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View Full Version : Mars Landing - will it be an anticlimax



3rdvogon
2005-Feb-01, 03:41 PM
A thought popped into my head when reviewing other topics. Most notably Skull's enthusiasm for a return to the moon.

As someone who was 7 years old when Gagarin made that first orbit and in my late teens when Armstrong made his giant leap. It caused me to reflect upon how I felt during that era and how people are likely to feel when the next big human adventure - footprints in the Martian dust, actually happens.

When Gagarin made his flight it was of course a surprise announcement. Having said that 7 year olds like me were obsessed with the idea of spaceflight even though it had not yet happened. So when we heard that someone had actually been up there it seemed like our dreams were comming true.

The first moon landings sparked similar interest and not just 11 in the UK even 17 got good coverage on TV. I like others wondered how long it would be before we reached Mars. By the time Star Wars came out my generation was starting to feel a little let down everything seemed to have stagnated. I know that economically the world of the 70s was very different from the world of the lat 50s so I don't want to get bogged down in those issues now. Also of course I now understand that getting humans to Mars and back again alive involves a bit more than just strapping on a couple of extra tanks of fuel to existing rockets.

Now to my MAIN POINT:

When 11 touched down on the Moon the information and images we had of the place were few in number and only average in quality. Yes there had been two manned orbital missions before the landing as well as orbiter probes and a couple of unmanned landers. The Russians had sent a basic rover although we had not seen much from it. So therefore when Armstrong and Aldrin had their first walkabout there was still this feeling of it being a step into the unknown.

When we consider Mars things are rather different we have already mapped the surface from orbit better than we had done for the moon in 69. The number of images and other information from the surface today vastly outweighs what was known about the moons surface in 69. Before we actually get around to putting humans on Mars there will have been more rovers, more drilling, robot aircraft surveys possibly even samples returned to earth. By the time people actually get there we will know a lot more than we even know now. So is all this going to take much of the mystery out of the whole event when it finally happens. In other words will any further human endevours in space seem as profound as July 69?

antoniseb
2005-Feb-01, 05:31 PM
Originally posted by 3rdvogon@Feb 1 2005, 03:41 PM
will any further human endevours in space seem as profound as July 69?
This is part of why the shift to manned "adventure" flight over robotic flight seems like a crazy idea in this age of safety and high value on human life, and low value on risk.

Erimus
2005-Feb-01, 07:04 PM
I do think that the first manned landing on Mars will be a spectacular event, and probably a much bigger one than the first landing on Mars, because the astronauts will probably be for a long time (at least a few weeks, if not many months depending on mission plan), and they'll probably bring a mobile lab along with them. The science will flow like a river.

However, I doubt Mars will be able to capture the imagination of the American people for long, just as Apollo didn't. Any trip to Mars will be expensive, and I doubt that enthusiasm will survive their return home. Barring some dramatic change in space infrastructure and public attitude towards space exploration, a Mars mission could only become another Apollo. Of course that's just my opinion, and I could be wrong.

spacepunk
2005-Feb-02, 02:37 AM
Barring some dramatic change in space infrastructure and public attitude towards space exploration, a Mars mission could only become another Apollo
Going to mars now could be likenned to the mountain climber climbing the mountain because "it was there". It's a workable possibility to go to Mars and back safely at this time but at what cost, more importantly, are there any returns to investment for achieving this feat today? There's no gold to be mined there that we know of, nor public demand for space adventure.

The public could be persuaded more easily into accepting lunar missions because of the closer proximity to Earth. And ironing out the bugs in extraterrestrial outpost construction on the moon first may be the wisest choice before proceeding to far flung planet or asteroid destinations. To economically justify the moon colonization one could mine it for helium3, if only there was a market for it on Earth!!!!

3rdvogon
2005-Feb-02, 12:28 PM
I guess the only thing that might increase the drive for Mars would be if we found something there that was really profound and unexpected. Crashed UFOs or ruined cities would would see us there in no time but that is simply not going to happen. Mind you finding a tiny fossil of a Martian Ammonite (or its equivalent) would be nice and might be enough to push for greater funding. If something like that were to happen I could see a big fight between robot and human lobbies as to which would be the most effective fossil hunters.

solice
2005-Feb-03, 02:35 AM
However, I doubt Mars will be able to capture the imagination of the American people for long

Not only the US of A! :blink:


Mind you finding a tiny fossil of a Martian Ammonite (or its equivalent) would be nice and might be enough to push for greater funding.

If this would happen, a great part of the world will be shaken awake and would have to addmit that even our closest neighour planet has known to be hosting life! Personally, I would cry of happiness :P

My first post! Great to have found this site!

j3lehane
2005-Feb-03, 03:22 AM
I have posted pics of Mars Live animals and fossils at yahoo groups eceti-chat,space people,ShowInQuotes,Punktress and other groups.Life was found by both rovers a year ago in January2004 but covered up for a variety of reasons(cough)Religious Right(cough)space race(techno recovery). You will have a hard time seeing them but there are bipeds like us in the pics,and there are perhaps billions of live creatures there with brains bigger than baseballs.The water is underground.The fossils are disguised/masked as rocks.Jerry Lehane III j.lehane@verizon.net

solice
2005-Feb-03, 01:32 PM
Could you try and post some of those pics if on which you can point that out ? I'm not subscribing to any unknown Yahoo! groups because of some bad experiences with them... :|

If you are right, the whole world is wrong! But I'm still curious what you've got to show to the open-minded...

3rdvogon
2005-Feb-03, 01:57 PM
Originally posted by j3lehane@Feb 3 2005, 03:22 AM
The fossils are disguised/masked as rocks.Jerry Lehane III j.lehane@verizon.net
As someone who used to collect fossils as a kid:

I can therefore provide you with this startling piece of information.

Fossils generally are disguised as rocks.

Which is one reason why it is difficult to design automated systems that are able to recognise them.

solice
2005-Feb-03, 02:11 PM
Fossils generally are disguised as rocks.

And usually they are embedded within the rock, which makes it even harder, for you'd have to break it to see any signs of fossil like shapes... but I'm not an expert, so if there are any signs of it, I'd probably couldn't tell :lol:

j1srus
2005-Feb-03, 06:39 PM
3rdvogon: In answer to your GREAT questions: "So is all this going to take much of the mystery out of the whole event when it finally happens. In other words will any further human endevours in space seem as profound as July 69?"

I think you you are trying to view ALL of humanities "endeavors" from within yourself. Sure the mystery surrounding man's first walk on the Moon in 1969 was profound for all of humanity, especially for you & I, but we are but two lone souls in all of humanity. You seem to discount the enitre NEXT gerneration born after this major human endeavor. Don't you remember the thrill and the excitement running through the world in the 1960's over space exploration?

3rdvogon, when you are 77 years old and man is about to step on ANOTHER planet for the first time, this NEXT generation will be imbibed with that thrill you & I once shared. Don't discount it. For you and I it may be anti-climatic, but for others it may be their first real thrill of space exploration. This includes those that may be born long after the Mars rovers have worn out. And who knows, maybe one day some future space explorers will be landing on a comet somewhere out past pluto or floating on a lake of methane on Europa.

I say emphatically, further human endeavors in space WILL be mysterious and as such WILL be more profound to humanity than what we share in our memories today.

j1srus
2005-Feb-03, 06:59 PM
Erimus, I can understand your doubts as to whether or not we will be able to capture the imagination of the American people for long, just as Apollo didn't, but Apollo was more about beating the Russians than about space exploration. Once America beat the Russians, that game was over.

Man stepping foot on Mars in 2031, will NOT be a repeat of the space race Apollo game. It will be space exploration for space exploration itself. A manned Mars mission will only be the next logical step in Human Exploration. Sure, once Mount Everett was climbed it could never be climbed first again. Nor could the Wright Brother's first flight be reflown. But how many climbers have "explored" Mt Everett since? How many passengers have flown in the skies over Terra Firma since?

So what is the public's attitude today? I say, many earthbound humans today WISH they could climb Mt Everett or WISH they could take a plane ride just for the thrill of individual human exploration. Neither Sir Hillary's nor the Wright Brother's individual achievement ENDED our own need to explore our universe for ourselves. So in my opinion, we will each continue to follow others in the footsteps of pioneers like Gagarin, Sheppard, Armstrong, & Sally Ride!

I agree with you in that even if we seek and find new thrills (Mars Landing) we will just as quickly feel the excitement drain from our consciousness as the ride ends, just like the queasy feeling of your last roll-a-coster ride is buried deep inside you. But at least it IS in you.

j1srus
2005-Feb-03, 07:41 PM
"....guess the only thing that might increase the drive for Mars would be if we found something there that was really profound and unexpected...."

How about PRIVATIZATION being found "there" & not a Govt? Is that "pround & unexpected" enough? This handles everything you guys are talking about -- doing something because "it was there", "returns on investment", "economically justify colonization", "robot versus human". I think Free Enterprise is about to take over where Apollo fell flat after 1969. I want my kids and my grandkids to feel what I felt growing up in the shadow of the great space race, but this time I want it to be business racing to open space up, not govt.