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Mars Science

71 Percent of U.S. See Humans On Mars By 2033 266

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the proving-babylon-five-underoptimistic dept.
astroengine writes "In a recent poll funded by the non-profit Explore Mars, 71% of respondents agreed that the U.S. will send a human to Mars within the next two decades. Unfortunately, on average, the sample of 1,101 people surveyed thought the U.S. government allocated 2.4% of the federal budget to NASA — in reality it's only 0.5%. With this in mind, 75% of the respondents agreed/strongly agreed that NASA's budget should be increased to explore Mars through manned and robotic means."
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71 Percent of U.S. See Humans On Mars By 2033

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:03AM (#42869537)

    99% Percent of U.S. See Flying Cars by 1985.

    • by isorox (205688) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:14AM (#42869577) Homepage Journal

      99% Percent of U.S. See Flying Cars by 1985.

      October 2015. And jaws 27 at the same time.

    • Re:In related news (Score:5, Informative)

      by segedunum (883035) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:19AM (#42869611)
      I'm sure that most of the population in the 60s and 70s thought we'd had bases on the moon by 2001. That was twelve years ago.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hadlock (143607)

        To be fair, we had the tech to put a base on the moon starting around 1979. The ISS (with landing gear) would do just fine on the surface of the moon (except, ya know, the whole 15 days in the shade part).

        • by heypete (60671)

          ...that, and the abrasive lunar regolith playing hell with the door seals.

        • Re:In related news (Score:5, Insightful)

          by backslashdot (95548) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @07:13AM (#42869829)

          We had the tech, but not the money. Are we going to have the money by 2033? I sure hope so, but it looks iffy. A Mars shot would probably take 20 years nowadays (the moon shot took 20 years too if you count the time that the Saturn V engines were in development when Kennedy announced it). That means it would have to survive 4 presidential elections and 8 congressional elections. Space is one of the easy budgets to raid money out of. In essence we'll need 20 years of sustained prosperity. It will probably be 2020 that a Mars shot will be announced. Probably around the time China announces a moon shot. Or maybe their own Mars shot. I hope they announce it. Maybe we need that to get up off our butts. There's no way in hell we're gonna watch someone else get there first.

          • Re:In related news (Score:4, Interesting)

            by guzzirider (551141) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @08:57AM (#42870191)

            I don't believe that a manned mission to mars could ever be achieved from international competition. It would require international cooperation on a massive scale.

            Costly, expensive does not even begin to cover it. A program for a manned mission to Mars is at least a magnitude of order more difficult than the Apollo program. A starting guess would be 10x of the cost of the Apollo program in adjusted dollars for inflation. One figure I found was $135-billion in 2005 Dollars (cost of the Apollo program).
            Now if it is 10x harder to do mars, are we talking about 1.3 Trillion?

            Personally I would like to see this seriously pursued in my lifetime, however ..
            We have gotten good at robotic missions and I would like to see more exploration and science missions. I know that a sample return mission would get some level of excitement, but it is likely that placing more science on the surface is of more benefit. Maybe rovers with an ability to find samples to be sent to a surface based robotic lab instead of / in addition to of self contained rovers.
            We also must ask if Mars is to use so many resources would we be neglecting other robotic planetary missions?

            • by khallow (566160)

              I don't believe that a manned mission to mars could ever be achieved from international competition. It would require international cooperation on a massive scale.

              International cooperation hasn't proven that valuable.

              Costly, expensive does not even begin to cover it. A program for a manned mission to Mars is at least a magnitude of order more difficult than the Apollo program. A starting guess would be 10x of the cost of the Apollo program in adjusted dollars for inflation. One figure I found was $135-billion in 2005 Dollars (cost of the Apollo program). Now if it is 10x harder to do mars, are we talking about 1.3 Trillion?

              If we are talking over a trillion dollars, then it's not worth doing whether as a rich dude project or an international cooperation project. Fortunately, there's no reason it would have to cost that much. Cut two to three orders of magnitude off that price and you'll have a viable project which doesn't need the veneer of international cooperation in order to work.

              • Sorry, I think Kartu and Guzzirider are correct, going to Mars is AT LEAST 10x harder than going to the Moon, and may well be 100x harder. Meanwhile our technological capabilities are only modestly improved over 1969. We have slightly better rocket technology (we were already bumping up against the practical limits of what is possible with Saturn V). Clearly we have improved our ability to conduct space operations, somewhat, but there's nothing we are doing now that was impossible back in the 70's and none

            • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @02:33PM (#42873721) Homepage

              A program for a manned mission to Mars is at least a magnitude of order more difficult than the Apollo program. A starting guess would be 10x of the cost of the Apollo program in adjusted dollars for inflation. One figure I found was $135-billion in 2005 Dollars (cost of the Apollo program). Now if it is 10x harder to do mars, are we talking about 1.3 Trillion?

              Why exactly is a mission to Mars "at least an order of magnitude more difficult" and at 1969 prices to boot? Let's take a look at what it would cost to return to the moon, no we no longer have a Saturn V but since then we've perfected rendezvous operations in space both ship to ship and ship to station enabling us to put the ISS in orbit that is 4 times what Saturn V could lift to LEO. With about 2.3 launches with a SpaceX Falcon Heavy we can put the same weight in orbit for roughly $230 million. You know how much of those $135 billion the Saturn V was? About 47 of them. So already there you have a $46.77 billion savings. Russia has been making fairly serious moon program plans, they estimated the cost of putting humans on the moon starting now to about $15 billion USD.

              Elon Musk of SpaceX has been pulling out some rather ambitious plans for a Mars colony for $36 billion, even if we include a certain level of exaggeration and optimism I feel quite confident that with another Apollo program in cost we'd already be on Mars and then some. It's certainly not "another order of magnitude" away. But the thing is, there's no interest in another Apollo program or even half of one, it's trouble enough finding a billion or two for rovers, probes and telescopes. And it's rather hard for anyone private to see the ROI in funding it themselves, and not for a lack of trying. SpaceX is doing great building rockets but there's a commercial market for that, Mars crew capsules/landers/habitats/launchers not so much.

          • It will probably be 2020 that a Mars shot will be announced. Probably around the time China announces a moon shot. Or maybe their own Mars shot. I hope they announce it. Maybe we need that to get up off our butts. There's no way in hell we're gonna watch someone else get there first.

            It worked in the 60s, and I see no reason it wouldn't work today.

            • by crazyjj (2598719) *

              It worked in the 60s, and I see no reason it wouldn't work today.

              The 60's had a Cold War space race and booming U.S. economy.

              • by dywolf (2673597)

                People rarely think the economy is booming in the present tense. Even back then you'll find politicians and pundits bemoaning the "poor state of the economy".

          • Hmmm...assuming that national pride is going to be a motivator ("no way in hell..." is how you actually phrased it) then we can restate the problem in terms of preserving national pride. When you look at the problem from that perspective, it becomes a matter of *preventing* the Chinese from getting to Mars before the US does. In order to prevent the Chinese from getting to Mars, the US will have to be able to project their national will on the Chinese, and the way one nation projects its will on another na
          • The resource that is lacking is WILL.

            Call it "political will" ... "moral fortitude" ... whatever. Once the tech is available, the only thing preventing any group from making a large project like this happen is the will to do it. Which is precisely why we probably WILL have a Mars mission (manned) by 2033 ... but it WILL NOT be the government doing it.

            Private enterprise has the will, the stated goal, is gathering the money, and refining the tech. Elon Musk is not the only one, either.

            People routinely OVERes

          • by delt0r (999393)

            We had the tech, but not the money. Are we going to have the money by 2033?

            We have the money, it is just that we prefer to spend it on other things.

            Seriously, what is a moon base good for? Low G golf?

          • by dywolf (2673597)

            um...
            Kennedy's speech: May 25, 1961
            Appolo 11 Landing: July 20, 1969
            Saturn design was begun in 1961.
            The best you can do is claim the engine itself (F-1), because one of the ways the Apollo / Saturn projects were so successful so quickly was they used a lot of off the shelf or existing tech to cut time. The F-1 engine that was the core of the Saturn V (note: not the earlier Saturn rockets) rocket was one example, with individual components being tested in 1957, and the complete engine being fired in 1959 (tho

          • by guspasho (941623)

            I think you underestimate our apathy. We've been watching them do all kinds of things first for decades, from green energy investment to bullet trains. We just don't care anymore, our national pride is gone. It's been replaced with "Always low prices, always". That is most important to us now. And guess who that ends up helping most?

      • by drankr (2796221)

        But what would be the benefit of "bases on the Moon"? That kind of effort has to be motivated by something greater than Cold War bragging. Unless natural resources can be pillaged and slave labor secured there is no real incentive for anyone who can to go to space., and as we know, there is sadly no evidence of slave labor, aka aliens, despite some claims. As for natural resources well Google seems to be on to something, minerals something..?
        Anyway, Americans need to watch less bad television and put more f

        • Any possible scenario for a lunar (or Martian settlement) involves eminent loss of life and hardship, especially at the outset when our learning curve begins. One of the difficulties an American expedition would encounter is the high price placed on each American life. The Chinese might have an edge here, and could perhaps design equipment and housing without the quintuple safety redundancies that have made NASA projects so time consuming and expensive. Backslash is onto something though...nothing would
      • by Muad'Dave (255648)

        Surely you mean 1999 [wikipedia.org]?

    • by Dr. Tom (23206)

      27% think humans have already been to Mars

    • Re:In related news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @07:40AM (#42869921)

      Half the population believes in creationism and alien abductions.

      I'll pass on putting any stock in their predictions or beliefs.

    • by crazyjj (2598719) *

      When I was a kid, we all thought that moonbases and Mars were just around the corner. And we thought that the Space Shuttle was going to live up to its initial promise of being a truly "Take off and land, then take off again" spaceship (not a super-expensive splashdown pod with a cargo bay and wheels). When I became an adult and really started to appreciate the politics and science, I realized that these were far from just around the corner, and how much of the initial incredible progress that NASA made was

    • by ranton (36917)

      75% of the respondents agreed/strongly agreed that NASA's budget should be increased to explore Mars through manned and robotic means.

      Unless they were also asked what programs to cut to pay for NASA's budget increase, this question is meaningless.

  • Mad skillZ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dutchmaan (442553) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:07AM (#42869553) Homepage
    Two things man is exceptionally good at with great consistency; overestimating his progress in the future and underestimating the resilience of nature.
    • Re:Mad skillZ (Score:5, Insightful)

      by neyla (2455118) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:54AM (#42869745)

      I think the trend is to overestimate the short-term changes, while underestimating long-term actually.

      And long-term gets shorter all the time. We've made more technological progress in the last 50 years than we did in the 100 before that, or the 200 before those, or the 500 before. (i.e. 1963-2013 has seen more technological progress than 1163 - 1663 did.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cheesybagel (670288)
        Depends on how you measure progress. Transportation is not any faster. Energy is not any cheaper to generate.

        The computers are better and communications are more pervasive and ubiquitous.

        It is laughable to dismiss the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration like that.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        And long-term gets shorter all the time. We've made more technological progress in the last 50 years than we did in the 100 before that, or the 200 before those, or the 500 before.

        So logically, we're going to asymptote and know everything about everything and do anything we want to in 2063. Or so the singularity believers claim.

        The trouble is, it's based on a phony idea. The last 50 years of technological progress are impressive, but so were the previous 50 years: Some of the major developments between 1913 and 1963:
        - Mass produced cars
        - Widespread use of AC electric power
        - Widespread use of telephones
        - plastics
        - nuclear power
        - radio
        - television
        - significant air travel
        - vacuum tube c

    • You sound like one of the people who told the Wright brothers they'll never fly. Or maybe you're that 1920s New York Times editor who said that rocketry is junk science and would never get us to space let alone the moon.

      • Re:Mad skillZ (Score:4, Insightful)

        by locofungus (179280) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @07:35AM (#42869899)

        Getting someone to Mars (and presumably back again) is an engineering problem. We know how to do it in theory - we know multiple ways it could be done and all that remains is to decide the "best" way to do it and find the funds to achieve it.

        But "the funds" will be eye watering sums to the average man in the street and the payback is hard to define, certainly in the short term.

        We can't even find the funds to seriously research nuclear fusion. That is currently a physics problem rather than an engineering problem, we don't currently know how to build a working commercial fusion power plant but it seems likely that one should be possible and the payback is pretty obvious.

        I don't foresee a man on Mars or a working commercial fusion power plant in my lifetime - I'm just old enough to have been alive when there were men on the moon but not old enough to remember it. I've some hope that China might spur on the US and EU eventually but I think there's another 15-20 years before Chinese accomplishments go beyond the "well we did it in the past and we could do it again now if we really wanted to but there's no point" attitude of the majority of the electorate in the West.

        So I don't see a man on Mars in 20 years - just possibly I see the start of a race to put a man on Mars in the next 20 years.

        Tim.

        • by javilon (99157)

          I agree, it is too expensive, and not enough payback.

          The only reason to send a human to Mars would be if he is going to stay there and found a colony. Anything else can be achieved in a way that is better and cheaper by robots. And we already know we can send (and recover alive) people to space, so no need to do it again unless it is for good reason.

          • by balsy2001 (941953)
            Exactly. The costs aren't even close. You could probably send over 100 robot missions for the cost of sending one manned trip. The payback is basically bragging rights. The humans would just push the start button for the equipment the robots have. There are some drawbacks too, we already have difficulty distinguishing between earth contaminants and potential signs of life on mars, imagine how much harder it would be with people actually there. People suffer fatigue, robots don't (some of the early rovers w
            • Multiple variant linear regression analysis is inclusion-free on the order of flawless a life changing asteroid impact with our rather inhabitable little rock will occur. Whether it is an extinction event or merely teleports us back to the Stone Age is irrelevant with regard to the loss of all human technology and scientific progress. A robotic presence during exploration is invaluable. Robotic slaves at the off-planet human settlement will be handy like a pocket on a shirt. Without a human presence, w
              • by balsy2001 (941953)
                Yes, it will occur (just look at mass extinction events like at the K-Pg boundary). This reality doesn't change the problems of funding. Until this becomes a culturally important thing to strive for (probably on a global scale) it won't happen. We can't even convince the general population that global warming is happening (let alone caused by humans and a real threat). Also, I still think Robots first is the way to go. They can figure out most of the stuff that needs to be known about Mars before we st
          • by Grave (8234)

            Sending and recovering people between the Earth and the Moon isn't the same as another planet - it's a good start, but the logistics are different. It's a bit silly to think we're going to go from sending a few robots here and there to building a colony in one fell swoop. In theory, it could be done - but the thing about a Mars colony is that it will absolutely require long term funding. If all nations abruptly decided to stop funding the ISS today, the astronauts on board could come back down to Earth u

            • Another big difference though is that, precisely because of the greater transportation times, a Mars base would be designed to be far more self-sufficient than the ISS. Consider that the ISS is a sealed can that must get all it's replacement supplies from Earth, while a Mars base will have ready access to essentially unlimited quantities of water (assuming it's built near the icecap or other source), carbon dioxide, and sand. Assuming the sand is non-toxic all you need is some big, tough, transparent bags a

      • You sound like one of the people who told the Wright brothers they'll never fly. Or maybe you're that 1920s New York Times editor who said that rocketry is junk science and would never get us to space let alone the moon.

        The NASA timeline for a manned mission to mars is 2037 if is very possible that the time line will slip and miss the next two decades mark. It's not that we can't do it it's just that many things must go right for us to achieve this goal by 2040.

    • Two things man is exceptionally good at with great consistency; overestimating his progress in the future and underestimating the resilience of nature.

      Hey, the survey only talked about "sending" a human to Mars.

      "Sending" is the easy part. It's the actual travel, landing, and staying alive that is going to be difficult. May be we should just let Russia, China, or India, figure it all out for us. The US has become too risk adverse these days.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      Indeed. And consistently ignoring that all these predictions from the past have not materialized...

  • And... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    76% of the U.S. population believes an invisible guy in the sky watching them all the time too.

    Unlikely doesn't get more likely just because you got the majority to believe it...

  • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:35AM (#42869689)
    Developing a new high speed rail network - London to Birmingham..
    "Construction along the line is due to start in 2017 and be completed by 2025. The first train services will run between London and Birmingham from 2026." https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/developing-a-new-high-speed-rail-network [www.gov.uk]

    Add in the delays and 2033 looks possible! - Would you believe England used to rule 3/4 of the planet?
    • And do you think the US will have high speed rail by 2033, let alone a man on Mars?
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      By the time it is running Japan will have a super-super-high-speed maglev service going. Even when we try to build something like this we have no ambition.

  • by slimdave (710334) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:46AM (#42869725)
    Poll sponsored by Boeing and Mars exploration group finds public opinion agrees with their own wishes. Here is essential information on how polls work, courtesy of "Yes, Prime Minister": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ZZJXw4MTA [youtube.com]
  • Gravity! (Score:2, Troll)

    Given that Mars's Gravity is roughly 39% that of the earth a manned mission seems unlikely unless great improvements are made in rocket efficiency. Unless they intend it to be a one way mission in which case can I volunteer Piers Morgan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piers_Morgan [wikipedia.org]
  • by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @07:03AM (#42869779)
    Translates to "71% of humans wish humans could be on Mars by 2033"
  • by cshotton (46965) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @07:05AM (#42869791) Homepage

    What those 77% of people fail to realize is that we can no longer organize ourselves well enough to accomplish this sort of task. NASA, as an institution, long ago stopped being about technical successes and exploration. During my years working with NASA, I discovered that a NASA manager's career success is measured solely by the number of people they manage and the size of the budget they control. Not by how many successful missions they achieved, not by the technology breakthroughs they fostered, and not by any other rational measure beyond their org chart success.

    So we have no government agency capable of focusing on such a complicated goal as landing humans on Mars. They immediately get distracted with project management issues and politics. If private industry were to try and undertake this effort, there would have to be some financial incentive for our largest private spacefaring corporations to try and cooperate, since none have the resources alone to achieve the goal within 20 years. And the only model they have for organizing themselves is NASA today. No one still working in the industry knows how NASA of the 1960's worked, and society has changed to the point that the technical people required for such an effort are no longer motivated to make the selfless sacrifices needed to achieve such a goal. All the good engineers left aerospace for the Dot.Com world in the '90s. Those remaining few are motivated by commercial and personal financial success, and that requires a much shorter planning and gratification cycle than 20 years.

    Sorry, we won't be going to Mars. We're a bunch of greedy, self-absorbed, small-minded apes that have reached the pinnacle of our organizational skills at the bottom of our gravity well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by osu-neko (2604)

      We're a bunch of greedy, self-absorbed, small-minded apes...

      ...with a bad habit of glorifying the past and forgetting that there's never been a time where this was even one iota less true than it is today. "The pathetic culture we've devolved into today could never even accomplish today the great things our ancestors did, much less progress even further." This has been the common wisdom since... at least since we've been capable of writing it down. It was certainly the common sentiment among the Greeks (well before they actually accomplished the things we know th

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @07:22AM (#42869857)

    You may as well be on the Moon for all the good it does. Mars may be a great goal on some scientific agenda however we have the Moon and it's much closer. The only thing however that comes to mind in both cases for colonies or even some manned outpost is what would you do with it? Yes, there's the scientific exploration aspects of it but as World History would point out, Explorers were in search of riches, trade routes or room to expand. The technical hurdles would certainly mean more expansion in terms of possibly new technologies that we can use here on Earth, new material science, new electronics or new discoveries on Physics. Other than that, I would submit that the Moon or Mars don't really represent much other than commercial mining opportunities. In order to have the remotest chance of being economically feasible, this would mean that there would have to be some new or unknown mineral lurking out there, or something so rare here on Earth that the astronomical (pun intended) costs to retrieve and process would make sense. Now, if it were purely for expansion would could always find a planet like Pandora and just send in the Military to fight blue giant cat people or if you're of the Star Trek genre, then you could find Orion Slave Girls [youtube.com] and bring them back for fun and profit!

  • 71% of respondents agreed that the US will send a human to Mars within the next two decades.

    The other 29 percent know we don't have a launch platform capable of getting us there.

    • Number of humans that have been to the moon : 12
      Number of humans that have been as far as the moon 24 (Including the 12 above)
      Number that have been out of near earth orbit in the last 40 years : 0

      In 1970 we were landing on the moon, could travel as a regular commercial passenger at Mach 2, had a plane that cruised for long distances at Mach 3+ (Although we did not know it at the time), and now we don't ....

      Forget Mars we can't even get to the moon anymore ...

      • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

        We landed a one ton robot on the moon with a fucking sky crane, and will be flying by Pluto in two years. The moon is easy, nobody is going because there's no longer a stupid flag-planting pissing contest to motivate it.

  • humans on mars (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    if any humans get to mars by 2033 they wont be american, theyll be chinese.

  • Just like that 2012 Gallup survey of US citizens, the one that found 46% of American respondents believe an invisible superhero who lives in the sky created humans in their present form.

    Forgive me if I consider US citizens something of an unreliable group when it comes to science.

    • by zippo01 (688802)
      I'm sure this number is low compared to some places and higher then others. Everyone is talking about the Chinese, they do just as much crazy and weird stuff, there society justifies....
  • by jjohn (2991)

    I am a big proponent of NASA. I would like to see the budget increased. I would do it with cuts in the military and corporate subsidies (particular to oil companies).

    Then next time a stupid survey asks "would you like to increase spending" I really wish there were a follow-up question "what would you give up to see this happen."

    Heck, I give 110% at my job and SO SHOULD THE BUDGET!

  • The Chinese will be the first humans on Mars, but that's okay because we are paying for it. Just hit that WalMart up again - the brothers need another oxygen tank.
  • by TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @08:35AM (#42870103)

    Jumping the gun is not necessarily the best way to get things done.

    The most oft-discussed and visible triumphs of manned space have been by necessity "get there, plant the flag and get out."

    But the ultimate goal should be not just to visit space or establish some dangerous and isolated outposts there (though there is no shortage of volunteers!)...it should be to move into space in a series of self-sustaining stages.

    This means we first need to build a space colony here on Earth, and decide on some practical steps to take that will achieve the ultimate goal. And each step should be of immediate practical and commercial value.

    I would like to call attention to Marshall Savage's amazing project and book, The Millennial Project. [wikipedia.org] another synopsis [asi.org] and at Amazon [amazon.com]. Some have picked fun at Savage's priorities, but frankly until this book/project arrived on the scene there had been nothing like it.

    In that plan, terraforming Mars is step 6 of 8. In this scenario we are not just landing on Mars to establish an outpost... at that stage we have already perfected the technology for habitats in space. If our focus is on 'the next logical (small) step' instead of some ultimate goal and devote our complete effort to these steps, by 2033 we could be moving outward in all directions... instead of just one.

  • And in the 60's we though by the 70's we'd be living on the moon

    Clearly this doesn't hold a lot of valor.
  • In ten years manned spaceflight with be over. Quite likely for more than an hundred years if not more.

  • ....as long as we're allowed to continue to spend money we don't have, why not?

    Of course, I suspect that when you ask the question differently, you're going to get a very different response:
    "Assuming that whatever % of budget goes to NASA comes directly out of services you receive, what % of budget should NASA get?"

  • but just don't see them on planet Earth anymore by that time.

  • But I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

  • I, for one, can't believe that people will ever be able humans on Mars. Heck, I can't even see people on airlines flying at a measly altitude of 35,000 feet! Sheesh.
  • I'm sure most of them certainly would allocate more money to NASA. Ask them though if they're support a tax increase in order to bolster NASA's budget. Almost all would drop their support in a heartbeat.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not anti-tax and I PERSONALLY would have no issue with paying a little more if I knew it'd go to NASA. I'm just saying that most people probably wouldn't. Most operate under the impression that the government just has all this free money to send where it wants with no clue that t

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      Don't get me wrong - I'm not anti-tax and I PERSONALLY would have no issue with paying a little more if I knew it'd go to NASA. I'm just saying that most people probably wouldn't. Most operate under the impression that the government just has all this free money to send where it wants with no clue that those resources and funds have to actually come from somewhere.

      Yeah, just think if NASA had been allowed to keep the patents and royalties from teflon, velcro and any number of products developed through the early space program. They could probably be fully self-funded by now, but instead, taxpayers payed for the research and private companies got to profit from it.

  • We could get there (Score:4, Insightful)

    by medcalf (68293) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @10:17AM (#42870743) Homepage
    But NASA can't. If we do get to Mars in that time frame, it will be the Chinese or, more likely, one of the New Space companies like SpaceX.
  • Do you guys know the Mars Direct Program? It was developed by Rober Zubrin. The point of the program is that we are technically able to go to Mars. We were it 15 years ago en today we still are. We can do it relatively cheap (20 billion) and without need of in-orbit build spaceships. I recommend reading The Case for Mars by Rober Zubrin. wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Direct [wikipedia.org]
  • If you ask people 'do you like generally non-controversial policy X', they will support it in droves. The public's ability to understand how much things cost, how much they are willing to pay, and how they should prioritize their concerns is a completely different matter. I couldn't find it in three minutes of searching, but Pew had a poll a couple of years back where the only category the US respondants could agree on is cutting foreign aid to cut the defecit, which is only because the budget doesn't have

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