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Thread: Let's go to Mars

  1. #1
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    Thoughts of the 30th anniversary of the last Apollo mission have me pondering.

    It was the vision of the Apollo folks to keep going, but it was stunted by politics and economics. Now we are still encapsulated by all the problems and wars and destruction inherent of humans. We need an outlet.

    Ever think of the Apollo missions as a relief valve for that madness that was the Cold War? That picture of the earth, from space, might well have prevented much.

    We've got too much hunger, too much war, too much wacky idealism and its offshoots, more war. Where is our John Kennedy to say, let's do something really bold and brilliant? Let's go to Mars!

    It wouldn't be a denial of our earthly- foibles. Far from it, it would be an embrace of our vision amidst all our difficulties, not that different than John Kennedy's eloquent prod in 1962.

    We don't have the Cold War as temper, but we have much more layered and Spartan pain. A thing that ought to spur us as easily -- or more so.

    Can you imagine president Bush exhorting us on to Mars?! Who will then?
    So many questions, so little time.

  2. #2
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    I say we go to Iraq first.

  3. #3
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    You would, you Texas troglodyte. [img]redface.gif[/img]
    So many questions, so little time.

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    What? Send a man to Mars when thousands of homeless, uninsured, children are starving in the streets! How can we go back when spotted owls are being turned into toilet paper? How can we go back while <insert your favorite social/environmental/economic ill here> is still going on? Irresponsible! I can hear the screams of anguish now...

    Seriously, while sending a man to the moon or Mars or Proximi Centuri has a lot of gee-whiz appeal, it doesn't make much sense. Until we can make a valid economic case for being there, something of great economic value, going back serves no great purpose. Also, why send a person? We've been learning in working in deep sea environments that we can actually do better work for less money and risk by using remotely operated vehicles. Deep sea and outer space are similarly harsh environments in which ROV's seem to make more sense.

    [ 12-16-2002, 08:11 PM: Message edited by: John Bell ]

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    The problems of the earth will always be with us. A few of us will get to go and make a new start, another chance for humanity to grow. America offered a chance in the past, we took a step out of Europe's historical burden, and offered a new way. Mars is the next chance. We will become the Martians and offer the earth a fresh vision of mankind. We are near the end of our infancy.

    Can I go now, please?

  6. #6
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    Seriously, while sending a man to the moon or Mars or Proximi Centuri has a lot of gee-whiz appeal, it doesn't make much sense.
    Nothing ever makes sense, never has. If humans made sense they'd still be nibbling leaves, and eating conies raw.
    So many questions, so little time.

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    Originally posted by stan v:
    I say we go to Iraq first.
    Stan, if Shawn Penn can buy a ticket and go over, so can you! I bet you'll get a different reception though. Of course, maybe you're the type who's willing to let somebody else's kids go do the dieing?

    The administration STILL hasn't delivered on any smoking gun evidence that Iraq is guilty of anything more then having oil that the Dubya gang wants.
    If you don't think for yourself, someone else will do it for you!

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    John; How much sense did it make for Isabella to wager her jewels on an unknown land to the west? Spain did right well off that gamble.
    If you don't think for yourself, someone else will do it for you!

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    Originally posted by Meerkat:
    Of course, maybe you're the type who's willing to let somebody else's kids go do the dieing?

    [/QB][/QUOTE]

    You misspelled dying. I also think you are a goober of immense proportion who has been on the left coast to long. Furthermore, if you're near going broke, you really don't have time to spend on this board. For the rest of this, go to your e-mail, you SOB.

  10. #10
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    Faulty analogy Dave.

    The gamble Spain took was to open a trade route to a place that was known to have items of value to trade (or plunder!): the Orient.

    We've been to the Moon. Great, a big rock of not particularly interesting minerals.

    Mars? Another dead rock.

    Explore 'em to your hearts content at lower cost with ROVs, but spend billions just to put a footprint there? Yeah, I'm all for it if we can come up with a good reason to do so. Footprints in the dust aren't a good enough reason.

  11. #11
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    John,

    With all due respect, I think you have not looked around. We are not talking economic models as per the California gold rush.

    I dare say that we would not be corresponding so without, in part, the impetus of the Apollo missions.

    And this is economic activity, potentially. Just very different than what is in the ground, or what can be grown on it, or what "substance" one can profit from.

    The tech revolution went economically bust, like so many silver and gold towns before it. But that doesn't mean the promise of our science and technology isn't still weird and wondrous.

    I think the greatest danger right now is our government secrecy. It has become so the individualist, the genius -- Tesla, or Edison -- is either subsumed by the beauracracy, or left to rot.

    Reaching for the stars is in our blood. Let's embrace this urge. Let's go.

    [ 12-16-2002, 09:17 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]
    So many questions, so little time.

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    Well somebody has their foot in their
    mouth right now and I hope they chew
    on it a long time. I also hope they consider
    another man's circumstances before they
    make comments they assume will not be
    offensive. Consentrate on the word "assume."

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by stan v:
    </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Meerkat:
    Of course, maybe you're the type who's willing to let somebody else's kids go do the dieing?

    </font>[/QUOTE]You misspelled dying. I also think you are a goober of immense proportion who has been on the left coast to long. Furthermore, if you're near going broke, you really don't have time to spend on this board. For the rest of this, go to your e-mail, you SOB.[/QB][/QUOTE]

    You're a credit to your kind Stan.Your remark about Meerkats financial status and wether he should be here or not reveals alot about your character or lack there of. I guess when someone buys foods that don't meet your approval , with food stamps, they're are goood reason to do away with the program. What an ( how do you spell infantesimile?) mind you have.

    [ 12-16-2002, 09:21 PM: Message edited by: gunnar i am ]

  14. #14
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    Hmm,

    I'm goin' ta Mars, I dunno 'bout the rest of ya.
    So many questions, so little time.

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    Ah, I've been to Mars, Pluto too, and a lot of other far out places. Nothing there. Finally decided to stop smoking that stuff, drinking too, since I was often on Mars when I shoulda been home. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

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    "...maybe you're the type who's willing to let somebody else's kids go do the dieing?" Well, Stan, even though he spells like I do we both know what he means. So are you or are you not the type that is willing for other's kids to do the dying? For that question one is called an SOB? Surely your attempt at humor fails or you were highly insulted at the thought that this adventure in Iraq might be worth hundreds or thousands of young mens lives.

    --N R M

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by gunnar i am:
    </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by stan v:
    </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Meerkat:
    Of course, maybe you're the type who's willing to let somebody else's kids go do the dieing?

    </font>[/QUOTE]You misspelled dying. I also think you are a goober of immense proportion who has been on the left coast to long. Furthermore, if you're near going broke, you really don't have time to spend on this board. For the rest of this, go to your e-mail, you SOB.
    </font>[/QUOTE]You're a credit to your kind Stan.Your remark about Meerkats financial status and wether he should be here or not reveals alot about your character or lack there of. I guess when someone buys foods that don't meet your approval , with food stamps, they're are goood reason to do away with the program. What an ( how do you spell infantesimile?) mind you have.[/QB][/QUOTE]

    Gunnar, your someone else who has made an
    assumption based on something you know
    nothing about.

  18. #18
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    And I have spoken to and heard our children, all our children, who would rather reach for the stars.
    So many questions, so little time.

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    "And I have spoken to and heard our children, all our children, who would rather reach for the stars."

    Children would like to go trick-or-treating every day, too. What's your point?

    Seriously, Jack, I do see your point. We do need to reach for the stars, if not literally then figuratively. My point is that we should reach for the stars that will do us the most good. Establishing a permanent moon-base that has no useful purpose for how many hundreds of billions of dollars of my children's future earnings doesn't seem to me to be a good investment. Ditto for Mars.

    Show me a way to make living on the Moon/Mars/orbit/wherever profitable, and I'll support it.

    Oh, and the tech boom hasn't busted BTW. Some speculative stocks devalued, but the development of technology continues at a dizzying pace just as it has since the first person figured out that busting open coconuts with a rock was easier than not eating them at all.

    [ 12-16-2002, 11:50 PM: Message edited by: John Bell ]

  20. #20
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    John,

    We aren't that far apart. You show me how 400 BILLION dollars spent on weapons and "defense" in the coming year, will reach our children toward the stars, and I'll explain why we should spend money to go back to the Moon, and to Mars.

    It's a simple fact that the US outspends all the other countries on the planet on weapons -- by a huge margin. My suggestion is that with a simple shift of vision and purpose we might be able to convince the world we aren't such a bad lot, and wouldn't it be a fine vision to explore space, together, rather than kill each other.

    Wouldn't that be better than the policy of hegemony we are now pursuing?

    But articulate vision is the key, and sorely lacking. Sigh.

    [ 12-17-2002, 12:07 AM: Message edited by: ishmael ]
    So many questions, so little time.

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    Stan, I believe you've already seen Uranus
    Wooden boats are like shingles, recurring, and often painful.

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    I'll address this question at greater length later, Ish. I'm going to bed.

    But before I do, I will say that my eyes tend to glaze over when I hear the word 'hegemony'. There's another word that's getting overused to the point of meaninglessness.

    My take on hegemony is this: If you ain't the lead dog, the view never changes.

  23. #23
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    Okay, compromise...
    ...send Rush Linbaugh to mars.

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    John, if some one could show me that by not sending men to mars, we would solve the worlds problems, I would say lets do that first. But I don't think this is the case. What we spend on exploration is really insignificant relative to everything else.
    Not everything we undertake needs to be for economic gain. Mining Mars for raw material would hardly be worthwile considering the distance and the gravity wells to be overcome. The gains would come in the technology required to sustain a colony on a far world. And a colony is what we should do, not just a one time visit.
    It is the social gains that would be another benifit. Whoever lived there would be on their own, really. 40 min.s is the minimum round trip time required for communication. 9 to 14 months one way, is the current travel time. The third generation, in this isolated eviorment, would be Martians in full. Imagine how we could benifit from from a branch of humanity that had a clean slate to work from.

  25. #25
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    But only if Rush stays here.
    So many questions, so little time.

  26. #26
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    Thumbs up

    Everyone go to Mars. Please!
    I'll stay here.

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    I'm strongly in favour of frivolous expenditures. I'm a fervent advocate of wasteful effort. I adore the Watts towers. I was delighted when Christo wrapped the Reichstag in canvas. I can really identify with those Tibetan monks who create elaborate mandalas in coloured sand and then sweep them away.

    But I'm just not inspired by the idea of sending meat to Mars. The moon thing was great, but the sequel is just too predictable. They plant another flag, play a few rounds of golf, tool around in a mars-car, collect some debris and come home. Unless it all goes wrong, in which case we're in for years of media moralizing and solemn post-mortems.

    Send probes.

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    I agree, Bruce. A one or two mission thing is pointless. I advocate not comming home.

  29. #29
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    Originally posted by Greg H:
    John, if some one could show me that by not sending men to mars, we would solve the worlds problems, I would say lets do that first.
    I don't see it as an either/or situation. We solve the world's problems every day. Not all of them, of course, but many of them. Sending men to Mars or not sending them will have only minor bearing on how well we will continue to solve our problems here. However, the expense of going isn't justifiable in my estimation.

    I simply see it as a business decision. For the majority of human existence, exploration of the msyteries of science and geography has been for the purpose of creating profit. Early chemists exploration into the nature of matter was driven by a desire to make valuable materials (e.g. gold) out of less valuable ones. The aforementioned exploration and colonization of the Americas was driven by the desire of the sponsoring nations to enrich themselves. The search for the Northwest Passage was driven by the theoretical economic advantage of a shorter trade route from the West to the East.

    Our trip to the Moon, while impressive and awe-inspiring, was basically an exercise in hubris. We did because we wanted to show the USSR how much better we were than them. The reason we cut the manned exploration of the moon off early was the public realized how pointless it was. We went only to find there was no 'there' there.

    Now you propose building a Mars colony at the cost of trillions for the purpose of conducting a sociological experiment. Couldn't we accomplish much the same thing by sealing off an island, populating it with the cast of 'Survivor', and come back in fifty years to see how they did?

    As for spending our money on defense (note: I do not use the scare-quotes style "defense"), it is a legitimate function of government. I wish the world was a place where we did not have to defend ourselves, our interests, our ideals, but it is. And if the world was a perfect peaceful Utopia, then I'd suggest rather than spending the $400B/yr on defense, we let the people who earned that money keep it to do with it what they please.

    [ 12-17-2002, 10:26 AM: Message edited by: John Bell ]

  30. #30
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    Absolutely, we should go. "Come, let us seek a newer world..." (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

    If we don't keep moving forward, we'll fall back.

    We are now on the verge of making more material progress in the next 25 years, than was made in the preceeding 2,500 years.

    It's somewhat daunting, of course, that our moral and spiritual progress seems much less impressive.

    But the effect on our character as a nation will be profound, and positive. Moving forward can turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones, and can stop people from mean-spirited manuevering to get the biggest piece of a small pie.

    An immense universe of glittering possibilities lies before us, within our reach if we have the courage to extend ourselves and the strength to grasp what we seek.

    "They are ill discoverers who, seeing only sea, conclude there is no land." (Francis Bacon)

    Alan

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    John,
    Not just a social experiment. Evolution. We've always been wanderers and explorers. We are just begining to poke our heads out from this thin veil of gas that was our womb, into an infinite space loaded with unknown worlds and possibilities. We're going to go sometime. I'd just like to see it in my lifetime [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Mars has everything we need to sustain a settlrment, and as much land surface as the earth. It would also help insure the survival of our species if there were two inhabited planets in the solar system.

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    If I spent all day at work trying to solve all of my company's problems, I'd never get any work done, our customers would go elsewhere, and I'd be fired because the company went broke. Fixing the problems is not my job, you see, and I'm not a process-fixer anyway. If you had the process-fixers doing my job, the same results would occur. The right person for the right job is a good rule of thumb.
    NASA doesn't fix the problems of the world. That's not what they do. Using some of the "reasoning" I've read here, we should just concentrate on solving the problems of the world, nothing else. If we follow this course, we'll all be fired and out of business shortly.
    Berryville, VA: A quaint little drinking community with a farming problem.

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    I'd like to see more remote vehicles sent to Mars for exploration. We would have to first solve the communications problem. After a time, when technology allows us to travel to Mars in less than 14 months, then we could have a look for ourselves.

  34. #34
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    Let's go to the Sun!

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    ok,ok,,more autonomous vehicles first,,a lot of genetic engineering later,,then humans adapted for space later. Read somewhere that the calcium loss for an astronaut to Mars and back would be equal to the amount of calcium loss an 80yr old experiences. Along with the radiation exposure space doesn't look like the place for people. How about remote vehicles on Mars, the moon, the oceans and elsewhere connected to a bunch of IMAX theaters. oh heck,,,I'll settle for genetic engineering so humans are only 2' tall so the world can get bigger.

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