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Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

Posted August 10, 2009 7:00 AM by tinypilot18
Pathfinder Tags: Mars mission NASA outer planet red space

There have been proposals for a manned mission to Mars since 1947, but it's only recently that there's been serious discussion about sending humans to the red planet. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are both projecting possible attempts to land a person on Mars in either the late 2020s or in the 2030s. But is there popular support for such an effort?

He Said. She Said.

According to the polling firm Rasmussen Reports, 51% of adults oppose sending humans to Mars while 21% are unsure. Women strongly oppose a manned (or "crewed") mission to Mars, but men are almost evenly divided. In addition, 44% of Americans believe that the United States should reduce space exploration because of the state of the economy.

The Next Best Place to Home

There are some serious scientific arguments for sending humans to Mars. Aside from Earth, Mars is the most hospitable planet in the solar system for people. It's also the only viable candidate for future human colonization and exploration. Mars's resources offer the opportunity to manufacture air for astronauts to breathe and fuel for their surface rovers and return vehicle.

NASA's Case for Exploration

NASA provides the following explanations about why mankind should explore Mars.

Human Evolution

Mars, NASA explains, represents "the next logical step in the expansion of the human race into the stars."

Comparative Planetology

Improving our knowledge of Mars and its "evolution as a planet" will enable scientists to better understand Earth.

International Cooperation

International efforts to explore Mars will foster "a sense of global unity as never seen before".

Technological Advancement

Developing "new and improved technologies" for a mission to Mars will supercharge the high-tech industry and, through spin-off technologies, lead to better living here on Earth.

Inspiration

"The ingenuity of the mobilized populace," NASA believes, will "test our technological abilities to their maximum". These accomplishments, the space agency explains, will "serve to inspire future generations".

Investment

Finally, the cost of a manned mission to Mars is "reasonable when compared with the costs of other current societal expenditures".

From Experiment to Exploration

Russian and European space agencies have successfully completed a ground-based experiment that simulates a manned flight to Mars. They used an international crew of 6 with 4 from Russia, 1 from Germany, and 1 from France.

For its part, NASA has released initial details of its latest version of a Mars mission. The plan includes a 200-day trip to Mars, 500 days on the planet's surface, and a 200-day trip back to Earth.

Another proposal from the European Space Agency is based upon sending two spacecraft to Mars: one for the six-person crew and one for the supplies. It is estimated that the entire project would cost $20 billion, and Russia would contribute 30% of these funds.

What's Your Opinion?

Although I support space exploration and think it would be an amazing feat to be able to land a person on Mars , I don't think that now is the right time to dedicate so many resources to such a project, given the current state of the economy. Still, after looking at the proposed U.S. budget by category, I can see that the cost of the mission is minor when compared with some of other expenses.

It is because of this that I can't quite decide where I stand on this issue. But would I go to Mars? When polled, 70% of all women said they wouldn't go. And even though I'm a pilot, I must include myself in that category.

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#1

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/10/2009 7:24 AM

One can go to both the Moon and to Mars with Google Earth these days, and with the accretion of more and more data from automated probes the accuracy and quality of the experience will improve. What's next - Google Venus <rhetorical question>?

And what is there that can only be done through human exploration and the associated risks? It's not as though there's a Kentucky Fried Chicken outpost on the top of Olympus Mons on Mars or a Ben & Jerry's at Ishtar Terra on Venus for a rendezvous, for example!

Here's a vote for postponing it until the risks reduce through the development of better technology.

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#19
In reply to #1

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 12:45 PM

It will be a grand and dangerous adventure. If we applied NASA'a safety standards to Columbus and the discovery/exploration of the "new world" we would still be in the planning stages.

"And what is there that can only be done through human exploration "

Maybe humans will be able to fix the programing errors made before launch and convert imperial units to metric units before the whole mission is loast.

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#23
In reply to #1

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 3:07 PM

Google Uranus!

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#2

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/10/2009 8:08 AM

"ccording to the polling firm Rasmussen Reports, 51% of adults oppose sending humans to Mars while 21% are unsure."

Sadly, we have lost our public drive to explore space in the mid 1970's. That's why we have no direction or progress.

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#3

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/10/2009 9:24 AM

Although I personally believe that the money could be better spent elsewhere (hellooooooo economy!), I have no qualms if other people want to go. I do not oppose people doing what their passion is, I just wouldn't do it myself. If someone were to prevent me from doing the things I love (electronics, softball, etc.), I would be outraged.

So go up there astronauts and do whatever you do. But I expect to see the results of that money when you come back!

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#4

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/10/2009 9:41 AM

I'm torn because I think we should have a permanent manned station on the Moon and Mars but the amount of money that would cost is astronomical.

But when you consider how much money is "wasted" by the government on other things such as "Cash for Clunkers" or Stimulus money, I figure they might as well spend it on something a little more useful such as Space Exploration.

In the long term if we want to ensure Human survival I think we need to advance our technology to the point where we can survive if (when?) Earth becomes uninhabitable.

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#5

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/10/2009 10:23 AM

International efforts to explore Mars will foster "a sense of global unity as never seen before".

That's some wishful thinking on NASA's part!

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#6

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/10/2009 4:36 PM

If you want to go to Mars or anywhere else, fine! I just don't want to pay for it. I think there are more important ways to spend money than going off into space. I really don't see why we have a need to go to mars. Going to the top of a mountain is ok, but the cost is not that much, but to Mars, much too much money. What are they going to prove on Mars? We couldn't live there any more than we could live on top of the Matterhorn.

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#11
In reply to #6

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 1:15 AM

I agree with you ronseto. There are many more things, investment on which will improve life conditions here on our only planet earth.

US need to control the pollution they are doing on whole of the globe and the damage to the earth they are doing.

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#20
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 12:54 PM

Didn't I read somewhere years ago that we could mine and return iron from Mars? The plan went something like this.

Separate the iron oxide readily available there into oxygen and iron, leave the O2 there. Fire the ore back towards earth orbit with a mag-rail launcher. Corral the ore containers and use them as counter weights on the space elevator to bring stuff back up into orbit.

And let the Iron ore companies pay for it.

Ok so maybe a few bits of the technology are still missing but lets get to work on them.

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#27
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/12/2009 9:29 AM

We have plenty of iron here. Better to use the iron on Mars once smelters can be set up. Or perhaps sling the excess iron to the moon as finished components. An abundance of more exotic materials would make a Mars colony worth while.

Redfred makes an interesting point about life beyond the Van Allen belt. Do we know the types and intensity of radiation present on Mars?

I would like to see an automated Hamster farm make the run to Mars and find out how long it can last there before we commit to any long term exploration. It would be a good test of the recycling component and a heads up on the unknowns.

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#28
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/12/2009 10:17 AM

My Van Allen belt reference was intended as purely a milestone marker. I expect there to be much more complications from long term existence away from Earth itself than from the loss of this electromagnetic shield blocking ionized particle radiation. Presently we ship new supplies of food, water, astronauts and experiments to the International Space Station on a fairly regular basis. While supplies could be temporarily stored on or in orbit around Mars, there will not be any rest stops between here and Mars. So for the months of travel between planets all supplies must be carried or grown on board.

But to answer your question Tippy, we do have a fairly good understanding of the radiation that happens in space. As I implied earlier, the belts steer ionized particle streams away from the equator of the Earth into the upper atmosphere closer to the poles. This generates auroras that can be seen at night. Most of these ionized particle streams are proton sprays created by solar flares of our sun. There have been several studies done on the biological effects of the direct proton spray and the secondary emission shower created by a metallic hull. I do not know the details of these results, nor any conclusions drawn from them but from personal experience I can say these conditions are well known. NASA/BNL Space Radiation Program

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#30
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/12/2009 5:21 PM

Redfred,

Yes, there are parts of that I can whole-heartedly agree with, I am somewhat trepidacious about sending our astronauts into a 'no win situation', without proper experimentation.

Your milestone marker is not insignificant. I got all that about supplies to the space station, and beyond. I'm with you on concerns. As a reader of Sci-Fi, I know that Buck Rodgers led to the Laser. 'Impossible' at the time.

'Proton Spray' is as good an explaination as any. ( No, I'm not making fun at you.) Give us another 200 years, and we might be able to concreatize our dreams. and then have more dreams.

I thought about marking this OT, If you think so, do so.

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#7

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/10/2009 7:16 PM

We need to design biological robotic creatures appropriate to Mars as it is, and send them there to be happy.

We need to fix Venus up by Terraforming it too.

We humans are best suited for Earth. We will not be happy living on Mars or Venus.

If God didn't want us to do what God does, why didn't God make us too stupid to do so?

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#8
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/10/2009 8:54 PM

"We need to fix Venus up by Terraforming it too."

I vote we send Al Gore there first and see what he can do.

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#9
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/10/2009 10:56 PM

So you regard Al Gore as a Leader?

Great! I'd myself not thought so much of him, though I was impressed that he gave jobs to out of work Russians so as not to tacitly encourage North Korean sorts of counterfeiting and weapons sales.

No support from him for UNTV, so I'm not too happy.

He, Bill, Carter, Mr. Turner, Bush, C-Span, Time Warner, and others have all run me around.

Okay, Okay, I support a manned mission to Mars.

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#12
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 7:31 AM

Sorry, the Al Gore comment was a bit of tung-in-cheek.

Gore likes to go on and on about CO2 causing thermal runaway climate, Venus' atmosphere, which is predominantly CO2, would be an excellent challenge for Al. ;-)

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#10

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 12:28 AM

Yes, I support a manned mission to Mars. Why? Becasue it is what humans do. If humans did not do these sort of things, we would all still be huddled around a campfire banging rocks together to make knife blades...

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#14
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 10:03 AM

I agree. It is in our nature to explore, so let's do it. We can argue the economy all day long, but if the government is going to spend our money for us, let's accomplish a task with the spending instead of handing it out (Hand outs: Cash for clunkers, bank bailouts, auto bailouts, government assistance to drug addicts and gangsters...) but this is politics instead of engineering...

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#13

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 9:49 AM

A manned Mars mission at this point in our technology would be a waste of money. If Robotics can discover some resource on Mars that is sufficient to pay for the effort, then of course, a manned unit should be sent to set up the already engineered process'. I don't see this happening before 2040, even if we found such a resource within the next few years.

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#15

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 10:55 AM

Yes, I'm all for manned missions to mars. It would take a lot of money but most of it would be spent here in the US. I think it would benefit many engineers and be a huge stimulus for technological advancement just as the lunar missions were in the 1960's. This would be an expenditure with permanent benefits unlike much of the expenditures our government is proposing these days.

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#16

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 11:44 AM

I'm all for it!!!

I was there in the 60's and 70's and saw the advance in technologies spun off from the space program that we enjoy today.

For less than 5% of the money the current US administration has thrown given away, we can have people on Mars.

Hooker

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#17
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 12:39 PM

I doubt that 5% would cover it. I think that the real cost would be between 1 to 2 trillion for the first mission.

Even so, most of that money would be injected into the US economy and, as you pointed out, would cascade into spin-off technology.

However, I don't think that there would require the same amount of innovation we invested in the Moon mission. Most of the technologies required for a Mars mission already exists. That is, most of the science is already worked out. The bigger job is the execution.

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#21
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 1:32 PM

I pulled that 5% number from the $20 billion mission cost the European's estimate for a 2 ship mission in the article above, as compared to the trillion+ squandered so far by the administration.

I personally don't think it would cost anywhere near a trillion, but that is pure conjecture on my part.

Interesting point you make, about technologies existing to make a Mars effort successful. Most of the technologies needed also existed while we were working on the moon project. What most don't realize is that there was a tremendous amount of ongoing refinement of those existing technologies, and a tremendous amount of new technology spun off as a side result of that refinement. You wouldn't believe the amount of non-related technology that came about from development targeted directly at the moon effort. In particular a large amount of health and medical tech fell out on its own that was not needed to go to the moon.

Applied research is never a waste of money, IMO.

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#33
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/13/2009 8:46 AM

I have to agree with AH. when you look at the cost of unmanned missions to mars, Now you include life support. And based on european estimate's? based on experience, at 20 billion..... expect cost overruns.

What most don't realize is that there was a tremendous amount of ongoing refinement of those existing technologies,

Refimement, is that like taking a twinkle in someones eye and making it happen.....then I'll agree.

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#18

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 12:42 PM

" don't think that now is the right time to dedicate so many resources to such a project, given the current state of the economy. Still, after looking at the proposed U.S. budget by category, I can see that the cost of the mission is minor when compared with some of other expenses."

At its peak the moon mission apparently employed over 400,000 people, how many would a Mars mission employ? Instead of a stimulus package to the auto industry which just refuses to change with the times, how about spending the money on a Mars trip.

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#22

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 2:56 PM

First of all I don't agree with the idea that this would be a waste of money. No money would be transported to Mars. All of the money spent, will be spent here on Earth to employ and challenge our best minds in an endeavor they love. With this in mind we surely should explore as much of the universe as we can in both manned and unmanned approaches. In my opinion it's a bigger but necessary waste to spend money on the weapons of war. (Please, no weaponry tangents.)

But I do think that looking toward man on Mars maybe premature. The longest man has lived outside of the outer Van Allen belt was just about a week (Apollo 17). Before we commit to putting people out of range of the Earth for more than a year, I would want to see months of habitation on the Moon. Let's not forget our history, the first Europeans to "discover" the New World were not lead by Christopher Columbus. At the very least, Leif Ericsson placed several small Viking colonies in North America earlier. We haven't even been to the Moon as long as the Vikings were in North America.

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#24

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 4:47 PM

I have decided that getting humans to Mars to live is a good idea since at least it has some gravity.

I also think terraforming Venus is a good idea.

Since we have lived as if we had three planets to populate, we better follow through, and take over the two best prospects in our solar system.

My comprehensive approach though would be aimed at utilizing near outerspace, then the Moon, then Venus and Mars as if my goal was to really make the Solar System as much a home for us, as Earth is.

Further facing the fact that we are not made to live on either Mars, or Venus, or on the Moon, or even in outerspace, I am forced to advocate robotic or biological inventions of ourselves that would enjoy the life granted.

In other words, let us make Martians, and make Venusians, but not forget, we are Earthlings.

Once you really get all the facts together you recognize that a creature like us that could never take a naked walk on the planet they are stuck to live on, is a pretty tenuous, if not miserable fate.

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#25
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 5:57 PM

Before we go off terra-forming Venus as several posters have suggested could we please first make sure there is no existing eco-system there that would be destroyed? Isn't one such destruction in our life time enough?

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#29
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/12/2009 5:13 PM

I'd not gotten too worried about disrupting the ecology of Venus since last I remember the temperature was something like 900 degrees F., and the atmosphere was primarily Sulfur Dioxide. Sulfuric Acid?

Last I recollect Venus was pointed to as an example of runaway greenhouse gases.

Mars likely has more life of any sort than Venus, and frankly even if there are some microbes under the surface near the poles, its not as if I am advocating for some sort of genocide of intelligent creatures, such as ourselves.

I am for wiping out Smallpox, and the Plague, and E Bola right here as a comparison.

There is actually a point to human colonization of our Solar System, for we may well witness an Apocalyptic Riot that could well make our main home Earth poisonous for a length of time.

We are in a particularly dangerous Era on a number of fronts.

Some of these threats are within our power to obviate, and others are not.

It is sad to me that an effective Planet Defense System aimed to at least protect our planet from Asteroids, Comets, and the like is not being aggressively implemented.

Certainly I have my disappointments with mankind, but I do try not to indulge in self hatred, and think and feel we ought to attempt to insure our continued existence as long as possible.

Though I think it a worthy goal to go to Mars, I think it would be wiser to create a near Earth infrastructure, Moon infrastructure that is specifically aimed at enabling repopulation of the Earth should things get out of hand here.

Hence I have a strong interest in Space Elevator concepts.

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#26

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/11/2009 10:19 PM

Yes, I do support manned mission to Mars and terraforming Venus. We should not be worry about 'other' life on these planets because we are killing very precious and advanced life forms here on earth in billions... every day, every hour, every minute and every second. It is a norm. Dont worry about global warming either. Our ecosystem is already collapsing steadily in 'layers' and we are doing something about it slowly, not necessarily the way we wanted. About economy....well, it was necessity and promise of freedom, riches, gold and power that made the Europe flood the America. If you want U.S. to go to Mars....show them gold, diamonds, and other 'my precious'. The rest will come naturally. If they dont have the balls to do that....well...pass the torch to China. At least we will have something interesting on TV to watch.

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#31

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/12/2009 5:35 PM

These questions are always fun. Of course we should go to Mars, and anywhere else we can go.

Here's a handy fact - the difference between NASA's current budget and the budget NASA needs to get us back on the moon is $3billion a year. Guess how much we're spending on Cash for Clunkers (so far)?

We spend more on oil and gas subsidies than we spend on NASA.

We spend more on crop subsidies than we spend on NASA.

We spend more on the DoD's space program than we spend on NASA.

Is a manned trip to Mars the cheapest way to explore the planet? No. Is it dangerous? Yes. Vainglorious? Yes.

We whine about losing our engineering and industrial edge and then when a first class engineering challenge comes along we sigh and say "oh - that's too hard".

Yes - space flight is hard. It's the technically most challenging thing that we as a species do. And going to Mars is an order of magnitude harder than going to the moon.

Should we go? Absolutely.

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#32
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/13/2009 8:01 AM

Yes we need new materials and technology that would derived from a mars mission.

Good answer, though I did not like to see about crop subsidy. Who here on this forum is over weight......on second thought, yes, we need to drop farm subsidies, when the farmers no longer farms, we can finally not be called Fat Americans as we sit at the dinner table with our plates empty ...another thread.

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#34
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/13/2009 9:51 AM

I should have added, "crop subsidies, the vast majority of which are paid to multinational agri-conglomerates".

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#35
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/13/2009 11:02 AM

your point is taken, when I was farming with my dad, it was easier for the large conglomerates to get the cash subsidies then it was for the small farmer who did it for a living.

At the time, I felt it should be removed totally, And let the efficient farms win. These would most likely eliminate the large farms.

But with the price is today, with dairy farmers receiving @ or less the 1978 prices for milk. Its a struggle. (note, dairy prices for 2 years 2006 and 2007 have been very good though)

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#36
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/13/2009 1:54 PM

I agree whole heartedly with bhankiii!!!

Frankly, I am quite disappointed with many of the responses that I've read. We are all engineers here and it looks like many of us have spent too much time in management. It was the excitement of the challenge that got you all into this field. I just hope we haven't lost you forever to the corporate world...

Dan

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#37
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/13/2009 3:06 PM

Frankly, I am quite disappointed with many of the responses that I've read. We are all engineers here and it looks like many of us have spent too much time in management.

Where did that come from? With what I see the exchange to be favorable to manned missions with bhankiii stating the best post so far to this thread, or are you looking for a unanimous response.

phoenix911

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#38
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/13/2009 3:47 PM

He said he was disappointed in MANY of the responses, not all of them. A quick reread of the responses shows 1,3,6,7,11,13,24,27 and 30 all find one reason or another not to embark on this glorious adventure.

So far less than 50% of the unmanned missions aimed at Mars lately have arrived there safely. I believe we need the adaptability and quick response of a human crew to have much chance of success.

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#39
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/13/2009 4:13 PM

I agree that a human crewed Mars spacecraft would likely have a higher chance of success at overcoming unanticipated problems, especially when near Mars.

With a best comm lag time of 3 minutes and worst of 22 minutes, there is no way earth controllers can react to unforeseen adverse circumstances, and autonomous systems can't possibly be programmed to anticipate unknown variables with any decent expectation of successful reaction.

Manned all the way!!

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#40
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/13/2009 4:14 PM

Apothicus:

I did not count indifference, bad humor, or off the wall comments, otherwise I only see (2) posters against.

Tippycanoe states in #13 it's a waste of money if it can be done with robotics. I saw that as open ended. You want to do something as cheap as possible. But I did not see him as against it, just watch the purse strings....Good for you tippy

Post 24 I don't think your on the same thread. Or do you mean post 23...

Next time put links in to the post numbers its bull$%i# cruising back and forth, like I did earlier for tippy, or is there a easier way to go directly to post #'s..

I suppose danman285: will be disappointed in this post also.

phoenix911

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#41
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 2:33 AM

We spend (much much) more on various wars we impose on rest of the world than we spend on NASA.

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#42
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 6:03 AM

tells us, in WWII, what did the German V2 program do for the space protram

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#43
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 6:24 AM

So we are not ready to learn anything from the history!

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#44
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 6:32 AM

If your talking about making war, Have we yet?

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#45
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 1:31 PM

Dear Bhankiii, Do we really have on the shelf the technology to get people to Mars and back, if not back and forth yet?

What now are the main assets we have to apply?

Then what is yet to be figured out, and created in order to accomplish the goal.

What is the difference between the Great Voyages of Discovery, Columbus, De Gama, and Voyages to the Moon, Mars, or Venus?

The Explorations on Earth have all led to Colonization.

Last I remember it was projected to take 6 months to get to Mars.

As a comparison, what Subs have stayed submerged for 18 months? How did the crew deal with it?

Back in the heyday of Science Fiction we somehow got to run around naked fighting with nasty lizards and playing social games concerning marriage with water.

-A Heinlein vision.

All the Spaceships had gravity, and some even had bars.

I've lived long enough in the Space Age, to have seen stories of real events out in space trump anything made up by Theodore Sturgeon.

Donald Barthelme moved to the realities in his story of the Missile Silo and the two guys a shared desk and responsibility to co-ordinate key fire, going nuts.

The story of the Crew change on the Mir after the fall of the Soviet Union is as wild a story as anything made up.

There was a time in my Sci Fi youth that Underwater Cities were proposed and experimented with. So far this has not come to pass, and I wonder if such a reality must be accepted as what OuterSpace really is, and will be for us?

Who knows maybe we ought to return to the Colonization of our seas, if only to have people out there doing something with all that plastic?

One Sci Fi writer did back in the day postulate that were humans to go into space, never really to return to a gravity environment inwhich we developed, we would eventually turn into round balls.

Is it ethical to make Robots that will colonize, and remember us, for life on Mars?

Further is it ethical to make biological creatures such as ourselves that would be able to run around naked on Mars?

Imagine this Speech: Dear Fellow Citizens, Today, we Launch the Mars Cyborg Colonization Mission. These colonizers are not us, we made them to do what we cannot really do. They will remember us, and may be able to help us...

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#46
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 1:46 PM

When Kennedy made his famous speach declaring that the USA would go to the moon by the end of the decade much of the technology was not "on the shelf". By the time we got back we needed a much bigger shelf.

That is what's exciting about it.

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#49
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 3:26 PM

On a similar topic....how about the SR-71 Blackbird. Developing things and issues such as materials as well as acceptable joints due to thermal expansion, that must have been something to have been part of that team. And to work with Kelly Johnson, must have been an experience in itself.

Thats what having a goal is all about....not what you know you can do, but what you think you can do. and then achieving it, you know you've done something spectacular.

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#47
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 2:35 PM

"Dear Fellow Citizens, Today, we Launch the Mars Cyborg Colonization Mission. These colonizers are not us, we made them to do what we cannot really do. They will remember us, and may be able to help us..."

And 50 years later they figure we are despicable, evil people for the way we treat each other and for virtually destroying our own planet and an untold number of other species, so they decide to rid the universe of us...

Oooopps, that story has already been done and televised... Twice...

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#48
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 2:37 PM

Dear Bhankiii, Do we really have on the shelf the technology to get people to Mars and back, if not back and forth yet? No - that's the whole point.

What now are the main assets we have to apply? Our quickly atrophying imaginations and engineering skills.

Then what is yet to be figured out, and created in order to accomplish the goal. Enough to revolutionize our whole technological existence.

What is the difference between the Great Voyages of Discovery, Columbus, De Gama, and Voyages to the Moon, Mars, or Venus? No difference, except they had the will to go.

The Explorations on Earth have all led to Colonization. Not true. No one has colonized Everest, Antarctica, the deep sea, or even Carlsbad Caverns.

Last I remember it was projected to take 6 months to get to Mars. With current technology, yes. We routinely spend 6 months in space these days.

As a comparison, what Subs have stayed submerged for 18 months? How did the crew deal with it? Which is why Mars trip training simulations are happening now.

Back in the heyday of Science Fiction we somehow got to run around naked fighting with nasty lizards and playing social games concerning marriage with water. And this is bad how?

-A Heinlein vision.

All the Spaceships had gravity, and some even had bars. And some had Vulcans.

I've lived long enough in the Space Age, to have seen stories of real events out in space trump anything made up by Theodore Sturgeon. Exactly. It's funny that in 1969 scifi writers complained that NASA had ruined their business. Now with all the fancy rockets on TV, NASA looks pale by comparison.

Donald Barthelme moved to the realities in his story of the Missile Silo and the two guys a shared desk and responsibility to co-ordinate key fire, going nuts. OK, now you've lost me.

The story of the Crew change on the Mir after the fall of the Soviet Union is as wild a story as anything made up. No wilder than the Japanese soldiers discovered on tiny islands years after the war was over.

There was a time in my Sci Fi youth that Underwater Cities were proposed and experimented with. So far this has not come to pass, and I wonder if such a reality must be accepted as what OuterSpace really is, and will be for us? You lost me again.

Who knows maybe we ought to return to the Colonization of our seas, if only to have people out there doing something with all that plastic? There's plenty of resources out there for sure.

One Sci Fi writer did back in the day postulate that were humans to go into space, never really to return to a gravity environment inwhich we developed, we would eventually turn into round balls. Nothing wrong with that, except I'll point out that Mars has gravity.

Is it ethical to make Robots that will colonize, and remember us, for life on Mars? If ever make living robots we won't have any planets to live on.

Further is it ethical to make biological creatures such as ourselves that would be able to run around naked on Mars? I wish.

Imagine this Speech: Dear Fellow Citizens, Today, we Launch the Mars Cyborg Colonization Mission. These colonizers are not us, we made them to do what we cannot really do. They will remember us, and may be able to help us... This sounds like the unpublished prequel to War of the Worlds.

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#50
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 4:34 PM

"Dear Bhankiii, Do we really have on the shelf the technology to get people to Mars and back, if not back and forth yet? No - that's the whole point."

Bhankiii, I would contend that we do. Here is why. First, I would define "technology" as the application of the science required to achieve the mission. I submit that the science for a manned round trip to Mars is, for intents, complete enough to make the journey.

We have a propulsion system that is proven. We have proven that humans can remain in space long enough to complete the journey. We have developed enough knowledge and techniques to navigate to, land, and return using the science and engineering obtained to date.

There may be some missing pieces, but the mainstay of what is required to achieve the goal is already here, we just need the will and funding to execute to a plan.

That does not mean that the present technology would be the most desirable means to go, but we could do the job with what we have now with very minimal new invention required. This is completely different than our situation was when we raced for the Moon.

The biggest obstacle we have is not science nor engineering, but the resolve to do this. There is a complete lack of public will to push this through to the finish line. Quite frankly "we" would be much more content to sit in front of our TV and watch Star Trek than make our dreams a reality.

Lastly, regarding the previous post:

"One Sci Fi writer did back in the day postulate that were humans to go into space, never really to return to a gravity environment inwhich we developed, we would eventually turn into round balls."

I contend that humans need not step into space to become round balls. Most of America has already achieved that status, or is well on their way, just sitting in a chair eating while watching TV.

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#51
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 4:44 PM

What we chiefly lack is a means of protecting against radiation - that requires some real science. But I agree the rest is just engineering, which I believe was the whole point of this thread.

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#52
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 4:57 PM

I guess you did not look at my link in thread #28. The Science is being done.

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#53
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 6:20 PM

Water is the best mechanism to do that.

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#54
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/14/2009 6:37 PM

Which is why the bags of water that we are can be so readily damaged when not floating behind the shielding water.

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#57
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/15/2009 3:41 PM

Dear Bhankiii, Seems as if the only tech lacking is radiation protection and voyage gravity.

Radiation protection has been addressed in the thread.

True enough that Mars has Gravity, but I maintain that a good spaceship will give gravity to the crew for long trips, and I consider, 2 weeks in Space, a long trip.

I did ask you about what was available because you were very realistic when it came to my questions about Asteroid and Comet Planet Protection Systems. Since I know you pretty much know what you are talking about when it comes to this particular area, I was hoping for a bit more specificity, though I am aware that sometimes some members are enjoined from being too specific.

To be able to post anonymously does have validity as far as some truthful and factual reporting. While it does now and then irritate me when "Guests" post questions or replies when there appears no real reasons for them to do so as "Anonymous", I sure do think the option for this forum is worth the irritations.

Part of my point was that the deep sea has not been successfully colonized. I think you are splitting hairs when you bring up Everest, Antarctica, and Carlsbad Caverns, and considering the climbing of Everest business, and permanent bases on Antarctica, you may have a mixed argument, point, contradictory thing going on there.

Part of my point about the Earth Oceans was that they are pretty much the same to us as Outer Space. We can travel through or on the sea, but we cannot really live there without making it to port.

I would expect that some experiments were being undertaken, and hope to find out what is learned from the Mars trip training simulations. Reports to me are that the limits for Undersea time for Nuclear powered Subs, are pretty much, morale, and food. The US Hot bunking thing on subs sounds really unattractive to me, and I would strongly prefer to share my bed, at least with a random woman, than some random guy.

I did turn towards learning how to fly instead of going into sailing, partly due to the fact that I like to go no longer than three weeks without sex, and pilots are likely to get laid more than sailors. (Apologies for any realism, as far as priorities to Tiny Pilot. Flying Corporate Helicopters is a great job for pilots because typically the flights are short and you can sleep in your own bed many a night. This is nothing I wouldn't explain to my daughter, who is now 24 and moving to Denver for love.)

Until we can both find exoplanets to get to with Warp Drive capable of multiuniverse travel to specifically perfect Galaxy Earth type planets, we are stuck with what we've got here in this Solar System.

I knew I was citing a somewhat obscure short story writer. However his work was published in The New Yorker, so it is not out of the question that some may be familiar with his work. His stories were surreal and Kafkaesque, but did capture part of the realities we face in living with the advanced tools and systems we have made.

No way around it that Truth is Stranger than Fiction. -another part of the same point I was attempting to face.

What I meant was that Outer Space, Mars and Venus and the Moon, most close, and possibly as useful as a cave in our upcoming bottleneck of wars and resource struggle may well be more like the Oceans, than the land.

We do travel on the oceans, but we do not typically really live there as do fish, sharks, whales or dolphins.

Do you want to live on Mars just because it has some gravity?

We somehow did develop so it is possible to have some fun on Earth, as we were made.

It is not possible yet to run naked on Mars or Venus, though I too "wish" it was.

Mean old Aliens... A good war and all will become clear.

Damn stupid Asteroids...Let's fight!

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#55

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/15/2009 10:41 AM

I think its unnecessary to continue this topic with discussion on technology availability for Mars mission. In a matter of fact, we do have technology for Mars Mission and any other shortcomings (which are minor) can be overcome with brain power in U.S. I think the only reason U.S. is snailly slow (much slower than turtle) to accomplish a Mars Mission is because of lack of will power and lack of definite sense of purpose. Mars is not a difficult mission for U.S. . Americans proven themselves already that they can do any difficult mission when they are motivated. It took Kennedy screaming and cholering at the american public and pointing finger and U.S.R.R. (not a middle finger) that americans should be better than them. I think it was sense of patriotism that kept american interest and sacrifice to Apollo mission. Dr. Robert Zubrin was jumping, screaming, cursing, crying and waving at the congress to get their attention on Mars Mission. In my opinion, Dr. Zubrin is the most pro-active Martian on Earth I ever know. Even though Zubrin had a public meeting with the Congress, U.S. government did agreed with him until China and India made anouncement to go "Lunatic". I hate to say that but my 'gut' feeling tells me that to make a strong and swift move to Mars, it has to be politically motivated. Thats because it is the government who steers the boat, not the public. So Engineers have to come up with a chocolate bar for boys and hope they will like it. You can find one called ' Mars ' ; buy them and mail them to Senator you know.

But now, U.S. is democratic country, too burried in its own wealth and burocracy, education system is prohibitively expensive, too ethnically mixed and heavily flooded with immigration and not to mention too much involved in brawling with other nations. Its too difficult if not impossible to get the same kind of spirit and attitude toward Mars Mission that U.S. had toward Moon Mission. Only good citizens can do this mission. Good citizens are not only born (if you are gene fan) but also they are made. That means a total commitment and dedication to your children and 100% transfer of responsibilities from older to younger generation. In short, family matters, community matters. And it should be above the business enterprise, religion, ethnic and race equality. Country should bring in immigrants only when unemploment is negative which means that all of their own citizens have a job and with a guarantee for their younger generation. I see that somebody already thinking that I might be communist, fascit, atheist and racist. In matter of fact, I am not and I was in opposite of that to the extreme. However, the reality and history thaught me something else. Everything has its limits. Modesty is a virtue. From historical point of view, empires like Persia, Greece, Rome, Germany, Spain, France, Britain, U.S.R.R. and U.S. became great empires not through democracy but through the power of the will and might - the strongest one. Thats the moment when they expand their 'horizon' or territory. And they all fell when they all became more democratic. Its because humans do not have natural ability to govern themselves in sync. We havent evolved that far. I think China and India has more chance of completing a Mars Mission than U.S. Thats a point of view of a gambler and where he is going to put his bet. Ofcourse I might be wrong, and I am open minded and willing to change my point of view if its convincing and make sense. U.S greatest asset is its advanced technology and experience that is still alive to tell and teach the younger generation. U.S. still has the ability to change. Well, time will tell.....

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#56
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/15/2009 1:08 PM

Your points are well taken. But I do have some historical corrections. Roman power and territory grew while under republic rule, there was no emperor or Caesar. The empire split and then collapsed when one individual could be corrupted. Greece, even under Alexander I believe, was a collection of city states. They banded together, mostly, when threatened externally. When the Roman Republic absorbed Greece, Greece's theology became Rome's. So who conquered who? The United States has always been a democratically selected republic. While the growth of the United States was very far from bloodless, it was more benign than others. For example, Texas was a separate country that wished to merge with the United States. (The Texans who revolted against Mexico were Americans originally, but to the Texans surprise not supported by the United States.) Most of the continental United States was purchased from France. So to get back to my point, democracy itself will not erode a country.

Ironically India, one of the countries you correctly cite as the United States possible new rival in space is the largest Democracy in the world. But I sadly believe you are correct, without a Sputnik like political embarrassment to the United States, we won't end up exploring Mars or the Moon.

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#58

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/18/2009 8:41 AM

investment on a manned mission to the moon is good; but it only has a nonready benefit to the present situation of economy. For now I do not think it is sensible. We can think of that in the nearest future after the injuries of economic recession is long forgotten.

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#59
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/18/2009 10:35 AM

This might be a short rant on just an unintended inappropriate choice of words. I'm always irritated by the misconception that raw scientific research is a business investment. This is wrong! At best it can be considered a speculation, since speculations do not have the expectation of a financial return. But it is only through scientific explorations in any frontier that mankind can learn and grow.

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#60
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/18/2009 12:39 PM

At best it can be considered a speculation,

You understand, you got it

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#61

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/18/2009 12:54 PM

I think that humans need to go to mars... but not specifically men.

men went to the moon... was fun for a while.. now it seems to be over.

I propose that women, after first organizing a women's only political party, put a female president in power, and then to organize a trip to mars...women only of course. maybe on the tenth or twelfth trip, they can include a token man.

Chris

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#62
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/19/2009 11:30 PM

I think that humans need to go to mars... but not specifically men.

I think that humans need to go to mars... but not specifically men. now. We may visit after we set our home (earth) right.

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#63
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Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/20/2009 1:14 AM

GA

I've felt for awhile that women should form their own government organizations and break away from the paternal hierarchy. Women are 51% of the worlds population after all.

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#64
In reply to #63

Re: Do You Support a Manned Mission to Mars?

08/20/2009 1:49 AM

yah its about time they start pulling thier own weight, why should the men get the higher percentages of the heart attacks, ulsers and stuff like that, there plenty to go around.

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