Elon Musk suggests that the Martian colonists will live in a glass jakupovic. Note: the render isn't Mars
Tonight Elon Musk has spent much of the session AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the popular forum Reddit, where he answered all the questions of redditors, on the basis of the Mars base. Reddit users are known for their cynicism and corrosive, so Ilona had a hard time.
As it usually happens in the beginning of the session AMA participant confirmed his identity through a third party service identification (in this case, Twitter). In a tweet he asked participants to limit my questions about space. This is necessary, because of questions to Ilona has accumulated a lot. The session was dedicated to space and home of the mission — the landing on Mars.
Martian space program
The highest-rated question in the AMA thread was the request to describe in detail what equipment and procedures would need to conduct a refueling spacecraft on Mars. Because the refueling of ships is a fundamental condition to reduce the cost of cargo delivery to Mars and back, otherwise ships would have to carry fuel for the return journey, and this fuel will account for the lion's share of "useful" goods. The redditor also asked if the refuelling to occur in automatic mode during the first unmanned missions. And are there plans to develop a third option Interplanetary transport system with the attachment of goods in the form of shuttles to transport more oversized cargo.
In the original design of the Interplanetary transport system, presented at the presentation on 27 September 2016, it is planned to use the following design components:
- Return booster to launch from Earth. It will be created on the latest version of the Falcon 9 Block 5, said Elon Musk. Along with this new version of classification of rockets, the Falcon 9 takes the following form: Falcon 9 (v1.0), the Falcon 9 v1.1, Falcon 9r v1.1, Falcon 9 Full Thrust (FT, v1.2), the Falcon 9 FT+, and finally named today, the Falcon 9 Block 5. For the name of the latest version of the rocket inside SpaceX used the abbreviations BFR, but it isn't too sweet for use outside, says Elon.
- Interplanetary spacecraft to deliver cargo and humans to Mars and return them to the Earth. Draft residential section of the ship is planned to prepare and publish for public comment within one to two years.
Spacecraft Interplanetary transportation system with spherical fuel tanks that are utilized during landing on Mars
- Ship tanker for refueling spacecraft in Earth orbit.
Key features — multiple use of all components, refueling in orbit fuel production on Mars.
Elon Musk answered honestly that while SpaceX engineers are far from approval of the detailed plan. It is now planned next.The first stage
. Conducting reconnaissance missions Dragon to guarantee that the landing is possible without adding on the surface of Mars new crater (Hello, "Schiaparelli").
Unmanned vehicles Dragon fly to Mars first
According to the results of reconnaissance missions will be made the optimum decision on the method of extraction of water (hydrogen) to produce methane via the Sabatier reaction.
The Sabatier reaction is a reaction of hydrogen with carbon dioxide at elevated temperature and pressure in presence of Nickel catalyst to produce methane. As a more efficient catalyst may be ruthenium oxide aluminum.
CO2 + 4H2 → CH4 + 2H2O + energyThe second stage
. The spaceship Heart of Gold (Golden heart) is flying to Mars, loaded only equipment for the construction of a plant for the production of rocket fuel.
The vehicle load and its speed are dependent values, as shown on the chart.
It should be clear that the name of the ship "heart of gold" is taken from the fictional universe of the book "the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy". According to legend, this is the first ship with the Infinite Improbability drive.
Elon Musk has explained that he likes the name of the first ship that runs on infinite improbability. According to the Mask, it represents a real chance to run this ship on Mars.
By the way, number 42, engine to booster Elon Musk has also chosen not by chance. It is his love geeks: all the actions of the American entrepreneur and visionary exclusively thought out, clear and close to the heart of each of us.
Elon Musk explained that the ship's thrusters allow it to hover over the Martian surface during the landing. But it consumes huge amount of fuel, so it's unreasonable consumption of resources. So hovering over the surface you plan to use only in emergency conditions, but really planting will be carried out at speed. The ship design is based on maximum overload 20G more. Nominally, the ship has to withstand a maximum acceleration of 5G, but must withstand peak overloads. Elon Musk said a few seconds it will withstand 20G, 30G, or even 40G and will not break.The third stage
. To Mars sent the first manned spacecraft with the equipment for the construction of a rudimentary base, Mars Base, Alpha power plant and completion of a plant for the production of rocket fuel. Almost all of the hold is the cargo. The crew is minimal — about a dozen people.
Explanation: the first manned mission will go without fuel on the way back, because the Red planet is required to deliver a lot of goods. They have no opportunity to replace a payload of fuel. At this time the plant for the production of propellant on Mars is not yet ready, so the ship first colonists will not be able to refuel in orbit and quickly go back. More likely, it means guaranteed death of the colonists on Mars, if you cannot figure out a way to bring them back.The fourth stage
. In the fourth stage, you will attempt to double the number of flights during each of the opposition of Earth and Mars. The planet reaches opposition every 26 months, then the distance between them is reduced to 55 million km. during these periods should be sent to Mars as much cargo as possible, "while a city on Mars will not be able to grow by itself," said Elon. Obviously, he meant until the Martian colony will be partially contained.
Elon Musk explained that with a maximum load of fuel the ship can fly from Mars to Earth at any time, that is, when any of their relative positions in orbit. This possibility can be used in an emergency. For example, rescue operations.
The Martian colony
The project Interplanetary transport system provides for a two-year stay reusable vehicles in Martian orbit. When Mars and the Earth differ by a large distance, interplanetary flights temporarily ceased. In this regard, it is clear that the astronauts will be for some time to live on Mars before returning to Earth (not counting members of the mission "heart of gold", which is unlikely to stretch to the opposite of the mission).
The question arises, how it will provide a long-term stay of astronauts on a Mars base. How to use Martian materials such as regolith for construction of the buildings base.
Elon Musk said that the first time be built on the surface of Mars geodesic domes of glass panels with frames made from carbon fiber.
Geodesic dome "Montreal Biosphere" (the former U.S. Pavilion at Expo 67), designed by architect Richard fuller
A geodesic dome is a structure of spherical shape, is assembled from rods, forming a geodesic structure, through which the construction as a whole possesses good bearing qualities.
The stability of geekopolis important in the complicated conditions of sand storms. Geocool will protect colonists from the strong Martian winds reaching speeds of 100 m/s during spring dust storms. Dust storms can cover entire planet. Atmosfernye of turbulence are manifested in the form of unpleasant local vortices.
Dust devils photographed by Mars Rover Spirit on may 15, 2005
In addition geekopolis, Mars will pave the tunnels for the movement of the set of "droids" that will extract minerals and to lay new tunnels. Elon Musk believes that over time, geodome will pump large amounts of air under pressure. From there it will be possible to clean up industrial sites and live in a pleasant ecosystem, surrounded by green plants.
To the statement Elon musk should add that in the Martian soil discovered lasting lava tubes and caves, is also potentially suitable for housing of colonists. Of course, such a good geological structures is still to be found in the landing area and scout thoroughly before use. There is a real underground concept boats, self-propelled machinery that can move under the ground, paving their own way. The beauty of the underground boat that does not require the construction of support structures on the perimeter, because the miles of tunnel will be automatically strengthened molten rock.
Pozemkom Trebeleva at mount Grace on the Eastern slope of the Ural mountains in the Sverdlovsk region (Russia), during a test in 1946
There are many other options for placing the colony under the ground. A few meters of soil over your head will protect colonists from cosmic radiation, the harm for which the body is scientifically proven, including for the nervous system.
What would be the accommodation of the colonists chose for the Martian base, obviously, with the construction of geekopolis or tunnelling will have a contractor who has experience of similar development work on the Ground.
The underground tunnels look more realistic, albeit boring. City of green glass geekopolis on the red surface of Mars — of course, more beautiful picture.
Probably for the sake of safety it would be logical to build a large number of small geekopolis than a small number of large domes. So it is unlikely we will see a huge settlement, covered with a dome, as in the Martian colonies from a sci-Fi anime series Cowboy Bebop.
Martian city in Cowboy Bebop
A long way ahead
Elon Musk acknowledged that the implementation of ambitious plans, there is still much to be done. He asked the question, what technology or material needs the most refinement to the project Interplanetary transport system. He said that the biggest problem now is the covering of the tanks of carbon within such material, which would withstand exposure to liquid oxygen at a pressure of 300 bar. You need to create a kind of inert metal alloy with these characteristics. It is advisable to be sprayed. In an extreme case, it is necessary to use thin sheets of Invar (FeNi36), welded together. However, this is very expensive.
Now the engineers at SpaceX are actively working on fuel tank design.
Fuel tank Interplanetary transport system
Elon Musk said that the real flying tank is slightly longer than the prototype in the pictures, but the same diameter. In theory, he can hold the cryogenic fuel without leaks, even without the use of a material for sealing (sealing linker). The first tests showed encouraging results. In the coming weeks will test the tank at 2/3 of max pressure, pre-oboxious in the ocean on a sea barge (wits on Reddit asked to deploy as much as possible around video cameras during this test).
On the way to a Mars mission still need to overcome many technical problems. There is still considerable engineering effort, but this is a very interesting task. In any case, the development of the project, test various system components and the first test launches will be very interesting to watch.