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Dr. Jim Logan, Dan Adamo, Dr. John Jurist, Friday, 11-20-15 November 19, 2015

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Dr. Jim Logan, Dan Adamo, Dr. John Jurist, Friday, 11-20-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2589-BWB-2015-11-20.mp3

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Guests:  Dr. Jim Logan, Dan Adamo, Dr. John Jurist; Topics:  Humans to Mars, exploring vs. pioneering & more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed back Dr. Jim Logan, Dr. John Jurist, and Dan Adamo for a 1 hour 45 minute discussion about humans to Mars and a critique of the  “NASA’s Journey to Marts: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration (Oct. 2015).”  Please note that our program completed in one long segment without a break.  We started off by asking Dr. Logan to summarize the recent New World Space Conference he attended in Austin, Texas.  Jim pointed out that there were lots of young students there and they seemed eager to hear his message and did not consider him a Debbie Downer.  Jim is an evidence based guy when it comes to space policy and programs, he is also well grounded in the sciences and engineering so he does not typically hang out in the usual space cadet la la land of make believe.  We noted that older, more seasoned space cadets often dismiss those with similar messages based on evidence and fact,  but Jim was impressed by the willingness of the younger group to consider evidence and facts. The other guests plus myself had much to say about this particular issue, then we moved on to Dan who wanted to talk about the paper he has uploaded on TSS blog containing his analysis and comments re the NASA Journey to Mars Document. If you have not yet read it, please do so at this time.  For Dan and our guests, there were issues about a poorly defined definition for exploration vs. pioneering, confusing the two in the Journey to Mars document, the need for congressional action to change the mandate to pioneering, then asking for the rational for pioneering or Martian settlement. Much was said about there being no business case or rational case at all for humans to be on the surface of Mars.  This was an overriding theme for the entire discussion.  Our guests kept asking the question, “why are we doing it.?  This referred to humans on the surface of Mars for pioneering purposes.  Note the definitions Dan used for exploration and pioneering earlier in the show.  Note also the differences Dan suggested for exploration.  Our guests talked about the challenges that make Martian settlement or pioneering beyond our reach at this time.  Dr. Jurist brought up radiation and microgravity issues along with other human factor issues.  Dr. Logan supported what John was saying and called for the need to know the gravity prescription.  Without knowing it, we cannot possibly be serious about sending humans to mars.  Our guests talked about nuclear thermal propulsion and several times they referenced the Aquarius Concept (www.spaceenterpriseinstitute.org/tag/aquarius-concept).  Cognitive decline was also discussed as a leading challenge.  The matter of the Twin Study on the ISS with astronaut Scott Kelly came up.  Jim said a sample size of one does not help as it would only lead to insufficient information.  Our guests talked about radiation shielding, its cost, and added mass.  Dan mentioned a recent Aviation Week article from a September issues saying that nuclear propulsion may have a timeline for development around 2022-24.  John had much to say about this.  John also brought up the economy, potential interest rate rises and the impact on space and NASA. Jim said we needed a 10% growth rate for our interplanetary work.  We addressed the economic issues for several minutes as it was an important part of our discussion.  Later, I mentioned the recent interest I was seeing from Space Show listeners regarding the pioneering of Venus with some sort of settlement in the upper atmosphere. Our guests pointed out the pros and cons for this & we contrasted it with pioneering on the surface of Mars.  Joe sent in an email asking for the action plan or steps to be taken to pioneer Mars.  Don’t miss how our guests responded to Joe’s question.  This provided the opening for more discussion about cislunar development.  Here, our guests had much to say, including rescue opportunities, the lack of a redundant vehicle in contrast to even Apollo 8. Dan talked about this issue in technical terms so don’t miss it.  Near the end of the program, SLS came up but in the context of problems with it regarding mass, the stages, Orion, abort and rescue, black zones and more.  Don’t miss what Dan had to say about SLS and technical problems and issues.  The issues Dan raised are not the typical issues one hears discussed when talking SLS.

Please post your comments on TSS blog.  You can reach either of the three guests through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

 

                                                                                                    JTMcommentaryR1A

Comments»

1. wodun - December 16, 2015

In the chance that someone comes back to this, on the topic of bed rest and centrifuges, I am pretty sure that on a previous space show, with Mary Roach or another guest, that the guest said bed rest was also bad for the body and that bed rest in a centrifuge wouldn’t solve the human factors problem.

Maybe someone with a better memory will chime in. I haven’t heard this issue raised by callers/emailers challenging the notion of bed rest in a centrifuge.

Sorry I didn’t write a report or publish a study before commenting and I have zero intention of doing so or even going back to relisten to shows to find out the guests I reference but I am certain at least one previous guest and maybe two has talked about bed rest in relation to centrifuges from the standpoint that it won’t solve problems people want it to.

Dr. Jim Logan - December 17, 2015

Thank you for your snarky passive-aggressive question.
I usually don’t respond to passive-aggressive questions but yours is an order of magnitude less vitriolic than the ones I usually get from believers so, for what it’s worth, here goes…..
IF you are truly interested in DATA relevant to this topic, I suggest the same reference I identified below (Symons, et al, J APPL PHYSIOL 107: 34-38. 2009) which is the ONLY application (1 hour of exposure per day to a small arm centrifuge generating 1g at the heart, 2.5g at the feet using a control group) I am aware of during a bed rest study. It was shown to be effective at the P<0.05 level for at least one parameter and 'effective' (but not quite at the statistically significant level) for another.
In my opinion (I apologize for 22 years experience in this field), operational use of small arm centrifuges MAY mitigate micro-g deconditioning in long duration missions. And, it will CERTAINLY be better than no artificial gravity exposure.
From the tone of your question, it appears you are looking for evidence it WON'T "solve problems people want it to." Good luck with that (Scientific Method can't and doesn't prove the negative). For that, you may have to resort to scripture…

The Space Show - December 17, 2015

Wodun and all, if you are interested in listening to The Space Show programs focusing on bed rest, please listen to the following shows:

1. Guest: Heather Archuletta who did two NASA sleep studies and helped NASA get other sleep study participants. Her initial Space Show program was Jan. 8, 2013.

2. Guests: Heather co-hosted a program with Dr. Duane Graveline, an old time space medical doctor and the person who conceived of the bed rest studies conducting the early ones that were carried out. You can hear this show from Jan. 25, 2013.

3. There have been other Space Show programs that have talked about bed rest studies but the entire show was not focused on the subject. Some of the other shows with former NASA doctor, Dr. Joan Vernikos discussed the subject as part of a broader show. Joan has been a guest on the program two times. Her first visit was Sept 17, 2007 and then again Oct. 30, 2011.

You can find all these shows via The Space Show chronological search engine at the bottom of the home page.

I hope listening to these programs will prove interesting for you.

David

2. Paul - November 26, 2015

Humans will want to go to mars. There are are no engineering problems that we haven’t solved or are within reach. Money is the main restriction and many people are working on solving that problem. End of story.

Dr. Jim Logan - November 27, 2015

Paul,
“No engineering problems that we haven’t solved or are within reach.”
REALLY?
Hmm….Let’s start with something pretty basic:
EXACTLY how do you intend to land something any larger than Curiosity on Mars, a destination with a large gravity well and an ‘atmosphere’ 1/1000th as dense as Earth’s?
JPL doesn’t have a solution but perhaps YOU are smarter.
So enlighten me…AND THEM.
Please provide numbers…not just ‘end-of-story-just-add-money’ fantasy rhetoric.

Dr. Jim Logan - November 27, 2015

Hey Paul,
While you’re at it, Dan Adamo and I are STILL waiting for your citation regarding the SPECIFIC Russian missions in which cosmonauts spent nearly 2 years in LEO and then experienced 8 to 10 Gs during entry (re: YOUR comment of November 23rd – see below).
Does your silence mean you can find NO reference to support your statement?
What’s the deal?
Did you just make up such a comment to counter Dan’s excellent data-derived point?
If so, that’s not considered good form, Paul, and I suggest you refrain from making such obviously unsubstantiated comments in the future.
How about a nice, pleasant and honest retraction?
I suggest the following:
“After reviewing official space mission duration data (available on multiple sites on the Internet – including Wikipedia), I discovered I misrepresented the data. I apologize for any misunderstanding my unsubstantiated and inaccurate comment may have created and I appreciate the references, explanation and clarifications Dan Adamo provided to me in his November 23rd response.”
Just saying…

Paul - November 27, 2015

Yes you’re correct my data was slightly out, but took me a while to look it up.
The long duration flight is 1 and a quarter years and the g load is about 6G.
Saying that though the flight time is about 50% of a return trip to Mars so an extrapolation of the g load effect is probably enough.
Also it is well within reason to be able to return to Earth orbit after the trip, thruster/aerocapture? Therefore reducing the g loads and maybe visit an orbital centrifuge.

Paul - November 28, 2015

You appear to me to come across as quite aggressive in your comments. I don’t know why you need to be like that, as it is only a question of whether it is possible or not to put people on Mars in the future.
Anyway let me answer your question. Firstly I’m not a space scientist/engineer I get my information from space scientists/engineers. A heatshield, parachute, retrorocket should make it possible. This is the opinion of Adam Steltzner ( Curiosity EDL team) he says it’s difficult but not impossible.
Mars gravity is twice lunar gravity and that landing was accomplished using retrorocket only.
Mars atmosphere is 1/160th of Earths not 1/1000th as you say.

Dr. Jim Logan - November 28, 2015

The average density of Mars atmosphere is much closer to 1/170 that of Earth than 1/160 – The real number is 1/168.85th of Earth. Apologies for MY mistake.
The longest space mission is only 1.2 years, not 1 and quarter as you stated (to be 1 and a quarter it would have had to be almost 20 days longer than it was [TM-20 – 437.7 days]).
The next longest was 1.04 years (TM-29 – 379.6 days).
I can find no record of either entry being anything other than a nominal descent profile. Nominal G-load Soyuz entries are from 3.6 to 4.2 Gs. Please provide reference for your statement implying 6G entry for longest mission. I don’t think your assertion (if I understand your original statement correctly) is accurate.
No doubt landing something on Mars larger than Curiosity with a combination of of heatshield, parachute, retrorocket is ‘possible.’ I never implied it wasn’t. I asked EXACTLY how you were going to do it. My point is that it isn’t FEASIBLE logistically given mass of propellant and infrastructure required to actually “land” something larger than Curiosity.
To clarify – my assertion is that there would be little or no ‘mass budget’ for PAYLOAD in such a scenario (PAYLOAD is, after all, the point). I’m sure Adam Steltzner would agree which is why there are no follow-up plans to attempt to do so.
The PAYLOAD ‘mass’ problem (given the magnitude Mars’ gravity well AND lack of substantive atmosphere) is also the reason why any Mars ‘Sample Return’ mission is EXTREMELY problematic and has been at least “30 years away” for the last 30 years – and, in my opinion, will remain so for the next 30 years if not longer.

3. ericmachmer - November 25, 2015

“Marzy” and “la la land” are not scientific terms.  They are though phrases symptomatic of a clique of cranks in conversation with only each other. You have not stated a single scientific fact. Most listeners are aware of challenges Martian settlement presents: from funding to perchlorates, cosmic radiation to reduced gravity…the list is common and well rehearsed. Most listeners of The Space Show also use science and engineering to propose solutions, rather than fetishize challenges as a platform from which to launch easy off-the-shelf pessimism, in a cartoonish cliche of cynicism’s false-authority. 

“That can’t be done”, “It’s too dangerous”, “We don’t know how to solve that” are unconstructive phrases adding nothing to a conversation. Ambitious engineers think in terms of overcoming difficulties, mitigating dangers, solving problems, and figuring out how to get things done – whatever the field, from space to shoelaces – engineers engineer solutions. 

Participants in The Space Show add to the conversation by discussing how engineers might solve challenges with science. These participants range from Musk – who will announce plans for the Mars Colonial Transport next month – and Zubrin – who earned a PhD in Nuclear Physics and is the originator of the anchored galleon metaphor – and Doug Plata – who proposes centrifugal gravity beds, Lunar COTS, and 20-50 cm of water shielding during transit. Rather than question the educational background of participants they address specific facts and make clear engineering proposals. They do not use corny useless nutty terms like Marzy. Cranks do. 

Dr. Jim Logan - November 25, 2015

I’ve lauded Bob Zubrin’s intelligence publicly on multiple occasions over the years, most recently on this past Space Show – and will continue to do so. But it doesn’t mean he isn’t wrong or at least ‘in error’ on multiple issues – Radiation being the biggest one.

Doug Plata got his water shielding and short-arm centrifuge ideas from ME – AFTER he read the ‘Aquarius’ paper Dan Adamo and I wrote as well as multiple one-on-one email discussions with him. NOTE: Even though I was aware of it at NASA, I got the centrifuge idea from reading the SCIENTIFIC literature – WHAT A CONCEPT! (see Symons, et al, J APPL PHYSIOL 107: 34-38. 2009).

Marzy is a ‘religious’ term, Eric, not a scientific one.

Zubrin is a Marzy and so is Plata. Everyone knows it.

You and your fellow Space Cadet crazies always seem to prefer to misinterpret my comments and I’m sick and tired of it. You try to characterize me as some kind of ‘Chicken Little,’ always saying something ‘can’t be done’ or is ‘impossible.’
In reality, nothing is farther from the truth.
I’m just NOT a rabid cheer-leading zealot like you.
I’m a REALIST.
Why?
Because I have 22 years more experience than you doing direct support (and planning) for human space missions, especially long duration ones. That’s NOT bragging, Eric, it’s just fact – an ‘inconvenient’ one for you, perhaps, but fact nonetheless.

READ the ‘Aquarius’ paper Dan and I wrote (downloadable at http://spaceenterpriseinstitute.org/2014/07/aquarius-a-reusable-water-based-interplanetary-human-spaceflight-transport/) and come back and state on THIS blog Dan and I don’t attempt to solve REAL problems and expand the human envelope in space.
I DOUBLE DAMN DARE YOU, ERIC!
Because if you do, we’ll ALL know who the real CRANK is.

ericmachmer - December 7, 2015

“I double damn dare you Eric.” Lol. I caught the flu during Thanksgiving, but if you’d like to continue a critique of your derivative unoriginal Aquarius concept, post it to the Ask Anything thread on Reddit.com/r/SpaceX as a polite question “what do you think of this approach folks?” Professional engineers working to send humans to Mars will tell you nuclear engines and Deimos teleoperations add unnecessary expense and time delays. It’s simpler to just propulsively land 100 metric tons on Mars using chemical rockets, which is what they intend to do. To stay. 

For some reason you insist upon calling tens of thousands of well educated Mars advocates: Marzies. You leave no dimension in which persons can advocate Mars settlement – except as Marzies, followers of your personal never-explained religious concept only you and your clique of pessimists recognize. Obviously such a prejudice does not foster conversation.

(And you should know ALL CAPS is considered shouting, rude if not cartoonish. To add emphasis use italics. Heck, Paul, who barely wrote a paragraph, you yelled at like an insane sociopath. In the back of my mind I wonder if we have to worry about you flying out of the crowds at a Mars Society conference, rushing the podium whirling machetes, bellowing “Marzies aren’t dying from my taxes!”. You’re the first person to have shouted in these forums. Bizarrely unprofessional. Not kidding. Disturbing.) 

Dr. Jim Logan - December 8, 2015

Eric,
I was blown away by the intellectual depth, insight and degree of knowledge you demonstrated in your most recent post (cue eye-roll). Don’t know what you learned about debate or valid critique in Philosophy School, but in science and engineering we do things a little differently.
When someone with real experience and credentials, like Dan Adamo and I, write a paper (downloadable at http://spaceenterpriseinstitute.org/2014/07/aquarius-a-reusable-water-based-interplanetary-human-spaceflight-transport/) in which we:
– Describe a complete design reference mission to the Mars system in detail;
– Define 41 mathematical terms;
– List 29 assumptions;
– Derive at least 10 equations;
– Include 15 graphs, 10 charts and 16 references from the scientific literature;
– Calculate mass, Delta-V, transit durations, propellant consumption, crew consumables, etc.;
– Determine radiation protection requirements (including mass and volume) for all mission phases;
– Describe a mission architecture enabling spacecraft reusability WITHOUT the need for direct entry and the end of the mission, OR the need to ferry a 10t entry vehicle to the Mars system and back only to use it on the last day of a >900 day mission…
Some Space Cadet like YOU doesn’t get to dismiss it with pablum (obviously parroted from some ‘Church of Marzy Gospel) without a single fact, figure, number, chart, graphic or published reference.
And to attempt to do so suggests you are either ignorant or stupid or both.
So how about it, big guy? If you’re going to talk BIG, grace us poor unfortunate “pessimists” with some numbers, data or feasible extrapolations. If you can’t or won’t (maybe those ‘professional Mars engineers’ you mentioned can help you – – but I warn you, you’ll have to provide names), then go back to your Magical Martian Fantasy (MMF).
Matt Damon may have made it – – but you won’t.
The MMF is powered by little more than misguided arrogance, religious-style zealotry, technical vaporware and blatant disregard for (inconvenient) facts.
Talking about “LOL,” your statement about landing another 100 metric tons on the Martian surface with chemical rockets had me rolling on the floor in convulsions. Your “professional engineers” can’t even land a single metric ton on Mars (Curiosity was only 900 kg – the upper limit of what the ‘experts’ say they can land), much less a hundred times that, even in multiple missions.
Not only do I think your chances of getting to Mars (or the chances of any other member of your Mars Crazy Congregation) is zilch, I think the only thing you do have a prayer of getting is a Darwin Award. I’ll be sure to nominate you, buddy. You’ll deserve it.
So here’s the deal, Big Man, provide something SOLID (numbers, data, formulas, etc.) and we’ll have a civil debate.
If not (I’m not holding my breath), I’m not wasting any more time on the likes of you.
I think you’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt who the real crank is.

4. Mark - November 24, 2015

Since we are all, I think, a little tired of the constant “Why are we going into space?” question, here are some paragraphs from Arthur
C. Clarke’s “Greetings, Carbon-based Bipeds!” book from an essay “Rocket to the Renaissance,” which answer the question. The
paragraphs are selected, the whole essay is longer and great reading, as is the book.

“Civilization cannot exist without new frontiers; it needs them both physically and spiritually. The physical need is obvious—new lands,
new resources, new materials. The spiritual need is less apparent, but in the long run it is more important. We do not live by bread
alone; we need adventure, variety, novelty, romance. As the psychologists have shown by their sensory-deprivation experiments, a man goes swiftly mad if he is isolated in a silent, darkened room, cut off completely from the external world. What is true of
individuals is also true of societies; they, too, can become insane without sufficient stimulus.

The opening of the space frontier will change all that, as the opening of any frontier must do. It has saved us, perhaps in the nick of
time, by providing an outlet for dangerously stifled energies. In William James’s famous phrase, it is the perfect “moral equivalent of
war.”

From time to time, alarm has been expressed at the danger of a “sensory deprivation” in space. Astronauts on long journeys, it has
been suggested, will suffer the symptoms that afflict men who are cut off from their environment by being shut up in darkened,
soundproofed rooms.

I would reverse this argument; our culture will suffer from sensory deprivation if it does not go out into space. There is striking
evidence of this in what has already happened to the astronomers and physicists. As soon as they were able to rise above the
atmosphere, a new and often surprising universe was opened up to them, far richer and more complex than had ever been suspected
from ground observations. Even the most enthusiastic proponents of space research never imagined just how valuable satellites would
actually turn out to be, and there is a profound symbolism in this.

Though the planets can give no physical relief to Earth, their intellectual and emotional contributions may be enormous. The
discoveries of the first expeditions, the struggles of the pioneers to establish themselves on other worlds—these will inspire a feeling of
purpose and achievement among the stay-at-homes. They will know, as they watch their television screens, that History with a capital
H is starting again. The sense of wonder, which we have almost lost, will return to life; and so will the spirit of adventure.

Only a small part of mankind will ever be thrilled to discover the electron density around the Moon, the precise composition of the
Jovian atmosphere, or the strength of Mercury’s magnetic field. Though the existence of whole nations may one day be determined by such facts, and others still more esoteric, these are ideas that concern the mind, and not the heart. Civilizations are respected for their intellectual achievements; they are loved—or despised—for their works of art. Can we even guess what art will come from space?

Despite the perils and problems of our times, we should be glad that we are living today. Every civilization is like a surf rider, carried
forward on the crest of a wave. The wave bearing us has scarcely started its run: those who thought it was already slackening spoke
centuries too soon. We are poised now in the precarious but exhilirating balance that is the essence of real living, the antithesis of mere existence. Behind us are the reefs we have already passed; beneath us the great wave, as yet barely flecked with foam, arches its back still higher from the sea.

And ahead …”

We cannot tell; we are too far out to see the unknown land. It is enough to ride the wave.”

5. ericmachmer - November 24, 2015

Right the emergency return option would be available every two years…

6. Matthias Hutter - November 24, 2015

Human health issues during long term space travel and exploration don’t get the attention they deserve from the space community, and I liked the fact that the Guests talked about it. The list of potential issues is much longer than just microgravity and radition. Remedies won’t be found without a significant amount of research. Sending people without it is a sure way to get them hurt or killed.

To this end I recommend reading this 48 page audit paper recently released by NASA’s Office of Inspector General:

https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY16/IG-16-003.pdf

“It is not an unknown Russian cosmonauts have spent nearly 2 years in micro gravity and then experienced those g forces.”

mars reentry velocities are higher than from low earth orbit. 11.5 km/s minimum vs 7.8 km/s from LEO. More so if you plan to use aerocapture. Trip durations are also longer.

“For such persons the best way to determine whether we can survive on Mars is to send a small crew there to strive to survive on Mars…not without an emergency return option”

You can’t do an “emergency return” with current technology. You can only leave at specific dates once every two years. Even then it will take many months to get back.

7. Dr. Jim Logan - November 24, 2015

Eric,
Mortality on Magellan’s voyage exceeded 93% which, if I understand your comments correctly, you consider “no big deal.” A full 90% of Magellan’s crew died from Scurvy.
The world wasn’t circumnavigated again until Sir Francis Drake did it 55 years later. Even then, the mortality on Drake’s voyage ended up being 64%.
I must confess, though, I am somewhat startled that someone with your credentials doesn’t seem to understand or appreciate the rather ‘straightforward’ difference between “explorer” and “pioneer.” It’s not really rocket science.
But, be that as it may, good luck with your space program.

May you reach your goal: Get to Mars…and Stay!

One suggestion before you go: You might want to trade in those degrees in law, political science and philosophy for one in Science – or at least History, you know, so you won’t repeat it. (NOTE: Might also want to look up the 1536 voyage of Richard Hore – some good lessons there!).

Let’s face it, Eric, Mark Watney wouldn’t have had a prayer had he not been a botanist.

Just saying…

ericmachmer - November 24, 2015

Pioneer explorers from Europe who settled the New World endured nearly fifty percent fatality rates from scurvy, which was not effectively treated until the 1800s. Ironically, had these exploring pioneers not stayed in the Americas, but instead loitered off the coast of Barbados in a 15th century “fly-by” their fatality rates would have increased. 

Well planned, well provisioned Mars to Stay missions are much easier, much safer than return trips or even fly-bys…especially if humans suffer no ill-effects from .38 g or even find reduced gravity beneficial. The best way to determine whether humans will enjoy life in reduced gravity is by sending them to Mars with an emergency return option every two years (the most dangerous part of such an emergency return mission being liftoff from Mars and Earth reentry).

Risk profiles initial pioneers will face exploring Mars as settlers are no different than those early pioneers accepted in voyages of exploration and settlement to the Americas, hundreds of years prior to effective treatment of scurvy. It may be hundreds of years before we completely mitigate radiation and microgravity. In the mean time we will have settled Mars, despite eccentric perspectives of cowards and cynics. 

Musk will release plans for the MCT this next month and hopefully succeed in sending pioneers on self-funding programs of exploration and settlement during the coming decades. Fortunately pioneers will settle and explore Mars regardless of whether paralyzed cynics long since forgotten apologize for their risk-adverse misinformed pathological utterly inexcusable pessimism.

(My interest in philosophy is a natural extension of an extraordinarily well-grounded education in science, thanks for appreciating it. Mark Watney by the way was written by a computer programmer with zero training as a botanist…never underestimate the power of research, continuing education, and intellectual curiosity ; )

Dr. Jim Logan - November 24, 2015

Eric,
I really WOULD try History if I were you.
I hate to break this to you but no one was loitering off Barbados in the 15th Century. The New World wasn’t discovered until 1492 – the very end of the 15th Century.
You also need to brush up on Scurvy. Wikipedia doesn’t quite get it right. You might try a reference with a little more depth. I’d suggest ‘Age of Sail’ expert Stephen R. Brown’s much-praised and highly entertaining 254 page treatise, SCURVY, from St. Martin’s Press, copyright 2003.

But, hey, knock yourself out on your Mars fantasy! I’ll check back with you every year to see how it’s progressing.

Mark Watney may have been written by a computer programmer (I loved it BTW!) but as you may know (well, maybe not), the plot has holes big enough to sail a scurvy-laden clipper ship through. But at least Andy Weir was wise enough, after some VERY basic research, to make his protagonist a life scientist because…well…you probably wouldn’t get it anyway.

PS: My undergraduate degree included a minor in Philosophy and Comparative Religion. You Mars guys know all about ‘theology.’ Perhaps botany or medicine could improve your chances of surviving on your future home – the most tragic of the solar system’s planets. Send me a postcard, Eric! I’ll hoist a glass of wine and eat a salad in your honor.

ericmachmer - November 24, 2015

First, 1492 is in the 15th century. Second, only someone on the spectrum would confuse my metaphor of a Barbados fly-by with a statement of historical fact. To suggest I think there was an actual 15th century ship loitering off the coast of Barbadoes calls into question your intelligence. 

Perhaps you pride yourself in being an expert on scurvy – we all have quirks – but the fact is, European pioneers settled the New World long, long before finding a cure for scurvy. Every two years pioneers exploring Mars will have an emergency return option – with much less risk of fatalities during the intervening time than early American settlers faced from scurvy. And the most promising environment in which to test the ability of humans to thrive in Martian gravity – using technologies as varied as gravity beds and pharmaceuticals – is of course living a few meters safely beneath the surface of Mars itself. 

The problem with this conversation is instead of living up to your unwarranted reputation for evidenced-based reasoning, you engage in personal attacks calling into question my scientific literacy and most basic understanding of history – to a very odd degree. Meanwhile real engineers and working scientists address these widely acknowledged challenges through proactive can-do research and testing. 

I don’t care about your undergraduate degree – why is that relevant to anything? And I don’t care about “the religion of Mars guys” – whoever they are, whatever that means. What I do care about is that some brave bold ambitious engineers will use science rather than slanderous self-congratulatory cynicism to someday make humanity a multi-planet species, expanding humankind into the universe without waiting for cowards and cynics to join them. 

This is kinda like whack-a-pessimist. Fun but irrelevant. 

Dr. Jim Logan - November 25, 2015

Eric,
It’s clear to me (and everyone else who has followed this thread) who descended into insults and name-calling. So now I’m going to respond in kind.
The fact is you’re a MARZY – just another “Mars crazy Zealot.” It’s a religion with you people and you obviously see yourself are the Grand Inquisitor, purifying the Faith. As true with most religious zealots (no offense against religions of the non-crazy variety), you spout nonsense – starting with half-truths then pivoting permanently into La-La Land – then react emotionally against anyone who challenges your ‘orthodoxy-based’ Gospel, ESPECIALLY if they use inconvenient FACTS or EVIDENCE to do so.
NOTE TO READERS: You can tell a zealot by these signs: Their lips curl up into a disdainful snarl when they deride ‘evidence’ or anyone who uses evidence to support an argument. They dislike ‘references’ and they are not into ‘books.’ No zealot ever is. They already *KNOW.* They use words like “cowards,” “cynics,” “intellectual” (God forbid!) and “pessimist” to try to demonize anyone one who dares to use reason and evidence to disagree with them…and words like “bold,” “brave,” and “ambitious” to describe their own Congregation.
Eric, you are free to believe whatever you want.
I am free to challenge it, especially if it violates known laws of biology, physics, celestial mechanics and/or operations. You see me as an Infidel (an accusation I wear proudly in this case). In reality, I’m not an Infidel as much as I am an Agnostic on the whole Mars mania thing.
But you, sir, are a True Believer!
So please…GO…PLEASE!!…to that frigid, dry, lifeless, unforgiving, radiation-soaked, poisonous pitiful excuse for a planet…and Stay!
I don’t pretend to know Truth (I obviously haven’t been ‘Annointed’ like you). Humanity’s perspective of Truth changes with time, experience and discovery. As Sagan said, our voyage into the unknown has been a lesson in Humility at every turn. But I do know Science. Science is the only ‘Light’ we have to discover Truth amid darkness and ignorance. That’s the reason we call it Rocket SCIENCE, not Rocket Belief.
Space, in case you haven’t noticed, is a very unforgiving place. It’s always trying to kill you. It quite frankly doesn’t give a damn about your ideology. And neither do I.

8. Dan Adamo - November 23, 2015

Paul, please cite the specific Russian missions in which cosmonauts spent nearly 2 years in LEO and then experienced 8 to 10 Gs during entry. Yes, a few Russians have spent more than a year in LEO, but they nominally return to Earth at no more than 4 Gs using roll control of their Soyuz spacecraft to modulate lift. On some occasions (ref. http://spaceflightnow.com/station/exp16/080502peggywhitson.html for an example), Soyuz entry guidance fails and a ballistic entry trajectory with accelerations exceeding 8 Gs is flown. See the “Descent modes” section at http://suzymchale.com/ruspace/soyland.html to verify what I’m relating. In summary, ballistic entries are rare, and I seriously doubt any were associated with year-long missions because they’re a contingency and not planned.

Even if a ballistic entry has been flown after a year in LEO, we should all be aware that LEO entries begin at a speed of about 7 km/s. Returns from the Moon entail entering at 11 km/s or more. Return from interplanetary space will typically exceed 12 km/s. Increased entry speed means longer intervals at higher accelerations. Tackling an Earth entry after an interplanetary mission is outside human spaceflight’s current experience envelope. Attempting such a flight profile without adequate demonstrations beforehand is therefore what I call a “blind” risk as opposed to a “calculated” one. Blind risks to not play well in the news or before Congress when they end in a flight mishap.

DougSpace - December 10, 2015

Polyakov has the record for the single longest mission of 1.2 years so not close to 2 years. Yuri Malenchenko spent a combined 1.76 years in orbit and was on the mission Soyuz TMA-11 which experienced ballistic reentry experiencing 8.42 gees. I don’t know if this is what Eric was referring to. If so, I think it relevant to point out that the duration was cumulative. I personally think that we need to conduct a mission in the Earth-Moon system of the duration of a Mars flyby or Mars orbit duration before attempting the latter. The risk level of going to the Mars system is a fair amount higher than what we are accustomed to and so I think that we should first demonstrate nearly that capability while still within the range of an emergency return.

9. ericmachmer - November 23, 2015

Wow. Where to begin. “Evidence based guy…well grounded in the sciences and engineering.” Huh. Right.

Many similarly “grounded” folks disagree – not necessarily on the “facts” but our response to them. This subjective personality component to engineering ought to fascinate all of us. Facts are viewed by ambitious proactive engineers as challenges awaiting solutions, some actively pursued best on a destination itself. For such persons the best way to determine whether we can survive on Mars is to send a small crew there to strive to survive on Mars…not without an emergency return option, nor with decades of redundant supplies, but in a craft with basic water shielding sent down to habitats propositioned in trenches beneath the Martian surface. No big deal. Pretty straightforward thinking.

Earlier risk adverse engineers would have proposed for example that Spanish galleons ought to have been anchored off the coast of Spain until the cause of scurvy could be determined, along with exact longitude of sailing ships and whether crews would be able to withstand “the unbearable psychological stresses of not seeing land for weeks”…fortunately explorers don’t listen to such ridiculous can’t-do risk-adverse noise.

Speaking of which, the most ludicrous element of this episode: a pedantic queer distinction between “pioneer” and “explorer”…which is just too bizarre and sad to waste any time on, except to suggest that the most motivated explorers of Mars will be those who call it their home.

So no, fools naifs biases exist on all sides, among all ages and degrees of space-literacy. To describe members of one perspective as “cadets in la la land” just really isn’t helpful.

10. Paul - November 23, 2015

Submitted on 2015/11/23 at 2:09 PM

Just been listening to the podcast of your show on the 20th November. I think it was Dan talking at the end of the show, he said that the crew would come back after months in micro gravity and pull 8 to10 g in the atmosphere which is an unkown and might kill the crew. It is not an unknown Russian cosmonauts have spent nearly 2 years in micro gravity and then experienced those g forces.


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