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Thread: Going To Mars

  1. Top | #11
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Solar panels? What, is the plan to send hippies?

    If you want reliable electrical power, plus plenty of heat for your Mars mission (and you do), then RTGs are the way to get these things.

    Solar panels are a very poor choice for any mission to the surface of a body with an atmosphere and a day-night cycle (including the Earth).

    The Curiosity rover is powered by an RTG using less than 5kg of fuel, designed to produce 110W of electrical energy at the start of the mission, and over 100W after its fourteen year minimum lifespan (show me a solar panel that can get close to that longevity and reliability). It also produces 2kW of heat output continuously, which is used to keep the rover at its optimum operating temperature, despite the very cold conditions (show me a solar panel that provides heat and power all night, and regardless of atmospheric dust etc.).

    RTGs have also been very successful for power and heat to remote arctic stations in Russia. Anyone planning a manned mission to the Martian surface would be crazy not to include a number of these lightweight, ultra reliable, and long-lived power sources.

  2. Top | #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
    Issues
    - No real reason for humans to go to Mars. Most things can be done a lot cheaper with rovers
    There is one reason I can think of, the asteroid belt and precious metals. Mars could present an opportunity as a mining processing plant. It would be incredibly difficult, but based on the precious metal resources available in the asteroid belt, there is money out there to be had. What I don't know if we can use Mars to sling a ship to an asteroid, do something, and then get back to Mars wherever it is revolution wise in its orbit of the Sun. Or maybe just set up x number of mining facilities which are scheduled to rendezvous with Mars at specific times when the red planet is getting close by.

  3. Top | #13
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    ^ ^
    Musk's idea is colonization so that Mars becomes a "lifeboat" so humanity doesn't become extinct in a possible global catastrophe (possibly like the one that ended the cretaceous period).

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    At a tipping point there cooed be a rapid decline in population.

    I think something like that will happen before Mars real estate becomes an option for growth. It is reported in Australia towns are barricading roads to keep outsiders from taking water.

    The projections say we are headed towards becoming a net food importer. It does not get attention, we have a water crisis unrelated to a drought. California agriculture is facing water problems already.

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    Member Peez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    At a tipping point there cooed be a rapid decline in population.

    I think something like that will happen before Mars real estate becomes an option for growth. It is reported in Australia towns are barricading roads to keep outsiders from taking water.

    The projections say we are headed towards becoming a net food importer. It does not get attention, we have a water crisis unrelated to a drought. California agriculture is facing water problems already.

  6. Top | #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peez View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    At a tipping point there cooed be a rapid decline in population.

    I think something like that will happen before Mars real estate becomes an option for growth. It is reported in Australia towns are barricading roads to keep outsiders from taking water.

    The projections say we are headed towards becoming a net food importer. It does not get attention, we have a water crisis unrelated to a drought. California agriculture is facing water problems already.
    I will not likely be around as it starts to really worsen affecting water and food supplies for us in the USA and elsewhere in the industrialized world. If you are in your 30s or younger it will be you who will bear the brunt of it.

    Laugh it up while you can. Part of the problem is not enough people are taking it seriously. 'What me worry? 'Alfred E Neuman.

  7. Top | #17
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Some even argue that there is no problem, that everything is under control....so I guess we just strap in and enjoy the ride to whatever eventuates.

  8. Top | #18
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peez View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    At a tipping point there cooed be a rapid decline in population.

    I think something like that will happen before Mars real estate becomes an option for growth. It is reported in Australia towns are barricading roads to keep outsiders from taking water.

    The projections say we are headed towards becoming a net food importer. It does not get attention, we have a water crisis unrelated to a drought. California agriculture is facing water problems already.
    I will not likely be around as it starts to really worsen affecting water and food supplies for us in the USA and elsewhere in the industrialized world. If you are in your 30s or younger it will be you who will bear the brunt of it.

    Laugh it up while you can. Part of the problem is not enough people are taking it seriously. 'What me worry? 'Alfred E Neuman.
    Drinkable water can be had for about $0.50 a cubic metre (265 US gal), from desalination. And that's the price AFTER pumping it to the top of a nearby mountain, so it's available a long way inland if required.

    And it could be a lot cheaper with a few existing power, osmosis, pumping, and storage options - but we are not bothering with those improvements, because there's no demand - drinkable water practically falls from the sky for free.

    If, as, and when the free stuff ain't available, we are not going to run out. We will barely need to tighten our belts.

    Most of Australia's capital cities have desalination plants that are frequently shut down due to insufficient demand for water.

  9. Top | #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Some even argue that there is no problem, that everything is under control....so I guess we just strap in and enjoy the ride to whatever eventuates.
    Those of us in the powerless masses have always eat, drink, and make the best of it. It seems like the inertia of social and economic forces began back at the beginning of it all.

  10. Top | #20
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Some even argue that there is no problem, that everything is under control....so I guess we just strap in and enjoy the ride to whatever eventuates.
    Those of us in the powerless masses have always eat, drink, and make the best of it. It seems like the inertia of social and economic forces began back at the beginning of it all.
    It appears so.

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