Mars 2020 Launch Scheduled for July 20

Robert Zwilling

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Mars 2020 Mission
Perseverance, 2.7 billion dollar mission, scheduled to land on Mars Feb 21, 2021, will be looking for signs of life, collecting samples for examination in 2031 when the samples will be sent back to Earth, and test flying a small helicopter, named Ingenuity. There are plans to send 100 people to Mars in 2024 by Elon Musk and also by NASA in 2030. The current plan for sending the samples back to Earth is fully automated, using robots and no humans. The rocket that launches the samples off of Mars is small and will hook up with an automated vehicle orbiting Mars. For the time being, the scheduling of direct flights to Mars is dependent on Mars and Earth being close to each other, which happens every 26 months.
 

-K2-

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...There are plans to send 100 people to Mars in 2024 by Elon Musk and also by NASA in 2030...

Personally, I don't see that--even as a space ignoramus. It's currently a tremendous amount of work to support 5 people for even brief periods. A hundred people for years? Figure out what that would take to support that many people in a bunker on Earth--for say a year--and you'll see what I mean. That's a whole lot of Tang and Space Food Sticks if you ask me.

K2
 
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Robert Zwilling

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It gets better, by 2050 Musk wants to send 1 million people to Mars ferrying them in 1,000 spaceships, not yet tested, if even designed equipment. That means building a global based space empire, complete with factories to build everything, spaceports to launch the rockets and retrieve them. Plus all the infrastructure for housing people on Mars, needs to be built somewhere along the way, either on Earth, the Moon, or on Mars which is probably the riskiest. One article said 1 million tons of Vitamin C would be needed to be sent to Mars. Each rocket would carry 100 people and 100 tons of materials to be used to build, repair, and supply the Mars city, or cities. Sounds like a lot but it is only 7 school buses packed to the roof. 3 launches per day, 100,000 people a year, which makes it at the latest starting in 2040, which only gives them 20 years to get all the designs and infrastructure on Earth and in space built and tested.. Musk says there will be a huge job market on Mars. Seems like that kind of effort would make a lot of jobs on Earth. Or else he plans on farming everything out to the lowest bidders.

I would like to see the housing and factory designs for where the people are living and working on Mars. The surface is caustic, toxic, and covered in highly destructive dust that makes the needles and prongs on a pollen particle look like a nerf ball. That would mean, working in hell to get all the domes set up, to permanently separate the people from the Martian surface, or going underground as soon as you get there, or orbiting Mars in a sea of low flying hotels. One positive note, the surface dust is filled with high energy but toxic substances that could be used to build enormous fuel cells that could immediately generate unlimited power. Where the containers to make the fuel cells would come from is another question. Of course, everything could be nuclear powered, but that is another set of problems that still needs to be worked out.

The 2020 rover will be using a nuclear battery, called a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG). It generates 110 watts of electric power. It converts the heat generated from the decay of plutonium-238 to electricity. That would take a whole lot of nuclear batteries to power Mars. The plutonium-238 doesn't grow on trees. It decays into U-238, which emits alpha particles, which isn't too bad. Add electrons to the alpha particles and you get helium, probably worth it weight in gold on Mars. Perhaps the Plan 9 Plan from Outer Space is to make all the nuclear waste on Earth into nuclear thermo batteries and ship them to Mars.
 

-K2-

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Musk says there will be a huge job market on Mars. Seems like that kind of effort would make a lot of jobs on Earth. Or else he plans on farming everything out to the lowest bidders.

Yeah...We've seen how all this works out with Elon Cohagen:

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Mutants anyone?

K2
 

Justin Swanton

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I don't quite get Musk. He knows perfectly well that the only reason SpaceX exists is because it is funded by NASA - who essentially needs it only to crew and supply the ISS - and private telecommunications companies who have to put satellites in LEO. NASA has a limited budget and the private companies don't need anything on Mars to balance their budgets - certainly not humans. Paying for a Mars colony even of just a couple of dozen people would be astronomically expensive, requiring that every country on Earth devote something like 10% or more of its tax revenue to the project. There is no way on the planet governments will be able to generate enough political will to shell out that kind of money.

Putting humans in space is a vast waste of resources. The only reason anyone does it is to generate some widespread optimism about our technological future. If people are cheerful about the future they will put up with the present and social stability depends upon that forbearance. Governments will pay billions for it, but not hundreds of trillions.
 
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