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Old 11-28-2007, 10:17 PM  
keg in kc keg in kc is offline
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Nasa outlines manned Mars vision

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Nasa outlines manned Mars vision

By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News

Nasa has released details of its strategy for sending a human crew to Mars within the next few decades.

The US space agency envisages despatching a "minimal" crew on a 30-month round trip to the Red Planet in a 400,000kg (880,000lb) spacecraft.

Details of the concept were outlined at a meeting in Houston, Texas.

In January 2004, President George W Bush launched a programme for returning humans to the Moon by 2020 and - at an undetermined date - to Mars.

The "Mars ship" would be assembled in low-Earth orbit using three to four Ares V rockets - the new heavy-lift launch vehicle that Nasa has been developing.

Notionally despatched in February 2031, the mission's journey from Earth to Mars would take six to seven months in a spacecraft powered by an advanced cryogenic fuel propulsion system.

Estimates of the cost of mounting a manned Mars mission vary enormously, from $20bn to $450bn.

The details are highly subject to change, and may not represent the way Nasa eventually chooses to go to the Red Planet.

However, the document says this is the agency's current "best strategy" for landing humans on the Martian surface.

Grow your own

The cargo lander and surface habitat would be sent to Mars separately, launched before the crew in December 2028 and January 2029.

According to the Nasa presentation seen by BBC News, astronauts could grow their own fruit and vegetables on the way.

Once there, astronauts could spend up to 16 months on the Martian surface, and would use nuclear energy to power their habitat.

But the document points out that options for aborting the mission or furnishing the crew with new supplies would be extremely limited.

The difficulties of re-supply mean the astronauts would have to be remarkably self-sufficient.

They would need to be well-versed in the maintenance and repair of equipment and perhaps even able to manufacture new parts.

Recycled water

The spacecraft itself would be equipped with so-called "closed-loop" life support systems, in which air and water would be recycled.

Plants would be grown onboard to feed the crew and contribute to the "psychological health" of the astronauts.

But the report, authored by Nasa official Bret Drake, who sits on the agency's Robotic and Human Lunar Expeditions Strategic Roadmap Committee, says that many challenges remain for ensuring safe passage for the crew.

Nasa needs to come up with solutions for effectively protecting the astronauts from the high levels of cosmic radiation they will be exposed to in deep space and on the surface of Mars.

They will also need medical equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses or injuries.

Nasa proposes using the Moon as a testing ground for many of these new systems.

Details of the plan, which comes under Nasa's new Constellation programme, were presented at a meeting of Nasa's Lunar Exploration and Analysis Group.
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:20 PM   #2
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:22 PM   #3
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:33 PM   #4
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2031? I'll be 66. I'll probably miss it all. damn.
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:39 PM   #5
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At my age I don't think I need to worry about it. Considering all of the technological advances in my lifetime (born in 1945) I'll bet really fantastic shit happens in the next 50 years. My mother was born 12 years after the airplane was invented. Prepare to be amazed at what happens.
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCFalcon59
2031? I'll be 66. I'll probably miss it all. damn.
Do you live in 1955 Russia? I plan to live way past 66.
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins
Ultimately, ventures like this will determine the survival of the human race.
Really? I'm surprised that you feel that way. Good for you!
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:51 PM   #8
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Maybe we can force the Japanese, Chinese or Russians into a Space race and jump start this faster then a couple of decades.. Lets say 2015...
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:52 PM   #9
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The aliens will destroy our craft as soon as it enters orbit. NASA will cover it up by blaming a rogue asteroid or something.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:09 PM   #10
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With China getting heavily involved in space travel, I can see programs like this suddenly getting some big attention with lots of money. As for additional supplies, or replacement parts for "just in case" situations, why dont they just send some to Mars a few years ahead of time... but that wouldnt make for a future fantastic-nailbiting-tragic space flick.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:11 PM   #11
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger
Really? I'm surprised that you feel that way. Good for you!
There are few things I'm more passionate about than space research. Perhaps that's because I caught the astronomy bug as a kid. A lot of it could be Carl Sagan. I'm probably one of 10 people on earth who have the entire set of Cosmos on DVD.

People think too short term in many regards. Space holds the keys for our future. Even someone like BEP should get behind it. Several asteroids have trillions of dollars of metals in them.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by GOATSE
The aliens will destroy our craft as soon as it enters orbit. NASA will cover it up by blaming a rogue asteroid or something.
Here's the way I see it going down, Mr. GoChiefs. We land smack dab on the left cheek of the Mars Face. Suddenly, the ground begins to tremble violently. To the right, an enormous rock formation emerges from the dusty, red soil. Then, another identical formation to the left breaks the surface, the Face heaves upward, moans, and a giant stone hand smashes the lander into grit. On Earth, contact with the lander is lost as the giant Mars man stretches, yawns, and stands after being awakened from a sleep that lasted 4000 centuries.

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Old 11-28-2007, 11:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins
There are few things I'm more passionate about than space research. Perhaps that's because I caught the astronomy bug as a kid. A lot of it could be Carl Sagan. I'm probably one of 10 people on earth who have the entire set of Cosmos on DVD.

People think too short term in many regards. Space holds the keys for our future. Even someone like BEP should get behind it. Several asteroids have trillions of dollars of metals in them.
Indeed. It is the future, whether we like it or not.

I'm glad to see that you are correct about something... :-)
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins
There are few things I'm more passionate about than space research. Perhaps that's because I caught the astronomy bug as a kid. A lot of it could be Carl Sagan. I'm probably one of 10 people on earth who have the entire set of Cosmos on DVD.

People think too short term in many regards. Space holds the keys for our future. Even someone like BEP should get behind it. Several asteroids have trillions of dollars of metals in them.
It is exciting, you have to admit, Mr. 'Hamas' Jenkins. NASA is better than anybody at coming up with innovative ways to blow really expensive sh*t to smithereens.

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Old 11-28-2007, 11:18 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by FAX
It is exciting, you have to admit, Mr. 'Hamas' Jenkins. NASA is better than anybody at coming up with innovative ways to blow really expensive sh*t to smithereens.

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I'm actually optimistic about the new program. The shuttles were a cluster**** from day one.
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