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Students develop Mars mission to Phobos


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#1    UM-Bot

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 12:34 PM

A NASA sponsored mission concept aims to send humans to explore Phobos within the next 11 years.

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The mission plan was put together by students at the International Space University and details the complete process of sending humans on a trip to the Martian moon of Phobos, a small body with a radius 11. 1km across.

Read More: http://www.unexplain...ssion-to-phobos

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#2    Razer

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 05:14 PM

Almost seems a shame to get so close the big prize and settle for Phobos.

Edited by Razer, 16 November 2013 - 05:14 PM.


#3    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:30 PM

View PostRazer, on 16 November 2013 - 05:14 PM, said:

Almost seems a shame to get so close the big prize and settle for Phobos.

Not really.

Phobos has no atmosphere thus negating the need for heavy heat shielding. It has a minuscule surface gravity, hugely reducing the fuel needed to land and take off again, and so reducing the weight and complexity of the lander.

A mission to Phobos, whilst still technically challenging, could be accomplished with less risk and at less cost than a mission to Mars itself. It would make an excellent target before a mission to the red planet is attempted.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#4    promKing

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 10:50 AM

Come on one of the major and I mean major "problems" NASA and alike claim is radiation on the way and now they don't mention it for Phobos? Fuel for lifting off could be easily made on Mars and whatever the exact landing details turn out to be, it looks as if the technology for an assault on Mars will be available soon, especially if we adopt Zubrin's most audacious idea. Send just two explorers, riding a Dragon-style landing capsule, with perhaps a lightweight inflatable module deployed in space to provide extra leg room. The word 'cramped' barely describes such a voyage, but it could be done.
Elon Musk favours something more comfortable than just his Dragon capsules. His key innovation is, of course, to try and privatise the mission. Once an initial Mars base is established, "you can get the cost down to half a million dollars for someone to go there. I think there are enough people who would buy that to have it be a reasonable business case." But for the economics to work, he needs a larger crew than Zubrin proposes.

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#5    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 11:06 AM

View PostpromKing, on 17 November 2013 - 10:50 AM, said:

Come on one of the major and I mean major "problems" NASA and alike claim is radiation on the way and now they don't mention it for Phobos?
You might want to red the entire article before you comment. That way you you would have read this:

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It would travel during solar maximum in 2024 to reduce the effects of cosmic radiation from outside the solar system, since the sun's activity would blow the radiation further away. Further, the crew would be protected from solar flares with high-density polyethylene, as well as a temporary solar storm protection chamber lined with 50 centimeters of water.


"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#6    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 11:11 AM

View PostpromKing, on 17 November 2013 - 10:50 AM, said:

Fuel for lifting off could be easily made on Mars

You have a different definition of "easily" to the one I'm used to, I've never seen it used to mean "hypothetically" before.

Whilst it is possible that methane could be produced on Mars it has not actually been achieved using those conditions yet.

Further methane powered rockets are only at the experimental stage and no vehicle has yet flown using that fuel. Whilst I believe this technology WILL be used by future Mars mission I found it doubtful that it will be mature enough to be used for a crewed mission as early as 2024, which is the launch date for this proposed mission.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#7    Chooky88

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 07:27 PM

495 days on that dull place.  They will need to have a higher boredom threshold and a better temperament than me!


#8    highdesert50

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 03:21 AM

A well thought-out document, the group is to be commended. Yet, I go away pondering a phrase they used “We choose to go to the Moon … not because it is easy but because it is hard.” –John F. Kennedy" thinking that I would have liked to see this energy go into developing their version of a surface landing on Mars. As the group so aptly quoted Nil difficile volenti or Nothing impossible to the one who wants it.


#9    promKing

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 01:38 PM

View PostWaspie_Dwarf, on 17 November 2013 - 11:11 AM, said:

You have a different definition of "easily" to the one I'm used to, I've never seen it used to mean "hypothetically" before.

Whilst it is possible that methane could be produced on Mars it has not actually been achieved using those conditions yet.

Further methane powered rockets are only at the experimental stage and no vehicle has yet flown using that fuel. Whilst I believe this technology WILL be used by future Mars mission I found it doubtful that it will be mature enough to be used for a crewed mission as early as 2024, which is the launch date for this proposed mission.

You see there is a lot of water on Mars and you split the water into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis and you get rocket fuel. Something that anyone can do and it's done in space station where oxygen is used for breathing and hydrogen thrown into space. Electricity could be made from solar-panels.
And yeah while it is a stretchy way and poor-man's way the actual return vehicle could be sent earlier so that it starts making the propellant before astronauts arrive.


Edited by promKing, 18 November 2013 - 01:41 PM.

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