Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mars United States Government Moon NASA Space

U.S. House Wants 'Sustained Human Presence On the Moon and the Surface of Mars' 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-had-them-read-kim-stanley-robinson dept.
MarkWhittington writes "Politico reports in a June 18, 2013 story that House Republicans have added a Mars base to its demands for a lunar base in the draft 2013 NASA Authorization bill. Both the Bush-era Constellation program and President Obama space plan envisioned eventual human expeditions to Mars. But if Politico is correct, the new bill will be the first time an official piece of legislation will call for permanent habitation of the Red Planet. The actual legislative language states, 'The [NASA] Administrator shall establish a program to develop a sustained human presence on the Moon and the surface of Mars.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

U.S. House Wants 'Sustained Human Presence On the Moon and the Surface of Mars'

Comments Filter:
  • by emil (695) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @04:22PM (#44053709) Homepage

    Since the planet does not have a strong magnetic field, the surface is lethal [wikipedia.org].

    The Earth is largely protected from the solar wind, a stream of energetic charged particles emanating from the Sun, by its magnetic field, which deflects most of the charged particles. These particles would strip away the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays. Calculations of the loss of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of Mars, resulting from scavenging of ions by the solar wind, are consistent with a near-total loss of its atmosphere since the magnetic field of Mars dissipated.

    As has been discussed elsewhere, at the time of arrival on Mars a person would already have received a lifetime's radiation dose.

  • by Nivag064 (904744) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @04:57PM (#44054015) Homepage

    The fastest way to get a human on Mars is to launch from Earth.

    The fastest way to get a sustainable human presence on Mars is to build a base on the Moon, and use its raw materials for shielding, fuel, etc., and only getting the hi-tech & wet-ware from Earth. Why lift a lot of mass off the Earth when it is is a lot cheaper to do so from the Moon, in the medium to longer term?

    It is only cheaper from Earth for a one-off mission, or at most a small number of Mars missions.

    For sustainable transport between the Earth and the Moon, you want at least 5 structures, 4 of which would be easy to reuse - in order to minimise cost:
    (1) Earth-LEO shuttle - the most difficult to reuse
    (2) LEO station - for transfer of men & material
    (3) LEO-LMO shuttle
    (4) LMO station - for transfer of men & material
    (5) Moon-LMO shuttle

    LEO: Low Earth Orbit
    LMO: Low Moon Orbit

    Similar reasoning applies to Moon-Mars transport, as there is no point in landing a craft capable of going between the Moon & Mars on the surface of Mars, or the Moon for that matter - though the Mars landing is the most technically challenging.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @05:03PM (#44054055) Homepage Journal

    Since the planet does not have a strong magnetic field, the surface is lethal.

    Sure, if you're naked. But that's true anyway since it doesn't have an atmosphere worth mentioning, unless you're mentioning dust storms.

    As has been discussed elsewhere, at the time of arrival on Mars a person would already have received a lifetime's radiation dose.

    As has been discussed elsewhere, that assumes using an existing space vehicle design, with jack for shielding. But since you'll need to take water with you in order to bootstrap the mission, you can use it for shielding.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @05:54PM (#44054595) Journal
    All of these ppl are going for pork. Look at this:
    Republican Members [house.gov]

    Steven Palazzo, MS, Chairman
    Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas)
    Dana Rohrabacher (R-California)
    Frank D. Lucas (R-Oklahoma)
    Michael McCaul (R-Texas)
    Mo Brooks (R-Alabama)
    Larry Bucshon (R-Indiana)
    Steve Stockman (R-Texas)
    Bill Posey (R-Florida)
    David Schweikert (R-Arizona)
    Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma)
    Chris Stewart (R-Utah)

    Democrat Members

    Donna F. Edwards, MD, Ranking Member
    Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon)
    Dan Maffei (D-New York)
    Joe Kennedy III (D-Massachusetts)
    Derek Kilmer (D-Washington)
    Ami Bera (D-California)
    Marc Veasey (D-Texas)
    Julia Brownley (D-California)
    Frederica Wilson (D-Florida)

    The ONLY one on this group who is NOT trash is Rohrabacher. The rest are seekers of pork.

    If a one of them REALLY wanted to go to the mars and/or the moon, they would be allocating money for setting up a base in Antarctica using BA's BA-330 and/or ILC Dover's equipment as well as pushing private space. But, do they? Nope.

    In addition, they would kill the SLS and instead push a COTS-SHLV for 2 SHLVs. Do they? Nope.
  • Re:Unfunded mandate? (Score:5, Informative)

    by bware (148533) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @06:55PM (#44055227) Homepage

    Look at a list of the last 500 experiments conducted there, and try to find one that someone will care about in 100 years.

    Hubble
    Kepler
    Cassini-Huygens
    COBE
    WMAP
    Spitzer
    MSL
    GRACE
    GRAIL
    Chandra
    Galileo
    SWIFT

    We've been mapping the cosmos. We've studied the cosmic microwave background in great detail and discovered that that crazy inflation idea is basically correct (COBE, WMAP). We've determined the Hubble Constant within 9% - we didn't know it within a factor of 2 when I was in grad school (WMAP). We've mapped the large scale structure of the universe, voids and bubbles. Not to mention the numerous theories that have died in the face of experimental evidence from NASA probes, or crazy ideas that have been confirmed.

    We've discovered that almost every star we've looked at has multiple planets (Kepler). When I started in this biz, we literally had no idea what \eta_{planet} might be, and now we're closing in on \eta_{earth}.

    We've landed probes on Titan (Huygens) and Mars (Rovers, MSL). We're driving robots around on Mars. We've mapped the gravity fields of two planets (GRACE, GRAIL). We've studied the outer planets in great detail (Cassini, Galileo). We've discovered that we don't know what 96% of the universe is made of (HST/Chandra).

    Not to mention mapping out gamma ray bursters (SWIFT), x-ray and infrared cosmology (Chandra, Spitzer), and detailed study of the planet we live on (GRACE, numerous others).

    We're living in a golden age of cosmology and earth science. You think no one is going to care about these discoveries in a hundred years? Two of those, dark matter/energy and the discovery of extra-stellar planets are paradigm-shifting.

    We have the capability to do much more. Give NASA the price of a couple of B2 bombers or an aircraft carrier (or an ISS) spread out over the next decade, and we'll determine the spectra of the atmosphere of other planets light years away (and perhaps find evidence of life), and study the universe in the gravitational wave spectrum. And a dozen other great ideas that simply aren't going to be funded in my lifetime.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @07:17PM (#44055429) Journal
    What is is like at Antartica? COLD. Runs from -89C to -5C. Lots of high speed winds with cold temps with snow/ice that eats at material. Days that are 24 hours long. Seasons. Sun is missing in the winter. Shortage of water (though it can be picked up locally). Shortage of resources. If they really want to do well, they should bury down into the snow.

    And what is it like on Mars? COLD. The mean on Mars runs from -87C to -5C. Lots of high speed winds, with cold temps with dust in it, that eats at material. Days that are ~24 hours long. seasons are similar, though 2x as long. Sun is missing in the winter. Shortage of water (though it can be picked up in various amounts). Plenty of local resources. If they want to do well, they should bury down into the frozen ground.


    If this can survive at the Antarctica, then it can not survive mars. Something that works on the moon, MAY or MAY NOT work on mars. The ONLY thing that the moon has for testing purpose is life support, and that is available on the ISS.

    OTOH, The moon is the worst place for testing. Little to no wind. No atmosphere. Lots of micrometeorites (mars has some, not many). Temperature extremes (mars does not get hot). Radiation galore (far far more than mars gets). In fact, mars surface gets less radiation than does the ISS (which is partially protected by our magnetosphere). The Radiation hitting the moon surface is 4-8x what the Martian surface will get. So, if BA units check out in Antartica for 2 years or longer, AND can check out for several years as a space station, then it is fully tested for Mars.

    About the only advantage for the moon is testing a lander. Nothing else. All else should be tested here on earth or at the ISS.
  • Re:Unfunded mandate? (Score:5, Informative)

    by quenda (644621) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @10:45PM (#44056909)

    The house thought they had the funds already, but it turns out they were looking at the NSA budget, not NASA.

I'm all for computer dating, but I wouldn't want one to marry my sister.

Working...