posted on Jan, 3 2006 @ 05:57 AM
Actually, I just remembered something about mass production for space exploration.
I agree with the fact that it'll be hard to mass produce robotic explorers, for as has been said, each mission is pretty much unique, and so requires
differing instruments etc.
But lets say we can mass produce robotic explorers - the launch costs are still massive, in the tens of millions of dollars per launch.
Anyway, what I remembered was this. The Soviet Union actually mass produced their manned Soyuz craft. They also set up an assembly line for their
lunar module, that never flew.
And this is perhaps where we could learn from the Soviet program. Sure, it wasn't the prettiest, or most technologically advanced stuff ever. But it
worked, reliably, for decades. Soyuz is still flying today.
I've been thinking for a while that maybe NASA should retire the Shuttle for once & for all, and go back to earlier non-reusable capsules for manned
flight, while the new CEV is designed & built. This might seem like a backward step, but the "old stuff" has been flight tested, and works. I heard
NASA were looking at bringing the J-2 engine used in the Saturn V back - its still the most powerful flight tested engine, and could be improved with
modern materials & manufacturing.