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Mars NASA The Almighty Buck

Mars InSight Mission To Launch In 2018, After $150M Failure and Delay (arstechnica.com) 69

Reader wbr1 points to Ars Technica's Wednesday report that NASA has announced a 2018 launch date for its InSight mission to Mars, two years after its original launch date; the date slip gives engineers time to fix problems with the spacecraft's seismometer system. Adds wbr1: "Even with the failure and extra cost, I think this is the type of mission we should be doing more of. We need more landers and rovers, everywhere we can put them. The science benefit is high, but the cost is magnitudes lower than launching meatbags and all the attendant support they need."
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Mars InSight Mission To Launch In 2018, After $150M Failure and Delay

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  • We need more landers and rovers, everywhere we can put them. The science benefit is high, but the cost is magnitudes lower than launching meatbags and all the attendant support they need.

    More landers and rovers, less potatoes and sh*t.

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Thursday March 10, 2016 @10:46AM (#51671297) Journal
    Of course there are some advantages to help settle another sphere using robotic crews, but unless the goal is to spread our bloody androids throughout the universe, human settlements are a must.
  • Cost is the object, why send anything at all?
    • Because, just like with most everything else we do, there's a potential future benefit that is worth more than the cost. Otherwise we'd still be living in small tribes and gathering nuts and berries while following herds of animals around.
      • And we'd still be there if we stopped to do a cost-benefit analysis of every new idea.

        Sometimes humans just do for the hell of it, and why shouldn't we?

        • And we'd still be there if we stopped to do a cost-benefit analysis of every new idea.

          Sometimes humans just do for the hell of it, and why shouldn't we?

          Exploration is fun. Robotic exploration can be cool, but I want a human presence off earth, not some sort of weird and cowardly "Its too expensive!"or "Its too dangerous!" bull shit.

          But there are a lot of people who want to stay in their metaphorical caves. But risk averse people shouldn't be running the show. Exploration for the hell of it is as good a reason as any to send humans to Mars and the Asteroids, and the moon. Let's roll.

      • Because, just like with most everything else we do, there's a potential future benefit that is worth more than the cost. Otherwise we'd still be living in small tribes and gathering nuts and berries while following herds of animals around.

        We'd all be huddled in the caves, because we'd have built robotic hunters who would bring things back to us because we poor little meatbags dare not venture outside of the caves because it is dangerous and expensive. A meatbag is too precious to accept any risk, or any danger.

        sarcasm off. I am of course being facetious. I simply find the "Silly humans, space is not for you, it's for robots!" attitude exactly equivalent to the concept of never daring to leave the tropics because its too expensive to bui

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday March 10, 2016 @10:58AM (#51671343)

    I think this is the type of mission we should be doing more of. We need more landers and rovers, everywhere we can put them.

    I agree.

    The science benefit is high, but the cost is magnitudes lower than launching meatbags and all the attendant support they need.

    Sigh... Getting tired of this meme. The science value of sending robots versus sending people DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU ARE STUDYING. Some lines of scientific inquiry it is clearly more economically efficient to send robots. For a different set of problems it is more valuable to send people. In fact there are some problems that you literally cannot study with robots. (Human physiology not the least among them) While I agree that robotic probes are hugely valuable and we should send more, it doesn't follow that there is no value (scientific or otherwise) in sending humans into space. Yes sending people is expensive and difficult. But the good news is that we learn FAR more by sending people. We have to develop all sorts of technology that would otherwise never come about. We are forced down avenues of inquiry that would never come up on any robotic mission. And we can study things that cannot be studied by robots. By all means, keep sending robots but shutting down human spaceflight is both shortsighted and ill advised.

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      Submitter here. There are certainly things we can study with manned missions that we cannot robotically. However the political/financial will is not there. My hope is that robotic missions will advance science more cheaply, and at some point there will be a discovery that will make political or corporate manned missions a no-brainer. For right now though manned exploration is not something we have the will to do, and this seems to maybe be the best path to get there.
      • There are certainly things we can study with manned missions that we cannot robotically. However the political/financial will is not there.

        The fact that currently there is a lack of political will does not mean there never will be. What is the most inspirational thing ever done in space? Sending people to the moon. Why did we go? To beat the Russians. What superpower is emerging now? China. Think the US and China are going to compete in space? You better believe it. China is going to want to show off and the US is nothing if not competitive. I think Neil DeGrasse Tyson was more or less correct that we do big missions when either ther

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      In fact there are some problems that you literally cannot study with robots. (Human physiology not the least among them)

      Yes, but we already know that humans don't like to die of suffocation, cold, heat, thirst, hunger, radiation poisoning or excessive G-forces. Pretty much the only conditions we can't easily replicate is low/zero gravity, which is only interesting if we plan to have humans in low/zero gravity in the first place. Almost all the challenges to a Mars mission are technological to keep the "human parameters" within the boundaries we already have a pretty good idea of. And we could do more of those, like could you

    • by delt0r ( 999393 )

      For a different set of problems it is more valuable to send people

      Name a single one that is not "How to send people there and live for a few months".

  • I had never considered a slur against the entirety of the human species. Mission accomplished, wbr1. It is important to send humans to Mars so that we fully understand all the attendant support we need. I copy pasted part of that last sentence, changing they to we. It is important to learn, so that we can figure out indefinite human self-sustainability on Mars. It is important to do this sooner rather than later as it is becoming increasingly clear that the days of human civilization on Earth are counting
    • If a few hundred people are to spend trillions (which they're entitled to.. how?) to go live on Mars while the masses starve, why can't they do that on Earth?
      North Korea shows how it can be done. Allow a very low standard of living to 99% of the population (i.e. no heating in the winter, no transportation, rice and eggs considered as fine foods), and a decent standard of living to 0.1% of the population. Use your space tech to threaten your neighbors with nuclear attacks.

      If that requires you to run death ca

  • Seriously, we need to get red dragon going so that we can simply load on various sensors, robots, etc. And with a costs of under 200M to launch one to mars, it becomes very cheap to send one. Once we have that, it makes it easy to send multiple dragons even in the same year.
    Hopefully, musk will send a dragon to mars once he has gotten dragon fly working on earth. And if he does one in 2018, with his garden and extra sensors, he will make it possible to send loads more in 2020.
  • Mainly due to problems with its new nuclear power plant. Its doing OK now, but slower getting to Mount Sharp than some people had hoped for.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (8) I'm on the committee and I *still* don't know what the hell #pragma is for.

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