back to article One-way Martian ticket: Pick passengers for Musk's first Mars pioneer squad

Admit it. You were tempted to fulfil your sci-fi fantasy – no, not that one – and apply to Mars One Foundation to become a Red Planet pioneer three years back. That call saw 202,586 put their names forward to join a one-way trip starting in 2025. Elon Musk this week undercut Mars One, promising he’d land 100 pioneers on the …

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"Musk seems to think can be traversed in 80 days."

Yeah. He also states that his cars have an autopilot when the firm that originally provided the tech stated it should be 'driver assist'

Not knocking his achivements. Just not sure that I trust him with my life.

But hey. Maybe I don't want to be on the 'Greatest Ever Reality Show' enough.

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You can do it in a lot less time than that, providing you start out with enough thrust. Elon thinks that the right balance between cargo capacity and safely transiting the distance is 80 days. Add more passengers and it takes longer, less and you can do it quicker.

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But there's only so much that can be done with discardable boosters, since you need to slow down at the other end. The more thrust you need to generate, the more fuel you need to carry. Tsiolkovsky's rocket equations are quite unforgiving.

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Roughly 150 tons of fuel are joined to the stack by the second launch. It's that which will be consumed to boost to the specified 6.5km/s transfer velocity and slow down at the far end. It's the size of the fuel budget that gets them the speed, and nothing to date has had a budget anywhere close.

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"Musk seems to think can be traversed in 80 days."

Those would be Imperial days which are 20% longer than regular days.

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"You can do it in a lot less time than that, providing you start out with enough thrust. "

True, but that gives you a lot more velocity to brake at either end. In the early 90's the Defense Analysis Agency did a report on this. 76 days is possible if you can get up to 20 Km/s.

At the speeds Musk is proposing (around 8 Km/s) 80 days will be possibly in an alignment that comes up in about 20 years. The average for the speed he's been talking about is about 115 days, more like 4 months.

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Re: "You can do it in a lot less time than that, providing you start out with enough thrust. "

Could you boost this with intermediate fuelling points along the way? I know there is one case study that calls for refuelling close to the moon using libration (Lagrangian?) points to maintain a stable position. What about using something like that to minimise the main vehicle launch payload - i.e. to send a number of rockets up and then assemble them in space.

For those who voted for Donald Trump to be the 100th passenger - what would the other 99 have done to deserve that?

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Re: "You can do it in a lot less time than that, providing you start out with enough thrust. "

I think 20 years is about how long it will take to get the passenger transport designed, tested, and built.

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Anonymous Coward

Seems few realise Mars does not have a breathable atmosphere. Fancy life in a spacesuit ?

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A life locked in a small room with only a computer for entertainment?

...

Where do I sign up?

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WTF?

atmosphere

It ain't like in the movies.

The mean atmospheric pressure on Mars is only 0.6% of that of Earth. (Equivalent on Earth of being at an altitude of 22 miles, or about 35 km.) Which is why "violent dust storms" is a joke. At full force, the most "violent" dust storm with 130mpg winds on Mars can barely move one of those thin a plastic shopping bags.

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Re: atmosphere

"At full force, the most "violent" dust storm with 130mpg..."

But they get pretty good efficiency :)

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If we're voting to send Trump and Piers Morgan, I also vote that we don't send spacesuits.

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Re: atmosphere

What wouuld the effect of those dust storms on say an orange toupee?

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Sending Trump and Piers Morgan would be a remarkably efficient start to terraforming. After all, the atmosphere on Mars is rather thin and cold therefore adding a lot of hot air should be a good start.

there's probably a good reason why I'm not a rocket scientist!

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Obligatory red dwarf reference:

Trump and Morgan world...

Shudder..................

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Facepalm

Signing up for a life locked in a small room with only a computer

Don't forget the internet connection with anywhere from 6 to 51 minutes of ping latency to Earth.

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"If we're voting to send Trump and Piers Morgan, I also vote that we don't send spacesuits."

Too chancy, they might survive. Can't we send them to the Sun instead?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Signing up for a life locked in a small room with only a computer

Gaming is really going to suck :(

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Anonymous Coward

Re: atmosphere

> Which is why "violent dust storms" is a joke. At full force, the most "violent" dust storm with 130mpg winds on Mars can barely move one of those thin a plastic shopping bags.

Finally we know where you fell off from.

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Re: Signing up for a life locked in a small room with only a computer

Don't forget the internet connection with anywhere from 6 to 51 minutes of ping latency to Earth.

Counterstrike is going to be a big bit crap, then. And grumble browsing isn't going to be much better.

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Re: Signing up for a life locked in a small room with only a computer

"Gaming is really going to suck :("

Is it really so hard to imagine a way of playing a computer game that doesn't require an internet connection or a remote server? Are single player games or LAN parties so far in the past that no one remembers them any more? Pah! Kids today! Git of ma (dusty red) lawn!

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Well, if it means I get to travel on the Heart of Gold, I'm in...

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Anonymous Coward

> Well, if it means I get to travel on the Heart of Gold, I'm in...

Just make sure it's not just a sticker over the real name... B Ark

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Interview with one astronaut said that with the BEST shielding available, a human would get the equivalent of 6,000 chest xrays on a trip to Mars.

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> a human would get the equivalent of 6,000 chest xrays on a trip to Mars.

I wouldn't worry about that, you're unlikely to survive on Mars long enough to die of lung cancer.

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The Dirty Digger

Only one person deserves this golden ticket:

Rupert Murdoch.

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Re: The Dirty Digger

Actually I was thinking "most of the above and quite a few more". David Cameron seems to have some time on his hands after needlessly setting the country on a course for unchartered waters, not unlike a trip to Mars.

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Re: The Dirty Digger

It's Katie Hopkins for me personally.

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Re: The Dirty Digger

Absolutely bang on.

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Re: The Dirty Digger

Maybe the list should be the other way around.... 98 seats filled with those we'd like to say "good riddance and you'll make some nice fertilizer" to and the other 2 seats for two guys who make sure the other 98 step out of the ship.

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Boffin

Journey time

I suspect that the 80 day journey time relies on the extra fuel that will be loaded in orbit. If you're relying on the fuel you've boosted out of the gravity well in the initial launch, there's a bunch less thrust available.

Bottom line, I can't see them getting something as fundamental as the journey time wrong.

Oh, and sign me up, would you? Sounds like a lot of fun.

GJC

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Re: Journey time

"Oh, and sign me up, would you? Sounds like a lot of fun."

I'd offer a similar sentiment, but I'd almost certainly fail any health checks that are carried out.

However, as to others going - I don't care who does it first, but I want someone to do it so that I can see a human setting foot on Mars before I croak.

Despite my dislike of reality shows, I'll even watch that version (the important bits, at least), if it actually happens and it's the one that gets there first.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Journey time

"However, as to others going - I don't care who does it first, but I want someone to do it so that I can see a human setting foot on Mars before I croak."

I fear, if rushed it's more likely to be "I can see a human croaking after setting foot on Mars"

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Re: Journey time

If anyone actually looked at the Musk presentation data, they'd see that the 80-day transit time is the "best case" scenario with one particular Earth-Mars alignment. Worst case was 150 days, or nearly twice as long.

And all of that was in support of determining thrust and fuel requirements for the desired payload mass to Mars, which determines the size of the booster, not for the purposes of scheduling how long you need to board your cat for.

While I'm at it, he also didn't promise 100 passengers to Mars in 2022. The 2022 date is for a completely different mission to Mars (Red Dragon), and he specifically stated in the Q&A that the first test flights of his "spaceship" would have many fewer than 100 people on-board. I would expect that the first flight(s) would have 0 humans on board.

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Re: Journey time

"I fear, if rushed it's more likely to be "I can see a human croaking after setting foot on Mars""

Yes, well, while I want to see someone set foot on Mars, I'd also prefer them to have done all the necessary homework first to minimise the risks as much as possible - I didn't suggest they should rush it.

It's not as if I'm expecting to kick the bucket in 2029 or whenever. I'm hoping to make it until at least 2030. :p

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Re: Journey time

For the same reason people watch Big Brother in the hope there will be a massive fight - people will watch people landing on Mars in the hope there will be tragedies...... (especially if people like Katie Hopkins are on that trip)

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Re: Journey time

> "While I'm at it, he also didn't promise 100 passengers to Mars in 2022."

Careful now, you're letting the facts get in the way of 'good' journalism.

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Anonymous Coward

multiple places

can't we send Trump and Hilary? Oh, and Farage, and Corbyn/McDonnell the ghosts of Stalin, too?

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Re: multiple places

For some strange reason Mrs Clinton's name is actually spelt "Hillary". But definitely a candidate for the B-Ark, along with most of the Senate, House of Representatives and the House of Commons, all the hereditary peers, bishops (of all persuasions).

Elon: the ship just isn't going to be big enough!

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Re: multiple places

Dear god no.

We can't risk that movie trope of rivals becoming lovers through shared adversity. Imagine a planet populated by their offspring!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: multiple places

They wouldn't be going on the Heart of Gold - they're listed for the Golgafrincham Ark Fleet, Ship B

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Anonymous Coward

Re: multiple places

"We can't risk that movie trope of rivals becoming lovers through shared adversity. Imagine a planet populated by their offspring!"

Menopause and ED will sort that out right quick.

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Re: multiple places

Why bother? I can fit a lot more than 100 people in a rocket.

All we'd need is a liquid oxygen container breach at the appropriate time, and the world would improve dramatically.

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Re: multiple places

"They wouldn't be going on the Heart of Gold - they're listed for the Golgafrincham Ark Fleet, Ship B"

It's a shame so many people get the trope wrong. We ARE the results of the B-Ark reaching it's final destination.

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Not fair on the rest.

If I were on that trip, anyone on the poll list would be out of the airlock before we passed Moon orbit!

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Alert

Re: Not fair on the rest.

My speciality - I've even listed it as one of my skills on LinkedIn - is elevators. I suspect I'd be just as effective in a spaceship.

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Joke

I've got an idea

Given that there won't be a lot to do when you get there, and asking myself again if NASA actually flew to the moon the first time, etc. left me wondering if there is a cheaper alternative and a money making scheme at the same time.

I think that for 50% of Musk's price, I cam come up with a scheme where people go to "space" and get all the positives of nobody to talk to, a completely different way to live, etc.

I plan to buy up an unused piece of land - somewhere, make a large enclosed dome, painted with the correct stars and black background etc.

The big benefit of my scheme is that I will also provide simulated gravity; simulated atmosphere; electricity; Internet and pizza deliveries once a week.

Space suits will be required if you venture outside, but they will only have a 20 minute oxygen supply to stop people wandering too far and finding the truth.

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Re: I've got an idea

..."Given that there won't be a lot to do when you get there ........

There will be on hell of a lot to do once up there; building a habitat, mining, engineering, prospecting etc. I should imagine that there would be enough to do to occupy 100 colonists 24/7/365 for 10's of years ....

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Re: I've got an idea

"The big benefit of my scheme is that I will also provide simulated gravity;"

If you've managed to simulate 1/3rd gravity while on Earth for the whole dome and the surrounding outside land, then you might as well just take them to Mars anyway, You already invented anti-gravity.

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