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View Diary: On Mars: If you Want to Find Evidence of Ancient Life, "Sand isn't the best place to look." (9 comments)

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  •  We need a manned mission to mars. (0+ / 0-)

    It would light the fire of imagination in a new generation of world citizens and would allow us much greater exploration possibilities.  These rovers are excellent, but we should also be sending them to the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, where human visits are not an option yet.

    If the costs are considered too high, it can be done in cooperation with the European Space Agency, imo.

    Space exploration is one area where I feel that the Obama Administration could be doing a better job.

    Tipped and recced.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:28:06 AM PST

    •  It would be interesting to have a discussion about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, Rashaverak

      the manned vs. unmanned mission proposals for Mars. I'd say that these robots we've been sending are the absolutely essential precusors for future missions and probably will find one way or the other if life did (or still does) exist there. They will probably do it at 1/10th to 1/100th of the cost of a manned mission. Also, if they do detect even simple microbial life (which I personally think they will), we may need to carefully consider whether a rush to put human boots on Mars is a good idea. For human missions, it would probably be impossible to avoid contaminating Mars with Earth bacteria the way we can with robots. They can be run through sterilization processes that you couldn't do with humans and all their equipment. So, we might end up killing off valuable indigineous life on Mars or possibly being exposed to things on Mars that could be dangerous to us. I think that is why it is more essential than ever to conduct the initial science with our robots to see what Mars hold.

      I'm not saying I wouldn't be excited to go, of course. It's just that we have to be careful, and just because we could rush there doesn't mean we should.

      Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

      by tekno2600 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:13:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  An interesting point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tekno2600

        Nonetheless, I think that it would be good to use a Mars mission to forge some kind of international effort for international exploration of the solar system.  And even if we went into firm planning mode, I doubt we'd see humans on Mars before 2030.  And it would probably be good to start sending cargo ahead of human astronauts, so we would have to get on it a.s.a.p.

        If robots haven't found life on Mars in the next 20 years, then it'll be time to have humans give it a go.  

        I'd like to see a Mars mission in my lifetime, that much is sure.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:33:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think these are all good points. I do expect to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence

          see Americans on Mars by around 2030. I don't expect to see some of the more sensationalized pipe dreams, like MarsOne and other such private Martian Colony ideas that have recently been floated, to actually pan out.

          It would be great to have an international partnership help with a Mars mission. However, to be honest, the ESA's budget is tiny compared to NASA (perhaps 1/10th), so I doubt we'd get much help from them. I can imagine trying to work with the Russians, though relations have deteriorated. We might have had a better chance working with the old Soviet government than the gangsters who currently run Russia. Perhaps we could also head off a new space race with China by reaching out to them. But, I'm not sure if there's any way to tell how likely that would be.

          Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

          by tekno2600 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:59:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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