Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mars NASA Science

Mars Mission Back In the Cards After Budget Cuts 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the dependent-on-the-success-of-john-carter dept.
ananyo writes "NASA has said it will re-design its Mars exploration program, and that the new architecture would include input — and money — from the human program as well as the space technology division. Orlando Figueroa, the former deputy director for space and technology at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is to head up a seven or eight person committee, and to start developing mission concepts in the next month. One of those concepts would be a possible $700 million mission launching in 2018. The news offers a grain of comfort to a community still reeling from massive cuts to the Mars program."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mars Mission Back In the Cards After Budget Cuts

Comments Filter:
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @03:34PM (#39188273) Journal

    A single shuttle launch costs that much, in today's dollars.

    Seriously, guys?

    I interpreted that as "the concept" referring to the Mars mission. So, yeah, I could see how $700 million would be a bit much to go into orbit, do some science lab experiments and land ... but when you're planning for Mars (especially manned which is what I thought they were talking about) I can understand a vast increase to your budget.

  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @04:03PM (#39188563) Journal

    It's really difficult to put into words just how wrong you are. I realize you're probably just a drive by troll, but on the off chance you're really of that opinion I have to at least attempt to provide a counter point to your myopia.

    Understanding the universe, stretching humanities legs, literally, out among the planets in our solar system and beyond represents a life and death pursuit for the human species. Eventually, Earth is going to be in existential peril, and if all our eggs are still in this basket over issues as petty and meaningless as politics, economics, or national pride, then we are well and truly, cosmically, fucked.

    It's not possible to start this processes too early. We could detect a rogue asteroid or comet tomorrow that will end life on Earth. On a long enough time line this WILL happen. It's happened before, it'll happen again. When it does, your descendants will be thankful that we took a minute amount of money away from the budget for bombs, sugar water, and pornography, to put those first apes in tin cans and got them to Mars and back.

    This is all presupposing you subscribe to the radical notion that a universe with humanity in it is in some way better than one without. As a human, I work from that assumption as a given. You may not, but even if that's so it's not too much to ask that you at least stand out of the way of those who do look that far into the future and can see the dangers and the possibilities that your small mind cannot.

    We're talking about pennies here. Pennies now, so that humanity will still exist in one, ten, or a hundred centuries. There is no more important goal than space exploration, manned space exploration, and establishing a permanent human presence in space and on other words.

  • by KeensMustard (655606) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @06:11PM (#39190241)

    Understanding the universe, stretching humanities legs, literally, out among the planets in our solar system and beyond represents a life and death pursuit for the human species. Earth is going to be in existential peril, and if all our eggs are still in this basket over issues as petty and meaningless as politics, economics, or national pride, then we are well and truly, cosmically, fucked.

    Soon, you'll die. Sometime soon, I will die. Sometime later our entire race (regardless of how you define it) will cease to exist as well. Perhaps they will evolve beyond what we might recognise as human. Perhaps some disaster will wipe them out. Perhaps they will last, in some form, until the universe dies. In any case, we, as individuals and as a species are irrevocably mortal and I, for one, welcome that - I welcome our deathly overlord. One day we'll be gone and all that will be left is our achievements and successes - and our failures. I am perfectly content to leave a legacy of good deeds and live my life with integrity, even if no-one ever acknowledges that.

    It's not possible to start this processes too early. We could detect a rogue asteroid or comet tomorrow that will end life on Earth. On a long enough time line this WILL happen. It's happened before, it'll happen again.

    Notably, when it happened before, the Earth was left far more habitable than Mars is now. Were an asteroid to strike the Earth, you would be better off on the Earth than on Mars. For example, on Mars, the radiation is so bad, that to survive for any length of time, you need to live underground. The gravity is wrong, so much so, that within a generation, Martians would not survive on Earth, were they to travel there. So if we lost the Earth,with it's 7 billion inhabitants, we would be stuck on Mars. Forever. Living like termites underground, never able to go to the surface and look, with our unprotected eyes, on the stars. And when the Earth recovers, with it's benison of life once again covering it's surface, we will be gone - either staring back at earth, helpless with rage, or mercifully extinct.

    Alternatively of course we could build those underground cities here on Earth, saving millions, if not billions, in the event of an asteroid strike, as opposed to the thousands that could - briefly - survive on Mars. If life on Earth is difficult afterward, then as a planet it is far easier to geo engineer than Mars, what with the handy features that have sustained life through multiple asteroid strikes before. To propose a plan which would save thousands, and rejecting a plan that saves millions (if not billions) amounts to proposing genocide on a scale never before comprehended.

    When it does, your descendants will be thankful that we took a minute amount of money away from the budget for bombs, sugar water, and pornography, to put those first apes in tin cans and got them to Mars and back.

    Not, they won't, and neither will your descendants. Because they won't be there. And neither will the descendants of the vast majority of the human race, with it's diverse cultures, ideals and dreams. Mars is just too small to capture a representative sample of us. Under your plan, your descendants will die, and so will mine.

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

Working...