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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: One way crewed mission?


Findeton
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 6
One way crewed mission?
on: September 17, 2013, 00:05

I see the objective right now is a possible one way crewed mission to Europa.

That's a possible path, and sure enough it has its advantages, but I'd rather have a robotics mission than a one way mission to Europa, really. It's one thing to have a one way mission to Mars, because you could theoretically live there indefinitely. But a one way mission to Europa implies a certain death.

Perhaps there's room for a third way, for a two way mission to Mars, so the crew can return to Earth. Perhaps our technology can get good enough that we can send people to Europa and back safely? Radiation is a very big concern for any kind of crewed space mission anyway so if we advance our technology on that subject, that alone would be a great success.

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Moved by cronoik.



vonB
Administrator
Posts: 26
Re: One way crewed mission?
on: September 17, 2013, 08:32

I find all studies about the general mission architecture interesting - and if a safe return is possible... why not. However, I do not think you will be able to escape the gravity field of Jupiter...



Findeton
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 6
Re: One way crewed mission?
on: September 17, 2013, 17:16

Quote from vonB on September 17, 2013, 08:32
I find all studies about the general mission architecture interesting - and if a safe return is possible... why not. However, I do not think you will be able to escape the gravity field of Jupiter...

Perhaps a Callisto-Europa mission is the most feasible option for a crewed mission to Jupiter's moons. The astronauts would land on Callisto, and a big resourceful probe would be sent to Europa. Callisto has much lower radiation levels, and at the same time Europa is near enough for the astronauts to actively control the probe: the response time between a signal going to Europa and back varies between 8 and 19 secs. And the delta-v to escape Jupiter from Callisto is similar to escaping Earth from surface.



vonB
Administrator
Posts: 26
Re: One way crewed mission?
on: September 17, 2013, 17:22

But wouldnt the different orbits of Europa and Callisto, around Jupiter, pose a major issue here. I for one do not think that this method justifies a return-mission..?



Findeton
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 6
Re: One way crewed mission?
on: September 17, 2013, 17:35

Quote from vonB on September 17, 2013, 17:22
But wouldnt the different orbits of Europa and Callisto, around Jupiter, pose a major issue here. I for one do not think that this method justifies a return-mission..?

If the problem is communications, a communications satellite in one, or both moons, could be useful. The mission is more complex than a one-way mission but at least the astronauts could get back to earth.



ragdestein
Administrator
Posts: 17
Re: One way crewed mission?
on: September 18, 2013, 16:33

At this early stage I think we should work on all angels.
A return of the astronauts would of course be the best, but also the hardest.

Would it be possible to "launch" the two com satellites before landing. Otherwise we would need launchvehicles for them also.



junglebeas-
t
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 4
Re: One way crewed mission?
on: September 19, 2013, 02:29

The first objective should be to discover life on Europa, if it exists.

If this can be more easily or reliably assessed with a manned mission, then I am all for it. I have no moral objection to loss of life for a one-way trip and I'm sure many people, myself included, would be willing to make that sacrifice if it benefited mankind.

However, if it is the case that a manned mission makes the mission more difficult to plan, and becomes a restrictive factor, then it is more important to simply get there with an unmanned probe.

Getting to Europa is not the problem. NASA has shown us methods for getting to other planets and moons. The difficulty which is unique to Europa is in getting through the 10km ice crust, because there is not likely to be anything interested on the surface.

Getting through the ice crust is difficult, and that is primarily the problem that should be solved.

My proposal is that the probe bore a hole through the ice, carrying itself down with it, either by drilling or melting, with energy generated from a portable fission reactor.

A relay station can be left at the surface which runs on a RTG, and acts to relay control and video signals through the ice crust using radio, and through the expanse of space back to Earth.

It may take a long time to bore through the ice crust. Possibly longer than it takes to travel to Europa. I personally don't see the benefit in having this probe be manned, as the resources needed to keep a human alive would require exponentially greater payload sizes to keep them alive for the possibly months or years of drilling before actually breaking through the ice below.



vonB
Administrator
Posts: 26
Re: One way crewed mission?
on: September 19, 2013, 09:32

A crewed mission to Europa will require precursor missions - no doubt. This can be for ISRU purposes, communication and ice-penetration. However, sending a robot to Europa is like replacing Columbus with a carrier pigeon 500 years ago.

Human beings are made for exploration and we need such efforts to bend our minds and make great discoveries about others worlds and about ourselves.

OE is not about ruling out robotic missions - we just focus on a crewed. Heck, the conclusion of phase-1 might be that a crewed mission is a no-go. But lets find out...



chris_clem-
ent
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 1
Re: One way crewed mission?
on: September 19, 2013, 17:46

While in the mars-one project there is explicit talk about settlement in conjunction with the "one-way" concept, here it is not so clear. This is somewhat puzzling, but it needs to be discussed in order to be able to define the requirements. Is the absence of the word "settlement" on purpose? Is settlement implicit?

The radiation level at the surface of Europa is about lethal within a day or so.
On the other hand a crewed mission makes only sense if it lasts many days, I cannot see what people would be able to achieve there in 1-3 days which robots would not be able to do for cheaper maybe in the course of months. So mission duration should be at least weeks on the surface. Even if one does not intend to keep the explorers alive longer than that, this already requires some serious settlement with radiation shielding.

So I guess I am wondering if the idea is to dimension ISRU and so on for an attempt of permanent settlement or just a temporary base that would work for a couple of weeks after which energy/food/air... might run out.



vonB
Administrator
Posts: 26
Re: One way crewed mission?
on: September 19, 2013, 19:07

Hey Chris,
You are asking a lot of interesting and relevant questions here and all are pretty much up for works at this stage.

Settlement is a word without the dates attached to it. If this is indeed a one-way mission (can also be debated) they time of "settlement" is only based on the option we believe we can provide for the astronauts - with crops, foods, ISRU, protection etc. Radiation is obviously one of the issues that must be addressed and yes, one day will kill you, without protection. So lets create protection 🙂

I am really interested in seeing studies or thoughts (in reports) on various mission architecture scenarios.

In short... all options are open and it is only a matter of pouring down the ideas on paper.

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