# Mars-One: People living on Mars in 2023

Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
We already do all of the highlighted things. In fact, the propulsion part will scale very nicely. If you bring a space ship up to low earth orbit and assemble it there, you can take tremendous advantage of the fact that you will start your voyage without regard for the atmosphere. This frees up the design of the spaceship considerably. I've known that since I was 9 years old. It was in a book called 'The First Book of Space Travel", by Jeanne Bendick. Did anyone else here read the 'First Book" series as kids? The psycho stuff may well doom the project once it gets to Mars, but it wouldn't prevent them from getting there. The people on the ISS are a relatively small group isolated for relatively long periods.
We do not already do life support and in situ resource allocation to the sophistication and extent that would be needed. See my previous comment about resupply for the former and the one before that regarding industry not existing in isolation for the latter (for extra clarity consider this: how feasible would it be to leave the ISS for a period of years [2-5] and expect the astronauts to not only maintain the station and survive but also perform continuous experiments?). I'm not convinced that propulsion is a simple matter of scale unless you are suggesting on using chemical rockers (in which case that's one expensive trip!).

Also the people on the ISS, whilst isolated in a confined period, are only like that for a period of months and they have the practical advantage of only being a few hundred kilometres from the ground with all the psychological benefits that brings.
I think its more a problem of cost and/or will than of knowledge
It's not. Off the top of my head we do not have the technology to;
• Recruit a counterweight
• Construct a cable strong and long enough
• Power a climber up said cable
Also there's the utterly non-trivial task of convincing people (me included) that easier access to space justifies the risk of having a cable tens of thousands of kilometres long break and fall to Earth, wrapping around the equator (at high speed) as it does so.

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We already do all of the highlighted things. In fact, the propulsion part will scale very nicely. If you bring a space ship up to low earth orbit and assemble it there, you can take tremendous advantage of the fact that you will start your voyage without regard for the atmosphere. This frees up the design of the spaceship considerably. I've known that since I was 9 years old. It was in a book called 'The First Book of Space Travel", by Jeanne Bendick. Did anyone else here read the 'First Book" series as kids? The psycho stuff may well doom the project once it gets to Mars, but it wouldn't prevent them from getting there. The people on the ISS are a relatively small group isolated for relatively long periods.
How about protection against solar storms and other energetic particles in space and on Mars (which has a very weak magnetosphere)? How are you going to get oxygen and water? How will you grow food? What will be your energy source in the established colony? How many people do you actually need to send to Mars to ensure basic human needs to everyone? How will you deal with the detrimental effects on human health of weightlessness (and reduced gravity on Mars)?

We may have parts of all the answers already, but I think you are severely underestimating the amount of time it takes us humans to put it all together, design it all and build something huge we can be pretty sure will work. For something huge like this, it's pretty much a one-shot (since if it goes wrong it will be years, if not decades until people feel like trying something like that again) - so you'll have tonnes of stuff to check.

I would also like to point you to this. It's really not as easy to land on Mars with huge payloads as you may think.

D H
Staff Emeritus
We already do all of the highlighted things.
We don't do any of the highlighted things, and Ryan left out nice things such as precision landing. We don't know how to do it. More on this later in this post.

I mean look at poor NASA, having to turn to the public to 'bring groceries' to the ISS.
Turn to the public? There would be no SpaceX without NASA. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX#Funding
Funding
As of May 2012, SpaceX has operated on total funding of approximately one billion dollars in its first ten years of operation. Of this, private equity has provided about $200M, with Musk investing approximately$100M and other investors having put in about $100M. The remainder has come from progress payments on long-term launch contracts and development contracts. NASA has put in about$400-500M of this amount, with most of that as progress payments on launch contracts.
About half of the total funding to SpaceX came from NASA, and a good chunk of the rest came from the DoD. Musk would have had a very hard time finding investors had it not been for those government contracts. The development of that Dragon to the ISS was funded almost entirely by NASA. This is something that NASA has very much wanted to happen for a long time, and has been working with industry to make that happen. (Well, some parts of NASA. Other parts of NASA are stuck in the stone age.)

I would also like to point you to this. It's really not as easy to land on Mars with huge payloads as you may think.
Nice find. This is exactly what I've been saying about landing on Mars, multiple times, in this thread. From that article,
There’s no comfort in the statistics for missions to Mars. To date over 60% of the missions have failed. The scientists and engineers of these undertakings use phrases like “Six Minutes of Terror,” and “The Great Galactic Ghoul” to illustrate their experiences, evidence of the anxiety that’s evoked by sending a robotic spacecraft to Mars — even among those who have devoted their careers to the task. But mention sending a human mission to land on the Red Planet, with payloads several factors larger than an unmanned spacecraft and the trepidation among that same group grows even larger. Why?

Nobody knows how to do it.
The article goes on to talk about how the atmosphere of Mars is more than thick enough to cause trouble, lots of trouble, for a vehicle hitting the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds but not near thick enough to provide any advantages in the way we take advantage of the Earth's atmosphere.

We do not already do life support and in situ resource allocation to the sophistication and extent that would be needed.
You sound like me.

Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
You sound like me.
I disagree. From my point of view we're barely in the prototype stage for most of what we need and some is lab based proof of concept/drawing board stuff. You seem to be suggesting that there are technologies in use that we can just adapt/scale up for use. I'll admit that's probably true for some things but definitely not all.

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I copied this from the link that KiwiKid provided.

universitytoday said:
But while the Apollo lunar lander weighed approximately 10 metric tons, a human mission to Mars will require three to six times that mass, given the restraints of staying on the planet for a year. Landing a payload that heavy on Mars is currently impossible, using our existing capabilities.
I can figure out how to solve this problem. It didn't take me 11 years either.

For propulsion, maybe some further development of ion engines would be a bigger step in the right direction?

Overlooking some other difficulties that would need to be solved first; wouldn't setting up a transport route between Earth orbit and Mars orbit be more ideal if propulsion/fuel was not as big an issue/cost, rather than attempting to make a fully independent colony on Mars?

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
For propulsion, maybe some further development of ion engines would be a bigger step in the right direction?

Overlooking some other difficulties that would need to be solved first; wouldn't setting up a transport route between Earth orbit and Mars orbit be more ideal if propulsion/fuel was not as big an issue/cost, rather than attempting to make a fully independent colony on Mars?
What do they do if something happens and Earth can't send the supply ships? Perhaps a major accident in launch or upon return to Earth or the supply ship crashes on Mars. Anything less than a fully self sufficient colony (or as close to it as we can get) would be extremely dangerous.

For propulsion, maybe some further development of ion engines would be a bigger step in the right direction?

Overlooking some other difficulties that would need to be solved first; wouldn't setting up a transport route between Earth orbit and Mars orbit be more ideal if propulsion/fuel was not as big an issue/cost, rather than attempting to make a fully independent colony on Mars?
Something like this crossed my mind because of the objection that the ISS is being continuously resupplied. There is no techological reason why the Mars mission can't also be continuously resupplied. As I said in my first post, I see no reason to climb down Mars' gravitational well once you have climbed up out of the Earth's. I also think that the L5 libration point is a better choice for a place to live than in orbit around Mars.

What do they do if something happens and Earth can't send the supply ships? Perhaps a major accident in launch or upon return to Earth or the supply ship crashes on Mars. Anything less than a fully self sufficient colony (or as close to it as we can get) would be extremely dangerous.
Well, I was referring more to spacecraft that do not enter neither Earths or Mars' atmosphere. Some method of getting the supplies onboard and delivering them from orbit would be more along the lines I was thinking of.

As I said, I still think there would be quite a few obstacles to overcome. But still this is fun to think/dream about :)

What do they do if something happens and Earth can't send the supply ships? Perhaps a major accident in launch or upon return to Earth or the supply ship crashes on Mars. Anything less than a fully self sufficient colony (or as close to it as we can get) would be extremely dangerous.
You overdesign. In this case that means you send so many supply ships that the loss of one is no disaster. Besides, the supply ships themselves don't need to carry life support. They can carry a very large payload. And the first ones can be sent ahead of the humans.

russ_watters
Mentor
Turn to the public? There would be no SpaceX without NASA. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX#Funding
Funding
As of May 2012, SpaceX has operated on total funding of approximately one billion dollars in its first ten years of operation. Of this, private equity has provided about $200M, with Musk investing approximately$100M and other investors having put in about $100M. The remainder has come from progress payments on long-term launch contracts and development contracts. NASA has put in about$400-500M of this amount, with most of that as progress payments on launch contracts.
About half of the total funding to SpaceX came from NASA, and a good chunk of the rest came from the DoD. Musk would have had a very hard time finding investors had it not been for those government contracts. The development of that Dragon to the ISS was funded almost entirely by NASA. This is something that NASA has very much wanted to happen for a long time, and has been working with industry to make that happen. (Well, some parts of NASA. Other parts of NASA are stuck in the stone age.)
Maybe this is a topic for another thread, but I'm not completely clear on how that makes SpaceX different from, say, Lockheed or North American/Rockwell/Boeing. Is it simply that NASA has less control over the design/construction and mostly just pays for it as opposed to directing (contracting) the design/construction and staffing the launch and control facilities?

to live there indefinitely.
Sure, I don't know why this thread is full of such naysayers! It's VERY POSSIBLE to get them there indefinitely by 2023....you never added the caveat that we need to get them there ALIVE did you.... :-)

D H
Staff Emeritus