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With the apparent failure of Phobos-Grunt, Russia is 0 for 17 attempts since 1960 at a mix of Mars flybys, orbiters, and landers.
Japan, which launched a Mars orbiter in 1998, is 0 for 1.
Europe, with its inaugural Mars Express/Beagle 2 orbiter-lander combo, is 0.5 for 1 at the red planet. Launched in 2003, the duo reached Mars. The orbiter has been a science success, and its mission has been extended to 2014. But the lander was declared lost after repeated attempts to contact it failed following its December 2003 descent to the surface.
NASA, meanwhile, has enjoyed 11 successful Mars missions out of 16 launched since 1964, including flybys, orbiters, and rovers.
Most people don't realize that the world we live in today, with computers, the internet, gps, cellphones, satellites, etc., is directly descended from the manned space programs, and that we've been resting on those laurels for a couple of generations now.
It's expensive, but so what? Every dime is spent here on Earth and not a penny is "wasted" in space. Would you rather spend it on the TSA and Homeland Insecurity or on space travel? The money spent is circulated in our economy in a far better way.
Space-based manufacturing is viable if raw materials are mined on the moon and sent down the gravity well to manufacturing plants at the L5 and L4 Lagrange points (if you don't know what they are, thank the 'fing robots, then go look them up) and the finished products sent down the well to Earth.
Just what government programs are you going to cut to fund this new initiative? They can't decide on a basic budget, let alone come up with hundreds of billions more for space.
Originally posted by apacheman
While robots have their place, they are utterly incapable of inspiring anyone but their makers. Look at how excited the general public is over Mars and the Moon and space generally....zzzz....zzzz....I think I hear the crickets. Thanks, stupid robots, for nothing.
The Real Problem With the Space Program
In 1961, when # wasn't invented yet and people fought bears for vital food, President Kennedy had the balls to give NASA less than nine years to get to the moon. In this day and age, when there's metric #loads of technology all over the place and the internet makes valuable porn as free as air, President Bush gives a trip to mars seventeen years. What a tool.
See, Kennedy had the balls to lay a firm deadline down. "You bitches will put a man on the moon before January 1, 1970 or I will come back from the grave and kick your ass," he said. He knew he was going to get shot. That's how hardcore he was. He also got crazy laid by Marilyn Monroe.
President Bush says, "You ought to think about just possibly putting a man on the moon sometime during this five year period."
President Kennedy showed us that you have to slap NASA around a little bit to get them to do anything worthwhile with manned space exploration. You can't be all lovey-dovey and set long gradual timetables.
And Bush mentions "the goal of living and working there for increasingly extended periods." So we'll have another Skylab ISS, but on the moon. The only differences will be that it won't crash into Australia like Skylab (it will crash into the Moon instead - that might sound hard to acheive since it would already be on the surface of the moon, but they will find a way to do that), it will leak more than ISS, and since it won't even be international we won't be able to bum rides from the Russians.
If Kennedy was alive in this day and age he would have said, "#ing NASA, I am still alive in this day and age so you assholes better have a self-sufficient Mars base by the year 2013. Also make me a space elevator. And resurrect Marilyn Monroe." Then NASA would complain that it is not their job to resurrect people and Kennedy would punch NASA in the eye.
I bet the "Crew Exploration Vehicle" thart they are working on is going to blow the # up about twenty times too. You can probably trace the suckiness of manned space exploration to the decision to switch from cool names like "Mercury" and "Apollo" to crappy names like "Skylab" and "STS." When the Apollo blew up they #ing fixed it and came home, but when the Space Shuttle gets #ed up they make Powerpoints about it and ignore the problem.
The Real Problem With The Space Program
Originally posted by iamusic
reply to post by cloudyday
I agree with only the second part of your post. Nasa should be looking into advanced hibernation systems as a way to preserve life on planet Earth and in space. I think if scientists could find a way to possibly stop aging for a duration we would be able to at least get to new Earth like planets.
Originally posted by Maslo
Robots are not very cheap, too. Mars science laboratory rover has already cost 2.5 billion.
Originally posted by Cosmic4life
reply to post by cloudyday
It's a far better enterprise than the pursuit of Weapon technology to control dwindling resources.
We are a space race, we dream of it because it is our destiny, our collective memory knows that Earth is not safe.
Nature knows that Earth is not safe, so she has endowed us with the means to leave and to disperse the life born of Earth.
If we cannot do that simple thing, nature has also endowed us with the means to destroy ourselves.
First, I'd eliminate the TSA and Homeland Security, both colossal wastes of money and insults to the Constitution. Then I'd wean the banks and multinational corporations off their supports, which would free up more than enough money. Hell, just eliminating TSA would enable a far bigger space program.
Space-based manufacturing is most certainly viable under the conditions outlined previously. Solar energy and vacuum availability are free for the taking, as is a gravity-free environment. The research is mostly already done, but your equally short-sighted forbears killed it through fear of change and unwillingness to invest the a new future.