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Could we be on Mars now if we hadn't gone to the Moon then?

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posted on Apr, 18 2005 @ 12:36 PM
REading through a few articles on the path NASA was taking after the last manned mission to the moon and its apparent future (in terms of dolla bills), did we somehow shoot ourselves in the foot while achieiving one of the greatest feats in man kind? We spent over 10 years and ungodly sums of money to have men come back with moon rocks that we found out contained a very valueable material known as He3(?), which we didn't even bother to send back significant amounts of. What if we had never landed on the moon and NASA countinued to send out unmanned probes and possible cut back on manned missions, is there the likelyhood that a man (or woman) could be waking up for breakfast on Mars? Seems as though after crowning one of the single greatest achievements in history and wallowing in the glory we inevitably and unintentionally shot oursleves in the foot when it comes to what we could have achieved, something far greater and more maticulous: man on another planet.

To me the moon missions now seem frivolous and purely symbolic, and had we only planned ahead to see what these missions would consume and the path it would divert us off of, I believe we would have never gone to the Sea of Tranquillity, and would rather now be digging the American flag into the red sands of Mars.

posted on Apr, 18 2005 @ 01:18 PM
The whole problem with He3 is that we are many decades if not centuries until we are able to utilize it in a controlled reactor. The amount of heat and pressure requires extensive shielding or else the heat of the startup reaction with burn through the shielding and instantly cooling down the plasma thus stopping the fusion reaction. Basically He3 may be rare on earth and due to rarity it is valuable as a research tool, but as an industry application it is useless... H2 is much easier to work with when doing Fusion research, the temps are not nearly as high and we have existing materials that can deal with it. Some Theoretical work as been done studying the viability of CNT Shielding for He3 reactors(When I say shielding I'm not talking about the radiation shields but the materials that resist heat etc) but we are not anywhere near practicle application yet. Trying to find the link now...

As for the Moon missions being a waste, You're partly right. We went too early, we should have bided our time but it was a political thing back then. Not about the Science or Exploration at all. :dn
At least on the Political front, I'm sure the Astronaughts back then LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! I would

But we DID get quite alot of technology out of those programs and continue this day see the innovations flow out of NASA. I know it's not the direction everyone was hoping for after the Moon, but I sort of agree with Bushes stepping stones plan, building a permanent infrastructure so that when we go, we go for good. I disagree with the price tags and the cutting of programs prematurely, he should just up NASA budget by 30 Billion a year if he is serous but his newest appointee tells a different story. NASA is going to get leaner and meaner as it gets more involved in Sub-Orbital and LEO private corps. They are also setting up more prize competitions which is a really good thing IMO.

We are in a much better place now what with the private space industry getting off the ground. THAT is going to be the push that will eventually send us to mars. It will not be all politics this time, but Capitolism and Exploration plain and simple, profit and fun what more can we ask for? Of course we are a long way from either as the first sub-orbital tourists have yet to go up.

posted on Apr, 18 2005 @ 05:06 PM
Good post
I would think the Moon program was a logical and necessary step towards Mars. We had to work out quite a few bugs and glitches during that program in order to take the next big step. I would rather spend 1 billion going to the moon and find out there were bugs we did not expect than to have spent 10 billion going to Mars and having the entire mission scrapped.

posted on Apr, 18 2005 @ 06:45 PM
How does it become He3? Doesn't Helium already have a full valence shell?


posted on Apr, 18 2005 @ 06:59 PM

Good post I would think the Moon program was a logical and necessary step towards Mars.

Agreed you cannot economically get to Mars without using the Moon. Assembly and launch of an interplanetary craft is most practical and efficient either from the Lunar surface or orbit.
We may not have had any real use for the Moon when we went, but eh oh well all the technology and understanding we gained from the missions was able to be put directly into things for Earth orbit. Satellites, the Shuttle, Skylab, etc. They wouldnt have happened when they did if we hadn't gone to the Moon.

[edit on 18-4-2005 by apc]

posted on Apr, 18 2005 @ 07:00 PM

Originally posted by WaStEdDeAtH777
How does it become He3? Doesn't Helium already have a full valence shell?

You're absolutely right, helium does have a full valence shell. He3 has one extra neutron than regular helium. He3 is thus what is called an *isotope* of helium, meaning it has the same number of protons (which defines the element) but a different number of neutrons. Many other elements have isotopes, and many have numerous kinds.

Regular He = 2 protons 2 neutrons 2 electrons
He3 = 2 protons 3 neutrons 2 electrons

posted on Apr, 18 2005 @ 07:03 PM
Oh! Excuse me. I thought they meant He subscript 3. Heh, sorry, a misunderstanding of text. Thank you for the help anyways.

[edit on 4-18-2005 by WaStEdDeAtH777]

posted on Apr, 18 2005 @ 07:16 PM
We could go to Mars now, we're just not willing to pay the price.
Hell we could probably go to Mars for less than it cost to go to Iraq, but the political will simply isn't there.

posted on Apr, 18 2005 @ 11:33 PM

Originally posted by xmotex
We could go to Mars now, we're just not willing to pay the price.
Hell we could probably go to Mars for less than it cost to go to Iraq, but the political will simply isn't there.

Yeah, I mostly agree with you there. I think we have the tech now to go to Mars. After all, we are able to maintain the international space station. People can live up there for months at a time. In practice, it would take many years to prepare for such a mission, but I think it could be done. One of the biggest difficulties foreseen by NASA in such a mission is, interestingly, the psychological condition of the astronauts. Given the journey to Mars would take something like (if i recall correctly) about 2 years round trip, the astronauts would have no personal contact with anyone except each other for that time. Even the best of friends can break down in those circumstances. I'm not sure how much the Iraq war is costing, but the money would sure as hell be better spent on Mars; at least the US wouldn't be killing people that way.

As for the Moon missions stunting the possibility of Mars missions, I disagree. The moon missions required a lot of very advanced tech at the time to complete, and that tech and its descendants are what will enable us to go to Mars. Think of the moon as a test run. Certainly the biggest reasons men went to the moon in the 60s was politics, i.e. the need to outdo the Soviets. If actual scientific exploration had been the primary goal, we would have done a heck of a lot more on the moon than a couple of rock scavenging trips, and we would have gone back at least a few times in the last few decades.

posted on Apr, 20 2005 @ 06:47 PM
A majority of conserviative americans would ratehr the government spent money on THEM instead of the space program. Too many people are shortsighted and there needs to be a charsimatic visionary to lead us to mars. Just a statement "We should go to Mars" trying to mimic Kennedys historic Moon speach is not enough. Funding has to be provide as well as a zeal to do the things that are hard.

One of the biggest problems of a mars mission is the cost, and the fact there is way too much political bickering invovled with just the ISS. think of trying to do a Mars mission and you realise the problem.

We have the technology to go to mars.. heck.. even create permenent presance there. It is jsut the funding is not availible when you have people who want to fight wars, and have short sighted selfish goals.

The Moon mission benifited the space program like you couldn't belive. In fact, without the moon mission manned space exploration could me non-exisitant today.

posted on Apr, 21 2005 @ 12:16 AM
I wish that the richer Countries in the world would all help fund a project like this. Were running out of room,were running out of resources and were running out of time and if we can get our heads out of the sand we might be able to help save our world.We could all only benefit from something like this!

posted on Apr, 21 2005 @ 12:28 AM
I agree totaly with thecry, people are now just realizing we are running out of oil, and #s about to hit the fan. But insted of the governments of the world who always say thing like "its better for our children" should put their money where there mouth is. If they really cared about later generations a international funded space centre would of been up and running, building the shuttles as we speak. But insted they go to war so they can hoard as much of the oil thats left.
Now if america with all the money its going to gain after all the wars are over and it becomes a full super power, they better dam get our asses to mars and terraform the planet. Its only looking at the big picture. If the romans still existed (which they might)
or even if hitler won the war. We would be on our way to mars of further by now.

posted on Apr, 21 2005 @ 01:47 PM
Yeah, the only reason the Romans aren't here today is because they began to use larger and larger amounts of mercanary troops to fend off incoming invaders. Too bad.

But speaking of war in Irack and Mars cost, the current war cost is at an estimated $164.5 billion, that's enough to go to Mars and bring the astronauts back. And possibly do the whole thing over again and again.

I think we need to come up with a propoganda campaign to get people in gear for heading to Mars, much like what the government is doing to keep marijuana away from kids. Something like "Earth environment is bad for your current and future health." or "Martian women are easier." something to the ill effect.

posted on Apr, 21 2005 @ 06:41 PM
The manned misson to Mars should be for mankind and not just for a single nation, and thus it should be a cooperative international effort. This would have the benefit of being able to utilize the strengths of several nations while splitting the costs.

The problem with the moon missions is simply that we suddenly stopped. That was a huge error. We could have continued to expand our capabilities in Manned missions and would have learned how to better deal with problems that come up. The Moon was a logical first step and could have been a base for further study and planning. Political will, or lack there of, is what killed our manned Space Missions.

The Space Shuttle is a horrible design. It was designed in the 50's and is extreemly limited in capabilities. It is time to retire the Shuttle fleet and replace it with newer designs that are far more econmical and have greater capabilities. Then onward to Mars. In the mean time we will continue to explore Mars with several newer robotic probes. The ESA is doing a great job and hopefully Japan and China will come on board with their new Space Programs as well.

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