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View Poll Results: Will humans go to Mars?
Yes, but not in our lifetimes 8 40.00%
Yes, probably in the next few decades 9 45.00%
No, there is no public will and the risks/costs are too high 3 15.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-07-2012, 03:38 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
18,073 posts, read 20,160,760 times
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The last men to set foot on the moon did so 40 years ago this year. The next BIG destination for humans to reach is the planet Mars. However, going to Mars is a whole other ball game, much more ambitious and costly than going to the moon.

It takes only a few days for spacecraft to reach the moon. Whereas Mars takes several months. Astronauts on the moon can stay there for a short time and then return to earth. However, once on Mars, humans would have to live there for months if not years. They would have to establish a long-term base, grow their own food, create artificial gravity and keep themselves occupied during their long isolation from the rest of humanity.

So far, the U.S. is way ahead of other nations in the race to Mars. The U.S. is the only nation that has successfully soft-landed spacecraft, including rovers, on the surface of the planet.

But how will we get humans to Mars? What's going to be involved in accomplishing this goal and what kind of costs will be required? Are there any rocket propulsion technologies that might get us to Mars more quickly? Do you think one nation can do it alone?

Last edited by BigCityDreamer; 01-07-2012 at 05:04 PM..
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Old 01-07-2012, 05:05 PM
 
5,203 posts, read 8,205,785 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
The last men to set foot on the moon did so 40 years ago this year. The next BIG destination for humans to reach is the planet Mars. However, going to Mars is a whole other ball game, much more ambitious and costly than going to the moon.

It takes only a few days for spacecraft to reach the moon. Whereas Mars takes several months. Astronauts on the moon can stay there for a short time and then return to earth. However, once on Mars, humans would have to live there for months if not years. They would have to establish a long-term base, grow their own food, create artificial gravity and keep themselves occupied during their long isolation from the rest of humanity.

So far, the U.S. is way ahead of other nations in the race to Mars. The U.S. is the only nation that has successfully soft-landed spacecraft, including rovers, on the surface of the planet.

But how will we get humans to Mars? What's going to be involved in accomplishing this goal and what kind of costs will be required? Is there any rocket technology that can get us to Mars more quickly? Do you think one nation can do it alone?
This subject has been covered in other threads, but worth covering again. I had hopes of seeing a Mars landing within my lifetime, but I'm not getting any younger and I'm not so sure that'll be likely. I'm optimistic that it will eventually happen, but it's hard to predict when. A lot of things can get in the way of such planning.

As it stands now with current propulsion systems, a round trip to Mars would take close to 3 years which includes time spent on the surface. It would be more ideal to develop a system that can make the trip much faster, perhaps in a matter of weeks. It would require being on the planet for almost a year since it would take that long to reach the next to return to Earth in the shortest amount of time.

The isolation could be a problem, but there are people who can handle it. It's just a matter of finding the right people with the right kinds of expertise for such a mission.

What may be more likely is the use of advanced robotics to lay a lot more ground work of exploration on the surface, systems that can get in and around obstacles that current rovers can't. We also need to find what it will take to find ways to better locate water, extract it, and be able to use it not only for drinking, but for oxygen. The surface of Mars seems to be pretty toxic for humans, so I would guess water and water ice are probably contaminated and would need to be filtered. It's a lot cheaper to send machines for testing than to send people. That said, if the hardware makes some kind of discovery that would justify sending a manned crew sooner, then that could shorten the timetable.

Personally, I think a manned mission to Mars should be an international venture. After all, the idea behind the exploration of space should be to benefit all, not to mention spread out the expense of it.
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Old 01-07-2012, 06:08 PM
 
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It all depends on what commercial things of interest our robots find there.

Something valuable?

We could launch to Mars within 5 years...
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:35 PM
 
16,308 posts, read 25,262,012 times
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Don't get me wrong, we need to explore the planets and beyond if that speed limit thing can be conquered, but not for the purpose our leaders are pursuing it, chest thumping flag waving bragging rights. And when it is affordable.

Don't tell Washington, but we don't a bottomless wallet, and with 1 in 10 unable to find a job, 10's of millions that cannot obtain even basic medical care, the extreme expense of sending man to Mars is the ultimate in ignorant arrogance, but hey when we continue to elect those bought and paid for by corporations, that is the path we are on.

Cities are turning off and removing street lights in this country, laying off cops and firefighters, while billions are being poured into the race to mars, primarily for bragging rights. Kinda sounds like North Korea don't it?

Will the man that can't feed or get medical care his kids be cheering a successful landing on Mars?
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:27 PM
 
3,426 posts, read 2,790,478 times
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Frankly, I believe that we get good return on our investment with the space program. NASA's budget for 2012 is 19.450 billion dollars. In a 14 trillion dollar economy, that's mere peanuts.
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by orogenicman View Post
Frankly, I believe that we get good return on our investment with the space program. NASA's budget for 2012 is 19.450 billion dollars. In a 14 trillion dollar economy, that's mere peanuts.
While we borrow money from China to fix our roads and bridges.
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:13 AM
 
3,426 posts, read 2,790,478 times
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Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
While we borrow money from China to fix our roads and bridges.

Well, I believe that we could afford to fix our roads and bridges if we'd just stop invading everyone who looks at us cross-eyed. Imagine the roads and bridges (and the schools) we could have built had we not bought into Bush's lies.
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
3,733 posts, read 6,603,064 times
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Let's take away welfare and give all those on it the paying jobs they lack instead... to build roads and bridges, and much more. Makes more sense to me to be paying people for hard work, than to be giving it to them for free. Doing this would actually kill multiple birds, with a single stone.
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:58 PM
 
3,426 posts, read 2,790,478 times
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Originally Posted by cjg5 View Post
Let's take away welfare and give all those on it the paying jobs they lack instead... to build roads and bridges, and much more. Makes more sense to me to be paying people for hard work, than to be giving it to them for free. Doing this would actually kill multiple birds, with a single stone.
This is equivalent to requiring someone to work to earn back the money they put in the bank. It's THEIR money to begin with. They earned the right to the unemployment insurance.
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
3,733 posts, read 6,603,064 times
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Originally Posted by orogenicman View Post
This is equivalent to requiring someone to work to earn back the money they put in the bank. It's THEIR money to begin with. They earned the right to the unemployment insurance.
Well then perhaps I'm just ignorant to how the system works. How does one earn this right? I work very hard for my money, and still just barely manage to ends meet paycheck to paycheck. I applied for food stamps once, and was denied, being told that I made too much money. Yet I see people who I know don't work at all, nor have any disabilities, get food stamps seemingly for free from the state. Just seems backwards to me, which is why I said (in my own ignorance, apparently), that giving them work would not only improve our aging and failing infrastructures, but it would also mean that the money they get is going towards bettering those infrastructures instead of just a handout (again, my ignorance appearing to me that it is a handout, which you say it isn't), which should also help to boost the economy, because it wouldn't be money wasted. FWIW, I HATE it when people use their EBT cards / food stamps to buy cartloads of junk food and cigarettes, and then get cash back off of them. Seems like a major abuse of the system. Again though, my own ignorance at work if they indeed did earn these rights and it is indeed their own money to begin with.

In the meantime I continue to work hard and seek better paying employment (or at least a second part time job) in this tanking economy. I just switched to graveyards at work, which will earn me an extra 50 cents per hour, but I can already tell this is going to make it difficult on the days I have my 2 year old son. (Again ignorance here, but I've always had the idea that if I quit work altogether and didn't bother finding more that I could live a whole lot more comfortably than I do now, entirely off of the state. That is the way it looks, anyway. Again, ignorance on my part if this is something these people paid into, that it's their money outright, and they earned the right to do with it as they please).

BTW no sarcasm was intended in this post.
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