Mars Preparation Question

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Hopeless
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Mars Preparation Question

Postby Hopeless » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:52 am

Been watching the National Geographic Mars series now released over here on dvd and it got me wondering.

How difficult would it be to establish a modular space station in Mars orbit?

Would it be easier to tether it to one of Mars moons?

It's just they mentioned the difficulty of slowing down from supersonic speeds in Mars atmosphere so would it be easier to dock with a station in Mars orbit and they drop supplies from there?

I'm hoping you can explain how this might work if say using tech from today or whether it might be possible by 2033 the year that series is set in?
Epicenter
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Epicenter » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:21 am

Hopeless wrote:
Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:52 am
How difficult would it be to establish a modular space station in Mars orbit?

Would it be easier to tether it to one of Mars moons?
Right now and for the foreseeable future, it'll be obscenely expensive. The cost and difficulty arises from transporting stuff to Mars. It doesn't matter if that stuff remains in Mars orbit or lands on the ground, the problems remain the same - building the equipment here on Earth, getting it into orbit, then sending it to Mars.

As for the expense, despite NASA's lofty plans and regardless of who is in the American White House, I don't think any plan to go to Mars is going to pan out at the moment. Meanwhile other countries are looking at a more step-by-step path to Mars by going to the Moon first.

Outside of national actors, I've heard that a fellow named Elon Musk has some ideas about this. You might want to look him up on the internet.
Hopeless wrote:
Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:52 am
It's just they mentioned the difficulty of slowing down from supersonic speeds in Mars atmosphere so would it be easier to dock with a station in Mars orbit and they drop supplies from there?
Braking to a reasonable speed to achieve orbit isn't the issue, iirc. The issues are more about what you do once you're in orbit and want to drop things to the surface.

Mars' gravity isn't anywhere near as strong as Earth's, but there's little in the way of atmosphere to provide drag to slow things down, either. This means traditional drop methods like like parachutes are much more limited to combat the inevitable acceleration that gravity will cause when you drop things down from orbit - you have to use very large parachutes to slow things down. Parachutes have that sticky issue that the bigger the parachute becomes, the more difficulty you have in packing it and getting it to deploy right. The same issue exists even dropping things from an orbital station or a moon station - even if you want to build a base on one of Mars' moons and hope to manufacture fuel there (assuming there are things like water ice), you would still have to get things to that moon safely, then down to Mars itself.

This is not a hurdle that cannot be overcome - probes and similar things have successfully landed on Mars before - it can be done again. It just makes it much more difficult, particularly if humans want to drop things that are very heavy, such as construction equipment or prefabricated colony modules.
Condottiere
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Condottiere » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:43 am

Increasing NASA’s Budget to Just 1% of the Federal Budget Could Result in a Permanent Mars Colony by 2037 and Immediately Create 100,000 Jobs.
BY STEVEN S. · APRIL 10, 2017

Getting to Mars isn’t going to be easy or cheap. Landing and staying on Mars is going to be much more expensive and quite a bit more difficult.

Most experts agree that we can probably land a few people on Mars for around $100 billion – approximately the price of the International Space Station. Once we get the engineering down, subsequent trips would cost far less than the first couple of forays onto the Martian surface.

Creating a mostly-self sustaining colony on Mars makes far more sense than either creating one in low-Earth orbit or on the Moon since the round trip to Mars is on the scale of months in a best case scenario, while it’s only a couple of days to get to and from the Moon and hours to get to the ISS. Putting colonists – essentially researchers – on the red planet for years at a time, to be swapped out by others if they so wish.

Funding is going to be an issue for the next several decades at least, but NASA could realistically start a Mars colony within 20 years with just a small increase in their annual budget. Right now, NASA makes up about one-half of one percent of the Federal budget but the effects of that spending positively impact everyone in America and has been doing so since the 1970s. By increasing that to 1%, it appears as though the space program could employ an extra 100,000 individuals and focus billions of dollars per year on establishing a Mars colony. The vast majority of that money would go right back into American communities.

Of course, a trip to Mars takes astronauts well outside of the Earth’s magnetic field, exposing them to far more radiation than residents aboard the ISS receive. NASA would likely take a multi-pronged approach to solving this issue, involving some combination of medication, shielding, and spacecraft configuration. Radiation medication could dramatically improve cancer survival rates if doctors can be extremely aggressive in treating tumors with radiation. More effective radiation shielding could lead to improvements in nuclear power plant design, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. The list of tangible benefits goes on and on.

Allocating 30% of the increase to a Mars mission gets us well past the $100 billion it would take to put it into action, more than enough to setup the initial Martian infrastructure and start sending regular supply missions.

https://statisticalfuture.org/increasin ... 0000-jobs/
Hopeless
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Hopeless » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:55 am

Now imagine NASA discovered proof that Mars had been inhabited maybe even what they assume is a crashed spaceship revealed after a Martian dust storm?

How would they handle that revelation?

Would they keep it a secret and establish a mission to investigate or just classify it and then conveniently forget about it because if they couldn't secure it as US only they'll just insure nobody else does?

How would you handle this revelation in a game you ran?
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby bluekieran » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:59 am

Hopeless wrote:
Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:55 am
Now imagine NASA discovered proof that Mars had been inhabited maybe even what they assume is a crashed spaceship revealed after a Martian dust storm?
I think they would suddenly find funding for, and announce, another Rover mission to be launched ASAP and a manned mission to follow, and would try and make as much progress on those as possible before the discovery leaked. NASA isn't really built for secrecy, but I'm sure the small subset of NASA that reviews those pics could be held close for a while with the promise of two great missions to come.
Hopeless
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Hopeless » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:50 pm

How would they react if say one of the other nations was sending a probe there?

By that I assume they have no idea anything has been discovered but its noted they're heading for an area close enough that it would be hard for them to miss the obvious signs?

Would they panic and accelerate the mission status or maybe this isn't about how NASA would react but whoever has oversight?

I really need to come up with a game idea on this but so far I think I'm really going about this the wrong way!
Condottiere
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Condottiere » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:17 am

Point out that any aliens there will be illegal and need to be deported.
Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:05 am

Hopeless wrote:
Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:55 am
Now imagine NASA discovered proof that Mars had been inhabited maybe even what they assume is a crashed spaceship revealed after a Martian dust storm?

How would they handle that revelation?

Would they keep it a secret and establish a mission to investigate or just classify it and then conveniently forget about it because if they couldn't secure it as US only they'll just insure nobody else does?

How would you handle this revelation in a game you ran?
Image
Maybe you could use this starship, this starship was of Vilani origin, maybe an enterprising Vilani took it upon himself to explore the Solar System and got himself into trouble.

The thing about an early manned mission to Mars is that there won't be a lot of video beamed to Earth, maybe a few video clips of astronauts making their first steps, but after that where will be a lot of still pictures. Mission Control and the Astronauts will likely communicate via text messaging and e-mails beamed across interplanetary space. Any spaceships discovered won't likely be on a video that is beamed to Earth live, so there is opportunity for censorship if that is desired, unfortunately they will need a cover story. There will likely be four to six astronauts, if there is something as valuable as an alien starship, they will want all 4 to 6 astronauts investigating it, and it would be a lot of trouble if they kept it secret, because if the astronauts are investigating it, tey won't be investigating something else, and the public will wonder where their tax dollars are going to. NASA could say there was an accident and all the astronauts died, the astronaut's families won't like this very much! NASA will still need to communicate with the supposedly dead astronauts, and someone will intercept those signals. It is really hard to keep a manned mission like this a secret, so I suspect the easiest thing for NASA to do is not keep it a secret, it won't be that easy to reverse engineer that starship anyway, its not like the four to six astronauts will be able to do that, a later mission will be required to recover he technological artifacts, they will need to send a team of engineers, and they will need to take it apart very carefully. A permanent Mars base will have to be established to examine this thing.
Hopeless
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Hopeless » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:22 pm

Okay the way I'm currently thinking is that the Earth was originally intended as a Safari Preserve but it was turned into a refuge after a genocidal war almost wiped out humanity.

Falling back to barbaric times their civilisation had to rebuild itself losing most of their knowledge of their past in the process.

The ship NASA detected actually crashlanded there roughly near the end of the 1930's its eventual sole survivor used one of the remaining working shuttles to travel to the nearest inhabited world and eventually rebuilt their life using the carnage of the Second World War to hide their true nature.

His shuttle was sent back into orbit until a freak malfunction caused it to crash near a place called Roswell whose inhabitants misidentified the remains they found as extra terrestrial when they were the stored remains of crewmembers who died en route to Earth but he had no means to properly see to their funeral arrangements so he just assumed the shuttle would burn up when it re-entered Earth's atmosphere.

Years later he would be killed during the collapse of Yugoslavia leaving his granddaughter who would eventually help build the first working cold fusion reactor as well as fix the problems with the first human built maneuver drive.

When NASA inevitably discovers that crashed ship and sent a mission to investigate what are the odds a multi-national team are sent and one of them is the granddaughter of the ship's captain?

And no she has no idea!
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:00 pm

Hopeless wrote:
Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:22 pm
Okay the way I'm currently thinking is that the Earth was originally intended as a Safari Preserve but it was turned into a refuge after a genocidal war almost wiped out humanity.

Falling back to barbaric times their civilisation had to rebuild itself losing most of their knowledge of their past in the process.

The ship NASA detected actually crashlanded there roughly near the end of the 1930's its eventual sole survivor used one of the remaining working shuttles to travel to the nearest inhabited world and eventually rebuilt their life using the carnage of the Second World War to hide their true nature.

His shuttle was sent back into orbit until a freak malfunction caused it to crash near a place called Roswell whose inhabitants misidentified the remains they found as extra terrestrial when they were the stored remains of crewmembers who died en route to Earth but he had no means to properly see to their funeral arrangements so he just assumed the shuttle would burn up when it re-entered Earth's atmosphere.

Years later he would be killed during the collapse of Yugoslavia leaving his granddaughter who would eventually help build the first working cold fusion reactor as well as fix the problems with the first human built maneuver drive.

When NASA inevitably discovers that crashed ship and sent a mission to investigate what are the odds a multi-national team are sent and one of them is the granddaughter of the ship's captain?

And no she has no idea!
I don't get why there would be this obsession with secrecy. Most traders in Traveller aren't into the Prime Directive. Instead of preserving history, what about changing it?
Hopeless
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Hopeless » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:24 pm

The more i think about the more i wonder what if my party of PCs find themselves in charge of a crashed spaceship that's spent those intervening years fixing itself only to have a descendant of its surviving crew come aboard and accidentally reactivate it?

How many players would choose to just take the ship home over going exploring?

How would your players react to this?
Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:00 pm

Hopeless wrote:
Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:24 pm
The more i think about the more i wonder what if my party of PCs find themselves in charge of a crashed spaceship that's spent those intervening years fixing itself only to have a descendant of its surviving crew come aboard and accidentally reactivate it?

How many players would choose to just take the ship home over going exploring?

How would your players react to this?
Lets look at it from the crews point of view, lets suppose you are from the First Imperium, a group of traders, you are looking for new markets to pedal your wares to, and you find this planet orbiting a single star, it is the year 1942 in June, you decide to land you ship on the western end of the largest continent on the planet, and suddenly these propeller driven aircraft with black crosses on their wings start shooting at you. What do you do?
Condottiere
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Condottiere » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:32 pm

"Take me to your Fuehrer."
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Mithras » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:18 pm

To the initial question, there are fairly clear cut rules for interacting with Mars atmosphere in Zozer Games' Orbital 2100 (http://www.paulelliottbooks.com/orbital.html). I don't have my copy with me at the moment, I am away on holiday. It does include rules for building modular space stations (using Shuttle-sized 10-ton modules) and the benefits of building launch rockets for use on Mars.
Paul Elliott
HOSTILE: A Gritty SF setting inspired by Alien, Outland and Bladerunner - for Cepheus Engine https://www.paulelliottbooks.com/hostile.html
Rick
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Rick » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:00 pm

As to the subsequent questions. Go and read David Weber's 'Dahak' trilogy and James P Hogan's 'Giants' series - between them you should be able to develop thousands of plot hooks and campaigns that should keep you going for a good while.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Mars Preparation Question

Postby Reynard » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:43 am

For me the biggest question isn't how or where we park the trailer when we get there but why would we even go. I know we say 'research' and I'm VERY for research but is the ghastly expenses and nightmarish infrastructure needed to survive such a hostile environment as well as the necessity for a regular supply train that would be even more incredibly expensive to be anything close to 'self-sufficient'. Unlike how easy The Martian made it look, the soil is very toxic. Air and radiation are also issues. How much would it cost to serve and protect the people for the long haul to study the rocks? At a time the US is planning to heavily cut social programs, how would one justify a multibillion dollar rock hunt? It would need to be something extraordinary on that dead ball.

Traveller helped make the point moot when the first team discovered gravitic science and maneuver technology making space a cheap walk. No worry about having your base up or down either.

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