# Moon, asteroids, and Mars are GO!

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by cygonaut, Jan 9, 2004.

1. ### EI_SparksRegistered Senior Member

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1,716
Because maintainance (and general trouble-shooting) is by it's very nature not something you can predict ahead of time. In fact a lot of the time, it's the kind of work that noone thought would be needed when they were designing the machine you're maintaining. Basicly, you need a highly flexible general-purpose machine for maintaining other machines - and the best one we have is the mark one human.

True - so long as you don't actually do anything. If you start mining however, it's a different kettle of fish. The environment becomes dynamic in a hurry when you're shovelling tons of material around and processing it.

Indeed - and that's the main reason for Mission Specialists today and the main reason why Jack Schmidt went to the moon on Apollo 17. You move the expertise to the site where at all possible.

Because you can perform maintainance. To keep it ridiculously simple, an astronaut can take a rag outside and wipe off a solar panel - a robotic arm through several minutes of time delay risks putting a rag through that solar panel, if it hasn't run out of power by the time the storm blows over.

Try putting a rover on the lunar surface for longer than a lunar day then. You'll find that the thermal stresses reduce design life dramatically (and since rovers work slower than humans by an enormous amount, that's a serious problem).
Remember, you're talking here about developing highly complex technologies to do what to humans would be a simple task. For example - any manned habitat on the lunar surface is going to be buried in regolith (intentionally) for shielding and thermal insulation. How do you do that? Well, you can give an astronaut a shovel (or a small version of a JCB) and he can do it in a day or two, or you can design and build a tele-operated, semi-autonomous digging robot and hope it doesn't suffer a malfunction and accidentally hole the habitat in the several months it takes to dig the trench, lower the habitat and cover it again. Or that the robot doesn't get fried by the thermal stresses of several lunar day/night cycles. And if you're thinking of multiple robots, remember we haven't figured out how to do that right just yet either.
I know, it's not a perfect example, but it's rather illustrative.

Microgravity and lunar gravity though, are different things - and we have no idea what lunar gravity does in the long run.
And we do need to know, unless you think we can stay on this planet forever...

Actually, that's not a dodge - maintainance is what humans excell at.

What specific machine are you proposing I cite a maintainance example for?

3. ### VortexxSkull & Bones SpokesmanRegistered Senior Member

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Until we got self-replicating nano-assemblers etc. I can agree that maintenance and improvisation tasks need far more complex robots than currently available, but given the fact that manned missions might exceed the cost of robotmissions more than ten times, the solution is to send extra redundant robots instead, still being able to cut the price more than halve of human mission.

But at least it would be a good idea to endorse the bush plan with the manned settlement on the moon, this would gain insights in how much effort/money/technology it would take to do a manned marsmission.

If the moon proves costing too much than the public opinion could express a huge nooo to manned marsmission. And who says that the next step might be mars? Once the chinese start building settlements on the moon, the usa might decide to spent that trillion dollars on a counterbuilding settlement frenzy on the moon, clearly the moon is involved in this program because of the chinese and the abillity to anticipate on their spaceprogram.

Last edited: Jan 16, 2004

5. ### EI_SparksRegistered Senior Member

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Manned missions cost more, yes - but they also do more. One month of 12-hour days on Mars with a single trained geologist, a little buggy, a shovel and a little hammer and you'd get more data on geological processes than 46.5 years of Spirit trundling about just by the area covered, and that's ignoring the data gathered by the geologist being able to do things that Spirit can't. And the MER programme cost $550 million - so if you're thinking of sending up 20 robots, you're now looking at$5.5 billion, which is a fair amount of cash given that only 10 of those robots can be expected to make it to the surface going by the statistics to date, and that those robots are less capable than a trained human.

7. ### UndecidedBannedBanned

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4,731
It feels more like debating with a wall.

Well when you debate with a mirror, you customary debate with a mirror on a wall, so yes you are debating with a wall.

You have no idea of what's involved in the programme, yet you feel fully qualified to give over-arching statements stateing why it cannot possible work and how it cannot possibly be worth the investment,

I assume you do correct? I assume you can tell me that this is going to caost little right? Hypocracy is not a friend of yours, the things is quite simple even if the program cost $1 million that is$1 million the US simply does not have. Do you know what a deficit means?

and that that investment cannot possibly be funded and that there's no possible way that that funding can be found by cutting military spending.
All of which are farcical in the extreme, because they ignore historical fact.

Fristly, the military spending bit is not going to happen, again no one supports a military break, notice they are all talking about tax cuts to be partially abolished. The only leader in the presidential race that has indicated he will slash military funding is Clark.

No, you didn't make it up, the office of budget control did and they're the ones I was referring to in that sentence.

So show me a source that refutes that figure please? The new initial spending is small because NOTHING IS BEING DONE. The numbers seemingly have mislead you. You see Sparks Congress, and the senate are going to decide on how much the program costs, and the figures say upto $1 trillion. Don't be daft. No, but I think you are. The fact is that China's not seen as a real threat. Emmm...right, sure convince yourself. He's doing it to be seen as a "visionary" and nothing more. China might not exist and he'd still have done this. You want to know why this went ahead? My God you sound like a Iraq supporter! What is which this indoctrination? Whoa! I guess that's what happens when your wiling to believe anything to get what you want. Because of the positive feedback they got in polls when they floated this balloon just before the 100th anniversary of powered flight speech. Most people in the US don't even know it was the 100 year anniversay, only people like us even care. His increasing popularity has more to do with the economy, yesterday for instance on CNN they had a poll, and the majority of respondants don't want to go. So again show me that this has positively affected Bush. The important point though, is this - the motives don't matter. This is a chance to get mushrooms out of shit. Like Iraq was to the neo-cons, ok there Mr. Dilusional. Stalinist is the correct term and implies central planning, Ignorance, please. Stalinism refers to the political system that has it's vested power in one individual (he is the law), and since the US doesn't have that it cannot be called Stalinism. Please learn some political philsophy. a feature also seen in the US - and so saying Central Planning is not only inaccurate, but misleading. How? Rhetorics mean so little. Nope, that's not what's being endorsed. Tell me, does the word "Clementine" mean much to you at all? So this is not a government program that will increase government spending and "helping" the economy? And when the program ends these jobs will be eliminated. That sounds Soviet to me. 8. ### EI_SparksRegistered Senior Member Messages: 1,716 Undecided, you're not worth the time. Go read any of the books suggested in this thread. Then we'll discuss it further. 9. ### Fukushi-meta consciousness-Registered Senior Member Messages: 1,231 10. ### hypewadersSave ChangesRegistered Senior Member Messages: 12,061 The White House is pushing for NASA to divert$11 Billion of its $12 Billion dollar budget for W's re-election red herring. If more Americans do not speak out in defense of NASA, we will be sorry: If America's space efforts are allowed to be converted into Dubya's Flying Circus, we will in a few short years be forced to reconfigure the program again after much waste, back toward a national effort that is responsible, scientific, and profitable. 11. ### UndecidedBannedBanned Messages: 4,731 I know you can do better then this, if you don't reply it's obvious that you have accepted all my points as factual. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! 12. ### PersolI am the great and mighty Zo.Registered Senior Member Messages: 5,946 Persol, perhaps you don't recall, but prior to the analysis of lunar samples, it was thought that the craters on the moon were volcanic in nature, as well all craters on the earth, and that meteor bombardment ceased around the time the earth cooled after formation. So maybe you could explain why a present day robot would not have been able to reach the same conlusion... or why this was worth all the money that was pumped in. and suddenly we understood a threat to the entire species that noone had known existed to that point. Today we know of at least 2,000 near earth asteroids which will impact the earth causing massive levels of damage - the only unknown is when, but since NEAs have a total lifetime of less than a few million years, it will happen during the lifetime of the species. In fact, the probability of a NEA a kilometer across impacting the surface of earth (a near-extinction level event and certainly the end of our civilisation as we know it), between the year 1000AD and 3000AD is 0.4. So it's not a minor threat. This is funny. You can have a probabilty per year. We do not however know howlong 'civilization as we know it' will last. The comment "it will happen during the lifetime of the species" is just stupid. It's like saying that I will die in a car accident. You have NO idea when an asteroid would hit, or it some other destructive force will strike first. Now, none of that was known prior to 1950 (at least not by people who didn't wear tinfoil hats). Absolutely no idea. None. Nada. Zero. Zilch. And you want us to predict what the upcoming program could bring? You have yet to show what that actually provided. Lets say a large asteroid is headed towards earth right now. Well, we know it will kill us. We would know that with or without the Apollo missions. Why not just ask for next week's lottery numbers while you're at it? Good point. But what I'm asking for is to look at how much the lottery has given you in the past. The answer is 'nothing worth the money'. And as to the "oh, NASA didn't really develop these technologies, they'd have come about anyway", please don't tell me that you can predict alternate histories, it'd be embarressing. I said that most were already under development, and that this amount of money dumped into other areas would have provided just as much technology. It doesn't have to be the same technology. Fact is, no US agency has ever returned more per dollar invested than NASA. Ever. Which you have YET to show. Hell, Microsoft should start a mission to the moon. After all, you claim that it has the best return per dollar. 13. ### EI_SparksRegistered Senior Member Messages: 1,716 According to Bruce Garrett, the Hubble's on the chopping block Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! See, this is what happens when you say that$11 billion over five years is a lot of money while you spend $3.5 billion every year on mobile phone ring tones. *disgusted look* 14. ### UndecidedBannedBanned Messages: 4,731 See, this is what happens when you say that$11 billion over five years is a lot of money while you spend $3.5 billion every year on mobile phone ring tones. Who spends$3.5 billion on ring tones? That's right the consumer, not the bankrupt government. There is just no comparison.

According to Bruce Garrett, the Hubble's on the chopping block

Could it be because of the Moon mission?

15. ### EI_SparksRegistered Senior Member

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1,716
First part : because we needed the samples on earth and sending up people trained in geology was the best way to get them.
Second part : because now we know we won't die out at each other's throats in some war over resources.

I don't. That's give by Spacewatch, the project that tracks NEAs.

No, but we do know the odds of it being destroyed by this one particular threat. Care to challange spacewatch's numbers or the conclusions of what would happen if a kilometre-across nickel-iron asteroid hits in the middle of the pacific?

Incorrect. I have some idea. We can put a probability on it. Same way that we can tell you that in a car crash, you're more or less likely to die depending on what kind of impact and what kind of car it was. It's statistics, and if you're really interested, you can check the math.

No, we wouldn't - that's what I'm telling you. We wouldn't know it was there, we wouldn't know it would kill us and we wouldn't be looking for it.
Are we doing enough to defend against it? No. Why? "Because the money is better spent at home on social programmes" - despite the fact that that money is going to the military, not medicare.

Except that you can't prove that's true, because it's like being asked to prove what would have happened if Einstein hadn't been born. Would we have figured out the photoelectric effect or relativity without his work? Would someone else have come up with the answers?
You don't know and you can't prove it would have. I'm just pointing out what did happen - money put into NASA led to the development of not just the programme, but ancillary technologies, and the research done by NASA led independently to yet more technologies.
In other words, it was worth the money and lives - and I challange you to find an astronaut that disagrees.

*points to the book he cited earlier*

16. ### EI_SparksRegistered Senior Member

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1,716
Really? So the consumers can afford the fourteen dollars a year or so it takes to buy a ringtone for their mobile phone, but not the eight dollars or so a year it would take to go to the moon and mars?
What a depressing image of the average person....

Actually, it's because the moon mission's not been funded properly. It's an unnecessary cut, basicly, which is why it's so sad.

How's that reading coming, by the way?

17. ### PersolI am the great and mighty Zo.Registered Senior Member

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5,946
First part : because we needed the samples on earth and sending up people trained in geology was the best way to get them.
And we could do that today with a robot.

Second part : because now we know we won't die out at each other's throats in some war over resources.

We still might.

No, but we do know the odds of it being destroyed by this one particular threat. Care to challange spacewatch's numbers or the conclusions of what would happen if a kilometre-across nickel-iron asteroid hits in the middle of the pacific?

No, I agree with them completely. What I am chalenging is "it will happen during the lifetime of the species", which is nothing more than a guess.

It's statistics, and if you're really interested, you can check the math.

But to make that above statement, you have to know how long our species will last (at least the chance of us going extinct within a time). You don't know this.

No, we wouldn't - that's what I'm telling you. We wouldn't know it was there, we wouldn't know it would kill us and we wouldn't be looking for it.

We would know because most of our tracking is a side effect of ICBM tracking. Plus it would have been more than obvious after the Jupiter impact.

Are we doing enough to defend against it? No. Why?

Because compared to other threats, it is miniscule.

Except that you can't prove that's true, because it's like being asked to prove what would have happened if Einstein hadn't been born.

No, it's not. Look at how much companies/universities/organizations invest in R&D. Look at how much is made off of the products. This is relatively public information. Now look at how much NASA has returned due to manned missions. *imagine the sound of crickets*

In other words, it was worth the money and lives - and I challange you to find an astronaut that disagrees.

I challenge you to find a terrorist who disagrees with terrorism. What a stupid comment.

18. ### EI_SparksRegistered Senior Member

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1,716
Well, not today - it'd take at least a decade to duplicate what Jack Schmidt managed to do in eight days.

Yes, it's a possibility. But we know now what we didn't before Apollo - that we don't have to.

Sure - but I'd love to hear what you think will wipe us out faster.
And how you propose to prevent it.

We wouldn't because you don't go scanning half-way round the solar system with a telescope set up to look for NEAs when you're trying to use a radar to pick up a low-on-the-horizon metallic target with a given velocity profile (ie. an ICBM).

Which we would have missed completely - SL9 was seen during a search for NEAs...

No, it most assuredly is not. As risks go, this one is a given - it has happened before, it will happen again. And the consequences when it does will be catastrophic. And that's ignoring the smaller-than-one-kilometer-across NEAs which impact with far more frequency and which tend to do a lot of damage. So far they've hit unpopulated areas, at least three times in the last century that I know of (siberia, the amazon and over the pacific). We won't always be that lucky.

You want me to say "yes it is"? How about "he's behind you"?

And look at the correlation between the number of graduates in engineering and science and the activity level of the space programme.
And then tell me it plays no part in promoting R&D.

So it's a failure because it didn't make a profit - even though it's forbidden from doing so by law?
I know it's hard to figure this out, but NASA can't make money directly because they're not allowed to. Research goes to the public domain, don't forget. The money NASA makes comes back via the private sector.

19. ### UndecidedBannedBanned

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4,731
Really? So the consumers can afford the fourteen dollars a year or so it takes to buy a ringtone for their mobile phone, but not the eight dollars or so a year it would take to go to the moon and mars?

Firstly are those stats of $3.5 billion, only in America or a worldwide phenomenon, of course we don't want to mischaracterize the situation now do we? Also unlike ring tone in which if you can afford to pay for it you will,$8 in taxes adds up, and it will increase. Using the $1 trillion standard for this mission we get the follow per capita for a American; around$3,448. Many people in the US simply cannot afford that. Your ring tone assertion is illogical at best because:

i) Those who buy it do so under their own volition.
ii) Taxes are not voluntary
iii) $3.5 billion is a good thing for the economy. iv)$1 trillion of non-existent government funds is not.

So Sparks you still have to show me where is phantom money will come from? Even if the US was to cut her military budget to Zero, she would still be $150 billion in the hole. I'll be waiting. What a depressing image of the average person.... Not, really. Actually, it's because the moon mission's not been funded properly. Hubble has done more for humanities understanding of the cosmos, then landing on the moon. Disagree? How's that reading coming, by the way? Sorry, unlike you I don't appeal to authority to base my arguments. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! 20. ### EI_SparksRegistered Senior Member Messages: 1,716 Undecided, would you please, once and for all, tell us where this$1 trillion figure is taken from?
And would you also tell us how $1 trillion over 20 years split between 250 million people comes to$3448? (The actual number would be $200 if it was$1 trillion, which is a figure I've not seen come from anywhere that has anything to do with NASA, and that's assuming that every man, woman and child pays the same amount, which is assinine. Hell, if guys like John Romero and Paul Allen can personally afford to fund seperate X prize candidates, they can pay a little over the average in their taxes).

Let's take a pre-existing plan, the Mars Direct plan by Zubrin. It's cost estimate is $20 billion over a decade. Let's say it runs wildly overbudget and over deadlines and in fact takes ten times that over, say, 20 years. That's$200 billion over 20 years and 250 million people - that comes to $40 a year for everyone. Obviously that's going to vary so everyone pays what they can as taxes do, but$40 is quite managable I think. You're a registered used in this board Undecided, so you pay more than that a year in registration fees....
So would you rather get to read Vienna's rants or see men on mars?

Actually, you have to show me where the $1 trillion bill is coming from. We're three days past the announcement of the new programme and you've already got a final invoice - not bad, given that noone knows what's going to be done in any detail... In other words, you simply make stuff up and require the rest of us to refute it? So you don't bother to check facts, find references, check your maths or your logic and somehow that's meant to make your argument more valid? Ignorance is not bliss Undecided, it's just ignorance. Go spend the$3 to buy a book on the subject and read it.

Phrase that as a relevant question and we'll discuss it.

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BTW, Sparks I misspoke the other night with regards to buying The High Frontier off of Amazon. Girlfriend informed me that I only paid about $.30 cents for the book, but$3 for the shipping. Encouraged by that news I am going to look up the other books you suggested. I love this used book thing. I'm a cheap bastard. I paid $18,000 in taxes a few years ago and it changed my life, but that's for another thread. You know part of my reasoning for wanting a moon base is defensive. With all of those planet killer asteroids out there it would be nice to know we had an early warning defensive capability. I know that sounds silly, but I watched a show the other night about the Near Earth Asteroid probe that we successfully landed a few years back and it got me thinking. As far as arguing with little nicky, he's just a kid that absolutely loves to argue, no matter what the issue. I'll give him credit in that sometimes he makes you think, but as Wes correctly pointed out, nicky has no depth to his position. It's all fine and good to be able to google search some data and throw it out there, but that's the beauty of the net, and also the downside. Data is only part of any debate. As an American businessman, and more importantly, a taxpayer, I can say that I would rather see my dollars going to researching the potentials of the moon and Mars, than to see them keep going into shitty investments like social security. 22. ### UndecidedBannedBanned Messages: 4,731 Undecided, would you please, once and for all, tell us where this$1 trillion figure is taken from?

The source I have given you before showed one estimate (note I did not make up that $1 trillion), also this from the club for growth: http://edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/01/14/bush.opposition/index.html I suggest you read that link... And would you also tell us how$1 trillion over 20 years split between 250 million people comes to $3448? Well this is what I did, (i am oddly not good at math at all) so feel free to correct me:$1,000,000,000,000 / 290,000,000 = $3448.$500,000,000/ 290,000,000= $1724 and that's assuming that every man, woman and child pays the same amount, which is assinine. Well firstly, then GDP per capita, actually anything per capita is also asinine, this is the correct way of doing things. Also that trillion figure is for all those who live in the US today, so in 20 years; all those kids will be paying taxes. Hell, if guys like John Romero and Paul Allen can personally afford to fund seperate X prize candidates, they can pay a little over the average in their taxes. Welcome to the Bush era, they won't. Let's take a pre-existing plan, the Mars Direct plan by Zubrin. Before I even consider those entire figures, when were they comprised? For instance in the early 90's the figure was$400 billion or so, that figure has obviously increased. Does that $20 billion equate into 2003 dollars in essence? but$40 is quite managable I think.

To you, to a mother who lives on the borderline of poverty (tens of millions in the US, poverty not mothers, hehe) that $40 could mean a school book for Johnny of sending elitists into space to find out what rock formations are on the moon. When as Persol said, this could all be easily achieved with a robot, for significantly less. You're a registered used in this board Undecided, so you pay more than that a year in registration fees.... ......... So would you rather get to read Vienna's rants or see men on mars? Vienna? Actually, you have to show me where the$1 trillion bill is coming from.

If you haven't noticed I already have, look back.

We're three days past the announcement of the new programme and you've already got a final invoice - not bad, given that noone knows what's going to be done in any detail...

Not bad I know isn't it amazing, too bad I am not the one who came up the figure. Anyways...

In other words, you simply make stuff up and require the rest of us to refute it?

I don't make things up, what I do is independently verify what is being said as much as I can. You are refuting me by appealing to authority, sadly your sources can be refuted as well, and thus are relativist, and not truth, and not factual. (And I know how you like to state things as factual, when they are the complete opposite). Let me show you you're logic shall I? If the "Zubrin" guy was perfect in theory, this is actually supposed to translate in reality? Like Communism I assume, don't fool yourself Sparks. I assume you are smarter then that...I assume.

So you don't bother to check facts, find references, check your maths or your logic and somehow that's meant to make your argument more valid?

Simple logic, simple math:

If I am bankrupt I cannot pay for things I don't need, is that correct Sparks?
If I am $550 in the hole and$6 trillion in debt, shouldn't I hold off spending untold billions? Does that make sense?

Ignorance is not bliss Undecided, it's just ignorance. Go spend the \$3 to buy a book on the subject and read it.

Sorry, your appeal to ridicule is fruitless.

Please stop being a selective quoting, again Please tell me where the money for this will come from?

23. ### EI_SparksRegistered Senior Member

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1,716
*lol*
Oh the irony - paying more for shipping than the book, for a book on ways of reducing the cost of getting there from here