[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Re: Thanks, from Brian

Brian                                       Mar 15, 1996

Your chosen field of biochemistry is certainly key to solving
the life-support problems of long-term space flight.  Unfortun-
ately, until NASA has successfully accomplished a crewed Mars
mission, I feel that attempting to define the technology re-
quirements of long-term life-support systems for interstellar
flight will be futile.  We need real-world, empirical knowledge
of the interactions between the crew and their environment and
among the crew members.  And before the Mars mission, I believe
that the most significant step that NASA could take to lay the
groundwork for that mission, both in addressing the life-support
technological concerns and in stimulating public interest and
support for a Mars mission, would be to do Biosphere II right.

If consideration of long-term life-support systems (as well as
related human-factors provisions) for interstellar flight should
be postponed until Mars experience is available, not so with
propulsion systems for interstellar flight.  A competent trans-
Mars propulsion system can be assembled from today's state of
the art (as I show in a 1993 IDA Paper "Entry Velocities at
Mars and Earth for Short Transit Times").  A propulsion system
for interstellar flight, however, is not only well beyond our
current propulsion technology, but it stretches our projections
of current physics to the breaking point.

I don't know what was discussed in the recent "email avalanche"
(it happened before I came on the scene), but from subsequent
quotes attributed to Brian and your mention of "questions per-
taining to engine efficiencies, heat loads, AI's, . .", I need
have no concern that you are uncomfortable with the emphasis on
physics over biochemistry.

Anyhow, thanks for the opportunity to get up on my soapbox and
air some of my biases.  I won't promise not to do this again
whenever I have a chance.