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← Report urges timetable for human mission to Mars

Report urges timetable for human mission to Mars - Comments

Marku's Avatar Comment 1 by Marku

I would hope to see a mission to mars in my lifetime.
On a side note, why don't they start launching missions from outer space instead of fighting Earth's gravity? May as well start building now.

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 17:37:00 UTC | #288013

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Comment 2 by DalaiDrivel

I should hope so.

I was telling a co-worker yesterday:

"Damnit, if I were an astronaut, I'd wanna go!"

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 17:37:00 UTC | #288014

RedPen's Avatar Comment 3 by RedPen

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 18:57:00 UTC | #288039

righton's Avatar Comment 4 by righton

Shouldn't we be spending money on something else? I think biomedical research is much more important than putting a person on Mars. I really don't see why it would be good to send a person to mars considering the costs.

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 19:00:00 UTC | #288045

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 5 by Carl Sai Baba

I am not sure what actual benefit there is in sending humans to Mars. I was hoping that Obama, hate him as I do, would dump Bush's useless and expensive human missions and move forward with improved robotic probes.

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 19:15:00 UTC | #288056

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 6 by aquilacane

Which is easier?

Engineering a spacecraft and the required life support systems for an extended trip to Mars in the next 30 years


Bioengineering a brain that would find it easy to engineer a spacecraft and the required life support systems for an extended trip to Mars in the next 30 years

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 20:35:00 UTC | #288090

Reg's Avatar Comment 7 by Reg

Comment #302207 by righton

“Shouldn't we be spending money on something else? I think biomedical research is much more important than putting a person on Mars. I really don't see why it would be good to send a person to mars considering the costs.”

But that would mean no space exploration until biomedical research has brought about a cure for every unwell person alive, indefinitely.

Comment #302224 by RightWingAtheist

“I am not sure what actual benefit there is in sending humans to Mars. I was hoping that Obama, hate him as I do, would dump Bush's useless and expensive human missions and move forward with improved robotic probes.”

I have read somewhere (cannot remember where); something along the lines of, One Five year old child could discover more on mars in ten minutes than a robotic probe could in ten years. And I would have to agree, Not that I am suggesting we send children. The things we do here on Earth we do too often as members of our tribes/countries, whereas when working off world we have reasons to work as United Earthlings. For me that’s reason enough and of course the many technological advances made that make such endeavours possible often have more important uses here at home. Necessity is the mother of invention, so let’s manufacture necessities.

I am not sure what actual benefit there is in football, boxing, soap operas, country & western music, Noel Edmunds, Austria, or gambling but they all cost a lot. Should we suspend them all? Well! Noel Edmunds yes, obviously, I would even buy the rope.

Also, is it Obama that you hate, or Bush?

Comment #302276 by aquilacane

Let’s just send President Bush, without life support, within the next three years and dock his account for the costs. Everybody wins.


Tue, 16 Dec 2008 21:03:00 UTC | #288107

Eshto's Avatar Comment 8 by Eshto

Screw the costs, I want people on Mars, and I want it now.

EDIT: Obama rocks.

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 21:12:00 UTC | #288110

rustylix's Avatar Comment 9 by rustylix

I'm all about exploring mars, but after reading this article, feel that our money could be better spent here at home. I'm also with Carl Sagan on this one, in that robotic missions make far more financial sense.

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 21:21:00 UTC | #288115

Eshto's Avatar Comment 10 by Eshto

What if we just took all the money out of the failed programs like abstinence-only education, the war on drugs and the D.A.R.E. program, all the millions of dollars the righties spend fighting gay marriage and occupying Iraq, and put it toward this?

I want people on Mars goddammit.

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 21:37:00 UTC | #288123

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Comment 11 by DalaiDrivel


The one thing, if anything, I believe that will save us from global warming is altering our economic system, from one that is consumption (EDIT: consumerism-) based and ecologically detrimental, to one that is neither.

I think human solipsism and self-entitlement will far outstretch and outgrow the technology to accommodate it, if we accept said solipsism and self-entitlement.

Exploring Mars, on the other hand, is like exploring the Moon thirty years ago. Columbus all over again. A world seen through robot eyes is not the same as one seen through human eyes, and heard through human ears ("one small step for mankind...") not at least with the current state of A.I.

I submit that we should be explorers, in the literal sense. I have delusions of a Star Trek future, yes, but no matter! Scientists are already explorers in their own way, and demonstrate the faculty of curiosity and wonderment, rationality and achievement that defines the best in us.

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 21:58:00 UTC | #288131

Eshto's Avatar Comment 12 by Eshto

Well I was with you up until Columbus. He was in it for the gold. And when he "discovered" land that already had people living on it, he initiated the enslavement and massacre of those people.

So let's aim a little closer to Star Trek. Not so much Columbus. Kthnx.

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 22:08:00 UTC | #288134

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 13 by aquilacane

I think the cost of the war in Iraq could have paid the bill on its own.

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 22:14:00 UTC | #288135

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Comment 14 by DalaiDrivel


Fair enough.

Racial conflict aside but duly noted, the people receiving news in Europe of Columbus' "discovery" and those with their ears pressed to the radio speaker during the Apollo landing have something in common.

We'll never be content with not exploring ourselves. (EDIT: I think that is in fact a verbatim quote of someone... I can't think who.)

I'm delighted with sticking to Star Trek. I'm hoping they will go further into the future with the next series- maybe step outside the Milky Way?

Actually, if I were a director, I might want to do a series based around the Federation Time Ship that Voyager occasionally encountered... whatever its name was.

In the spirit of exploration... something with the new movie, and Enterprise series, they seem mortally afraid to do.

I think I went on a bit of a tangent there...

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 22:22:00 UTC | #288137

Eshto's Avatar Comment 15 by Eshto

Ugh I HATE time travel plots in science fiction.

The ship was called the Relativity.

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 22:37:00 UTC | #288139

8teist's Avatar Comment 16 by 8teist

I vote for Gwb ,Paris Hilton to be the first to step foot on Mars ,sans spacesuits ,of course.

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 22:49:00 UTC | #288143

dochmbi's Avatar Comment 17 by dochmbi

Welcome to Mars video:

(Not a rick roll)

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 23:53:00 UTC | #288149

gazzaofbath's Avatar Comment 18 by gazzaofbath

Some comments here reflect the usual debate on space exploration - humans or robots?

Tricky point. You can get a whole lot of science done cheaper and safer with robots but the more expensive and risky human option gives you more flexibility in the science done. Plus there's the more exciting 'human interest' aspect that brings the media on board when people are involved.

For what its worth I favour a dual approach - the humans going in after plenty of robotic preparation. So I wouldn't push too hard for an early human landing on Mars.

I ignore the stuff about doing no space exploration - put it all into medical research for example. You could use that argument on any branch of scientific work you don't favour. Why do any more medical research? On average we all live to a decent age in the west? Are the 'outliers' who get ill earlier worth the expenditure? Just a debating point!

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 00:59:00 UTC | #288163

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 19 by Quetzalcoatl

I certainly believe humans should be going to Mars. Robotic missions could be sent in advance to lay the groundwork for a base.

Humans going is important for the science, as well. There have been comments that robots can do the science, without humans needed. But robots are limited on what they can do. On almost every robotic mission to Mars, discoveries have been made that cannot be explored because the robots did not have the necessary equipment, forcing a delay of potentially years.

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 01:10:00 UTC | #288169

Fredrik Svanberg's Avatar Comment 20 by Fredrik Svanberg

Space exploration is a much nicer way to expand science and technology than eternal warfare. I hope Obama takes a stab at it.

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 01:24:00 UTC | #288176

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 21 by rod-the-farmer

Sooner or later we humans are going to have to move off this one planet, where all our eggs are in one basket. At least some, probably not all of us. Mars has great potential as a place for humans to survive, perhaps more so than any other body in our own solar system. Europeans of the Columbus period could not see the need for additional land & resources, because their vision did not extend that far into their future. (Leaves aside the issue of taking over territory already populated by other humans, slavery, etc.)

We are slightly more advanced in that we CAN see farther into the future. Some of us understand we will over-populate the Earth (if we are not already at that point) and will have to move into space to find more room and resources. A TV show I saw last night claimed Enceladus (moon of Saturn) contains something like 100 times the total Earth resources in natural gas and other carbon-based fuels.

For further reading, consider joining the Planetary Society.

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 02:00:00 UTC | #288191

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 22 by Quetzalcoatl

Indeed, Mars is a better option than the Moon, given that it probably has very little if any accessible water. However, we've already discovered large subterranean bodies of water on Mars, more than enough to sustain a colony.

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 02:03:00 UTC | #288194

Shane McKee's Avatar Comment 23 by Shane McKee

If we spend all this money on biomedical research, there'll end up being far too many of us on the planet (like there are already), we'll hit Malthusian Meltdown, and civilisation will slide down the snake back to square one.

We do need lots and lots of biomed research, for sure, but we also need measures to protect the environment, limit population expansion, develop off-planet resources, and once we are able to expand into the universe, then it's game on. Just sitting here while we shit all over the pen is a really really bad option.

So, yes to the moon, yes to Mars and yes to beyond!

[And I'd quite like to see Venus terraformed with big old space mirrors and comets & stuff!]

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 02:07:00 UTC | #288197

andersemil's Avatar Comment 24 by andersemil

I'm totally with Steven Weinberg on this one, I don't see the point in shooting a man off to Mars when we could spend money on building agile robots which are much easilier adapted to that environment, with much better scientific sampling tools and cameras than that of today. Let's face it, evolution has made us optimal for this environment, let's make our robots optimal for Mars. Once we know a lot more about Mars, and may have much cheaper ways of travelling into space, we can reconsider the options.

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 02:30:00 UTC | #288205

AdamMil's Avatar Comment 25 by AdamMil

We could have completed 21 manned missions to Mars for the cost so-far of the Iraq war. But I'm betting that Obama will continue with the war, when the massive amount of money could be put to so much better use if it was spent on science...

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 03:57:00 UTC | #288236

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 26 by Enlightenme..

Let's get real, the costs of a manned Mars mission now would be astronomical.
Far more cost-effective to plan robotic missions to Jovian moons etc, and leave Mars to our grandchildren.

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 04:25:00 UTC | #288260

IaninPA's Avatar Comment 27 by IaninPA

Dreaming is nice but you can forget Obama supporting any missions to mars or even back to the moon. We are about to go into a global recession and probably depression that is going to mean just keeping people from starving is going to be the order of the day.

Happy days ahead!

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 06:48:00 UTC | #288313

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 28 by rod-the-farmer

Re 26. Comment #302460 by Enlightenme

Let's get real, the costs of a manned Mars mission now would be astronomical.

Actually would that not be "costs of a voyage to Alpha Centauri would be astronomical" ? A Mars mission would be...planetary ?

Even if a Mars mission were one-way, count me in. Can't beat human exploration for real excitement.

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 08:02:00 UTC | #288336

chewedbarber's Avatar Comment 29 by chewedbarber

Global cooperation thwarted by our fear of losing military supremacy.

It’s sad that the best security policy is still to obfuscate, rather than to have an open and honest exchange between equal partners.

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 09:11:00 UTC | #288352

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 30 by irate_atheist

27. Comment #302513 by Ian Bamlett -

We cannot allow a Mars gap.

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 09:26:00 UTC | #288355