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To Mars or the Moon?

Posted May 17, 2010 8:25 AM

Manned space flight is undeniably exciting, but do we really gain enough science to justify a project like sending an astronaut to Mars? Should we instead return to the moon, or have we already learned all we can from that satellite?

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#1

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 6:34 AM

It is better to invest in making our ONLY planet earth better, instead of looking for moon and mars. This is not worth, and would damage our planet more and more.

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#2

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 7:19 AM

To say we've learned all that we can from the Moon is like a six year old saying that he has learned all that he can after learning the A,B, Cs. One of the things we can learn from the moon is how to survive in an environment much harsher than what we'll find on Mars. By learning that we can prepare for Mars and other Planets, should they become available (because we have come up with propulsion systems that will make visiting other planets feasible). Living and working on the Moon will give us a perspective of Earth that can translate into more respect for our home planet - getting away may give us that perspective, but only after many years of living and working on the moon. Is the money better spent here on Earth? Not now. We've been throwing money at our problems for a long time with no avail. The more money we throw at our problems the more money these problems seem to lack. While we have our nose stapled to the tree, we cannot see the forest. While we waste our resources on Earth, we do not see the potential for resources from the Moon. We need to get to the moon and establish a working colony in order to figure out how to get those lunar resources to the Earth. At least, that's my take on the matter.

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#9
In reply to #2

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 5:16 PM

Hi Rod,

Sorry, but we did not yet learned all about the Earth and much less the Moon. Imagine if we land a few people and leave there for years without supplying any oxygen, food, and other necessary things to be able to survive in harsh environment. We are humans to attached to our planet Earth, that's all, for the moment and for a long moment.

Humans have the capability to dream, and we dream lots about impossible goals. It's real in relationship, business, and any areas of life. Results of dreams are dismal or better, lugubrious deceptions.

Yes, we have good ideas about propulsion systems and we have hard time to fill our car's empty tank. The time is approaching! I, personally, let writers as Wells to predict on paper what we do in the near or far future, and read it at least twice to understand it well.

We don't waste, we exhaust and dry up our resources as we smoke cigarettes and kill our body. Can we take home something useable from the Moon at lower costs than from any country on Earth? the answer is "NO"! What's the cost of "a ton" or 2,000 lbs goes to Moon or arrives from Moon? And, I don't want to talk about Mars.

We have lots of things to do here on our Earth, and I leave dreamers the rest, Gil.

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#3

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 8:46 AM

What's up with all this 'we' stuff?

If someone wants to go to the Moon or to Mars, more power to them. Just don't ask me to pay for it. There are thousands of companies doing all kinds of research ( medical, chemical, electronics, etc.) that they fund on their own nickel. Or they get bankrolled by private investors willing to gamble for a possible profit. If one of those companies finds something useful to me, I'll buy their product -- but they don't expect me to pay up front for something they 'might' find.

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#6
In reply to #3

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 10:18 AM

OK. We won't ask you.

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#7
In reply to #3

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 10:20 AM

Could it be "we" as in the human race?

Or even we in a national sense, then it would be the same "we" that currently pays to help develop athletes for the olympics and so many other "just" causes. Let me think now, a self suficient colony on Mars or the best shot putter in the world, which one would I rather be a part of?

As to the original question "do we really gain enough science to justify....." Again I'll have to think for a second. Hmmm doubling the chances of mankind's survival in a very hostile universe? I think that alone is a pretty justifiable goal, never mind the additional benifit of possibly learning something new.

Or is the original question not DO we go but where? Mars OR the moon ...... why not both? If I have to choose only one I would vote for Mars, it seems a more likely place to sustain a long term settlement. Also, depending on what ever it is that eventually takes out the Earth, the moon may be too close to the scene of the accident.

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#12
In reply to #3

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 11:09 PM

There are thousands of companies doing all kinds of research ( medical, chemical, electronics, etc.) that they fund on their own nickel. Or they get bankrolled by private investors willing to gamble for a possible profit

From where, do you think, this profit (fund on their own nickel) of the companies come from.

Directly or indirectly, it is through our pockets only.

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#4

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 9:25 AM

I watched a program last night on the Discovery channel that their theory is that the planets were made by a bunch of small planets colliding into each other. And that Mars had an atmosphere like Earth along with water but a planet body collided with Mars that knocked out most of its atmosphere and all the water evaporated. They've determined that there was water on Mars because of the indications of water errosion found by the little robots they sent up there.

They detected water on the moon.

If we're to go anywhere then exploring the moon would be more feasible. At least it's close enough to transport supplies to it.

Mars on the other hand, I see a huge dependence on transporting water to it and I don't think we could transport water that far quickly enough to meet the needs of any colony established there. I think the weight factor would pose being a huge obstical to the whole mission.

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#8
In reply to #4

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 11:06 AM

There still is water on Mars. Although the Martian polar caps are partly carbon dioxide, they are partly water ice as well. Concentrate a solar beam on a chunk of Martian ice, and the CO2 will sublimate, leaving water (sparkling, under some conditions).

As I understand it, you have to go pretty close to the poles to find surface water (ice) on the moon. Who knows what we'll find when we are able to drill down on either orb?

Learning to live on either one would inevitably lead to new technologies that would make many less hospitible places on Earth more attractive.

The value of inspiring young people to study science and related fields may well be the greatest benefit of space exploration.

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#10
In reply to #4

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 5:29 PM

Hi Jan,

You pinpoint all dreamers. We want to go but only a few millionairs are able to pay a trip to the higher atmospher and ones a while to the Moon. How much cost a meal on the Moon supplied by humans from Earth?

It will be hard to supply food for a colony of 10,000 people. Already today, we have, on our own Earth, hard time to supply good, drinkable water, healthy food to ourselves.

On the Moon or elsewhere, "oxygen" supply will be impossible or too costly for just a few people for longerperiod of time, let say, a year. The detected water on the Moon or on Mars need to be decontaminated. What does the direct radiation on this supposed water? We don't know if we could drink it!? It's beautiful and intellectually challenging when we talk about Moon, Mars, and other planets and the eventual occupation of it. Again, it was nice to talk about but I stay here, Gil.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 6:29 PM

It will be a VERY long time before there could conceivably be 10,000 people on the Moon, Mars, or both. Mankind has made incredible advances in many fields, but so far, Newtons laws still hold true. The amount of energy required to remove even one person and his craft from the gravity field of Earth, and land it gently on any other body, is humongous!

If they are ever able to build the 'Space Elevator', (and I have my doubts) it could theoretically make a significant reduction in that energy, but not enough to make it feasible to launch thousands of people and their support systems.

If either orb ever reaches a human population of 10,000, it will be because the vast majority of them were born there.

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#14
In reply to #11

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/19/2010 9:44 AM

Discovery Channel again had another program last night about the possibility that ancient civilizations had nuclear weapons. They found ancient runs that had every indication that it was ground zero and the streets were covered with the bones of people over 10,000 years old and showing very little decay and with radiation readings, they also found rock that had been melted by extreme heat just like from gound zero of a nuclear bomb test site.

They went on about the possibility that we had alien space craft here at the time waging war because many paintings of the time show space craft in them and that includes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

There is also another theory that Noah's Ark, instead of actually taking in every pair of animals, that would have been impossible, but may have been the DNA of every spieces. They also went on to explain that the birth of Noah was peculiar because he too was born of immaculate conception and that his mother was artificially inseminated. They speculate that a great flood could have been created to rid the Earth of other humanoid species to make way for our own, being a hybrid species.

They also derive some truth to Noah's Ark because the Black Sea is only about 10,000 years old and there are many different cities sunken in the Mediterranian.

There's speculation that our DNA banks and development of nuclear weapons is just history repeating itself.

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#13
In reply to #10

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/19/2010 6:42 AM

According to your theory for exploration, Columbus never should have left Europe. After all, at that time transporting what ever he may have found on the new continent would have been to costly to transport back in large enough quantities to be profitable or of any help to the poor (which, by the way, did not earn any immediate benefit from that effort). Oops, I guess that shoots your pessimism down the tubes. Sorry, guest

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#5

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/18/2010 10:09 AM

Basic research and exploration is always worth doing. It usually shows up in your bottom line, but even when it doesn't knowledge is a wonderful thing. We (our government but why stop there?) should always be sending humans somewhere.

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#15

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/19/2010 12:14 PM

Yes, we gain enough science to justify space exploration.

Your comments are a modern version of the fellow watching the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria sailing out of the harbor in Europe to discover the "New World", who felt it was a waste of ships and manpower to hunt for a western route to the spice trade. Yet the entire future of the human race changed because Christopher Columbus had a dream. Was it worth it?

A Marine friend of mine liked to say, "One grenade could get us all," referring to the need for a patrol to spread out. One asteroid or some other natural disaster could extinguish humanity; mass extinctions on Planet Earth are well known to science. We need to colonize the Moon and Mars, and to boldly go where no man has gone before, because the alternative is likely to be the extinction of our kind, and because the adventure is worth it. The knowledge we gain is a huge bonus, and a well documented fact.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab builds satellites like Galileo and Cassini, and rovers like Spirit and Opportunity on Mars, as robotic scouts to gather information preceding sending men and women. The adventure alone is worth the cost, and the money spent is a tiny fraction of our national budget. Only a hundred years ago, no one could have imagined the fantastic pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope. Take a look at Astronomy Picture of the Day, http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ , scroll down and look at a few pictures in the archive, and then try to tell anyone that space exploration isn't worth it. Space exploration is inspiring beyond words if you have the eyes to see.

As a Solar System Ambassador for JPL, I suggest you reach for the stars. At NASA and JPL, we're a "GO".

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#16

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/19/2010 6:02 PM

I'm pro space exploration, but I don't think we are technologically ready to send manned missions to Mars. We really need to take a few smaller orbital and moon-based steps first. Some critical resources like emergency habitation materials and fuel-air-water generators with storage containers could be sent to Mars over the next couple decades to prepare for future manned missions. If we are technically not yet able to send these items ahead, then we are truly not ready to make this long and risky trip ourselves. IMHO manned missions to Mars could be practical within 20-30 years.

Regarding the cost, many people seem to believe the millions (billions) spent on military, R&D, and space exploration just vanish. That money pays the wages of many hard working people directly involved as well as the numerous support personnel and a myriad of supporting industrial resources and suppliers. This is money well spent and supports sustainable long term industrial and technological growth. Redirecting spending into non-productive channels might temporarily boost the economy, but what happens after this non-sustainable "sugar high" fades? We're just recovering from some over-confident self-indulgence. Let's not make it worse by cutting vital long term support of our industrial and technological infrastructure :-(

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/20/2010 11:33 AM

"but I don't think we are technologically ready..."

As before, what will happen is that another country (ie China) will simply go ahead and do it. That is what woke the sleeping giant before... only this time, North America may be too far gone, and not be able to respond. The Rot will have advanced too far in the political system.

CAN'T = Certainly Are Not Trying.

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#18
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Re: To Mars or the Moon?

05/20/2010 12:42 PM

GA!

Unfortunately, the rot is not only in the political system, but also in the engineering and especially manufacturing arenas as well. We are FAR too dependent on foreign countries to produce our goods. We need some long-term goals like a trip to Mars to motivate (especially young) people, and some long-term planners who can override some of the short-term bean counters and get back to quality over quantity.

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#19

Re: To Mars or the Moon?

06/15/2010 9:09 AM

IMHO, we should go to the moon first.There is sufficient water to sustain a small research colony there.We must crawl before we walk or run.

The gravity of the moon makes it possible to launch with less required energy than a direct shot to Mars, and there are materials on the moon to produce fuel for futher trips.

The Helium 3 that is abundant on the moon is worth the high cost of transportation, because it has a great potential for fusion energy.It produces more energy than hydrogen, with less neutron emission, which means a longer life of the containment vessels.Hydrogen is very low yield by comparison.

H3 is very rare on Earth, because it is destroyed by our upper atmoshphere and magnetic field, but since the Moon has no atmosphere,it is bombarded by H3 from the sun continuosly, and accumulates in the rocks and soil.

Once established on the moon, a small mining company could be self sufficient, and even turn a profit.There is a small gravity "hump" or "curb" to cross over in order to place an object in orbit around the Earth.

However, once a human has spent a long time on the Moon, it would be very difficult, perhaps even fatal for him to return to Earth, due to bone mass and muscle mass loss, cardiovascular atrophy,etc.

These problems will eventually be solved by genetic manipulation to prevent the "use it or lose it" problems from occurring, but for now, it would have to be either short rotating trips, or a lifetime commitment.

The colonies could be powered by solar arrays with sunlight 24/7, and we could learn a lot from living in an isolated alien environment, knowledge that will help us in our outward bound quest to other planets.

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