwlgood wrote:You're checking me now by asking for a by weight manifest?
I don't want a manifest, I'm asking you to consider that how much everything that goes to Mars cost, will be a function of how hard it is to lift from here. So when I suggested shipping fuel or water from Mars to LEO, that was a hedge against the cost of toting fuel to LEO from Earth. The question is, could you make a profit doing that? If not, what is on Mars that can help defray the costs?

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Carlington » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:02 am UTC

I've been following this thread, and I agree with just about everything Izawwlgood is saying. I wanted to add this, though: What stops us from setting up a cycler, (or better, a system of cyclers), to carry cargo to and from Mars? This doesn't at all have to be a case of 'everything that goes up will need to be lifted at once (or even in chunks, spread over many trips) with enough delta v to get to Mars. Just enough delta to get to the payload to rendezvous with a cycler and enough to get it down to Mars would suffice. We could even have the cycler itself powered by nuclear reactor to minimise fuel requirements, or solar to eliminate them, once it's up there it doesn't need much adjusting.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:20 am UTC

Carlington wrote:What stops us from setting up a cycler, (or better, a system of cyclers), to carry cargo to and from Mars?
morriswalters wrote:However we will do it, if it is worth doing. One interesting thought I had was the idea if one of the ways of paying for Mars would be to produce fuel there and export it back to LEO. Would the economics of unmanned transfer vehicles carrying fuel produced on Mars and boosting in .3 or so g's be cheaper then fuel produced on Earth and boosted up through 1 g. For that matter you could ship water as ice. With no life support to worry about would the mechanics be simpler?
These would be cargo vessels, basically engines and cargo space. Bring supplies to Mars and take back water or fuel from Mars to LEO, where you use the water to produce fuel to return the box to Mars. Make them durable and cheap.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:21 am UTC

Carlington wrote:I've been following this thread, and I agree with just about everything Izawwlgood is saying. I wanted to add this, though: What stops us from setting up a cycler, (or better, a system of cyclers), to carry cargo to and from Mars? This doesn't at all have to be a case of 'everything that goes up will need to be lifted at once (or even in chunks, spread over many trips) with enough delta v to get to Mars. Just enough delta to get to the payload to rendezvous with a cycler and enough to get it down to Mars would suffice.


In short, money. And I don't want to know about the challenges of getting the cargo form martian orbit to the colonists.

We could even have the cycler itself powered by nuclear reactor to minimise fuel requirements, or solar to eliminate them, once it's up there it doesn't need much adjusting.


Nuclear reactors are extremely heavy. And a very large fraction of the cost of getting stuff from Earth to Mars, will just be getting it off of Earth's surface and into orbit. Also, you cannot really convert electricity into thrust, in space. The only way to go forward is to throw something behind you (and space sails but a whole heap of problems there and again, very low payloads). We do have ion drives but they are only really good for transporting very light payloads, not great for cargo.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:02 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:I don't refute it, my objections involve the timeline. What thing when? They also involve the economics. Finding a way to make Mars pay.
I don't see how this is an objection, as much as a 'detail the mission plan', which I've repeatedly outlined, and linked you to various sources, including the Mars One website, which does as well. Aquaponics will be set up 'sometime after the colonists arrive'.

Nuclear submarines can be supplied with enough food to supply the entire crew for a year. I think with multiple launches it's not a reach to imagine sending enough food with the colonists to survive the journey, and enough food on the surface for them to survive until they hook up some tubes and pump water through them.

Did you read any of the link(s) I've provided?

morriswalters wrote: I'm asking you to consider that how much everything that goes to Mars cost
To continually repeat myself, a lot.

morriswalters wrote:The question is, could you make a profit doing that? If not, what is on Mars that can help defray the costs?
Probably not. This, like many (though obviously not all!) space activities is not to be considered solely for profit. I'm a bit flabbergasted that I have to defend space exploration/science from the 'but how will we profit from this?' criticism on these fora.

What's on Mars to defray the costs of colonization? An entire planet separate from Earth? It's there? We can launch missiles at the Russians? Seriously, take your pick - there are countless reasons to go to Mars, and elsewhere. Everywhere. I stated as much at the beginning of this thread, please stop circling back like this.

Carlington wrote:What stops us from setting up a cycler, (or better, a system of cyclers), to carry cargo to and from Mars?
They'd be a great thing to try, though we have zero experience doing so. We've gotten impressively good at orbital mechanics (Rosetta was some insane mathomancy), but to my knowledge have never attempted a cycler. I think they're great for moving live cargo, but otherwise, there's no reason to worry about bringing stuff back. Initially, of course.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby ucim » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:45 am UTC

Carlington wrote:What stops us from setting up a cycler, (or better, a system of cyclers), to carry cargo to and from Mars?
The main benefit of a cycler is for carrying people; the cycler contains the infrastructure for them to live for a year or two, and that infrastructure does not have to ever land. Cargo does not require this kind of infrastructure, so there's no significant m*delta-v savings to be had.

A cycler could use an ion drive or solar sails (both to be developed :) ) to steer; steering would be necessary because the planets move around too. I don't however know how much continuous thrust would be necessary to make the appropriate rendezvous. I wonder if it works in Kerbal Space Program. :)

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:57 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Probably not. This, like many (though obviously not all!) space activities is not to be considered solely for profit.
I'll quote a line from the Right Stuff. "No bucks, no Buck Rogers." Anything this expensive, needs a reason, you haven't elucidated one, and 100 Billion is a number cited to send a manned Mars mission. Because we should, isn't a reason. But I'm done. See ya on the Moon.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:07 pm UTC

ucim wrote: I wonder if it works in Kerbal Space Program. :)
Funny you should ask!

It requires adjustments at each swing, I believe, which means in KSP it isn't something that can be left to it's own devices, but I think that may be in part because it aerobreaks around Duna? I'm fuzzy on how this works.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby elasto » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:23 pm UTC

I think a more pragmatic plan would be to create a self-sustaining moon colony as proof of concept first; Supplies could be launched reasonably speedily in an emergency - or even the crew returned home.

Then, if the moon colony became advanced enough, it could construct and supply the vessel to go to Mars (lower delta-v and all that)

This Mars mission is a bit 'trying to run before you've learned to walk' - and although 100Bn is perfectly doable - a trillion was wasted on Iraq after all, and it's now in a more dangerous state than it was before - there's surely projects with a better scientific return for mankind if we're gonna throw that kind of money around. eg. an extra 100Bn into renewable energy and energy storage research could actually pay for itself within decades.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:47 pm UTC

Check out a delta-v map of the solar system - because of aerobreaking, getting to Mars can be about the same delta-v as getting to Luna, depending on which chart you're looking at. Feasibly, you only need to get to LMO, and can then gravity sling your way down off Deimos and Phobos, adjust to skim atmo, and save fuel, whereas landing on Luna will always be exactly as costly as taking off from Luna.

I don't disagree, we should go to Luna. But I don't think Luna is going to serve as a refueling platform, as there's not really any endogenous materials from which to make fuel. Sure, maybe as a construction platform, or a scientific outpost (of various sorts). The best use of Luna I've seen proposed is for astronomy - placing radio telescopes on the dark side to isolate signal from Earth. But Luna has it's own pros/cons as a colony location, some of which are pretty serious and potentially insurmountable. For example, you're never growing crops on a Lunar base without providing your own light, unless you build at the poles and redirect light, since Luna has a 28d light cycle. There's also not a lot of water to be found, except, again, at the poles. TANSTAFL.

So whether or not Luna would serve as a first step, I dunno. It's a different problem, with some useful overlaps, but a different problem. Lunar gravity is also lower than Martian gravity, and there's more surface radiation exposure than Mars, and there's something weird that happens with the plasma tail of Earth causing massive electric... storms...? on Luna on it's passing... Yeah... Pros and cons.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby johnny_7713 » Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:33 pm UTC

Since I don't think anyone posted it yet, MIT did a feasibility study on the Mars One project (based on the scantily available publicly released plans): http://web.mit.edu/sydneydo/Public/Mars ... 0IAC14.pdf.
tl;dr: If the colonists grow their own crops they die of oxygen poisoning, and you need to send 13.5 tons of spares every two years.

The Mars One website on some pages claims that all the technology is already available off the shelf for purchase right now, yet on other pages talks about starting on 'conceptual design', those statements are mutually contradictory.

Apart from the food growing problem, there's a couple of other things that are not yet proven technology, despite Mars One's claims to the contrary, e.g. landing anything heavier than Curiosity on Mars safely, or the 'autonomous rovers' that are going to be building the base in advance of the astronauts. Could we develop that, given time and money? Sure, but it's not available off the shelf today.

To address some more general points: 3D printing is not magic. Sure it's undergoing rapid development, but you can't just pour Mars dust into your printer on the top and have it print out a fully functioning space craft. Space craft are built from all manner of exotic alloys (for good reason), which require a whole variety of elements in tightly controlled amounts. Do-able with a large enough industrial base, but you can't just send a tank of 'matter' to Mars, or just scoop up some random regolith outside your base. Also, the properties of your final product depend on your manufacturing process, and not every material is suitable for every process. Before you can talk about printing a return vehicle, you need to consider what it needs to be made of and whether that is even printable, and whether printing will give you acceptable properties.

Cycler orbits are cool, but suffer from the problem that your transfer vehicles have catch up with your cyclers and slow down again at the other end. This requires a large amount of delta-V and can (IIRC) end up negating many of the advantages again, depending on your mission assumptions.

The ethics discussion has died down, but I wrote about that here: https://cyclebycycle.wordpress.com/2014 ... questions/

I must admit to also being in the 'because it's there camp' for Mars One, and since they're not seeking public funds, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. The main problem I have is their claim that all the technology is available and the only hurdles are financial and logistical, whereas there in fact remain plenty of technological challenges to be overcome. Can we as humankind do that, given enough time and money put into the problem? Sure. Can Mars One, especially within their publicly announced time-frame and budget ($6 billion)? I highly doubt it.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:26 pm UTC

Yup, plants produce oxygen and a technology to keep oxygen levels below toxic levels would need to be implemented. Such systems exist for the ISS. You can also breath pure oxygen at reduced air pressure for much longer - this becomes less an issue of producing too much oxygen (not really an issue for the crafty expanding colony), and more an issue of maintaining internal atmosphere. Space suits, for example, just use 100% oxygen at ~.3atm. I'm surprised they'd suggest oxygen toxicity was such an issue - as I mentioned, the ISS has pretty extensive atmospheric regulation, and seems to be working just fine. Considering you can always just vent overly oxygenated air or mix it with other gases, it seems like this is a pretty manageable issue. For example, ISS has this.

Everything else though I agree. Mars One has a lot of sensationalized handwavium going for it.

Your blogpost is interesting, though I think you're forgetting that the 'middle term' (10 yrs? 20?) goal is self-sufficiency, so repeated restocking missions from Earth shouldn't play into the ongoing cost of this.

johnny_7713 wrote:Cycler orbits are cool, but suffer from the problem that your transfer vehicles have catch up with your cyclers and slow down again at the other end. This requires a large amount of delta-V and can (IIRC) end up negating many of the advantages again, depending on your mission assumptions.
I think the point is you're expending delta-v to move a smaller shuttle like vehicle, perhaps one that lacks radiation shielding and emergency supplies for the interstellar voyage.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:08 pm UTC

The paper mentions suffocation after 68 days. It also mentions the fire safety threshold. Pure oxygen is a no no, remember Apollo 1.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Chen » Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:54 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:The paper mentions suffocation after 68 days. It also mentions the fire safety threshold. Pure oxygen is a no no, remember Apollo 1.


Apollo 1 was due to high pressure pure oxygen. If you keep the partial pressure at or below 3 psi, you're no worse off, in terms of fire, than you are on earth at sea level.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:35 pm UTC

The habitat is set to operate at atmospheric pressure with a mix of oxygen and nitrogen. As oxygen goes up, it reaches the hazard zone, gas is vented. Since it can't be separated, nitrogen vents with the oxygen, as the nitrogen is depleted, the oxygen reaches into the hazard zone. As it continues to vent eventually the colonists suffocates. This is what the MIT analysis showed.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:55 pm UTC

And,
Izawwlgood wrote:Considering you can always just vent overly oxygenated air or mix it with other gases, it seems like this is a pretty manageable issue. For example, ISS has this.


You can take a 100% oxygenated environment, drop the air pressure to ~1/3rd or 1/2, and everything is fine. They did this in the Apollo missions, and they do this in spacesuits. Yes, if you create a 1 atm Earth standard atmosphere, you run into issues of oxygen poisoning if you grow a bunch of crops and do nothing to continually regulate the atmosphere. This is known. Biosphere 2 already did this successfully.

And yes, nitrogen being in short-ish supply on Mars will probably be carefully regulated and not used as a buffer gas, though it'd be 'easy enough' to gather nitrogen when you're manufacturing soil through the use of nitrogen fixing bacteria. Soil synthesis may be a later stage development, of course.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby mathmannix » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:26 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Mars does not have microgravity. It has .3g.

Trientgravity?
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Whizbang » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:28 pm UTC

Mars is just gravitationally challenged.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:31 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Your blogpost is interesting, though I think you're forgetting that the 'middle term' (10 yrs? 20?) goal is self-sufficiency, so repeated restocking missions from Earth shouldn't play into the ongoing cost of this.


Scientific goals in the 10-20 year range are often straight bullshit. This is like planning that fusion will be totally here in five years.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby johnny_7713 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:17 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Yup, plants produce oxygen and a technology to keep oxygen levels below toxic levels would need to be implemented. Such systems exist for the ISS. You can also breath pure oxygen at reduced air pressure for much longer - this becomes less an issue of producing too much oxygen (not really an issue for the crafty expanding colony), and more an issue of maintaining internal atmosphere. Space suits, for example, just use 100% oxygen at ~.3atm. I'm surprised they'd suggest oxygen toxicity was such an issue - as I mentioned, the ISS has pretty extensive atmospheric regulation, and seems to be working just fine. Considering you can always just vent overly oxygenated air or mix it with other gases, it seems like this is a pretty manageable issue. For example, ISS has this.


The ISS can generate it's own oxygen and scrub CO2, it can't selectively remove O2 from the atmosphere. From the MIT article: "It should be noted however that while [an oxygen removal system] has been extensively used in terrestrial applications, a space-rated version does not currently exist. Preliminary efforts were made to develop such a system in th econtext of reducing ISS ocygen resupply requirements in the post-Space Shuttle era, but no progress has been reported since 2011."

Izawwlgood wrote:Everything else though I agree. Mars One has a lot of sensationalized handwavium going for it.

Your blogpost is interesting, though I think you're forgetting that the 'middle term' (10 yrs? 20?) goal is self-sufficiency, so repeated restocking missions from Earth shouldn't play into the ongoing cost of this.


Given the ratings decline for most reality shows I doubt you have 10 to 20 years before funding becomes an issue, especially as increasing the number of colonists will increase the supply requirements [and the TV-show will be mind-numbingly boring: it's a bunch of subsistence-farmers selected to be good at resolving interpersonal conflicts, which would be rare in the first place]. Self-sufficiency w.r.t. food and maybe other basic life support I can see happening, but spare parts are going to be the real issue. We use a huge variety of different materials in our products and I don't think you will be able to efficiently gather or produce those on Mars with a small number of colonists confined to a relatively small geographical area.

Izawwlgood wrote:
johnny_7713 wrote:Cycler orbits are cool, but suffer from the problem that your transfer vehicles have catch up with your cyclers and slow down again at the other end. This requires a large amount of delta-V and can (IIRC) end up negating many of the advantages again, depending on your mission assumptions.
I think the point is you're expending delta-v to move a smaller shuttle like vehicle, perhaps one that lacks radiation shielding and emergency supplies for the interstellar voyage.


Yup, that's why cycler orbits depend on the mission assumptions. If you are going to be reusing your 'deep-space' infrastructure a lot, the benefits of not having to accelerate that more than once outweigh the cost of more expensive launches and landings (in terms of delta-v) at either end. It does mean you're going to have to lift enough fuel to get to escape velocity off of the Mars surface though, rather than keeping some of it in Mars orbit as you would for an Apollo-style architecture. (Though I suppose you could ship fuel in on the cycler and just leave it in an orbit around Mars, rather than de-orbiting it, to somewhat off-set that, at the cost of a more complex descent and ascent procedure).

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby krogoth » Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:02 am UTC

Depending on the materials, are some 3d printed parts recyclable? Oh broke a gear, feed it into the smelter and reprint it? I know most plastics probably can't just be re-melted and printed, but if possible with some parts reducing new material needed by a fair amount.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:50 am UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:The ISS can generate it's own oxygen and scrub CO2, it can't selectively remove O2 from the atmosphere. From the MIT article: "It should be noted however that while [an oxygen removal system] has been extensively used in terrestrial applications, a space-rated version does not currently exist. Preliminary efforts were made to develop such a system in th econtext of reducing ISS ocygen resupply requirements in the post-Space Shuttle era, but no progress has been reported since 2011."
The last I read (2005, actually), the ISS oxygen generation doohicky is no longer in operation, and the ISS is relying on injected oxygen and CO2 scrubbers. The wiki seems to indicate that the ISS is 'generating oxygen' from water. There are backups that also generate oxygen from perchlorate combustion.

So, yeah, again, if the issue is an inability to remove O2 from the atmosphere, and you have a continually renewable source of O2, and you can easily survive at reduced air pressure of higher O2 levels, it seems this isn't really a problem, unless of course, you are trying to maintain 1atm and Earth composition atmosphere. Just keep pulling Martian atmo, using plants to generate oxygen from it, and injecting the right amounts at the right pressure into your habitat. You can then dump habitat air back out onto Mars.

johnny_7713 wrote:Given the ratings decline for most reality shows I doubt you have 10 to 20 years before funding becomes an issue, especially as increasing the number of colonists will increase the supply requirements [and the TV-show will be mind-numbingly boring: it's a bunch of subsistence-farmers selected to be good at resolving interpersonal conflicts, which would be rare in the first place]. Self-sufficiency w.r.t. food and maybe other basic life support I can see happening, but spare parts are going to be the real issue. We use a huge variety of different materials in our products and I don't think you will be able to efficiently gather or produce those on Mars with a small number of colonists confined to a relatively small geographical area.
Oh, to be clear, again, I don't think Mars One is going to pull it off. I want to be really clear - unless I'm specifically referencing Mars one, everything I'm talking about is general 'Martian colonization' stuff.

If you want to talk about how Mars One is going to fail, I'm mostly in agreement.

krogoth wrote:Depending on the materials, are some 3d printed parts recyclable? Oh broke a gear, feed it into the smelter and reprint it? I know most plastics probably can't just be re-melted and printed, but if possible with some parts reducing new material needed by a fair amount.
Someone else mentioned that 3d printing isn't magic, and they're right, but it's worth pointing out again that CO2 can be converted into ethylene, and you can make all kinds of plastics from ethylene.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:45 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:So, yeah, again, if the issue is an inability to remove O2 from the atmosphere, and you have a continually renewable source of O2, and you can easily survive at reduced air pressure of higher O2 levels, it seems this isn't really a problem, unless of course, you are trying to maintain 1atm and Earth composition atmosphere. Just keep pulling Martian atmo, using plants to generate oxygen from it, and injecting the right amounts at the right pressure into your habitat. You can then dump habitat air back out onto Mars.


While a very high percentage of atmosphere of oxygen can work, it does make for an extremely flammable environment. So the plants make O2 from CO2 and vent excess O2 as necessary, this works. But there isn't a means of maintaining an Earth style atmosphere, there just isn't the nitrogen, unless you brought it with you. (Will be happily proven wrong).

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:04 am UTC

The same MIT paper that spotted the problem also suggested a solution. See page 10. The oxygen separator they mention is used in Medical devices to supply oxygen for home healthcare needs, it's called an oxygen concentrator. From the Mars One web site on where they will get nitrogen.
Nitrogen and argon gas are extracted from the Mars atmosphere and injected into the habitable space as inert gases Remember, 80% of what we breathe on Earth is the element nitrogen.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:12 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:From the Mars One web site on where they will get nitrogen.
Nitrogen and argon gas are extracted from the Mars atmosphere and injected into the habitable space as inert gases Remember, 80% of what we breathe on Earth is the element nitrogen.


The problem is right there, from the Mars One website. Now if MIT said that, I would believe it.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:52 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:So, yeah, again, if the issue is an inability to remove O2 from the atmosphere, and you have a continually renewable source of O2, and you can easily survive at reduced air pressure of higher O2 levels, it seems this isn't really a problem, unless of course, you are trying to maintain 1atm and Earth composition atmosphere. Just keep pulling Martian atmo, using plants to generate oxygen from it, and injecting the right amounts at the right pressure into your habitat. You can then dump habitat air back out onto Mars.


While a very high percentage of atmosphere of oxygen can work, it does make for an extremely flammable environment. So the plants make O2 from CO2 and vent excess O2 as necessary, this works. But there isn't a means of maintaining an Earth style atmosphere, there just isn't the nitrogen, unless you brought it with you. (Will be happily proven wrong).

This is solved by reducing the total air pressure. 100% oxygen at ~1/4th ATM is not a fire hazard, and not lethal to humans.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby mathmannix » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:47 pm UTC

Oh, FWIW, apparently at least one fictional character might be on board...
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby ucim » Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:04 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:If you want to talk about how Mars One is going to fail, I'm mostly in agreement.
Ok. I was not at all clear on that. I'm in agreement too, Mars One does not seem viable.

There are viable ways to do it (colonize Mars); I favor a gradual approach using cyclers (I wish there were a better name for these) and possibly lunar mass drivers. The latter would not be useful until and unless we had manufacturing facilities on the moon that could take dirt and turn them into useful goods on a fairly large scale. Not inconceivable, but perhaps harder than brute-forcing stuff out of earth's well, at least for starters.

But in any case, I think it's very important to have a stable space infrastructure in place before setting out to colonize Mars, or anyplace in the solar system. This includes the political or commercial will to do it. This would necessarily include a vision, and I suppose that's why we're here.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby speising » Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:14 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:Oh, FWIW, apparently at least one fictional character might be on board...

i'm not sure whether his OCD would be an advantage or a disadvantage for a mission like this....

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:53 pm UTC

speising wrote:i'm not sure whether his OCD would be an advantage or a disadvantage for a mission like this....
I would hazard a HUGE disadvantage. Ability to get along with your crew mates is of enormous importance for voyages.

ucim wrote:Ok. I was not at all clear on that. I'm in agreement too, Mars One does not seem viable.
To be fair, I repeated this point numerous times.

ucim wrote:But in any case, I think it's very important to have a stable space infrastructure in place before setting out to colonize Mars, or anyplace in the solar system. This includes the political or commercial will to do it. This would necessarily include a vision, and I suppose that's why we're here.
I don't disagree, but due to aerobreaking, the delta-v to get from LEO to Mars isn't terribly greater than the delta-v to land on the Lunar surface. A lunar colony that builds space infrastructure would be a great boon to this process, of course. I think the foothold of landing stuff on Mars and building a sustainable colony is a good endeavor, but obviously if there are ways to reduce costs that also include getting footholds elsewhere, I'm all for it. As I mentioned previously, there's a host of pros/cons to Luna, just like there are a host of pros/cons to Mars.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby morriswalters » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:13 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:
morriswalters wrote:From the Mars One web site on where they will get nitrogen.
Nitrogen and argon gas are extracted from the Mars atmosphere and injected into the habitable space as inert gases Remember, 80% of what we breathe on Earth is the element nitrogen.


The problem is right there, from the Mars One website. Now if MIT said that, I would believe it.
About 2 percent argon and nitrogen as components of the atmosphere. That from Wikipedia. The rate at which you can produce it is what would probably kill them. The thing about Mars One is it lacks definitive facts. For instance the greenhouses, what are they made of and at what pressure would they operate at. Some work has been done raising plants in low pressure environments, and it turns out there are some problems. So that data is critical. Inflatables may work at 1 atmosphere, Bigelow Aerospace is going to employ an inflatable this year on the ISS to try and get it rated for space. There was a low g centrifuge scheduled to fly but it got axed.

The biggest problem Mars One or any Mars mission is going to face is money. Either you make it pay or get the government involved or both. But pouring 100 billion down the rabbit hole isn't going to happen, not without some hope of a return. Having said that I think it is possible to go and at least orbit Mars in the near term with a manned crew, which would illuminate the problems involved.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Vahir » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:37 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:The biggest problem Mars One or any Mars mission is going to face is money. Either you make it pay or get the government involved or both. But pouring 100 billion down the rabbit hole isn't going to happen, not without some hope of a return. Having said that I think it is possible to go and at least orbit Mars in the near term with a manned crew, which would illuminate the problems involved.


This. We're not going to colonize space until we can find a way to make a profit out of it.

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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:39 pm UTC

No one is going to colonize space to send platinum asteroids back to Earth. I really don't think profit is going to be the thing that drives us, but shrug.
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Re: Mars One / Mars Colonization Thread

Postby EMTP » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:43 pm UTC

ucim wrote:But in any case, I think it's very important to have a stable space infrastructure in place before setting out to colonize Mars, or anyplace in the solar system. This includes the political or commercial will to do it. This would necessarily include a vision, and I suppose that's why we're here.

Jose


It seems to me that the keystone of that is a strong orbital presence. This offers potential economic benefits such as asteroid mining (after nudging them into earth orbit,) space-based solar power, zero-g manufacturing, tourism and basic science research.

Orbital stations would provide ideal conditions for the use of low impulse, low weight craft such as ion-engine spacecraft or solar sails. You're probably going to want that before you embark on further manned exploration of the solar system.

Vahir wrote:This. We're not going to colonize space until we can find a way to make a profit out of it.


I doubt that. Human societies are rarely so rational in their endeavours. The British invested heavily in their global empire, but whether they ever made a dime of net profit off the thing is still hotly debated by academics. We went to the moon and maintain a toehold in orbit without a profit, and we do less rational things with far lower ROI, *cough* Iraq *cough.*

Right now the richest/most technologically advanced countries in the world are little given to massive monuments or other naked displays of power. But we know that historically, a lot of governments find these things very attractive. The current international order won't last forever. Perhaps in fifty years India and China will have their own space race, centered around permanent colonies.
Last edited by EMTP on Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:53 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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