Thursday, February 12, 2015

It's not a closed system.

Thinking it is, is a big part of the problem.

They are going to miss important things no matter how much they plan, so oversupply (especially solar panels.)

How many martians does it take to change a lightbulb? Sorry, they didn't plan for that!

How many martians does it take to heat a habitat? Uh, well, ya see, we ran out of those old kind of light bulbs and don't know how to make more.

Update: Seriously, the MIT report makes me more positive about Mars One...

Issue 1 - insufficient plant production capacity.
Solution - Include: UV plastic so they can greatly expand crop area, live soil (and correct bacteria) to mix with mars soil, 26 months of emergency backup food (25 yr storage.) 8FH provides emergency food for a dozen giving them about a decade to get the food production rate to levels where the issue disappears.

Issue 2 - Crops share volume with crew using existing ISS
Solution - Don't do that. Include soil bacteria to consume excess oxygen.

Issue 3 -  Spares requirement will grow over time.
Solution - No spares. All systems repairable or replaceable using only local resources. 3D printing is not an issue because they will not be doing it in space.

Other issues - FH with lander will not be $300m each. More like under $200m ea.

Mars One overestimates FH launch requirements. They do not require 10 FH for every 4 crew they send. 3 launches are enough with 1 being extra cargo (they could actually get by with just 2.)

That gives them an annual cost of just $200m to $300m after first crew. Not billions as claimed.

Update: FH puts 13,200 kg in mars orbit. Equal to 5,000 kg Dragon v2, 4,000 kg of consumables w/o recycling for 2 crew during transit and 2,000 kg of personal items to land with. 2,000 kg of inflatable volume during trip. Scaleable x 2s to any number they can afford each launch window including spares. During transit they have each other to talk with and no time delays.

Update:  "A very thorough analysis"

I have to take exception to 'thorough.' While the MIT report is commendable and certainly extensive; Thorough implies much more. It's to be hoped that the post report analysis is what is thorough. Being critical of the report should take nothing away from the work that was put into it.


C J said...

The MIT report perplexes me.

Too much 02 is some sort of dire problem that can't be handled? Uhhh... ok, right off the top of my head, what's a super simple way to scrub excess o2 from air? Hrmmm, let me think a millisecond... Iron particles do a superb job of it, becoming iron oxide (rust). You need to heat it to release the 02 (vent it outside, or better still, use it), and then it's ready to go again.
Gee, now where would you find iron oxide on Mars? Pretty much everywhere. (It's what makes Mars red).

Animals are a better option; they'll need them anyway, or they'll be condemned to a vegetarian existence.

ken_anthony said...

Higher education has driven them mad. Notice that I have always insisted a chemist be a member of the first crew.

Not that they actually need more complex chemistry at first, but it will be vital to getting industry started.