Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Second Mars Affordability and Sustainability Workshop

I intend to comment on this report.

...guide space agency leadership and national policymakers.
So they don't really consider commercial interests. To avoid flags and footprints economic viability is essential.

...[does] not endorse one-way missions to Mars, where the humans on the first mission are settlers.
Otherwise known as F&F. It doesn't have to be either/or. A MAV and ERV can be considered a separate mission.
...forward and backward contamination...
Please... contamination is a given. Get over it.
science exploration of Mars should be a major element
A huge mistake. The purpose of the first to land is to insure the survival of those that follow which then may include scientists. Scientists will get a lot more done if survival is not their focus. Others should ensure this first.
Can be done any where near mars, including from its surface. This is not a required precursor for anything. However, it would be stupid not to include these tools in the mix.
the technical capabilities required for human lunar surface operations are of limited applicability to human Mars exploration.

I. Background, Goals, and Structure
stepping stones
Identify those that really aren't and eliminate them to achieve lowest cost.
science goals enabled by human presence in the vicinity of Mars.
Fine as long as they don't interfere with the primary objective: Learning to survive and thrive on mars. We can move a lot faster than 20 years from now. We could be landing essential precursor colonist supplies today.

SLS/Orion are white elephants that will have nothing to do with mars.

II. Humans-to-Mars Architectures (they consider three.)
  (1) an “Apollo-style” mission (ruled out.)
  (2) an outpost w/ rotating, non-permanent crew.
  (3) colonization or settlement of Mars.
Colonization was not considered viable because they were doing it wrong. They had outpost thinking from the start and could not imagine anything else. The irony is an outpost is hugely more expensive and easier to abandon than just focusing on colonization.
Solar electric propulsion
Not essential, but could enable larger cargo mass to mars orbit. As long as we use existing technology rather than cause delay for something better, why not?
SLS-class heavy lift vehicle is required
Otherwise known as cognitive impairment and puts all other conclusions in question. Of course HL increases options. But SEP reduces the need for HL. The cost of one SLS launch cost about what 20 or more FH launches will. SLS will not fly at the frequency required either (if at all.)
sample return
Is not required. We already know general composition and the sample will not be from the actual crew landing site and wouldn't be representative even if it were.
2 to 3 SLS flights per year
Pure fantasy. Demonstrates not being serious about colonization.
Asteroid Retrieval Mission (ARM), fully utilizing the ISS, the highest-prioritynear-term “stepping stone” should be a long-duration, crew-tended habitat near the Moon
What are they smoking? Distractions that give more evidence they are not serious. These distractions cost ten years according to the report.

III. Humans in the Vicinity of Mars
All based on outpost thinking. This section can be ignored.

IV. Affordability and Sustainability
All about how to turn this into a jobs program to get political support.

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