Topic: And there was Ice  (Read 10348 times)

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Offline Tus-XC

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And there was Ice
« on: June 20, 2008, 12:19:14 am »
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,369461,00.html

LOS ANGELES —  Scientists believe NASA's Phoenix Mars lander exposed bits of ice while recently digging a trench in the soil of the Martian arctic, the mission's principal investigator said Thursday.

Crumbs of bright material initially photographed in the trench later vanished, meaning they must have been frozen water that vaporized after being exposed, Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, said in a statement.

"These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it's ice," Smith said. "There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can't do that."

Phoenix Mars is studying whether the arctic region of the Red Planet could be habitable. The probe is using its robotic arm to dig up soil samples, and scientists hope it will find frozen water.

However, an initial soil sample heated in a science instrument failed to yield evidence of water.

The bright material was seen in the bottom of a trench dubbed "Dodo-Goldilocks" that Phoenix enlarged on June 15. Several of the bright crumbs were gone when the spacecraft looked into the trench again early Thursday, NASA said.

Phoenix's arm, meanwhile, encountered a hard surface while digging another trench Thursday and scientists were hopeful of uncovering an icy layer, the space agency said. That trench is called "Snow White 2."

The arm went into a "holding position" after three attempts to dig further, which is expected when it the reaches a hard surface, NASA said.

Scientists have been using names from fairy tales and mythology to designate geologic features around Phoenix and the trenches it has been digging.

In 2002, the orbiting Mars Odyssey detected hints of a vast store of ice below the surface of Mars' polar regions. The arctic terrain where Phoenix touched down has polygon shapes in the ground similar to those found in Earth's permafrost regions. The patterns on Earth are caused by seasonal expansion and shrinking of underground ice.

Engineers also have prepared a software patch to send up to Phoenix to fix a problem that surfaced Tuesday in the use of its flash memory. NASA said that because Phoenix generated a large amount of duplicative file-maintenance data that day, the mission team has been avoiding storing science data in the flash memory and is instead transmitting it to Earth at the end of each day.

"We now understand what happened, and we can fix it with a software patch," said Barry Goldstein, the Phoenix project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Phoenix landed near Mars' north pole on May 25. The $420 million mission is planned to last 90 days.

Rob

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Offline Lepton

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2008, 05:52:49 pm »


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Offline knightstorm

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2008, 06:22:07 pm »
Please don't start this garbage again Lepton.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2008, 06:55:13 pm by knightstorm »

Offline Tus-XC

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2008, 08:55:01 pm »
Don't worry, i don't mind him playing the ignorant fool, its amusing to me and the only reason i posted this from fox news.. hmmm... suprisingly enough the site i usually go to had this info after fox... a full... what 10 hours after fox... (space.com)
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Offline Bonk

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2008, 09:41:45 pm »
Easy there Lepton is my buddy.  :police:

The point is we already knew there is water ice on Mars.

Want to talk radical and useful space exploration? How about one way manned missions (right up to 0.9c)? Think about it.

Offline Tus-XC

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2008, 10:06:27 pm »
Easy there Lepton is my buddy.  :police:

The point is we already knew there is water ice on Mars.

Want to talk radical and useful space exploration? How about one way manned missions (right up to 0.9c)? Think about it.

Actually, we haven't had confirmation, we had pretty good indicators that there was based on radar scans and what naught, but thats not complete conclusive evidence, subliming ice though... pretty conclusive.  Further is we didn't know how close to the surface it was, they were expecting to have to go deeper than they did, as it was they literally scrapped off the top layer and there was ice.

Now honestly, space travel is more interesting to me (I'm an Astronautical engineer ;)), however i find everything about space interesting, no matter the topic or how mundane it may seem.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2008, 06:56:41 am »
Don't worry, i don't mind him playing the ignorant fool, its amusing to me and the only reason i posted this from fox news.. hmmm... suprisingly enough the site i usually go to had this info after fox... a full... what 10 hours after fox... (space.com)

:police: Okay guys back off of Lepton.   :police:

All he did was provide a link to a different article.  There is no reason to criticize him for that.    He is very much within the rules to do so.   A link to NASAs own information on this topic is in fact very relevant and appropriate.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2008, 04:59:55 am »
Link to full article

Quote
"We basically have found what appears to be the requirements of the nutrients to support life, past, present or future," said Kounaves.

Scientists found elements in the soil that included magnesium, potassium and sodium. "There are probably other mineral species, we are still working on data," he said.

Kounaves said the analysis results are "one more piece of evidence that there were liquid water action at some point in the history of Mars."

"It's very similar to the soil analysis results we got from some dried places on Earth -- this is the very exciting part," Kounaves said.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2008, 05:09:44 am »
Link to full article

Reuters article has "flaws"

Quote
The 1 cubic meter (35 cubic feet) of soil was taken from about 1 inch below the surface of Mars and had a pH, or alkaline, level of 8 or 9. "We were all flabbergasted at the data we got back," Kounaves said.


I am sure NASA wishes it could make a probe capable of scooping up a cubic meter of soil and analyze it this quickly.
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Offline Tus-XC

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2008, 08:35:22 am »
It is a shame that these tests can't check from nitrogen or oxgen in the soil, which are also neccesary for plant life.  Still it does bode well if we ever go there, we could grow our own food in 'green houses', though we might need to bring our own fertilizer
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2008, 07:46:26 pm »
It is a shame that these tests can't check from nitrogen or oxgen in the soil, which are also neccesary for plant life.  Still it does bode well if we ever go there, we could grow our own food in 'green houses', though we might need to bring our own fertilizer


I'm sure that they can detect those chemicals.

Of course if we were colonizing Mars we could import those materials using a gravity tractor to divert a comet that is rich in those materials.
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Offline marstone

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2008, 08:16:16 pm »
It is a shame that these tests can't check from nitrogen or oxgen in the soil, which are also neccesary for plant life.  Still it does bode well if we ever go there, we could grow our own food in 'green houses', though we might need to bring our own fertilizer

As the atmosphere of Mars is mostly CO2 there is oxygen alot actually, O2 is low and I don't know about nitrogen.  (not off the top of my head, way to many years ago I looked into this)
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Offline Tus-XC

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2008, 08:18:54 pm »
from what i read it can't check for N2 or O2 (and a few other things) during these specific tests...
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2008, 08:41:58 pm »
from what i read it can't check for N2 or O2 (and a few other things) during these specific tests...


Whether the precise test referenced can or cannot I am unsure.   But it does have at least one tester that can.

Link to site

The Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer does have the ability.

Quote
With these precise measurement capabilities, scientists will be able to determine ratios of various isotopes of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen, providing clues to origin of the volatile molecules, and possibly, biological processes that occurred in the past.
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Offline Dash Jones

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2008, 03:11:48 am »
Easy there Lepton is my buddy. :police:

The point is we already knew there is water ice on Mars.

Want to talk radical and useful space exploration? How about one way manned missions (right up to 0.9c)? Think about it.

Uhhh...One Way???
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2008, 05:33:37 am »
Uhhh...One Way???


It has been proposed before.  One way need not be a suicide mission. 

Consider many currently proposed Mars missions spend the majority of their time travelling there and back, relatively little time is planned to be spent on Mars.   The expense compared to the return is relatively high.  However longer missions where at least 1/2 the time is spent on Mars is potentially a problem for returning astronauts as long terms at 1/3g has effects that are unknown especially when added to 16+ months in zero-g.  Some have proposed the idea of sending a one way mission with the intent that the astronauts would be self supporting for the rest of their lives on Mars.  If things worked out the one way mission could be augmented later to a full colony.

Missions to the outer solar system have the same issues but magnified by the time involved.

Other options could include making a space colony then using the "gravity tractor" that I referenced earlier to move it around the solar system, which would take decades.  Effectively with mission times that long they become one way.  The same with other propulsion systems like solar sails with long travel times.

Consider also Bonk mentioned velocities to .9c.  That would mean interstellar missions.  The best candidates for a visit are star systems with potentially life bearing worlds.  Assume a distance of 20 light years, at .9c that is ~45 years round trip, not counting time at the destination.  It might as well be one way, more willl be learned and less of the astronauts life wil be wasted travelling and more equipment and people could go.

How many of the early colonists in North America were "one way"? 
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Offline Dash Jones

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2008, 11:59:44 am »
Before or after Columbus?  I'm not certain how fond the sailors under Columbus would have been if he told them it was a one way trip...
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2008, 06:47:48 am »
Before or after Columbus?  I'm not certain how fond the sailors under Columbus would have been if he told them it was a one way trip...

They had no clue what they would find and were purely explorers not colonists.  "Our" astronauts / scientists / colonists would have a good idea what they would be getting into.
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Offline marstone

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2008, 02:36:05 pm »
Before or after Columbus?  I'm not certain how fond the sailors under Columbus would have been if he told them it was a one way trip...

They had no clue what they would find and were purely explorers not colonists.  "Our" astronauts / scientists / colonists would have a good idea what they would be getting into.

They didn't know what they would find but they were looking for a shorter path to a known area.  The thought was "hey maybe it is shorter going this way instead of around all that land"  They just didn't know it was so much more that way.
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Offline marstone

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2008, 02:37:45 pm »
How many of the early colonists in North America were "one way"? 

Colonists did take the "one way" option, but they knew where they were going and what was generelly there.  Now how many colonists would have lined up at the boat if the sign read "Heading West, something might be there.  Come along"
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Offline jualdeaux

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2008, 07:32:07 pm »
the public would never let this happen. And it would be a public relations nightmare if the travellers died out there.
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Offline Vipre

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2008, 07:37:30 pm »
the public would never let this happen. And it would be a public relations nightmare if the travellers died out there.

So true, it's the pansified NASA and America we all know and love. "No risk is too small".
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Offline Spartan-039

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2008, 07:49:06 pm »
Perhaps, but there are risks even I would never try to take. You'll see them as well one day.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2008, 07:55:23 pm »
How many of the early colonists in North America were "one way"? 

Colonists did take the "one way" option, but they knew where they were going and what was generelly there.  Now how many colonists would have lined up at the boat if the sign read "Heading West, something might be there.  Come along"

The very earliest colonists didn't know very much at all.  Which helps to explain why some of the colonies failed totally.  Others only survived by being helped by natives. 

Given the work that it would take to set up such a "one way" mission there would be a very great understanding of the risks before it launched.   Remember this would take at least another 20 years to set up if a project were announced and financed today.  Even now I think a decent assessment of the risks could be made. 

In addition the "colonists" would have somethings those early North American colonists didn't have.  Easy swift communication with their homeland and some of the best scientific and engineering minds of the world dedicated to helping them solve problems that might arise. 
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Offline Vipre

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2008, 08:38:41 pm »
Perhaps, but there are risks even I would never try to take. You'll see them as well one day.

And the decision to take that risk or not should be left up to the ones who would be taking it, not the court of public pansy opinion.
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Offline marstone

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2008, 06:23:34 am »
How many of the early colonists in North America were "one way"? 

Colonists did take the "one way" option, but they knew where they were going and what was generelly there.  Now how many colonists would have lined up at the boat if the sign read "Heading West, something might be there.  Come along"

The very earliest colonists didn't know very much at all.  Which helps to explain why some of the colonies failed totally.  Others only survived by being helped by natives. 

Given the work that it would take to set up such a "one way" mission there would be a very great understanding of the risks before it launched.   Remember this would take at least another 20 years to set up if a project were announced and financed today.  Even now I think a decent assessment of the risks could be made. 

In addition the "colonists" would have somethings those early North American colonists didn't have.  Easy swift communication with their homeland and some of the best scientific and engineering minds of the world dedicated to helping them solve problems that might arise. 

not knowing how to do all the work of setting up a settlement, I will agree.  But they did know that they were not going to a baren wasteland.   Heck even the explorers thought they were heading for known lands.

Now true we will have great communications (may take alittle while but not to much), but not much they can do to help you when you are a billion miles away.  No rescue ship can be counted on.

That all being said, I could see people signing up to get shot off into space for exploration.
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Offline Spartan-039

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2008, 11:56:10 am »
Perhaps we should use criminals instead of volunteers for a mission to Mars, ones condemed to death should be used, since they'll die anyway, let them die doing something useful for humanity.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2008, 12:06:22 pm »
Perhaps we should use criminals instead of volunteers for a mission to Mars, ones condemed to death should be used, since they'll die anyway, let them die doing something useful for humanity.


This would need, educated, intelligent, motivated, mentally stable and well trained people.  Its not a "botany bay".  Few death row inmates would qualify.

You may recall these lines from my earlier posting.

Quote
One way need not be a suicide mission.


Quote
Some have proposed the idea of sending a one way mission with the intent that the astronauts would be self supporting for the rest of their lives on Mars


Read the Mars trilogy by  Kim Stanley Robinson to fully understand the concept.
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Offline Spartan-039

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2008, 12:24:26 pm »
There are many who qualify for that who are on death row, a few of the men at the church are prison guards who deal with these men who are praticially the Einstein's of the prison, the only reason they were caught is because of a itsy bitsy mistake they made. These guys even give advice to the guards about a varity of subjects, especially science areas such as biology and physics.
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Offline toasty0

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2008, 12:42:16 pm »
intelligence!==stability is Nem's point.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #30 on: July 06, 2008, 01:58:53 pm »
intelligence!==stability is Nem's point.

Its also not training and education.

People who make "a itsy bitsy mistake" in space die.  Not the type of people to make good scientist / explorer / colonists on Mars or elsewhere in space.
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Offline Dracho

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #31 on: July 06, 2008, 03:39:06 pm »
Yeah, ugh. actually, with the exception of religious zealots escaping persecution, most colonies were founded with the intention of actually making a profit for the backers.  That's what will drive space exploration ultimately, because it is what drives human beings:  We will either flee something or seek something better.
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Offline Spartan-039

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #32 on: July 06, 2008, 07:55:05 pm »
Or to make a profit. You forgot that one.
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Offline marstone

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #33 on: July 20, 2008, 07:14:54 pm »
Or to make a profit. You forgot that one.

How about make a profit while running from something looking for something better.  yeah. thats it.
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Offline Dracho

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #34 on: July 20, 2008, 09:12:45 pm »
or running toward profits..
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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #35 on: July 20, 2008, 09:55:58 pm »
running towards profits is a good one.  Think of how close (relatively speaking) the wide open expanse of the Asteroid Belt is.  God knows what kind of raw materials are there just waiting to be pulled from the broken rocks.  Easier than strip mining (after you get past the whole, how do we get there thing), safer than regular mining, ecologically friendly, and you can do it in the name of science!  What better way to pacify a stupid public than to say you can get Iron, Copper, Aluminum, GOLD!  Safely and without moving the poor little caribou, and it advances science, since they are going to try to make it cheaper to haul the loads home, and develop good deep space operations rules.

Using Convicts is a bad idea, I think, they just need to let volunteers go.  Volunteers will be more dedicated, and they will know the risks before going out there.  Just keep the media out of it, and I think we'll be all right.
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Offline knightstorm

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2008, 12:06:29 am »
I personally think mining from mars would be easier than an asteroid.  Its more stable, and it does have some atmosphere to stop micrometeorites.

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #37 on: July 21, 2008, 07:29:41 am »
I personally think mining from mars would be easier than an asteroid.  Its more stable, and it does have some atmosphere to stop micrometeorites.

The problem is energy costs in terms of fuel.  Landing the people and mining equipment on Mars taks a lot of energy.  Lifting the ores or refined materials off again takes even more.  That makes mining Mars much more difficult than mining asteroids. 

Mining asteroids has certain other advantages that are only partially related to the energy costs. 

1/ More efficient propulsion systems can be used to move the cargo to Earth orbit.  Solar sails, magnetic sails, plasma sails or ion drives could be used to move cargo. 

2/ The structure of asteroids.  It was long though that asteroids were solid chunks of rock.  Now it is believed that some at least are "rock piles".  Rock pile asteroids should be possible to take apart more easily as they are already formed of discrete lumps ranging in size from dust to boulders bigger than a house.
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Offline knightstorm

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2008, 04:53:38 pm »
I personally think mining from mars would be easier than an asteroid.  Its more stable, and it does have some atmosphere to stop micrometeorites.


The problem is energy costs in terms of fuel.  Landing the people and mining equipment on Mars taks a lot of energy.  Lifting the ores or refined materials off again takes even more.  That makes mining Mars much more difficult than mining asteroids. 



not if the miners can produce their own fuel

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/mars/marssurf.html

Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2008, 06:59:51 pm »
not if the miners can produce their own fuel

It still means that it takes more effort per kilo of product and that assumes that you don't use expendable launchers from Mars and that the launcher can return to the surface for reuse.  If the launchers are expendable it would become ridiculously expensive in comparison to the asteroid mining scenario.

With several of the examples I gave for asteroid mining they require no fuel and when they finish a delivery (either to Earth orbit or on a deorbiting path they then return to pick up more product.  They would also be useful in the Mars scenario to pick up from orbit and deliver to Earth (or wherever needed).

There are methods of getting cargos off Mars if you were to mine it that don't use up fuel.  A solar powered magnetic catapult for example.  This would still take extra effort but most of that effort would be up front and not ongoing unlike building launch vehicles and brewing up fuel.
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Offline knightstorm

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #40 on: July 21, 2008, 11:55:25 pm »
not if the miners can produce their own fuel

It still means that it takes more effort per kilo of product and that assumes that you don't use expendable launchers from Mars and that the launcher can return to the surface for reuse.  If the launchers are expendable it would become ridiculously expensive in comparison to the asteroid mining scenario.

With several of the examples I gave for asteroid mining they require no fuel and when they finish a delivery (either to Earth orbit or on a deorbiting path they then return to pick up more product.  They would also be useful in the Mars scenario to pick up from orbit and deliver to Earth (or wherever needed).

There are methods of getting cargos off Mars if you were to mine it that don't use up fuel.  A solar powered magnetic catapult for example.  This would still take extra effort but most of that effort would be up front and not ongoing unlike building launch vehicles and brewing up fuel.

how much more expensive would mining on mars be than equipping a vehicle to mine the belt?  You would need greater range, the miners would be in zero g for a longer period of time, and the gravity of the asteroids is nowhere near that of mars which means that the bone loss would be more severe.  Also, an atmosphere means that miners doing eva will not have to cope with conditions that are as extreme.

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2008, 12:14:10 am »
I think nem was thinking robots...
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Offline knightstorm

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #42 on: July 22, 2008, 12:34:57 am »
I think nem was thinking robots...


Since the rest of us were talking in terms of manned mining operations, I have no reason to believe that he was speaking otherwise.  The biggest problem with mars however, is that it belongs to Adam Ismail, Mustafa Khalil and Abdullah al-Umari
http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9707/24/yemen.mars/

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #43 on: July 22, 2008, 12:48:46 am »
Mining robots would work.  But in order for them to work the persons operating the robots have to be in close proximity to each other.  No way could something as sensitive as a mining operation be run from Earth and expect to produce any kind of yield.  Think of how slow its running right now.  Had there been a real person up there, the experiments would have been done, the equipment wouldn't be damaged, and they'd be getting ready to follow up on their findings, moving on to the next stage, or packing up and getting ready to come home.  The idea that robots can do the job anywhere near as efficiently as humans is ridiculous.  The only advantage these robotic missions have is that they are safer.
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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2008, 09:23:54 am »
I think nem was thinking robots...


Since the rest of us were talking in terms of manned mining operations, I have no reason to believe that he was speaking otherwise.  The biggest problem with mars however, is that it belongs to Adam Ismail, Mustafa Khalil and Abdullah al-Umari
http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9707/24/yemen.mars/


Actually I wasn't thinking robots.


how much more expensive would mining on mars be than equipping a vehicle to mine the belt?  You would need greater range, the miners would be in zero g for a longer period of time, and the gravity of the asteroids is nowhere near that of mars which means that the bone loss would be more severe.  Also, an atmosphere means that miners doing eva will not have to cope with conditions that are as extreme.


The energy cost to get to the belt is less than that to get to Mars and soft land.  That landing eats up fuel. 

At this point it is unknown how much effect the 1/3 gravity on Mars will have on people.  All that is really known of long term effects are at 1g and 0g. 

if the miners were staying for an extended period then either on Mars or in the belt they would need a large base.  Large enough that spinning to simulate 1g would be practical in the belt.  It could be done on Mars but would likely be more difficult toe design and maintain.

The Martian atmosphere at a little less than 1% of Earths isn't that helpful. 

If the asteroid miners either stick to small asteroids or break up larger ones there is no reason they couldn't make an inflated "hangar" and bring the rock in leaving them working in more convient environments.  Remember that unlike in the movies asteroids are far apart and mostly you wouldn't be able to see one asteroid from another so impacts are not that likely with anything of substantial size. 
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Offline Panzergranate

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #45 on: July 23, 2008, 01:41:37 pm »
There are a whole bunch of essentials needed to found a colony or mining expedition on Mars....

Beer.
Loose women with big hooters.
Decent sanitation.
Beer.
Habitation.
Tax haven status.

For atmosphere, they could always rig it so that a couple of comets hit Mars.

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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #46 on: July 23, 2008, 11:31:42 pm »
Loose women with big hooters.

That is easy.

1/ point out that with low gravity there is less saging.

2/ explain that there will be a ratio of 10 men/woman

3/ make a rocket powerful enough to take that much silicon to Mars.
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Offline knightstorm

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #47 on: July 24, 2008, 05:29:49 pm »
I think nem was thinking robots...


Since the rest of us were talking in terms of manned mining operations, I have no reason to believe that he was speaking otherwise.  The biggest problem with mars however, is that it belongs to Adam Ismail, Mustafa Khalil and Abdullah al-Umari
http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9707/24/yemen.mars/


Actually I wasn't thinking robots.


how much more expensive would mining on mars be than equipping a vehicle to mine the belt?  You would need greater range, the miners would be in zero g for a longer period of time, and the gravity of the asteroids is nowhere near that of mars which means that the bone loss would be more severe.  Also, an atmosphere means that miners doing eva will not have to cope with conditions that are as extreme.


The energy cost to get to the belt is less than that to get to Mars and soft land.  That landing eats up fuel. 

At this point it is unknown how much effect the 1/3 gravity on Mars will have on people.  All that is really known of long term effects are at 1g and 0g. 

if the miners were staying for an extended period then either on Mars or in the belt they would need a large base.  Large enough that spinning to simulate 1g would be practical in the belt.  It could be done on Mars but would likely be more difficult toe design and maintain.

The Martian atmosphere at a little less than 1% of Earths isn't that helpful. 

If the asteroid miners either stick to small asteroids or break up larger ones there is no reason they couldn't make an inflated "hangar" and bring the rock in leaving them working in more convient environments.  Remember that unlike in the movies asteroids are far apart and mostly you wouldn't be able to see one asteroid from another so impacts are not that likely with anything of substantial size. 


1/3G is better than 0G.  A spinning base has to be absolutely massive to work, otherwise it will induce nausea.  Also, while the martian atmosphere would let alot more rocks through than earth's, it could still stop micrometeorites.  Yes, the asteroids are far apart, but there are probably plenty of small fragments floating around out there, in addition to the dust which is a real issue in long term space flight.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 05:45:41 pm by knightstorm »

Offline knightstorm

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #48 on: July 24, 2008, 05:37:47 pm »
There are a whole bunch of essentials needed to found a colony or mining expedition on Mars....

Beer.
Loose women with big hooters.
Decent sanitation.
Beer.
Habitation.
Tax haven status.

For atmosphere, they could always rig it so that a couple of comets hit Mars.



The first two really depend on how devout the planet's owners are.

Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #49 on: July 24, 2008, 07:34:06 pm »
1/3G is better than 0G. 

That is a common assumption but we really don't know.  It hasn't been tested.  It is one reason I'm in favour of a lunar base as the 1/6 g there would give a 3rd data point on how gravity affects biology.  Mars would then add a 4th.  A rotating base could provide multiple datapoints at incremental gravity increases as well.

A spinning base has to be absolutely massive to work, otherwise it will induce nausea. 

Actually not.  It needs a large radius.  What can be done is have the powerplant (if nuclear massive and dense) separted using cables from the habitat and spinning around the center of gravity.  It does not take a full ring let alone a full cylinder a short arc will do.  It doesn't even take solid spokes linking opposite sides as stated it can be done with cables, which can have a elevator/airlock mounted on them.  If the powerplant or counterweight is massive enoough (asteroidal rock could be used reducing the mass that needs to be carried to the belt) it can be closer to the center of gravity than the habitat and work in a lower simulated gravity.

Also, while the martian atmosphere would let alot more rocks through than earth's, it could still stop micrometeorites.  Yes, the asteroids are far apart, but there are probably plenty of small fragments floating around out there, in addition to the dust which is a real issue in long term space flight.

Enough probes have flown through the asteroid belt without issue that I think it would be fairly safe.  Remember these probes were crossing the belt against the "flow", how many have been lost to collisons?  The mining base would be orbiting with the flow and therefore should encounter fewer particles and at a lower relative speed.  You could even situate the base in the orbital shadow of one of the larger asteroids and let it "sweep" space ahead of the base in orbit to make it safer. (Similar to the failed Wakeshield enhanced vacuum experiments). 

The miner could remotely operate the equipment from several light seconds away just to reduce the risk from debris thrown up by the mining operation.  They don't need to be immediately on site. 
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Offline knightstorm

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #50 on: July 24, 2008, 08:27:28 pm »

Also, while the martian atmosphere would let alot more rocks through than earth's, it could still stop micrometeorites.  Yes, the asteroids are far apart, but there are probably plenty of small fragments floating around out there, in addition to the dust which is a real issue in long term space flight.

Enough probes have flown through the asteroid belt without issue that I think it would be fairly safe.  Remember these probes were crossing the belt against the "flow", how many have been lost to collisons?  The mining base would be orbiting with the flow and therefore should encounter fewer particles and at a lower relative speed.  You could even situate the base in the orbital shadow of one of the larger asteroids and let it "sweep" space ahead of the base in orbit to make it safer. (Similar to the failed Wakeshield enhanced vacuum experiments). 

The miner could remotely operate the equipment from several light seconds away just to reduce the risk from debris thrown up by the mining operation.  They don't need to be immediately on site. 

Probes are only in the belt for a relatively short period of time.  They are also a a lot smaller than a manned mining outpost would be.

Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #51 on: July 24, 2008, 09:20:45 pm »
Probes are only in the belt for a relatively short period of time.  They are also a a lot smaller than a manned mining outpost would be.

The belt is quite wide and they spend a significant amount of time going across the flow which increases the relative speed and the chances of collision substantially yet they haven't destroyed a probe yet. 

You can also mine asteroids that are not in the belt.  There are a fair number charted already and many smaller ones (easier to take apart I would think) still to be charted.  You could also go further out and mine the asteroids in Jupiter's Trojan positions.  As you see there are ways to avoid or limit the dangers.

If you were to do extraterrestrial mining on a body with substantial gravity the natural location is the moon in any case. 
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Offline knightstorm

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #52 on: July 24, 2008, 09:40:15 pm »
Probes are only in the belt for a relatively short period of time.  They are also a a lot smaller than a manned mining outpost would be.

The belt is quite wide and they spend a significant amount of time going across the flow which increases the relative speed and the chances of collision substantially yet they haven't destroyed a probe yet. 

You can also mine asteroids that are not in the belt.  There are a fair number charted already and many smaller ones (easier to take apart I would think) still to be charted.  You could also go further out and mine the asteroids in Jupiter's Trojan positions.  As you see there are ways to avoid or limit the dangers.

If you were to do extraterrestrial mining on a body with substantial gravity the natural location is the moon in any case. 

We've only sent 6 probes through the belt.  I would tend to agree with the moon being a logical.  I just think there are fewer technological hurtles to mining mars as opposed to mining the belt.

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #53 on: July 24, 2008, 10:44:08 pm »
Mass drivers are the way to go for mining rocks...automated, mechanical....like catapults...low g enviroment could literally scoop (as in excavate) and catapult ore it gravel sized chunks that could be put where we could just "collect" couple light seconds behind...with the right math, one could put the ore bits exactly where we want them and at a "dial a orbital velocity" when the ore bin full, head for home, and park the package at a lagrange point...easy to get to, cheap also.
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Offline Panzergranate

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2008, 01:35:27 pm »
There was a scheme put forward by NASA, back in the 1980's, where by a large solar system orbiting space station could be built, a really big space station, which would tour the solar system rather in the same way as the old Voyager probes did. The plan was to launch and land missions, drop of satellites, etc. as it passed by the various planets. Once every so many years, it would pass close to the Earth for major servicing, crew changes and repairs. However, most of the time, it would be out on its own and only supplied by the odd supply rocket or ferry.

As for who would be best suited for possible suicide missions.... may I suggest lawyers!! ;D

I mean, lawyers out number honest, decent human beings on this planet and are considered both a public nuisance and a hazard. Therefore they are pretty much expendable.... as colleges are churning out fresh lawyers constantly.

Also, unlike conventional astronauts, who NASA is obliged to bring back home safe and sound, lawyers can be given the old Soviet "Astrodog" treatment.... it's a win - win outcome or humanity.

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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2008, 01:50:40 pm »
A better crew would be geeks.  They would enjoy it and do it well with dedication the lawyers wouldn't have.

In any case you couldn't send enough lawyers to affect the total population in a meaningful way.
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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #56 on: October 23, 2008, 08:25:43 pm »
Thoughts of an actual astronaut on the idea of a one way mission.

Link to full article

Quote
Even at the most favourable planetary conjunction, this means a round trip to Mars would take around a year and a half.

"That's why you [should] send people there permanently," said Aldrin. "If we are not willing to do that, then I don't think we should just go once and have the expense of doing that and then stop."

He asked: "If we are going to put a few people down there and ensure their appropriate safety, would you then go through all that trouble and then bring them back immediately, after a year, a year and a half?"

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are sketching tentative plans for a manned mission to Mars that would take place around 2030 or 2040.

Based on experience culled from a planned return to the Moon, the mission would entail about half a dozen people, with life-support systems and other gear pre-positioned for them on the Martian surface.

Aldrin said the vanguard could be joined by others, making a colony around 30 people.

"They need to go there more with the psychology of knowing that you are a pioneering settler and you don't look forward to go back home again after a couple a years," he said.

"At age 30, they are given an opportunity. If they accept, then we train them, at age 35, we send them. At age 65, who knows what advances have taken place. They can retire there, or maybe we can bring them back."
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Offline Panzergranate

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #57 on: November 02, 2008, 09:07:56 am »
There has been a bit of a breakthrough in Plasma Drive technology.... the latest " Kilowatt units can chuck out a plasma exhaust to velocities of 30,000 KPS.

If this doesn't seem much.... its 3 or 4 times more than a current rocket motor.... for 1/10th of the fuel load.

Unlike earlier plasma drives, these have a variable specific impulse, hence the name "Variable Specific Impulse Drive" and therefore, unlike chemical reaction or current fixed output Pasma and Ion thrusters / drive, allows the operator to "throttle up / down.

The system is set to be installed into the International Space Station over the next few years, as a low fuel mass / high yield.

If you wanna know how they work just look them up on the web.... NASA and ESA (which has done the most work on them) explain all.

The ESA Smart 1 probe uses an earlier Plasma / Ion Drive instead of a chemical rocket and has been in flight for a couple of years so far.

The power yield of a Plasma Drive and other similar electrically powered devices, is that thrust is only limited by energy input.

The goal of both NASA and ESA is to use a nuclear reactor to provide Gigawatts of power for a Specific Impulse Plasma Drive. this is only held up by the paranoid fears of leftie eco-fanatic loonies up in space.... which is already full of radiation.

Not quite in the Star Trek league for sublight propulsion, but on the right road.

An Impulse Drive differs in that a Cold Fusion Sub-Atomic Fusion Reactor particle plasma emissions as the fuel for the ioniser in the Plasma Drive.

The Klingons have many ways to fry a cat. I prefer to use an L7 Fast Battlecruiser!!