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Fraser
2004-Apr-12, 06:06 PM
SUMMARY: The Associated Press is reporting that a private group of Russian space experts announced plans to send 6 humans to Mars by 2011 - for a cost of only $3.5 billion. An official from the Central Research Institute for Machine Building said it would carry out the mission with funding by Aerospace Systems, and would be completely private. The program envisions six cosmonauts traveling to Mars and exploring it for several months before returning to Earth - the total journey would take three years. The mission costs would be low because it would use existing spacecraft. The Russian Space Agency has no involvement with this mission, and dismissed it as nonsense.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

John LaCour
2004-Apr-12, 06:14 PM
The only thing stopping the U.S. from going to Mars in that timeframe is the will to do it. And those who say that it will cost a trillion dollars have no idea what they're talking about. The Apollo program only cost $125 billion in adjusted dollars, and that included creating a massive Earth based infrastructure to construct, launch, and communicate with the missions. All of that infrastructure still exists and has been upgraded over the last three decades. The only costs now will be putting the people and hardware into Earth orbit and giving them enough supplies to survive the mission.

Using existing hardware, foregoing extravagent system redundancy (backups to the backup's backup), and limiting the weight as much as possible, I can see this kind of mission being pulled off. The key is what level of risk the backers are willing to accept, akin to the first expeditions to the "new world" or to circumnavigate the globe. Sending an entire fleet would have been the safest way, but the cheapest of sending one or a handful of ships was usually chosen, even though they risked losing many men and possibly the entire mission.

I hope they're serious and actually pull it off. That would show the world that their shortsightedness is only holding us back from achieving even greater feats.

AtomicPenguin
2004-Apr-12, 07:19 PM
I certainly hope they're serious, too, though I'd be curious to hear why the Russian Space Agency were so quick to dismiss the idea.

To my mind, I'm anxious to see any other country besides the U.S. kick into high gear on space exploration - that practically guarantees the U.S. will funnel more funds to NASA out of a refusal to be outdone.

Bongo
2004-Apr-12, 10:20 PM
;) Doesn't it make sense to PRACTICE this kind of thing...like....maybe on the moon first?

How come Mars, in a matter of months, has become a friendly place to visit? It was always proposed to be full of harmful radiation and freezing temperatures?

John LaCour
2004-Apr-12, 10:41 PM
Bongo,

Based on the most recent discoveries about Mars, it appears that we can obtain on the surface most of the resources we would need to maintain a small "starter" colony. There is available water which can be used for drinking or converted into air or fuel. Air, food, water, and fuel are the majority of the mass of any space mission. If you can get them at the destination, then missions that seemed impossible suddenly start to become affordable. And we've been talking about going to Mars when we were still trying to land the first person on the Moon. The only reason it has become important now is that a new space race appears to be starting between the US, Europe, China, India, and a economically recovering Russia. Besides there is always the old adage of why you'd bother to climb a mountain... Because its there!

Atomic Penguin,

I think that if these guys can really pull it off with existing Russian space hardware on a budget of $3.5 billion, then the question would be asked why the Russia Space Agency never did it! Make it sound impossible and there's no reason to ask why they've never gone. And I agree that its the competition with the Chinese, Europe, India, and with an economically recovering Russia that is partly responsible for the current new mission for NASA.

talos44
2004-Apr-13, 12:48 AM
Isn't it a bit late for April Fool's???

This story is total **!! It makes no sense whatsoever. Neither financially, technologically or through any other perspective except delusionally.

I don't believe it for a second.

goddardrocketry
2004-Apr-13, 01:39 AM
Talos44 probably doesn't think we landed on the moon either. They said a four minute mile couldn't be done either, nor could the speed of sound be broken. Russians have been using less sophisticated technology that was proven and worked as long as technology has existed. If any country could pull it off, they could.

Nick4
2004-Apr-13, 03:11 AM
The way i see it, it would be imposibal to land humans on mars by 2011 from what i have heard it takes 8 years to get ther not 3 but maby that was something else if some one has any helpful info can someone help.

bobkee
2004-Apr-13, 02:03 PM
Originally posted by John LaCour@Apr 12 2004, 10:41 PM
Bongo,

Based on the most recent discoveries about Mars, it appears that we can obtain on the surface most of the resources we would need to maintain a small "starter" colony. There is available water which can be used for drinking or converted into air or fuel. Air, food, water, and fuel are the majority of the mass of any space mission. If you can get them at the destination, then missions that seemed impossible suddenly start to become affordable. And we've been talking about going to Mars when we were still trying to land the first person on the Moon. The only reason it has become important now is that a new space race appears to be starting between the US, Europe, China, India, and a economically recovering Russia. Besides there is always the old adage of why you'd bother to climb a mountain... Because its there!

Atomic Penguin,

I think that if these guys can really pull it off with existing Russian space hardware on a budget of $3.5 billion, then the question would be asked why the Russia Space Agency never did it! Make it sound impossible and there's no reason to ask why they've never gone. And I agree that its the competition with the Chinese, Europe, India, and with an economically recovering Russia that is partly responsible for the current new mission for NASA.
John

I like your gungho attitude. We need more of it to help us battle past the doldrums that seem to have engulfed our current space exploration endeavors. There is nothing like a little competition to flame the motivational fires either!

Still, I remain on the incredulous side in regards to a private attempt that appears to be completely unsupported by the Russian government. If nothing else, to keep costs down, a private company will require permission to use the existing government owned infrastructure, to use it's knowledge base, to study and modify space vehicles, the list goes on and on!

When private enterprise is involved, potential investors will inevitably ask, and naturally so, "Where's the profit, what's my return on investment?" The long term argument for spinoffs from research and development won't hack it with most of them who rarely think beyond the next 90 day business cycle. The promoters will need to argue for some kind of short term monetary gain and I am at a loss to come of with any viable answers. This is one of the reasons governments along with the good old taxpayers will be so intrinsically involved in space exploration for quite some time to come. Hopefully, once we are beyond the "fetal" stage of space development, the role of government will be drastically reduced.

I have to admit, I am more in favor of all the space exploring nations concentrating their efforts on establishing a "permanent" base on the moon. It's always a good idea to lay a solid foundation for a skyscraper before constructing the observation deck. Of course, keeping your eye on the future goal of exploring not only Mars but our entire solar system throughout the 21st Century is the ultimate aim.

Keep your contributuions and ideas coming! Oh, and by the way, whatever happened with the Russian research scientist at some institute over there who claimed to have created an anti-gravity device? If wishes were fishes...

Eric Vaxxine
2004-Apr-13, 04:01 PM
:huh:
Maybe private companies could make money by: scattering ashes in space; by deploying small probes; by selling Mars dust etc etc. There are countless ideas (not very scientific, I admit) for ye olde businessman to make copious cash. I think Private could work, but they'd need a few salespeople to flog the idea.

Imagine your pet, travelling through space, on an everlasting soulful journey. Only $15,000 ! I bet some wealthy Granny in Nevada would LOVE that !! Oh and some nice gentleman will pull the lever 'PERSONALLY' .. this is our guy on his way to Mars. !! ?? :D