Economics of Producing Return Fuel FR Research Paper

Pages: 3 (1099 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Astronomy

¶ … Economics of a Fuel-Producing Mars

Human beings have long since been fascinated with the stars. Myths tell of their origin. Legends tell of their destinies. So it's no surprise that we are on the very edge of a breakthrough in the exploration of the Final Frontier as Gene Roddenberry's Captan Picard of Star Trek called it. Space is a dangerous place, so before any excursion to another planet, let alone another star system, we must have adequate safety measures to get our explorers there and, more importantly, get them home.

Americans landed on feet-first on the moon in 1969 -- or didn't, depending on your perspective -- and with that achievement, Mars became the next target for American space superiority. But a trip to Mars requires significantly more time, more money, and carries with it more risk. The first obstacle is first and foremost the 220 million kilometers between Earth and Mars. Conventional rocket technology only allows for a small launch window every two years and even then, a round-trip between the planets would require almost a two-year commitment including travel, time spent on the ground, and waiting for the right alignment for a return trip. Aside from the exposure of Astronauts to high-levels of cosmic radiation, extended weightlessness would wreak havoc on bone density, and the psychological effects would be completely unknown. Astronauts and flight command alike would need to carefully ration food, water, and fuel to allow for a return journey. Damage to the stores of any of the stores above would prove lethal.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Research Paper on Economics of Producing Return Fuel FR Assignment

Thus, conventional rockets have yet to put a human on Martian soil. A more efficient delivery vehicle could get us there faster, but if a remote refueling station were built in orbit or upon the Martian surface then ships traveling to the red planet could burn longer and harder knowing they could swap energy cells, refill tanks, recharge batteries or whatever power source they were using. Ships would be lighter, further increasing their efficiency. Greater accessibility would boost trips to the surface exponentially, building upon new developments in rocket technology. Science fiction could very well become science fact. but, as every house needs a foundation, any fuel producing base on Mars would need infrastructure.

Given Mars' differing geological structure, a mining operation will be limited by the minerals and resources found on the planet. While laser analysis has estimated where the richest deposits are, it will ultimately require physical exploration of the soil. Explorative core sample would need to be taken and processed before a large-scale operation could begin. Most of the initial work would need to be performed by remote vehicles and robots again, to minimize the risk to humans. Processing and production equipment could be designed and built on Earth, then shipped via rocket to unpack itself after landing on Mars. After a small stockpile of fuel was processed and stored, a manned mission to the Martian surface could build more permanent facilities for larger operations and more frequent trips, each time increasing production and the size and scope of Martian operations. it's a piece of cake, but extremely expensive.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) cost $820 million to build and operate, plus several multimillion dollar mission extensions.

Unless we have a drastic reduction in cost a future rover… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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