31
   

Should NASA go to Mars or back to the Moon?

 
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 12:50 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Quote:
I do agree with you that the Moon base would be a hell of a lot less useful then bases in the asteroid belt, or at the Lagrange points.


And without a moon base and mass drivers where are you going to get the millions of millions of millions tons of material to build Lagrange points settlements?

You are going to go directly from the surface of the earth to the asteroid belt with enough material to build bases also?

You might be able to do it but it is surely the hard way when you have a nice low delta V moon to draw on.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 12:54 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:

Quote:
I do agree with you that the Moon base would be a hell of a lot less useful then bases in the asteroid belt, or at the Lagrange points.


And without a moon base and mass drivers where are you going to get the millions of millions of millions tons of material to build Lagrange points settlements?


From asteroids. You don't need mass drivers to get the material, either, it's not in a gravity well.

Quote:
You are going to go directly from the surface of the earth to the asteroid belt with enough material to build bases also?


You get the material at the source. That's like saying the settlers of America should have shipped bricks and mortar and timber from England to build houses.

Quote:
You might be able to do it but it is surely the hard way when you have a nice low delta V moon to draw on.


There's no real advantage to going into a gravity well, when the same stuff is freely available outside of one.

Cycloptichorn
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 01:37 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
And what do you think the delta V and energy needed to move a large many millions of tons asteroid into near earth orbit from beyond Mars orbit would be?

How would you compare that kind of effort to sitting up a few mass drivers on the moon surface power by solar cells banks or a small nuclear power plant and a moon bulldozer or two.

As far as using materials on site for asteroids bases of course but that is not how you are going to set up the first base or two or the first manufacturing asteroids infrastructure either.

In any case it been a long time since I had play with Hohmann orbit mathematic but there is no way that a moon base would not be the best first step to the rest of the solar system instead of moving millions of tons of asteroids around for material we had sitting on the moon surface.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:12 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Quote:
There's no real advantage to going into a gravity well, when the same stuff is freely available outside of one.


I am getting the impression that you are not thinking of the gravity well of the sun itself when you are thinking of so freely of moving millions of tons of asteroids many AUs to reach near earth space.

I guess I will need to warm up my calculator sooner or later on this thread.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:41 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:

My god you think that the human race should just sit on earth until one event or another wipe us out.

Mankind will eventually be consigned to the dustbin of time, most likely long before a meteorite hits the Earth. You can rage at that eventual fate and futilely throw lives and resources at it, but it's not going to change. The nearest habitable planet to Earth is so far away it hasn't been discovered and once it is, the time it takes to send a ship there would be more than the human race has left. The dangers you worry that Earth faces are much worse on the Moon and Mars. Meteorites hit the Moon all the time with devastating impact.
Quote:
NASA astronomers watched it form: "On May 2, 2006, a meteoroid hit the Moon's Sea of Clouds (Mare Nubium) with 17 billion joules of kinetic energyâ€"that's about the same as 4 tons of TNT," says Bill Cooke, the head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office in Huntsville, AL. "The impact created a bright fireball which we video-recorded using a 10-inch telescope."

Lunar impacts have been seen before--"stuff hits the Moon all the time," notes Cooke--but this is the best-ever recording of an explosion in progress...

Taking into account the duration of the flash and its brightness (7th magnitude), Cooke was able to estimate the energy of impact, the dimensions of the crater, and the size and speed of the meteoroid. "It was a space rock about 10 inches (25 cm) wide traveling 85,000 mph (38 km/s)," he says.

If a rock like that hit Earth, it would never reach the ground. "Earth's atmosphere protects us," Cooke explains. "A 10-inch meteoroid would disintegrate in mid-air, making a spectacular fireball in the sky but no crater." The Moon is different. Having no atmosphere, it is totally exposed to meteoroids. Even small ones can cause spectacular explosions, spraying debris far and wide.


Good luck building your Moon base to take impacts from rocks flying at 85,000 mph, even underground. Talk about bunker busters!

BillRM wrote:
Why the hell did, we leave the very few areas on this planet where the climate allows us to live without any form of aid or technology?

Ninety-nine percent of the areas we now live in on the surface of the earth a naked man would die within hours in winter and I am sure that the we could had not had fought our way to every corner of the planet if your thinking was the controlling force behind human beings.

Because we were looking for food, or riches or military advantage. Exploring is the search for a solution to a problem. It's certainly not because we are genetically programmed to forge into the wilderness. We're genetically programmed to reproduce like mad and consume resources at will, just like all other successful forms of life. Once population or scarcity problems arise, we move on. As we learned to apply intellect, we overcame the strictly biological drive to reproduce and expand, but not completely. To your statement, we have not expanded to all corners of the Earth. There are large expanses of land, deserts, mountain tops, the poles, the ocean surfaces and bottoms where people do not live. All of these areas are much more friendly than the Moon. At least we can breath the air and the gravity is right. So why don't people live there? Not worth it, same as putting people on the Moon.

BillRM wrote:
Engineers had been creating technologies to expand our living range long before we had such words as technology or engineering and moving out into the solar system is the same as our ancestors moving south and north and east and west on earth.

Hardly. Moving along the Earth is moving to a place where we can eat the food, breathe the air, drink the water and go back home when necessary. Engineers create technologies to solve problems. Going to the Moon is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. We have lots of real and immediate problems to work on. Cure cancer if you want a challenge. Figure out fusion or make breakthroughs on solar power. Explain tax policy to a tea bagger. If you are really worried about something hitting the Earth, design an Earth defense system. A small kinetic energy strike far enough away can shift a meteor's course significantly. I support space research, but sending robots to Mars works for me.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 03:03 pm
@engineer,
Hell, you are no engineer of any kind and why you picked that title, I have no clue at all.

We can live on Mars and the moon and in large orbiter structures and there is no reason why we cannot live off earth nor need another earth like planet for that matter.

It all a matter of simple engineering that is within the horizon of our current technology.

Side note moon settlements would be under the moon surface so any normal size meteor impact would do little or no harm.

Might break a few solar panels or radio antennas hell it might even kill someone who was unluckily enough to be on the surface near the impact but it hardly as must of a risk as an earth tornado.

engineer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 04:34 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:

Hell, you are no engineer of any kind and why you picked that title, I have no clue at all.

LOL. I'm sorry reality strikes you so harshly. A large part of engineering is determining what problems need to be solved, how many resources are available and prioritizing how to use the later to do the former. Sorry, your pet project is not going to make anyone's list. It's romantic and all but not necessary, cost justfied or even worthwhile. We'll get a lot more out of robotic research than we will out of building underground moon bunkers where humans are desperately fending off the effects of low gravity while trying to create atmosphere from scratch to make up what gets lost over time. But I'll make you a deal. Solve my fusion challenge, cure cancer, develope solar technology and get tea baggers to happily pay more taxes and I'll champion your underground moon base.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 04:38 pm
@engineer,
Quote:
It's romantic and all but not necessary, cost justfied or even worthwhile.


I have to disagree - it is all 4 of those things. Especially worthwhile. I would go so far as to say that establishing a free-standing colony of humans off of the Earth supersedes all other concerns for humanity as a species - by a lot.

Everything else - everything - is chump change compared to the survival of the species. This is the best way we can ensure that our species survives. Do you not agree that this is true?

Cycloptichorn
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 04:39 pm
@engineer,
The original choices for this thread were, go to the Moon or Mars. But it appears we have an new choice; go nowhere.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 04:43 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

The original choices for this thread were, go to the Moon or Mars. But it appears we have an new choice; go nowhere.


Yes, the inevitable choice favored by the unimaginative. Why do something when you could instead do nothing and ridicule those who want to do something? It's much easier.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 04:51 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
No, I don't agree. Advance medical technology so an infectious version of AIDS doesn't wipe us out. Develop an energy supply so we don't end up having idiots with oil money building nuclear weapons and oil destroying our fisheries. Continue working on green manufacturing processes so we can stop polluting our water and air. Those are ways to improve the human survival rate.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 05:05 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

No, I don't agree. Advance medical technology so an infectious version of AIDS doesn't wipe us out.


This has an extremely low chance of occurring, and also is solved by having separate colonies which are safe from infection. You've actually highlighted what is one of the best arguments for MY plan, funnily enough: no amount of research will ever be able to ensure that biological vectors cannot wipe out a huge amount of humanity, but distance can do this.

Quote:
Develop an energy supply so we don't end up having idiots with oil money building nuclear weapons and oil destroying our fisheries.


This is a short-term concern and of no consequence compared to the survival of the entire race. It is also, once again, solved by having a population base which is removed from the main and independent of it.

Quote:
Continue working on green manufacturing processes so we can stop polluting our water and air.


This is solved better by moving more and more manufacturing and mining off-planet then it is by refining our current processes on the surface.

Quote:
Those are ways to improve the human survival rate.


Uh, I strongly disagree with this. These ideas, while worthy of study, do nothing to protect the human race from a wide variety of extinction events, ALL of which are solved by having a separate colony.

For example: none of your solutions does anything to protect against a massive asteroid strike, an event which we know has happened several times in the past. Or a super-volcano, or a super-flu, or anything. You are mistaking solutions for short-term problems for much greater solutions for much greater problems.

Cycloptichorn
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 05:10 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
of no consequence compared to the survival of the entire race.


why does this matter?
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 05:14 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:
of no consequence compared to the survival of the entire race.


why does this matter?


Only the goal of Survival of the race allows all other concerns to continue to be worked on. Therefore it is the ultimate goal and the top priority. All other concerns are secondary to survival.

Only a true nihilist would state that there is no value whatsoever in promoting the survival of our species.

Cycloptichorn
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 05:19 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Do you really think humans have any particular value in the universe?

It has always seemed an odd view to me. Seems like a bit of a romantic/religious fantasy.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 05:23 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Do you really think humans have any particular value in the universe?

It has always seemed an odd view to me. Seems like a bit of a romantic/religious fantasy.


Yes. In the absence of proof of other intelligences, it falls upon us to provide meaning and interpretation of the beauty of the cosmos.

Even if that isn't true, there is an inherent value to humanity in protecting our self-interests - that is to say, in ensuring our OWN survival. All life attempts to continue to live, it is a defining factor of life that it spreads as far as possible. Humanity should do the same, as fast as we possibly can, until we reach a situation in which individual calamities on a single planet (and even within a single solar system) cannot threaten our overall existence.

Besides, if you don't believe there is any value to continuing human existence, then there isn't much of a discussion to be had on what our future plans should be, anyway. It can't possibly matter to you in any meaningful way.

Cycloptichorn
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 05:31 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
It can't possibly matter to you in any meaningful way.


I'm quite curious about people who think that there is a particular value/meaning to humanity.

Most of the people I have questioned about this over the decades have fallen back on some sort of religious belief/explanation. I wondered if you'd have anything different to offer, that might make more sense to me.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 05:43 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:
It can't possibly matter to you in any meaningful way.


I'm quite curious about people who think that there is a particular value/meaning to humanity.

Most of the people I have questioned about this over the decades have fallen back on some sort of religious belief/explanation. I wondered if you'd have anything different to offer, that might make more sense to me.


I don't know if there is an independent value of Humanity - like, from a third-person point of view, a dispassionate one - but I personally ascribe value to humanity. Very few things that we see in nature (to be more specific, nothing) displays the characteristics that Life does and as far as we can tell at this time the highest order of Life.

To ask what the point of humanity is, is to ask what the point of Stars are, or gravity. We exist; that is the entire point in itself.

Rather then get into an argument over whether we should have priorities at all, let us focus on the practical reality of deciding what those priorities should be. I can't see how any priority could be higher then that which underpins ALL other priorities!

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 06:11 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I think the fear of a world ending calamity are vastly overblown. Yes, the Earth has been hit before and a world ending hit maybe occurs every 600 million years. That means in the next million our chances of being hit are very small and we'll have probably killed ourselves off by then. Still, build a kinetic energy meteor deflector if you want. While you are at it, found a colony in the middle of the Mohave Desert so that you will be safe from germs and terrorist nuclear weapons. But while we're waiting for the comet to end the world, let's work on things to make the quality of life for the humans that are here better. Give me a cure for cancer over a Moon base any day. I respect your favoring the Moon base, but I can't see buying a tremendously expensive insurance policy for such a remote risk when there are there are so many better things to spend the money on.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 06:29 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:
Most of the people I have questioned about this over the decades have fallen back on some sort of religious belief/explanation. I wondered if you'd have anything different to offer, that might make more sense to me.

How 'bout pure hedonism Smile It's fun being us, so we should continue ourselves.
0 Replies
 
 

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