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  1. #26
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    I want to add, that until quite recently it was believed that Mars is a dry desert except for water at the poles. But recently abundant water has been found almost everywhere in the form of ice. Amounts up to 50,000km≥ of pure water ice in one location and another area with a water volume equal to the North Sea. The british, german and scandinavian members of this forum will acknowledge that's a lot of water.

    The total known water on Mars would be enough to cover the whole surface with app. 20m of water.
    "don't attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence"

  2. #27
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    Amazing that that was just recently discovered...

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Pizza View Post
    Please be gentle.

    What is "terraforming?"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraforming_of_Mars



    In a short sentence - Making it like Earth.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaitongBoy
    Amazing that that was just recently discovered...
    Not that surprising considering that any of that ice is under the surface, covered by at least 1m of top material. Ice with less cover than that will sublimate to atmospheric moisture. So to discover it they needed deep sensing orbiters using ground penetrating radar or neutron detection and analyzing. Quite advanced stuff on advanced Mars orbiters.

    BTW recently they find water almost everywhere. There is a new theory of water on the moon in many areas, not only the known cold traps in some deep polar craters. That theory does need verification though, it is not yet secure knowledge.

  5. #30
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    Cheers, once again, Takeovers...

  6. #31
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    The clock is ticking for the great reveal of the Mars architecture at the end of September. They are throwing in some tidbits to keep the suspense up. But yesterday Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX threw a real bomb when holding a speech at the Small Satellites Conference.

    She announced that the first Raptor engine, the engine that will drive their Mars spaceship has been built and delivered to their McGregor test site. To say that took everybody by surprise is an understatement. Nobody expected this to happen before end of 2017.

    No pictues yet. When asked if there would be video footage of testing, she said in a few months. Given the timeframe we can hope that Elon Musk can present it in his September reveal. But I will give some information as it is available.

    To begin, something about their McGregor test site.



    The test area is huge. They have mostly leased the area from the municipality of McGregor. Early in their time there it was possible to drive with a car to almost stone throwing distance of their big test stand. The road was only blocked for tests. Now they have a wide area and keep people on a distance.

    Their new test stand for Raptor engines is marked as location 3 on the map. The photo is from early this year. They surely have done a lot of work on it since then. This is close up photo of that test stand. They will be able to workon 3 engines in parallel, though they will only testfire one at a time.


  7. #32
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    Common propellants for rockets:

    Liquid oxygen (LOX) and RP-1, that's a rocket grade version of Kerosene.

    LOX and liquid hydrogen LH2, short hydrolox.

    Hypergolic fuels that make it easy to build rocket engines but are not very efficient. The Russians and Chinese still use it for large launch vehicles in huge amounts, but are moving away from it. They are still used for small station keeping thrusters on satellites and on the landing engines of Dragon. Those fuels are highly poisonous and cause cancer. Their only advantage is they don't linger in the environment. You can spill tons of it and after one good rain they are just fertilizer for the local plants.

    All of those are not well suited for big interplanetary space ships. Hydrolox would be good but LH2 is very hard to store and not good for reusable engines. The Space Shuttle Main Engines are hydrolox and reusable but after every flight they had to be disassembled and totally rebuilt at a cost of millions per engine.

    SpaceX has decided to use a different propellant. They are using methane and LOX short methalox. The Russians have built a number of test engines, based on existing designs for RP-1. The engines worked well but they never followed up with developing flightready engines and the rockets to fly them. The US companies have done even less. Except for the NASA testbed Morpheus, an experimental moon lander design with simple pressure fed small engines. There is also a small engine by the small company XCOR. Here a quite impressive video of a testfire of their engine. The exhaust gases have a blue glow, indicating very clean efficient combustion. Note the very stable mach diamonds, also indicating very stable non fluctuating combustion.



    Methane and LOX are both storable in deep space for a long time, good for the long flight to Mars. It is also possible to produce the propellant on Mars from water, CO2 in the atmosphere and energy, from solar panels or a nuclear reactor. This and the fact that the clean combustion makes it possible to build an engine that is reusable many times are the reason why SpaceX has decided to use it.. They will be good for hundreds of flights with limited servicing. The engines will be able to go to Mars and back without any maintenance.

  8. #33
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    Tuesday is the day of the big Mars announcement. 8:30 in CEST, 1:30 wednesday morning in Bangkok time. That makes it unlikely any of you will watch it life but here is the link to the speech anyway.

    Up Next: Mars Webcast | SpaceX

    Elon Musk will speak at the IAC conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.

    After the recent accident many thougt he would scale back his speech and fans like me would be disappointed. But it does not seem to be the case. Just a few hours back Elon Musk announced that the new Raptor engine had its first test run and more details would be announced about it tomorrow.

    A photo of that first test firing. I think we can expect a video of the test fire at the speech tomorrow.



    The speech will include a lot more data on this engine. It will very, very likely include a lot of details about the monster rocket that will be driven by this engine and that will be able to send a huge payload to Mars, 100t payload landed on the surface.

    But according to recent announcements the emphasis of the speech has shifted away from this rocket to what will be done on Mars, building a colony. I expected something like this but most thougt of it only as the announcement of the rocket.

    In the runup to the speech Elon Musk also announced that the rocket of course can do a lot more than just going to Mars and the name will be ITS, the Interplanetary Transport System, no longer MCT, Mars Colonial Transporter.

  9. #34
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    Thanks fascinating project, I doubt I'll live to see it but a great solution if affordable

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by david44
    I doubt I'll live to see it but a great solution if affordable
    The timetable is first manned flight to Mars in 2024. But as usual this is the way optimistic timetable. More likely is 2 or 4 years later. Missions to Mars can be flown at an interval of 26 months due to the orbits of earth and Mars. Colonization or at least a permanent base beginning immediately or maybe 2 years later.

    About cost. This whole system is designed to bring cost way down. It will be fully reusable. Even the part of the system that lands on Mars comes back for reuse. Goal is to reduce cost by more than a factor of 100, more like 1000. That sure is an ambitious goal.

  11. #36
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    deleted. Forgot to edit out the s in https

  12. #37
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    A video of the presentation last night.



    They edited out the Q&A session. The questions from the audience were just too embarassing. And this on a space conference where the normal ticket is 1000$, the student ticket 100$.

    A video animation of the planned system. Elon Musk said, this is not an artist impression. It was rendered from actual engieering data files. Though there is still some time and there may be changes.



    The plan is that the booster will land right back on the launch mount. Refuel and refly is what they want to reduce cost as much as necessary. No ground handling.

  13. #38
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    The presentation is an hour long. Probably not too many will watch through it all. It has the 8 second test fire video of their Raptor engine. I am sure it will soon be available as a cutout on YouTube. In the meantime it is available as a Vimeo on twitter.

    https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/780862107478654976

  14. #39
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    Keep the news coming, please, along with your expert commentary!

  15. #40
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    An article about the Interplanetary Transport System ITS:

    https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016...nization-plan/

    Some points from the presentation.

    In fully reusable mode it will be able to lift twice as much to orbit as the Saturn V could, about 300t. If it would ever be used non reusable it could lift 500t to LEO.

    The first manned ship going to Mars may carry 20 people. It will be named Heart of Gold. For those who do not read SF that's the name of the ship in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and it is driven by infinite improbability. Elon Musk believes it is a fitting name.

    Presently their spending on the system is in the range of 20-30 million $ per year. That's enough to build and test fire the first engineering test engine and to build an engineering article of the most critical part of their booster rocket. The oxygen tank made from carbon fiber. Not to mention they had to build the tooling for making that tank, a major endeavour in itself.



    This was a huge surprise. Nobody expected they have secretly built such a huge tank for liquid oxygen - LOX - and actually tested filling it to verify the structure can handle the extremely cold liquid.

  16. #41
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    A slide shown in the presentation, directly comparing ITS with the Saturn V.



    They carefully avoided to compare ITS with the NASA SLS and Orion. It would be too embarassing for NASA which Elon Musk wants to avoid. When SLS/Orion will be fully developed around 2030 NASA will have spent app. 60 billion $ and it will have only a very small fraction of the capability.

    Up to now Elon Musk had said they are planning for a ticket price to Mars at 500.000 $. Yesterday he talked about about a much lower price of 200.000$ which should be further reduced later. For comparison NASA is paying maybe 70 million $ to Russias Roskosmos for one astronaut to the ISS.

  17. #42
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    Some charts.

    Expected cost.



    Funding proposals



    A timetable



    This would be first manned landing on Mars in 2025 with launch in 2024. Elon Musk said it will likely be later but not by much. To reach that goal they would start orbital testing in 2020, very ambitious.

    An artists impression of ITS at Jupiter but this would be much later if ever. The artists impression is Jupiter in the background. The ITS is what it is supposed to look like, including the solar panels which will provide 200 to 300 kW of power near earth. That capacity is required to power life support for 100 people near Mars, where the panels will yield only half that amount. For comparison the solar panels of the ISS yield about 100kW.

    Last edited by Takeovers; 28-09-2016 at 03:33 PM.

  18. #43
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    ^ Ambitious is certainly a fitting word....... He's been on about pizzerias and restaurants.

    He's got the money, and the ambition.... and hopefully will work out.

    Part of making humans an interplanetary species is the acceptance of time.... I've no doubt we can do it. But trying to push it into the 10/20 years? Of course we want to see it in our own lifetimes, but rushing it just so we can try to witness it. Beginning the process of terraforming Mars during our lifetime, and landing/returning a human from there would probably be better for humanity, than trying to rush and set up bases there.

  19. #44
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    When me faether went to school in Edinburgh, they said that there would not be a man on the moon for at least 500 years...

    To witness it, in his lifetime, was incredible for him...

  20. #45
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    Raptor engine firing is on YouTube. Look at the beautiful mach diamonds. But it is really a test engine. They will use spark plugs to start the production engines and you can clearly see that they use hypergolic igniter fuel on this test. Watch for the green light on engine start up.



    @Luigi

    The time to go to Mars is now. If we wait for NASA they will never go because Congress will never release the multi billions needed for it.

    The window for getting humanity on another planet is now open and we don't know how long it will remain open.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BaitongBoy View Post
    Cheers, Takeovers...Again, more incredible stuff...

    Thanks. Responses like this are a motivation to do the thread.

    There's more to come.
    I may not always respond, but please do keep it up. Your obvious expertise and ability to synthesize and explain in very simple language is a rather rare and valuable skill. I'm learning an incredible amount that i would otherwise never know by reading you threads and posts on these topics.

  22. #47
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    Here a link to a site that explains a variety of topics. The writer does a kind of easygoing banter but he assembles a text with a lot of details. More and mostly better checked details than you usually get in even good articles from knowledgeable writers. A good overview over the Mars architecture with photos and links to videos. I can recommend it. If interested you will find a link to an article about AI in the same style.

    SpaceX's Big Fucking Rocket ? The Full Story - Wait But Why

    The Artificial Intelligence Revolution: Part 1 - Wait But Why

  23. #48
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    Two pictures as size comparisons. Note that the ITS pictures are the interplanetary ship only, not included is the launch vehicle, that lifts it into space.




  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers
    SpaceX's Big Fucking Rocket ? The Full Story - Wait But Why
    Thank you for that link. A very entertaining and informative read.

  25. #50
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    Transfered from the Space News thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi
    Probably better in your Mars thread, but have sociologists studied the likely social scenarios of say, the first 100 years of colonization? After the initial elation the reality for a large number of people, pretty much stuck on a barren, inhospitable, hinterland can't really be a pleasant one. Not to start on how they'll govern themselves etc. You would imagine the likely hood for some/many to go tropo/postal would be high. Has there been in depth studies of it released?
    After 100 years it won't be a big problem. Most people will have been born on Mars and are well adjusted. But there can be such a period after 20 or 30 years. That is one reason why Elon Musk choses such huge rockets and the ability to transport huge amounts of materials at relatively affordable rates. A colony will not be as resource starved as NASA mission designs indicate.



    That huge panorama window in the spaceship has a very good reason to exist, even though it is expensive and heavy. The same for proposed geodesic glass domes for at least part of habitats.

    BTW NASA missions with 4 people will need very thoroughly trained and selected astronauts to avoid them killing each other during the trip. Psychologist say a group of 12 is already much more stable due to the larger number of possible social interactions. The first group sent by Elon Musks SpaceX will be at least 12 people.

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