You guessed it. A contest to see which group of ATSers can best reenact, and hopefully improve (not that that would be any real feat), the movie
Mission to Mars
No, not really... Sorry to disappoint! On a serious note though, the purpose of this contest is short and simple. Design, from the ground up, a
mission to Mars. I'd suggest groups of people working together, though lone engineers may fare just as well.
The purpose? To see who, either by themselves or in a team, can design the best mission to Mars.
The budget? Unlimited.
The technology? Unlimited! (Though stone age technology may be a bit hard to use, and is only recommended for the advanced engineer.
The crew size? Four to twenty, though more than twenty is allowed. (I'll explain later)
Is there a time limit for the mission? No!
How comprehensive does this have to be? The more the better!
Now, you probably think I'm crazy, but I'm not. Okay, well, I am, but that's beside the point. More on why all the standards are not standard will
be explained shortly. Now, moving on...
You're probably asking yourself, "Just what in the dickens am I supposed to do!?" Well here are some basic mission parameters. What you do with
them, who knows!?
Well, you can get ideas from this by looking up budgets from other missions, both manned and not. The budgets are out there, but you get to do that
research on your own. Though, if you need to convert a price because of inflation, this inflation
may help. Also, here is a foreign currency conversion calculator
That's right, I'll say it again. The technological level you can use is unlimited. If you want your crew to be launched to Mars in a hollowed out
rock via the Universe's largest trebuchet, so be it. If you want your crew to cruise for 15 minutes to get to Mars via some time/space bending drive,
that's okay too. So naturally, everything in between is fine as well.
A small crew would be four to six people, a medium sized crew would be seven to twelve people, and a large sized crew would be up to twenty. I said
before that anything above that is fine too, but for the purposes of this contest, that would be considered a colony and frowned upon.
No, there isn't a time limit on the duration of the mission, but we do want them to come home. If you want them to be at Mars for a day, that's
fine. One or two Martian years would be fine as well. Three Martian years and you're looking at being a colony again.
As I said before, the more in depth you go here, the better. There are things to take into consideration, though. Here's a list of problems you may
want to solve:
How many go to surface? Stay in orbit?
Less or no gravity
Psychology, health and hygiene
Roles of crew
Fuel and proulsion
Radiation and foreign object shielding
Shelter (on Mars)
Landing zones (on Mars)
That's just a base for you to start off of. I can guarantee that there are dozens more problems to be solved. The more of that that's done, the
Now, you're probably asking yourself, "Okay, well how do I (or we) win?"
Winning the contest
Well, first you have to formally enter it. Whether you're working on your own or in a group,
send me a u2u
. If you're in a group, only one person
(your group's leader) should send me a u2u. Also, come up with a snazzy title for your group, as that will be your mission title. Once that is done
I'll post the group listings into this thread, so you can see who your competition is. Also, to keep group sizes from spiraling into immense sizes,
the maximum group size will be four. You have until a week before the contest ending date to submit a formal entry.
From there you have until June 1st, 2006, for your group leader to submit your plans to me, either by u2u or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Once a
plan is submitted it cannot be edited, changed or retracted. It will then be posted in its own thread, which will be left open for discussion. I'll
post them as I receive them, so if you send me yours two weeks before the end date that will give your competition two weeks to review your methods
and change thier own. Just something to think about.
Why anonymously? You'll see in a bit.
After all mission plans have been posted I'll review them and give my judgement on a basis of points. (Consider me the Director of NASA.
section that I commented on above has a set number of points. The more points you get for each section, the better. Here's the breakdown of the point
Lowest budget equals ten points, while the highest budget equals zero points. The budgets in the middle will be averaged out.
Using current techology would get you the most points, that being twenty. Since I have no idea what people may come up with to use
as lesser or higher technologies, I cannot say what points will be issued for what. The more obsurd you make it sound, the fewer points though. So, if
your universe's largest trebuchet is very convincing while the time/space bending drive is not, you may end up getting more points.
This, like the technology, is going to be very subjective. The maximum points here will also be twenty. It just depends on how many
people you bring along, what thier purpose is, and how well you compensated for thier health, hygeine, and other basic needs.
This one will have a maximum points of ten. A shorter mission may be good for keeping people out of the hazards ofbeing away from
Earth, but what can be done scientifically? Not much! On the other hand, a longer mission does just the opposite and you run the risk of a high (being
more than zero) mortality rate.
This is the big one, worth 50 points. A group of four would have better chances at being more comprehensive than a sole
engineer, so I'll also take that into account when judging for this. To keep it short though, the more problems you solve, the better.
[edit on 4/25/2006 by cmdrkeenkid]