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Do we need another Cold War to speed up the race to Mars?

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11-10-2012, 02:56 PM
  #1
Krishna
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Do we need another Cold War to speed up the race to Mars?

And does our current value on human life keep us from getting there?

During the space race, the general consensus was that if need be, a astronaut would put his or her life in the line of danger for the greater good of science and/or their country.

With the space race being used as mostly propaganda first and technology/science second, the NASA budget was spending about an average of 3% of the US budget and it's only dropped since then minus an small bump in the early 90s.

Using today's budget numbers, that would be giving NASA close to 111 billion dollars. Yet they are usually the first place budget cuts go and they are currently down to about 18 billion.

Think of what that extra 93 billion dollars could due to science, technology, and other things.

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11-10-2012, 03:27 PM
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the economy is not strong enough for that kind of push.

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11-10-2012, 03:47 PM
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the economy is not strong enough for that kind of push.
It is. Whether or not there is money from the government to do it is another topic. Without going into a political debate, cutting some money from the defense budget for the NASA budget would go a long way.

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11-10-2012, 04:09 PM
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It is. Whether or not there is money from the government to do it is another topic. Without going into a political debate, cutting some money from the defense budget for the NASA budget would go a long way.
I don't think we even have the rocket tech to get humans to Mars. Even thinking about moving budgets around is a little silly until then.



IMO, even considering a manned mission to Mars is a little ludicrous right now.

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11-10-2012, 04:18 PM
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I don't think we even have the rocket tech to get humans to Mars. Even thinking about moving budgets around is a little silly until then.



IMO, even considering a manned mission to Mars is a little ludicrous right now.
and how are we supposed to research rocket technology with NASA receiving almost no money? You can't expect them to just research and develop the technology while cutting their funding every year.

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11-10-2012, 04:22 PM
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I think the real question to ask is: what is the point of a manned mission at this point?



And they are developing alternate technologies right now. Solar sails being probably the most awesome.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IKAROS

(Relying on photon momentum)

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11-12-2012, 08:28 AM
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I think the real question to ask is: what is the point of a manned mission at this point?



And they are developing alternate technologies right now. Solar sails being probably the most awesome.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IKAROS

(Relying on photon momentum)
I've never actually thought of it that way before haha. Are their any benefits to it besides "We are HUMANITY, we walked on Mars!"?

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11-12-2012, 09:45 AM
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I've never actually thought of it that way before haha. Are their any benefits to it besides "We are HUMANITY, we walked on Mars!"?
There are a couple reasons.

First, the tangibles.... simple fact is that spending money on the space program, specifically on massive endeavors like the Apollo Program and any mission to go to Mars, rapidly accelerates technological development beyond the normal rate. Ranging from simple powdered drinks and pens that can write upside down to major advancements in telecommunications, robotics, and computer technologies, these are all tangible results that arise from increased funding to such programs, and Mars would likely be no exception.

Second, there are the intangibles. What was the value of the manned missions to the moon, really? Or of the images we've obtained from the Hubble telescope? Who knows how many countless of people were inspired by seeing Neil Armstrong walk on the moon or from some of the breathtaking images that Hubble's produced? This is impossible to know, but one has to imagine that they've helped inspire two generations of scientists and thinkers and mathematicians and engineers and philosophers and who knows who else. Who knows what next great thinker would be inspired by seeing humans on the red planet, or at some point in the hopefully near future that there are permanent colonies on the moon and Mars and that while we're all human, we'll also be talking about how we are Terrans and Lunarians and Martians as well and what impact that could have on our species' psyche, knowing that there are people who were conceived, born, raised, and eventually died without ever stepping foot on Earth.


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11-12-2012, 02:12 PM
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First, the tangibles.... simple fact is that spending money on the space program, specifically on massive endeavors like the Apollo Program and any mission to go to Mars, rapidly accelerates technological development beyond the normal rate. Ranging from simple powdered drinks and pens that can write upside down to major advancements in telecommunications, robotics, and computer technologies, these are all tangible results that arise from increased funding to such programs, and Mars would likely be no exception.
But this kind of stuff is already advanced by the current space program, which sends more sensible unmanned probes, which can collect data far more efficiently.

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Second, there are the intangibles. What was the value of the manned missions to the moon, really? Or of the images we've obtained from the Hubble telescope? Who knows how many countless of people were inspired by seeing Neil Armstrong walk on the moon or from some of the breathtaking images that Hubble's produced? This is impossible to know, but one has to imagine that they've helped inspire two generations of scientists and thinkers and mathematicians and engineers and philosophers and who knows who else. Who knows what next great thinker would be inspired by seeing humans on the red planet, or at some point in the hopefully near future that there are permanent colonies on the moon and Mars and that while we're all human, we'll also be talking about how we are Terrans and Lunarians and Martians as well and what impact that could have on our species' psyche, knowing that there are people who were conceived, born, raised, and eventually died without ever stepping foot on Earth.
I'm an Engineering Physics major. I know that stuff can be inspiring. But that doesn't mean we need to spend billions of dollars on it right now.

Space probe development is advancing the same technologies that will eventually be used in manned missions. It's just not the time yet.

In 60-100 years, when we can work nuclear fusion on a small enough scale to transport on spacecraft, then it's probably time to get into manned missions.




A huge problem with long space missions is the lack of gravity and the muscular atrophy that comes with it. Simulation by rotation is prohibitively energy intensive, and chemical energy is just far too inefficient.

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11-12-2012, 11:35 PM
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We're still too far off to really invest a ton of money into a manned flight to Mars. Probably best to let the rover programs handle the job until we've got a firmer grasp on the best way to approach long-distance, manned space flights.

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11-21-2012, 08:42 PM
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the economy is not strong enough for that kind of push.
It is if military spending globally is reduced... easily.

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11-22-2012, 04:55 PM
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M-A-R-S, Mars *****es.

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11-22-2012, 05:37 PM
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It is if military spending globally is reduced... easily.
And which rocket tech will they use, exactly?

Yet again: leave it to the probes. They're more effective from a data-gathering point of view anyway.

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11-22-2012, 05:54 PM
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What does the budget have to do with anything?

Just doing a quick search, NASA's annual budget is about $19B. Shouldn't that be enough to get someone on Mars?

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11-22-2012, 07:42 PM
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What does the budget have to do with anything?

Just doing a quick search, NASA's annual budget is about $19B. Shouldn't that be enough to get someone on Mars?
To get someone to Mars? Maybe. Getting them back to Earth alive, that might be a problem. Not to mention, if I am not mistaken, they would have to spend a long time on Mars (1 year?) until the planets realign to the shortest return path. I think we are pretty far behind in the technology required to "land a man on Mars and returning him safely to the Earth".

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11-22-2012, 11:11 PM
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In the time it takes to go to Mars, the astronauts bodies go to complete s**t

http://spaceresearch.nasa.gov/genera...mpingiron.html

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11-26-2012, 11:04 AM
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The thing is we DO have the technology in place....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constellation_program
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_(spacecraft)

Why do we do it? to start off, we do it because we can. Someone once asked George Mallory why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest. His answer was simply "Because it's there." He made it to the Western cwm and the Lotse Face before eventually dying on the North Face. If we don't push ourselves, we'll never move forward.

It's something we should do simply because we CAN do it. I leave you with a quote from John Kennedy on this exact subject...

“We choose to go...not because [it is] easy, but because [it is] hard, because that goal will serve to measure and organize the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

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11-26-2012, 12:10 PM
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^^^^^^^^^^^^

1) Yeah dude, nobody here is saying we shouldn't push the limits and set deep space exploration as a goal for all of humanity. We're saying that the tech is nowhere near capable to allow that at the moment or forseable future.

2) Those wiki articles didn't prove anything except that we are still extremely far away from an sort of human space exploration.

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11-26-2012, 01:20 PM
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Consider this... When we announced our intention to land on the moon, we'd only sent up Alan Shepherd on a 15 minute space flight. we were nowhere near capable of getting to the moon, but we did it in less than 10 years. If you start when you're ready, what's the point?

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11-26-2012, 10:02 PM
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Consider this... When we announced our intention to land on the moon, we'd only sent up Alan Shepherd on a 15 minute space flight. we were nowhere near capable of getting to the moon, but we did it in less than 10 years. If you start when you're ready, what's the point?
They did that with an operating budget of around 4% of the federal budget. They're working with around 0.5% today, with many more missions ongoing.

I do agree with you, but there are limitations on what NASA can do at this point in time. Because of the nearly all-time low funding (only their first 2 years had lower funding), they're limited in their scope. What they need is a commander in chief willing to make that decision to ramp up the manned space program and divert funding from other federal projects. Where that money is going to come from, I'm not sure, but it needs to happen.

Skylab, Mir, and the ISS have gone a long way in helping us discover how to make a sustainable environment - but true habitation and long distance missions are going to be another beast entirely. We need to take those first steps on the path of discovery. We need an explorer on the frontier.

A lunar colony.

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11-26-2012, 10:06 PM
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They did that with an operating budget of around 4% of the federal budget. They're working with around 0.5% today, with many more missions ongoing.

I do agree with you, but there are limitations on what NASA can do at this point in time. Because of the nearly all-time low funding (only their first 2 years had lower funding), they're limited in their scope. What they need is a commander in chief willing to make that decision to ramp up the manned space program and divert funding from other federal projects. Where that money is going to come from, I'm not sure, but it needs to happen.

Skylab, Mir, and the ISS have gone a long way in helping us discover how to make a sustainable environment - but true habitation and long distance missions are going to be another beast entirely. We need to take those first steps on the path of discovery. We need an explorer on the frontier.

A lunar colony.
If I recall correctly from your posts in the past you're someone who is very interested in space/astronomy, if so, you might want to check out an AMA that happened on reddit today of a scientist who is currently working on the james webb telescope.

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comment...nd_james_webb/

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11-27-2012, 06:36 AM
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Why? What's on Mars? Is there fossil fuel? Minerals? What would be profitable about planting a US flag on Mars particularly when no one is racing to do so?

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11-27-2012, 09:10 AM
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Human achievement is worth more than cheap gas will ever be

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11-27-2012, 10:13 AM
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bull**** on the tech not being there. What you really mean is the $$$ isn't there. We do doubt with today's technology build a ship (probably build it in space) that can get men (and women) to Mars and back. A simple rotation mechanism on the ship will give enough gravity to keep their bodies in shape along with a heavy workout schedule.

It can be done.

Also while on the subject I suggest you all read Red Mars. Its the 1st of three (Blue Mars and Green Mars) on the subject of colonizing Mars. Its ridiculously awesome and quite spot on.

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11-27-2012, 06:05 PM
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bull**** on the tech not being there. What you really mean is the $$$ isn't there. We do doubt with today's technology build a ship (probably build it in space) that can get men (and women) to Mars and back. A simple rotation mechanism on the ship will give enough gravity to keep their bodies in shape along with a heavy workout schedule.

It can be done.

Also while on the subject I suggest you all read Red Mars. Its the 1st of three (Blue Mars and Green Mars) on the subject of colonizing Mars. Its ridiculously awesome and quite spot on.
Producing "artificial gravity" via centrifugal force (yes, centrifugal is absolutely the correct term here) is quite energy-intensive. Which I've already said.

What energy source do you suggest they use? You want to chemically power a rotation mechanism for an entire Earth-Mars flight?



When I say the tech is not there, I mean it is not feasible. Not that it is physically impossible.

Edit:
ridiculous example: People have canoed across the Atlantic Ocean before, but that doesn't mean you should consider canoes to be "transoceanic technology".


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