Monday, May 14, 2012

First Landing

Seven red dragon landers have been waiting two years on the surface of mars for this day. Three teams of four astronauts each, currently in two ships in orbit, will compete for the right to be the first humans to land on mars.

All the red dragons sit in a circle around a central dragon on the mars equator, all about ten kilometers apart (or perhaps a little farther and on the edges of the landing ellipse of the crew landers) and identically equipped. Each contains a Thorium reactor that provides 250KW of power for a minimum of twenty years. Each has life support supplies for a dozen astronauts, water for six months, food for two years (and seeds to grow more) and oxygen indefinitely produced by portable equipment from martian air.

Each dragon contains the essential elements (a starter kit) of the mars construction set (an adaption of the global village construction set) including machine tools and two power cubes that run on locally produced methane providing portable electricity and hydraulic power. Solar panels are also included but not deployed. Update: A case for solar panels alone.

Each team of four will work around the clock using rovers in continuous contact by satellites with the crew to each build habitats around three of the dragons. They will start by digging a 50 m. trench, 10 m. wide and deep. In it they will put an inflatable habitat with airlocks at each end that will be covered with dirt once in place in the trench. They are considered complete when sensors report they are fully inflated and covered so that radiation inside is low enough to be safe (at the highest daily radiation levels.) Once the first team completes its second habitat they win; then they all continue to work so that all seven dragons have two habitats completed nearby. Each habitat will be completed by a ground team so they have life support for a dozen at each habitat.

The four chosen to be the first humans on mars will take one of the three red dragons in orbit with them to the martian surface to land near the central dragon and its habitat. With them they have a electric rover capable of towing a trailer up to 40 km. on a single charge. Which means they need to land within 50 km. (this range could be extended) of the central dragon or they will have a problem. Since this will be the eighth precision landing of a red dragon (more if there have been precursor missions which we can assume) they should have a good idea of their chances. A power cube and solar panels brought with them can extend their range. The collapsible trailer has an inflatable habitat with life support for six. Once they land (after appropriate ceremony is recorded) they will move supplies and equipment into the closest habitat. Their first priority will be looking for water. Those in orbit will be exploring with rovers.

Those on the ground will begin construction of the first Zubrin 50 m. hobby farm. They will need three or four of these to fully supply all twelve colonists. They will have materials to build a dozen. Once completed, the first level of self sufficiency will have been accomplished.

After that they get down to life as the remaining eight in orbit join them on the surface with two more red dragons. They will each claim a half acre property near each other (part of their one square kilometer settlement claim) and help each other build personal habitats. They will then complete the missing elements of their mars construction set with each taking on their own specialties. A banking system will be established to facilitate barter. A title company will be established to maintain chain of title. No zoning board will exist to tell anyone how they can subdivide or use their own property.

They will not be able to bring all their supplies from orbit which will be left as extra provisions for colonists that follow. Those that follow will each have a private home waiting for them and can claim their own one square kilometer of mars. Each will choose to manufacture or grow or mine elements required for life on mars. A truly new world will provide a backup for the only one we've known.

They can decide for themselves whether to enslave themselves to 'the public' or remain free people.

No comments: