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71 Percent of U.S. See Humans On Mars By 2033

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the proving-babylon-five-underoptimistic dept.

Mars 266

astroengine writes "In a recent poll funded by the non-profit Explore Mars, 71% of respondents agreed that the U.S. will send a human to Mars within the next two decades. Unfortunately, on average, the sample of 1,101 people surveyed thought the U.S. government allocated 2.4% of the federal budget to NASA — in reality it's only 0.5%. With this in mind, 75% of the respondents agreed/strongly agreed that NASA's budget should be increased to explore Mars through manned and robotic means."

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266 comments

In related news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869537)

99% Percent of U.S. See Flying Cars by 1985.

Re:In related news (4, Funny)

isorox (205688) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869577)

99% Percent of U.S. See Flying Cars by 1985.

October 2015. And jaws 27 at the same time.

Re:In related news (4, Informative)

segedunum (883035) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869611)

I'm sure that most of the population in the 60s and 70s thought we'd had bases on the moon by 2001. That was twelve years ago.

Re:In related news (2, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869625)

To be fair, we had the tech to put a base on the moon starting around 1979. The ISS (with landing gear) would do just fine on the surface of the moon (except, ya know, the whole 15 days in the shade part).

Re:In related news (1)

heypete (60671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869753)

...that, and the abrasive lunar regolith playing hell with the door seals.

Re:In related news (2)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869811)

You mean that regolith dust that is blown everywhere by the gale force winds we all know tortures anything on the moon?
Yes that might be a problem indeed. We better go to Mars instead, there is hardly any wind nor dust there you know?

Re:In related news (4, Interesting)

blackpaw (240313) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869979)

No he probably means the highly abrasive regolith dust that is kicked up and tracked in by every person using the airlocks.

Re:In related news (0)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870049)

Sigh...
I see...
That is what you get if parents aren't firm when raising a child. I can almost hear mothers say:"Dont worry dear, I'll clean it up, just leave your dirty boots outside next time okay?"
Even years of training becoming an astronaut didn't teach them what everyone else knows.

Take! Your! Filthy! Regolith-ridden boots! OFF! before entering the ISS!

Man, what's next? All the passwords on ISS computers are 123456? :-)

Re:In related news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870279)

The dust has a static charge. It will stick to the spacesuits no matter how well they brush off. But the door seals shouldn't be a problem as long as they are maintained (wiped down). My worry would be the effect of periodically inhaling Moon dust when reentering and doffing spacesuits. The Apollo astronauts noted that it had a gunpower-like smell and at least one astronaut experience hay fever symptoms.

Re:In related news (4, Insightful)

backslashdot (95548) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869829)

We had the tech, but not the money. Are we going to have the money by 2033? I sure hope so, but it looks iffy. A Mars shot would probably take 20 years nowadays (the moon shot took 20 years too if you count the time that the Saturn V engines were in development when Kennedy announced it). That means it would have to survive 4 presidential elections and 8 congressional elections. Space is one of the easy budgets to raid money out of. In essence we'll need 20 years of sustained prosperity. It will probably be 2020 that a Mars shot will be announced. Probably around the time China announces a moon shot. Or maybe their own Mars shot. I hope they announce it. Maybe we need that to get up off our butts. There's no way in hell we're gonna watch someone else get there first.

Re:In related news (4, Interesting)

guzzirider (551141) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870191)

I don't believe that a manned mission to mars could ever be achieved from international competition. It would require international cooperation on a massive scale.

Costly, expensive does not even begin to cover it. A program for a manned mission to Mars is at least a magnitude of order more difficult than the Apollo program. A starting guess would be 10x of the cost of the Apollo program in adjusted dollars for inflation. One figure I found was $135-billion in 2005 Dollars (cost of the Apollo program).
Now if it is 10x harder to do mars, are we talking about 1.3 Trillion?

Personally I would like to see this seriously pursued in my lifetime, however ..
We have gotten good at robotic missions and I would like to see more exploration and science missions. I know that a sample return mission would get some level of excitement, but it is likely that placing more science on the surface is of more benefit. Maybe rovers with an ability to find samples to be sent to a surface based robotic lab instead of / in addition to of self contained rovers.
We also must ask if Mars is to use so many resources would we be neglecting other robotic planetary missions?

Re:In related news (-1, Troll)

MitchDev (2526834) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870201)

We have more important things to spend money on than a moon or Mars base.

Re:In related news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870341)

This is the same old argument that has been used for millennia to deter exploration. My recommendation is for you to play the game Civilization. Then tell me how important exploration is compared to building more granaries and city walls. The answer is that they are both important and you need to do both to survive.

Re:In related news (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870207)

It will probably be 2020 that a Mars shot will be announced. Probably around the time China announces a moon shot. Or maybe their own Mars shot. I hope they announce it. Maybe we need that to get up off our butts. There's no way in hell we're gonna watch someone else get there first.

It worked in the 60s, and I see no reason it wouldn't work today.

Re:In related news (2)

drankr (2796221) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869909)

But what would be the benefit of "bases on the Moon"? That kind of effort has to be motivated by something greater than Cold War bragging. Unless natural resources can be pillaged and slave labor secured there is no real incentive for anyone who can to go to space., and as we know, there is sadly no evidence of slave labor, aka aliens, despite some claims. As for natural resources well Google seems to be on to something, minerals something..?
Anyway, Americans need to watch less bad television and put more faith in Google and less in NASA.

Benefits are a given but which flag flies over it? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870311)

Any possible scenario for a lunar (or Martian settlement) involves eminent loss of life and hardship, especially at the outset when our learning curve begins. One of the difficulties an American expedition would encounter is the high price placed on each American life. The Chinese might have an edge here, and could perhaps design equipment and housing without the quintuple safety redundancies that have made NASA projects so time consuming and expensive. Backslash is onto something though...nothing would fire up the US government's interest in off-earth exploration faster than a threat to national security.

Re:In related news (2)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870093)

Surely you mean 1999 [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:In related news (2)

Dr. Tom (23206) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869819)

27% think humans have already been to Mars

Re:In related news (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869921)

Half the population believes in creationism and alien abductions.

I'll pass on putting any stock in their predictions or beliefs.

Mad skillZ (4, Interesting)

Dutchmaan (442553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869553)

Two things man is exceptionally good at with great consistency; overestimating his progress in the future and underestimating the resilience of nature.

Re:Mad skillZ (1)

mythealias (1034908) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869583)

Yup. Polls like this should also include few questions to gauge the understanding of the voter on the subject. I would like to see a poll of how much do people think we can improve the car engine efficiency in next decade or two.

Re:Mad skillZ (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869989)

Besides, lack of options. No CowboyNeil option, which should not be optional.

Re:Mad skillZ (4, Insightful)

neyla (2455118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869745)

I think the trend is to overestimate the short-term changes, while underestimating long-term actually.

And long-term gets shorter all the time. We've made more technological progress in the last 50 years than we did in the 100 before that, or the 200 before those, or the 500 before. (i.e. 1963-2013 has seen more technological progress than 1163 - 1663 did.

Re:Mad skillZ (3, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870299)

Depends on how you measure progress. Transportation is not any faster. Energy is not any cheaper to generate.

The computers are better and communications are more pervasive and ubiquitous.

It is laughable to dismiss the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration like that.

Re:Mad skillZ (2)

backslashdot (95548) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869843)

You sound like one of the people who told the Wright brothers they'll never fly. Or maybe you're that 1920s New York Times editor who said that rocketry is junk science and would never get us to space let alone the moon.

Re:Mad skillZ (3, Insightful)

locofungus (179280) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869899)

Getting someone to Mars (and presumably back again) is an engineering problem. We know how to do it in theory - we know multiple ways it could be done and all that remains is to decide the "best" way to do it and find the funds to achieve it.

But "the funds" will be eye watering sums to the average man in the street and the payback is hard to define, certainly in the short term.

We can't even find the funds to seriously research nuclear fusion. That is currently a physics problem rather than an engineering problem, we don't currently know how to build a working commercial fusion power plant but it seems likely that one should be possible and the payback is pretty obvious.

I don't foresee a man on Mars or a working commercial fusion power plant in my lifetime - I'm just old enough to have been alive when there were men on the moon but not old enough to remember it. I've some hope that China might spur on the US and EU eventually but I think there's another 15-20 years before Chinese accomplishments go beyond the "well we did it in the past and we could do it again now if we really wanted to but there's no point" attitude of the majority of the electorate in the West.

So I don't see a man on Mars in 20 years - just possibly I see the start of a race to put a man on Mars in the next 20 years.

Tim.

Re:Mad skillZ (2)

javilon (99157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869925)

I agree, it is too expensive, and not enough payback.

The only reason to send a human to Mars would be if he is going to stay there and found a colony. Anything else can be achieved in a way that is better and cheaper by robots. And we already know we can send (and recover alive) people to space, so no need to do it again unless it is for good reason.

Re:Mad skillZ (2)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870055)

Exactly. The costs aren't even close. You could probably send over 100 robot missions for the cost of sending one manned trip. The payback is basically bragging rights. The humans would just push the start button for the equipment the robots have. There are some drawbacks too, we already have difficulty distinguishing between earth contaminants and potential signs of life on mars, imagine how much harder it would be with people actually there. People suffer fatigue, robots don't (some of the early rovers were thought to have effective life spans of a few months, and they are still operating years later. You don't get that out of people). Everyone gets bent out of shape when a human dies, but basically when you crash a robot people say better luck next time. It would be totally cool, but until we have tons of money and have completed all possible robotic research, the cost benefit will always be with robots.

Re:Mad skillZ (2)

Grave (8234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870195)

Sending and recovering people between the Earth and the Moon isn't the same as another planet - it's a good start, but the logistics are different. It's a bit silly to think we're going to go from sending a few robots here and there to building a colony in one fell swoop. In theory, it could be done - but the thing about a Mars colony is that it will absolutely require long term funding. If all nations abruptly decided to stop funding the ISS today, the astronauts on board could come back down to Earth using the escape shuttle. That's not such a simple prospect for a Mars colony. The nations who have both the political will to stick to something long term and the money are.. what, China? Maybe? The US will only develop that political will if we feel threatened, or start celebrating science and discovery like we do music and movies.

I'd be ecstatic if we have a prime-time awards ceremony watch by millions of Americans some day in which the company that broadcasts it has to send a warning to the award nominees not to dress to provocatively.

Re:Mad skillZ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869923)

Two things man is exceptionally good at with great consistency; overestimating his progress in the future and underestimating the resilience of nature.

At least it's still wonderful to see a great optimism in the results.

Re:Mad skillZ (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870023)

Two things man is exceptionally good at with great consistency; overestimating his progress in the future and underestimating the resilience of nature.

Hey, the survey only talked about "sending" a human to Mars.

"Sending" is the easy part. It's the actual travel, landing, and staying alive that is going to be difficult. May be we should just let Russia, China, or India, figure it all out for us. The US has become too risk adverse these days.

Re:Mad skillZ (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870167)

Indeed. And consistently ignoring that all these predictions from the past have not materialized...

And half the population are alien abductees. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869589)

Damn Martians. It's payback time.

And... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869597)

76% of the U.S. population believes an invisible guy in the sky watching them all the time too.

Unlikely doesn't get more likely just because you got the majority to believe it...

It's worse than that (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869805)

76% of the U.S. population believes an invisible guy in the sky watching them all the time too.

98.6% believe in an invisible force that causes objects to fall to earth when released.

Re:It's worse than that (1)

gutnor (872759) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870097)

Actually that's a visible force. What you meant is that the majority of people believe that there is an invisible attraction between any 2 objects that pull them together.

Re:And... (5, Funny)

turp182 (1020263) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870203)

That would be the drones flying overhead, and they are in fact real...

How will we bypass the radiation to get there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869609)

Just wondering? It's a long flight with a lot of exposure.

Physics for Future Presidents (0)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869647)

And 57% of respondents agree by 2053 we will be flying around the galaxy in faster-than-light spaceships. You know, like the Millennium Falcon. They saw it in a movie. And most of those believe Obama is a Secret Muslim Nigerian. What are we trying to prove here?

Re:Physics for Future Presidents (5, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869919)

And 57% of respondents agree by 2053 we will be flying around the galaxy in faster-than-light spaceships. You know, like the Millennium Falcon. They saw it in a movie. And most of those believe Obama is a Secret Muslim Nigerian. What are we trying to prove here?

(emboldening, mine)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like we're simply trying to prove the validity of a certain method of business...

Hello, I am the Nigerian President of the USA,
As you know, my countries are in turmoil, so I need your help to smuggle my Secrit Muslim inheritance of pressious diamounds from Nigeria into the USA to solve this dire $16.5 trillien nashonal debt problem.

Unfortunately, only the Millennium Falcon is capable of transporting these valuables through the Evil Galactic Umpire's diplomatic sanctions, and they will not accept my payment of carbonite crystels, which is all I have access to in my current situation.

Please, you must help me save my people from Finance Oil Wars so that we may and purchase safe passage from the NASA smugglers. I only need All Social Security Benefits more to pay the smugglers. Please do not forward this message to the police of The Repelican Party or we will surely be found and executed, and our people will suffer great deals. For your assistance with this trouble I am willing to wire transfer you Peece on Earth and Goodwill dollars once this matter is settled.

To help, please make arrangements for payment at this website. [irs.gov]
Please also reply and include your bank account and routing number and your All Pursonal Online information so I can send you compensation for your good deeds.

I sincerely Thank You in advance for help in these troubling times.
Signed,
Obama Hussein Jong il Bin Laden III.

Meanwhile in the UK ... (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869689)

Developing a new high speed rail network - London to Birmingham..
"Construction along the line is due to start in 2017 and be completed by 2025. The first train services will run between London and Birmingham from 2026." https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/developing-a-new-high-speed-rail-network [www.gov.uk]

Add in the delays and 2033 looks possible! - Would you believe England used to rule 3/4 of the planet?

Re:Meanwhile in the UK ... (1)

grimJester (890090) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869719)

And do you think the US will have high speed rail by 2033, let alone a man on Mars?

Re:Meanwhile in the UK ... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870119)

If California gets theirs built, yes.

Re:Meanwhile in the UK ... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869869)

Add in the delays and 2033 looks possible! - Would you believe England used to rule 3/4 of the planet?

I hear there are still 22 countries on Earth that have never been invaded by the British...

Re:Meanwhile in the UK ... (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870021)

I hear there are still 22 countries on Earth that have never been invaded by the British...

Or vice versa.

Re:Meanwhile in the UK ... (2)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870225)

Add in the delays and 2033 looks possible! - Would you believe England used to rule 3/4 of the planet?

I hear there are still 22 countries on Earth that have never been invaded by the British...

As a country, we do pine somewhat about the loss of the Empire... maybe it's time to rebuild it.

j/k :)

Re:Meanwhile in the UK ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870213)

Why would anyone not believe that, on the basis of a few facts about a specific project which is scheduled in order to optimize the annual funding burden?

The fact it's being built at all, at this point in the economic cycle, is fairly impressive, but you think we're less of a country for not doing it on timescales you approve of? Wow. If you live in England, please leave now.

Re:Meanwhile in the UK ... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870253)

By the time it is running Japan will have a super-super-high-speed maglev service going. Even when we try to build something like this we have no ambition.

In a poll by Peak Oil For Climate Change... (0)

mdm42 (244204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869691)

74% of respondents expected to see no humans on Earth by 2032.

Is this the same US (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869695)

were 71% of people believe in ghosts and an invisible sky Papa?

A Reality TV Show will pay for it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869703)

The team at http://mars-one.com/en/ plan to send 4 people to mars late 2022 and they will arrive in 2023. That is a decade ahead of the poll.

I wonder how many of those see Americans on Mars.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869717)

We're not going to get there by slashing NASA's budget. A joint collaberation between China Russia and the ESA will probably do it first.

Unsurprising (3, Funny)

slimdave (710334) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869725)

Poll sponsored by Boeing and Mars exploration group finds public opinion agrees with their own wishes. Here is essential information on how polls work, courtesy of "Yes, Prime Minister": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ZZJXw4MTA [youtube.com]

Ok , humans go to Mars ... and do what? (0)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869731)

The medieval explorers usually had a fairly good idea that if they found new land there would at least be something to eat, wood to fix the boat and if they were lucky someone to trade with. And failing that there was always fish in the sea to eat plus they didn't have to take their own air.

So humans go to mars - carrying everything. And do what? Sure, exploring is fun for a while but theres notalot to see and then what? Current rocket technologies are woefully inadequate - far worse in comparison to a sailing ship on the ocean - for any sort of exchange of people or goods from earth to mars. So other than doing some scientific research which in 20 years will probably be able to be done just as well by robot - whats the point until we develop faster space drives?

Re:Ok , humans go to Mars ... and do what? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869907)

You might be able to build a space elevator on mars, gravity is lower there, that should make it a lot easier to send stuff home.

We're not that far from having the tech to be able to colonize Mars f'real. But we're not there yet, and I doubt we'll be there in 20 years either. I think we could be, but only if we put aside childish things, and BWAHAHAHAHA

Re:Ok , humans go to Mars ... and do what? (1)

slimdave (710334) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869967)

You might be able to build a space elevator on mars, gravity is lower there, that should make it a lot easier to send stuff home.

Ironically, as gravity reduces and the ease of building a space elevator increases, the costs of the regular alternatives to an elevator decrease.

I wonder if we would ever find anything on Mars that is so rare and expensive that it would be worth fetching it from there? It seems doubtful.

Re:Ok , humans go to Mars ... and do what? (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870259)

Exactly. What is the actual cost/benefits ratio here?

Saying we made it there? So what? What's the point if there's nothing there of use of value that we can bring or make use of back here on Earth?

Are we out of human suffering and everyone has enough food, water, shelter, medical care, and jobs that we can piss away money into space?

Always take backup (2)

jouassou (1854178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869971)

During the past 540 million years, there have been five major events [wikipedia.org] which killed over 50% of life on Earth. Do you think humanity will survive the next mass extinction? What if a supernova goes off some hundred light years away, an asteroid heads towards Earth, a global pandemic breaks out, or a third world war erupts? If we make it our long-term goal to establish a permanent colony on Mars, at least we'll have a backup of humanity in case disaster should strike.

I also believe that we'll benefit from developing the technology to settle on another planet. For instance, you mentioned faster space drives; if we don't continue to explore space, where will the motivation and funding for heavy propulsion research come from? If we settle on Mars, can't we use similar technology to populate more arid regions on Earth? If we eventually manage to terraform Mars, wouldn't that revolutionize agriculture on Earth too? And I bet such an expedition will be accompanied by thousands of minor breakthroughs in materials technology, medicine, etc. that we don't yet know how will benefit us.

Re:Always take backup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870053)

> During the past 540 million years, there have been five major events [wikipedia.org] which killed over 50% of life on Earth. Do you think humanity will survive the next mass extinction? What if a supernova goes off some hundred light years away, an asteroid heads towards Earth, a global pandemic breaks out, or a third world war erupts? If we make it our long-term goal to establish a permanent colony on Mars, at least we'll have a backup of humanity in case disaster should strike.

But who cares what happens to 'humanity'? I like to care about individuals, but the survival of the species as a whole doesn't seem that important.

Re:Always take backup (2)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870065)

"What if a supernova goes off some hundred light years away,"

If that happens the people on mars will have even less of a chance than everyone on earth because of the thin atmosphere.

"If we make it our long-term goal to establish a permanent colony on Mars, at least we'll have a backup of humanity in case disaster should strike."

How will a colony that depends on earth for survival be any sort of backup? You talk about terraforming but that will literally take thousands of years if it can be made to work at all. Sure, there'll be some spinoff tech as there always is with these things but the returns won't even come close to matching up to the outlay.

Terraforming mars would cost trillions if not more - with that sort of money spent on earth today we could probably come up with far better tech in the short term than any mars trip will give rise to.

Re:Ok , humans go to Mars ... and do what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870335)

Die! Cold and alone.

And in other news. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869741)

Do you think this poll is stupid?:
Yes [x]
No [ ]
And in other news, 100% of Humans agreed that this Poll was stupid.
The poll was taken by one person, but I just scaled it up to the entire human race because why the hell not? All glory to the statistics toad.

Statistics doesn't work that way. Not even remotely.
1000 people barely even represent an entire region, never mind a damn country, especially if it is one local group of people in the same area!
Not to mention the types of people who typically take polls in the first place!

I am sick of these stupid polls that do this. STOP IT, STOP RUINING MATHS. GO AWAY. GO TO MARS!

71 Percent of U.S. See Humans On Mars By 2033 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869757)

Oh this means something! Woohoo! 70% probably see us merging wit some sort of unprovable god being as well weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Gravity! (1, Troll)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869777)

Given that Mars's Gravity is roughly 39% that of the earth a manned mission seems unlikely unless great improvements are made in rocket efficiency. Unless they intend it to be a one way mission in which case can I volunteer Piers Morgan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piers_Morgan [wikipedia.org]

Re:Gravity! (1)

jouassou (1854178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870019)

One-way mission to Mars, you say? Then this [mars-one.com] is relevant.

71 Percent of U.S. See Humans On Mars By 2033 (4, Funny)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869779)

Translates to "71% of humans wish humans could be on Mars by 2033"

We can't organize that well (3, Insightful)

cshotton (46965) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869791)

What those 77% of people fail to realize is that we can no longer organize ourselves well enough to accomplish this sort of task. NASA, as an institution, long ago stopped being about technical successes and exploration. During my years working with NASA, I discovered that a NASA manager's career success is measured solely by the number of people they manage and the size of the budget they control. Not by how many successful missions they achieved, not by the technology breakthroughs they fostered, and not by any other rational measure beyond their org chart success.

So we have no government agency capable of focusing on such a complicated goal as landing humans on Mars. They immediately get distracted with project management issues and politics. If private industry were to try and undertake this effort, there would have to be some financial incentive for our largest private spacefaring corporations to try and cooperate, since none have the resources alone to achieve the goal within 20 years. And the only model they have for organizing themselves is NASA today. No one still working in the industry knows how NASA of the 1960's worked, and society has changed to the point that the technical people required for such an effort are no longer motivated to make the selfless sacrifices needed to achieve such a goal. All the good engineers left aerospace for the Dot.Com world in the '90s. Those remaining few are motivated by commercial and personal financial success, and that requires a much shorter planning and gratification cycle than 20 years.

Sorry, we won't be going to Mars. We're a bunch of greedy, self-absorbed, small-minded apes that have reached the pinnacle of our organizational skills at the bottom of our gravity well.

Re:We can't organize that well (3, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869905)

We're a bunch of greedy, self-absorbed, small-minded apes...

...with a bad habit of glorifying the past and forgetting that there's never been a time where this was even one iota less true than it is today. "The pathetic culture we've devolved into today could never even accomplish today the great things our ancestors did, much less progress even further." This has been the common wisdom since... at least since we've been capable of writing it down. It was certainly the common sentiment among the Greeks (well before they actually accomplished the things we know them for today).

Re:We can't organize that well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869981)

The latest Mars rover benefited from a lot of hype. Unwarranted hype at that. It's just a rover, it's not doing anything new, only something old and a little extra. Also, it's probably NASA's last important mission for the next few decades. Considering how it kept on getting butchered by every president in the past 20 years, it will take just as long to recouperate, let alone move ahead.

Then again, maybe we'll see people on Mars in 2033, they just won't be Americans.

Re:We can't organize that well (5, Insightful)

CaptainLard (1902452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870139)

The latest Mars rover benefited from a lot of hype. Unwarranted hype at that. It's just a rover, it's not doing anything new, only something old and a little extra.

I don't think I'm supposed to respond to AC's but...what we got with the MSL is a small car sized (car analogy eh?) robot that can largely think for itself placed on another planet by the world's largest supersonic parachute, a set of rocket engines used to hover for several seconds, and a crane capable of gently lowering this giant robot from said rocket hover ship without damaging what is by far the most sensitive equipment ever to leave orbit. Oh yeah, all of that was operated by 70+ explosions that all worked exactly as intended. Streamed live for the whole world to see. The fact that jerks in basements can bemoan that as hype shows how many great engineers there are working today. If you spout out "it's not doing anything new, something old and a little extra"* to a feat of that magnitude, it means that there are so many engineers cranking out awesome shit everywhere that you're numb to the amazingness of human achievement. If you think that was easy, but a microcontroller dev kit, switches and motors for under $20 (a miracle in itself) and try and do a simple project like a garage door opener or anything interacting with the physical world and see how long it takes you. Is there a problem with bureaucracy? Sure but don't use that as excuse to spit on all of the greatness that is still currently being accomplished. You guys are as bad as hollywood when they brush off all of human invention as being given to us by aliens in whatever stupid scifi movie because thats easier to comprehend than "smart people exist".

*This deserves its own rant because its 100% bullshit. MSL is doing plenty of new things and the "a little extra" approach is ALL OF SCIENCE...see the development process from mecury to gemini to apollo. Cause really that was nothing new either. I mean the Chinese had "rockets" ~800 years ago.

I'd just prefer the Moon (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869857)

You may as well be on the Moon for all the good it does. Mars may be a great goal on some scientific agenda however we have the Moon and it's much closer. The only thing however that comes to mind in both cases for colonies or even some manned outpost is what would you do with it? Yes, there's the scientific exploration aspects of it but as World History would point out, Explorers were in search of riches, trade routes or room to expand. The technical hurdles would certainly mean more expansion in terms of possibly new technologies that we can use here on Earth, new material science, new electronics or new discoveries on Physics. Other than that, I would submit that the Moon or Mars don't really represent much other than commercial mining opportunities. In order to have the remotest chance of being economically feasible, this would mean that there would have to be some new or unknown mineral lurking out there, or something so rare here on Earth that the astronomical (pun intended) costs to retrieve and process would make sense. Now, if it were purely for expansion would could always find a planet like Pandora and just send in the Military to fight blue giant cat people or if you're of the Star Trek genre, then you could find Orion Slave Girls [youtube.com] and bring them back for fun and profit!

Re:I'd just prefer the Moon (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870377)

Other than that, I would submit that the Moon or Mars don't really represent much other than commercial mining opportunities.

The fact of the matter is that we don't know what commercial opportunities will be there. Michael Faraday (1791-1867) was once asked by William Gladstone, then British Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance), in 1850 what the practical value of electricity was; Faraday replied that he did not know, but that "One day sir, you may tax it.".

We do not know the practical value of space colonization, but the best way to find out is to do it.

That's how all 'progress' has been made.

nah and meh (1)

drankr (2796221) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869875)

First of all, the U.S. will be sending (uniformed) humans to Africa, Middle East, and such places. There are wars to be fought there, forget about space exploration.
And then, what's on Mars? For what reason would any country "send humans" to Mars specifically?
Finally, as a species we are clearly intellectually and consequently technologically unable to become what they call "space-faring".
On the bright side, at any second of any day we might be contacted by aliens who will be generous and kind to share their knowledge with us. Like in a movie.
Yeah I think that's our best bet for a bright future.

How are we getting there? (1)

HangingChad (677530) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869917)

71% of respondents agreed that the US will send a human to Mars within the next two decades.

The other 29 percent know we don't have a launch platform capable of getting us there.

humans on mars (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869949)

if any humans get to mars by 2033 they wont be american, theyll be chinese.

The price of tea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42869955)

Unfortunately, the Mars Landing will never take off under the combined weight of tea baggers, so no reason to party yet.

Re:The price of tea (1)

LQ (188043) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870013)

Unfortunately, the Mars Landing will never take off under the combined weight of tea baggers, so no reason to party yet.

I'm guessing you're taking a different meaning of teabagger than the one that comes to my mind.

"a nationwide survey of US citizens" (1)

Swampash (1131503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869961)

Just like that 2012 Gallup survey of US citizens, the one that found 46% of American respondents believe an invisible superhero who lives in the sky created humans in their present form.

Forgive me if I consider US citizens something of an unreliable group when it comes to science.

Re:"a nationwide survey of US citizens" (1)

zippo01 (688802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870091)

I'm sure this number is low compared to some places and higher then others. Everyone is talking about the Chinese, they do just as much crazy and weird stuff, there society justifies....

Mutinous Crew (1)

slimdave (710334) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869977)

Didn't see this linked on /. but that long Mars sol takes its toll even on Earth-bound humans. I wonder if the experiments on isolating astronauts for the duration of a Mars mission took this into account?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=step-into-the-twilight-zone-can-earthlings-adjust-to-a-longer-day-on-mars

Re:Mutinous Crew (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870061)

The length of the natural circadian rhythm varies between people. Most longer than 24hrs, some shorter. People generally adapt to 24hrs, some better than others.

There will be two groups who adapt best to the Martian Sol, those who have highly adaptable circadian rhythms, and those who have a natural cycle which is already 24hr40minutes long. For the latter group it will be like coming home.

Re:Mutinous Crew (1)

slimdave (710334) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870123)

Yeah I've heard that, but I wonder how true it is. You'd think that the "sleep scientists" referenced in the article would mention it if it was, as they'd be advising that Nasa seek out people who match the longer rhythm, and it'd be something of a slam-dunk to include that in the article.

I'm suspicious that it's one of those scientific urban legends.

Without landing on the moon? (1)

TwentyCharsIsNotEnou (1255582) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869997)

How many of those surveyed believe humans never landed on the moon?

If other polls are to believed, there's more than likely some overlap between the two!

I wonder ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870077)

... if that's the same 71% that believe in a deity that gives a damn about every little thing you pray for, or the 71% who don't believe in evolution, or the 71% who think arming everyone in the country with semi-automatic weapons somehow makes things safer.

Budgeting (1)

jjohn (2991) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870087)

I am a big proponent of NASA. I would like to see the budget increased. I would do it with cuts in the military and corporate subsidies (particular to oil companies).

Then next time a stupid survey asks "would you like to increase spending" I really wish there were a follow-up question "what would you give up to see this happen."

Heck, I give 110% at my job and SO SHOULD THE BUDGET!

The US is outsourcing our Mars landing (1)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870101)

The Chinese will be the first humans on Mars, but that's okay because we are paying for it. Just hit that WalMart up again - the brothers need another oxygen tank.

Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps (3, Interesting)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870103)

Jumping the gun is not necessarily the best way to get things done.

The most oft-discussed and visible triumphs of manned space have been by necessity "get there, plant the flag and get out."

But the ultimate goal should be not just to visit space or establish some dangerous and isolated outposts there (though there is no shortage of volunteers!)...it should be to move into space in a series of self-sustaining stages.

This means we first need to build a space colony here on Earth, and decide on some practical steps to take that will achieve the ultimate goal. And each step should be of immediate practical and commercial value.

I would like to call attention to Marshall Savage's amazing project and book, The Millennial Project. [wikipedia.org] another synopsis [asi.org] and at Amazon [amazon.com] . Some have picked fun at Savage's priorities, but frankly until this book/project arrived on the scene there had been nothing like it.

In that plan, terraforming Mars is step 6 of 8. In this scenario we are not just landing on Mars to establish an outpost... at that stage we have already perfected the technology for habitats in space. If our focus is on 'the next logical (small) step' instead of some ultimate goal and devote our complete effort to these steps, by 2033 we could be moving outward in all directions... instead of just one.

Last Time I Checked. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870105)

We don't even have a manned space program. We could not put someone into orbit, let alone the moon or mars.

Predictions (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870117)

And in the 60's we though by the 70's we'd be living on the moon

Clearly this doesn't hold a lot of valor.

Manned spaceflight: over in 10 years (1)

gelfling (6534) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870133)

In ten years manned spaceflight with be over. Quite likely for more than an hundred years if not more.

Re:Manned spaceflight: over in 10 years (1)

Transparent Ghost (2795331) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870261)

What makes you think it will be over ?

No, we need more technology first ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870185)

It has no sense to make this travel to mars with our olds technologies. If we do it like the moon program, it will be a one shot project.

What we must do ?

Create a space ship powerfull enough to travel on the solar system in few weeks, a one like the Enterprise (of course, smaller without warp technology ;>) that can handle ALL exploration projects in our solar sytem.

We need a spaceship that can visit the moon of Saturn, mars, Jupiter, Enceladus, Europ, Titan, Io

Means first we have to invent a completely different propulsion method if we’re sending humans, because 300 days is too long, dangerous and inefficient.

Antimatter is the most dense fuel we could possibly use, and now it is the way to go.

It's a lovely idea, sure (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870209)

....as long as we're allowed to continue to spend money we don't have, why not?

Of course, I suspect that when you ask the question differently, you're going to get a very different response:
"Assuming that whatever % of budget goes to NASA comes directly out of services you receive, what % of budget should NASA get?"

Kickstarter (1)

ScaledLizard (1430209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870215)

OK, anyone up for raising the money for a flight to Mars as a Kickstarter?

Sign me up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870217)

OK i'll be in my late fifties by then but Id go, Give me a one way ticket some e books to read and Id start work on a colony for others to come latter. Might miss WOW and what ever expansion it is on by then but 15 to 20 minute lag isn't that bad....Cough BT cough

Who knows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870227)

Do they need to be alive when they reach mars?

Quacky Yanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870229)

Yet more proof that the US is the dumping ground of the world's mental asylums.

boondoggles and tourists in space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870275)

I see three reasons for so much interest in sending man to Mars:

Romantic - With ice, wind storms and ancient flood plains, it is easy to fantasize that Mars is a virgin territory ready for colonizing, by the first country or company with the balls to do it.
Political - Now that the incredibly wasteful, self serving Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs have imploded, politicians are looking for some other long term trillion dollar boondoggle to keep their constituencies happy and to justify the taxes we pay.
Scientific - there may be remains of early attempts at organic life on Mars, long gone from Earth. These traces could be possible Rosetta stones, to help us to better understand how life works on Earth. I suspect that this understanding will be essential, for the long term survival of homo sapiens on Earth.

The facts however are:
Mars is hardly more hospitable than the Moon - with no foreseeable military, industrial, commercial or tourist value whatsoever..
Man in space programs are primarily military aggression by other means, but I admit preferable to starting small wars here and there. Oops, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, .... whose next? Iran, Venezuela, North Korea ?
Sending men on one way trips to Mars, would irreversibly contaminate and destroy whatever we might learn about early life on Mars. At least we have the moons of Saturn as a backup.

I do believe however that space WILL be colonized and industrialized, but not by us, but by our ever more capable machines and robots.
I am also sure that people will also go, as extra baggage, probably to low gravity playgrounds and retirement homes in lunar caverns. I expect DisneyMoon in Orlundo Gardens will be very fancy and profitable.
Tim

The remaining 29% might agree (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870323)

but just don't see them on planet Earth anymore by that time.

Breaking News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870357)

71% of U.S. are idiots that tend to strongly believe in fantasy scenarios that fail to materialize. In an almost religious manner of circular self-fulfilling logic, these people blame the fact that these fantasies do not materialize on non-believers who are labeled obstructionists, old and, most damning of all, Republicans.

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