Ep. 064 - Mars, commercial space travel with Space-X, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic
Space travel... yup.. that is what we are talking about in this episode! Feel free to ping us on social media with your thoughts on this episode or any of our others - Follow us on twitter at https://twitter.com/bobandkevinshow.
You think I'd get this right eventually? Yeah,
well, yeah. So, yeah. So what he's talking about is we try to sync up our audio because we're still about 1050 miles apart. So we do this, like seance and ritual. And we hit the button at the same time.
And you know what? Bear in mind, this is Episode 64. So we've been doing this for a pretty long time. Yeah, I can never remember it. It's like, what's that movie with? Two buddy flick? where it's like, are we going on three? Or is it three go? Right? It's a cop show. cop movie.
Of course. Okay. So Bob, approximately approximately 40 years ago.
You were born.
Hmm, yeah, a little more than that. But approximately 40 years ago, we sent out a few probes. They were named Voyager one. Voyager to you want to guess how far away from Earth they are right now?
40 years - they've made it past Saturn.
Oh no, they've left the solar system.
Oh, well then I'm correct.
Answer Jeopardy what or who is somebody that's never been in my kitchen? Well, yes. I don't know. Ah, anyway, they're they're far, far away. throw me off. So today I would like to talk a little bit about about travel. Oh, no, we're not going alien ADAL space probes from South Park. We're just going space for weeks.
But we did mention aliens, so maybe we'll get some less.
Yes, yes, absolutely.
Unknown Speaker 1:57
You are listening to the Bob and Kevin show. We're Bob Baty Barr and Kevin miszewski. Each week we cover relevant tech and social issues related to technology. Our website is Bob and Kevin dot show. And our episodes can be found virtually on any Podcast Network. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Just search for Bob and Kevin show.
So, what I want to focus on isn't Star Trek type stuff where it's like want to be fantastical if we could sail the space and stars and visit all these m class planets and have sex with green aliens. Allah Captain Kirk
right when we talk about the lesser known Starfleet vessels
supplemental Okay, so, I had a fan on here just turn it off. Hopefully they come through the audio but too late. Now
Anyway, I'm surrounded by fans. Just kidding.
So I want to stay away from the fantastical side of space travel because we have Netflix CBS all access the new Picard series for Star Trek is streaming live now etc. So I don't really want to go that route. What I want to try to focus on
Unknown Speaker 3:22
is this is the most fantastical time for space travel in the history of man.
In what way
we have individual companies, not just governments in the space
Unknown Speaker 3:34
travel game, that's so rather than fantastic.
Rather than apply the hashtag of fantastical to SpaceX, I will apply the hashtag of practical and that's actually what I want to talk about the practicality what is realistic, I think in terms of space travel in the year 2020. And looking ahead, because why my 11 year old son says Dad, why haven't we been to Mars yet? And I said, well, because it's really far away. It's hard, right? It's It's not easy. So why is it hard? Well, guess what? I've made a bunch of show notes here and outline, if you will, that I would like to share with you, Bob. How does that sound?
It sounds great. But I already have a question. Yes. So we mentioned those probes that have been jettison away from Earth for 40 years, and they are past Saturn, in fact, well outside our solar system, and they've never
been in my kitchen.
Okay, never even in my kitchen. Yes. They got there over the course of 40 years. However, there's no way that a person could go at the speed that those vehicles are traveling correct.
They can because humans just need to survive the G force. And g force only exists if there's acceleration. So let's say you're going 17,000 miles an hour, all you're actually doing is just orbiting Earth but you don't don't feel any g force because You're not accelerating, you're at a constant speed. Is that the speed of an orbiting vessel? Yeah, if you want to orbit around Earth, you have to go around 17,000 miles an hour. And actually, my son Jackson asked me, Why is that dad? And I tried to explain to him if he took a heavy object like a bolt or nut and tied it to a string, you spun it around. That bolt, actually is a pretty good model for this because that bolt wants to fly away from the center. However, it cannot fly fully away because of the string. Well, if we look at that, in terms of an earth model, the string is gravity and the speed that keeps that string tight, it happens to be 17,000 miles an hour. If you go faster than 17,000 miles an hour. What would happen Bob? The string still won't break. The string won't break, but Well, technically, yes, it does because you leave Earth's orbit grass Nobody can no longer contain you.
And so you're going around this circle at 17,000. Well, actually, the theory is, is those crafts aren't really going around the circle, the gravity is what keeps them in the circle, right?
Well, you're anything orbiting Earth is constantly falling back to Earth. with gravity. However, it's the balance between centrifugal force trying to push you away from Earth because you're spinning around it so fast and gravity holding you on. So it's a delicate balance. If you don't go at least 17,000 miles an hour you d orbit and you come back to Earth. That's why you have to go from 17,000 miles an hour to something more agreeable on Earth, because that's not good to hit the ground at 17,000 miles an hour, you need to slow down and, and the air itself heats up. That's why you have the like the space shuttle shuttle and the Apollo capsules and all that have those heat shields because you need to decelerate essentially. And if you go faster than 17,000 miles an hour you just leave Earth orbit and go somewhere else.
So the other day De the Dragon capsule, right? Is that what they back out up to Mach two?
Well, they if you're talking about they did a emergency abort test, right? Yes. And I don't know if it left, it didn't leave the atmosphere. Because the idea there was, hey, if we have to hit the ohshit button or some automatic system hits the ohshit button, can these dude survive the G forces? And can they get away from the rocket and it was a successful test?
Right, but I saw a stat that it said that the capsule got up to so they had mentioned live that it got past Mach one. I think Ilan came out as part of the post analysis and said it got up to mock to do people good at Mach two. I believe two times the speed of sound, right. Right.
But again, it all depends on acceleration. You right now you're going I don't know 1000 miles an hour just spinning around Earth, but because you're not accelerating, it's a constant speed, no big deal. So going Mach two is not a big deal. The problem or the difference here is when you're on a rocket, you're not at a constant speed, you're going from zero to Mach two. So there's a constant acceleration so a g force being imparted on you. And when that rocket fires on the top of that to to tear off the the people to take them to safety, there's even more g forces because there's an acceleration that happens. And then being a paratrooper I'm very familiar with the deceleration g force when your parachute opens. Holy shit. Ah, you know, it's like, but it's the best feeling in the world because you know, your parachute opens because
you know, you're not gonna bounce.
Yeah, at least not yet. Exactly. It's it's not the fear of heights that will ever kill you. It's a sudden stop at the bottom. That's the one you need to look out for.
I don't know speaking for someone who's afraid of heights that could possibly get me
so let me ask you a Question about space? Like, why? Why do humans want to go to space? So I wrote down two possibilities. Actually, let's, let's call it three, just the technology like satellites. Okay, space, we know there's a use case their space tours. So you got like Virgin Galactic selling tickets, basically to go up to low Earth orbit, and then come back, and then colonization. So those are the three things I can think of. Is there anything outside of the way three?
I think exploration is probably the top of the heap. Right? Okay.
Yeah, okay. Yeah, I don't know. I didn't really, I mean, I guess I conflated colonization with exploration. So you could take a lap around the moon and come back home and exploring the surface of the moon.
Right. Right. But we have those unmanned probes we started the show out with that are really just on a mission of pure exploration. True.
They're not as necessary. Go ahead.
Well, Virgin Galactic is not actually doing trips, though. Yet, right, but they're selling tickets.
They have things that can go up to the edge of space and back and they are selling tickets. But I honestly it's priced out of my budget, so I haven't kept up on it.
Hmm, yeah, I felt like that was still vaporware, that they're not really actually doing that.
I would agree. I would tend to agree with so we kind of have those four sorts of things, space tours, colonization, exploration, and just you know, app applying communication tech or telescopes and shit like that, right?
Yeah, sorry, hang on. I'm looking at this Virgin Galactic bullshit. Actually, they actually have been into space But have they been into space with paying customers? Well, I thought
I saw recently where they can touch the edge of space. So it also comes down to the legal What does going to space air quotes me
right? It's a quarter million dollars for 90 minute flight. they've received about $80 million in deposits from future astronauts.
Unknown Speaker 11:03
frick? That was December of 2018.
Hey, man, we need a tax write off its tax season. By the way, we need a tax write off, Hey, I know want to buy a ticket. You can hide some of that money in a space tour. ism. Right?
Yeah. All right, I'll stop looking at that crap. So you asked me a question about telescopes and whatnot. What did you say? Well,
well, basically, I think we boil it down to why the frick should we even go to space? And I think we have four kind of reasons, right? Why do we give a fuck? Right? We have exploration, space tourism, colonization, and then applying technology like satellites and stuff like that.
Right during that also just what people do, like people are starved to learn about things they don't know about.
True. I mean, you hear stuff all the time. We know more about outer space than we know about our own oceans like we just kind of Right. Yeah, we I mean, we lost the whole airplane and H 370. Somewhere in earth in an ocean somewhere. Nobody can find it. That's weird. Yeah, that's strange. Okay, so, space. It's not easy, right? So to come back to my son's thought, hey, why am I getting the Mars yet? Well, I mean, think about the moon. That was 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong's dead
in theory, in theory, it was just oh,
you know, one of those people are, you know, I was you know, almost had me there. Okay. So it's it's been 50 years and then we did the whole space shuttle thing and we're like, hey, reusable spaceships and shit. And that kind of like turned into Well, they can do low Earth orbit. They're basically fancy satellites with with a crew cab, and then that comes back down. Yeah, that's cool. It's an advancement, but then they killed him off. They killed off the space shuttle. That is event Then enter Space X and there's some other ones. But of course, they're not as ubiquitous, I guess a Space X. What's this one called? Like deep blue or something like that? Bad? I don't know. Why am I not surprised Jeff Bezos is shoveling money into a space program? Is it like a billionaire thing to be like? Well, let's see, we need our own spaceship company.
Well, no. And that was actually one of the cruxes of the article that I sent you earlier today is that, you know, one of the things that happens in any industry like this, especially when it's early, you know, like early adopter early get into that there's a consolidation. And, you know, one company will acquire the other and, and make itself bigger gain technology, but they don't feel like the three billionaires that are doing it. So you got Branson, Bezos, and musk. And they don't see any of the three of those actually working together or like, you know, combining.
So it's totally a billionaire. It's a billionaire thing, like what are you doing? I got Well, I better get to.
That's fair. So it takes a long time to get anywhere in traffic here on Earth takes even longer to get somewhere by airplane. But you know, we can still get around this earth. You know, like the longest flight, you know, just happened recently. You can go from like London to Sydney, and a ridiculous amount of times like 14 hour flight or something ridiculous. I don't know, pick a number. So you get to outer space. Hey, now we're using spaceships. We'll get there faster. Right? Well, I have a list here, Bob. And I'm going to go through all eight planets, and even give you a bonus one called Pluto.
And back in or is out again. No,
it's still out. We're still still blaming people like Neil deGrasse Tyson.
I thought it was not eggs. I thought it you know, it's good. It's bad. It's in the towel.
I think it's still out. So we're going to start from the end and go out. How long do you think it would take us to get the mercury let's say you had a reason to go to New York mercury. What you don't
we'd never make it because we'd burn up. Um, there's bad to get to mercury right now.
Yeah. How long would it take on a current technology?
year and a half?
Hundred and 47 days is what it would take
Unknown Speaker 15:17
half a year. Sorry. Well, that Well,
hold on. There's an asterisk here. Hundred 47 days is what it took the mercury probe in 1970. And so in the 1970s to go past there, however, to slow down enough to actually land can actually take six and a half years. Oh, that is it because Sydney has to match the orbital velocity and slowing down is hard. Because we always think about space travel and getting up to speed and getting there quick. Well, what they don't show you in Star Trek is much is the brakes right? How do you slow down and not splat right into the planet or just totally miss it
without a for some really bad TV. If there are We've got to spend a half an episode slowing down.
I'm doing the best I can but the brakes this quickie, so Yeah, exactly. All right.
Who is that? okati
that's my best Scotty. All right, Venus. How long do you think it would take to get to Venus?
With the slowing down.
I don't know if this one's qualified with this line that just pick a number. How long would take the flyby get there touch it. About 15 months apparently Oh, apparently the the program mercker is called messenger and we sent Magellan to Venus and it took 15 months. Now. As we get through this, you might start thinking Wait a second. I've seen the solar system model Earth can be on the left hand side and the planet we're going to
be calculating this based on Well, path I'm sure,
right. So NASA does their thing and says, Well, we've decided our our window to get there is here and it took 15 months. And then do you remember how many days of course, do you remember? Hey, Bob, remember that time you watch Apollo 11? land? No, you were sorry. I didn't mean to imply. Well, Bob, you went to venture gas on how long it took Apollo 11 to get to the moon.
I feel like that wasn't very long. Like it was less than a day, right? Fuck this
Mars the opportunity lander, believe it or probe? Whatever opportunity was. How long do you think it took to get to Mars?
Well, I feel like I've heard that that is an 18 month one way trip.
You know, I, I've heard anything from six months to five years. I'm like, I'm gonna Google that shit. And we're going to come back to it more but Took opportunity seven months there.
But that was the slowing down to land or no did not want to actually slow down and land.
I have a list of things that have gone to Mars and we're going to cover that in a minute. So stick a pin in that. If you were to, if you were the GALILEO research for the GALILEO probe, and we happen to send you out to Jupiter, which we did, how long do you think it would take to get Jupiter?
12 years? Six years pretty good.
Right on Bob, we sent Cassini to Saturn, how long did you think that took? And that left in 1997 and got there in the year 2000 and 7004.
So it took seven years to I'm getting closer.
Now this one, I'm going to try not to giggle because it's it's how, how long did it take to get to your anus?
Unknown Speaker 19:00
I'm get going. Yes, apparently boys are when it did it hit so we have two voyagers one and two but one of the Voyagers it took eight and a half years so we sent
a probe to your anus
apparently, you know it's funny because over the years you know when I grew up we called it your anus but apparently you know Uranus Uranus. But you know when did that happen? Did just like the political correct people say no caffrey Uranus. We got to see Uranus.
Too many elementary school children losing their shit every time they talked about space.
Yes. And then Voyager made it to Neptune. How long do you think it took to get the Neptune so from the beginning?
That's right, Bob 12 years. And then new horizons. That's one of the most recent ones and it made it to Pluto, which is a nonprofit It in 2015 but can you guess when we actually sent the probe
to Pluto? 1998 2006. So
it took nine and a half years to Pluto is on one of those really weird orbits where it's like get some 200 year like, you know, once around the Sun thing. It's kind of weird
because it's really far away.
Yes. So what I was kind of getting at here is it takes a long time to get somewhere. In fact, some more examples of going to Mars as promised here Viking one and 1976 took 335 days to get there. Viking to also in 1976 360 days almost a year to get there. In 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter 210 days curiosity 253 days and Phoenix lander 295 days so yeah, takes a minute to get there. So How's the space travel looking to you so far? Bob, do you want to go anywhere in the solar system? It's starting to look pretty, pretty long.
Well, but it's interesting though, when you look at those probe type vehicles and some of the other ones, they're not very big, so their fuel capacity is not very big, so they probably can't do like very long giant sustained burns. So their speed is probably far less than what we would achieve in something that could take passengers right.
Yeah, so the the speed at which we hurl the thing, whether it's got people in or not, is dependent on how much fuel there is in it hundred percent. The and the reason you can't put much fuel, let alone a lot of payload into a rocket is because leaving Earth's atmosphere isn't easy. You have to overcome that whole gravity thing out here on Earth. Once you get out of Earth's gravity. You keep chugging along, but the real trouble is just that in Lift.
So is the new thing that I'm hearing? Or did I totally make this up in my mind that we're going to be exploring, like a staging from the moon, so it doesn't take as much fuel to get out from there.
I've heard of some things like that, but I think we're,
we're moon though, right? Like, I feel like there's a new commitment to going back.
That's what Trump said, right? We will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars. And perhaps someday too many worlds beyond. That's what he said. But I don't know if he's just sad to say it, you know, he didn't exactly say in this decade, I promise we will go to the moon or whatever, you know, Kennedy said so every every note he ever says, decayed, or that's weird, very Boston. It is it's east coast. All right. Um, so There are challenges with going on through space travel. One of the dangers Yes, duh. One of the dangers is radiation. So once you get outside of Earth's magnetic field and they had this problem with Apollo is the sun wants to kill you. It wants to irradiate you and here on earth we are protected by the ozone, the magnetic thinking and all that so you got radiation. The next thing you got is supplies, you know humans, or let's assume human space travel here. We need food, water, oxygen, shelter, power. What else do we need Bob? Anything or that covered?
Open the door, hang it out. Close the door.
That's not how that works in space.
But they've got that pretty well figured out right? I mean, I imagine if you can stay on the space station for a year they figured out where to put the pool right.
Good point. Yeah so the space station we really haven't covered that
so so you need so you have radiations problem distances a problem supplies so the food water oxygen and what have you just break down this there's no like you know a spaceships broke down think you could take a look at it you know somewhere out in the middle nowhere triple A is not coming out to fix you right?
Yeah those first people that are going to be making that trip they're gonna it's pretty much going to be a success or not.
So as we alluded to one of the challenges is just getting up to speed you have to break out of Earth's atmosphere. So you're going to have to go at least 17,000 miles an hour in a direction. And let's say you're going to Mars. At some point, you gotta slow down. Slowing down is part of the equation. A lot of times these rockets nice probes will We'll face back the way it was coming in, do a burn to decelerate. And then one of the troubles you have there if you actually want to land on Mars, because that'll put you into orbit around Mars, is now you're changing atmospheres. So the engine that gets you from off of Earth is one thing, the engine that got you from Earth to Mars, maybe another and then the engine that puts you back man safely onto Mars could be a third one, it could be like the first one. So I have a list of rocket types here that Oh, my goodness.
Couldn't we just group I'm into small, medium and large? I don't understand.
I don't know because I'm gonna say I'll be like, I've never heard of the heavier this one. Yeah, so we're going to do that in a second. But of course, when you enter Martian atmosphere, you could use a parachute. So passive braking thing like a parachute bouncy balloons. I guess retrorockets would be more of an active thing, but that's a common thing. So Imagine just leaving Earth atmosphere. A lot of times we use solid rockets or liquid rockets, right? Yeah, very traditionally see him on TV? Blah, blah, blah. So those were all very familiar with but apparently there's the Hall Effect thruster, Bob do remember the Hall Effect thruster?
What are we talking about those when it we were talking about starlink? Yes. Perfect. Like that ion exchange kind of deal. Is that what that is?
That's right. So, you ever remember, remember, maybe you did or didn't Popular Mechanics, you know, when I was growing up as a kid Popular Mechanics would be in somebody's mailbox, it happened to read it. And it would always be this fantastical new engine that you know, this will get us to Mars in five years, you know, blah, blah, blah. You're tracking with me? You know the guy. Yeah.
Very familiar with Popular Mechanics. Popular Science. Yeah. Yeah, maybe? Yeah, one of those. And so kennix is going to be more like on the ground here. I'm sure you're thinking popular song.
Yeah, I think you're right. Very good. So at some point, you got to go Well, today that stuff ever pan out? And how would you know? So Wikipedia actually has a list. And NASA keeps a scale, if you will, it goes from one to nine. Number. So if you're a number one type technology, you are a basic principle observed and report it basically, you're a shower thought at this point, no more. Then it goes all the way up to level nine, which is, it's in operations and it's in testing and there's everywhere in between there. So if I look at my list of space propulsion, and I'm going to send you a link just just cuz I
can follow along at home.
Yes, exactly. So if you guys scroll down, there's there's a table but only 1234 or five six types of engines, if I counted correctly, are actually flight proven number nine And then you've got three that are eights, two that are sevens. Oh, it looks like solar sails are also a nightmare. So I guess seven. But there's a lot of these technologies that are like, well seems like a good idea. We're throwing a shit ton of money at it, but none of its ever actually kind of gone anywhere. And if you think of things like warp drives and things like that, I think that those are on this list somewhere.
But what that's got to be closer to one though, right? Yeah. Oh, yeah. I don't even know drive is totally theoretical, right?
Yeah. Okay, so, uh, what's interesting about this list, you have solid rockets and liquid rockets, and the column that I am interested in is the firing duration. Think about it. They can only fire those rockets for a few minutes, right. And that shit either is you've used all your fuel or you got to conserve it. The ones that are interesting are the Hall Effect thrusters, which are on the starlink satellites. Those things can last months, if not years. And so the idea is if you are constantly accelerating and within acceptable human you know, where you won't kill a human. You know, could you get to Mars or somewhere much quicker because you don't? Why? Cuz you're burning constantly because in order to get to Mars quicker, you just need to use more fuel. And so there's not very many engine types on here that last a long time. They're pretty much like fireworks if you will. Yep, yep, there was. That's all we got. And so I'm not very optimistic that we're going to get to you space or to Mars. That is any quicker. What do you think?
No, I don't I mean, I don't see anything on this list that would actually put us you know, it not within reality. No. So we're living on existing technology, which means we need a giant fuel capacity and we're not going to be able to go very fast.
So if we look at Mars again and go, Okay, how long does it take to get to Mars? We originally said about seven months However, because the way Earth and Mars you know, kind of dance around the sun at different, you know, speeds and whatnot, it could actually be as closest 39 days, or as far as 289 days, however, comma, that assumes a straight line distance because we've always been told, well, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So that straight line will take you through the sun in some cases, and ignores gravity and orbits and things like that. So practically speaking, it takes about nine months to get there. And that the real son of a gun here is is that window of opportunity, where it's about seven to nine months to get there is only every 26 months So imagine somebody on Mars calling 911 Hello, NASA 911 how many states are emergency? All right, well, we'll be there in 26 months, maybe, you know, it's not very practical. So that's another challenge. You're, you're pretty much in the frontier. No kidding, right?
Well, not only is it a challenge for the rescue aspect of it, or the health aspect, but also just the practicality of the trip in general. So let's say we go once we're going again, a year and two months later,
probably not. Or probably yes, I mean, you've got you've got a land people on that planet, often right?
Right. Yeah. But I guess what I'm getting at though is like what is the so one leaves today say the window is today. Say it gets there in nine months. They're not getting any support again, for another No, well, 16 1718 months,
not necessarily. I mean, because Earth and Mars are still out there. So you could send somebody this week and somebody else next week except the people that leave this week, it takes them seven months to get there. The people who leave next week at seven months and plus, maybe three weeks because Mars is getting ahead or getting behind Earth is pulling ahead, you know, that sort of thing,
right? But logistically speaking, you're not going to start staggering them like that until we have a proven method and sustainability.
properly. Right. So what are some of the challenges of colonizing Mars specifically? Well, if we come back to food, water, got it. Oxygen, shelter, communications and distance. Those are my main ones here. So we haven't really talked about Communications at all. Know what really grinds my gears about Star Trek Bob. A lot, but let me help you. It has a lot Do the communications because Starfleet Command on earth will be sending a message to Captain Picard and Captain Picard will take it. And he's 100 light years away from Earth, right? And then suddenly he just can speak real time to Starfleet Command makes no sense whatsoever. Because, wait a second, if communication signals travel speed of light, and we're 100 light years away from Earth, shouldn't that radio message take 100 years to get to us? So that bothers me. So, yes, in real terms, if you were to make that 911 call from Mars, or if you wanted to send a Christmas Graham to an astronaut, or whatever, do you want to send the signal, it takes you anywhere from three minutes to about 22 minutes depending on the position of Earth and Mars in relation to each other. You want to talk about latency as it says and latency. considerable lag going on there. So the other day somebody on Twitter had mentioned, you know, time zones with Mars, I'm like, Oh my god, could you imagine having to code not only time for Earth, but time in relation to another planet? Oh boy, how do you want to go there? Is that even possible? You know, train, a train leaves a station on Earth. Another train leaves the station on Mars. When will these two trains collide? Yes, their space trains But yeah, I mean, that's just like, Ah, you have to have,
yeah, but the daylight the definition of a day on Mars is going to be substantially different than a definition of a day here.
Right? So we have universal time here on Earth. Where in Zulu time, does that become the Galactic time? You know, if I'm on Mars, do I just have to care about well what time is it back on Earth but you're right, they have different orbit, orbital periods as they rotate and then they go around the Sun differently. I don't even know if my mind can comprehend this at this point.
Yeah, this is becoming less and less of a potential possibility as we were on here on the timeline of broadcast.
All right, so have you seen the Martian with? What's his name?
Yes. I think so. Where he says, I'm going to science the shit out of this. So the premise of the movie is he grows potatoes and the thing Yes, he gets left behind left for dead and then he's actually not dead. It's a pretty good movie. I think Neil deGrasse Tyson says pretty realistic. So I wanted to know, all right, could Is that possible? I did some some interweb research. So let's, let's look at food. So you're Matt Damon. Wait, wait, wait. So you googled? Is it possible to grow food on Mars? Yeah. And there's lots of stuff like that NASA has their own papers on this and I'm going to reference this.
Yes. How does Now even though they've only sent a little rovers
Ah, so I'm going to send you another link while I I talk here. And long story short, we need food right? So how do you grow food on Mars? Well, there's two ways you can grow here. Easy. No, no, we're not going fantastical. Here. We're going practical. So I can't walk and chew gum at the same time. I can't cut and paste and talk at the same time here. Okay, so link set. So I familias hydroponics. Oh yeah. So hydroponics for the lay listeners, you can grow plants without soil at all. All you have to do is basically put nutrient rich water over the roots, and then voila, you have a plant. So Secondly, you can also grow that's overly simplified, but okay. Are you an expert, Bob, can you please enlighten us?
Plenty of plants with too much water. So trust me, it's possible. All right.
So, in the movie with Matt Damon, he grows food basically under attempt, if you will. And according to NASA, Mars has all the nutrients needed for growing stuff. And, in fact, let's see here. I don't know if that that link working that I sent you.
Yeah, but what about so these are all the things that they found that were positive in this world that would support life. But what about the bad things?
Well, they didn't list them here. But what about things that would be damaging to plants? Like what if it's overly acidic, or all those things,
I can barely get my grass to grow. So I'm no expert at this. But according to their little PDF here, white paper, all the essential plant nutrients are available such as oxygen, carbon, hydrogen bottle bottle, and there's a big list. All right, nobody wants to hear the list. It's out there and Google it. Alright, so assuming to it Assuming we can feed ourselves and that we've overcome the distance to get to Mars in the landing and all that fun stuff. Next thing is water. Where do you think we're going to get water from Bob
from all the ice?
Yes. Where's the ice on Mars though?
I believe it's underground.
Very good. According to my sources, the ice is just below the surface. And or mostly at the southern polar cap. Apparently, there's enough ice frozen up the solar or the southern polar cap. In order to if it were to melt, there would be 36 feet of water over the whole planet. Allegedly. So
that's a lot of water. Give it a couple lifetimes and I'm sure we'll figure out how to flood that place too.
Well, there there's a problem with water on Mars. Bob, do you want to guess what that is? liquid gravity of this note close. If it's not gravity You have no idea what it would be. Bob, if you were to take off your space helmet as you're whipping around Earth trying to fix the Hubble Telescope for the 10th time, what would happen to you?
Something bad, I'm assuming
Yes. where I'm going with this is water here on Earth, liquid water only stays liquid because of temperature and one other element and that is pressure. So if you take a cup of water with you all the way up to outer space, it will evaporate, it'll boil away because the boiling point of water changes depending on how much pressure there so in a vacuum water will boil instantly, right?
It's at a much lower temperature here,
right? So if you take off your space, how much space your liquids boil away, that doesn't sound very fun. So on Mars, it only has 1% of the pressure atmospheric pressure that Earth does. So liquid water If you could haven't liquid water, it would instantly boil away. So it doesn't want to be liquid. You need to have it pressurized.
How does it stay in a frozen state that
frozen water is different than liquid? Well, that's why I kept trying to qualify it with liquid water. Because I don't know chemistry.
Yeah, but don't you think that the low boiling point due to the lack of pressure would prevent the frozen state from even occurring?
This I have no idea I out of my pay grade.
I don't know science well enough, either. I just I feel like there's lots of really smart people that are you know, investigated this but some of it's not logical out for me.
So, so we could get our food, we can get our water allegedly. If we do some stuff.
We'd have to create artificial pressure environment so it wouldn't boil.
Well, you have to do that anyway. It's called your space suit. Because so you don't your liquids inside you don't boil
well sorry, larger scale right artist. Fishel pressurized areas
in Well, you're gonna need a habitat Anyway, you don't want to be like, we're on year three, and I've never taken off my space suit. I've snapped on the inside because I haven't been able to clear anything Reek. Oh my god, but my poop chute. Still working. It's not gummed up too much yet. Anyway, so you've got to have some sort of habitat, which takes the Academy. Next point. In order to go to Mars, you don't just go to Mars with nothing there. You should you should pre stage a bunch of habitats, rovers, food emergency rations, right? You're sending all that way heavier.
That gets back to one of my earlier comments, though, like how, how many? I mean, realistically, we start right this second. We had all the materials to send up there. Just think about how many trips it would take to even stage the area given optimizing the distance and the speed and the length of time it takes to get there. We're just Far out
totally agree but if I'm if you're like Kevin, you need to go to Mars I'd be like Bob, you better spot can send supplies for even put my spacesuit on. Exactly.
And we haven't sent any of those yet. Right. Okay. And I don't even know what we would send yet Dewey?
Well, food, oxygen, water.
We understand the categorical. You know, we understand the boxes, we have to check but we don't have any of the we don't have existing technology right now to a get it there, be deployed and see have it still be viable by the time people get there?
Not math, certainly not. Because every time we send like a rover or something, we all pucker our butts going well, is it gonna crash? That gonna make it you know, it's definitely not perfected yet.
Right? And it's and that's just one small thing, not nearly enough to sustain a pre flight of supplies.
Yeah. And my son and I were talking about this. He's like, Dad, what happened if you put all your supplies here and then you miss you land on the other side? Well, that's bad. So do you have to pre stage all you know, at strategic places all over the frickin planet?
And that actually, you know, one thing that I do appreciate about some of the more the media, the fantastical, the shows the movies, they're starting to get a little bit more on board with everything doesn't go perfectly. And yeah, the supplies were here, but we're actually 25 miles from there. how we're going to get from point A to point B.
Yeah, that's kind of cool. I think you're probably referencing Netflix, Mars. TV show. You've seen that right?
Yeah, but Lawson space deals with some of that shit on a regular basis. So
juicy Season Two yet I've lost in
space. We're in the middle of it right now. Okay,
yeah, actually enjoy it. Yeah, I mean, definitely some laughter knows. But yeah, I really like the Mars thing because they they flip this one of those weird docu dramas where they flip back and forth between reality and drama.
Is that actually a National Geographic? I don't know. I thought it was a Netflix But well, no, I think it is on net. flicks, but I think it's a National Geographic, like docu drama.
Gotcha. I don't know. I might I'm gonna go watch that after this. All right, so we've talked about food we've talked about water, oxygen, how do you take enough oxygen to a planet that just doesn't have enough Bob?
Well, I don't think they're going to be able to take it I think they get once again, I think they're going to have to devise some technology probably tied to the water and the pressurization to extract oxygen out of that process in kind of like fabricate an environment,
very good. Everything. I think in the Martian, they do this basically, you can split the water atom, which is hydrogen, oxygen. If you use a process called electrolysis, you can use electricity to simply have to free the bond between hydrogen and the oxygen. And you can have pure hydrogen and oxygen Of course, it's very dangerous because pure hydrogen flammable and pure oxygen is Well, that's one of the ingredients of freaking fire here, right is an oxidizer. Yeah. So it's a dangerous proposition. The real trouble with electrolysis is it takes a lot of power. Yeah. So you'd have to take that ability up there with you to exactly we haven't even talked about shit. How do we generate? How do we keep the lights on? Right? Because solar power ain't gonna cut it on Mars, you're too far away.
It's funny though. Like, if you bring this back to conversations we've had about, like artificial intelligence, where it's in its infancy. And then if you layer on top of this, you know, we've mentioned Ilan a couple times already, some of the stuff that he's working on, like, you know, with his solar batteries, his battery banks, the research that they're doing for starlink, you know, to be able to synchronize and you know, the stuff he's doing with SpaceX to be able to send rockets out, bring them back, all the precision that goes into that, like a lot of these pieces actually stack up pretty well as Legos. toward us getting someplace else.
Yeah, my fear is we've put all of our attention into getting there and not enough in the Now what? Now so I I'm a little worried that we don't hear me I'm sure some smart think tanks thinking about this. But isn't NASA is Space X worried about this is a another billionaire needs to come along ago Okay, we're not SpaceX we're not we're not the Uber ride to get you to Mars. What we are is where the sustainability company that'll keep you alive.
Well, I think you might be working toward that with a lot of these smaller projects and I'm doing smaller and air quotes. I mean, maybe they are pieces to a bigger puzzle.
So Bob, we've talked about oxygen, but here on earth we don't breathe all oxygen in the air. Do we?
Sure feels good when you do though.
It does. But are you familiar with the infamous ending of Apollo one there was a fire right there. A pure oxygen environment that killed Gus Grissom, Ed white and Roger Chaffee because they didn't think about putting nitrogen and the oxygen environment to prevent an explosion and or a fire from instantly just roof
you know, consuming the entire capsule.
So nitrogen fortunately is available on Mars and the soil, but that's again something else you've got to extract it's not free, it's going to take energy. Now, I imagine because your space, it's starting to wreak as we talked about, you're gonna want to take that off, and you're gonna need a shelter. You're gonna need to some way to bathe yourself somewhere to
that bathing things that happen for a while.
Did you know that in the military that women are not allowed to be out in the field for more than three days? For hygiene reasons.
Well, that's not space travel.
Sorry. It's not space travel, but I gotta think it's got to be the same thing. So it basically have to, are there are there rules for spaceforce written out anywhere? Well, if I guess it's a military branch, so I mean, when you're in basic training, army base training, you are nothing. They don't give two shits about you. But the important thing here is the go. I know we don't care about you your training. We don't care if you're dirty, nasty or whatever. But the women need to go back to the barracks every three days and bathe and come back. And as a male I was like, What the hell? I'm covered in bug bites I smell why cannot go back take shower. Suck it up private.
Yeah, it's gonna end up going away. That's not gonna be a forever rule.
I honestly I'm not a woman. I have no idea. Why that not a rule.
Never been a woman.
Not looking now. So I don't know why I didn't. I didn't want to ask Hey, why why do you have to go back every two days. Is there something else? unaware of what happens to you in these,
I'm pretty sure when they send men and women on this trip to Mars, there's not going to be any weird rules about women having to bathe every three days.
Well, what there might be is rules about fraternization procreation.
Like mean it's required.
Like, if you get if you have a baby or get somebody pregnant, that's that's like, oh, gee, what are we gonna do? Because you think they're sending the gear to handle that?
Well, first of all, it will be strictly forbidden. Second of all, there's not a damn thing in the world that can do to stop it. It will be strictly forbidden. The first several trips, several, several, maybe most of them too. I mean, we'll get to this later, but they'll all be one way trips. So no one's good. Even though they will be a strict rule not to procreate while they're there. It's going to happen.
Yeah, for sure. Because Somehow some way evening army basic training people hook up and I have no idea why you don't want to do that. It's so disgusting.
But it's that's just human nature for sure.
Okay, so we need shelter, we need to be able to
take that off. You have an important question for you before we get Yep. I honestly believe that we're going to get to this that you and I will see this in our lifetime.
That's that's amazing question because Jackson asked me that he's like dad will never happen in our lifetime. I said he's
got a better shot than you and I do but what and that's what I said that's exactly what
I said. I said my lifetime know, your lifetime. Maybe. But honestly, if you I'm kind of doubting that too because and he wants to be the first one on Mars. You know, it's very noble, very, very 11 year old kid, right? But I look at everything go Wait a second. We haven't been in the moon 50 years. Do we give a shit enough to make this happen because the world Just Elon Musk ain't gonna cut it.
No, but you and I've talked about this before, though there is a there's a very, you know, it's almost like Flat Earth versus round Earth. There's camps that believe we have to go to Mars because this planet is almost done. And then there's actually another camp that thinks even though this planet might not almost be done, we need to go there because we need to be first. And then there's the camp of people who said, We don't need to do that. We need to fix it here. First.
Let me see if I can address all three camps. this planet's fucked, we should go to another planet. Honestly, you're you're older than me. And I'm not that far behind. We're to the point where Earth can be around long enough, at least for me and you and probably our kids. No problem. Honestly, just I don't
know if that's a no problem, but okay. I see a greater chance of us losing coastal lands in our lifetime then getting to Mars. Well, why am I losing coastal lands in the world? So
yeah, and I'm no climate denier. But here's what I think Earth doesn't give a shit. Humans are here not earth will be here whether or not there is lots of water lots of land uninhabitable doesn't care humans aren't Earth problem is nothing that humans can do to really piss off Earth, whatever. So it's really a matter of our own existence. Do you do this human humanity went to keep Earth habitable or not. And if we don't want to, or can't, or it's too late or whatever, we have to go to Mars. But let's take a step back. You're telling me we have a better chance on Mars? After all the things we just talked about, Oh,
no, no, no, no. I'm not saying we have a better chance of seeing more major cities relocated from the coast because they're, they're underwater. Yes, in our lifetime, then us getting to Mars in our lifetime.
But given that, given the horrible tragedy of that, that's still like, I'd rather take that over. All the things we just talked about going to Mars that we'd have to overcome.
Oh, yeah. But there's still camps that say we have to go to Mars because Those things.
sizable camp. I think it would be neat.
But if you if I look at everything, like from a business, like, what's the business need here? What what's the business case? I'm going to mark, there isn't really a good one is there?
Well, there's probably going to be a time in the very near future that that type of business venture could employ people that who otherwise would not be employed, because of the way we're going technologically as well. So
well, we have we have unlimited examples of companies that don't make money in the name of well, it would be cool if and why don't we try this? I just don't see the profit of going to Mars because of the enormous expense of just putting a single human being on that frickin planet is amazingly high.
I will say that it won't become any kind of reality and Unless someone finds a way to make money from it
exactly. Oh, or, or we're in a race with the Russians or Chinese, which is more like that.
That's what I said. The second camp was the people who said that we need to do it because we need to be first. Right? Have you watched that Apple the apple series for all mankind?
I don't think so. But do you have apple in Miami? No, I don't. So I guess I haven't.
Okay. Basically, it's the premise is that we were second to the moon. And it's fictional. Oh, well, yeah. Cuz we were first.
I don't know if this is a conspiracy theory, like Flat Earth. Okay.
It's like, um, it's very similar to man in the high castle. It's look at what life what life would be like if we lost the race to the moon. And then how, how everything cascades down from that it's about the space program in the States. How that was impacted by now. Being first. Okay, I guess it's kind of interesting. I like those premises.
So a large part of me believes the only reason we went to the moon wasn't because it was there. And it was hard. It's because the Russians were beating us in the space race pure and simple, right.
Can you just do the rest of the episode with your SJ? Okay.
We choose to go to the moon, not because it's easy about because it's hard. Okay. Wow. That's right. That's on a podcast forever now. Okay. So, one of the last things that we talked about, we already touched on is power. So I can only think because solar power is kind of out. You're not gonna burn coal. You're not gonna have you might have methane there. But I think nuclear power would be the ideal choice, wouldn't it?
I think for portability and relative ease of setup and something we're familiar with Yes, because everything else is very large scale. Yeah, everything's large and scale
the electrolysis if I mean, you're gonna need oxygen. And that takes me to like, okay, now you've let's assume we've overcome the impossible. And we have some infrastructure there. What sort of skill sets are we putting there? I'm thinking doctors, engineers, mechanics, security, what other kind of people
it's almost going to have to be like a microcosm of every discipline we have in any thriving community, because you're going to need all those support staff. And then anytime where you can find multiple hat wearers, in those very specialized areas, they'll be worth their weight in some rare metal that we just go from Mars that somebody gets rich from.
So not that I'm volunteering to go to Mars, but when you're in the military, and they send you to, I don't know, the Middle East where there's nothing and you have to stand up a whole tent city and have internet and everything. You start start figuring out who's valuable and who's not. And I was in a communications unit and we had to wear those multiple hats. One thing that we weren't good as communicators was getting the generator running, keeping it running the the heavy equipment, so we had mechanics embedded with us. So I imagine you need some very specialized people you're not sending philosophers to Mars properly. You're not sending poets. You're sending blue collar, no, and they'd be the proverbial tits on a chicken. It's amazing. So, um, I think a lot of our I'm probably influenced a lot by our sci fi stuff where you have like, you know, security people, but But what I'm more thinking of you probably have martial law there, right? Hey, you quit fucking so and so quit trying to make a baby. You're gonna ruin the mission or whatever. Right? Yeah, I would think the military would be like the project managers. Just like the general, like, structure to it all. So yeah, military would be there. They'd be your security, police slash project managers. So in season two of Mars, they had two groups on that land on Mars One was like the UN version of colony and the other one was private, private enterprise. And so whenever the private enterprises do something, the UN people like, hey, you're not allowed to do that. Blah, blah, blah. And they would always reply, like the fuck we can't, we're private. Go fuck yourself. We can do whatever the fuck we want. Go ahead and stop it.
Well, that brings up a really good question, though. And something we really haven't talked about, which is kind of why we started this topic, though. We will have any un presence, would we because it's going to be 100% commercial at this point.
We would well see, that's where it gets slippery because NASA government agency funds SpaceX, so there's You know, the old world the money really kind of controls
everything. Do they fund a SpaceX or do they contract to SpaceX?
All right, I'm not a lawyer. I don't know. But somebody wrote a check.
That's all I know. Right. But Ilan could most certainly, or more likely, you know, a basis or a Branson could go there with their own funding, and NASA would be cut out of it, like, almost like NASA scientists would be hired as consultants from the commercial enterprises. That's how kind of I see it.
So when we talk about starlink, we kind of talked about what happens is, if SpaceX goes out of business, and there's 40,000 satellites zipping around up there, and nobody's in control of them anymore. The government's gonna take that over, right?
Or he sells them for pennies on the dollar to Jeff Bezos who's trying to do the same thing. Okay, I would like that to happen first,
my latest episode of Black Mirror sounds like this. Elon Musk died. SpaceX goes out of business. There's 200 colonists stuck on Mars haven't heard from Earth. They're not sure what's happening anymore. yada yada yada yada. So who rescues these people?
I don't think anyone does.
Damn, that better be in my contract.
I'm gonna be getting some life insurance there.
So no, I think anybody who's making that trip for the foreseeable future and I'm talking like, you know, the better part of a quarter of a century they're not they're going to it's a one way mission. Nobody's coming back from there for a long time.
Dear, do you think it should be a one way mission period there is no come home figure it out. I mean, I'd be motivated if I'm there. Okay. There is no go home guys.
Well, since we barely have a plan, well, we don't we don't have any methodology or plan to get there this point. I don't see the get home park coming for far, far past to get there.
So let's take that temperature. Can you you asked the question, will this happen in our lifetime? I think we agree not not yours or mine.
Right? Yeah, totally agree with their
pick. Pick a number on the timeline. What year do you think will be there if at all?
So we're at 2020 right now. Yeah, I would guess. Other so we're talking about first landing like six people in the smallest spaceship possible. Man has taken his first leak on Mars. When does that happen? 2080
Okay, what technologies need to have all the things we talked about getting there? generating food, water, shelter, oxygen of all those things. What technology Do you feel is holding us back the most?
I think the the the portability of reliable storage structures. I think that's like what it's you know, it's it's not. It's not an appear infrastructure thing. It's the ability to take something that needs to be at scale quickly after landing, but have it be portable enough to get there in one shipment. I think that's the biggest challenge,
basically, blast off an entire Moon or Mars base with crew and everything and we'll be able to land everything in place.
I think you get a shortcut for the first trip, because you could make the ship somewhat sustainable for long enough maybe for the next people to get there. But you have to have some kind of architectural, you know, modularity, that it's simple to deploy and highly functional and environment that we don't know that much about.
I think it's the propulsion to get there. That's the biggest thing get us back six months. It's just seven months or longer getting there with certain launch but I think that's just crippling at this point.
Yeah. But do you think I just don't know if that technology? I mean, that technology might be hundreds of years off to close that gap?
Well, the Mars show we've been talking about had a really cool concept. I just remind myself up. They have an orbital space station at Mars. That's the supply drop ship. So right so only
one ship has the land basically. Right?
So you could send a barge, if you will, from Earth. Okay, so imagine the space station that we have right now. Hey guys, it's it's decommissioned. But you know what, it can hold a lot of shit. They can hold supplies. So what we're going to do is we're a packet full of stuff. And then we're going to attach rockets to it and then we're going to send it to Mars, and it's going to now orbit Mars. Now we're going to send humans to Mars, to the space station and we're just going to start by inhabiting the space station nobody goes down to earth yet or Mars yet
just like we thing, but our space station. What's it max capacity 642 Yeah. Okay.
All right, it needs to grow a little bit. But let's, let's say we upscale that a little bit. We have a space station that's going around Mars, and then that's the supply closet, if you will. And then we can send you know, once once we establish a human presence around a Mars, we can then start with accuracy start going, Okay, we need to land supplies here. Now we can land humans there, we kind of take away a lot of the risk. I think
it also takes away Yeah, it takes away a lot of the targeting oopsies too. Because you get into orbit you eventually dock with the space station. In theory, there's a shuttle that's much more easy to target and control getting back and we'll even one ways so that the trip that goes out there, there could be like a capsule that becomes the new thing that they just shoot down at the surface.
Yeah, and they have that so emergencies came up in the in the season and what they would do is they would radio to the channel. Nice, I think we're running the space station like, Hey, we need a whatever, whatever. So when you fly over that particular area, do a drop. And then you know those people get it. So I think that's actually one of the nicer things because if you send a rocket from Earth and you want it to land on Mars, I think you enter orbit first. That's normal. But why not have a more permanent presence in Mars orbit that you could, you know, use as a lifeboat if you will, for anyone who goes to the ground? Pretty much what the Apollo program did?
Yeah, that's still I still think we're a good hundred years off.
I would agree. It's not gonna happen in my lifetime. I don't know if I can tell Jackson. My honest to god opinion because I don't think it'll happen in his lifetime either. I think we spend too much time on the, the possibility of the rocket I think we haven't spent enough time on the Okay, we're here now what? Because, you know, I just don't think we've thought about Emily's, they said it doesn't happen in the public very often. We've talked through a lot of the things here that could go wrong and that's a lot of weight lot of infrastructure, a lot of gear. And then we got humans, you know what if a human goes crazy whether they're they're gonna they're gonna incarcerated human have a prison on Mars?
No way. They'll just zap them. Right.
I mean, that's probably what will happen. But you know, are you gonna go ahead and say that's your policy? Probably not. Yeah. fuck up, you're dead? By who's?
I think that's an understood risk of the entirety of the trip.
Well, I that's why I think it's gonna be very militaristic. I mean, the military has come up, or has had these situations come up. So this isn't like new way of life for the military. That's why I think there comes a point where civilians can only do so much maybe the civilians can create the rockets, but you're gonna have to send the space force or whoever to actually man it.
Well, tell Jackson to figure out what he thinks the biggest problem is and have that dude up and maybe it happens in his lifetime if he studies up.
Unknown Speaker 1:07:04
Yeah, I'm not so optimistic, but I'll
tell them what you're about. Yeah. All right, what do we forget?
I'm sure we forgot tons. But since we were kind of like, disclaimer, we're not scientists or mathematicians know we're billionaires are just two dudes bullshit about tech.
Unknown Speaker 1:07:25
And today it was about space.
All right, good stuff, man.
Unknown Speaker 1:07:29
Yeah. Remember, if you're still listening,
do that like thing. Have your Spotify listener follow? I don't know what it is. That just helps us know who we're reaching. And you know what, you can always hit us up on Twitter.
Yes, and if you want to Bob and Kevin show sticker. I've actually sent a few internationally now and some domestically. And if you'd like one I gotta do is reach us on social media. I'm going to do all the cyber stalking like hey, do they have Follow uh, so they just like try to get free sticker do they actually listen or do all that? Of course I'll just set it anyway but, but I'll tell you
if you're following us, I'll tell him not to. So.
Alright, have a great day stamp.
Yes. Until next time, this has been the bob Kevin Show.
Unknown Speaker 1:08:21
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