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Waspie_Dwarf

The First Human Mission to Mars in 2018?

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The First Human Mission to Mars in 2018

A press release issued late today indicated that a new organization, Inspiration Mars Foundation, led by the first private space traveler, Dennis Tito, would make a major announcement next Wednesday, February 27th concerning a 501 day mission to Mars.

The press release said the news conference next week would be "detailing its plans to take advantage of a unique window of opportunity to launch an historic journey to Mars and back in 501 days, starting in January 2018. This "Mission for America" will generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It is intended to encourage all Americans to believe again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, while inspiring youth through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and motivation."

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I would add a word of caution here. SpaceRef and other websites are coming to the conclusion that what will be announced will be a manned mission. The press release doesn't sat this, it says:

an historic journey to Mars and back in 501 days
There is no mention of the mission being manned.

Since no unmanned mission has been to Mars and back an unmanned mission doing this could be considered historic.

We will find out what is actually being proposed in six days,

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We will find out what is actually being proposed in six days,

and so we eagerly wait :)

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The latest rumours are that this will be a manned "free return" mission lasting 501 days.

A free return mission would entail the craft looping around Mars, without entering orbit, and returning to Earth.

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"Mission for America"?? Should capture the US audience for about 15 minutes.

Any idea what such a "Mission for America" would actually achieve though, as no landing is proposed, other than 15 minutes of fame. What is the Science that is driving this, the objectives, launch systems, habitat. How do you prevent bone mass loss, visual impairment when exposed to a microgravity environment for such an extended period of time.

I have a small doubt, that this will never happen without HUGE monetary investment, and why would anyone actually contribute to a "Mission for America" that promises nothing in return...IMO

In fact, why even man such a mission?

Edited by keithisco

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I was interested in the terminology used: 'a unique window of opportunity' around the period January, 2018 -- June, 2019. That coincides with the next solar activity minimum, between the peaks of solar cycles 24 and 25. Cycle 25 is, in some projections, expected to be the weakest in 300 years. Even the trough between the two peaks could be unusually low in activity.

It doesn't seem likely that this is a coincidence. If solar activity is the main concern, this points to the possibility of a manned mission. Unmanned probes are not especially vulnerable to solar activity. Accumulated radiation doses are a prime concern in long manned missions, such as one to Mars would be.

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It doesn't seem likely that this is a coincidence. If solar activity is the main concern, this points to the possibility of a manned mission. Unmanned probes are not especially vulnerable to solar activity. Accumulated radiation doses are a prime concern in long manned missions, such as one to Mars would be.

Whilst the solar cycle may have some bearing on the date I suspect it is not the major consideration. Solar flares, whilst less frequent, can still occur at solar minimum, so some sort of radiation shelter will be necessary regardless of when in the solar cycle this is launched.

If this is a free return mission it is far more likely that the launch date has been selected because of the favourable positions of Earth and Mars than the condition of the sun.

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Having to retreat frequently and for longish periods to the confined space of a radiation shelter might be considered undesirable enough to make the prospect an unusually low solar minimum attractive.

Mars will be at its minimum distance from Earth's orbit at about the time the mission would reach its objective This would appear to offer the advantage of a somewhat shorter trip.

Edited by bison

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Having to retreat frequently and for longish periods to the confined space of a radiation shelter might be considered undesirable enough to make the prospect an unusually low solar minimum attractive.

But that is still going to happen even at solar minimum. The incidences of solar flares and CMEs will be greatly reduced but they will still not be zero. A 501 day mission is going to encounter these problem WHENEVER it is launched.

The duration of the mission, 501 days, seems to be pretty close to a Hohmann orbit, with Earth at the perihelion and Mars the aphelion.

Mars will be at its minimum distance from Earth's orbit at about the time of aphelion. This would appear to offer the advantage of a slightly shorter than average trip. Perhaps about 25 days would be be saved, out of a ~500 day mission.

Yes, but don't forget that such a launch window is only available every 26 months or so. The next one is between November this year and January 2014, we can safely rule that out for a manned mission attempt.

The Inspiration Mars Foundation will have to raise funds, construct and launch their vessel and select and train their crew. It seems highly unlikely they could achieve all that between now and January 2016 when the next window opens. That leaves the April 2018 window as the first possible launch opportunity. This is far more likely to be the reason for the dates given than the solar cycle.

The Mars One group have chosen 2023 for their planned mission to colonise Mars. This is close to Solar Max. Why then would they choose that launch window? Simple, given the complexity and cost of their mission it is the first available launch window open to them. If the solar cycle is not the main concern of Mars One why would it be the main concern of the Inspiration Mars Foundation? Solar minimum is a bonus at this launch window, but I do not believe it is the major reason for it's selection.

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I read at the discovery.com website today, that this project will use a Space X Falcon Heavy rocket, and a modified Dragon capsule. Looked at diagrams of this small capsule. Finding room for a radiation shelter for two persons, apart from two regular crew stations would appear to be quite a challenge. It will be interesting to see what they have in mind.

Edited by bison

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I see that cosmic rays are also considered a serious problem in long duration space missions. Here, the impact is constant and cumulative. Passive shielding, be it metal, water, or radiation absorbing materials like polyethylene seem to be impractically bulky, and heavy in this instance, where a long duration in space, and a relatively small capsule are concerned. It will be interesting to learn if this mission proposes an active shielding alternative, presumably in the form of some kind of magnetic field. Up until now the equipment needed to generate such a field has been notably bulky and heavy, too.

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I will still sign up for the Trip !

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Update -

A team led by millionaire and former space tourist Dennis Tito plans to send a "tested couple" to Mars and back in a privately funded mission.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-21603490

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I bet he's gonna make it a reality show aswel.

"The first murder in space"

:P

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Is anyone getting that 'something is missing here' feeling regarding this whole Mars thing?

In a normal circumstance, we are told, 'This is very bad for you!' and then a few months later, 'Actually, we were wrong, it's good for you.. in moderation.'

I'm thinking about the whole Mars thing in the same way. Last year, I believe we were told, 'Oh, we won't be going to Mars anytime soon, maybe 2045.' And now we are being told 2018.

Regardless of whether going to Mars means us landing there or just making a fly by... it is the point that it is Mars.

We can 'jumpstart' our planning to go to Mars in less time than it was previously thought. That makes me ponderous.

Yet we have no 'actual' plans to return to the Moon. This makes me also ponderous.

Recently there was an article about how SETI 'failed' to pick up any alien transmissions, or what have you. And there are other things that have been reported that goes against our potential space travel and the possibility of us not being alone in our solar system. To me, there doesn't seem to be a 'link' a substantial enough link to warrant this sudden 'jumpstart' into planning to go to Mars. And with stating all of the above, I am left to think that there is truly something that us common folk are totally unaware of and are not being told. All we get are snippets of information and most often those snippets confuse us because they change so frequently.

I just wish that we could just simply know what -they- or -whoever- knows beforehand. I certainly don't want to wake up one morning and see on the news: '...this is a historical moment, the first human ever to go to Mars.' And then sit there with my mouth gapping open and thinking, 'This ain't right.'

There are a lot of loose strings out there and I just wish someone/something would just make gather all them strings up and connect them.

Yes something is out there, but it's not aliens, it's the elusive truth!

Kind Regards.

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Is anyone getting that 'something is missing here' feeling regarding this whole Mars thing?

In a normal circumstance, we are told, 'This is very bad for you!' and then a few months later, 'Actually, we were wrong, it's good for you.. in moderation.'

I'm thinking about the whole Mars thing in the same way. Last year, I believe we were told, 'Oh, we won't be going to Mars anytime soon, maybe 2045.' And now we are being told 2018.

Regardless of whether going to Mars means us landing there or just making a fly by... it is the point that it is Mars.

We can 'jumpstart' our planning to go to Mars in less time than it was previously thought. That makes me ponderous.

Yet we have no 'actual' plans to return to the Moon. This makes me also ponderous.

Recently there was an article about how SETI 'failed' to pick up any alien transmissions, or what have you. And there are other things that have been reported that goes against our potential space travel and the possibility of us not being alone in our solar system. To me, there doesn't seem to be a 'link' a substantial enough link to warrant this sudden 'jumpstart' into planning to go to Mars. And with stating all of the above, I am left to think that there is truly something that us common folk are totally unaware of and are not being told. All we get are snippets of information and most often those snippets confuse us because they change so frequently.

I just wish that we could just simply know what -they- or -whoever- knows beforehand. I certainly don't want to wake up one morning and see on the news: '...this is a historical moment, the first human ever to go to Mars.' And then sit there with my mouth gapping open and thinking, 'This ain't right.'

There are a lot of loose strings out there and I just wish someone/something would just make gather all them strings up and connect them.

Yes something is out there, but it's not aliens, it's the elusive truth!

Kind Regards.

I dont see it like that. NASA has said they would not be ready for a Mars mission (manned) for decades. This is not NASA. This is a provate organization. They do not play by the same rules that NASA does. Being a private organazation they may have access to more money than NASA does, they maybe able to throw more money at the problems of flying to Mars than NASA can because of budget constraints. Also lets face it being a private entity they dont have to be as vigilant as a government agency when it comes to matters of safety.

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Oh great just what I want is the to trapped in a spaceship with my wife for 5 years. Wonder if there is going to be a dog house on that spaceship. LOL

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Oh great just what I want is the to trapped in a spaceship with my wife for 5 years. Wonder if there is going to be a dog house on that spaceship. LOL

Yes, there apparently will be! I see that they want to put one of Bigelow's inflatable space modules on the front of the regular Dragon capsule. Now all they have to do is scratch up a billion or two (USD) and figure out how to shield the two astronauts from ~500 days of radiation outside Earth's protective magnetic field. On this latter point, they seem to be assuming that this technology will be developed and ready for use within the next five years.

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Before we send humans to Mars, it seems to me that we would need a better and faster propulsion system that we currently have, as well as developing better shielding for solar and cosmic radiation. The radiation from one solar flare could ruin your whole day if you are in an unshielded tin can halfway to Mars. I have heard that we were just lucky with the moon landings in that no great bursts of solar radiation happened during the missions.

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Is anyone getting that 'something is missing here' feeling regarding this whole Mars thing?

Nope, just conspiracy theorists that don't understand anything about business, economy, astronomy, spaceflight. And try to make sense of it all but get completely of track and try to turn it into something it's not.

So don't even try.

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Im still hoping to see that first spaceboot mark in the red soil some day.

Edited by Hazzard

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In only five years? I'll believe it when/if I see it.

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We will see it when we Believe it !

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No doubt another white elephant that will never get off the ground.

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That's pretty awesome guys.I definitely get the inspirational part honestly but I have to ask what is the other like mission like for example.im lost actually what is the main purpose of this mission???send a couple into space that's it.

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