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NASA Space

First Details of Manned Mars Mission From NASA 329

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the martian-rocketship-looking-for-cone-shaped-head dept.
OriginalArlen writes "The BBC has a first look at NASA's initial concepts for a manned Mars mission, currently penciled in for 2031. The main vehicle would be assembled on orbit over three or four launches of the planned Ares V heavy lift rocket. New abilities to repair, replace, and even produce replacement parts will be needed to provide enough self-sufficiency for a 30 months mission, including 16 months on the surface. The presentation was apparently delivered at a meeting of the Lunar Exploration Management Group, although there's nothing on their site yet."
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First Details of Manned Mars Mission From NASA

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  • Re:Chemical Rockets? (Score:2, Informative)

    by joe270 (766253) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @07:46PM (#21511865)
    Well, according to the article, "Once there, astronauts could spend up to 16 months on the Martian surface, and would use nuclear energy to power their habitat." So, at least once they arrive they will be on nuclear power. I don't know why NASA wouldn't want to use NERVAs to go to Mars. Based on a quick google search I did, travel time to Mars [findarticles.com] would take around 90 days using NERVAs versus 6 months using the "advanced cryogenic fuel propulsion system" cited in the BBC article linked in the summary. Perhaps it would be too difficult to revive a program that has been dead since 1973 [daviddarling.info]. But given the radiation concerns NASA has about such a long mission, it seems like it would be worth it to cut travel time in half. - Joe
  • BVLLSH1T! (Score:3, Informative)

    by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @08:19PM (#21512235) Homepage Journal

    "NASA does not have the funding it had during the apollo era, so they are doing the best they can on low budgets"

    The whole manned space program from mercury to apollo cost $25 billion.

    Each Saturn 5 cost $100 million.

    Contrast that with the "reusable" space shuttle that has to be pretty much rebuilt from the ground up after every mision - $500 million dollars a flight.

    Add to that that the Saturn 5 has 5x the payload capacity (125,000 kg into LEO) of the shuttle (25,000 kg) and this doesn't add the posibbility of increasing the Saturn 5 payload capacity with SRBs, to between 250,000kg and 350,000 kg)... even taking into account inflation, the shuttle is what has been bleeding NASA. A modified Saturn 5 would need a lot fewer missions to assemble shit in orbit, like the ISS.

  • Re:2031?! (Score:4, Informative)

    by OwnedByTwoCats (124103) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @08:23PM (#21512269)
    The violence in Iraq lessened because Moqtada al Sadr told his army to stand down. It had very little to do with Bush's surge. If al Sadr changes his mind, attacks will go back up.

    And private accounts for Social Security will only expose Americans to additional risks, and enrich a few bigwigs on wall street. Truth is, the program is not at all in bad shape, and if the rest of the Federal Budget weren't in such bad shape (due, in large part, to Bush's tax cuts and the war he started), the government would have surpluses.
  • Re:Acronyms (Score:3, Informative)

    by P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @09:11PM (#21512757) Journal
    From wikipedia:

    All-caps style

    The most common capitalization scheme seen with acronyms and initialisms is all-uppercase (all-caps), except for those few that have linguistically taken on an identity as regular words, with the acronymous etymology of the words fading into the background of common knowledge, such as has occurred with the words scuba, laser, and radar.
  • by whiteknight31 (744465) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @09:32PM (#21512927)
    I'm not about to do the math but I'm pretty sure the year 2031 was picked is because that will be the next time Mars and Earth will be in the right positions to do a Hohmann Transfer orbit there, give the astronauts a decent amount of time on the surface, and then come home with another transfer orbit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohmann_transfer_orbit [wikipedia.org]
  • Re:BVLLSH1T! (Score:5, Informative)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmai l . c om> on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @10:08PM (#21513227) Homepage

    Each Saturn 5 cost $100 million.

    Each Saturn V cost $100 million to buy - it cost another $75-100 million to checkout and launch. (In addition to this there is also is each flights share of the annual infrastructure costs.)
     
     

    Contrast that with the "reusable" space shuttle that has to be pretty much rebuilt from the ground up after every mision - $500 million dollars a flight.

    Wrong on both counts.
     
    First a Shuttle isn't anywhere near 'rebuilt' between flights. (And don't hand me that "they rebuild the engines after every flight". They don't, and haven't for nearly a decade.) Second, the marginal cost of a Shuttle flight (I.E. adding a flight to the manifest) is under $100/million a flight. Just like the Saturn V, it's low flight rate means the per flight cost is dominated by that flight's share of the fixed annual costs.
     
    At the end of the day - the difference in cost between the two is much, much less than urban legend has it. (Especially because Shuttle flights include the costs of the manned portion, the capsule if you will, and the Saturn costs... don't.)
     
     

    A modified Saturn 5 would need a lot fewer missions to assemble shit in orbit, like the ISS.
    Sure, you could assemble it faster - if you were willing to pay in excess of a billion dollars a shot. Saturn V class payloads don't come around too often, so all those infrastructure costs come back and bite you in the ass when you have to amortize years of support costs across a handful of flights.
  • Re:BVLLSH1T! (Score:2, Informative)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @11:03AM (#21518005) Journal
    The whole manned space program from mercury to apollo cost $25 billion.

    Which is $135 billion in 2006 dollars - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_program [wikipedia.org] . See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflation [wikipedia.org] too, whilst you're there.

    That would also make the Saturn V cost over $500 million.

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