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The Next Leap In Space Exploration

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-made-by-man dept.

NASA 103

An anonymous reader writes "The crew of the space shuttle Endeavor recently returned to Earth as ambassadors, harbingers of a new era of space exploration. Scientists at NASA are saying that the recent assembly of the Dextre bot is the first step in a long-term space-based man/machine partnership. '"The work we're doing now -- the robotics we're doing -- is what we're going to need to do to build any work station or habitat structure on the moon or Mars," said Allard Beutel, a spokesman for NASA. "Yes, this is just the beginning." Further joint human-robot projects will "be a symbiotic relationship. It's part of a long-term effort for us to branch out into the solar system. We're going to need this type of hand-in-robotic-hand [effort] to make this happen. We're in the infancy of space exploration. We have to start somewhere and this is as good a place as any."'"

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Frosty Vagina (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22882784)

It's Cuntacular!
 

Yup! (4, Interesting)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882856)

Wouldn't it be cool to launch your robotic servants to Mars long before humans went, and remotely control them (or not) to build the infrastructure for us before we arrive?

Re:Yup! (1)

superash (1045796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882884)

First we need technology that can help us (or robots) fly faster in space!

Re:Yup! (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882990)

No, we don't. A 500 day flight might be uncomfortable, but it's by no means impossible.

Re:Yup! (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883068)

Unless I'm mistaken, 500 day flights are only possible once every so often, normally it takes much longer. Constructing a base on Mars would require regular trips, waiting several years for each launch window would make progress extremely slow.

Re:Yup! (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884030)

We'll need years to fund, prepare for, and train astronauts for any Mars mission, so I don't think that will be a problem.

Paper airplanes (1)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883012)

We could ride there in paper airplanes... seriously, the Japanese [bbc.co.uk] are already testing the concept!

Re:Yup! (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883106)

It would be cool. If only the robots needed to do that were anything more than science fiction. Not that an exploratory mission needs that much in the way of infrastructure in the first place.

Re:Yup! (3, Insightful)

snowmenr4ever (1099343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883216)

While the summary tends to allude to such future possibilities, this robot is a long ways away. It is a "human-robot project." Meaning that a human is required to perform the tasks, and that they are not automated. The Canadian Space Agency provides information on the robot. http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/missions/sts-123/dextre.asp [space.gc.ca]

Doing operations with these robotics requires a communication link, which would first have to be built by automated robotics (which this is not) or humans; I for one believe we will visit mars personally by the time we have automated robotics that could perform the necessary tasks to create this type of comm-link.

Re:Yup! (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883804)

Once you have fully autonomous robots, would you still need to go to Mars personally? Sightseeing?

Re:Yup! (2, Insightful)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885590)

It would be the first step in spreading humanity off of Earth. It would lead to a great advantage in the survivability of mankind.

Re:Yup! (1)

marnues (906739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885612)

I imagine we'll need some management types to oversee the robots' mining efforts and the terraforming work. That'll require engineers and technicians to be in close proximity when the managers screw everything up. Plus we'll need some satellite guys in case communications goes down. And then there'll be all the tourists (I can only imagine that your sightseeing remark is incredibly insightful.)

Of course then Mars will see the colonists coming en masse. Any geek worth his salt will want a low Martian UID.

Re:Yup! (1, Funny)

davido42 (956948) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883310)

Why the hell would we want to go to Mars? It's cold, boring, and I hear the food sucks!

Re:Yup! (1)

MDTwitch (1246836) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887758)

Hookers with three boobs.

Lightspeed Lag = No (direct) Remote Control (2, Informative)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883528)

Remote Controlling machines on the Moon would be tough with the 1 second lag. I ran across an article about Japanese researchers experimenting with the simulated lag to an orbiting satellite, but I can't find it right this second. Latencies to Mars are going to be many minutes. To do "remote control" you'd need to be able to give high-level commands, like: "okay, you assemble that wall over there. You help him by fastening the screws. You over there, you pile dirt on the back and sides of the hab module..."

Re:Yup! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22883642)

Marge: Space needs robots.

Lenny: Budget cuts.

Marge: Space needs robots.

Lenny: Budget cuts.

Re:Yup! (eh!) (1)

Darth-Nader (1263370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884274)

Funny how the Shuttle's Robotic arm and the ISS Dexter are called the robotic arms in the US, but called the "Canada-Arm" and "Canadian-Built Dexter Robotic Arm" here in Canada, where they were built and donated to the Shuttle program and ISS. Is this somehow related to yesterday's story about how the US tends to ignore rulings against them by the WTO, IMF, and NAFTA? ..and the snub after September 11th when GW thanked everyone for their help, except America's biggest trading partner and the country which received the largest invasion of US aircraft and civilians since WWII? At least the US remembers us enough to "Blame Canada!" Only 9 more months George...

Re:Yup! (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886804)

Um, wouldn't the 40 minute one-way light time be a bit of an obstacle?

And we will call it... (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882858)

Project "Borg".

Re:And we will call it... (3, Funny)

03Cobra (826073) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883174)

Project Bring On the Robotic Girls?

Forget... (0, Offtopic)

Dannkape (1195229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882864)

...the Human-Robot projects! Will someone please think of the sharks?

Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882870)

... I feel like it happens quite late, quite slowly, costs too much and still is underfunded.

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22882962)

The future of the US space program:

  • Obama gets elected and cancels Constellation to buy voters elsewhere
  • Another shuttle blows up/disintegrates finishing ISS. All remaining shuttles grounded, future flights canceled


So don't worry about it. Our space program is just about finished.

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (0, Troll)

Ozric (30691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883220)

I am in a really bad mood.

I feel like asking .....

What fills us with the need to go f*#k up another planet?

   

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883298)

Um... the same thing that made us f*$k up this one?

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (2, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883458)

What fills us with the need to go f*#k up another planet?
Why do you care? They are just big rocks.

We just need to learn to travel faster than our wake of destruction.

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (4, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883560)

What fills us with the need to go f*#k up another planet?
Since man is a 100% natural product of the earth, so is anything man does. In other words, IF this planet is f*#ked up by our doing, and we are natural product of the earth itself, the earth has f*#ked itself up, naturally.

Besides, even if we are responsible for this planet, I think we are doing a much better job with Earth than mother nature has done with any other planet in the system.

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22889058)

What you're saying reminds me of that quote by Gallileo:

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."

What you say is true from an outsiders perspective, but that means nothing for us. You might be wondering what God has to do with this, but you sound exactly like people who shrug at any issue and say "inshallah".

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 6 years ago | (#22889866)

Since man is a 100% natural product of the earth, so is anything man does. In other words, IF this planet is f*#ked up by our doing, and we are natural product of the earth itself, the earth has f*#ked itself up, naturally.
Obligatory quote:
Why are all living things (except humans) so well integrated into the ecosystem?
The ones that spoiled their nest didn't make it.

Dunno where I heard that, maybe on BBC's Planet Earth.

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (1)

lazy genes (741633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22890458)

Its part of evolution. NASA would have recieved more funding if they staged a robo war event with the two mars rovers.

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (3, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883588)

We're planet fuckers. It's what we do.

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883256)

... I feel like it happens quite late, quite slowly, costs too much and still is underfunded.
So what you're saying is you'd like early, quick, cheap, and well funded bad moods?
 

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22883878)

I never saw a well-funded bad mood in my life, so I don't think they can happen...
Actually, anything well-funded seems to always be on a very good mood. Doubt it? Just ask the millionaires sitting on a jacuzzi crowded with hot naked Playboy centerfolds...

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (1)

longacre (1090157) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884872)

Not always. Ask Eliot Spitzer.

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883304)

". I feel like it happens quite late,"
Is there some sort of galactic timetable only you are aware of? I'm not sure how it is 'late'.

" quite slowly,"
Compared tt other Man/Robotic space missions nobody else is aware of?"

" costs too much"
Compared to...?

"and still is underfunded."
Remember: Fast friendly and free.. no that's not the one...
Fast, inexpensive, High Quality, pick two. That's the one!

Yes, I would love them to get a lot more money, and be able to do more research in any given time frame.
Human/Robot missions is the next logical(to me) step. I would love to see the Robots/Human in space argument end. It's stupid and pointless.

Re:Maybe I am in a bad mood today but.. (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22891924)

The timetable I am using is my life expectancy. I compare the pace of this R&D compared to the pace of R&D during the cold war and the fact that Russians have been autonomously docking for ages IIRC. It costs too much compared to what an industrial effort could bring (totally subjective, I admit, but I doubt the NASA is a champion of cost-effectiveness)

I, for one, (0, Offtopic)

0racle (667029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882872)

welcome our new robotic overloards.

Re:I, for one, (-1, Redundant)

superash (1045796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882910)

In Soviet Russia, robots control YOU!

3 years later (0, Redundant)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882874)

At a press conference in Huston TX, Allard Beutel told reporters:

"We are the Borg. Lower your weapons and disarm yourselves. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile."

Silent Running... 1972 (2, Interesting)

h.ross.perot (1050420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882920)

Huey, Dewey and Louie would be proud..

2001 again. (2, Funny)

castral (1253626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882926)

Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?

Evangelion? (2, Insightful)

The Queen (56621) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882944)

I wonder just how 'closely' together they intend to have us working? *shudder*

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles? (2, Funny)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883074)

As closely as possible?

Re:Evangelion? (0, Offtopic)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883122)

As long as there are no Angels we should be fine, otherwise I'll have to whip out my Marduk report and start looking for teenage children, dammit!

I've heard this before... (4, Funny)

QuantumFlux (228693) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882948)

Yes! With our new robotic workers, which we call "Cylons," we will usher in a new era of peaceful space exploration and colonization.

Re:I've heard this before... (0, Offtopic)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883176)

no way am I walking and in had with a fracking cylon!

Re:I've heard this before... (1)

Jarik_Tentsu (1065748) | more than 6 years ago | (#22890234)

[quote]Yes! With our new robotic workers, which we call "Cylons," we will usher in a new era of peaceful space exploration and colonization.[/quote]

Will they create their own [very hot] humanoid models too? In which case, I shotgun the Number 6 product line! Hell, I'll be the ambassador that goes to that space station every yeah...=P

~Jarik

Space 1999 (0, Troll)

pw1972 (686596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882956)

Space 1999 is what we would be living it we didn't have NASA and it's bureaucracy.

Re:Space 1999 (5, Insightful)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883224)

No we wouldn't. The problems are deep rooted in various areas aside from inevitable apparent bureaucracy in NASA.

- NASA is VASTLY underfunded, with it's funding being cut on key projects year by year
- Most of the American public don't give a crap about the pre-history of space, such as throwing up robots and plants and 'seeing what happens'. It's hard to gain funding if noone cares.
- The current presidency has no charisma or enthusiasm to push space travel, it is simply not in his interests.
- Space travel is expensive and overall, has very little capitalist pleasing return. When it comes to space, what money you throw up there certainly does not come down. Scientific merit is in hoardes, but it's hard to argue with wall street that it has any merit.
- Some space technology does not follow 'Moores Law' so sometimes progress slows considerably. In some fields such as propulsion we really are waiting for a breakthrough that is not just 'proven on paper'.
- Putting humans in space holds very little merit to many scientists. Even NASA don't want people getting sent up for no good reason.

There's 100 more reasons why we're not living some SciFi dream. I want my space habitat as much as any geek, but I know why I don't have it...

Re:Space 1999 (1)

nanostuff (1224482) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885040)

Actually, the very reasons you listed may very well be why we're at the level of practical technology available to us today. Scientists, and surprisingly, even the government, are aware of the lack of merit space travel technologies have. Wasting massive amounts of public funding on 'space habitats' is probably the worst attempt at 'some SciFi dream'. NASA does important work, unfortunately manned space travel and the whole 'let's go to the moon again' fiasco isn't in this category.

Re:Space 1999 (3, Insightful)

BCGlorfindel (256775) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886328)

Manned space travel would encourage the next 'big leap'. The one advantage of robotic missions over manned ones that really makes the difference right now is simply mass. The next 'big leap' IMHO is getting off of chemical propulsion, and the weight and mission time requirements for a manned Mars mission rather requires bigger thinking than just using more chemicals. It should hopefully see serious consideration for ion drives powered by something bigger than a battery, something like a nuclear sub reactor. Putting that kind of propulsion system in orbit could allow manned exploration of not only Mars but much more of the solar system as well.

Re:Space 1999 (2, Interesting)

Kevin Stevens (227724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887282)

- NASA is VASTLY underfunded, with it's funding being cut on key projects year by year

NASA's budget is around $16 billion dollars, which is more than Jordan's entire GDP and about another 100 countries as well according to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal) [wikipedia.org]

We spend more on rockets than entire countries produce in a year. $16 billion dollars is a lot of money no matter how you look at it. I am a geek, and space exploration is good and all, but I think $16 billion is more than enough to spend thanks. Remember, this is not imaginary money, this is your money coming out of YOUR paycheck every month. Personally I would rather see some of that money spent on developing alternative energy technologies. NASA's funding in real dollars is less than its 1966 peak where it had a stated mission of going to the moon and an unstated mission of developing ICBM technology, but NASA is actually receiving funding (in real terms) that is well above its 1980's levels, and on par with most of the 1990's.

Do you realize that NASA has some of the best PR people in the planet? If anyone dares to suggest even a budget increase that is not to their liking, immediately a press release is sent out about how one of the cheaper and most successful missions is "unfortunately going to have to be cut off. budget cuts you know?" If things started getting a little tight in your town's government, is the first thing they turn off the water supply? F no. If your mayor suggested that he would be run out of office and possibly hanged. Nobody even blinks when NASA does this though. NASA plays slashdotters who are supposed to be smarter than that like fiddles.

Next time you read an article about how they have to eliminate the voyager project that only costs about $4million dollar a year and has been running for 20+ years as the probes exit the solar system ask yourself if there are really competent people running the show or maybe they are just saying this to grab some headlines and stir up outrage.

Re:Space 1999 (2, Funny)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884142)

Space 1999 is what we would be living it we didn't have NASA and it's bureaucracy.

Well, then I say many thanks to NASA and its bureaucracy for keeping the moon right where it is! I'm also glad silver mini skirts never really caught on. However, perhaps "dangling-on-strings" advanced spacecraft propulsion warrants further study.

Re:Space 1999 (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886652)

I'm also glad silver mini skirts never really caught on. However, perhaps "dangling-on-strings" advanced spacecraft propulsion warrants further study.
"Dangling from strings" + "mini skirts" == priceless pic I'd rather forget, thank you.

Excuse me while I go visit a goatse link to get that image out of my mind.

Overstated a Bit? (2, Insightful)

trongey (21550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882960)

"Long-term space-based man/machine partnership"? Come on, they installed an assembly robot. Sure, it's a very nice one and pretty complex, but it's not like they fired up freakin R. Daneel Olivaw.

Re:Overstated a Bit? (3, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883208)

I'm with you on that one. A bit too anthropomorphic for my tastes, and I like hobby robotics. We are a long way from having to hold hands with a robot, they are little more than very expensive tools. Robots like the Aibo are little more than very expensive pets. Then again, some people think poison ivy looks pretty. There is no accounting for tastes. To my way of thinking, the robots we have sent to Mars already is an amazing thing so putting on in orbit is hardly a major leap forward in robotics technology. The whole hand holding things is rather sophomoric really.

Re:Overstated a Bit? (1)

AnomaliesAndrew (908394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884908)

I tend to think this man-machine-partnership-in-space was forged the day man entered space in a gigantic robotic capsule for the first time.

Any progress is good, but this is in no way surprising. I'm actually puzzled why we didn't have a lot of these in place years ago.

Obligatory [squared] (0, Redundant)

bondjamesbond (99019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882966)

I, for one, welcome our robotic overlords. And...

In Soviet Russia, robots control YOU!

HA! Beat that!

NASA is building CYBORGS!! (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22882974)

Further joint human-robot projects will "be a symbiotic relationship".
I can't wait to see how this space exploration research and development is going to change the world as we know it!
(skynet)

Re:NASA is building CYBORGS!! (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883002)

That's the most rediculous statement ever. They'll evolve into humans and look dead sexy, everyone knows that.

We're in the infancy of space exploration Not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22882988)

Come on, we been in space since the sixties, and exploring it even before then. Calling this the "infancy of space exploration" is simply inaccurate.

By now, imho, we should be building moonbase.

Re:We're in the infancy of space exploration Not! (4, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883070)

Come on, we been in space since the sixties, and exploring it even before then. Calling this the "infancy of space exploration" is simply inaccurate.

We were a seafaring people for about 6000 years before we discovered some of the islands of the world. Industrialization is in its infancy, we are currently in the pre-history phase of space travel.

Re:We're in the infancy of space exploration Not! (2, Insightful)

andphi (899406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883522)

Industrialization is in its infancy only if one makes a straight, one-to-one comparison between time elapsed since the first planted crop with time elasped since the first operational factory. I think that metric is flawed, as it assumes that a year in the 1st or 2d century BC has the same production and innovation value as a year in the 19th or 20th century AD. Industrial processes have brought agriculture as close to maturity as possible considering the variables (quantity of sun and rain, quality of soil). I do agree, however, that we are pre-historic in terms of space travel and are more like the first tribes of humans teaching themselves to knap flint than the tribes which followed them (and taught themselves to grow gardens).

Let's hope it's not a "Quantum Leap" this time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22882998)

Or else we might have captains of starships exclaiming "Ho boy!" before every mission, just like that last guy (or should I say first?) on the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Not even close (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883000)

The crew of the space shuttle Endeavor recently returned to Earth as ambassadors

Er, no. Sorry.

They assembled and deployed the Ikea version of a semi-autonomous robot. Not even Darl could stretch that into returning as "ambassadors".

The "next leap in space exploration" will happen when we start sending out one-way manned missions. Until then, we've done nothing more than piddle around in the local sandbox and thrown some rocks at pigeons.

Re:Not even close (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22883500)

Yeah, Let's shit all over NASA PR. That's going to be real helpful for the space program! Eat shit and die you clown.

Re:Not even close (2, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883548)

The "next leap in space exploration" will happen when we start sending out one-way manned missions.
Hey, I think somebody just volunteered! :)

Re:Not even close (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884978)

Hey, I think somebody just volunteered! :)

They'd probably consider me just a tad too old for the mission, but if they'd send me... Hell yeah, I'd volunteer!

History will remember the first man to walk (and die) on Mars. A middle-class software engineer, OTOH, may as well never have existed as far as posterity cares. And aside from the fame-factor, hey, I'll never make it off-planet any other way, so what a cool way to go! :)

Lets just hope... (3, Funny)

MistaE (776169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883024)

....that we don't build any robots that can read lips.

Re:Lets just hope... (2, Funny)

ArAgost (853804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883606)

"Double the killer delete select all." I think we're safe for now.

Standing on the shoulders of giants (2, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883040)

"The crew of the space shuttle Endeavor recently returned to Earth as ambassadors, harbingers of a new era of space exploration. Scientists at NASA are saying that the recent assembly of the Dextre bot is the first step in a long-term space-based man/machine partnership. '"The work we're doing now -- the robotics we're doing -- is what we're going to need to do to build any work station or habitat structure on the moon or Mars," said Allard Beutel, a spokesman for NASA. "Yes, this is just the beginning." Further joint human-robot projects will "be a symbiotic relationship. It's part of a long-term effort for us to branch out into the solar system. We're going to need this type of hand-in-robotic-hand [effort] to make this happen. We're in the infancy of space exploration. We have to start somewhere and this is as good a place as any."'""
Am I paranoid or you too feel some dismissal of previous work.

Re:Standing on the shoulders of giants (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883296)

Not really paranoid, I think NASA are the first to admit their previous mission's flaws; Whilst we put men on the moon, we threw them up there in a tin can, and we certainly didn't 'transport and settle' them there like we are looking to do these days.

I feel NASA are much more calculated in their choices of missions these days, however I do wonder what their 'final aim' really is. Colonisation of mars? Or is all of this just prep work so we're ready when (if) we eventually make a breakthrough to interstellar travel?

Re:Standing on the shoulders of giants (3, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883430)

I do wonder what their 'final aim' really is. Colonisation of mars? Or is all of this just prep work so we're ready when (if) we eventually make a breakthrough to interstellar travel?
I think it's more of a "defensive stance". They are keeping the space travel technology on a reasonable level to be able to react quickly if another country suddenly reveals a huge breakthrough.

If China suddenly starts to prepare a Mars colonization mission the USA will still have some people and enough infrastructure to keep the option of running for it.

If nobody makes a move, they can wait until a less expensive investigation route produces a result that makes missions cheap enough.

Re:Standing on the shoulders of giants (1)

travbrad (622986) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887562)

^ Agree with the above post.

There's also a powerful source of potential energy on the moon (and elsewhere in the solar system), Helium-3 (He-3), that could be used for nuclear fusion power generation. He-3 produces far less radioactivity than our current method, which loses most of the energy in the form of neutrons which "destroys" the equipment rapidly, not to mention all the radioactivity left over.

The problem is we are currently nowhere near being able to actually produce electricity from it, even IF we manage to somehow mine it (IIRC it's something like 1 part per BILLION on the moon) and come up with a viable way of transporting all that mass. It could be a huge source of energy in the distant future though (or maybe not, only time will tell). There are many difficult problems to tackle first though, and we are only in the infant stages of both man-made fusion and space exploration.

Re:Standing on the shoulders of giants (1)

Wes Janson (606363) | more than 6 years ago | (#22890616)

Your theory makes a disturbing amount of sense, on all levels. It explains an awful lot, passes political logic check, and fits the known facts. If only it weren't so damn depressing.

Berserker S/N 1 was born last week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22883118)

For anyone familiar with the Berserkers, they WILL take over Earth at some point. I have the feeling that the very first was born last week :( We really have to worry about where this will lead. The ROBOTS WILL TAKE OVER!

It's just a machine (1)

hcg50a (690062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883222)

Despite the overwrought and flowery prose, it's just a machine, albeit semi-autonomous. Kind of like a steam engine with a governor. It performs tasks that are difficult or impossible for humans. Thanks.

Re:It's just a machine (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883410)

You seem to forget how steam engines were, 'just a machine' but they changed the world.

Re:It's just a machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22887492)

yeah well some people don't know what they're looking at, even when it's staring them in the face. Personally i think there's enormous potential here by developing a man/machine symbiosis for future space exploration. If we can give ourselves integrated exoskeletons way down the track, and solve the related energy problem, it'll give us much better capacity to survive the vacuum of space without reliance on elaborate supporting infrastructure. (Brain in a jar, yes, but i'm more than fine with that)

and anyway, who says there's no capital interest in space? Planets free of life are begging to be exploited for resources. The kuiper belt will be considered 'just down the road' in a few hundred years, and who knows what goodies it's got. The future sounds fascinating.

"symbiotic relationship"? (3, Insightful)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883236)

Symbiotic relationship? Man/machine partnership? Ambassadors? Hand-in-robotic-hand? WTF?

It's a fancy toaster, guys, get over yourselves. It's like having a symbiotic relationship with a swiss army knife.

I'd expect this kind of mystical crap from people who don't understand technology and view it all through Clarke's 3rd Law filters ("indistinguishable from magic"), just as any other primitives do when imbuing things they don't understand with mystical spirits. So is Dextre the god of space robotics now? I weep for the NASA that used to be.

Re:"symbiotic relationship"? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883504)

"Symbitotic" isn't a mystical term, at all.

"A relationship of mutual benefit or dependence."

Normally referring to organic species, but that is do to the fact that machines are just now becoming mainstream enough to start hearing that term.
For example, it would be correct to say "That man and his pacemaker share a symbiotic relationship". It's just unusually to say that.

In short, Man missions will start to need robotic assitance, and robots need human assitance.... for Now(bum bum buuuummmm)

Of course some new age moron may say there is a symbiotic relation ship between you and your spirit guid. That's onlt incorrect because there is no such thing as a spirit guide... or spirits.

Before any of those jack holes replies with 'proof', I suggest you look to many of the organizations that will pay you money for this 'proof'..assuming it holds up to scientific scrutiny.

Re:"symbiotic relationship"? (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884254)

"A relationship of mutual benefit or dependence."

In what way is the relationship of a user with his tool of any benefit to the tool? How can any non-living object be said to derive a benefit from anything?

For example, it would be correct to say "That man and his pacemaker share a symbiotic relationship".

See, you're doing it yourself. That's just animism, although perhaps unconcious animism.

What does the pacemaker get out of it? If it were an organism, gaining a warm place to live and an energy supply tapped from the host in exchange for its pacemaking, that would indeed be a symbiotic relationship. Since the pacemaker is just a machine -- a tool --, it's not.

(If the (mechanical) pacemaker doesn't get anything from it, does that mean the man is a parasite of the pacemaker? Ridiculous.)

Re:"symbiotic relationship"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22885116)

Hes a Cylon lover! I don't think this tendency of animism is a bad thing. I don't care what you say when my program doesn't compile there's a reason... demons!

We're humans. We do things to relate to the world in different ways. Your world sounds boring to me.

Re:"symbiotic relationship"? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883514)

It's a fancy toaster, guys, get over yourselves. It's like having a symbiotic relationship with a swiss army knife.
 
After extensive investigation we've discovered that the symbiotic relationship with the toaster is only slightly painful, as long as the toaster is turned off. No results with the swiss army knife for lack of voluntaries.

Those words... (1)

Tsoat (1221796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883348)

I can already hear the words "Dave? What are you doing Dave?"

Re:Those words... (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883568)

Three rules:
One - If a human passenger dies, the AI is automatically shut off via a mechanism the AI doesn't control.

Two - Everyone carries a remote shut off

Three - It's survival must rely on the survival of the human occupants.

Of course, since it turns out HAL couldn't think outside it's programming and take an independant action, I would argue it wasn't an AI.

Re:Those words... (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887328)

Well I'm not sure if there's an argument, 'he' was AI, pure artificial intelligence. That was the point. It was a perfect example of how intelligence is somewhat limited by it's carrying body. HAL was just as intelligent as the humans on Discovery, however had different weaknesses. The key thing is that no matter how bright HAL was (and he was BRIGHT), you could still unplug him. Just like you can throw a human out a cargo door, you can pull tapes out of HAL.

Re:Those words... (1)

ElAurian (133656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22890324)

The AI goes to sleep if one human dies.

So if one human dies, all the humans die? After all, the best reason to have an AI running a ship is that it's too complex for humans to do with peak alertness 24/7.

I should also point out that it wasn't HAL's fault that the humans died; it was the stupid bastards who brainwashed him and didn't think about what they were doing.

Re:Those words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22884468)

I can already hear the words "Dave? What are you doing Dave?"

Most.boring.movie.ever.

Except for "1984", that is.

virtual reality factories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22883666)

  • Virtual Reality
  • Factories on earth with human operators for robots on the moon.
  • rtt = 2 seconds so time delay
  • entangled atoms may break 2 second rtt
  • asimo robot.

Indeed. (1)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883788)

It's one Hal of an idea!

Robot or Cyborg? (2, Informative)

arjay-tea (471877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22883912)

Aren't robots supposed to be autonomous? From what I understand, Dextre is a cybernetic manipulator. Why do people refuse to distinguish between robots and cyborgs?

I, for one... (1)

zapakh (1256518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884488)

...oh, nevermind.

Boot strapping the Moon, with Robots! (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22884986)

What really needs to get done is we need to take rapid prototyping to the next level. Here is how it is done.

You build a machine that can be sent to the moon that can build most of the major parts that it is composed of and an all purpose humanoid robot that is remote controlled from earth. You power it with a combination of solar cells / nuclear generators. During the daytime you smelt lunar soil with the extra energy and make ingots of nearly pure elements along with capture the volitiles like Oxygen and other gasses. During the night time you use the rapid prototyping module to build parts of itself, you would use one laser beam to slowly vaporize the pure ingots and electorstatic confimement to shoot the atoms to a chamber where they are added to a smaller ingot a layer at a time when the ion beam hits the ingot you also converge a laser bear to heat up the material so the ions from the beam will "stick" to the small ingot, the remails of the ingot will be lasered off the finished product. You could use another process for larger items if the laser-ion deposition method is too slow for large items made of metal. This method may be ideal for making things like solar panels though....

Eventually you would build several duplicates of the the original factory that may only need a small shipment of parts that could only be produced on earth. After getting several small factories setup on the moon you would then use them to build an even bigger factory that could be more specialized to make specific items more efficently. After a fashion you may be able to make everything on the moon except for nuclear fule you need to run the place during the night or you could build you own Lunar power sattelites that could orbit the moon and beam power during the night. From there you can start building entire settlements on the moon supplied with pleanty of water, air, electricity, and everythign else humans need, all without needing a single human there to build it all. The people who them go to the moon would be settlers that are brough to moon by automated spacecraft that were built on the moon and all you need to do is send them to low earth orbit where they can rendezvous with the lunar built transport. These people would then live on the moon for the rest of their lives or for extended durations.

The whole idea here is to use exponential growth and technology to build huge ready to inhabit bases on the moon without needing to ship every goddammed nuit and bolt from the earth.

HAL and Dave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22887430)

Hopefully we will never hear about "scary HAL moments" on CNN or Fox the day that these AI robot plans are realized ;)

The long term man and machine tie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22888036)

Will be Man taking egg/sperm - freezing it and sending it into space in a ship. When ship arrives at target, if a survivable biosphere exists the ship will land, combine egg/sperm, shake and wait 9 months, then raise the childern.

Thus man will spread to other planets.

Endeavour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22890082)

space shuttle Endeavor

Typo alert: apparently shuttle's name is Endeavour, after the British ship, hence the British spelling.

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