Re: Who will make up the first colonist on Mars

Posted by danno might on Jan 05, 2004 at 13:40

Re: Who will make up the first colonist on Mars (Uncle Al)

The Mars Direct boys would disagree with some of your views. Zubrien (I think is the cheif priest of this group) discounts the radiation threat significantly and I agree in this manner:

The 10 martian volunteers know it is a one way rocket ride. They will be older (post 45) so the extended threat of cancer from radiation exposure is not the same as if you project on a young 25 year old. 1/3 earth grav, older explorers, people dedicated to a "higher calling". Sounds more like the wackos than it does a socialist group. But interplanetary space is not usually on "fry" setting, otherwise the lunar astronauts would have suffered serious consequences in their exposure. The "fry" occurs if you happen to be in the way of a CME. Even then, would the exposure be more or less than the crews who risked their lives dumping dirt on Chenobal(sp?) Ukraine?

Capitalist won't give a fudge if they are betting on profits from DNA returns from Mars. Nor will some other scientist/corporations care if the HE2 mined from Luna is done with political prisoners, child rapists, murderers or whatever - just as long as they are removed from the liability of death and accident. The Capitalist ablility to rationalize opens a window for some well organized wacko group to gain funding and beat out the Chinese who, I think, will focus more on Luna exploitation while the real prize, Mars is there for the taking.

The key (that NASA et all are not considering) is that you first send unmanned landers with a hydrogen stock of fuel to use with basic chemistry to create a large store of methane (fuel) and breathable O2 (from abundant CO2).

Once you have a safety zone created, you greatly reduce the launch weight needed to send humans. You don't even send humans until you have some safe zones created. Add with the human flights some bouncing balls of equipment. Some basic furnace/plastic production tools and with available surface resources a colony can make their own habitat. In fact with as much iron locked up in the dust and soils combined with the lighter grav, steel will be the preferred building material, as light as aluminium on earth.

You can make the trip in 6 months if you are not carrying a relaunch vehicle, fuel and survival material for a 3 year mission. The current rovers transversed Earth to Mars in about 7 months time. Strap on a Saturn 5 booster and you can shoot people to Mars in the same time frame.

Again, it is a one-way mission. You try to time it during low solar activity and some of the space no longer needed for supplies for a return trip can be spent on increased shielding.

It can be done. I am asking who you think will do it.

(hopefully part of the crew will be female but that adds other layers of complication - and good story material)

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