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off to Mars or "off' Mars


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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-24/nasa-astronaut-bill-anders-says-sending-humans-to-mars-stupid/10666708

Is it a bit like Everest...we climb it because "it is there" ?

I have looked at Buzz Aldrin's technique to get to Mars and it shows how complex this is and the expense would be 'astronomical'. The Rover programs are bringing us wonderful science and you have to wonder if it is just human hubris that makes us want to land on this planet.There is a held view that when a human lands on Mars they will be stuck there in the sense that they will be colonists rather than visitors. It brings up very challenging psychological dilemmas. Has anyone suffered with 'homesickness'? 

All in all it is not much of a place for humans. One breath of its dismal atmosphere  filled with CO2 would near kill you and its temperatures are fluctuant and unpleasant. It's very sandy and more desert like and when you look on Earth where similar geology exists these areas are sparsely populated. No one really wants to live there. They are as the Americans say 'the Badlands'.

The Moon is certainly worse although clearly more reachable.

This all points to the conclusion that we should stop fighting and look after the (less than ideal) Planet Earth and be good farmers of it rather than taking it for all its worth. 

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I tend to agree with Anders. Not that a manned Mars mission is even viable right now.

There isn't even a means to take astronauts back to the Moon, which I think would be a good testbed for the required technology to go to Mars. So indeed, why go to Mars other than because "it's there"? 

There is no need for a 1 way or "suicide" mission. The fact that it even being suggested as the best approach is proof (to me) that we are staggeringly ill equipped for any manned mission to Mars. Stage from Earth orbit, or the Moon to develop an orbital habitat at Mars and use that to stage manned Mars landings. Like Apollo did at the Moon, leave a means of return in Mars orbit. There is nothing for us at Mars that can't wait for the right technology.

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I always thought the moon landings were a disappointing exercise in flag waving, with the consequence that as soon as Russia was "beaten" the Americans lost interest in the project. There is a lot we can do at the moon, but we need to sincerely invest in developing a footprint there and sustain the effort too. It may be the Chinese are the tortoise that wins the race.

Regarding mars, there is the risk that sending living beings there will contaminate the planet - human animals are very messy and are full of billions of bugs including extremophiles! Also - no space suit is truly airtight and the air breathed out by the explorer will trickle into the martian atmosphere. So humans might do a greater quantity of science at much greater expense than robots, but in so doing might do irreparable harm to the object of study.

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5 hours ago, Ags said:

as Russia was "beaten" the Americans lost interest in the project

Very true. The only reason anyone remembers any of the other astronauts of the Apollo program is that Apollo 13 went wrong. Outside of that and Armstrong & Aldrin (even Collins gets forgotten), how many "men on the street" can name any astronaut who took part in the Apollo flights?

As a child, growing up during the Apollo era, I always fantasized about being on the first manned mission to Mars ... then I grew up!

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I agree with Anders.

My following comments are not in reply to any of the posts that appear in this post either ?  Just my thoughts - please be gentle in your rebuttal - I mean no ill will ? 

The historical comparisons made with the Apollo program and the motivation behind it made in the discussion of his views are often quite confusing though.

True, the international competition in a race to Mars is non-existent, but to opine that this international competition with the Soviets was a primary motivation for the success and later demise of Apollo is only part of the picture.

I saw the Moon landing standing in my house in suburban Chicago at the age of 4 (I remember it quite clearly ? ).

I also remember the subsequent rundown of the program (and interest in it) through to the birth of Skylab......I followed it all with growing understanding in my youth.

It's heartening to know that from the age of 4 to 10 I never remember hearing anyone say "We beat them Ruskie's to the Moon"! LOL! 

Not to say it didn't happen but believe me, the environment I grew up in - if it was in the regional vernacular - I would've heard it ?

There was plenty of other anti-soviet dogma around (quite rightly in my opinion - gawd awful form of government - and yes I've read extensively on the subject - from the early Rus' up to Gorbachev) culminating in the arms race that gave me my first steady job....

...and yes one nation beat another nation to the Moon, but that race was about demonstrating which form of government was better, who had the best grasp of resources etc....and the minds to do it

....and both countries won in a way...you just need to set the starting tape back to 1957 instead of 1969 to see the brilliant and enlightened achievements of the Soviet people - and the Americans I grew up with did that - I remember having a respect, not fear, of the people (I feared the Soviet government because my teacher kept screaming at us to dive under a desk when the siren started blaring during drills at school!....gawd...Orwellian indoctrination at it's best...it's amazing we didn't come out of that era wearing uniforms....oh wait...I did)

This is my point - everything.... history, understanding of motivation and chosen courses of action are contextual and can't be simplified to suit connection with a current affair, quite impossible to do this and be taken seriously .......To look at the United States and any other nation pondering going to Mars today through the eyes of my fellow citizens of the latter 20th century is to misunderstand "that time"s motivation - it provided thousands of jobs, diverted national income to the pursuit of science and engineering that is so often sidelined.* It unified the country during a period of great upheaval and civil unrest and impending military defeat - yet it provided for the advancement of all minds (obviously not equally by any stretch of the imagination) as I saw recently in a movie and read about here. In short there was so much more to it than "Ruskie beating" ?

What I find refreshing about this particular discussion about Mars is that it isn't confined to a race of nations or ideology - many many nations are involved committing their brightest people and best resources to the task. And the way it stands right now any early experimentation may, and hopefully will involve the Russian nation as they have the only reliable vehicles to take us into space at the moment LOL! I celebrate that - it's good for all of us to need each others technology - but I digress.

I just hope the task chosen is to focus on robotic exploration, we don't need to grab the imagination by sending little vulnerable bodies hurling into the cosmos, we've done that, we could do it, but we don't need to in my uneducated, newspaper based, opinion.

It's often argued that humans are needed to make "on the scene" decisions - that may be - but I don't think it's critical (from what I've read) at this early stage.

As Stephen Hawking mentioned we do need to move off Earth at some point to avoid extinction. But frankly our treatment of the planet may make that a moot point by shortening our window of experimentation....we, I believe are doomed in the long run to reset our civilisation in increasingly harsh climatic conditions for some time to come, and all the "re-learning" that will entail, as it did after the fall of the Roman Empire.

In the interim we may as well focus on higher returns through robotics so that if our current progress in expanding humankind's understanding of the cosmos should be prematurely interrupted ....they may still say this was our finest galactic hour ?

David

*I am of course side stepping the obviously morally imperative and correct spending on societal development - but to introduce that concern would be to misunderstand that times focus and motivation - rightly or wrongly)

 

 

Edited by Guest
Changed the date of the Moon landings to 69 lol
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Before we visit any planet we need to develop a 'prime directive'; a series of protocols designed to avoid any kind of cross contamination.

The Moon might be a barren world but you can bet we've left microbes there.

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6 hours ago, Mr Spock said:

Before we visit any planet we need to develop a 'prime directive'; a series of protocols designed to avoid any kind of cross contamination.

The Moon might be a barren world but you can bet we've left microbes there.

I'm pretty sure there is one - NASA goes to great lengths with the robots and Elan Musk got a bullet for sending that stupid car into orbit around the Sun (dinkus)

Going to have a read of this - think the accord may be described in it.

David

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10 hours ago, Ags said:

Although I read recently that there is a plan to "rework" the planetary protection protocol to make it more "suited" to private enterprise.

You raise THE critical point here Agnes, quite right - without that sort of agreement you'll have moronic national leaders walking away from international conventions on the protection of space/planets/moons in the name of economic progress.

There's a particular reference point in our current world.....trying to think of the name....ah there it is.....can't bring myself to type it though.

David

btw - what a cool app you've created here!: http://beyondproxima.com/

I can see the next hour of my schedule will have to be reworked now ?

 

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Simply put, I'd say we're stuck on this planet for the foreseeable future.

Nobody seems to mention that Mars has no appreciable magnetic field so it's a no-no. That includes any talk of "terraforming" it: the unrelenting solar wind would strip away any atmosphere as quickly as it's generated.

I also recall vaguely mention that even digging in wouldn't work as there's some radiation in the ground there making it dangerous to spend time there.

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11 hours ago, reezeh said:

Simply put, I'd say we're stuck on this planet for the foreseeable future.

Nobody seems to mention that Mars has no appreciable magnetic field so it's a no-no. That includes any talk of "terraforming" it: the unrelenting solar wind would strip away any atmosphere as quickly as it's generated.

I also recall vaguely mention that even digging in wouldn't work as there's some radiation in the ground there making it dangerous to spend time there.

There is quite a lot of discussion of Mars' magnetic field, and its absence is no deal breaker. The leakage would be really slow (think millions of years) and in that time technological solutions are feasible. There is even a Japanese plan for an artificial magnetic field for Earth, which may be required for the next polar reversal which is overdue.

Do you have a reference for the ground radiation? I'm not aware of any issue there and wouldn't expect an issue, especially as Mars is poor in heavy elements.

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56 minutes ago, Ags said:

There is quite a lot of discussion of Mars' magnetic field, and its absence is no deal breaker. The leakage would be really slow (think millions of years) and in that time technological solutions are feasible. There is even a Japanese plan for an artificial magnetic field for Earth, which may be required for the next polar reversal which is overdue.

Do you have a reference for the ground radiation? I'm not aware of any issue there and wouldn't expect an issue, especially as Mars is poor in heavy elements.

Thanks Agnes, sadly no, it was something mentioned on TV about four years ago, so I can't cite anything reliable. Maybe a googling might turn up something...

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