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  Exploration: Asteroids, Moon and Mars
  "The long road to [a manned mission to] Mars"

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Author Topic:   "The long road to [a manned mission to] Mars"
Tykeanaut
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Posts: 1624
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 12-04-2012 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having just read this article in the latest ESA issue of Bulletin (Nov, #152), I have to be honest and say that a manned mission to Mars must surely be quite some time away? Personally, I would not want to be in a spacecraft the size of Orion for a 2-year trip with the possibility of crew illness or any other problems that could arise.

Or am I just being pessimistic and un-adventurous?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-04-2012 04:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orion is not proposed as the vehicle for the transit to and from Mars. Orion is the module that the crew would launch from Earth aboard, dock with the larger vehicle, and then later, return through the Earth's atmosphere inside.

Even with an asteroid mission, there would be an adjoining space station-like hab module in which the crew would spend their time in transit.

Work has not begun (nor has it been funded) to begin designing the transit vehicle to Mars.

moorouge
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Posts: 1490
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 12-04-2012 09:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not quite sure if this is the correct thread for this, but the 'Mars One Organisation' has just announced plans to launch people to Mars on a one way trip. It's web site claims that over 1000 people have volunteered and that it will begin selecting its astronauts(?) next year.

Must say it's not for me - not even to get away from the mother-in-law.

Blackarrow
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Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 12-05-2012 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When Apollo went to the Moon, the booster was powered by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The return was powered by hypergolic fuels inside the SPS engine.

I assume LOX and LH2 will send astronauts to Mars, but what fuel will place the spacecraft into Martian orbit and power the return to Earth? LOX and LH2 could hardly survive the long wait. Aren't hypergolics too corrosive to be kept waiting in fuel tanks for perhaps two years?

One option might be liquid methane extracted from the Martian atmosphere, but how many career astronauts would go on a one-way trip having to rely on an untried fuel-production technique giving them the boost home?

Lou Chinal
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Posts: 946
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 02-01-2013 03:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there any news on the development of a ion drive enging that would cut the two transit time?

Jim Behling
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Posts: 537
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 02-01-2013 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
Aren't hypergolics too corrosive to be kept waiting in fuel tanks for perhaps two years?
Hypergols are used in comsats and they have 10-15 years of life. Cassini uses hypergols and when was it launched?

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-02-2013 11:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A good point about Cassini, but the quantities are relatively small. Far larger tanks would be needed for a manned mission, and having a crew on board means a far higher safety standard. I think we need a comment from someone who works with hypergolics, or in the launch vehicle industry.

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