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(Wired)   The history of mankind's plans for humans on Mars: The craziest, weirdest, and... waitaminute... That one could actually work   (wired.com) divider line 39
    More: Interesting, humans on Mars, human history, interplanetary space, Wernher von Braun, Mars exploration, Charles Bolden, micrometeorites, Elon Musk  
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5640 clicks; posted to Geek » on 10 Aug 2012 at 10:21 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-10 10:27:31 AM
No sir. Not after watching the documentary that was Total Recall will I ever want to set foot on Mars.
 
2012-08-10 10:40:00 AM
"But the Bush plans were more about giving defense contractors something to do after the end of the Cold War rather than about truly exploring the solar system. The $440 billion price tag also scared many members of Congress."

$440 billion for a manned Mars mission? No way! $1 trillion to blow up Iraqis? Go for it!

/Our priorities are well and truly farked up.
 
2012-08-10 10:45:10 AM

Tyrone Slothrop: $440 billion for a manned Mars mission? No way! $1 trillion to blow up Iraqis? Go for it!


Just give it time.
1. Show Mars had copious amounts of life and vegetation at one time.
2. All that life died and turned to oil.
3. All that oil is free for the taking.

There will be rigs up there before you know it.
 
2012-08-10 10:46:18 AM
Here's a thought, instead of making more movies about going to mars, why doesn't a production company just front the money to actually go there and film it the whole way? I'm sure advertisers could make it worth the costs and people would sure as hell watch it, hoping for the death of the astronauts if nothing else...
 
2012-08-10 10:50:54 AM
i.istockimg.com

AAhhhhhh The SPECIES!!! this MUD BALL!!!! AArarArArAAAGHH!!!!
 
2012-08-10 11:00:56 AM
like the MarsOne reality-show/one-way-suicide-mission combo.

Sign me up.
 
2012-08-10 11:06:32 AM
Quantum Apostrophe:

AAhhhhhh The SPECIES!!! this MUD BALL!!!! AArarArArAAAGHH!!!!

You know, instead of claiming you'll be able to take a pill to cure your ailing eyesight and expecting to live eternally, you might might want to start with a more immediate problem, such as a cure for your flaming space butthurt.

Just saying. You'll enjoy eternal life more.
 
2012-08-10 11:11:18 AM
I like the Mars reality show idea. Maybe we can send the entire cast of Jersey Shore. How will they survive -- who really cares?
 
2012-08-10 11:13:23 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: AAhhhhhh The SPECIES!!! this MUD BALL!!!! AArarArArAAAGHH!!!!


Is that a gray hair?
 
2012-08-10 11:50:30 AM

flaminio: I like the Mars reality show idea. Maybe we can send the entire cast of Jersey Shore. How will they survive -- who really cares?


Jersey Survivor: Mars.

Every week, they vote on who gets pushed out of the airlock. Televise it on pay per view. Use the proceeds to pay off the national debt in 6 months.

/Just picture Snooki out there...freezing...gasping...suffocating....
//....fap...?
 
2012-08-10 11:51:37 AM

Mentalpatient87: Quantum Apostrophe: AAhhhhhh The SPECIES!!! this MUD BALL!!!! AArarArArAAAGHH!!!!

Is that a gray hair?


media.lunch.com

When the Gray Hair is dead, Magua will eat his heart.
 
2012-08-10 12:25:02 PM
So here's a thought: mars is red because it is loaded with Iron oxide yes?

Send a few probes full of von nueman robots capabale of digging tunnels into the Martian surface and replicating themselves using the ore they extract in the process. When they've been at tit a couple years send a self assembling generic automatic programmable factory and constructor bots and a tankful of shapeable plastic.. Have the constructor bots install airlocks and other amenities into the tunnels and then release Oxygen producing algae into the system and send the miner bots to bring back tons of water from the poles. Third wave consists of organics and GMO plants that produce hard to find materials (like potatoes that make plastic rather than starch) and a full hydroponics rig with robot attendants.

5 years later send the astronauts to a fully self-sustaining Mars Colony- to stay
 
2012-08-10 12:31:55 PM

Magorn: When they've been at tit a couple years


So they'd be like human babies?
 
2012-08-10 12:37:58 PM
The Sally Ride plan: See, that's the kind of boring, pragmatic, and entirely feasible plan you get when you put someone with a vagina in charge. Give me a guy with some balls, who wants to do something like breed dinosaurs on Mars and then offer hunting trips to billionaires, while establishing a brothel of three-breasted women. Now that's a plan!
 
2012-08-10 12:47:53 PM
Or we could follow Kim Robinson's plan.
 
2012-08-10 01:05:59 PM

Magorn: So here's a thought: mars is red because it is loaded with Iron oxide yes?

Send a few probes full of von nueman robots capabale of digging tunnels into the Martian surface and replicating themselves using the ore they extract in the process. When they've been at tit a couple years send a self assembling generic automatic programmable factory and constructor bots and a tankful of shapeable plastic.. Have the constructor bots install airlocks and other amenities into the tunnels and then release Oxygen producing algae into the system and send the miner bots to bring back tons of water from the poles. Third wave consists of organics and GMO plants that produce hard to find materials (like potatoes that make plastic rather than starch) and a full hydroponics rig with robot attendants.

5 years later send the astronauts to a fully self-sustaining Mars Colony- to stay


The bots don't have to be completely autonomous. Maybe let people pay to control a Marsbot for a short time, which could raise some funds.

No wait... scratch that. I know how that would turn out.

I'm laughing for real right now

999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999

aeiou aeiou aeiou aeiou aeiou

John Madden John Madden John Madden
 
2012-08-10 01:24:36 PM

Counter_Intelligent: No sir. Not after watching the documentary that was Total Recall will I ever want to set foot on Mars.


What are you talking about? Total Recall is set in Australia
 
2012-08-10 01:32:20 PM

satanorsanta: Counter_Intelligent: No sir. Not after watching the documentary that was Total Recall will I ever want to set foot on Mars.

What are you talking about? Total Recall is set in Australia


...wait, WHAT?!
What happened to mars?
 
2012-08-10 01:36:06 PM

way south: satanorsanta: Counter_Intelligent: No sir. Not after watching the documentary that was Total Recall will I ever want to set foot on Mars.

What are you talking about? Total Recall is set in Australia

...wait, WHAT?!
What happened to mars?


You really didn't know that the same force that causes their toilets to flush the wrong way also makes some of their chicks have 3 nice bewbs?
 
2012-08-10 02:28:47 PM

Magorn: So here's a thought: mars is red because it is loaded with Iron oxide yes?

Send a few probes full of von nueman robots capabale of digging tunnels into the Martian surface and replicating themselves using the ore they extract in the process. When they've been at tit a couple years send a self assembling generic automatic programmable factory and constructor bots and a tankful of shapeable plastic.. Have the constructor bots install airlocks and other amenities into the tunnels and then release Oxygen producing algae into the system and send the miner bots to bring back tons of water from the poles. Third wave consists of organics and GMO plants that produce hard to find materials (like potatoes that make plastic rather than starch) and a full hydroponics rig with robot attendants.

5 years later send the astronauts to a fully self-sustaining Mars Colony- to stay


Yes, the red is from iron, but that's only a fine layer of dust on top of the sand and rocks. They talk about it on Bad Astronomy. Basically, when a dust devil scoots across the surface, it picks up the red dust we're used to and leaves the regular surface visible. It's more gray than anything.


I highly, HIGHLY recommend viewing the full res pic on that page, it's beautiful.
 
2012-08-10 02:32:05 PM
Not so sure what's crazy abut the Paine plan. It's exactly what we're going to need to make this a viable idea. We can't build our spacecraft on the Earth, it's just silly. We build it in orbit, or on a moon base, and the design, weight and fuel requirements are almost non-existent, compared to what we have to do to leave the Earth. If we could figure out an economical way to get people into space in the first place, everything else would fall into place.
 
2012-08-10 04:13:03 PM

Chabash: Here's a thought, instead of making more movies about going to mars, why doesn't a production company just front the money to actually go there and film it the whole way? I'm sure advertisers could make it worth the costs and people would sure as hell watch it, hoping for the death of the astronauts if nothing else...


Actually going to Mars would make for a pretty boring movie.

Day 1: Blastoff! Woo!
Day 2 through Day 412: Sitting in a 300 cubic foot spaceship playing Hearts with 1-3 other unwashed astronauts.
Day 413: Landing! Woo!
Day 413 through Day 421: Test tubes and spectroanalysis of rocks.
Day 422: Cancer.
 
2012-08-10 04:16:34 PM

Jubeebee: Chabash: Here's a thought, instead of making more movies about going to mars, why doesn't a production company just front the money to actually go there and film it the whole way? I'm sure advertisers could make it worth the costs and people would sure as hell watch it, hoping for the death of the astronauts if nothing else...

Actually going to Mars would make for a pretty boring movie.

Day 1: Blastoff! Woo!
Day 2 through Day 412: Sitting in a 300 cubic foot spaceship playing Hearts with 1-3 other unwashed astronauts.
Day 413: Landing! Woo!
Day 413 through Day 421: Test tubes and spectroanalysis of rocks.
Day 422: Cancer.


Where do I sign?

Seriously, I'd do it.
 
2012-08-10 04:24:02 PM
Mars is the wrong goal

We should be exploring the asteroids on Orion drives, nudging the metal/rock ones back to Luna orbit and the half the water ice ones to Martian orbit (other half to Luna)

... That's a goal that could be accomplished, and it would get scientific samples, industrial materials, and long-term resources
 
2012-08-10 04:30:14 PM

Mikey1969: Not so sure what's crazy abut the Paine plan. It's exactly what we're going to need to make this a viable idea.


The scale of it is what terrified people.
Politicians hate to commit to anything, especially science. They backed Apollo only because of the Communist wave and the Space race embarrassing them into it. Once they got ahead on that, they dropped it.
Low orbit operations have been kept alive because of the Iron triangle between Congress, Boeing/Lockmart/ATK, and NASA. With the station completed the politicians don't feel any rush to build a new system. They are ready to drop that too.
That's just how congress is. They see mars as a permanent expense, not for the science for value to mankind.

In front of this audience comes Paine with big plan for long term permanent basing on multiple worlds. Big parts, big price tags, big goals.
Yes its what we need, but its nothing that could be sold to those people. They want something like Apollo which is short, direct, and easily culled once the flag is planted.

Elon Musk's plan reduces the size and cost of the parts, but the intent on permanence means he wont get much help from politicians. Not unless its embarrassed them into it by landing people there before the government.

/Which I secretly think is his plan.
/Spend a few bucks to land empty habitats and scare the politicos into getting there first.
/They rush in to buy his rockets for government missions and his business is secured.
 
2012-08-10 04:31:10 PM
If we really are going send people to Mars, we should do what that Jodie Foster movie suggested: Send a poet. That would be the only real reason to send an actually human being - to say we did it, to enjoy that milestone in human achievement, and to get something emotional out of it. Scientifically, there's far less reason to send an actual human being, as supposed to a probe, and economically there's no justification for spending an absurd amount of money on something like that at this point.

So, if we're doing it, let's not pretend we're doing it for science. If we're doing it to feel warm and fuzzy about accomplishing it, so let's get all we can out of it. Send a poet, or an orator, or a celebrity. Make it a reality show. Have 24/7 camera aboard the spacecraft. It makes so sense whatsoever to send a dozen uncharismatic eggheads, and make the whole thing NASA-dull, unless we're still trying to lie to ourselves about our motivation for spending that $100billion in the first place.
 
2012-08-10 05:53:59 PM

Jubeebee: Chabash: Here's a thought, instead of making more movies about going to mars, why doesn't a production company just front the money to actually go there and film it the whole way? I'm sure advertisers could make it worth the costs and people would sure as hell watch it, hoping for the death of the astronauts if nothing else...

Actually going to Mars would make for a pretty boring movie.

Day 1: Blastoff! Woo!
Day 2 through Day 412: Sitting in a 300 cubic foot spaceship playing Hearts with 1-3 other unwashed astronauts.
Day 413: Landing! Woo!
Day 413 through Day 421: Test tubes and spectroanalysis of rocks.
Day 422: Cancer.


Any reality TV show, when given this treatment, would sound boring, yet people watch them. Actually I think they ARE boring but for some reason lots of people watch them. Adding the element of danger and fame of being the first walk on Mars I think world wide you would get a hell of an audience. IIRC the costs of going to Mars should work out to be about the ticket sales from the top 15 grossing movies. Given that it is going to take several years (including training) I think you could cover the costs with reality TV and movies. You could take maybe 50 people, spend a year or so in training, whittle it down through contests and getting "voted off the island", do the same on the trip to decide who gets to land and be the first on the surface. Stuff like that. Yeah, I think it's possible....
 
2012-08-10 06:44:54 PM

bigfatdave: Mars is the wrong goal

We should be exploring the asteroids on Orion drives, nudging the metal/rock ones back to Luna orbit and the half the water ice ones to Martian orbit (other half to Luna)

... That's a goal that could be accomplished, and it would get scientific samples, industrial materials, and long-term resources


Yeah, no way adding that much mass to the earth system would affect tides, weather, or our orbit around the sun.
 
2012-08-10 06:51:56 PM

GardenWeasel: Yeah, no way adding that much mass to the earth system would affect tides, weather, or our orbit around the sun.


Quantify the amount of mass required to have a detrimental effect on Earth's tides, please.
(hint, it takes a LOT to have a noticeable effect. If you prefer to keep mass down, the useless rock can be seperated and sent to orbit some planet you dislike)
 
2012-08-10 07:28:57 PM

Jubeebee: Chabash: Here's a thought, instead of making more movies about going to mars, why doesn't a production company just front the money to actually go there and film it the whole way? I'm sure advertisers could make it worth the costs and people would sure as hell watch it, hoping for the death of the astronauts if nothing else...

Actually going to Mars would make for a pretty boring movie.

Day 1: Blastoff! Woo!
Day 2 through Day 412: Sitting in a 300 cubic foot spaceship playing Hearts with 1-3 other unwashed astronauts.
Day 413: Landing! Woo!
Day 413 through Day 421: Test tubes and spectroanalysis of rocks.
Day 422: Cancer

"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."


FTFY.
 
2012-08-10 11:32:46 PM

Magorn: Send a few probes full of von nueman robots


If you have even one Von Neumann machine, you're living in a sufficiently technologically advanced age that you probably already go to Mars every day for lunch.

Nah, I'm just kidding. Realistically, if you have one Von Neumann machine, you're about to become Von Neumann machines #2-5.
 
2012-08-11 12:36:44 AM

Mikey1969: Not so sure what's crazy abut the Paine plan. It's exactly what we're going to need to make this a viable idea. We can't build our spacecraft on the Earth, it's just silly. We build it in orbit, or on a moon base, and the design, weight and fuel requirements are almost non-existent, compared to what we have to do to leave the Earth. If we could figure out an economical way to get people into space in the first place, everything else would fall into place.


I don't understand why anything needs to be economical, even if Paine's plan was like 500 billion, we spend that yearly, our GDP for just the United States is 15.09 Trillion dollars just for 2011 alone.

We could easily shift over a lot of defense budget into this shiat, developing rockets, engines, etc. is already done for the military, ramp it up to larger things and Lockheed and the like can continue having jobs just doing something else besides bombs.

The EU has a GDP of 17.57 trillion as of 2011... And the entire world is 69.98 trillion... I mean for farks sake, if we want to leave this planet, we don't need to be economical about it, we just organize enough countries together and say fark it, we're doing this...
 
2012-08-11 01:54:16 AM

KellyX: I mean for farks sake, if we want to leave this planet, we don't need to be economical about it, we just organize enough countries together and say fark it, we're doing this...


This was actually the subject of my final paper when I took Astronomy. I see the need for a unified world government if we want to make ANY kind of progress in a timely maner. Borders, religious disputes, 'tribal' grudges, these all do more to hamper scientific and social advancement than any other factor. Of course, people freak when you say that, and seem one step away from an aneurysm, screaming about the UN, or the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group, the G20, etc. Globalization is a bad word, which is stupid as Hell. I don't know what people are worried about here in the US, we are enough of a power in the world that the new resulting world government would reflect what is here quite a bit.

Imagine not having to hide advancements and discoveries lest the 'bad guys' find out, but instead sharing, and having other scientists and engineers run with the idea and improve it faster...
Either way, to make space travel feasible in every way, we have to manufacture our space vehicles either in orbit, or on the moon. There is no reason to add the extra weight, support and fuel to get the damn thing off the Earth, when you can build the damn things almost out of balsa wood in space. I've always wondered why they are so hung on the straight rocket idea, why not a winged craft that gets them as far as possible up into space, and THEN a rocket boost for the rest? I'm sure it would use a fraction of the fuel by letting the wings lift it, then it can dock with a space station, and they can have shuttles to the moon from there that need far less weight. The winged craft can return to the ground just like the shuttle, except maybe powered so it can land wherever they want,rather than the controlled fal crap they used with the shuttle.


Anyway, that's my 1/50th of a dollar. I'm sure I'll get called some kind of commie by someone for daring to think that all the division in the world is only hurting us.
 
2012-08-11 06:56:30 AM

Mikey1969: why not a winged craft that gets them as far as possible up into space, and THEN a rocket boost for the rest? I'm sure it would use a fraction of the fuel by letting the wings lift it, then it can dock with a space station, and they can have shuttles to the moon from there that need far less weight. The winged craft can return to the ground just like the shuttle, except maybe powered so it can land wherever they want,rather than the controlled fal crap they used with the shuttle.


This is pretty much what Arthur C Clarke envisioned in 2001, isn't it? Eminently sensible.

[Floyd is en route to the space station] "Well, the Great Bird was flying now, beyond all the dreams of da Vinci, and its exhausted companion was winging back to Earth. In a ten-thousand mile arc the empty lower stage would glide down into the atmosphere, trading speed for distance as it homed on Kennedy. In a few hours, serviced and refuelled, it would be ready to lift another companion towards the shining silence which it could never reach."
 
2012-08-11 07:02:22 AM

Mikey1969: I see the need for a unified world government if we want to make ANY kind of progress in a timely maner.


I think it may be counter productive in our current situation.
Sure it sounds great to say that if everyone worked together we would advance... the reality is that if everyone was united, we'd have to spend the next few centuries just fixing various humanitarian crises around the world because most would agree that scientific enlightenment for one people isn't as important as food, health care, and equality for the rest.

The second reason it wouldn't work is that fear and keeping up with the Joneses have been two of the greatest motives for scientific advancement.
Science isn't done by the masses, its done by the collective few upon which we heap massive resources. We do this out of fear of the communists or fear of becoming a second rate nation on the world stage.

Barring the discovery of hostile aliens or some other great threat to the planet, a one world government has nothing to fear but its own internal politics. Any one bureaucrat will happily trade your rover program to give free stuff to a bunch of guys in Nigeria if it pays him back in votes.

Our drive to explore isn't as strong as our need to compete.
Without something out there to compete against, humans can become very isolationist.

/Another motivator is, obviously, money.
/But that means finding something to do out there that pays 500 billion a year.... we aren't there yet.
/Want a new space age, start a new space war.
 
2012-08-11 09:24:38 AM
Want to get people organized and working together for space travel? Find aliens. We'll never be "us" until there's another "them" to compare with.
 
2012-08-11 10:35:12 PM
For what it's worth, I believe the reason "we" haven't fully embraced spaceflight has little to do with economics, but rather, the need for political control over populations. I'm extensively summarizing an idea I read from Robert Zubrin in "The Case for Mars", in that he made historical comparisons with how the powers-that-be (or were) viewed frontiers. A frontier represented freedom, real freedom, not the watered-down pap we think is freedom. It mean escape from "their" control, and thus, was actively discouraged.

I like to think that the "flat earth" myth was an early example of this. If you told mariners that the world was flat and they'd fall off, they were much less likely to go out and find a new place to set up shop, weakening and diluting the power of the state/king/tribe/etc. I admit, it's oversimplifying what Zubrin suggested, but I think that it might play some part in why we're not daytripping to the Moon, asteroid mining, or enjoying our dream vacations on Mars.
 
2012-08-12 09:05:34 AM

redlegrick: For what it's worth, I believe the reason "we" haven't fully embraced spaceflight has little to do with economics, but rather, the need for political control over populations. I'm extensively summarizing an idea I read from Robert Zubrin in "The Case for Mars", in that he made historical comparisons with how the powers-that-be (or were) viewed frontiers. A frontier represented freedom, real freedom, not the watered-down pap we think is freedom. It mean escape from "their" control, and thus, was actively discouraged.

I like to think that the "flat earth" myth was an early example of this. If you told mariners that the world was flat and they'd fall off, they were much less likely to go out and find a new place to set up shop, weakening and diluting the power of the state/king/tribe/etc. I admit, it's oversimplifying what Zubrin suggested, but I think that it might play some part in why we're not daytripping to the Moon, asteroid mining, or enjoying our dream vacations on Mars.


Control may play an underlying reason, but I disagree in that the main roadblock is all about economics.

When the ticket price is low you can spend your own money to go places. If the price is extremely high then you'll have to ask your parents, friends, get a grant, or beg the bank for cash. The more people and money that get involved, the more questions will be asked and the greater an expectation of a profitable return.
If you want five hundred billion dollars, that is alot of paperwork.

If it was cheap then rich people would seriously consider retiring to Mars or starting small businesses in space.
Because its expensive, we have to involve government bureaucrats... and they don't see the future the same way we do.
 
2012-08-13 11:53:49 AM

redlegrick: I like to think that the "flat earth" myth was an early example of this.


No remotely educated person, including anyone with enough mojo to get a ship of his own, believed that the earth was flat in the last 1500 years. That's true anywhere the Western or Chinese intellectual traditions held sway (and quite possibly many other places, too). The belief doesn't even seem to be particularly widespread among the non-educated.

What kept most people from sailing off into the blue was the fear that there was no other land out there, which is a fairly reasonable assumption.

(Neither here nor there, just being pedantic.)
 
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