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Why is NASA going to Mars?

  1. Apr 5, 2009 #1
    Hi,

    I am wondering why is it so important to put people on Mars? It is very dangerous and Nasa does not have the technology to do this safely without endangering lives. Why can't they wait for proper technology to do it correctly? In my opinion you need similar to following;

    1) ability to create gravity
    2) generate water for daily hot showers and cold drink everyday.
    3) Propulsion not based on chemical rockets; nuclear or fusion?
    3A) Power generators based on fusion or nuclear and plenty of it
    3B) Propulsion system should get one to mars in 2 months 3 max
    5) space craft will be mobile space station with crew of 200 people consisting of scientist, engineers, doctors, nurses and maybe tourists.
    5A) will live on space station and mars habitats will be for 3 to 5 day excursions to surface.
    5C) space elevator for transport of people and equipment from mmobile space station to surface
    5D) need medical facility with at least 5 doctors and 6 nurses
    5F) must be large. 4 stories where each level is size of 2 football fields, have gym, gravity, large living quarters, kitchen, research labs, fun room for relaxation.
    --- Cool stuff to have
    1) redeployable GPS system. satellites can be deployed and latter retreived for missions to other places in solar system. Nice if you get lost after taking cover from a dust storm.
    2) skin tight flexible space suites; I think MIT has prototypes.
    3) Virtually control humanoid for exploring dangerous places equiped with jet pack, can walk, crawl, run, give tactile and aromatic
    feedback to human controller. it will be nuclear powered of course.
    4) oxygen supply extender that will directly convert atmosphere to oxygen (when visiting celestial objects this is possible)

    Because of size of mobile space station, its components will have to be constructed on moon and assembled in orbit. Robots can be sent to moon to construct factories to mine
    and create materials maybe even construct components from them.

    It would cost a lot of money to develop technology, guessing, not a scientist, about a trillion dollars. If it is too expensive then perhaps people should not explore in deep space; it's hostile out there and should not be explorered on a budget when human life is at stake; this is a basic concept of ETHICS, MORALS and general respect for life.

    Also, to develop such technologies would require dedicated research and development and stop doing so many nothing missions to mars with robots and focus on developing technology for real human deep space exploration program. I estimate about 40-50 years if one starts tomorrow... Hey, there is no rush the Universe is already 13 billion years old and it is not going anywhere. Why NASA get out of bed oneday and decide to go mars in next 10 years is beyond me.

    If any of this seems unrealistic and too fantastical then perhaps space is not yet for people it's very unforgiving and cruel environment :(
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 5, 2009 #2
    Gosh.. you started out absurdly and then went into pure insanity.

    1. Gravity is not that essential. Depends on how long the trip is.
    2. Gee thats a pretty big unnecessary addition. Piping hot showers every day!
    3. Yeah different propulsion method probably needed.
    5(?). lol.. why would you need a craft of 200 people? Are you disconnected from reality! space elevators... 20 doctors.... football fields.

    Yeah i dont know how to respond to this post anymore.

    1. We want to go to mars, we need to explore. Simple as that.
    2. You dont need world crafts containing thousands of people for a simple one off mission. A hand full of people would do fine.
    3. Its not a walk in the park.
     
  4. Apr 5, 2009 #3
    You know how to increase media coverage.
     
  5. Apr 6, 2009 #4

    russ_watters

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    I wouldn't sweat this issue. We're not sending people to Mars. Bush announced the plan, then didn't fund it as a real project and future Presidents aren't bound by that. The project certainly will not survive Obama's first term.
     
  6. Apr 6, 2009 #5

    Pengwuino

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    Yah that's actually a ridiculous argument. We can't even provide those accommodations on the international space station. People don't need to be pampered to take on extraordinary missions, you obviously have no idea what conditions people faced during the Apollo missions. People have been in space for decades and they are absolutely fine not having a full staff and luxury accommodations.
     
  7. Apr 6, 2009 #6
    Switch off your bloody telly, you've watched far too much sci-fi. It's rotting your brain.

    I rest my case.
     
  8. Apr 6, 2009 #7
    Yes, but this would be a coed mission. It will need a boutique and a nail salon.
     
  9. Apr 6, 2009 #8
    The Space Race--the Race to the Moon--was a race for nuclear dominance from space between the USSR and the USA. What in the world was Bush up to with his Mission to Mars speech??? This has left me baffled for a very long time. Was he attempting to soften-up the left? He also did the hydrogen energy speech. Another peculiar call to action that might indicate political manuvering to soften the left.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009
  10. Apr 6, 2009 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    Maybe God told him to go.
     
  11. Apr 6, 2009 #10
    I heard NASA is actually doing research on how people can have sex in space. Seems unnecessary since people can be quite ingenious in figuring things out when highly motivated.:!!)
     
  12. Apr 6, 2009 #11

    mgb_phys

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    can you imagine Nasa porn?
    t-5mins: Engage the primary Y chromosone delivery nozzle with the baby habitation module entrance.
    ....

    This is the Nasa that renamed a vehicle originally called CRV-X because they thought 'cervix' was rude and might shock people.
     
  13. Apr 6, 2009 #12

    Janus

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    Wow, If it had been left up to you, Columbus wouldn't have set sail until he had the equivalent of the Queen Mary at his command.
     
  14. Apr 6, 2009 #13
    Are you sure it's not buried in all of that spending:rofl:?
     
  15. Apr 6, 2009 #14

    LowlyPion

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    To what purpose? If it's procreation, I'd be concerned about developmental issues in zero to low gravity. If it's recreation for long journeys, ... that's going to make crew selection a bit more complicated than it is currently. It might help in recruitment for future astronauts though.
     
  16. Apr 6, 2009 #15
    It's definitely related to the latter issue. Procreation in space is out of the question for a long long time.
     
  17. Apr 6, 2009 #16

    wolram

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    Catch the baby.
     
  18. Apr 6, 2009 #17
    "Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest?"
    "Because it's there."
     
  19. Apr 6, 2009 #18
    I'm no longer interested to see NASA spend my tax dollars to send people to the top of the mountain just for the sake of looking down. Let them send robots till their heart's content, but I don't trust them to send people any more.

    I still haven't forgiven them for killing the teacher Christa McAuliffe in the Challenger disaster. It's one thing to send trained astronaughts who volunteered for the risk. But, they offerred her a trip to space as if it were an amusment park ride, and then hid the known risks from her and the public. The vision of her parents and students watching her burn up in the sky is etched in my mind forever.

    This was not the same NASA that sent men to the moon; - not even close!
     
  20. Apr 6, 2009 #19

    mgb_phys

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    They are spending your tax dollars on keeping Boeing + Lockheed Martin solvent. The alternative is to build a few more airborne lasers - it's probably safer for everybody if they send people to Mars.

    Nasa administrations 'think of a number' attitude to risk assessment aside - I don't think anyone has/had any impression that sitting on top of a couple of hundred tons of explosive is risk free.
     
  21. Apr 6, 2009 #20
    I'm sorry, what is an atronaught ? No, really, that was good :rofl:
     
  22. Apr 6, 2009 #21
    I never said I agreed with that either. :smile:

    There was the obvious known risk, which was tempered with the known history of NASA to be overly cautious. However, in this case management knew about issues with the O-rings and ignored repeated warnings from engineers that a disaster was very likely. In my mind this is unforgivable - and I don't forgive in this case.
     
  23. Apr 6, 2009 #22
    "Why are you standing on the toilet?"
    "Because it's there!"
     
  24. Apr 6, 2009 #23

    LowlyPion

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    I think that's overly harsh. Certainly there was a failure in judgment to account for the factors aligning to spell disaster, but knowing about risks isn't exactly the same thing as knowingly sending people to their deaths. Needless to say they have modified their process (and the O-rings).

    We know about the risks of geese bringing down aircraft, yet planes takeoff every day.
     
  25. Apr 6, 2009 #24
    Harsh or not, it's how I feel and I think it is justified to be harsh in this case. They sent a civilian into a dangerous situation and did not disclose the known risks. The key thing here is that engineers were ringing the alarm bells and explaining the exact technical issues that were ultimately a main cause of the failure. This is clear negligence. I've seen this happen in industry too, but usually the loss is only a few million dollars and not actual lives. This was a failure of management.

    I have no doubt that Christa McAuliffe would take your side in this, and that is just another reason why she is a hero. But 23 years later I'm still not over it. It just crosses a line in my own ethical system. I forgive the failures that led to the fire on the pad with Apollo 1. I even forgive the failures in the second shuttle disaster. But I don't forgive the failures that led to Christa McAuliffe's death. And, I will never apologize for that.
     
  26. Apr 6, 2009 #25
    I just want to point out that there is no shortage of volunteers for a suicide mission to Mars. If NASA were to say "Alright, we're sending a team of 10 people to Mars, but you'll have no way to return, and your life support will run out after a few weeks on Mars," you'd have a huge pile of applications to sort through.
     
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