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llanitedave
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Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5986340 - 07/23/13 04:00 PM

Quote:

As a practical matter, if we don't figure out a way around the hard limit of C, I think that leaves us with 2 choices for interstellar travel:

1 - Large, multigenerational ships that are really miniature habitats in themselves, capable of supporting enough people to be a viable population. Of course, as Dave is fond of pointing out, once we do this there may not be much incentive to ever come back down to a planet, but just use asteroids/Oort cloud bodies to build more ships.

2 - Robotic ships that carry genetic samples from a large number of individuals to be used to artificially "jump start" a population when they reach a habitable planet. Genetic codes can be stored digitally. We are still a ways off from developing an artificial womb, but not that far off from being able to synthesize a full genome and insert it into an egg cell that has had its DNA removed. Eggs and DNA sequences don't weigh much. This bypasses the need for life support and greatly reduces the amount of mass you need to send. Also reduces the risk factor, since nobody is living on the ships.

Both will require significantly more advanced technology than we currently have to be feasible.

Jarad




Dave is fond of that topic, isn't he? The problem with #2 is simply the fact that you can't just "jump start" a population by fertilizing eggs. If the DNA-store is of humans, they still have to be nurtured, socialized, entertained, educated, disciplined, and given site-specific training (without much in the way of prior experience to judge the quality of their training against) before they can be let off the ship. This strikes me as being pretty risky, and you still have a long period where you have to rely completely on automation to maintain an entire population of embryos through infants through teenagers.

I think achieving the speed of light might actually be easier.

The reason I keep pushing for plan #1 is because it requires the smallest leap in up-front technology, and the habitats can be improved incrementally with experience as we gradually evolve the skills and abilities to utilize first the main-belt asteroids, later Kuiper belt objects, and then gradually and cautiously moving into the Oort Cloud and beyond, eventually to other systems. It's not an all-or-nothing one-shot deal that way.


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ColoHank
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Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Ira]
      #5986415 - 07/23/13 04:50 PM

Quote:

BTW, I believe I read somewhere that according to population genetics, the minimum starting size of a population required to insure its survival is around 130 persons, half male, half female. So, you're going to need alot more than a cosmic Adam and Eve if you want to keep humans hanging around for all time. Now getting that size population off the earth and surviving is in the realm of science fiction today. I'm not saying sending people into the cosmic vastness is pointless, it's just that the species survival argument for it is preposterous.






It's not like the human species can thrive in isolation, either. We're part of a web of life on Earth that includes a vast number of species interacting in ways we don't even understand. So, in addition to a seed population of humans, it also would be necessary to transport an incredibly diverse supporting cast of flora and fauna for colonization to work (in a nod to Otto, more cubits and pairs than Noah ever dreamed of).


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Otto Piechowski
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Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5986456 - 07/23/13 05:07 PM

I had not considered what you, Hank, touched on, while I was silently following this thread; specifically, the need for a supporting environment of other flora and fauna to nurture a healthy human community over a period of years; and our lack of knowledge about what all is needed in terms of an ecological web of support.

Otto


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Jarad
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Reged: 04/28/03

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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5986476 - 07/23/13 05:19 PM

Yes, all true. We would need to bring a wide variety of plants, animals, bacteria, etc. with us.

Jarad


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Ira
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Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5986556 - 07/23/13 06:18 PM

Pondering all of the problems I see the solution. It would be just as easy to put some thrusters on planet earth and let it be our big space ship. "Take us out of orbit, Mr. Sulu." And away we go...

/Ira

Edited by Ira (07/23/13 06:21 PM)


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Mister T
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Reged: 02/01/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5986599 - 07/23/13 06:50 PM

and given the recent advances in our understanding of how dependent we are on our micro biomes, it may be impossible for a fetus to survive without 9 months of womb service to get all the necessary symbiotic critters online.

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Rick Woods
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Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5987090 - 07/23/13 11:20 PM

Quote:

"...cosmic Adam and Eve..."

Oooh! Oooh! Theology!

Otto

(Ira, I am not commenting about your comment or poking fun at you. I'm just, unfairly I might add, using your reference to poke fun at the folk here who get really nervous when issues of theology, philosophy, politics are raised).





Touche, Otto!


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WaterMasterAdministrator
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Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Southeast Idaho, USA
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5987152 - 07/24/13 12:06 AM

Quote:

poke fun at the folk here who get really nervous when issues of theology, philosophy, politics are raised).





I don't think that's really fair, Otto. No one gets 'nervous', we just try to keep the topics on track. If you want to discuss those subjects, there are other places on the internet you can visit. This forum is for discussion of science. Period.


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Pess
(Title)
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Reged: 09/12/07

Loc: Toledo, Ohio
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5987812 - 07/24/13 12:53 PM

I didn't read the article or other posts yet because I didn't want to 'taint' my answer.

Basically my answer is 'no'. It is not feasible to send people to Mars right now.

However, if we poured unlimited money into a crash program like we did with Apollo we might be able to launch some astronauts there alive in ten years time.

There are many small problems to overcome but the big ones are plentiful enough:

1) Radiation: Not only is the trip there a problem but what about after landing? The astronauts would need some sort of radiation protection. Are we going to ship Bulldozers with them?

2) Everything needs to be supplied. Very little on Mars can be used. That means we have to send a train of landers to supply constantly.

3) At the present time we do not posses the technology to support a closed system for the 2 years minimum a trip would take. Can't do it. Even the space station needs a constant fleet of supply ships.

4) Psychology. I know you like her, but would you not cut her up in little pieces and space her after 2 years in a 10'x10' room with no exit?

Pesse (just some thoughts) Mist


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Otto Piechowski
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Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: WaterMaster]
      #5987904 - 07/24/13 02:25 PM

Steve,

First: my appreciation: I thank you for taking the time and making the effort to respond to my comment.


Now, let us turn to the content of the second point you made when you wrote, “This forum is for discussion of science. Period. “

The goal here, for which the discussion of science is a means, is to provide relaxation, entertainment, to inform others and self about matters scientific, even perhaps contribute to the advancement of science. The powers-that-be in this forum have decided, supported by a chorus of like minded individuals such as yourself, that the best way to attain these goals is to censor certain forms of speech; theological, political, metaphysical, and sometimes philosophical.

There are, often, a number of ways to accomplish any goal. Those who have political power (i.e. the power to censor) necessarily must use their authority to decide on one means to the goal out of all the possible ways to that same goal; otherwise the goal would never be reached. Here, it has been decided that the best way to attain the goals of this forum is to limit (censor) in part, or sometimes totally, certain types of speech, among which are theological and philosophical statements.

I believe this assumption is a mistake in terms of accomplishing the goals we hope to accomplish. I think theological thought and expression, philosophical thought and expression, and scientific thought and expression if practiced with dialogical courtesy more effectively get to the truth of the way things are then by any one of the three going it alone.


Science as science has only two subject matters. They are matter (and matter in its various forms) and motion. The “discussion of science” is itself not a scientific act because, again, science deals with matter and motion. The discussion of science, and the discussion of the manner in which science should be discussed are philosophical and political acts. More specifically, “This forum is for discussion of science, period,” is a philosophical assertion to the degree this statement is descriptive; to the degree it is a statement of the way things are. To the degree the words “for” and “period” are prescriptive; i.e. implying the meaning “and that’s the way it should be”; to that degree the statement is political.

To write “This forum is for discussion of science. Period” is to engage in philosophical and/or political thought and expression. If doing so is good for making this forum as good as it can be, might doing so also be good for accomplishing the goals of this same forum?

When I have put this question to the powers-that-be at CN, the response I have received is, to speak colloquially, people who talk about theology and philosophy and politics don’t play nice. My experience has been otherwise. When a group becomes informed of the ways of dialogical courtesy and are mentored by moderators to dialogue in a courteous manner, those who wish to speak philosophically and theologically do play nicely. And those who prefer to share their wealth of scientific knowledge do so without being rude, harsh, or, as someone put here, “snarky”.

Otto


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David Knisely
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Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: StarWars]
      #5988050 - 07/24/13 04:09 PM

By the definition of the word "feasible", yes, it is feasible to send humans to Mars. We have developed the basic technology to do that (rocket engines, environmental support systems, etc.), and with an extensive effort, the spacecraft and systems needed could eventually be built and launched. There is technically not a good reason why it could not be done. However, that statement is a long way from saying that we are currently (and I mean right now) ready to immediately build a ship and send a crewed mission to land on Mars and then return safely to Earth. The hardware isn't under active design or construction and (most importantly), the money just isn't there to do it right now. Also, the will doesn't seem to be there from the people who allocate the money, so unless huge breakthroughs in lowering the cost of space transportation are made, it is doubtful we will see a mission to send people to Mars in the next decade or two. Quite frankly, if our idea is to understand the mysteries of Mars, that can be most cost-effectively done with the current unmanned probes we are sending. The only valid reason to send people to Mars is to stay there permanently (research base as a prelude to colonization or a true self-sustaining colony). If we are not willing to commit to this kind of long-term effort, we should just rely on our unmanned probes and wait until they turn up something interesting enough to send people there for further investigation (or colonization). Clear skies to you.

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PhilCo126
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Reged: 01/14/05

Loc: coastline of Belgium
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5988084 - 07/24/13 04:34 PM

Check: The Mars Underground by MarsSociety Dr Robert Zubrin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDWvsdEYSqg


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: PhilCo126]
      #5988138 - 07/24/13 05:04 PM

Within current knowledge; what things about going to or being on Mars could generate a sufficient return on investment for private corporations to get into this endeavor?

Otto


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ColoHank
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Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5988208 - 07/24/13 05:55 PM

Quote:

Within current knowledge; what things about going to or being on Mars could generate a sufficient return on investment for private corporations to get into this endeavor?





None. If there were money to be made on Mars, private enterprise would already be leading the charge.

Even if Mars were made of solid platinum, diamonds, rare earth elements, or anything else which is relatively scarce and of high commercial value here on Earth, it would never be cost-effective to harvest it there and market it here. Can you imagine anyone hopping on a plane and flying from New York to Los Angeles to purchase one paperclip?


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Rick Woods
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Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Pess]
      #5988217 - 07/24/13 05:58 PM

Quote:

2) Everything needs to be supplied. Very little on Mars can be used. That means we have to send a train of landers to supply constantly.




Maybe not. Read Zubrin's "The Case For Mars", and the web site Phil showed. Zubrin has some pretty good ideas in this area.


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Otto Piechowski
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Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5988712 - 07/24/13 11:27 PM

Thanks Hank.

Let us assume we all agree with his statement, there is no return on investment, within what we currently know of Mars, that could cause private enterprise to want to go to Mars.

How about this one; let's assume the Red Planet (movie) thesis is true, that we are killing the earth and will make it effectively uninhabitable in a few generations; is it realistically possible to terraform Mars? And, is it possible to terraform Mars in a time span of benefit to us who are, hypothetically speaking, killing the earth?

Otto


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llanitedave
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Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5988787 - 07/25/13 12:18 AM

Even if we'd effectively killed Earth, it would be easier to terraform Earth than Mars.

As a refuge for humanity, any other solar system body or habitat must be considered as an addition to Earth, not a replcement for it.


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ColoHank
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Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5988795 - 07/25/13 12:22 AM

Quote:

How about this one; let's assume the Red Planet (movie) thesis is true, that we are killing the earth and will make it effectively uninhabitable in a few generations; is it realistically possible to terraform Mars? And, is it possible to terraform Mars in a time span of benefit to us who are, hypothetically speaking, killing the earth?





No and no. There's nowhere near enough gravity on Mars to sustain an atmosphere capable of supporting human life. Mars also has a weak and incoherent magnetic field, so what little atmosphere it has is vulnerable to further stripping by the solar wind, and its surface is bombarded by cosmic radiation. Not a very friendly place.

Edited by ColoHank (07/25/13 12:24 AM)


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llanitedave
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Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5988802 - 07/25/13 12:27 AM

That, and the internet connection is slower than dialup.

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Mister T
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Reged: 02/01/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5989048 - 07/25/13 06:42 AM

Quote:

That, and the internet connection is slower than dialup.




Every time you hit >send< you get the 14 minutes of hell...


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