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Who’s up for a trip to Mars with the wife?
Posted: 01 March 2013 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]
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http://www.space.com/19998-inspiration-mars-mission-married-crew.html

I tried to convince my wife but when she heard you couldn’t stop and stretch your legs once you got to Mars she balked. She thought we should at least be able to pick up a T-shirt at the gift shop while you were there. Anyway I gave it a shot. Anyone else here up for a long cozy trip out of this world?

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Posted: 01 March 2013 09:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’d go, but I doubt if many folks realize there’s a good chance of it being a one way trip, if it even happens.

Though Tito has assembled an experienced group to plan and advise on the adventure, they must still develop life-support systems and radiation protection, and heat shields to withstand a re-entry that will be twice as fast as any other return to Earth. Then they must buy and modify a rocket and capsule for the mission, with no time for test flights.

Since time is too tight for the usual tests, the team hope to use tried-and-tested equipment where possible, and simple, robust electronics that will be more resilient to space radiation. “They will do extensive ground testing, and use off-the-shelf components as much as they can, but this is a one-off, high-risk strategy,” said Anu Ojha, director of the UK National Space Academy.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yeah, it’s a very risky proposition as proposed. I think he probably feels he needs to have a short schedule in order to maintain interest and encourage others to invest in the idea. Its hard to keep that up if the launch date is 10 or 20 years out. Since the opportunity comes up about every 2 years there doesn’t seem to be another reason to rush this.

One interesting about the mission is that it uses several gravity assists to get there and back ( see diagram below). First it falls toward the sun and uses the gravitational pull to accelerate outward toward Mars. It then uses Mars’ gravity to redirect the ship back on a path towards Earth but not before crossing the orbit of Venus first. The cool thing is that the only rockets it uses are thrusters for course corrections after the initial boost out of earth orbit. Too bad they could wait until the planets line up so that they could zip past venus as well on the part of the trip that crosses Venus’ orbit, but who knows how often that happens.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Why will the re-entry be twice as fast? And can’t they slow the ship down?

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Posted: 02 March 2013 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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George - 02 March 2013 07:14 AM

Why will the re-entry be twice as fast? And can’t they slow the ship down?

The speed of re-entry has to do with the nature of the mission. Vehicles that orbit the earth are traveling about 17,000 mph when they enter the atmosphere because that is just a little less than the velocity it takes to stay in orbit. A vehicle that travels to the moon and then leaves lunar orbit to “fall” back to earth will enter the atmosphere at about 25,000 mph. A ship that goes to Mars on the type of mission planned here is being accelerated along the way with several gravitational assists in order to get to Mars and back with a minimal amount of fuel required and in the shortest time possible. This means the ship will be traveling even faster.

The reason they can’t slow the ship down appreciably is the same reason they are using this particular type of gravity assist path. The only way to slow a ship down in space is with rocket engines. Fuel is expensive to begin with but the more you bring the more you need since the fuel adds to the mass of the ship. The fuel also adds to the mass of the ship that has to be slowed down which adds to the total fuel you have to bring. It currently costs about $10,000 per pound to put something in orbit and even more to launch it on its way to Mars so sending several extra tons of fuel along to slow the ship down for re-entry is a lot more expensive than it would be to just beef up the ablative shielding.

[ Edited: 02 March 2013 08:54 AM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 02 March 2013 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks, macgyver.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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macgyver - 01 March 2013 01:44 PM

http://www.space.com/19998-inspiration-mars-mission-married-crew.html

I tried to convince my wife but when she heard you couldn’t stop and stretch your legs once you got to Mars she balked. She thought we should at least be able to pick up a T-shirt at the gift shop while you were there. Anyway I gave it a shot. Anyone else here up for a long cozy trip out of this world?

We have enough problems on earth.  Why look for more? Besides that, most of the people going would be theists and we know what wonderful company they make.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Lois - 02 March 2013 10:22 AM
macgyver - 01 March 2013 01:44 PM

http://www.space.com/19998-inspiration-mars-mission-married-crew.html

I tried to convince my wife but when she heard you couldn’t stop and stretch your legs once you got to Mars she balked. She thought we should at least be able to pick up a T-shirt at the gift shop while you were there. Anyway I gave it a shot. Anyone else here up for a long cozy trip out of this world?

We have enough problems on earth.  Why look for more?

I always find it hysterical when someone uses a technology, like the internet, that owes its existence to the space program, to dis the space program.  We have been mucking about on the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years, trying to solve the same problems of war, poverty, ignorance, and disease, but didn’t begin to make huge progress in any of those areas until the space program got going.  We can mine the asteroids for resources that we need here on Earth, or we can continue to tear up the planet and render it unfit for human life.  We learn by expanding our horizons, not by circling the wagons.  Tito’s idea has a lot of flaws, but better we push out, than confine ourselves to this one planet.  Otherwise, we’re going to go extinct.

Besides that, most of the people going would be theists and we know what wonderful company they make.

There’s only two people who’re going to be going on this trip, and they’re most likely going to be a married couple.  One would think that they’d know how to get along with one another.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I agree Tucker. You hear that argument a lot I can understand the sentiment to a degree but you make an important point. We never know where our explorations are going to lead. In fact that is the point of boldly going where no man has gone before isn’t it? We don’t know what discoveries we will make or what technological breakthroughs will come about in this pursuit that may lead to real life applications. Another thing to consider is that the cost really isn’t much in the scheme of things. If we are going to apply the same logic across the board we could say that we going to the movies or buying a new cell phone is a waste of money since there are many unresolved problems in the world. Yet we spend far more on both of those things than it would cost to finance this particular mission.

As far as the couple being able to get along, that is the logic behind sending a couple rather than two stranger together.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 01:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Coldheart Tucker - 02 March 2013 10:34 AM
Lois - 02 March 2013 10:22 AM
macgyver - 01 March 2013 01:44 PM

http://www.space.com/19998-inspiration-mars-mission-married-crew.html

I tried to convince my wife but when she heard you couldn’t stop and stretch your legs once you got to Mars she balked. She thought we should at least be able to pick up a T-shirt at the gift shop while you were there. Anyway I gave it a shot. Anyone else here up for a long cozy trip out of this world?

We have enough problems on earth.  Why look for more?

I always find it hysterical when someone uses a technology, like the internet, that owes its existence to the space program, to dis the space program.  We have been mucking about on the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years, trying to solve the same problems of war, poverty, ignorance, and disease, but didn’t begin to make huge progress in any of those areas until the space program got going.  We can mine the asteroids for resources that we need here on Earth, or we can continue to tear up the planet and render it unfit for human life.  We learn by expanding our horizons, not by circling the wagons.  Tito’s idea has a lot of flaws, but better we push out, than confine ourselves to this one planet.  Otherwise, we’re going to go extinct.

Besides that, most of the people going would be theists and we know what wonderful company they make.

There’s only two people who’re going to be going on this trip, and they’re most likely going to be a married couple.  One would think that they’d know how to get along with one another.

Haha! That’s a good one.

You wrote:
  We have been mucking about on the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years, trying to solve the same problems of poverty, ignorance, and disease, but didn’t begin to make huge progress in any of those areas until the space program got going.  We can mine the asteroids for resources that we need here on Earth, or we can continue to tear up the planet and render it unfit for human life

What makes you think humans wouldn’t tear up other planets or space itself if they had the opportunity?  Why should humans suddenly behave any differently just because they have new resources? Did Europeans suddenly become good caretakers of the earth and humanity after they discovered and populated the new world? To them the new world was very much like a new planet would be to us—riches for the taking. They didn’t suddenly become good people, careful of their resources, and neither would the occupiers of other planets, IMO.  There would be even more raping, pillaging and war.  Leopards don’t change their spots.

History predicts the future.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 02:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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If the probable launch date is one or two decades away, I really don’t see the need for humans to just zip around the planet then come back.  We are making such great strides in artificial intelligence, computers, robotics, etc. that by then machines will be able accomplish much more than any human passenger could.  As I see it, this is just another gimmick to add make-believe drama to such programs. 

Occam

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Posted: 02 March 2013 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Occam. - 02 March 2013 02:00 PM

If the probable launch date is one or two decades away, I really don’t see the need for humans to just zip around the planet then come back.  We are making such great strides in artificial intelligence, computers, robotics, etc. that by then machines will be able accomplish much more than any human passenger could.  As I see it, this is just another gimmick to add make-believe drama to such programs. 

Occam

Well that is the never ending debate. The proposed launch date is 2018 but it doesn’t really change the equation. Robotic exploration of space will always be cheaper and generally return much more data per dollar spent. Human exploration on the other hand gives us more flexibility especially for missions that take us far from earth. Curiosity is a great rover but it still has to wait for commands which have to be meticulously planned out in advance before its sent on its way. The radio signal from earth takes too long to get there and back to allow real time control. Curiosity could roll right over an alien fossil on the way to its target and we might not know it. Humans have the ability to adapt and take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

The bottom line though is that drama has its place. This is exploration after all and exploration stirs the imagination more if there is a human there. Its human nature to want to see what’s over the next hill or beyond the horizon and while robots can take us to the craters edge, seeing a human standing there makes us all feel like we’re there too. We all remember where we were when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. How many people can remember where they were May 30th 1966 when America’s Surveyor landed on the moon? Last summer Curiosity made the most dramatic extraterrestrial landing ever conceived but I doubt half the people of this country have even heard of this craft. Sometimes a little drama is what we need to inspire us or to get the funds needed for the real science.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Lois - 02 March 2013 01:22 PM
Coldheart Tucker - 02 March 2013 10:34 AM
Lois - 02 March 2013 10:22 AM
macgyver - 01 March 2013 01:44 PM

http://www.space.com/19998-inspiration-mars-mission-married-crew.html

I tried to convince my wife but when she heard you couldn’t stop and stretch your legs once you got to Mars she balked. She thought we should at least be able to pick up a T-shirt at the gift shop while you were there. Anyway I gave it a shot. Anyone else here up for a long cozy trip out of this world?

We have enough problems on earth.  Why look for more?

I always find it hysterical when someone uses a technology, like the internet, that owes its existence to the space program, to dis the space program.  We have been mucking about on the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years, trying to solve the same problems of war, poverty, ignorance, and disease, but didn’t begin to make huge progress in any of those areas until the space program got going.  We can mine the asteroids for resources that we need here on Earth, or we can continue to tear up the planet and render it unfit for human life.  We learn by expanding our horizons, not by circling the wagons.  Tito’s idea has a lot of flaws, but better we push out, than confine ourselves to this one planet.  Otherwise, we’re going to go extinct.

Besides that, most of the people going would be theists and we know what wonderful company they make.

There’s only two people who’re going to be going on this trip, and they’re most likely going to be a married couple.  One would think that they’d know how to get along with one another.

Haha! That’s a good one.

You wrote:
  We have been mucking about on the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years, trying to solve the same problems of poverty, ignorance, and disease, but didn’t begin to make huge progress in any of those areas until the space program got going.  We can mine the asteroids for resources that we need here on Earth, or we can continue to tear up the planet and render it unfit for human life

What makes you think humans wouldn’t tear up other planets or space itself if they had the opportunity?  Why should humans suddenly behave any differently just because they have new resources? Did Europeans suddenly become good caretakers of the earth and humanity after they discovered and populated the new world? To them the new world was very much like a new planet would be to us—riches for the taking. They didn’t suddenly become good people, careful of their resources, and neither would the occupiers of other planets, IMO.  There would be even more raping, pillaging and war.  Leopards don’t change their spots.

History predicts the future.

“Insanity is hitting yourself in the head with a hammer repeatedly and expecting a different result.”

The evolutionary changes experienced by humanity haven’t been that great in the past hundred thousand or so years, when humans move to Mars (or some other lower gravity world), there will be noticeable differences between those born on Earth and those born on Mars (or wherever).  They will also grow up in an environment which is harsh, and lethal if they make a mistake.  We will be changing both physically and psychologically in dramatic and unique fashions at a faster pace than at any point in our history as a species.  Those folks will know, at a deeper level than any of us do, that if they screw up the environment, it’ll be lethal to them, not in decades or centuries, but in seconds.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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macgyver - 02 March 2013 02:43 PM
Occam. - 02 March 2013 02:00 PM

If the probable launch date is one or two decades away, I really don’t see the need for humans to just zip around the planet then come back.  We are making such great strides in artificial intelligence, computers, robotics, etc. that by then machines will be able accomplish much more than any human passenger could.  As I see it, this is just another gimmick to add make-believe drama to such programs. 

Occam

Well that is the never ending debate. The proposed launch date is 2018 but it doesn’t really change the equation. Robotic exploration of space will always be cheaper and generally return much more data per dollar spent. Human exploration on the other hand gives us more flexibility especially for missions that take us far from earth. Curiosity is a great rover but it still has to wait for commands which have to be meticulously planned out in advance before its sent on its way. The radio signal from earth takes too long to get there and back to allow real time control. Curiosity could roll right over an alien fossil on the way to its target and we might not know it. Humans have the ability to adapt and take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

Curiosity is currently offline for at least a week due to a software glitch.  Because of orbital mechanics (Mars is about to move into a position on the opposite side of the sun, from us), they may not be able to get her up and running for an entire month.  Meanwhile, its just sitting there, with its sample arm stuck out, holding a sample, doing nothing.  Most likely, the sample will have to be retaken, and potentially the life expectancy of the robot (or some of her components) may be reduced by this.  (I can’t imagine that this is the ideal position for her to be stuck in if one of Mars’ famous sandstorms decides to make an appearance.)

The bottom line though is that drama has its place. This is exploration after all and exploration stirs the imagination more if there is a human there. Its human nature to want to see what’s over the next hill or beyond the horizon and while robots can take us to the craters edge, seeing a human standing there makes us all feel like we’re there too. We all remember where we were when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. How many people can remember where they were May 30th 1966 when America’s Surveyor landed on the moon? Last summer Curiosity made the most dramatic extraterrestrial landing ever conceived but I doubt half the people of this country have even heard of this craft. Sometimes a little drama is what we need to inspire us or to get the funds needed for the real science.

Thanks to the Apollo astronauts, I know that the Moon smells like spent gunpowder, thanks to the ISS astronauts, I know that space smells like welding fumes.  Robots are great for a number of things, but let’s face it, we’re not robots, so anything they do isn’t going to be nearly as interesting as what humans do.

There’s also the experience of being so far away from humanity, and being on another planet, that only a human can give to us.  Emotions are powerful things, and they’re one of the things that make us human.  Robots can’t give us that, and even if they are programmed to feel emotions, few people will equate the emotions of robots as being the same as that of humans.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 04:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Coldheart Tucker - 02 March 2013 03:17 PM
Lois - 02 March 2013 01:22 PM
Coldheart Tucker - 02 March 2013 10:34 AM
Lois - 02 March 2013 10:22 AM
macgyver - 01 March 2013 01:44 PM

http://www.space.com/19998-inspiration-mars-mission-married-crew.html

I tried to convince my wife but when she heard you couldn’t stop and stretch your legs once you got to Mars she balked. She thought we should at least be able to pick up a T-shirt at the gift shop while you were there. Anyway I gave it a shot. Anyone else here up for a long cozy trip out of this world?

We have enough problems on earth.  Why look for more?

I always find it hysterical when someone uses a technology, like the internet, that owes its existence to the space program, to dis the space program.  We have been mucking about on the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years, trying to solve the same problems of war, poverty, ignorance, and disease, but didn’t begin to make huge progress in any of those areas until the space program got going.  We can mine the asteroids for resources that we need here on Earth, or we can continue to tear up the planet and render it unfit for human life.  We learn by expanding our horizons, not by circling the wagons.  Tito’s idea has a lot of flaws, but better we push out, than confine ourselves to this one planet.  Otherwise, we’re going to go extinct.

Besides that, most of the people going would be theists and we know what wonderful company they make.

There’s only two people who’re going to be going on this trip, and they’re most likely going to be a married couple.  One would think that they’d know how to get along with one another.

Haha! That’s a good one.

You wrote:
  We have been mucking about on the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years, trying to solve the same problems of poverty, ignorance, and disease, but didn’t begin to make huge progress in any of those areas until the space program got going.  We can mine the asteroids for resources that we need here on Earth, or we can continue to tear up the planet and render it unfit for human life

What makes you think humans wouldn’t tear up other planets or space itself if they had the opportunity?  Why should humans suddenly behave any differently just because they have new resources? Did Europeans suddenly become good caretakers of the earth and humanity after they discovered and populated the new world? To them the new world was very much like a new planet would be to us—riches for the taking. They didn’t suddenly become good people, careful of their resources, and neither would the occupiers of other planets, IMO.  There would be even more raping, pillaging and war.  Leopards don’t change their spots.

History predicts the future.

“Insanity is hitting yourself in the head with a hammer repeatedly and expecting a different result.”

The evolutionary changes experienced by humanity haven’t been that great in the past hundred thousand or so years, when humans move to Mars (or some other lower gravity world), there will be noticeable differences between those born on Earth and those born on Mars (or wherever).  They will also grow up in an environment which is harsh, and lethal if they make a mistake.  We will be changing both physically and psychologically in dramatic and unique fashions at a faster pace than at any point in our history as a species.  Those folks will know, at a deeper level than any of us do, that if they screw up the environment, it’ll be lethal to them, not in decades or centuries, but in seconds.

The environment has always been harsh and lethal if anyone makes a mistake.  It didn’t stop anyone from reckless behavior in the past.

Lois

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Posted: 02 March 2013 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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What makes you think humans wouldn’t tear up other planets or space itself if they had the opportunity?  Why should humans suddenly behave any differently just because they have new resources? Did Europeans suddenly become good caretakers of the earth and humanity after they discovered and populated the new world? To them the new world was very much like a new planet would be to us—riches for the taking. They didn’t suddenly become good people, careful of their resources, and neither would the occupiers of other planets, IMO.  There would be even more raping, pillaging and war.  Leopards don’t change their spots.

History predicts the future.


History predicts nothing. Although well researched history can give us a more accurate picture of who we were, the mistakes we made and the strides made to improve on those mistakes. For instance, the last century was the bloodiest ever recorded in man’s history, yet we cured diseases, improved food production, increased longevity, slowly decreased mass killing at the end of the century and went to the moon. We’re now on our way to Mars and our probes will reach Pluto in 2018, the end of the solar system. I used to hear this tireless cliche when the Apollo project was instituted; “why spend billions of dollars mucking around space when we could spend it here improving our lot”? The fact is that we did both, and the space program gave us hundreds of spin off products. So when we get there no one can accurately predict how we will behave. BTW, you can’t rape, pillage or make war on rocks and dust. We can however mine much needed minerals and colonize, planets and Jovian moons. no, we aren’t the conquistadores looking for gold, god and glory. We exchanged our swords for probes. We’re an insatiably curious species and someday we will reach another planet, colonize it and move on until our sun explodes or another mass extinction wipes us all out then the point will be moot. And leopards can’t change their spots unless they no longer need them and natural selection alters the pattern.

 

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