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NASA Mars

Trump Has Grand Plan For Mission To Mars But Nasa Advises: Cool Your Jets (theguardian.com) 444

Donald Trump would like to see Americans walk on Mars during his presidency. Nasa would love to get there that quickly, too. The reality of space travel is slightly more complicated, however. From a report: On Monday, during a call with astronaut Peggy Whitson, who was aboard the International Space Station, Trump pressed her for a timeline on a crewed mission to Mars, one of Nasa's longest standing and most daunting goals. "Tell me, Mars," he asked her from the Oval Office, "what do you see a timing for actually sending humans to Mars? Is there a schedule and when would you see that happening?" Whitson answered by pointing out that Trump, by signing a Nasa funding bill last month, had already approved a timeline for a mission in the 2030s. She added that Nasa was building a new heavy-launch rocket, which would need testing. "Unfortunately space flight takes a lot of time and money," she said. "But it is so worthwhile doing." Trump replied: "Well, we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term, so we'll have to speed that up a little bit, OK?" It was not clear whether the president meant the remark as a quip or something more serious.
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Trump Has Grand Plan For Mission To Mars But Nasa Advises: Cool Your Jets

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  • My advice (Score:5, Funny)

    by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:47AM (#54333265) Journal
    Even if there is no suitable launch window in a decade, put him in the rocket and let him test it anyway. It could make America great again!
  • Second term? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:48AM (#54333275)
    That Trump will finish a first term much less get reelected to a second term is as unlikely as NASA to send astronauts to Mars in the next eight years.
  • You know that it's a bad time when you can get more inspiring sounding space speeches from Rob Lowe dressed in a Colonel Sanders costume than you get from the president:

    http://www.adweek.com/agencysp... [adweek.com]

    Sadly, we can be pretty sure that KFC is going to get that friggin sandwich into space on time. Trump's Mars rocket? Forget about it.

  • Ego vs Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:52AM (#54333295)

    I have a suspicion this is Ego vs Science.

    He wants to cut all sorts of science and research budgets, so he's obviously not in favor of public money being spend on science. In Trump's eyes science is a private enterprise thing, not a government thing.

    So why does he want to go to Mars, and specifically why does he want to go during his presidency?

    The answer is Ego.

    He wants to be known as the President who got man to another planet. He wants the capital city on some long-in-the-future Mars to be called Trump Town.

    He doesn't want to go to look for signs of life, he doesn't want to go to advance science, he doesn't want to go to see if there is any long-term investment strategy.

    He wants to go for the ego-boost.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      I don't care much about his motivation for it. I'd just like to see some serious effort to get us there. Like it or not, the next frontier is space. It's there to explore and I'd love it if I could live long enough to see humans walk on Mars.

    • Re:Ego vs Science (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:58AM (#54333333)

      For the record: I am very pro humans going to Mars. I realize the hurdles, I realize the dangers. I realize we can't economically achieve it right now. I believe in the Buzz Aldrin model of an initially one way trip, I'm aware there is a high risk of life in the early days, (so should any applicant to go).

      With all that said, if it takes Trump's ego to get us to Mars, I am all for that. He might actually be one of the very few men at the top willing to risk the political backlash of failure.

      Even if we're going for the wrong reasons, I would be glad if we took the steps.

      • He might actually be one of the very few men at the top willing to risk the political backlash of failure.

        Oh I'm pretty sure we've already established that.

      • Re:Ego vs Science (Score:4, Insightful)

        by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @12:44PM (#54334243)

        With all that said, if it takes Trump's ego to get us to Mars, I am all for that. He might actually be one of the very few men at the top willing to risk the political backlash of failure.

        For me it's not just Trump's ego; it's his cognitive dissonance. There are practical problems that need to be solved to go to Mars. When he advocates cutting the research that will be needed at the same time as pushing for a result, I can only see many failures and dead astronauts as a result. He's the PHB that doesn't understand why the servers are slow after he's cut the budget for new servers for 5 years straight.

    • He wants the capital city on some long-in-the-future Mars to be called Trump Town.

      Two words: "Mars casino".

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        He wants the capital city on some long-in-the-future Mars to be called Trump Town.

        Two words: "Mars casino".

        I didn't realize the Wongs were related to Trump...

    • And you do understand that Kennedy wanted to put Americans on the moon not for scientific reasons, but to beat the Russians in the Space Race [wikipedia.org], right?
    • I have a suspicion this is Ego vs Science.

      Who cares? If that's what it takes, let's go to Mars!

      He wants to cut all sorts of science and research budgets, so he's obviously not in favor of public money being spend on science. In Trump's eyes science is a private enterprise thing, not a government thing.

      So why does he want to go to Mars, and specifically why does he want to go during his presidency?

      The answer is Ego.

      Who cares? If that's what it takes, let's go to Mars!

      He wants to be known as the President who got man to another planet. He wants the capital city on some long-in-the-future Mars to be called Trump Town.

      He doesn't want to go to look for signs of life, he doesn't want to go to advance science, he doesn't want to go to see if there is any long-term investment strategy.

      Who cares? If that's what it takes, let's go to Mars!

      He wants to go for the ego-boost.

      Who cares? If that's what it takes, let's go to Mars!

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @12:38PM (#54334197)
      But will ego-boost add enough delta-v for a trip?
  • Who knew? (Score:5, Funny)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:57AM (#54333325) Journal

    "Interplanetary travel is more complicated than I thought it would be."

  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:58AM (#54333335)

    I just don't understand this. Every single time he says something idiotic, there are always people who try to claim that he isn't serious. "Oh, he's not serious about the wall" "Oh, he's not serious about his vendetta against immigrants." And then he will do, or at least try to do, exactly what he said. Anyone who, at this point, honestly believes that he doesn't mean what he says, is either stupid, deluded, or both.

    So yes, I think he's entirely serious that he wants to have people walking on Mars within his term. The only question is, what will he do when he finds out that it's impossible? Will he throw craptons of money at NASA, thinking that he just throw money at the problem? Will he just get pissed off and "fire" NASA?

    The man is so completely divorced from reality that there's really no way to anticipate what he will do.

    • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @11:04AM (#54333373)

      Mars is one of the few problems that 'throwing money at it' would actually solve.

      It would just take a LOT of it. Ridiculous amounts.

      But, in principle, we could launch fleets of rockets at Mars with life support and other modules until we have enough to keep a crew alive for a while. And while we're doing that, we could be paying Musk to develop his tail-landing tech on a faster timeline, even throwing test rockets at Mars.

      And then, in a few years, we could throw a bunch of astronaut-carrying rockets at the red planet and hope to have a high percentage of successful landings.

      You have to ask yourself if accelerating the timeline is worth the cost, and if in doing so you'd actually achieve anything useful that couldn't be done better and for less money with a bit more patience - and I think the answer is 'no'.

      • How would throwing money at this problem solve anything? There's absolutely no guarantee that money will actually make it to people capable and willing to accomplish this. Not to mention it takes forever for a rocket to make it to Mars, and those trips are kinda useless anyway. Which is kinda heart of the issue. Why attempt this in the first place? Not a lot of useful and/or fun stuff you can do there. Even communications with Earth will be subject to several minutes of delay due to speed of light being fin
        • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @12:09PM (#54333931)

          >There's absolutely no guarantee that money will actually make it to people capable and willing to accomplish this.

          We can get rockets to Mars now, and have done so several times. We've seen Musk's tail landing tech coming along nicely, and the math works out so we know it's possible to get it right for Mars.

          >Not to mention it takes forever for a rocket to make it to Mars

          Most estimates are in the 150-300 day range. It depends on how much fuel you want to burn. Mars and Earth align every 25 months or so, but you don't worry about that unless you're sending humans. Longer trips are OK for 'stuff'.

          >Even communications with Earth will be subject to several minutes of delay due to speed of light being finite.

          4-24 minutes speed-of-light delay, assuming a direct line of sight. If you're bouncing a signal off a Sun-orbiting satellite to get around our star, then it'll be a bit longer. That's not really a problem for sending 'stuff', and the reason to send humans is they don't need live remote control.

          The problem would be manufacturing and testing. Which is where the money comes in. The next decent Mars launch window is in April of 2018, then there's another in July of 2020. So you make a metric fuckton of rockets for 2018 and mount your payloads and shoot 'em off, then you follow up with humans a couple of years later.

          Money. LOTS of money. Ludicrous amounts of money. But it would make a difference, and it could be done.

          And the point would be to figure out how to live there, and to more efficiently do scientific research. If you could keep a geologist alive on Mars, they could do more in a week than the rovers have done since the first one landed. Humans are very flexible tools.

          And ultimately, we'd want to see if we could live there. Because why not? The same reason we migrated out of the trees and then eventually out of Africa. Because it's a new place to go and make more humans.

        • With enough money (read:energy, materials, and personnel) anything is possible. Not sure how you can make sure that the money is actually being spent to achieve your goals? Set up two separate entities competing with each other. Yes, it's twice the money, but your goals get accomplished.

          I'm not going to get into whether that would be worth it or not, but it would be possible.

      • He slashing the DOE budget to the point where ARPA-E has suspended future funding announcements because they aren't sure they will have the money to fund any research. Expect the same in all the other departments that do any kind of research, EPA, DARPA, etc. There is NO chance of us getting to Mars during the next 4 years. In fact I'd lay a higher probability that Elon Musk will make it Mars before the US does.

    • I certainly won't defend many of the statements you list, but on this one, it sounds like dry New York City humor.

    • Here's a video. [washingtonpost.com]

      I know I'm from the Northeast and so have relatively decent sarcasm detection, but this is not even an edge case - he's got a huge "I just made a funny" grin on his face, and everyone in the room is laughing.

      • That's an excellent way of hedging against looking like an idiot, and something Scott Adams does all the time. Just have enough plausible deniability that you can claim it was a joke. But you never know, people might give the answer you want in which case of course it was serious.

    • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @11:38AM (#54333673)

      "The man is so completely divorced from reality that there's really no way to anticipate what he will do." One constant is that everything he does is about himself. Another constant is that he destroys everything he touches. He loves "strong leaders", i.e., moral degenerates that will step on anyone...errr...like him. The only exceptions are the ones where he thinks he can aggrandize perception of himself by going against a "strong leader" as in Lil'Kimmy and Assad.

      Another thing to realize is that he's lost control of his administration, although that is putting it euphemistically. The Defense Dept. is doing things he doesn't understand. His own EPA administrator was exhorting the coal wackos to lobby Trump against the climate accords, as though EPA wasn't really part of the Cabinet. The Cabinet has gone off on their own, even his ghost minders have been sidelined. Treasury's minder got shunted off to a basement office. The rest are being "reassigned" by the Cabinet secretaries. How could they do that if that asshole was in charge? Even his "tax plan" was joke. It was written on a single piece of paper because his attention span won't allow him to comprehend any more. The people writing it know it is crap, but they also know giving him a sheet of talking points makes him feel like he's the President.

      He's in charge of nothing except screwing things up.

    • by dfm3 ( 830843 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @11:48AM (#54333757) Journal
      Trump does this because it's part of his style, and it's worked well for him in the past as a leadership strategy: throw a bunch of stuff out there and see what sticks, then shrug off as a joke or hyperbole the stuff that gets a bad response. It serves at least four purposes:

      - it keeps opponents on their toes since they're never quite sure when he is exaggerating or not.
      - it plays well into "dog whistle" politics because supporters can outwardly claim that some appalling statement wasn't really serious, while secretly convincing themselves that it really was.
      - makes it easy to get rid of underlings. You failed to accomplish the task I gave you? You don't know me well enough to know that I was serious about it this one time? You're fired!
      - allows him to shirk responsibility for failure. Oh, that plan didn't actually work out? I never meant for it to anyway.

      I used to work under a boss who had this same leadership style, and I'll say this: as an employee, it sucked.
  • God Help Us (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TFlan91 ( 2615727 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @11:08AM (#54333409)

    "or, at worst, during my second term" ... Please... No...

  • JFK (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cashman73 ( 855518 )
    Let's all remember that the President that put our nation on the path towards landing on the moon was JFK in the early 60s. We did not land on the moon during his presidency. Even if JFK were to not have been shot and been re-elected, he would have left office just shy of the first moon landing on July 20, 1969. If Trump actually thinks that we're going to go even further and solve even more scientific problems necessary to make a Mars mission successful within his presidency, he's even more delusional than
  • by sremick ( 91371 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @11:15AM (#54333471)

    And the rockets will coal powered. Beautiful, clean coal. That's the secret to making America great again.

  • by burhop ( 2883223 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @11:47AM (#54333749)

    I was a bit surprised by some of my fellow slashdotter's negative comments on this.

      I've really hated the lack of focus on science and ignoring of scientific facts in the current administration. While I'd love to sell science funding for science's own sake, it is just not working well with a lot of our population and government representatives.

    As the same time, we know putting a man on the moon generated a huge amount of scientific research and learning. So if the current administration wants to characterize funding as helping "go to Mars", I'm glad to live with it given the scientific work that will be generated because of it.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @11:48AM (#54333769)

    I'm not a big fan of Trump, but if it takes his ego and bully power to get us back into space exploration, then that's a good thing. The thing I know he doesn't understand is how much effort and resources it takes to untertake a mission like this. I'm sure SpaceX has also been whispering in a few well-placed ears about taking over NASA's role as well -- that would definitely appeal to the conservative, small government, privatization always works crowd.

    The problem I see is that no one would ever be willing to just dump the amount of money required into this. I'm a firm believer of the idea that throwing enough money and resources at a problem will solve it, but no one's willing to do that. We were willing back in the 60s when the Soviet Union beat us into space -- and we also poured uncountable sums of money into nuclear weapons and espionage technology as well with virtually zero limits. No one complained one bit back then, but they sure do now. Or, go back a few years and look at the Manhattan Project -- again, bags of money were just lit on fire and forgotten about because the goal of winning a war that was consuming huge numbers of men was possible if you paid for it. If you read about it, it was a massive project -- not just the bomb design, but the mining and refining of radioactive material that consumed vast amounts of resources.

    The only way we could ever do something like this again is to have China plant a flag on Mars first...then all bets would be off.

  • pretty sad (Score:2, Interesting)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 )

    It's downright pathetic that NASA - formerly the epitome of America's can-do and forward-looking approach - is "oh wait, slow down, that's dangerous, that's expensive..."

    Fuck you NASA, you hidebound, overbureaucratic, topheavy, ass-covering bunch of time-servers. (And by that I don't mean the people at the program levels - they're still rocket scientists: I mean the admins and the politicals at the top.)

    Look, I get it: Trump's a boob. An ignoramus. If you're one of the literati, then you *have* to reflex

  • by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @12:01PM (#54333863) Homepage

    It's amazing that hating Trump and point out what a "dummy" he is, is more important than using this opportunity to convince him to give NASA more money and resources to implement his vision.

    The deadline is irrelevant. If in 4 years NASA has made significant progress the funding increase will continue.

    No wonder NASA has such a limited budget. They're too dumb to know when to shut up and take the money.

  • It's a hunch with scaffolding. :D

  • by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @06:37PM (#54337325) Homepage

    Seems the comments have de-evolved into its normal Trump bashing. I'm going to start a new thread to debate the actual scientific merits of going to Mars.

    While I'm pro space I don't see much need at this point for us to be focusing on a maned mission to Mars. I think we will eventually go to Mars but I think we should focus our time and resources on near Earth activity right now.

    By near Earth, I mean Earth and Moon. We have been tossing up crap in to near Earth orbit for decades. We should return to the moon first, build a base there, maybe a colony, and focus on getting our crap together first.

    We should get more actual space experience and pull the theoretical technology off the shelf and put it to use. I don't believe we will be ready for a manned mission to Mars till we have perfect space based building, artificial gravity, close to 100% recyclable life-support systems as we can get, magnetic radiation shielding, and nuclear propulsion.

    I don't believe we should aim for Mars till we can make flights to the moon as routine as jet travel across the world is today. Once we have mastered these technologies and routine travel to the moon then we should be ready for Mars. An as a bonus if we are ready for Mars then we should be ready to go any where in the solar system.

To be is to program.

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