Return to Space, Yes or No?

Discussion in 'Community' started by JesseJames, Jan 17, 2004.

  1. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    Since Bush wants to get back to space with a new lunar mission and an eventual trip to Mars, are we ready to send men again?
    I mean, is it worth it? That's the argument we've been hearing from doubters.
    I believe the quest for knowledge is well worth it. But I don't believe we should be sending flesh and blood to those far flung places. The overhead to support humans in space is just too much.
    Instead, I think NASA and JPL should invest in artificial intelligence. I'm talking about the next generation of robotics. I believe it is time that humans make a robot that can think for themselves and do the most dangerous missions.
    That should be the next step for space exploration.
    Can you just imagine the spin-off technologies that this can father?
    I know I know, there's the Orwellian aspect to worry about but I think humans are basically good and we will always be fighting the evil in us. And good eventually triumphs.
    Imagine, a robot 4 to 5 times stronger than a human. With sight sensors that would make Superman jealous employed for battlefield use to augment infantry on the ground, for deep sea exploration, helping in mining operations or the most dangerous industrial work.
    All we have to do is maintain them. If we lose one, oh well, build another one.
  2. zamyatin macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2003
    Lunar Base!

    I support human migrations to Mars and the moon. In the short term, the moon is the best target because it is so much closer! It also will make an excellent test bed for development of Martian habitats. Every settlement on the moon will have to be underground, for radiation shielding, better containment of artificial atmosphere (a micrometeorite could punch a hole through surface bases, whether metal or advanced plastics), and to not mar the surface in a way that would eventually be visible from Earth (city lights at night, for example).

    A base is a fine start, but the goal should be to make permanent habitations on the moon (and later, Mars), with scientific as well as civilian communities.

    Compared to the amount of wealth in the world today (don't analyze by nation-states, they are obsolete), this colonization effort would not be significant. All the cost and time and energy needed wouldn't amount to a fraction of the global automobile industry, for example.

    A German scientist has been developing moonbase and moon city plans for several decades now, many of which can be downloaded from his website. His name is Heinz-Hermann Koelle and his website is There are several dozen detailed plans on his website right now, in English, in PDF.

    Why should humans do this? Because we can! Because we want to. It would be fun.
  3. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    I don't think there's any reason to do more space exploration, until scientific advances make it worthwhile. Until then, it's money wasted. Eventually we'll have more advanced capabilities and will be able to do more (such as starting a base on the moon, etc). but what are we going to do differently now? Go wander around a gray planet aimlessly at a cost of billions of dollars?

    it's not pragmatic. Space exploration is important to our future, but it can't be rushed-- Technology needs to catch up with our desire to leave the planet.

  4. zarathustra macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2002
    Philadelphia, PA
    I disagree - I don't think it's our desire to leave the planet that is at play or is important.

    We have gained a lot by past space programs with technologies developed and materials discovered. The moon could easily be used as a jumpig off base for other exploration.

    Can you imagine a moon base that is remote controlled and self sufficient with solar panels that could act as a natural satellite? Instead of trying to keep a scientific satellite in orbit (Hubble, weather sats, etc.) we could examine the Earth/universe without the distortion of our atmosphere, or the need to constantly having to adjust the orbit of a satellite.

    We can only gain knowledge from future space exploration, and if it's worthless, we learned THAT. :D

    *edit sp*
  5. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    easy to imagine - much harder to actually get it there. I agree with paulwhannel a bit.

    We don't need another Apollo. We've proven it can be done. What we do need is a cheap, reliable and single stage to orbit vehicle. That along with a real space station, not something like the ISS which is slowly turning into another Skylab.

    Once those two things are done - getting the higher orbiting station as a gateway to the rest of the solar system - we can go on to the moon. And actually, in the near term, it would be much more beneficial to try and mine asteroids for water and raw materials to build things in space. A fleet of space ships that never enter Earth's atmosphere, spend all their time in space is crucial as well.

    Don't focus on the glory of a Moon base and a manned mission to Mars. Get the infrastructure set up to make it easier. We're also still at the mercy of solar storms. What if we had another huge one like this past year and it hits the space station? There might not be an effective amount of shielding for the high levels of radiation to keep the astronauts safe.

    I'm not saying getting back to the moon is wrong, there's just so much to do before we get there. And, also, it needs to have commercial sponsorship to help keep the dream alive.

    Apollo 18 was made and had been planned to go to the moon, but it never did because people got blazé about another trip back. There has to be a good reason, more than just going because we can - and Bush's plan is very much focused on that.

    I just hope things work out.

  6. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    I am for continued Space exploration. Having an attainable goal is what will get the American public behind the project. I don't see why we can't have that same spirit that we did in the 60's. It was a great feeling.

    Think that just like seeing the problems that the scientists had with Spirit and opportunity. They had a deadline and they knew that if they could not fix them there was a chance that the two landers would end up in the Smithsonian. Just as with the Apollo mission, there will be benefits for us here on Earth that we can't even inagine at this point in time. Medicine was a big beneficiary.

    What is needed is to have a clear goal set. We had a lot of problems here on Earth when Kennedy set his goal for mankind. I think that vast benefits are on the horizon. This time we also need a partnership with business and whatever other countries are interested.
  7. isus macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2004
    not to turn this over to politics and just bash bush...

    but he turned a near $90 billion surplus into a near $400 billion deficit.

    and he just wants to keep giving out money... yea, that'll work.
  8. johnnowak macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2003
    New York, New York
    Re: Return to Space, Yes or No?

    I sincerely hope you're joking. That's not exactly... possible...
  9. pseudobrit macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    We should also take the $1.5 bilion pledged to "promoting marriage" and give it to NASA instead.

    Now THAT's a bloody waste of money.
  10. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    i am a fiscal conservative and i did have hopes for some great savings for uncle sam and a possible aversion to this cyclical recession...yes, it could be done but we need a focused president

    but bush wants to spend and spend and right now, at least, we should not worry too much about space expolration because it will be closer to reality when our technology is "there"
  11. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    Re: Re: Return to Space, Yes or No?

    Well, neither is the technology to take a crew of living beings to Mars and back.

    We're a lot closer to being able to send robots that can carry out their own experiments and send us back the results, as well as move around without every little command coming from us than we are to sending people to Mars.

    The moon? Been there. There wasn't enough science gained by going there as often as we did. It's a big, dead rock.

    The biggest tragedy is that real science is going to take a hit as money is diverted to this pipe dream that incidentally, will not happen. The Hubble Space Telescope has provided far more scientific wealth than the entire Apollo program and we're going to let it burn up.

    By the time we ever do send people to Mars, the majority of information about this planet will be found out. We'll just be going to shove our big ole flagpole into the ground.

    This type of declaration not only underscores Bush's idiocy and lack of priorities, but cashes in on the simplemindedness of average Americans, whose scientific knowledge is right up there with their ability to speak a second language. Ignorant and proud of it.

    Bush embarrasses me as much as my own Mayor does (the dishonorable John F. Street of Philadelphia (D)). If we took all of the complacent idiots out of this country, its population would be like that of Greenland...
  12. tpjunkie macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2002
    Re: Re: Re: Return to Space, Yes or No?

    I disagree; do you realize the computer technology used to get to the moon is dwarfed by an average graphing calculator available for less that 90 bucks? The crafts used to get man to the moon, while state of the art in their day, now look dated and obsolete; Reagan announced an initiative to go to mars in 1989, which would have put us on mars right around now; it probably would have succeeded if the public opinion had not been against it (of course this was probably due in part to it seeming like another far fetched "star wars" program....and would you look at that, we're in the midst of building a missile defence system now)...I think the technology is mostly there, although it could stand to be vastly improved to increase the likelyhood of success, and given the motivation, I think we're capable of doing it, especially in the 10-15 year window proposed.
  13. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    Propulsion isn't the problem

    Keeping people alive and healthy with food and oxygen for 1 week versus 1.5 to 2 years, along with all the mental hardships that brings, will require technology and understanding we don't have yet.

    Though the ships from the Apollo program may look dated, we're using the exact same technology every time we send humans into space. This technology has changed little in over 60 years. Any other type of space-travel technology has not been tested on the scale that would be needed to send humans to and back from Mars. Obviously, even our trusted old-school rocket technology has never been put to that kind of test. This isn't just like going to the moon. Going to the moon has more in common with V2 rocket launch from the 1930s than it will with sending people to Mars.
  14. synergy macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2002
    There never was any real surplus. It was projected based on an outperforming stock market. We all saw what happened to the stock market early 2000s.

    But yes, Bush did also run amok with the over spending. Unless government receipts increase based on a hugely boooming economy there will come hell to pay soon enough because of that deficit.

    I am sure we will see the military budget shrink and move over towards space exploration. Why do I say that?
    Because the next big thing will be space based military. Like or not, that is where it is moving towards next.

    The British ruled the sea and were a world dominant power for some time. The US ruled the air and are still a world power as a result. Whoever rules space can play for keeps. China already threw their hats in. Europe wants to as well.
  15. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    Huh? That seems like a logical progression, but establishing a Moon or Mars base will do nothing in terms of international power. The U.S. may well lose their grip of power if we dump to much money into this election-year scheme, which will undoubtedly be killed before the costs escalate too much.
  16. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040


    Apr 21, 2003
    washington dc
    Re: Propulsion isn't the problem

    i'm all for plasma and or ion engines...

  17. Stelliform macrumors 68000


    Oct 21, 2002
    Re: Re: Re: Return to Space, Yes or No?

  18. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    Re: Re: Re: Re: Return to Space, Yes or No?

    No, but he's chasing impossible dreams at the expense of real science like the Hubble, which should still be functioning until '07 or '08. Let's hope that funding for the Webb Telescope doesn't get slashed for the Jetson's program.
  19. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    The Hubble shouldn't be scrapped and they're sending up a booster to help it down, why not just use the same thing to get it into a higher orbit. Don't let it burn up, keep it in space indefinitely until there is a Space Museum in orbit 100 years from now.

    Such a waste, if you ask me.

  20. synergy macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2002
    You can't shoot the moon out of the sky like a satellite can you? Anti-Missile defense shield on the moon anyone?

    With regards to Mr. Anderson's comment on just use boosters to keep Hubble in the proper orbit. That is all fine and dandy so long as the gyrsoscopes in hubble remain in working condition. I believe there are 4 working gyroscopes currently. It needs three to operate and point itself. It went up with six. If it loses two more a service mission will be needed to keep it going.
    So it is not as easy and cheap as it seems.

    I was more of the opinion to let hubble go and put out a new telescope. Of course if there is no money spent on a new one then certainly keep Hubble up as long as possible.
  21. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    But the moon isn't always where you need it. It could be facing the other side of the planet :p

  22. synergy macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2002
    Mind you I am not defending this, saying it should happen. I think space should be for peaceful exploration. That said, a combination of ground, satellite and moon based systems makes for the ultimate anti-missile system. As well certainly the moon can be facing the other side of the planet. Say where China is? Or where North Korea is? Still seems to work to knock their missiles out or even a "pre-emptive" strike.
  23. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    You'd have to use lasers - and if they're powerful enough to knock out a missle, then they might reach the ground. Not something I'd want to be looking at.

    The delay would also be an issue - make targeting a bit tricky - its quite a ways away....


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