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06-01-2016, 12:44 AM #97
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Benm
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

Quote:
 Originally Posted by InfinitusEquitas For a return trip to be feasible you would need to essentially recreate that kind of operation on Mars itself. Since that's not possible, it means putting a return capable vehicle there to begin with, which would also be very expensive. Mars gravity is much lower, but it would still present a problem.
That isn't that big of a problem really. Lets look at the escape velocities for earth, mars, and the moon (since the latter has actually been done as a return flight serveral times).

earth: 11.2 km/s
mars: 5.0 km/s
moon: 2.4 km/s

This differences may not seem that large, but to accelarte something to a certain speed, you need the cube of that speed to calculate the energy required (as in E = m . v^2).

To escape from the moon you only need about 5% compared to what is required to escape from earth. For mars this figure is about 20%. So you'd have to transfer 20% of the launch mass on earth to mars to make it a return mission.

20% is still a lot since it has to be carried all the way to mars and cannot be ditched like the first stage(s) or a normal launch, but it's also FAR from having to rebuild the -entire- thing you had on earth on mars.

Another factor that helps is that mars has almost no atmosphere so you get less friction when taking off there. It's not a huge component, but it helps when leaving (but complicates things when arriving).

These things can be interesting: If gravity on earth was 20% higher that it actually is, it would be impossible to escape with a 3 or even 4 stage chemically powered rocket.

As far as micro-meteorites and such go: They are a problem, but mainly in earth orbit due to debris of our own creation. In medium or low orbit this poses a problem to sattelites that often lose 1% per year of solar cells due to impact with objects.

The upside is that they are mostly tiny, sub-millimetre particles. Even at very high speeds they only make very small holes in flexible materials as long as they don't tear. The damage would be comparable to stabbing a syringe needle all the way through: in case that would happen to an ISS module the hole(s) could literally be sealed with a piece of chewing gum.

In case one passed through you chances are you would survive that too: having a sub-millemeter hole through your body actually will not usually kill you, unless it was through a very critical piece of tissue like an artery in your brain. If it went through your leg it'd probably hurt like hell but possibly be fixed by 2 bandages.

06-01-2016, 01:12 AM #98
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VirtueViolater
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

Wasn't in a space Oddesy 2001 that a micro meteorite shot through the ship and an astronauts hand?
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Last edited by VirtueViolater; 06-01-2016 at 01:13 AM.

06-01-2016, 01:56 AM #99
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Hap
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

I agree with IE. We should first try and set up bases on the Moon as this is an environment we are more familiar with, plus it's closer to home!

-Alex
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06-01-2016, 02:56 AM #100
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InfinitusEquitas
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

@Benm, That's a very interesting point on escape velocities, the relative fuel mass required to obtain them.

However that doesn't take into account the rest of the return trip, the required life support systems, and the rest of the mechanics. For example, even for the moon, with it being in earth's orbit, a lander was used as well as module that never left orbit, to get the astronauts back to earth.

With Mars, you could possibly leave a module in orbit, but it would be vastly different in scope from the lunar CSM.

It's not that I think a mission with a return isn't possible, it's more that with current technology it would still be cost prohibitive, as compared to landing people on mars and continuously supplying them by dropping in supplies again and again. It's strictly a question of resources, and a manned mission with a return, right now, is not something the US would take on, which is a shame.

An alternative to address these issues, coming courtesy of watching and reading too much scifi, would be some form of stasis, but while there's been some progress in cooling people down to preserve higher level functions in the event of severe trauma, there still hasn't been progress to a suspended state in a healthy individual with risks far outweighing the benefits.

The way I personally see things developing, is 10 years from now we still won't have men on mars, but we will have colonized it with many drones, in setup for human habitation. Robots have progressed immensely over the past ~10 years, and in another 10 there is a better than fair chance that we will have drones that will be able to carry out tasks physically, as complicated as those carried out by humans now, and with fewer constraints.

Another "option" for space exploration is the transference of our consciousnesses to artificial bodies. No need for more extensive life support, just power, and replacement parts.

Yet another, would be if we were able to not only transfer ourselves into avatars of some form, but do so from a distance, OR on a simpler level, simply control drones remotely. Time lag due to distance, even with Mars already becomes and issue, but even so, highly complicated tasks can be completed on earth under human control, and replicated exactly on mars, given a controlled setting.

06-01-2016, 03:39 AM #101
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Hap
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

Do any of you guys feel like getting rid of space debris may also be a good idea? We've already polluted a lot of Earth's surface(although evidence shows it could recover) but in space, that might takes awhile to disappear.

Would clearing up all the junk we have around Earth even be possible? Clearing it sure would help launch vehicles and avoid any sort of collision. I also believe that if we, as a species, are serious about exploring space that money should be ruled out. I mean, the cost of all these materials is what is prohibiting us from all the interesting stuff we could learn! I am in no way capable of understanding the vast and difficult world of economics, policies and international trades etc... but if I were to be in a position of power within a country, would at least support it!

-Alex
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"Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?" -Bob Marley
"The stars should fall and the earth be riddled, imagine all your problems be seem so little, funny how the world so brittle." -Tribal Seeds
“The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” -Carl Sagan
You are important: Pale Blue Dot

Last edited by Hap; 06-01-2016 at 03:39 AM.

06-01-2016, 03:53 AM #102
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InfinitusEquitas
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

There are a bunch of proposals on doing it, and it is a big problem, but nothing has been done as of yet. Space Junk Clean Up: 7 Wild Ways to Destroy Orbital Debris

The economics of space exploration are as you say way too complicated, and unfortunately while NASA and similar agencies do recruit some incredible minds, many more are lost to more financially lucrative industries.

NASA funding just isn't a priority anymore, also because the developments can be copied with astonishing speed by competing governments. IMO it is still worth the investment, as NASA has paid for itself many many times over.

The bigger issue is we literally have a dumbed down populace that is incapable of seeing the long term picture, and value in scientific investments, which is only being pushed forward more by the no child left behind system that was created during the bush jr era.

We have kids coming out school who have little passion for learning and really only learn how to take standardized tests, and very few, comparatively, with any true passion for learning, exploration and scientific research. This will only get worse in the years to come, and programs like NASA will suffer as interest in them continues to decline.

The only viable path to true space exploration, is through a cooperative international effort, which would require unprecedented levels of cooperation between world governments. Good luck explaining to say russia, that you want to use one of their rockets to launch a satellite, that's actually a satellite killer.

06-01-2016, 03:55 AM #103
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Rivem
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Hap Do any of you guys feel like getting rid of space debris may also be a good idea? We've already polluted a lot of Earth's surface(although evidence shows it could recover) but in space, that might takes awhile to disappear. Would clearing up all the junk we have around Earth even be possible? Clearing it sure would help launch vehicles and avoid any sort of collision. I also believe that if we, as a species, are serious about exploring space that money should be ruled out. I mean, the cost of all these materials is what is prohibiting us from all the interesting stuff we could learn! I am in no way capable of understanding the vast and difficult world of economics, policies and international trades etc... but if I were to be in a position of power within a country, would at least support it! -Alex
I support space debris removal too. Not quite sure how we should do it, but it's a delicate situation that we should probably get on top of while we can. Better to avoid a future where we can't get into space without serious risk.

Tons of methods have been suggested as ways to clear debris, but here's a relevant one: The Mad Plan to Clean Up Space Junk With a Laser Cannon | WIRED

Personally, I feel like we should try to catch old materials and bunch them into a ball of material for future space-based construction.
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06-01-2016, 05:33 PM #104
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Trendkilla254
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

One day there will be so much space debris it will be confused for a dyson sphere. (I know, it's not actually a dyson sphere... it was a joke)
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06-01-2016, 05:54 PM #105
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VirtueViolater
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

Possibly a ring (s)
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06-01-2016, 06:54 PM #106
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Hap
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

It's crazy to think we haven't been to the Moon, in what? 40 years or something like that? Also crazy that money is being spent on war instead of on science and trying to understand the world around us. Plus, finding out cool stuff we didn't know is always awesome!

I don't think we'll be going to any planets soon. 2030's? Possibly, but wouldn't make that a guarantee. We can manage the Moon somewhat, but another planet is a whole other field. Growing a civilization on Mars won't be happening for awhile I think.

-Alex
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"Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?" -Bob Marley
"The stars should fall and the earth be riddled, imagine all your problems be seem so little, funny how the world so brittle." -Tribal Seeds
“The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” -Carl Sagan
You are important: Pale Blue Dot

06-01-2016, 08:11 PM #107
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

the moon will be the first body out side the our atmosphere that we colonize because its is basically a one day shot to the moon. Second is that nasa is already working on some big motors to get us to mars so using one to get the moon will be a piece of cake
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06-01-2016, 08:59 PM #108
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InfinitusEquitas
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

Well, it's a very high likelihood that they will launch to Mars from earth orbit. Would not be a stretch at all to instead utilize the moon as a staging area, given the lower gravity.

06-01-2016, 09:15 PM #109
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Hap
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

What else should we talk about?

Lovin' these kinds of topics! Do you guys believe in the alleged Planet X? Planet 9 which comes by every million years and causes mass extinctions?

-Alex
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450nm: Z-Bolt BLP-5-S 6mW
405nm: Carolina Violet Laser Pointer 3mW

"Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?" -Bob Marley
"The stars should fall and the earth be riddled, imagine all your problems be seem so little, funny how the world so brittle." -Tribal Seeds
“The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” -Carl Sagan
You are important: Pale Blue Dot

06-01-2016, 09:56 PM #110
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Hap What else should we talk about? Lovin' these kinds of topics! Do you guys believe in the alleged Planet X? Planet 9 which comes by every million years and causes mass extinctions? -Alex
Not too worried about it. I'm more worried about Yellowstone wiping out half of the US in the future.
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06-01-2016, 10:04 PM #111
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Pi R Squared
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Hap What else should we talk about? Lovin' these kinds of topics! Do you guys believe in the alleged Planet X? Planet 9 which comes by every million years and causes mass extinctions? -Alex
It's more likely we will get struck by an asteroid, let's hope it's a very small one.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Razako Not too worried about it. I'm more worried about Yellowstone wiping out half of the US in the future.
I agree, there are a number of natural disasters that could be catastrophic. Or war or some virus or something.

Alan
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06-01-2016, 10:18 PM #112
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InfinitusEquitas
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Re: Interstellar Space Travel

Well, one of the main arguments that resonates with people against spending on space travel, is that we have so many problems here on the ground. That tends to be the fallback position of many many people.

Especially now that private companies are starting to get in on the space exploration business.

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