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StarWars
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Sending humans to Mars actually feasible?
      #5981971 - 07/20/13 08:32 PM



Sending humans to Mars actually feasible?


http://news.yahoo.com/sending-humans-mars-actually-feasible-100000933.html


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Joad
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: StarWars]
      #5981985 - 07/20/13 08:47 PM

This article pulls a very interesting rhetorical stunt. After noting, first, that no money at all has been set aside to pursue a Mars mission, it then describes the as-yet-unsolved barriers to such a mission. It then makes a leap—an incredibly large leap—to a discussion of some private firms that claim that they can get someone to Mars in no time, firms that haven't solved any of the problems.

Just because a couple of astronauts say they want this doesn't make it "feasible."


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Mister T
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Joad]
      #5982487 - 07/21/13 07:03 AM

They use the term "feasible"
But they cant pay the fee...


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Ira
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Mister T]
      #5982494 - 07/21/13 07:16 AM

Lots of silly stuff in that. "Single planet species don't survive." - Really? How could he possibly know. The part I liked best was the 3D printer for food. Remember Tang, the drink of astronauts? That was worth the multi-billion dollar price tag of the Apollo missions alone!

/Ira


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llanitedave
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Ira]
      #5982781 - 07/21/13 11:10 AM

It's feasible in principle. But not at the moment.

And if we don't even have the money to build a heavy lift launcher that flies more than once every two years, I don't think we're on the right track to get there.


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David Knisely
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Ira]
      #5983060 - 07/21/13 01:59 PM

Quote:

Lots of silly stuff in that. "Single planet species don't survive." - Really? How could he possibly know. The part I liked best was the 3D printer for food. Remember Tang, the drink of astronauts? That was worth the multi-billion dollar price tag of the Apollo missions alone!

/Ira




The "Tang created by or for the space program" is a myth. Tang was created in 1957 and mainly got a PR boost when it was used in John Glenn's Mercury spacecraft flight in 1962 as well as in the Gemini spacecraft missions. Clear skies to you.


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Ira
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5983433 - 07/21/13 06:34 PM

Close enough for rocket science work.

/Ira


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HiggsBoson
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Ira]
      #5983538 - 07/21/13 07:42 PM

A manned mission to Mars presents three problems. Fix any two and you are good to go.

• 10x increase in Propulsion efficiency – If one could increase the efficiency of propulsion by a factor of 10 one could get the same Delta V, change in velocity, using 1/10 the mass of fuel.

• 10x reduction in mass of radiation shielding - The mass of the shielding for the ship and the habitat on the surface is one of the driving factors that create the need for better fuel efficiency.

• 10x reduction in mass of expendables – The need to carry food and other expendables for a 2-year trip is one of the large drivers for a Mars mission. Unfortunately water is one of the expendables. I am unaware of any way to reduce the mass or volume of water. This means that the reductions in size and mass of food would have to be dramatically greater than 10x.

While it would be fun to go, I am unable to articulate a compelling business case that would convince a nation that the science value of this mission would be worth the cost. The argument for a commercial company is even poorer. I watched the US decide to build and LHC-like device in Texas and then change its mind. Now Europe will be the center of particle physics for the next couple of decades. I find the case for a manned Mars mission much weaker than for the LHC which the US declined to build.


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llanitedave
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: HiggsBoson]
      #5983568 - 07/21/13 08:03 PM

Depending on where the landing site is chosen, much of the required water can be found already available on Mars. A lot of other supplies, including infrastructure necessary to melt the ice, can be launched prior to manned missions and cached in place.

All of these non-manned preparatory missions can be transported using a high-efficiency propulsion system similar to VASIMR, which should bring about significant mass savings.


All that, of course, is going to be extremely expensive, and I'd like to see a Mars mission be truly international in scope, and I'd like to see Mars prospected significantly enough in advance so that we can be fairly confident we're making an investment and not just an expenditure.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Ira]
      #5983966 - 07/22/13 01:48 AM

Quote:

"Single planet species don't survive." - Really? How could he possibly know.




Ira, everyone knows this - it's axiomatic. Eventually something happens to the planet to decimate the biosphere; the evolution of the sun if nothing else. Everything up to the death of the sun can be dealt with to a degree by spreading civilization throughout the Solar System. The end of the sun could be survived by spreading out to other stars.

It's not a science fiction scenario; sooner or later, the Earth will be finished as an abode of life. If humanity survives to that time and hasn't spread to other planets, that'll be the end of it all.

How do I know? How could anyone doubt? All things come to he who waits, including oblivion.

(None of which means we'll ever do anything about it. )


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deSitter
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5984032 - 07/22/13 04:32 AM

It's a matter of energy. If there is sufficient dense energy, we can go anywhere in the solar system. This is the greatest hope I have for cold fusion. If cold fusion can be mastered, we're home free - the rest is just technique.

I happen to have a crazy faith in our naturalness in the order of things. We're not here just to be trapped spectators.

-drl


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Ira
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5985066 - 07/22/13 08:25 PM

Quote:

Quote:

"Single planet species don't survive." - Really? How could he possibly know.




Ira, everyone knows this - it's axiomatic. Eventually something happens to the planet to decimate the biosphere; the evolution of the sun if nothing else. Everything up to the death of the sun can be dealt with to a degree by spreading civilization throughout the Solar System. The end of the sun could be survived by spreading out to other stars.

It's not a science fiction scenario; sooner or later, the Earth will be finished as an abode of life. If humanity survives to that time and hasn't spread to other planets, that'll be the end of it all.

How do I know? How could anyone doubt? All things come to he who waits, including oblivion.

(None of which means we'll ever do anything about it. )




Well, if you want to look at the long run, we are all dead, along with the universe, no matter what. So what's the difference between 1 billion years and a trillion years? Nothing in principle. So, if you're looking to avoid extinction in the long run you are just S.O.L. You'd have better success praying to God than going to Mars (or anywhere else). You can run but you can't hide from cosmic extinction.

/Ira


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Rick Woods
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Ira]
      #5985475 - 07/23/13 03:23 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

"Single planet species don't survive." - Really? How could he possibly know.




Ira, everyone knows this - it's axiomatic. Eventually something happens to the planet to decimate the biosphere; the evolution of the sun if nothing else. Everything up to the death of the sun can be dealt with to a degree by spreading civilization throughout the Solar System. The end of the sun could be survived by spreading out to other stars.

It's not a science fiction scenario; sooner or later, the Earth will be finished as an abode of life. If humanity survives to that time and hasn't spread to other planets, that'll be the end of it all.

How do I know? How could anyone doubt? All things come to he who waits, including oblivion.

(None of which means we'll ever do anything about it. )




Well, if you want to look at the long run, we are all dead, along with the universe, no matter what. So what's the difference between 1 billion years and a trillion years?




999 billion years. Maybe it's just me, but that seems significant.

Quote:

Nothing in principle. So, if you're looking to avoid extinction in the long run you are just S.O.L. You'd have better success praying to God than going to Mars (or anywhere else). You can run but you can't hide from cosmic extinction.

/Ira




Are you absolutely sure of that?


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Ira
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5985541 - 07/23/13 06:37 AM

You actually mean spread out to other stars, not other planets. If the earth is toast so are all of the semi-habitable planets in our solar system. So, the guy should have said, "Single star species don't survive." But maybe they do. It may be just as cost effective to make the earth habitable for all time as undertaking inter-stellar travel en masse, which for all we know is impossible, at least on a scale that would support species survival.

In any case, I'm willing to kick this problem down the road for another half-billion years while we continue to sort things out. It doesn't seem very urgent. I'd much rather spend the money on preparing to protect the earth from a renegade asteroid which is a more realistic and proximate problem, especially as far as species extinction goes.

/Ira


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Ira
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Ira]
      #5985550 - 07/23/13 06:50 AM

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.

/Ira


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llanitedave
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Ira]
      #5986005 - 07/23/13 12:47 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.

/Ira




I've read that too, but I don't buy it. There are plenty of isolated species that seem to have gotten their start with as few as a single pair -- island species such as those on the Galapagos come to mind. The key, I think, is in how quickly the initial population increases from its starting point. In a large enough population, genetic deficiencies can be overcome and diversity increase, much more easily than in a small population.

I for one do think that the species survival argument is valid, although it won't be the human species itself that survives colonization of other star systems, but its descendents. We can't know what form those descendents will take, but given enough time, they are likely to look no more similar to us than we look similar to our own distant ancestral forms such as Pederpes. It's our lineage that we'd be wanting to preserve, not our current species form. That kind of extinction is inevitable no matter how many habitats we spread to, maybe even because of that diversification.


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Otto Piechowski
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Ira]
      #5986041 - 07/23/13 01:14 PM

"...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).


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Jarad
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5986047 - 07/23/13 01:18 PM

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


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Jarad
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5986055 - 07/23/13 01:21 PM

Quote:

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

Oooh! Oooh! Theology!




Discussing the genetic issues of generating a population from a single original pair isn't theology. Arguing that all of humanity descended from a single pair that were divinely created would be. The reference to "Adam and Eve" was clearly used to indicate the former, not the latter.

Jarad


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Otto Piechowski
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5986230 - 07/23/13 03:00 PM

True. That's why I said "unfairly".

But...."Adam and Eve" was used as a metaphor and analogy to make a serious statement and I believe some of us have been hammered here for making use of analogies from theology and philosophy and film and politics.

By the way, you Jarad, use analogy excellently when you teach me and others here things. I have, time and again, come away with a conceptual understanding of things I could not grasp because of your use of analogy.

Otto

PS....now I go to "C". Maybe you were able to do it there to!


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llanitedave
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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
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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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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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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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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
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Otto Piechowski
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Mister T]
      #5989064 - 07/25/13 07:09 AM

Well, thank you for dispelling that bit of science fiction (i.e. terraforming Mars).

Otto


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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5989274 - 07/25/13 10:27 AM

Where are we at present with the problems of muscle atrophy and bone decalcification taking place over long periods of zero G? Last I knew astronauts coming back from prolonged ISS and Mir stays,despite heavy exercise, were returning seriously debilitated and with bone loss that did not recover. Not a good prospect for a Mars mission.

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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: trw]
      #5989284 - 07/25/13 10:35 AM

I still can't see why there's no design there for a rotating habitat assembly to generate artificial gravity on long trips.

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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5989361 - 07/25/13 11:16 AM

Several have been tossed around, including having 2 modules connected by a long tether spinning around a common center of mass. None have really been tested to make sure they are stable for the required duration.

Seems to me that it would make sense to design the next LEO space station to rotate and generate artificial gravity as a test bed.

Jarad


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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5989543 - 07/25/13 01:14 PM

Quote:


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





Oh dear. I was going to prepare one of those page-long irritating posts where I quote every one of your false assumptions and correct each in turn, but I dislike seeing those and out of respect for everyone else I felt it best not to do so. So I'll give you the short version.

The rules do not apply to you. You are a philosopher, an intelligent one at that, and can redefine words to mean whatever you wish in defence of your argument. Metaphysics and science are linked, metaphysics and religion are linked, therefore you can discuss religion on a science forum as you see fit. Your argument rests on your own definitions of science, of politics, of playing nice. You also twist others' words to mean what you wish. (Who knows what your students will be capable of.)

Under such conditions debate is impossible. So I'll use the "Ignore this user" button and see if it gets me away from the constant nagging. I doubt you care, I doubt my arguments will change your mind, but maybe there's the small possibility you will give everyone else a break.

To anyone else who read this far: I hope you forgive my outburst. I did spend a very long time considering it, if that's any consolation. If anyone thinks I'm over reacting, my apologies - I'm not offended by religion, I am offended by blatant disregard for others' feelings, and anyway it's only one forum and it's just my loss in the end.


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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Ravenous]
      #5989742 - 07/25/13 02:58 PM

Ravenous,

First of all, I thank you for responding to my response to another’s post and attempting to correct my errors in logic, and inappropriate behaviors. Sincerely.

I would like to discuss with you a few of your comments, in part to understand better what you were saying, in part to correct what I see to be factual errors, and in part to create a dialogical partnership.

“The rules do not apply to you.” Did you mean that descriptively or prescriptively (as in “You don’t think the rules apply to you, do you?)

“You are a philosopher, an intelligent one at that” I am only a student and teacher of philosophy (one of the hats I’ve worn), but am most definitely not a philosopher. I think being a philosopher is a great thing, but I don’t think I reach that plateau.

Now, for an important criticism of yours, “[You, Otto] redefine words to mean whatever you wish in defence of your argument.” Please, sincerely, please be so kind, should you choose to communicate with me, to show me what you consider to be my redefinition of words. I can be blind in my assertions and have in fact been caught in just such a thing and have appreciated when others do me this kindness.

“(Who knows what your students will be capable of.)” Would you like to see the unsolicited voluntary (no strings attached) comments given me by my students over the years?

“I doubt you care, I doubt my arguments will change your mind, but maybe there's the small possibility you will give everyone else a break.” I do care. Specifically, I do not wish to harm people and would appreciate any help you can give me to avoid that. However, I also believe it is helpful to speak truth to power. In this forum power is represented by those who wield the power of censorship and the chorus of voices which support authority in the wielding of that power. Both authority and the choral function are very valuable and necessary in communities. Assuming you agree with me that speaking truth to power is a good thing, all that remains is for me to be helped by persons, such as yourself, when it is clear that what I think is a truth, is not.

“To anyone else who read this far: I hope you forgive my outburst. I did spend a very long time considering it, if that's any consolation. If anyone thinks I'm over reacting, my apologies”

I don’t think what you wrote was an outburst. I think it is authentic feeling and reaction. I do not think you are over-reacting.

“I am offended by blatant disregard for others' feelings, and anyway it's only one forum and it's just my loss in the end.”

I really don’t think I intend to hurt feelings. Now, it happens that persons, such as you and I, become so attached to ideas which control their very lives that when those ideas are challenged, they experience a visceral hurt. I often agonize over pushing the envelope; what is not appropriate and what is necessary. I try to formulate rules to act by to be as careful as possible. One of which is, for example, I don’t play the philosophy/theology card unless someone else makes a direct reference to philosophical/theological matters, or when a scientific assertion is made which is dependent on philosophical or metaphysical assumptions.

To be less wordy, when others touch on things philosophical, theological, political, metaphysical, I attempt to invite a dialogue.

Hope to hear from you.

All the best,

Otto

PS I attempted to send this communication by the private message to sender function available here on CN but was told you are not receiving private communications.


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Otto Piechowski
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5989746 - 07/25/13 03:00 PM

Jarad, is gravity gravity by whichever way it, gravity is formed?

I mean is the "gravity" which comes from a planet weighing (whatever the weight of the earth is) creating a gravity of, let's call it "1"; is that gravity the same as the artificial gravity created by a spinning space station creating a gravitational effect of "1"?

Otto


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Jarad
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5989848 - 07/25/13 03:54 PM

Quote:

I often agonize over pushing the envelope; what is not appropriate and what is necessary. [snip]

To be less wordy, when others touch on things philosophical, theological, political, metaphysical, I attempt to invite a dialogue.




We understand your intention, Otto, but would appreciate it if you could try to avoid pushing the envelope here. We have made it abundantly clear where the line is, please try to resist going over it. If you see someone else approaching the line, don't feel the need to jump over it with them. You can initiate dialogue on those topics via PM.

Jarad


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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5989858 - 07/25/13 04:00 PM

Quote:

Jarad, is gravity gravity by whichever way it, gravity is formed?

I mean is the "gravity" which comes from a planet weighing (whatever the weight of the earth is) creating a gravity of, let's call it "1"; is that gravity the same as the artificial gravity created by a spinning space station creating a gravitational effect of "1"?

Otto




Gravity from centrifugal or centripetal force isn't quite the same as gravity from a planet, but for the purpose we are talking about (maintaining human bone density and muscle tone on a long voyage), it's close enough.

The larger the radius of the spinning motion is, the closer the gravity will be to what we experience here on earth. The centrifugal force is directly proportional to the radius, so for a small radius there will be significantly different force on your head from your feet. The larger the radius, the less those differences become and more like "normal" gravity it will feel. That's the reason for the tether idea - you can make a large radius without requiring a huge, massive ship.

Jarad


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Otto Piechowski
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5989865 - 07/25/13 04:05 PM

Jarad,

Again, your explanation is clear and, I think, correct.

follow up question: I have heard that some think there may be a subatomic "particle" associated with gravity, called gravitons. If that is the case, then is the gravity of a heavy body (e.g. the earth) the same as the gravity of the large spinning space station?

Otto


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WaterMasterAdministrator
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5989884 - 07/25/13 04:14 PM

Quote:

... is the gravity of a heavy body (e.g. the earth) the same as the gravity of the large spinning space station?




In a spinning space station, the inhabitants are not experiencing gravity, but rather centrifugal force.


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Jarad
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: WaterMaster]
      #5989913 - 07/25/13 04:36 PM

It's not exactly the same. The gravity we feel on earth is because the earth's mass is curving local space/time. This is another area where Danny is probably a better person to ask than me if you want to get into real detail.

In the case of a spinning space station, space/time is not being curved. You are moving, and the floor of the space station is pushing up against your feet changing your direction of motion from a straight line to a curve.

Mechanically, both result in force pushing down your body, putting stress on your bones and muscles. That's good enough for the purpose we want here.

At the more detailed level, the force on your body on earth is proportional to r^2, where R is the distance to the center of the earth. Since we are pretty far from the center of the earth, the difference between your head and feet is pretty miniscule.

On a spinning space station, it will be proportional to R, where R is the distance to the center of rotation. Since that is likely to be a lot smaller than the earth, the difference between your head and feet is likely to be noticeable. Also, the direction of "down" will change pretty quickly as you move around the station. So it will probably take some getting used to. Learning how to play "catch" with a ball on a rotating station would be rather challenging - it won't travel the same line it would here on earth, and the line will be different if you throw into the spin, against the spin, or across the spin. The force also depends on the square of the rotation rate, so you will "weigh" more if you run spinward, and "weigh" less if you run anti-spinward.

Jarad


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Otto Piechowski
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5989917 - 07/25/13 04:39 PM

Thanks Jarad.

Danny! (Other hard core physicist types). If gravitons are real, whatever they are, are they present, just as present, of the same type in the gravity well of a planet and the "gravity" of the space station both effecting the same gravitational effect/feeling on the human body?

Otto


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Ira
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5990057 - 07/25/13 06:19 PM

Imperial College London has a plan. Behold, nothing up my right sleeve...nothing up my left...

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57595403-1/how-to-get-to-and-from-mars-a-...

/Ira


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derangedhermit
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5990095 - 07/25/13 06:44 PM

Quote:

Seems to me that it would make sense to design the next LEO space station to rotate and generate artificial gravity as a test bed.

Jarad




The one up there now is modular, is it not? Just send up a long cable on the next Russian launch, split it in two and start the pieces spinning; might as well get some useful science out of the thing.

The only good reason that I could see to do that one was to keep Russian missile builders off the black jobs market.

Why would we think about building another? Or am I wrong, and we've gotten significant science out of it? More Teflon, or was it Tang?

Unless NASA is hiring me to work on it; in that case I'm all for it. A friend of mine got fired for incompetence while managing a Chik-Fil-A store in Houston, and got a job at NASA as a procurement officer; he's bought billions of dollars of stuff, says it's lots of fun, says the fast-food job was too hard.


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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Jarad]
      #5990179 - 07/25/13 07:46 PM

Quote:

Mechanically, both result in force pushing down your body, putting stress on your bones and muscles. That's good enough for the purpose we want here.





I wonder... is that conjecture or fact? I should think we won't know for sure until we test it over a long term in an otherwise weightless environment.


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llanitedave
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5990453 - 07/25/13 11:08 PM

Relativity considers the force due to gravitational acceleration and the force due to velocity acceleration to be exactly equivalent. Centrifugal force,as Jarad states, will create slightly different affects due to the "tidal" qualities of the limited rotational radius, but at any instantaneous time and location, it will still be exactly the same as gravity. You might be able to tell whether your feet are slightly heavier than your head, but then you can always lie down until the feeling goes away!

Biologically, it should be far superior to weightlessness.

As for attaching a tether to the ISS and swinging it around, I doubt that it will be a good idea. The ISS wasn't designed to withstand any significant torques. You'd need a vessel built with the capability in mind.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: derangedhermit]
      #5992947 - 07/27/13 12:39 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Seems to me that it would make sense to design the next LEO space station to rotate and generate artificial gravity as a test bed.

Jarad




The one up there now is modular, is it not? Just send up a long cable on the next Russian launch, split it in two and start the pieces spinning; might as well get some useful science out of the thing.




Ahh, why start now?

Quote:

The only good reason that I could see to do that one was to keep Russian missile builders off the black jobs market.

Why would we think about building another? Or am I wrong, and we've gotten significant science out of it? More Teflon, or was it Tang?

Unless NASA is hiring me to work on it; in that case I'm all for it. A friend of mine got fired for incompetence while managing a Chik-Fil-A store in Houston, and got a job at NASA as a procurement officer; he's bought billions of dollars of stuff, says it's lots of fun, says the fast-food job was too hard.




Wow! Now that's interesting! You could take that in a couple of completely different ways...


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Rick Woods
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5992962 - 07/27/13 12:46 PM

Quote:

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.




Theoretically, Mars could be terraformed, but: It would take a thousand years or more; it would require a lot of new technology that hasn't been developed yet (but could be); and the real kicker, the final product would only be temporary for the reasons Hank gave.

Anyone who thinks that, when we've finished trashing Earth, we can terraform Mars and go live there, is seriously deluded. Dangerously deluded, if they happen to be in a position of power where such fantasies could affect decision making.


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FirstSightModerator
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: HiggsBoson]
      #6005365 - 08/03/13 08:45 PM

Quote:


While it would be fun to go, I am unable to articulate a compelling business case that would convince a nation that the science value of this mission would be worth the cost.




A manned trip to the moon made no more "compelling business case" back in the 1960s than a manned trip to Mars does in the 2010s or 2020s, beyond the competitive national pride and prestige in the potential accomplishment. Yes, we got some moon rocks back for analysis from the Apollo missions, but now that we've advanced remote robotic capabilities in the 40 years since the manned lunar missions, that original advantage is vastly less compelling for any similar goal of returning some Martian samples to Earth. Better yet, we've advanced remote analysis capabilities to the point where even that is less compelling, though still useful (since the variety of testing possible on Earth is broader and more flexible than the limits of what we're able to send along with the spacecraft).

There's really no compelling "business case" for ANY manned mission to ANY of the planets, beyond that which existed for the original quest to land a man on the moon. The quest is more like mountain climbing in its fundamental goal: because it's there.


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llanitedave
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #6006322 - 08/04/13 05:31 PM

To paraphrase Franklin and Faraday, what is the compelling business case for a newborn baby?

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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #6008456 - 08/05/13 09:53 PM

That case was made 9 months earlier...

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llanitedave
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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #6008498 - 08/05/13 10:12 PM

Similarly, in this case the launch is its own reward!

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Re: Sending humans to Mars actually feasible? new [Re: llanitedave]
      #6010520 - 08/06/13 10:54 PM



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