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Thread: why a Manned Mission to Mars ??

  1. #1
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    why we need a man on Mars ?
    are modern robots not smart enough ?
    or distant Mars, makes remote control difficult/impossible ?
    or a manned mission means more jobs/budget for NASA ?

  2. #2
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    An astronaut can do far more than a robot. Compare what the Surveyor and Lunakhod probes did compared to what the Apollo astronauts did on Luna.

    There is also one of those human spirit issues. Do we really want to not expand beyond the geosphere and stagnate until Sol goes white dwarf?

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    The Earth is to fragile a basket to hold all of humanity's eggs.

    Apologies for the paraphrase and not remembering who said it...just the way my mind works. I remember isolated facts but not where they came from if I'm not consantly using them. (Makes it a real hassle at work sometime to look up something I know to give the reference but can't remember exactly where...)

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    My late friend Bill Carnahan wanted to go. He was pretty old at the time. He said "Send us old guys there. We'll be happy to stay and you won't have tp bring us back."

    Bill was a neat guy who was a member of the Austin Astronomical Society and the founder of the "Association for Pushing Gravity Research" that held conferences and gave awards for papers and published some booklets on Pushing Gravity theory.

    My late uncle, Homer Shoop, wanted me to arrange to have his ashes spread on Mars. Homer was the best bridge player in the world over the age of 75. He played tennis with trick shots and gave exhibitions around the world, including at Monaco where he made the Prince laugh so hard he fell out of his chair. Neither of these guys would've asked the question.

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    On 2003-01-12 08:16, darkhunter wrote:
    The Earth is to fragile a basket to hold all of humanity's eggs.

    Apologies for the paraphrase and not remembering who said it.
    "The Earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all its eggs in. "
    -- Robert A. Heinlein

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    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ToSeek on 2003-01-12 10:38 ]</font>

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    On 2003-01-12 08:16, darkhunter wrote:
    The Earth is to fragile a basket to hold all of humanity's eggs.
    Oh, so Earth's a basket, is it? I suppose you think that proves the Apollo photographs fake since they show a round Earth.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Glom on 2003-01-12 11:22 ]</font>

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    If we want to go to Mars then we need to look at the space program entirely differently. Right now we have the problem that NASA is involved in both exploration and in science. The cost/benefit analysis of human vs. unmanned missions for science is clear: it's always better to send the robot. For the price of Apollo without the astronauts, we could have found out a ridiculous amount of information.

    Of course, science is not the reason for sending humans into the great beyond. Rather, there's a separate exploratory spirit that is fed by such trips. It may be worthwhile to engage in such activities, but we need to be clear why we are doing it. It is not because of science; it is because of our own human desire. Once we decide that Mars is where we want to go, nothing will stop us. However, we haven't come to that consensus yet as a society. It is up to those who are gung-ho to convince the rest of us to tap into our "wonder" emotions and get us excited about sending people to Mars.

    My feeling? If we're going to send people to Mars I want them to stay. For the price of the Apollo program we could send 8 people to Mars with the intention of having them start a colony. It would be a tremendous investment, but given enough time we would see a return on it. Unfortunately, I think that such an idea would not have very many supporters as it might be viewed as throwing money away. It is a big risk, but sometimes the big risks have the biggest gains.

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    Because we can. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] Best answer there is.

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    On 2003-01-12 10:37, ToSeek wrote:
    On 2003-01-12 08:16, darkhunter wrote:
    The Earth is to fragile a basket to hold all of humanity's eggs.

    Apologies for the paraphrase and not remembering who said it.
    "The Earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all its eggs in. "
    -- Robert A. Heinlein

    _________________
    "... to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." - Tennyson, Ulysses


    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ToSeek on 2003-01-12 10:38 ]</font>
    THANKS! [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

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    I think we should. IT is the last frontier that we know of right now. We need to explore again.

    But i just hope they send along a calcuator with them with the calculations on how to change feet into meters. Just incase [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

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    So we ask the question, "why does NASA not go to Mars?" Well I for one believe that NASA should not go to Mars - on its own.

    During the Apollo era, a huge pile of American money was spent to get American astronauts onto the Moon. Since then, no human has been back, and to add insult to injury, there's people who are trying to get us to believe that it was all a hoax.

    I believe that, as a citizen of Scotland, I have no right to lobby NASA to go anywhere, however I do not think it is fair that it is only the tax Dollars of US citizens that get used to fund space travel.

    It would take a concerted effort to get anyone to Mars, so I believe that all the major industrialised nations should contribute to a larger presence in space, starting with a return to The Moon and the formation of a permanently manned base, before working up to the permanent manned colony on Mars. Then and only then could we consider this to be a planetary effort rather than the effort of one nation.

    I don't want to knock NASA, in fact I am in deep admiration of their achievements over the years. I also know that any effort to broaden our space efforts would rely heavily on NASA's expertise. The point that I'm trying to get at is that I want to be able to say that my country contributed to the next evolution of the human species. NASA should not go it alone.

    [edited as the spelling was awful!]

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: liglats on 2003-01-12 16:25 ]</font>

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    On 2003-01-12 07:31, cable wrote:
    why we need a man on Mars ?
    are modern robots not smart enough ?
    Robots are great, but with people the mission doesn't stop because you can't cross a 6" rock.

    We should send both. At the same time. An exploratory base with remote rovers, and human explorers, too!

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    I agree is liglats. How better to embrace the spirit of the '67 Outer Space treaty than to not have one country make the achievement? All we need to do is get Charles Kennedy elected. We know the Scots have an engineering tradition and since his name's Kennedy, I'm sure he'll be for it.

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    On 2003-01-12 16:32, Tom wrote:

    We should send both. At the same time. An exploratory base with remote rovers, and human explorers, too!
    IMHO, a trip to Mars would start off with unmanned vehicles being sent in advance containing oxygen, water shelter etc. Some multi-function robots could be sent in the first wave to get the lie of the land.

    Also, the original Lunar Rover had a guidance system to make the return to the lander easier and not rely on directions such as "third turning past the large grey boulder". How about something like a quad bike with appropriate sensing equipment? This gets sent in advance to scout round the area, then when the humans arrive, the autonomous systems are switched off and it gets used as martian transport.

    [All we need to do is get Charles Kennedy* elected. We know the Scots have an engineering tradition and since his name's Kennedy, I'm sure he'll be for it]

    Unfortunately, any Scots that make it into space will have to put up with the "Scotty to Bridge, ye cannae change the laws of Physics!" stereotype!

    *Charles Kennedy - Leader of the UK Liberal Democrat party. For those who don't know (or care!) about UK politics.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: liglats on 2003-01-12 17:17 ]</font>

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    On 2003-01-12 17:13, liglats wrote:
    "Scotty to Bridge, ye cannae change the laws of Physics!"
    That's a very good impression. Do that again.

    I didn't say we'd send Scots into space. We'd get them to build the spacecraft and then send Eaton graduates into space. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif[/img]

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Glom on 2003-01-12 17:41 ]</font>

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    On 2003-01-12 07:31, cable wrote:
    why we need a man on Mars ?
    Well, in the immortal words of you-know-who: "Space, the final frontier. . . ."

    I can put this another way: Where is your sense of adventure?!

    are modern robots not smart enough ?
    Think of it this way. One could say, "Why do I need to plan a trip to see the Grand Canyon when I can look at photographs of it?" But having been there, I can attest to the same claim as others who have been there: the photographs just do not do it justice! There is nothing like being there and seeing its grandeur for what it is, for how the colors change throughout the day, etc., etc., etc.

    Robots can offer some useful technical stuff, but nothing compares to the human experience, really.

  17. #17
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    So you'll probably love Valles Marineris even more.

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    I've got to say it's all very well sending robots to Mars to gather information but it cannot compare to the magic and imagary (for want of a better description) of sending a manned mission to the red planet.

    There was a helluva lot of interest in the Pathfinder mission but just imagine the interest generated by a successful manned mission.....

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    Something to think about...

    Ask people, "Would you take part in a mission to Mars if you had a 50% chance of dying on the mission?" A lot of people would jump at the chance.

    But ask people, "Should NASA send a manned mission to Mars if it has a 50% chance of catastrophic failure (death of the astronauts)?"

    I think you'll find most people would be horrified at NASA being so cavalier with the astronauts' lives.

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    liglats,

    Your own ESA(European Space Agency) is a major player in the ISS program. It is building and funding many parts of the ISS and is sending its own astronauts to it, albeit with American and Russian vehicles.

    ESA also does its own robotic exploration missions.

    ESA has some quirks...each project must give a 20% share to France if France gave 20% of a project's funding, 30% to Norway if Norway gave 30%, and so forth. This is a big pain. It also has its own NASA style beauracracy.

    About international projects- the worse thing about ISS is that it cannot be canceled without violating international commitments. Also..its bad enough to have to satisfy American political interests when doing a space project - give something to a powerfull congressman's district, etc. If you add European and Russian political interests in, either the cost and complexities go up eponentially or the project simply dies at the negotiating table. Fortunatly, most projects of this ilk have died at the negotiating table.

    There are good things about cooperation in space. Yet it is best that one country(or international agency like the ESA) be both the prime funding source and the sole decisionmaker in each project. This decisionmake must have the ability to pull the plug on the project if neccesary.

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    Liglats, ye warm me soul! I agree that mankind as a whole should venture to Mars. NASA is not enough.

    Robots can very well perform first-look analyses, and there should be several more robotic missions to Mars. But if we are really interested in planetary studies then nothing will replace human eyes on Mars. A geologist recognizes strata, concretions, fossils, bedding planes--that's hard stuff, subtle pattern-recognition algorithms, for a robot. A soil chemist will tailor experiments to match his evolving understanding of Martian soil, and by the end of a mission I would guarrantee he would surpass the possible findings of a robotic soil analyst. I wanna go! Can you imagine picking your way along one of the layered canyon walls, looking at...sandstone? tuff? wind-laid sediments? conglomerate? alien seashells?

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    On 2003-01-12 07:31, cable wrote:
    why we need a man on Mars ?
    Why do people climb mountains?
    Why do people do bungee jumping?
    Why do people watch tv?

    We don't need a man on Mars, we need plenty of people there. Going to and living on Mars is the next logical step in the evolution of mankind. Not again a "go there and quickly come back"-stunt as Apollo. Having a self-sustained permanent colony on Mars is the only sure way that mankind could survive a catastrophic event on Earth, either naturally (impact), technology gone wrong or the big mushroom blossoming.

    Harald

  23. #23
    On 2003-01-12 07:31, cable wrote:
    why we need a man on Mars ?
    It doesn't really matter where we go as long as we just get out there! Space exploration is inevitable, regardless of what we talk about in this forum. We have the technology, money, will, and desire to do it, so it will get done.

    As alluded to, there would be several folks standing in line to go to Mars and never come back, despite the risks.
    As far as cost and technical problems go, I would guess that it will be some time before any human launches off of the planet Mars. Coming off of Mars is no doubt a far greater challenge that climbing out of the Moon's relatively shallow gravity well. (see bottom).

    I would bet that in the short term (over the next 50 years) there will be two types of visitors. Those that would colonize the planet and not come back, and those scientist sent to merely orbit the planet (Station Phobos?) to observe and to provide near-immediate hand-held feedback to the remotes.

    So much for my $0.02.

    I have a specific question to the JPLers out there: What exactly would need to get built on the Mars surface in order to launch, say, five astronauts safely into orbit to rendezvous with the "Mother Ship" for a trip home?



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    On 2003-01-12 07:31, cable wrote:
    why we need a man on Mars ?
    My friend was thinking about the Renaissance one day. He decided that if the Black Death had not swept though, the Renaissance would not have occurred. I pointed out the die-off was inevitable, that many people living in such conditions, with no one doing anything about it. People became complacent, went with the idea of things being “good enough”. Good enough never got anyone anywhere. The plague was a wake-up call, which kicked Europe into high gear. Next thing you know, there are colonies on distant lands. As far as my feeble mind can tell, we are living in another Dark Age. Sure, we have computers, TV, ect. Yippee. I hope it doesn’t take a nasty flu epidemic or something to convince the populous we need to do more. At the risk of sounding sappy, one of the concepts of Star Trek: Nemesis is humans are defined by trying to be more than they are (it’s not that bad of a spoiler, don’t worry). Today we are fat, lazy, and complacent. I just hope someday a history student doesn’t refer to my life as being in the “Second Dark Age”…

    [Edited because I forgot to add cable's quote]
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    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: VanBurenVandal on 2003-01-13 12:42 ]</font>

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    Cpabera,
    welcome on board.
    As far as cost and technical problems go, I would guess that it will be some time before any human launches off of the planet Mars. Coming off of Mars is no doubt a far greater challenge that climbing out of the Moon's relatively shallow gravity well.
    perhaps not a far greater challenge, if we build a LM -- or should I say -- a MM with cryogenic engine ...
    there is one exciting goal: to learn about early biology on Mars. that may help understand evolution ....

  26. #26
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    But trying to keep supercritical helium supercritical for that long isn't easy.

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    On 2003-01-12 11:24, JS Princeton wrote:
    If we want to go to Mars then we need to look at the space program entirely differently. Right now we have the problem that NASA is involved in both exploration and in science. The cost/benefit analysis of human vs. unmanned missions for science is clear: it's always better to send the robot. For the price of Apollo without the astronauts, we could have found out a ridiculous amount of information.
    Disagree. We're getting to the point now where we could build robots that would have returned more science than the astronauts did on the Apollo missions for the same amount of money. Maybe we're past that point. We weren't there in the 60's.

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    The money on manned spaceflight, for now, is better spent on making manned spaceflight cheaper and more reliable. Although there are some great mission architectures to get to Mars (most notably, Mars Direct and Mars Semi-Direct) fairly reliably and fairly soon, if cost-to-orbit was, $500 a kilogram rather than the $10K or more a kilogram these days, mass considerations would be a lot more liberal and all kinds of cool mission plans could get us reliably back to the Moon and onto Mars.

  29. #29
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    But there are always limitations to using unmanned space travel and there is also the issue of "we choice to do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

    Do we want to stagnate? Besides, a manned Mars landing attracts publicity. "Do you know what makes this bird go up? Funding makes this bird go up. No bucks, (or euros if you work for ESA) no Buck-Rogers."

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    On 2003-01-13 13:50, Rodina wrote:

    The money on manned spaceflight, for now, is better spent on making manned spaceflight cheaper and more reliable. Although there are some great mission architectures to get to Mars (most notably, Mars Direct and Mars Semi-Direct) fairly reliably and fairly soon, if cost-to-orbit was, $500 a kilogram rather than the $10K or more a kilogram these days, mass considerations would be a lot more liberal and all kinds of cool mission plans could get us reliably back to the Moon and onto Mars.
    Agreed. The problem is that people have been proposing low cost to orbit alternatives for at least the last 35 years, but so far nothing tangible has come of it (well, i shouldn't say nothing. The shuttle was supposed to lower costs by a factor of 3 or so (i've pulled this number from my hat--anyone remember if NASA actually had some figures they were shooting for?). Of course, it was also supposed to have a flight rate about a factor of 10 higher than its current rate).

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