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

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

  1. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    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?
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  3. superluminal I am MalcomR Valued Senior Member

    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.
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    By sending robots to 100 other locations in our solar system we could

    gather more information for a longer period of time for roboots work 24/7.

    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.
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  7. Communist Hamster Cricetulus griseus leninus Valued Senior Member

    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 Exeter unamerican american Registered Senior Member

    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. orcot Valued Senior Member

    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 2
  10. sly1 Heartless Registered Senior Member

    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. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Some things require humans... they can't be done by any rovers.
  12. P. BOOM! Registered Senior Member

    How else are we to spread Earth's life beyond Earth? After all, isn't that the point and our duty?
  13. superluminal I am MalcomR Valued Senior Member

    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. orcot Valued Senior Member

    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. superluminal I am MalcomR Valued Senior Member

    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. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member


    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. superluminal I am MalcomR Valued Senior Member

    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. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    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. orcot Valued Senior Member

    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. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    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.

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  21. kaneda Actual Cynic Registered Senior Member

    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. orcot Valued Senior Member

    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 H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

    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.


    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.

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