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Mars Colony Project to begin astronaut search by July 2013

What would happen if the reality show didn't catch on and the networks decided to axe it after one year? I'm sure a lot of people will tune in at first but if it doesn't keep people interested then what?
Teager said:
What would happen if the reality show didn't catch on and the networks decided to axe it after one year? I'm sure a lot of people will tune in at first but if it doesn't keep people interested then what?

Since we all know the moon landings were faked on a Hollywood sound stage, what makes you think that this wouldn't be fake as well?  :Tin-Foil-Hat:
Teager said:
What would happen if the reality show didn't catch on and the networks decided to axe it after one year? I'm sure a lot of people will tune in at first but if it doesn't keep people interested then what?

Robert0288 said:
someone pops the airlock door.

;D  I Couldn't help myself
Scott said:
I'd love to see the insanity on their recruiting boards.

Understatement of the year if you see the recruit numbers with this latest update:

One-way Mars trip attracts 165,000 would-be astronauts ... and counting

The Dutch-based Mars One venture says more than 165,000 people around the world have voiced interest in a one-way trip to the Red Planet — and there's still more than a week left for more would-be astronauts to join in.

"The response to the first round of the astronaut selection program has been tremendous," Norbert Kraft, Mars One's chief medical officer, said in a news release updating the tally on Thursday. "We now have a large group of applicants from where we can start our search."

After the Aug. 31 deadline passes, Mars One will review the applications to decide who goes on to the next round of the selection process.

Read details here...

NBC news link
I have been thinking a little more about this idea. I like what David Brin states in the attached article, something akin to the Space Race which brought (American) people together. Beginning with those who wished to set out over the ocean to the New World (albeit previously occupied), and ending with the above space race our sense of adventure has diminished some as a people. We no longer accept a possible risk of disaster. If we continue along this line of comfort and security, I wonder if we will just cease to function as a species.

Do I agree with the concept being a reality show?
Do I think it will substantially lower the quality of applicants and provide an audience to glory and fame seekers?
Yep, I do. I worry that allowing those that perform well in front of an audience as a "reality star" may not have the maturity and constitution to carry this through.

I know the moon is no longer sexy, being previously landed on and all, but why not baby steps? Why not start with a semi-permanenet settlement there? Start a little terraforming, maybe underground? Send Bruce Willis, he knows what he's doing.

JesseWZ said:
I know the moon is no longer sexy, being previously landed on and all, but why not baby steps? Why not start with a semi-permanenet settlement there? Start a little terraforming, maybe underground? Send Bruce Willis, he knows what he's doing.

See this thread.

cupper said:
Since we all know the moon landings were faked on a Hollywood sound stage, what makes you think that this wouldn't be fake as well?  :Tin-Foil-Hat:

Capricorn One rides again  :trainwreck:
A more serious proposal to get to Mars continues. There are a lot of issues (and unlike Apollo, there is no virtually unlimited flow of USD to attack problems as they arise), but this is very interesting never the less:


Free return trip to and from Mars pushing ahead to Jan 5th 2018 launch date

In 2018, the planets will align, offering a unique orbit opportunity to travel to Mars and back to Earth in only 501 days. Inspiration Mars intends to send a two-person American crew—a man and a woman—on a journey to within 100 miles of Mars and return them to Earth safely.

The mission's target launch date is 5 January 2018. This quick, free-return orbit opportunity occurs twice every 15 years. After 2018, the next opportunity will not occur again until 2031.

Nextbigfuture had coverage back in February, 2013 when this was first announced.

Nextbigfuture covered the technical details of the 18 page feasibility study.

Taber MacCallum, program manager, Inspiration Mars has provided some details on recent and upcoming activities.

The project has been busy figuring out what spacecraft components, such as the capsule and life support systems, will be optimal for the 501-day round-trip mission. They’ve been negotiating with companies under non-disclosure agreements. MacCallum said he expected to be able to discuss the architecture of the mission in detail by the end of 2013.

Improved Heat Shield is a big technical problem

One of them is getting the crew safely home through Earth’s atmosphere. Apollo astronauts flying back from the moon hit speeds of 25,000 mph in Earth’s atmosphere, which required extensive shielding. With the Mars flight, speeds will near 32,000 mph, and the difference is not linear, MacCallum said. Which means shielding is going to be an especially difficult problem.

NBF - a big question is how would an upgraded heat shield be space certified ? You would need a rocket to sling shot around the moon and then speed up to get the 32000 mph speed before hitting the earth's atmosphere.

Crew Selection and Preliminary design review in 2014

Baylor College of Medicine’s Dr. Jonathan Clark is leading the process of identifying astronauts for the mission and doing the selection. However, because of the growing relationship with NASA, MacCallum said ultimately the space agency may ultimately conduct the selection process, and the candidates might be NASA astronauts.

Inspiration Mars needs to be looking at a preliminary design review for the flight in the first third of 2014, which means having the design, associated production and ground support plans for the mission sketched out.


The program has money for this year and next from Dennis Tito's donation.

To fund the mission itself, there are two steps.
1) Obtain in-kind donations of hardware from industry participants, the kinds of companies who would hope to see their hardware used on future, deep-space exploration missions.

2) there will be naming-rights and media-rights opportunities along with philanthropy.

The Mars mission will launch Jan 5, 2018 to enable a free gravitation return.

The Inspiration Mars Website has more details

The mission will provide a platform for unprecedented science, engineering and education opportunities, using state-of-the-art technologies derived from NASA and the International Space Station. It will be financed primarily through philanthropic donations, with some potential support from government sources.

This mission will be a flyby passing within 100 miles of the surface of Mars. Additional maneuvers will be minor course corrections only, using the gravitational influence of Mars to “slingshot” the vehicle onto a return course to Earth. An inflatable habitat module will be deployed after launch and detached prior to re-entry.

The beauty of this mission is its simplicity. The flyby architecture lowers risk, with no critical propulsive maneuvers, no entry into the Mars atmosphere, and no rendezvous and docking. It also represents the shortest duration roundtrip mission to Mars. The 2018 launch opportunity coincides with the 11-year solar minimum providing the lowest solar radiation exposure. The next launch opportunity for this mission (2031) will not have the advantage of being at the solar minimum.

There are risks associated with the mission, as is true of every space exploration mission. But these are exactly the kinds of risks that America should be willing to take in order to advance our knowledge, experience and position as a world leader. We believe the risks and challenges we have uncovered are well within the scope of our collective experience and can be overcome to achieve a safe and successful mission. In fact, studies by experts have found that the technology and systems are viable with proper integration, testing and preparation for flight.

We are steadfastly committed to the safety, health and overall well-being of our crew. We will only fly this mission if we are convinced that it is safe to do.

The foundation has formed a partnership with NASA via a reimbursable Space Act Agreement between Paragon and the Ames Research Center to conduct thermal protection system and technology testing and evaluation. Foundation officials will also seek to tap into NASA’s knowledge, experience and technologies to fine-tune and/or develop some of the more challenging elements of this mission, including environmental controls, radiation protection, and human health and productivity plans.
  However, because of the growing relationship with NASA, MacCallum said ultimately the space agency may ultimately conduct the selection process, and the candidates might be NASA astronauts.
This is a new development with inspiration Mars....I'm wondering if the statement is accurate?

Tito originally announced that they want an older married couple, who have already raised children to go on the trip. The mentality was that the older couple already have proven abilities to cope living and working with each other. Also, the radiation received from this trip will likely leave them sterile and subject to cancer when they are older. If they are already 'old' and raised kids, not such a big deal.
This may still be the desired option, but since the proposed launch date is relatively close in time, there may not be enough time to train up a novice "married couple" crew for a demanding mission like this. There are a lot of trained astronauts "on the bench" and I suspect a lot of them would line up for the chance to go, relieving Inspire Mars of one very important consideration and variable.
Now that Denis Tito seems to have hitched his wagon to NASA and in particular government vapourware (neither the SLS or the Orion space capsule even exist today, and government programs rarely have been "on time" much less "on budget"), I think we can consign the Inspiration Mars mission to the dustbin.

Even if he launches on Russian or Chinese rockets, I suspect that political interference will drag things out past the early launch date, and possibly past the 2021 launch date (although from an engineering perspective, I think the Venus flyby would add too much extra complications and stress due to the additional heat and radiation load the ship and astronauts would face).


Inspiration Mars: How the Two-Person Voyage Will Work

The good news is that the proposed private manned mission to Mars instigated by space tourist Dennis Tito actually has a plan. The bad news is that the mission is also now dependent on NASA to make it happen.
By Michael Belfiore

When Dennis Tito, the first astronaut to pay his own way to orbit, announced inspiration Mars, he was vague on the details. Now, his plan to send human explorers on a trip around Mars is coming into focus.

The basic outline of the mission, revealed in February, seemed doable—if just barely. It called for sending a man and a woman on a flyby trajectory that would bring them within a couple hundred miles of the surface of the Red Planet before swinging them around Mars and on their way to a no-boost-needed return flight to Earth. The 501-day mission would not land, but it would give humans their first up-close view of Mars and, Tito hopes, inspire an international community to put more resources into sending people to Mars. For that shortest-possible travel time, the mission would have to take advantage of the optimal alignment of our planet with Mars, which occurs only once every 15 years. The next such opportunity will be in 2018.

In details unveiled on Nov. 20 and timed to coincide with Tito's testimony before the House of Representatives Science Subcommittee on Space that same day, the Inspiration Mars team showed how the mission could launch by the 2018 deadline—if systems now in development stayed on track, and the schedule of at least one new system were accelerated.

The new Inspiration Mars plan calls for the NASA-developed Space Launch System (SLS) rocket that is scheduled for completion in late 2017 to lift the components needed for the Mars flyby into Earth orbit. To make Tito's launch window, the mission would have to leave Earth between Dec. 24, 2017 and Jan. 4, 2018. The components to be launched include a new upper-stage rocket for the SLS called the Dual Use Upper Stage, which would boost the rest of the stack to Mars.

The rest of the stack would include a service module to carry electrical equipment, another propulsion system, and communication systems for a crew habitat, which would consist of a modified Orbital Science Cygnus capsule. Cygnus is currently operational as a cargo ship sending supplies to the International Space Station. It would have to be modified for human use to carry the two-person crew on the 16-month journey to and from Mars. Finally, an Orion Multipurpose Crew Module, now in development by NASA, would be included to enable the crew to safely reenter Earth's atmosphere at the end of the mission.

Once the hardware for the mission was launched into Earth orbit, an unnamed commercial vehicle (several are now in development) would carry the crew to an orbital rendezvous with the Inspiration Mars stack. After the crew transferred to the habitat, the upper stage would then boost them to Mars.

"It's, from an engineering standpoint alone, a pretty significant challenge," says Jeff Foust, a space analyst at Futron Corporation. "And now they have to go and convince NASA—and really Congress and the Administration—that this is such an important mission that these resources should be diverted to support this mission and additional money spent to do things like accelerate the development of that new upper stage."

The Inspiration Mars Architecture Study Report Summary (PDF) that presents the new mission details calls for "perhaps several hundred million dollars in new federal spending." But Foust, for one, doesn't see that forthcoming any time soon.

"I think it's just a really huge challenge to come together, and the fact that it's gotten sort of a lukewarm response so far from Congress and from NASA—no one's really there jumping up and down saying "Yes, we've gotta go do this"—that it seems unlikely to me that it can happen in 2017."

There is another chance to get to Mars after the 2018 window and before the next optimal alignment of the planets in 2033. Tito told the House Science Subcommittee on Space that a 2021 launch would be possible, though it would add 88 days to the mission but allow for a Venus flyby as well. And NASA isn't the only option for Inspiration Mars. If the American space agency doesn't build these components in time, then Tito, who flew to space about a Russian Soyuz, could turn to Russia for the rockets he needs to send humans to Mars.
One doesn't need to dig deep to find wacky application youtube vids from those thousands of applicants who took it "much less seriously"...

Yahoo News

One-Way Mars Trip: 1,058 Private Martian Colony Volunteers Pass 1st Cut
SPACE.comBy by Megan Gannon, News Editor

Mars One announced Monday (Dec. 30) that it has picked 1,058 aspiring spaceflyers to move on to the next round in its search for the first humans to live and die on the Red Planet.

The Netherlands-based nonprofit wants to start launching groups of four on one-way trips to Mars by 2023, with the long-term goal of creating the first permanent settlement on Mars. More than 200,000 people applied for a spot on Mars One's list of future colonists by the time the initial application window closed on Aug. 31. The only requirement to apply was to be over age 18. Those who get to move on to the next, more rigorous selection phase were notified by email.

The group's co-founder Bas Lansdorp said in a statement it was challenging to separate "those who we feel are physically and mentally adept to become human ambassadors on Mars from those who are obviously taking the mission much less seriously," adding that some even appeared nude their application videos.

A practical space mission for a change:


Brew me up, bro: 11-year-old plans to make BEER IN SPACE
What's the point of having a pint if you can't drink it?
By Jasper Hamill, 8th October 2013

An 11-year-old boy is set to become the first person to brew beer in space – even though he's far too young to drink.

Michal Bodzianowski, from Colorado, won a national competition which called for proposals on experiments which could be conducted in space. But rather than examining the effect of zero-gravity on gerbils or making ice lollies using the freezing vacuum of space, he decided that astronauts might like to get a bit tipsy as they circled the Earth.

His proposal claims that the experiment is a trial for a "future civilization, as an emergency backup hydration and medical source". The spaced-out brewer also suggested that beer was important for "both medical and survival reasons", although we suspect neither of these capture the real reason astronauts might want to make a homebrew.

"He came up with this idea all on his own," said Sharon Combs, teacher at STEM School and Academy in Colorado which specialises in science teaching. "He got a book for Christmas that was about weird facts and explains how in the Middle Ages they used to drink beer because it was purer than water."

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education sponsored the competition, which is part of a scheme called the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Another 744 proposals were drafted up by 3,900 students aged 10 to 17.

"I never expected it to be one of my sixth-graders," Combs added. "But Michal's got the natural curiosity of people who go after science. He's very talented."

Now Bodzianowski will prepare a small experiment on the ground which will be put onto a rocket at Cape Canaveral and flown up to the International Space Station.

Once the brewery is up there, an astronaut will make the beer, following the young boy's instructions. Back down on Earth, the baby brewer will also whip up his own batch, to see what differences zero gravity makes to the eventual drink.

His school raised $21,500 to pay for the rocket launch, after securing sponsorship from firms including Subaru, Raytheon, and OtterBox. ®

Quite enterprising, and I see a great future for this young lad. Now for the next experiment if they could distill a fine single malt...
While nothing to do with Mars, this HD video taken from cameras actually strapped to the Solid Rocket Boosters of the Space Shuttle are totally amazing. The sound capture is also pretty amazing (and remixed for clarity and surround sound). Just to put some things in perspective, the Space Shuttle launch stack wieghed about 2000 tons sitting on the pad (most of that was the full fuel tank), yet in less than 40 seconds it is already moving faster than a jet airliner....straight up!

Watch the volume if you are wearing headphones:


Absolutely mindblowing video shot from the Space Shuttle during launch

Drop whatever you're doing and watch this. NASA has released videos shot from onboard the Space Shuttle's Solid Rocket Boosters in the past, but you've never seen one prepared as masterfully as this.

For one thing, the footage was shot in high definition, so the image is exceptionally clear. But what puts this video head and shoulders above most other rocketcams is the sound. The audio has been remastered by the folks over at Skywalker Sound (yes, that Skywalker Sound), and the final product is nothing short of incredible.

Michael Interbartolo — who used to work on the Shuttle Program at Mission Control in Houston — had this to say about the video when he posted it to Google+ earlier this morning:

Just got this from the guys at Glenn who are finalizing the new special edition DVD/BluRay version of Ascent: Commemorating Shuttle which this will be an extra on. The video is shot from the Solid Rocket Booster Perspective up and down with enhanced sound thanks to Ben Burtt's son and the folks at Skywalker Sound. The team is still trying to figure out how to release this all to the public, but for now enjoy an exclusive first look. +NASA youtube doesn't even have the video.

Try to let what you're witnessing sink in. See those numbers flying past in the upper right hand corner? That's the Shuttle's airspeed. See that gleam of light against the inky backdrop of space at 2:08 and 3:11? That's the Shuttle continuing on its flight path into low Earth orbit. Hear the eerie rattling, haunting moans, and weird dinosaur noises? That's what it sounds like to be a Solid Rocket Booster, falling to Earth from an altitude of 150,000 feet.
Here is a Mars Analog site run by NASA and the University of Hawaii.


I suspect that Mars One may do a reality show on this site for training once farther along in the selection process.

Despite this, I'm personally not a fan of Mars One and their approach, and I don't believe it will happen. I got my money on the private industry with Space-X, Planetary Resources, and Virgin Galactic. The only way we will go into space is for huge fortunes and profits. Not a flaky reality show.
A very short piece from NBF on Elon Musk and his vision for colonizing Mars. Since he can actually build the hardware to do this, I'd rate this as a serious proposal, although I suspect the 2020 timeframe might be reaching a bit too far:


How feasible is Elon Musk's idea to establish a colony on Mars in the 2020s?

  Philip Metzger, NASA, answers the question on Quora

Philip manages a NASA lab that develops tech for "living off the land" on the Moon or Mars or asteroids. That includes mining and processing local resources like water ice or oxygen extracted from soil minerals. Elon has sent his people to visit my lab several times to start up a collaboration with us on these technologies. Philip believes it is completely feasible. No miracle inventions are required. No new physics. Just straightforward engineering and a modest budget for the development cost. Philip's personal opinion (not representing the views of NASA or the federal government) is optimistic. Elon's organization has demonstrated efficiency, creativity, and sustained drive. He has super smart people working for him. He knows what is required to be successful. He is doing all the right things.

Dolly Singh used to work at Spacex in talent acquisition.

Dolly knows Elon — well. Elon's obsession with Mars is no PR scam, but something the folks at SpaceX are giving their blood and sweat to achieve.

You have no idea how much design and planning is already underway.

Dolly wouldn't deny he has an extremely healthy dose of ego, and seems to be enjoying the limelight of late but Mars is about legacy for him and his dedication and passion for that mission is one no one who actually knows him would ever question.
Elon is at it again. He is a masterful salesman, but I think he is being overly optimistic about the timelines needed. As well, the idea of building uber huge launch vehicles could be hampered by lack of practical experience. While there was a serious proposal called "Sea Dragon" that would be built in a shipyard and towed out to sea for launch (and calculated to loft 550 metric tons into Low Earth Orbit), the largest vehicles to actually be built were the American Saturn V and Soviet Energia, which could loft 120 metric tons and 100 metric tons to LEO respectively. Interesting to see how much of this turns into hardware:



Elon Musk could start making superlarge Mars colonization rocket in about 2024

  Elon Musk talks on CBS this morning about his Mars colonization rocket

“We’ve got to restore American ability to transport astronauts with domestic vehicles, and that’s what we hope to do in about two years.

“The next step beyond that is to maybe send people beyond low Earth orbit to a loop around the Moon, possibly land on the Moon — although I’m not super interested in the Moon personally because obviously we’ve done that and we know we can — but maybe just to prove the capability.

“Then we need to develop a much larger vehicle which would be sort of what I call a large colonial transport system. This would really be — we’re talking about rockets on a scale, a bigger scale than has ever been done before, that make the Apollo Moon rocket look small. And they would have to launch very frequently as well. [reusable]

“That’s what’s needed in order to send millions of people and millions of tons of cargo to Mars, which is the minimum level to have a self-sustaining civilization on Mars.

“We might be able to complete that [rocket] in about 10 or 12 years, and hopefully the first people we’d send to Mars would be around the middle of the next decade.
Despite Space-X being successful thus far. I don't really think Elon is really serious about going to Mars despite what he says. One of the current tactics of a CEO in this type of corporation is to dangle a carrot in front of the cart. People will work themselves to death to make this dream come to a reality. While in actual fact they are working towards much less lofty goals.

It's going to be a matter of him following through on his plans for Mars. Which I don't think he will actually do. Why? It's a corporation, and unless he can do all this with a return to his investors then it's not going to happen.

Pieman said:
It's going to be a matter of him following through on his plans for Mars. Which I don't think he will actually do. Why? It's a corporation, and unless he can do all this with a return to his investors then it's not going to happen.

There are a bunch hit TV shows pulling in millions about crap like rich house wives crying about how rough their life is and guys who make duck calls and eat frogs. If he puts a camera anywhere near this project he's getting a return.