# Moon, asteroids, and Mars are GO!

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

1. ### buffysRegistered LoserRegistered Senior Member

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Kinda angry little fella aren't ya.

Why do anything now? because it's within our reach. I'd rather piss money away on this than our current multi-trillion dollar project: the worlds largest gun.

But the biggest reason I'm in a hurry is soley out of greed, I want to see it in my life time ... it's that simple. No big, high scientific ideals or to 'save humanity', I just want to see it. Thats as good a reason as any. We waste billions like toilet paper, it might as well be on something that interests me.

3. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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This is a pointless waste of NASA money.

Don't get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of space research and space exploration. It's generally accepted that money spent on space research provides better returns than most other investments, and I fully support spending money on space. The problem here is that Bush wants to spend money on the wrong things. Our number-one priority for space needs to be developing a reusable, inexpensive, single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle. That in its self is a huge project, and far more of an engineering challenge than simply going back to the moon. Investing in the development an economical STO launch vehicle would produce far better returns than investing in going back to the moon. As far as I can tell, setting up a permanent base on the moon would be a complete waste of time and money. What possible benefit could it be?

There's radio astronomy, but there is no need to go to the moon for that. It would be far easier and more cost-effective to build an unmanned radio telescope. In fact it would actually be better, since an unmanned telescope could be sent out much farther than the moon, allowing for far more accurate parallax measurements.

Many people bring up helium 3 as a justification for going to the moon. Although it’s true that helium 3 is far more abundant on the moon than on earth, it still only has a concentration of around 4 -5 parts per billion in the lunar soil. Perhaps some day processing facilities could be built to sift through tons of lunar soil and extract helium 3, but this isn't the sort of thing that we will be able to exploit any time soon; especially since we don't even have a low-cost space vehicle yet. Collecting helium 3 from the moon will require an industrial infrastructure far greater than anything we could hope to set up on the moon in the foreseeable future. Oh, and by the way; no one has ever actually managed to build a working fusion reactor that runs off helium 3. Perhaps we should think about overcoming that little hurdle before we dream about importing helium 3 from the moon?

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7. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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NASA has always made a big show of their 'space spinoffs,' technologies that were originally developed for the space program but have since found uses in medicine and industry. When confronted with the enormous amount of money that NASA wastes, people often point to the spinoffs as evidence that NASA deserves its large budget. Of course NASA has produced tech spinoffs. NASA gets $15 billion a year. If you gave me$15 billion a year I can guarantee you that I would produce plenty of new technologies for you. With that amount of money to spend on R&D, it would be shocking if NASA hadn't accumulated an impressive portfolio of new technologies.

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

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There are many many scientists who do not all do the same work and do not have the same opinions? Not all complain about lack of civil sector funding, and not all work for the military.

This is a large group, and can not be treated as a single person.

16. ### UndecidedBannedBanned

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Persol.

That is true, I err-ed for putting them all in one category. But there are zealots who want it all. At the expense of social programs, no freaking way. The Shuttle disaster, the ISS disaster, the list goes on and on. I think that the X prize is the future, not government funded space programs. Really if you are a scientist and you get a thrill out of this, go to one of the X prize contenders and make space cheap for all. That would be the best thing to do right now. The Elitist NASA, ESA, etc. is nothing more then a remnant of the Cold War past. Why should the public have to actually put itself into more debt, to find out what type of rock is on the Moon? Logic please? I support Robots on the moon, cheaper, better, and more agile. I mean a human on the moon; if he falls down (I heard it's a bitch to get up). It's simply not worth it, and too bad if a scientist can't jerk it for the next 20 years live with it.

17. ### buffysRegistered LoserRegistered Senior Member

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personally, I'm not advocating cramming a few jar heads in a can and firing them at mars tomorrow but I would like to see a focused and methodical progression to that end.

I like the plan Robert Zubrin detailed in his book 'The Case for Mars', its one of the few truly pragmatic plans I've run across. Much of the info can be found at http://www.nw.net/mars/, it's surprisingly well thought out and very little (as yet) unknown technologies are required (the details are free to download and posted in various formats). It's also so much cheaper than NASA's projections it frankly makes them look a bit stupid. What I like about it is it uses robots to gather necessary resources even before we get there. Very basically, the bots gather and store resources (the fuel for returning home, water needed to live and other useful chemicals) then they wait for us until we get there. Not only does this save a fortune by 'living off the land' so to speak but it allows for redundancies to be set up even before we get there, like building a gas station on mars. It even outlines a cheap way to simulate mars g for the duration of the trip there and back.

If you're fundamentally against manned missions under any circumstances then, of course, this info won't change your mind but it's the best and cheapest (a rare combination) plan I've read so far. If you would like to see us, eventually, on other planets I encourage you to take a look at this stuff. It's well considered and very grounded, at the very least its an interesting read.

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

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personally, I'm not advocating cramming a few jar heads in a can and firing them at mars tomorrow but I would like to see a focused and methodical progression to that end.
Agreed. We are just not yet at that end.

What I like about it is it uses robots to gather...

Sounds like a reasonable plan. Does it outline a reason for going besides 'just because'?

19. ### buffysRegistered LoserRegistered Senior Member

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In the very long term the reason is human colonization of course and in the short term its simply knowledge but beyond that there is no other reason (speaking for myself). Many high ideals can be floated, for example in case of disaster it gets a few eggs from humanity's single basket and into another one. But I'm not laying the future hope of man on mars as a sort of saftey valve for an expanding population, maybe in 1000 years of careful preparation but not now. The only reason to go is the same reason we explore the nooks and crannies on our own planet ... because we're curious and something of value might be there. As I stated before, we've wasted plenty of cash on lesser goals.

To me these reasons are enough but I don't expect everyone to understand, either you agree or you don't. In my opinion neither view is wrong and the view with the majority behind it should decide if it's worth it.

but thats just me

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

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I don't agree though that we should waste cash by jumping into this just because "we've wasted plenty of cash on lesser goals." You know the 'if everyone jumped off a bridge' line well enough.

The long term goal IS very good... but at the current time sending people doesn't actually advance that goal any more then sending a few robots would.

21. ### buffysRegistered LoserRegistered Senior Member

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hmmm, I think we're arguing nearly the same thing but in different words.

When I referred to a "focused and methodical progression" I meant having an aggressive 10-15 year plan (for example), purely robotic, that prepared mars for manned landings. First getting to know exactly where what we need is and gathering it together as well as generally getting as deep an understanding of the planet as possible in that time (climate, available resources, good landing sites, etc.). As you said we aren't there yet but thats the whole point of a progression, to get there.

The REALLY important thing is a long term commitment, not sending people today, there'd be no point to that but we have to start somewhere and some-when so why not now? The book i referred to earlier lays out a plan that doesn't require some outrageously expensive space platform, moon base, any other unnecessary infrastructure or technology that doesn't already exist ... just careful planning and long term commitment.

22. ### UndecidedBannedBanned

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The REALLY important thing is a long term commitment, not sending people today, there'd be no point to that but we have to start somewhere and some-when so why not now?

Because it cannot be something that is always on constant danger of being cut from funding. The US right now cannotafford to to all this. Its just that simple, if the US could all the power to them. For this phallic race to moon, you are ensuring that you're children have no healthcare, bad education, and tonnes of taxes. Bush is all short term, and sadly this "patriotic" biz is catching people like fly's and they are going to be bit in the ass eventually. Future on Earth, or no future at all.

23. ### buffysRegistered LoserRegistered Senior Member

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1,624
I think we can afford it, I guess we disagree there, fair enough.

As far as "a phallic race to the moon"? I don't see any need to get Freud involved, I don't even follow what that's supposed to mean. I (personally) think more can be gained in the long run by bypassing the moon entirely for now, it doesn't have the gravity or resources avalable on mars to live off the land (the cheapest way for manned missions to go).

again I disagree but you're certainly welcome to your opinion.