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Mars Networking Space

Building an IT Infrastructure Around Mars 121

bfwebster writes "Space.com has an article talking about the efforts to observe the arrival of the Phoenix lander on Mars this coming May using current Mars orbiters. This community will likely be intrigued to see the ways in which NASA is using existing landers and orbiters to prepare for, and then monitor, that landing. This includes using the landers Spirit and Opportunity to simulate transmissions from Phoenix as a testing procedure in advance of the actual landing; using the Odyssey orbiter as a high-speed data transmission link from Phoenix to Earth during the landing; and using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Express orbiter as backup data stores for Phoenix data transmissions during the descent. How long until we get a terabyte solid-state dataserver (running IPv6, natch) in orbit around Mars?"
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Building an IT Infrastructure Around Mars

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  • Crossover point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bradbury ( 33372 ) <Robert.Bradbury@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:33PM (#22630704) Homepage
    A better point for the exploration of the solar system is *when* can we set up a complete solar system that involves an information discovery and transmission system system which exceeds that which humans can carry out!

    The recent proposal to send humans to Mars is idiotic. I.e. we send take months and god knows how many $$ to send a few humans to Mars and then bring them back. What kind of an idiotic idea is that? One should be engaged (and I hope the folks at NASA are reading this) in a serious discussion of what is the information retrieval rate of a space probe (robotic explorer, etc.) vs.a human being?

    And so the discussion should be when the light speed transmission of information across the solar system will exceed the mass transport of humans across the solar system?
  • Re:Crossover point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MSZ ( 26307 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:55PM (#22630870)
    One feature that humans have and (current) robots don't is the ability to understand situation (beyond simple rule-following) and have own decision. That is quite a good reason to send people on these missions.

    On the other hand, just sending a team there and getting them back after a week of exploration IS a waste of resources. It's just a kind of "my peni^Wrocket is bigger than yours"... It will end the same way as the Apollo missions to the Moon: we'll collect some data, plant a flag or two and then just sit and reminisce what a great achievement this was.

    The moonbase plan, that will probably be dropped as the Mars mission will go overbudget (as usual) is much more useful. A lot of learning opportunities, not to mention a great place to set up big guns and kindly ask for more funding ;-).

    There's no point in going to Mars unless we go there to set up forward base for colonization.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford