Author Topic: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please  (Read 5231 times)

Offline Artgod

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Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« on: 02/26/2012 09:03 AM »
So, why has NASA sent so many missions to Mars?

Wouldn't it have been a better idea in researching how to mine asteroids, filled with useful minerals?

Oh well what's done is done,

Turn Mars into a second Earth? Not a bad idea, but don't you lack the resources to do that?

Well, what of the way that you escape and re-enter the Earths ionosphere/atmosphere? Plus the space-station! why were they not designed to incorporate a platform for larger exploration of our solar-system? Why is research not done, theories put forward and real solutions used that solve the issues of what the final outcome should be. We can see far past our noses, yet they still get in our way!

There could be a 100,000 tonne rock of precious elements floating in space. ...... that could be easily identified and mined. Funding for space exploration solved!

I know it's easier to talk about things then to do them, someone needs to be confrontational though right??

Any feedback is welcome, I'm just venting some thoughts here, where i thought i would get a response!

Thanks for your time

ArtGod


Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #1 on: 02/26/2012 09:56 AM »
NASA is not here merely for one thing. And its only the most relatively recent Mars missions that have suceeded. Do some research and you'll see that many fail - which gave rise to the legend of 'The Great Galactic Ghoul'. Also. compared to mining Asteroids; sending probes and rovers to Mars is easy. Look at how expensive and dangerous mining on Earth is then think how very much more it would be on an Asteroid with very little gravity in a hostile, radiation-filled and vacuum environment. Also, many Asteroids are dynamically unstable: too many spin or tumble unevenly through the skies.

Even a suitable, rich nickel-iron asteroid tumbling violently would make it nearly impossible to 'land' on, let alone mine.

No; many Asteroids are for looking at only - some could be 'landed' on or explored if they're stable enough. But those that could be actually mined would likely be in the minority.
« Last Edit: 02/26/2012 09:58 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline DLR

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #2 on: 02/26/2012 11:09 AM »
Asteroid mining is nonsense. All the resources the economy needs can be found in much more easily accessible form here on Earth.

Why Mars? Mars is a scientifically interesting target (mainly because it used to be similar to early Earth) and it is relatively easy to reach (much easier to reach than other equally interesting destinations in the solar system, like Europa or Titan).
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Offline aquanaut99

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #3 on: 02/26/2012 11:30 AM »
While the asteroid mining part is obviously nonsense, the original poster does raise an important question IMO: "Why Mars?"

Specifically, why is (landing a human on) Mars always the stated end-goal for NASA HSF? And has been so for the last 50 years? And could this focus on a human Mars mission as the ultimate goal in the end be hampering NASA HSF efforts (oh the heresy!)?

After all, the much-maligned 130mT SLS stems from a percieved minimal requirement for a (hypothetical) future manned Mars mission and it is this requirement that caused SLS Block II to grow into the overbloated monster it is now, instead of the smaller, more affordable and lunar optimized DIRECT. Arguably, the same happened during CxP. There, too, Mars was the goal; you could even read it in the rockets' names.

Trouble is, there really isn't that much of a case for sending humans to Mars anymore (other than the "because it's there"). The Mars goal has been dangling before NASA since the 1950s and is arguably another Von Braun legacy. Von Braun wanted to go to Mars and said so (in several publications).

Back in the 1950s and early 1960s, Mars made sense as an ultimate goal. According to then-current knowledge, Mars was deemed at least potentially habitable, and could concievably become some kind of new frontier. But at least since 1965 we know that Mars is just a larger, more distant version of the Moon (as far as human habitability is concerned). Certainly very interesting from a scientific point of view, but not for human habitation.

NASA should at least have gone into some kind of discussion about its real "ultimate goal" after the Mariner and Viking probes' results came in and asked itself if sending humans to Mars is really still worth it. As far as I can see, this question still hasn't been adressed, and, IMO, it should be.

Therefore, the original poster has a point. Why Mars?
« Last Edit: 02/26/2012 12:26 PM by aquanaut99 »

Online Phillip Clark

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #4 on: 02/26/2012 11:56 AM »
Why Mars?

I would suggest that the reason is that in the 1960s we discovered how hostile a world Venus is, and therefore Mars is the next world out there which is within humanity's reach.   Plus there is always the chance that we might find life there (yes, I am optimistic!).

So, after the Moon, Mars is logically the next world which we explore with crews.

Then again, maybe I am biased since I grew up in the era when Mars *was* always seen as the goal after the Moon.

Online savuporo

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #5 on: 02/26/2012 03:15 PM »
All the resources the economy needs can be found in much more easily accessible form here on Earth.
::)

You do realize how myopic this statement is, on so many levels ?
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Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #6 on: 02/26/2012 07:56 PM »
All the resources the economy needs can be found in much more easily accessible form here on Earth.
::)

You do realize how myopic this statement is, on so many levels ?

But also correct.  Asteroid mining for terrestrial use makes know sense.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #7 on: 02/26/2012 09:07 PM »
Welcome to the forum.
When someone is wishing for a pony, there's little to be gained by suggesting a unicorn would be ever better.. ya know, unless it's sarcasm.

Offline spectre9

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #8 on: 02/27/2012 09:54 AM »
The human condition is about more than just life and death.

It's more about the stuff in between, the actual experiences of living.

Some of us have a crazy dream of putting footprints in that red soil. Some even have a dream of living there and watching the blue sunset every 24 and a bit hours.

You don't get a proper day on the moon. This is greatest blessing of Mars but it's not all it has to offer. The thin CO2 atmosphere and abundant northern ocean of frozen ice are also useful to humans and are not found on the moon. You can tell me there's water in the lunar cold traps all you like but it's not right there on the surface in massive visible amounts.

How many years do you think this planet we call Earth has left until humans have expanded across all the land mass? We're already farming pretty much every piece of fertile land and cutting down protected forests to get more.

Anybody that supports living on this 3rd rock from the sun for eternity is also a supporter of genocide because that's the only way you're going to cut back the population enough for sustainability. One child programs can only go so far.

The dream of terraforming Mars is not something people like me will back down from. I'll take it to the grave and pass it on to future generations hoping they get the job done. Just think once the atmosphere thickens up flight will be very easily achievable. A whole new world to expand across and explore.

Space isn't just about resources, it's about the new frontier.

Will it be profitable? Maybe not for 100s of years but will the human race be better off being multi-planetary? In my opinion YES!

Offline aquanaut99

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #9 on: 02/27/2012 10:42 AM »
The human condition is about more than just life and death.

It's more about the stuff in between, the actual experiences of living.

Some of us have a crazy dream of putting footprints in that red soil. Some even have a dream of living there and watching the blue sunset every 24 and a bit hours.

...

Space isn't just about resources, it's about the new frontier.

Will it be profitable? Maybe not for 100s of years but will the human race be better off being multi-planetary? In my opinion YES!

In other words, there is no tangible reason to send humans to Mars. Only metaphysical ones. Now, that is fine, I can accept that and I will certainly not attempt to change your beliefs.

Unfortunately, unless the majority of humans end up sharing your beliefs (they don't), your dream will remain just that. Unless you can cough up the required hundreds of billions yourself. The taxpayer won't fund it.

Oh, and while we're in the metaphysical domain: You do realize that there are those who would argue the exact opposite? Like: "humans have already screwed up one planet, it is immoral to allow them to screw up another. Better keep confined to Earth and let them go extinct!" I would even wager that those who follow this line of belief outnumber those who want to live on Mars. And if not now, then soon. Antihuman hatred is on the rise (especially on the green fringe), while utopian optimism is dying out.

I remember a certain female NASA astrobiologist uttering something similar recently (about keeping Mars "pristine" and "unpolluted by humans").
« Last Edit: 02/27/2012 10:44 AM by aquanaut99 »

Offline Kaputnik

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #10 on: 02/27/2012 11:52 AM »
I would see the reasons for having a human presence on Mars being similar to those for having bases in Antarctica- a mixture of scientific and nationalistic desires.

With a convenient day/night length, moderate diurnal temperature range, and globally available atmopsheric resources combined with widespread water ice, Mars is about as habitable as any place off-Earth can be.

What I find most exciting about the notion of an outpost on Mars is that it would represent, for the first time in history, a potential second home for humanity that might conceivably survive a global catastrophe on Earth- maybe that's still a metaphysical reason but it works for me.
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Offline spectre9

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #11 on: 02/27/2012 12:15 PM »
The usable land mass on Earth is very tangible.

Put your hand down and touch the ground, there's only a finite amount of that stuff and you're taking up some of it with your body / possessions / farms & reservoirs of fresh water that are required to keep you alive here. There's also the forests that are producing the oxygen you're breathing now.

Go look on google Earth. Have a good look. Land is running out and fast. All the fertile areas with fresh water have been taken. Mass agriculture to keep the populations fed and in many cases struggling to do it.

Unless you have some kind of plan to raise Atlantis land will run out and I'm not sure people are keen to live in the polar regions or the oceans.

Don't go telling me Mars is "my dream" either. This dream is shared by many such as Musk, Zubrin and Von Braun.

Mars isn't a wildlife reserve. It's a big red ball or rock and water ice. It's size gives it the gravity it needs to sustain an atmosphere. We have to make this atmosphere ourselves to terraform the planet to our needs. There's no doubt in my mind human presence will cause some pollution there but it's nothing we haven't done on Earth and we still love and care for our home planet don't we?

Humans are doing the best job they can to respect the natural inhabitants by first looking for them before we go and start manipulating it into our ideal 2nd home planet.

I may have made metaphysical references in my previous post and you can choose to throw it out if you like but that's how I feel about it.

Offline Kaputnik

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #12 on: 02/27/2012 12:20 PM »
Unless you have some kind of plan to raise Atlantis land will run out and I'm not sure people are keen to live in the polar regions or the oceans.

In many respects it would be much cheaper/easier/safer to inhabit the poles, seas, seabed, and deserts of the the world than it would be to live off Earth.
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Offline Solman

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #13 on: 02/27/2012 12:24 PM »
NASA is not here merely for one thing. And its only the most relatively recent Mars missions that have suceeded. Do some research and you'll see that many fail - which gave rise to the legend of 'The Great Galactic Ghoul'. Also. compared to mining Asteroids; sending probes and rovers to Mars is easy. Look at how expensive and dangerous mining on Earth is then think how very much more it would be on an Asteroid with very little gravity in a hostile, radiation-filled and vacuum environment. Also, many Asteroids are dynamically unstable: too many spin or tumble unevenly through the skies.

Even a suitable, rich nickel-iron asteroid tumbling violently would make it nearly impossible to 'land' on, let alone mine.

No; many Asteroids are for looking at only - some could be 'landed' on or explored if they're stable enough. But those that could be actually mined would likely be in the minority.

 There are thousands of NEO's so what's your point?

 

Offline go4mars

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Re: Mars? Why mars? I need a lump of Iron please
« Reply #14 on: 02/27/2012 01:22 PM »
In many respects it would be much cheaper/easier/safer to inhabit the poles, seas, seabed, and deserts of the the world than it would be to live off Earth.
Probably in all respects actually.  But a lot of that technology will be transferable. 

Developing technologies for a high-tech society on Mars would benefit Earth by providing robust recycling systems, hydroponics, energy, etc. which would help keep those remaining protected areas and fragile ecosystems in existence without vastly reducing human population.
« Last Edit: 02/27/2012 01:24 PM by go4mars »
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