Author Topic: Four-man mission to Mars? No.  (Read 35694 times)

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Offline stitch

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Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« on: June 04, 2014, 11:29:23 pm »
   I think you would need something more like Christopher Columbus's exploration to the new world (America).  Columbus took three ships and 88 men and was at sea for five weeks before discovering land where food, air, and water were abundant.  If he or his crew needed a breath of fresh air along the way, all they needed to do was walk up on deck.  In addition to the provisions they carried on board, nature provided them with food from the sea and fresh water from the rain.
   By contrast, astronauts traveling to Mars will need to be in space for approximately 2 years round trip.  They will have to breath bottled air every second of the journey.  There will be nowhere to turn for help if their supply of air, food, or water is compromised.  Accordingly, like Columbus, they will need a flotilla of support.  Four astronauts packed into a tin can (like the Apollo astronauts) just won't work for a round trip to Mars - the journey is too long.  If something goes wrong as in the case of Apollo 13, they won't be able to get back to earth in just a few days.  They will need to be equipped to handle every conceivable emergency - including medical emergencies.

   Four astronauts in space for two years is equivalent to 8 man years in space.  Someone is going to get sick or injured. You will not only need a doctor, but a complete medical staff and all the necessary equipment to deal with disease and traumatic injuries.
What if there is a tank explosion (like Apollo 13) and shrapnel crashes through the skull of one of the astronauts?
What if they have a hard landing on the surface and one of the astronauts suffers a punctured lung?
   It would be erroneous to think that under-equipped laymen could be trained to respond adequately to the myriad of emergencies that might occur - and referring to a "CD" with instructions won't help them anymore than any of us have been helped whenever we have tried to diagnose our ailments using the internet.  And if you think that calling physicians on Earth for emergency medical advice will help, don't forget that it may take up to half an hour for a radio signal to get from Mars to Earth and then back again (not to mention the time it would take for physicians on earth to formulate a procedure).  Also, there would need to be many back-and-forth conversations between the astronauts and the physicians.

No.  Four guys in a tin can is totally the wrong scale.  You will need a flotilla with hundreds of support personnel and lots of infrastructure before the first manned landing vehicle descends toward the surface of Mars.
 

Offline retrolefty

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2014, 11:39:27 pm »
I agree. The cost per Kg to lift stuff from our gravity well for all that support material and provisions make no sense at all. And once there what can they accomplish that a dozen of more probe/robots couldn't at less cost with no risk of life. It's just ego wanting to use humans for space exploration at this time until we obtain the tech to make it at least practical. Probes are the way to go for the immediate future, more bang for the buck at least until we get the space elevator functioning.

 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2014, 12:03:31 am »
I disagree.
Read some of the experts on the subject and you'll likely change your mind:

Robert Zubrin proposes a direct mission with a crew of 4 and explains how and why it will work.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Case_for_Mars

Buzz Aldrin proposes a base on Phobos first, with perpetual shuttle cycler trips based on free return courses he has designed that require hardly any fuel to keep going.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_cycler
http://www.amazon.com/Mission-Mars-Vision-Space-Exploration/dp/1426210175

The medical thing is one based on probability risk. You can't design your entire mission and the logistics based on (a calculable probability) of someone getting sick or injured, that's just silly. You can't expect the same level of medical care as you can get here on earth. So you take the risk and design your mission logistics based on the mission requirements, as it should be.

Quote
No.  Four guys in a tin can is totally the wrong scale.  You will need a flotilla with hundreds of support personnel and lots of infrastructure before the first manned landing vehicle descends toward the surface of Mars.

Absolutely need? No. Want, yes.
The mission can be done with 4 people in a (sizable) tin can if that what you desire.

People like the Mars Society have done full scale endurance tests on this, and it's very doable.
http://www.marssociety.org/
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 12:08:59 am by EEVblog »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2014, 12:07:45 am »
I agree. The cost per Kg to lift stuff from our gravity well for all that support material and provisions make no sense at all. And once there what can they accomplish that a dozen of more probe/robots couldn't at less cost with no risk of life. It's just ego wanting to use humans for space exploration at this time until we obtain the tech to make it at least practical. Probes are the way to go for the immediate future, more bang for the buck at least until we get the space elevator functioning.

I'm glad you're not in charge then :P
We need leaders with vision, not bang-per-buck dicking around.
Humans can do vastly more than in a week on the surface than a fleet of robots can do in a year. You can't beat real-time control and decision making.
This is why Aldrin proposes the Phobos base first, so that humans can man a real-time control link with robots down on the ground. They will assemble the base before humans descend.
Controlling robots from earth is incredibly limiting.
 

Offline ecat

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2014, 12:12:01 am »
Better to just stay here.
It's not like they could be run over by a bus or struck by lightning on a golf course.

Better to do what the vast majority of us do, piss away the minutes of their lives and in the end, when the final tally is in, contribute absolutely nothing.

When did we as a society become so afraid of death that we forgot how to live?
When did the media driven frenzy of public outcry override ambition and endeavour?
At what point did shitting the bed in an old peoples home become the global lifestyle dream?

 

 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2014, 12:24:24 am »
Agreed that the medical issue is a red herring.  It's no different than mountaineers climbing 8000 meter peaks.  On big mountains, above a certain altitude, there is no expectation of any definitive medical care. A serious injury, appendicitis, etc - you're dead. That's just part of the deal.  Why should space exploration be any different?
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2014, 12:24:35 am »
Better to just stay here.

Yes, and that is what all the experts who are designing these missions work on.
Although in many cases there is an opportunity to get back if really needed, but it takes a long time. Usually 4-5 years at a minimum.
You'll find no shortage of people willing to die on Mars. Thousands have signed up already:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_One
http://www.mars-one.com
 

Offline retrolefty

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2014, 01:16:23 am »
It's so easy to spend someone else's money, as politicians know well. We will learn more sooner and cheaper continuing using probes. Again what can 4 people accomplish on Mars that many more probes cannot?

 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2014, 01:33:47 am »
It's so easy to spend someone else's money, as politicians know well. We will learn more sooner and cheaper continuing using probes. Again what can 4 people accomplish on Mars that many more probes cannot?

TONS!
Humans can make decisions on the spot. No need for transmission  delay plus a team  on earth to analyse and decide the best action lest they screw up the robot.
They can walk anywhere at will.
They can do manual labor at will in any location.
They can fix things, use and make tools, and improvise.
They can recognise things and respond in real time.

If you don't understand the limitations that robots on other planets have then you haven't thought about it enough.
Humans are many orders of magnitude more productive, and they can do thing that robots can't. This is not conjecture, it's a proven fact.
 

Offline retrolefty

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2014, 01:46:25 am »
I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this matter. Until our technology and energy sources improves it's my opinion that it is more efficient and more scientific knowledge will be acquired sooner by continuing to use probe tech.

 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2014, 01:50:12 am »
Until our technology and energy sources improves it's my opinion that it is more efficient and more scientific knowledge will be acquired sooner by continuing to use probe tech.

It's not just about scientific exploration. Think bigger...
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2014, 01:55:10 am »
it's my opinion that it is more efficient and more scientific knowledge will be acquired sooner by continuing to use probe tech.

The great thing about facts is that they are true whether or not you believe in them. Humans are just vastly more efficient and better at exploration.
What you are arguing here is for essentially a lower goal for less cost. In that case, well, ok.
 

Offline retrolefty

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2014, 01:55:43 am »
Until our technology and energy sources improves it's my opinion that it is more efficient and more scientific knowledge will be acquired sooner by continuing to use probe tech.

It's not just about scientific exploration. Think bigger...


All in good time grasshopper.  ;)
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2014, 01:57:37 am »
All in good time grasshopper.  ;)

Ah, the old "the next generation will do it" card.  :palm:
 

Offline stitch

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2014, 01:58:31 am »
Agreed that the medical issue is a red herring.  It's no different than mountaineers climbing 8000 meter peaks.  On big mountains, above a certain altitude, there is no expectation of any definitive medical care. A serious injury, appendicitis, etc - you're dead. That's just part of the deal.  Why should space exploration be any different?
Actually, there is an expectation of definitive care at 8000 meters.  The expectation is that your team (you would have one) can rescue you and either help you down or help you on site until you can get down to a hospital only hours or days away.  Sir Edmudn Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to summit Mount Everest.  Those two guys didn't do it alone.  They were part of a massive support infrastructure.  Here's a quote from Wikipedia:

"They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. … The Hunt expedition totalled over 400 people, including 362 porters, twenty Sherpa guides and 10,000 lbs of baggage, and like many such expeditions, was a team effort."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Hillary#1953_Everest_expedition

I think we are talking about the difference between an expedition and a stunt.
 

Offline retrolefty

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2014, 02:08:56 am »
All in good time grasshopper.  ;)

Ah, the old "the next generation will do it" card.  :palm:

Possibly, but on our shoulders, as we stood on the shoulders of those before us.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2014, 02:19:13 am »
I think we are talking about the difference between an expedition and a stunt.

No, that's because they could have such support. Any schmuck can go to the first few base camps.
Everest summit would be a day trip taken by a million tourists a year if it wasn't for the lack of oxygen.
Hilary wasn't such a great example. Better examples would be solo or small group treks to the poles or other remote locations, or early exploratory boat trips. These days recuse is just an EPIRB button away. But before that, it was a rare (and sizable) trip that would take along a full time doctor.
When you go to mars, you simply can't build that level of medical support in place. It would make the entire mission impractical in both cost and logistics.
Any Mars trip or base camp would have to be quite sizable before they consider sending a doctor and proper medical gear.
 

Offline Rigby

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2014, 02:26:12 am »
The comment highlighted here in yellow states it very well, for me. 

http://www.reddit.com/r/YouShouldKnow/comments/20n1mz/ysk_that_a_newly_announced_measurement_of/cg52uxc
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2014, 02:36:47 am »
A "full time doctor" does little good above a certain altitude where helicopter rescue becomes impossible. Even with the old school style of "siege" mountaineering - large numbers of Sherpa porters, numerous basecamps, etc - an expedition doctor was limited in what they could accomplish.  Even now with the tourist sieges of Everest - medical care or evacuation above a certain altitude is impossible.  I've served as the team physician on a relative small group climb of a 6000 meter peak and even in that case above our high camp - any definitive medical care would have been problematic at best.

This is all just to say that climbing "big mountains" is not unlike a mission to Mars (or even to the ISS or the moon for that matter) in that you just can't expect definitive care for any serious illness or injury.  I don't think the Apollo astronauts or Russian cosmonauts expected it and neither would any modern day astronauts.  IMO it's a silly argument to  make against a manned mission to Mars.
 

Offline ecat

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2014, 02:37:04 am »
All in good time grasshopper.  ;)

Ah, the old "the next generation will do it" card.  :palm:

Possibly, but on our shoulders, as we stood on the shoulders of those before us.

Fifty years ago we were able to put a man on the moon, could we put a man on the moon tomorrow? No. It would take 5 to 10 years of effort, invention and reinvention to achieve that which in the 1960's took 5 to 10 years.

Many of the giants on whose shoulders you wish to stand are long since dead and with them went much of their knowledge. The Saturn V F1 engine is a perfect example, NASA wants to build a big, efficient rocket engine and where do they start? They start by pulling old F1s out of museums in an effort to reverse engineer and rediscover some of the lost knowledge.

It is impossible to say where we would be today if the backing and momentum behind the Apollo program had been maintained, but before you talk again about efficiency consider the time and money it will take to get those fifty years back. If nothing else the tail is a salient  example of how much can be lost if those in power are not continually pressured to keep things moving forward.
 
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2014, 02:47:05 am »
Possibly, but on our shoulders, as we stood on the shoulders of those before us.

our shoulders?
What has our generation done for manned space exploration?
Humans last left earth more than 40 years ago, that's getting closer toward two generations now.
 

Offline stitch

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2014, 02:48:03 am »
I think we are talking about the difference between an expedition and a stunt.

Hilary wasn't such a great example. Better examples would be solo or small group treks to the poles or other remote locations, or early exploratory boat trips.

Take a look at the Fram.  It is the ship that transported Roald Amundsen to his "final descent" to the South Pole.  Not a tin can.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fram
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2014, 02:50:29 am »
It is impossible to say where we would be today if the backing and momentum behind the Apollo program had been maintained

We'd certainly have a permanent colony on Mars.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2014, 02:58:38 am »
Take a look at the Fram.  It is the ship that transported Roald Amundsen to his "final descent" to the South Pole.  Not a tin can.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fram

So what's your point? They had a big ship and could take a doctor? well, great for them.
But in the end those guys went on for weeks without a doctor to reach the poles. Knowing full well they took their chances.
The point here is that it is very routine for lengthy exploratory trips to go without medical support, it's par for the course.
 

Offline retrolefty

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Re: Four-man mission to Mars? No.
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2014, 03:01:39 am »
Possibly, but on our shoulders, as we stood on the shoulders of those before us.

our shoulders?
What has our generation done for manned space exploration?
Humans last left earth more than 40 years ago, that's getting closer toward two generations now.

"'A civilization grows great when men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit."
 


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