Before we go to Mars potatoes, we what to do
The rescue of Mars, we joked, "also said that what is true, the film is too fake fake! NASA how can get so much money to do so big project!"
But there is one thing that I didn't not bashful said: NASA today to get the money is not a lot less.In addition to set up early and early space race, the annual budget has been reduced $20 billion today.For example, in 2015, NASA's budget is $18.01 billion.
Fifty years ago, human beings spent eight years to reach the moon, the richest (1966), when NASA's budget is equivalent to $43.5 billion today.Fifty years later, however, even if the budget cut in half, but technological progress so big, computing power to turn over so many times, material has improved so much, five to eight years in the past, why to Mars steps or not?
Go to Mars really so difficult?Or what is the problem in other places?
The answer may be an unexpected places - mark walter, "Mars rescue" leading role.
Big plan, away
"We choose to go to the moon, not because it is very easy, but because it is very difficult."In May 1961, President Kennedy is determined, the whole country into a "machine" to get to the moon, in ten years completed the feat of sending man to the moon.When all the dust settles, having a full clearly America think that there is no longer necessary to continue to work hard.At the same time, lost in a big mess in the race to the moon the Soviet collapse, the pace of the human to extraterrestrial bodies stop there on the moon, to this day.
Humans to the moon, 20 years later in 1989, the new American President George Bush for the first time put forward the "road map" to the planet Mars.It is called "Space Exploration program" (Space Exploration Initiative, SEI) the name of the high-end atmosphere.The first step, was built at the end of the 20th century "free space station as a" giant spacecraft assembly base;The second step, at the beginning of the 21st century return to the moon and to establish a moon base;Finally, with a "space fortress of giant ship will human sent to Mars, on the way to launch a month-long landing.
Freedom of the SEI idea.Photo: the Wikimedia
Familiar with?Yes, it looks like a "rescue" Mars in the world.Large, like a general station "hermes" giant spacecraft, and rotavirus artificial gravity tank, notting have is not in salute to Mars plan SEI.The film on the surface of Mars mission duration for 31 days, this also coincides with the design of the SEI.
Large in the movie "hermes" spacecraft is SEI's legacy.
And the plan of next?SEI proposed three months later, NASA judge group quickly made a later called "90 days report" documents.Put man on Mars, the document said the base price is $450 billion.This is the largest since world war ii, at a cost of the huge government plans.Naturally, the SEI in a wide range of questions.
Say strictly, it has not completely dead.Should have single-handedly by the United States independent of "free space station", now in Russia and other countries, the name is "the international space station" - then, time limit for a project languished for nearly 20 years.In 2005, the son of George Bush senior bush FuZhi son pay a proposed "Constellation" (Constellation Program), after going to eliminate the shuttle to switch to a new generation of "ares I rockets" and "the ares V rocket - goods combined transport system and push the 2.0 version of the Apollo spacecraft, the Orion spacecraft to return to the moon, and set up base in the surface of the moon, in order to support the future manned mission to Mars.The plan can be considered as the revival of the SEI, almost end also approximate - in five years later was annulled by the new President Obama, instead of "Space Launch System (SLS) rocket projects such a prospect is not clear.
"Constellation", and the Orion spacecraft docking, in the use of a nuclear thermal rocket propulsion of earth - Mars spacecraft.
Don't broad ideal is there anything wrong?Of course there's nothing wrong.The problem is that in the history of mankind a great explorer, almost no a plan to follow the size so large.
Brought the earth, Mars or Mars into the earth
If not the storms on Mars, the Mars rescue story wouldn't swing, ares program will have to proceed smoothly, with huge cost in exchange for a short stay another thirty days.Such a plan, I'm afraid I doomed to stay in Hollywood movies.
However, because of not going to happen in a real disaster, everything has changed - not more fiction, but more real.When mark walter came alone stuck on Mars, he than hermes, all the crew, than all NASA employees, all 7 billion people on the earth, is more close to the real road to Mars.
That is, like Mars people live on Mars.
In NASA demonstrate SEI plans almost at the same time, the NASA space engineer Robert zubrin, put forward the "Mars hitting" plan Direct (Mars).The scheme requires only two times to complete an Mars exploration mission.SEI tried to set off from the earth when I took all the goods, and violent "Mars" is based on the Martian surface, use of local resources in situ rocket propellant production, thereby saving a lot of logistics costs, and all this only need chemical technology in the 19th
century.Compared with the fleet's mighty a spectacular SEI, "Mars hitting" like Columbus crude three mast little sailing boat.We all know that it's the latter, however, discovered the new world.
SEI in the quite many people's mind set up an insurmountable walls - need to build complex spacecraft to Mars, need a moon base, need more advanced than chemical fuel propulsion technology."Mars hitting" tell us, however, all this is totally unnecessary.Each time the "direct" Mars mission only need two heavy rocket launch every two years can complete the task.Only need the present technology and determination, we can start.
"Mars hitting" hardware can also be used for a moon base construction.
In the movie "hermes" spacecraft using nuclear fission ion engines, the technology can effectively improve the load capacity, reduce the freight cost of Mars, but actually is not compressed too much travel time.In the earth - Mars transportation system of the future, nuclear fission rockets and solar rocket will be mainly used in the transportation of bulk cargo.Before this, we can fully use the existing chemical rockets to undertake initial manned and freight task.Each mission need two rockets, one of the rocket 26 months in advance, this energy back to aircraft ERV.MAV
slightly differently, and the film ERV is a two stage manned rocket, the astronauts will return to earth on it directly, and no longer need to stay and Mars orbit of spacecraft docking "hermes".
The start of ERV is almost empty, fuel tank carried only act as manufacturing return a small part of the raw materials of liquid hydrogen fuel.After arrived at Mars, ERV can use small chemical plant, electric drive of the nuclear reactor from the Martian atmosphere continuously pumping carbon dioxide combines with hydrogen, through the quite mature in the chemical production of shane battier methanation reaction of methane and oxygen, it only takes eight months can fill the fuel tank.Manufacture of fuel, in fact, not only for ERV return to use, can also be used to drive the manned rovers on the surface of Mars probe, thus can greatly extend human mobility in the surface of Mars.For walter's wandering on Mars, fuel driven rovers is definitely a good thing, because he no longer ready to stop charging, big can really get in the summer Mr Reilly craters, the road also don't have to worry about the solar cell power attenuation caused by dust storms, much more than the solar power rovers on spectrum in the movie.
The second rocket will Mars landing aircraft MDV along with four astronauts to Mars, they will land on the previously ERV near the landing site.After landing, MDV automatically into Mars living accommodation.At the same time, another ship ERV rocket at the same time, if before the ERV reason cannot launch, the astronauts return to earth also can rely on new ERV.The whole task for two and a half years, back and forth between earth and Mars take a years time, the rest of the time in a year and a half, all the astronauts to stay on the surface of Mars investigation tasks, protected by the Martian atmosphere, without the need to stay in the ship through the baptism of the radiation from the sun and cosmic rays.After the completion of the task, when they set out from Mars before, can also be the ERV will ride to full maintenance and overhaul, do all the preparation work before launch.
Of course, there are still quite a few people of minimalist "Mars hitting" heart have doubt.Therefore zubrin also proposed a compromise: added a keep track to return to the ship ERV, instead of the original ERV Mars rise MAV flight vehicles, only need to fly to the orbiting Mars orbit dock with the ERV can, no longer need to direct to the earth.This scheme is known as "Mars half hitting" Semi - Direct (Mars).In 1997, NASA is proposed, called "Design Reference tasks" (the Design Reference Mission, or DRM) 3.0 version of the manned Mission to Mars scheme, basic with zubrin "Mars half hitting" idea.
"Mars half hitting" (DRM) 3.0, interconnected MDV/Mars living accommodation.Photo:
"Mars half hitting" (DRM) 3.0, keep track on standby ERV to meet
MAV.Spaceodysseytwo image source: sites.google.com
Unfortunately, in the later match the "constellation" of DRM in version 5.0, everything goes back to the origin - need to rely on nuclear fission rocket engine, seven heavy rocket and a manned rocket launch, and complete the four low-earth orbit assembly to achieve a mission to Mars, it run counter to the violent "Mars" train of thought.As the "constellation" scrap and SLS project horse, various in NASA's manned mission to Mars scheme could also piles of paper files on your I, but can not change they are costly, the essence of the cycle is long.The journey to Mars, still no future.
DRM 5.0 task structure diagram.Photo credit: NASA
Why do you want to send people, not machines
Put humans on Mars really necessary?Quite a number of researchers should have similar confusion even questioned.Put humans on Mars means that it takes far more than sending a probe to Mars, now that we have launched so many Mars satellite, the Mars lander and rover, don't they can replace people to accomplish the mission to Mars?The savings to support more unmanned space missions wouldn't it be better?
The Soviet union did have made similar campaigns.In full swing when the Apollo moon landing, the Soviet union to the moon back launched several automatic sampling device and two automatic lunar rover, and through official media publicity of the benefits of automatic detector: much more cheaper than Apollo, and do not let the astronaut in dangerous environment.Automatic moon device of the Soviet union, of course, is the great achievement, but compared with Apollo back to 382 kilograms of lunar samples, the Soviet union's three sample ship back to 326 grams of sample seems slightly shabby (please note that one is "kg" another is "g").And sampling of Soviet spacecraft can dig a spoon soil samples near the landing site random, or guess the core drill a hole.And Apollo missions by the trained astronauts compared selectively sampling plan, the scientific value of two kinds of sample clearly.
The moon, Mars, too.Leave the human space exploration of instant judgment and action.Although we have many spacecraft sent to Mars -- "pirates" "pathfinder"
"courage" "opportunity" "curious", and so on, although they have helped us become more and more deeply know the red planet, we should still go there to have a look, and should not be a punk "unmanned probe" complex.Curiosity rover is so advanced, yet it contact with the human operator's still limited to Mars time relay satellite passing overhead, and Mars landing site toward earth.Scientists need to help it set in advance and a detailed action plan in detail, then waiting for it will examine data obtained from the back, as the basis of the next action.Every round of action should be to spend a few days time.And their dynamic range and strain capacity are extremely limited.When any emergency occurs, the control room in the earth almost cannot help anything.As zubrin says, "take courage, or curiosity rover on the rocky mountain, I'm afraid the next ice age came, they haven't found a dinosaur fossil."In humans, can be opportunities or challenges to temporary moment to make the choice of proper, and further built in human civilization on Mars will be the second home.
When human performance in there, everything will be different.