[extropy-chat] MARS: Because it is hard

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Apr 14 10:23:29 UTC 2004

On Wed, Apr 14, 2004 at 01:42:04PM +0930, Emlyn ORegan wrote:

> It seems as though it'll be really hard to put physically capable people
> on the surface of Mars, and they'll only be necessary as very flexible
> labour (putting fallen over wheeled devices back on their feet, that
> kind of thing).

It's important to point out that until usable onion-skin suits have been
developed, we're talking full zero-volume-delta suits, with life support.
Such things are barely usable on the Moon. It would require making them much
lighter for Mars.

It is far easier to drive a humanoid/wheeled centaur type telepresence
vehicle from within a base.
> This ties in with something about the trip; ie: that you not only need
> to speed up, but you need to slow down. Machines can possibly land
> pretty hard and otherwise require far less babying across the void. But

This is an important point to make. We can make hardware hardy enough to
survive a launch from an artillery shell. This implies that both launch and
landing deccelerations can be very high. Transit times can be long enough to
warrant electric propulsion for transfer LEO-LMO (you only deccelerate
shortly before you've deorbited sufficiently to implant in the next
prominent piece of terrain. 

> people are problematic. If you could minimize this, by leaving the
> people in space, and perhaps in a very far orbit (?), then maybe you
> could even keep a lot of your velocity for the trip back... so you get
> something like "fire off from the moon base (from a big
> slingshot/cannon?), adjust and orbit Mars (wide!) then adjust again and
> fling straight back to the moon/earth. It seems like that might shorten
> the trip in both directions (no slowing down) and minimize the fuel
> (whatever form) required (minimal stopping and restarting, no climbing
> down and up gravity wells). 

I once again point out that people can stay at home in case of the Moon. Once
the teleoperation hardware has bootstrapped enough resources on Luna we have
massive launch capacities. Also, due to increased automation bootstrapped
lunar hardware (with microgravity mods) can be easily used for making
habitats on Phobos/Deimos.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07078, 11.61144            http://www.leitl.org
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http://moleculardevices.org         http://nanomachines.net
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