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Mission to Mars and Space Technologies

Space Exploration

Human desire to live on another planet has led to Space exploration. However, the costs to achieve a return journey be it ISS or MARS has made it hard to fulfil space  ambition. Until recently, when advancement in space vehicles at private firm SpaceX have made the journey now economically feasible.

Mission to Mars

It is now expected that by 2035, millions of people will be flying in thousands of rockets to establish a self-sustaining human colony on Mars. To date, there has been nine successful landings on Mars by robotic unmanned spacecrafts. There have been studies for possible human mission to Mars but none has been attempted yet. SpaceX is missioned to enable the colonisation of MARS. It has aimed at reducing the costs of space transportation.

SpaceX vehicles and spacecrafts

SpaceX has launched several space vehicles including Dragon1 followed by Dragon 2. These space vehicles have recently taken astronauts to International Space Station on May 30th ,2020. Space vehicle Falcon 9 is amongst the most successful to achieve vertical landing for an orbital spaceflight. Their expertise with Vertical Landing is such that, SpaceX has also vertically landed Falcon 9 on fully Autonomous ocean drone ship   

For those of us keen to make an entry into the space or build your dream palace on Mars, SpaceX have now built Starship which is capable of carrying passengers as well as large amount of cargo luggage. We might as well squeeze our favourite bed into Starship or favourite personal car. As long as we are ready to pave the roads on the new planet! What about building refreshment services, garages for our long distance holiday trips from one part of Mars to another!  Well all such development, civilisation, infrastructure, medical facilities will still need to be done – I suppose!

Dragon 2 Spacecraft

Spacecrafts with the likes of Dragon2 are also fully autonomous. Engineers at ground level are capable of making checks on thrusters, adjust spacecraft trajectory and perform engine burn to alight orbits with target destination, be it International Space Station or even Mars. Recent Journey on Sunday took 19 hours from Kennedy Space Center to International Space Station, also dubbed ISS.

International Space Station, ISS and Mars Comparison

ISS is the largest artificial object/ satellite in space. It travels in low earth orbit at a very maximum altitude of 2000 kms.  How does a journey to ISS compare with a trip to Mars in distance and time? In comparison to ISS, Mars is on average, over 150 million kms from planet earth. t is roughly the distance between London and New York multiply by 9,800 times!

Once launched, it is likely take up to 300 days of spacecraft journey to reach and Land on Mars!

The question that I would be asking! Are there adverse health effects of such prolonged weightlessness. What about lack of community, families and friends. Lack of farming facilities, water, food, medicine. Is colonisation on Mars really possible. Mar’s atmosphere is not that welcoming. It is 95% Carbon dioxide. We exhale Carbon dioxide. We need oxygen to live.

Engineering a spacecraft

What it entails to get involved with innovation and engineering associated with spacecrafts?

Space Exploration Involves diverse areas of engineering : Astronautics, systems engineering, computer/software/control and electrical engineering,

Thermal/Mechanical/Propulsion engineering. Chances are you could one way or another get involved with innovation in next generation spacecrafts.

Some other essential subsystem includes Attitude Determination and Control System which steers spacecraft back into its orbit and fight off external torques that are trying to spin the spacecraft and deter it from its target destination. Telemetry and Communication System. We want to know if our friends are ok on Mars. Emails, phone calls, video chats. All of these is possible with on board wireless transmitters, satellites, ground stations. These all help to communicate data back and forth between earth and spacecraft. There is also large infrastructure of Electrical Power Systems including cabling, fuel cells, batteries, solar panels..

Another essential component is Propulsion system which contains engines, tanks and propellant controls. Fuels, by the way – are also termed propellants which are fed via turbo-pump injectors during gas-generator power cycle that ultimately provide upward thrust required during take-off. An electric propulsion as apposed to chemical.

 

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About the Author:

Khurram Waris
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