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CAPTAIN’S LOG 13 MAY 2016…MARS??

May 20, 2016

GOING TO MARS?  REALLY??  ON FRIDAY THE 13TH?

People are recruiting volunteers to go to Mars…on a one way ticket.  If you are considering that invitation do consider taking a simulated Mars mission.  That is what I offered to our interns at the University of Wyoming.  How could we do that?  My experience of over two years living in a 16 ft. box offers some insight.  In my quest to meet builders who can fabricate space qualified vehicles I have been using my travel trailer to advantage.  It has moved from Mojave to Michigan and a few trips to Texas and Wyoming  on the quest and it has been educational.

So we can actually set up camp in a remote mountain camp and support our design work on the computers with the self contained generator and life support of this trailer.  Some pioneers may chose tent shelters even as a Mars base may have multiple dwellings.  But many features of civilization are available with a kitchen and head facilities.  This could be an interesting venture for our new Meetup groups.  We can have recreation and get some work done at the same time.

When I left our interns in Colorado and Laramie Wyoming I went on a test run, a reconnaissance mission for our simulated Mars mission.  Between Laramie and Wheatland on Highway 34 there is a game area in the mountains.  The Tom Thorne/Beth Williams wildlife management area is perfect…sort of.  It is situated at altitude so you have a partial high altitude low oxygen environment.  There are few trees on the mountains and the landscape is a bit barren.  The roads are challenging, and weather can deliver a bit of interest.

So we left Laramie and passed the usual prairie and antelope along highway 34.  There was a cloud over the mountains as we passed from the high plains down through the 8,000+ ft. pass to the canyon below.  That is typical for the warm air to be agitated by the mountains and then turn out crank weather for the valley below.  At the entrance to the game area we dropped into low range four wheel drive for the truck trail in.  We were greeted by an unusual sign that set the tone for the mystery ahead.

A blank white sign had a hand scrawled message:  “Stephen Dell Jester was murdered here 2016.”  Now I know Stephen, he is my electrician in Wheatland, about 25 miles away.  Later I learned that he has some strange acquaintances and this was just a prank.  But there was no cell signal to confirm that on our first night.  Just a foggy grey mystery night shaping up in the Wyoming Wilderness.

As we pressed on through the narrow road with my wide load we found the river flowing over the bridge.  Spring runoff was heavy, but I locked the rear differential and plunged in.  We made it with no problem, and continued on…to another flooded ford!  Again we hit the gas and plunged through the torrent successfully.  Weaving through the narrow passage through trees and branches led uphill to a lake and three campsites.  The only level one was number three, high above the lake on a ledge.  This seemed a perfect spot for a Mars landing.  Perhaps we will name it “Murphy’s Landing” after this trip.

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THE MAJORITY POPULATION OF WYOMING

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STARTING IN

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AND DIVING IN

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OUR FIRST WARM GREETING

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OUR LANDING SITE; PUNCTUATION BY THE N.R.A.

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CAMPING AREA “C”

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AND THE PREVIOUS TENANT OF OUR CAMPSITE…

WINTER IS HARD ON COYOTES TOO!

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REMOTE…LIKE MARS.

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VERY REMOTE…

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STILL DARING US TO EXPLORE OFF THE LEASH A BIT

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QUIET SOLITUDE

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PERFECT FOR SKINNY-DIPPING (OR FURRY DIPPING IF YOU PREFER)

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WE HIKED DOWN THE ROAD BACK INTO THE VALLEY BELOW

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CHECKING OUT THE RUNOFF FROM A HIGH WATERFALL

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WHERE I NOTICED A BROKEN PIECE OF METAL…THAT FIT MY HITCH LOCK KEY!

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THE TRAILER HASN’T ROLLED OFF THE CLIFF INTO THE LAKE…YET.

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WHY YES, THERE IS SOMETHING MISSING.  THIS IS THE SECOND ONE OF THESE TO BREAK ON ME NOW.

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SPARE PARTS…DON’T LEAVE EARTH WITHOUT SOME…LOTS OF THEM!

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SKID PAN IS A BIT BENT TOO…PROBABLY FROM ARIZONA THOUGH.

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LICENCE PLATE NEARLY RIPPED OFF TOO…NEW SCREWS MOVED TO THE BOTTOM HOLES.

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OLD ARMY HABITS PAY OFF ON MARS

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A TRUCK CAME IN…WAS THIS THE INSANE CAMPGROUND ELECTRICIAN KILLER?

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THEY SET UP AT THE LAKE SO I GOT OUT THE SUPER ZOOM CAMERA…

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NAH, JUST A KID OUT FISHING WITH HIS GIRL…IN SHORTS?  PERHAPS THEY ARE CRAZY.

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COUNTY 13 ON PLATE IS NEAR DOUGLASS.  EITHER THEY ARE WAY MORE USED TO THE COLD UP THERE OR THEY WENT TO COLLEGE IN LARAMIE AND EDUCATED THEIR BRAINS OUT?  SEE THE GOOSE BUMPS?

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EVEN THE GOOSE SAYS: “TAKE HER TO A NICE MOVIE NEXT TIME YA SILLY GOOSE!”

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WE ENJOYED A QUIET NIGHT…WITH THE DOOR LOCKED, BEAR SPRAY AND A MACHETTE NEAR BY.

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WHILE MY FEROCIOUS GUARD DOG ENJOYED A SOUND NIGHT’S SLEEP.  (AND HOGGED THE BED)

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WE SURVIVED TO A MISTY SATURDAY THE 14TH.

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FOREBODING…

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GRIM, THREATENING…

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SO WE STARTED HOME

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AND RE-CROSSED THE FLOODED CREEK.  NOTICE THAT WHITE WATER?

A BIG ROCK UNDER THERE

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WHICH BENT BOTH RIMS AND FLATTENED THE TIRES.  ONLY ONE SPARE…

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SO A FAST 50 MILE RUN TO WHEATLAND AND BACK GOT THE RIMS BEAT OUT, BUT I DID HAVE A KILLER TIRE TO REPLACE.  SEE THE BARE CORDS?  BAD NEWS GOOD NEWS; IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE AS A HIGH SPEED BLOWOUT!

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SOON WE HAD THE WHEELS DOWN AND THE JACKS GOING UP FOR THE ROAD AGAIN.

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WE SQUEEZE BETWEEN THE TREES TO HOME PORT,

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UNLOADED THE LAUNDRY AND GROCERIES

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AND SALVAGED MY LAUNDRY WITH SPRAY AND WASH!

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AND SOME DAY WE MAY MOW THE LAWN

Well if I haven’t scared off all of our potential interns and partners yet we may have to do this again with a bigger crew.  And you may visit another mountain range then, the Snowy Range offers free camping south west of Laramie.  In 2013 I went there as a shakedown trip before another Arizona run.  SHAKEDOWN BREAKDOWN offers another look at the adventure of engineering design in the field.  By the way I called the same RV repair service when I was in Laramie this time too!

While there are problems in every enterprise, the crew of the enterprise is the key to the plot.  That is the reason for the mobile office, to move relationships in face to face meetings.  We can’t hire everybody and move them to some glorious office in a metropolis with traffic jams and high crime rates.  I hope you’re not disappointed.  For now I hope to increase the amount of time my computers can spend at your location.  We can work from home with limited time as long as we have relationships than can grow trust and eventually equity in the venture.

We will be cultivating new relationships in Colorado and Wyoming through our Meetup dot com group: Laramie Aerospace Meetup.  (Which has since closed)  We will talk to the Experimental Aircraft Association in Cheyenne, and Tripoli rocketry groups as well.  I hope to tour firms in Wyoming and Colorado, universities, and related ventures.  We just launched this “Horizontal In Line Launch Staging (HILLS)” project on the STEMN space project website too.

There is a Missile Silo in Chugwater Wyoming with two new space ventures blazing trails to the new frontier.  In fact, Frontier Astronautics is a great field trip we will put together soon.  this can stir a lot of interest with aviation and rocketry interests.  Aero and Space need to start talking to each other again!  Perhaps we can get a tour of Sierra Nevada’s Dreamchaser project in Colorado too?

This trailer was modified to provide a complete self contained field office for our search for new space solutions.  It was 5 years old in 2012 and now it has 4 more years of service.  Things go wrong per Murphy’s law, but we can go on with a little effort, and a little duct tape.  The purpose to find vendors and partners is paying off.  Now we are ready to build one small step with flight hardware.  But investors want to see more than technology.  A viable productive team is a major part of their decision process.  And investment is another area where innovation is ongoing in this “Space Corner” of Wyoming and Colorado.

The prototype shown here is number five (P5) in a series.  We will focus on demonstrating some of the technologies on prototype P4 as an affordable high value flight demonstration.  Staging and a safe landing is important to building confidence and new technologies.  Prototype P5 may deliver a lot more exciting performance with another round of investment.  First we demonstrate basic design, analysis, and fabrication on P4.  Then we present solid blueprints and studies t o entry level funding sources.  Don’t worry, P4 will be simpler, easier to deliver, and still exciting.  Trade studies will flesh out the specifics as we move ahead.

We will eventually be able to work on site with vendors, make presentations at space conferences, and display at air shows like Airventure.  Bring some of your volunteer hours to the mission and we can upgrade our incorporation papers to deliver equity in the venture.  This will deliver interest from industry, government, and investors.  this is one of the few growth segments in our economy today.  Are you ready to boldly go?

A7

PROTOTYPE P5

PLAN

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