Thursday, December 18, 2014

Olive oil, honey and Skippy natural peanut butter

How much food to take to mars using this as a metric? That 41,600 calories in 1.59 cubic feet would be 923,520 in one cubic meter which is about a year of calories (massing 312 kg not counting water.) Include the high calorie foods in the title for better caloric density.

Water can be recycled at better than 90% efficiency. You need about 2200 kg of water per year per person. With recycling 300 liters should be enough, but to be safe 688 liters giving us one ton total of water and food per person for a year (for an 8 month trip.)

That's about a ton less than I've been using in my calculations. Mars should be closer than I've been saying. It's really just a matter of when somebody picks up the tab which is really only about 1% the cost others will scare us with. You see how frustrating it is not to be a billionaire? You could even have my coffee ration!

Curiosity sees tenfold spike in methane

A human crew would know if bacteria was the cause.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Tomorrow. If space were important, the real Orion could have done it... within our solar system at least. Provisioning for a stellar trip would have been quite a balancing act... it will be interesting to see how this three night movie represents it.

About the only vision that survived the sixties seems to be marxism which is not just the wrong stuff but pure evil.

Adults with the minds of children are running things. We can't blame them. We allow it... because we no longer have the right stuff. Do you imagine the democrats of JFK's day would have allowed it? Would the democrats that voted for Reagan have allowed it? WTF is wrong with us today?

Can we ever get the right stuff back? A good start would be to realize we don't need government blessings to claim our natural rights. If we fought for them we could win. You can't put up such a fight with turncoats in the leadership.

For something different consider Spaceland.

Update: It's all just a social experiment? It's not Orion? I will be so disappointed.

Update: So magic kid sends a lone crew member to a planet around a different star than the one they weren't heading to? So all hope for a great new science fiction series is gone since they've firmly departed into fantasy territory. They had a workable premise. All they had to do was start a couple of years before landing. Even though they had some good moments (honeypot) I am so disappointed.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

550 tons of yellowcake

This stuff never existed in Iraq according to the media.

Making war affordable

At $0.59 per shot.

How do you shoot down helicopters and not shoot people?

How fast is Curiosity?

0.000279 mph.

Humans would never be able to keep up with that pace!

A nation of children

Maturity has by now been banished from nearly every aspect of our lives. Easy divorce laws have removed the need to work at relationships; easy credit has removed the need for fiscal self-control; easy entertainment has removed the need to learn to entertain oneself; easy answers have removed the need to ask questions. We have become a nation of children, happy to surrender our judgments and our wills to political exhortations and commercial blandishments that would insult actual adults.
Something to consider... the purpose of school.

Recently I heard a talk about how the bible encourages mature working on marriage counter to self help books self indulgance.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mars colonization by annuity

One of the things naysayers say about mars colonization is resupply kills it (like the recent MIT study.) So an annuity that pays forever seems like a natural answer to that complaint. I see annuity rates now at 7%, so 5% seems a reasonable return to me. The only show stopper is funding that annuity. The $20b spent on SLS/Orion would have more than done it, but that's been pissed away already.

I strongly believe we could send a dozen colonist to mars every 26 month launch window for about one billion dollars per mission. A 5% annuity gives us that for under $10b. If I'm wrong, we still go, but at a slower rate unless we do get sufficient funding.

This is more than you can expect from a kickstarter campaign. It's a lot less than the idiotic numbers others throw around (they're real purpose being simply to discourage.) Interestingly, it's not far off from the six billion Mars One is looking for (people doubt they can pull that off either.)

But is it too much to give humanity a whole new world? No, and private investors will one day realize this.

Sharp pointy rocks

Have anther name. It's called ore. Or it might be. We know for sure mars has all the elements we need for industry. Rovers are great and teach us a lot, but people would discover ten times as much in 1% of the time.

The mission cost of the next rover will be $2.5b or about half of Mars One's costs. I could put 24 crew on mars for that price.

Friday, December 5, 2014

There's the rub

acting as legislators

9 pixels wide of Ceres.

The craft that visited Vesta is due to reach Ceres in march. They took a picture that isn't quite as good as the Hubble's but we can expect it to get much better very soon. This mission is really amazing. One day Ceres may become someone's home.

Apparently a fiction story written in 1981 includes my idea for inverted highways (due to low gravity and speed that isn't very high.) Mine were underground. Don't know about theirs.

Interesting factoid

NASA has a $500m annual budget for mars. If I got the job...

1st year:

$100m prize to 1st and 2nd private company for 2500kg payloads each delivered safely within 10 km of a specified point on martian surface. Must accomplish before 4th year prizes are awarded.

$100m to 1st company to put ship in LEO meeting these specifications: Refuelable in orbit, 13 ton ship w/ life support for 12 and 240 m3 of internal volume. Must include storm shelter for solar flares and capable of 6 km/s of delta V after refueling (assuming dry departure mass of 40,000kg.) Ship remains owned by the company that put it in orbit.

$200m for 100,000kg fuel stored in LEO which could be transferred to ship.

2nd year: $500m for additional fuel to LEO.

3rd year: $500m for five more supply landers on mars. (17,500 kg of supplies now prepositioned for the first dozen colonists when they arrive.) Supplies will include radio controlled rovers with 200 km battery range pulling trailers with seating for six and inflatable tent. Solar panels to recharge and really small methane engine generator for backup.

4th year: $500m for six, 2 crew, 2,500 kg payload landers put in mars orbit. Unmanned craft must have successfully demonstrated landing on mars which would likely be one of the seven presupply missions.

5th year: $500m for transferring crew to landers in mars orbit and getting them to the surface. Ship still belongs to private company and they can do what they want with it after crew transfers off.

6th year: Embezzle and head for Rio. Set up mars land title company.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Programming productivty

I've used dozens of computer languages (dozens just of different BASIC dialects... still fond of Bascom) since 1975, but was never more productive than VB6 which seemed to get a lot of things right, but one major thing wrong. It required a runtime module. I want to hand a static compile to a customer and know I'm not going to have any installation or configuration issues. They get an executable and it just works.

But it's not my favorite language. They all have flaws. VB has just enough object orientation. C++ has too much. C doesn't have any and too many ways to do the same thing. Pascal makes my skin crawl. I really like the old Euphoria but it's a pain to compile (you first must translate it to C.) Forth really isn't compiled but can be a single static file.

The Falcon C++ IDE looks interesting.

I own two basic compilers, PowerBASIC and PureBasic, but haven't gotten up to speed with either. Neither has a decent IDE. When my laptop arrives on Saturday I'm going to have to get serious about coding. No Linux this time.

The IDE is really important but I'm not up to writing one myself. I think about using NoteTab which has program-ability but that's just another language to deal with (although perhaps once and done.)

Klang is something I muse about (Ken's Language.) But I don't know. Like VB it would have 3 code file types (module, form & class.) 3 scope levels (public, private & local.) Automatic memory allocation/deallocation and sequences like Euphoria (not the usual garbage collection hiccups.)

Only two control structures, loop and if (a case structure.) Nothing more is required and just makes code ugly and less solid. I like simple, bullet proof code. Which means no jumping to labels. No labels period. No file includes. No header files. No macros or preprocessor. WYSIWYG. All routines are order independent (forward referencing is just fine.) Dot notation brings up a proper list of routines in the editor. External calls for other languages absolutely including C. Call by address for machine language and call backs. Only two routine types, Sub and Pub, both return a sequence (Euphoria) that can be ignored.

A database class works directly with all major types (SQLite is default and built in.) ODBC info can be read but bypassed for the actual connection. Methods would include .open, .close, .execute, .error, .next, .EOF, .text(index) and .release (.tran_begin, .tran_commit and .tran_fail as well, but I don't use them much.)

Numbers take as many bytes as required with type conversion functions for external calls (float80, float64, float32, int8, int16, etc.) No limit to decimal expansion. I'm getting tired and questioning this post, so I'm done.

Stupid, limited perspective

"Let's go to Mars, but make sure it's for the right reasons" the title says but he gives no reasons. Actually he has much in common with the myopia of those wanting to terraform mars. Have any of them realized the earth itself is not terraformed? Many places on earth will kill you just as fast as mars. The way to terraform mars is the way we do it on earth... one place at a time.

The author makes the brilliant observation that mars is cold. My bedroom is cold, but there's a fix for that, that works on mars just as well. We call them space heaters. Stuff breaks which means you have more than one heater and big spaces that fail gracefully.

An example of myopia: "it will not become the new promised land."

The promised land wasn't until people arrived to make it so. There is absolutely no reason, not one, that mars could not be a paradise in quality of life.
Living on Mars is harsh, with few natural resources available.
Just plain wrong. It's not harsh, it's completely deadly until we change it, one large habitat at a time. As for resources, that's why we choose mars, because it's abundant in resources. In some respects more than earth. The potential for industry is enormous.
Homesteaders will not be faced with dense forests, clear rivers and abundant wildlife to start a new life. 
No, it's not earth (as if it had to be???) Will they have wood? Why not? Will they have water? Absolutely in abundance. Wild life? Perhaps not, but animals they import. You bet. Probably by insemination of a few brood females to create the genetic diversification required.
About all Mars can offer are minerals, rocks that contain oxygen, and underground ice.
Otherwise known as the periodic table that makes modern life possible. Sheesh.
No one even knows if Martian soil could support plants in a greenhouse.
Wrong again. Plants will grow, but we should take live earth soil as a starter medium. What we don't know is the rate of growth which with high CO2 could potentially surpass standard air.
if you run out of supplies, the delivery truck takes seven months to get there, at a cost of at least a billion dollars.
You never run out of supplies because the essentials already exists on mars. Non essentials from earth cost about $60k per kg as a mass surcharge, making every new colonist a millionaire just by careful selection of personal possessions they bring with them.
Of course, it might be possible to geo-engineer Mars to replenish its atmosphere and make its rivers flow once again, but this would take tremendous effort with no guarantee of success.
Blindness. They just can't see. Totally not required or even desirable.
Why would we give up living in the Garden of Eden to move to a frozen hell?
To live in a community with a touch more vision? To not be at the mercy of those that can't see past their nose but still vote to make other lives miserable? To live where SSTO is easy, opening up the rest of the solar system? Where the resources you disdain haven't yet been picked clean over thousands of years. Where nuclear power really will become too cheap to meter. Where thinking outside the box is the norm? I could go on and on, but that's sufficient.
So, sure, let's go to Mars. In fact, I will volunteer to make the first boot prints in the red soil. But like any traveller in a strange new place, I will think about what I left behind and be happy to return home.
The beauty of colonizing mars is they don't have to live with the blind. You're not invited. They go for a new life. To stay... until others (mainly from mars) go beyond.