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Thread: No Man's Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go?

  1. #11
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    Default Re: No Man's Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go?



    Thanks for the link - it looks fascinating - definitely one to go through on a rainy day (due soon... it is the UK after all!)

    I'm still reading KSR's Red Mars (great book!) about halfway through but yeah Pikaia's comment strikes a chord. I think we're a seriously long way from colonising though (many decades).
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    Default Re: No Man's Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Davesellars View Post
    Thanks for the link - it looks fascinating - definitely one to go through on a rainy day (due soon... it is the UK after all!)

    I'm still reading KSR's Red Mars (great book!) about halfway through but yeah Pikaia's comment strikes a chord. I think we're a seriously long way from colonising though (many decades).
    KSR's books are fantastic, and his Mars trilogy is one of the best science fiction series as far as I'm concerned. It took him 17 years of research to write the series, and it's still one of the best treatments of the subject out there.

    I must admit I laughed when I heard about Elon Musk's brash announcement recently. We have a long way to go before we'll be able to send people to Mars safely, and I can't see us sending millions of people there within the next hundred years, never mind 50. Especially not when we've apparently decided to completely discount the Moon as a stepping stone to anywhere else in the solar system.
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    Default Re: No Man's Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go?

    Discounting the Moon as a first step to colonisation of any sort outside of our planet does seem from the outset a strange idea. We know we can get there with current technology so why not use it to test technology/biology that is required for colonisation. It's all very well doing stuff here but as always when out in the "field" stuff happens differently than expected so it would seem like the perfect test-bed. Of course the Moon is rather a different prospect with different gravity and radiation issues so maybe not suitable for longer periods of time similar to astronauts on the ISS now. But, still I could see this as a much more feasible project for the near(er) future.
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    Default Re: No Man's Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Davesellars View Post
    Discounting the Moon as a first step to colonisation of any sort outside of our planet does seem from the outset a strange idea. We know we can get there with current technology so why not use it to test technology/biology that is required for colonisation. It's all very well doing stuff here but as always when out in the "field" stuff happens differently than expected so it would seem like the perfect test-bed. Of course the Moon is rather a different prospect with different gravity and radiation issues so maybe not suitable for longer periods of time similar to astronauts on the ISS now. But, still I could see this as a much more feasible project for the near(er) future.
    We discussed the Moon and some of the main problems with putting boots on Mars on this thread. Have a read of it to get up to speed.

    Barack Obama Declares U.S. on Track to Mars
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    Default Re: No Man's Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go?

    Another very interesting article on the subject of manned missions to Mars. They compare a real mission to what was portrayed in the film The Martian.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...m-the-martian/
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    Default Re: No Man's Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go?

    Quote Originally Posted by pikaia View Post
    "The workshop’s biggest split, however, proved to be the rift that developed between two factions arguing over how to treat Mars when and if they got there. Conservationists were willing to handicap human exploration for the sake of keeping the planet a pristine nature preserve; Colonials wished to prospect and settle Mars for both scientific and economic gains. Their clash marked an early battle in what could someday become a war for the planet’s future."
    It may come down to finding out (with rovers, etc) whether there is any native life on Mars before sending humans. If there is no life, colonization will need to be the primary objective in order to secure funding. Otherwise there is no return on investment - no point spending hundreds of billions to send a handful of people to a cold desert. Economics explains why humans haven't returned to the moon in decades, and also why Europeans made large investments to reach America during the age of sail.

    If rovers conclusively detect native Martian life, however, the question of whether humans should physically visit Mars becomes a huge ethical and safety question. There are no easy answers here, but thousands of years of human history suggest our species does not care too much about other species if there is some profit to be made.

    We have about 20 years before technology allows people to reach the red planet; it might be a good idea to try answer the life question by sending robots as soon as possible!

    SPlains
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    Default Re: No Man's Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go?

    Quote Originally Posted by SPlains View Post
    It may come down to finding out (with rovers, etc) whether there is any native life on Mars before sending humans. If there is no life, colonization will need to be the primary objective in order to secure funding. Otherwise there is no return on investment - no point spending hundreds of billions to send a handful of people to a cold desert. Economics explains why humans haven't returned to the moon in decades, and also why Europeans made large investments to reach America during the age of sail.

    If rovers conclusively detect native Martian life, however, the question of whether humans should physically visit Mars becomes a huge ethical and safety question. There are no easy answers here, but thousands of years of human history suggest our species does not care too much about other species if there is some profit to be made.

    We have about 20 years before technology allows people to reach the red planet; it might be a good idea to try answer the life question by sending robots as soon as possible!
    Dead right. There's a faction who thinks that Mars should be left alone completely, even if it is a sterile desert. Others think we need to find out what native lifeforms there are before we think about going there. Others are billionaires with more money than common sense who think we're going to go there anyway, regardless of the moral or safety concerns. On the bright side, there is no conceivable economic model under which it will be cost effective or profitable to send people to Mars. It's going to cost trillions to get the first people down there safely and bring them back, and even in a future of space tourism it's unlikely to be anything other than a millionaire's adventure holiday or a place to do some good science. Eventually one day we will probably colonise the planet, but that doesn't mean we'll wait until Earth is unliveable and then ship everyone over to Mars to start over again. Unfortunately, knowing this species and its track record on Earth, there's little doubt that any native life is not going to be an over-riding factor in any decisions made to exploit Mars. Mankind would rather endanger his own survival in the pursuit of money or his own interests, so he's not going to give a stuff about a bunch of alien microbes on Mars. Sad, but true.
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    Default Re: No Man's Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go?

    On this subject, here's a National Geographic video about whether or not humans should go to Mars.

    Why Should We Go to Mars? - MARS Video - National Geographic Channel
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