If they'd standardize a good design, we could control costs better. ...
I continue my whine: Why does it always have to be one-off designs?
The ASRG is the new design. It will be baselined for use on multiple spacecraft. ...
Which is good to hear, in principle.
You should really stop whining.
Maybe so, but not for the reasons you say. My narrative is long held and logically consistent: My government wastes my money. I want it to stop. We were promised a lunar outpost forty years ago and while many billions of dollars have been wasted within NASA, within our government the waste is worse, particularly with what appears to be an unnecessary continued practice of elective war.
Focusing on the concept of wasted funds, there is no pragmatic, non-wasteful reason why RTGs, "where reliability, demonstrated over 50 years, is 100%", have not been appropriately developed into a product line of several capacities, available for missions in the NASA community at a predictable cost.
Coals to Newcastle, and all. The future is the only thing that can be changed, and cost is the object.
1) You don't understand this stuff nearly as much as you think you do (for instance, your mistaken 2) belief that the community picks difficult missions on purpose, and your 3) lack of understanding of the decadal survey process), and your complaints largely miss the mark. 4) I'd suggest reading up on the subject more and developing a better understanding of what is happening and why rather than complaining that the 5) people who do this stuff for a living are not as smart as you think they should be.
1) I don't pretend to know any more than I do. And when I make factual mistakes, I correct them as soon as possible, and try not to repeat them.
2) Mine is an allegation of what the process seems like. It is not a belief. You have no knowledge about my beliefs. You're simply going to have to accept what I say about myself.
3) MSR was decided upon in 2007, if I can rely upon this reporting:
Given that it's really a human precursor mission, I think it's appropriate to mention here that not only is Mars Sample Return officially a go for 2020...
My question continues to go unanswered: How could it have already been decided that we know all that we need to know about the samples to be collected? It seems like the order in which the samples would be collected is not that important.
5) But all I get is arguments from authority.
4) Which I continue to do.
Where is the money for both?
Ask the families of the deceased and maimed from our ongoing elective wars.
I think because the funding is political.
Which wouldn't be a problem if our political system was not broken. At heart, politics is an expression of opinion of where the budgets should be spent. Those opinions are wrong.
One of the big reasons is that the planets all happen to be far apart. Suppose that you want to explore Jupiter. It is going to take around five years to get there. So should you build five spacecraft and launch them one year apart?
No. This is the part of my suggestion that you refuse to accept. Send five missions to the Moon. Jupiter can wait. To reduce costs, we need mass production, and routine cis-lunar
capabiltiy. Most importantly, permanent human presence. Mine is a long view, not a short view.
...don't you want to learn from the first spacecraft's observations and use its data to refine your later spacecraft?
I ask again. We already knew, in 2007, where we wanted to look for samples? Will Curiosity
bring any new information to the table?
The scientists don't care about economies of scale, or re-usability, or stockpiling rusty descent stage lander hulks on mars.
First, it won't rust.
Second, we're all in this together. They need to start thinking about economy.
But MSL is too big for what is needed for the next science missions on Mars.
You all have the mass and capability. Use it.
...the science advances and the questions are always changing...
And the rover platform can stay the same. Use it. Change the instrumentation as required.
And because you would launch it many years after the first one...
Launch again in two years. You don't need to redesign the rover. Just build your instrument package. Or is Mars a BTDT planet already?
The tactics are the rover. The strategy is to learn more about Mars, and develop a routine capability and then move on. What is the urgency that Jupiter now seems to have?