Interplanetary Outpost: The Human and Technological Challenges of Exploring the Outer Planets

Springer Science & Business Media
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"Interplanetary Outpost" follows the mission architecture template of NASA's plan for Human Outer Planet Exploration (HOPE), which envisions sending a crew to the moon Callisto to conduct exploration and sample return activities. To realize such a mission, the spacecraft will be the most complex interplanetary vehicle ever built, representing the best technical efforts of several nations. A wealth of new technologies will need to be developed, including new propulsion systems, hibernation strategies, and revolutionary radiation shielding materials. Step by step, the book will describe how the mission architecture will evolve, how crews will be selected and trained, and what the mission will entail from launch to landing. However, the focus of "Interplanetary Outpost" is on the human element. The extended duration, logistical challenges, radiation concerns, communication lag times, isolation, and deleterious effects on the human body will conspire to not only significantly impair human performance but also affect the behavior of crewmembers. This book addresses each of these issues in detail while still providing the reader with a background to the necessary elements comprising such a mission.
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About the author

Erik Seedhouse is a Norwegian aerospace scientist whose ambition has always been to work as an astronaut. After completing his first degree in Sports Science at Northumbria University, the author joined the legendary 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, the world's most elite airborne regiment. During his time in the "Para's", Erik spent six months in Belize, where he was trained in the art of jungle warfare and conducted several border partols along the Belize-Guatemala border. Later, he spent several months learning the intricacies of desert warfare on the Akamas Range in Cyprus. He made more than 30 jumps from a Hercules C130 aircraft, permored more than 200 abseils from a helicopter, and fired more light anti-tank weapons than he cares to remember!

Upon returning to the comparatively mundane world of academia, the author embarked upon a master's degree studies by winning prize money in 100 km ultradistance running races. Shortly after placing third in the World 100 km Championships in 1992 and setting the North American 100 km record, the author turned to ultradistance triathlon, winning the World Endurance Triathlon Championships in 1995 and 1996. For good measure, he also won the inaugural World Double Ironman Championships in 1995 and the infamous Decatriathlon, the world's longest triathlon - an event requiring competitors to swim 38 km, cycle 1,800 km, and run 422 km. Non-stop!

Returning to academic once again in 1996, Erik pursued his Ph.D. at the German Space Agency's Institute for Space Medicine. While conducting his Ph.D. studies, he still found time to win Ultraman Hawaii and the European Ultraman Championships as well as completing the Race Across America bike race. Due to his success as the world's leading ultradistance triathlete, Erik was featured in dozens of magazines and television interviews. In 1997, GQ magazine nominated him as the "Fittest Man in the World."

In 1999, Erik decided it was time to get a real job. He retired from being a professional triathlete and started his post-doctoral studies at Vancouver's Simon Fraser University School of Kinesiology. In 2005, the author worked as an astronaut training consultant for Bigelow Aerospace in Las Vegas and wrote Tourists in Space, a training manual for spaceflight participant. He is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the Aerospace Medical Association. Recently, he was one of the final 30 candidates of the Canadian Space Agency's Astronaut Recruitment Campaign. Erik currently works as a manned spaceflight consultant, triathlon coach, and author. He is the Training Director for Astronauts for Hire (www.astronautsforhire.org) and plans to travel into space as a paid astronaut.

In addition to being a triathlete, sky-diver, pilot, and author, Erik is an avid scuba-diver and mountaineer and is currently pursuing his goal of climbing the Seven Summits. Interplanetary Outpost is his eigth book. When not writing, he spends as much time as possible in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii and at his real home in Sandefjord, Norway. Erik is owned by three rambunctious cats - Jasper, Mini-Mach, and Lave - who each provided invaluable assistant in writing this book (!).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Feb 2, 2012
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Pages
253
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ISBN
9781441997487
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Sky Observation
Science / Astronomy
Science / Earth Sciences / Geology
Science / Life Sciences / Biophysics
Science / Physics / Astrophysics
Science / Radiation
Technology & Engineering / Aeronautics & Astronautics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Ever since the Montgolfier's hot air balloon carried a chicken, a goat, and a duck into the Parisian skies, scientists have dreamed of contraptions to explore the atmosphere. With the advent of the space age, new airborne inventions were needed. From the Soviet Venus balloons to advanced studies of blimps and airplanes for use in Mars' and Titan's atmospheres, Drifting on Alien Winds surveys the many creative and often wacky ideas astronautical engineers and space scientists have had for exploring alien skies. Through historical photographs and stunning original paintings by the author, readers also explore the weather on various planets and moons, from the simmering acid-laden winds of Venus to the liquid methane-soaked skies of Titan.

Louis Friedman of the Planetary Society and Jacques Blamont of CNES (both involved in Mars and Venus balloon projects) are both interviewed, along with Victor Kerzhanovich of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (planetary balloon systems), Julian Nott (balloonist adventurer and Titan balloon enthusiast), Ralph Lorenz (John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab, team member of the proposed Montgolfier balloon on NASA's flagship mission to Titan), Lockheed Martin's Ben Clark (early atmospheric probe designer), Joe Palaia (UAV tests to Devon Island, Canadian Arctic), Joel Levine, Langley Research Center's principal investigator for the Mars ARES (Aerial Regional Environmental Survey), and Andrew Ingersoll, planetary atmospheres expert at California Institute of Technology, among others.

Oceans were long thought to exist in all corners of the Solar System, from carbonated seas percolating beneath the clouds of Venus to features on the Moon's surface given names such as "the Bay of Rainbows” and the "Ocean of Storms." With the advent of modern telescopes and spacecraft exploration these ancient concepts of planetary seas have, for the most part, evaporated. But they have been replaced by the reality of something even more exotic. For example, although it is still uncertain whether Mars ever had actual oceans, it now seems that a web of waterways did indeed at one time spread across its surface.

The "water" in many places in our Solar System is a poisoned brew mixed with ammonia or methane. Even that found on Jupiter's watery satellite Europa is believed similar to battery acid. Beyond the Galilean satellites may lie even more "alien oceans." Saturn's planet-sized moon Titan seems to be subject to methane or ethane rainfall. This creates methane pools that, in turn, become vast lakes and, perhaps, seasonal oceans. Titan has other seas in a sense, as large shifting areas of sand covering vast plains have been discovered. Mars also has these sand seas, and Venus may as well, along with oceans of frozen lava. Do super-chilled concoctions of ammonia, liquid nitrogen, and water percolate beneath the surfaces of Enceladus and Triton? For now we can only guess at the possibilities.

'Alien Seas' serves up part history, part current research, and part theory as it offers a rich buffet of "seas" on other worlds. It is organized by location and by the material of which various oceans consist, with guest authors penning specific chapters. Each chapter features new original art depicting alien seas, as well as the latest ground-based and spacecraft images. Original diagrams presents details of planetary oceans and related processes.
The world’s most populous nation views space as an asset, not only from a technological and commercial perspective, but also from a political and militaristic one. The repercussions of this ideology already extend far beyond Washington. China vs. United States offers a glimpse of future Chinese aspirations in space and the politico-militaristic implications of a looming space race, and explains why an interplanetary spaceship called the Tsien Hsue Shen might one day travel to the outer planets.

Until China successfully launched taikonauts into orbit, China’s space program had attracted little international attention. The book opens with an analysis of the short fifteen-year history of the China National Space Administration and its long list of accomplishments. Chapter 2 assesses Sino-U.S. technological and commercial interests in space and their implications in fuelling a potential space race. The national security objectives of the U.S. and China are examined, showing how their intentions are increasingly leading to the military integration of space technologies. Chapter 3 describes China’s anxieties about U.S. space power, its obsession with national prestige, and how manned spaceflight is viewed as a crucial element to sustain the legitimacy of the Communist Party. China is currently focusing on similar goals to those of NASA’s Constellation Program - lunar and Mars exploration. The following chapter examines the ambitious plans of both nations, and evaluates whether China’s bold goal of landing taikonauts on the Moon by 2020 is matched by the necessary capability.

In Chapter 5 Dr Seedhouse describes the space hardware being developed by the U.S. and China and the strides taken by China in its attempt to match the technological capability of the U.S. The following chapter provides an overview of China’s introductory manned spaceflights and shows how, despite a lack of experience, the Chinese may soon be in a position to challenge the U.S. in a race to the Moon. In Chapter 7, the author discusses how China’s manned space program can boost the country’s international prestige and also examines the notion of manned spaceflight as a risky way to boost national status and the potential implications of a disaster akin to Challenger and Columbia.

Chapter 8 addresses the questions of alliances and cooperation between NASA and ESA and China and Russia, or, alternatively, the U.S. and China pursuing their space ambitions alone. The implications of each way forward in the context of a looming competition in space are considered. Chapter 9 discusses the repercussions of a Chinese space program overtaking NASA and whether the U.S. has the political will to advance its own space program to prevent its position as sole space superpower being usurped. Given the mutual suspicions existing in both countries, it is perhaps inevitable that Washington and Beijing are on a collision course in space. The final chapter describes the implications of such a confrontation and discusses what, if anything, can be done to avert a new space race.

Martian Outpost provides a detailed insight into the various technologies, mission architectures, medical requirements, and training needed to send humans to Mars. It focuses on mission objectives and benefits, and the risks and complexities that are compounded when linked to an overall planet exploration program involving several expeditions and setting up a permanent presence on the surface.

The first section provides the background to sending a human mission to Mars. Analogies are made with early polar exploration and the expeditions of Shackleton, Amundsen, and Mawson. The interplanetary plans of the European Space Agency, NASA, and Russia are examined, including the possibility of one or more nations joining forces to send humans to Mars. Current mission architectures, such as NASA’s Constellation, ESA’s Aurora, and Ross Tierney’s DIRECT, are described and evaluated.

The next section looks at how humans will get to the Red Planet, beginning with the preparation of the crew. The author examines the various analogues to understand the problems Mars-bound astronauts will face. Additional chapters describe the transportation hardware necessary to launch 4-6 astronauts on an interplanetary trajectory to Mars, including the cutting edge engineering and design of life support systems required to protect crews for more than a year from the lethal radiation encountered in deep space. NASA’s current plan is to use standard chemical propulsion technology, but eventually Mars crews will take advantage of advanced propulsion concepts, such as the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, ion drives and nuclear propulsion.

The interplanetary options for reaching Mars, as well as the major propulsive maneuvers required and the trajectories and energy requirements for manned and unmanned payloads, are reviewed . Another chapter addresses the daunting medical problems and available countermeasures for humans embarking on a mission to Mars: the insidious effects of radiation on the human body and the deleterious consequences of bone and muscle deconditioning. Crew selection will be considered, bearing in mind the strong possibility that they may not be able to return to Earth. Still another chapter describes the guidance, navigation, and control system architecture, as well as the lander design requirements and crew tasks and responsibilities required to touch down on the Red Planet.

Section 3 looks at the surface mission architectures. Seedhouse describes such problems as radiation, extreme temperatures, and construction challenges that will be encountered by colonists. He examines proposed concepts for transporting cargo and astronauts long distances across the Martian surface using magnetic levitation systems, permanent rail systems, and flying vehicles. In the penultimate chapter of the book, the author explains an adaptable and mobile exploration architecture that will enable long-term human exploration of Mars, perhaps making it the next space-based tourist location.

Performing in a high G environment is extremely demanding on the body: pulling G forces blood to the body’s extremities, putting the pilot, astronaut or driver at risk of G-Induced Lack of Consciousness (G-LOC). In “Pulling G” Erik Seedhouse describes what it feels like to pull 7 G in a fighter plane and the G pressures on the body when driving a Formula 1 car and many other gravity-defying vehicles. The book relates, for the first time, the effects of G in both hyper-gravity and microgravity. It describes the human response to increased and decreased G and the potentially dangerous effects of high G, with particular reference to dynamic injuries sustained in high acceleration environments. “Pulling G” provides an overview of G-related research and the development of intervention methods to mitigate the effects of increased and reduced G. As well as relating the training required to overcome G-forces on the Formula 1 track, Erik Seedhouse looks at the G forces encountered in such G environments as ejection from an aircraft, launch/re-entry, and zero-G. The book also considers how artificial gravity can be used to prevent bone demineralization and to reduce the effects of de-conditioning in astronauts.

Erik Seedhouse is eminently qualified to describe the effects of large accelerations on the body. In addition to being the author of several previously published Springer Praxis books, he has developed astronaut-training protocols and is the training director for Astronauts for Hire (A4H). He is also the Canadian Forces’ High Risk Acceleration Training Officer.
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