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What can ensure that an American lands on Mars within 10 years?
Posted: 02 May 2016 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]
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What can ensure that an American lands on Mars within 10 years? I suggest that if the Chinese or even Russians assert that they are seriously working on a similar project we will see another competitive race take place.

There is a sense in which the concept of manned flight being a method of, quite literally, universal exploration is deemed as inefficient & costly. As we combine machine intelligence with our own we will surely send machines that have a human (though not self-aware) aspect to them. Thus life support will not be needed, nor will a return to earth be needed though in some cases it may be desired to bring back samples.

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Posted: 02 May 2016 08:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Archbishop Krauss - 02 May 2016 05:09 PM

What can ensure that an American lands on Mars within 10 years? I suggest that if the Chinese or even Russians assert that they are seriously working on a similar project we will see another competitive race take place.

There is a sense in which the concept of manned flight being a method of, quite literally, universal exploration is deemed as inefficient & costly. As we combine machine intelligence with our own we will surely send machines that have a human (though not self-aware) aspect to them. Thus life support will not be needed, nor will a return to earth be needed though in some cases it may be desired to bring back samples.

Let the Chinese and Russians do it and pay for it. We would be able to figure out how they did it and whether there is any real value in it.  There is nothing they can do with it for probably hundreds of years and countless billions of dollars. Even then it would probably be wasted money and technology. Certainly nothing of any value will happen in our lifetimes and probably not our children’s’ or grandchildren’s lifetimes. Why this blind competitive thrust for no reason other than competition and the pleasure of saying we did it first?  We have people here on earth who are suffering and dying inne essarily because too few funds are used for thier needs. Why spend money on something that will have no practical purpose for at least a hundred years if it ever does? This is competition run amok. Would we be any worse off today if we had not gone to the moon? Sure we learned something about space travel and what the moon is made of, but at what price and what practical purpose was there for spending that much money and talent except that we can pat ourselves on the back for doing it first? Nobody really cares.

Lois

[ Edited: 05 May 2016 10:07 PM by LoisL ]
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Posted: 02 May 2016 09:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Is Mars going to leave the solar system after 10 years?

psik

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Posted: 02 May 2016 11:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Excuse my french, but,
What the fuck is the point of spending any resources on sending humans to Mars?

Man I loved Star Trek as much as any of us kids, and the Mercury, Apollo, Gemini, Shuttle missions, Voyagers and planetary exploration all were wondrous to witness and feel a part of.
But come on, this is 2016, and we’ve steadfastly continued ignoring Earth’s geophysical realities and our impacts, and consequences are coming due.
Look around at what’s happening on this planet.
For starters weather trends (and the reality of ever increasing atmospheric insulation and its cascading consequences), but it goes way beyond that; our disregard for sustainability concerns; our abysmal resource management ability; over-extended, depleted, threatened water supplies throughout the world; ocean food web and coral destruction; heck even our steady political meltdown, not to mention our growing economic dependence on spreading weapons and waging wars big, small, and imagined.  Ya really think the world two decades, three decades down the road will continue looking pretty much like the one we in habit now? 

Go to Mars?  For what?

Tomorrow, next years, next decades are coming rapidly, trust me, I know how fast a half century can fly by.
And a half century from now you can be sure major coastal infrastructure will be destroyed, and the population “redistribution”, we don’t want to be there, I’m sure.  But many will be dealing with it.
Don’t think there will be major shifts in priorities?

I know it’s easier, and the big money continues selling the illusion: The road goes on for ever and the party never ends !
And I’m as human as the next, so arm in arm, on we dance - but I refuse to be blind to the reality surrounding me.
You can be sure the party will start sputtering as the new game of Climate Roulette continues racking up victims. 

And then one day, there we’ll be, facing the harsh new days with collective thumbs up collective asses, wishing we could buy back yesterday.

And what of this supposed colony on Mars, what will it do once the fad passes?
What would they really be doing up there anyways?  Sure you can study the hell out of Mars, close up, but that’s just filling up a coloring book when the foundation of our society is crumbling.

Once the initial rush of achievement is experience, how much is there really to be accomplished?  Our moon presence didn’t go far for a reason.  Why does anyone think it would be any different?

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Posted: 05 May 2016 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Well, I see that took care of that.  cool smile

Were it only so easy to cancel and redirect all that imaginative energy and effort presently being squandered on such a hubristic fairytale adventure, delusion,… self indulgent fantasy for people with too much time and money on their hands.

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Posted: 06 May 2016 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 05 May 2016 08:53 PM

Well, I see that took care of that.  cool smile

Were it only so easy to cancel and redirect all that imaginative energy and effort presently being squandered on such a hubristic fairytale adventure, delusion,… self indulgent fantasy for people with too much time and money on their hands.

I wouldn’t go that far.  I just think it should have a low priority.

psik

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Posted: 06 May 2016 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I always love it when people criticize the space program using technology that wouldn’t exist without the space program.  Its sort of like Christians on Facebook saying they want nothing to do with atheists.  (Zuckerberg’s an atheist, BTW.)

We should go to Mars for the same reason that our ancestors decided to cross the ocean:  Because if we don’t, we’ll never advance.  Pushing outward forces us to change our perspective on how we view not only ourselves, but where we’ve come from, and where we’re going.  Most of the technology related to flame retardants and fire prevention owes its existence to the Apollo 1 fire which killed Grissom, Chaffee, and White.  People have been killed in fires since before civilization, but it took 3 astronauts getting roasted in a capsule before folks got really serious about preventing it.

Every dollar we put into NASA yields $14 in economic growth, thanks to the spinoff technologies which result.  (You know who pioneered research into better battery technology?  NASA, because they didn’t want to run an extension cord from the Earth to the Moon so the Apollo astronauts could run their electric drills to take core samples.)  Contrast that with spending on education, which ads $7 to the economy, or defense, which ads $3.

The digital camera in your phone wouldn’t exist without the Hubble telescope, because NASA needed a better kind of camera to take pictures than what was then available.  The image processing software that allows the crappy photo you took to be automatically cleaned up, owes its origins to the image processing software NASA developed.

Honda and Toyota are getting ready to introduce clean running fuel cell cars this year in California.  They wouldn’t be happening if it hadn’t been for NASA needing them for the manned space program back in the ‘60s.

Oh, and the reason the Apollo program was killed is actually pretty simple:  It was Kennedy’s idea, and Nixon hated Kennedy, absolutely hated Kennedy.  It drove Nixon insane to hear Kennedy’s name linked with the Apollo program, so Nixon killed it, and forced NASA to take the shuttle program instead.  This is despite the fact that NASA tried to tell Nixon the shuttle would be more expensive and more dangerous than Apollo. 

NASA’s budget since 1965 has averaged, without adjusting for inflation, $20 billion/yr.  Or, less than what we were spending every 6 months in Iraq for most of the war.  Think about that.  We could have doubled NASA’s budget and provided free college education for Americans, for less than what we spent on the Iraq war.  We could even have expanded Medicaid, government housing programs, and many other things.

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Posted: 06 May 2016 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Coldheart Tucker - 06 May 2016 07:11 AM

I always love it when people criticize the space program using technology that wouldn’t exist without the space program.  Its sort of like Christians on Facebook saying they want nothing to do with atheists.  (Zuckerberg’s an atheist, BTW.)

Bull Shit.
Please focus on the program I’m discussing - this delusional thing about spending uncountable resources on sending humans to Mars, when our planet’s life support system is literally crumbling in front of our eyes.

What good will some future Matt Damon hero do on Mars when our Oceans can no longer feed all the people dependent on them?
that’s just one “little” big issue…

Oh but dream on like we are Gods living in our own minds.

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Posted: 06 May 2016 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Coldheart Tucker -
...Because if we don’t, we’ll never advance.  ... People have been killed in fires since before civilization, but it took 3 astronauts getting roasted in a capsule before folks got really serious about preventing it….You know who pioneered research into better battery technology?  NASA,...The digital camera in your phone wouldn’t exist without the Hubble telescope… The image processing software that allows the crappy photo you took to be automatically cleaned up, owes its origins to the image processing software NASA developed….fuel cell cars

Looks like military and commercial development are pretty much useless.

Sorry Tucker, people have had fire extinguishers before and after Apollo 1, which was caused largely due to the use of pure oxygen and flammable materials.  Batteries have been under development for a long time and for many reason.  Hubble did not do any great service to camera development.

It is true that if we spend money on space there will be some spinoffs.  But we can get more technology for our money funding unmanned programs and direct development, as opposed to trickle down technology from something as useless as manned spaceflight.

I grew up at the dawn of manned space flight and it was all very exciting, but now, well, been there done that.

For X dollars we will get far more science data and far more technology spinoff with continued programs such as the James Webb telescope, missions to Earth, interplanetary probes, and unmanned sample return missions to mars.

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Posted: 06 May 2016 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Wow, did I just wander into a conservative forum? For those who think manned space exploration is a waste, answer this: Why waste money on an art museum? Or a concert hall? Can’t we just go to youtube?

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Posted: 06 May 2016 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Stardusty Psyche - 06 May 2016 09:24 AM

I grew up at the dawn of manned space flight and it was all very exciting, but now, well, been there done that.

For X dollars we will get far more science data and far more technology spinoff with continued programs such as the James Webb telescope, missions to Earth, interplanetary probes, and unmanned sample return missions to mars.

Agreed. i’m all for space exploration, but sending people to Mars is a waste of money and resources because Mars has no magnetic field. Astronauts and cosmonauts require shielding from cosmic rays. That means either building underground or some sort of magnetic generator to protect them. That ignores the problem of getting them there alive and transporting the food and water they will need. The smart way to explore Mars is to send robotic spacecraft and develop our AI technology.

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Posted: 06 May 2016 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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CuthbertJ - Wow, did I just wander into a conservative forum?

You just wandered into the comments of a rational skeptic who values reasoned analysis over ideological labeling.  In other words, I could not care less whether you think my views are liberal, conservative, or any other such label.

For those who think manned space exploration is a waste, answer this: Why waste money on an art museum? Or a concert hall? Can’t we just go to youtube?

In human experience there is indeed a substantial difference to be had in live sensing.  Not true for interplanetary science, other than the wow factor experienced by a tiny few and the vicarious absorption of that experience by the many…been there, done that, not worth tens of billions for the rerun.

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Posted: 06 May 2016 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Whether we like it or not, any of the other substantial powers announcing an intention to do it will concentrate minds, even resulting in a juvenile “we want it too” attitude.

On an almost related topic, should the government resume funding of SETI? I am aware that Yuri has pledged $100 million to it over ten years and also recently has pledged another $100 million on the development of a credit-card-sized fleet of drones to head close enough to Mars to do analysis by photography. But fundamentally SETI has to rely on gifts, in the manner of a village bowling club. It’s almost embarrassing to hear Seth’s lectures / appeals containing the same ten jokes that he has used since the turn of the millenium. (“They say that for each chart that you show you lose 10% of your audience. I have a dozen.”)

Should SETI be funded at all by government, maybe going back under the NASA ‘wing’? If it was majority funded by government then it would be totally controlled by government, so it is maybe not a good idea. But the funding would be guaranteed for a rolling number of years in advance, thus enabling SETI to make long term plans and use long term strategies. SETI has an almost null return on investment since Frank Drake started it in 1960. Some worthy stuff has been / will be discovered incidentally. Such investment is extremely speculative and thus difficult to justify.

[ Edited: 06 May 2016 01:38 PM by Archbishop Krauss ]
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Posted: 06 May 2016 03:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Coldheart Tucker - 06 May 2016 07:11 AM

I always love it when people criticize the space program using technology that wouldn’t exist without the space program.  Its sort of like Christians on Facebook saying they want nothing to do with atheists.  (Zuckerberg’s an atheist, BTW.)

We should go to Mars for the same reason that our ancestors decided to cross the ocean:  Because if we don’t, we’ll never advance.

We could put robots on the Moon and control them from Earth.  They don’t need food or air. 

Crossing the ocean did not require bringing oxygen.  Are there any Martians to kill?

psik

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Posted: 06 May 2016 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 06 May 2016 07:25 AM
Coldheart Tucker - 06 May 2016 07:11 AM

I always love it when people criticize the space program using technology that wouldn’t exist without the space program.  Its sort of like Christians on Facebook saying they want nothing to do with atheists.  (Zuckerberg’s an atheist, BTW.)

Bull Shit.

Nope.  Its the truth.  In 1957 the Soviets put Sputnik into space and America shat its pants over this, leading to the creation of DARPA, as well as converting the existing NACA to NASA, and starting the manned space program.  This spurred the development of computer technology, and led to the DARPA folks deciding that they needed to be able to allow computers to talk to one another, so they created ARPAnet, which in the ‘90s became the internet.  I’ll also point out that the name of the organization which hosts this board is the “Center for Inquiry.”  Why should seeking to gain knowledge be considered wrong?  Newton’s work on gravity led to things like the space program, which enabled us to put up things like weather satellites (so we can evacuate people when a storm is headed their way) as well as things like GPS (which enables all kinds of benefits besides simply enabling you to find the closest Starbucks).

Please focus on the program I’m discussing - this delusional thing about spending uncountable resources on sending humans to Mars, when our planet’s life support system is literally crumbling in front of our eyes.

And, thanks to the space program, we have lots and lots of information about what’s happening on Earth.  As for “unaccountable resources,” let’s look at the numbers, shall we?  Look at what we’re spending on defense compared to the rest of the planet:
military_spending_big.png

Our annual defense budget is $600 billion+ (because of the crazy accounting that Congress uses, the exact total is different, and probably unknown, since they often separate the costs for things like Iraq and other military operations from the annual DoD budget, or transfer the costs to the previous year’s budget, despite having spent the money in the current year).  We’ve spent over $1.5 trillion on a plane that can’t fly, and the military doesn’t need.  Yet, for some reason, NASA’s $20 billion/yr. budget seems “excessive” to folks.  Then there’s the Abrams tanks Congress insists on buying, even though the Army doesn’t want them.  And I’ll point out that we spend more on professional sports (which often take place in venues paid for by tax dollars) than we do NASA.  Hell, we spend more on cosmetics than we do on NASA.  Americans buy $30 billion/yr. worth of make up, etc., which is $10 billion more than NASA gets.

What good will some future Matt Damon hero do on Mars when our Oceans can no longer feed all the people dependent on them?

“What good is a newborn baby?” Ben Franklin.  Suppose a future Mars mission (manned or unmanned) finds evidence of life on Mars, what’s that do to the religious folks?  More importantly, what can we learn from studying such life?  We won’t know until we look.  Maybe it uses something other than DNA or RNA to function and by using what we learn from it we can more effectively (and economically) suck carbon out of the atmosphere.  Maybe it cures cancer.  Maybe Mars is an utterly barren, lifeless world.  We don’t know.  But whatever we learn, it can help inform our decisions here on Earth.

that’s just one “little” big issue…

Oh but dream on like we are Gods living in our own minds.

It is the “dreamers” who change things, not the “pragmatists.”  You ever read the articles written at the beginning of the automobile age?  There were lots of folks touting the superiority of the horse over the car.  After all, you don’t need to pay for grass to feed your horse, and you didn’t have to worry about such things as breaking an arm while cranking your horse, to cite but a few things that they offered.  If there had been a government program, which no doubt would have been considered “crazy” by many folks at the time, dedicated to things like improving battery technology or fuel cell technology, or flex-fuel technology, we might not be in the bind we’re presently in.  There wasn’t, because people didn’t see the value in it, as gasoline was so cheap.  We’ve had absolutely unequivocal evidence that global warming is something we should worry about for decades now, that hasn’t stopped shitheads from claiming its a myth.  Had we spent more on things like the space program, we might well have the technology (at a low-cost) to deal with it, than we do now.  After all, Jimmy Carter’s solar panels were ripped off the roof of the White House by Reagan, but NASA kept trying to improve them, because they realized that solar panels would work better in space than a gasoline powered engine would.

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Posted: 06 May 2016 05:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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DarronS - 06 May 2016 10:18 AM
Stardusty Psyche - 06 May 2016 09:24 AM

I grew up at the dawn of manned space flight and it was all very exciting, but now, well, been there done that.

For X dollars we will get far more science data and far more technology spinoff with continued programs such as the James Webb telescope, missions to Earth, interplanetary probes, and unmanned sample return missions to mars.

Agreed. i’m all for space exploration, but sending people to Mars is a waste of money and resources because Mars has no magnetic field. Astronauts and cosmonauts require shielding from cosmic rays. That means either building underground or some sort of magnetic generator to protect them. That ignores the problem of getting them there alive and transporting the food and water they will need. The smart way to explore Mars is to send robotic spacecraft and develop our AI technology.

About that whole radiation thing, the folks over at Der Spiegel aren’t terribly convinced that its as big a deal as many folks make out:  http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nuclear-exaggeration-is-atomic-radiation-as-dangerous-as-we-thought-a-519043.html

Mind you, if someone called me up and said that I could go to Mars, but would die a year or two after I got back to Earth because of radiation exposure, I’d still be more than happy to go.  Granted, I don’t have the qualifications to be an astronaut, but every astronaut who goes into space knows that they’re strapping themselves on to a frickin’ bomb that’s about as powerful as what we dropped on Japan, so I think that they’d be okay with a “little” radiation.

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