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NASA Plans On Bringing Back Martian Rocks

timothy posted about 13 years ago | from the what's-a-couple-of-billion-for-some-rocks dept.

Space 184

FortKnox writes: "In this Y! article, NASA is planning on sending a robotic mission to Mars in an attempt to bring back Martian stuff (rocks, soil, etc...). Looks like its a tough mission to plan for; they are calling it 'Apollo without the astronauts.'" I would like to go to Mars in person, but if they're spending my money already, I'd like them to please use robots for a while.

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first! (-1, Offtopic)

opeuga (208321) | about 13 years ago | (#2375789)

I'm making the first post!

Re:first! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375886)

I applaud your first post and ask for more.

Will Malda ever remove the okra from his ass?

Re:first! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376173)

NASA is trying to get it's rocks off...

... of Mars

Furst (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375793)

AC Post! j00 r n07 1337 enough to beat me.

-The AC Avenger

Shut up you.... (-1)

Smack_Poo (167084) | about 13 years ago | (#2375815)

goat plugger.

First Post. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375799)

First Post.

Smaller, Cheaper, Better (5, Interesting)

pgrote (68235) | about 13 years ago | (#2375802)

I like NASA's new approach to things. My primary concerns about the mission though are the following:

1) What can we do by inspecting the rocks in person we can't do remotely? We should be able to do everything except touch it.

2) What other benefits do we get out of the mission?

3) Will there be additional scientific study accomplished on the ground? I mean NASA's track record on landing things on Mars hasn't been great ... this doesn't even include shooting things back.

Re:Smaller, Cheaper, Better (2, Interesting)

Drizzten (459420) | about 13 years ago | (#2375843)

I'm pretty sure the lab work NASA wants to do simply cannot be done if the equipment must be squished into a small surface lander. Besides, I'm certain they want to LOOK at it in person. I'd want to. :)

Re:Smaller, Cheaper, Better (5, Insightful)

astroboy (1125) | about 13 years ago | (#2375872)

What can we do by inspecting the rocks in person we can't do remotely? We should be able to do everything except touch it.

There's a limit to how much experimental equipment you can shove onto a Mars probe. Some amazingly cool things have been done, but once you get the rocks back to Earth, you can unleash everything you've got in the lab on 'em.

What other benefits do we get out of the mission?
Anything which pushes the boundaries of the engineering -- getting the unmanned probe to launch itself back to Earth -- will have great impact on both the Space program and terrestrial spin-offs. And that's quite apart from the science.

Re:Smaller, Cheaper, Better (2, Informative)

_typo (122952) | about 13 years ago | (#2376031)

Anything which pushes the boundaries of the engineering -- getting the unmanned probe to launch itself back to Earth -- will have great impact on both the Space program and terrestrial spin-offs.

Shortly after the Apolo 12 mission the russians landed an unmaned probe on the moon and brought it back. Considering the fact that Apolo 12's computer was spewing errors throughout the descent this was a great achievement for the time.

Naturaly it didn't achieve the media coverage of the apolo mission but IMHO was a much larger feet than landing a duct-taped together mission.

Did you know Nixon alrealy had the speech written in case the astronauts weren't able to come back from the moon?

Re:Smaller, Cheaper, Better (2, Informative)

Galvatron (115029) | about 13 years ago | (#2376096)

Did you know Nixon alrealy had the speech written in case the astronauts weren't able to come back from the moon?

Well, I would certainly expect so. After all, if the mission failed, the country would have been pretty hard hit. Apollo was the first time that America pulled ahead of Russia in the space race. Had it failed, an awful lot of people would have started to wonder if we were really on the winning side. So, a deep, stirring, well written speech would be a must. I imagine he spent much more time on the "if it fails" speech than the "if it succeeds" one.

Speaking of historic events, I'd really like to see video footage of Kruzchev (sp?) banging his shoe on the table at the UN. Anyone know where such a thing could be found?

Re:Smaller, Cheaper, Better (OT) (1)

WhyCause (179039) | about 13 years ago | (#2376197)

Speaking of historic events, I'd really like to see video footage of Kruzchev (sp?) banging his shoe on the table at the UN. Anyone know where such a thing could be found?

Not that it'll help much with getting a copy, but I've seen the shoe-banging footage on the History Channel. I think it was on one of the shows like "History Undercover" or "Sworn to Secrecy" (I seem to remember the announcer's voice narrating the scene, quite distinctive, that voice). You might keep an eye out for some of those shows (I tended to see only the late night ones), or see if it's listed on any of their orderable sets of videos.

Probes beat a manned mission anyday (4, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 13 years ago | (#2376199)

There's a limit to how much experimental equipment you can shove onto a Mars probe.

Of course the price of one manned mission would equal hundreds if not thousands of probes which could cover many different parts of the planet with different objectives. A manned mission would be very limited in scope and certainly not worth the price.

Re:Smaller, Cheaper, Better (2)

zpengo (99887) | about 13 years ago | (#2375925)

"Touching" the rocks serves no useful purpose other than public relations, but what a purpose that is!

NASA needs support right now, and there are few ways to do it better than showing people a rock and saying "Look. We plucked this off a remote planet. See what we can do?"

Re:Smaller, Cheaper, Better (1)

kaimiike1970 (444130) | about 13 years ago | (#2375974)

What can we do by inspecting the rocks in person we can't do remotely?

We can kick major martian butt when things go horribly wrong. What are rock-picking robots gonna do then huh?

Unless we are sending super-intelligent-killbots!

Re:Smaller, Cheaper, Better (2, Interesting)

HRB (307853) | about 13 years ago | (#2375975)

I think this could give a definite proof if there
has been life on mars (and I am speaking here about bacteria).

If there once was life on mars, there is strong evidence, that life is more likely on other planets than we have ever thought. This would lead to the question whether life formed itself on earth or whether it was sort of planted by impacts of comets.

The only hints so far have come from meteorits which have been found on earth - but there is more speculation than hard evidence.

On the moon we saw, that it contained no life. The mars is different in this respect - it has an atmosphere. An atmosphere is a necessity for life, because it filters the hard cosmic radiation.

Re:Smaller, Cheaper, Better (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376066)

1) What can we do by inspecting the rocks in person we can't do remotely? We should be able to do everything except touch it.

We can do anything we didn't originally think of, didn't think we needed, that requires equipment that is not rugged enough or small enough to send, etc ...

Re:Smaller, Cheaper, Better (2, Insightful)

fossa (212602) | about 13 years ago | (#2376128)

Absolutely. We can also take advantage of any new advances that might allow us to study the rocks better. IIRC, the rocks (from mars originally) that were studied a few years ago that some believed showed evidence of bacteria had been dug up long ago and had been sitting in a storage somewhere.

Damn it, why bring them back? (2, Redundant)

jfdawes (254678) | about 13 years ago | (#2375803)

Can't they just analyze them there and send the info back? How much extra money is it going to cost to get a couple of rocks that will end up being a paperweight?

and if we invent a new test?? (1)

teambpsi (307527) | about 13 years ago | (#2375830)

oh yeah, and regression testing

and breaking up the samples and doing alternate testing

not to mention the really really BIG machines we have to do the type of analysis that won't fit in a spaceship going there

let alone the fuel to get it back

Re:Damn it, why bring them back? (3, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | about 13 years ago | (#2375976)

No, you don't get the same information. The lab equipment on Earth is far superior to what we can get onto a spacecraft. Ultimately, is it cheaper to ship the lab to Mars, or the samples to Earth? (Answer: the latter.)

Additionally, having people actually handling the rocks is more important that you might think. People are intereactive, able to notice things not thought about during mission planning, then able to persue those questions. If you built a probe, you make a set of assumptions about what kinds of instruments you need and tests you'll do. You have to limit yourself more than you would if you have a person actually handling the rocks.

The fullest continuation of this logic is that we ultimately will want to put people on Mars for these same reasons. However, we're nowhere near ready for that at this time.

But we already have some! (1)

MsWillow (17812) | about 13 years ago | (#2375804)

Haven't they decided that some meteorites that have been found here originated from Mars? It'll be interesting to see how the known-real stuff compares with those teeny tiny fragments.

Mars Rock? (0, Offtopic)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | about 13 years ago | (#2375809)

Is it better than Christian Rock?

Go to mars? (2, Flamebait)

FortKnox (169099) | about 13 years ago | (#2375814)

I would like to go to Mars in person

I'd like Jon Katz to go to mars in person. 3 years w/o Katz.

And then I wake up...

Franklin said it best! (4, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375819)

Those who would trade mars rocks for earth rocks deserve neither mars nor earth rocks.

Redundant! And the quotes is incorrect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375935)

"Those who would trade essential earth rocks for temporary mars rocks..."

Re:Redundant! And the quotes is incorrect! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375963)

My bad.

Your comment violated the postercomment compression filter. Comment aborted

Waste of money (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375826)

How much are they spending on the missions? I'd imagine it to be somewhere in the billion-dollar range. All for a pile of rocks. Way to set your priorities straight, Dubya.
Forget about threats from biological and nuclear terrorism.
Forget about the millions of hungry urching starving on the streets of our major cities.

Forget about our third-rate education system, which is lagging behind ALL other first world nations.
Forget about the influx of illegal Mexican immigrants flooding in from Mexico and robbing hard working Americans of their jobs and livelihood.
Forget about the fact that our military is NOT ready for a war that we have already committed ourselves to.

As long as you get your shiny moon rocks, everything will be okay.

Re:Waste of money (0)

crumbz (41803) | about 13 years ago | (#2375850)

One answer:
Population control.

Re:Waste of money (1)

Heph_Smith (513724) | about 13 years ago | (#2375951)

War or missions in space? pick one

Too bad it won't be the one we want.

Re:Waste of money (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375855)

Forget about your bitchy, stupid rant and go get a fookin' job. Bloody racist fuck.

Re:Waste of money (-1)

Bilton (517325) | about 13 years ago | (#2375867)

fuck off, twat.

I am goat (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375827)

me goat

Mars (3, Interesting)

crumbz (41803) | about 13 years ago | (#2375833)

I support an unmanned mission to Mars and back. I think the costs of sending men now versus 20-30 years from now are out of proportion with the results. Twenty years hence we may have lighter, faster propulsion technology and better materials for the ship. The ISS will certainly provide additional research that will be directly applicable to such a trip.
Robots are the way to go!

Billion with a B (1)

Catskul (323619) | about 13 years ago | (#2375950)

"The constraint given to the industry teams is in the $1 billion to $2 billion range

I dont understand the financial aspects of these missions. If it costs $2 billion well Im all for spending what is needed, but do you know what a billion dollars is? Thats a fricking large amount of money. Where does this money go? What part of the mission cost so much ?

Im not being synical, I just want to know. Anybody?

Re:Billion with a B (3, Informative)

KingRygel (398150) | about 13 years ago | (#2376090)

To give you an idea of just how much (or how little) a billion dollars is:
  • The California 210/30 freeway extension costs approximately one billion for 28.2 miles of freeway. [The Big Dig in Boston is over 10 times more expensive, for you easterners.]
    [] []
  • The federal government spends about one billion to pay interest on the federal debt each day.
    [] []
Really, one billion dollars isn't as much money as you think it is. It's enough to pay 1,000 people $100,000/year for 10 years...and you have to figure that it takes at least 10 years and 1,000 people to build, support, and fly a spacecraft to Mars and back. Not to mention materials costs.

Re:Billion with a B (0)

Usquebaugh (230216) | about 13 years ago | (#2376114)

It's NASA stupid!

NASA doesn't subscribe to the KISS principle. Think about any goverment funded large organization. It's not about being smart it's about covering your ass. NASA should volunteer to cut half it's budget and then get with the idea of taking risks.

We still need a relatively cheap method to get to earths orbit. I'm talking $100K per launch, max hopefully $10K. Mass produce these things and then prehaps we will see innovation in other areas. Once we can reliably get to orbit we should concentrate on innovative engines for space travel, ion drives have been proved, what about solar sails?

Taking a robot to mars? Why not take 10, the cost of the robot is bound to be miniscule compared to the transport. Better still, why not spend 10 years playing on the moon with robots? Put up a communications relay on the moon and then start blasting up robots and see which works best. If it cost $100K to get a robot to the moon then anybody could give it a go, IBM, Oracle, Amazon the Brinkley Gas Works Choir.

I'm sick and fed up with NASA being held up as a technical pinnacle when most of their missions are bloated PR exercises.

Does NASA need a large and complex mission control?
Does NASA need so much real estate?
Does NASA need so many employees?
Does NASA need astronaughts?

My belief is that the answer to all the above is no. The last one maybe open to debate but only if you like to view mans future as space.

NASA needs a good kick in the rear. It needs to be split into areas that need to focus on specific goals e.g. Rocketry, give us cheap earth orbit and then disband this group. Deep space, give us the cheapest way to leave the solar system, then concentrate on speed. Telemetry, what's the best method for remote control, radio, optical, quantum? Robotics, stop concetrating on specialist crap and start designing small cheap multi purpose explorers.

Lastly, NASA should have a sister organisation involved in earth exploration. We still have not colonised the whole earth and dim wits are talking about colonising mars. "Here there be dragons."

Re:Mars (2, Insightful)

kaimiike1970 (444130) | about 13 years ago | (#2375983)

Following this logic to it's conclusion, we should never send a manned mission. It will always be cheaper 10-20 years in the future. Are you still using your IBM PC jr. circa 1985?

Holy Shit! (-1)

Bilton (517325) | about 13 years ago | (#2375834)

ummm... this is like, sooo exciting, or something.

Bring back virus. (0)

A Commentor (459578) | about 13 years ago | (#2375840)

Maybe deep inside the rock that they will bring back has a virus that will kill us all...


Re:Bring back virus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375891)

If you had actually read the article before posting, you would have seen that that's the whole damn point of the entire fucking article.

How much will they bring back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375845)

A hogshead? Perhaps just a bushel or two?

wrgwrhj36j4k64k6ju57k678l68l65io9pu (-1)

Bilton (517325) | about 13 years ago | (#2375849)

you're still a fucking dipshit, timothy.

Send rocks to mars (1, Troll)

the_other_one (178565) | about 13 years ago | (#2375857)

A rock will make the same size of crater as an expensive spacecraft. They should see some huge cost savings with this mission plan. Just use the metric rocks.


Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375896)

Funny as hell!

More Information... (5, Informative)

robbyjo (315601) | about 13 years ago | (#2375875)

Here [] is the lab of Jet propulsion labs that does the robot thingie. This [] is the software to test the robustness of the robots. NASA has learnt from several failures apparently.

A picture of martian rock [] with some explanations [] , if you're interested. Along with some interesting [] rock with bug patterns!

Yet More Information... (4, Informative)

robbyjo (315601) | about 13 years ago | (#2375890)

Here [] is the link of the actual Mars mission along with the status [] and risks [] . And check out all the robotics projects [] behind the scene. Cool...

Re:More Information... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376002)

Here [] is the labb of Butt fucking labs that does the ass thingie. This [] is the penis to test the robustness of the ass. GOATSE has learnt (sic) from several failures apparently.

A picture of martian ass [] with some cock, if you're interested. Along with some [] interesting [] ass with dick patterns!

Hubris (0, Flamebait)

jiheison (468171) | about 13 years ago | (#2375881)

I think these geniuses need a refresher in History. Perhaps a short refresher on the VERY NEGATIVE consequences of early travelers moving material from the SAME PLANET to different areas.

If we need to bring it back to study, I can only assume that we don't know enough about it already to be sure that it is safe to introduce to Earth.

Re:Hubris (1)

zoftie (195518) | about 13 years ago | (#2375943)

there's ecology throughout the earth. Ecology on mars as stipulated by large tempreature contrasts, would rather basic, even non-existant.

Re:Hubris (1)

jiheison (468171) | about 13 years ago | (#2375961)

Of course you realize that your assumption is based on a knowledge of ecology that is entirely Earth specific.

Re:Hubris (3, Informative)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | about 13 years ago | (#2376003)

NASA, and other international groups, has already thought of that and long ago addressed it. Even the Apollo missions were carried out so that the Moon rocks were kept in a quarantine, at negative relative pressure. Scientists worked with them via those glovey things you see in labs. Admittedly, the Apollo mission's planetary protection was done rather half-heartly (I won't regale you with stories, here). But Mars is taken a lot more seriously, as is Europa (Europa is the reason that Galileo is being sent to crash into Jupiter while we still have control of it, rather than let it continue to orbit indefinately). Any Mars mission has be decontaminated to where they're gauged as having less than 1 change in 10,000 of contaminating Mars. Martians samples are to be treated as hazardous until we are certain they are not.

Re:Hubris (1)

jiheison (468171) | about 13 years ago | (#2376117)

Europa is the reason that Galileo is being sent to crash into Jupiter while we still have control of it, rather than let it continue to orbit indefinately.

Sucks for Jupiter then, doesn't it? So, possibly contaminating some other planet is the only way they can figure out how to avoid contaminating ours. This is evidence of sound judgement and planning?

Re:Hubris (1)

gentlewizard (300741) | about 13 years ago | (#2376127)

Dang, you mean we're NOT going to lose
Piedmont, NM [] ?? Shoot.

Re:Hubris (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376016)

yeah, as if those damn mars asteroids always inflicting killer viruses on the population of remote arctic research stations wasn't enough they plan to bring back their own.

Man, you could run an entire series of what you've been watching too much of, from this.

Re:Hubris (1)

jiheison (468171) | about 13 years ago | (#2376122)

There is a big difference between a peice of rock that is blasted off the face of Mars in a cataclysmic impact, and one that is carefully collected and transported in a controlled environment.

wonderful (0)

Dirk Stiletto (518207) | about 13 years ago | (#2375882)

Wow, I certainly hope this takes off. Pretty soon we'll all be living in domes on Mars. Just like in "Total Recall" with the mutants and guns and the "hey hey"!

unmanned mission?? (2, Funny)

psych031337 (449156) | about 13 years ago | (#2375894)

So it's going to be an unmanned mission.

Just wondering who is going to sign the ever-present forms then. Look at and tell me the bureaucrats will let them get away with just a single form today.

I doubt it...

Because we can (4, Insightful)

MikeyNg (88437) | about 13 years ago | (#2375904)

People are asking why go all the way to Mars and then bring stuff back when we can analyze it there? I think people are missing part of the point. If you're going to send people there eventually, you'd like for them to have a way to get back. There are all kinds of tricky things involved with leaving a planet. Heck, landing on the moon and reaching lunar escape velocity was hard enough!

Part of the goal is to examine rocks from Mars so that we get a better understanding of Mars, our solar system, and space in general. I think another part of the goal is to actually land a craft on Mars and then bring it back. Carrying all that extra fuel to reach Martian escape velocity is going to be expensive, but we need to know that kind of stuff.

I'm surprised. (-1)

NotSurprised (525043) | about 13 years ago | (#2375918)

NASA sucks horse shit.

Why don't they send battle bots? (4, Insightful)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | about 13 years ago | (#2375923)

Really, with all the cutbacks in NASA, you would think that they would want to make a mission like this more popular - think about it - battlebots on Mars (just think of the lag time) - the suspense as pictures come back, the contestants make their move - and wait....

On a more serious note it would be neat to have hobbyists designing bots for mars on a competitive level to see who can come up with the most efficent/reliable/lightweight etc design. The guys at NASA have great ideas and implementations - but I think that the bazzar vs cathedral idea could help here.

We are going to get it back?!? (1, Interesting)

thehun101 (218731) | about 13 years ago | (#2375928)

NASA has had so much trouble getting stuff TO Mars, and now they think they can get a craft there AND back.

It's probably the only way they could get funding after there last two blunders with Mars.

--the Hun
I probably shouldn't be so mean, but, whatever.

Motto (0, Redundant)

zoftie (195518) | about 13 years ago | (#2375931)

Wasn't motto "To boldy go where no man has gone before" in effect, or rather "To cowardly stumble in our own back yard" is in effect? Lets send people there, figure out a solid way to support
them there, and make for a renewable modular facilities, factories and plantations? As they live there we can innovate here. Being there, scientists can do way more in terms of exploration, interaction with environment, thus we can learn more. Missions should be marked high risk and not televised all over, and should be kept under lock, so the normal order of things
would be preferred instead of making a soap out of it.

Make bold assuring steps in exploration of our
system. Unfortunately things cannot be done that way, because people want to see the show they paid money for, in taxes - where priorities for
missions break down.

Re:Motto (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | about 13 years ago | (#2376017)

People today don't have the stomach for what it would take to set up a sustainable colony on Mars with today's technology. In the 1700's when europeans crossed the Atlantic they lost numerous colonists and expiditions before one took. And that was going to a place on the same planet where they know had to potential to sustain life. Without further information do you really think we could make a perminantly sustainable Mars colony with todays technology, and not loose a single person? Imagine how fast people of today would can the project after they saw the deaths of the colonists on TV a few hours later.

Re:Motto (1)

mjoconnor81 (242768) | about 13 years ago | (#2376180)

I think we've had a few advances since the 1700's

Let me get this straight... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375938)

The worst terrorist attacks in United States history occurred less than three weeks ago, and you people are discussing "Martian Rocks". How do "Martian Rocks" help the 6000+ people that died? My *GOD* people, GET SOME PRIORITIES!

Quite frankly, the 6000+ people who died in this unprecedented tragedy could give a rats ass about "Martian ROcks". You people absolutely disgust me. You are all poor excuses for human beings.

You should all be glad that you are alive and well and able to masturbate as frequently as you like while looking at, not stuck under 100 stories of a collapsed building with your penis sliced off from shrapnel.

And why the fuck are we blowing billions of dollars on NASA and its pointless projects such as getting "Martian Rocks." Instead of wasting money on space research, how about spending money on EARTH on stuff that will help people. We should do away with NASA and use the money to hire more air marshals and build sky scrapers out of rubber so the planes will bounce off of them if they are hit, instead of bursting into flames and collapsing on themselves. NASA should be ashasmed of themselves for stealing so many billions of dollars on idiotic space exploration when we have much more important problems here on earth.

Re:Let me get this straight... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375992)

PRIORITIES? How about the fact that more people die every day from WORLD HUNGER for no real reason? Or do you not care about 'what happens to people over there'? Out of sight out of mind. YOU should be ashamed of yourself. Where were you before the WTC attacks? You were not posting information about the people dying from WORLD HUNGER!!! Why are you even here then?

Re:Let me get this straight... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376021)

You have been trolled.

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Re:Let me get this straight... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376011)

The biggest cock in United States history is right above my balls, and you people are trolling Slashdot. How does trolling Slashdot help my cock get sucked? My *GOD* people, SUCK MY COCK!

martians (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 13 years ago | (#2375957)

As long as they don't bring back any of those Instant martians. One accident and we would be up to are eye balls in matians!

Haiku (4, Offtopic)

575 (195442) | about 13 years ago | (#2375982)

Can't find terrorists
Search earth, then the red planet.
They hide under rocks.

wtf is up with archiving (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2375984)

slashdot is archiving -1 posts [] ... wtf?

Is there life of Marx ? (0, Offtopic)

vlad_petric (94134) | about 13 years ago | (#2375985)

(this is actually a book by Benjamin Kuras)

From the Yak department (1)

A Rabid Tibetan Yak (525649) | about 13 years ago | (#2375988)

We sent an explorer to Mars,
The maker of chocolate bars.
They returned one day
With rocks and a sway
Of budget boosts beyond par.

Re:From the Yak department (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 13 years ago | (#2376155)

I meet a homeless astronought
helmet filled up with beer and snot

I gave him 30 candy bars
told him to go back to mars

-Gals Panic

Put the ISS to use!! (2, Interesting)

Garak (100517) | about 13 years ago | (#2376004)

This should be a job for the ISS to collect the samples from mars. Then when the next resupply mission stops by the station it isn't leaving with an empty hold.

Why do they send the space shuttle up say to fix hubble, why don't they move the hubble into the same orbit as the space station and to the eva's from the station.

Maybe the ISS isn't into the right orbit todo this but its something they should have considerd. The ISS should be the center of all low earth orbit activity. Maybe a little unit could be built that could go out and grab satlights and bring them to the ISS's orbit where they can be fixed and upgraded.

IMHO the ISS in its current state is not much good for anything useful.

how about the headlines... (1)

kaoshin (110328) | about 13 years ago | (#2376032)

NASA gets thier rocks off.

"You don't sweat much for a fat chick."

word (-1, Troll)

Silent Bob loves you (525809) | about 13 years ago | (#2376041)


Send robot-building robots (2)

egburr (141740) | about 13 years ago | (#2376051)

Why don't they make some robots to mine materials and make new robots, and the new robots can make a lab, then use the lab to analyze the rocks. That would be better than shipping rocks back. And, we wouldn't have to send more robots for future missions, just send the existing robot-building robots new instructions.

Yeah, it would probably be difficult to find the needed materials. Either wait while the robots explore and find what's needed or redesign to use what gets found. Power shouldn't be a problem; use solar power.

Okay, so maybe this isn't likely for another 10-20 years. It may be slow to start with, but long-term, it would end up being a lot faster than express-mailing more robots out there every time we think of yet another task to do.

Re:Send robot-building robots (1)

Garak (100517) | about 13 years ago | (#2376165)

I think the one major problem with this is smelting the metals you find. Smelters are huge plants and I don't think they scale down very well. Also these plants use alot of fuel and require chemicals that will also be hard to find and expensive to send there.

Robots are only 1/2 metals the rest is semicondutors, rubbers, plastics, etc...

It would be cheeper to send a person to mars than send all the equiment and supplies to build robots.

Apollo without astronauts? (2)

ikekrull (59661) | about 13 years ago | (#2376057)

Sweet, now they won't even have to kill anybody to stop them blabbing about the fact the entire mission has been manufactured in a film studio out in Area 51 :)

Re:Apollo without astronauts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376182)

Shut up. Or there will be consequences.


We should think twice... (1)

Krokus (88121) | about 13 years ago | (#2376072)

...before we consider invading Mars. Remember what happened when they invaded us. :)

"You can argue at length as to how likely it is. But at the end of the day, if you think about the potential of what's really at stake, it's humanity versus a microbe," Lee said.

blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376084)

Satellite Not Active
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Legos in space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376097)

NASA could save some real bucks by building the probes out of Lego Mindstorms. For that matter, why not build the whole thing out of legos? I'm sure they could do it with a few thousand "Moon Base" kits from the 80's. Then they could build a habitat for future human astronauts out of something more durable, like Duplos!

first troll on mars! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376106)

yes I will bring my laptop and do first post from mars. f33r m3.

Why not retry the failed missions? (2)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 13 years ago | (#2376131)

"...the back-to-back Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander losses..."

I know those failed, but I thought we learned why. Wouldn't it be cheaper to "fix" the bugs in the prior mission and re-send? Just because we found a bug in something when it went into deployment doesn't mean we should scrap the project and re-architect it with different goals. Surely this would be cheaper, and a great way for NASA to way off the nay-sayers.

Someone please explain why they do not do this.

Re:Why not retry the failed missions? (1)

SnapperHead (178050) | about 13 years ago | (#2376203)

Also, its important to remeber that not every mission can be 100% successfull. Science is *NOT* a sure thing. There will be screaw ups and things will go wrong. We need to stop yelling about the past and fix it. I agree, there where bugs, lets work them out and go to mars.

D-U-M-B (0, Troll)

Coniine (524342) | about 13 years ago | (#2376132)

We have problems on our own planet with overpopulation, energy, food production, pollution, resistant microbes and militant groups and these guys want to bring back rocks from Mars? Open your damn eyes. I'll personally send them a box 'o rocks. Just give me the address.

Let's stop letting NASA ride the "if it weren't for the space program you wouldn't have all this neat technology" horse and spend our collective efforts on something useful.

What a bunch of really bright nitwits. Truly amazing. Incredible, in fact. Sheesh.

Misleading Article Title (5, Interesting)

PingXao (153057) | about 13 years ago | (#2376145)

This should be "NASA Would Like to Bring Back Martian Rocks". NASA would like to do a lot of things. Draconian budget cuts in recent years have put a major crimp in their style, however. They are currently not "planning" to do anything of the sort. They are simply groping about for a project that will let some of them keep their jobs by hitting on something that will engender public and Congressional support (and dollars). That's about as far in advance as their "planning" allows these days.

It seems like every 6 months now they some out with some new "discovery" that turns out to be just a rehash of old science with a new twist. Truth is, if you think along the lines of timothy here, you could also say that:
  • NASA Plans on Sending Astronauts Back to the Moon
  • NASA Plans on Sending Satellite Fleet to Jupiter
  • NASA Plans on Searching For Life on Titan's Oceans
  • NASA Plans on Tripling Space Station Size
  • NASA Plans on New Hubble Replacement
The list goes on and on. I love NASA, don't get me wrong, but the only serious stories worth looking at are the ones that start with NASA Receives Budgetary Committment From Congress For [insert project here]. That's the point where any serious planning really starts.

Ode to Slashdot: A Poem (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376147)

Ever since I was

a tiny tot

I longed for a website

like slashdot

Natalie portman scans,

IP's banned,

lameness filtration

O, divine moderation!

Hellmouth! apache!

The Enterprise theme's catchy

anime! hentai! lego dildos!

beautiful ascii goatsex posts!

It brings tears to my eyes,

it brings rhapsodies to mind

As I imagine Dmitri

taken from behind in fedral prison

Good use of criminals (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376157)

I say we send criminals into space, and see if they blow up. Theorecitally, because our bodies are accustomed to 14-odd lbs of pressure, put into space, where there's no air pressure, would cause them to blow up.
I don't believe it though.
Maybe if they catch Bin Laden, they could try it on him.

another fabulous poem (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376166)

robots are red,
legos are blue.
Send a shuttle to Mars
and take all the jews!

removing the rocks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376170)

On August 3, 1997, I decided to castrate myself. At 3:30 pm, I started to prepare my scrotum and testicles to be removed. I banded the scrotum at the top just below the penis. I used rubber bands. (I should have used an elastrator to band the scrotum but since I didn't have one I improvised.) Next i took ice and packed the scrotum and testicles so that I wouldn't be in pain as in prior experimenting with banding them it was extremely painful.

Re:removing the rocks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2376191)


Betting pool open (1)

fleener (140714) | about 13 years ago | (#2376187)

So how much will these trinkets fetch on Ebay?

Russian lunar rock retrieval (2)

peter303 (12292) | about 13 years ago | (#2376188)

I recall the Russians had a couple of successful lunar rock retrievals in the early 1970s. When they felt they couldn't get men to the moon first, they tried to beat Americans to rock samples, but lost that race too.
Perhaps there are lessons from the Russian lunar missions.

What's the point? (2, Insightful)

soybased (257974) | about 13 years ago | (#2376200)

Personally I think we should be colonizing the moon right now.

Once we've got a solid production/launch facility on the moon then we can start sending dumb little probes out to pick up rocks on mars.

I'm gonna be dissapointed if space ships arent commonplace by the time I'm old. Bah!

Check Out Total Recall Special Edition DVD (1)

olmuckyterrahawk (137825) | about 13 years ago | (#2376201)

The Total Recall special edition DVD has a track on it with a NASA JPL guy talking about the red planet. He concludes with a short squib on how they are planning to bring back rocks from Mars by 2014, I believe. This was the first I had heard of this.
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