Showing posts with label Planetary Science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Planetary Science. Show all posts

ISRO Shukrayaan-1 Venus Mission

    The Indian Space Research Organization has a long history of awe-inspiring the rest of the world by completing space missions at remarkably inexpensive prices. 

    In keeping with this tradition, the ISRO has set its sights on a Venus mission that would cost between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 crore.

    "The price will be determined by the level of instrumentation. ISRO chairman S Somanath said, "If you install a lot of payload sensors, the cost would automatically go up."

    While foreign space organizations such as NASA spend vast sums of money on space missions, the ISRO prefers to focus on low-cost projects. 

    ISRO's Chandrayan-1 was a low-cost spacecraft developed for about Rs 386 crore. 

    The Chandrayaan-2 mission cost Rs 603 crore to develop, and Rs 367 crore to launch. (1 million USD is roughly = 7.8 Crores INR in 2022)

    The ISRO chairman said the agency is in the process of approaching the Union government for authorization for the mission, speaking to the media on the sidelines of a national conference on Aerospace Quality and Reliability.

    In response to concerns, he said that the timetable for Chandrayan-3 is still being worked out. 

    Following its Moon and Mars expeditions, the ISRO is considering a Venus trip. 

    Despite speculations that the ISRO is aiming a December 2024 launch window for the Venus mission, Somanath stated the timeline has yet to be finalized. 

    It would only be disclosed when the Union government had given its final approval. 

    The ISRO has worked hard to guarantee that it would be a one-of-a-kind mission. 

    "We have to be cautious with such pricey missions," he warned.

    "We don't want to conduct a Venus expedition just for the fun of it. 

    We're doing it because of the distinct identity that this mission will establish among all future Venus expeditions. 

    "That's the aim," Somanath said, adding that the mission would create a lot of data that scientists could use. 

    Despite the fact that the timetable has yet to be disclosed, the ISRO is well prepared. 

    "The technology definition, task package, scheduling, and procurement are all complete. But then it needs to go to the government, which will review it and ultimately approve it," he said. 

    According to him, Chandrayan 3 is now undergoing testing for navigation, instrumentation, and ground simulations. 

    However, no timetable has been established.

    India is preparing to enter the race to get to Venus alongside the US and many other nations after successfully completing Moon and Mars missions. 

    The mission's goal will be to investigate Venus's poisonous and corrosive atmosphere, which is characterized by clouds of sulfuric acid that blanket the planet.

    S Somanath, the head of Isro, said the project has been in the works for years and that the space agency is now "ready to launch an orbiter to Venus." "The project report is complete, the general plans are complete, and the funds have been identified. 

    "Building and launching a mission to Venus in a very short period of time is doable for India since the capacity exists now," the Isro chairman stated during a daylong seminar on Venusian research.

    The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is a Venus orbiter called designed to examine the planet's surface and atmosphere.

    In 2017, funds were given to finish early investigations, and instrument tenders were announced.

    The orbiter's scientific payload capabilities, depending on its ultimate design, would be about 100 kilograms (220 lb) with 500 W of power.

    At periapsis, the elliptical orbit around Venus is projected to be 500 kilometers (310 miles) long and 60,000 kilometers (37,000 miles) long. 

    Payload for science.

    The scientific payload will be 100 kg (220 lb) in weight and would include equipment from India and other nations. 

    Indian payloads and 7 foreign payloads have been shortlisted as of December 2019. 

    Instruments from India

    • Venus SAR L&S-Band
    • VARTISS (HF radar)
    • VSEAM (Surface Emissivity) (Surface Emissivity)
    • VCMC (VTC (Thermal Camera)) (Cloud Monitoring)
    • LIVE (Lightning Sensor)

    • VASP (Spectro Polarimeter)
    • SPAV (Solar occultation photometry)
    • NAVA (Airglow imager)
    • RAVI (RO Experiment)
    • * ETA (Electron Temperature Analyzer)
    • RPA (Retarding Potential Analyzer)
    • Spectrometer of mass
    • (Plasma Analyzer)* VISWAS

    • VREM (Radiation Environment)
    • SSXS (Solar Soft X-ray Spectrometer )
    • VIPER (Plasma Wave Detector)
    • VODEX (Dust experiment)
    • * Collaboration with Germany and Sweden is envisaged for RAVI and VISWAS. 

    International Payloads

      • Space Research Institute, Moscow, and LATMOS, France developed VIRAL (Venus Infrared Atmospheric Gas Linker).
      • IVOLGA is a laser heterodyne NIR spectrometer used to investigate the structure and dynamics of Venus's mesosphere.

    Overview Of The ISRO Shukrayaan Mission

    Surface/subsurface stratigraphy and resurfacing processes are among the three broad research areas for this mission; second, study atmospheric chemistry, dynamics, and compositional variations; and third, study solar irradiance and solar wind interaction with Venus' ionosphere while studying the structure, composition, and dynamics of the atmosphere.

    Shukrayaan Mission Inception, History And Status

    ISRO has been researching the possibility of future interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus, Earth's nearest planetary neighbors, based on the success of Chandrayaan and the Mangalyaan. 

    • The Venus mission proposal was initially proposed in 2012 at a Tirupati space meet. 
    • The Indian government increased funding for the Department of Space by 23% in its 2017–18 budget. 
    • The budget specifies funds "for Mars Orbiter Mission II and Mission to Venus" under the space sciences department, and it was approved to perform preliminary investigations after the 2017–18 request for funding. 

    ISRO issued a 'Announcement of Opportunity' (AO) on April 19, 2017, requesting scientific payload ideas from Indian universities based on wide mission parameters.

    ISRO issued another 'Announcement of Opportunity' on November 6, 2018, soliciting payload applications from the worldwide scientific community. 

    The allowable scientific payload capacity was reduced from 175 kg in the first AO to 100 kg. 

    In 2018, India's ISRO and France's CNES had talks about collaborating on this mission and developing autonomous navigation and aerobraking technology together.

    • In addition, using his knowledge from the Vega mission, French astronomer Jacques Blamont indicated interest in using inflated balloons to examine the Venusian atmosphere to U R Rao. 
    • These instrumented balloons may be launched from an orbiter and gather long-term observations while floating in the planet's comparatively benign upper atmosphere, similar to the Vega missions. 
    • ISRO agreed to investigate a proposal to research the Venusian atmosphere at 55 kilometers (34 miles) altitude with a balloon probe carrying a 10 kilogram (22 pound) payload. 

    The Venus project is still in the configuration research phase as of late 2018, and ISRO has not yet received complete sanction from the Indian government.

    In 2019, IUCAA Director Somak Raychaudhury announced that a drone-like probe was being considered as part of the mission. 

    ISRO scientist T Maria Antonita stated in a report to NASA's Decadal Planetary Science Committee that the launch would take place in December 2024. 

    She also said that a backup date in 2026 exists. 

    ISRO has selected 20 foreign bids as of November 2020, including collaborations with Russia, France, Sweden, and Germany. 

    ISRO and the Swedish Institute of Space Physics are working together on the Shukrayaan-1 project. 

    ISRO chairman S. Somanath indicated in May 2022 that the mission will launch in December 2024, with a backup launch window in 2031.

    Shukrayaan Mission Salient Features

    Type of mission Shukrayaan-1: Venus orbiter

    Operator: ISRO

    Planned mission duration: 4 years

    Spacecraft characteristics:

    Manufacturer: ISAC

    2,500 kg launch mass (5,500 lb)

    100 kilogram payload mass (220 lb)

    Payload power is 500 watts (0.67 horsepower).

    December 2024 is the scheduled launch date (planned)

    Launch Vehicle: GSLV Mark II rocket

    SDSC SHAR Contractor : ISRO Launch Site

    Missions Primary Components:

    • Orbiter of Venus
    • Atmospheric probe for Venus
    • Aerobot balloon is a spacecraft component.

    ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan.

    NASA 4-Wheel DuAxel Rover To Explore Moon, Mars, And Asteroids.


    The adaptability of a flexible rover that can travel long distances and rappel down hard-to-reach regions of scientific interest was shown in a field test in California's Mojave Desert. 

    DuAxel is a pair of Axel robots intended to investigate crater walls, pits, scarps, vents, and other severe environments on the moon, Mars, and beyond. 

    • The robot's capacity to split in half and dispatch one of its parts - a two-wheeled Axle robot - down an otherwise impassable hill is shown in this technological demonstration produced at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. 
    • The rappelling Axel may then seek out regions to research on its own, securely navigate slopes and rough barriers, and return to dock with its other half before traveling to a new location. 
    • Although the rover does not yet have a mission, essential technologies are being developed that might one day assist mankind in exploring the solar system's stony planets and moons.

    DuAxel is a development of the Axel system, a flexible series of single-axle rovers meant to traverse high-risk terrain on planetary surfaces, such as steep slopes, boulder fields, and caverns — locations that existing rovers, such as Mars Curiosity, would find difficult or impossible to approach. 

    DuAxel's Advantages:

    To cover greater distances, two connected Axel Rovers are used: 

    • DuAxel travels large distances by connecting two Axel rovers. 
    • They divide in two when they approach a steep slope or cliff so that one tied Axel may rappel down the steep danger to reach otherwise inaccessible area while the other works as an anchor at the top of the slope. 

    Tether that can be retracted: 

    • The Axel rover can lower itself down practically any sort of terrain by reeling and unreeling its built-in rope. 

    Greater Maneuverability: 

    • The two-wheeled axle simply spins one of its wheels quicker than the other to turn. 
    • The core cylinder between the wheels houses the sensors, actuators, electronics, power, and payload.

    ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

    Find Jai on Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

    You may also want to read more about Space Exploration and Space Systems here.

    References & Further Reading:

    JPL Robotics: The Axel Rover System

    Educational Resources:

    Student Project: Design a Robotic Insect.

    Educator Guide: Design a Robotic Insect.

    Space Mission Planning

    The first thing to consider when planning a space trip is why we want to undertake it and what we expect to gain from the findings. 

    The following issues concern the enterprise's viability, as indicated by the following questions: 

      • How much does it set you back? 
      • Is it reasonably priced? 
      • Can it be done technically (and politically)? 
      • How safe is it, and what are the chances of it failing? 
      • Can we launch (and potentially build) the necessary vehicles in space? 

    Without putting in a lot of time and effort into early research and modeling, even rough solutions to these issues are difficult to come by. 

    Additionally, there are a variety of architectural variants in space ships, their sequencing, phasing, and destinations that may be used to carry out such a space mission. 

    “Mission architectures” or simply “architectures” are the terms used to describe these different variants. Conducting thorough studies of each possible architectural alternative would require substantial financial resources as well as a significant amount of time and work. 

    • Furthermore, while planning a human trip to Mars, it is virtually difficult to predict what the status of marginal technologies like nuclear propulsion and large-scale aero entry will be many decades from now. 
    • As a result, the most common method includes a rudimentary first study to evaluate architectural alternatives, from which a small selection of preferred designs may be determined that should be investigated further. 

    The initial mass in low Earth orbit (IMLEO) is often used as an approximate gauge of mission cost in early planning, and since IMLEO can generally be predicted to some degree, it is frequently used as a proxy for mission cost. 

    • This is predicated on the idea that when comparing a set of possible missions to accomplish a given objective, the quantity of "stuff" that has to be transported to LEO is a significant driver of the cost.
    • IMLEO is the overall mass in LEO at the start, but it doesn't say how that total mass is divided up into individual vehicles. 
    • Unless on-orbit assembly is used, the mass of the biggest spacecraft in LEO determines the requirements for launch vehicle capacity (how much mass a launch vehicle must lift in “one fell swoop”). 

    As a result, the early planning of space missions, as well as the preliminary selection of mission designs, is based on two linked parameters: 

    (1) IMLEO, and 

    (2) the necessary launch vehicle and number of launches. 

    It's critical to realize that the requirements for space missions are driven by the need for vehicles to accelerate to great speeds. 

    • Unlike a car, which has a big crew compartment and a tiny petrol tank, most spacecraft have huge propellant tanks and a small crew cabin. 
    • A space mission is made up of many propulsion stages, each of which contains more propellants than cargo. 

    Each propulsion step necessitates the acceleration of both the cargo and the propellants set aside for subsequent acceleration steps. 

    • As a consequence, the majority of IMLEO is spent on propellants rather than payload. 
    • The quantity of propellants transported to LEO to go from here to there (and back) becomes (at least in part) the decisive element in evaluating whether a space mission is possible and economical. 
    • As we previously said, this is reflected in the value of IMLEO, which is mostly comprised of propellants rather than payload. 
    • This image may alter in the future if we can effectively deliver propellants to LEO.

    ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan 

    You may also want to read more about Space Missions and Systems here.

    Space Campaigns

    A campaign is a collection of closely linked space missions that work together to achieve the campaign's overall objectives. 

    Each mission in the campaign may be unique in certain instances, and the primary benefit given by past missions to future missions is the information acquired from previous missions, which may affect mission locations and verify instrumentation, flying technologies, or other mission design components.

    • In the case of robotic expeditions to Mars, this is usually the case. 
    • Prior robotic trips to Mars will be required to test new technology on Mars before they can be used by humans. 
    • The campaign, which is made up of a series of human operations, will, nevertheless, develop infrastructure and improve capabilities with each mission. 
    • The MEP, for example, envisions a series of exploratory robotic trips to Mars, each of which gives crucial information on where to go and what to search for in the next mission (s). 

    The NASA lunar exploration project of approximately 7–9 years ago was an outline of a campaign, but the campaign was not clearly defined, apart from the fact that it would start with short-duration “sortie” flights and progress to the construction of a lunar “outpost” with unknown location and functions. 

    • In reality, preliminary planning failed to address several key elements of the sortie missions or improve the Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM), with virtually all of the attention focused on the so-called Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). 
    • NASA seems to have lost sight of the entire campaign and how the parts fit together throughout this process. 

    Although ISRU for generating oxygen for ascent propulsion was a major topic for outposts, the removal of oxygen as an ascension propellant indicates that various organizations working on the lunar exploration program were not only not communicating, but were also working at cross-purposes. 

    • At the highest level, a campaign should begin with a set of objectives to be met. 
    • A collection of hypothetical missions that might form the basis of a campaign would be defined. 
    • Campaigns are collections of missions, although the order in which they are completed may be random. 

    Consider the following scenario: 

    • • Each Mission has at least two potential outcomes, each with a probability associated with it. 
    • • If Event A occurs, go to Mission 2A; if Event B occurs, proceed to Mission 2B. 
    • • Each campaign may have a variety of potential results (each with a different series of missions, and differing cost, risk, and performance) 

    A "tree-diagram" depicting various models for the campaign as routes across a space consisting of configurations of sequentially ordered missions may be used to illustrate alternative methods for carrying out a campaign. 

    • A lot of researchers have been looking at methods for determining the best campaign (i.e. the best sequence of missions) based on some kind of campaign merit figure. 
    • However, since this is a complicated topic, it is beyond the scope of this debate. 

    The features, characteristics, and needs of the various missions that make up a campaign must be understood in order to make a smart campaign decision.

    ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan 

    You may also want to read more about Space Missions and Systems here.

    Humans On Mars: A Skeptic's Perspective

    It's encouraging to learn that the Mars Society is interested about creating law and order in townships on Mars. 

    However, there are immediate difficulties in sending the first people to Mars for preliminary exploration, and the costs and dangers are very high. 

    There are many issues to consider: 

    (1) What are the primary objectives of the Mars mission? 

    (2) How does robotic vs human exploration compare in terms of benefits and costs? 

    (3) What are the dangers and difficulties associated with sending people to Mars? 

    The dominant opinion in both scientific and futuristic circles, as we covered in earlier parts, is that the primary reason to investigate Mars is the hunt for life, which necessitates a search for liquid water (mostly past). 

    Futurists and visionaries have imaginations that extend well beyond this early stage, to the point when human communities are created for their "social, inspirational, and resource worth." 

    Even if we accept the implausible notion that the hunt for life on Mars is essential to exploration, the issue of comparative costs and potential outcomes based on robotic vs human exploration of Mars remains. 

    The benefit-to-cost ratio for robotic exploration seems to be much higher. 

    Furthermore, because the search for life is likely to fail, maybe the true benefit in investigating Mars is to learn more about why the three terrestrial planets, Venus, Earth, and Mars, came out to be so different, despite the fact that they were all equipped with comparable resources from the outset. Venus has a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere, while Mars has relatively little. 

    • There are ideas as to why this occurs, however it may be required to explore the planets to learn more about the geological history of how this happened. 
    • In comparison to robotic exploration, sending people to Mars seems to be a highly costly and hazardous endeavor. 
    • In terms of the wider, aspirational perspective stated in DRM-1, the push for a long-term human presence beyond Earth seems to be at least a few hundred years premature. 

    Certainly, the existence of a few people on Mars will not alleviate any of the stresses that the Earth is experiencing owing to overcrowding, pollution, or resource depletion. 

    Comparative planetology is an admirable aim, but it is unclear if human presence is required to achieve it. 

    Without sending people to Mars, aren't there plenty of possibilities for international collaboration on Earth? 

    By comparing bigger societal expenditures, the conclusion that the investment needed to transport people to Mars is "small" is reached. 

    However, when compared to conventional space expenses, it is enormous. 

    On the other hand, the claims that new technologies or new applications of existing technologies will benefit not only humans exploring Mars but will also improve people's lives on Earth may have some merit, and that the boldness and grandeur of Mars exploration "will motivate our youth, drive technical education goals, and excite the people and nations of the world" may have some merit. 

    It ultimately comes down to the benefit/cost ratio, which seems to be poor in this case. 

    Aside from the why and if it is worthwhile, the actual problem at hand is the technical, financial, and logistical obstacles that a human trip to Mars would face. 

    Nonetheless, a human trip to Mars would be a tremendous technical feat and the pinnacle of more than 60 years of rocketry and space exploration.

    ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan 

    You may also want to read more about Space Missions and Systems here.

    Why Send Humans To Mars?

    The Opinions of the Enthusiasts, Science, inspiration, and resources are three of the most common reasons for exploring the Moon or Mars. 

    This foundation was laid by Paul Spudis for lunar exploration6, but many of the same ideas have been extended to Mars by fans. 

    The NASA Mars Design Reference Mission (DRM-1) elucidated the justification for human exploration of Mars in great detail (Hoffman et al. 1997). 

    A workshop on the "whys" of Mars exploration was conducted in August 1992 at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. 

    The workshop participants highlighted six key components of a Mars exploration program's justification, which are described here.

    • Human Evolution—Outside of the Earth-Moon system, Mars is the most accessible planetary body where prolonged human presence is thought to be feasible. 
    • The technological goals of Mars exploration should be to figure out what it would take to maintain a permanent human presence outside of Earth. 
    • Comparative Planetology—One of the scientific goals of Mars exploration should be to learn more about the planet and its past so that we may learn more about Earth. 
    • International Cooperation—At the conclusion of the Cold War, the political climate may be favorable to a coordinated international effort that is both suitable and needed for a long-term program. Technology 
    • Advancement—Human exploration of Mars is now on the verge of becoming a reality. Some of the technology needed to complete this mission is already in place or is on the way. Other technologies will emerge as a result of the mission's requirements. 
    • Novel technology, or new applications of current technologies, will help not just those exploring Mars, but also people on Earth. Mars exploration's objectives are audacious, big, and a stretch of the imagination. 

    Such objectives will test the population's collective ability to achieve this accomplishment, will inspire our young, will push technical education goals, and will thrill people and countries across the globe. 

    A Mars exploration mission is a low-cost investment when compared to other types of societal expenditures. 

    “In the long run, the greatest value of human exploration of Mars may possibly be the philosophical and practical consequences of colonizing another planet,” DRM-1 said.

    •  Human history, overpopulation, resource depletion, the quest for religious or economic freedom, competitive advantage, and other human problems were all discussed in DRM-1. 
    • The idea that Mars might one day be a home for humans is at the heart of most of the public enthusiasm in Mars exploration outside of the realm of basic research. 

    A human settlement on Mars, which would have to be self-sufficient in order to be sustainable, would satisfy human desires to push the boundaries of human capability, provide the possibility of saving human civilization from an ecological disaster on Earth (for example, a giant asteroid impact or a nuclear incident), and potentially lead to a new range of human endeavors not possible on Earth. 

    DRM-1 went on to say that there are three things to think about: 

    • Demonstrating the ability to be self-sufficient. Demonstrating that humans can thrive and live on Mars. 
    • Demonstrating that the dangers of survival encountered by residents on Mars in their everyday lives are consistent with the advantages they perceive. 
    • Robert Zubrin, the founder and president of the Mars Society, is a leading proponent of Mars exploration. Zubrin (2005) further on why he thinks humanity should go to Mars. 

    In fact, when he says we can accomplish it in a decade, his excitement outweighs his common sense. “Of all the planetary destinations presently within reach,” Zubrin said, “Mars offers the most—scientifically, socially, and in terms of what it portends for humanity's future.” 

    • Zubrin repeated a widely held view in the scientific community: that any planet with liquid water flowing on its surface in the presence of sunshine would ultimately spontaneously develop life. 
    • “So if the hypothesis is true that life is a naturally occurring phenomena, emerging from chemical ‘complexification' anywhere there is liquid water, a temperate temperature, adequate minerals, and enough time, then life should have emerged on Mars,” Zubrin concluded. 
    • This was based on his argument that “liquid water flowed on the surface of Mars for a billion years throughout its early history, a period five times as long as it took life to emerge on Earth once liquid water existed.” 

    Zubrin considered looking for "fossils of previous life" on the surface of Mars, as well as employing "drilling rigs to access subterranean water where Martian life may still exist." He thinks that the inspiration generated by a Mars mission has enormous societal benefit. 

    • “The most essential reason to travel to Mars is the gateway it offers to the future,” he said. Mars is the only alien body in the inner solar system that has all of the resources necessary to sustain not just life, but also the formation of a technological civilization. 
    • We shall begin humanity's career as a multi-planet species by establishing our initial footing on Mars.” Many Mars enthusiasts back Zubrin (the Mars Society's mission is to "advance the objective of the exploration and colonization of the Red Planet.") 
    • They seem to think that “in 10 years” we will be able to transport people to Mars and establish long-term colonies. 
    • Every year, futurists present comprehensive ideas for long-term colonies on Mars at the International Space Development Conference. 

    The Mars Society often refers to colonies on Mars as the next stage in the history of "colonization," and cautions against repeating the errors committed on Earth. 

    • According to the Oregon Chapter of the Mars Society, "there will most likely be a few clusters of tiny villages when the first colonies are put up." They should widen out as time goes by. 
    • The more dispersed the townships are, the more likely they are to establish their own culture.
    • Townships will first be reliant on one another for common resources such as food, water, fuel, and air.
    • People should be encouraged to establish more isolated settlements after a more solid infrastructure has been established on Mars. 
    • The law is an essential factor to consider in every region where colonization or expansion has happened. 
    • On Mars, some kind of law will be required. When we consider the system that was utilized in the old west, we can see that whomever is in charge of enforcing the law may have trouble doing so. 
    • The sheriffs' on Mars must be trustworthy persons who have the support of the majority of the population. 
    • They should not be chosen by the present crop of politically motivated citizens; this would only promote corruption. Instead, some kind of volunteer lottery system should be permitted. 
    • In terms of the legislation itself, it should be enacted to protect everyone's fundamental rights, from speech to privacy. 

    While these fanatics are already preoccupied with creating law and order on Mars, this humble writer is just concerned with safely getting there and back. 

    Rycroft offered a different point of view (2006). “The overall aim of space exploration for the twenty-first century should be to bring people to Mars, with the primary purpose of having them stay there,” he said. 

    The aim was to give humanity with “a second base in the Solar System... since the Earth may no longer be livable at some time in the future.” Rycroft pointed out that this might happen as a result of a catastrophic event on Earth. 

    Civilization may self-destruct, or the Earth may be rendered uninhabitable by a massive natural disaster. 

    Overpopulation, global terrorism, nuclear war or accident, cyber technology war or accident, biological war or accident, emergence of a super-virus, asteroid collision, geophysical events (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, volcanoes, hurricanes), resource depletion (e.g., oil, natural gas reserves), climate change, global warming and sea level rise, stratospheric ozone depletion, stratospheric ozone depletion.

     “The chances are no better than 50–50 that our current civilisation on Earth will survive to the end of the century,” he added, quoting M. Rees. 

    The most urgent problems include overpopulation, pollution, global warming, resource depletion, and the global spread of Islamic terrorism, which may lead to a third World War between the West and Islam. 

    While Rycroft highlighted the gravity of these dangers, his proposed approach of "colonization of Mars by the end of the twenty-first century" will exacerbate rather than alleviate humanity's difficulties. 

    How will we manage to populate the Earth and live in peace if we can't do it on Mars, which has an immensely harsher climate? 

    A number of new projects aiming towards human exploration of Mars have emerged in the eight years after the original version of this book was published. has been an outspoken proponent of sending people to Mars. 

    Their strategy seems to be to organize gatherings and have prominent individuals give remarks. Mars One will create a permanent human colony on Mars, according to Mars One. 

    Starting in 2024, four-person crews will leave every two years. 

    In 2018, we will launch our first unmanned mission. Participate in our journey to Mars by joining the Global Mars One Community.

    According to a 2014 news report10, "Sending people to Mars by the 2030s is cheap," but "several critical adjustments are required if it is to materialize." 

    • A workshop group of more than 60 people from more than 30 government, industrial, academic, and other institutions discovered that if NASA's budget is restored to pre-sequestration levels, a human trip to Mars lead by NASA is possible. 
    • A human arrival on Mars is still approximately 20 years away, according to a more recent news report11, but NASA's journey to the Red Planet seems to be gradually moving ahead. 
    • NASA's top human exploration official told a Senate panel that major components of the deep-space rocket, capsule, and infrastructure required to reach Mars are on track for a landing in the 2030s. 
    • NASA is developing the technologies required to transport people to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s, according to a NASA website. 
    • NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and colleagues from throughout the agency presented NASA's Human Path to Mars during an Exploration Forum at NASA Headquarters in Washington on April 29, 2014. 

    The Mars Society continues to push for human trips to the Red Planet. 

    Human arrival on Mars is just a decade or two away, according to dozens, if not hundreds, of websites. Some groups, on the other hand, have determined that all of the above are untrue. 

    The National Research Council (NRC) determined that NASA's human spaceflight program had an unsustainable and dangerous approach that will prohibit the United States from landing a person on Mars in the near future. 

    The 286-page National Research Council report, the result of an 18-month, $3.2 million congressional investigation, concludes that continuing on the current path with budgets that don't keep up with inflation "invites failure, disillusionment, and the loss of the longstanding international perception that human spaceflight is something the US does best." 

    ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan 

    You may also want to read more about Space Missions and Systems here.

    Views Of The Curmudgeons On The Search For Life On Mars

    How life started on Earth is one of science's biggest unanswered mysteries. 

    The current consensus among scientists is that life forms relatively easily and with a high probability on a planet if you start with a temperate climate, liquid water, carbon dioxide, and possibly ammonia, hydrogen and other basic chemicals, and electrical discharges (lightning) to break up molecules and form free radicals that can react with one another. 

    How is it possible for such rubbish to be propagated in the scientific community? 

    • At least part of the explanation seems to be attributable to the fact that “the planet was a dead rock 4.6 billion years ago; a billion years later it was teeming with early forms of life.” 
    • The fact that life originated very early in the Earth's history is one of the pillars of the commonly held belief that life forms readily and with high probability—an argument that I can't find any evidence for. To begin with, we don't know whether life "began" on Earth or was transported from another body to Earth. 

    Second, since we don't know how life began, how can we be certain that the relatively early appearance of life on Earth is predictive of anything? 

    There is no evidence or logic to indicate that if life originated 3 billion years after the Earth's creation (rather than 1 billion), the chance of life developing would be lower than if life began in 1 billion years. 

    Even if this reasoning were true, which it isn't, the difference would be just a factor of three, while the inherent likelihood of life formation must be a very high negative exponential. 

    • If you imagine a million planets orbiting stars in a billion galaxies, all of which have the same basic requirements: temperate climate, liquid water, carbon dioxide, and possibly ammonia, hydrogen and other basic inorganic chemicals, and electrical discharges (lightning), you'll notice that if life emerges on any of them and evolves into thinking beings, the people who live there will be the same as the people on Earth. “I think, therefore I exist,” as Descartes put it. 
    • Assume that the chances of life developing on such a planet are very remote, and that it requires an extraordinarily rare confluence of chemical, electrical, and geological processes to create the required channel for life to emerge from natural molecules. 
    • Assume that out of those 1,000,000 planets, life only developed once on one of them. People that developed on that planet would believe they were prototypical of other worlds and that life exists all throughout the cosmos. Because we are living, we are conscious of life. We have no way of knowing whether life has existed somewhere else. 

    Given the complexity of life—even the smallest bacteria needs about 2000 complex organic enzymes to function—the likelihood of life evolving spontaneously from basic inorganic chemicals seems to be very remote. 

    • This chance, according to Hoyle (1983), is very small. Hoyle goes on to say that life began somewhere in the cosmos and was "sown" on Earth by interstellar dust grains. 
    • Many of the ideas in Hoyle's book that support seeding life from alien origins were thoroughly debunked by Korthof (2014). 
    • The majority of these complaints seem to be valid. However, the issue of how life began, whether on Earth or elsewhere, remains unanswered. 

    Faced with the problem that the chances of life emerging spontaneously are very low, Hoyle proposed a quasi-religious perspective that the world is under “intelligent control,” with life being generated by higher powers that we cannot comprehend. 

    • Shapiro (1987) presented a hilarious allegory of a seeker of the solution to the beginning of existence who travels to the Himalayas to see a renowned guru. 
    • Every day, the guru presents the seeker with a new far-fetched “scientific” idea, and the seeker remains unsatisfied. 
    • Finally, on the last day, the guru reads the first page of Genesis (“In the beginning,...”), and the seeker decides that this explanation is approximately as good as the “scientific” ones. 
    • Consider the Earth 4 billion years ago, after it had finished its initial creation and cooling process. 

    How long did it take for life to show up? 

    Is it a day? Is it really a month? Is it really a year? 

    What is a millennium? Hundreds of millions of years? 

    Did it emerge in a single location or all across the world? 

    Why isn't life still developing if it formed that quickly? 

    • If it took a few hundred million years, it was likely due to an extremely unusual series of occurrences. 
    • The issue with all of the theories about how life emerged from inanimate stuff is that none of them can withstand even a cursory examination. 
    • Given 1,000,000 planets in the universe with a climate that might potentially sustain life, it is conceivable that only an extraordinarily unusual and fortunate conflux of circumstances led to the creation of life on one planet (or possibly a few). 
    • We are the one, according to Descartes' reasoning, if life originated on just one planet. 
    • As a result, the hunt for life on Mars seems to be destined to failure—or at the very least, a high chance of failure. 
    • The whole direction of inquiry and study may be shifted depending on how the basic questions are phrased. 

    One of the "four big questions" posed by the ESA Cosmic Vision5 is: 

    "What are the prerequisites for planetary formation and the development of life?" 

    • This tilts the whole framework toward the widely held belief that, given enough time, a set (or sets) of circumstances (temperature, pressure, atmospheric components, liquid water, energy input, etc.) would deterministically create life from inanimate matter as a matter of chemistry. 
    • This perspective has impacted (and, in my opinion, distorted) the whole Mars Exploration Program into a futile, doomed-to-fail hunt for life on Mars, as well as spawned a slew of fictitious stories about the quest for life. 

    We don't even know if life began on Earth or was brought there from somewhere else. As a result, it's unclear if life began on planets. 

    • It's conceivable that the development of life from inanimate stuff is a complex, unlikely, nearly impossible process that necessitates a series of improbable sequential occurrences, such that life only exists once in the universe, and we'll never know where or how. 
    • The widely held notion that life would develop deterministically in many places across the cosmos where there is water and moderate temperatures seems to be unfounded. 
    • Someone appears to declare a major “breakthrough” in understanding how life started from inanimate matter many times a year, and they generally conclude that life forms quickly and with a high likelihood. 
    • Jeremy England, a 31-year-old physicist at MIT, believes he has discovered the fundamental physics driving the genesis and development of life.

    What is the purpose of life? 

    • A primordial soup, a flash of lightning, and a massive stroke of luck are all popular theories. 
    • However, if a controversial new hypothesis is true, chance may have a little role. 
    • The genesis and subsequent development of life, according to the physicist who proposed the theory, "should be as unsurprising as pebbles flowing downhill," according to the scientist who proposed the theory. All of these ideas, however, fall short on one crucial aspect. 

    Why isn't fresh life sprouting up everywhere around us if life develops readily and deterministically from the "primordial soup"? 

    What does it indicate about the inherent likelihood of creating life from the "primordial soup" if it takes millions of years for life to emerge from such a large quantity of it?

    Nonetheless, there are still compelling reasons to visit Mars. 

    The following are some of them: 

    • However, knowing the circumstances that existed on early Mars will certainly offer significant insights as to how the Mars we see today came to be. 
    • In this regard, Mars may offer crucial information on the nature of the early Earth. 
    • The Noachian is thought to account for up to 40% of the Martian surface, although this era is hardly represented in the Earth's geologic record, since the few exposures that have been found are extensively metamorphosed (i.e., with uncertain preservation of original texture and chemistry). 
    • Because Earth and Mars are Solar System neighbors, they are likely to have shared certain early (pre-3.7 Ga) processes, and research on Mars may help us learn more about our own planet.

    ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan 

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