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Mars United States Government Moon NASA Space

U.S. House Wants 'Sustained Human Presence On the Moon and the Surface of Mars' 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-had-them-read-kim-stanley-robinson dept.
MarkWhittington writes "Politico reports in a June 18, 2013 story that House Republicans have added a Mars base to its demands for a lunar base in the draft 2013 NASA Authorization bill. Both the Bush-era Constellation program and President Obama space plan envisioned eventual human expeditions to Mars. But if Politico is correct, the new bill will be the first time an official piece of legislation will call for permanent habitation of the Red Planet. The actual legislative language states, 'The [NASA] Administrator shall establish a program to develop a sustained human presence on the Moon and the surface of Mars.'"
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U.S. House Wants 'Sustained Human Presence On the Moon and the Surface of Mars'

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  • Re:Unfunded mandate? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ZeroPly (881915) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @04:02PM (#44053493)
    They're doing busy work. If you want to be in space exploration, you need to be bold. Their probe technology is from the 1970s, and the ISS is a solution in search of a problem. Look at a list of the last 500 experiments conducted there, and try to find one that someone will care about in 100 years. Now compare that with the massive balls it took to land people on the moon, when computers were still a novelty.

    James Webb. Great. Another fucking telescope, like we don't have enough of those already. I guess it's a good way to spend a few billion if you're close to retirement and you don't want to risk anyone dying on your shift. But like I said, we need to keep those glossy color brochures coming, and that doesn't happen without good optics.

    You want to know how you figure out how well people can survive in space? You don't build a $20 gazillion boondoggle and do experiments for 10 years. You send people into space and see what happens to them. Without typing up 2,000 pages of composite risk management paperwork.
  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @04:21PM (#44053683)

    Sending someone to Mars is a complete waste of money in the short term. As is finding water or even signs of life on that planet.

    And before you jump down my throat about bullshit such as Space R&D leads to beneficial offshoot technology, realize that we do not need to spend $100 Billion dollars to send someone to Mars with the offshoot of having a better memory foam for our mattresses, new flavor of Tang, or a more grippy version of Velcro.

    We have real problems on Earth. We have an energy crisis. We are running out of fossil fuel and demand more electrical energy year over year. One could argue that sending someone to Mars could lead to a solution to Earth's energy crisis. However NASA could easily spend billions on R&D for energy for a space mission and find out the best solution is to tack a nuclear reactor to the end of the spaceship because you can just eject the spent core's into the void of space. A solution like this will not benefit Earth at all.

    Instead, having a mandate to solve our energy crisis on Earth first, by finding real alternatives to using fossil fuel for energy and making technology use energy more efficiently, would lead to trivial solutions to generate and conserve energy on a mission to Mars. That is, NASA could operate on a cheaper budget and spend less time finding solutions for a Mars mission when we have real solutions to Earth problems.

    Space R&D is limited in scope and we can only hope for there to be offshoot technology that could benefit Earth. NASA is not going to design solutions with a dual purpose, to work on Mars and provide solutions to Earth. Why create a limitation on R&D when it won't move the Mars mandate further, faster.

    The problem, or course, is that a US presidency only lasts at most 8 years and its hard to hand over an easier Mars solution to the next president.

    It's simply irresponsible to waste billions on Space R&D when we have significant economic, energy and climate issues on Earth. Three days after people see someone landing on Mars on YouTube nobody will give a shit and we will be stuck with the same problems on Earth, now just with even more repressive tax debt.

    Fix Earth first, then lets see the planets and the stars. Why not have mandate to sustain life on this Planet?!

  • by paiute (550198) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @06:22PM (#44054877)

    Gawd, NO! Leave them here & let's the rest of us go!

    Don't worry, you can have Venus for the geeks, Jupiter for the nerds and Pluto all for yourself.

    Kudos to you, brave AC, for passing on all of the obvious Uranus jokes.

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