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Welcome to the Objective Europa forum for general debate and discussions in areas related to a crewed mission to Jovian moon Europa. Suggestions and ideas in the forum will not be filed as part of the research in phase-I.

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Author Topic: Stages Suggestion

Europa Dreamer
Posts: 1
Stages Suggestion
on: September 20, 2013, 21:21

It seems to me that overall this mission will have to be taken in several stages. The sheer amount of materials needed for an extended mission to such a distant target is far too much for one launch from Earth. So here's my initial suggestion of stages that would need to be done, in order:

Stage 1) Begin construction of a colony/station of operations orbiting Mars. This station would need to be almost completely self-sustaining, with large solar panels, a farm with a few chosen crops that supply the largest variety of nutrients possible, water/air recycling system, and the like.
From this station, the mission team can refuel probes launched from Earth before relaunching them towards Europa. When the time finally comes, the ship carrying the mission crew itself can be constructed in orbit and launched from here.
As a bonus, this station could be used as launching points for exploration missions of other targets in our solar system.

Stage 2) Send orbiting probes to Europa to make detailed maps of the surface, measure orbital conditions such as radiation, solar energy, and particulate levels. Once here, we can determine whether it is feasible or not to construct a small station of operations to orbit Europa. Having a station at this point would make it much more feasible for an extended mission, including the proposed submarine exploration, should an ocean be found under the ice.
Once we have detailed maps, we can plot possible locations for landing sites. Then more probes can be sent to land on the surface, determining landing conditions (ground hardness, friction, atmospheric winds, etc), and then ground conditions can then be measured for when we send humans to the surface.

Stage 3) Construct the mission ship in orbit above Mars. This ship's design would depend almost entirely on data collected from the probes sent to Europa previously.

Stage 4) Launch the ship to Europa. Manned exploration can then begin.

Europa Dreamer
Posts: 4
Re: Stages Suggestion
on: September 22, 2013, 07:16

I think that, if the mission had an off-Earth launch site, launches should be from the Moon, rather than from Mars.

Building a colony on Mars would be much more difficult than building a colony on the Moon. Just the time that it takes to get the materials there would be significant, and the extra fuel costs would be significant. There's already been a lot of research done about establishing a human settlement on the Moon - we'd "just" need to update some of the research, plan it out, and do it.

Putting the colony on Mars would mean that you'd have to calculate two launch windows - one for launching from Earth to Mars, and then a second from Mars to Europa. A miscalculation in either launch window, or any delays in production, would mean that the launch window would be missed. With the Moon, launch windows are much more frequent (Mars and Earth are only in opposition about every 26 months), so missing one launch window would mean a delay of months, not years.

Posts: 12
Re: Stages Suggestion
on: September 24, 2013, 18:42

I agree with launching off of a separate surface than Earth. One of the main issues with such a mission is the fact that we need to get a large enough supply of materials and personnel all the way to Europa. The amount of force that it would take to launch such great mass so far would be difficult to achieve off of Earth. If we could use a Lunar base to construct the craft, then launch it from the moon, there would be considerably less force needed. Alternately, construction could be done orbiting Earth. This would require multiple trips, similar to the lunar construction. Once built, the engines would simply need to break away from orbit and start heading towards Europa.

Launching from Mars would be interesting, but the increased gravity compared to Luna makes it unreasonable at this point.

I do believe that establishing a base or launch station outside of Earth would be the best way to create a lifelong, massive craft.

Europa Dreamer
Posts: 22
Re: Stages Suggestion
on: September 28, 2013, 04:38

Building a launch sit on Luna also provides the ability to easily send replacement or updated part and you can have separate missions to maybe other moons or mars launched from it.

Europa Dreamer
Posts: 10
Re: Stages Suggestion
on: October 2, 2013, 12:04

Allow me to express my opinion. We need to begin with less difficult targets. For beginning - moon. For example: lets take little football team from little town. Before they can win UEFA Champions League they need to win county championship, move to country champ, then get to Premier League in this country, win it, and only that participate in CL. Our "space situation" is same. Lets start from Moon, then Mars. When humanity will have permanent colony on Mars surface, with infrastructury, some industry, fulfil technology of planet colonisation - spacefly to Europe will be much more easely. It's not pessimism, just common sense

Europa Dreamer
Posts: 17
Re: Stages Suggestion
on: October 2, 2013, 17:22

most brings up a good point, however it's important to keep in mind that the time frame we're thinking about is decades upon decades in the future, so hopefully by then some of these "prerequisites" will be reality...

Europa Dreamer
Posts: 22
Re: Stages Suggestion
on: October 2, 2013, 20:44

I agree with doing the moon first but colonizing mars I think would be unneeded and time wasting before Europa. both should be easily done when we have at least a ship building factory of sorts on Luna.

Europa Astronaut
Posts: 98
Re: Stages Suggestion
on: October 12, 2013, 23:56

I would suggest an asteroid might be a better target for a base. It could be moved if needed, it could be chosen to have the raw materials we need, and the cost of launch to escape the gravity well would be much less than either the moon or mars.

Europa Dreamer
Posts: 20
Re: Stages Suggestion
on: October 14, 2013, 04:45

I'm sorry, but I don't see the advantage of launching from a moon base. Unless we will be mining material directly from the moon, every piece of equipment and fuel on the ship will have to come from the Earth's surface at one point or another. As long as we’re building rockets capable of achieving Earth’s escape velocity, why not send them directly to Europa. We can build the station there piece by piece over time. I see no benefit in stopping, landing each part on the moon, assembling the station and launching again. Wouldn't the whole process just use up more fuel?

Europa Dreamer
Posts: 7
Re: Stages Suggestion
on: October 19, 2013, 20:40

First of all this mission will take place in a 10-20 or even 30 years time. By this time supossing the best, we'll be on the moon (NASA, China... have the goal of having a moon base and/or a space station orbiting the moon), Mars One is planning to have a base on mars on the 2023, so in my opinion is no reason for OE to be planning a first phase on the moon or mars.
I also think that we could launch all the things from the Earth, but not all together, in different phases:
The stages of the mission to Europa could be like the Mars One mission ( first launching a communication satellite (no need of a big one, could be a cubesat), then a rover to collect data of the conditions on Europa (temperature, radiation...) Once we know where to stablish the base we sent the base components (habitats,power supplies (solar panels,fission reactor...)...) and finally we send the astronauts and the ice driller.

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