DailyDirt: Making It To Mars

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Traveling to Mars is no simple feat, and it's much more difficult than a relatively short trip to the moon. The atmosphere on Mars is thinner than the Earth's, so it poses a significant threat to any vehicle that attempts to land on the planet. Plus, a trip to Mars could take months depending on how much fuel is used (or what kind of propulsion is used). Still, several projects are making the ambitious journey, and here are just a few examples of Martian missions. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.
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Filed Under: cubesat, india, mangalyaan, manned missions, mars, mars one, orbit, satellites, space, space exploration, spacecraft, time capsule

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  1. icon
    Paraquat (profile), 24 Sep 2014 @ 5:24pm

    nuclear rockets

    Nuclear rockets - I mentioned this before in a discussion we had about Mars. In a nutshell, my argument is that we need to have them or else it's unlikely that any astronauts will survive even a one-way journey to Mars.

    NASA actually developed a nuclear powered rocket (named Nerva) in the 1960s, and ground testing proved that it worked. But it's funds were axed by the Nixon administration, which was not particularly friendly to the space program. So Nerva never flew:


    A nuclear-powered rocket would allow astronauts to reach Mars months earlier. Less time spent in space means less exposure to radiation. Surviving on the surface of Mars would also be challenging, but it may be possible. Burying a house in the Martian soil will give the residents good protection from radiation. It's possible to grow crops on Mars, but only indoors with heating. There is water on Mars, but it has to be made by melting ice. That all takes energy.

    It will require a nuclear reactor to keep astronauts alive on Mars. Without it, they would freeze to death. Wind power is a non-starter, as the atmosphere is too thin. Solar power is feasible during the day, but could not produce sufficient heat to survive the night. Fossil fuels are unlikely to exist on Mars, and even if they did you could not burn them in the CO2 atmosphere.

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