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Should NASA go to Mars or back to the Moon?

 
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 12:33 am
@Brandon9000,
Quote:
Fine for you if you like. I don't want to stay locked in the closet forever.


Alan Watts would say that you are trying to put legs on a snake, that you are making life much more complicated than it is and thus you are not able to see what it is. Your focus is for ****, and thus you will never be able to perfect life.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 02:50 am
@hawkeye10,
I don't necessarily disagree with you, but why should we? What is in it for us? How does knowing what is out their make our lives better? The conventional wisdom is that it does not, that space is a waste of energy and money, that only science geeks care. What is your counter argument?
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With that viewpoint we would still be in caves in one small area of this planet!

And this planet we are living on is not a safe place to be long term as sooner or later we will get hit with another event that will cause a great die out as in say a super volcano or an asteroid far too large to move with any likely future technology or other events that would kill off the human race on earth.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 02:55 am
@BillRM,
Quote:
And this planet we are living on is not a safe place to be long term as sooner or later we will get hit with another event that will cause a great die out as in say a super volcano or an asteroid far too large to move with any likely future technology or other events that would kill off the human race on earth


we are destined to exterminate ourselves, which rock we happen to be on at the time is irrelevant. Clutch at straws much, do you???
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 04:12 am
@hawkeye10,
we are destined to exterminate ourselves, which rock we happen to be on at the time is irrelevant. Clutch at straws much, do you???
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We are? What proof do you have for that statement other then a large degree of self hate I see in your postings?
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 06:23 am
@Reyn,
Reyn wrote:
Neither, in my opinion. Right now, they should concentrate their resources on getting the space station operational, which could have good benefits, in the short run.

That's fine, but I was wondering "If NASA were to exert itself in a new attempt to land on either Mars or on our Moon, which should it be first?".

Also, did anyone read the rest of my original post, or just the title? I am proposing that the best way to evaluate a choice between Mars or Moon is to base it on Adventure rather than Functionality. So part of this discussion is intended to explore people's opinions regarding these two motivations.

So far, the majority of respondents seem to be of the "Functionality" mindset rather than the "Adventure" mindset.

By the way, the original motivation for getting to the moon wasn't primarily for adventure or functionality, it was for political dominance (to beat the Russians).
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 06:25 am
@NickFun,
NickFun wrote:
And there are icebergs (or, possibly, vast unfrozen oceans) beneath the ground which appear to b the size of Los Angeles!

Really? Where did you hear that?
NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 09:20 am
@rosborne979,
Here's one article: http://www.spacedaily.com/news/mars-water-science-05e.html

and another: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/discovery-of-ice-lifts-hope-of-sending-man-to-mars-652649.html
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 12:32 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
That's fine, but I was wondering "If NASA were to exert itself in a new attempt to land on either Mars or on our Moon, which should it be first?".


You seem to not understand how the system works. NASA does what it is told to do, the political system controls and funds NASA. So long as the great unwashed masses are unwilling to support NASA projects with taxpayer moneys NASA will do not much of anything.

Which of the two projects has the best chance of gaining support, and why, should be your question. On that it is clear that Mars is the one. We have already been to the moon, and short of some benefit for going again on the scale of mining a new energy source for Earth there is no reason to go back that is worth the effort. Mars on the other hand is a new place, it will require new technology which could turn out to be practically useful on earth, going to Mars does have a pay-off that makes the investment worthwhile.

I don't think that America can do this project until and unless we reform our political system, and even if we did it would make more sense for the ascending superpower that is China to lead this mission. I think that if America does bail on the space station that space is over for us, we will have proven to be not able to support major projects for the second time, first Skylab and now the Space Station. The Europeans don't have much of an Appetite for space, so that means that this endevor goes to the Chinese by default. Russia is basically a third world nation now and even more broken than America is, so they are no longer a contender.
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 02:35 pm
@rosborne979,
The space station has solved one enormous mystery, which was why all Russian cosmonauts on long orbital missions were carried out of the returning capsules on stretchers and never walked again - something irreparable happens to bones in zero gravity unless counteracted by controlled ship rotation, suitable exercise, food, etc. Besides, it's a thing of awesome beauty >
http://www.scientificamerican.com/media/inline/blog/Image/160533main_jsc2006e43519_low.jpg
> and I, personally, feel that the people love the space program and will continue to fund it beyond the year 2016. In answer to the original question, though, if we can't afford both, I say Mars. It will be a long and costly effort, but we can count on help from other countries once we set a date - and only about once every decade is the distance to Mars at a minimum, so we're looking at the 2020s or 2030s for a manned mission.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 03:01 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
That's fine, but I was wondering "If NASA were to exert itself in a new attempt to land on either Mars or on our Moon, which should it be first?".

We have already been to the moon, and short of some benefit for going again on the scale of mining a new energy source for Earth there is no reason to go back that is worth the effort. ...

A child who is first taught to read is unlikely to write any great books, but if you keep teaching him, someday he may use the skill to do great things. It's the same thing with going to the Moon. The point of putting people into space is to get good at it so that we can put more people into space later. The Moon is much, much closer to the Earth, and, much, much easier to get to, so going there a logical next step in building up the technological infrastructure. Mars might be the logical nest step after that. You appear to be exactly the type of person who would have told Columbus that his trips were a nice idea, but impractical, and of no real value. What comes through with brilliant clarity in all of your posts is short term thinking.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 03:35 pm
@Brandon9000,
you claim that the moon would be easier, but I don't think so. Because we (the masses) don't care about it the effort would be half-assed with inadequate and unsteady funding , just as the space station has been. We would not do it well, just as we have not done the space station well, nor Hubble well, thus the effort would not gin up excitement to go to mars. Rather, it would make sure that doing Mars was impossible. If a proposed NASA mission does not have both the political will and the funding to be done well the idea should stay an idea, we should not move forward. NASA can not tolerate more of the mediocrity that has been its bread and butter since Apollo.
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 03:44 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

you claim that the moon would be easier, but I don't think so. Because we (the masses) don't care about it the effort would be half-assed with inadequate and unsteady funding , just as the space station has been. We would not do it well, just as we have not done the space station well, nor Hubble well, thus the effort would not gin up excitement to go to mars. Rather, it would make sure that doing Mars was impossible. If a proposed NASA mission does not have both the political will and the funding to be done well the idea should stay an idea, we should not move forward. NASA can not tolerate more of the mediocrity that has been its bread and butter since Apollo.

Only saying that it's logical first to make a base somewhere a quarter million miles away than somewhere which, at its closest, is 35 million miles away. You have to crawl before you can walk.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 03:55 pm
@Brandon9000,
Quote:

Only saying that it's logical first to make a base somewhere a quarter million miles away than somewhere which, at its closest, is 35 million miles away. You have to crawl before you can walk.


I understand, you are locked into logic. But space is not about logic most of the time, at least not when done well. Apollo and most of the soviet leaps were done for power and/or glory, and logic did not motivate and does not explain the best that we have done so far.

as illogical as it is, sometimes the option that requires the more effort and stretching is the easiest one to get motivated to do. This is such a situation.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 04:13 pm
@hawkeye10,
But space is not about logic most of the time, at least not when done well. Apollo and most of the soviet leaps were done for power and/or glory, and logic did not motivate and does not explain the best that we have done so far.
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A large part of out exploring was done for similar reasons in the days of sail nothing change except the technology.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 04:27 pm
@BillRM,
Quote:
A large part of out exploring was done for similar reasons in the days of sail nothing change except the technology.


But technology, ie the cost of technology, changes everything. In the exploration of earth by way of the sea days if a man could fund a ship and a crew he was set. Today no individual has the ability to fund the expedition, the public sector has to do it, and for this to happen the masses must be sold on the project. Pride and Fear was used to manipulate the American public into funding the one and only expedition that we have fully supported, and that was a long time ago. I don't think that anything will work to get us to fund space now, we are bankrupted and tired. But the best bet would be Mars, one last gasp for a failing superpower. The moon is not appealing, we would show that 50 years later we can still put a man on the moon.....yippee.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 04:48 pm
@hawkeye10,
So you think that a ship and a crew was a cheap economic investment to risk at any time in our history or that governments was not funding such explorations long before 1492?

Technology change and the cost of technology change over time and we are already seeing this in private companies placing satellites in orbit and starting to offer trips to the rich to the edge of space or one government selling trips to the space station to the super rich.

This is nothing new and it should follow the same path as been follow time after time in the history of the human race.

hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 05:06 pm
@BillRM,
there are a bunch of guys with a few bucks, a dream and a claim. We shall see if any of them can put something that works together. If they do we shall see if the economics support their venture. One need only look at Iridium to have doubts.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 05:22 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:
If NASA were to exert itself in a new attempt to land on either Mars or on our Moon, which should it be first?

Neither. Robots do both jobs just fine. Improve them as necessary. Make more variants specialized on more different tasks. Take advantage of mass production to make them cheaper. Then send up them instead of humans.

Humans in space are more trouble than they're worth. They are -- how do I say this in good taste? -- messy. Humans in space are incredibly expensive to keep hydrated, fed, and breathing. It's expensive to get rid of their poop, their pee, and their CO2. Unlike robots, they have to sleep eight hours a day. And their muscles need to exercise all the time lest they fade away.

The major disadvantage of using robots is that they can't deliver postcards of astronauts in front of an American flag on the Moon or Mars. But in my opinion, that's not worth the extra cost. You can send up a lot of robots before you match the cost of flying humans through outer space. And that's what NASA should keep doing: Send up lots of robots.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 06:30 pm
@Thomas,
Human are more trouble then they are worth?

Humans on the spot can do repairs and work around of problems that would result in the lost of the robots in question.

How many billions of dollars worth of robots had we lost already!

Exploring by it very nature mean that you are going to be running into situations that you had no idea you would be facing before hand and to deal with such you need human minds without light hours of delay in the loop.

Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jul, 2009 07:13 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
How many billions of dollars worth of robots had we lost already!

Yeah, let's talk about them, and lets compare them to the astronauts' lives lost already. What dollar value would you put on them?
 

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