reply to post by andy06shake
Ok lets say this is possibe, can someone please tell me the method of propultion they will use to get from Earth to Mars in only 7
Nothing says chemical rockets can't do it.
Theoretically, VASMIR could do it, as well (though VASMIR technology is notably under developed and this doesn't solve the problem of power
generation - which would need to come from a nuclear fission or fusion source for sustained operation).
The problem in either case is the sheer mass you are sending off planet and then accelerating out of low earth orbit. Chemical rockets require a lot
of mass for their power... but even a small naval reactor (such as the type used on a Virginia Class submarine) would be quite a challenge to launch
into orbit to begin with (and have it work once it got there).
Constructing such systems in orbit is another daunting task - given the difficulty of manned labor in a zero G environment and the relative complexity
of the systems.
Of course - even a chemically propelled system is going to require power to operate life support and other mission critical systems.... so using a
reactor from a naval submarine may be necessary no matter how you look at it (and such a system would be able to provide power for several years after
arriving on Mars, presuming you can construct one that could survive a landing - solar power cells would be unreliable in the martian sand storms).
Being able to use some of that power in a drive system like VASMIR could substantially reduce the mass that needs to be placed in low earth orbit (and
eventually accelerated out of it).
That said - I'm not a huge proponent of sending people to Mars. We should send construction drones in first to set up camp and essential support
equipment - which may allow for a return trip if we do it correctly (so it isn't a one-way ticket).
I would actually recommend we set up orbital stations strategically around Mars to provide navigational and logistical support to any operations on
the ground. These would make 24/7 communications possible, as well as open up other options for expansion in the future (such as simulated gravity to
help astronauts regain bone mass lost during travel (which may have only minimal simulated gravity)). You set up a 'colony' using robots and run
various biological tests to ensure a sustainable existence is possible (you know - before you send people into an atmosphere filled with everything
but the essential oxygen). These robots could also be used by future manned teams for expansion/maintenance as well (or for handling dangerous jobs
that pose an unnecessary risk to the team).
Just because there are people who would volunteer for a one way trip does not make the prospect of spending the resources to send them there a
Placing a man on Mars is really no different than placing a robot on mars, if you really want to think about it. We can keep people alive in space
aboard stations for long periods of time and have the technology to place their being on the planet's surface.
That's not the issue. It's being able to place people on the planet in a productive capacity to do research. Mars isn't just a square in a
hop-scotch game of stellar proportions like the Moon was. It represents the challenge of effective habitation off of our own planet - of information
and supply networks (even at their most primal level) that span a segment of the solar system.
Placing a man on mars is, essentially, as difficult as throwing a bigger rock even harder. Strap a bigger rocket to it.
Making it so they are capable of actually doing much more than going: "I'm here!" is an all together different challenge from that of placing
people on the Moon.
From a realistic standpoint - the moon represents a much more economically and industrially viable location to establish colonies. It can serve as an
outpost for the processing of materials and construction of various systems (such as entire sections for space habitats) - which would open up the
prospect of viable martian colonies (as well as other regions of the solar system).