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NASA's Next Mission: Deep Space

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the let's-send-them-to-the-oceans-instead dept.

NASA 182

gManZboy writes "NASA's Mars Science Lab and Curiosity rover are the next steps in a long-term plan to travel farther and faster into space. Check out the future spacecrafts and tools that will get them there — including NASA's big bet, a spacecraft that combines the Orion multipurpose crew vehicle with the Space Launch System, designed to take astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time since the Apollo 17 Moon mission in 1972. NASA will need 10 years to prepare astronauts to take Orion and SLS for a test flight."

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Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38172580)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Night Befo' Crizzmus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38172858)

Wus da night afo' Crizzmus, and all thru da hood,

everybody be sleepin' and da sleepin' be good.

We hunged up our stockins, an hoped like all heck,

That brother Obama gunna brang us our checks.

All of da family, was lay'in on da flo',

my sister wif her gurlfriend,

my brother wif some ho.

Ashtrays was all full , empty beer cans and all

when I heared such a fuss, I thunk...."Sh'eet, must be da law".

I pulled the sheet off da window and what I'ze could see,

I was spectin' the sherrif, wif a warrent fo' me.

But what I'ze did see, made me say, "Lawd look 'a dat!"

Dere was a huge watermelon, pulled by eight big-ass rats.

Now ovah da years, Santy Claws he be white,

but it looks like us brothas, got a black un' tonight.

Faster than a poe'lice car, my homeboy he came,

and whupped up on dem rats, as he called dem by name.

On Biden, On Jessie, On Pelosi and Hillary Who ,

On Fannie, On Freddie, On Ayers, and Slick Willy too.

Obama landed dat melon, right there in da street,

I knowed it fo' sho', - can you believe that Sheet?

Dat Santy don't need no chimley, he picked da lock on my do',

an I sez to myself, "Son o' bitch...he don did dis befo!"

He had a big bag, full of presents - at first I suspeck?

Wif "Air Jordans" and fake gold, to wear roun' my neck.

But he left me no presents, just started stealin my shit.

He got my guns and my crack, and my new burglers kit.

Den, wif my shit in his bag, out da windo' he flew,

I sho' woulda shanked him, but he snagged my blade too!

He jumped back on dat melon, wif out even a hitch,

and wuz gone in two seconds, da democrat sonofabitch.

So nex year I be hopin', a white Santy we git,

'cause a black Santy Claws, just ain't worf a shit!

Are we going to build it? (1, Insightful)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172586)

Or are we going to offshore it?

Re:Are we going to build it? (4, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172664)

Neither: we're going to cancel it outright, a month after the next President gets sworn-in.

Re:Are we going to build it? (2)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172724)

You might be right; a better question might have been "So what is the next President going to spend the money on with an 'Executive Order'?"

Re:Are we going to build it? (2, Insightful)

ChatHuant (801522) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173218)

You might be right; a better question might have been "So what is the next President going to spend the money on with an 'Executive Order'?"

Do you even have to ask? Tax cuts, bailouts, incentives or whatever they call now the payback to the corporations or rich individuals that bought, sorry, "contributed" to his campaign.

Re:Are we going to build it? (1, Insightful)

oh2 (520684) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173426)

You forgot bombing Iran. Its their turn next, you know.

Re:Are we going to build it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38172778)

Wrapping up your ass and smacking down a beat...

High-Speed Beating

Re:Are we going to build it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38172886)

Wrapping up your ass and smacking down a beat...

High-Speed Beating

Wrapping? It feels better if you bareback raw-dog it. This is more interesting than another stupid discussion about NASA's use of 60-year-old technology.

You know what else is more interesting than this? Niggers.

Re:Are we going to build it? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38172832)

I heard they cut NASA's budget in half for outside launch services from SpaceX and the like. So uh, what the hell are we going to do for space travel when they cancel this one? :(

Re:Are we going to build it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38174606)

They will cut 3 billion a year for SLS and then increase private space from .5B to 1B a year. It will actually take Falcon Heavy to launch, before SLS is killed. But that is suppose to occur in 2013. At that time, it is hard to argue for 1-2B a launch system that puts up 70 tonnes from 2021 through to 2030, while FH will put up 50 tonnes for 100 million starting in 2013.

Ideally, in about 5 years or so, we would do a COTS-SHLV for TWO vehicles. Offer up 5 billion or so for development, and require that each launch be below .5B. With 2 SHLVs we can do a base on the moon and mars.

Windbourne-moderating.

Re:Are we going to build it? (5, Interesting)

demachina (71715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172890)

If America is going to get humans to Mars SpaceX is your best bet, not NASA. NASA is completely indifferent to actually building a new launcher. NASA's only goal is to keep Senators Shelby, Nelson, Hatch and Hutchinson happy with perpetual jobs programs in their states so their money keeps flowing. That's why they keep proposing launchers that are always 10 years away from ever launching.

The beauty of SpaceX is they get some money from Congress but they can probably support themselves on commercial and military launch contracts and ride out the sheer stupidity of America's political system.

Here is an excellent article on SpaceX in Air and Space Mag [airspacemag.com] .

Elon Musk's goal is almost entirely aiming towards colonize Mars and disrupting launcher design so thoroughly that we can actually afford to get big things in to LEO and beyond.

Article has excellent stuff on the really innovative stuff they are doing, like their heat shield. They aren't patenting anything because they don't want to give China a HOWTO so they can rip off all the cool stuff they are doing. They also give the finger to all the existing aerospace companies that try to gouge them on parts. If the price isn't reasonable they build their own and often improve on existing designs. They are probably going to undercut China's Long March on LEO launch cost which is impressive with their plant being in very expensive California and having a relatively expensive American work force. They are beating China on cost using innovation.

A really compelling part in the article is an engineer at one of their competitors rooting for them to succeed. They are almost the only shot America has of recapturing the Apollo magic and beating China in the new space race.

Re:Are we going to build it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38173080)

Putting the future of human space travel and exploration in the hands of for profit companies is a real bad idea.

It'll take us a most of the next 100 years to figure out that mistake.

Re:Are we going to build it? (3, Insightful)

strack (1051390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173308)

oh stop being so fucking melodramatic. whats wrong with profit motive driving down the cost of access to space? that seems like a ideal place to apply a bit of ruthless capitalism. its not like the government has done much to lower the cost to get to space.

Re:Are we going to build it? (0)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174312)

whats wrong with profit motive driving down the cost of access to space?

Just what does the profit motive have to do with driving down the cost? Is there some sort of competitive market for commodity deep-space launchers? Can we now choose among dozens of alternative vendors to get that "just-right" balance of cost and safety/reliability?

Re:Are we going to build it? (4, Insightful)

f()rK()_Bomb (612162) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173852)

You put you lives in the hands of for profit airline companies and car makers. Don't be ridiculous

Re:Are we going to build it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38174482)

We put our lives in the hands of heavily REGULATED for profit transportation companies. There is a damn good reason why, too.

Re:Are we going to build it? (5, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173242)

Both you and the AC that replied to you before me are equally right, and at the same time both wrong.

In the current state of affairs and absence of sufficient collective awareness and conscience, private entities not beholden to the tug-of-war of politics are the only entities likely to be able to fund a continued space presence (much less an expansion of that presence).

On the other hand, the consequences for the human collective if such an infrastructure is left in private hands would be nothing less than THE END of any chance of reigning in the One Percent that nearly controls everything now. Can you imagine the "network neutrality" debate translated into the infrastructure required for space exploration and colonization?

Never mind that ALL discussions of so-called network neutrality are a deliberate mis-frame, because the only true neutrality would be public ownership of the infrastructure - the wires - and THAT has never even been part of the main discussion; it's only been unimportant people like me with no voice even mentioning it at all. (Meanwhile the government in Australia finally gets something right that doesn't repeat our political stupidities, with its plan to buy back their wires as part of its own broadband initiative.)

Frankly, we don't dare even allow Space-X or any single government to get a controlling foothold off-planet until we've evolved the necessary collective awareness and wisdom to prevent the result from reading like the plot from any one of dozens of dystopian science fiction novels. WE NEED TO OWN THAT INFRASTRUCTURE, all of us; it needs to be a co-op enterprise. The human push into space must be a SOCIAL endeavor, and by social I mean the entire human tribe, not just one splinter group of it.

Re:Are we going to build it? (-1, Flamebait)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173420)

On the other hand, the consequences for the human collective if such an infrastructure is left in private hands would be nothing less than THE END of any chance of reigning in the One Percent that nearly controls everything now.

It's funny how a certain lunatic fringe keeps using that phrase, when they really mean to say "jews".

Re:Are we going to build it? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174148)

Thanks for finally showing your colours. You have proven yourself to be a brainless conservative troll many times. It is not particularly surprising that you finally out yourself as equally brainless antisemite. Who would have thunk...

Re:Are we going to build it? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173582)

Frankly, we don't dare even allow Space-X or any single government to get a controlling foothold off-planet until we've evolved the necessary collective awareness and wisdom to prevent the result from reading like the plot from any one of dozens of dystopian science fiction novels. WE NEED TO OWN THAT INFRASTRUCTURE, all of us; it needs to be a co-op enterprise. The human push into space must be a SOCIAL endeavor, and by social I mean the entire human tribe, not just one splinter group of it.

I don't have all the answers, or even a fraction of them. But, what you advocate here could only turn out well if basic human nature suddenly and totally changed.

As long as government is the all-encompassing megalith it's become over the last 100 years, mortgaged up past it's eyeballs with fingers in every pie and control over everything, thereby guaranteeing massive corruption by anyone that has money, the space program (and all other worthwhile works) will only go as far as the politicians (and those who pay them) want it to go.

Corporations only have the amount of power they currently enjoy and can only act as criminally as they do without real fear because the government has power they can co-opt, and are able to do it safely because of the sheer size of government. If the government wasn't so all-encompassing and huge, corporations wouldn't have the power they do.

It's not capitalism that's given corporations the power they have these days as so many like the OWS protesters scream about, it's a too-large government that by it's very nature of being so large & powerful, attracts corruption and covers up corruption in it's labyrinthine maze of finger-pointers, always blaming something/someone else and muddying the waters such that curbing corruption is impossible. It becomes a circular self-reinforcing system until it collapses and leaves the poor sucker citizens to suffer the consequences.

Strat

Re:Are we going to build it? (4, Insightful)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174288)

Corporations only have the amount of power they currently enjoy and can only act as criminally as they do without real fear because the government has power they can co-opt, and are able to do it safely because of the sheer size of government. If the government wasn't so all-encompassing and huge, corporations wouldn't have the power they do.

This makes absolutely no sense.

It's not capitalism that's given corporations the power they have these days as so many like the OWS protesters scream about, it's a too-large government that by it's very nature of being so large & powerful, attracts corruption and covers up corruption in it's labyrinthine maze of finger-pointers, always blaming something/someone else and muddying the waters such that curbing corruption is impossible. It becomes a circular self-reinforcing system until it collapses and leaves the poor sucker citizens to suffer the consequences.

And this is akin to saying "the problem with all this crime is that we have laws!"

Re:Are we going to build it? (4, Interesting)

Hitokiri Battousai (702935) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174156)

If you haven't watched the anime Planetes [wikipedia.org] , you should. One of the main topics is what you're talking about. It's one of the best hard science fictions I've seen/read.

Re:Are we going to build it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38173270)

They are almost the only shot America has of recapturing the Apollo magic and beating China in the new space race.

Don't worry. If it looks like Musk/SpaceX (or any other private US aerospace corp.) actually advances to the point that there's a chance that the US might become a serious player in space exploration again, the politicians will find a way to stop it. Even if they have to do a frame-up job on Musk (or whoever else may be a threat).

Don't forget who bought and owns the government now, and it ain't the unions, it ain't the corporations, it ain't the Kochs or Soros.

It's China.

Re:Are we going to build it? (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173446)

Wow, thanks for that article link. It's the best damn thing I've read on here in a long time (the original Slashdot article is PR crap btw, I'm talking about the Air & Space one)

Sure worth repeating: http://www.airspacemag.com/space-exploration/Visionary-Launchers-Employees.html [airspacemag.com]

P.S. Elon looks a lot like Pavel Chekov!

Budget Cuts will doom it (4, Insightful)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172602)

Sadly, there is on the one hand the desire to come up with ever more grandiose projects now that the space shuttle program is defunct and on the other hand looming budget cuts... so what we will get is a huge launch and a couple of years of data and then a giant chunk of metal hurling through space that no one can afford to keep track of any more. Civilization is collapsing.

Re:Budget Cuts will doom it (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172658)

If they agreed to stop studying climate change the GOP would probably let them have their funding back.

Re:Budget Cuts will doom it (5, Insightful)

cowtamer (311087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172706)

It won't be budget cuts, but the lack of political will. If SOME politician in charge would just give NASA a well-defined mission such as "10 years for a working moon base" or "15 years to land humans on Mars" they would find a way to pull it off, even without budget increases -- provided that the next guy doesn't just change or the mission. But this takes guts, and the willingness to stand up to the inevitable chorus of of naysayers and space-hating dullards who will keep yammering about budget deficits, etc.

So instead, they end up spending a considerable amount of money on ENDLESS reorganizations and PowerPoint presentations while they lose engineers who are tired of the Sisyphean nature of working on projects that are prone to the whims of yearly budget cycles.

Sometimes I feel like the politicians are AFRAID of letting NASA accomplish something grand, lest they attract the (unwarranted) attention of the aforementioned naysayers.

Re:Budget Cuts will doom it (2)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172772)

Um please read this and come back. it's quite as simple as you think..
http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/10/why-not-space/ [ucsd.edu]

Re:Budget Cuts will doom it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38173182)

That article argues that colonizing space is too expensive to be feasible. Having some missions is expensive, but is by no means impossible:

In other words, I’m an insider—and a supporter. I whole-heartedly believe that space offers tremendous scientific promise. If we decide to return to the Moon (with or without people), I am enthusiastic about placing next-generation reflectors on the lunar surface, allowing us to drill deeper into the mysteries of gravity. Radio observations from the quiet far side can peer into the “dark ages” of the universe as the very first stars were forming. I am super-excited about the LISA gravitational wave observatory that I hope someday will get the funding and the green light to launch, assuredly revolutionizing our view of the universe. And to the extent that human spaceflight inspires youngsters to pursue a career of exploration and science, I’m all for it.

Re:Budget Cuts will doom it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38173272)

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

I'd gladly accept run on sentences if they replace defeatist sentiment. Alas for the end of humanity striving to accomplish the impossible.

Re:Budget Cuts will doom it (2)

strack (1051390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173282)

8.5 months dosent sound that insurmountable. stuff the international space station full of supplies and propellant, install a electrically generated magnetosphere, and blastoff.

Re:Budget Cuts will doom it (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174350)

It won't be budget cuts, but the lack of political will.

Don't those amount to the same thing? "Political will" == a large and sustained budget.

Re:Budget Cuts will doom it (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173110)

Grandiose? The Orion module has a habitable volume of approximately 9 cubic metres, about the size of a full sized van. This is shared among a crew of 4, giving each about as much room as a shower stall. Mission duration is 21 days. The shuttle had a habitable volume of approximately 65 cubic metres, about the size of the trailer on a typical transport truck. It was designed for seven people. So each gets 9 cubic metres, as much as an entire Orion module. Granted, the shuttle had a mission duration of only 16 days, however, it had shower and toilet facilities, an airlock and space-suits. Add to that a civilized landing rather than a terrifying rescue at sea. There's no question which one I'd rather spend a mission in.

Re:Budget Cuts will doom it (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173202)

Add to that a civilized landing rather than a terrifying rescue at sea.

I think you mean 'terrifying near-crash with no chance of survival if you missed the runway'.

Doubt it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38172674)

Never going to happen.
Face it, you're broke.

sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38172700)

Our space program flat out sucks. I wonder if the people in the 70s ever dreamed we would have such an embarrassing lack of progress during the next 4 decades.

Re:sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38173238)

Our space program flat out sucks. I wonder if the people in the 70s ever dreamed we would have such an embarrassing lack of progress during the next 4 decades.

Speaking as someone in elementary school at the time guys were walking on the moon, many of us were pretty enthusiastic about learning math and science since you needed that to build and/or fly spaceships, space stations, and all that related sort of stuff. So no, 2011 didn't quite turn out as we expected.

Re:sucks (3, Insightful)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173640)

We're still the only nation that seems to reliably be able to send anything to Mars.

Why return mission? (5, Interesting)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172712)

i never understood why NASA insists on making the Mars trip a return mission. Why waste 3 years there and back stuck in the middle of space doing no science?

Just send a couple of guys there and make it a one way mission. They can start colonising immediately and start building stuff. Pioneers used to do that sort of thing all the time in the new world.

People place too much value on human life. If the Chinese send anyone theyd do it that way.

I bet NASA could find a million volunteers to do it and id be one of them. Id do it for a single week on Mars.

Re:Why return mission? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38172750)

Sure, it will be great for everyone to watch a couple people freak out and beg for a rescue when the reality of their mortality sets in. Good fun, and it will get them loads of funding for the next mission. After all, what little kid doesn't dream about growing up and going on a suicide mission for *science*? Better ship some good suicide pills for them too, that way they can die quick and quiet, or maybe just make it a kill switch enabled from Houston for good measure.

Re:Why return mission? (4, Interesting)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172796)

Why would they be expecting rescue? Rescue from what? Theyre colonists.
Read about expeditions to the North and South poles. Read about guys who climb mount Everest. If human history was left to people like you we'd still be living in primordial swamps

"im not climbing out onto land! its just fine here with these gills i've got"

Maybe dont put your name forward then. They can send someone with balls:

http://www.universetoday.com/14544/one-way-mission-to-mars-us-soldiers-will-go/ [universetoday.com]

Re:Why return mission? (2, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173240)

They're colonists.
They can send someone with balls:

In that case, they better send some with pussies, too. Otherwise the colony won't last long.

Re:Why return mission? (4, Insightful)

bertok (226922) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173530)

The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica is actually a great example, thanks for bringing it up. It's entirely dependent on the outside world for supplies except for air and water. Everything, and I mean everything is shipped in. There's no self-sufficiency to speak of.

We think of Antarctica as an inhospitable place, but it's a tropical paradise compared to anywhere we can land people in space. It has unlimited oxygen and and water, no dangerous radiation, earth normal gravity, unlimited water, vast mineral deposits, and temperatures that can be survived with nothing more than some warm clothing.

Nonetheless, if external support was cut off from the south pole station, then despite having all the existing buildings, infrastructure, machinery, and a staff of hundreds of brilliant scientists and researchers, everyone there would die.

Let me reiterate this: your examples of 'colonies' are all places where the people there are supported by enormous external supply chains, and would die if those supplies are cut off. On Earth, we can keep the supplies going because we can afford to, and because it's worth it -- the relatively low overhead of air freighting in everything is small compared to the valuable science that can be performed in Antarctica, or the money people are willing to spend to climb Everest.

All of these are expeditions, not colonies. They're not self sufficient, and it wouldn't be cost effective to make them self sufficient.

Shipping stuff on Earth is cheap. Air freight to a frozen desert in the middle of nowhere is a negligible overhead when compared to sending stuff to Mars. Even in the wildest, most delusional dreams of space fanatics, there is no way to do it for less than about $100 per pound.

Look around your house -- really look -- and for everything you see, ask yourself: how many pounds is that?. Could anyone afford to live like this if it cost $100 per pound more than it would otherwise? How many pounds of water do you use? How many pounds of air? What does your house weigh?

Try that again with the current, realistic cost of sending things to Mars of $10,000 per pound.

Re:Why return mission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38174322)

Before they die, penguin [blogspot.com] and seal [staticflickr.com] would be on the menu. Seal is a good source of oil [sealoil.com] and that could be used to run their generators or at least some furnaces for heat.

I think if it came down to survival, those scientists would last a long time, perhaps permanently if they figured out how to use spears.

Re:Why return mission? (2)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174332)

This is over-simplifying it though, since Antarctica has a number of things which mean we haven't even really tried to colonize it.

For one: it's close. Really close. A few hours flying from Australia or New Zealand. It is not that isolated. The marginal cost of trying to establish infrastructure, compared to just flying stuff in means a lot of things aren't worth the setup cost.

Secondly: it's considered a nature preserve. There are treaty commitments and scientific interest in not contaminating for significantly changing it. The whole place is treated very much like a wild-life perserve.

When the Antarctic treaty expires in the near future, then the ball will really go up for grabs since suddenly it'll be legal to declare Antarctica sovereign territory and to go after it's natural resources. It's likely then that infrastructure will go up, since suddenly we're going to want to put a whole lot more people there for a whole lot longer.

By virtue of distance and cost, I'd say it's very likely that Mars exploration would in fact involve a significant colonization effort purely because the extreme distance and cost would mean it's a hell of a lot cheaper then shipping things in. Milder weather too.

Re:Why return mission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38174392)

Nuts, I should not have moderated here. This will be my last anonymous.
The difference is that Mars can be made self-suffient much cheaper and easier than the south pole. WHy? ELEMENTS and reactors. What elements are available at the pole THAT WE CAN GET TO ? Just H20 and what ever else is in the atmosphere. Nothing else. Can we put a reactor there? Nope. Can we do solar? Well, yes. In the same way. Put a satellite in space and beam it down. Can they do geo-thermal? Nope.

So, what is the difference on Mars? First off, at the equator, it is much warmer than AS is. In addition, it is possible to bury the facility in the ground and have insulation. Then you have energy. Could do solar (and probably will have some), but will likely add geo-thermal and most certainly will need a reactor. Now, the BIGGEST thing is that MARS has ELEMENTS. It is possible to mine mars. We can not do that at AS. Why Not? Treaties. No such critter on Mars. Once you have elements, you can build up numerous items. In addition, we have the ability to grow algae and even plants there. You do not have it at AS UNLESS we add a nuke. But that is disallowed.

AS could be made much more self-suffient, using similar tech to what mars will need. Ideally, we can get some exception made for doing Mars equipment testing. That would at the same time, help the base, lower the number of trips going into AS, and esp. lower the risks and costs.

Windbourne, moderating.

Re:Why return mission? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174428)

You left out one other key point about Amundsen-Scott: no one goes there as a one-way trip (at least not on purpose). Every single person there right now remains a citizen of Somewhere Else, and intends to return there. Most of them will return (at least temporarily) in just a few months. The supply chain that stocks the South Pole station with food and fuel also circulates people in and out.

Re:Why return mission? (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174370)

Read about expeditions to the North and South poles. Read about guys who climb mount Everest.

Comparing a colony on Mars to one anywhere on Earth is absurd. The cost, complexity, and technical difficulty are off by many orders of magnitude.

Re:Why return mission? (2)

epiphani (254981) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172756)

Because right now we're fairly certain they'd die - and not at the end of their natural life.

A lot more research, development, and money would have to go into the program to actually believe we'd have some chance of establishing an actual colony, never mind a self-sustaining one.

Re:Why return mission? (3, Insightful)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172818)

They'll die right here on earth too. I guarantee that. Maybe theyll get hit by a bus. Maybe have a heart attack at 50. Maybe develop cancer by 55 and In 50 years time no one will even know they existed.

Re:Why return mission? (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172948)

They'll die right here on earth too. I guarantee that. Maybe theyll get hit by a bus. Maybe have a heart attack at 50. Maybe develop cancer by 55 and In 50 years time no one will even know they existed.

That's okay because eventually, anyone who could have known they existed will be dead too. So you see it's self-correcting.

I mean it doesn't make much sense to say [slashdot.org] we over-value human life and then worry about the partial memories of those lives. The life itself is more valuable than the memory; if you recognize no other reason for this, then at least because it can continue to make more memories.

I think that's your own desire to "make your legacy as an answer to mortality" using the topic to manifest itself. Otherwise I agree with you about having balls and understanding that exploring new frontiers might mean facing new dangers and this is not a good reason to give up. It would make a lot more sense than dying in some pointless undeclared war against a foreign nation that isn't really a threat to you.

Re:Why return mission? (0)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172978)

How is it giving up? Its the complete opposite!

Its getting as much value for you life as is possible.

You'd be helping humanity populate another world for fucks sake.

Re:Why return mission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38174650)

Try not to be so willfully retarded.

Re:Why return mission? (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172768)

Pioneers used to do that sort of thing all the time... AFTER the initial explorers had done sample return missions.

Re:Why return mission? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38172840)

Pioneers in, say, the American west didn't have to worry about such trivialities as running out of oxygen or potable water. Or food to hunt. Let's try and put this in perspective: NASA put a man on the man, but they were only able to do so after congress handed them a blank check and told them to get it done. The US is currently broke and going to mars does not really send a clear message to the rest of the world like going to the moon for the first time (ie: we have ICBM capability, so suck it).

Re:Why return mission? (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173184)

Explorers on ships did. What do you think would have happened to Columbus if he got lost out there, or hit a storm that broke a mast, or an extended period with insufficient wind? You can't drink seawater. Sure, he could at least count on an endless supply of oxygen, but that's cold comfort to someone dying of dehydration in the middle of an ocean.

Re:Why return mission? (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174252)

it rains, even in the middle of the ocean.

It doesn't, in outer space

Re:Why return mission? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174340)

Also the reality is, if we put our minds to it "oxygen" is a pretty easy problem to solve. There are plenty of ways to use electrical or solar energy to make O2 from CO2 (plus the old fallback of "use actual plants").

Re:Why return mission? (1)

halo_2_rocks (805685) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174462)

Oxygen isn't the problem - There are 3 major things going to kill anyone going to mars: 1) Radiation. Once you leave the earth's protective magnetic field (and don't cite the moon, you are still in it when you go there), you'll die of radiation exposure from the Sun. They'll need a signficant radition shield (few meters of lead for instance) to keep them from dying and getting something that heavy up there will be expensive. 2) Gravity (or lack of it in fact). 3 years in space w/o any gravity will kill the crew. They'll need micro gravity with rotating sections. Again, very expensive to build and shield from the radiation mentioned above. 3) Micrometeorites. We have no good solution for that. We'll just have to send A LOT of crew and hope some of them survive.. If you really want to go to Mars, a certain percentage will die from these hitting the ship. Self-sealing sections will be required and a way to dispose of those that die. Throw on top of that all the food, water, fuel and everything else - it is pretty impractical to go right now, so if anyone seriously looks at what it will really cost to go. It will get cancelled as just a stupid idea.

Re:Why return mission? (3, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172854)

"Just send a couple of guys there and make it a one way mission. They can start colonising immediately and start building stuff."

Unfortunately there are no Martian princesses there for these couple of guys to breed with, so you are gonna have to include some females in the crew.

"Pioneers used to do that sort of thing all the time in the new world"
"
The new world (the Americas) had a lot of advantages that Mars does not:

Breathable atmosphere
Climate suitable for growing stuff
Fertile soil with plants and animals already there
turkeys, cranberries and mashed potato for dinner (and locals to tell the colonists how to cook them)
Trees for making wooden structures out of
fresh water
mineral resources
etc

Re:Why return mission? (0)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172944)

I'm not talking about getting married and building picket fences, moron

I'm talking about preparing a scientific base and doing research for the next teams to arrive.

Re:Why return mission? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38172992)

I'm not talking about getting married and building picket fences, moron

I'm talking about preparing a scientific base and doing research for the next teams to arrive.

You are talking about the same thing, only you have revised the terms to space age. Your suggestion is stupid for this age. Twenty years and several expeditions later , maybe it would make sense, but right now you sound like an over-excited kid.

Re:Why return mission? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173246)

...so let's get those expeditions going already.

Sitting around and saying 'oh it's too hard, better send up some eventual missions first' isn't going to get the job done.

Re:Why return mission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38173606)

Why would they be expecting rescue? Rescue from what? Theyre colonists.

Keep your bullshit straight. What you are describing now is robot work, they are actually expendable/operate without external supplies.

Re:Why return mission? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38173212)

Can we put this whole pioneer bullshit to rest? Pioneers were going into a world where there would be food, animals, materials for shelter, the same gravity, and AIR. Mars has none of these (although if you insist, I will grant you rock for shelter). Traveling across space to Mars isn't like traveling on the ocean to a new continent. Sure those guys had balls to risk traveling to a new land they had never seen, but they understood that they could take fish from the sea if they were hungry and could distill water from the ocean if they needed water. Space is empty, you cannot refuel your supplies from the cold vacuum of it. So the trip isn't bad. Let's get to Mars, see what you need then. You may argue that you can grow your own food, produce your own oxygen, and create your own shelter. If you're going to live on the ship you came in on, that's fine, just means you only have a few hundred feet to walk around in for the rest of your life. If you want something bigger, you need infrastructure to build it. And I mean massive infrastructure, because there are no hardware stores on Mars. Hell, there are no trees on Mars, so you better be building with rocks. But then you need massive tools to cut and move the rocks. And to seal them, because it's not like building a stone hut on Earth, you need that shit to be air tight. And as for air, you need a system to replenish your air, permanently. Unless, of course, you don't care to breathe. And you'll need redundancy, because that's not something that can go down for a weekend. So that's even more stuff you need to pack. Food. Grow your own, sure. But that takes space. And light. Assuming the biology of plant growth works decently on Mars, you still are getting less sunlight than normal. Growing in your own greenhouse would take significant space to feed people for a year, and if you have a particularly bad crop, there are no Indians to come and help you. And finally, Mars has roughly 1/3rd the gravity of Earth. That will cause problems to your body, and there's no way to fix that currently.
 
  Fuck you and your colonist ideals. Early pioneers took great risks but they weren't idiotic. To assume that they would willfully head off to settle a land that is impossible to live in just states your ignorance. If you still can't get your head around it, then explain to me why no one's built a house on top of Mount Everest. It'd have quite the nice view.

Re:Why return mission? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38173234)

Well be living on Mars eventually, and it'll be without any help from unimaginative closed-minded Luddites like you obviously

Re:Why return mission? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38173286)

I'm no less close minded than you. Your plan would kill people and create a monetary sink hole that would destroy any future space program. It's a never ending system that either ends with the most costly care packages ever created, a failed mission that requires the colonists to come home, or the death of the colonists. I believe in a future in space and I wish to god it would hurry up, but space is not that easy, and if you thought about it for a minute, you might see that sending people on a one way trip would do more harm than good. Small steps aren't bad, especially when a failed mission could mean an even bigger step back.

Re:Why return mission? (-1, Troll)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173726)

Nobody is forcing you or anyone else to go to Mars to die, so calm down already and take your Prozac or medicinal marjuana or whatever it is you smoke.

To assume that they would willfully head off to settle a land that is impossible to live in just states your ignorance.

This is the stupidest thing I've seen all day. There are lots of people who would JUMP at the chance to go on a one-way trip to Mars. Give their right arm for it. In fact they'd have so many volunteers they couldn't handle it.

Re:Why return mission? (2)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173328)

Seems NASA should work out a colony on the moon where return/rescue would be more plausible. Then extent to other planets.

Re:Why return mission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38173522)

Just send a couple of guys there and make it a one way mission. They can start colonising immediately and start building stuff.

Hey! Why didn't they think of that, gosh darn it??? And hey, why not just terraform the planet while they're there. And by golly, why spend all that time in space? Why not just create a wormhole between Earth and Mars and bus over everything we need?!?!?

Re:Why return mission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38174386)

i never understood why NASA insists on making the Mars trip a return mission. Why waste 3 years there and back stuck in the middle of space doing no science?

3 years in space is "doing science".

Re:Why return mission? (2)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174406)

i never understood why NASA insists on making the Mars trip a return mission.

Because the public (who would be asked to pay for it) would never support it otherwise.

They can start colonising immediately and start building stuff.

With what, and out of what? How much stuff do you think we'd be able to send there with them, on top of the necessary oxygen, water, food, and fuel?

Science Lab *and* Curiosity rover? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38172730)

Geez, imagine if they rolled both of them into one and the same step! Way to stay on top of it poster and the editors!

Not gunna happen this way (4, Insightful)

Goonie (8651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172774)

SLS exists by Congressional mandate, to send cash to ATK and the other Shuttle contractors. It'll probably never fly.

SLS? No thanks... (2, Interesting)

Thinine (869482) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172806)

SLS is a steaming pile of shit shoveled onto NASA by Congress. I hope it never flies. Frankly, the Ares V launcher was a pretty good idea, but was bogged down by having to involve all of the old shuttle contractors.

Re:SLS? No thanks... (3, Interesting)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172866)

how about no thanks to anymore manned missions sponsored by NASA? WTF is being accomplished by the tens of billions they plan to spend? Jack. If there is something for "man" to do in space then the private sector will figure it out faster and cheaper. If NASA must exist, keep it to unmanned science missions, something they have at least shown some degree of competency with a relatively low budget.

Spacecrafts??? (4, Informative)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172968)

The plural of spacecraft is spacecraft.

Re:Spacecrafts??? (2)

skine (1524819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173216)

While "spacecraft" is the standard pluralization, "spacecrafts" is also an accepted spelling.

On a somewhat related note, octopi, octopuses and octopodes are all accepted variants.

Re:Spacecrafts??? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173404)

Don't worry, people think they are reading this on the internets.

I think it's a bad investment. (5, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173068)

Let's think about all that we have learned from our manned space program in the last 30 years. And now let compare that to everything we've learned through our unmanned space program. What amazed us more, pictures from Hubble, or pictures from the ISS? Or was it shockingly detailed infrared pictures of the universe's first light? Or was it the ISS? Was it the amazing Mars landers? Was it the fact that a human-made probe made a soft landing on freaking TITAN??? Well it turns out that the ISS was more expensive that all those missions put together. That's largely because human exploration is just expensive and it's getting more expensive all the time. Alongside, robots are quickly closing the capability gap on us, and in 20 years I'm confident that they can do more on Mars than humans could.

In the 60's our robots sucked, lives were cheap, the Soviets were scary, the economy was pumping, the politicians were united behind NASA, and the Moon was close. Yes, that was the single coolest and most amazing thing that any space program has ever done. But we're fooling ourselves absurdly if we think that in the present day we can get our glory back by doing Mars. The conditions are different in every way.

And I think it would be terrible for the space program as well. Just like the ISS ate up an ungodly chunk of each year's Space budget (for what?) as serious and far cheaper science experiments got vetoed, a Mars mission would just *be* the NASA budget for three decades. It can't be denied that it would primarily be a prestige mission. There are much better ways to learn each and every one of the things we would learn on such a mission. But I think Americans want to do it because we feel like we're on the decline, and like all aging men, we want to get back on that horse and show that we've still got it. It's like the old dude who reminisces about that time he was 24 and hooked up with a model, and ends up buying a Porsche and a mountain of Cialis because he thinks he can relive those glory years. Yes, we're looking for an excuse to whip out our cocks again and scream madly about how we can piss all the way to Mars. But it's more than a little pathetic, not least because there is no political way that our political system could produce the huge volume of steady funding that such a project would require. If we try it, it will be mentioned in every two minute version of the history of the American empire, right at the end.

Re:I think it's a bad investment. (4, Insightful)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173262)

re: ISS.... for what?

Proof of concept. Practical engineering: making things work when they don't. Up until Vostok, a manned _anything_ in space was only a concept. All the manned efforts through to ISS have been a stepwise move to develop the kinds of knowledge and know-how needed to go further. Robots are pretty neat and do some good work; they'll definitely improve. But history shows that where explorers go, some will eventually want to follow - whether for adventure, profit, or to live.

I suggest thinking multi-facet, long-term, various kinds of return, for fun and profit. I don't care much for the "either-or" kind of thinking that crops up often in discussions of 'most anything - I think it tends to limit perception and possibilities.

I also have a long-standing bias that the long-term survival and flourishing of humanity requires being on more than one planet, in one solar system. Whether that survival is possible or desirable is for each to decide. Short-term, I'm thinking mostly science, and resources - helium-3, the vast treasures of the asteroids in all kinds minerals, and continuing to develop the engineering and other know-how needed to keep on truckin' - whatever the blend of man and machine that gets it done.

And, yeah, I've been reading and thinking on this since the Fifties. I admit to being heavily influenced by Heinlein, von Braun, Ley, O'Neill, and others. Maybe I'm impatient. Maybe I'm selfish. But I'd like to see some more progress while I'm still here.

Re:I think it's a bad investment. (2)

arose (644256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173630)

Robots are pretty neat and do some good work; they'll definitely improve. But history shows that where explorers go, some will eventually want to follow - whether for adventure, profit, or to live.

Robots are the explorers, we are wimps in space, they are built for it. The only way any of us are ever following them to live is either as robots (or GEd roachmen) or after they have built enough infrastructure to actually let us survive. Humans suck at space exploration, that is not something you can will away.

Re:I think it's a bad investment. (2)

Bomazi (1875554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173736)

Actually, robotic exploration is human exploration. Robots don't have a will of their own. Humans are merely using robots as an extension of their senses and limbs, but are the ones in control, interpreting data, deciding what to explore next.

It is unfortunate that manned mission advocate don't understand that what makes us human are our thoughts and desires, not our bodies. Insisting on hauling them in space is missing the point and a distraction from actual exploration.

Re:I think it's a bad investment. (2)

Bomazi (1875554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173646)

In practice, it is either or. The manned program is one big chunk (ISS/shuttle), the unmanned program is made of many (comparatively) small missions. So to avoid canceling the manned program, they cancel or postpone unmanned mission to pay for it. It would be nice if there was a strict wall that prevented that, but there isn't.

As for the ISS, it was sold as a science platform, not as an exercise in living / building stuff in space. Yet, the science results are not there. What little science they do is in fact automated, and doesn't need to be hosted on a manned station. What we could do is build an unmanned station to provide orbit maintenance, communication and power, and then use automated vehicles to shuffle experiments back and forth between the ground and the station.

If you have a quasi-religious belief in the need for spreading to other planets, and a romanticized view of historical colonists, that is your problem, but you cannot sell this in the name of science and pay for it with science budgets. Heck, this shouldn't even be taxpayer funded.

And please stop with the helium-3 bullshit. (See this [depletedcranium.com] for instance). It is just a desperate attempt to justify a manned moon mission.

If we were interested in science in the short term, we would halt the manned program and pay for all the exciting stuff we could do within a decade or do but aren't: sailing the seas of Titan, flying through volcanic plumes at Io, deploying a meteorological network on Mars, orbiting Neptune, drilling through the ice of Europa, and much more...

Sorry for the rant.

Re:I think it's a bad investment. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38174276)

I was going to mod you down, but I think that it is far more important to refute your stuff instead. You mention the science at the ISS. Well, you are somewhat right. It is not what we wanted. In particular, we were supposed to install CAM which the neo-cons killed (oddly, they have killed numerous useful items over and over and over). Centrifuge Accommodation module would have allowed us to study biology at various G's. In particular, it would have allowed us to understand cell sheeting, major facets of embryology, and simply find out if we CAN survive on the moon or mars. However, that does not mean that we have lost out. We have done large amounts of science and engineering from our manned space program that is translated into normal every usage. [nasa.gov] For example, the whole start on cordless tools comes from NASA. They pushed that in Apollo, but esp. pushed for the ISS. They were expensive back then. Real expensive. But due to engineering this for NASA, it was finally made to work and brought down in size. It was the push for ISS that made these truly workable. Now, we have surgical robotic arms. Who pushed this originally? NASA. These days, DARPA and other groups push this, but it was NASA that really started that. For what? ISS. Did you like the recent listeria outbreak? Well, normally, a much bigger one is salmonella. Thankfully, that is about to come to an end. A pretty wicked bug was developed at ISS to which a vaccine is forthcoming. Another is the recent Robonaut 2. It enjoys a much greater dexterity than other robots except perhaps ASIMO. And all of this is part of what goes on there. There are other things happening up there.

ISS's greatest use is what is in danger right now. That is, it creates a whole new PRIVATE industry. By having the ISS up there, and NASA helping get our private launch systems off the ground, they create a new industry. What is missing is that to pull off 2 or more human rated launch systems, we NEED a higher launch rate. To get that, we need multiple destinations. What NASA WAS trying to do, was help move Bigelow along in putting up their private space station. You know, that inflatable space station (transhab) that was designed mostly by NASA and then killed by the neo-cons. Bigelow bought it and is working to put it up, but he needs multiple cheap human launchers, ASAP. And SLS is absolutely not it. However, the house of reps, controlled by republicans (nee more neo-cons) are hard at work to destroy private space and push SLS. They have tried to shoot down private space money from 850 million to 350 million. The senate was able to restore it back to 500 million.

Now, as to He3, that is not going to do it. To go there to mine it alone is total BS. HOWEVER, multiple companies want to go to the moon WITH HUMANS TO MINE. Basically, once a small set-up is done, it is much cheaper to mine water from the moon and send it to LEO, then it is send water, H2, LOX to LEO from earth. So, anything else that we mine from there, is PURE GRAVY. And yes,at that time, it includes He3. It also includes a number of elements that would be useful for other items. Now, what will happen when we develop this mining capability? Do you really think that it will be developed for a man to use a pick axe in? Nope. We will no doubt develop new robotics to handle this. At first, it will be scraping the surface, But we will move to digging. And where will that tech go? Into use here. One that I can see is development of mining for the oceans. Both deep ocean mining and the space work will be similar.

To claim that space must be either manned or robotics is stupid and foolish. What is even worse, is the idea that we are close to being able to survive off here. Hawkins and other are correct in saying that we NEED to diversify and spread our in the solar system. Otherwise, we will end up like the dinosaurs. That is why we need to send ppl on a one-way mission to mars. The best way, to accomplish this is to lower the costs of space, which means to use private space. Private Space is VERY interested in putting a base on the moon. Which private space? Well, bigelow, multiple mining companies, Boeing and even SpaceX all want to put us on the moon. Before 2020. In doing the moon and perhaps testing in Antarctica, they make it possible and cheap to go to mars, with well tested equipment.

Windbourne, obviously moderating.

Re: "[it'd be] a prestige mission" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38173388)

Unless if it were successful. Unless instead of just getting there, we stayed and started building something. Biotechnology is advancing by leaps and bounds, as is nanotechnology, material science, etc. And a lot of it is thanks to that ISS that you so willfully deride. The Hubble or the landers may take the headlines of today, but is the ISS that is preparing some very real gifts for tomorrow.

God only knows what we could accomplish, if we tried.

Re:I think it's a bad investment. (3, Insightful)

melted (227442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173532)

Think about it this way: it's a heck of a lot cheaper than wars (by an order of magnitude), while still giving politicians and nations an opportunity to compare who's dick is longer. That's what it's all about. Paraphrasing Kennedy: "We don't do it because it's easy, we do it because we have to show our dick is much longer than anyone else's". I mean, Russia is recovering little by little, to such an extent that they're the only country in the world which can still reliably put shit into orbit, and they intend to land on Venus again in 2016, and this time spend a month on the surface, not a couple of hours like their previous missions. In the meanwhile the US is circling down the crapper. Sure, it'll take a long time for us to sink low enough to match Russia's current level, but unless we do something about it, we'll get there eventually. I mean, compare the Pentagon budget to NASA's. If we swapped them, in 10 years we'd get manned interstellar travel at the speed of light. :-)

Re:I think it's a bad investment. (1)

arose (644256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173648)

I mean, Russia is recovering little by little, to such an extent that they're the only country in the world which can still reliably put shit into orbit, and they intend to land on Venus again in 2016, and this time spend a month on the surface, not a couple of hours like their previous missions.

You shouldn't point at Russia unless you are willing to follow their example. Shuttles were sexy, but expensive; they can put shit into orbit reliably because they are using dirt simple tech to do it (i.e. they couldn't afford the Buran). How will they go to Venus? Same way they almost beat the US to the moon, with robots. If the private industry wants to invent the space pen equivalent of fancy reusable manned launchers, you buy it after they do the R&D. But put your money into the simplest thing that will work.

Re:I think it's a bad investment. (1)

ArmchairGeneral (1244800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173716)

I've often wondered about setting up a Mars/Moon(Base) with pre-made modules and robotic workers to get it ready for human habitation. This way all of the preliminary and dangerous work can be done before the occupants arrive, obviously not totally risk-free, but I think it would be our best bet at a good price.

Not to say that's likely to happen anytime soon, as the US blunders it's way through fiscal irresponsibility. Billions wasted each year on trivial matters and govt departments that do nothing useful. NASA is doing poorly in the space race, and to say the replacement for the Shuttle is still several years away with nothing in between is really disappointing to say the least..

Re:I think it's a bad investment. (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174374)

Not even human habitation - think of the opportunity with sample return missions for example. Figuring out if we could deploy automated rocket factory's on the moon or Mars for example would be a massive step forward in exploration, and require some considerable innovation in various manufacturing techniques. And, it would both open the door for manned exploration, and let us much more easily do sample return.

That bitch talked me into this (-1, Troll)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173172)

Goddamn, but she gave good head. "It's not really you" she said. "It's a recording of you."

Well Fuck You bitch. You're not out here between the stars freezing your virtual ass off. Would have killed mission control to grant my virtual self a virtual beej now and then?

Artistic license (-1, Offtopic)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173598)

I would encourage the moderators of the parent not to look on it as a comment on the fine article, but as a short story in its own right that hopes to be relevant to the article. It's a stone bitch to get a short story into so few words. And for this commentary, mod it as you will.

Specifics on Maned Flights to Deep Space (5, Interesting)

bgoffe (1501287) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173250)

The current Scientific American has an interesting article on the path that manned exploration out of the Earth-Moon system might take. It employs aspects of the unmanned program to cut cots and to have a more flexible program. One interesting aspect is that the main spacecraft is parked in high earth orbit and human crews fly to it in a small craft. Once on the main craft, it does a swing by the Earth to get a speed boost. Its main engine is electric-power (off of solar arrays). While only part of the Scientific American article ("This Way to Mars," 12/2011 issue) is free, they do kindly provide links to its references at the bottom of the page. See http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=this-way-to-mars [scientificamerican.com] .

Apparently, you need about 100 tons in low Earth orbit for such a craft. That would be two launches of SpaceX's proposed Falcon Heavy. It seems way more likely to fly than NASA's proposed Space Launch System (SLS).

Memo to NASA (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173318)

Moon, Helium 3, rocket fuel.

Go there, pick it up, use it.

Re:Memo to NASA (4, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174170)

1. Moon

2. Helium 3

3. ????

4. Working fusion engine

5. rocket fuel//profit.

cheap air max (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38174094)

Beijing time on November 26, although at present the two sides are they two weeks for the first time since the formal negotiations, and have already demonstrated reached agreement intent, but charity game still is now the players air max 2011 [mysportsway.com] of the concerns of project. According to coming from Yahoo sports news, mark-Pierre, says the United States is time next month 10, NBA (the Po) active point guard position on two monument character levels Steve Nash and Jason kidd (the Po) will be held in California a charity game.
At the same time from ESPN reporter Chris Brussels says, air max 95 [mysportsway.com] at the present time the representative of the players from the players union before has become a lawyer, players hope that through the lawyer's join to the management greater pressure.
the details of the negotiations, Brussels said players have put forward six Suggestions for improvement, including the salary custody, salary, he middle limit terms, first sign and trade terms and restricted free agent signing, etc.
Supposedly, the to Jason kidd VS Nash as the theme of the charity game has been invited to the including Steven Blake, Kevin-low (the Po), air max 95 [mysportsway.com] David lee, German marr DE LuoZan, Corey maggette, trevor ariza (the Po), Ritchie LuBiAo and Michael beasley, players union strength, at the same time, the New York knicks amare-ted and meyer Oklahoma thunder of charity game WangKaiWen durant (the Po) are also very likely to attend. Pearson, also said that, although it is now the two sides are expected to reach an agreement in the near future, the new season may begin at any moment, but the charity game when the organizers will try to reach an agreement and alliance, let this charity game possible.
Beijing time on November 26, although at present the two sides are they two weeks for the first time since the formal negotiations, air max 2011 [mysportsway.com] and have already demonstrated reached agreement intent, but charity game still is now the players of the concerns of project. According to coming from Yahoo sports news, mark-Pierre, says the United States is time next month 10, NBA (the Po) active point guard position on two monument character levels Steve Nash and Jason kidd (the Po) will be held in California a charity game.

...Nine? (0)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38174302)

...Nine?

Please?

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