# We shouldn't send humans to Mars or the Moon.

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by cosmictraveler, Dec 22, 2007.

1. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member

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33,264
It takes billions of dollars to send just a few humans to any planet or moon.

They could all die along the way and everything that was put into such a

project would be lost. I know, that's just the chance we should take to

explore things. But I suggest otherwise. If we can use the money to build

robotic types of explorers that wouldn't cost as much and never put a

humans life in danger wouldn't that be more prudent? Imagine 100

explorations to many places to get information instead of one trip with

humans to one location. In the meantime scientists, engineers and others

can be experimenting with ways to get to places much faster than we can

travel today. So that within a 30 year or so period they COULD develop

much faster travel as well as safer and economical ways to do so .

So what do you think? Would more exploration by robotic spacecraft be

wiser now than trying to put our money all into one project of humans on

the Moon or on Mars?

3. ### superluminalI am MalcomRValued Senior Member

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10,876
I think you are missing something. We have made huge strides with robotic missions, and we still will. We also need to engage humans in exploration for some really good reasons, a couple of which are:

- Humans are still, and will be for a loooong time, by far the most capable instruments we send on any mission.

- The exploration of the universe is, after all, a human endeavor. We want to go. I question the thinking of people and policy makers that want to take this out of the equation with nary a thought. They seem to have a dreadful lack of imagination and drive.

5. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member

Messages:
33,264
By sending robots to 100 other locations in our solar system we could

They are easily replaced if they should be destroyed which many of them

are. They could be able to bring back samples of stuff from elsewhere as

well. This type of learning cannot ever be accomplished by humans so again

why isn't it better to spread ourselves out instead of just putting all of our

money on one or two major projects that could easily fail.

7. ### Communist HamsterCricetulus griseus leninusValued Senior Member

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3,023
While the money spent on human missions to Mars would be much larger than robotic missions to Mars, the efficiency of dollars-to-knowledge gained is far greater. Not only would we have the knowledge of how to send and return humans to and from Mars (vital to the future of humanity), those explorers could do so much work in a very short space of time. Spirit and Opportunity, while impressive compared to other robotic missions, are feeble compared to the abilities a human possesses. A team of human explorers could do the work it has taken a rover several years to do in only a few months.

8. ### USS Exeterunamerican americanRegistered Senior Member

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2,482
CommunistHamster is right above, but one of the main reasons to send humans elsewhere in the solar system is just for the politics. The reason why we haven't tried to go to mars or the moon yet is bvecause there is no competition. If Russia was planning to go to mars in 2010, the US would get off its ass in a second.

9. ### orcotValued Senior Member

Messages:
3,479
okay
The develoment of the apollo has costed around 135 billion dollars The 2 mars rovers have costed 820 million dollars

So all rougly______________mars rover___$VS-----Mannend moon program costs____________________820 mil_______________135 bil total numbre of science days_10 years_____________less then 5 days area covered_______________20km_______________? guessing 90 km? concluding: the rovers aren't doing so bad considerd they get around 1/164,63times the budget To make things fare you would have to build rougly 330 rovers who by now would have covered 3 292 km and had a combined observition time of 1 650 years. Feel free to dispute this source source 2 10. ### sly1HeartlessRegistered Senior Member Messages: 692 Too much value seems to be put in "human life" Its become a rather cowardly and rediculously cautious trend. I do however agree with your other cost efficient and exploration efficient points with robots over humans in space exploration. 11. ### EnmosValued Senior Member Messages: 43,184 Some things require humans... they can't be done by any rovers. 12. ### P. BOOM!Registered Senior Member Messages: 122 How else are we to spread Earth's life beyond Earth? After all, isn't that the point and our duty? 13. ### superluminalI am MalcomRValued Senior Member Messages: 10,876 Ultimately, that has to be the highest goal of humanity. We know that we are not immune to giant asteroid impacts, global supervolcano events, severe ice ages, massive plagues, and our own stupidity (global warming, killer nanomachines, etc.). If we are to survive in the long term, we must spread out. All of our eggs are in one basket after all... 14. ### orcotValued Senior Member Messages: 3,479 homo sapiens sapiens apeared 200 000 years ago and you speak abouth our survival in the long term? In the end where yust the vikings the new world is far from economical to reach and colombus is still a century away 15. ### superluminalI am MalcomRValued Senior Member Messages: 10,876 An eyeblink in geological history. I'm talking the really long term. More hundreds of thousands to millions of years. What are you going to do, for instance, if a 10km wide asteroid hits your home town? I.e. the earth? What are you going to do if global warming starts a runaway greenhouse effect? Like I said, I'm thinking long term here, but humans have only been around for a tiny amount of time compared to what can happen to the earth over much longer time spans. 16. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member Messages: 33,264 If we were to DEFLECT the asteroid before it hit we wouldn't have to worry would we? Technology today gives us that type of information to protect ourselves from such an event from happening. I'd think it should be more of a priority to try and save the Earth rather than find a new home. Global warming also can be dealt with through technology that is being developed today. So again the real question is do you want to save the Earth or just find another home for humans that really don't need to leave this planet which has everything it needs in order to survive. 17. ### superluminalI am MalcomRValued Senior Member Messages: 10,876 Why can't we do both? I'm not advocating abandoning the earth to whatever fate. But history shows that nations that became isolationist and stopped exploring did not do very well and in most cases dissappeared. When we have no new frontiers, we stagnate. Protect the earth, yes, but be bold and get the hell out there and explore too. 18. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member Messages: 33,264 That's why my suggestion is to advance robotics and artifical intelligence along with them. That is creating advances and keeping humans safe as well. The big problem is the funding of a Mars mission which can take away needed money from other programs being developed that would explore more and advance our understanding of space travel better BEFORE we send humans to Mars. 19. ### orcotValued Senior Member Messages: 3,479 Not economical They do that, I wished more that they learned to life of the land, Some guy named Zubrin ones developed a sort of lander that could be launched to mars before a mannend mission and this lander could actually produce the return fuel from it's own reservoir a generator and the martian air, so that any lander doesn't have to land with it's return fuel making it much more economical. They should really use such technics and perhaps find a way to make a similar probe that can produce food on the side. Anyway they should go there with the intent to stay there as long as possible and even set base development above exploration 20. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member Messages: 33,264 The problem is the amount of time it will take them to get to Mars and return with todays propulsion systems. The best time would be over 2 years with little time for actual exploration which wouldn't be for more than a month at best. The amounts of food, oxygen, supplies, fuel and many other important things like spare parts will make the weight of this "platform" very heavy which means very slow moving. If we were to wait engineers could develop new technologies that could speed up the platform much faster perhaps cutting the time to less than 6 months. The point being is that all we are really doing is showing that humans can get to Mars because any SCIENTIFIC study can and should be done with robotics over time for a hell of allot less money and much safer as well. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! 21. ### kanedaActual CynicRegistered Senior Member Messages: 1,334 It is possible that people we spend on a space mission to other planets where they have to spend 2 years or more in space could end up dying of various cancers several years later because of it. If we could only freeze bodies for long periods and then revive them safely. I know there is work being done on human hibernation. I think for now we should continue with robotic missions and better space telescopes till we have technology good enough to make space travel easier and cheaper for humans. 22. ### orcotValued Senior Member Messages: 3,479 You really think that murdering someone (freezing them) will have no repercusions on their body and also magical keep out the harmful radiation? anyway cosmictraveler is right, we can not send large masses up economical and even then our indurance in a joke. It's yust stupid to walk around on Mars and be completly dependend on earth. The money could be better used altough I believe that Orion is improvement compared to the shuttle, solar powered high atmosphere satllites, air breathing rockets and perhaps space elevators are the near future for space exploration and any colonisation will have to be done with those who do not desire a return ticket (meaning robot's) 23. ### D HSome other guyValued Senior Member Messages: 2,257 That$820 million for the Mars rover program covers "the total cost of building, launching, landing and operating the rovers on the surface for the initial 90 day primary mission" (your source). It does not cover R&D in launch vehicle, avionics, and numerous technologies developed as an essential part of the Apollo program or the operations cost after those first 90 days.

That \$135 billion Wikipedia number (no reference given) is for the entire Apollo program, which included Mercury, Gemini, and several unmanned lunar probes. The research done to get people to the Moon paved the way for later unmanned missions, including the rovers.

That 10 year figure is vastly overstated. The rovers don't do much of anything at all during Mars nighttime or during storms.

Comparing the total time the rovers have been on Mars to the time people set foot on the Moon is an invalid comparison. The rovers don't do much of anything even when it is sunlit. It takes a lot of time for those rovers to do much of anything at all. One of the early successes in the Mars rover program was the identification of a rock as volcanic. It took nearly a month to maneuver the rover to the rock, drill a bit of dust off the rock, analyze the dust, and people on the Earth to identify the dust as of volcanic origin. A Harrison Schmitt protege could have accomplished the same with a rock hammer in five minutes.

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Science is an important secondary outcome from sending people into space. First and foremost is the very act of sending people into space. The act of human exploration has a value in and of itself. Comparing robotic missions to human space flight on the basis of science alone eliminates the most important aspect of human space flight. Comparing robotic space missions to human spaceflight is an invalid comparison.

Since performing science is the primary reason for sending robotic probes into space, a better comparison is contrasting robotic space missions to science conducted right here on Earth. How much Earth-based science does one billion dollars buy? Those billion dollar robotic missions contribute very little in terms of scientific knowledge compared to the amount of knowledge gained with Earth-based scientific endeavors.