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Geekend: 2 Steps Closer To Mars
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rhubarbjackson
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rhubarbjackson,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/1/2014 | 11:43:44 AM
Mars
Last time I checked, the temperature on Mars was minus 200 degrees F.  Better bring some space heaters.  Lol.  Also Mars has no magnetic field, so anyone that does happen to make it there will have to contend with waves of charged particles bombarding them on a regular basis and mutating their DNA.  Sorry to burst your bubble.  Let's focus our resources on taking care of our own planet, the one that we can actually live on.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/1/2014 | 12:10:19 PM
Re: Mars
@rhubarbjackson- Well, the International Space Station has to deal with -255 degrees on one side of the earth and +250 on the other side. We've got people floating there right now. So I think NASA has handled the space heater problem. :)

As for the radion and charged particles, I mentioned that in the article as an obstacle to overcome. The ISS is subject to them now and uses a combination of shielding and rotation to minimize the exposure. Longer flights will require more advances.

But isn't that a good thing we work on problems like these? While the earth's atmosphere protects us from many of the dangerous particles, we create some ourselves and put ourselves in danger. We also have hurt our own atmosphere and changed what types of radiation gets through in places. What if we continue to do that? Also, if we ever have any intention of doing anything in space ever, this is a problem to solve.

As i mentioned in the article, nearly everything we've learned to do in space has had a profound and lasting impact on earth. Check out the list of things NASA has gifted to the world. It really does show how space travel does in fact mean "investing in resources down here."

At any rate, yes, that's still a problem we're working on. so is a propulsion system to make the trip. Also, spacesuits need to get better. There are all sorts of steps left. Thanksfully, we've got people working on them. But these were two steps that brought us a little closer.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
8/1/2014 | 12:34:33 PM
Re: Mars
@dave  -- nice Geekened article

>> I think it should be one of humanity's top goals, not only because of the stunning achievement, but also because the attempt would yield technology we could use to improve life here on Earth.


We could get some good technology out of it, but I wonder aout the geopolitics of it all--if we can't get along on Earth, why go somewhere else to fight?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/1/2014 | 1:13:35 PM
Re: Mars
We could get some good technology out of it, but I wonder aout the geopolitics of it all--if we can't get along on Earth, why go somewhere else to fight?


@jastro- An excellent question. I'm hoping this would be the kind of thing we could do together to help stop the fighting. For instance, i don't think NASA could get to MArs without Russia. But i don't think Russia could get to Mars without NASA. The European Space Agency, China, India, Japan, etc also could say the same thing. 


My dream would be a multinational effort with a multinational crew.

Of course, that's probably just a dream.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/1/2014 | 3:40:04 PM
Re: Mars
Wish this had come out before this story went to press. Long way to go on this, but extremely interesting.

Theoretically, if they can get this to work it would lower the time to Mars from months to weeks. That's a long way off, but still...

http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/1/5959637/nasa-cannae-drive-tests-have-promising-results

 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/1/2014 | 7:38:31 PM
Re: Mars
I agree about making Mars a priority. It would be worth the (enormous) cost in my opinion. 
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
8/2/2014 | 7:11:44 AM
Re: Mars
Happy Geekend, earthlings! Mars is still a little bit far away from us at this moment. But it's worth of the cost and effort to develop new technologies so that one day the immigration is possible. The earth is too heavily loaded and it's hard to imagine how it will look like after 100 years!
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2014 | 5:16:19 PM
Re: Mars
I agree. I hope this technology becomes more developed as time progress.  I think traveling to mars is a well intentioned effort.  I do agree that I won't see it in my lifetime, may be my grand children would.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/4/2014 | 3:45:45 PM
Re: Mars
@tom- Speaking of enormous cost, the most reliable estimates I've seen for the mission itself is $6-12 billion. That's for building the hardware, training staff and astronauts, and monitoring the mission. That's actually completely within the NASA budget which is around $17 billion per year.

If you add in the R&D before the mission the highest estimate I've seen is as high as $500 billion. That's a lot of money. but it is less than we spend on defense in a singal year. And the $500 billion would be spread over a decade or more. And I would like an international rather than domestic budget.

When you word it that way, i think it sounds cheap, but maybe it just shows my politics.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2014 | 9:28:38 PM
Re: Mars
It would be nice if the moon's resources such as helium-3 was mined, processed, converted into energy and then beamed back to earth. Energy or any kind of resource gain would make the moon economical -- creating a long term base on the moon. Next, the moon could be used for training and testing future mission to mars.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/5/2014 | 5:43:28 PM
Re: Mars
@Brian.Dean- Interesting. I've always assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that we're getting so close on solar that bothering to mine anything from space for energy seems like too much work. What are the benefits of helium 3 that make it attractive to you?
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
8/6/2014 | 9:28:36 AM
Re: Mars
@David, that's a good point. If solar energy is cheaper and closer to home -- going to a far off planet, moon or asteroid would not be feasible. Since solar panels have been dropping in prices at 7 percent a year, solar panels seem like the best option going forward. Helium 3 came to my mind because a few have actually speculated that it might be feasible to mine helium 3 for energy usages. Maybe in the future, some other types of rare earth metals are mined from space to meet the demand for technology or healthcare, etc.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2014 | 8:11:51 PM
Re: Mars
> -if we can't get along on Earth, why go somewhere else to fight?


I'd much rather have them fight on Mars then here on Earth. That way, innocent bystanders (like me) won't get hurt. Would you rather see a couple of dozen get killed on Mars than a couple of billion on Earth?
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2014 | 7:36:56 AM
Re: Mars
I was talking to some people about Mars and sending people that way.  Of course it turned into a discussion about other groups landing on Mars and fighting over resources.  I asked if we were going to take into account that Mars is currently inhabited by a race of robots and that they were there first.  
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2014 | 12:35:15 PM
Re: Mars
We can force the robots to update their operating systems to Windows 8. That'll take care of them.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/5/2014 | 7:30:09 AM
Re: Mars
As funny as that is, I was recently reading some commentary on Elon Musk's warning that we may become the boot loader for a super intelligent AI.  I really hope that's' not the case and we don't end up building the robot race that conquers the known universe.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
8/5/2014 | 11:02:33 AM
Re: Mars
He may be right, but if he is, it will be a problem for a later age.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/6/2014 | 7:19:56 AM
Re: Mars
@Gary_EL, it may not be a big problem for the next few generations but now is the time that AI is taking root.  Planning smartly now could help avoid crazy situations in the future.  Watson is a good example.  We have built a trivia AI that everyone is looking at for novel new projects.  
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/5/2014 | 5:40:10 PM
Re: Mars
@SaneIT- I always assume that any superior intelligence would actually have the intelligence to realize violence is wrong. So I think it is possible we're creating people who will replace us, I assume that the worst case is the new robot overlords would either tolerate us or ignore us. Truly superior thinking doesn't require extermination.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/6/2014 | 7:17:06 AM
Re: Mars
@David Wagner, have you ever walked into a building infested with roaches?  Arguably we are the superior race and what is our first reaction?  Obliterate them all...  I'm not saying our robot overlords will see us the same way but I could see that kind train of thought going.  We do quite a bit of mess making and a race that likes things a bit cleaner might see fit to squash us rather than try and train us.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/6/2014 | 1:45:49 PM
Re: Mars
@David Wagner, have you ever walked into a building infested with roaches?  Arguably we are the superior race and what is our first reaction?  Obliterate them all...  I'm not saying our robot overlords will see us the same way but I could see that kind train of thought going.  


Oooh....nice argument, SaneIt. I guess i meant superior to us. As in the best parts of us. 

But there's also a difference in life form level.

Humans, for the most part, don't go into a building infested with monkeys and wipe them all out. We wouldn't find a lake full of dolphins and take them down so we could swim in it. We recognize animals that are more intelligent or more similar to us and we are nicer to them.

Since we're creating the artificial intelligence, i would assume it would think of us like a monkey-- a less smart verison of us.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/7/2014 | 7:03:17 AM
Re: Mars
I would like to think that we are better than that but we had an issue with a bear that attacked someone in their garage.  I think when it was all said and done local authorities killed 5 bears and still didn't know for sure if they got the one that perpetrated the attack.  We like to think we're above the obliterate them all mentality but we really aren't.  Look at how the war in the Middle East went in the 90's  I can't tell you how many times I heard the term glass parking lot.  To that point we're the ones creating these AIs, how can we expect them to behave any better?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/5/2014 | 5:44:30 PM
Re: Mars
I'd much rather have them fight on Mars then here on Earth. That way, innocent bystanders (like me) won't get hurt. Would you rather see a couple of dozen get killed on Mars than a couple of billion on Earth?


I suspect that the fight would spill over either way. That's why I favor an internaitonal effort. 
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2014 | 10:58:40 PM
Cruel planet; no vacancy
I think it's still too early to go to Mars. The moon is a fluffy marshmallow compared to Mars. I think it will take much longer than anticipated to get there.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/5/2014 | 5:41:33 PM
Re: Cruel planet; no vacancy
@Michelle- do we wait until it becomes easy? Do we ever get there if we don't try? What goals should we have isntead?
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
8/5/2014 | 10:49:43 PM
Re: Cruel planet; no vacancy
@Dave good point. I have no answers. I really don't want people dying on the way to Mars.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/6/2014 | 1:41:21 PM
Re: Cruel planet; no vacancy
@Michelle- Sadly, I think we can guarantee someone will die. The loss of life to get to the moon was tragic, but probably unavoidable. We still have plane crashes so doing something as crazy as going to Mars is going to mean some loses. I guess that's why driving, flying, and space travel is all-volunteer.
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2014 | 7:54:37 PM
Re: Cruel planet; no vacancy
@Dave yes, it's sad. I'm glad there have been no manditory trips to outer space for anyone.
dgfletcher
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dgfletcher,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2014 | 11:33:49 AM
Mars Desert Research Station
Hi David,

Come visit the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah some time

Mars Desert Research Station

http://mdrs.marssociety.org/
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/5/2014 | 5:37:54 PM
Re: Mars Desert Research Station
@dgflecther- Sounds great. Would love to so if you can wrangle me an invite. I've seen a fair amount of Utah. Never saw a part that looked so much like Mars before. Amazing.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
8/27/2014 | 2:39:41 PM
leaf uses
I'm imagining a layer of artifical leaveson every high way median strip and factory roofs as a way of cleansing the air pollution befre it gets to the atmosphere, plus it's the one thing I could keep 'alive' in my house and still get the o2 and filtration benefits of a houseplant. I hope this helps in getting us to Mars as we pepper the place with them making it a 'green' planet.


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