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Travelling to Mars - The Realistic Thread
The SpaceX's program and Trump's program bring back the the dream of travelling to Mars.

From everything I'v read on the topic, it's much more difficult than one thinks.
Here is a nice little summary
And here is what I think we need to do:

1/ Artificial gravity. As the mission will last 21 months, it won't be a good idea to send people in weightlessness for so long.
The only way is to rotate two parts of the vessel around one axis. We would have two modules connected by cables, a structure or a corridor.
According to SpinCalc and someone on worldbuilding stackexchange, the distance between the two modules would in the order of 100m to be half-confortable with 1G or close to 1G.
But there has never been any spatial experiment yet.
The first thing would be to build an experimental gravity station.

2/ Magnetic shield. The second or maybe the first (scientists don't really know) problem is cosmic rays. They can be limited by a magnetic shield. Creating this magnetic shield is possible. Some experiments have been done already, but no spatial one. That's another thing we have to develop in space before leaving.
The device will be probably heavy, take a lot of energy and remains constantly reliable at 100%.
It means there must be spare parts or even a complete redundant system in case of break down. It should also have alternative power supplies, in case solar panels fails. Astronauts can't stay more than a few days exposed to cosmic rays without severe health damages.
Material shield is overly heavy and inefficient.

3/ Living space. Sometimes I'm scared about the tiny space offered to astronaut in different projects, all irrealistic.
One thing is obvious: We will need something much bigger if we don't want the crew to run schizo. 
The crew should be made of at least 4, maybe 3. (See why below)

4/ Unmanned replica. IMO it's too risky to send humans without doing a first test with a spacecraft without anyone on board but being the same as the one that will be used. So we will have to build not one but two vehicles.
The second advantage is that once we put a first spacecraft in Mars orbit, the crew will be able to return with this one or be used for spare parts if their own spacecraft is damaged.
Same for the landing vehicle.
Same with fuel, food, solar panels, power units, space suits etc...

5/ Station modules and habitat should be sent before. First to make sure they are there. Second to divide load into two shipings.

With all this, I think it's a good idea to start with a station on Moon's orbit. This will make a more real experiment, closer to what will be during the mission to Mars than Earth's orbit.

It would make sens also to try to extract basic material from the Moon to build the ship or produce fuel. This could be even more costly and difficult than moving the whole thing from Earth, but much better for the long term.
Unfortunately, here too, we are nowhere near the first experimental stage. They talk about it but I don't think it's contemplated for a concrete and actual program.

Using 3D printers and other interresting stuffs

Astronaut Peggy Whitson Wrote:A trip to the Red Planet might be possible sometime in the 2030s.
Trump Wrote:"Well, we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term, so we'll have to speed that up a little, OK?"
We'll do our best!  Aww

Professor Tom Pike Wrote:Currently even the space station is out of reach. The American astronauts now there are there courtesy of the Russians
LOL.  Doh  link

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