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Ampatent
2009-Jun-21, 04:21 PM
If you could experience just ONE of the above events in your life time, which would it be?

Personally, I'm going to say a manned mission to Mars. I wasn't alive when we went to the Moon and I believe it would be a hair raising experience to watch the first human being to step foot onto another planet.

BONUS: Which of the above do you think will be the FIRST to happen?

pumpkinpie
2009-Jun-21, 04:29 PM
By far, the discovery of life. The supernova and asteroid impact would be great events, but of importance mostly to astronomers and enthusiasts. The Moon and Mars travel will be of interest of many in the entire world. But the existence of life beyond Earth will change people's way of thinking about our own existence, virtually world-wide.

Ampatent
2009-Jun-21, 04:31 PM
Yea, I was hesitant to even include that option because I figured it would garner all the picks and result in little to no discussion.

pumpkinpie
2009-Jun-21, 04:34 PM
Yea, I was hesitant to even include that option because I figured it would garner all the picks and result in little to no discussion.

Well, if it does just start another poll for the runner-up! :)

AstroRockHunter
2009-Jun-21, 05:00 PM
I was alive and watched the moon landing, and I followed the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet impact of Jupiter. So those two are checked off of my bucket list.

I'm rather torn between the Mars landing and the moon outpost, which I still feel should have been done shortly after our landing rather than spending the last 30 some-odd years stuch in low Earth orbit.

I do wish I had seen SN1987A though.

Ampatent
2009-Jun-21, 06:15 PM
I'm rather torn between the Mars landing and the moon outpost, which I still feel should have been done shortly after our landing rather than spending the last 30 some-odd years stuch in low Earth orbit.

Do you really think we had the capability to set-up an outpost on the moon in the 70's?

tdvance
2009-Jun-21, 08:09 PM
If you could experience just ONE of the above events in your life time, which would it be?

Personally, I'm going to say a manned mission to Mars. I wasn't alive when we went to the Moon and I believe it would be a hair raising experience to watch the first human being to step foot onto another planet.

BONUS: Which of the above do you think will be the FIRST to happen?

I chose Manned Mission to Mars, but it was a tough choice. For the bonus question, asteroid-comet impact with another planet, since I've already been alive for one! I even joked at the time that Jupiter won't have dinosaurs for much longer.

R.A.F.
2009-Jun-21, 09:48 PM
Which of the above do you think will be the FIRST to happen?

The choice which (right now) has no votes.

AstroRockHunter
2009-Jun-21, 11:17 PM
Do you really think we had the capability to set-up an outpost on the moon in the 70's?

We had the capability to start one. Remember, the only reason that we stopped going to the moon was that, once we proved that our missles were better than the Soviet Union's, our congress lost the political will to continue paying for it.

I still think that we could have learned more about the origins of our planet if we had continued to explore the moon, and the most efficient way to do that would have been with a station on the moon.

KaiYeves
2009-Jun-22, 12:08 AM
Microbial life, followed by Mars mission and fully operational moon base.

tdvance
2009-Jun-22, 01:27 AM
I didn't choose "fully operational moonbase" only because it is likely a prerequisite to putting a man on Mars.

Ronald Brak
2009-Jun-22, 04:02 AM
A fully operational moonbase might be done first as that can be done without people and so shouldn't be too expensive.

Fiery Phoenix
2009-Jun-22, 05:40 AM
After some deep thinking, I picked Discovery of Microbial Life on Another Planet. I'd sure love to witness all the other choices as well.

Ampatent
2009-Jun-22, 08:03 AM
So, regarding microbial life. What are the odds of finding living microbes or bacteria on or in Mars? If not living, then does anyone think we'll find FOSSILIZED evidence of life on Mars?

Which do you think would be more likely, microbial life on Mars or one of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter?

Argos
2009-Jun-22, 01:31 PM
We have already seen a comet impact on another planet. I voted for "microbial life".

Ampatent
2009-Jun-22, 01:40 PM
We have already seen a comet impact on another planet. I voted for "microbial fe".

I'm sure there are other people on this board that are either younger than 15 or were too young to remember Shoemaker-Levy 9.

Fiery Phoenix
2009-Jun-22, 04:44 PM
So, regarding microbial life. What are the odds of finding living microbes or bacteria on or in Mars? If not living, then does anyone think we'll find FOSSILIZED evidence of life on Mars?

Mars probably does have some sort of microbial life. Living or dead, is something we can't tell, though. But almost everything that has been discovered on Mars implies the existence of biological activity on the planet.


Which do you think would be more likely, microbial life on Mars or one of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter?

I'd say they are all equally likely.


I'm sure there are other people on this board that are either younger than 15 or were too young to remember Shoemaker-Levy 9.

Like me. I was like what, about 4 years old when the comet hit Jupiter. :D

aurora
2009-Jun-22, 04:50 PM
Another one I am looking forward to is seeing Venus crossing the Sun. I really hope I don't get clouded out as it will be my only chance to see it.

That would rank lower than the ones in the survey, but is something I am looking forward to.

Fiery Phoenix
2009-Jun-22, 04:54 PM
Another one I am looking forward to is seeing Venus crossing the Sun. I really hope I don't get clouded out as it will be my only chance to see it.

That would rank lower than the ones in the survey, but is something I am looking forward to.

Wow! I totally forgot to mention that! Yes, agree. I'd absolutely love to see a Venus/Mercury transit as well.

hhEb09'1
2009-Jun-22, 05:05 PM
Another one I am looking forward to is seeing Venus crossing the Sun. I really hope I don't get clouded out as it will be my only chance to see it.

That would rank lower than the ones in the survey, but is something I am looking forward to.I was all set up for the last one, but it was obscured by clouds.
If you could experience just ONE of the above events in your life time, which would it be? Just to add to the list again, the 1966 Leonids. :)

PraedSt
2009-Jun-22, 05:10 PM
I voted for the Moonbase Ampatent.

cjl
2009-Jun-27, 07:25 AM
I voted for the supernova, but it is a hard choice. As for transits, I've seen a Mercury transit, and it was one of the more memorable experiences I've had. I'd love to see a Venus transit.

Don Alexander
2009-Jun-27, 07:46 AM
I voted the Mars mission. It's right up there next to sustained fusion for me.

I'd love to see a naked-eye supernova, yes, but "naked eye" can be fourth magnitude... I want a repeat of SN 185 or SN 1006!!! :D

Moonbase - sure, great, but, as others stated, probably a prerequisite for the Mars mission.

Impact: I was 17 when Shoemaker-Levy hit Jupiter, and I was already extremely interested in Astronomy. I kept all the newspaper articles. So been there, done that. Though a 1 km impactor into the Moon's near side when it is in shadow would be incredible.

Microbial life: Similar to the naked-eye SN. It's not so much microbial life that would be an utter blast... But microbial life not based on DNA (I am talking carbon-based life here, just something different from DNA as a genetic encoder)! If it's based on DNA, a lot of panspermia papers will be written, but it wouldn't really be alien.

Concerning bonus question: I say the moonbase happens first. SN and impact are stochastic events, and I think Mars mission needs moonbase, and microbial life possibly needs Mars mission. Unless they really send a dedicated probe into the Enceladus plumes (and all the big ifs are answered with yes, of course).

Concerning what might be added to poll: Yeah, something like the 1966 Leonids would also be awesome. Maybe the most impressive visually. I can add further:
- Roughly Earth-mass planet in habitable zone with biosphere markers (ozone, methane).
- 1859-like solar superflare (not desired, but all too likely...)
- "classical" (not low-luminosity) Gamma-Ray Burst in local universe (like possibly 830801B)
- Comet like McNaught or the Great Comet of 1910 in the northern hemisphere!! Hale-Bopp was lovely, but you can do better, Solar System, I know it.

Finally: I saw the Venus transit, we had perfect weather in central Germany, even had had subarcsecond (!!!) seeing the night before. Ingress was rock-solid. Haven't actually seen a Mercury transit, last one was clouded out (where I was, most of Germany was clear...).

Doodler
2009-Jun-27, 06:09 PM
Do you really think we had the capability to set-up an outpost on the moon in the 70's?

Yes and no. Yeah, we could have thrown warm bodies out there, but our poor understanding of the challenge at the time would have made it more trouble than its worth.

We had not enough understanding about the radiation exposure one experiences in space or how to cope with it. Solar power technology was in its laboratory infancy, life support was extremely crude and inefficient.

A brute force long term mission could have been done, but the human cost would have been unacceptably high.

Fiery Phoenix
2009-Jun-27, 07:35 PM
I think we already have the technology required to get us to Mars today. I honestly can't think of anything we lack technology-wise.

tdvance
2009-Jun-27, 09:48 PM
Not on your list, but we have the technology for sending a probe to the nearest star today, and get signals back in our lifetime (I'm thinking of a dual spacecraft--the main probe accelerates to near the speed of light and does a flyby at that speed, taking whatever photos, radar images, etc. that it can. A smaller one detaches halfway there and uses a solar sail to decelerate and gets there several years later than the big one, and sticks around for in-depth studies, perhaps even following instructions sent to it after we see the result of the big probe). There are a few things in the way: money, treaties against nuclear weapons in space, etc. But wouldn't it be such a boost to the space program and interest in science in general if 10 years from now we were seeing pictures of planets around Alpha Centauri A and B. (Of course, if one turned out to look like an Earth twin....follow up missions to see if there's higher life there would be immanent.)

Rhaedas
2009-Jun-27, 10:19 PM
I know the poll is asking for what we'd personally like to see, but I'd like to see the one that sparks a direct public movement for much more space involvement. Since the general public's attention is so fleeting, I'm not sure any of the listed would do it. Look how big a concern NEOs were publicly after Shoemaker-Levy, and look how it's been all but forgotten. The first shuttle launch was a huge thing, they later became second page news. Apollo 12 (the whole we've been to the moon already by the media).

While my initial vote would probably be for life elsewhere, because it really would be a huge discovery overshadowing the others, I don't know if that would even make the news these days, because it's too "sciency" for the media.

A morbid thought...but maybe Clarke's foreword for Rendezvous with Rama (or the end of 2010) would work. A wake up call.

Chuck
2009-Jun-27, 10:44 PM
Since there was no "Invited to join United Federation of Planets" option, I picked microbial life. Living to see an interstellar probe arrive would be even better since I'm 57 now.

KaiYeves
2009-Jun-28, 12:46 AM
Yes and no. Yeah, we could have thrown warm bodies out there, but our poor understanding of the challenge at the time would have made it more trouble than its worth.

We had not enough understanding about the radiation exposure one experiences in space or how to cope with it. Solar power technology was in its laboratory infancy, life support was extremely crude and inefficient.

A brute force long term mission could have been done, but the human cost would have been unacceptably high.
This actually makes me feel much better than I did before.

Fiery Phoenix
2009-Jun-28, 05:20 AM
Not on your list, but we have the technology for sending a probe to the nearest star today, and get signals back in our lifetime (I'm thinking of a dual spacecraft--the main probe accelerates to near the speed of light and does a flyby at that speed, taking whatever photos, radar images, etc. that it can. A smaller one detaches halfway there and uses a solar sail to decelerate and gets there several years later than the big one, and sticks around for in-depth studies, perhaps even following instructions sent to it after we see the result of the big probe). There are a few things in the way: money, treaties against nuclear weapons in space, etc. But wouldn't it be such a boost to the space program and interest in science in general if 10 years from now we were seeing pictures of planets around Alpha Centauri A and B. (Of course, if one turned out to look like an Earth twin....follow up missions to see if there's higher life there would be immanent.)

To be frank, I wouldn't say money is an obstacle.

StateBoiler
2009-Jun-28, 07:24 PM
Not on your list, but we have the technology for sending a probe to the nearest star today, and get signals back in our lifetime (I'm thinking of a dual spacecraft--the main probe accelerates to near the speed of light and does a flyby at that speed, taking whatever photos, radar images, etc. that it can. A smaller one detaches halfway there and uses a solar sail to decelerate and gets there several years later than the big one, and sticks around for in-depth studies, perhaps even following instructions sent to it after we see the result of the big probe). There are a few things in the way: money, treaties against nuclear weapons in space, etc. But wouldn't it be such a boost to the space program and interest in science in general if 10 years from now we were seeing pictures of planets around Alpha Centauri A and B. (Of course, if one turned out to look like an Earth twin....follow up missions to see if there's higher life there would be immanent.)

Well, Voyager will make it into the interstellar medium in the next decade.

Ampatent
2009-Jun-28, 07:29 PM
Well, Voyager will make it into the interstellar medium in the next decade.

Aren't most of the instruments on the Voyager probes dead by now (or in the near future)?

Fiery Phoenix
2009-Jun-29, 05:10 AM
Aren't most of the instruments on the Voyager probes dead by now (or in the near future)?

Not exactly. If I'm not mistaken, it's got enough fuel and is active enough to keep going for another 10 years or so -- until around 2020, which is not bad at all.

Bynaus
2009-Jun-29, 02:55 PM
I chose the supernova event. If a star dies after millions of years, sheding vast amounts of mass into the interstellar medium and outshining all the other stars in the galaxy together - this is truely epical event.

Finding life on a nearby planet (such as Mars) would be a desaster if it turned out that it is indigenous, as it would indicate that the "big filter" needed to solve the Fermi paradox lies in our future, not in our past.

I have, already, experienced a comet impact with another planet - 1994, Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter...

closetgeek
2009-Jul-08, 07:39 PM
Those are some tough choices, IMHO. I would love to say I witnessed something spectacular, I would be thrilled to be alive for some major leaps and bounds in human capability, but I chose microbial life. I honestly believe a manned mission to Mars is a matter of time, issue as well as a base on the moon. Impacts have happened and will happen again and the same can be said for supernovea. I think that finding life, beyond all doubt, even if it is microbial, would answer the question that humans have asked since we started looking up, "Are we alone?"

transreality
2009-Jul-08, 10:47 PM
Just for the impact on human culture and science: I choose life!

GalacticBeatDown
2009-Jul-15, 12:37 AM
Although microbial life is probably what I would normally choose first but however i must say that I would rather prefer a base on the moon. It would be so exhilarating and just amazing really. But also because it will develop our civilization into an even grander and more advanced space faring civilization.

Romanus
2009-Jul-31, 12:27 AM
Supernova, hands-down.

For the record, my fingers are crossed for the next bright SN being in the Andromeda Galaxy, which hasn't sported one in almost 130 years.

Simona
2009-Jul-31, 01:22 PM
I chose the supernova event. If a star dies after millions of years, sheding vast amounts of mass into the interstellar medium and outshining all the other stars in the galaxy together - this is truely epical event.


Agreed. It would be an exciting thing to study. And imagining it in the daytime is just breath-taking.

Of course, the discovery of microbial life would be exciting too, but I just prefered something I can actually see and somewhat observe myself.

I don't know about the mission to Mars. I'm a bit sceptical, no matter how much the planet fascinates me. It would probably steal way too much funding from other fields of science or astronomy and who knows if it would be successful.