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Bush's Moon-Mars initiative

  1. Mar 15, 2004 #1

    Phobos

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    John Glenn disapproves (partisan politics?)
    http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/03/04/glenn.space.reut/index.html

    Neil Armstrong approves.
    http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/03/14/space.armstrong.ap/index.html

    From the various topics here at PF, it seems like most science-minded people simply suspect that Bush is using this as a political tool for re-election rather than offering a real space program. From popular media, it seems like there is still a giggle factor to it.

    But maybe we should say 'so what?' If Bush is willing to float the idea (and NASA seems to be following along), then space enthusiasts could still latch on to make it happen. How often can we even get a politician to mention space exploration, never mind offering to fund it?

    I'm just thinking out loud here. I'm still a bit unsure about the cost of it all, especially if it means losing other important exploration programs (Hubble, etc.).
     
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  3. Mar 15, 2004 #2

    wolram

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    can someone tell me what the aim of the moon, mars mission
    is? it seems to me that sending a maned misson to mars
    would be very risky, and any equipment used would have
    to be much more robust than those used on lunar missions.
    will the mars mission craft be provisioned in space?
    anyone have an idea of size, weight of the proposed craft?
     
  4. Mar 15, 2004 #3
    I'm a bit sceptical about this (I have to note that I'm just a physics student and don't know anything further about astronomical research). First, talking visionarily doesn't cost a dime to any politician in the world, and the "buts" (one 't' please!) will appear soon enough.

    I'm not American and therefore I don't want to interfere too much into your national politics, but still I have to say: Wouldn't there be better ways to spend that money (one of your links talked about hundreds of billions)? Sure, economically it wouldn't be lost, it would partly go straight to the industry and there would be many "useful" research results. But anyway, as a US-taxpayer I wouldn't be too happy about this.

    And there is the question about the scientific value of a manned Mars mission. What is so different between a man (or woman) putting stones into some detector and a robot doing the same thing (only partly rhetorical, since I really don't know the answer)? Is this worth the money and the risk of losing a life (think about the poor ESA Mars probe)?

    I just think that especially as a scientist one should try to see "the whole thing" and not just one's own interests. If people talk with the president's voice just because he offered them money, they become corrupted.
     
  5. Mar 15, 2004 #4

    Phobos

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    All good points, of course. Continued robotic exploration makes sense at this time. And yet the little Explorer voice in my head would love to see it done...another Leap for Mankind.

    There are many pro's & con's that can be listed in the debate to send people rather than robots. Cost and risk certainly weigh heavily against the idea. A successful mission could recoup the investment indirectly (promoting international cooperation, prestige, spin-off technologies, inspiring science & technology education/research).

    Simply planting a flag is not a good scientific goal (but it may become a good political goal if other nations start reaching the Moon soon). More scientific reasons seem to shake out of a long-range, multi-generational vision (e.g., to support colonization).

    I suspect that robots will continue to be our emissaries, but it's interesting to think that we're at a point in history where we could do it if we wanted to.
     
  6. Mar 15, 2004 #5
    How can a manned mission to Mars be justified as an investment in an average Earthling's quality of life (extending Phobos' argument)?
     
  7. Mar 15, 2004 #6
    march.15.2004
    NASA MUST LEAVE GEOLOGICAL BUT SET UP THERMODYNAMICS & BIOLOGICAL EXPERIMENTS IN SPACE RESEARCH LIKE ON PLANETS:

    I would suggest that NASA and other countries in space research get more on measuring the CLIMATES and Atmospherics conditions on the other planets and also on MOON.For example I want to know whether the Gas laws which are working on Earth or same on Moon and Mars etc.Particularly measurements of Pressure would tell more about possibilities of Water or their atmospheres than drilling the rocks,from that one can see the behavior of atomic and molecular forces and their natures.Do the same forces atomic and molecular forces might have resulted the events on them?I am not sure we know much about the atmospheres of the planet Mars or even Moon,how many miles they stretche in the space surrounding mars or moon?What should be the Escape Velocities on that planet in reallity or on moon?Also some kind of Biological experiments like a miniature Biosphere could be sent to land on Moon as well as Mars,which would tell lot more than sampling a rock.
    Dr.Syed Ameen(Ph.d.)
     
  8. Mar 15, 2004 #7
    i think talk of billions spent on missions to mars is ridiculous when we are cutting programmes like Hubble which could be extended for mere millions and further space based telescopes like the SNAP (supernova acceleration probe) could do so much more for our understanding of the universe.
     
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