Talk:Mars to Stay

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2009 Letter by Dean UnickEdit

The information in this letter needs to be condensed, bulleted, and referenced with footnotes if such information is to be incorporated into the main wiki page. Also to avoid confusing readers disagreements with other 'Mars to Stay' mission proposals should be clearly highlighted, such as: older pioneers, fewer engineers, 90% of the costs "to return explorers." --And why is a "three year" mission even discussed in a one-way Mars to Stay article? Engineers (stone masons mentioned at the end of your letter?) will be needed to build and maintain the settlement (let's not use the word "colony.") "my gut feeling," "something very cold to discuss," " I estimate that" these are not sufficiently encyclopedia-appropriate phrases.... Ericmachmer (talk) 12:39, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Extended content

An open request to be a speaker was submitted to The Mars Society April 11, 2009. The body of the letter is as follows:

Colonize vs. Return mission

The math of all of these projects, however, is directed at the return of the explorers. By any calculation, 70%, 80%, or 90% of all expended monies are to return the explorers to Earth. The extremely cold and unfeeling thought that does occur is that we are spending those resources to return the used computers that have already fulfilled their mission. Not one of us would consider, even for a moment, wasting the expense, of ten times the cost of going, to bring a Mars Rover, Spirit or Opportunity, home.

So as gently as we can, let us look at alternatives. Let us look at the reason, the logic.

Do not send young men and women. This is a journey that will last at a minimum of nearly three years. We actually would LIKE to send our most experienced. The lessened gravities of Mars and the transit may reward an older individual.

Do not send pilots and engineers. In ANY return mission we MUST send pilots and engineers, but what we want,,,, is to have scientists there on the ground, on Mars.

The water, methane, and oxygen manufacturing proposals AS THEY ARE NOW ENVISIONED, both solar and nuclear, are exactly the same needs and requirements of an extended stay. The additional consumables needed for life support, food, medicine can go out with the original mission at a cost of as low as 1/100th of the cost of a return.

And once again, something very cold to discuss, but VERY important to discuss. This discussion is nearly completely lacking in ALL of the very good and worthwhile proposals.

Mechanical failure. We need to honestly, without dismissing, what are the real and calculable odds of a FULLY successful, a. A return mission. b. A colonization. And based upon reality, what is the rate of failure of past missions? We need not delve at all into the calculus of risk assessment, we have a record before us today of worthy men and women doing their utmost and succeeding or being thwarted by cold grease, a space weld, a plastic that won't bend, a metal that does, the extremes of accelerations, shaking, and sensor glitches. There is nearly NOT a single mission or unmanned probe that does not have some difficulty. Show me even one.

Of the first mission, IN PARTICULAR, based upon the space missions to date, the odds of getting there and on the ground safely are less than 9 out of 10. The more honest odds are only slightly better than 50/50. The Space Shuttle, the Soyuz, has what kind of track record? A 2% failure rate? The total of exploratory landings on, or orbit insertion over Mars to date is on the order of a 50% failure rate? And the failure rate of shuttle launches is, in truth, well over 40% to date. Every time the shuttle launch is scrubbed because of a pipe, a pump, a temperature, a cloud, an insulation, an absolutely anything,,,, is an indicator of what a remote shuttle launch from the Martian surface, unsupported, is likely to produce. But there, on Mars, the return leg of a mission, there will be no support.

The odds of getting the first peoples there is a real blend, and my gut feeling, backed by many statistics, is two successes and one failure. 2 out of 3 odds of success. AND every additional link in the chain, an orbiter, two side by side landings, three side by side landings, a docking in space, increases the complexity and decreases the probability of success.

We have other histories to back us up in these discussions. The exploration and settling of the New World, and the first circumnavigations. We have but to read the histories to see the odds and what the future histories will say of our goings forth.

And those odds bring us to the undeniable conclusion, without hubris, that the odds of a successful return are worse by a minimum of the reversal of the odds, and possibly, because of the unsupported nature of the return launch, an order of magnitude. Please consider that for a moment. IF the odds are an overly optimistic 9 successes out of 10 attempts, the odds of return are still daunting. Using actual previous missions, the 2/3rds figure to get there is accurate. The return then multiplied, says 2/3rds of 2/3rds,,,....44% And that is being kind because of the unsupported launch from Mars Base. This is a best case scenario. The opposite end of the very same calculations gives a figure as low a less than 10%. These are real figures based squarely and solely upon past missions. I assume, we all hope, that extra care will be taken, risks reduced. Remember, please, those that went before were not careless at all. We can not expect anything vastly different or better. And heaven help us all should we not make EVERYONE, all of the public, aware of the total and true risks. For paint a rosy picture, assure every citizen that all will be well, and then,,,,,, should a failure occur??? The end of Mars exploration, bet on it.

Benefits of this plan

Cost. I estimate That a proposed 100 billion dollar mission to be reduced to 35 billions. And if you wish to support the people for long periods of time on the surface, it will cost an additional 20 billions. 100 billion vs. 55 billion All these figures are speculative, better minds than mine will have to bring their pencils to bear. In nominal terms my proposal cost is half as much.

Time on the planet Mars. 18 months for a crew with a core of pilots and engineers. vs 10 years or more of predominantly scientists. By my estimate, 20 times the science.

Likelihood of success. 1 out of 3 for the return mission 2 out of 3 for the colonization. Double the odds of success AT A MINIMUM.

I could go on and on, but right here before you is a simple and very difficult to ignore or refute calculation that says, For half as much money, I can guarantee doubling the odds of success, and increase the science by a factor of 20 .

The not cold part? Early explorers may very well be returnable on later missions, because there will then be people, a population, and a system of ground support possible. Maybe we should consider sending the youngest, not the oldest explorers.

However, more than any of the preceding logic and reason, it is time we left the Earth. We can. We should.

Send old, not young, send stone masons, and scientists, not pilots.

Dean Unick

One Way to Mars by George HerbertEdit

In the introduction is stated that "The earliest formal outline of a Mars to Stay mission architecture was given at the Case for Mars VI Workshop in 1990, during a presentation by George Herbert titled "One Way to Mars."" The reference is broken and the reference I found is from 1996 One way to Mars. Is there any reference from 1990? --JosepVirgili 21:55, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Is this wise?Edit

  1. Should we consider a mission to Mars without possibility of return before a project like Biosphere 2 has functioned successfully long-term and closed?
  2. Should we consider a mission to Mars without knowing the long-term effects of low gravity life. Will loss of strength in bones continue till settlers can't survive on Earth or Mars?

Proxima Centauri (talk) 19:29, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Do you have a comment about improving the article? Wikipedia is not a forum, and Talk pages are not chat rooms. If you have a verifiable source, consider editing the article to improve it. Cheers. N2e (talk) 23:00, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

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Globalize Maintenance TagEdit

"The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate. (February 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)"

This article is itself merely an opinion regarding potential avenues of Mars exploration and settlement. Others are welcome, in either the 'criticisms' section or perhaps even their own Wikipedia page. It would be helpful if we could please discuss such matters here, without a distracting 'maintenance tag' which may confuse or unnecessarily distract viewers. There are many, many opinions about what humanity ought to accomplish on Mars -- from Mars One to SpaceX to von Braun to KSR. These diverse points of view may or may not directly mention a 'to stay' option, but, at the very least they ought to have their own wikipedia page or perhaps sectional mention here. Please, please do not clutter this page with 'maintenance tags'. Improve the article directly, write a new section with a 'global' opinion you would like to highlight, or, discuss it further here. Thank you.

Ericmachmer (talk) 15:49, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Return to "Mars to Stay" page.