Author Topic: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars  (Read 9890 times)

Offline Star One

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These are the relevant parts of the interview.

Bit surprised to hear him say this as I thought he was more visionary than this.

Quote
What do you see as the most important venture in space exploration right now?

I like that there's a desire to want to send people to Mars. I have my scepticism about how and when that will happen, but I will not stand in their way because somebody's got to dream like that. You can live in a country where everything is stable, but if it's a place where no-one dreams about a different future, then I don't know that it's where I would want to live. I admire the people who have the tenacity to send others to Mars.

What makes you sceptical?


The money. To go to Mars because you want to, my reading of history says that doesn't work. We didn't go to the Moon because we wanted to. We may remember it that way, because it serves a certain self-image – we're Americans, we're explorers, it's in our DNA, so we went to the Moon. That's just assuming it's a thing you do, without asking what's driving this, what's allocating the money for this? When you do that, you find that war and economics are the big drivers of major expenditures. I think there are many drivers for sending people into space – touristic, militaristic; these are very potent drivers of human conduct and the expenditure of financial capital. I imagine tourism, mining of asteroids as a frontier space activity. I'm sure the world's first trillionaire is the person who learns how to mine asteroids.

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/neil-degrasse-tyson-welcome-to-the-universe

Offline MattMason

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #1 on: 05/02/2017 01:23 PM »
My God.

I find myself actually agreeing with NDT for, like, the first time ever.

He's right. Unless the government has a pressing cause (such as wartime), why would they put a lot of money into a Mars adventure at this stage? That's not to say it can't happen, but there'd have to be a very strong justification to compel most of Congress to do so.

Now if the CNSA announced a formal manned mission to Mars, we might get fired up.
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Offline su27k

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #2 on: 05/02/2017 01:49 PM »
My God.

I find myself actually agreeing with NDT for, like, the first time ever.

He's right. Unless the government has a pressing cause (such as wartime), why would they put a lot of money into a Mars adventure at this stage? That's not to say it can't happen, but there'd have to be a very strong justification to compel most of Congress to do so.

His argument is predicated on the assumption that a manned Mars mission would exceed the current NASA HSF budget by a wide margin, the argument fails if you assume the mission is doable under the current HSF budget.

In fact didn't Mike Griffin argue that if you average NASA budget by 10 to 15 years, Apollo era doesn't have any extraordinary budget hike? The current NASA budget is huge, what is needed is not more money but how to use what they have wisely.

Online Lar

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #3 on: 05/02/2017 02:04 PM »
His main issue is that he has "only government can do this" blinders on.  NdGT doesn't see why there's money in it because he has a "research is the only reason" mindset. I find him less and less credible about anything to do with NASA, or  anything to do with government, really.

Musk's response: Hold my beer, watch this.

(not really, Musk is working with NASA and will leverage assets, share data, etc... but if NASA wasn't there any more and it was only commercial from here on out? I think he'd still be trying to find ways to do it)

NdGT is right about a Mars mission if it's purely government/SLS ... never happen.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 02:05 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline yg1968

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #4 on: 05/02/2017 02:07 PM »
I am sceptical too. There doesn't seem to be any funding for a lander.

That is one of the reasons that I support a deep space habitat. It ensures that we are not left with nothing if the Mars plans stall. 

This must also be the first time that I agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Offline Star One

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #5 on: 05/02/2017 02:23 PM »
His main issue is that he has "only government can do this" blinders on.  NdGT doesn't see why there's money in it because he has a "research is the only reason" mindset. I find him less and less credible about anything to do with NASA, or  anything to do with government, really.

Musk's response: Hold my beer, watch this.

(not really, Musk is working with NASA and will leverage assets, share data, etc... but if NASA wasn't there any more and it was only commercial from here on out? I think he'd still be trying to find ways to do it)

NdGT is right about a Mars mission if it's purely government/SLS ... never happen.

By heck I actually agree with you as he seems to be speaking as if there aren't people like Mr Musk, who yes will take government help in the way you describe, but the actual money will come from private industry. In this case I think it's going to be the private sector that makes this happen not the government and that's what he seems to completely miss.

Online meberbs

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #6 on: 05/02/2017 02:40 PM »
Title of this thread is misleading. "scepticism about how and when that will happen" is very different from "doubts humans will ever walk on Mars." While the second one represents a terrible attitude that something can't and won't be done, even 100 or 500 years from now, the first is much more reasonable. His skepticism is based on money, and NASA's current plans are too expensive to ever be effective. Musk is lowering the price, and while I think ITS will work out, it is a crazy plan and Musk realizes that too. Since the main way there will be enough funding for it is if their satellite constellation is a great success, people who doubt if on funding have a good point today, just look at the funding slide from the ITS announcement.

When he talks about expanding into space, he mentions tourism and economic motivating factors. I think his forward vision is more similar to Bezos' which doesn't involve Mars in the near term at all.

Online Lar

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #7 on: 05/02/2017 02:58 PM »
By heck I actually agree with you
IKR !!! ??? !!!

Quote
as he seems to be speaking as if there aren't people like Mr Musk, who yes will take government help in the way you describe, but the actual money will come from private industry. In this case I think it's going to be the private sector that makes this happen not the government and that's what he seems to completely miss.

This is a persistent and consistent blind spot with him, not just about Mars but about commercial space in general. I otherwise like him, think he's doing good things for STEM and raising science awareness in general but this? It's enough that I semi-automatically discount anything he says about what's possible in space.  ... I think my fanboyism is tempered by reality, it could all fail, but there's some hope.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline mme

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #8 on: 05/02/2017 03:00 PM »
Title of this thread is misleading. "scepticism about how and when that will happen" is very different from "doubts humans will ever walk on Mars." While the second one represents a terrible attitude that something can't and won't be done, even 100 or 500 years from now, the first is much more reasonable. His skepticism is based on money, and NASA's current plans are too expensive to ever be effective. Musk is lowering the price, and while I think ITS will work out, it is a crazy plan and Musk realizes that too. Since the main way there will be enough funding for it is if their satellite constellation is a great success, people who doubt if on funding have a good point today, just look at the funding slide from the ITS announcement.

When he talks about expanding into space, he mentions tourism and economic motivating factors. I think his forward vision is more similar to Bezos' which doesn't involve Mars in the near term at all.
Fair points. He's actually softened his tone, mentioning the "dreamers" is new compared to what I recall him saying in the past.  But at times I think he is unaware of Blue Origin, SpaceX, and the ever growing list of slightly eccentric billionaires in the world that see money as a means and not an end.

Personally, I'd like to have a transparent, well functioning government with a populace that supports exploration and basic research. But until slightly eccentric billionaires take on that cause, I'll settle for slightly eccentric billionaires dragging us back into space.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #9 on: 05/02/2017 03:02 PM »
My God.

I find myself actually agreeing with NDT for, like, the first time ever.

That's odd.  He says a lot of things that are scientific fact.

His main issue is that he has "only government can do this" blinders on.

He didn't say that at all.
His argument is predicated on the assumption that a manned Mars mission would exceed the current NASA HSF budget by a wide margin,

Where did he say that?

Offline Graham

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #10 on: 05/02/2017 03:03 PM »
Maybe as a college undergrad I'm young and naive because I want a job, and because I haven't watched cancellations and budget cuts for forty years- but I see no reason to believe SpaceX or another similarly motivated company won't take is to Mars eventually. It may not immediately be the grandiose 100+ people colonization ships that Musk likes to talk about, and it may not be as soon as he likes to say (see Falcon Heavy)- but he has given us no reason to doubt the Mars plans yet.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 08:57 PM by Graham »
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Offline Star One

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Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #11 on: 05/02/2017 03:06 PM »
By heck I actually agree with you
IKR !!! ??? !!!

Quote
as he seems to be speaking as if there aren't people like Mr Musk, who yes will take government help in the way you describe, but the actual money will come from private industry. In this case I think it's going to be the private sector that makes this happen not the government and that's what he seems to completely miss.

This is a persistent and consistent blind spot with him, not just about Mars but about commercial space in general. I otherwise like him, think he's doing good things for STEM and raising science awareness in general but this? It's enough that I semi-automatically discount anything he says about what's possible in space.  ... I think my fanboyism is tempered by reality, it could all fail, but there's some hope.

I posted the article to a great extent because I was disappointed in what he said in it. I don't expect him to suddenly throw realism out the window and become completely unrealistic about the prospects of humans on Mars but I would have hoped he'd at least acknowledge the aspirations of those like Elon Musk not just speak as if they didn't exist. Also he could have least acknowledged the fact that such missions may well occur outside the government sphere.

Even an old cynic like me would still want to see something like the ITS built before he goes to his grave.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 03:08 PM by Star One »

Offline RonM

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #12 on: 05/02/2017 03:18 PM »
Of course, the big issue is money. Neil is probably right about government. What he doesn't understand is the space enthusiast billionaire. If SpaceX can generate enough income, Elon is sending ships to Mars. If SpaceX cannot generate enough income, Elon needs to sweet talk his buddy Jeff Bezos. As the fifth richest man in the world, Mr. Bezos has enough wealth to send ships to Mars as a hobby.

Offline muomega0

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #13 on: 05/02/2017 03:41 PM »
Quote
What do you see as the most important venture in space exploration right now?

I like that there's a desire to want to send people to Mars. I have my scepticism about how and when that will happen, but I will not stand in their way because somebody's got to dream like that. You can live in a country where everything is stable, but if it's a place where no-one dreams about a different future, then I don't know that it's where I would want to live. I admire the people who have the tenacity to send others to Mars.

What makes you sceptical?

I think there are many drivers for sending people into space – touristic, militaristic;  I imagine tourism, mining of asteroids as a frontier space activity. I'm sure the world's first trillionaire is the person who learns how to mine asteroids.
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/neil-degrasse-tyson-welcome-to-the-universe

This gateway for human space exploration requires three things:
1-  a thorough asteroid survey to find thousands of nearby bodies suitable for astronauts to visit;
 2- extending flight duration and distance capability to ever-increasing ranges out to Mars;
 3- developing better robotic vehicles and tools to enable astronauts to explore an asteroid regardless of its size, shape or spin.


Inspace refueling reduces LV size, enables reuse, expands NASA and DOD missions sets (BEO, space junk, and tech maturation) lower launch costs to create/expand new markets in faster global coverage communications, SMART Electric Grid, Transportation, Drone Delivery and the IPs can also help reduce costs by providing 70% of the mission mass: dirt cheap, class D propellant.

Yes, Find Asteriods to get to Mars  8)

NASA can develop a deep space transportation architecture to lower the cost of science and HSF missions, and perhaps create a new trillionaire along the way.  Quite the exciting future indeed.

Offline Kansan52

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #14 on: 05/02/2017 03:46 PM »
Maybe as a college undergrad I'm young and naive because I want a job, and because I haven't watched cancellations and budget cuts for forty- but I see no reason to believe SpaceX or another similarly motivated company won't take is to Mars eventually. It may not immediately be the grandiose 100+ people colonization ships that Musk likes to talk about, and it may not be as soon as he likes to say (see Falcon Heavy)- but he has given us no reason to doubt the Mars plans yet.

Having lived through Sputnik to now, keep the faith and keep going. These are exciting times!

Online meberbs

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #15 on: 05/02/2017 03:58 PM »
Of course, the big issue is money. Neil is probably right about government. What he doesn't understand is the space enthusiast billionaire. If SpaceX can generate enough income, Elon is sending ships to Mars. If SpaceX cannot generate enough income, Elon needs to sweet talk his buddy Jeff Bezos. As the fifth richest man in the world, Mr. Bezos has enough wealth to send ships to Mars as a hobby.
I think it was second richest at last count, Amazon has apparently been having a good year.

Offline Star One

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #16 on: 05/02/2017 04:35 PM »
Of course, the big issue is money. Neil is probably right about government. What he doesn't understand is the space enthusiast billionaire. If SpaceX can generate enough income, Elon is sending ships to Mars. If SpaceX cannot generate enough income, Elon needs to sweet talk his buddy Jeff Bezos. As the fifth richest man in the world, Mr. Bezos has enough wealth to send ships to Mars as a hobby.
I think it was second richest at last count, Amazon has apparently been having a good year.

Not to go too far OT but so has Tesla according to all the press reports.

Offline RonM

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #17 on: 05/02/2017 05:16 PM »
Of course, the big issue is money. Neil is probably right about government. What he doesn't understand is the space enthusiast billionaire. If SpaceX can generate enough income, Elon is sending ships to Mars. If SpaceX cannot generate enough income, Elon needs to sweet talk his buddy Jeff Bezos. As the fifth richest man in the world, Mr. Bezos has enough wealth to send ships to Mars as a hobby.
I think it was second richest at last count, Amazon has apparently been having a good year.

Not to go too far OT but so has Tesla according to all the press reports.

Yes, I think Elon stands a pretty good chance of funding ITS. We'll just have to wait and see.

Offline Hauerg

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #18 on: 05/02/2017 05:41 PM »
I am sceptical too. There doesn't seem to be any funding for a lander.
...
That's why the "the second stage IS the transfer module IS the lander IS the return module" of ITS is the only thing that makes sense.
You will never get a half dozen elements funded "the NASA way". Or if it is funded it will take eternity plus 30 years.

Offline sevenperforce

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #19 on: 05/02/2017 06:17 PM »
I am sceptical too. There doesn't seem to be any funding for a lander.
...
That's why the "the second stage IS the transfer module IS the lander IS the return module" of ITS is the only thing that makes sense.
You will never get a half dozen elements funded "the NASA way". Or if it is funded it will take eternity plus 30 years.
There are other mission architectures, but propellant transfer and aerobraking for Mars insertion are both ridiculously important. There's really no way to pull it off without using those two things.

Offline Star One

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Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #20 on: 05/02/2017 06:36 PM »
Can I ask overall were people surprised at this kind of response from him, as I've indicated up thread already I know I was?
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 06:36 PM by Star One »

Offline IRobot

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #21 on: 05/02/2017 06:43 PM »
NdGT does not like that private companies have the initiative. He has a career in universities, institutes, government positions and as an entertainer. He has no spirit of private initiative, he has no experience of working on a high tech, fast moving private company.

All his talk in the past +10 years is that NASA's budget should be doubled. Private initiative, in his view, just shame NASA and make his proposal look like government overspending.

Online Lar

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #22 on: 05/02/2017 06:46 PM »
Can I ask overall were people surprised at this kind of response from him, as I've indicated up thread already I know I was?

Do you want a poll added or did you want people's views in narrative? I can add a poll for you I think (PM me the question and choices), although we normally put polls in the poll section, I'll seek a special dispensation from The Man....

If you just wanted narrative,  here's mine: I think you won't be surprised that I wasn't surprised... my comments above already suggest that this sort of "government is the only way, the dreamers won't amount to much, and there is no way to do this that isn't horrendously expensive" thinking is par for the course from him. I wish he'd stick to promoting STEM and FIRST and warning us about AGCC...
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline pippin

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Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #23 on: 05/03/2017 01:28 AM »
What were the last estimates of what ITS development and initial production costs?

One thing I don't like about the whole "SpaceX is going to privately fund Mars easy-peasy" narrative is that it seems to be based on the assumption that they are going to make huge sums of money with their Sat constellation. Unfortunately that assumption has some big holes in it, particularly that's it's usually not as easy to do rent seeking under competition and there is plenty of competition in the communications market and sat comm isn't a singular solution.

So do the likes of Bezos have enough money left over to fund this? And please don't just use the value of Bezos' Amazon stock, he won't completely sell out for this and if he did Amazon would all of a sudden be worth only a fraction of what it's worth now so the maximum we might talk about is something like 10% his net worth or so.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 01:29 AM by pippin »

Online Lar

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #24 on: 05/03/2017 01:32 AM »
What were the last estimates of what ITS development and initial production costs?

One thing I don't like about the whole "SpaceX is going to privately fund Mars easy-peasy" narrative is that it seems to be based on the assumption that they are going to make huge sums of money with their Sat constellation. Unfortunately that assumption has some big holes in it, particularly that's it's usually not as easy to do rent seeking under competition and there is plenty of competition in the communications market and sat comm isn't a singular solution.

So do the likes of Bezos have enough money left over to fund this? And please don't just use the value of Bezos' Amazon stock, he won't completely sell out for this and if he did Amazon would all of a sudden be worth only a fraction of what it's worth now so the maximum we might talk about is something like 10% his net worth or so.

I think you're missing that Musk is going to lever up. Same as Tyson, you're looking at the expenditure as an all at once thing. We're already starting to see rates and reuses and finesse increasing, and the capabilities of the corporate entity increase in a virtuous cycle. Thinking about it from a conventional project funding perspective might just be the wrong way to look at it.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline pippin

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #25 on: 05/03/2017 02:02 AM »
What were the last estimates of what ITS development and initial production costs?

One thing I don't like about the whole "SpaceX is going to privately fund Mars easy-peasy" narrative is that it seems to be based on the assumption that they are going to make huge sums of money with their Sat constellation. Unfortunately that assumption has some big holes in it, particularly that's it's usually not as easy to do rent seeking under competition and there is plenty of competition in the communications market and sat comm isn't a singular solution.

So do the likes of Bezos have enough money left over to fund this? And please don't just use the value of Bezos' Amazon stock, he won't completely sell out for this and if he did Amazon would all of a sudden be worth only a fraction of what it's worth now so the maximum we might talk about is something like 10% his net worth or so.

I think you're missing that Musk is going to lever up. Same as Tyson, you're looking at the expenditure as an all at once thing. We're already starting to see rates and reuses and finesse increasing, and the capabilities of the corporate entity increase in a virtuous cycle. Thinking about it from a conventional project funding perspective might just be the wrong way to look at it.
No, im not, neither is Tyson.
Actually that's where his other point comes up: if you want to add leverage or any form of capital market investment you need a solid business case.

I don't think there is one, which was Tyson's point, too.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #26 on: 05/03/2017 02:04 AM »
I find it odd he doubts it'll ever happen.
The technology to do crewed mission to Mars has been around since the 1970s but it's finally becoming cheap enough plus there are more large scale space programs going on than ever before.
Even if the US never goes someone else eventually will do it.

The real question is who will send a crew to Mars first will it be the US, Russia,China,India or a private entity?

« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 02:06 AM by Patchouli »

Offline pippin

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #27 on: 05/03/2017 02:05 AM »
Oh, and regarding profits from satcom or launch business: sure, in the very long term you can use that to slowly grow your capabilities but then we're not talking 10 or 15 years, then we are probably talking something like 20-30

Offline pippin

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Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #28 on: 05/03/2017 02:06 AM »
I find it odd he doubts it'll ever happen.
The technology to do crewed mission to Mars has been around since the 1970s but it's finally becoming cheap enough plus there are more players than just the NASA now.

The real question is who will send a crew to Mars first the US,the Russians,the Chinese, or a private entity?
Again: how much does it cost?
Everyone keeps claiming it finally became cheap enough. What's "cheap enough"? Where are the funds and the cost estimates?
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 02:08 AM by pippin »

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #29 on: 05/03/2017 02:13 AM »
Technically just the money the US government wasted on it's pointless war on drugs and and building more prisons would have been more than enough to fund a robust human exploration program during the 1980s and 1990s.
I can't say what we'd have if the money spent on pointless wars went to exploration but I think we'd already have cities on the moon by now.

As for cost even the EELVs are lower cost per kg than rockets from the 1960s and Falcon 9 is cheaper still.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 02:19 AM by Patchouli »

Online Lar

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #30 on: 05/03/2017 02:29 AM »
I think you're missing that Musk is going to lever up. Same as Tyson, you're looking at the expenditure as an all at once thing. We're already starting to see rates and reuses and finesse increasing, and the capabilities of the corporate entity increase in a virtuous cycle. Thinking about it from a conventional project funding perspective might just be the wrong way to look at it.
No, im not, neither is Tyson.
Actually that's where his other point comes up: if you want to add leverage or any form of capital market investment you need a solid business case.

I don't think there is one, which was Tyson's point, too.
Not that kind of leverage. Capability, not financial. You're thinking conventional project funding. That will come when the likes of Rio Tinto start funding asteroid mining but it will be funding for THEIR projects. SpaceX just rakes in the revenue from their launches. Study how Ford levered up. It wasn't about banks and finances. And study how fast it happened, it took about a decade or so. We're at 1912 or 1914... but the wheels are turning faster already.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 02:30 AM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline spacenut

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #31 on: 05/03/2017 02:36 AM »
My BIL and SIL are both professors.  They have never been in private industry and have no clue as to how they work or operate.  They think the government is the one who solves problems and gets things done.  My wife on the other hand ran a computer business for 18 years, and I worked with a utility company as an distribution engineer.  We had to get things done, and had to focus on what we were doing.  My BIL taught and did research as an organic Chemistry professor.  He could take his time. 

The private sector, when they put their minds to it, can move faster than government.  Government requires politics and money and a big bloated bureaucracy to get something implemented. 

I think we can get to Mars if we had the right leadership at NASA, with a public private partnership.  It seems like COTS was very effective, the result was SpaceX.  COTS like moon or Mars projects, I think can get a lot done, faster than the government alone.  The Air Force doesn't design and build their own planes, and the Army doesn't design and build their own tanks, trucks, etc.  The tell private industry what they want, get bids, and buy the equipment. 

NASA has spent years designing and building SLS, and we still do not have a rocket.  SpaceX moved very quickly.  Orbital did to a certain extent.  Now B.O. is getting into the orbital market with a very good rocket design.   I think NASA will eventually abandon SLS and if they started bids on an in space infrastructure and help fund it, but biding out equipment, fuel depots, maybe NautilusX vehicle, or large SEP tugs, all designed to fit existing or NEAR future rockets.  We could get going with real space exploration.   

Offline su27k

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #32 on: 05/03/2017 03:09 AM »
His argument is predicated on the assumption that a manned Mars mission would exceed the current NASA HSF budget by a wide margin,

Where did he say that?

How else do you interpret "The money. To go to Mars because you want to, my reading of history says that doesn't work. We didn't go to the Moon because we wanted to. We may remember it that way, because it serves a certain self-image – we're Americans, we're explorers, it's in our DNA, so we went to the Moon. That's just assuming it's a thing you do, without asking what's driving this, what's allocating the money for this?"?

Again: how much does it cost?
Everyone keeps claiming it finally became cheap enough. What's "cheap enough"? Where are the funds and the cost estimates?

Cost: $10B per Musk IAC speech
Funds: 2/3 from NASA budget, using the funding opened up after Commercial Crew is finished. 1/3 from SpaceX, using the engineering resources opened up after F9/FH/Dragon 2 is finished.

Offline pippin

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Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #33 on: 05/03/2017 03:14 AM »
Ah, so primarily government funding again.
And the 10bn are for what? Development? Building the first vehicle? First flight? 100 flights?

Given that Musk said they spent 1bn to go from F9 to FH alone, 10bn for more than a prototype sounds like quite a stretch.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 03:16 AM by pippin »

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #34 on: 05/03/2017 03:30 AM »
Cost: $10B per Musk IAC speech
Funds: 2/3 from NASA budget, using the funding opened up after Commercial Crew is finished. 1/3 from SpaceX, using the engineering resources opened up after F9/FH/Dragon 2 is finished.

If 2/3 from NASA budget means NASA buying a bunch of launches,  or payloads delivered to Mars, sure[1]. But if you mean NASA put up the development money? That much?  No. That's not the plan. Maybe 1B of the 10, if that. Musk is building a robust industrial empire that will do most all of it internally. Not just the vehicle but the initial tech for most of the colony. Power, storage, transport, manufacturing.

Tesla is levering up right now. So is SpaceX. If you don't see it? Fine. Just stay out of the way. Tyson's remarks are not helpful, they're distractive.

1 - the money to fund FH, to fund reuse? ... it "came from NASA" in part because NASA buys transport service. But a lot of other customers do too. Ford didn't go to the capital markets much either.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 03:37 AM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline su27k

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #35 on: 05/03/2017 03:53 AM »
Ah, so primarily government funding again.

I don't see what's wrong with using government funding?

Quote
And the 10bn are for what? Development? Building the first vehicle? First flight? 100 flights?

I think it's for development + first manned mission

Quote
Given that Musk said they spent 1bn to go from F9 to FH alone, 10bn for more than a prototype sounds like quite a stretch.

Depends on what you mean by prototype, the architecture has huge margins, they can underperform by 100% and still be able to carry out an exploration mission.

Offline su27k

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #36 on: 05/03/2017 03:59 AM »
Cost: $10B per Musk IAC speech
Funds: 2/3 from NASA budget, using the funding opened up after Commercial Crew is finished. 1/3 from SpaceX, using the engineering resources opened up after F9/FH/Dragon 2 is finished.

If 2/3 from NASA budget means NASA buying a bunch of launches,  or payloads delivered to Mars, sure[1]. But if you mean NASA put up the development money? That much?  No. That's not the plan.

There can be multiple plans, I think what I have here is the best case scenario in Musk's mind, of course he can try to fund it privately but that would take more effort and incur more risk.

To quote his IAC speech
Quote
So, funding. We've thought about funding sources.

And so it's steal underpants, launch satellites, send cargo to space station, Kickstarter of course followed by profit. So obviously it's going to be a challenge to fund this whole endeavor.

We do expect to generate pretty decent net cash flow from launching lots of satellites and servicing the space station for NASA, transferring cargo to and from the space station, and then I know that there's a lot of people in the private sector who are interested in helping fund a base on Mars. And then perhaps they'll be interest on the government sector side to also do that.

Ultimately this is going to be a huge public-private partnership, and I think that's how the United States established, and many other countries around the world is a public-private partnership. So I think that's probably what occurs, and right now we're just trying to make as much progress as we can with the resources that we have available, and just sort of keep moving both forward, and hopefully I think, as we show that this is possible, that this dream is real, not just a dream it's something that can be made real I think the support will snowball over time.

And I should say also that the main reason I'm personally accumulating assets is in order to fund this. So I really don't have any other motivation for personally accumulating assets, except to be able to make the biggest contribution I can to making life multiplanetary.


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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #37 on: 05/03/2017 04:09 AM »
Musk:
Quote
And I should say also that the main reason I'm personally accumulating assets is in order to fund this.

"this" is colonization. The whole shebang. Not the initial transport. That's just a small part of the puzzle. I'm in the camp that believes as SpaceX ratchets up, as each flight grows their capability and fixed plant/assets and people, and bank account, that they'll do ITS itself almost wholly internally. The upper stage raptor money might possibly be the only government money invested. At all. And that is at 2:1, SpaceX puts up twice as much.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 04:14 AM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online Dalhousie

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #38 on: 05/03/2017 05:10 AM »
Musk:
Quote
And I should say also that the main reason I'm personally accumulating assets is in order to fund this.

"this" is colonization. The whole shebang. Not the initial transport. That's just a small part of the puzzle. I'm in the camp that believes as SpaceX ratchets up, as each flight grows their capability and fixed plant/assets and people, and bank account, that they'll do ITS itself almost wholly internally. The upper stage raptor money might possibly be the only government money invested. At all. And that is at 2:1, SpaceX puts up twice as much.

I don't think there is the slightest evidence that SpaceX will be able to do this internally.  It's just wishful thinking.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #39 on: 05/03/2017 05:39 AM »
Musk:
Quote
And I should say also that the main reason I'm personally accumulating assets is in order to fund this.

"this" is colonization. The whole shebang. Not the initial transport. That's just a small part of the puzzle. I'm in the camp that believes as SpaceX ratchets up, as each flight grows their capability and fixed plant/assets and people, and bank account, that they'll do ITS itself almost wholly internally. The upper stage raptor money might possibly be the only government money invested. At all. And that is at 2:1, SpaceX puts up twice as much.

I don't think there is the slightest evidence that SpaceX will be able to do this internally.  It's just wishful thinking.
Plus, as seen above, it's obviously not what Musk says himself.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #40 on: 05/03/2017 05:41 AM »
Constellation.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #41 on: 05/03/2017 07:36 AM »
Musk:
Quote
And I should say also that the main reason I'm personally accumulating assets is in order to fund this.

"this" is colonization. The whole shebang. Not the initial transport. That's just a small part of the puzzle. I'm in the camp that believes as SpaceX ratchets up, as each flight grows their capability and fixed plant/assets and people, and bank account, that they'll do ITS itself almost wholly internally. The upper stage raptor money might possibly be the only government money invested. At all. And that is at 2:1, SpaceX puts up twice as much.

I don't think there is the slightest evidence that SpaceX will be able to do this internally.  It's just wishful thinking.
Plus, as seen above, it's obviously not what Musk says himself.

No argument from me. Although is does play somewhat disingenuously on this issue depending on the crowd. Unfortunately quite a lot of the fanbois and fangirrls do think that SpaceX will be able to go to Mars internally..
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #42 on: 05/03/2017 09:50 AM »
Musk:
Quote
And I should say also that the main reason I'm personally accumulating assets is in order to fund this.

"this" is colonization. The whole shebang. Not the initial transport. That's just a small part of the puzzle. I'm in the camp that believes as SpaceX ratchets up, as each flight grows their capability and fixed plant/assets and people, and bank account, that they'll do ITS itself almost wholly internally. The upper stage raptor money might possibly be the only government money invested. At all. And that is at 2:1, SpaceX puts up twice as much.

I don't think there is the slightest evidence that SpaceX will be able to do this internally.  It's just wishful thinking.
Plus, as seen above, it's obviously not what Musk says himself.

No argument from me. Although is does play somewhat disingenuously on this issue depending on the crowd. Unfortunately quite a lot of the fanbois and fangirrls do think that SpaceX will be able to go to Mars internally..
Fanbois is an ad hominem. Also, how do you know that Musk is being disingenuous? Do you think the plan is finalized and carved in stone?  Because I never got the impression they worked out all the details yet.

I think they'll fund it however they can.  Internally, ComX, sell TSLA stock, ask Larry Page for a couple billion, random philanthropists, steal underwear, what ever it takes. I'm sure they'd love some government money if they can convince any governments to fork some over.

Musk recently indicated he'll make a new announcement soon and that it includes "better" ideas on the funding. I expect that to happen several times over the next 5 years.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #43 on: 05/03/2017 10:54 AM »
If Tyson really meant he doubts humans will ever walk on Mars, I believe he is fundamentally mistaken and underestimating our ability to go places within the solar system.  We did reach the moon, you know.  On the other hand, colonization is a much different matter.  It is a long journey and logistically challenging.

The past's great explorations didn't start because people wanted to see what was on the other side.  They started and were sustained by Europe's need for resources and were funded by governments.  They wanted to find a faster way to India so they could get goods faster, but when they "discovered" America instead, there were two continents pretty much free for the taking due to the technological superiority of the New World, helped by unintentional biological warfare, and the ruthless harvesting of the environment to send raw materials back to the Old World.  Once the extent of the resources was realized, trading companies formed, established colonies, and you know the rest, enabling others to come for different reasons and sustain new colonies.

But, after the discovery of the New World in 1492, it took until 1565 for the Spanish to establish the first European city in America -- 73 years.  The English didn't establish a successful colony until 1607 - 115 years. While the cutting edge technology was primitive compared to today, I can easily see it taking that long to establish a sizeable Martian Colony because space travel is inherently less effective/efficient than sea travel even back then, especially since the New World offered free land, air, water, and food once explorers/reconnaissance parties got there.

Insofar as we know, Mars has no resources able to be sent profitably back Earth and therefor the price to pay for stuff to be sent to Mars can be as expensive as the suppliers want.  Profit, at least at first, will all be one sided.  Sure, there will be a trade in some luxury, novelty items, but even Musk has said words to the effect of if high grade cocaine was on the surface of Mars, it wouldn't be cost effective to send back.

Mars does have resources that over time can probably make a colony self-sustaining, but only after a long period of development and still needing Earth imports.  Even some New World colonies died for lack of knowledge, application, and slow resupply, so why should Mars be any different?  Japan, for all of its technological and financial success, still has to import nearly all of its raw materials.

How long will it take to become self-sufficient?  How will they raise money to fund resupply?   I don't think the colonization effort can be funded by people paying the median price for a house per person, nor will supplying launch services for other projects, or other industries set up to channel additional revenue to this effort.

Over the near term (the next 50 years or so) I see are Mars research stations similar to those in the Antarctic.  Antarctic stations funded largely by the government,  are not self-sustainable, only produce knowledge, do not offer anything to offer in trade, have free air and water, but are largely cut off from the rest of the world during the southern winter.  The waters around the continent produce foodstuffs and the small, but active tourist industry, does not supply any funds to them either.

The effort, useful, massive and challenging, is easy compared to Mars and still much like the initial New World outposts and colonies.

Perhaps 25 - 50 years after an initial Martian outpost is established, we may see other growth possible because of things like 3D printing to enable advanced structures, production of the machinery and other tools needed to produce the other needed items, preparation of the Martian regolith to support farming,  and other biological advances enabling us to grow food and not have to send animals and plants to Mars.

Since there are always surprises, maybe something wondrous will be discovered on Mars (or close enough to Mars) that dramatically changes the logistics of the situation.  (Transporters maybe.  :)



Offline pippin

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #44 on: 05/03/2017 12:40 PM »
Do you think the plan is finalized and carved in stone?  Because I never got the impression they worked out all the details yet.

I think that's the important point here.
A lot of people tend to believe in grand plans that are being carried out over decades, a lot like the moon landing.

But in 99% of the cases it's nothing like that. You've got a vision about where you want to go and then you start figuring out the details and pretty much every bit of plan tends to change on the way.

And this is a good approach.

Unfortunately, in cases like this where funds on the scale of the GDP of average countries are involved, this process usually isn't a very fast one. Because such funds are neither raised nor spent quickly.

And then we no longer talk about landing on Mars in 2024 and discussing options to speed things up to make it during Trump's first term, then we talk 2030's or 2040's or even later. And a lot can happen till then.
And that's what I take away from NdGT's statements.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #45 on: 05/03/2017 12:46 PM »
(mod hat) Use "fanboi" (that particular spelling) again where I see it? == Deleted post. If you don't understand why, use Google to search for it.

(fan boy hat) You guys are wrong. As long as you are just wrong but stay out of the way and let Musk fail (as you know he will)  you'll get no further argument. But if you keep the Alabama Mafia pushing that rocket to nowhere, I'll argue against you strenuously.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 12:50 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #46 on: 05/03/2017 01:27 PM »
Out of serious curiosity:

(fan boy hat) You guys are wrong. As long as you are just wrong but stay out of the way and let Musk fail (as you know he will)  you'll get no further argument.

As a fan boy: what would you consider "failure" for Musk?

Just asking because I (not considering myself a fan boy) would think he has already achieved way too much WRT spaceflight to be considered a failure no matter what happens going forward.
But would it be "failure" if he didn't reach Mars during his lifetime? Or if SpaceX sends people to Mars but can't establish a colony? Or if it only happens on government contract?
What's a fan boy definition of 'success' vs. 'failure' for Musk?

I'd really, really like to know (is there a thread about this?).
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 01:28 PM by pippin »

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #47 on: 05/03/2017 01:35 PM »
Dunno if there's a specific thread for "what is overall failure or success for Musk"... We could move it there if someone found one.

I've written about this on Quora (just look up Larry Pieniazek answers if you like). I was specifically referring to "ITS can't be funded mostly internally, and fans are dreaming to think so" when I said let him fail or succeed.  I happen to think he'll succeed, but other think he'll fail at THAT. That's fine.

By any sane metric Musk is a huge success already.... Multibillionaire, and so successful that even if he died today, he has had a profound impact on our reality. EVERY car maker is now doing electrics and some are taking it super seriously as they see their lunch eaten. We know now that first stage reuse is possible, although it's not yet certain that it's economic (but that's the way to bet, the trend shows pretty clearly they are going to make boatloads of cash at this).

Anyone wholly reasonable would call him a huge success already.

But Musk? Himself?  He isn't sane. Isn't reasonable. (in a good way)  HIS metric for success?  We're an interplanetary species with a thriving, growing, self supporting presence off earth, and we stopped depending on fossil fuels, replacing our dependence on them with renewables and nuclear. (at least those two... there may be more, like direct brain interfaces to talk to strong AI that loves us rather than hates us... he's ambitious). Anything short of that, like where we are now? Failure. But there's still time to succeed.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 01:36 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #48 on: 05/03/2017 01:58 PM »
I am not sure about the exact wording. But Elon Musk said something like even if SpaceX becomes a huge financial success, if they can not do full and rapid reuse and bring cost down by orders of magnitude he will considere it failed. It was a long time ago when SpaceX was still new and shaky.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #49 on: 05/03/2017 02:04 PM »
Even if he can't get ITS built immediately (like within 8-10 years), if he pours all his profits from the launch business into building ITS, he may be able to go it alone, but over 20 years.  The other side of the coin, he may eventually decide to downsize ITS, to fit the 12 million lb limit of the flame trench at 39a to launch a 10-12 million lb mini-its and do Mars on a lower scale, just to show it can be done. 

A 12 million lb launcher with say 27 raptors instead of 42, still go 12m for future 42 and a stretch.  A mini-ITS say to carry 50 tons or 50 people to Mars instead of 100.  Also, maybe go even further and use aluminum on the tanks instead of composite.  I know it would take a hit payload wise, but there should be no birthing problems.  Change the tanks out later for payload increase. 

Falcon 9 was evolutionary.  Start with a less capable booster, less capable ITS, and evolve from there, like Falcon.  Use existing infrastructure as much as possible for even less expense.  JUST GET TO MARS. 

I think if he gets there, NASA and the rest of the world will want to follow.  Then it gets serious. 

Online Dalhousie

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #50 on: 05/04/2017 02:09 AM »
(mod hat) Use "fanboi" (that particular spelling) again where I see it? == Deleted post. If you don't understand why, use Google to search for it.

(fan boy hat) You guys are wrong. As long as you are just wrong but stay out of the way and let Musk fail (as you know he will)  you'll get no further argument. But if you keep the Alabama Mafia pushing that rocket to nowhere, I'll argue against you strenuously.

You have lost your objectivity here Lar.  I am not going to "get out of the way".  Firstly I am not "in the way".  Secondly, I work daily in Mars research, so I am not going to stop just because tell me to. if you you can't except constructive criticism of the SpaceX cult then the problem is yours, not mine. Fifthly, here is a useful description of "fanboi" A fanboi is someone who is unusually attracted or devoted to a particular technology or tech company..  See https://www.techopedia.com/definition/28754/fanboi.  Lastly, I have reported your post.
« Last Edit: 05/04/2017 02:20 AM by Dalhousie »
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #51 on: 05/04/2017 03:00 AM »
(mod hat) Use "fanboi" (that particular spelling) again where I see it? == Deleted post. If you don't understand why, use Google to search for it.

(fan boy hat) You guys are wrong. As long as you are just wrong but stay out of the way and let Musk fail (as you know he will)  you'll get no further argument. But if you keep the Alabama Mafia pushing that rocket to nowhere, I'll argue against you strenuously.

You have lost your objectivity here Lar.  I am not going to "get out of the way".  Firstly I am not "in the way".  Secondly, I work daily in Mars research, so I am not going to stop just because tell me to. if you you can't except constructive criticism of the SpaceX cult then the problem is yours, not mine. Fifthly, here is a useful description of "fanboi" A fanboi is someone who is unusually attracted or devoted to a particular technology or tech company..  See https://www.techopedia.com/definition/28754/fanboi.  Lastly, I have reported your post.

I have no objection to the term fanboy, and the connotation it carries. Nor do I have any issue with criticism, constructive or otherwise. I think you didn't take my point, I apologise if I wasn't clear... criticise all you want. But what Tyson is doing isn't helpful. Your criticism is founded in understanding of SpaceX. His isn't.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online Dalhousie

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #52 on: 05/04/2017 03:20 AM »
(mod hat) Use "fanboi" (that particular spelling) again where I see it? == Deleted post. If you don't understand why, use Google to search for it.

(fan boy hat) You guys are wrong. As long as you are just wrong but stay out of the way and let Musk fail (as you know he will)  you'll get no further argument. But if you keep the Alabama Mafia pushing that rocket to nowhere, I'll argue against you strenuously.

You have lost your objectivity here Lar.  I am not going to "get out of the way".  Firstly I am not "in the way".  Secondly, I work daily in Mars research, so I am not going to stop just because tell me to. if you you can't except constructive criticism of the SpaceX cult then the problem is yours, not mine. Fifthly, here is a useful description of "fanboi" A fanboi is someone who is unusually attracted or devoted to a particular technology or tech company..  See https://www.techopedia.com/definition/28754/fanboi.  Lastly, I have reported your post.

I have no objection to the term fanboy, and the connotation it carries. Nor do I have any issue with criticism, constructive or otherwise. I think you didn't take my point, I apologise if I wasn't clear... criticise all you want. But what Tyson is doing isn't helpful. Your criticism is founded in understanding of SpaceX. His isn't.

No worries and much appreciated!

I've got back over what Tyson said and, while I am no fan of his for many reasons (and I have actually interacted with him on things martian) I don't think his quote actually says what the IP says it says.

Quote
What do you see as the most important venture in space exploration right now?

I like that there's a desire to want to send people to Mars. I have my scepticism about how and when that will happen, but I will not stand in their way because somebody's got to dream like that....

The money. To go to Mars because you want to, my reading of history says that doesn't work. We didn't go to the Moon because we wanted to....  war and economics are the big drivers of major expenditures.

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/neil-degrasse-tyson-welcome-to-the-universe
[/quote]

I take from this the following:

1) He applauds the desire to go.

2) He is sceptical about the ways and timelines proposed.

3) He doesn't think the drivers of national strategy ("war") and commerce ("economics") are sufficient.

Point 1) shows he supports the general; idea. Point 2) is that he is sceptical of some of the ways and time lines, which is reasonable.  Most of us are sceptical of at least some of the ways and timelines proposed to date! Point 3 is that he is sceptical that the two big drivers of large scale space endeavours past and present are sufficient.  Based on what we currently know he has a point regarding settling Mars, though perhaps not with respect to exploration and science.

"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Online Lar

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #53 on: 05/04/2017 03:55 AM »
Fair.

He's missing that this is not going to be driven by the old factors.. .instead, it's going to be driven by... manifest destiny, for want of a better word. These billionaires are gambling that they will be a forcing function that forces the economics to happen. If they're right, if it works... it's going to be spectacular. They're betting on the New World, writ large.

If it fails it will be a spectacular crater.


"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #54 on: 05/04/2017 01:18 PM »
His argument is predicated on the assumption that a manned Mars mission would exceed the current NASA HSF budget by a wide margin,

Where did he say that?

How else do you interpret "The money. To go to Mars because you want to, my reading of history says that doesn't work. We didn't go to the Moon because we wanted to. We may remember it that way, because it serves a certain self-image – we're Americans, we're explorers, it's in our DNA, so we went to the Moon. That's just assuming it's a thing you do, without asking what's driving this, what's allocating the money for this?"?

He didn't say it had to be government money.  He's asking what motivation is there to go to Mars that would justify the cost.  In the past, very large expenditures like this have had to be government money because there's no profit in doing it privately.  There's plenty of private money available for ventures of this size, but there has to be a sound, usually economic reason for those expenditures to be made.  I don't see it here, and neither does Neil.  How many ultra-wealthy people will pay millions of dollars for a very high-risk trip to a place where there's absolutely nothing when they could spend thousands of dollars and go to any one of hundreds of spectacular places on Earth with drastically lower risk?  A few super-dedicated explorer types perhaps, but I doubt that is even a beginning business model, much less a sustainable one.

Offline RonM

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #55 on: 05/04/2017 02:17 PM »
His argument is predicated on the assumption that a manned Mars mission would exceed the current NASA HSF budget by a wide margin,

Where did he say that?

How else do you interpret "The money. To go to Mars because you want to, my reading of history says that doesn't work. We didn't go to the Moon because we wanted to. We may remember it that way, because it serves a certain self-image – we're Americans, we're explorers, it's in our DNA, so we went to the Moon. That's just assuming it's a thing you do, without asking what's driving this, what's allocating the money for this?"?

He didn't say it had to be government money.  He's asking what motivation is there to go to Mars that would justify the cost.  In the past, very large expenditures like this have had to be government money because there's no profit in doing it privately.  There's plenty of private money available for ventures of this size, but there has to be a sound, usually economic reason for those expenditures to be made.  I don't see it here, and neither does Neil.  How many ultra-wealthy people will pay millions of dollars for a very high-risk trip to a place where there's absolutely nothing when they could spend thousands of dollars and go to any one of hundreds of spectacular places on Earth with drastically lower risk?  A few super-dedicated explorer types perhaps, but I doubt that is even a beginning business model, much less a sustainable one.

You're right, there is no business model to go to Mars, but Elon Musk really wants to colonize Mars and is willing to spend his multi-billion dollar fortune to do it. I don't think the colonization plan will work in our lifetime because of economics and demand. Even billionaires don't have enough money for that. However, I am confident SpaceX will be able to get explorers to the surface of Mars.

Offline su27k

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #56 on: 05/04/2017 02:18 PM »
His argument is predicated on the assumption that a manned Mars mission would exceed the current NASA HSF budget by a wide margin,

Where did he say that?

How else do you interpret "The money. To go to Mars because you want to, my reading of history says that doesn't work. We didn't go to the Moon because we wanted to. We may remember it that way, because it serves a certain self-image – we're Americans, we're explorers, it's in our DNA, so we went to the Moon. That's just assuming it's a thing you do, without asking what's driving this, what's allocating the money for this?"?

He didn't say it had to be government money.  He's asking what motivation is there to go to Mars that would justify the cost.  In the past, very large expenditures like this have had to be government money because there's no profit in doing it privately.  There's plenty of private money available for ventures of this size, but there has to be a sound, usually economic reason for those expenditures to be made.  I don't see it here, and neither does Neil.  How many ultra-wealthy people will pay millions of dollars for a very high-risk trip to a place where there's absolutely nothing when they could spend thousands of dollars and go to any one of hundreds of spectacular places on Earth with drastically lower risk?  A few super-dedicated explorer types perhaps, but I doubt that is even a beginning business model, much less a sustainable one.

No, it doesn't have to be government money, he is saying there's no government money for this, there's no private money for this either, thus it's impossible. I'm saying the first assumption maybe incorrect, NASA has a big HSF budget and it can cover a manned Mars mission if the money is used efficiently. We don't even have to touch the private money part to invalidate his argument.

Offline Hotblack Desiato

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #57 on: 05/04/2017 11:30 PM »
Quote
Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars

This is quite a bold assumption. Ever/Never is a very long period of time. Ever in his forseeable lifetime? Possible, but unlikely (unlikely that it is not happening). And walking? Walking is quite doable. After the first testflight + powered landing, we could put a human into a dragon2 capsule and send it to Mars. That person will eventually walk on mars, but will not come back to earth (essentially, that person would just give proof that person can walk on Mars). So having a human walking on Mars is easily achievable and yet pointless (We know that it works at 1G, we know that it works at 1/6th G (okay, it's more like hopping around), so what would lead to the assumpution that walking doesn't work at 1/3 G).

Yet, the broader meaning is (in my opinion) have humans living on Mars, at best from birth to death. Yet I'm not convinced that Mars is the best place to go. It's possible to go there, it's possible to set up a colony there, it's just not the ideal place to go. The ideal place to go seems to me is a rotating station around an asteroid of sufficient size (Ceres). But if the term "ever walk on Mars" gets expanded to "ever live and thrive on another world" Tyson is just wrong. He is even wrong at the close meaning, that a person has to walk on the surface of Mars ever. Because even if we chose to live on rotating space station, there'll be that urge to just go to Mars and other locations in the solar system and beyond. Even if there are just flag and foodprint missions.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #58 on: 05/04/2017 11:35 PM »
I expect it will be 20 years in the future before people land on mars.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #59 on: 05/04/2017 11:39 PM »
Quote
Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars

This is quite a bold assumption. Ever/Never is a very long period of time. Ever in his forseeable lifetime? Possible, but unlikely (unlikely that it is not happening). And walking? Walking is quite doable. After the first testflight + powered landing, we could put a human into a dragon2 capsule and send it to Mars. That person will eventually walk on mars, but will not come back to earth (essentially, that person would just give proof that person can walk on Mars). So having a human walking on Mars is easily achievable and yet pointless (We know that it works at 1G, we know that it works at 1/6th G (okay, it's more like hopping around), so what would lead to the assumpution that walking doesn't work at 1/3 G).

Yet, the broader meaning is (in my opinion) have humans living on Mars, at best from birth to death. Yet I'm not convinced that Mars is the best place to go. It's possible to go there, it's possible to set up a colony there, it's just not the ideal place to go. The ideal place to go seems to me is a rotating station around an asteroid of sufficient size (Ceres). But if the term "ever walk on Mars" gets expanded to "ever live and thrive on another world" Tyson is just wrong. He is even wrong at the close meaning, that a person has to walk on the surface of Mars ever. Because even if we chose to live on rotating space station, there'll be that urge to just go to Mars and other locations in the solar system and beyond. Even if there are just flag and foodprint missions.

This isn't something Tyson ever said.  If you read the article, you'll see that he questions how long it will take and when it will happen.  He never said that he doubts humans would ever walk on Mars.

That part about "ever" is just a horribly-inaccurate headline put on the article by an editor at Wired.  And, for some reason, this thread title followed that inaccurate headline.

Can we fix the thread title?  It really slanders Tyson.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #60 on: 05/05/2017 03:08 AM »
Quote
Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars

This is quite a bold assumption. Ever/Never is a very long period of time. ...

This isn't something Tyson ever said.  If you read the article, you'll see that he questions how long it will take and when it will happen.  He never said that he doubts humans would ever walk on Mars.

That part about "ever" is just a horribly-inaccurate headline put on the article by an editor at Wired.  And, for some reason, this thread title followed that inaccurate headline.

Can we fix the thread title?  It really slanders Tyson.

Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting

Quote
Aliquam feugiat enim eget neque cursus viverra. Maecenas nec quam pretium, feugiat nisi sed, finibus justo. Aliquam erat volutpat. Duis a molestie leo, ut volutpat nisl. Aenean sed tristique magna, maximus convallis elit. Pellentesque vel tellus arcu. Nulla tincidunt aliquet dolor. Cras fringilla arcu enim, a ornare dui accumsan a. Nam iaculis cursus magna, in tincidunt diam convallis id. Duis vitae elementum mauris, id feugiat nulla.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline cppetrie

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #61 on: 05/05/2017 03:46 AM »
Quote
Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars

This is quite a bold assumption. Ever/Never is a very long period of time. ...

This isn't something Tyson ever said.  If you read the article, you'll see that he questions how long it will take and when it will happen.  He never said that he doubts humans would ever walk on Mars.

That part about "ever" is just a horribly-inaccurate headline put on the article by an editor at Wired.  And, for some reason, this thread title followed that inaccurate headline.

Can we fix the thread title?  It really slanders Tyson.

Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting

Quote
Aliquam feugiat enim eget neque cursus viverra. Maecenas nec quam pretium, feugiat nisi sed, finibus justo. Aliquam erat volutpat. Duis a molestie leo, ut volutpat nisl. Aenean sed tristique magna, maximus convallis elit. Pellentesque vel tellus arcu. Nulla tincidunt aliquet dolor. Cras fringilla arcu enim, a ornare dui accumsan a. Nam iaculis cursus magna, in tincidunt diam convallis id. Duis vitae elementum mauris, id feugiat nulla.
And 67% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Online Dalhousie

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #62 on: 05/05/2017 05:18 AM »
Fair.

He's missing that this is not going to be driven by the old factors.. .instead, it's going to be driven by... manifest destiny, for want of a better word. These billionaires are gambling that they will be a forcing function that forces the economics to happen. If they're right, if it works... it's going to be spectacular. They're betting on the New World, writ large.

If it fails it will be a spectacular crater.

Even manifest destiny still needs $$$ for it to be viable.  ;)
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline catdlr

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #63 on: 05/06/2017 01:09 AM »
related....
This astronaut says we're not ready for Mars

Tech Insider

Published on May 5, 2017
In an upcoming BBC program, Stephen Hawking has a new message for humanity: Get off Earth within the next 100 years or perish. In order to survive as a species, humans must colonize other planets.

But Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has previously said that humans just aren't ready to live on other worlds. In 2015, he visited Business Insider to discuss his thoughts on where humans will go next and why.

Hadfield became a mainstream figure thanks to his YouTube videos from space and wide social media presence. Now retired, Hadfield is the best-selling author of "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d493r9khExM?t=001




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Quote
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/neil-degrasse-tyson-welcome-to-the-universe

I take from this the following:

1) He applauds the desire to go.

2) He is sceptical about the ways and timelines proposed.

3) He doesn't think the drivers of national strategy ("war") and commerce ("economics") are sufficient.

Point 1) shows he supports the general; idea. Point 2) is that he is sceptical of some of the ways and time lines, which is reasonable.  Most of us are sceptical of at least some of the ways and timelines proposed to date! Point 3 is that he is sceptical that the two big drivers of large scale space endeavours past and present are sufficient.  Based on what we currently know he has a point regarding settling Mars, though perhaps not with respect to exploration and science.

This! ^^^^ The title of this thread/that article is pretty inaccurate.

The thing no one seems to have picked up on is NdGT talking about "the money" being the main obstacle to Mars colony and then segueing onto that he thinks the world's first trillioniare will be an asteroid miner.

It's not an unconnected point IMO.  He's implying that the first Mars colony will be funded through asteroid mining.

As of today there are ~4500 NEOs for which it is easier than Mars to make return trips, so I think he's probably right to be honest.
https://echo.jpl.nasa.gov/~lance/delta_v/delta_v.rendezvous.html

Offline Ludus

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #65 on: 06/06/2017 08:44 PM »
Tyson thinks the first Trillionaire will be made by asteroid mining, but thinks there isn't enough profit in Mars transport for it to ever happen.

I think there's some sort of confusion evident here.

Settling Mars and mining asteroids, bases on the moon and L5 colonies aren't entirely discrete activities. Making any of these things sustainable makes them all possible. The world's first Space Commerce Trillionaire certainly has the means to enable Mars settlement.

If Elon Musk can build Falcon Reusable and ITS to support an Internet Constellation that could be immensely profitable, he can use it to support mining asteroids or settling Mars or submarines on Europa. If the costs of operating in Space are much lower, the range of things that can and will be done in Space is much larger.

If Jeff Bezos can build New Glenn and New Armstrong, he can support a permanent Lunar base and and a lot of people living and working in Space. Bezos hasn't shown any lack of ability to make his interests support themselves.

ITS may be promoted as a system to settle Mars but it's really a general purpose system as it's name suggests, just as capable of doing the things Tyson thinks are profit centers (asteroid mining) and the things he thinks of as money pits (Mars).
« Last Edit: 06/06/2017 08:53 PM by Ludus »

Offline TakeOff

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #66 on: 06/06/2017 09:21 PM »
More money doesn't help. They've wasted $43 billion on SLS and Orion, that's half a mission to Mars budget. Politics, corruption and incompetence prevents NASA from sending astronauts to Mars, or to the Moon for that part, regardless of what budget they have.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #67 on: 06/06/2017 10:22 PM »
More money doesn't help. They've wasted $43 billion on SLS and Orion, that's half a mission to Mars budget. Politics, corruption and incompetence prevents NASA from sending astronauts to Mars, or to the Moon for that part, regardless of what budget they have.

43B ???  more like 200x a MISSION budget. and 2x the vehicle development budget to deliver a vehicle capable of that sort of mission budget. If Musk is to be believed. If I had to choose one to believe, you get one guess which one. (likely neither is wholly right, neither is wholly wrong, but you take my point)
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson doubts humans will ever walk on Mars
« Reply #68 on: 06/06/2017 11:29 PM »
Zubrin has been saying for 25 years that the problem isn't money. I remember back when NdT used to quote him. As a speaker his message really has changed over the years - and I think that's generally a good thing. Perhaps in the future he'll come around to private funding, or at least public-private.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

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