Volunteers needed for 'Mars mission'

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paul.fr

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Volunteers needed for 'Mars mission'
« on: 21/06/2007 01:51:57 »
http://news.aol.co.uk/volunteers-needed-for-mars-mission/article/20070620094209990001

Volunteers are being sought for an 18-month simulated Mars mission.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is preparing for future human exploration missions to the Red Planet and needs 12 people to take part in the test.

"To go to Mars is still a dream and one of the last gigantic challenges. But one day some of us will be on precisely that journey... a journey with no way out once the spaceship is on a direct path to Mars," the ESA says on its website.

The volunteers will have to take care of themselves during the mission.

"Their survival is in their own hands, relying on the work of thousands of engineers and scientists back on Earth, who made such a mission possible," the ESA says.

"The crew will experience extreme isolation and confinement. They will lose sight of planet Earth"
- ESA"The crew will experience extreme isolation and confinement. They will lose sight of planet Earth. A radio contact will take 40 minutes to travel to us and then back to the space explorers."

To investigate the human factors of a real-life mission, ESA has teamed up with the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems to create the simulations.

The joint exercise will follow the profile of a real Mars mission, including an exploration phase on the surface of Mars. Nutrition will be identical to that provided on board the International Space Station, the ESA says.

The simulations will take place at a special facility in Moscow. A precursor 105-day study is scheduled to start by mid-2008, possibly followed by another 105-day study, before the full 520-day study begins in late 2008 or early 2009.

ESA is looking for 12 volunteers, four for each of the three simulations. It says the selection procedure is similar to that of ESA astronauts, although there will be more emphasis on psychological factors and stress resistance than on physical fitness.


any takers?

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #1 on: 21/06/2007 07:06:51 »
If they do a simulation of a trip to Pluto, can I volunteer Tony Blair & John Prescott? That'd get rid of them for a while!  [>:(]
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Offline syhprum

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« Reply #2 on: 21/06/2007 09:34:57 »
I can think of a no more ridiculous idea than an manned trip to mars!, it would be vastly expensive compared with robot exploration and would produce little of scientific value.
Is the idea to try and ruin the Chinese economy as they try to compete?, I think they have more sense
« Last Edit: 21/06/2007 13:48:53 by syhprum »
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another_someone

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« Reply #3 on: 21/06/2007 21:32:20 »
I can think of a no more ridiculous idea than an manned trip to mars!, it would be vastly expensive compared with robot exploration and would produce little of scientific value.
Is the idea to try and ruin the Chinese economy as they try to compete?, I think they have more sense

No more silly than trying to plant a European colony on the shores of a distant continent on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.

Even aside from whether a manned mission to Mars is sensible; simply putting humans into such high stress situations in a simulated environment on Earth will potentialy provide enormous improvements in understanding human kind itself.

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edward2007

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« Reply #4 on: 22/06/2007 17:31:47 »
I can think of a no more ridiculous idea than an manned trip to mars!, it would be vastly expensive compared with robot exploration and would produce little of scientific value.

I can't think of a more rediculous idea than leaving the sea/water to explore dry land. But I think you are very glad right now that happened, those millions of years ago...

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lyner

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« Reply #5 on: 27/06/2007 11:52:04 »
Robots get my vote for the first dozen missions, at least. That takes us into the 22nd century, probably.
Why are people obsessed with actual humans having to go places?  Isn't there enough intellectual excitement here on Earth? 
The project could turn out like 'Space Cadets', on TV last(?) year.

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I can't think of a more rediculous idea than leaving the sea/water to explore dry land.
Don't forget; most of the early organisms that tried it perished at the next low tide! They didn't PLAN to be there - it was an accident.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #6 on: 28/06/2007 07:07:43 »
Don't forget; most of the early organisms that tried it perished at the next low tide! They didn't PLAN to be there - it was an accident.

Or ended up in a dodgy paella  [xx(]
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another_someone

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« Reply #7 on: 28/06/2007 15:22:04 »
Robots get my vote for the first dozen missions, at least. That takes us into the 22nd century, probably.
Why are people obsessed with actual humans having to go places?  Isn't there enough intellectual excitement here on Earth? 
The project could turn out like 'Space Cadets', on TV last(?) year.

One could suggest that by the 22nd century everything could be done more efficiently by robots, so why have humans doing anything at all when you could build a machine to do it more efficiently.

The question is whether you wish humans to do things in human society, or just have humans as useless appendages within a society where all productive activity is undertaken by robots.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #8 on: 28/06/2007 15:24:51 »
I think 1 good reason for humans to do it is that eventually we are going to have to start inhabiting other planets; whether the reason be population pressure or the threat of an NEO giving us a hefty wallop.
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another_someone

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« Reply #9 on: 28/06/2007 16:22:54 »
I think 1 good reason for humans to do it is that eventually we are going to have to start inhabiting other planets; whether the reason be population pressure or the threat of an NEO giving us a hefty wallop.

I don't think one can reasonably argue that simply because one needs to do something in order to survive, therefore the thing will inevitably be done.

Political imperatives are not the same thing as a prerequisite for survival of the species (not least because there is no inevitability that even if human habitation of Mars might improve the chances of survival of the species, that it will necessarily improve the survival chances of the political entity that sponsors the colonisation).
« Last Edit: 28/06/2007 16:25:48 by another_someone »

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lyner

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« Reply #10 on: 28/06/2007 19:06:33 »
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I think 1 good reason for humans to do it is that eventually we are going to have to start inhabiting other planets;
This isn't going to happen in the next few years - any disaster in the medium future just means we'll die out. This an extremely long - term venture.
OK, when we've done it all with robots and found out all the snags, lets send out some humans. But there's no point having a dog and barking yourself.

The 'new frontier' thing is all very well but how much of our resources per year should we expend on this stuff? My money is on serious, useful research for things in the medium - long term  on this planet. Space observation - not exploration will be better value  for  a long time, yet.  Humans have a habit of upsetting experiments when they're present. Yes - I know they can sometimes mend things too, but fault-tolerant equipment is the best solution.

I also think there's a moral aspect to this. You will always find some poor sap to go and do your exploration for you  - for the glory of it. - despite the dangers. Unless it is pretty much guaranteed safe for your pioneers, it's not fair to send them.

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just have humans as useless appendages within a society where all productive activity is undertaken by robots.
Would you say that the greek philosophers' lives were wasted just because they had slaves to do all the 'productive' work? How many of out contributors wash their clothes by hand ?  Robots and machines don't have to take any of the worth out of our lives.
« Last Edit: 28/06/2007 19:12:05 by sophiecentaur »

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another_someone

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« Reply #11 on: 28/06/2007 19:32:49 »
This isn't going to happen in the next few years - any disaster in the medium future just means we'll die out. This an extremely long - term venture.
OK, when we've done it all with robots and found out all the snags, lets send out some humans. But there's no point having a dog and barking yourself.

Doing it with robots will not really tell us much about the problems about doing it with people.

We know all too well how to get a robot to Mars, and not far off knowing how to do the round trip with a robot.  This tells us nothing useful about how to design human survivable environments for the journey and for our stay on the planet (which is what started this thread).

On the other hand, once we have created a useful and self-sustaining colony of robots on Mars, why would we bother to send out humans at all?  If the robots can perform all the technical, and economically useful, and scientifically useful, roles that are required of them, they are not going to be as much of a headache as having real humans out there.  If I was a politician or industrialist who had a functioning team of robots on Mars, I would rather keep humans as far away from them as possible.  If you want to ever get humans out to Mars at all, it has to be before you establish a fully functioning robotic society there, not afterwards.

The 'new frontier' thing is all very well but how much of our resources per year should we expend on this stuff? My money is on serious, useful research for things in the medium - long term  on this planet. Space observation - not exploration will be better value  for  a long time, yet.  Humans have a habit of upsetting experiments when they're present. Yes - I know they can sometimes mend things too, but fault-tolerant equipment is the best solution.

If it is all about money, then I agree with you - factories (even on Mars) devoid of humans are far more cost effective - whether those factories are creating cars or creating information, the same things, humans are expensive.  That is why I would argue that once you have proven you can do it without humans, then the financial or political imperative to move humans out there will never arise.

I also think there's a moral aspect to this. You will always find some poor sap to go and do your exploration for you  - for the glory of it. - despite the dangers. Unless it is pretty much guaranteed safe for your pioneers, it's not fair to send them.

Is that not for them to decide?

Why do we allow humans to do any dangerous stuff (like climb mountains, race motor cars, race single handed round the world yachts) - is it fair to allow them to put themselves at risk?

Would you say that the greek philosophers' lives were wasted just because they had slaves to do all the 'productive' work? How many of out contributors wash their clothes by hand ?  Robots and machines don't have to take any of the worth out of our lives.

Not quite comparable.

Firstly, yes, we could have a planet full of philosophers, who don't do anything but philosophise - but there were not actually that many Greek philosophers, and most Greeks did have other useful work, both in the military and in farming etc.  The point is that in Greek society, slaves could not do all the work because they could not be trusted to act on their own initiative and without supervision (any more than the slaves in the American cotton plantations could have worked without supervision).  If we send robots to Mars (and further afield), then by nature these robots have to be trusted to act without direct human supervision (if they cannot, then we have to send humans with them from day one).

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #12 on: 28/06/2007 19:47:27 »
Don't get me wrong; I think robots should be used for trail-blazing. My point was that, at present, all our eggs are in 1 basket. Sure, it will take a lot of money, a lot of political will, and some major technical advances - but chances are it will have to be done 1 day if the human race is to survive.

Political will with regard climate change is beginning to gain momentum (yeah, there are still a lot of big CO2 producers like China, India, USA who won't cut back - or, at least, not to any great extent) so that shows that major international political movements can happen.
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another_someone

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« Reply #13 on: 28/06/2007 20:00:56 »
Don't get me wrong; I think robots should be used for trail-blazing. My point was that, at present, all our eggs are in 1 basket. Sure, it will take a lot of money, a lot of political will, and some major technical advances - but chances are it will have to be done 1 day if the human race is to survive.

But who cares if the human race survives?

What the USA, or the UK, or China, or ..., cares about is whether the USA, the UK, China, or ..., survives.  The USA will send people to Mars insofar as it provides a strategic advantage to the USA.  Ironically, if the USA really creates a colony on Mars that genuinely creates a lifeboat for the human race, then such a colony would have to be able to survive independent of the survivability of the Earth bound nation of the USA.  If it creates such an entity, then the interests of such an entity will inevitable have elements of opposition to the self interest of the parent nation (just as the British colony in Virginia would one day challenge the political dominance of its parent nation, England and Great Britain, and actively seek to undermine Britain's empire and overseas economic structures).

Political will with regard climate change is beginning to gain momentum (yeah, there are still a lot of big CO2 producers like China, India, USA who won't cut back - or, at least, not to any great extent) so that shows that major international political movements can happen.

Major political movements can occur, and always have; but ultimately they are self serving, and have a limited lifespan (they tend to be undermined by new interests that find the hegemony of these multinational political entities too stifling).

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jolly

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« Reply #14 on: 28/06/2007 20:56:50 »
http://news.aol.co.uk/volunteers-needed-for-mars-mission/article/20070620094209990001

Volunteers are being sought for an 18-month simulated Mars mission.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is preparing for future human exploration missions to the Red Planet and needs 12 people to take part in the test.

"To go to Mars is still a dream and one of the last gigantic challenges. But one day some of us will be on precisely that journey... a journey with no way out once the spaceship is on a direct path to Mars," the ESA says on its website.

The volunteers will have to take care of themselves during the mission.

"Their survival is in their own hands, relying on the work of thousands of engineers and scientists back on Earth, who made such a mission possible," the ESA says.

"The crew will experience extreme isolation and confinement. They will lose sight of planet Earth"
- ESA"The crew will experience extreme isolation and confinement. They will lose sight of planet Earth. A radio contact will take 40 minutes to travel to us and then back to the space explorers."

To investigate the human factors of a real-life mission, ESA has teamed up with the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems to create the simulations.

The joint exercise will follow the profile of a real Mars mission, including an exploration phase on the surface of Mars. Nutrition will be identical to that provided on board the International Space Station, the ESA says.

The simulations will take place at a special facility in Moscow. A precursor 105-day study is scheduled to start by mid-2008, possibly followed by another 105-day study, before the full 520-day study begins in late 2008 or early 2009.

ESA is looking for 12 volunteers, four for each of the three simulations. It says the selection procedure is similar to that of ESA astronauts, although there will be more emphasis on psychological factors and stress resistance than on physical fitness.


any takers?


Happily, it sounds fun...Lol Though I do not see a point to it!

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lyner

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« Reply #15 on: 28/06/2007 23:49:44 »
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But who cares if the human race survives?
Well, if no one cares,  then what is the point of arranging an escape route if Earth somehow fails?
Another point:
What difference would it make to me, personally, if Mars were to be populated by robots or by humans?
Is there some special intellectual satisfaction just in knowing there are actual people up there? The fact that they would, probably be using a high level of robotic help would make it somehow less justifiable, would it?
This is the same attitude that makes it necessary for people actually to visit the rain forests to see, for themselves, some threatened species. I know  and appreciate the presence of things without having to 'be there' and, by observing, cause disturbance. The appreciation is in the mind, not in the passport full of visa stamps.
 The only difference with the Mars thing would be the cost, to me - much higher if there were humans on Mars than expendable robots. Health and safety are expensive items.

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If you want to ever get humans out to Mars at all,
What do we want them to go there for? Is it really likely that they would be going there in order to prepare it as a lifeboat for billions of Earth dwellers? The much-quoted   'parallel' example of  the discovery and colonisation of America demonstrates the reverse - the US made it as hard as possible for immigration, once they had 'enough'. Who would this venture benefit?

And the moral responsibility for others does exist. We do not prevent 'daft' behavior such as mountaineering because there must be a certain amount of free choice.  On the other hand, tempting people to danger and hardships associated with Mars missions and  future colonisation  is  really not fair.  As I said before, there will always be people, prepared to do it and theirs would not be a truly free choice. The issue is exploitation of people for commercial reasons. Yes we do have a moral duty to discourage that.



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another_someone

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« Reply #16 on: 29/06/2007 00:18:07 »
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But who cares if the human race survives?
Well, if no one cares,  then what is the point of arranging an escape route if Earth somehow fails?

The Earth will not, and cannot, fail - the only question is about the survival of the human species, not the survival of the planet.

What difference would it make to me, personally, if Mars were to be populated by robots or by humans?

Good question - although I could also asks what difference it makes to you if someone (some human) risks their life getting to Mars.  It is certainly legitimate to say that none of this makes any difference to you, but you seems to be somewhat selective and arbitrary about things you think you have moral responsibility for and things you do not feel you have moral responsibility for (but I accept that morality can at times be somewhat arbitrary, so long as we all recognise that - but then it makes it very difficult to argue that one moral standpoint is inherently superior to another).

Is there some special intellectual satisfaction just in knowing there are actual people up there? The fact that they would, probably be using a high level of robotic help would make it somehow less justifiable, would it?
This is the same attitude that makes it necessary for people actually to visit the rain forests to see, for themselves, some threatened species. I know  and appreciate the presence of things without having to 'be there' and, by observing, cause disturbance.

Not sure that any of this makes sense - not least, if it cannot be observed, then for all practical purposes it does not exist - but I am not sure that this has much meaning with regard to whether you know there are men on Mars.

The issue about men on Mars is with regard to whether you have any fellow feeling towards mankind, and so feel that if there is a man on Mars, so there is a little bit of you on Mars.  If you lack that fellow feeling, and your regard it makes no difference if there were men, chimpanzees, or robots, or nothing at all, on Mars, then I cannot argue against such a position, so long as you are consistent in holding that position.  But, if you are to be consistent in holding that position, then why would you even desire to send robots to Mars (that too is like sending robots to the rainforest just to send back TV pictures, but inevitably interfere with the prisine nature of the environment - can you not just appreciate that Mars is there without even sending robots?).

The appreciation is in the mind, not in the passport full of visa stamps.
 The only difference with the Mars thing would be the cost, to me - much higher if there were humans on Mars than expendable robots. Health and safety are expensive items.

And much cheaper if there were neither.

Quote
If you want to ever get humans out to Mars at all,
What do we want them to go there for? Is it really likely that they would be going there in order to prepare it as a lifeboat for billions of Earth dwellers? The much-quoted   'parallel' example of  the discovery and colonisation of America demonstrates the reverse - the US made it as hard as possible for immigration, once they had 'enough'. Who would this venture benefit?


The much quoted example of America demonstrates quite a complex mix.

What is clear is that in sending colonists to America we did not denude Europe and Africa of its entire population, and send them across wholesale.  In a sense, aside from the fact that nobody ever intended to denude Europe of its population, nor did it make sense, since most of the people who were to become citizens of America were not even born (either in or outside of Europe) when the first colonists left Europe for the Americas.

On the other hand, what we did export wholesale to America was European civilisation, even if not the European population.  So, insofar as Mars ever being a lifeboat for terrestrial humanity, it will not be the entire of the Earth's population that will ever be transported to Mars, but the Earth's human civilisation (with a representative sample of the population) that would be transported.

Ofcourse, it can quite legitimately be argued the human civilisation can continue even in the absence of the human animal, with all the roles of the human animal being undertaken by robots.  This is a logical scenario, and it may well lead to what will become a successor to the human civilisation we have today.  All I am saying is that if that is the outcome we create, we will not be able to go back from there.  If you are happy with that outcome, then so be it; but the notion that somehow we can create that outcome, but later recreate a human civilisation that retrospectively includes the human animal is simply not going to happen.


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Offline Mr Andrew

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« Reply #17 on: 29/06/2007 22:07:17 »
In reading this thread I noticed the arguement of "Why do we need to do it now?" coming up quite a bit.  Well, why not now?  Why wait until the 22nd century, when we won't be around anymore?  Wouldn't you want to be part of the generation or generations who landed people on Mars for the first time?, who were the first people to set foot on another planet?  Whatever happened to human ambition?  I believe it was Orson Scott Card who said in his book Shadow Puppets, and I'm paraphrasing: every man wants to leave something of himself behind in the world.  Now, what he leaves behind can be either children to carry on his genes, or an accomplishment, so we who follow never forget his mind.  In our era, what greater monument is there to the minds of men than to be the first people to set foot on another planet?  We admire the people who lived through WWII for their brave soldiers and great leaders.  The first generation to set foot on Mars would be remembered for the brilliant minds who made it happen and courageous explorers who actually went there.  Why shoudn't that be us?  All we've got right now is the mess in the Middle East, and that's nothing to be remembered for.
--Life is the greatest experiment that any person will ever conduct.  It should be treated with the same scientific method as any other experiment.

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lyner

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« Reply #18 on: 05/07/2007 23:41:34 »
If we have so much money and resources then why don't we take our pleasure in sorting out the problems of people worse off than ourselves here on Earth?
Wouldn't you like to be part of the generation which sorted out poverty and hunger, too?
I suggest it's because it's just not glamorous enough or a big enough boys' toy.
People went to the New World for personal gain, mostly. Or they were attracted to it in the same way that village lads were always attracted to the army by the visiting recruiting sergeant.
Human nature, being what it is, will always  mean that people are attracted to big sexy projects rather than unglorious, bread and butter stuff which we all need. It's Mary and Martha all over again - I guess we need both.

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another_someone

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« Reply #19 on: 06/07/2007 01:41:09 »
If we have so much money and resources then why don't we take our pleasure in sorting out the problems of people worse off than ourselves here on Earth?
Wouldn't you like to be part of the generation which sorted out poverty and hunger, too?
I suggest it's because it's just not glamorous enough or a big enough boys' toy.
People went to the New World for personal gain, mostly. Or they were attracted to it in the same way that village lads were always attracted to the army by the visiting recruiting sergeant.
Human nature, being what it is, will always  mean that people are attracted to big sexy projects rather than unglorious, bread and butter stuff which we all need. It's Mary and Martha all over again - I guess we need both.

As you say, we need both.

In any case, I doubt it is actually possible to 'solve' poverty and hunger, merely to ameliorate it.

But on a wider issue, the solutions to problems often come from unexpected sources; and if one is too narrowly focussed only on one path of investigation, then one can easily hit a brick wall you cannot punch through.  It is often that by investigating problems that appear irrelevant to everyday life that one finds insights into things that are pertinent to everyday life, insights that would not have been possible if one had not been looking at the supposedly useless and esoteric problems.

It also has to be said, that as long as people are co-operating (or even competing) at trying to reach Mars, at least they are not killing each other.

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Offline tony6789

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« Reply #20 on: 08/07/2007 17:19:25 »
im there!!! :)
LCPL Hart USMC 6400 I Level Avionics

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Offline G-1 Theory

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« Reply #21 on: 19/07/2007 14:36:58 »
im there!!! :)

Why not, I am there with you Tony

I have spent four six months patrols under the seas of earth, at lest

the space ship has windows and would be a blast.

Ed
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If it disagrees with experiments it is wrong!"

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lyner

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« Reply #22 on: 23/07/2007 00:25:50 »
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In any case, I doubt it is actually possible to 'solve' poverty and hunger, merely to ameliorate it.
OK, then - let's 'ameliorate' it a bit. I'm sure that a lot of people would appreciate that.
It is so easy to be insular about these things.
Let's try to deal with Malaria (a boring subject until it starts to hit the South of England). There are sure to be a lot of spin-offs from that as well as from the space prog. Let's try to 'ameliorate' the problem of HIV in Africa by serious education and economic pressure on governments.
Are there really that many facts about life on Earth or in Space that need  actual manned missions to Mars? A few boring months in low Earth orbit would give (and have given) loads of insight into the physiological effects of space travel but who is it for?
Yes, it's lovely boys' own stuff to think of the wild west up there and we would all like to have new experiences but  aren't there even more interesting things to do with Earth - bound Science?
Yes - even submarine research  has a vast amount to offer. Food and energy have rich potential for us in the sea.

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another_someone

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« Reply #23 on: 23/07/2007 07:33:58 »
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In any case, I doubt it is actually possible to 'solve' poverty and hunger, merely to ameliorate it.
OK, then - let's 'ameliorate' it a bit. I'm sure that a lot of people would appreciate that.

A lot has been done, unfortunately you can only do what people allow you to do, and as long as there are people who are more interested in fighting wars than building infrastructure, there are going to be people you just cannot reach.  War (and political suppression of the wealth of populations, and political corruption), more than anything else, is much of the cause of poverty.  Certainly, in the absence of these factors, there is a lot of work that would need to be done, but at least we would have the possibility of achieving that work.

It is so easy to be insular about these things.
Let's try to deal with Malaria (a boring subject until it starts to hit the South of England). There are sure to be a lot of spin-offs from that as well as from the space prog. Let's try to 'ameliorate' the problem of HIV in Africa by serious education and economic pressure on governments.

Malaria was for a long time the Cinderella of killers, especially when having to compete against HIV; but I think the money that the Gates foundation has put into malaria research has probably made a significant correction to that.

Education has probably gone as far as it can - it is not a magic bullet.  HIV is not in principle anything new - in Europe, in the 16th century, we had syphilis, and it had at the time exactly the same effect as HIV has today - but even today syphilis has not gone away, but it can at least now be treated.  There is evidence that even in the West, where HIV education is substantial, it is losing its fear factor, and risk taking behaviour is on the increase.  I am not saying that education has not had an effect, but it is not the ultimate answer, and one has to ask at which point it ceases to provide any further return on investment.

Are there really that many facts about life on Earth or in Space that need  actual manned missions to Mars? A few boring months in low Earth orbit would give (and have given) loads of insight into the physiological effects of space travel but who is it for?

If we knew what we would find when exploring the unknown then it would not be unknown.

One very important area where greater research on Mars will have benefits is in environmental research - it will give us a view of another planet within our solar system.  Importantly, it will tell us a lot about the influence of the Sun on the weather of all the planets, and how much the weather is a function of the internal dynamics of each planet.  You could argue that even the present Mars rovers can, and are, sending back important information in that regard; 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.

Yes, it's lovely boys' own stuff to think of the wild west up there and we would all like to have new experiences but  aren't there even more interesting things to do with Earth - bound Science?
Yes - even submarine research  has a vast amount to offer. Food and energy have rich potential for us in the sea.

But are they mutually exclusive?

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lyner

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Volunteers needed for 'Mars mission'
« Reply #24 on: 23/07/2007 14:35:52 »
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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.
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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)?

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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.

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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.

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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.