Inspiration Mars

The press conference starts in about half an hour. I see though, that they have more info at the web site:

An inflatable habitat module will be deployed after launch and detached prior to re-entry.

So they’re not crazy enough to spend over sixteen months in a cramped capsule.

[Update a couple minutes later]

They’re already streaming from the press club. I see Jim Muncy talking on the phone in front of the speakers’ chairs.

[Update a while later]

I think I see Jim Keravala of Shackleton Energy Company in the front row, and closer to the camera, the back of Jeff Foust. And now I see Seth Borenstein, from AP.

[Update at 12:56 EDT]

Speakers seated now. Looks like (left to right) Tito, Taber, Jon Clark and Jane Poynter. Sharon Grace from AIAA just came in.

OK, Miles O’Brien is MCing. “Simplicity, audacity, liquidity.”

Jeff Foust has a picture.

Inspiration Mars Press 1

You can see Keravala on the right edge of the shot.

O’Brien: “Sometimes you just have to weight anchor and shove off.”

This certainly fits in with the theme of my book.

Tito speaking now.

“Need to learn how crew responds to deep-space missions before attempting a landing.”

“This mission is a low-hanging fruit.”

Miles O’Brien just tweeted: “#InspirationMars seeking committed couples for a 501 day round trip to #Mars and back. No stopping for directions!”

“I will come out a lot poorer as a result of this mission, but my grandchildren will be enriched.”

Here‘s an interview that Jeff Foust did with Taber yesterday. “It all sort of kept working out.”

“No show stoppers, funding for first two years out of my pocket.”

“Media rights will be incredible, imagine Dr. Phil talking to the couple about their problems.”

Taber speaking now.

It strikes me that Taber and Jane are obvious crew candidates.

[Update a while later]

Now saluting the “program of record” (i.e., SLS/Orion). “Needed to actually explore Mars with team of scientists.” Can just barely do a flyby with current hardware.

Jonathan Clark about to speak now. It just occurs to me that it’s been almost exactly ten years (February 1) since he lost his wife on Columbia.

Jane speaking now. “Really long road trip in an RV, about a year and a half, and you can’t get out.” 3000 pounds of freeze-dried food, that will be rehydrated with the water you drank a couple days earlier.

[Update after end of conference]

Seth Borenstein: “Are you crazy?” OK, that was a paraphrase. Good response by Tito to his skepticism. I was thinking Apollo 8 and STS-1 when he was asking if this isn’t too risky, how do you do it without test flights, how do you do it in five years, bla bla bla.

Jon Clark pointing out that main crew health is a mission operational issue, because they are a part of the system in the need for them to maintain it. Can deal with cancer issues when the get back, but have to be sure that they are capable of performing throughout the mission.

Frank Morring of AvWeek asking about milestones to hit five-year deadline. When will crew be selected?

Taber: Dennis has committed to two years, and they don’t need to worry about money. Have signed Space Act agreement, life support under development, have to put together vehicle strategy soon to hold schedule. Clark says that it is a milestone-driven program. I would note that this is one of the advantages of having a limited window that you have to hit — it concentrates the mind, programmatically.

[Update toward the end of questioning]

Clark Lindsey has some good notes of the event.

79 thoughts on “Inspiration Mars

  1. Martijn Meijering (@mmeijeri)

    From the website:

    NASA has a strong plan for taking Americans farther into space and is investing wisely in a new human spacecraft and heavy lift launch vehicle – systems our nation needs for our long-term plans beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO).

    Let’s hope they feel compelled to use such PC language, and don’t mean it. Still disgusting.

  2. ken anthony

    Let them say anything they like. It’s actions that matter and this will break through a lot of naysayer BS once it is accomplished.

    While it’s being accomplished it will generate interest from people that many don’t think is there. Tito has just become my 3rd hero.

  3. B Lewis

    Pure chutzpah — the kind that made America great.

    Like Coke in green glass bottles, I thought they didn’t make real men like this any more. Bravo, Dennis Tito.

    Or should I say Delos D. Harriman? On to Mars!

  4. LCB

    Oh Lord…dare I hope this will come to pass. I really lost faith in getting mankind back to the moon or to Mars in my lifetime after Challenger. That’s when I found out how disfunctional NASA actually was. Go IM!!!

  5. IcePilot

    Close quarters. Like more than a hundred twenty days submerged on a nuclear attack submarine, starting with two layers of #10 cans on the deck, times 4. Hope they get periscope liberty.

  6. Arizona CJ

    I was skeptical before, but this looks like it could be real. I just didn’t think it was feasible without more space than a Dragon provides, but if they are taking along a habitat module, that makes it viable IMHO.

    For anyone having trouble understanding the launch window issue, it’s due in large part to the eccentricity of Mars’ orbit. Here’s a link to a simulator that shows the Earth-Mars orbital dynamic, including the launch window they are aiming for.
    https://www.windows2universe.org/mars/mars_orbit.html&edu=elem

    If they miss this one, they’d have another in 2020, BUT, it’s not as good; it’d require a bit more delta-v, plus a longer mission time.

    The thing is, if this works, it demonstrates the feasibility (almost all of it) of a manned mission to an asteroid, and a big chunk of the feasibility of a manned Mars mission (minus the hardest part; the lander-ascent vehicle).

    I do think that this is a high-risk mission, about on par with STS 1.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how they propose to handle the radiation issue, and I’ll bet right now that it involves keeping the earth departure stage attached.

    I think this is big. If it works, the second most important part of it will be mankind’s first voyage to another planet. The most important part, however, is it will demonstrate that privately funded enterprise can do what government can’t.

    Any idea what the budget is expected to be? Did they mention the number of FH launches needed? (I can’t view the vid).

    1. Coastal Ron

      Thanks for the link to the orbital simulator.

      It’s hard to quantify what something like this stimulates, but certainly it will lower the imaginary barriers people have about going to Mars. Or, if it turns out badly, it may keep in place some of the imaginary barriers.

      I’m hoping for the best.

  7. IcePilot

    While not a supporter of colony Mars, I say three cheers for Dennis Tito. Trying will get us where we need to go, regardless of where we end up.

    1. Ed Minchau

      Nevermind. She’s all for it, and didn’t even bat an eye when I mentioned possible radiation poisoning and osteoporosis.

  8. Thomas Matula

    It will be interesting to watch and I wish him the best of luck,

    I don’t see it having much impact on STEM as the factors driving it are much different today than in the 1950′s. Putting the money towards developing a lunar industrial base would be more productive as kids are looking for jobs and careers. The Moon has the potential to actually create a new industry and new industrial capabilities whereas in the best case this is a one shot mission since the planets won’t align again for decades.

    Its interesting, given all the cheering leading here for SpaceX he basically confirmed what I replied to Edward in the thread below, they only used it for the reference mission because they had the data available to do so. That fact that he is open to all hardware options increases greatly the probability of success.

    1. Frank

      …since the planets won’t align again for decades.

      Closer to 15 years for the close shots. Every two years for supply length missions.

    2. Coastal Ron

      Putting the money towards developing a lunar industrial base would be more productive as kids are looking for jobs and careers.

      Since there is no demand for any resources from the Moon, essentially you are just talking about pure deficit spending. While the government excels at that, we can do that just as good here on Earth.

      What will draw more people to STEM-related jobs is the increase in demand for those skills by companies that have solid demand. Having worked for government contractors, the most depressing thing is to lose your job because the government turned off the tap on a program. Competition can sometimes be just as brutal, but at least you can go apply at your competitor, whereas once the funding runs out on your little government-funded lunar experiment, it leaves no lasting value – another Apollo/Shuttle dead-end. We don’t need more of those.

      1. Thomas Matula

        Let’s see. A billion non-profit dollars tossed away on a one shot stunt flight.

        ROI? Zero

        Impact on STEMS? Some jobs for the folks laid off with the retirement of Shuttle but nothing for the generation raised on Mars rover images as screen savers.

        or a billion non-profit dollars spent on 10-15 robotic missions to the Moon that will test and prove a variety of technologies needed to produce lunar resources, resources like LOX which could be used for orbital refueling stations.

        ROI – New technologies and a new industry

        Impact on STEMS – a new world to develop with lots of non-government jobs for STEM graduates. So guess what? Kids will study STEMS to get those new jobs, just as the students I advise here focus on STEM courses to get jobs gold mining.

        Yes, Coastal Ron you are still thinking the old space coast way, not the new economy way.

        1. Coastal Ron

          Thomas said:

          or a billion non-profit dollars spent on 10-15 robotic missions to the Moon that will test and prove a variety of technologies needed to produce lunar resources, resources like LOX which could be used for orbital refueling stations.

          The Google Lunar X PRIZE is already working on that, and so far it’s not taking $1B. This Mars trips won’t necessarily take $1B either, IF they use SpaceX hardware.

          ROI – New technologies and a new industry

          What new industry? There is no demand for resources from the Moon, either in raw material or propellant. We can supply propellant from Earth for far less than it costs to set up a facility on the Moon.

          Some day we will return to the Moon, and there will be business models tested out. But we’re not there yet.

          1. Thomas Matula

            Ron,

            The Google X-Prize is a joke. It covers less that half of the cost of sending a rover to Mars and by Google X Prize demanding the media rights it eliminates any hopes of closing the gap. It also created a carnival atmosphere around lunar ventures and discourages cooperation. If Google had really wanted to advance lunar exploration they could have just funded a mission year ago.

            If you understood economics you would know demand is a function of costs. Until the technology to mine the Moon is demonstrated and the costs understood it is not possible to model demand. The 10-15 robotic missions this billion dollars would have funded would have gone a long way to demonstrating the technology and quantifying the costs as well as proving out the resources. There was no industry for mobile phones until the money was invested to develop the technology to produce them. That is where the industrial development of the Moon is today and will be until the investment is made in it.

          2. ken anthony

            Thomas, you did not address Ron’s point. Businesses only invest when they see a potential profit.

            Demand is not a function of costs, it is a function of price.

            Cost is a function of units produced.

            When the difference in price and cost is better than alternative investments it is more likely to happen.

            Google isn’t in the mining business (other than data mining.)

            A prize isn’t meant to cover the costs, it’s meant to lower them.

            Millions of dollar is no joke.

          3. ken anthony

            Google X Prize demanding the media rights it eliminates any hopes of closing the gap.

            Nobody has to give up media rights unless they accept Google’s offer. Google also has the right to terms that would recover the cost of the prize. What part of free enterprise do you not understand?

          4. ken anthony

            There was no industry for mobile phones until the money was invested to develop the technology to produce them.

            Mobile phones are an offshoot of two-way radios. Cell phones soon happened after someone came up with the concept of cells. It happened because potential profit always existed. It didn’t happen because someone said, “Let’s invest billions of dollars and see if an industry results.”

          5. Coastal Ron

            Thomas said:

            If you understood economics you would know demand is a function of costs.

            I’m not sure you understand it. Look at a Supply v Demand curve and tell me where cost comes in.

            As Ken pointed out, supply is based on price. But regardless the price, if you don’t have demand, there is no one to buy at any given price. And that’s what we have for supply outside of Earth, in that no one is demanding it.

            Any supplies we need for doing things on the Moon will initially come from Earth. Only after we have established that supplies from the Moon can satisfy the local demand at a low enough cost will we depend on local supply. That could be right away for water, or it could be long time for more complex extraction like propellant.

            But spending $Billions to set up a 7-Eleven on the Moon before anyone is there doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially with taxpayer money.

          6. ken anthony

            I come at it from two angles Ron. In my misspent youth, my family owned a number of businesses (while my stepdad was on the run from the FBI) and I managed a number myself. When I was married, my wife got her MBA and forced reluctant me to help her (lot’s of charts like those on your link) which required me to be precise in the language of business (hey, I didn’t say it stuck!) I’m very proud of my ex-wife (even though, like Thomas, she is a statist at heart.) She had a business when she lived in the far east (of Russia) while she was CFO of a regiment. She would have material and clothes from Istanbul in one hand and their paychecks in the other. This was her concept of capitalism.

          7. Thomas Matula

            Ken,

            Inspiration Space is NOT a business, its a charity. So who are you requiring that Dennis make a profit on funding robotic missions to the Moon. The entire point was that if he was that is someone wanted to donate to move space development forward and inspire STEM students robotic missions to the Moon are FAR more likely to do so.

            Also if you understood managerial economics you would know that price is always a function of cost, because if a venture needs to understand what its costs are before it determines if a price is sufficiently high to cover costs. And without a price point to start with there is no basis to determine demand since demand is a function of price. That is why a number of lunar robotic demonstrator missions to prove the technology and create price points will be an important step on the road to creating a lunar industry.

            The reason Google funding the prize is for PR. A robotic mission to test mining technology would serve the same purpose.

            But you are right, the prize isn’t a joke as much as a tragedy since like the Ansari X Prize it is just sending entrepreneurs down a dead end and slowing, not accelerating the opening to the Moon to development but retarding it.

          8. Thomas Matula

            Ron,

            Sorry, but price is always based on cost as I pointed out to Ken above. If you don’t know your costs you have no idea what your price target is, and without a price target there is no way to determine demand. So determining your costs always comes first. That is why cost determines demand because without cost information you have no price to quote your potential customers.

            And how did taxpayer money come into this? Dennis isn’t looking for taxpayer money for his Mars flight. And that is the point, if he really wants to stimulate STEM in needs to think in terms of the current generation, not the Boomer, and focus on creating a lunar industry with his charity, not a one shot PR stunt.

          9. Coastal Ron

            Thomas said:

            Sorry, but price is always based on cost as I pointed out to Ken above.

            Sorry, but no. I could price something to that induces you to buy, but you have no idea what my cost is, and I may or may not be covering my costs. That’s capitalism, and it works very well thank you.

            Now of course, over the long run I need to make money, but price and cost are two different things, and only one (i.e. price) is really known by the customer.

            Inspiration Space is NOT a business, its a charity.

            There you go again Thomas. A non-profit is not necessarily a charity, even though a charity is always a non-profit. There is a difference, and it’s important for you to get it right.

            In this case Inspiration Mars appears to be a foundation set up for educational purposes.

          10. Coastal Ron

            Thomas said:

            And without a price point to start with there is no basis to determine demand since demand is a function of price.

            No, demand is related to supply. Price does affect demand, but it’s not the sole creator of it.

            Let’s take your lunar propellant example. Let’s say you spent your own money and set up a lunar propellant station on the Moon, and you decided to give away fuel for free. Would anyone show up?

            Since fuel is just part of the cost of getting to the Moon, free fuel on the Moon doesn’t guarantee that demand will instantly appear. Vehicles have to be financed and built, and a reason to go has to be established. How does free fuel affect the elasticity of demand for going to the Moon?

            As of now, from what I can tell, lack of fuel is not keeping us from going back to the Moon, so having “supply” doesn’t necessarily create “demand”, even if the price of fuel is free.

          11. Thomas Matula

            Ron,

            OK, it looks like you are now debating yourself.

            First you state
            [[[demand is related to supply.]]]

            Then you state
            [[[so having “supply” doesn’t necessarily create “demand]]]

            So which is it? Is demand related to supply or not?

            Also, let’s say as a class exercise, you explain why demand for iPhones only emerged after iPhones were created. Or was it?

        2. ken anthony

          A billion non-profit dollars tossed away on a one shot stunt flight.

          We understand you would spend it differently. Yes; It’s called freedom. You remind me of the people that complain about how other people play at the poker table. Yet, everyone at the poker table is playing with their own money.

          Telling other people how they should spend their money is the tyranny the government engages in. Why would you emulate that evil?

          1. Thomas Matula

            Ken,

            I am just pointing out he wasting it IF his goal is to stimulate STEM students. But I see that as just an excuse for donations since everyone likes supporting STEM.

        3. ken anthony

          if you understood managerial economics

          Does cost and managerial accounting count? For the record, when I was not running my own businesses I’ve been deeply involved in helping others run theirs. I started out professionally installing turn key point of sale and accounting systems in NYC and as a programmer (BAL) in a circulations fulfillment company processing millions of customers. A place some people regard as quite a business center. I’ve never been focuses on just one aspect of business. I’ve been active in all aspects. In all sizes, from working in the world trade center to numerous mom and pop outfits in all sectors of business. My last job was writing code for fleet management and training people at a little company called Exxon in quality control and testing.

          My ex-wife has an MBA and I often had to explain to her what her textbooks were trying to tell her.

          But you’re probably right. I don’t know anything about management or economics. (Yet, I still learn.)

          Oh, and there was that one tax season in my youth when I worked for Intuit. I was supposed to help people operate quickbooks, but instead often had to help owners (and their CPAs!) with how to set up their chart of accounts (not as in how to use the software, but what accounts which required me to state a disclaimer every time) for various types of businesses.

          Today of course, I’m just a broken down bum that enjoys conversing with people that question my experience and intelligence. It’s the INTJ in me.

    3. Coastal Ron

      they only used it [Falcon Heavy & Dragon] for the reference mission because they had the data available to do so.

      That’s not what they said. They said they were only at the point of verifying the specs, not that they are deciding on any hardware.

      But considering that 1) Falcon Heavy provides 6X the value as Delta IV Heavy for getting mass to LEO, 2) funding is likely to be tight, and 3) Musk may take an interest in this venture since it aligns with his goals, then I would be surprised if they didn’t use any SpaceX hardware.

      Here would be my non-professional guess on the hardware they would use:

      1. A modified Dragon-Crew without an LAS and with an extended trunk for consumable storage and any other hardware they need (oxygen, communications, experiments, etc.)
      2. A Bigelow or Thin Red Line Aerospace expansion module
      3. A Centaur Booster with two RL-10′s
      4. A Falcon Heavy to boost #1-3 to LEO
      5. A Falcon 9/Dragon to take the crew up. They could take up an engineer to help solve any last minute problems, since the Dragon would be returning after crew transfer.

      A couple of options for how they assemble that all in space, but I won’t go into that here. Heck, it’s already proving that something like this can stimulate interest in space… ;-)

      1. ken anthony

        The entire project doesn’t have to cost anywhere near a billion. Musk has stated the FH could send the Dragon directly to mars. So that’s one launch.

        The inflatable doesn’t have to be as complex as a Bigelow module. It could be pre-installed in the nose of the Dragon to be inflated on the way. They don’t even have to eject in on returning to earth. They just cap it off and let it burn up on reentry (it’s plastic.) It would have a reflective coating to keep it from melting in space, but could be see through as well. Yes, I realize the artist conceptions show something like a sundancer and conjecture at this point is likely to look silly next week. Just sayin’.

      2. Thomas Matula

        Coastal Ron,

        The problem of course is that SpaceX has a long track record of not meeting time schedules. Look at how long it has taken then to just launch the second CRS mission with existing hardware. And here you are taking of new hardware.

        I expect that after looking at what is available after a year or so they will go with the Bigelow Module and Boeing’s CST-100. Or if funding fails recognize they aren’t able to afford U.S. options and go to Excalibur Almaz and pay to rebuild one of their Almaz stations, which is what Russia has considered for their Mars flights. Then they will probably cut a deal with Russia for launch services to cover the funding gap making it an international mission to “inspire the world”.

          1. Thomas Matula

            Ken,

            What universe do you live in? I was at the Churchill Club in June 2002 when Elon Musk first announced SpaceX. His stated goal was that the first flight of Falcon I would be in 2004. It wasn’t until 2006 and he didn’t have a successful flight until 2008.

            Same with DragonLab. He promised the first launch in 2011, now its 2014, but no one in the biotech industry is betting on it.

            I guess you only think he wasn’t late because he had no government contract for them to be late on :-)

          2. ken anthony

            I live in a universe where delayed means slower than it could have been done. Nothing delayed the F1, it took the time it took. If, at it’s founding, Elon expected it to take two years doesn’t mean it was delayed if it took four years. It didn’t have a customer for that rocket to delay until it had a rocket. As you point out, it took three times to get it right. Nobody in their right mind considers required development as a delay. It would only rightly be called delayed if they had a rocket ready to go but something interfered with launching it.

            As for DragonLab, it was ready to go and it was delayed. But now we’re talking about the F9 and their NASA partner doing the delaying as I stated. DragonLab wasn’t something they planned, but an opportunity they saw for new business.

            Would you be kind enough to tell me where the stock market is in 2014?

        1. Coastal Ron

          Thomas said:

          The problem of course is that SpaceX has a long track record of not meeting time schedules.

          Was there a need to be “on schedule”? Not for COTS (NASA didn’t even want to identify dates), and there is no schedule for CRS other than to support NASA’s needs.

          I expect that after looking at what is available after a year or so they will go with the Bigelow Module and Boeing’s CST-100.

          I can see Bigelow, although they could go straight to where Bigelow has their modules made (in Canada).

          As to the CST-100, it’s odd that you complain about SpaceX not being on schedule, but then you suggest a vehicle that is further behind in development than the Dragon, and it can’t return from beyond LEO orbits. Now who is being unrealistic, hmmm?

          Then they will probably cut a deal with Russia for launch services to cover the funding gap making it an international mission to “inspire the world”.

          Didn’t you read ANYTHING that was said in the press conference? Tito said this will be an AMERICAN mission.

          1. Thomas Matula

            Ron,

            Yes, there was no need for SpaceX to be on time because when they fell behind schedule NASA just kept giving them extensions, ones that totaled up to years beyond the original contract dates for both. The universe however is not so forgiving…

            Boeing has a lot more experience that SpaceX. And somehow they don’t seem to alienate their private customers as SpaceX has done with Bigelow Aerospace and Stratolaunch. And perhaps even Dennis IF this story is accurate.

            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323384604578328631778830030.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

            [[[Industry officials said that in recent weeks plans to use a heavy-lift rocket and space capsule supplied by SpaceX imploded.]]]

            As for it being an America project – Yes I saw that. The question is that when push comes to shove and Dennis doesn’t have the money to make it an “All American” venture will he give it up or keep it and go global? In short what is more important to him, getting to Mars or waving the flag. And time will tell.

          2. ken anthony

            Boeing has a lot more experience that SpaceX.

            Yet, SpaceX is setting the standards. A lot of experience doing things the old way isn’t really a bragging point.

            Boeing is a great company. Dad worked for them 40 years ago.

          3. Larry J

            Boeing has a lot more experience that SpaceX. And somehow they don’t seem to alienate their private customers as SpaceX has done with Bigelow Aerospace and Stratolaunch. And perhaps even Dennis IF this story is accurate.

            And Boeing appears to be floundering with much of their engineering development. Desides the ongoing 787 debacle, they screwed the pooch badly with their JSF competitor. They were late with several other projects such as Wedgetail and I know from personal experience how disfunctional their engineering can be. I worked with them on a project that they horribly mismanaged.

            You cite SpaceX missing deadlines but in case you have not noticed, Boeing and Lockheed-Martin have not exactly been excelling in meeting deadlines or cost projections either. SpaceX withdrew from Stratolaunch because it would’ve required them to make too many modifications to their rocket design at a time when they’re trying to ramp up production.

          4. Coastal Ron

            Thomas said:

            Boeing has a lot more experience that SpaceX.

            But is it relevant experience? Sure, they know how to service the Shuttle – how relevant is that?

            Do they know how to build a 53mt-to-LEO rocket that can profitably sell for $128M?

            There is a reason Dennis Tito and company used the Falcon Heavy and Dragon vehicle as their baseline example, and that is because SpaceX (i.e. Elon Musk) had going to Mars in mind when they built them. You can’t say that about any Boeing hardware.

            Experience is only a relevant gauge when it’s something that’s been done. If something hasn’t been done, like going to Mars, then whose to say who has the right experience?

          5. Thomas Matula

            Ron,

            Why would they build a rocket for a one-shot mission? They would just use EELVs as needed.

            And SpaceX vehicles do Dennis little good if they are all committed to NASA.

          6. Larry J

            “And SpaceX vehicles do Dennis little good if they are all committed to NASA.”

            As has been pointed out to your many times, NASA missions only make up about 1/3rd of SpaceX’s manifest.

    4. Leland

      Putting the money towards developing a lunar industrial base would be more productive as kids are looking for jobs and careers.

      And here Matula proclaims how Tito et al could better spend their money for the public good.

      1. Thomas Matula

        Leland,

        As usually you twist things around. I am just pointing out IF he is interested in creating inspiration to today’s generation and provide STEM education than he is wasting his money with this Mars flight. The Moon has much better potential. So why does that make me a statist?

        1. ken anthony

          You couldn’t be more completely wrong on this Thomas.

          A three day trip around the moon, costing nearly as much as this mars flyby, would be lost in the noise of the news cycle. It would not be a precursor to anything.

          The mars flyby really is a precursor to colonization, providing proof to the naysayers, and the months it takes to get there would give people time to tune their attention in. Drama will increase as they get closer. Twice.

          why does that make me a statist?

          One the one hand, you correctly point out the dangers of getting entangled with government. But on the other,

          Matula proclaims how Tito et al could better spend their money

          This is the core of statism. It’s their money. You don’t trust people to make their own right choices. Failure is an option.

          1. Thomas Matula

            Ken,

            Again, I am not talking about a human stunt flight around the Moon. I am talking about sending 10-15 robots to the surface to demonstrate the key technologies for developing lunar resources. They won’t be on a 3 day mission or even 500 day mission, but will be working there for years. Under the right setup STEM students may even get to operate them.

            Compare that to simply watching some middle-age couple go stir crazy over two years of close confinement only to take poorer quality pictures of Mars then we already have from the armada of spacecraft orbiting it.

          2. ken anthony

            Telerobots on the moon would be a great idea in any case. I even proposed we allow anyone to control them using a webpage. I got accused of being DD Harriman for that one.

        2. Leland

          I am just pointing out IF he is interested in creating inspiration to today’s generation and provide STEM education than he is wasting his money with this Mars flight.

          By your standard, he is wasting money that he could better spend to provide STEM education. Why do you think he has any obligation to waste his money on providing STEM education?

          1. Thomas Matula

            Leland,

            Because, if you had watched the news cast, that is the reason he is giving while asking other folks to donate money to him so he is able to do the Mars flyby…

            So if its OK for him to the public ask for donations, including from kids, to promote STEM, why isn’t it OK for me to note that his strategy for STEM education is lacking in effectiveness?

  9. Al

    3000 pounds of freeze-dried food, that will be rehydrated with the water you drank a couple days earlier.

    Was there discussion of the waste products? Just freeze-drying it to get the water back? No composting? No solarium? No mycology? Earthworms or newts?

    Still locked on NASA exploring how to make salisbury steak shelf-stable for seven years.

  10. ken anthony

    3000 pounds of freeze-dried food

    1.35 kg per person per day. With water that would be 5.4 kg. which is about twice what they require. They’d better have efficient water recycling. Recycling urine is easy enough, but I don’t know about feces.

    About 1.5 m^3

  11. Patrick

    Boeing/Lockheed/ULA will NEVER touch this. Do you know how much a Centaur costs? Of course not, no one does. And time-wise, five years is a NY minute for those guys. They’d need that much time to figure out the seating for the PDR.

    Boeing’s commitment to the CST100 is fragile, and will evaporate after the next not-quite-satisfactory earnings report.

    Any foreign suppliers will be too slow, expensive or unreliable, which doesn’t matter anyway since ITAR will stop them dead.

    It’s SpaceX or nothing.

    1. Thomas Matula

      Patrick,

      Old Space might surprise you :-)

      As for ITAR, explain why dealing with the U.K. will be so much harder than dealing with Canada, which Dennis already discussed as an option.

      1. Patrick

        Oh good grief, I’d list the number of failed/abandoned “Old Space” launcher and spacecraft projects from the last 30 years or so, but surely the website would time out or I’d hit a character limit 10% in. :)

        1. Thomas Matula

          Patrick,

          And I could make an ever larger list of failed New Space launchers and firms over the same period. So?

          But the key point is there ARE launchers available, the EELVs, so why would they need to develop any?

          1. Patrick

            Certainly you could. Then we could compare funding levels for each side, and determine how much taxpayer money went into the Big Guys’ failures, and how much went into the Little Guys’ ones. We could use a bar graph, which would show a Super Jumbo King Size in the first column, and a barely detectable line in the other.

            The Big Guys might contribute some overpriced systems work, but their launch vehicles, upper stages, and spacecraft will be conspicuously absent from this endeavor. The costs are too high, the timeline too short, and the consequences of failure too terrifying.

            My company works with all the big players. They aren’t evil, they don’t want to be dinosaurs. But they are too big, too spoiled by decades of cost-plus, and too institutionally risk-averse for Inspiration Mars. I’d wager substantial cash. Seriously.

          2. Thomas Matula

            Patrick,

            So you are blaming them for dropping projects their customer, via changes in policy and administrations, decided they didn’t want to do anymore?

            Whereas the New Space firms couldn’t even find customers for their schemes for the most part, or ended up blowing through hundreds of millions of dollars like Kistler/ RpK did.

  12. B Lewis

    Ideas:

    * Install webcams throughout the ship, with live unedited feed back to Earth. 24/7 stream will be mostly dull routine, but will provide fodder for daily “best of” recap on YouTube and one of the cable networks. Advertisers pay to have the logos and/or actual products visible during mission (e.g., Tang) to generate capital (could be awkward if crew dies en route)

    * Instead of dull Ph.Ds, choose crew based upon maximum TV appeal. I suggest a winsome Japanese teenage girl in a sailor suit and a square-jawed All-American jock in a letter jacket

    * Make wagering part of the mission. I imagine long odds and huge payoffs if they actually make it back alive

    * Have a noted pop group (I suggest SNSD) record full soundtrack suite for mission. Songs play on ship and in background for daily recap. If crew dies, Taeyon sings tear-jerker ballad on live global TV for an audience of billions

    * Paint the ship up to look super cool. Suggestions: Tintin checks, Flying Tiger-style shark mouth on nose

    * Make certain ship is accompanied by free-flying cameras to permit cool exterior shots during mission

    * Global contest to come up with name for ship. Entrants 10 years old and under only (my suggestion: Manifest Destiny)

    1. wodun

      “* Global contest to come up with name for ship. Entrants 10 years old and under only (my suggestion: Manifest Destiny)”

      You write well for a 10 year old =p

  13. M Puckett

    It strikes me that Taber and Jane are obvious crew candidates.

    Talk about eating your own Dog Food! That would be the ultimate bet on your own abilities.

  14. Leland

    So what’s the plan for electrical power? I just did a cursory review of the links and didn’t see a discussion about it. I don’t see fuel cell lasting long enough, solar is typical solution but will need twice as large arrays, and then there is the much derided nuclear options.

  15. ken anthony

    Their feasibility analysis seems to focus on life support and reentry stress. I guess they just assume they will be able to have as large a solar array as they need. It’s sure to be covered before they launch.

  16. ken anthony

    Agreed. I am also pleased in how they will have the life support maintained. I think that is one of the biggest problems with the Mars One architecture.

  17. ken anthony

    SpaceX vehicles do Dennis little good if they are all committed to NASA.

    FIFY. Elon definitely needs more launch sites and is working on that. But he isn’t increasing his workforce just to please NASA which is less than a third of his manifest and all F9 flights, none are FH.

  18. Thomas Matula

    Ken,

    Yes, he is finally looking for some, but it looks like he is going to have a slow learning curve on those as well based on the locations he has is reviewing so far.

    1. ken anthony

      He and his company seem to learn pretty fast. Could NASA or anyone else have done the amazing turnarounds they’ve done (as recently as now?)

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