Dr. Robert Zubrin – Mars Direct: Humans to the Red Planet within a Decade


[music playing] – WELCOME TO
THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF NASA AMES RESEARCH CENTER AND THE DIRECTOR’S
COLLOQUIUM SUMMER SERIES. WE FIRST ACHIEVED HUMAN LANDING ON THE MOON IN 1969. AT THE SAME TIME,
VON BRAUN AND OTHERS PITCHED THE IDEA
OF GOING TO MARS TO THE PRESIDENT
OF THE UNITED STATES. THE QUESTION IS: WHY MARS? FIRST, IT’S OUR NEAREST
NEIGHBOR, RIGHT? IT’S THE NEXT-PLANET NEIGHBOR,
VENUS AND MARS. SECOND, IT IS A WAY FOR US
TO UNDERSTAND OUR PAST BY STUDYING THE NEIGHBORS
THAT ARE NEXT TO US. IT’S ALSO POTENTIALLY A PLACE
TO COLONIZE IN THE FUTURE. BUT I ALWAYS SAY THAT
SCIENCE-FICTION DRIVES REALITY. WHEN WE FIRST STARTED
LOOKING AT MARS, WE SAW WHAT LOOKED
LIKE CANALS AND CHANNELS THAT ARE THERE CHANGING, AND WE ENVISIONED
THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE ON THAT PLANET. SOME EVEN ENVISIONED ATTACKS FROM MARS
ON OUR PLANET. SO FAR, WE HAVE HAD
MANY MISSIONS TO MARS, ROBOTIC MISSIONS
THAT ARE EXPLORING MARS. BUT I PERSONALLY,
AND MANY OTHERS, WANT TO SEE US THERE, SEE HUMANS GO TO MARS. WHEN DO WE DO THIS? DO WE WAIT UNTIL
WE’VE RESOLVED ALL ISSUES, UNTIL WE KNOW WE HAVE NO MORE
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT? OR DO WE DECIDE A CERTAIN DATE
BY WHICH WE STOP AND TAKE OUR TECHNOLOGY
THAT WE HAVE AND TAKE SOME RISKS AND GO TO MARS? WHEN YOU TAKE THOSE MISSIONS,
YOU WILL LEARN, AND AS YOU LEARN
FROM THOSE MISSIONS, YOU COULD HAVE
SAFER TRAVELS TO MARS AND POTENTIALLY OTHER PLANETS. TODAY’S TALK IS ENTITLED “MARS DIRECT: HUMANS TO
THE RED PLANET WITHIN A DECADE.” IT WILL BE PRESENTED
BY DR. ROBERT ZUBRIN, WHO IS THE PRESIDENT
OF PIONEER ASTRONAUTICS AND ALSO THE SPIN-OFF
PIONEER ENERGY. HE IS A FELLOW OF THE BRITISH
INTERPLANETARY SOCIETY AND THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT
OF MARS SOCIETY. HE HAS INVENTED
SEVERAL UNIQUE CONCEPTS FOR SPACE PROPULSION
AND EXPLORATION, THE AUTHOR OF HUNDREDS
OF PUBLICATIONS, TECHNICAL PUBLICATIONS
AND NON-TECHNICAL PUBLICATIONS, INCLUDING NONFICTION
AND FICTION BOOKS. PLEASE JOIN ME
IN WELCOMING ROBERT ZUBRIN. [applause] – OKAY. SO, THANK YOU
FOR THAT KIND INTRODUCTION AND FOR INVITING ME
TO COME AND SPEAK HERE. AND THANKS TO ALL OF YOU
FOR COMING, LISTENING TO WHAT
I’VE GOT TO SAY, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY,
FOR WHAT YOU’RE DOING, BECAUSE I THINK THAT THIS TASK
OF OPENING SPACE, OPENING THE UNIVERSE
TO HUMANITY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
GOING ON IN THE WORLD AT THIS TIME. THIS TIME WILL BE REMEMBERED BECAUSE THIS IS WHEN
WE FIRST SET SAIL FOR OTHER WORLDS. I’M GONNA TALK HUMANS TO MARS
WITHIN A DECADE, OKAY? AND I’M GONNA TALK
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHY I THINK
IT WOULD HAVE TO BE DONE IN THAT KIND OF TIME FRAME
IF YOU’RE GOING TO DO IT. I’M GONNA TALK AT SOME LENGTH AS TO HOW I THINK
IT COULD BE DONE. IN FACT, I’M GOING TO SHOW YOU TWO DIFFERENT WAYS
IT COULD BE DONE, A PREFERRED WAY AND ANOTHER WAY
THAT WOULD ALSO WORK, ALTHOUGH IT PUSHES THE LIMITS
OF MINIMALISM TO DO IT. AND FINALLY,
I’LL TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHY IT NEEDS
TO BE DONE AT ALL. AND BY THE WAY,
IF YOU WANT TO HEAR MORE ON ESPECIALLY
THAT LATTER SUBJECT, THE MARS SOCIETY IS HAVING
ITS CONFERENCE IN HOUSTON AUGUST 7TH THROUGH 10TH. YOU’RE ALL INVITED TO COME. THERE’LL BE ALL KINDS
OF TALKS THERE ABOUT WHY AND HOW
WE CAN GO TO MARS. SO, HUMANS TO MARS
WITHIN A DECADE, OKAY? IS THAT REALLY POSSIBLE? NASA’S CURRENT, I MEAN, TIMELINE IS TO DO IT
AROUND THE YEAR 2047, MAYBE 3047. [laughter] THE QUESTION
OF WHETHER WE CAN DO HUMANS TO MARS IN TEN YEARS IS SOMEWHAT ANALOGOUS
TO THE QUESTION OF, “HOW MUCH ROPE DOES IT TAKE
TO CONNECT TWO POSTS SEPARATED BY A DISTANCE
OF 10 METERS?” IN PRINCIPLE, IT CAN BE DONE
WITH 10 METERS OF ROPE. ON THE OTHER HAND,
IF YOU LET THE ROPE BE TANGLED EVERY WHICH WAY, IT COULD TAKE AN INFINITE AMOUNT
OF ROPE, OKAY, AND SO THE ANSWER
TO THE QUESTION IS DEPENDENT UPON WHETHER YOU ACTUALLY WANT
TO CONNECT THE TWO POSTS OR WHETHER YOU’RE TRYING
TO SELL ROPE. AND “MARS DIRECT”
WAS ACTUALLY CONCEIVED BY A TEAM LED BY ME AND ANOTHER ENGINEER
NAMED DAVID BAKER AT MARTIN MARIETTA,
WHICH BECAME LOCKHEED MARTIN, IN 1990 IN RESPONSE
TO THE FAILURE, OR THE IMMINENT FAILURE– AT THAT TIME,
IT HADN’T QUITE FAILED YET– OF THE FIRST PRESIDENT BUSH’S
SPACE EXPLORATION INITIATIVE, WHICH WAS FOUNDERING
BASED ON STICKER SHOCK DUE TO THE 90-DAY REPORT WHICH HAD POSTULATED
A 30-YEAR PROGRAM COSTING $400 BILLION AND ALL SORTS OF EXERCISES
IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS
BEFORE WE COULD GET TO MARS. AND IT WAS VERY CLEAR
TO US AT MARTIN THAT THE REASON
WHY THE 90-DAY REPORT WAS SO LONG AND COSTLY
AND COMPLEX WAS THAT IT WAS–
HAD BEEN DESIGNED WITH THE IDEA OF MAKING
A WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE HAPPY, PEOPLE DEVELOPING THIS
TECHNOLOGY AND THAT TECHNOLOGY IN THIS CENTER AND THAT CENTER
OR THIS COMPANY OR THAT COMPANY OR HERE OR THERE OR EVERYWHERE. THEY HAD BASICALLY
NOT DESIGNED A MISSION BUT A CHRISTMAS TREE UPON WHICH TO HANG
ALL THE ORNAMENTS AND, YOU KNOW,
PROVIDE BUSINESS FOR EVERYONE. AND THAT’S THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THE CORRECT WAY
TO DO ENGINEERING, OKAY? YOU DON’T DESIGN SOMETHING TO BE AS COMPLEX
AND COSTLY AS POSSIBLE IN ORDER TO PLEASE YOUR VENDORS. YOU DESIGN IT TO BE
AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE AND AS INEXPENSIVE
AS POSSIBLE IN ORDER TO DO THE JOB
MOST EFFICIENTLY. SO THE QUESTION
WE ASKED OURSELVES WHEN WE DESIGNED “MARS DIRECT” IS, IF YOU WANTED
TO DESIGN A MARS MISSION AND NOT PROVIDE EXCUSES
FOR PEOPLE WHO WANTED, YOU KNOW, TO USE THIS TECHNOLOGY, WANTED TO USE
ELECTRIC PROPULSION, WANTED TO USE
NUCLEAR PROPULSION, WANTED TO USE THIS,
WANTED TO USE THAT, WANTED TO USE
BIOREGENERATIVE LIFE SUPPORT AND PHYSICAL LIFE SUPPORT
AND THIS AND HAVE A LUNAR BASE AND HAVE A HANGAR
ON THE SPACE STATION AND, YOU KNOW, THE ABILITY
TO REUSE RL-10 ENGINES IN ORBIT, AND WHATEVER, HOW WOULD YOU DO IT IF YOU JUST WANTED
TO GET THE JOB DONE, OKAY? AND THAT IS THE QUESTION
WE ASKED OURSELVES. SO, FIRST, I’M GOING TO NOW
PRESENT THE DESIGN AS WE DEVELOPED IT
IN THE SPRING OF 1990. OKAY. THIS IS THE MISSION
SEQUENCE CHART FOR THE “MARS DIRECT” PLAN. YOU CAN LAUNCH TO MARS
EVERY TWO YEARS, SO WE’RE GOING TO BE LAUNCHING
TWO BOOSTERS EVERY TWO YEARS TO MARS
IN ORDER TO DO THIS. WELL, FIRST OF ALL,
ANY SPACE OPERATION REQUIRES AN APPROPRIATE
LAUNCH VEHICLE, AND WE SET OURSELVES THE TASK
OF DESIGNING ONE IN THE SATURN V CLASS
OUT OF AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGY, SHUTTLE TECHNOLOGY. AND ACTUALLY IT’S NOT
VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE SLS THAT IS CURRENTLY BEING
DEVELOPED BY NASA. I MEAN, WE’RE USING
SHUTTLE MAIN ENGINES INSTEAD OF SOME OTHER MAIN
ENGINES AT THE BOTTOM, AND THEY’RE OFFSET A LITTLE BIT BECAUSE THESE WERE
GOING TO BE LAUNCHED IN PARALLEL WITH THE SHUTTLE, WHICH HAS ITS FLAME TRENCHES
POSITIONED THUS. BUT, BASICALLY, HERE YOU GO. YOU HAVE FOUR SHUTTLE
MAIN ENGINES, A COUPLE SOLIDS, THE EXTERNAL TANK CORE, HYDROGEN-OXYGEN UPPER STAGE, AND A 10-METER FAIRING, OR 33 FEET IF YOU WORK
AT LOCKHEED MARTIN. AND THE–OKAY. AND THIS COULD LIFT 120 TONS
TO LOW EARTH ORBIT, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT COULD USE THIS UPPER STAGE
TO SEND 47 TONS ON DIRECT TRANS-MARS INJECTION OR 59 TONS
ON TRANS-LUNAR INJECTION. AND THAT IS HOW
WE WANTED TO DO THE MISSION, JUST LIFT AND THROW
AND LET IT GO, SEND THE PAYLOAD TO THE PLANET, THE SAME BOOSTER THAT
LAUNCHED IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. THAT’S HOW WE’VE DONE EVERY REAL, UNMANNED
PLANETARY MISSION, THAT’S HOW WE DID THE REAL
APOLLO MISSIONS TO THE MOON. NO ONE’S EVER DONE
A MISSION TO ANYWHERE BY LIFTING THINGS
TO THE SPACE STATION AND WAITING
FOR THE INTERPLANETARY CRUISER TO RETURN FROM SATURN AND BE REFITTED
TO LOAD THE PAYLOAD ON IT AND THEN GO BACK OUT. NO, JUST LIFT AND THROW
AND LET IT GO. AND RIGHT THERE, IF YOU CAN
DO THE MISSION THAT WAY, YOU’VE GONE 90% OF THE WAY
TOWARDS TAKING THE MARS MISSION OUT OF THE SCIENCE-FICTION
FUTURE AND PUTTING IT IN OUR WORLD
OF REAL ENGINEERING. BUT HOW CAN YOU DO THAT? THE TYPICAL MARS MISSION
DESIGNS THAT WERE AROUND WERE 700 TO 1,000 TONS IN LEO. THIS IS 120 TONS IN LEO, WHICH, BY THE WAY, IS A LITTLE
LESS THAN A SATURN V, WHICH COULD DO 140. YOU KNOW, A BOOSTER
THAT COULD LAUNCH ONE OF THESE DEATH STAR
SPACESHIP CONCEPTS, YOU’D BLOW AWAY ORLANDO
WHEN YOU TOOK OFF. SO HOW COULD YOU
DO THIS MISSION WITH A SATURN V CLASS BOOSTER? WELL, IF YOU LOOKED
AT THESE OTHER MISSION PLANS, WHAT YOU SAW WAS THAT
THE MAJORITY OF THE MASS THAT THEY WERE SENDING TO MARS WAS THE PROPELLANT
TO COME BACK. WELL, THAT MAY
SEEM PRUDENT, OKAY? SHOULDN’T YOU GO TO MARS AND HAVE THE PROPELLANT
TO COME BACK? WELL, IS THAT HOW
WE’VE EXPLORED ON EARTH? DID LEWIS AND CLARK
CROSS THE AMERICAN CONTINENT BRINGING WITH THEM ALL
THE FOOD, WATER, AND AIR THEY WOULD NEED FOR THEMSELVES
AND THEIR HORSES FOR A THREE-YEAR
TRANSCONTINENTAL TRIP OF EXPLORATION? NO. IF THEY HAD DONE THAT, THEY WOULD HAVE NEEDED
A WAGON TRAIN OF SUPPLIES FOR EVERY MAN AND ANOTHER WAGON TRAIN
FOR EVERY HORSE, AND THEN, OF COURSE,
THE WAGON TRAIN MEN AND HORSES WOULD HAVE NEEDED
FURTHER WAGON TRAINS, AND IT WOULD HAVE
GONE EXPONENTIAL. AND NOT ONLY WOULD IT HAVE
BLOWN THE BUDGET OF THOMAS JEFFERSON’S AMERICA, IT WOULD HAVE EXCEEDED
THE MASS OF THE EARTH. OKAY, NOW, THE–BUT NO,
THAT’S NOT WHAT THEY DID. THEY HUNTED THEIR WAY ACROSS, AND IN CERTAIN WAYS THEY TRADED
WITH NATIVE AMERICANS TO OBTAIN NECESSARY SUPPLIES. BUT IN EITHER CASE,
THEY WERE MAKING USE OF THE RESOURCES
THAT WERE AVAILABLE IN THE ENVIRONMENT
THEY INTENDED TO OPERATE IN. WELL, WHY ARE WE GOING TO MARS? WE’RE GOING TO MARS
BECAUSE MARS IS THE PLANET THAT HAS THE RESOURCES
THAT CAN SUPPORT LIFE AND, THEREFORE, POTENTIALLY
TECHNOLOGICAL CIVILIZATION. WELL, THE SAME RESOURCES
THAT MAKE MARS INTERESTING, IF YOU MAKE USE OF THEM,
CAN ALSO MAKE IT ATTAINABLE. SO THAT IS THE ORIENTATION
WE TOOK HERE. WHAT IS THE TRAVEL-LIGHT,
LIVE-OFF-THE-LAND APPROACH TO MARS EXPLORATION? SO THE FIRST THING
THAT WE SEND TO MARS, THE FIRST LAUNCH, HERE, SENDS OUT
ON A MINIMUM-ENERGY TRAJECTORY A EARTH RETURN VEHICLE, ERV. AND WHAT THIS IS,
THIS IS A LITTLE ROCKET SHIP FOR RETURNING FROM MARS TO EARTH IN THE TERMINAL STAGE
OF THE MISSION. BUT NO ONE’S IN IT
WHEN IT GOES OUT THE FIRST TIME. SO IT IS UNMANNED. IT’S GOT A LITTLE CABIN HERE,
15 FEET IN DIAMETER, WITH SPARTAN QUARTERS
FOR A CREW OF FOUR FOR A SIX-MONTH VOYAGE
FROM MARS BACK TO EARTH. THEN IT’S GOT TWO
METHANE OXYGEN CHEMICAL PROPULSION STAGES HERE
WHICH ARE UNFUELED. THEY HAVE TO BE UNFUELED, OR THIS WILL WEIGH
MUCH TOO HEAVY FOR SOMETHING LIKE
A SATURN V CLASS BOOSTER TO THROW TO MARS. HOWEVER, IN SOME
OF THE LOWER STAGE TANKS THAT ARE LATER
GOING TO CONTAIN METHANE, WE’VE GOT ABOUT 6 TONS
OF LIQUID HYDROGEN PROBABLY IN GEL FORM, AND THEN SLUNG
BELOW THE VEHICLE, NOT SHOWN IN THIS DIAGRAM, IS A LITTLE TRUCK,
A LIGHT TRUCK, LIKE A LITTLE PICKUP TRUCK. IN THE BACK OF THAT TRUCK
IS A LITTLE NUCLEAR REACTOR WITH A POWER
OF 100 KILOWATTS. OKAY, 100 KILOWATTS
IS LIKE 130 HORSEPOWER, SAME AMOUNT OF POWER
THAT POWERS A MEDIUM-SIZE CAR. OKAY, SO IT’S NOT A GIANT
NUCLEAR POWER PLANT THAT POWERS A CITY. IT’S JUST A NICE LITTLE
PUTT-PUTT NUKE SITTING IN THE BACK OF A TRUCK. NOW, AFTER YOU’VE LANDED, THE TRUCK IS
TELEROBOTICALLY DRIVEN A FEW HUNDRED METERS AWAY, UNWINDING A CABLE
OFF THE BACK OF IT AS IT GOES, AND THEN THE REACTOR’S
PUT ON THE GROUND, PREFERABLY IN A DITCH
OR A CRATER ON THE REVERSE SIDE
OF THE HILL, ANYTHING TO PUT A NICE-SIZE
CHUNK OF DIRT BETWEEN THE REACTOR
AND THE MAIN LANDING AREA. AND THEN YOU GOT POWER
AT THE SHIP. YOU TURN IT ON, OKAY,
AND WHAT YOU DO THEN IS, YOU RUN A PUMP, AND YOU SUCK IN
THE MARTIAN AIR, WHICH IS 95% CARBON DIOXIDE, AND YOU REACT THAT WITH THE HYDROGEN
THAT YOU BROUGHT FROM EARTH, AND HYDROGEN CAN BE REACTED
WITH CARBON DIOXIDE IN THE PRESENCE OF EITHER
RUTHENIUM OR NICKEL ON ALUMINA CATALYST
TO PRODUCE METHANE AND WATER. THAT’S KNOWN
AS SABATIER REACTION. METHANE’S GOOD ROCKET FUEL.
YOU STORE THAT. YOU TAKE THE WATER,
YOU ELECTROLYZE IT, SPLIT IT INTO HYDROGEN
AND OXYGEN. OH, HERE’S THE WHOLE DIAGRAM. AND SO THIS MAKES
METHANE AND WATER. THE WATER IS ELECTROLYZED,
GIVES YOU OXYGEN. HYDROGEN IS RECYCLED. THEN, TO MAKE ADDITIONAL OXYGEN,
YOU HAVE A THIRD REACTOR IN WHICH YOU SPLIT
CARBON DIOXIDE INTO CARBON MONOXIDE
AND OXYGEN, KEEP THE OXYGEN,
DUMP THE CARBON MONOXIDE. YOU CAN DO THAT ON MARS. THERE’S NO EPA THERE, WHICH IS A SUBSTANTIAL
GOOD REASON TO GO TO MARS. [laughter] AND NOW YOU’VE GOT A FULLY
FUELED EARTH RETURN VEHICLE SITTING, WAITING FOR YOU
ON THE SURFACE OF MARS. AND, IN FACT, WE MAKE
EXTRA PROPELLANT BEYOND WHAT THE EARTH RETURN
VEHICLE NEEDS SO THAT WE CAN OPERATE
CHEMICAL-POWERED VEHICLES ON THE SURFACE OF MARS
FOR EXPLORATION PURPOSES. AND WHY DO WE WANT TO DO THAT? BECAUSE WE’RE GOING TO MARS
TO EXPLORE, AND CHEMICAL-REACTION VEHICLES HAVE A MUCH HIGHER
POWER-TO-MASS RATIO THAN YOU CAN GET WITH ELECTRIC
VEHICLES OR R.T.G. VEHICLES OR ANYTHING OF THAT SORT, WHICH IS WHY THEY’RE SO MUCH
MORE POPULAR HERE ON EARTH. AND IN A FRONTIER ENVIRONMENT
LIKE MARS, WHERE YOU REALLY WANT THE SPEED,
THE LONG RANGE, THE TORQUE, THE HAULING CAPABILITY, AND ALL-AROUND MUSCLE YOU GET
FROM HAVING A REAL CAR INSTEAD OF A GOLF CART, YOU REALLY WANT TO HAVE ONE. BUT IT WOULDN’T BE PRACTICAL IF YOU HAD TO BRING THE FUEL
FROM EARTH. BUT BECAUSE YOU CAN MAKE
THE FUEL ON MARS, THEN YOU HAVE THIS
ADDITIONAL CAPABILITY. SO THE POINT HERE
IS THAT THE ABILITY TO MAKE USE OF LOCAL RESOURCES IS NOT JUST THE KEY
TO MAKING THE MISSION CHEAP. IT’S ALSO THE KEY
TO MAKING THE MISSION EFFECTIVE, WHICH IS EVEN
MORE IMPORTANT, ACTUALLY, BECAUSE THERE’S NO POINT
GOING TO MARS UNLESS YOU CAN DO SOMETHING
USEFUL ONCE YOU GET THERE. SO, OKAY, THE NEXT– THIS BEING DONE, AT THE NEXT LAUNCH OPPORTUNITY,
TWO YEARS LATER, WE LAUNCH TWO MORE BOOSTERS
OFF THE CAPE. ONE SENDS OUT
ANOTHER EARTH RETURN VEHICLE. THE OTHER SHOOTS OUT A HAB WITH A CREW
OF FOUR ASTRONAUTS IN IT. NOW, BECAUSE OUR RETURN RIDE IS WAITING FOR US
ON THE SURFACE OF MARS, WE DON’T NEED TO FLY TO MARS IN A GIGANTIC
DEATH STAR SPACESHIP, OKAY? WE DON’T EVEN HAVE TO FLY OUT IN A COMPARATIVELY MODEST
“MILLENNIUM FALCON.” WE CAN FLY TO MARS
IN A TUNA CAN. AND THAT’S A VERY GOOD THING, BECAUSE WE KNOW
HOW TO BUILD THEM AND THEY’VE BEEN PROVEN
IN INDUSTRY TO BE A VERY EFFECTIVE FORM
OF PACKAGING. NOW, OURS IS SOMEWHAT LARGER THAN THE CHICKEN
OF THE SEA UNIT. OKAY, THIS IS 8 1/2 METERS,
27 FEET IN DIAMETER. TWO DECKS,
EACH WITH 8 FEET OF HEADROOM. UPPER DECK IS WHERE THEY LIVE. LOWER DECK IS MORE
OF A CARGO HOLD, WORKSHOP KIND OF PLACE. HERE’S ONE POTENTIAL LAYOUT
OF THE UPPER DECK. FOUR LITTLE STATEROOMS. THERE’S A CREW OF FOUR IN HERE,
IF I DIDN’T MENTION THAT. SCIENCE AREA, GALLEY,
EXERCISE AREA, AND IN THE CENTER IS
A SOLAR FLARE STORM SHELTER. OKAY, THERE’S TWO KINDS
OF RADIATION THAT CAN GET YOU IN SPACE: SOLAR FLARES, COSMIC RAYS. SOLAR FLARES COME FROM THE SUN, BIG PULSES OF RADIATION
IN AN UNPREDICTABLE WAY. THAT IS, YOU DON’T KNOW
WHEN IT’S GONNA HAPPEN, MAYBE ONE BIG ONE A YEAR. BUT THEY’RE BASICALLY PROTONS WITH ENERGIES
OF ABOUT A MEGAVOLT THAT CAN BE STOPPED
BY 5 INCHES OF WATER. AND WE HAVE ENOUGH PROVISIONS
ON THE SHIP TO MASS THAT OUT. SO THAT’S HOW YOU’RE SAFE
AGAINST THE SOLAR FLARES. THE COSMIC RAYS, WHICH ARE A
LITTLE PITTER-PATTER CONSTANTLY OF HIGH-ENERGY RADIATION COMING IN FROM
INTERSTELLAR SPACE, THAT CANNOT BE STOPPED
WITH 5 INCHES OF WATER, BUT THE DOSE FOR THAT
IS MODERATE, AS I WILL SHOW YOU LATER, THAT THIS IS– YOU’RE GONNA TAKE THIS
WHEN YOU GO TO MARS NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, BUT IT REPRESENTS
A MODEST PORTION OF OVERALL MISSION RISK. NOW, LET ME JUST SAY THIS,
BY THE WAY. THE TRAJECTORY THAT WE’RE
GOING OUT TO MARS ON IS A SIX-MONTH TRAJECTORY. AND THIS IS
THE CORRECT TRAJECTORY TO SEND PEOPLE TO MARS ON REGARDLESS OF THE PROPULSION
SYSTEM THAT YOU HAVE. THAT IS, THERE’S PEOPLE
GOING AROUND SAYING, “WE’VE GOT TO GO TO MARS FASTER.
WE’VE GOT TO GO TO MARS FASTER. “IF WE HAD
NUCLEAR THERMAL ROCKETS, WE COULD GET TO MARS
IN FOUR MONTHS.” WELL, YOU COULD,
BUT YOU SHOULDN’T. IF YOU HAD
NUCLEAR THERMAL ROCKETS, YOU SHOULD GET TO MARS
IN SIX MONTHS AND USE THE SUPERIOR
PROPULSION CAPABILITY TO DOUBLE YOUR PAYLOAD, OKAY? WHY? WELL, THERE’S TWO REASONS. ONE IS, DOUBLING THE PAYLOAD WILL DO FAR MORE
FOR MISSION SAFETY THAN REDUCING THE TRANSIT TIME
BY TWO MONTHS, OKAY. IN TERMS OF MORE REDUNDANCY, OF CRITICAL SYSTEMS
AND SO FORTH, THAT’S POSSIBLE. BUT THE OTHER IS THIS. SIX MONTHS OUTBOUND TRANSIT IS THE TWO-YEAR FREE RETURN
TRAJECTORY TO EARTH. SO IF YOU HAVE TO
ABORT THE MISSION, YOU CAN FLY BY MARS, COME BACK, YOU GET BACK TO EARTH’S ORBIT EXACTLY TWO YEARS
AFTER YOU LEFT IT, AND EARTH WILL BE THERE. IF YOU TRY TO GO TO MARS FASTER, YOU NECESSARILY GO OUT FURTHER
ON A FREE RETURN. YOU COME BACK
IN MORE THAN TWO YEARS, AND EARTH IS NOT THERE, OKAY? SO, BY TRYING TO GO TO MARS
FASTER THAN SIX MONTHS, YOU LOSE ROBUSTNESS
AND YOU LOSE THE FREE RETURN, SO YOU SHOULDN’T DO IT, OKAY? BETTER PROPULSION IS BETTER, BUT USE IT TO INCREASE
THE PAYLOAD. OKAY. NOW, THE ONE HEALTH EFFECT THAT
WE REALLY HAVE SEEN IN SPACE HAS NOT BEEN FROM RADIATION. IT’S BEEN FROM ZERO GRAVITY. OKAY, AND SO WE MAKE
ARTIFICIAL GRAVITY ON THE SHIP BY TETHERING OFF
THE BURNT-OUT UPPER STAGE. THIS IS THE BURNT-OUT
UPPER STAGE OF THE ARES BOOSTER. IT THREW US TO MARS. IT’S COASTING TO MARS TOO. IT CAN BE USED
AS A COUNTERWEIGHT ON THE END OF A TETHER. THIS THING IS ABOUT A MILE LONG,
1,500 METERS. SPIN THIS AT 1 RPM,
YOU GET MARS GRAVITY IN THE HAB. IF YOU SPUN IT AT
A LITTLE LESS THAN 2 RPM, YOU’D HAVE EARTH GRAVITY
IN THE HAB AND AVOID THE DECONDITIONING
ASSOCIATED WITH ZERO GRAVITY AND OTHER HEALTH EFFECTS,
EYE EFFECTS AND SO FORTH, THAT HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED. THOSE ARE THE SERIOUS
HEALTH EFFECTS OF SPACE FLIGHT, AND THEY CAN BE AMELIORATED
THIS WAY. OKAY, SO–
I DON’T KNOW WHY THAT’S THERE. OH, I KNOW WHY IT’S THERE. OKAY, SO THEY FLY OUT TO MARS,
TAKE SIX MONTHS. THEY FIRE PYRO, CUT THE CABLE,
AERO-BRAKE, AND GO AND LAND
AT LANDING SITE NUMBER ONE, WHERE THE FULLY FUELED
EARTH RETURN VEHICLE IS WAITING FOR THEM. OKAY. IF THEY LAND OFF-COURSE, THEY’VE GOT A PRESSURIZED ROVER
IN THE LOWER DECK OF THE HAB. IT HAS A ONE-WAY RANGE
OF 600 MILES, SO THEY REALLY SHOULD
BE ABLE TO ACHIEVE THIS SURFACE RENDEZVOUS. IF THEY CAN’T,
THEY HAVE A REAL PROBLEM WITH THE PILOT
SELECTION PROCESS. AND IF THAT’S THE CASE,
WE CAN STILL SAVE THE MISSION BY TAKING THE SECOND
EARTH RETURN VEHICLE AND LANDING IT NEAR THEM. BUT, ASSUMING THAT
THEY DO LAND CORRECTLY, THE SECOND EARTH RETURN VEHICLE
CAN BE LANDED ANYWHERE ELSE, COULD BE LANDED CLOSE BY, COULD BE ON THE OTHER SIDE
OF THE PLANET, BUT I WOULD LAND IT
A FEW HUNDRED MILES AWAY, BECAUSE IT WILL DEFINE WHERE THE NEXT
EXPLORATION MISSION GOES. BUT I WOULD STILL LIKE IT TO BE WITHIN AT LEAST
ONE-WAY DRIVING RANGE OF THE AVAILABLE
GROUND TRANSPORTATION. SO THE CREW HAS TWO COMPLETE
EARTH RETURN VEHICLES, EITHER ONE OF WHICH
COULD TAKE THEM HOME. AND THEY HAVE THREE
HABITABLE VOLUMES, THE BIG ONE IN THE HAB AND THE CABINS
OF THE TWO ERVs. SO THEY’RE MULTIPLY
BACKED UP IN THAT WAY. BUT THE REAL PURPOSE
OF THIS ERV IS NOT FOR THEM. IT’S TO START MAKING PROPELLANT
TO SUPPORT THE NEXT MISSION, WHICH FLIES OUT TWO YEARS LATER, ALONG WITH ANOTHER ERV,
WHICH IS THEIR BACKUP, BUT WHICH OTHERWISE OPENS UP
LANDING SITE NUMBER THREE. SO THIS IS AN ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPH
OF THE BASE. [laughter] WHAT YOU SEE HERE, HERE IS
THE EARTH RETURN VEHICLE. THERE’S THE CABIN,
THE TWO PROPULSION STAGES, THE INTAKES FOR THE CHEMICAL
PROCESSING UNIT, WHICH IS BUILT
INTO THE LANDING STAGE THAT ACTS AS THE TAKEOFF PAD
FOR THE REST OF IT. HERE’S THE REACTOR AND THE
CRATER IN THE BACKGROUND, THE HABITAT,
UPPER STAGE WHERE THEY LIVE, UPPER DECK WHERE THEY LIVE. LOWER DECK IS THE GARAGE FOR THE LITTLE
PRESSURIZED ROVER, COUPLE OF SOLAR PANELS
USED AS BACKUP POWER IF YOU HAVE TO TURN
THE REACTOR OFF. YOU ALSO HAVE BACKUP POWER BY RUNNING THE ENGINE
OF THE ROVER OR THE LIGHT TRUCK, WHICH MAY BE HARD TO SEE,
BUT IT’S SITTING OVER HERE. IT’S AN UNPRESSURIZED VEHICLE WHICH IS ALSO THE BACKUP
FOR THIS ONE. AND THEN THIS THING HERE
IS AN INFLATABLE GREENHOUSE. THIS IS NOT
A MISSION-CRITICAL ELEMENT. IT’S AN EXPERIMENT IN LEARNING
HOW TO GROW CROPS ON MARS IN MARTIAN SOIL,
MARTIAN SUNLIGHT, MARTIAN GRAVITY, MARTIAN WATER, FOR THE BENEFIT OF FUTURE
MISSIONS AND FUTURE BASES. NOW, AFTER A NUMBER OF THESE
MISSIONS HAVE OCCURRED IN DIFFERENT PLACES, YOU’LL KNOW WHERE YOU WANT
TO DEVELOP A MAJOR BASE, AND YOU COULD DO THAT
BY LANDING A LOT OF THE HABS IN THE SAME PLACE
AND MATING THEM UP. THESE ARE
SECOND-GENERATION HABS HERE WHOSE LANDING LEGS
CAN ARTICULATE NOT ONLY UP AND DOWN
BUT ALSO SIDE-TO-SIDE, THUS ALLOWING THEM TO WALK
MUCH IN THE MANNER THAT THE MARTIANS DID
IN “THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.” SO THIS HAS HERITAGE. [laughter] AND THERE IT IS. AND I DON’T HAVE TIME
TO GO INTO IT, BUT I’LL ASSERT WITHOUT PROOF THAT WE COULD USE
THE SAME FLIGHT ELEMENTS TO BUILD A LUNAR BASE TOO, SO WE COULD DO THESE THINGS
IN PARALLEL, OKAY. WE DON’T BUILD A LUNAR BASE
IN ORDER TO GO TO MARS. YOU DON’T NEED A LUNAR BASE
TO GO TO MARS. BUT, IN FACT, IF YOU WANTED
TO MAINTAIN THE FLIGHT RATE ASSOCIATED WITH HAVING
AN ACTIVE BOOSTER PROGRAM, YOU DON’T WANT TO BE LAUNCHING
TWO EVERY TWO YEARS. YOU NEED TO LAUNCH
MORE FREQUENTLY THAN THAT, OR, FRANKLY, YOU’RE WASTING
A LOT OF MONEY BY HAVING A STANDING ARMY
SITTING AROUND DOING NOTHING AND, IN FACT,
GETTING OUT OF PRACTICE. SO YOU WOULD PROBABLY ACTUALLY
DO THESE THINGS AT THE SAME TIME. AND SO THIS IS THE HARDWARE SET
THAT WE NEED TO OPEN UP TWO NEW WORLDS. NOW, OKAY, THAT’S HOW
I’D LIKE TO DO MARS, AND I THINK WE CAN DO THAT. HOWEVER, RECENTLY, YOU KNOW, SPACEX HAS COME ALONG, AND THEY ARE DEVELOPING HARDWARE THAT’S GOING TO BE DEVELOPED
RELATIVELY SOON, OR SO IT WOULD SEEM, INCLUDING FALCON HEAVY CAPABLE
OF LAUNCHING 50 TONS TO LOW EARTH ORBIT. NOW, 50 TONS IS NOT 120.
IT’S LESS. IT IS. AND–BUT, YOU KNOW,
I SET MYSELF THE TASK OF SAYING, “WELL, LOOK, WHAT IF I DIDN’T
HAVE WHAT I WANT? “WHAT IF I HAVE THAT? “OKAY, CAN WE STILL
DO HUMANS TO MARS? IS THERE A WAY THAT,
YOU KNOW–” IN OTHER WORDS,
THIS IS NOT AN IDEAL WORLD. YOU’VE GOT TO, YOU KNOW– AS DONALD RUMSFELD SAID, “YOU GO TO WAR
WITH THE FORCES YOU GOT.” OKAY, HE’S AN AUTHORITY. AND, ANYWAY, YOU GO TO MARS
WITH THE FORCES YOU GOT. SO HOW WOULD I DO IT? WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I WOULD TAKE
AN ALTERATION OF THIS PLAN WHICH I CALL THE
“MARS SEMI-DIRECT” PLAN. AND THIS, BY THE WAY,
IS THE MISSION ARCHITECTURE THAT WAS ADOPTED
BY NASA JOHNSON SPACE CENTER AND WAS D.R.,
DESIGN REFERENCE, MISSION 3. OKAY, THIS IS A THREE-LAUNCH
MISSION ARCHITECTURE, OKAY, IN WHICH ONE LAUNCH
SENDS TO MARS THE EARTH-MARS ASCENT VEHICLE, WHICH GOES TO THE SURFACE AND MAKES PROPELLANT
ON THE SURFACE. ONE SENDS THE HAB OUT
WITH A CREW, AND ONE SENDS
AN EARTH RETURN VEHICLE TO A HIGHLY ELLIPTICAL,
LOOSELY BOUND MARS ORBIT, AND SO THAT THE MISSION PLAN IS, FIRST, YOU SEND
AN ASCENT VEHICLE WHICH FUELS ITSELF
ON THE SURFACE, WHOSE PROCESS IS SIMILAR
TO “MARS DIRECT.” OKAY, AND THEN, IN THE NEXT
LAUNCH OPPORTUNITY, YOU SEND OUT AN EARTH RETURN
VEHICLE AND A HAB. NOW, IN FACT, THIS WOULD REQUIRE
THREE FALCON HEAVIES, SO IT’S THREE LAUNCHES, OKAY. AND WHAT WE DID HERE WAS, THE FIRST TIME, I WOULD SEND
ALL THESE ELEMENTS OUT, BUT WITH NO ONE
IN ANY OF THEM, AND THEN AT
THE SECOND OPPORTUNITY, YOU SEND OUT THE CREW IN A HAB
THAT RENDEZVOUS ON THE SURFACE WITH THE ASCENT VEHICLE AND ANOTHER EARTH RETURN VEHICLE
TO POSITION IN MARS ORBIT AND ANOTHER ASCENT VEHICLE. SO THE–AND THEN THE CREW
ASCENDS TO ORBIT AT THE END OF A YEAR AND A HALF
ON THE MARTIAN SURFACE IN THE PRE-POSITIONED
ASCENT VEHICLE. AND WHILE THE OTHER ONE
IS THERE MAKING PROPELLANT, THEN, IN FACT,
IT’S A BACKUP FOR THEM. AND THE PRE-POSITIONED HAB
IS THERE SO THAT WHEN THEY LAND
IN THEIR HAB, THERE’S ACTUALLY TWO HABS. NOW, WHAT WE– WHAT I ASSUMED
FOR THIS IS THAT WE HAD, ALSO,
THE DRAGON WITH A LONG-DURATION
LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM INSTALLED IN IT. NOW, THE DRAGON
IS KIND OF SMALL FOR LONG-DURATION HABITATION, SO THE NOTION HERE WAS THAT
AN INFLATABLE EXTENSION FOR THE DRAGON COULD BE MADE
THAT WOULD– IN OTHER WORDS, THE CREW COULD
LAUNCH TO ORBIT IN A DRAGON, AND THEN HERE IT IS. IT TURNS AROUND,
DOES THE APOLLO MANEUVER, AND PULLS OUT OF HERE,
OR THE INFLATABLE, AND ALSO A TETHER THAT GOES
TO THE UPPER STAGE AND CAN GIVE THIS
ARTIFICIAL GRAVITY OFF THE TRANS-MARS
INJECTION STAGE. NOW, I SAID I’D MENTION THIS
BUSINESS ABOUT RADIATION, BECAUSE, ONCE AGAIN,
THIS HAS REALLY BEEN USED AS A KIND OF SNOW DAY
BY THOSE IN AUTHORITY WHO DON’T WANT TO GO TO MARS. IN OTHER WORDS, YOU KNOW,
WE RECENTLY HAD RADIATION RESULTS
FROM “CURIOSITY” IN TRANSIT WHICH WERE THE SAME AS THOSE
FROM “MARIE” IN TRANSIT IN 2001. THE DATA WAS THE SAME,
BUT IN 2001 THEY SAID, “THIS SHOWS THAT THE RADIATION
DOSE OF GOING TO MARS IS A MODEST PORTION
OF TOTAL MISSION RISK.” THEN IN 2013, THEY SAID, “THIS SHOWS THAT WE CAN’T
GO TO MARS–HA-HA, SNOW DAY.” BUT, IN FACT, THE COSMIC RAY
RADIATION DOSE RATES IN LOW EARTH ORBIT ARE HALF OF THOSE
OF INTERPLANETARY SPACE. AND THIS IS BECAUSE
THE EARTH’S MAGNETIC FIELD DOES NOT BLOCK
AGAINST G-E-V COSMIC RAYS. THE EARTH BLOCKS OUT
HALF THE SKY, AND THAT’S WHY
IT’S A FACTOR OF TWO LESS. BUT IT’S THE SAME STUFF, AND IT’S JUST HALF
THE DOSE RATE. AND, AS YOU CAN SEE, THERE’S ABOUT TEN COSMONAUTS
AND ASTRONAUTS WHO HAVE RECEIVED, DUE TO LONG-DURATION ACTIVITY
ON THE MIR OR THE SPACE STATION, COSMIC RAY DOSES THAT ARE
QUITE COMPARABLE TO WHAT YOU WOULD GET
DOING A ROUNDTRIP TO MARS. AND THERE HAVE BEEN NO
RADIOLOGICAL CASUALTIES AMONG THIS GROUP. NOR WOULD WE EXPECT
THERE TO HAVE BEEN, BECAUSE THE RADIATION RISK
IS ABOUT 1%. AND SO THE IDEA
THAT WE CANNOT GO TO MARS UNTIL MUCH MORE ADVANCED
PROPULSION SYSTEMS THAT ARE AVAILABLE THAT CAN
GET US TO MARS IN 30 DAYS IS NOT A VALID ARGUMENT, AND I BELIEVE
IT’S DISINGENUOUS AS WELL. GIVEN THE FACT,
GIVEN THE FACT, FIGURE IT OUT. OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS, SPACE STATION WILL BE
CONTINUALLY OCCUPIED, OKAY, WITH A CREW
ABOUT THE SAME SIZE AS A MARS MISSION CREW, OKAY, SO TEN YEARS
CONTINUAL OCCUPATION AT HALF THE DOSE RATE
OF HUMAN MARS MISSIONS WHICH SPEND 40% OF THEIR TIME
IN TRANSIT, OKAY. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSON REMS
BOTH PROGRAMS WOULD RECEIVE, THE SPACE STATION
OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS OR A PROGRAM OF SENDING
FIVE HUMAN MISSIONS TO MARS OVER TEN YEARS, USING EVERY OPPORTUNITY
FOR FLIGHT, IS THE SAME. SO RIGHT NOW, NASA, WHILE WAVING ITS HANDS
IN HORROR OVER THE RADIATION RISK
OF GOING TO MARS, IS ACTUALLY IMPOSING
THAT SAME RADIATION RISK ON THEIR CREWS
WITHOUT GOING ANYWHERE. NOW, ALL RIGHT. SO I WORKED OUT THE MASSES
ON THIS, AND THE MARGINS ARE TIGHT,
BUT THIS LOOKS DOABLE. ASSUMING 8 TONS, METRIC TONS,
FOR THE DRAGONS THEMSELVES, YOU GO THROUGH
THE VARIOUS CONSUMABLES. YOU HAVE TO HAVE
WATER RECYCLING. AND THAT, BY THE WAY,
IS KEY FOR ANY MARS MISSION, BECAUSE THE AMOUNT OF WATER
THAT YOU USE, OKAY, NASA–WELL, AT LEAST IN SOME
AMES DOCUMENTS THAT I SAW A DECADE AGO– THEY WERE SAYING 32 KILOGRAMS
PER DAY PER PERSON WITHOUT RECYCLING. IN OUR MARS–ARTIC AND MARS
DESERT RESEARCH STATIONS, WE’VE BEEN ABLE TO GET IT DOWN
TO 12 A DAY PER PERSON. BUT EVEN THERE,
IF YOU HAVE FOUR PEOPLE AND ROUND IT OFF
TO 1,000 DAYS, 4,000 TIMES 12 WOULD BE
48 TONS OF WATER IF YOU HAD NO RECYCLING. IF YOU HAVE 90% RECYCLING,
IT’S 4.8 TONS OF WATER. SO THAT BECOMES DOABLE, BUT YOU’VE GOT TO DO THAT. THE KEY TECHNOLOGY HERE
IS WATER RECYCLING. IT’S NOT IMPORTANT
TO MAKE YOUR FOOD. YOU CAN BRING YOUR FOOD. THAT IS A MODEST MASS. IT’S WATER
THAT REALLY WEIGHS IT. AND, WELL, IT’S ALL HERE. NOW, THE CREW IS A CREW OF TWO. AND, BY THE WAY,
IN DOING THIS, I ASSUMED TWO AVERAGE PEOPLE
IN TERMS OF SIZE. NOW, THAT COULD BE ALTERED. WHY DO WE HAVE TO SEND
AVERAGE-SIZE PEOPLE TO MARS? WHY NOT SEND SMALL PEOPLE? WE TRY TO MAKE EVERYTHING ELSE
SMALL AND LIGHTWEIGHT ON THE MISSION, AND A 100-POUND PERSON
EATS HALF AS MUCH AS A 200-POUND PERSON. AND SO, YOU KNOW, I UNDERSTAND THAT THERE
ARE CULTURAL ISSUES HERE, BUT IF ONE WANTED
TO BE PRACTICAL, YOU MIGHT START THINKING
IN THOSE DIRECTIONS. AND, IN FACT, THOUGH, IF WE DID USE SMALL PEOPLE, WE PROBABLY COULD HAVE
A CREW OF THREE. OKAY, AND THEN THIS IS JUST
AN ARTIST’S DEPICTION OF THESE THINGS LANDED ON MARS. THE NOTION HERE IS THESE HABS. YOU DON’T DO ENTRY AND LANDING
WITH THE HABS INFLATED. THEY WOULD BE DEFLATED,
STUFFED BACK INSIDE, AND THEN INFLATED AGAIN
ONCE THEY’RE ON THE SURFACE. AND THIS LOOKS VERY VULNERABLE TO BEING BLOWN OVER BY THE WIND
OR SOMETHING, BUT, IN FACT, THE DYNAMIC
PRESSURE OF WINDS ON THE SURFACE OF MARS
IS QUITE LOW. AND THESE THINGS HERE,
BY THE WAY, THE NOTION OF THIS ONE WAS THAT IT WOULDN’T TRANSPORT
HYDROGEN TO MARS. IT WOULD TRANSPORT
HYDROCARBON FUEL AND JUST MAKE THE OXYGEN, WHICH IS 3/4 OF THE PROPELLANT, BECAUSE THE SMALLER SIZE MAKES
IT HARDER TO TRANSPORT HYDROGEN. NOW, THIS MISSION… IS DESIGNED IN ACCORDANCE
WITH, YOU KNOW, JUST THREE FALCON HEAVY LAUNCHES
PER OPPORTUNITY. SLS, IN ITS EARLIEST
INCARNATION, IS 75 TONS TO ORBIT. THAT WOULD INCREASE
THE MASS MARGINS BY 50%. OR YOU COULD SAY, OKAY,
WE’LL DO TWO FALCON HEAVIES FOR EACH OF THESE
THREE PACKAGES, MATE AND DOCK,
AND THAT WOULD DOUBLE IT. WHAT I AM SAYING HERE IS NOT TO ADVOCATE
THIS DESIGN IN DETAIL, BUT TO SAY,
IF YOU WANT TO GET TO MARS, YOU WANT TO TRY TO APPROACH IT IN A SPIRIT
OF RUTHLESS MINIMALISM, TO SAY, “HOW COULD WE ACTUALLY
DO THIS WITH WHAT WE HAVE OR WHAT WE’RE LIKELY TO HAVE?” AS OPPOSED TO SAYING, “WELL, YOU KNOW,
WHEN I GO TO MARS, “I WANT TO HAVE THIS
NAUTILUS SPACESHIP “WITH A, YOU KNOW, SPA
AND A SAUNA AND THIS AND THAT, “AND A POOL ROOM, BECAUSE
REALLY, WITHOUT A POOL ROOM, ASTRONAUTS WON’T BE HAPPY.” YOU WANT TO SAY, “HOW CAN WE
ACTUALLY GET THIS DONE “WITH THE SORT OF THING WE HAVE AND DESIGN THE MISSION
IN THAT WAY?” BUT THE BOTTOM LINE IS, WHETHER WE DO IT WITH
A TRUE HEAVY-LIFT BOOSTER LIKE “MARS DIRECT” IS, OR WE DO IT IN THIS SORT OF–
THIS FALCON DIRECT ARCHITECTURE WITH A SEMI-HEAVY BOOSTER, THERE’S WAYS TO DO THIS. WE DO NOT NEED
SCIENCE-FICTION SPACESHIPS TO GO TO MARS, OKAY? WE JUST DON’T. SO, OKAY. I’LL LEAVE IT THERE. THANKS. [applause] – SO WE HAVE TIME FOR QUESTIONS. WAIT FOR THE MICROPHONE, AND PLEASE STAND UP
WHEN YOU ASK A QUESTION. – SO, NASA LEADERSHIP NOW
SEEMS TO EMBRACE MARS AS THE PRIMARY DESTINATION. AND THEY CERTAINLY ARE AWARE
OF YOUR PLAN. SO, WHAT IS THEIR RESPONSE? WHY WOULD NOT THEY GET
INTERESTED IN THIS PLAN AND TRYING TO ADOPT IT? BECAUSE IT’S SO MUCH CHEAPER,
IT SEEMS TO ME. NOT ONLY FASTER, BUT CHEAPER. – OKAY, WELL, I UNDERSTAND WHY
YOU JUST SAID WHAT YOU SAID, BUT I DISAGREE WITH YOUR PREMISE THAT NASA HAS EMBRACED MARS
AS A DESTINATION. IF NASA HAD EMBRACED MARS
AS A DESTINATION, IT WOULDN’T BE PLANNING
AN ASTEROID-REDIRECT MISSION, BECAUSE THE ASTEROID-REDIRECT
MISSION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HUMANS TO MARS. OKAY, THE–THEY’VE CHOSEN
TO INVOKE HUMANS TO MARS AS SIZZLE BUT NOT THE STEAK,
OKAY? IN OTHER WORDS– AND THIS IS FUNDAMENTAL. YOU CAN’T GET TO MARS
WITH A PROGRAM THAT IS DESIGNED AROUND PLEASING
VARIOUS CONSTITUENCIES WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION. FOR INSTANCE,
THE ASTEROID-REDIRECT MISSION, THE PURPOSE OF IT
IS TO PROVIDE A MISSION FOR AN ELECTRIC PROPULSION
SYSTEM WHICH HAPPENS TO HAVE THE EAR
OF THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATOR. OKAY, IT IS– NO ONE IN THEIR WILDEST DREAMS EVER PUT REDIRECTING
A 500-TON BOULDER FROM THE NEAR-EARTH
ASTEROID BELT INTO A RETROGRADE LUNAR ORBIT ON THE CRITICAL PATH TO MARS. OKAY, I MEAN, YOU KNOW, THIS IS NEW. AND THE–NOW, SOME PEOPLE
HAVE ARGUED THAT A LUNAR BASE IS ON THE CRITICAL PATH
TO MARS, AND I DISAGREE, BUT AT LEAST THEIR ARGUMENT
HAS THE MERIT THAT A LUNAR BASE
IS ON THE CRITICAL PATH TO HAVING A LUNAR BASE. AND SO, IF YOU BUILD
A LUNAR BASE, YOU WILL AT LEAST
GET A LUNAR BASE. OKAY, SO, YOU CAN BE SANE
AND ARGUE THAT. BUT THE– BECAUSE, IN FACT,
THE PEOPLE WHO ARGUE THAT WE NEED TO BUILD THE LUNAR
BASE BEFORE WE GO TO MARS ARE PEOPLE WHO WANT
TO HAVE A LUNAR BASE. NOW, THE– THE PROBLEM HERE IS,
IT’S ENTROPY. IT’S ENTROPY. THIS IS WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS WITH THE 90-DAY REPORT,
FUNDAMENTALLY, WAS ENTROPY. IT’S LIKE RUNNING A COMPANY AND HAVING YOUR DECISIONS
DETERMINED BY YOUR VENDORS. “WHY DON’T YOU BUILD THIS
SO WE CAN SELL IT TO YOU?” OKAY. THE RIGHT WAY TO DO– IF YOU WANT TO GET TO MARS, YOU DECIDE–YOU DECIDE THAT, AND THEN YOU JUST FIND OUT WHAT IS THE SIMPLEST
AND MOST DIRECT PLAN WITH THE LEAST
DIVERSIONS FROM IT. AND GIVEN THE FACT
THAT THE NASA BUDGET IS FINITE, IT MEANS NOT DOING A WHOLE BUNCH
OF OTHER ACTIVITIES THAT ARE NOT RELATED
TO THAT GOAL, OKAY? AND THAT’S WHAT WE NEED. YOU CANNOT– YOU KNOW, WE DIDN’T GET
TO THE MOON BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, ONE DAY, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS
THIS LEM PROGRAM AND A COMMAND MODULE PROGRAM AND A SATURN V PROGRAM, AND ONE DAY THE DIRECTORS
RAN INTO EACH OTHER IN THE CAFETERIA AT MARSHALL
AND SAID, “YOU KNOW, WITH YOUR LEM
AND MY COMMAND MODULE AND HIS BOOSTER,
WE COULD GO TO THE MOON.” NO, THESE THINGS– FIRST, THERE WAS THE DECISION
TO GO TO THE MOON. THEN, THEY DEVELOPED A PLAN
ON HOW TO DO IT. FROM THE PLAN CAME
THE HARDWARE ELEMENTS. FROM THE HARDWARE ELEMENTS
WERE DETERMINED THE LIST OF TECHNOLOGIES THAT NEEDED
TO BE DEVELOPED. AND THAT’S HOW YOU DID IT. IT WASN’T THAT THERE WERE
ALL THESE TECHNOLOGIES BEING DEVELOPED AND SUDDENLY
THEY CAME TOGETHER AND MADE THE MOON HAPPEN. SO THAT’S IT. THERE HAS NOT BEEN
A DECISION TO GO TO MARS. – I WONDER WHAT
YOUR THOUGHTS ARE ON THE RECENT NATIONAL RESEARCH
COUNCIL REPORT THAT CAME OUT
A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO. – OH, OKAY. THAT’S GOOD. WELL, ACTUALLY, I HAVE– I GIVE IT MIXED REVIEWS. THE POSITIVE PART IS, THEY MADE
THE POINT THAT I JUST MADE, OKAY, WHICH IS THAT
YOU CANNOT HAVE A “TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN PROGRAM” BECAUSE THAT, IN FACT, IS
A CONSTITUENCY-DRIVEN PROGRAM, AND IT’S JUST ENTROPY,
AND YOU WILL NOT GET TO MARS OR ANYWHERE ELSE THAT WAY. NOW, THE PEOPLE
WHO WROTE THAT REPORT, IN FACT, WERE LUNAR ADVOCATES, AND IF YOU READ THAT REPORT AND CAN KIND OF
GET PAST THE FOG, WHAT IT BASICALLY SAYS IS, THE UNITED STATES
SHOULD BUILD A LUNAR BASE. OKAY, THAT’S WHAT IT SAYS. OKAY, IT NEVER SAYS IT THAT WAY. INSTEAD, WHAT THEY SAY IS, “THE UNITED STATES NEEDS “A DEFINITE AND INSPIRATIONAL
GOAL FOR ITS SPACE PROGRAM, AND THAT SHOULD BE
HUMANS TO MARS.” OKAY. THEN, THEY SAY, “NOW, THERE’S
THREE WAYS TO GET TO MARS. “ONE IS, YOU COULD DO
THE ASTEROID-REDIRECT MISSION “AND THEN DO MISSIONS TO PHOBOS, “AND THEN DO MISSIONS
TO MARS. “OR YOU COULD BUILD
A SPACE STATION IN L2, “THEN BUILD A LUNAR BASE, “THEN DO MISSIONS
TO THE NEAR-EARTH ASTEROIDS, “THEN DO MISSIONS TO PHOBOS, “AND THEN DO MISSIONS TO MARS. “OR YOU COULD BUILD
A LUNAR BASE “AND THEN DO MISSIONS TO MARS. “OKAY, NOW, THE FIRST
TWO CHOICES ARE ABSURD, SO CHOOSE ONE
OF THE ALTERNATIVES.” OKAY, AND THAT’S BASICALLY
WHAT THE REPORT SAYS. NOW, THE REPORT SAYS– IT IDENTIFIES CORRECTLY THAT ONCE AN OBJECTIVE
IS CHOSEN, IT NEEDS TO BE STUCK TO, OKAY, THAT THE CHURN THAT WAS
INTRODUCED INTO THE PROGRAM, FOR EXAMPLE,
BY OBAMA CANCELLING THE BUSH-GRIFFIN
MOON BASE PROGRAM, AND THEN GOING OFF
IN ANOTHER DIRECTION, WAS NOT HELPFUL, OKAY. AND THEN THERE’S FURTHER CHURN, IN THAT NASA ACTUALLY ABANDONED
OBAMA’S PLAN TO SEND PEOPLE
TO NEAR-EARTH ASTEROIDS BECAUSE THAT WOULD GET US
INTO HELIOCENTRIC SPACE. SAYS, “NO, WE DON’T WANT TO GO
INTO HELIOCENTRIC SPACE, SO WE’LL JUST RETURN
A CHUNK OF AN ASTEROID.” YOU KNOW, THIS KIND OF THING. THEY– AND IN MANY PLACES,
THEY MADE IT VERY CLEAR: “LOOK, YOU KNOW,
A MOON BASE IS DOABLE. “WE’RE FOR IT. “THAT’S WHAT WE SHOULD DO. LET’S JUST STICK WITH IT
AND DO IT.” NOW, THEY MADE
IMPLICIT ASSUMPTIONS HERE, AS YOU CAN SEE,
THAT HUMANS TO MARS– IF YOU WANT TO SEND
HUMANS TO MARS, AN ALTERNATIVE IS
TO SEND HUMANS TO MARS, OKAY. THAT WOULD BE ONE ALTERNATIVE
WAY OF DOING THAT. AND THE–NOW, THEY DON’T
ADMIT THAT. THEY DON’T EVEN INCLUDE IT
WITHIN THEIR TRADE SPACE, BECAUSE THEY WANT TO DO
A LUNAR BASE, AND SO WHAT THEY WANT TO DO– THEY COME UP WITH TECHNOLOGY
CHALLENGES THAT MUST BE MASTERED BEFORE WE CAN START
A HUMANS TO MARS PROGRAM. OKAY, AND THEY NAME
THREE PRIMARY CHALLENGES. ONE IS ENTRY, DESCENT,
AND LANDING OF LARGE PAYLOADS ON MARS. THE SECOND IS ADVANCED
PROPULSION AND POWER. AND THE THIRD IS
RADIATION SAFETY. NOW, EDL OF LARGE PAYLOADS
ON MARS IS NOT A FUNDAMENTAL TECHNOLOGY. IT IS AN ENGINEERING
DEVELOPMENT, OKAY, AND IT WILL BE DONE. I MEAN, IT’S HARD WORK.
WORK WILL HAVE TO BE DONE. BUT IT CAN BE DONE,
AND IT WOULD ONLY BE DONE IN THE CONTEXT
OF A HUMANS TO MARS PROGRAM. OKAY, SURFACE POWER, SAME THING. ADVANCED PROPULSION? IT IS NOT DEMONSTRATED
THAT ADVANCED PROPULSION IS NEEDED TO SEND
HUMANS TO MARS. AND, IN FACT, ONE OF THE GOOD
THINGS THE AUTHORS DO IS, THEY DISMISS OUT OF HAND THESE CLAIMS OF
FRANKLIN CHANG DIAZ THAT ELECTRIC PROPULSION
PROVIDES A WAY TO DO QUICK TRIPS TO MARS. OKAY. THEY DO THAT. BUT, NEVERTHELESS, THEY JUST
KIND OF LEAVE THAT IN THERE, THAT SOMEHOW WE NEED
TO GET TO MARS FASTER. OKAY, THEN THE THIRD THING IS
RADIATION PROTECTION. AND THIS ONE, OKAY, WE HAVE HAD 70 YEARS
SINCE THE MANHATTAN PROJECT OF SERIOUS WORK
ON RADIATION PROTECTION, RADIATION HEALTH EFFECTS, WITH LOTS OF MONEY BEHIND IT. OKAY, 20 MORE YEARS
OF SUCH RESEARCH IS NOT GOING TO ADD
ANYTHING TO THAT, OKAY? FURTHERMORE,
AS I POINTED OUT HERE, THE RADIATION DOSE
OF COSMIC RAYS THAT NASA IS EXPERIENCING
IN THE COURSE OF RUNNING ITS SPACE STATION PROGRAM IS EQUIVALENT TO THAT IT WOULD
BE DOING DOING AN ACTIVE PROGRAM
OF HUMAN MARS EXPLORATION. SO THE IDEA THAT WE SHOULD
DO 20 YEARS OF RADIATION HEALTH
EFFECTS RESEARCH BEFORE WE GO TO MARS
IS VACUOUS. AND, ONCE AGAIN,
IT’S A SNOW DAY. IT’S ARGUED
WITH ALL THE SINCERITY OF A 10-YEAR-OLD SAYING THAT THE 3 INCHES OF SNOW
THAT FELL LAST NIGHT MEANS THAT CHILDREN SHOULD NOT
HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL TODAY BECAUSE IT’S TOO DANGEROUS. YOU KNOW, THAT’S WHAT IT IS. AND SO THEY DO THAT. AND THEN FINALLY, THEY MAKE
THE IMPORTANT POINT THAT I MADE
A LITTLE BIT EARLIER WHERE IF YOU DO
SET AN OBJECTIVE, IT MEANS THAT YOU SHOULD NOT BE DOING A WHOLE BUNCH
OF OTHER THINGS, ESPECIALLY MAJOR PROGRAMS, THAT ARE NOT RELATED
TO THE OBJECTIVE. OKAY. NOW, THESE PEOPLE
WANT TO DO A LUNAR BASE. LET’S STIPULATE THAT’S
WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. SO, WHERE’S THE SPACE STATION
FIT IN WITH THAT? OKAY, THEY DO NOT CALL FOR
TERMINATING THE SPACE STATION AT AN EARLY DATE. IN FACT, THEY DISCUSS
PROLONGING IT UNTIL 2028. HOW IS THE SPACE STATION ON THE CRITICAL PATH TOWARDS
SENDING HUMANS TO THE MOON AND OPERATING A MOON BASE? NOT AT ALL, OKAY? SO THEY’RE LEFT WITH SAYING THAT WE CANNOT DO
ANY OF THESE THINGS WITHIN NASA’S CURRENT BUDGET. AND ONLY IF WE HAVE
LARGE INCREASES IN NASA’S BUDGET WILL ANYTHING BE POSSIBLE. WELL, LET ME TELL YOU,
YOU’VE GOT $17 BILLION A YEAR. THERE ARE A LOT
OF THINGS POSSIBLE WITH $17 BILLION A YEAR. BUT YOU’VE GOT
TO MAKE DECISIONS. AND THEY DIDN’T HAVE
THE COURAGE OF THEIR CONVICTIONS TO SAY, “LOOK, THE PROPER ROLE
OF ASTRONAUTS “IS TO BE EXPLORERS, OKAY,
OF OTHER WORLDS. SOME MAY PREFER MARS.
WE PREFER THE MOON.” BUT THAT’S WHAT ASTRONAUTS
ARE FOR. THE REASON FOR GOING INTO SPACE
IS TO GO ACROSS SPACE AND EXPLORE AND DEVELOP
THE WORLDS ON THE OTHER SIDES OF SPACE, AS OPPOSED TO PUTTING PEOPLE
IN SPACE TO OBSERVE THE NEGATIVE
HEALTH EFFECTS OF ZERO GRAVITY ON PEOPLE, WHICH IS REDUCING ASTRONAUTS
TO THE ROLE OF GUINEA PIGS INSTEAD OF EXPLORERS. IT’S DEGRADING. YOU KNOW, IT’S AS IF
HENRY THE NAVIGATOR, YOU KNOW, WHEN HE LAUNCHED
HIS PROGRAM OF EUROPEAN OCEANIC EXPLORATION, INSTEAD OF TELLING PEOPLE TO GO FURTHER AND FURTHER
DOWN THE COAST OF AFRICA TO FIND A WAY TO THE INDIES, SAID, “NO, I WANT YOU
TO GO OFFSHORE, “PARK YOUR SHIP
100 MILES OUT AT SEA, “AND, YOU KNOW,
TAKE OBSERVATIONS OF HOW LONG IT TAKES
YOUR SAILORS TO DIE OF SCURVY.” [laughter] THE–OKAY. YOU KNOW, SO THEY REALLY– AND WHILE THEY CLEARLY– THEY WERE DOWN ON THE
ASTEROID-REDIRECT MISSION, AND THAT’S VERY GOOD. THEY POINTED OUT
THAT IT INVOLVED A WHOLE BUNCH OF
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS THAT WERE DEAD-END, THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO
WITH SENDING HUMANS TO MARS. NEVERTHELESS, THEY DIDN’T… FRONTALLY ASSAULT IT. THEY DIDN’T STICK THE KNIFE IN
ALL THE WAY. THEY DIDN’T PUNCH
FOR THE BACK OF THE THROAT. THEY PUNCHED FOR THE FRONT
OF THE CHEST. AND BY LEAVING IT THERE
AS ONE OF THREE ALTERNATIVES, ACTUALLY ALLOWED
NASA HEADQUARTERS TO SAY, “WELL, WE AGREE
WITH THE REPORT. THE ASTEROID-REDIRECT MISSION
IS ONE OF THREE PATHS.” WHEREAS, IF YOU READ THE REPORT AND LOOKED THROUGH
THEIR TRADE STUDIES, THEY SHOW THAT, YOU KNOW, IT INVOLVES TEN USELESS ELEMENTS
INSTEAD OF THE OTHER ONE, WHICH INVOLVES ONLY ONE,
AND WHATEVER. AND THE–AND THEN, WHILE THE TWO PATHS
THAT THEY DID NOT SUPPORT INVOLVED GOING TO PHOBOS, THEY DID NOT DO AN ADEQUATE JOB
OF EXPLAINING WHY PHOBOS IS NOT A PATH
ON THE WAY TO MARS. SO I’LL CORRECT
THAT OMISSION HERE. BECAUSE JUST LAST WEEK,
SOME GUY AT HEADQUARTERS SAID, “WELL, THE ASTEROID-REDIRECT
MISSION IS A WAY TO GO TO MARS, “BECAUSE WE’LL LEARN HOW TO DO
THE KIND OF ISRU THERE “THAT WE WILL DO
NOT ON MARS, BUT ON PHOBOS, WHICH IS THE KEY POSITION
TO MARS,” SO THAT THEY’RE USING PHOBOS TO JUSTIFY
THE ASTEROID-REDIRECT MISSION, WHICH IN TURN WAS CREATED
TO JUSTIFY THE DEVELOPMENT OF HIGH-ENERGY
ELECTRIC PROPULSION. BUT, IN FACT, IT’S NOT. LET ME TELL YOU WHY, OKAY, BECAUSE AT FIRST GLANCE, IT MAY SEEM TO SOMEONE THAT
BASING ON PHOBOS MAKES SENSE, BUT IT DOESN’T,
BECAUSE HERE’S WHY. PHOBOS IS IN A CIRCULAR,
EQUATORIAL ORBIT AROUND MARS, CIRCULAR AND EQUATORIAL. EQUATORIAL MEANS IT ONLY HAS
READY ACCESS TO THE EQUATOR OF MARS, AND THEREFORE IT RESTRICTS
YOUR OPERATION. BUT EVEN WORSE THAN THAT
IS THE CIRCULAR. OKAY, IN ORDER TO GET
INTO THAT CIRCULAR ORBIT, ASSUMING AEROBRAKING AT MARS, AND THEN YOU HAVE TO RAISE
THE PERIGEE IN ORDER TO– LET’S SAY YOU CAN
AEROBRAKE AT MARS AND THE APOGEE IS DOWN
AT PHOBOS’ ORBIT, BUT NOW YOU HAVE
TO RAISE THE PERIGEE UP TO PHOBOS’ ORBIT, OKAY. THAT’S 1.1 KILOMETER A SECOND
DELTA V. THEN, TO GET OUT OF THAT IN ORDER TO GET BACK DOWN
INTO THE ATMOSPHERE, TO AEROBRAKE AND GET
TO THE SURFACE, IS ANOTHER
KILOMETER A SECOND DELTA V. SO NOW YOU’VE ADDED
2 KILOMETERS A SECOND DELTA V TO THE MISSION
ON THE WAY DOWN. AND THEN IT’S A LITTLE BIT
MORE COMPLICATED, BUT I’LL TELL YOU
WHAT THE ANSWER IS: 2.2. AND ON THE WAY BACK UP, GOING UP FROM PHOBOS INSTEAD OF JUST GOING UP
TO A HIGHLY ELLIPTICAL ORBIT AND THEN INJECTING FOR EARTH, YOU ADD ANOTHER 1.6. SO THAT ADDS 3.8 KILOMETERS
A SECOND DELTA V TO THE MISSION, WHICH IS CATASTROPHIC, OKAY? I MEAN, THAT’S HUGE.
IT’S A DISASTER. SO BASING ON PHOBOS
IS NOT A GOOD IDEA. BUT HERE’S THE THING. IF WE GO THIS ROUTE WHERE PEOPLE JUSTIFY MISSIONS OR COME UP WITH MISSIONS
IN ORDER TO PROVIDE RATIONALES FOR PREVIOUS DECISIONS, OKAY, THEN WE GO TO PHOBOS IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY THE A.R.M., WE GO DO THE A.R.M. IN ORDER
TO JUSTIFY A MAJOR ELECTRIC PROPULSION DEVELOPMENT,
OKAY, BUT YOU’RE DEVELOPING
AN ENTIRE THING HERE WHICH HAS NOTHING TO DO
WITH MARS. AND NOW, IF SOMEBODY COMES ALONG
AND DESIGNS A MARS MISSION WITHOUT GOING THROUGH
YOUR PHOBOS TOLL BOOTH, THEY ARE DE-JUSTIFYING
YOUR PROGRAM. IN FACT, THIS WAS A MAJOR
PROBLEM WITH THE 90-DAY REPORT. THEY INSISTED
THAT LUNAR MISSIONS MADE CRITICAL USE OF THE
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION, BECAUSE IF THEY WEREN’T, THEY WERE DE-JUSTIFYING
THE SPACE STATION PROGRAM, BECAUSE THE ARGUMENT WAS,
THE SPACE STATION WAS CRITICAL PATH ON THE WAY
TO THE MOON. SO, IN ORDER TO DO
A MOON MISSION IN THE 90-DAY REPORT, YOU HAD TO HAVE
THREE SHUTTLE-C LAUNCHES TO THE SPACE STATION WHERE THEY WOULD BE ASSEMBLED
INTO A LUNAR CRAFT IN DOUBLE HANGARS THAT HAD TO BE
BUILT ONTO THE SPACE STATION, AND THEN A SHUTTLE LAUNCH
AS WELL, AND THEN IT WOULD FLY
TO THE MOON, AND IT WOULD HAVE TO FLY BACK, AND IT WOULD BE REUSED
IN RL-10 ENGINES WHICH COST $2 MILLION EACH, WOULD BE REFITTED AT A COST
OF ABOUT $2 BILLION EACH AT THE STATION, AND SO FORTH. AND IT WAS SO COMPLICATED THAT IT WAS BEYOND 1990s
OR TODAY’S TECHNOLOGY, AND PEOPLE SAID,
LOOKING AT THIS MESS, “IF WE COULD PUT
A MAN ON THE MOON, WHY CAN’T WE PUT
A MAN ON THE MOON?” OKAY, AND THE REASON WHY THEY
COULDN’T PUT A MAN ON THE MOON IN THE 1990s
BUT THEY COULD IN THE 1960s WAS BECAUSE IN THE 1990s
SOMEONE WAS TELLING THEM, “YOU HAD TO GO
TO THE MOON THE HARD WAY, “OR YOU’RE SHOWING THAT THE
DECISIONS WE MADE WERE WRONG, AND WE CAN’T HAVE THAT.” WELL, WHO’S CALLING
ON THE QUESTIONS? – SO, WHEN YOU ORIGINALLY
STARTED TALKING, YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU WERE
GOING TO ADDRESS THE “WHY YOU’RE GOING TO MARS,” BUT YOU NEVER ACTUALLY MENTIONED ANYTHING ABOUT THAT
IN YOUR TALK. – ALL RIGHT. – COULD YOU GO OVER THAT? – SURE. OKAY, AS I SEE IT,
THERE’S THREE REASONS WHY MARS SHOULD BE THE GOAL
OF OUR SPACE PROGRAM. AND IN SHORT, IT’S BECAUSE MARS
IS WHERE THE SCIENCE IS, IT’S WHERE THE CHALLENGE IS, AND IT’S WHERE THE FUTURE IS. IT’S WHERE THE SCIENCE IS
BECAUSE MARS, OKAY, WAS ONCE A WARM AND WET PLANET. IT HAD LIQUID WATER
ON ITS SURFACE FOR MORE THAN A BILLION YEARS, WHICH IS ABOUT
FIVE TIMES AS LONG AS IT TOOK LIFE TO APPEAR
ON EARTH AFTER THERE WAS
LIQUID WATER HERE. SO IF THE THEORY IS CORRECT THAT LIFE IS A NATURAL
DEVELOPMENT FROM CHEMISTRY OR IF YOU HAVE LIQUID WATER, VARIOUS ELEMENTS,
AND SUFFICIENT TIME, LIFE SHOULD HAVE APPEARED
ON MARS, EVEN IF IT SUBSEQUENTLY
WENT EXTINCT, AND IF WE CAN GO TO MARS
AND FIND FOSSILS OF PAST LIFE, WE’LL HAVE PROVEN THAT
DEVELOPMENT OF LIFE IS A GENERAL PHENOMENON
IN THE UNIVERSE. OKAY, OR, ALTERNATIVELY, IF WE GO TO MARS AND FIND
PLENTY OF EVIDENCE OF PAST BODIES OF WATER BUT NO EVIDENCE OF FOSSILS
OR DEVELOPMENT OF LIFE, THAT COULD SAY
THAT THE DEVELOPMENT OF LIFE FROM CHEMISTRY IS NOT
SORT OF A NATURAL PROCESS THAT OCCURS WITH
HIGH PROBABILITY, BUT INCLUDES
ELEMENTS OF FREAK CHANCE, AND WE COULD BE ALONE
IN THE UNIVERSE. FURTHERMORE, IF WE CAN GO
TO MARS AND DRILL, BECAUSE THERE’S LIQUID WATER
UNDERGROUND ON MARS, REACH THE GROUNDWATER, THERE COULD BE LIFE THERE NOW. AND IF WE CAN GET HOLD OF THAT
AND LOOK AT IT AND EXAMINE ITS BIOLOGICAL
STRUCTURE AND BIOCHEMISTRY, WE COULD FIND OUT IF LIFE
AS IT EXISTS ON MARS IS THE SAME AS EARTH LIFE, BECAUSE ALL EARTH LIFE,
AT THE BIOCHEMICAL LEVEL, IS THE SAME. WE ALL USE THE SAME
AMINO ACIDS, THE SAME METHOD
OF REPLICATING AND TRANSMITTING INFORMATION,
RNA AND DNA, ALL THAT. IS THAT WHAT LIFE HAS TO BE, OR COULD LIFE BE
VERY DIFFERENT FROM THAT? ARE WE WHAT LIFE IS, OR ARE WE JUST ONE EXAMPLE DRAWN FROM A MUCH VASTER
TAPESTRY OF POSSIBILITIES? THIS IS REAL SCIENCE. THIS IS FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS
THAT THINKING MEN AND WOMEN HAVE WONDERED ABOUT
FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS: THE ROLE OF LIFE
IN THE UNIVERSE. THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT
FROM GOING TO THE MOON AND DATING CRATERS IN ORDER TO PRODUCE ENOUGH DATA
TO GET A CREDIBLE PAPER TO PUBLISH IN THE JOURNAL
OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH AND GET TENURE, OKAY? [laughter] OKAY. THIS IS, YOU KNOW,
HYPOTHESIS-DRIVEN, CRITICAL SCIENCE. THIS IS THE REAL THING. SECOND: THE CHALLENGE. OKAY, YOU KNOW… I THINK SOCIETIES
ARE LIKE INDIVIDUALS. WE GROW WHEN
WE CHALLENGE OURSELVES. WE STAGNATE WHEN WE DO NOT. A HUMANS TO MARS PROGRAM WOULD BE A TREMENDOUSLY BRACING
CHALLENGE FOR OUR SOCIETY. IT WOULD BE TREMENDOUSLY
PRODUCTIVE, PARTICULARLY AMONG YOUTH. OKAY, HUMANS TO MARS PROGRAM WOULD SAY TO EVERY KID
IN SCHOOL TODAY, “LEARN YOUR SCIENCE, AND YOU COULD BE AN EXPLORER
OF A NEW WORLD.” WE’D GET MILLIONS OF SCIENTISTS,
ENGINEERS, INVENTORS, TECHNOLOGICAL ENTREPRENEURS,
DOCTORS, MEDICAL RESEARCHERS OUT OF THAT. AND THE INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL
FROM THAT WOULD ENORMOUSLY BENEFIT US. IT WOULD DWARF
THE COST OF THE PROGRAM. AND THEN, FINALLY,
IT’S THE FUTURE. MARS IS THE CLOSEST PLANET THAT HAS ON IT
ALL THE RESOURCES NEEDED TO SUPPORT LIFE AND,
THEREFORE, CIVILIZATION. IF WE DO WHAT WE CAN DO
IN OUR TIME, IF WE ESTABLISH THAT LITTLE
PLYMOUTH ROCK SETTLEMENT ON MARS,
THEN, 500 YEARS FROM NOW, THERE’LL BE NEW BRANCHES
OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION ON MARS AND, I BELIEVE, THROUGHOUT
NEARBY INTERSTELLAR SPACE. BUT, YOU KNOW, LOOK, I ASK ANY AMERICAN, “WHAT HAPPENED IN 1492?” THEY’LL TELL ME, “WELL, COLUMBUS
SAILED IN 1492,” AND THAT IS CORRECT. HE DID. BUT THAT’S NOT THE ONLY THING
THAT HAPPENED IN 1492. IN 1492, ENGLAND AND FRANCE
SIGNED A PEACE TREATY. IN 1492, THE BORGIAS
TOOK OVER THE PAPACY. IN 1492, LORENZO DE’MEDICI, THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD,
DIED, OKAY. A LOT OF THINGS HAPPENED. IF THERE HAD BEEN NEWSPAPERS
IN 1492, WHICH THERE WEREN’T, BUT IF THERE HAD, THOSE WOULD
HAVE BEEN THE HEADLINES, NOT THIS ITALIAN WEAVER’S SON
TAKING A BUNCH OF SHIPS AND SAILING OFF TO NOWHERE,
OKAY. [laughter] BUT COLUMBUS
IS WHAT WE REMEMBER, NOT THE BORGIAS
TAKING OVER THE PAPACY. OKAY, WELL, 500 YEARS FROM NOW, PEOPLE ARE NOT
GOING TO REMEMBER WHICH FACTION CAME OUT
ON TOP IN IRAQ, OR SYRIA, OR WHATEVER, AND WHO WAS IN
AND WHO WAS OUT. AND, YOU KNOW– BUT THEY WILL REMEMBER WHAT WE DO TO MAKE
THEIR CIVILIZATION POSSIBLE. OKAY? SO THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT
THING WE COULD DO, MOST IMPORTANT THING
WE COULD DO IN THIS TIME. AND IF YOU HAVE IT
IN YOUR POWER TO DO SOMETHING GREAT
AND IMPORTANT AND WONDERFUL, THEN YOU SHOULD. – HI, DR. ZUBRIN.
THANKS FOR COMING. I WAS JUST CURIOUS IF YOU
CAN CLARIFY THE STATEMENT ABOUT THE SIX-MONTH
FREE RETURN TRAJECTORY, BECAUSE ANYTHING LAUNCHING
BESIDES, YOU KNOW, USING CHEMICAL PROPULSION, IS GOING TO BE THRUSTING
IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE LAUNCH, SO THERE WOULD BE
NO FREE RETURN AFTERWARDS. IT WOULD ONLY BE APPLICABLE
TO A CHEMICAL TRANSFER. SO I REALLY HOPE YOU CAN
CLARIFY THOSE STATEMENTS. – IT WOULD BE– IT ANSWERS FOR ANY
IMPULSIVE TRANSFER, OKAY? ELECTRIC PROPULSION HAS
NO FREE RETURN TRAJECTORY, AT ALL, EVER. BUT IMPULSIVE TRAJECTORIES CAN HAVE
FREE RETURN TRAJECTORIES, AND THAT WOULD BE
EITHER CHEMICAL OR NUCLEAR THERMAL ROCKETS. AND, TO BE FRANK, IF YOU’RE TALKING ADVANCED
PROPULSION FOR MARS, THE MOST CREDIBLE ALTERNATIVE
TO CHEMICAL IS NUCLEAR THERMAL ROCKETS.
IT IS. NOT HIGH-ENERGY
ELECTRIC PROPULSION, WHICH IS UTTERLY FANTASTICAL. I MEAN, WE’VE HAD THIS THING
BEING PROMOTED HERE WITH FRANKLIN CHANG DIAZ
CLAIMING THAT HE CAN GET YOU TO MARS
IN 39 DAYS IF ALL HE HAS IS A 200,000
KILOWATT POWER SYSTEM, OKAY, WHICH IS TO SAY A POWER SYSTEM
20,000 TIMES THE SIZE OF ANY NUCLEAR POWER SYSTEM
EVER FLOWN IN SPACE, AND IT HAS A POWER-TO-MASS
RATIO, PER-UNIT POWER, 100 TIMES WHAT HAS
EVER BEEN DONE. OKAY, THE–
YOU KNOW, SO IT’S NONSENSE. IT’S LIKE TALKING ABOUT
BUILDING, YOU KNOW, FLYING, STEEL DIRIGIBLES BECAUSE STEEL
DOESN’T WEIGH ANYTHING, YOU KNOW, FOR THE BALLOON PART. AND, THE– SO NUCLEAR THERMAL ROCKETS
OR CHEMICAL ROCKETS ARE BOTH REALISTIC
POSSIBLE PROPULSION SYSTEMS FOR HUMANS TO MARS. NTR IS BETTER IN THE SENSE
THAT, FOR THE SAME LAUNCH MASS, YOU COULD DOUBLE THE PAYLOAD. CHEMICAL IS BETTER IN THE SENSE
THAT WE HAVE IT NOW. NOW, SO I THINK WE CAN START
THE HUMANS TO MARS PROGRAM WITH CHEMICAL PROPULSION
AND WORK ON NTR AND INTRODUCE IT
INTO THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE. BUT, IN EITHER CASE, YOU TAKE THE SIX-MONTH
TRAJECTORY, WHICH IS LEAVING EARTH
WITH A C-3 ABOUT 25, AND– IF YOU UNDERSTAND
WHAT THAT MEANS– BUT–AND THEN THAT
TAKES YOU OUT ON AN ELLIPTICAL TRAJECTORY WHICH INTERSECTS MARS
IN SIX MONTHS, AND IT DOESN’T COST
THAT MUCH EXTRA DELTA V COMPARED TO THE MINIMUM-ENERGY
8 1/2 MONTH TRAJECTORY. THE 8 1/2 MONTH TRAJECTORY
IS A DELTA V LEAVING LOW EARTH ORBIT OF
AROUND 3.8 KILOMETERS A SECOND. THIS ONE’S ABOUT 4.2. SO IT’S A HIT THERE,
BUT IT’S NOT THAT BAD. AND YOU–AND IF YOU DECIDE
NOT TO STOP AT MARS, YOU JUST LOOP OUT
TO ABOUT 2 A.U., AND YOU COME BACK, AND YOU HIT THE EARTH EXACTLY
TWO YEARS AFTER YOU LEFT. – BOB, YOU’VE BEEN TALKING
ABOUT THIS APPROACH FOR YEARS, AND I THINK THAT’S GREAT. IN THAT TIME,
HAVE YOU SEE ANY CHANGE IN THE POLITICAL SUPPORT THAT WOULD BE NECESSARY
TO INITIATE SUCH A MISSION? – WELL, THERE’S BEEN
A NUMBER OF CHANGES THAT HAVE OCCURRED
OVER THE YEARS. FIRST, OF COURSE, THERE WAS
THE COLLAPSE OF THE SEI IN THE EARLY ’90s, AND THERE WAS A PERIOD
IN WHICH WE DID NOT HAVE HUMAN EXPLORATION BEYOND LEO
ON THE BOOKS AT ALL, DURING THE CLINTON
ADMINISTRATION. THEN, BUSH IN 2004 SAID,
“BACK TO THE MOON, ON TO MARS, AND BEYOND,” AND INITIATED THAT. AND IN CONJUNCTION WITH THAT, I HAD SOME INPUT
INTO THAT PROCESS. MANY OTHER PEOPLE DID. AND SO IT WAS A COMPROMISE
OF DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW. THE MOST FATAL PART OF THAT WAS, “BACK TO THE MOON,
ON TO MARS, THIS TIME TO STAY, BUT BUSINESS AS USUAL
UNTIL 2010.” THAT IS, “BEFORE WE DO
ANY OF THAT, “WE’RE GONNA BUILD
THE SPACE STATION AND SO FORTH, “AS OPPOSED TO REDIRECTING
RESOURCES TO SERIOUSLY ATTEMPT THAT.” AND THUS, BY THE TIME
ADMINISTRATIONS CHANGED IN 2009, NOT THAT MUCH
HAD BEEN ACCOMPLISHED TOWARDS, WELL, THE MOON, AND SO THE PROGRAM
WAS RELATIVELY EASY FOR OBAMA TO CANCEL. I THINK THAT
IF THERE HAD BEEN– AND HE DIDN’T ACTUALLY CANCEL
UNTIL 2010, BECAUSE IN 2009
THEY WERE JUST INTERESTED IN STIMULATING EVERYTHING. BUT THE– IF THEY HAD REALLY
HAD THE COURAGE OF THEIR CONVICTIONS IN 2004 WHEN THEY
STARTED THAT PROGRAM, THEN BY 2010
THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN SIX YEARS INTO
THEIR RETURN TO THE MOON, OKAY. IT ONLY TOOK EIGHT YEARS
THE FIRST TIME, OKAY. AND WE WOULD HAVE BEEN
PRACTICALLY THERE, AND I THINK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN
VERY DIFFICULT TO DEFEND CANCELLATION
OF A PROGRAM WHEN IT WAS SO CLEAR TO–
SO NEAR TO SUCCESS. AND THAT, BY THE WAY, IS WHY, IF YOU WANT TO DO
HUMANS TO MARS, YOU CANNOT DO IT
IN 30 YEARS OR 20 YEARS. YOU HAVE TO DO IT
IN TEN YEARS OR LESS FROM PROGRAM START, OR YOU’RE MORE OR LESS
GUARANTEEING THAT THE POLITICAL CONDITIONS THAT ALLOWED YOU
TO INITIATE THE ACTION WILL NOT REMAIN IN PLACE. AND BY THE WAY,
I HAD A MEETING WITH MIKE GRIFFIN
IN HIS OFFICE SHORTLY AFTER HE WAS
APPOINTED ADMINISTRATOR IN 2005, AND HE WASN’T IN THERE IN 2004. A YEAR HAD BEEN WASTED
BY O’KEEFE DOING ROADMAPPING
AND BLAH-BLAH. OKAY, THE– BUT GRIFFIN WAS IN THERE
AND WAS GONNA DO SOMETHING. AND I SAID, “LOOK, YOU KNOW, “YOU’VE GOT EVERYTHING
RIGHT NOW, OKAY. “YOU’VE GOT A PRESIDENT
THAT SUPPORTS YOU. “THE REPUBLICANS HAD CONTROL
OF BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS, “AND WE’VE GOT YOU
AS NASA ADMINISTRATOR. “OKAY, BUT THESE FOUR
POSITIVE CONDITIONS “ARE NOT GONNA REMAIN
IN PLACE FOREVER, OKAY? “THEY ARE GUARANTEED
TO DISAPPEAR “ON JANUARY 20TH, 2009,
REGARDLESS OF ANYTHING, OKAY, SO YOU NEED
TO GET ON WITH THIS.” AND THAT MEANT CERTAIN THINGS, AND A CERTAIN CHANGE
OF DIRECTION NEEDED TO BE DONE. AND HIS ANSWER TO ME WAS, “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. “I AM NOT THE LEADER OF NASA.
I AM THE ADMINISTRATOR OF NASA. AND THEREFORE,” HE SAID,
“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE CONSTRAINTS
THAT I’M WORKING UNDER.” AND I UNDOUBTEDLY DIDN’T. BUT, NEVERTHELESS, THOSE CONSTRAINTS
NEEDED TO BE BROKEN, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, YOU GET YOUR TIME ON THE STAGE,
YOU BETTER SAY YOUR LINES, BECAUSE THEY’RE GONNA COME
WITH THE HOOK SOONER OR LATER. NEXT? THEY’RE COMING
WITH THE HOOK RIGHT NOW. [laughter] [applause] [musical tones]
[electronic sounds of data]

100 thoughts on “Dr. Robert Zubrin – Mars Direct: Humans to the Red Planet within a Decade

  1. stoic you poor soul I agree two men sodomize each other and now a days it's okay I'm a Christian and I can't force just love everyone like the bible says,maybe you should read it instead of wasting your time and embarrassing yourself so if you think your immaturity affects me think like this man did and go to mars:) or go to Christ! Yahweh bless

  2. I have never heard this man speak before. Very engaging, eccentric, funny and talks a lot of sense. We need a few more like him whipping NASA at every opportunity to get them out of the doldrums they are now in.

  3. That golf car electric car joke though. He said they had no torque. Someone needs to give him a ride in a P90D.

  4. in California our Gov Moonbeam wants a so called high speed rail which was sold to the public as a 40 billion dollar project, and today its ballooned to 100 billion with rail subsidizes of 300 million a year. I would rather see a Mars mission for 40 billion than an overpriced union project of high speed rail to nowhere.

  5. My role model, the man who made me admire and seek my engineering degree ! great speech hope to meet you soon Dr.

  6. Now that Space X is on the scene all the vested interest that NASA has in its programs will no longer serve as a barrier to going to Mars or the moon for that matter. The SLS is a good example of NASA's woolly thinking. The shuttle was an unmitigated failure in terms of reducing the costs into space and so NASA's logic is to repurpose as much of the shuttle components as possible to try, retrospectively, to make sense of what was non sense. The SLS looks like it will cost so much to develop and launch that there will be no money left in the budget for payloads.

  7. Dear Mars and Moon huggers. Please remember to be polite while commenting in the adult section. Sincerely. The adult section on youtube…

  8. Robert zubrin for president. At least he's got an agenda. Space travel where we should have been 30 years ago. NASA stands for not absolutely sure anymore

  9. When humans land on Mars, I hope Robert Zubrin gets equal credit to the person who actually steps on the planet.

  10. Robert Zubrin is entertaining but he is idealistic & unrealistic.
    Let's see if we can get every human to go vegan – to end the holocaust of factory farming & the waste of resources such as oil that goes into growing crops to feed nonhuman animals instead of directly feeding humans – and carbon-neutral,
    powered only by sustainable energy (solar, wind, a little nuclear, fusion). Do that first. Then we'll see if we can go to Mars.
    Nothing else matter unless we end Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) & human overpopulation & fossil fuel addiction RIGHT NOW.

  11. well done Dr Zubrin.. I really hope he is alive to see his dream forfilled .. I hope im alive to see us land on mars aswell.

  12. Can Americans reach the Red Planet in our time? – no they cannot, its 2017 and no progress. I mean NASA can't. The problem is lack of cooperation, nothing else. See you in 2030 in low earth orbit 🙂

  13. This Guy is very smart – no doubt there, but he's very angry, all his sciences true, cept for one… we can never go to the moon or mars, Never… all the smarts he's got he cant figure that out yet, I have no problem in making him a case on 48 hours, or forensic files, fuss dis ass stupid. His pass employers and his best friend figured it… Why can't he?

  14. This guy, with all what nasa told us about mars, "Planet cold may have had life" – showed us how we could do it, and it is true, the science and chemistry are True… it is the Planet that isnt any every in authority knows it except him. We could go if what nasa showed was true, But NASA know it isn't, even in 1982 the get busted faking space. we have the tech now to see that. No Rover on mars, no Rover on Moon, Earth is a Closed system, they said so.

  15. So, its been about two years since the comments on this video where made. Seems like ancient history now, so much has happened. I guess it's true what they say, the more things change the more they stay the same.

  16. He hates electric vehicles ("golf carts") and the EPA. Wonder what Dr Robert Zubrin thinks of Elon Musk/SpaceX/Tesla…

  17. Book: "No device can generate energy in excess of the total energy put into constructing it".
    https://the-fifth-law.com/pages/press-release

  18. hes like a human talking to a room full of rats trying to understand whats going on. I over the years I was straying away from mars due to its low gravity and inability to hold an atmosphere. but his explanation of why mars is the destination has gotten me back onboard!

  19. This video quality is better then most space videos with graphics which is sad because we have to stare at this terrible comb over

  20. Lift and throw and let it go? Over 50% of mars missions have failed on entry of mars… Using the same technology will cause many curves and basic percentage says we have to account and prepare for failures… So basically have backup rockets ready to go because if not the failure of two boosters would ruin the entire mission! What I'm saying is say we have 6 successful launches and 2 fail, the 2 failures scrap the whole mission. This is a very optimistic video, not very realistic! Not because his ideas are off but human error and basic stats show us there will be hiccups.

    Not only that but not having backup plans on manned missions won't be just disappointing and monetarily costly but life threatening… I fear that if we have a tragic event on our first Mars mission it will stall any more attempts and turn people off! If you watch past failed missions you realize all the human error that even JPL rocket scientist can avoid.

  21. Not once did he say Van Allen Radiation Belt. I don't know where he is getting his data from but beyond the moon is a radiation belt that has something in the ball park of 100X the amount of radiation in low earth orbit… If we go to Mars this has to be addressed! We can't ignore it and assume they we be fine! A lot of his argument with NASA is completely dismissive of there findings… I don't trust or believe in NASA with the rest of the world but there are some hurdles that have to be confronted on the planning on the Mars mission… He just did the math and a logistical presentation but ignored some big problems that are stopping our pursuit to go to Mars.

    I mean small people? 90% water recycling? 3 heavy earth launches with no back up plan if one fails with humans on board? He is very driven and passionate but like I said, not addressing many big problems! and is proposing some outlandish ideas with everyone having to be used to accomplish his Mars Mission.

    He is wanting to start this mission with chemical rockets and hope nuclear propulsion is ready by the end of the mission!? Again with human lives at risk!? Just idiotic! I'm not trying to completely shit in his Cheerios but everyone is eating this up like it's fail proof and it's completely the opposite… A disaster waiting to happen!

  22. I love Robert Zubrin, I think he's a very intelligent man. But everything the way I think has changed since being awoken. I have no way of knowing if Zubrin is a disinformation agent or if he himself has been fooled. I bought and read his book ''The Case For Mars'' back in 1996. A very informative book. The fact of the matter is there are obvious reasons why space exploration is stagnant. There are obvious reasons why we haven't ''returned to the moon''. There are many valid reasons indicating why we may have never been to the moon at all. I can't say for sure that the earth is flat but there is definitely some kind of major conspiracy going on…

  23. For more than two decades, Dr. Zubrin has been the most passionate, eloquent advocate for the exploration of Mars. He definitely has a clear and well-thought strategy that focuses on lean and practical means. I had the honor of having him sign my copy of the Case for Mars when I was an aerospace engineering undergrad at Cornell. Listening to him again today is still extremely inspiring.

  24. 53:44 Death silence after that genius speech why we should go to Mars.. What the F is wrong with that crowd?

  25. I've said it repeatedly. We cannot send people to Mars if they will be permanently cooped up in a 12 foot spheroid with 10 other people. We need to develop robotics that we can send to Mars where they use Martian raw materials to build towns, which humans later inhabit.

    There should also be a better investigation of Phobos, the inner moon of Mars. Some have theorized that it has reservoirs of ice. If so, it might be advantageous to figure out a way to get some or all of that ice onto the Martian surface.

    If we just send people there too soon, they will kill each other or die otherwise. Either that or they will be short term visitors. We can't morally send colonists to Mars if they won't have minimally decent lives.

  26. umm, the gravity differences are going to be very significant…its not able to get around it…Bones and muscles are directly related to some main factors…diet, lifestyle and gravity…alter any one of those and there will be significant laterations…in the case with space, there is much facts to back this up, it accelerates death…and with around 38% the gravity of Earth, that's just too large of a difference to get around. alterations , possibly deadly will occur…from bone loss, to muscle loss, decreased immunity to eye damage serious enough that blindness could be a possibility…so the plans for colonization and space travel will require significant alterations, or its just going to be very bad.

  27. Exploring mars? On earth, in the national parks and surrounding areas,
    there's 1500+ people, small children, men, women, teen-agers, some
    vanished, never found, others brutally chopped into pieces. This has
    been happening for 200 years (that we know about). David Paulides
    missing411. Investigate this. No one is. Not the National Forest
    Service, Federal Agencies or even local or State Police. No one! Explore
    this.

  28. This guy is very smart. I like how he points out the economic and political reasoning behind why we haven't gone back to the Moon. It will be good fuel for my conversations with the Uber and Lyft drivers who so frequently make it known that they are conspiracy theorists of such an event.

  29. I enjoy Robert Zubrin's style and sense of humor in addition to the compelling subject matter.

    If you ever want a shortcut on figuring out who's probably right, it seems to be often the one who goes through all the other alternatives and arguments and picks them all apart in detail if none of the other prospective debaters will even mention the alternatives, let alone all of the alternatives or convincingly pick all of them apart. Now, this isn't a sure thing, but if this isn't your area of expertise it's a useful shortcut for laymen that works much of the time I find far more than pure random chance would account for, and it's fairly easy to spot when you have one stand-out on a topic who covers all the various sides of the argument and some of the others very blatantly do not, are non-specifically dismissive, or act like they are above the competition. Zubrin covers all the sides, is extremely specific, is inclusive, and puts everyone on the same level. Franklin Chang Díaz and much of NASA simply try to collectively pretend that Zubrin doesn't exist, partly because they individually and as an institution didn't come up with the superior ideas for this subject that Zubrin's promoting and they want the credit, and partly because of what I mentioned about being unable to fully rebut all the alternatives so they don't even try. Fortunately, there's apparently a minority at NASA that put on events like this one. 

    If you need further evidence of my claim here, notice that Zubrin really puts forth a lot of effort when public speaking. His mind is moving faster than his lips can, some people think he has a bit of a stammer, and he's not going to one-up Hitler any time soon in influencing the masses to do anything with ease, good or evil. He has to really work at it, he does his best, and bless him for it, but nonetheless someone who's not a natural fluid & charismatic public speaker is having an actual impact and is highly respected. He's clearly not some slick charmer kissing babies with the ability to pour snake oil in your ears and I've never heard anyone even claim it's all an act, so it's further improbable that he's duping people to have gotten to this point. Potentially you could have someone covering all (or many) of the sides who has extraordinary speaking ability in such a way that you might be lured into believing them even though they're wrong or ignoring the key side and you might assume more than is warranted. Certainly you want to try and look into the topic yourself as best as you can and look at the other sides of the debate, but these are effective short hands for starting out when looking into a subject.  At the very least, it’s useful for developing skepticism when there are people trying to own a debate based on positions of authority or status or charisma.

  30. I've read the book 'The Case For Mars', by this guy, and I remain astounded by how feasible this project would be with a simple, common sense approach. I'm no technician but even I can see that this is simply not fantasy. I recommend the book to everyone interested in Mars exploration who haven't yet read it. It's a real eye-opener. 2024 is a real, feasible, estimate of possible first mission launches.

  31. NASA would do well to listen to Robert Zubrin. Maybe even hire him for Consultation. NASA is too conservative and gets too little done. Elon Musk has embarrassed NASA with his Incredible accomplishments.

  32. There have been stories of 'toxic brine' left over from when Mars lost its atmosphere. A question that must be answered is if it is a danger to a maned mission to the Red Planet. What is the point if we get there and find the planet is deadly and we could not do anything there because of it?

  33. I say go with 'Mars Direct' phase 1 the unnamed fuel mission. In couple of years go with phase 2. Then go with phase three. You could probably go with the first step and the others as soon as the resources are available. Either that or load up a SPACE-X rocket, go there then get back. Answer the 'toxic brine' question first though.

  34. Maybe a phase 1 assault on Mars would work. Mars Direct has the best thought out idea. Mars Society could probably get a major corporation to design and build the fuel processing unit. Then maybe SPACE-X could be persuaded to load the fuel unit on one of its rocket, go to Mars , land and set up the fuel processing plant for phase 1. Maybe you can get all parties to corroborate and do it together and share the profits or potential profits, Phase 2 and 3 could be dealt with when the time is right.This assumes there is no other critical factor that would make a 'Mars Direct' mission not doable .

  35. Once Phase 1 is on Mars producing fuel, oxidizer, etc. it should be easy to raise what is needed for Phase 2 and eventually Phase 3. We may even get NASA to donate space suits or Mars suits and any advanced equipment that may be needed. As far as Moon Direct is concerned it is also a good goal although Mars Direct should probably be first. In a Moon Direct we could set up a test mining facility for Illimite and Titanium or the International Village ESA talks about.

  36. NASA (Never a straight answer) should no longer be involved in the human spaceflight initiative in anyway shape or form, PERIOD! NASA's days are long gone, they were needed to accomplish what was deemed impossible in 1969, the moon landings. After the Apollo program was cancelled NASA was scrambling for something to do in order to justify it's existence and budget "Cue Skylab" by any means today was a complete failure from the start. Skylab was badly damaged in the launch phase and failing very quickly in orbit. NASA came up with a ridiculous fix that partially allowed Skylab to be used for a short period but soon the damage caused on launch caught up with NASA and Skylab was deemed no longer safe for use as it's orbit decayed the station fell back to earth with several parts making it to the ground. NASA then began building what we all kn ow as the shuttle a space vehicle locked into LEO, they had no plans of manned missions beyond LEO and at a half a Billion dollars per launch where do you think we could be right now? Let's not forget the two crews that died on orbiter missions because of NASA's reckless arrogance. We move beyond the Shuttle program and the very same idiots have now left us without a way to get our own astronauts to the ISS, here is the two shots in the nose. We have to PAY Russia for a ride into space and secondly these idiots have basically recreated the Apollo capsule on steroids called the ORION, I understand it is all new and the latest technology but for the worlds premier space agency we seem to be constantly going backwards. WTF??? We should have listened to this man years ago. If the budget allowed for NASA was diverted to the private sector we would be on the moon again and colonizing Mars by 2022. Bigelow Space's first orbital hotel is planned for 2021 with two B-330 modules connected (Two connected B-330's has more living space than the ISS) The BEAM module attached to the ISS was and has proved this working concept. Between Bigelow, Space X and Blue Origin we will have a brighter, innovative and comprehensive space program with Lunar solutions as well as the beginning phases of a Mars colony. On a final RANT! It makes me sick that NASA's SLS is another throw away platform, it already has consumed and surpassed the amount it costs for one new Ford Class Aircraft Carrier, these morons have accomplished nothing innovative, nothing new and nothing earth shattering as far as manned space missions are concerned!

  37. All of you big government advocates listening to this understand that the bureaucracy that has strangled NASA into a completely impotent, ineffectual appendage of government is because there's no competition, no vision, no free market, and no profit incentive to think big anymore. These are not the people you want to run your healthcare…

  38. Another Jew bullshit-artist. He's only there to mislead the public that meaningful space travel can be had with rocketry. If you choose rocketry your space program is a joke.

  39. Space is fake and is used to rob billions of tax payers' money. Sadly enough for science, but this guy is a shill. Sad anno 2019 that people still buy this nonsense…

  40. I hate you bob zuberan. They cancelled the mission only to spite you. And i hope we never go in your lifetime. They day you die i hope we go. Youre a psychopath

  41. 46 minutes.. He gets himself so worked up he cant even talk. He makes these comments and makes the powers that be look like idiots. That's EXACTLY why they're fuckin w him. Lol so many people hate this guy as much as i do. I love that they mess w him. They'll never let him run anything that has to do w a real mars mission. I hope they wait til he's dead to finally go. I don't want this psychopath anywhere near any mission. I hate you bob zuberan. I hate you!

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