EPQ cheaper meaning it is more of a possibility

EPQ DRAFT during my extended project qualification I will be visiting and answering my main question of Could human life be sustained on Mars? In order to do this I will use varied different types of sources from different authors and also engage the use of smaller subtitles within my essay.Subtitles : travel, time, habitation, landing, growth/sustainability, terraforming?, problems.700 words per topicIntroduction It has come to a point on earth where is we carry on we may well need somewhere else to go. The pollution and population on are planet are both ever increasing until eventually we run out of resources. It is becoming inevitable that in the future whether that be near in my life time of much later on in 4 or 5 generations time we will need somewhere else to live and so I saw this as a very important and relevant topic to base my essay on.Why Mars? Mars is the closest planet to us and so it makes sense for us to go there first. It also follows some of the same traits as the earth and isn’t too far or near from the sun, at 228 million km compared to 150 million km on earth15, that it becomes impossible to live. With it being the nearest planet it makes it a good trial for deep space exploration and could be a stepping stone for travel to other plants. The main bonus of it being the nearest is that it makes travel easier and cheaper meaning it is more of a possibility to go there and come back as well as transporting goods from one planet to another. Mars is much smaller than earth at a diameter of 6779 km as a pose to 12,700 km on earth15. This isn’t a problem and only changes the time for a year and a day to pass compared to earth which would be easy adjustments humans to get used to. One of the main changes would be temperature. Mars’ average temperature is -63 degrees Celsius compared to 15 degrees Celsius on earth15. This isn’t a major problem because we already have the technology to deal with such cold temperatures and it is possible to survive in conditions like this. Another reason why Mars would be the best place to colonise is because of what is already there. Although Mars is next to empty. We already know there is liquid water there as well as frozen ice caps12. This would mean we could already have our own methods of hydration and having water there is already one less necessity that would need to be taken. Time is a big factor in any space travel and for that reason Mars is the best option. With it being the nearest, obviously it is going to take the least time to get there at around 300 days17. This is great because it wouldn’t take to long to transport materials there and so the terraforming project which I will later talk about can be made faster and more efficiently. It simply wouldn’t make sense to travel to another planet further away for humans first ever deep space travel to a place beyond our moon.Travel: Landing Landing will be one of the first and main things that will need to be perfected and achieved to just get to Mars never mind live there. Over the past decade where travel to Mars has really become to be a possibility, many ideas about landing have been put forward. Back in 2007 there were four main theory’s put forward as to how the landing could be performed. The first being a legged landing system. My information regarding this system is from http://www.engineeringchallenges.org/cms/7126/7622.aspx, which I found on the 28/11/17. This system is based from the idea of the shuttle having retractable legs that can be brought in and out and would take the impact as well as keeping the shuttle above the surface. Therefore, protecting it and it’s contents. This system would a supported with a parachute which would act above the shuttle, slowing it down. This touchdown system was first seen on the 1976 Viking lander. A legged system is quite a simple system however, there are problems which come with this system. The first being the shuttle being able to land safely above rocks, this means the legs must be long enough to stop the bottom of the shuttle from connecting with these rocks as well as the legs being able to stay balanced on an uneven surface such as the ones found on Mars. The major problems with these extended legs to avoid rocks is it would lead to a much higher centre of mass and this can be problematic if the shuttle is not stable as it could topple especially if it is carrying a heavy load which it would have to be for the equipment needed for Mars travel.   A second problem that this landing system faces is timing. Once the shuttle has landed and made contact the engines much cut off at exactly the right time in order to stop compromising the stability of the legs. There has been a fairly simple solution put forward in order to solve this, contact sensors have been added which can cut the engines off just before the shuttle hits the ground. This solves the problem of timing and stability but it means that the shuttle must fall the remaining distance, building its kinetic energy and therefore more strain is placed on the legs which they may not be able to take under the weight of the shuttle. This problem was seen in practice during the Mars 98 lander mission where the engines were shut off early due to a fault in the sensors, this resulted in the loss of the lander and could prove to be catastrophic during a manned mission.Another method suggested was the air bag landing system. This system was also used on a Mars exploration mission, this system has 2 main components of the landing. These are fixed thrusters and air bags, it works by the rockets thrusters igniting about 10 metres before the surface, lowering and slowing the shuttle, an airbag is then deployed which takes the rest of the impact from the free falling shuttle.This system solved many of the problems that the legged system faced. It was designed a a cost affective alternative but turned out to solve many problems previously encountered. It reduces impact, protecting the shuttle as well as bouncing over rocks and uneven surfaces which was one problem of the previous system. The problem of stabilisation has also been solved as the air bag landing method can right itself just before landing. However, the problem of cutting the thrusters still lies. It is much less of a threat to this system as it no longer compromises stability but it does still run the risk of the engines cutting out too soon and the shuttle free falling to far. Although this newer system solved many of the issues facing the legged landing method, some problems arose of its own. It has been found to be difficult to control horizontal velocity burning the rockets stabilising themselves and airbag testing was significantly difficult to carry out.The third of the four systems put forward in 2007 was the sky-crane landing system. The previous systems were suitable for the first missions to Mars but as we want to explore more of the red planet it would mean landing in other rocky and uneven areas. For this to happen a more robust system would be needed. This is the SLS or sky-crane landing system. One problem with the previous two generations of landing system was the small rover and equipment could not safely be unloaded as they were always stored at the top of the shuttle. However, SLS solves this as is lowers and drops the rover or any equipment wheels or feet first onto the surface. It does this in a similar way to cargo helicopter where it lowers the equipment on a bridle. The SLS as one body perform a propulsive decent from around 1000m to just 35m. While this is happening a secondary propulsion system would activate which then controls the velocity and balance of the shuttle. Once the whole system is stable at 35m the SLS takes place, lowering cargo down to just above the planets surface, it is then cut off ensuring a safe landing and the main shuttle performs an automated fly away where it will then land up to 1000m away. The final method of landing that was put forward over a decade ago is Touchdown Sensing. This system works by providing a constant velocity downwards at around 1m/s, this is slow enough for a steady touchdown and continues to do this until touchdown. As the system gets closer to the surface the upwards force from the thrusters is around equal to the mass of the shuttle multiplied by the force of gravity on Mars. This upward force can alter depending on the roughness of the terrain it is landing on. Then after the weight has been fully transferred to the surface of Mars a new level of upward force is applied which is about half of the previous force and lasts around 1.5 seconds which means dedicated sensors are unnecessary.This system can then drop its cargo and fly its self up again, landing meters away as to sustain no damage to the cargo.Conclusion Overall, from these four systems clear advancements have been made. With the SLS being the latest solving the major problem of stability. However, although some these systems may be used to place rovers on the surface of Mars they are not much use to land a much heavier 20-40 ton rocket as the shuttle would simply be too heavy for any of these systems to cope with and so, new systems have been theorised and created to try and land a much heavier load on Mars. The main and most likely landing system that will be used is called retro-propulsion. This all new system put forward by Elon Musk, from space X, suggests a different and more viable approach to landing. On Mars the atmosphere is much much thinner and so any shuttle will have to dive nearer to the surface than before. This is because the thinner atmosphere means less air resistance and so the shuttle would not be slowed down enough while free falling. Mars’ atmosphere is thickest near its surface so shuttles must get near to the surface for air resistance to come into effect. Being so close to the surface doesn’t leave enough time or distance for the use of a parachute and so retro propulsion is required. For this section on landing I used mainly 2 resources, the first being http://www.engineeringchallenges.org/cms/7126/7622.aspx which I found on the 28/11/17, I could not find an author for this source however it did reference others which I have included below:Pohlen, J., B. Maytum, I. Ramsey, and U.J. Blanchard. 1977. The Evolution of the Viking Landing Gear. JPL Technical Memorandum 33-777. Pasadena, Calif.: Jet Propulsion Laboratory.The second source I used was www.astronomy.com/news/2017/05/could-we-live-on-Mars, I found this on the 08/11/17 and it is by Megan Ray Nichols    Travel: the aircraftArguably, the most important factor in a manned mission to Mars is the actual rocket that is used to get there. With their being two main organisations with the aim of landing humans on Mars, two different ideas and designs of rocket have been put forward. Space X’s plan is a much bigger rocket then we have ever seen before, 106m in length and 9m in length, this is enormous compared to previous space X rockets like the FH and F9, as shown below. This allows much more fuel and cargo to be taken to the red planet, allowing us to reach it.Photo taken from space X’s PowerPoint found in the YouTube video: Elon Musk’s Mars colonisation in 5 minutes. Published by the verve YouTube channel This new rocket is huge yet affordable say space X. This is achieved through the use of reusable components. Space X aim to make the whole rocket re usable where usually the thrusters will be disconnected and then lost. Their plan is that the rocket will refuel in space, it will do this by connecting to another vessel which will meet the main rocket in space and refill the main rocket. This secondary rocket will then break away and travel back to earth where it can be reused. The rocket is named the BFR and is split in to 2 halves, the top half being the smaller rocket and main shuttle with the lower half being the thrusters to propel the rocket into the atmosphere, when the rocket reaches space the two halves split and the the thrusters travel back down to earth leaving the smaller main shuttle. The main shuttle is split into 3 sections, the engines, propellant tank and payload respectively, it is also fitted with a delta wing which allows more movement to the rocket. The smaller main shuttle is 48m in length which almost half of the total length and shares the same diameter with the full rocket of 9m.Each section of the shuttle has its own important purpose and is made up of the following parts.The engines: made up of raptor engines which are the main driving force of the rocket and cab throttle from 20% to 100%, allowing it to use retro propulsive technology to land and have been used on previous pace X ventures. 2 sea level engines with diameter of 1.3m and 4 larger, vacuum engines with an exit diameter of 2.4m.The propellant tank: the propellant tank has been massively developed in order to make such long journeys achievable. First of all its size has increased drastically from previous space X projects. It can carry up to 1,100 tonnes in fuel, it holds 240 tonnes of methane in its header tanks and 860 tonnes of liquid water in its common tanks and is specially developed to be able to carry fuel in the form of methane. This is because methane can be made on Mars from the elements already present there and so it is useful and much more efficient to be able to make fuel when we get there, meaning there is no need to worry about return fuel which decreases the overall weight of the rocket.The payload: This area of the rocket has a pressurised volume of 825m cubed. This plays to the strengths of the enormous rocket because it allows up to 40 separate cabins so crew can spend time by them selves making the longer trip more bearable and so they are not too claustrophobic. The payload also consists of common areas, central storage, a gallery and solar storm shelters. It has a max ascent mass of 150 tonnes and a typical return mass of 50 tonnes after equipment has been unloaded at the destination.All 3 of these areas are shown in the diagram below:Another important aspect of the rocket are the costs. The full re use allows the cost of each trip to be significantly lower than other trips. This gives a cost per ton of trips to Mars of: <$140,000Habitation: Since the journey to Mars will not be a short stay habitation will be necessary and definitely if we plan to live there in the future. NASA got in contact with 6 big companies to develop the habitation they plan to use on their Mars mission. These six companies were told to develop a habitat capable of supporting life in deep space and to be self sustaining. NASA said their budget was $65 million with the private company's paying 30%. The company's have been working on these projects since 2015 and continue to build on throughout 2018. It is expected the first manned mission to Mars will be big and robust to be able to carry all the equipment required. Once development on these habitats has finished NASA plan to test them out on the moon in 2020 to test them in a deep space environment while still being relatively near to earth6. One major point made by an official called Davies was we have have learnt from previous missions that the crew simply need more space. This was on 7-15 day trips and seeing as the Mars trip would take 6 months and the crew would be living there they would need much more space to avoid claustrophobia and to give each crew member some privacy. The ISS or international space station has been a great example of what we need to survive in deep space and it is expected the designs from these private sector companies will contain seals and air locks to protect the crew from Mars' thin atmosphere. However, the amount of space each crew member has must take priority because they simply cannot survive in too smaller cabin or habitat. It is also extremely vital that these habitats can sustain life for extended periods of time without intervention or cargo drops from Earth. For this a method of farming or growth will be required to provide food for any one who lives there which I will come onto in my next topic1. The ideal plan over an extensive period and with many journeys to Mars would be to begin to build up a colony on the red planet with many larger habitats and a bigger population as well a sustainable method for farming or creating food and water as well as other necessitates to survive along with other areas for rockets coming in and leaving back to earth with fuelling stations and areas to create fuel for the rockets from elements already on the planet. GrowthThe ideal was to sustain life forms on Mars would be to keep a high stock level of food and medicines as well as having sustainable ways to re produce the food and medicines needed. This can prove nearly impossible on Mars because of the heat and the limited sunlight as well as it having a thin atmosphere and lacking basic elements such as oxygen used by plants in photosynthesis and in other chemical functions, keeping them alive and growing1. One private company has offered a solution to this problem in the invention of artificial leaves. These leaves are made from a silicone rubber and only need small amounts of sunlight to transfer enough energy for chemical reactions to take place which can create medicines and other compounds key for human survival. It can absorb light in the day but could be at risk to absorption of some harmful UV rays. To avoid this the leaf can re emit these harmful UV wavelengths and almost filter the wavelengths useful for it and the ones that aren't. This safety can allow nearly any chemical reaction to take place8. An artificial leaf designed by scientists at Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Drury. 8Sunlight could be the key to Mars survival as if you think about it light is almost every where apart from in phenomena such a black holes. On every planet we know of there is light and so this could be the key to growth and sustainability on Mars. The use of solar farming could create food and the Suns energy from its rays could be captured transferred and stored for anything they could be needed for. Medicines are created using catalysts however, these use a substance called methylene blue which isn't available on Mars, the use of a catalyst is to speed up the reactions so medicine production can be efficient and so the same team creating the leaves are working on a new catalyst that would be available on Mars. If this is possible then sustaining growth on Mars would look like a probability8.Of course to live on Mars we would need a source for water and drink. Only last year, NASA discovered liquid flowing water on Mars as well as clean water in the form of ice just under the surface. Using an MRO NASA discovered hydrated minerals and darkish streaks which flowed down hills and mountains. These a found when Mars' temperature is above -23 degrees Celsius and so colder than that the water is found as ice. This could be what we need for water on Mars. It could be extracted from the ice or simply collected when the conditions are just right, this would answer the problem of hydration and could allow survival to be possible12.TerraformingThe final goal for both NASA and Space X is to make Mars a large colony and eventually for it to be earth like. However, any vision of Mars like is if far in the future. The first trips to the red planet will contain mainly essentials to survive as a learning curve for crew on how to adapt to live on Mars. The initial goals will be to make a base that is dust and microbe proof and keep it that way so the crew can live safely. Once established and familiar with the planet the next aims would be farming. Because of the unimaginable costs of sending food and water to Mars farming is the only option. This will mainly take place in large greenhouses as most of life on Mars will have to be indoors due to the composure of its atmosphere. Once a sustainable method for creating food and drink then expansions will be a possibility, more crews will travel there and bigger and more complex habitats will be built until a small city has been created11. This will continue until we have a stable population on Mars and the development can carry on form there. However, that is far in the future. One big change that would have to take place in order for the planet to sustain normal life would be a change to its atmosphere, because Mars' atmosphere is mainly made up of carbon dioxide as a pose to nitrogen on earth along with next to no oxygen. We would have to try and change the composition of the atmosphere. To do this a greenhouse effect would be required, trapping the Suns rays. The best way to do this would be to use elements such as ammonia which could be found in ice rich comets. Since ammonia is mainly made up of nitrogen then this would be a more similar environment to on earth, if we add this with plant life grown in habitats which would release oxygen it could make Mars' atmospheric pressure able to support human life which allows humans to breathe and so no suits would be required. From this point Mars' ice caps could easily be melted allowing flowing oceans and hydration which can support life and with a few changes to Mars' soil it would be near the same as earth14. However, this would last due to Mars having no magnetosphere meaning its atmosphere would be constantly damaged by radiation from the sun and eventually be ripped away11. This is not the only problem. Life would be much different in Mars due to its gravity. On earth, acceleration due to gravity or 'g' is around 9.81 m/s squared, whereas on Mars it is 3.7m/s squared. This is almost one third of the gravity on earth so everyday life would be much different outside on Mars as everyone would weigh less, 63% less to be exact which would make most everyday activities nearly impossible13.Time and cost Problems