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Thread: Mars One Dragon

  1. #1
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    Mars One Dragon

    The Home page says the Mars One Dragon (MOD) "will be slightly larger than the current Dragon." It also says that it will land 2.5 tonnes of payload on the surface of Mars and the first crew will have over 200 cubic m to live in.

    What does this mean? The Red Dragon study found that the crewed version of the current Dragon, which masses round three tonnes, could land one tonne on the surface of Mars.

    Increasing the payload by a factor of 2.5 is not "slightly larger", it is a significant change. What do SpaceXsay about this? Have they started doing the development work for this? The first lander needs to be ready by 2014, a year before the crewed version of the normal Dragon is supposed to fly.

    Increasing the volume of the MOD gives a volume of 25 cubic metres. Accoding to the timeline there will be six pressurisable modules on the surface when the first crew arrives, that is only 150 cubic metres, not over 200. Where will the extra volume come from?

    Using ISS logistics each astronaut will need 2.5 tonnes a year of supplies, everuy two years that is 20 tonnes for a crew of four. However the two supply modules on hand for the first crew will only provide 5 tonnes. Where will the extra 15 tonnes come from?

  2. #2
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    Three points here.

    1. The current dragon is 3.66m in diameter while Mars One has spoken to SpaceX and have confirmed that it is possible to build a 5m diameter one.

    2. Mars One states "The Mars habitat will be a modular environment made up of multiple inflatable units, and will comprise about 1000 m3 of total living space, which equates to 250 m3 per inhabitant for a team of four." This will be made up of not only space in the capsules but also inflatables.

    3. Mars
    one will attempt a "live off the land" approach, where they will attempt to extract water and oxygen from the soil, grow plants for food and other uses indoors, shield from radiation with Mars soil and even make bricks for extending the settlement. This means less has to be transported from earth. if everything had to be brought this mission would likely cost a lot more.
    Last edited by hbm11; 11-05-2012 at 08:59 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by hbm11 View Post
    Three points here.

    1. The current dragon is 3.66m in diameter while Mars One has spoken to SpaceX and have confirmed that it is possible to build a 5m diameter one.

    Which scales to 25 m3 nicely. But have SpaceX actually funded or been funded for development of this? They have only four years.


    2. Mars One states "The Mars habitat will be a modular environment made up of multiple inflatable units, and will comprise about 1000 m3 of total living space, which equates to 250 m3 per inhabitant for a team of four." This will be made up of not only space in the capsules but also inflatables.
    That would solve the volume issue. But how much do these modules mass? The main people building developing inflatable modules for space are Bigelow. 1000-150 is 850 cubic metres. This is almost three Bigelow BA330 modules which mass 20 tonnes each, 60 in total total. That is as much mass as has been sent for the first crew combined. There is something wrong with the Mars One numbers.

    3. Mars
    one will attempt a "live of the land" approach, where they will attempt to extract water and oxygen from the soil, grow plants for food and other uses indoors, shield from radiation with Mars soil and even make bricks for extending the settlement. This means less has to be transported from earth. if everything had to be brought this mission would likely cost a lot more.
    This helps a bit, ISS food, water and gases amount to about a tonne per person per year. That still leaves 1.5 tonnes that needs to be supplied. For Mars one that is 12 tonnes for the first cycle with four crew, 24 tonnes for the second cycle with 8 crew - almost 10 stupply modules. Mars One numbers don't add up.

    There is no discussion on how the food is to be grown - the inflatable module walls are about 30 cm thick, and opaque. No good for greenhouses.

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    Yes time is tight, first launch is planned for 3 years and 2 months time (January 2016). As for weather Spacex have been funded for his redesign, Mars One have said they are not going to revel everything that is happening right now so it is hard to know what if anything has happened here. I would hope though that some initial designs have been done.

    As for the inflatables I believe the ones that will be used in the settlement will be manufactured by ILC Dover who have a history of all kinds of space inflatables. From my knowledge these will be a lot smaller than the Bigelow Aerospace, this would be because the materials have to protect the people inside from space with the station alone, the Mars inflatables however will have a solid surface to sit on and will not have to cope with such cold temperatures plus they will eventually be covered with soil providing more insulation.

    From Mars One FAQ:

    "Food production on Mars

    When the astronauts land, there will be limited rations of food available for them to use. Food from Earth will only serve as emergency rations, the astronauts will eat fresh food that they produce on Mars.

    Mars One will make use of high efficiency plant growing methods that require much less space (e.g. PlantLab). Food production will be hydroponic, eliminating the need for soil. Food production will happen indoor, lighted by LED lighting. By providing the plants with only the frequencies of light that they use most efficiently, power consumption is limited. Some of the plants will be grown in multiple levels on top of each other, limiting space requirements.

    In total there will be about 50 m2 available for plant growth. A thick layer of Martian soil on top of the inflatable habitat will protect the plants (and the astronauts) from radiation. CO2 for the plants is available from the Mars atmosphere and water is available through recycling and from the soil of Mars.

    There will be sufficient plant production capacity to feed about three crews of four. Any plant production surplus will be stored as emergency rations for the second crew, and for other emergencies. Non-edible parts of the plants will be recycled, or will be stored until more advanced recycling equipment is shipped from Earth."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars3 View Post
    Which scales to 25 m3 nicely. But have SpaceX actually funded or been funded for development of this? They have only four years.
    I would also note that Elon Musk started SpaceX to allow mankind to expand into space in particular Mars. I think that because of this Elon musk might even do some designs cheap or even free as he supports this plus the cost of the designs will be very small compared to the cost of the launches Mars One will make. These designs may also be used for other missions be it to Mars of just LOE.

    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/03...l-cost-500000/
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/20...n-musk-qa/all/
    tesla-ceo-elon-musk-628.jpg

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    Thopse designs still need to be built and tested, even a simple ungrade from a cargo to a crewed Dragon takes years, let alone an enlarged design.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars3 View Post
    Thopse designs still need to be built and tested, even a simple ungrade from a cargo to a crewed Dragon takes years, let alone an enlarged design.
    Many of the upgrades used in the crewed Dragon would also be in the larger Dragon. In particular the upgraded SuperDraco engines are designed for launch escape as well as propulsive landing on other planetary bodies like the Moon And Mars.

    This video on SpaceX's YouTube channel shows a Dragon capsule landing on Mars.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p6EruPdoXY&feature=plcp
    Last edited by hbm11; 11-06-2012 at 06:51 AM.

  8. #8
    Mars3,
    Let me start by saying thank you for asking the tough questions. Most of us here wish for this mission to occur, and as a result we can have "Rose colored glasses" when it comes to some of the issues. It is nice to have people who ask the challenging questions.

    As far as the dragon capsule goes, much of the research and development of the technology for the crewed version of dragon has already been done. Note that even the supply version of the dragon capsule is designed with a crewed version in mind. And as a result testing has already begun for a majority of the technology required. Also, a crewed version of the dragon capsule would technically be able to make it to mars without enlarging it (although would be INCREDIBLY uncomfortable), the extra space is just that, extra space for more comfort and cargo. the same technologies that apply the the smaller crewed capsule (Currently in active development) should be directly applicable to the larger version with very little modification (Larger fuel tank, extra redundancy systems, more solar panels/ larger battery banks, etc.) Although obvious non critical modification will be made, such as different compartment hatches so rovers can open them.

    Like I said earlier, the technology they will be using for the crewed version should be completed by 2015, leaving about half a year to focus on the mars dragon capsule. also 2016 is a supply run, meaning that only the basic components need to be in place. life support systems and redundancy is not required to be in place, and as a result SpaceX can narrow their focus to just getting a bare bones capsule to mars and then have time to analyze data and make needed adjustments before 2021. (this has been the intent of the 2016 supply run all along)

    Funding for Dragon is currently being provided by NASA! SpaceX was funded with putting humans on Mars as Elon’s goal; he is investing some of his own money into the company. Current he doesn’t have to because spaceX is profitable and has external funding. Obviously, I am not Elon and I do not work for SpaceX. But I would be freakin shocked if SpaceX is going to demand a profit or even make a profit off of Mars-One. At cost funding for dragon will be provided by SpaceX’s profits, largely from the NASA contracts most likely, and partially from Mars-One sponsors. If I remember correctly, tv broadcasts for crew selection and training should begin either late next year or early the year after. This should generate a lot of revenue to pay for dragon and the other equipment needed.

    One more thing to note is that SpaceX is not your normal space company. Old expectations should be expected to be broken. Elon came into this industry because he saw a slowing and stagnated industry that needs a kick in the arse. That is what he is doing, try to relate SpaceX to the Gemini missions, not the shuttle missions. 

  9. #9
    As far as the dragon capsule goes, much of the research and development of the technology for the crewed version of dragon has already been done. Note that even the supply version of the dragon capsule is designed with a crewed version in mind. And as a result testing has already begun for a majority of the technology required.
    Actually no it hasn't been done. You contradict yourself here. You say "much of the research has already been done", but then go on to say "testing has already begun". They are about 3 years away from completion (pending successful tests which have not started yet) of a manned Dragon (NASA "man rating" is a slow and tedious process by the way). As for a much larger Mars Red Dragon, this is much more than 3 years away. Try double that. So 2018 at the earliest- if it funded in the next 2 years by someone.

    It is interesting to note too that almost all SpaceX actual launch dates are pushed forward because of delays, so if they (MO)are putting all their eggs in this one basket, it is a mighty big gamble. The smart thing to do would be to start their own parallel development program for a Dragon type capsule asap, on their own dime- but they can't yet because they don't have the money. The devil is in the detail as usual. It will be interesting to see what happens given my knowledge that from within SpaceX itself they are a minimum 7 years away from Red Dragon. Still within Elon's 10-12 year time frame, but maybe not Mars One.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beached View Post
    I would be freakin shocked if SpaceX is going to demand a profit or even make a profit off of Mars-One.
    I know Elon is passionate about space but I really don't think he will do it at cost. Much of what he says is showmanship. I think that if he thinks Mars One could succeed he may do the larger dragon design for free as it could be used for many missions other than Mars One. Remember SpaceX is a business not a charity and as Elon has stated before they are moving towards an IPO at some point in the near future, Elon will need to show that every launch is a commercial success for that to happen.

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