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I'll tell you what I know. There is one problem I'm aware of that nobody has successfully addressed, to my knowledge.
Originally posted by paranormal78
Anyone who knows about this subject feel free to tell me what you know.
According to a tentative NASA estimate, a trip to Mars and back would give a 40-year-old non-smoking man a 40-percent risk of developing fatal cancer after he returned to Earth, twice the terrestrial risk.
Glory would be certain; early death a strong probability.
Shielding options include placing the spaceship in a large protective mass, such as huge sphere of water five metres (16.25 feet) thick, which would provide similar protection to standing at an altitude of 5,500 metres (18,000 feet) on Earth....
Cost alone is likely to make these ideas unfeasible, leaving mission deciders with the nightmarish task of determining what is an acceptable level of risk for the men and women who will go to Mars.
Originally posted by paranormal78
reply to post by rhynouk
I actually have a somewhat good maybe practical idea. What if they had a mars base that could automatically deploy once it gets there? That mission would half to be entirely unmanned somehow. And the crew that makes it there can check everything when they arrive. I'm pretty sure some scientist at N.A.S.A. has probably thought of this idea at one point. It might be on the drawing board somewhere already.
An excellent read, thanks. I'm not sure if he's accounting for inflation, but even if he's not, he does make a strong argument for the greater productivity of NASA during the Apollo era.
Originally posted by justwokeup
Find below Robert Zubrin's testimony to the Augustine comission. You may find the answers you seek within. In my opinion he nails it on many levels.
Good point. If a suicide bomber is willing to kill himself for something as stupid as blowing up a building, then certainly someone willing to die prematurely for such a noble cause as space exploration should be an option on the table.
If given the opportunity experienced engineers and scientists would take the increased cancer risk involved in the journey phase. Its worth it.
When magellan circumnavigated the globe less than 20 made it back out of a crew more than 200. If our society would provide the funds, individuals would provide the courage.
I admire your courage. I would have taken the Apollo risk, but I haven't seen any technology presented yet where I'd find the risk acceptable for a Mars mission. The 5 meter thick sphere of water shield I mentioned would be fine and the concept is easy with existing technology, except for the part about getting that much water (and a suitable container for it) off the ground. There may be alternatives though, like building a moon base and extracting all the water needed for that shield from one of the moon's polar craters.
Originally posted by JJRichey
I, for one, would be willing to take that risk for the adventure (and science!) of it.
I'm an engineer and of course it's feasible, but as you pointed out the prolonged exposure to non-CME radiation would still be an issue. Not only that, but you'd still have to get huge amounts of water, lead or other shielding material up for the sanctuary, so that's still a big problem, just not as big a problem than doing it for the entire ship where the amounts would need to be larger. Also how big will the ship be? If you look at Apollo, The capsule that splashed down in the ocean was already pretty cramped. I can't imagine a radiation sanctuary much smaller than that. Now if the ship to Mars is much more spacious, then yes a smaller, more heavily shielded sanctuary might make sense.
One idea I've heard put forth to deal with a CME would be having a special module on the spacecraft that would be shielded, that astronauts could take sanctuary in. I'm not a scientist or an engineer so I really don't know how feasible the idea is, though it sounds logical enough to me. The prolonged exposure to other radiation though I don't know.
I like the way you think, you have some good thoughts on this for someone who's not an engineer!
The Earth's magnetic field is what protects us all down here from all that radiation, maybe there is some way to produce a strong enough magnetic field on the spacecraft? Maybe make the entire outside shell of the spacecraft one big electromagnet, powered by a small nuclear reactor such is used in some satellites/probes? I'm not sure what technologies they'd have to develop to work on the spacecraft in such an environment though.
I think the obstacles can be overcome. We just haven't got the proper incentive to do it yet. But they are significant obstacles, and I'm not sure we could do it within a decade with complete safety. If the astronauts are willing to accept a large risk of premature death from radiation exposure, we could do it within a decade. But perhaps they should go ahead and get their corneas replaced before the mission. I think something like 36 of 39 Apollo astronaut developed cataracts prematurely, and the radiation from the Mars trip will probably worse than Apollo no matter what we do. I wouldn't want to arrive on Mars only to discover my vision was clouded by cataracts so I couldn't see. Then the premature death wouldn't seem as worthwhile if I'm half blind when I get there.
Without overcoming these obstacles, humankind will never move out into space and explore/colonize other planets, thereby dooming humanity to die with the planet (assuming were still around to see it!)