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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday March 28 2021, @07:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the First-Post-on-Mars! dept.

Salon has an article on Ingenuity.

In 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew a plane for 12 seconds, 120 feet in the air, on what is now known as the first powered-controlled flight on Earth. Now, 118 years later, the first powered-controlled attempt at a flight on another planet is about to take place.

According to NASA, Ingenuity — the four-pound rotorcraft attached to Perseverance — is on its way to its "airfield" on Mars.

The space agency announced that its target for its first takeoff attempt will happen no earlier than April 8, 2021.

Ingenuity was designed as an experiment to see if it is possible to fly on Mars as we do here on Earth. And the process leading up to the takeoff is a very meticulous one. Consider how long it took humans to stick a powered-controlled flight on Earth; given Mars' thin atmosphere and a twenty-minute delay in communication, it is arguably more challenging on Mars.

"As with everything with the helicopter, this type of deployment has never been done before," Farah Alibay, Mars helicopter integration lead for the Perseverance rover, said in a press statement. "Once we start the deployment there is no turning back."

Every move for the next couple of weeks could make or break Ingenuity's success — starting with precisely positioning the rotorcraft in the middle of its 33-by-33-foot square airfield, which is actually a flat field on the Martian surface with no obstructions. From there, the entire deployment process from Perseverance will take about six Martian days, which are called sols. (The Martian sol is thirty-nine minutes longer than an Earth day.)

Good luck, little chopper!

Previously:
NASA Lays Out Plans for its First Flights on Mars
How NASA Designed a Helicopter that Could Fly Autonomously on Mars
NASA is Sending a Helicopter to Mars, but What For?


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Socrastotle on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:16PM (68 children)

    by Socrastotle (13446) on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:16PM (#1130419) Journal

    One thing I like to emphasize is how rovers and probes have helped us make some absolutely critical and shocking discoveries. For instance in 2013 it was discovered that the Martian soil oddly enough has a fair amount of water in it, about 2% per volume. So a cubic foot of soil gets you about a liter of water. Now think about something. The first successful probe was sent to Mars in 1964. So it only took us about 50 years of probes and rovers to learn that the soil is somewhat moist...

    Within a week of landing a human on Mars, we will likely have learned exponentially more about the planet than half a century of probes and rovers have taught us.

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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by pe1rxq on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:21PM (60 children)

    by pe1rxq (844) on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:21PM (#1130422) Homepage

    Don't forget that the survival of this first human relies heavily on the 50 years of lessons learned with probes....
    Plenty of mistakes have been made in those years, luckily no humans where on board when some idiots started using inches, feet and pounds (probably while chanting 'USA! USA! USA!')

    • (Score: 2, Touché) by khallow on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:32PM (47 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:32PM (#1130424) Journal

      Don't forget that the survival of this first human relies heavily on the 50 years of lessons learned with probes....

      How many more decades of "learning with probes" will we have to endure? At some point, survival of the first human will have to rely heavily on that first mission.

      • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:27PM (32 children)

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:27PM (#1130449)

        Lots apparently.

        Every time I moan about the lack of manned missions to Mars people try to tell me how dangerous it is but none of those dangers seem like something that should stop a determined effort.

        I'm not claiming it would be easy, but that doesn't sound like a reason to not do it either.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:50PM (26 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:50PM (#1130458)

          How about they clean up their units first before trying to send people to other planets?

          E = hf

          In units that is:

          Joules = Joules * sec * cycles/sec
          J = J * cycles

          Which is false. The units of h must be J * s / cycle, ie plank's constant is the minimum quanta of energy that is constant across all wavelengths.
          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck%E2%80%93Einstein_relation [wikipedia.org]

          Everything goes bad from there leading to more and more bizarre deductions.

          https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325462944_Planck's_Constant_and_the_Nature_of_Light [researchgate.net]

          • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday March 29 2021, @12:58AM (5 children)

            by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @12:58AM (#1130529)

            Err, did you respond in the wrong thread?

            None of that has any bearing on sending people to Mars.

            • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:37AM (4 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:37AM (#1130548)

              Yea it does. If you want safe and cheap interplanetary travel, then it would help if your system of physics didn't fail dimensional analysis.

              All because men don't feel comfortable hearing the words period or cycle. They fudged physics 100 years ago redefined cycles per second as Hz to be 1/sec.

              • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday March 29 2021, @02:33AM (2 children)

                by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @02:33AM (#1130577)

                Oh right. That's why GPS doesn't work.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @07:16AM (1 child)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @07:16AM (#1130656)

                  Who mentioned GPS?

                  How bizarre, it is like you have no idea how to respond so just said some default phrase. Bot?

                  • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday March 29 2021, @07:58PM

                    by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @07:58PM (#1130893)

                    You have no idea how any of that fits together do you?

                    The earth is not flat, no matter how hard you try.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:07PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:07PM (#1130708)

                Talking of periods, 1 period is the inverse of a cycle, which in turn (pun intended) is the tangent. Hence those nasty infinities that NOBODY wants to talk about.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @05:15AM (19 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @05:15AM (#1130621) Journal

            Which is false. The units of h must be J * s / cycle, ie plank's constant is the minimum quanta of energy that is constant across all wavelengths.

            Which is false by proper dimensional analysis. Planck's constant, h is indeed Joules cycles. You're just moving units from f to h. It's irrelevant to the physics where the units lie.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @07:21AM (14 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @07:21AM (#1130660)

              It isn't moving anything. It is using the correct units for frequency of cycles/sec instead of 1/sec. While no numerical predictions are altered, this has many consequences such as reinterpreting the "uncertainty principle" as telling us the minimum allowed energy change per cycle. This is described in the link.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @02:37PM (13 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @02:37PM (#1130760) Journal

                It isn't moving anything. It is using the correct units for frequency of cycles/sec instead of 1/sec.

                In other words, you moved the unit of cycles from h to f. It doesn't change anything. That numerical predictions aren't altered is an indication that nothing has changed.

                In the linked paper above, equation 15 is not based on anything ("Again, using the logic from equation (4), the position-momentum relation is written as"). Look at the difference between equation 11 which is a valid expression of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and equation 15 which is not: \delta x * \delta p >= h. (11)

                \delta x * \delta p >= h_{\delta} * \delta t. (15)

                Where did that \delta t come from? Why are we to suppose that h_{\delta} is a constant? Another leap of logic is to then assign \delta E = (\delta x * \delta p)/\delta t (in (17)), and claim that there is a minimum energy step as a result.

                The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is a special case of a general idea [wikipedia.org] involving the Fourier transform of noncommuting operators (the momentum p and the energy E are Fourier transforms of the respective position x and time t). This Fourier transform is unique (meaning the transform can be reversed and the inverse Fourier transform also happens to be unique). Energy E already has a Fourier transform t. It can't also have a different second Fourier transform of a constant h. Thus, the inequality of (17) doesn't have a basis in the Fourier transform unlike the other inequalities.

                Of course, this is due to a traditional quantum model that is unlikely to hold at extremely small scales of x and t. It is possible that there is a minimum energy step (a discretization of energy) and it may well be your adjusted h in size (as a cycle), but this has not been shown.

                Any new, better model, discretized or not, will need to have some sort of Fourier-like transform appearing at the macroscopic level. One big caution is that due to relativity, we are unlikely to have a nice grid pattern of parameters like position and momentum, possibly time and energy too. There will probably be strong limits to what we can discretize.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @03:41PM (12 children)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @03:41PM (#1130779)

                  The SI units of h are J*sec, if you don't even know that I wont bother with the rest.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @04:28PM (11 children)

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @04:28PM (#1130804) Journal
                    You aren't saying anything relevant.
                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @05:29PM (10 children)

                      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @05:29PM (#1130845)

                      How did I move the unit of cycles from where they don't exist?

                      The problem is that those units are missing from *both* h and f.

                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:57AM (9 children)

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:57AM (#1131061) Journal

                        The problem is that those units are missing from *both* h and f.

                        Which is fine as long as they are either both missing or both present. Multiply and divide by the same unit cancels.

                        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:34AM (8 children)

                          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:34AM (#1131071)

                          No, it is not fine if the cycle unit is missing. It misleads people to interpret the equations incorrectly.

                          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @08:10AM (7 children)

                            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @08:10AM (#1131117) Journal

                            No, it is not fine if the cycle unit is missing.

                            What's missing about a "cycle unit" that automatically cancels out? It's never present in the first place!

                            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @11:46AM (1 child)

                              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @11:46AM (#1131150)

                              It doesn't "automatically cancel out".

                              We choose the units of the constant so that it does. And those units tell us the meaning of the constant.

                              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:23PM

                                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:23PM (#1131224) Journal

                                It doesn't "automatically cancel out".

                                We choose the units of the constant so that it does.

                                It would not be E= hf, otherwise.

                            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @01:24PM (4 children)

                              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @01:24PM (#1131182)

                              By dropping cycles from the units of frequency you have changed the meaning of Planck's constant (and probably others as well).

                              All the math works out the same but now everyone is confused about what the numbers mean so everything seems "spooky" and non-intuitive.

                              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:26PM

                                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:26PM (#1131226) Journal

                                By dropping cycles from the units of frequency you have changed the meaning of Planck's constant (and probably others as well).

                                All the math works out the same but now everyone is confused about what the numbers mean so everything seems "spooky" and non-intuitive.

                                "All the math works out the same" says it all. This is irrelevant to the model and the math of that model.

                              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:36PM (2 children)

                                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:36PM (#1131235) Journal
                                Sorry, trying this again.

                                By dropping cycles from the units of frequency you have changed the meaning of Planck's constant (and probably others as well).

                                No, we haven't!

                                All the math works out the same but now everyone is confused about what the numbers mean so everything seems "spooky" and non-intuitive.

                                "All the math works out the same" says it all. This is irrelevant to the model and the math of that model.

                                I can't believe there's all this noise over a simple two factor equation, much less in a rocket discussion where even the equation is completely irrelevant. Let me guess, this was all about just dropping a link to that paper?

                                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:09PM (1 child)

                                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:09PM (#1131247)

                                  The units of a constant tell you what it represents.

                                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:54PM

                                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:54PM (#1131270) Journal

                                    The units of a constant tell you what it represents.

                                    Again, irrelevant since it doesn't matter if "cycles" is or isn't part of those units.

            • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday March 29 2021, @08:00PM (3 children)

              by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @08:00PM (#1130894)

              Don't bother.

              That A/C is a flat earther, and is attempting to prove the earth is flat and that we don't know how rockets work. (Or something. He's a weirdo)

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @11:49AM (2 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @11:49AM (#1131153)

                No one mentioned flat earth or rockets not working. You might be the dumbest person posting here, dumber than deathmonkey who can do nothing but parrot talking points. You parrot standard "debunkings" about unrelated topics.

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:38PM (1 child)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:38PM (#1131236) Journal
                  Even if that were somehow true, it doesn't mean that PartTimeZombie got this wrong. It's pretty weird to bring up the completely irrelevant photoelectric model in a discussion about rockets. Flat Earthing is a good explanation for the weirdness.
                  • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday March 30 2021, @09:30PM

                    by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @09:30PM (#1131372)

                    Its why he posts as A/C. I believe politicians call it "plausible deniability".

        • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Monday March 29 2021, @02:32PM (3 children)

          by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @02:32PM (#1130756)
          We have very few rovers but lots and lots of people. Why don't we stop with the rovers and start sending people instead. Eventually one group will manage to not die. Probably.
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @03:20PM (2 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @03:20PM (#1130774) Journal

            Why don't we stop with the rovers and start sending people instead. Eventually one group will manage to not die.

            Odds are good that it'll be the first group too that survives. We have figured out problems like this before. Rovers have their place, when they are used sensibly. But sending one or two rovers roughly every decade is not such use.

            Unmanned vehicle use in the Apollo Program is instructive. They sent 21 probe missions (7 impactors (plus two that failed on liftoff), 5 to the Moon as part of the Apollo program over an eight year period (1961-1968), 5 [wikipedia.org]orbiters [wikipedia.org], and 6 landers [wikipedia.org]) to scout out potential landing sites. Mars has longer waits between launch windows (2 years instead of a month), but the above tempo would still be feasible.

            Any effective attempt to land people will likely have a surge of unmanned missions prior to the first person landing, just because they'll need lots of information that isn't gathered now! And a number of plans for manned missions involve working unmanned infrastructure (like a methane extraction plant or deployed power plants, solar or nuclear) before the first manned mission launches.

            Let's not make the mistake that we're doing anything concrete towards manned exploration of Mars at present. It's hobby level. Hopefully, SLS will die in the next decade without replacement, and we can refocus the world's resources better towards important goals like eventual space colonization.

            • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Tuesday March 30 2021, @02:18PM (1 child)

              by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @02:18PM (#1131203)
              Again though, landers are really expensive, people are a dime a dozen. Hell, you can hardly swing a dead cat and avoid hitting a few. It would be cheaper and faster to just lob humans at the rusty rock than expensive tech. Heck, we could rename the planet Marstralia and start sending prisoners. That would be a net profit!
              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:40PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:40PM (#1131238) Journal
                The joke is ruined by noting that the cost of getting people off of Earth's surface alone is pretty expensive. You've already done much of the work of a proper mission.
        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday March 29 2021, @04:59PM

          by Freeman (732) on Monday March 29 2021, @04:59PM (#1130830) Journal

          While I admit I'm one of those people that say, there's not much benefit or possibly any direct benefit to the population of Earth for sending some to Mars. An agency like NASA needs serious popular backing from the people of the country and those in charge and for those in charge to be serious about going to Mars. That happened with the Moon for a lot of reasons, but there is no driving purpose behind a mission to Mars. That is why the most likely candidate to actually make it to Mars is SpaceX. NASA might actually tag along once SpaceX has made it, but only because SpaceX already made it. Same story for the Moon. There's no money in getting to the Moon or Mars. There's plenty of money to had for saying you're going to build a rocket that could take you to the Moon / Mars, though. At a mere $1B per launch or whatever. NASA could have been there, could be leading, but hasn't and isn't. The rest of the rocket / space agencies in the world barely stack up in comparison. Russia's space agency has a serious legacy, but that is all they have, sadly. China doesn't have the legacy, but may get there. In the meantime SpaceX is hitting milestone after milestone and is seriously on track, more than any other agency or space company in the world.

          --
          Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday March 29 2021, @11:42AM (13 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @11:42AM (#1130680) Journal

        How many more decades of "learning with probes" will we have to endure? At some point, survival of the first human will have to rely heavily on that first mission.

        Patience, khallow, that higher ground is not yet ready to start pooping onto it.
        Better do something about burning fossils on Earth first - maybe humanity will borrow enough time to get there

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @03:28PM (12 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @03:28PM (#1130777) Journal

          Better do something about burning fossils on Earth first - maybe humanity will borrow enough time to get there

          Didn't you just write [soylentnews.org]:

          True. 'xcept the storage prices come down fast lately and then one can move in storing all that's needed and feed-in nothing. Totally achievable with the rooftop area available. We're early on in the process; once it picks up speed it will accelerate the downfall into the death spiral for power utilities - the more money you try to squeeze, the less participants to squeeze will choose to stay with you.

          Sounds like the box is checked off already.

          So why shouldn't we be tackling more interesting problems now?

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday March 29 2021, @04:30PM (11 children)

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @04:30PM (#1130806) Journal

            Sounds like the box is checked off already.

            On the way there, the story didn't end.

            So why shouldn't we be tackling more interesting problems now?

            True, true. [youtube.com]
            Like, how you get there enough power generation to support even a small human colony of a dozen?

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @04:54PM (10 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @04:54PM (#1130825) Journal

              On the way there, the story didn't end.

              We weren't going to Mars next Tuesday either. Sounds like if you're right, then the fossil fuel problem will be long gone by the time we get to Mars, even if we hurry up Mars activities right now.

              Like, how you get there enough power generation to support even a small human colony of a dozen?

              Like solar power? Sounds like you Aussies already have that figured out.

              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday March 29 2021, @09:46PM (9 children)

                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @09:46PM (#1130930) Journal

                Like solar power? Sounds like you Aussies already have that figured out.

                Now compute how many SLS-loads worth of solar panels one needs to get on Mars for a decent power budget and how long it will take given the Boeing speed of producing them (grin)

                --
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:45AM (8 children)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:45AM (#1131075) Journal

                  Now compute how many SLS-loads worth of solar panels one needs to get on Mars for a decent power budget and how long it will take given the Boeing speed of producing them (grin)

                  How about if someone else, more SpaceX-like makes them instead? Fuck Boeing. Their waste isn't going to get us anywhere.

                  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 30 2021, @05:47AM (7 children)

                    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @05:47AM (#1131089) Journal

                    Ok, get on with that back of the napkin computation.

                    Given the first thing the... say... 25 colonist will need are shelters and that they're likely need to be protected by a layer of martian soil fast (not enough atmosphere and no magnetic field to protect against the radiation), probs 500kW installed power would be a minimum - soil is a bitch to move and compact. If what they say is true - some water present - drying it up to avoid corrosion may require even more.

                    --
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @08:06AM (6 children)

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @08:06AM (#1131114) Journal

                      probs 500kW installed power would be a minimum

                      I think more like 100 kW base load, but let's go with the above. On Earth, one can get roughly 1 kW of solar generation capacity for 100 kg of mass, including mounting infrastructure, (see here [energysage.com] for some numbers). Solar influx is halved for the more distant Mars, so that goes up to 1 KW for 200 kg (or 0.2 metric tons) of mass using said inefficient Earth system. 2000 kW of such capacity (using the rule of thumb that a quarter of that would base load power) would be 2000 kW*0.2 mT/kW=400 metric tons which isn't that much mass for a 25 person staff (I'd budget 100-200 mT per person for food, gear, spacecraft, shielding, and the above power generation).

                      So just buying Earth-side solar power systems off the shelf and putting them on rockets, means you can get a large amount of generating power for surprisingly little mass.

                      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 30 2021, @08:46AM (5 children)

                        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @08:46AM (#1131130) Journal

                        Admitting the cargo is dropped in advance and the 25 get there afterwards - extra protection against radiation for more than 1 year journey, food, water, air etc will amount for something - how many SpaceX rockets for the PV alone?

                        --
                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @09:27AM (4 children)

                          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @09:27AM (#1131138) Journal
                          If they're using Falcon 9s, they probably could get a ratio of 20 tons of cargo and 40 tons of propellant/booster (I'm going with chemical propulsion on a Falcon 9 upper stage). So 60 Falcon 9 launches would handle putting that stuff in Mars orbit. It still needs to get to the ground near the desired landing point on Mars and some payloads would be lost. My take though is that you probably can get it done in 100 launches from Earth. using present day launch technology. At $80 mil per, that's $8 billion in launch costs (ignoring significant economies of scale).
                          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 30 2021, @11:22AM (3 children)

                            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @11:22AM (#1131145) Journal

                            Batteries (yet to be invented - few chemistries -100C over the Martian night, cabling, equipment for transporting them in place (I doubt that the precision of Mars drops would be less than 10km radius) and assembly. And that's just the power.

                            Air, water, short term shelter, food, recycling facilities. Protective equipment - you ain't gonna be able to repair the spacelike suits soon. Local comms, transponders, satellite dish for orbit.
                            Binders to make bricks/beams/etc from Mars soil. Mini-earth moving equipment for building permanent shelters.
                            Medicine/bandages, surgical equip, sterilizers, etc. - get to the closest hospital in about a year travel time.
                            Entertainment - they'll be isolated.

                            Mate, we aren't going to see them in our life time. The programme is gonna take longer than two election cycles and the govts will interfere.

                            --
                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:31PM (2 children)

                              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:31PM (#1131231) Journal
                              So you're telling me that the problem is hard, it might require a lot of mass from Earth, and someone will probably need to work to get that stuff to work? Who knew?

                              I'll just note that there are people who deal with hard space problems now, we have launch vehicles capable of putting the necessary mass into space now, and it's going to be a 25 person settlement, which means we would have some man-power out there with which to put stuff together when we'll need it put together.
                              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 30 2021, @09:21PM (1 child)

                                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @09:21PM (#1131364) Journal

                                I'm telling you that is going to be a "super slow exploration".

                                --
                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday March 31 2021, @04:25PM

                                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 31 2021, @04:25PM (#1131668) Journal
                                  "Super slow" compared to a few token unmanned missions a decade? No way.
    • (Score: 2) by Socrastotle on Monday March 29 2021, @04:29AM (11 children)

      by Socrastotle (13446) on Monday March 29 2021, @04:29AM (#1130608) Journal

      What do you have in mind? I know of nothing we've discovered that would have doomed an otherwise well prepared mission. Many of the things we're learning about have more to do with long term colonization of the planet, which humans on the planet could be doing better and exponentially faster. Keep in mind that the first people on Mars will be living in the ship that brings them there, most likely for the entirety of their trip. And if they can survive in the dangers of space in that ship, they can survive in the relative utopia of Mars' surface in it.

      The prerequisites that actually exist are stuff that NASA has had 50 years to begin working on, and still hasn't started. The most obvious and critical here is retropulsive landing, similar how to SpaceX lands its boosters on Earth today. With the Rube Goldbergian machinations they continue to use to land rovers, you have extremely brittle systems that have negligible payload capacities.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @06:31AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @06:31AM (#1130639) Journal

        With the Rube Goldbergian machinations they continue to use to land rovers, you have extremely brittle systems that have negligible payload capacities.

        The technology demonstration issue is a real problem here. Little of what they're doing now can translate over to a manned mission - such as airbags of the Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover missions and the present sky crane used by Curiosity and Perseverance. Those technologies will only be used a few times each. Any serious manned effort will have to develop from scratch landing (and many other) technologies, but they will be used dozens or more times.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @06:36AM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @06:36AM (#1130641)

        Any mission to mars has a built in 18 month stay without resupply or ability to return. That imposes severe minimum requirements for manned operations. The biggest problem is lack of budget, due to NASA being used as a vehicle to shove money at Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The Space Shuttle, Constellation, and now SLS, have all been hideously and needlessly expensive drains on NASA's science and exploration departments over the last 40 years. In every case that expense was imposed through political machinations to the detriment of science. Deliberation is a hard requirement for anything done in space, but it becomes much more difficult when you are hamstrung by a shoestring budget.

        • (Score: 2) by Socrastotle on Monday March 29 2021, @08:56AM (2 children)

          by Socrastotle (13446) on Monday March 29 2021, @08:56AM (#1130669) Journal

          I increasingly feel like this is claiming that the biggest problem with our education system is a lack of budget. [ed.gov] If you don't get my cynicism there, check the link. We spend more on education/capita than nearly anywhere in the world. Even "poor" districts in the US tend to have greater economic resources than well to do schools in most other countries, including those having far better educational outcomes than we are. So obviously there's a problem besides money.

          And so too for NASA. How much do you think the Apollo program cost? It cost $25.4 billion in 1973 dollars. That's about $150 billion dollars inflation adjusted. And that was spent over a period of 12 years (1961-1972). That's an average of $12.5 billion per year to go from basically no knowledge of human spaceflight, whatsoever, to walking on the moon. And today NASA's budget is $23.3 billion per year. That is damn sure not a "shoe-string budget." And they have the detailed recorded knowledge of absolutely everything we learned what's now 60 years ago. I mean even if they've lost all ability to innovate, they should at least be able to clone successes of sixties NASA for far less.

          I agree with you that the SLS, and other more general forms of corruption, are complete and utter wastes of money. But at the same time, you also can't just handwave away NASA's problems because of some pork. They're nothing but a shell of the organization that achieved great things a half century ago. The same organization that put a man on the moon in the past, is now trying to get people hyped about the launch of a toy drone on Mars. It's just getting somewhat absurd.

          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @12:17PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @12:17PM (#1130693)

            That is what the procedures of the US government optomizes.

            It takes something cheap and useful then over time makes it expensive and worthless. See college degrees and healthcare.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:14PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:14PM (#1130712)

              Fortunately that's where for-profit universities like Trump U and Liberty step in. The invisible hand reaches around and grabs the pussy.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @04:49PM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @04:49PM (#1130821) Journal

          Any mission to mars has a built in 18 month stay without resupply or ability to return. That imposes severe minimum requirements for manned operations.

          They're not that severe. It's just mass.

          The biggest problem is lack of budget, due to NASA being used as a vehicle to shove money at Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

          In other words, NASA gets an adequate budget, it's just flushed on bad efforts as Socrastotle noted.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:20AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:20AM (#1131053)

            Mass costs money to deliver and they have payload limits to consider. SLS block 1 is expected to put 57k pounds into lunar orbit for 'only' $2 billion, and they hope to be able to launch once per year once they get production issues sorted out. That is over $35k per pound and only covers launch costs. Payload to Mars should be even less for the same money, and that one launch per year also covers lunar missions and other deep space operations. At that cadence and with a Mars launch window every 18 months then we can expect at most one Mars launch every three years. There are reasons that NASA is talking about going to Mars in the 2030's at the soonest. Frankly the 2040's is probably overly optimistic.

            For comparison: Assuming worst case pricing of $100 million per launch and limited to a single tower, for the same price as one SLS launch SpaceX should be able to launch 10 Starships, and 1 Starship tanker ten times, sending 1500 tonnes, or 3.3 million pounds, to Mars each 18 month window. That is the difference that flushing your money has on how much mass you can send.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:14AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:14AM (#1131067) Journal

              For comparison: Assuming worst case pricing of $100 million per launch and limited to a single tower, for the same price as one SLS launch SpaceX should be able to launch 10 Starships, and 1 Starship tanker ten times, sending 1500 tonnes, or 3.3 million pounds, to Mars each 18 month window. That is the difference that flushing your money has on how much mass you can send.

              And IMHO SpaceX could do that with a few year build up. No screwing around for another 30 years, start making it happen in say the 2024 launch window (there's a lot of build up that needs to be done to any serious Mars effort, including technology demonstrations).

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Monday March 29 2021, @02:16PM (2 children)

        by HiThere (866) on Monday March 29 2021, @02:16PM (#1130744) Journal

        There's a problem with the 2 year lag in supplies arriving once you know you need them.

        We don't yet have a "nearly closed ecosystem" for use in space. And it's both really slow and really expensive to send mass that far. This is one reason a Lunar base would make sense as a first step, even though it probably couldn't develop into something self-sufficient. (Well, actually it could, but it will take many more advances before it's practical.)

        FWIW, my eventual goal is mobile cities in space with "nearly closed ecosystems". Nearly closed enough that they can "live off the land". And don't think of mobile as fast. To avoid problems with meteors, etc. they will need to travel at close to the rate of the local drift, but to keep entering new areas with unused resources they'll need to travel at a slightly different speed. I'd like them to live in the Oort clouds until they decide to take off for other areas, but that will probably require controlled fusion. (Don't think James Blish, think George Zebrowski...but he put more speed on his Megalife than I think plausible.) And my answer to Fermi's paradox is that once they've lived a few decades in a space city, nobody wants to live on a planet. (But we might look for abandoned mines out in the Oort clouds.)

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @06:39PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @06:39PM (#1130883)

          A manned moon base can never be fully self-sufficient as there is no known source of chlorine, but you are correct that it is ideal both for practice and as a supply base for the materials it can provide. All airless bodies have similar issues. Mars can become self-sufficient given time but that is another major hurdle on its own.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:42AM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:42AM (#1131073) Journal

            A manned moon base can never be fully self-sufficient as there is no known source of chlorine

            While it is presently unknown, my take is that there's probably deep crust sources of chlorine in the Moon. All that volcanism is chemically similar to volcanism on Earth (which often has a lot of chlorine and fluorine in it, such as at Iceland), and we know from the dispersion of some lava eruptions on the Moon, that at one point it did have considerable volatiles in the magma source to cause that dispersion. So it is reasonable to expect that some of these volatiles are still trapped in the Moon or chemically bonded to igneous rock.

            A stronger case can be made for hydrogen and nitrogen which both are similarly scarce on the Moon's surface, but required in far greater quantities.

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:09PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:09PM (#1130441)

    Moron.. the results clearly demonstrate that it only rains every 50 years on Mars. Elon's going to be drinking his piss and wishing he'd stayed on Earth.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @06:40AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @06:40AM (#1130642)

      Every astronaut that stays on the ISS is drinking their own piss, but they've all been so impressed by the view that nobody seems to have noticed. I think Elon will be fine as long as he stays away from the Flavor-aid.

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by RS3 on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:15PM (2 children)

    by RS3 (6367) on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:15PM (#1130443)

    So a cubic foot of soil gets you about a liter of water.

    Stated another way, a cubic meter of soil gets you about 37.31662711 quarts of water.

    (large grin!)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @05:07AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @05:07AM (#1130616)

      Liter and foot are are both regularly used in America, so it creates a nice clean metric that people can also intuitively understand the scale of.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:16PM (#1130714)

        It helps that a liter jug is about the same as a foot.

  • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:53PM (1 child)

    by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:53PM (#1130460)

    I seem to remember Steve Squyres saying that if he were on the planet he could do a rover's sol's work in 45 seconds.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:17PM (#1130715)

      If Steve Squyres were to go back in time 500 years, he would be the smartest man in the world.