I asked my wife this question and she said "If they can put a man on the moon, why can't they put all the men on the moon?"
I think you completely missed his point. He doesn't want to pay to send someone into space just so an astronaut can enjoy the view, when we can send a robot to do it at half the cost.Oh, sorry. I guess we shouldn't use tax payer money on any kind of research. Scientific or otherwise. I mean, you won't immediately get to benefit, therefore the whole thing is worthless.
Pros of human spaceflight
- On-the-spot judgments, innovation, adapt to surroundings, react quickly to the unexpected, flexibility
Dubious.[*]Human space colonization is the future of humanity; learning to live in space and elsewhere
More expensive than it is worth.[*]Hardware repair
I believe the cost of Cassini has much to do with the destination, instruments and spacecraft. Certainly there is a high overhead cost - the contractors make a lot of money - because lots of folks are involved in the initial design/development/construction (of the spacecraft and launch system) and launch/operation. There is a lot of testing because once the spacecraft is lauched, there is no hands-on access.Unmanned space activities are not cheap. To the contrary; they are very, very expensive. The Cassini mission, $3.27 billion. The Mars Exploration Rovers, $850 million. That represents funding for thousands of scientists for several years plus an untold number of graduate students. Cassini, Spirit, and Opportunity have yielded incredible results, but at an incredible cost. Will Congress fund future endeavors such as these without the added impetus of being a pathfinder for human activities? I doubt it.
A manned mission to Mars is not practical at present. Zubrin is nuts. We simply do not know enough about the dangers to humans on Mars to send people there. NASA wants intelligent risk takers as astronauts, not suicides. Even if we knew enough about Mars, we do not have the wherewithal to get there and back using present technology. The logistics alone are orders of magnitude larger than anything done by any spacefaring nation. Barring massive international cooperation, the US will not be able undertake a human mission to Mars within the next forty years. So let's leave Mars out of this discussion.I've heard estimates approaching $100 billion for a manned mission to Mars.
Using AI for robotic missions is problematic for several reasons.AI would be necessary for more productive robotic systems
That is a generic problem with space-qualified processors, and the problem is growing as transistor sizes shrink. Flight-qualified hardware is ten years or so behind state-of-the-art. The problem is even worse than that because avionics design limits the design of almost every system on a spacecraft. The details of a spacecraft's avionics system is one of the very first things set in concrete as a result. Given the large lag between initial design and flight, the computers on a spacecraft are often fifteen or more years out-of-date by the time a vehicle flies.However another problem with instrumentation is the radiation. The smaller the transistor size, the more likely it the microprocessor/RAM will get zapped by a stray cosmic ray.
Right. And when it turns out we NEED to go to space, for whatever reason (evacuation, manned repair trip, whatever), what are you going to do? "Oh snap, we should have developed this more, because the experience in sending people to space would have been worth it. Oh well, let's just send a robot to space instead."I think you completely missed his point. He doesn't want to pay to send someone into space just so an astronaut can enjoy the view, when we can send a robot to do it at half the cost.
I toured a full-size mockup of a big component of the then termed "Space Station Freedom" (which would be launched by the Shuttle-C) when I went to Space Camp in 8th grade. Not including the cost of the cancelled predecessors, the total cost of the 20 year project, ending in 2010 is $130 Billion.ISS is extremely expensive ($10's billions), and that is in the neighborhood.
That is also likely close to an order of magnitude low. I've never seen an estimate that low, but this article critcizes the most common estimate of $1 trillion: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/119/1I've heard estimates approaching $100 billion for a manned mission to Mars.
I'm not sure why we would need more productive robotic systems. Much is made of the on-the-spot decision-making capabilities of humans, but again, the low cost of robotic spacecraft utterly negates this issue. A human can do things faster, but a human also must do things faster due to mission time constraints. Even at a pace of 10m per day (with daily decision-making pauses), after more than 4 years into their 3 month missions, the two rovers have done detailed surveys of paths of several km (7 and 11). They have easily accomplished as much as a similarly equipped manned mission of, say, 3 months (on surface) duration at no more than 1/500th the cost.AI would be necessary for more productive robotic systems....
That article violates at least two of the three Wikipedia content policies: No original research (NOR) and Verifiability (V). The verifiable cost to NASA is $25.6 billion for the years 1994 to 2005. Adding future expenditures without accounting for the value of money is invalid. Adding 80% of the cost of the Shuttle program is highly invalid. The Shuttle program has a huge fixed cost. The interregna following the Challenger and Columbia disasters did not see a cost reduction in the Shuttle program. The author of the article did original research and did so badly to prove a point (which violates WP:NPOV).Not including the cost of the cancelled predecessors, the total cost of the 20 year project, ending in 2010 is $130 Billion.
That is also likely close to an order of magnitude low. I've never seen an estimate that low, but this article critcizes the most common estimate of $1 trillion: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/119/1
Do you have a source? Here's another article that says $100 billion (which includes $10 billion for the predecsssors) in 2000 dollars, which is pretty much in line with $130 B today.That article violates at least two of the three Wikipedia content policies: No original research (NOR) and Verifiability (V). The verifiable cost to NASA is $25.6 billion for the years 1994 to 2005.
The cost of the program would get amortized over the number of missions, would it not? If the ISS weren't there, the Space Shuttle program would likely be cancelled already.Adding 80% of the cost of the Shuttle program is highly invalid. The Shuttle program has a huge fixed cost.
I didn't bring it up, but in order to properly compare manned to unmanned, we have to compare apples to apples.Regarding manned trip to Mars. Yes, it would be well over $100 billion and could easily by ten times that. For that reason, there are no plans for a human mission to Mars and I am not advocating one. Please leave the issue of a human mission to Mars out of this thread. It is off-topic.
This is a theoretical discussion, so while you may be right, that's a non sequitur and a matter for future politicians to work out....BNSC gets a paltry 0.035% of the UK budget. Robotic precursors are an important part of the overall exploration objective. Because of this, NASA's unmanned missions receive over 1/3 of the total NASA budget, or about 0.2% of the US federal budget. My conjecture is that that would fall to levels in line with BNSC funding shoulw the more vehement elements of the science community get their way.