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How will water and good soil change near term Space Travel to the Red Planet?

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posted on Jun, 30 2008 @ 07:21 PM
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Last week NASA and JPL discovered for certain that Mars has both ice and good soil. By good soil I mean something good enough for cultivating produce.

What I want to know is how do you think these discoveries will effect the short term future of space travel? Will these change the current or future ways we travel to Mars? Will these discoveries change the way we look at water and oxygen and by default gas?

I think these discoveries will help to create a more livable planet we call Mars. Hopefully gas and water can be harvested and used. Why isn't NASA talking about harvesting these resources now so that we can use them when we eventually get our astronauts there?

Shouldn't these discoveries help to lower the cost of "building a base" on the moon?

If I am forgetting anything and I sure I am please let me know.


[edit on 30-6-2008 by Low Orbit]




posted on Jun, 30 2008 @ 10:55 PM
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Well, not entirely. The soil still needs Nitrogen. It's really the only missing thing distinguishing it from earth soil. Well that and the total lack of known biological activity.



posted on Jul, 1 2008 @ 08:06 PM
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Ok, so we still need to bring nitrogen with us. Good to know but I am sure we were still planning on bringing that before these discoveries.

What I want to know is how much more weight are we going to use for equipment or larger housing. These discoveries should make it considerably less expensive to travel to the Red Planet. Now we have semi-abundant air/oxygen resources there are we going to use these resources or are we going to leave them for future generations?

Are we going to try to preserve Mars or are we going to abuse it like we have the earth since the start of the industrial revolution? Is there a middle ground to these two options?

Will NASA, another space agency or the private sector be the ones to harvest these resources?



posted on Jul, 1 2008 @ 08:47 PM
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Low Orbit, what resources do you propose that NASA harvest, exactly - and how should NASA harvest them, and to what end?

While I agree that the information relayed by the Mars Phoenix Lander will make it easier for astronauts to ultimately live on Mars, these discoveries will probably not make it any easier OR any cheaper to travel to Mars.

As of today NASA lacks the capacity - inherent in the STS system, contracted EELVs, or foreign launchers - to launch a manned mission to Mars. Heck, we haven't even been to the moon since 1972.

We have no idea what the first manned Mars mission will look like, or when that mission will be launched, or by who, or when. There are conjectural missions taking advantage of In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technologies, which could make the production of breathable air, water for plants/greenhouses, and propellants (fuel and oxidizer) for Earth Return Vehicles (ERVs) more practical, but most of these ISRU technologies are conjectural at best; no actual blueprints and few formal plans exist.

In short, it is far too early in the exploration of Mars to answer the questions you are asking.

[edit on 1-7-2008 by PhloydPhan]



posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 09:12 AM
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PhloydPhan,

I don't think there is such a thing as "too early" to be discussing these implications. The earlier and more in depth we discuss these issues the better we will be able to use Mar's natural resources to suit our needs.

Any hesitation to act by NASA could be cause for another space agency or the private sector to jump into the competition more or less catapulting their technology over NASA. I see it like I see the American auto manufacturers still trying to catch back up to the Asian auto manufacturers. They have been playing catchup ever since the '70's and still American cars suck.

I feel like we are on the brink of space travel but like in Christopher Columbus' time no one was interested and no one wanted to invest any money in it. Too bad the Spanish don't still have that kind of capital they did 500 years ago.



posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 12:25 PM
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It certainly is too early to be discussing the implications of these discoveries. While there are a number of extant hypothetical "missions to Mars" - Bob Zubrin's Mars Direct plan and the NASA Design Reference Missions come to mind - there are no formal plans for the manned exploration (let alone settlement) of Mars. Therefore we have no idea how the availability of of Martian natural resources will affect the exploration of Mars.

I should also point out that the Phoenix lander has shown that these resources are available at ONE location on Mars - the site where Phoenix landed. Without more information on the disposition of Martian resources neither NASA nor any other space agency could or would responsibly plan a mission which required access to such resources.

When will we sent humans to Mars? How many will be sent? How long will they stay? How long with the trip there/back last? What technologies will we use to send them to Mars - will the rocket use conventional chemical propellants, nuclear engines of some sort, ion propulsion, etc.? Will the first crew to land set up a temporary base or begin the construction of a more lasting settlement? The answer to all of these questions is "We don't know." - and until we DO know, we cannot begin to guess what effect access to Martian resources will have on the exploration of Mars.

We don't have to worry about anyone beating us to Mars - no country/group of countries (i.e. the EU) has the technology necessary to send humans to Mars, keep them alive for an extended period of time, and return them safely to the Earth. The comparison to American and Asian automakers in the 1970s doesn't make any sense, because of ALL the space agencies and all the rocket manufacturers in the world, NASA is the only one that has experience consistently flying a heavy-lift booster (the STS system of technologies, not the shuttle itself, mind you) of the sort that will be required to mount a manned Mars mission.

The United States is not the only country with access to the necessary technology to begin planning a manned Mars mission; however, the US is the only country with the flight experience and the industrial base to make it happen in a reasonable period of time (i.e. before 2025) if we put our minds and dollars into it.



posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 12:41 PM
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Well I think it does have implications, albeit not for immediate future.

Having soil and some water, in combination with nitrogen that can be obtained from certain minerals right there, can lead to possibility of farming for future colonists. Certainly that's something that's on the table now. Since it'll have to be done in some sort of enclosure anyway, you don't need much material or compound since everything is recycled.



posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 07:29 PM
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Good form Buddha.

Also, hasn't there been talk of creating bricks from water, and soil on the red planet. So I think this gives us some good building blocks, pun intended, on which we can start a civilization such as; the ingredients for water, oxygen, hydrogen, soil, and baked bricks all on the red planet.

I am not saying we should send a manned trip to Mars in the next 20 years I am suggesting that we should be sending landers, drones, robots and other equipment necessary to stockpile and build a permanent Mars base in the future. The sooner we have the necessary resources stored on Mars the sooner it willl be safe to send a manned crew.

Where am I going wrong?


sty

posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 07:48 PM
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well, what would be the amount of bad radiation from the Sun? Mars does not have a proper protection against solar radiation-and this explains the lack of biological activity! I guess we will need more self-replicating Artificial Intelligence robots to be sent there first, in order to prepare some underground bases for the future colonies...

[edit on 2-7-2008 by sty]




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