View Full Version : Welcome to Robotic Space Exploration

2003-Jul-12, 03:35 AM
Use this forum to discuss all the different unmanned spaceprobes hurtling around the solar system.

philip slater
2003-Jul-19, 08:45 PM
The most interesting robotic mission to me at the moment is one that doesn’t even do its thing until 2009, as you can see below. The Mars Science Laboratory.

REQUEST : Help Save Canadian Mars Exploration
See Universe Today #630, July 1st 2003
Help Save Canadian Mars Exploration

 The Canadian arm of the Mars Society is lobbying the Canadian government to restore funding for Mars research. They're trying to acquire a total of 10,000 signatures to present to the government to try and change their mind. Here's a link to the petition - I signed it. (Happy Canada Day, by the way).(Fraser)
Link at http://astro.senecac.on.ca/~peter.robbinso...son/phpetition/ (http://astro.senecac.on.ca/~peter.robbinson/phpetition/)

RESPONSE: Sure, OK, no problem, glad you asked. (Philip)

Here is what needs to be done.
As a petition has already been started and a target number set, get that job done as soon as possible and cleared out of the way.
However, Attention, ANOMALY ALERT!! Some numbers which don’t match!
Throughout the history of astronomy and cosmology interesting and amazing discoveries have been made by someone noticing that numbers have curious and unexpected relationships. Like with Johann Titius the Prussian professor of astronomy, physics and biology who in 1766 noticed the relationships between the numbers which gave away the relationships between the sizes of planets which can cope with the gravitational environments to form and survive in different possible orbits around the Sun. (p.165 "Journey Beyond Selene", Jeffrey Kluger, bedtime reading at the moment, tells the tale of JPL and the robotic spacecraft that set out from there. Recommended by Jim Lovell, Commander, Apollo 13.)

Somewhere, unless memory has got the decimal point in the wrong place, I have read that Universe Today newsletter is received by well over nine hundred Canadians, most of whom must be registered voters.

Yet when I go to the petition site what do I find? The number 271 for the number of verified petition signatures! Not 2,710, not 27,100, but 271! What on earth or elsewhere is going on?

Everyone who takes the UT newsletter in Canada must have at least ten friends and relatives who can be treated mean until they sign. That should give 10,000-ish signatures for a start.


Someone in Canada find out who in their government machine made this bum decision. Go to the site above. Read about it if you don’t believe me. As decision making goes this is not a good one. To renege on an undertaking to participate in a really interesting little mission to Mars to o some really good science and where the World leading Canadian LIDAR technology is needed. Check out how much the guys who made the decision are being paid just to make decisions.


Think up some effective way of getting them to change their mind for something better.

Philip Slater


philip slater
2003-Jul-20, 09:36 PM
The web site of the SOCIETE POUR MARS/ MARS SOCIETY CANADA site http://www.marssociety.ca/ has a link to a recent story by Chris Wattie for National Post, part of Canada.com, which gives the figure for signatures to the petition as nearly a thousand.

“Benjamin Sanders, of the Mars Society of Canada, said the society hopes to collect 10,000 names on the petition, which urges Ottawa to provide "an appropriate level of support" to allow Canada to join a NASA mission to the red planet in 2009. Mr. Sanders said the society has already gathered almost 1,000 signatures on its petition in hopes of changing Ottawa's mind. "We're just getting the ball rolling," he said. "We know Canadians want this to happen, we just have to convince the government."

However, the petition is due to end in August, so some serious agitation is in order and a bit of going over the top where necessary. But apologies may be due to Canadian administrators for the derogatory comments on their decision making capabilities. A first take on this story was that Canada had already been committed to this project and then reneged, prejudicing the success of the mission.

Much is at stake in this decision. Canada's international reputation would suffer; our ability to collaborate with our international space partners, including but not limited to the United States and the European Space Agency, could be affected by this reneging on promised involvement. Domestically, the productivity of the space industry - comprising circa 250 small and mid-sized companies across the country - would be adversely affected.
(Quoted from the petition site, link in previous post above)

It seems that the first perception was not correct. Perhaps someone a bit closer to Canada should try to spell out exactly what the current situation is, and what needs doing to get the project back on track. In Britain we have had so much deliberate destruction done to aerospace projects by the political people that it is all too easy to get us going, those of us who have not yet gone entirely numb, that is.

Philip Slater


2003-Jul-29, 04:09 AM
Thanks Fraser.

While it might seem that my post above is a bit off track, ... I don't see either the Moon, ... or Mars, ... or Pluto, ... as an end point of Space exploration.

While First Exodus seems like fantasy, ... particularly at our current level of expertise, ... I believe we are a lot closer to it than most can imagine.

Thank Kepler/Bode, ... eh.

Even if such an expedition were launched completely unmanned it would need advance probes, ... and it is my opinion we need to develop the skills first where we can monitor and intercede remotely controlled vessels plus develop better low or zero gravity controls. Lunar shipments to the Space Station would be one aspect, ... "Space Junk" interception and recovery another.

Hi Philip.

In regard to my ( Canadian) Federal Government they are always in a state of constant assessment in everything they do.
They make decisions, ... often without full information but with the best calculated judgments they can make, ... such as funding or support.
If factors change, ... they review as necessary based on new information or evaluating the results to date, ... then make new procedural decisions.
Past support of a Project does not make continuing support when new information or new factors makes the determination of the Best manner in which to proceed is along another path.
That is built into the Canadian system as procedural timely reviews of projects undertaken or pre-established reviews once certain project stages are reached.
Like every other Country in the World, ... the Canadian Space Program is dependent on financial means tests so when there is a downturn in the economy that is also a determining factor requiring assessments too.

philip slater
2003-Aug-01, 04:18 PM
Hi Write_on.
Thanks for the info on how the Canadian system of budget monitoring and revision works. It sounds an improvement on the UK methodology in this area, particularly in regard to openness and responsiveness to the electorate. You state:
Like every other Country in the World, ... the Canadian Space Program is dependent on financial means tests so when there is a downturn in the economy that is also a determining factor requiring assessments too.

If that is the only problem then we can hope that the economy will turn up and that administrations everywhere will begin to spend more on long term space projects that are potentially beneficial to everyone on earth (if we get them right) and less on Earth-damaging projects (such as the old USSR's "let's do away with the Aral Sea in return for a boost in our cotton production statistics and a few backhanders to our bureaucrats and politicos" under discussion elsewhere on UT forums).

However, in the UK the historic, long-standing coalition between the Anti-Science and Technology Lobby and the Pro-Science and Technology Lobby (Pro S&T, but strongly against expenditure on space research and extremely against expenditure on human space flight) has had so much success that anyone with a British passport is excluded from space, unlike citizens of the US, Russia, Canada, Japan and most continental European countries. Unless, of course, they can work their passage through the independent sector, paying their way or getting together an X-prize entry.

Something about the apparent disregard for the amount of harm that withdrawal from MSL without a really convincing reason could cause to Canada's reputation as a leading player in space technology and exploration just caused an alarm to go off. Maybe it means nothing.


2003-Sep-16, 08:04 AM
Nano Tech is the future of "ALL" space programs. ;)