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Thread: Mars in a decade?...

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonClarke View Post
    Who says it would only be one mission?
    The OP has referenced Zubrin's Mars Direct, which would be one mission (or two). I am not a big fan of Mars missions, but I agree that a multimission program at least makes sense (a one-off mission does not). Problem is, it is much more expensive.

    It what sense are we not better much better off? [with space colonization after Apollo]
    No heavy lift, no nuclear rockets, no permanent bases outside LEO, no practical experience with ISRU, no information on long term health effects of hypogravity. We would have all that by 1990 if the Apollo Applications Program was not scrapped (before it even started).

    Quote Originally Posted by JonClarke View Post
    Why would a sequence of Mars missions be more much costly that the shuttle program on an annual basis?
    That's a good argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonClarke View Post
    NTR does not offer a meaningful reduction in travel time, but does increase in payload of between 50%. But since chemical proplusion is adequate, why both for first missions?
    You're right that it would be best to start with chemical rockets, but if we were to be committed to the Mars program, then the parallel development of NTR would make sense as a cost-saving measure. The same goes for VASIMIR. A very big advantage of this approach is that as a side effect of the Martian program, we would have rockets allowing us to reach main belt asteroids, which are industrially interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonClarke View Post
    Columbus did not need steamships
    He did not, but his discovery created a lot of business on political opportunities, which required big ships, so a lot of money went into R&D, producing frigates, galleons, steamships, and diesel-powered ships (the nuclear still hasn't widely caught on). A Mars mission is unlikely to create new business opportunities, however, a government-funded Mars mission could be a useful vehicle for technology development (if the program is not narrowly focused on keeping costs down, like Zubrin's idea).

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    Quote Originally Posted by astromark View Post
    Show the political will and the cost will be found.
    So show it. When you've successfully lobbied congress for a budget increase, I will be more than delighted.

    In the meantime, indulging in such daydreams is mere wishful thinking.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonClarke View Post
    We seem to be spending roughly that already.
    I endorse the various robotic missions we've sent to Mars. As I said, I like a billion per launch window.

    If you county Ares I through V as preparation for Mars, Mars has consumed a larger slice of the pie.



    Quote Originally Posted by JonClarke View Post
    What isn't worth it? Bacteria alone? or all the rest that Mars promises?
    I don't regard Mars as the ultimate goal of the solar system. Nor do I regard Ares I through V or comparable programs as a sustainable architecture that will get us out into the solar system.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonClarke View Post
    And why not?
    I see a lot of promise in the moon, NEOs, Mars, Deimos, Phobos and the Main Belt. However I don't see our present endeavors moving us any closer to that goal. I believe Giffords et al will be flushing billions down the toilet for a dead end strategy.

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    Because the strategy over the past 30 years has done a real good job at avoiding flushing billions of dollars down the toilet

    I understand there are alot of concerns, but sometimes i find myself wondering, if someone could commit, if someone had of committed to a positive space program where we might be. We have flushed so very much money down the toilet in pointless cancelled space endeavours. What might've happened if that had all been put towards an ambitious goal, where might we be.

    The future technology advocates, the entirely robotic program advocates, the exploration advocates. Maybe we're all somewhat dreamers, because we still hope for a space program that achieves SOMETHING.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Apollo17 View Post
    Because the strategy over the past 30 years has done a real good job at avoiding flushing billions of dollars down the toilet
    The recent strategy: Try to build an HLV and send men to Mars as soon as possible. Give the program unrealistic deadlines and inadequate funding.

    So far as I can tell, you are proposing more of the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apollo17 View Post
    That's a thoughtful, substantive argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apollo17 View Post
    but sometimes i find myself wondering, if someone could commit,
    If wishes were coins, beggars would ride. I'll give you an if: If you could lobby congress to allocate NASA more funding, your fantasies would be more than mere wishful thinking.

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    Thankyou Captain Obvious

    Although i still do think that a mars mission if done right would not require a huge amount of extra funding. Merely someone to say we want to go here, and go now. Perhaps it is wishful thinking, in fact it is, but i think we still have to hope.

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    I posted this before, but it is worth repeating:

    A lot of people assume that if we are ever going to advance into space, it will have to be Big Money Up Front or nothing. If that is true, then the answer will be 'nothing'. Big piles of money are notoriously risk-averse, which is how they grew so big in the first place.

    So I'd say that sentiment such as Apollo17's actually impedes our progress into space, by its stubborn emphasis on Manned Flight Now. It always sets the bar too high, and when it's implemented, budgets are drained to death.

    There could however be an incremental, almost emergent path into space, pardon my future-wank:

    1. Let's say telerobotics mature to become cheap and widespread, which is plausible. So then, the resulting full-immersion gaming market both hones interface technology and trains a generation of skilled operators. Note the word 'generation' -- this places the next step already at least 20 years into future.

    2. Earthbound telebot tourism grows, especially with haptics-transmitted sex. To a lesser degree, legit business also feeds the money-progress loop.

    3. Modern life becomes saturated with cheap telerobotics. A few 'garages' of miniature telebots are put permanently into orbit for satellite repair and recycling. Reusing space junk becomes more cost-effective than deorbiting a lot of it, so the spacemonkey industry grows.

    4. Once there are about a hundred bots in orbit, tele-tourists start plugging in to the space experience for maybe $5/minute.

    5. The spacemonkey industry extends to ever-higher orbits, and delay-compensating techniques expand with it.

    6. Humans industrialize the Moon without ever setting foot on it.

    7. Big satellites become *way* cheaper to produce, and LEO blooms with little factories to produce profitable:

    * Traditional sats, e,g. communications, global positioning, observation of weather/traffic/mapping/ecology etc.
    * Solar power stations.
    * More telerobot garages.
    * Environments filled with telerobotic tourists and scientists, and laboratory terrariums of plant and animal life.

    8. As experience with small teleoperated in-orbit enclosed biospheres grows, these biospheres grow, eventually becoming big enough to accomodate 160-lb primates.

    What I'm saying is that, developing into space is such a big step that we're more likely to get there by evolution than by intelligent design. And to anyone who feels their expectations have been dashed -- who promised you your generation will be space travelers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilya View Post
    I posted this before, but it is worth repeating:

    A lot of people assume that if we are ever going to advance into space, it will have to be Big Money Up Front or nothing. If that is true, then the answer will be 'nothing'. Big piles of money are notoriously risk-averse, which is how they grew so big in the first place.

    So I'd say that sentiment such as Apollo17's actually impedes our progress into space, by its stubborn emphasis on Manned Flight Now. It always sets the bar too high, and when it's implemented, budgets are drained to death.

    What I'm saying is that, developing into space is such a big step that we're more likely to get there by evolution than by intelligent design. And to anyone who feels their expectations have been dashed -- who promised you your generation will be space travelers?
    Your first point is interesting. I suppose it could be taken as that. I guess it's just i feel there is something to be said for people exploring. For venturing into the unknown. The reason why i am fascinated by space and more closely, manned space exploration, is not so much the prospects of developing it into business oppurtunities, it is the fact that we have always explored and space is the next unknown. Missions are risky and somewhat expensive but crossing the void, venturing into the unknown and accomplishing something so awe-inspiring is good for the human spirit.

    No one promised us we'd be space travellers, no one promised men 2000 years ago that we'd be technologically advanced with televisions and computers and other things. No one promised, people worked hard to achieve it. Many people died trying to push the boundaries and i feel that for us to suddenly try to take what in my opinion is the 'safe' option, the unambitious option is somewhat of a disservice to those that have come before. In my opinion it is the 'Boring' option.

    The boost that man on the moon gave to so many continues to this day. People still say "If we can put a man on the moon then we can... -insert goal here-". We would not have recieved this from robotic achievement. Sure it might deplete the national budget slightly, and place life at somewhat of a risk i feel what we gain from pushing the exploration boundaries far outweighs the means.

    However with that said, my opinion is different to yours and you may find robotic exploration and exploitation of space equally exciting. Or you may simply not place manned exploration on as high a pedastal as myself, which is ok as many different opinions exist on the subject.

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    I guess you and I will just have to disagree. BTW, I had not heard or seen anyone actually use the phrase "If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we... <insert goal here>" for at least ten years. (I mean, seriously use it to shame people into action as opposed to use as an example the way Apollo17 just did.) Most likely because we demonstrably CANNOT put a man on the moon any more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilya View Post
    BTW, I had not heard or seen anyone actually use the phrase [...] Most likely because we demonstrably CANNOT put a man on the moon any more.
    Maybe it's one of the reasons, but I think there are 2 much bigger reasons.
    1) Generational. For folks living through that era (baby boomers and older) it was a grand event. For the younger ones, it wasn't really a life living event. Those older folks are slowly fading away.
    2) Technological. The advances in technology recently (particularly internet and wireless) has been closer to changing our lifestyle and more overshadowing than the effects of the moon landing.

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    For folks of my generation, the grand space adventure was not the highly trained military man stepping out onto the lunar surface, it was the first common person waving goodbye to this planet, and then never coming back, being incinerated in the Challenger fireball a few minutes later.

    It does tend to make one risk-averse.

    Our hero didn't beat the communists to the moon in a clash of civilizations that fortold the end of the grand competition that was the Cold War. Our brave hero was killed because someone wanted to save a buck.

    I want space to be profitable, and that means it has to be safe and predictable. If robots lead the way, then fine. We can follow when the infrastructure is mature. It doesn't have to take a long time, but it takes an sizable investment to put robots in the vangard with a small number of humans not far behind. We don't have to choose between one or the other, a well though out plan has both.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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    "The reason why i am fascinated by space and more closely, manned space exploration, is not so much the prospects of developing it into business oppurtunities, it is the fact that we have always explored and space is the next unknown. Missions are risky and somewhat expensive but crossing the void, venturing into the unknown and accomplishing something so awe-inspiring is good for the human spirit."

    Hmmm.... You want to spend half a trillion dollars on satisfying " The human spirit " ? It would seem that in 2010 dollars, we will need
    a lot more reason than that to spend those "somewhat expensive dollars" ..... on space .
    Without a good, genuine reason ,.... yea several good reasons, it won't happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilya View Post
    There could however be an incremental, almost emergent path into space, pardon my future-wank:

    1. Let's say telerobotics mature to become cheap and widespread, which is plausible. So then, the resulting full-immersion gaming market both hones interface technology and trains a generation of skilled operators. Note the word 'generation' -- this places the next step already at least 20 years into future.

    2. Earthbound telebot tourism grows, especially with haptics-transmitted sex. To a lesser degree, legit business also feeds the money-progress loop.
    Why am I thinking you have spent far too much time in Second Life?

    Actually I think your concept is quite brilliant, but if I may suggest a few modifications?

    You seem to be suggesting the virtual colonization of space. Which to a small extent is already happening with the robot probes. But these probes have simply been exploration based. The focus of these probes needs to be two fold beyond just exploration.

    1. The probes need to satisfy the money risk you pointed out. How can they pay for themselves? (Taking away the virtual sex aspect - I don't think that is sustainable - we already have it with out the space complications - and too much competition) But can they mine resources? Are there rare earths that would make remote mining profitable?

    2. Can they prepare (the moon, mars, triton, etc.) for human colonization? Can they build a full colony before the very first colonist arrives?

    I don't think there is any point to a "plant flags" mission to Mars, or back to the Moon. When we reach another world, we need to plan to stay. If our robot buddies have already built the buildings, and the farms, and the reactors, etc. this becomes a possibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post

    Hmmm.... You want to spend half a trillion dollars on satisfying " The human spirit " ? It would seem that in 2010 dollars, we will need
    a lot more reason than that to spend those "somewhat expensive dollars" ..... on space .
    Without a good, genuine reason ,.... yea several good reasons, it won't happen.
    Nope, not half a trillion dollars. Someone else suggested that figure. I suggested that maybe it would still be worth it, which of course i could understand why many would say its not, i'm not going to try to justify spending half a trillion dollars now.

    More like 50 billion over ten years, as was put forward by Mars direct.

    And no not just to satisfy the human spirit, great science will take place on Mars. I also believe that the boost the mission would give to individuals would spurr much technological development.

    That aside you must remember that a fair amount of the voting public do not have a huge interest in the latest space science which is fine, so in order to make space a popular choice you must appeal to something else. Mining and other sorts of industrial endeavours don't gain much favour either, as their Earthbound counterparts seemed to have gained an inconsistent reputation on Earth, i'm nto stating my opinion on that matter.

    With those two options aside i think you must appeal to something else, my argument offers tis, although it may not necessarily get across to everyone and perhaps there are better arguments to be made.

    Everyone's idea of a good, genuine reason seems to be different, so i don't think it will ever be easy to please all parties.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    For folks of my generation, the grand space adventure was not the highly trained military man stepping out onto the lunar surface, it was the first common person waving goodbye to this planet, and then never coming back, being incinerated in the Challenger fireball a few minutes later.

    It does tend to make one risk-averse.

    Our hero didn't beat the communists to the moon in a clash of civilizations that fortold the end of the grand competition that was the Cold War. Our brave hero was killed because someone wanted to save a buck.

    I want space to be profitable, and that means it has to be safe and predictable.

    With all due respect as it is a touchy subject, i do believe that the crew of Challenger, and of Columbia would not have wanted to see the exploration of space dumbed down. Neither would the crew of Apollo 1, or even that of Apollo 13 if they had failed to make it. Each of the crew knew the risks, even though admittedly the circumstances surrounding many of the disasters have been ones that leave you with an uneasy feeling. Being an Astronaut is not about avoiding risks all together, you try to make things safe where you can but you cannot guarantee everything. You take the risk of a launch, of a re-entry, of spaceflight in general because of the benefits it has for society. Be they technological, scientific or something that cannot necessarily be put on paper. Some will always want to be risk-averse, however others will take the risk because of the possibilities if it pays off.

    As far as your statement "I want space to be profitable, and that means it has to be safe and predictable". That is your opinion and you are welcome to it, i guess we will have to agree to disagree.
    Sure if space becomes profitable then that's great. However i do not believe that we will ever get anywhere in space if we wait until it is 100% safe and predictable. That is just my opinion though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atraveller View Post
    Why am I thinking you have spent far too much time in Second Life?
    Understandable sentiment, but I never played Second Life.
    Actually I think your concept is quite brilliant, but if I may suggest a few modifications?

    You seem to be suggesting the virtual colonization of space. Which to a small extent is already happening with the robot probes. But these probes have simply been exploration based. The focus of these probes needs to be two fold beyond just exploration.

    1. The probes need to satisfy the money risk you pointed out. How can they pay for themselves? (Taking away the virtual sex aspect - I don't think that is sustainable - we already have it with out the space complications - and too much competition)
    I think you misunderstood. I was not talking about virtual sex in space -- I meant virtual sex will be a major driver of telepresence development. A lot, possibly most, technological innovations of Internet over last 15 years were first adopted (or outright paid for) by porn industry.

    "Once there are about a hundred bots in orbit, tele-tourists start plugging in to the space experience for maybe $5/minute" meant "play in orbit" or "drive a rover on the Moon" -- which does not involve sex (well, it COULD if you got really creative).
    But can they mine resources? Are there rare earths that would make remote mining profitable?
    Short answer -- no. There is simply nothing physical in space so valuable as to be worth bringing back to Earth. Note that the only thing which currenly IS worth bringing back (and is) are bits and bytes. When I wrote "industrialize the Moon without ever setting foot on it" I meant things like mining ice from poles and transporting it to Earth orbit for use by satellites -- mining in support of other space activities.
    2. Can they prepare (the moon, mars, triton, etc.) for human colonization? Can they build a full colony before the very first colonist arrives?
    In very long term, possibly. But I am talking about shorter term.

    Basically, my post you replied to was based on assumption that major economic powers will continue to spend on space science approximately what they spend now (government spending, without expectations of profit), and private companies will continue to spend on space development about what they spend now -- with expectations of profit:

    Verizon: "Solar panel arm on our Galaxy XIV satellite is stuck."

    SpaceMonkey company: "For $10M our teleop sat will match orbits and get it unstuck."

    JPL: "Pluto Orbiter is coming along, but monster rocket necessary to lift the kick stage into orbit will break our $1B budget."

    MoonDev company: "Launch with empty kick stage, and for $100M we'll deliver you LH2 and LOX."

    SpaceMonkey company: "We'll handle the docking and fuel transfer."

    Discovery Channel: "Actual monkeys act hilarious in zero-G. Can you keep them alive and happy in orbit? We'll put unobtrusive sensors on them, so tele-tourists can BE monkeys."

    SpaceMonkey company: "Life support is kind of expensive (scratching their heads). How many monkeys are we talking about?"

    Discovery Channel: "We only need a few real ones. The rest will be CGI."

    SpaceMonkey company: "What if a monkey tele-tourist is riding tries to interact with a CGI monkey."

    Discovery Channel: "Then we'll supply some stored full-sense animation."

    SpaceMonkey company: "Far be it for me to turn down a customer... but if you can do full-sense, why do you need a satellite in the first place?"

    Discovery Channel: "First, we need to get this zero-G data somewhere. And second, we'll only get cents for an all-CGI. Customers want REAL expereince!"


    The irony in last line is fully intended. And I suspect will not be ironic at all in context.

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    For folks of my generation, the grand space adventure was not the highly trained military man stepping out onto the lunar surface, it was the first common person waving goodbye to this planet, and then never coming back, being incinerated in the Challenger fireball a few minutes later.

    It does tend to make one risk-averse.
    I was 19 and in US Air Force at the time. I remember a lieutenant walking in, and saying in seeming disbelief "Space Shuttle just blew up."

    I would not say that was a defining moment for me. Shocking, sure, but I got over it. It was not until mid-90's that I came to realize that main purpose of manned spaceflight, both in US and Russia, has become... well... justifying manned spaceflight. It's not that I became risk-averse, but I I came to realize that risks must have a valid -- and realistic, -- purpose. At current and foreseeable funding levels, manned spaceflight has no real purpose.

    Sure, if US (or world) collectively decided to spend ten times on space exploration what it does now, I'd say "Great! Here is what astronauts can accomplish..." Although even then I would be leery of "Put man on Mars! just for the sake of putting man on Mars" sentiment. I'd want a more defined goal.

    But as things stand in reality, manned spaceflight is basically a siren. Beautiful and alluring, but ultimately only leading to ruin and disappointment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilya View Post
    I was 19 and in US Air Force at the time. I remember a lieutenant walking in, and saying in seeming disbelief "Space Shuttle just blew up."

    I would not say that was a defining moment for me. Shocking, sure, but I got over it. It was not until mid-90's that I came to realize that main purpose of manned spaceflight, both in US and Russia, has become... well... justifying manned spaceflight. It's not that I became risk-averse, but I I came to realize that risks must have a valid -- and realistic, -- purpose. At current and foreseeable funding levels, manned spaceflight has no real purpose.

    Sure, if US (or world) collectively decided to spend ten times on space exploration what it does now, I'd say "Great! Here is what astronauts can accomplish..." Although even then I would be leery of "Put man on Mars! just for the sake of putting man on Mars" sentiment. I'd want a more defined goal.

    But as things stand in reality, manned spaceflight is basically a siren. Beautiful and alluring, but ultimately only leading to ruin and disappointment.
    I agree with this in part. I feel at the moment that in some cases the benefits of our current manned space presence is not great and it could be argued that the risks are not worth it. However i would be guessing that all those in the Astronaut office would feel quite differently, and only wish they could communicate fully the magic of manned spaceflight.

    However i do not see why there are always comments about funding having to be 10 or 20 or 100 times more than what it is at the moment to go somewhere further out. Private companies can and have designed proposed mission architecture to be accomplished by NASA on a limited budget, these architectures are often as valid as NASA ones and tend to keep costs down by not venturing into too many luxuries while keeping keep the essentails that are required.. I tend to use Mars Direct as an example due to it being reasonably well known and a fair amount of material is available on it. That quotes a price of 50 billion, allow it to run over by half of its original quoted cost you get 75 billion, which if spread out over ten years (as the direct architecture was designed for) would be accomplishable. The reason i suggest that it would be handy for maybe an extra 3-5 billion to be included in the budget is so that the other sections such as the robotic exploration section would still have a reasonable amoutn to operate with if costs were to overrun. If costs were not to go over then the other sections would not be too harshly penalized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilya View Post
    I posted this before, but it is worth repeating:

    A lot of people assume that if we are ever going to advance into space, it will have to be Big Money Up Front or nothing. If that is true, then the answer will be 'nothing'. Big piles of money are notoriously risk-averse, which is how they grew so big in the first place.

    So I'd say that sentiment such as Apollo17's actually impedes our progress into space, by its stubborn emphasis on Manned Flight Now. It always sets the bar too high, and when it's implemented, budgets are drained to death.

    There could however be an incremental, almost emergent path into space, pardon my future-wank:

    1. Let's say telerobotics mature to become cheap and widespread, which is plausible. So then, the resulting full-immersion gaming market both hones interface technology and trains a generation of skilled operators. Note the word 'generation' -- this places the next step already at least 20 years into future.

    2. Earthbound telebot tourism grows, especially with haptics-transmitted sex. To a lesser degree, legit business also feeds the money-progress loop.

    3. Modern life becomes saturated with cheap telerobotics. A few 'garages' of miniature telebots are put permanently into orbit for satellite repair and recycling. Reusing space junk becomes more cost-effective than deorbiting a lot of it, so the spacemonkey industry grows.

    4. Once there are about a hundred bots in orbit, tele-tourists start plugging in to the space experience for maybe $5/minute.

    5. The spacemonkey industry extends to ever-higher orbits, and delay-compensating techniques expand with it.

    6. Humans industrialize the Moon without ever setting foot on it.

    7. Big satellites become *way* cheaper to produce, and LEO blooms with little factories to produce profitable:

    * Traditional sats, e,g. communications, global positioning, observation of weather/traffic/mapping/ecology etc.
    * Solar power stations.
    * More telerobot garages.
    * Environments filled with telerobotic tourists and scientists, and laboratory terrariums of plant and animal life.

    8. As experience with small teleoperated in-orbit enclosed biospheres grows, these biospheres grow, eventually becoming big enough to accomodate 160-lb primates.

    What I'm saying is that, developing into space is such a big step that we're more likely to get there by evolution than by intelligent design. And to anyone who feels their expectations have been dashed -- who promised you your generation will be space travelers?
    The Wii might be a first step towards the sort of gaming interface you hope for. I believe more sophisticated controllers already exist -- I understand actors have motion sensors on various parts of their body and face to control virtual puppets. So when actor Mike Myers grimaces and waves his arms, Shrek will mimic his gestures.

    Will commercial interests develop telerobots and telepresence to the level you describe? I can only hope so. It's my understanding Robonaut has to scramble for funding. This enabling technology starves while we spend our space dollars for another HLV to carry out an extremely expensive publicity stunt.

    Not to mention technologies to exploit in situ resources, orbital propellent storage and transfer, etc. If these enabling technologies are mentioned, John Q. Public will scream "No! I want Big rockets! I want Flags and footprints on Mars and I want it now!" Politicians like Shelby and Giffords will happily accommodate their well informed constituents and NASA's human space flight program will remain stuck in a rut.

    I can only hope commercial will get us into space, because it doesn't look like NASA will ever be up to the task.

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    We need a Wii 3D though first. Particularly for getting some of those green stars.

  21. 2010-Sep-23, 11:16 PM

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    This do it with teleoperated virtual reality thing is illogical. if you got good enough VR to use it to drive rovers and whatnot and give your users a fully imersed reality, then you have the capability to make it all virtual and just dropping the reality bit. much cheaper that way an it can be made much more interesing for the Virtuonauts as well. There is no real world incentive for the VR entertainment industry to want to invest billions into space.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antice View Post
    This do it with teleoperated virtual reality thing is illogical. if you got good enough VR to use it to drive rovers and whatnot and give your users a fully imersed reality, then you have the capability to make it all virtual and just dropping the reality bit. much cheaper that way an it can be made much more interesing for the Virtuonauts as well. There is no real world incentive for the VR entertainment industry to want to invest billions into space.
    I did not say VR entertainment industry would "invest billions into space". I said it will develop techniques which subsequently would be applied (by other industries and/or governments) to space.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antice View Post
    This do it with teleoperated virtual reality thing is illogical. if you got good enough VR to use it to drive rovers and whatnot and give your users a fully imersed reality, then you have the capability to make it all virtual and just dropping the reality bit. much cheaper that way an it can be made much more interesing for the Virtuonauts as well. There is no real world incentive for the VR entertainment industry to want to invest billions into space.
    That's a good point. If a person prefers experience machines to reality, remotely vandalizing the Moon with ATV's can't be more fun than the HALO universe....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    That's a good point. If a person prefers experience machines to reality, remotely vandalizing the Moon with ATV's can't be more fun than the HALO universe....
    Exactly. the moon can only be vandalized once. but the Battlmax 30 gazillion imersive first person war simulator let's you violate paris one day and london the next. and if you want something different you may get to rampage trough the major bodie sof the solar system as well. doesn't really have to be anything on location there. or even look like the real thing most likely. people won't notice anyhow. how could they when nobody has ever gone there? The best part is that once Paris has been sufficiently burned down it can be reset at a command at no cost in anything but a modest increase in entropy.

    Once we move past the event horizon of the technology singularity in relation to computing technology and have the capability of basically loading ourselves up into computers all bet's are off. spaceprobes sent in that far future are probably going to be sentient beings in their own right. I happen to want space exploration now and not in a post singularity society. I do not think i will see this singularity happen. and I'm only 32 years old now. It may happen in my childrens time, but i somehow doubt that too.
    That being said i want sustainable development. not one off apollo style publicity stunts. I want mines and ore refineries on the moon working flat out towards raising the global prosperity level and used to solve all the issues humanity has.

  26. #55
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    The idea of remotely vandalizing the Moon with ATVs would be a good one, if it wasn't for a small issue: signal latency. Since Moon is ca. 1.3 light seconds away, the Earth-Moon round trip time is 2.6 seconds (give or take depending on the current orbital geometry). So when you move your controller to turn your ATV left, it will actually turn after 1.3 seconds. You will see the results after 2.6 seconds. If the ATV moves at a modest speed of 36 km/h, i.e. 10m/s, that means that it would be constantly 13 meters ahead of the position perceived by the driver, and 26 meters ahead when it reacts to the command. Now, try to go around that 30m crater...

    A quick look at the opinions of the online gamers tells us that latencies above 150 ms are generally unacceptable. On the other hand, 150ms works out to 45'000km. That means that a crew located in a single lunar base could teleoperate machinery anywhere on the lunar surface without much problem. (Well, there's a tricky question of providing over-the-horizon communications, but it's not unsolvable: a constellation of satellites in low orbits or a network of ground repeaters would do). Because modern manufacturing relies heavily on automation, it is conceivable that a 10 person lunar crew could successfully (tele-)operate a large scale mining and processing operation.

    For remotely repairing satellites in GEO, the idea may actually be workable. ~300ms latencies are irritating, but they don't prevent you from working, especially if your subject is not trying to run away (or shoot back). The work would just be much slower, but it can be done.

  27. #56
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    Driving vehicles on the moon from the Earth can, and has been done. It was done >30 years ago by Russia. It wasn't a vast vehicle, but it DID work. You wouldn't want ATV style performance on the moon anyway - it's just too dangerous a place to have it.

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    Yes, I know what Lunokhod was. But the delay which is acceptable in driving a slow research rover is not acceptable when driving trucks carrying tons of mined ore. Or operating mining machines.

  29. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atraveller View Post

    1. The probes need to satisfy the money risk you pointed out. How can they pay for themselves? (Taking away the virtual sex aspect - I don't think that is sustainable - we already have it with out the space complications - and too much competition) But can they mine resources? Are there rare earths that would make remote mining profitable?
    I have studied the numbers from Apollo samples -- the rare earth elements are there, but the concentrations are lower then in Earth ores. On the other hands, Apollo missions were not specifically prospecting for resources, so it's possible that we have simply missed economically viable deposits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atraveller View Post
    2. Can they prepare (the moon, mars, triton, etc.) for human colonization? Can they build a full colony before the very first colonist arrives?
    The Japanese want to do exactly that: http://www.bautforum.com/showthread....18#post1741918

  30. #59
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    I am currently having driving lessons, and as a thought experiment I tried to imagine the consequences of someone introducing a three second delay between my turning the wheel and the car responding. I'm a nervous driver, so I had to pull over for a moment, much to the instructors bemusement when I tried to explain. Even at very low speeds I think a three second delay could be disasterous, especially in a complex environment such as a mining operation. If we're not sending people we need a good onsite AI piloting our hypothetical mining trucks- or some reasonable mix, AI with human tele-supervision.

    The cultural perils of over reliance and dependance on VR and teleoperation have been explored in many many Sci-fi novels, and even some films. I cant add anything, but I agree that space by VR only could lead to well, just VR! I'm not sure but I don't think thats a healthy route for societies to go down.
    Last edited by marsbug; 2010-Sep-24 at 11:02 PM. Reason: spelin

  31. #60
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    " ....
    Yes, I know what Lunokhod was. But the delay which is acceptable in driving a slow research rover is not acceptable when driving trucks carrying tons of mined ore. Or operating mining machines. "


    Why ????

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