Reproduction On Mars

Nadia Drake has the latest. We continue to not have a gravity lab to study this.

[Update after reading the whole thing]

They seem to be proposing a gravity lab (still unfunded), but they want to put it in lunar orbit. I see no reason to do this, other than to give the Gateway something to do; LEO (and probably in the ISS orbit) makes a lot more sense to me.

14 thoughts on “Reproduction On Mars”

  1. We continue to not have a gravity lab to study this.

    Yeah, because as you’re fond of saying, space isn’t important.

    1. Ain’t it the truth.
      But spending in US District X sure is….

      I don’t understand why NGO’s and university consortia don’t get behind the idea of a Gravity Lab. It’d only cost ’em a fraction of what an actual Mars Mission would, with REAL & tangible Science & Medicine to be done.

      From the GO perspective, at this point it could be the one and only thing SLS ever launches and I’d still support it, if that’s what it took.

  2. The NautilusX proposal included a test inflatable human-scale centrifuge at ISS as part of a proof of concept. On the other hand, if anything like what SpaceX and Blue Origin propose comes to fruition, the whole enterprise of space-capsule eloration is instantly obsolete and the answers sought from a gravity lab will come from human crews traveling to and living on other planets. Bad things may happen to some people, but the old way promised that nothing would happen to any people ever. We were simply going to stay home and wait for the Progressive Extinction Event.

    1. True. And this may be the way it goes. However even a suitably modified SpaceX Starship spun axially in LEO or spun with a counterweight on a tether could work w/o the costs associated with transit to Mars or Mars insitu refueling infrastructure needed. You could even steal the NautilusX idea and build an inflatable Bigelow type tube structure around the axially spun Starship if Coriolis Forces are an issue. All for a fraction of the cost of a Mars mission and with much easier access from Earth to allow faster turn around of experiments.

      You could run tests on human subjects for habitation of Moon, Mars, Ceres, you name it, no other infrastructure (cost) needed.

      1. As a gravity lab spinning end over end is more stable. But would require a side docking adapter, likely with adjustable position, to accommodate docking by a support vehicle.

    2. the whole enterprise of space-capsule eloration is instantly obsolete and the answers sought from a gravity lab will come from human crews traveling to and living on other planets.

      Partially true. We might find that the gravity of Mars or the Moon is OK but we wont know if there is something more ideal. It would still be nice to have a way of traveling the solar system and parking people in orbit in different locations for long duration.

      Such a vessel holding thousands of people would help a great deal in traveling to Mars or even the Moon.

      People are ragging right now on space stations as if we can either go to the Moon or have a space station when the real answer is we can do both and they both compliment each other. And for years I’ve been reading about how a station at a lunar lagrange point would be awesome but now people seem to think that is stupid too.

      Its all fun to read but there are a lot of swings in opinion.

  3. Agreed about putting a grav lab on Gateway; that’s insane.

    It takes a lot more delta/v to go there, so you’re defacto going to spend a lot more on launch costs. LEO makes far more sense.

    My guess; it’s political. They want to give Gateway a purpose, due to the awkward fact that it really has none; it’s not really useful for reaching the lunar surface, or anywhere else, and there’s no real purpose to having a sometimes-manned outpost there, especially at the cost of a useful one like ISS (which they plan to end to enable Gateway). However, Gateway is itself political; it’s supposed to give SLS something to do. (My take; if you have to find something for something to do, you don’t need the thing.)

      1. Oops, I misread that, thanks for the correction, Rand.

        However, that makes even less sense; what possible reason is there for having a free flyer grav lab in cislunar space vs. LEO… I can think of only one, and it oinks.

    1. It takes a lot more delta/v to go there, so you’re defacto going to spend a lot more on launch costs.

      Does that really matter and is it certain the launch costs will be higher? With SpaceX’s launchers, and other future launch vehicles, the cost of doing a station at a lagrange point will be much less than it was a decade ago. So if an imaginary gravity lab in LEO was cheaper than an imaginary gravity lab at a lagrange point would it even matter if both options were cheaper than a shuttle launch or the ISS?

      Reduction in costs isn’t supposed to mean always doing the absolute cheapest thing but allowing us to expand the number of things that can be done for cheaper than what could be achieved before.

  4. Why do we need an artificial gravity lab? Is it not to determine the AG Rx for adult health, healthy gestation, and healthy childhood?

    If so, then when do we need to know it? We don’t need to know the AG Rx for adult health on the ISS because rotations are not long enough to need it. Same thing with the Moon. Crew can always return from the Moon after any arbitrary length of stay and biomedical criteria can allow us to stay for as long as can.

    A Mars flyby mission is a small amount longer than Polyakov’s stay on Mir. So, we could (and should) just keep increasing length of stay on the ISS. Same thing with a full duration stay on Phobos or the Martian surface.

    We really aren’t that close to having children on the Moon or Mars so we have quite a number of years before needing to know the AG Rx for healthy gestation and childhood. So my point here is that there is really no objective urgency for an AG station on the ISS, freestanding in LEO, or in lunar orbit.

    Rather, I’d say let’s get going with establishing a permanent base on the Moon and then have an indoor centrifuge (about 15 m radius) which the crew can use to help extend their stay and then use that centrifuge for animal studies to determine the AG Rx for gestation and childhood. In this way the studies will be done in the final environment and the results will be available by the time that they are actually needed. Also, the AG Rx experiments can be done as s relatively inexpensive side project to the lunar base.

    1. Odds are, by the time we have enough people in space for this to matter, we’ll have artificial wombs anyway. Just spin those if you need higher gravity to make things work.

    2. Would the centrifuge allow people to stand? Otherwise isn’t it simulating bed rest, which doesn’t solve the gravity problem? Anyone have a link to an animation to help visualize this set up?

      For the purpose you mention, maybe we don’t need simulated gravity just yet but there are other purposes, like travel, that it would be very useful for.

      Perhaps something like this will be built without NASA and then people wont have to argue how the government spends our money.

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