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El Paso, TX, United States
Still Wondering What's Next? Anything at Anytime (I) has/have had a rough start to the year. Sorry for the delays in Posts and I Promise to do better. No Excuses as Life Must GO ON! So Keep an Eye Open... Oh, if you would like to follow on Twitter I am @DanWins2007.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Mars Colony? Is it Possible?

Anything at Anytime (I) has/have been Thinking.

Yeah, that is probably why most of you have been smelling wood or rubber burning.  Haha (I beat you all to the Punch! :P )

I am a Sci-Fi fan, Space Enthusiast (Dreamer), that believes the future of Man/Woman is Out Beyond where we are today.  It is in our nature to go look from the top of the next hill and see what is past our field of view.  We (as a People) move faster and further at a frenetic pace, constantly expanding our horizons in order to satisfy our innate curiosity.

Towards the End of President Bush's Term and at the beginning of President Obama's term, We as Americans and We as a People (World Wide) were informed of the End of a Bright Spot (my opinion) of Space Exploration and Scientific awakening.  We were informed of the End of the Space Shuttle Program for a newer Further Reaching Program called the Constellation Program.
(A bit about the Transition Process from NASA)

Great and Fantastic!  If we DO it???????

They - NASA will be stopping all Shuttle Flights in the near future and then Scrapping the Shuttle Program all together.  Sending the Shuttles we have to various Museums.

By now you are wondering where I am going so......

Last week doing my usual perusal of various Web news places I ran into a few articles about a few Scientist expressing their opinions about manned missions to Mars.  They had (again in my opinion a unique and realistic) idea about how we should go about it.  Their suggestion is talking about sending People to Mars with the knowledge that they would STAY on Mars.  (Here is a link to One of the better, well written articles about the proposal.)

I have been thinking about it a bit since I ran into the articles.  The type of thinker I am, I tend to think about how I would do it........ the hows, the whats, all of that stuff.  Again I am a Sci-Fi Nut and a Space Enthusiast but that does not mean in something like this (which is well within Our Capabilities NOW!) that I am not a Realist,  I am a Realist!

Before I go Further I would say this -- The Shuttle Program should not be Scrapped but Down Sized!  It (they, the shuttles) will be needed in this.  Shuttles would not play a major role in the beginning of a Mars Colonization Program but would be of use later.

What would we do with the Shuttles in the mean time?  That's the easy part.

First,  Perform a complete refit of all Shuttles - make sure all wiring, tiles, computers, tubing, Everything was in Perfect working order.

Second,  Launch them to the International Space Station (ISS from here on) and Turn them into Maintenance Vehicles and "Life Boats".

A few things that that accomplishes - Having the Shuttles as permanent "Life Boats" on the ISS allows a means for the crew of the ISS to secure themselves in another Safe sealed Environment if something should happen that makes the ISS incapable of providing Life Support.  If, if it can not be fixed then it provides the Crew the means to Return to Earth quickly without Delay.

Not using them as a "Life Boat" they could still be used as additional Crew Space.  More Scientist in Space to research and find whatever Great Minds find when Placed in Unique Environments for prolonged periods of time.

The Shuttles from the ISS could easily act as Maintenance Ships (like the USS Sierra AD-18 I served on in the Navy) to repair Satellites quickly with minimal delay and scheduling.  (How much Money would that save by itself?)  NASA could even Charge Civilian Companies that are in need of the Satellite Maintenance Services at a cheaper cost than it would be for those same Companies to have to replace those satellites.
Savings for the Companies means (or should mean) cheaper costs for Us.  Charging those Companies for the Services also means Additional funds for NASA.
I think you get where I am going with that.

One of the biggest questions that I see here - Fuel for the Shuttles, where would it be stored?
Well, I thought about that as well.  Fuel could be stored in a Balloon Storage that was "Tethered" to the ISS.  As I do not have all of the Technical Data, I can not be certain but I imagine that a unit like that could be "Tethered" at a safe distance and still be "Functional".

This keeps the Shuttles in Service and available for any other "Things" that could be seen as "Needing" those capabilities.  There is so much more that the Shuttles are Capable of that a capsule is not.

Back to the Mars Colonization:

I do not know how far the Scientist that suggested this went with the thought; however, I have been thinking about if a good bit.  In the above link to one of the articles, the article talks about sending supplies prior and building a stockpile.  That is definitely a must.  There is No way that the supplies needed would be able to be taken in "One Shot".

They Mention two missions of two people in order to get started - NOT ENOUGH!!!!!
The odds of finding a total of 4 people with the skills required is NUTS to say the least (and that is being kind).  Four people are not going to be able to do all that is required to insure success of the task.

To start with (Basics just to give you a Good Chance):

- Medical Personnel - 2 Doctors (knowledgeable in All aspects of Medicine) and 2 Nurses - in case any surgeries are required and One of the Doctors is the one sick or even Died.

- Engineers 2 or 3 insuring that the best plan of construction is taken and multiple projects worked on at one time.

- Horticulture 2 people well knowledgeable in, in order to provide fresh vegetables and food.

- Electricians 2 - with the amount of things that require electricity - this is a No Brainer

- General Laborers (preferably "Jacks-of-All-Trades") - Minimum of 6 - and all of the above not performing the assigned duties to double up and work as laborers to get projects accomplished in a timely fashion.

That totals 17 initial "Pioneers" so round that figure up to 20 needed in an initial Base Colony.
All Volunteers, KNOWING that there would be NO return Home.
Trying to think of the Ideal Beginning Colonist group - "Sea Bees" and Marines are the First ones that come to mind that would be able accept the hardships and overcome the obstacles that could and would arise in an endeavor such as this.

Facilities such as a Horticulture station, living quarters, water recycling facility and Solar Electrical station would all have to be the First things accomplished.
The next thing -- well maybe not the next thing but one I would suggest as a Minor Priority - a Runway and Launch rail.

Runway and Launch Rail?  Yes, as with a Runway flights from Shuttles could come in and land and bring additional supplies and materials to move on to the next step.  Additional People!
In the time it takes for the Colonist to get these facilities up and running the Shuttles could be retrofitted with a magnetic rail attachment that would interact with a Launch rail (Similar to the Magnetic rails working around the world today) so that once the shuttles have landed they could take off again coming back to Earth.

FYI -- the Shuttles can glide in our atmosphere but can not take off as they are bulky odd things; however, in an atmosphere that is much much thinner than ours and the escape velocity of Mars is so much weaker than here on earth  (Earth Escape Velocity = @ 11km/s, Mars Escape Velocity = 5km/s ) it would be an easy task to relaunch from the surface.

I have more.  Much, Much more on this topic and could make a living with this if I had only Finished my Degrees.

OH, and if you would like to know - If my daughters were in their 20s, I would be The First to Volunteer for a mission like this.

Imagine the Legacy that would leave!?!

Just a few thoughts on the matter.


  1. Thought provoking ideas... agree about the shuttles being used as "life boats" and for repairing of satellites. Reusing them saves $'s and time. The Mars mission sounds marvelous! Especially like the idea of Mars settlers being serviced by the shuttles - another use for them.

  2. Danny, Got a lot of time on your hands lately? Gee, all that thinking probably wore you out!

    I have no interest in going to Mars or even to the moon. I'd probably get shuttle sick!

    I'm coming to Texas on Monday to celebrate Thanksgiving with the grandchildren...and enjoy your warmer weather. I hope you and your family have a great holiday.

  3. Interesting ideas. The initial colonists should be 'past' their reproductive age I believe as humans are humans and therefore run the risk of having children on Mars otherwise - which would be good for expanding the colony but bad for a time where they are creating it.

    I would be very interested to see if we could actually terraform Mars, I've seen some concept images and read all about the theory of achieving this but would be amazing to see if we could actually pull it off. Imagine the endless possibilities...

  4. This is interesting, thanks for sharing. I think it would be hard to find volunteers who would wanna go, knowing that they will never return. We all got someone we care about here, on Earth.
    By the way, have you seen a movie called Sunshine, directed by Danny Boyle. If not, check it out, I bet you'll find it very interesting.


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