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Author Topic: Volunteers needed for 'Mars mission'  (Read 7578 times)

another_someone

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Volunteers needed for 'Mars mission'
« Reply #25 on: 23/07/2007 16:17:02 »
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but the scope of observation that a small handful of robots can send back is still far less than a large and permanently manned base could send back.
For the price of the most modest manned mission to Mars, you could afford to saturate the place with unmanned observatories. It need not be a small handful.  Furthermore, in a manned mission, all the really useful data - apart from the "wow this is cool" type data would be made automatically, in any case.

You could send lots of unmanned missions to Mars, but how would you maintain them?

If the closest human being to the robots is 10 light minutes or further away (and at times even on opposing sides of the Sun), then it becomes extremely difficult to maintain a large array of instruments, even in the most unexpected of circumstances.

Yes, it is true that the real measurements will be taken by robots, but it is the maintenance and adjustment of those robots for which the humans will be required.

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But are they mutually exclusive?
Yes, in effect, they are. We only have a certain amount of resources; my problem with manned space exploration is that it is a profligate use of those resources. Yes, it is good fun and I would not refuse the offer of a trip. My reservations are much the same as those against eco-tourism. Can I justify the cost (wide sense)?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/6281910.stm
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A full-scale rescue operation was launched after seven college students on a night-time orienteering trek became worried by a herd of cows.

Emergency services were called out on Monday night after the teenagers became stuck on a hill near Swanage, Dorset.

The girls from St Albans had been tasked with using map reading skills to find their way to the nearby adventure centre they were staying in.

A Loreto College spokeswoman said the task was run by an "experienced team".

Coastguard contacted

The teenagers, aged 14 and 15, were on the residential field trip as part of their geography coursework.

On Monday night, they were dropped off about three miles (4.8km) from the centre and asked to find their way back.

They were given mobile phones and emergency numbers in case they got into difficulty.

They contacted the centre when they came across the field of cows and coastguard, police and ambulance crews were sent to the scene, a Hertfordshire County Council spokeswoman said.

Hospital check-up

"They got to the field and realised they needed to be on the other side of it and did not want to go through it," she explained.

Maire Lynch, the head teacher of the college, said: "One group of seven girls became concerned and used their phones to call for help from the centre, as instructed.

That is the difference between people who previously have only seen cows on television, or people who have been immersed in an environment with cows.  Simply watching images broadcast from a remote distance is never quite the same as being immersed in the environment.

As another comparison, it would be to police the country simply by remote cameras (which increasingly seems to be the way we are heading), or having policemen actually on the street.  Sometimes there is no substitute for being there, no matter how many cameras, listening devices, or other remote sensors you put out there - they guys looking at all the images and readouts are still remote and isolated from the environment they are monitoring.
 

lyner

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Volunteers needed for 'Mars mission'
« Reply #26 on: 23/07/2007 22:56:31 »
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A full-scale rescue operation was launched after seven college students on a night-time orienteering trek became worried by a herd of cows.
That quote says it all.
What would be the cost of full scale rescue operation to mars?
We wouldn't need to rescue robots.
My only real point is that they need a good few decades of missions to check the place out fully before people need to go there.
Space technology is not that bad, even nowadays - it allows most broadcast satellites to complete their planned life span with very few problems.
Another_someone's argument seems to lead to the conclusion that it is only personal experience that counts. Reading a book or listening to someone relating an experience would clearly not be enough because it would be a second hand experience.
Do we need to travel to the centre of the Sun to appreciate that it is very hot? No - we use our intellect to appreciate it. We can never 'see' sub atomic particles or 'feel' them but we use our intellect to appreciate something of how they interact and how they affect our lives. What's so special about going somewhere to appreciate it?
Space travel is a 'would be nice if' sort of thing - not  as essential as a whole lot of other research - but another list would be pointless.
 btw, those kids probably  thought milk came from bottles, too. They set out on something they had not planned for properly. Just like George W. wants to do.
 

another_someone

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Volunteers needed for 'Mars mission'
« Reply #27 on: 24/07/2007 01:14:36 »
What would be the cost of full scale rescue operation to mars?

We wouldn't need to rescue robots.

Cost depends on the available infrastructure.

If the first manned flight to Mars should fail to be able to return the humans there, the cost is irrelevant - rescue just is not an option.  Taking the opposite extreme, and we have an infrastructure where we have continuous regular round trip flight to Mars, and have built safe havens on Mars where people can shelter for a few months in safety, then it becomes quite viable.

My only real point is that they need a good few decades of missions to check the place out fully before people need to go there.

As I understand it, Bush decreed we should return to the Moon some time between 2015 and 2020; so a manned mission to Mars can certainly be measured in decades, although whether that would be a good few, or merely a few, is another matter.

Space technology is not that bad, even nowadays - it allows most broadcast satellites to complete their planned life span with very few problems.

Broadcasts satellites are all doing the same thing, in pretty much the same environment - they are not trying anything new (besides which, space weather, as much as it can be a hazard for satellites, is still less of a potential problem than planetary weather on any planet with any significant atmosphere).

Another_someone's argument seems to lead to the conclusion that it is only personal experience that counts. Reading a book or listening to someone relating an experience would clearly not be enough because it would be a second hand experience.
Do we need to travel to the centre of the Sun to appreciate that it is very hot? No - we use our intellect to appreciate it. We can never 'see' sub atomic particles or 'feel' them but we use our intellect to appreciate something of how they interact and how they affect our lives. What's so special about going somewhere to appreciate it?

While I am not suggesting that travelling to the centre of the Sun would ever be feasible for us, but I could well imagine that if we ever did it, our understanding of the centre of the Sun would increase enormously.

You don't need to be a farmer to know cows are big, but that does not mean that a townie who has just read a book about farming is going to be able to go and set up a farm - no matter how good that book was.

btw, those kids probably  thought milk came from bottles, too. They set out on something they had not planned for properly. Just like George W. wants to do.

Planning is an operational issue - not something the George W. has ever proved competent at, but in this case, it is down to NASA to plan, George W. has merely set the objectives.
 

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Volunteers needed for 'Mars mission'
« Reply #27 on: 24/07/2007 01:14:36 »

 

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