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Should NASA return to the moon?

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DexterLB

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I voted. I think that they should build a base on the moon, and build the ship that'll take them to mars there. It will be easier than building everything on earth.
 

Chrisn

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Well, you still need to get materials there. Its not going to be as easy as it sounds.
 

DexterLB

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You're right. But they must do *something* :p
 

BR549

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The materials and the power are already there. We just need to bite the bullet and do it.
 

Winston

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The choices in the survey are bad ones. You are offered a choice of _manned_ moon missions, _manned_ Mars missions or nothing. I want a large number of robotic missions to everywhere that's interesting, easily paid for by an end to the ISS and manned space flight. Push artificial intelligence and robotics beyond their current limits, thereby developing technology that would be highly useful on earth, too. And unmanned spacecraft in earth orbit that are designed to be serviced over time should be serviced via telepresence until robotics and AI can take over.
 

sylvie369

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How about sending telemarketers to Mercury? Is that an option?
 

JoeLaunchman

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I saw Buzz Aldrin last week at a book signing for his new book, "Magnificent Desolation" and he spoke to the group about his thoughts on the future of space exploration. He opined that we should not go back to the moon because it is too close, and the problem is that the people we would send there would not stay very long. Instead, he advocates building a permanent presence of Mars where the explorers would have to stay at least a year and a half because of the planetary alignments creating launch windows during which to travel.

I'm not sure I agree with his logic, it seems to me we would want to perfect the travel, exploration and settlement skills on the closest possible body before venturing further. That being said, the presence of water on the moon (not yet confirmed) would add weight to the argument that a permanent lunar presence is practical. In the long run, the success of a permanent presence on either body will depend on whether resources can be returned to the Earth in an economically feasible way, or it ends up as a moon-doggle.
 

gpoehlein

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My thinking is similar to Joe's - I think we do need a permanent base on the Moon. We should also have permanent satellites (note the plural) around both the Earth and the Moon. That would give us not only the practice for staying on a foreign body for an extended period of time, but would also give us a launching point to get to Mars and beyond.

I also believe that we need to get off the Earth and onto other planets, if for no other reason than self preservation. If something happens to the Earth, we need a good genetic base to restore it after a catastrophe. If we had permanent colonies on the Moon and on Mars, complete with genetic banks on both, we would be that much further along in protecting our species' (and a lot of other support species) survival into the long term future. This doesn't even count the technology advances that building colonies on the Moon and Mars would create here on Earth. The technology for growing sustainable food supplies there would also help improve food supplies here on Earth. That is why the short sighted argument that we need to stop "messing around with space travel" and focus our resources here on Earth drive me so batty. One big asteroid and all those resources we saved by not going into space are for squat!
 

dcshrum

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http://www.slate.com/id/2155164/

"What's it for? Good luck answering that question. There is scientific research to be done on the moon, but this could be accomplished by automatic probes or occasional astronaut visits at a minute fraction of the cost of a permanent, crewed facility."

"Don't we need a moon base to go to Mars? No! ...... Stopping at the moon would require fuel to descend to the lunar surface, then blast off again, which would make any Mars mission hugely more expensive."

What should NASA do? As I argued in Slate back in March, rational budget priorities for the agency would include first and foremost an exhaustive study of the sun, as well as the Earth and Mars and Venus, the two other Earthlike planets in the solar system, with automated probes and satellites. Second, it borders on criminal that NASA is doing nothing to prepare for a deadly comet or asteroid strike. (The agency says it has already cataloged 835 "potentially hazardous" large space rocks.) Third, space telescopes should continue to be used to study the distant universe. Fourth, researchers should be working on a breakthrough in propulsion technology, which could make getting to the moon more affordable.
 

Micromeister

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My thinking is similar to Joe's - I think we do need a permanent base on the Moon. We should also have permanent satellites (note the plural) around both the Earth and the Moon. That would give us not only the practice for staying on a foreign body for an extended period of time, but would also give us a launching point to get to Mars and beyond.

I also believe that we need to get off the Earth and onto other planets, if for no other reason than self preservation. If something happens to the Earth, we need a good genetic base to restore it after a catastrophe. If we had permanent colonies on the Moon and on Mars, complete with genetic banks on both, we would be that much further along in protecting our species' (and a lot of other support species) survival into the long term future. This doesn't even count the technology advances that building colonies on the Moon and Mars would create here on Earth. The technology for growing sustainable food supplies there would also help improve food supplies here on Earth. That is why the short sighted argument that we need to stop "messing around with space travel" and focus our resources here on Earth drive me so batty. One big asteroid and all those resources we saved by not going into space are for squat!
EXACTLY! Couldn't have said it better myself!
All the winers and "what's it for" folks need to open their minds more AI is NOT the answer it's the enemy.
 

DexterLB

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If only mars was made of money... if it was so NASA would have sent thousants of missions there :p
 

Buckaroo

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If only mars was made of money... if it was so NASA would have sent thousants of missions there :p
If Mars were made of money the private sector would have been there 40 years ago.

Isn't this whole discussion kind of moot since the current administration (and every previous one since Kennedy) hasn't seen fit to fund any kind of exploration program to go anywhere... :bang:

Instead of voting in online polls I would suggest we all get on the phone to our respective congressmen and give them a little "direction" :rolleyes:
 

sylvie369

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If only mars was made of money... if it was so NASA would have sent thousants of missions there :p
Okay, let me repeat my suggestion:

How about sending telemarketers to Mercury?

Doing so would help us to develop the hardware and expertise needed to send human beings around the solar system, and we'd be able to develop that capacity it without putting human beings at risk. In addition, there wouldn't be any problem raising the funds needed: we could do it using nothing but freely given donations. I'm sure even PETA would be willing to chip in.
 

nh4clo4

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The choices in the survey are bad ones. You are offered a choice of _manned_ moon missions, _manned_ Mars missions or nothing. I want a large number of robotic missions to everywhere that's interesting, easily paid for by an end to the ISS and manned space flight. Push artificial intelligence and robotics beyond their current limits, thereby developing technology that would be highly useful on earth, too. And unmanned spacecraft in earth orbit that are designed to be serviced over time should be serviced via telepresence until robotics and AI can take over.

I agree with Winston. Manned spaceflight is an idea from the 60s. It is still suited for orbital activities (like fixing the Hubble telescope), but not for space exploration.

It is time we take another look at our approach for space exploration. Just look at all we learned from the two Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity... and that's already dated technology.

In any case, I doubt we can afford building a manned based anywhere ;)
 

Fred22

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I agree with Winston. Manned spaceflight is an idea from the 60s. It is still suited for orbital activities (like fixing the Hubble telescope), but not for space exploration.

It is time we take another look at our approach for space exploration. Just look at all we learned from the two Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity... and that's already dated technology.

In any case, I doubt we can afford building a manned based anywhere ;)
I disagree completely. The two compliment one another not cancel each other out. Robots make fine scouts but humans still make complex decisions better and are much more versatile when confronted with adverse circumstances. Hubble was fixed by humans not robby robot. Pathfinder was brilliant but think what a trained geologist could do. Manned space inspires and think how many young engineers who have enriched our nations were inspired by Apollo. Who in the heck remembers Ranger?
The path out of LEO would be much easier if it were an international effort. MY nation loves to work with NASA. I belive they represent what is best in your nation as a group. Robert Thirsk greeted Canada from orbit on our nations birthday from the ISS:) Cost could be spread and talent pooled to get us out of LEO.
It is neither irrational or unscientific to want manned space. Exploration is one of our nobler enterprises. Should we build a manned moon base? Yes and it should include automated telescopes and a manned maunfacturing component for spacecraft. Moon gravity is less then ours and all the raw marerial are there as well as water it seems:) Should manned space go further of course proceeded by probes:) Just my Opinion folks:)
Cheers
fred
 

Chrisn

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The materials and the power are already there. We just need to bite the bullet and do it.
Yeah and one example: Aluminium takes alot of electricity to refine from ore. Its just not quite practical, especially for the quantities needed to make anything out of. This is at least a 100 year project at the minimum
 

gpoehlein

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I agree with Winston. Manned spaceflight is an idea from the 60s. It is still suited for orbital activities (like fixing the Hubble telescope), but not for space exploration.

It is time we take another look at our approach for space exploration. Just look at all we learned from the two Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity... and that's already dated technology.

In any case, I doubt we can afford building a manned based anywhere ;)
My best argument against this idea is to compare Apollo 11 to the somewhat recent Mars mission that crashed into a mountain because of a programming error. Even with AI, we cannot program a robotic explorer to figure its way out of every situation that might come up - we cannot even foresee some situations until they happen. But with a "pilot at the wheel", the astronaut can make last second decisions and changes that could spell the difference between a successful mission and a total failure.

Not that robotic missions shouldn't ever be considered - the various Mars rovers are doing great science. But to scrap the manned program altogether in favor of robotic missions would be foolhardy in the extreme. Robots do what they are programmed to do - humans adapt to the situation as it goes.
 

MysticalRockets

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I pretty much consider it a national disgrace that we won't be back to the moon until 2020. That's almost 50 years!
 

nh4clo4

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My best argument against this idea is to compare Apollo 11 to the somewhat recent Mars mission that crashed into a mountain because of a programming error. Even with AI, we cannot program a robotic explorer to figure its way out of every situation that might come up - we cannot even foresee some situations until they happen. But with a "pilot at the wheel", the astronaut can make last second decisions and changes that could spell the difference between a successful mission and a total failure.
OK, That's one good example in favor of your position. However you can build ten of those unmanned missions before you match the cost of one manned one.

Also, there are plenty of places where you simply cannot send a human due to harsh conditions ;Jupiter has a gravity of 2.36x the Earth (Try that with a 150 pound astronaut suit), Mercury has daytime temperature of 800 degrees, and nighttime temperature of 280 below. That's on top of the excessive duration of the trip. These are places that can only be explored with robots, IMO.

Human space exploration is limited to the moon and mars; until we learn to build warp drives ;)

Personally I would prefer we focus on places we have not seen yet.

As far as building manufacturing facilities on the moon, I would not hold my breath....
 

sailmike

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I think we should definitely build a permanent base on the moon and other planets. I agree that missions to the moon would be great practice for missions to other places.

One suggestion, why not turn the ISS into a space ship and send that to mars? We could work on that till we get a good self sustaining ship before sending it to mars. What do you think?

Lastly, all these missions would be great inspiration to actually finish college and get a degree. We don't need people dreaming to be athletes who rarely finish college.

Mike
 

nh4clo4

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Okay, let me repeat my suggestion:

How about sending telemarketers to Mercury?

Doing so would help us to develop the hardware and expertise needed to send human beings around the solar system, and we'd be able to develop that capacity it without putting human beings at risk. In addition, there wouldn't be any problem raising the funds needed: we could do it using nothing but freely given donations. I'm sure even PETA would be willing to chip in.
The debate would be about whether we send the telemarketers first, or the lawyers. I would vote for the lawyers.:D
 

gpoehlein

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The debate would be about whether we send the telemarketers first, or the lawyers. I would vote for the lawyers.:D
A friend of mine, who was actually in the astronaut mission specialist corps for a while (but he never got to fly) used to be popular on the SF con circuit as a NASA lecturer. One of his most popular bits was a slide presentation he called "Senator's in Space" - starring Sen. William Proxmire. Of course, the routine ended up with the Honorable Senator being "accidentally" lost in space! :rolleyes:
 

shrox

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What is to point of knowing without going?

Why bother with robotic exploration if you don't even have the desire to see what they found? Why not just sit at home and play video games that are simulation of what we might find anyway? Why bother even being curious about something if you don't want to venture out and touch it?

What then should those that want to go do? Just stay here and be happy with video screens showing us what is out there?
 

Len_Lekx

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The way I figure it, the whole argument is moot until we can develop regular access to orbit that *does not* require expensive one-shots to get there.

Shuttle was a good starting point... but instead of learning from the mistakes and building the next-generation vehicle, NASA seems intent on going backwards in its' design philosophy. :bangbang:
 

Zeus-cat

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The choices in the survey are bad ones. You are offered a choice of _manned_ moon missions, _manned_ Mars missions or nothing. I want a large number of robotic missions to everywhere that's interesting, easily paid for by an end to the ISS and manned space flight. Push artificial intelligence and robotics beyond their current limits, thereby developing technology that would be highly useful on earth, too. And unmanned spacecraft in earth orbit that are designed to be serviced over time should be serviced via telepresence until robotics and AI can take over.
I agree. The amount of pure science that can be accomplished with unmanned probes will far surpass what can be done with manned missions and for a fraction of the costs. This should be a priority.

If the American people want to continue to send people into space, it should be done more for national pride, not as a scientific venture.

We could do both if people are willing to pay for it, but I would say they should develop a series of standardized probes and fling them out all over the place.
 

Fred22

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I agree. The amount of pure science that can be accomplished with unmanned probes will far surpass what can be done with manned missions and for a fraction of the costs. This should be a priority.

If the American people want to continue to send people into space, it should be done more for national pride, not as a scientific venture.

We could do both if people are willing to pay for it, but I would say they should develop a series of standardized probes and fling them out all over the place.
Lots of folks want to send people into the space and do :) It's also cheaper that way :)
Cheers
fred
 

Peartree

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I saw Buzz Aldrin last week at a book signing for his new book, "Magnificent Desolation" and he spoke to the group about his thoughts on the future of space exploration. He opined that we should not go back to the moon because it is too close, and the problem is that the people we would send there would not stay very long. Instead, he advocates building a permanent presence of Mars where the explorers would have to stay at least a year and a half because of the planetary alignments creating launch windows during which to travel.

I'm not sure I agree with his logic, it seems to me we would want to perfect the travel, exploration and settlement skills on the closest possible body before venturing further. That being said, the presence of water on the moon (not yet confirmed) would add weight to the argument that a permanent lunar presence is practical. In the long run, the success of a permanent presence on either body will depend on whether resources can be returned to the Earth in an economically feasible way, or it ends up as a moon-doggle.
I think I get what Buzz is after. We (humans) have always been at our best when we are pushed to do things that some think are impossible. Doing what is technologically possible with current technology is easy (though not necessarily inexpensive), proves nothing and we don't learn much. Pressing for the difficult things, even the impossible things, causes us to research, innovate and invent. The Cleveland Indians used a phrase a few years ago that I think fits here.

Go big, or go home!
 

sylvie369

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The Cleveland Indians used a phrase a few years ago that I think fits here.

Go big, or go home!
While I see your point, I'd rather NASA not model itself after the 31-49, last place Indians. :blush:
 

Peartree

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While I see your point, I'd rather NASA not model itself after the 31-49, last place Indians. :blush:
True, but FWIW that particular year they won the pennant. They stink but we all have to have dreams. Some are just bigger than others...:roll:
 
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