The author is a student of a University and also a news reporter.
Research on the Mars mission is in full swing. Ticket sales have even started long ago. Humans may one day be able to live on Mars. Maybe there will be settlements like the earth. But few people in the world will get that opportunity. And the very rich will be lucky in this case. That is why Mars is already being called the 'planet of the rich'.
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, has announced plans to build a habitable city of one million people on Mars by 2050. He tweeted that he wants to build 1,000 Starship rockets in the next 10 years.
The reusable rockets will be built in South Texas.
He further said that their goal is to create a starship that can operate 3 flights a day. He also wants to make sure that everyone can travel to Mars. Anyone can go to Mars if they want. If there is no money, loan will also be given. Many job markets will be created on Mars.One-way ticket sales to the Red Planet: Several organizations, including NASA, are already planning to send people to the Red Planet and settle in the coming years. However, first of all, the Dutch company 'Mars One' has promised to launch a Mars mission by 2023. They started selling tickets for that purpose.
Despite various debates and criticisms, more than two lakh people have applied. Of these, a short list of one lakh 56 thousand people has been made. According to the plan, the first 40 candidates will be selected. At the end of the training, four people will be selected.
Then in 2023, the first group of four astronauts will go to Mars. After that a new team will join them every two years.
Reaching the Red Planet is a long journey due to the long distance. The current rocket-powered vehicle will take nine months to complete. The unmanned spacecraft that NASA sent to Mars took 127 to 333 days to arrive. Even for an experienced astronaut, it may be a long time. Again, the question is how to save so much fuel. There are also problems with the lack of solar and wind energy on Mars, the very thin atmosphere and the excess abundance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in it, the excessive amount of harmful rays from the sun and space due to the very weak magnetosphere.
But Elon Musk says the solution is to build a spacecraft that will be at once.
1) Super powerful and has a lot of carrying capacity
2) Reusable (to reduce costs)
3) Suitable for quick recycling (so that costs can be reduced at the level of aircraft)
4) Arrange for refueling after reaching Earth orbit (to avoid rocket equation problems)
5) Suitable for both human and freight (so separate vehicles are not required)
6) Fuel-powered available on Mars - so that it can be refueled again before returning (as a result there will be no need to carry this extra fuel, other useful things can be taken more in that place)
7) Earth, moon, Mars - everywhere is arranged to descend.
8) Made of cheap but strong metal (it will also reduce the cost).
9) Simple design that can be built in large numbers
10) Use of sophisticated reusable powerful engine
He has designed a spacecraft that meets all these conditions and its name is 'Starship'.
There are two parts to this spacecraft: the lower rocket booster stage is called 'Super Heavy' and the upper part of the spacecraft is also called 'Starship'. See image below -
The starship portion itself is so large that excluding fuel tanks, engines, etc., the payload bay will be as high as an 8-story house. It will hold at least 40 cabins for 2-3 people. There will also be storage, galleries, special rooms for protection from solar storms, etc. According to Elon Musk's plan, it will be possible to send more than 100 tons of goods and 100 people into orbit per starship.
Let's see how this huge spacecraft meets all the conditions.
1) It can lift 150 tons of things at once. The mighty super heavy booster will launch a 150-ton 'starship' into Earth orbit. This is going to be the heaviest rocket in the world today.
2) It is completely reusable. Sending the starship into Earth orbit, the super heavy booster will land unscathed. The starship part will also be able to come back unharmed after finishing work. This is why the whole vehicle is reusable. It is the only rocket in the world that has this feature. The SpaceX company is already a world leader in this technology. With the exception of their Falcon series rockets, almost all other rockets in the world can be used only once. This 're-usability' can save the most money on space missions.
3) According to Elon Musk, Starship can be launched 3 times a day in the future like an airplane. As a result of this rapid and frequent use (and for many other reasons), Starship, despite being such a large and massive spacecraft, will have at least 100% launch costs compared to the current most powerful rocket, the Space Launch System. This is a landmark issue because the cost of space missions is the biggest obstacle to space conquest.
4) There will be a tanker version of the starship with the help of which the cargo / manned starship in the orbit of the earth can be refueled. As a result, it will be able to carry the entire 150 tons of objects lifted into Earth orbit to the moon or Mars. Will not depend on distance. For comparison, 'Space Launch System 'can carry less than 50 tons of things to the moon (in the case of Mars it will be much less). In addition, 100 people can be taken to Mars at a time in the starship where only 3 people can be taken to the moon in the 'Space Launch System' rocket. In this way the cost of transportation will be greatly reduced.
5) There will be different versions of the same spacecraft carrying human, cargo, fuel etc. It costs a lot to make and produce different types of vehicles.
6) This spacecraft will be powered by methane and oxygen. Methane is the best rocket fuel (although so far only the SpaceX methane engine has been able to test it) and it is possible to make methane on Mars.
Comparison of different rocket fuels (Methane + Oxygen is proving to be the best)
NASA has also invented a device that can make oxygen. A golden box. It is located on the front right side of the Perseverance Rover.
It is also called a Mechanical Tree. Because like plants, it is capable of producing oxygen from carbon dioxide.
In the first run, MOXIE produces a total of 5 grams of oxygen. This allows an astronaut to breathe for about 10 minutes. At present, this device is capable of producing 10 grams of oxygen per hour.
MOXIE was designed in the laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This device made of nickel alloy is capable of withstanding heat up to about 600 degrees Celsius.
Mars has a lot of carbon dioxide. There is also water. Oxygen can be made by electrolysis of this water. Will be generated with hydrogen. Methane can be made from carbon dioxide and hydrogen by the Sabatier reaction. Thus methane and oxygen are both found on the red planet. As a result, it is possible to return to the starship with fuel. On the one hand, it will not be necessary to carry the fuel for the return, but on the other hand, it will be possible to carry more useful things, on the other hand, it will be possible to bring back people and even the entire rocket. As a result, the cost of the campaign will be greatly reduced. By comparison, only 1 percent of the 100 percent of the first manned rocket to the moon returned to Earth. Imagine being able to save a huge amount of money on an alien mission!
Some NASA experiments have shown that these reactions are actually possible on Mars (albeit in small quantities). However, in the future, SpaceX will have to develop a much larger fuel generation system because large spacecraft like the starship will require a lot of fuel. Elon Musk said the work will be done once the starship is ready.
However, recent research on Mars has found plenty of water at its two poles. This water is not the only thing that can meet the shortage of drinking water in the future; It can also be farming. Even rocket fuel can be made from this water by extracting hydrogen and oxygen gas. In order to return to Earth from Mars, rocket fuel does not have to be sent from Earth anymore. This will reduce the weight of the spacecraft. Energy will be saved. Costs will also be reduced. This water of Mars will provide fuel for the return rocket!
7) This spacecraft is named vertically. In atmospheric places like Earth or Mars it can slow down with the help of wind and at the last minute it can slow down with the help of a rocket engine. As a result, there is no need for a runway. So it is suitable to land on earth, moon, Mars. No other rocket in the world has this feature. In addition, a lot of velocity is reduced with the help of wind, so the need for fuel is less and other useful things can be carried in that place. In this way the cost of transportation can be reduced.
8) This spacecraft is made of stainless steel. It is the world's first steel rocket. It has many advantages. Steel can withstand very high or very low temperatures, strong, convenient to use, convenient to build, easy to repair, very cheap, does not rust and does not require paint - etc. Most rockets are made of valuable materials such as titanium, carbon composite, etc., which have many good aspects but also many problematic aspects. Steel is by far the best material for building a spacecraft suitable for human missions on the planet
9) Simple design and steel can be quickly produced in large numbers. Expenses will not be impossible. While the current most powerful 'space launch system' rocket is almost impossible to build more than once a year (and it can be used only once and is hugely expensive), Elon estimates that at least 1,000 starships will be built in the next two decades (each of which can be used quickly and repeatedly, carrying Mars). The capacity is very high and the cost is at least 1 in 100). This entire rocket force will be used to deliver at least 1 million tons of goods and millions of people to Mars at low cost over the next three decades. Elon Musk's dream is to build a city of one million people on Mars by 2050.
As a glimpse into the fact that this is not a mere figment of imagination, SpaceX has built about 12 starship prototypes in the last one year. If it is produced at four times the speed, it is possible to make about 1000 starships in 20 years. In terms of Tesla car production, Elon Musk predicted in 2015 that they would produce 500,000 cars by 2020. Really fulfilled that goal. As a result, we can only hope that he will be able to meet this goal of rocket production.
10) It should be used in starship
There is a 'Raptor' engine. It is powered by methane + oxygen and is extremely powerful. It is said to be the most advanced rocket engine in the world. It is a full flow staged-combustion engine - the only such advanced engine in the world. It is also reusable like Starship. Here too the cost of the Mars mission will be reduced. The engine is the most valuable part of the rocket. Starship will have 26 engines in the lower stage and 8 in the upper stage. SpaceX claims that this engine will reduce the travel time to Mars from 9 months to 6 months. On the one hand, it will reduce the amount of food, oxygen, etc. of astronauts, on the other hand, the effect of harmful rays from space will be relatively less on astronauts.
See the image below for how to get started:
Let's look at the solutions to the other problems mentioned earlier. The problems wereঃ
1) There is a severe lack of solar energy (far away from the sun) and wind energy on Mars
2) The very thin atmosphere of Mars and its excess abundance of carbon dioxide and lack of oxygen
3) Due to the very weak magnetosphere, the amount of harmful rays from the sun and space is very high.
4) Extremely dry and fine dust from Mars can get stuck in everything and can ruin electronic devices.
5) What has been known so far is that Mars is completely lifeless. Not a single plant is there. So there is no provision of food and it is very difficult to send regular food and essential items from the earth due to the huge distance.
1) Nuclear power. However, since radioactive substances are not directly available on Mars, these substances and nuclear reactors have to be sent from Earth. NASA is already building a small nuclear reactor called Kilopower. The initial success also matched. By making them more efficient, a small Mars base can be powered by 4-5 such reactors.
In addition, large quantities of solar panels can be shipped using Starship's huge bearing capacity.
2) Creating an artificial atmosphere inside a dome or tube room and maintaining a certain pressure. This will be the settlement of the pilgrims. This is currently being done at the International Space Station and will also be done at the lunar settlement. So it can be done on Mars.
In addition, some of the starships may be used primarily as settlements, as we know they will already have a few months of human survival.
Besides, other types of designs are also being worked on. A notable example is NASA's Mars Habitat Competition which ran from 2015 to 2019. In it, 60 teams competed and the MARSHA design from AI Spacefactory took first place and won a $500,000 prize from NASA. Habitat like this design could be built in the future on Mars with the help of 3D printing from the same material there.
It's a dome.
It will have four floors.
3) The effects of harmful rays can be greatly reduced by covering the bases with frozen CO2 and Martian soil or by constructing them under the ground.
4) Special space suit should be made which can be kept outside the base and can be inserted into the base from it. As a result, dust cannot enter the base. Such arrangements are seen in the ground floor plan of MARSHA design.
5) The most important thing is the food system. Since Mars can be explored every 2 years and it takes a few months to get there, we need to provide at least 3 years of food which can be given initially using the huge carrying capacity of the starship.
For long term self-sufficient settlement there is a need for an agricultural system.
Research work is also going on in this regard. The point of excitement is that by making soil samples from Mars, vegetables have been grown in it and it is close to the soil of the earth. However, it has been in the atmospheric and light environment of the earth.
More research is needed on this. By 2030, NASA and ISA will collect soil from Mars with the help of robots in a joint mission. Then maybe it will be better to understand whether agriculture is possible there. If possible, it may be possible to grow plants thereby creating a favorable environment inside the greenhouse (currently plants can be grown on the International Space Station).
Elon Musk founded the SpaceX Company with the dream of actually sending a greenhouse to Mars. Later that dream got bigger and bigger with the aim of establishing a complete city on the red planet in the next 30 years.
Research is also underway on the design of a manned vehicle suitable for Mars. NASA has also tested such a design.
In this way, the second phase of long-term settlement of Mars will be completed only if there is provision of energy, protection, food, shelter and transportation for the Martians. This will be a big step towards human settlement on the red planet. In the beginning a small base will be formed there. I think it will be possible in the period 2040-50.
In the meantime, wherever the Red Planet lands on Mars, it will not be too difficult for humans to find water, it will be perfect for settlement, NASA has chosen places that are not just for Mars; It will also help the people of the world to build one settlement after another in the future.
Those places NASA has also made a detailed map identifying the leaks. It also shows the location of the places, all the details of the direction. This is the first time that it has been possible to make such a detailed map of the possible future human habitation on the Red Planet.
The research paper on that map has already been published in the international science journal Nature Astronomy.
Alok Chatterjee, Senior Manager,at NASA JPL, says, This map is based on research based on the information provided by (MGS). NASA undertook a project to make this map a long time ago. Its name is "Subsurface Water Ice Mapping" (Swim).
According to Gautam Chatterjee, a senior scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and JPL's team leader in NASA's mission to Europe on Jupiter's moon 'Europa', (Come). This work has gained more momentum since 2015. As a result, for the first time ever, it was possible to map out a comprehensive map of many such places. "
According to Gautam, this is a very important study. Because, if the traces of microorganisms are found on Mars in the coming days, then it is most likely to be found in and around these areas.
However, with the help of interplanetary transport systems built with the help of spaceship fleets like SpaceX Starship, many people will be able to travel there regularly and start economic activities (such as research, space travel, etc.). This could happen in the next three to four decades, i.e. by 2050-60 (this is my personal opinion).
The what if channel on YouTube has uploaded some videos like what would happen if a city was built there, what would happen if there were people there for the next 100 years and so on.
take a whole century to happen. But maybe one day another world will be created there. Take it easy :-)
There is a movie called The Martian about the Mars mission, you can watch it, then the matter will be clearer.
© 2021 Nafis Mohammad