Yes, We Can go to Mars!
August 9, 2009

Latest news say that the Augustine Commission has pared down 3,000 options to "just" 864, in the past week, and his going to write (late this month) a final report with SEVEN scenarios for the future of human spaceflight.

Well, if the leaked options are the real ones (in my opinion) all are partially or entirely WRONG, and, since the final decision about the option to choose, of the seven proposed will be taken by non-experts the risk is that they will choose the worst of the options!

I'm sorry if it may sound "presumptuous" for me to say this, but I do not think there are "3000" or "864" or "7" options, since, I see only ONE option for each of the problems submitted to the HSF Commitee (Ares-1, ISS, Shuttle, Moon, Mars, etc.) that, for every point of the list, should always be the most logical and rational choice.

There are many crazy ideas that run the web, like the SSTO (so crazy that so far I have not even lost my time to write an article about this argument!) the Space Solar Power or the Lunar He-3 mining and other hoax-projects, some of which have been unfortunately evaluated (but I hope NOT adopted) by the HSF Committee: the bad/wrong Shuttle-C, the (very expensive and complex) orbital refuel, the resized-Ares-5 called Direct, etc.

The HSF panel proposals seem lack of a strong and convincing support to a Mars mission that's the only way to (really) boost the space exploration, push (both) the "old.space" and "new.space" companies, to increase their research and investments, and to give to NASA (and all other space agencies) their engineers and employees, the taxpayer and the common people "something" on which they can have enthusiasm and dream about!

A true Mars program is also the only way to avoid to have only another "small step for [a] man" but the next "giant leap for mankind"!!!

Unfortunately, ALL the THREE suggested and advocated scenarios, we know (and have) so far, to go Mars are WRONG and/or TOO EXPENSIVE, since...

The option #1 is: "Moon first, then use the lunar hardware and know-how for Mars"

This option sounds really CRAZY to me because (nearly) NOTHING (or just 10%) of the Moon-specific vehicles, hardware and know-how could be use for a Mars mission, in fact, it's the preffered and supported choice only of those who want to "make money soon" with the lunar hardware contracts and did NOT want to go Mars soon, to have more and bigger "Mars contracts" in future!

So, in 2025-30 (or later) they'll realize that LESS than 10% of the "Moon Hardware"
(vehicles, rockets, habitable modules, space-suits, rovers, landers, engine, airlocks, dust washer, scientific instruments, sensors, energy sources, space stations, ascent modules, ISRU infrastructure, navigation systems, computer, GPS, software, Trans Earth Injection stages, escape modules, rescue ships, etc.) and just
10% of the missions architectures, procedures, tests, safety system, astronauts (and mission control) trainings, engineering and scientific experience, know-how, etc. gained in the Moon missions, "could" be useful to develop and accomplish a Mars mission, then they'll need to start from (nearly) ZERO to (finally) launch the first manned Mars mission (someday) around 2040-45 or later!!!

The option #2 is: "Skip the Moon and give huge investments now to go Mars soon"

This is an ever more crazy and "make big business" devoted option, because, a safe and successful manned Mars mission, absolutely CAN'T be accomplished with today's technologies, vehicles and chemical rockets, but needs many, new, advanced, unexisting now and "Mars-specific" technologies, engine, vehicles and know-how, we can develop (having enough funds) only in the next 10-15 years, also, a "Mars program" (if started now and made with today's primitive and very expensive hardware) could cost, in the range of $300-500 billion, an huge investment no single country can afford today!

The option #3 is: "Skip the Moon and go to Mars now using shuttle-derived rockets"

I've read some options, like this (mainly the most famous, called "Mars Direct") and I've only one word to describe all them: "A SUICIDE".

Compared with these very crazy and suicide Mars mission, also the proposal to send ONE man to a single-way trip to Mars, seems BETTER, since, at least, we could save LOTS of money and KILL just ONE man, rather than dozens (six-members each) Mars crews!!!

Apart the incredibly high risk of failure and astronauts dead of this kind of "missions" to Mars (that's like ask to Christopher Columbus to cross the ocean with three sailors, on a small dinghy, discover the America and come back safe and sound with many american indians and tons of spices from that place!) the given hardware is too small for the job!

In fact, a 500-days Mars stay and exploration, needs, at least, 20 TIMES more hardware and 200 TIMES more life support, than the longest Apollo mission on the Moon, so much hardware and life support that absolutely can't fit in a so small Mars lander, also, a rich 500-days exploration on a so interesting planet like Mars (much more interesting than our Moon) should produce a very huge amount of samples (at least 100 TIMES more than an Apollo mission!) I did not see HOW a SMALL return capsule can bring back to Earth!

The ONLY logical and rational way to (really) accomplish the first manned Mars missions SOON (without wait the 2030 or LATER) in a reasonable time and at reasonable costs is my proposal of a "FIVE STEPS JOURNEY" to Mars!

I won't explain here my proposal, since, I wish to imagine how my idea of a "Five Steps Journey to Mars" could be announced by President Barack Obama in his speech held (in future) at Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, near the Apollo 11 Command Module and at the presence of several Apollo and Shuttle astronauts and NASA officials, to announce his decisions and his vision for the future of Space explorations; speech, of which, this (below) "could" be the "true" transcript... :)

"The commission's space-experts have drawn their report with the options for our future in space exploration, and I've read it."

"Then, together with the White House's science and economy experts, I've taken my decision, that I'm proud to reveal to you today."

"I wish to assure everybody that, this administration, will always give its support to our prestigious Space Agency providing all the funds and political support, it needs, to successful accomplish several new and exciting scientific explorations of our Solar System and of the Universe, through, both, robotic probes and manned missions."

"Of course, we will continue to allow all the Space Shuttle launches that, NASA and our international partners, need to finish the International Space Station, from which we never have any intention to withdraw our support, until, the ISS, still flies in space."

"And, yes, our astronauts will come back to the Moon within the next decade, this time, to stay there and explore, that thanks to new crewed vehicles and a giant rocket, and we want to give enough funds to NASA to allow the new Moon missions to fly soon."

"But... I feel... you want have more... I feel you want hear from me the word you're waiting for from decades... and this word is... Mars!"

[the speech stops due to twenty minutes of applause]

"Well, I'm proud to say you, that... Yes, We Can go to Mars!"

[the speech stops due to a standing ovation]

"We haven't all the Mars-specific technology yet, nor enough funds to accomplish this complex mission now, but we absolutely want to start develop the firsts and find the funds needed for the Mars missions."

"As a great man have said in the past... We choose to go Mars within two decades and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of the mankind energies and skills, because that challenge is one that the humanity are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one on which we intend to succeed, and the others too."

[the speech stops again due to another standing ovation]

"However, this time, it will be not a "Cold War's Space Race" like the Apollo, but a "Warm Peace's Space Exploration" thanks to the cooperation and help of all free countries of the world."

[the speech stops due to a further standing ovation]

"We want to accomplish the first manned Mars missions through a completely new and smart strategy we've called the "Five Steps Journey to Mars" that we want to start from next year."

"The First Step is to open a new NASA division, entirely devoted to do research of what we need to go Mars, that will receive, at least, two billion of funds per year, in the next ten years, and that should develop, in that time or sooner, all the advanced and Mars-specific vehicles, engines, technologies, systems, materials, alloys, etc. to accomplish very safe (and scientifically-rich) Mars missions with the less costs possible, also thanks to the cooperation of NASA with other countries and with the growing NewSpace industry."

"The Second Step, at the end of a decade or less of research and development, will be find enough funds to build and launch the Mars hardware, that's the hardest part of the story, but not impossible, since, in that time, we would overcame the economic crisis from several years and, other friend countries of the world, will have a so growth economy, to be happy to put their money in the program."

"The Third Step, we want to accomplish within 2025 or sooner, will be to send a Space Station in Mars orbit or on Phobos, to host several astronauts and scientists for a very long time."

"The Fourth Step, will be a long and deep robotic exploration of the Mars surface, driven in real-time by the scientists aboard the Mars Space Station, an exploration that will be very efficient, since accomplished without the long radio-delay we face with the Mars exploration with rovers driven from Earth."

"Then, when the astronauts and scientists aboard the Mars Space Station will know enough about the Red Planet to be confident to accomplish a successful manned missions on the Mars surface, the Fifth Step, the most important and longer awaited, we want to accomplish within 2030 or sooner, will start, with the first human crew (the first of many) that lands on the Mars surface!"

"I don't know what will happen in future on Mars... but I believe that the human spirit to explore and colonize new lands will win again, so, Mars could become soon a "new Earth", and, someday in our future, we'll see coming here, for a trip, the early real "martians" that, simply, will be our human brothers... but born on the Red Planet!"

[the speech ends with over half hour of enthusiast applause]

 

This article is Copyright © 2009 Gaetano Marano - All rights reserved.

 

b/w

Latest news say that the Augustine Commission has pared down 3,000 options to "just" 864, in the past week, and his going to write (late this month) a final report with SEVEN scenarios for the future of human spaceflight.

Well, if the leaked options are the real ones (in my opinion) all are partially or entirely WRONG, and, since the final decision about the option to choose, of the seven proposed will be taken by non-experts the risk is that they will choose the worst of the options!

I'm sorry if it may sound "presumptuous" for me to say this, but I do not think there are "3000" or "864" or "7" options, since, I see only ONE option for each of the problems submitted to the HSF Commitee (Ares-1, ISS, Shuttle, Moon, Mars, etc.) that, for every point of the list, should always be the most logical and rational choice.

There are many crazy ideas that run the web, like the SSTO (so crazy that so far I have not even lost my time to write an article about this argument!) the Space Solar Power or the Lunar He-3 mining and other hoax-projects, some of which have been unfortunately evaluated (but I hope NOT adopted) by the HSF Committee: the bad/wrong Shuttle-C, the (very expensive and complex) orbital refuel, the resized-Ares-5 called Direct, etc.

The HSF panel proposals seem lack of a strong and convincing support to a Mars mission that's the only way to (really) boost the space exploration, push (both) the "old.space" and "new.space" companies, to increase their research and investments, and to give to NASA (and all other space agencies) their engineers and employees, the taxpayer and the common people "something" on which they can have enthusiasm and dream about!

A true Mars program is also the only way to avoid to have only another "small step for [a] man" but the next "giant leap for mankind"!!!

Unfortunately, ALL the THREE suggested and advocated scenarios, we know (and have) so far, to go Mars are WRONG and/or TOO EXPENSIVE, since...

The option #1 is: "Moon first, then use the lunar hardware and know-how for Mars"

This option sounds really CRAZY to me because (nearly) NOTHING (or just 10%) of the Moon-specific vehicles, hardware and know-how could be use for a Mars mission, in fact, it's the preffered and supported choice only of those who want to "make money soon" with the lunar hardware contracts and did NOT want to go Mars soon, to have more and bigger "Mars contracts" in future!

So, in 2025-30 (or later) they'll realize that LESS than 10% of the "Moon Hardware"
(vehicles, rockets, habitable modules, space-suits, rovers, landers, engine, airlocks, dust washer, scientific instruments, sensors, energy sources, space stations, ascent modules, ISRU infrastructure, navigation systems, computer, GPS, software, Trans Earth Injection stages, escape modules, rescue ships, etc.) and just 10% of the missions architectures, procedures, tests, safety system, astronauts (and mission control) trainings, engineering and scientific experience, know-how, etc. gained in the Moon missions, "could" be useful to develop and accomplish a Mars mission, then they'll need to start from (nearly) ZERO to (finally) launch the first manned Mars mission (someday) around 2040-45 or later!!!

The option #2 is: "Skip the Moon and give huge investments now to go Mars soon"

This is an ever more crazy and "make big business" devoted option, because, a safe and successful manned Mars mission, absolutely CAN'T be accomplished with today's technologies, vehicles and chemical rockets, but needs many, new, advanced, unexisting now and "Mars-specific" technologies, engine, vehicles and know-how, we can develop (having enough funds) only in the next 10-15 years, also, a "Mars program" (if started now and made with today's primitive and very expensive hardware) could cost, in the range of $300-500 billion, an huge investment no single country can afford today!

The option #3 is: "Skip the Moon and go to Mars now using shuttle-derived rockets"

I've read some options, like this (mainly the most famous, called "Mars Direct") and I've only one word to describe all them: "A SUICIDE".

Compared with these very crazy and suicide Mars mission, also the proposal to send ONE man to a single-way trip to Mars, seems BETTER, since, at least, we could save LOTS of money and KILL just ONE man, rather than dozens (six-members each) Mars crews!!!

Apart the incredibly high risk of failure and astronauts dead of this kind of "missions" to Mars (that's like ask to Christopher Columbus to cross the ocean with three sailors, on a small dinghy, discover the America and come back safe and sound with many american indians and tons of spices from that place!) the given hardware is too small for the job!

In fact, a 500-days Mars stay and exploration, needs, at least, 20 TIMES more hardware and 200 TIMES more life support, than the longest Apollo mission on the Moon, so much hardware and life support that absolutely can't fit in a so small Mars lander, also, a rich 500-days exploration on a so interesting planet like Mars (much more interesting than our Moon) should produce a very huge amount of samples (at least 100 TIMES more than an Apollo mission!) I did not see HOW a SMALL return capsule can bring back to Earth!

The ONLY logical and rational way to (really) accomplish the first manned Mars missions SOON (without wait the 2030 or LATER) in a reasonable time and at reasonable costs is my proposal of a "FIVE STEPS JOURNEY" to Mars!

I won't explain here my proposal, since, I wish to imagine how my idea of a "Five Steps Journey to Mars" could be announced by President Barack Obama in his speech held (in future) at Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, near the Apollo 11 Command Module and at the presence of several Apollo and Shuttle astronauts and NASA officials, to announce his decisions and his vision for the future of Space explorations; speech, of which, this (below) "could" be the "true" transcript... :)

"The commission's space-experts have drawn their report with the options for our future in space exploration, and I've read it."

"Then, together with the White House's science and economy experts, I've taken my decision, that I'm proud to reveal to you today."

"I wish to assure everybody that, this administration, will always give its support to our prestigious Space Agency providing all the funds and political support, it needs, to successful accomplish several new and exciting scientific explorations of our Solar System and of the Universe, through, both, robotic probes and manned missions."

"Of course, we will continue to allow all the Space Shuttle launches that, NASA and our international partners, need to finish the International Space Station, from which we never have any intention to withdraw our support, until, the ISS, still flies in space."

"And, yes, our astronauts will come back to the Moon within the next decade, this time, to stay there and explore, that thanks to new crewed vehicles and a giant rocket, and we want to give enough funds to NASA to allow the new Moon missions to fly soon."

"But... I feel... you want have more... I feel you want hear from me the word you're waiting for from decades... and this word is... Mars!"

[the speech stops due to twenty minutes of applause]

"Well, I'm proud to say you, that... Yes, We Can go to Mars!"

[the speech stops due to a standing ovation]

"We haven't all the Mars-specific technology yet, nor enough funds to accomplish this complex mission, but we absolutely want to start develop the firsts and find the funds needed for the Mars missions."

"But, as a great man have said in the past... We choose to go Mars within two decades and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of the mankind energies and skills, because that challenge is one that the humanity are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one on which we intend to succeed, and the others too."

[the speech stops again due to another standing ovation]

"However, this time, it will be not a "Cold War's Space Race" like the Apollo, but a "Warm Peace's Space Exploration" thanks to the cooperation and help of all free countries of the world."

[the speech stops due to a further standing ovation]

"We want to accomplish the first manned Mars missions through a completely new and smart strategy we've called the "Five Steps Journey to Mars" that we want to start from next year."

"The First Step is to open a new NASA division, entirely devoted to do research of what we need to go Mars, that will receive, at least, two billion of funds per year, in the next ten years, and that should develop, in that time or sooner, all the advanced and Mars-specific vehicles, engines, technologies, systems, materials, allosys, etc. to accomplish very safe (and scientifically-rich) Mars missions with the less costs possible, also thanks to cooperation of NASA with other countries and with the growing NewSpace industry."

"The Second Step, at the end of a decade or less of research and development, will be find enough funds to build and launch the Mars hardware, that's the hardest part of the story, but not impossible, since, in that time, we would overcame the economic crisis from several years and, other friend countries of the world, will have a so growth economy, to be happy to put their money in the program."

"The Third Step, we want to accomplish within 2025 or sooner, will be to send a Space Station in Mars orbit or on Phobos, to host several astronauts and scientists for a very long time."

"The Fourth Step, will be a long and deep robotic exploration of the Mars surface, driven in real-time by the scientists aboard the Mars Space Station, an exploration that will be very efficient, since accomplished without the long radio-delay we face with the Mars exploration with rovers driven from Earth."

"Then, when the astronauts and scientists aboard the Mars Space Station will know enough about the Red Planet to be confident to accomplish a successful manned missions on the Mars surface, the Fifth Step, the most important and longer awaited, we want to accomplish within 2030 or sooner, will start, with the first human crew (the first of many) that lands on the Mars surface!"

"I don't know what will happen in future on Mars... but I believe that the human spirit to explore and colonize new lands will win again, so, Mars could become soon a "new Earth", and, someday in our future, we'll see coming here, for a trip, the early real "martians" that, simply, will be our human brothers... but born on the Red Planet!"

[the speech ends with over half hour of enthusiast applause]

 

This article is Copyright © 2009 Gaetano Marano - All rights reserved.

 


 

 

 

 

                                     


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