[ExI] one way ticket to mars

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Tue Apr 23 14:17:12 UTC 2013

On Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 07:04:38AM -0700, spike wrote:

> Ja.  The closest thing I saw to a plausible round trip mission was Robert
> Zubrin's Mars Direct approach, which does a lot of this.  It proposes
> soft-landing with a vehicle, then setting up a facility using indigenous
> materials and manufacturing the fuel for a return flight from these

It seems a somewhat paleofuture way of doing this.

> materials.  Interesting, but I couldn't convince myself that the reliability
> model closes.  If I signed up for such a mission, I would try like hell to
> make it work, but would quietly treat it as a one way trip, go thru the
> stages of grief for losing myself before I ever left home.
> I am seeing this 3D printing technology taking off however.  I can vaguely
> imagine landing some 3D printers on Mars, making the factory with that, then

The Moon is much better suitable for this. There's really not much
difference between 0 mbar and 6 mbar, in terms of design. It's just
added nuisance (wind drag, dust). And half the insolation to boot,
plus no crater rims of eternal sunlight, right next to the
volatiles cryotrap. Much smaller gravity well. Etc. 

> having a return rocket mostly assembled before the humans arrive.  Another
> likely scenario has humans inserted into Mars synchronous orbit, never

In case of the Earth, you never have to leave your armchair.
24/7 operation by way of rotating through the time zones.

> landing on the surface, but staying there a couple years to operate
> semi-autonomous equipment on the ground.

Once you've got the Moon, Mars is a cakewalk.

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