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Fraser
2005-Mar-21, 06:56 PM
SUMMARY: As part of its new Vision for Space Exploration, NASA will first be returning to the Moon before sending human explorers to Mars. Although Mars is a much more Earth like environment, with an atmosphere, similar length of day and large amounts of water, the Moon is going to be the agency's first target. Why? Mainly, it's much closer, so astronauts can practice working in an extreme environment close to home before making the much more difficult and riskier journey to Mars.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/why_moon_first.html)

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

antoniseb
2005-Mar-21, 09:16 PM
I agree, that there is a lot we can learn, test, and build on the moon that will help in our preparation for eventually going to Mars. Send up a bunch of robots to do the work, and sweep the dust out before you send large numbers of people. Likewise for Mars and anyplace else you want to go.

dave_f
2005-Mar-22, 12:53 AM
Originally posted by antoniseb@Mar 21 2005, 04:16 PM
I agree, that there is a lot we can learn, test, and build on the moon that will help in our preparation for eventually going to Mars. Send up a bunch of robots to do the work, and sweep the dust out before you send large numbers of people. Likewise for Mars and anyplace else you want to go.
I've seen your previous comments regarding the man-to-mars initiative. My question is, why robots?

It's not that I disagree with you; I believe robots are an excellent way of learning about our solar system. But are they the best way?

antoniseb
2005-Mar-22, 01:34 AM
Originally posted by dave_f@Mar 22 2005, 12:53 AM
My question is, why robots?
If every tragedy is going to lead to years of recriminations and delays, why risk sending mortal men into a dangerous place when mechanicals can do the work?

Further, how much will it cost to build and maintain a hab up there? If THAT cost were distributed to makeing more and better robots, we could have a huge staff that don't need food or air, and aren't killed by big solar flares or magnetar bursts.

dave_f
2005-Mar-22, 03:21 AM
Originally posted by antoniseb+Mar 21 2005, 08:34 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (antoniseb &#064; Mar 21 2005, 08:34 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteBegin-dave_f@Mar 22 2005, 12:53 AM
My question is, why robots?
If every tragedy is going to lead to years of recriminations and delays, why risk sending mortal men into a dangerous place when mechanicals can do the work?

Further, how much will it cost to build and maintain a hab up there? If THAT cost were distributed to makeing more and better robots, we could have a huge staff that don&#39;t need food or air, and aren&#39;t killed by big solar flares or magnetar bursts.[/b][/quote]
I honestly don&#39;t believe that Congress is really all that interested in the Human toll, except in the case where it is politically expedient to do so. It seems to me the government will kill a project regardless whether it was a robot that was lost or a man or woman. I know that&#39;s a harsh opinion to take on the matter, but "the Human cost" is not what dissuades me from supporting the idea that we need to be in space.

To be frank I&#39;ve been concerned over the past couple of decades that we haven&#39;t sent humans in space for any other reason than the most rudimentary. Now China is sending people up there (yes, that was plural on purpose) and Europe won&#39;t be far behind. The allure of competition and all...

In other words, I believe that humanity&#39;s potential in the Universe to be truly great depends solely on us being there in the first place. I&#39;m not of the opinion that we need to "take care of our own problems first" before going into space. Our problems will always exist. Also, I don&#39;t believe robots are the best solution. They are a convenient solution, but not the best.

flashgordon1952
2005-Mar-22, 12:49 PM
WHy? i think the reason is obvious The moon has no gravity or very little. Space rockets can be built much easier and there take off would need a lot less power. Also been very close to earth be a lot easier to supply materials and personel. An ideal stageing post for exploration &#33; No other planet or moon is better &#33; Mars has potential but in my view to far away from earth for regular supplies to be sent. Maybe in a couple of hundred years when space stations are the size of small cities would it be easier to supply from earth or the moon.

antoniseb
2005-Mar-22, 12:54 PM
Originally posted by dave_f@Mar 22 2005, 03:21 AM
I don&#39;t believe robots are the best solution. They are a convenient solution, but not the best.
I&#39;m curious what you think is best? And why it&#39;s better than doing things remotely through robots. I&#39;m not saying you&#39;re wrong. But you haven&#39;t said anything about why you disagree with me, only that you do.

Guest
2005-Mar-22, 01:42 PM
Originally posted by dave_f@Mar 22 2005, 03:21 AM

To be frank I&#39;ve been concerned over the past couple of decades that we haven&#39;t sent humans in space for any other reason than the most rudimentary. Now China is sending people up there (yes, that was plural on purpose) and Europe won&#39;t be far behind. The allure of competition and all...

In other words, I believe that humanity&#39;s potential in the Universe to be truly great depends solely on us being there in the first place. I&#39;m not of the opinion that we need to "take care of our own problems first" before going into space. Our problems will always exist. Also, I don&#39;t believe robots are the best solution. They are a convenient solution, but not the best.




I believe that humanity&#39;s potential in the Universe to be truly great depends solely on us being there in the first place.

That&#39;s the thing - the crux - getting off this little ball of water & rock & out among the stars. Perhaps, as Anton is always saying, we should send robots ahead to explore, but the human factor will always be the desire to get there - hands on research - the "thrill" of exploration - of being the first to go somewhere (as in Startrek - to go where no man has gone before&#33;), that´s the essence of human nature - if there are dangers involved let´s take a calculated risk & go ahead.

If there weren´t men who felt that way we would still be sitting in the African jungles - like our primate cousins&#33;

While I´m not for risking anybody´s skin - least of all my own - we can´t sit around on our hands until all risk is completely ruled out. Space travel will follow the path of aviation travel - each new generation of spacecraft will be bigger & better & faster - as well as safer, than the preceding generation.

Novaboy
2005-Mar-22, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by fraser@Mar 21 2005, 06:56 PM
SUMMARY: As part of its new Vision for Space Exploration, NASA will first be returning to the Moon before sending human explorers to Mars. Although Mars is a much more Earth like environment, with an atmosphere, similar length of day and large amounts of water, the Moon is going to be the agency&#39;s first target. Why? Mainly, it&#39;s much closer, so astronauts can practice working in an extreme environment close to home before making the much more difficult and riskier journey to Mars.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/why_moon_first.html)

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.
It would be downright ridiculous to ignore the moon. The most perfect sattelite, free for our use. It is obvious the first steppingpoint for mankind to explore the universe at the next level.
Because it is a very gradual proces we first have to go to the moon before human exploration of the rest of the solar system can begin.
It can be used as the fundament of space explorations for generations to come. The discussion of humans or robots is irrelevant, we must use them both in synergy.
That&#39;s the best way of getting out there. Just think about this, if we could go to the moon more then 40 years ago it can be done now with much more ease.

antoniseb
2005-Mar-22, 02:47 PM
Originally posted by Novaboy@Mar 22 2005, 02:10 PM
Just think about this, if we could go to the moon more then 40 years ago it can be done now with much more ease.
You ask the question, but it is not rhetorical. We cannot get there now with MORE ease becasue we have had a change in our ethics, our politics, and our finances. Yes we are probably more capable of going to the moon with a slightly larger, safer, yet cheaper manned probe than we did in 1969. We could start building it today, and be there in ten years or less. But frankly, I don&#39;t think we&#39;d have gotten to the moon in 1969 if president Kennedy hadn&#39;t been assasinated, and the project turned into an unquestionable patriotic anti-communist Texas-based monument to his memory by Lyndon Johnson.

Today, we are constantly facing questions of return on investment for giant projects like this. Today we are facing issues of risk to life that were irrelevent in 1962. Today, going to the moon isn&#39;t quite the new frontier that fired the imagination decades ago, because, as you&#39;ve pointed out, we&#39;ve already been there.

dave_f
2005-Mar-22, 03:25 PM
Originally posted by antoniseb+Mar 22 2005, 07:54 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (antoniseb &#064; Mar 22 2005, 07:54 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteBegin-dave_f@Mar 22 2005, 03:21 AM
I don&#39;t believe robots are the best solution. They are a convenient solution, but not the best.
I&#39;m curious what you think is best? And why it&#39;s better than doing things remotely through robots. I&#39;m not saying you&#39;re wrong. But you haven&#39;t said anything about why you disagree with me, only that you do.[/b][/quote]
Ah, I thought my point was a given considering the context. :)

I do think humans in space is an important goal. Yes I do think of it as the best solution. And all this talk about "returning to space" would be pointless if we had never left in the first place. ;)

There ya go.

antoniseb
2005-Mar-22, 03:46 PM
Originally posted by dave_f@Mar 22 2005, 03:25 PM
I do think humans in space is an important goal. Yes I do think of it as the best solution.
I can see it as a good long term goal. On an individual task-by-task basis, I don&#39;t see any (other than testing human worthy habitats and medical & physiological studies of humans in space) which can&#39;t be done faster, more safely, and less expensively using robots, especially considering how the technology is improving.

What tasks are you thinking should be done by in situ humans?

dave_f
2005-Mar-22, 06:14 PM
Originally posted by antoniseb@Mar 22 2005, 10:46 AM
What tasks are you thinking should be done by in situ humans?
One obvious example: exploration. The mars rovers are awesome, but ask any NASA engineer (and they have been asked) and they&#39;ll tell you a human being with the right tools could do a lot more in a few minutes than the rovers could do in an entire day. Sure we could always build better robots, but the technological advancements needed to make robots just as productive as humans is beyond us (not to mention dubious ethical questions that would arise from creating robots that can entirely replace a human being).

Sooner or later someone&#39;s going to implement a plan for mining operations on other planets. You won&#39;t be able to get there with "self-replicating technology" or other such techno-babble. People have to be up there to put the machines together at least. It might not have to be permanently staffed, but routine maintainance will become necessary, and that takes manpower.

I don&#39;t foresee a future where gold-shirted captains say things like "Beam me up, Scotty". I would like to have a future where we expand beyond our home planet, or even where extraterrestrial colonization can become a reality. And the longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to achieve this (it&#39;s already been noted that a mission to the Moon would be more difficult to pull of today then it was 40 years ago, paradoxal as that may seem). Yes we have better technology, but higher overhead technically, politically, and economically speaking. It&#39;s only going to get worse, and waiting for things to improve on those fronts would be a fruitless endevour.

antoniseb
2005-Mar-22, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by dave_f@Mar 22 2005, 06:14 PM
not to mention dubious ethical questions that would arise from creating robots that can entirely replace a human being
In this case, there is no human being to replace. The dubious ethical issue has to do with sending a human to a very dangerous place to do a task that could be done remotely by a man-controlled machine.

The difference in price is also an ethical issue on this scale. The development of a team of sufficiently adept robots and the infrastructure to communicate with them and send them to Mars to explore and start building things might be ten billion dollars. The cost to build what it takes to send a team of people there might be 500 billion. In the end, the people might get some tasks done faster than the robots. Or they might die. I don&#39;t think it&#39;s a hard choice.

lswinford
2005-Mar-22, 08:28 PM
Oh, and for the cynical soul that previously noted that Congress doesn&#39;t care about the human toll, try combing through the Congressional Records at NASA discussions. The two major things that killed human exploration in favor of robotic probes was (1) money and (2) safety. Zero in on discussions following the Challenger disaster, astronauts were called in left and right to explain that they understood that there was a potential for loss of life and that they, the astronauts, were insisting the risks were worth it. Fairly though, a tinge of my own cynacism showing, the safety issue was often dragged in when the money arguments were getting weak. :rolleyes:

antoniseb
2005-Mar-22, 08:43 PM
Originally posted by lswinford@Mar 22 2005, 08:28 PM
a tinge of my own cynacism showing, the safety issue was often dragged in when the money arguments were getting weak.
While I agree with this cynical view, I need to warn you about rule seven and politics.

dave_f
2005-Mar-22, 09:49 PM
Originally posted by antoniseb+Mar 22 2005, 03:43 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (antoniseb &#064; Mar 22 2005, 03:43 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteBegin-lswinford@Mar 22 2005, 08:28 PM
a tinge of my own cynacism showing, the safety issue was often dragged in when the money arguments were getting weak.
While I agree with this cynical view, I need to warn you about rule seven and politics.[/b][/quote]
Eh, that would be my fault for dragging politics into the conversation. Though, in my own defense, I think it&#39;s kind of hard to discuss the man-to-mars initiative without bringing in some sort of political discourse. Ultimately, it will be politics that make or break the program. We already know that the project is technically feasible (we&#39;ve been to the moon already, so where&#39;s the debate on the If we can do it?). The debatable arguments on this point are pretty much political in scope.

I&#39;m not trying to undermine Rule 7 (which I&#39;ve read), precisely because I can see why that rule is in place. I&#39;ll keep your point in mind in future discussions.

antoniseb
2005-Mar-22, 10:20 PM
Originally posted by dave_f@Mar 22 2005, 09:49 PM
it&#39;s kind of hard to discuss the man-to-mars initiative without bringing in some sort of political discourse.
I can&#39;t argue against this point, and nobody is in trouble here. It is possible to discuss the project without particulary assigning blame, credit, or hope to either side.

dave_f
2005-Mar-22, 10:45 PM
To bring things back on track here, I&#39;ll bring up the ethical counter-point you brought up previously.

Ask any astronaut whether the risk is worth it to put people in space, and they&#39;ll go ahead and take that risk. They probably had the risk factor pounded into their heads from day one of astronaut training. Heck, even though I know I don&#39;t come anywhere close to being able to pass the physicals you need to in order to be an astronaut, if someone came up to me and said "You&#39;re going up into space" I would be like "Boo-yeah&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;" Risk, schmisk. :)

The key is to understand the mind of an explorer. Those folks who wandered the "New World" in search of new territory back in the 16th century and beyond also took risks. Columbus had a hard time scaring up funds because although he himself was willing to take a risk, he was hard-pressed to find anyone else to simply sponsor a project that would put only his and his crew&#39;s lives at danger. If he had failed, all Portugual would have lost was some money and the lives of citizens of a foreign country. From what I&#39;ve understood from the history books, it took some heavy pushing on his part to even get to the point where his ships would launch from port.

In that context, I feel that even in merely discussing the human toll we&#39;re making decisions for other people who may in fact know better than the the rest of us do.

Guest
2005-Mar-22, 11:38 PM
We also have to understand that eventually, it will be necessary for us to USE these moons, planets, etc for our continued existance. Unless we somehow evolve ourselves into robots, we as humans have to continue with our explorations regardless to cost. Safety first, then sail on. The planet&#39;s not getting any bigger and we consume. It obviously won&#39;t be in our lifetime or even our children&#39;s, but prudence demands responsibility to the survival and...continuation of our species. We&#39;ve learned to cross oceans, learned to fly, learned to move faster on ground. We are still discovering and learning...for survival, not just "oh, look what we can do&#33;"

ThreatChaos
2005-Mar-23, 12:16 PM
Originally posted by fraser@Mar 21 2005, 06:56 PM
SUMMARY: As part of its new Vision for Space Exploration, NASA will first be returning to the Moon before sending human explorers to Mars. Although Mars is a much more Earth like environment, with an atmosphere, similar length of day and large amounts of water, the Moon is going to be the agency&#39;s first target. Why? Mainly, it&#39;s much closer, so astronauts can practice working in an extreme environment close to home before making the much more difficult and riskier journey to Mars.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/why_moon_first.html)

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.
Why the apologie for stopping at the Moon? As far as I am concerned the Moon is not a stepping stone but a goal unto itself. Let&#39;s get a colony started that is as close to self sustaining as possible. Let commerce begin. Let people be born. live and die on another planet. Let&#39;s go&#33;

lswinford
2005-Mar-24, 04:18 PM
Naw, we can exist without ever leaving this earth. Economics will be a strong constraining force whether we venture out or stay. Humanity has weathered many a storm and undoubtedly will weather many more either way. We cannot, however, leave the universe around us to myth, conjecture, and ignorance. My primary interest is not like Velacovsky (sp?) who said that &#39;earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever.&#39; We&#39;ve been living in open systems of production for our physical goods. Water, air, and fuel are put to work and then the exhausted residues are broadly expelled. Learning to live practically in the closed cycles necessary for space is learning to efficiently live on earth. Whether we build O&#39;Neal-type orbital cities or urban sites on the moon or Mars is good, but the first product is learning better ways to live. These, like the byproducts, near and distant, of the science and engineering of space exploration we now use everyday, will make earth more livable. Its kind of like getting your house cleaned up and in good condition to sell, then thinking, "I really like it here, I guess I&#39;ll stay after all."

Guest
2005-Mar-28, 03:59 PM
The basic function of survival is inherent amongst all life. Our intelligence is what keeps us ahead and in control of the rest. Imagination is the basis for our "higher" smarts, and...survival. We have to "imagine" what would happen if we didn&#39;t act on these urges to discover and...control to our advantage. Again, we will survive and co-habitate wuth eachother for a long time. There are however, more people in our worldly "neighborhood" than ever, and of course we will eventually need more room and board, eats and air. Yes, we have always managed. There wasn&#39;t the pollutants, and of course the "resources" that today we&#39;re so reliant upon. I personally love the science, but I think considering life on OUR planet in future tense for those not yet born, will be akin to a global Hong Kong style of living in each others back pockets. I hate to sound "conspiratal", but the powers that be know and probably consider more than the average Trekker/Trekkie? There&#39;s necessity to most sciences as well as better cell phone reception.