The Space thread

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ghostrunner
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The Space thread

Post by ghostrunner »

I'm in the mood to post space stuff lately, and this sounds awesome if it can be done:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1 ... ?full=true

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Numbers
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Re: Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars

Post by Numbers »

That is cool

The one that has fascinated me most of the last couple of years is the idea of a space elevator, although I'd have to say there's not one chance in a million that I would ride that thing.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/space-elevator.htm

AJ

Re: Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars

Post by AJ »

I always love reading this stuff, we truely are on the infancy of space travel. I hope the human race makes it long enough to consider our first attempts of space travel primitive. I look forward to the day when space travel is on the forefront of the worlds governments agenda, I don't know if it will be in our lifetimes though. Have you guys read 3001?

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Re: Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars

Post by Arthur Dent »

I was just reading about that engine. Sounds very interesting, but as the article points out, you'd need an on board nuclear reactor for the 39 day thing, and a version of the drive 1000 times more powerful than what they have now. Non-trivial problems to say the least. Other major problems include the radiation dose from travel outside the Earth's magnetosphere. My understanding is that the moon astronauts got lucky on a much shorter journey. A Mars trip would require a very heavy shelter of some kind. Another big problem is the launch window. The Earth and Mars are only properly aligned for travel for a short time. This implies that most feasible round-trips would take on the order of years to complete. Being able to go really fast would increase the opportunities but not indefinitely. Traveling through space is not at all like travel on Earth since the origin and destination are in constant motion and you can't go in straight lines. With sufficient time and resources, these problems could likely be overcome, but I don't think people realize just how difficult and risky a manned Mars mission would be.

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Re: Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars

Post by Leroy »

Dent, it is thinking like this that has prevented us from discovering green slave women on faraway planets.

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Re: Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars

Post by Arthur Dent »

I was thinking about starting a thread on the craziest stuff you didn't know existed, but maybe this is the place to put this.

http://www.ted.com/talks/george_dyson_o ... orion.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Or ... pulsion%29

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Re: Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars

Post by JackofDiamonds »

Arthur Dent wrote:I was just reading about that engine. Sounds very interesting, but as the article points out, you'd need an on board nuclear reactor for the 39 day thing, and a version of the drive 1000 times more powerful than what they have now. Non-trivial problems to say the least. Other major problems include the radiation dose from travel outside the Earth's magnetosphere. My understanding is that the moon astronauts got lucky on a much shorter journey. A Mars trip would require a very heavy shelter of some kind. Another big problem is the launch window. The Earth and Mars are only properly aligned for travel for a short time. This implies that most feasible round-trips would take on the order of years to complete. Being able to go really fast would increase the opportunities but not indefinitely. Traveling through space is not at all like travel on Earth since the origin and destination are in constant motion and you can't go in straight lines. With sufficient time and resources, these problems could likely be overcome, but I don't think people realize just how difficult and risky a manned Mars mission would be.
From what I understand, all you need is a joystick and a powerboost.

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Re: Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars

Post by TimeForGuinness »

Arthur Dent wrote:I was just reading about that engine. Sounds very interesting, but as the article points out, you'd need an on board nuclear reactor for the 39 day thing, and a version of the drive 1000 times more powerful than what they have now. Non-trivial problems to say the least. Other major problems include the radiation dose from travel outside the Earth's magnetosphere. My understanding is that the moon astronauts got lucky on a much shorter journey. A Mars trip would require a very heavy shelter of some kind. Another big problem is the launch window. The Earth and Mars are only properly aligned for travel for a short time. This implies that most feasible round-trips would take on the order of years to complete. Being able to go really fast would increase the opportunities but not indefinitely. Traveling through space is not at all like travel on Earth since the origin and destination are in constant motion and you can't go in straight lines. With sufficient time and resources, these problems could likely be overcome, but I don't think people realize just how difficult and risky a manned Mars mission would be.

++

They've been pushing the ion engines for awhile now and are making some great progress on them. As for the shielding for the mission to Mars, it will have to be beefed up a lot more than the moon mission, but the electronics for the rovers survived, so maybe we can learn from that. I'm more worried about particles puncturing the spacecraft than anything else.

In terms of getting to Mars, the window is narrow for the shortest trip to Mars with current technology to achieve the necessary speed. The astronauts are basically launched at a trajectory to where Mars will be, not where it is. (You basically launch yourself into space and let Mars run into you). As of right now, they would probably do a few laps around the moon to gain the necessary speed (and also figure out if you need to abort) and slingshot themselves on the correct path to Mars. The ion engine would allow for a less risky approach/trajectory (larger launch window)...and could provide the necessary boost if Mars was undershot.

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Re: Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars

Post by Diddy »

so does the 20th group get left on Mars since it can only make 39 trips?

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Re: The Space thread

Post by ghostrunner »

figured this topic could use a catch-all thread

My new desktop:
[SHOW]
Image

Found this via io9. They're doing a ton of this kind of stuff lately. It's also where I found the Ion engine story.

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