Author Topic: What happens to space travel if it is proven that there never was life on Mars?  (Read 60569 times)

Offline Dalhousie

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Both As and B would have to be abundant to be detected, several hundreds of ppm at least in whole rock samples, I suspect.

Can APXS detect 5B at all, or with adequate sensitivity? Various sources (example) state it can detect abundance of elements from 11Na to 38Sr.

If they are in sufficient abundance, yes.  I have had a quick look for detelection limits of the instruments for these elements, no luck so far.

« Last Edit: 06/16/2013 11:31 PM by Dalhousie »
"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 Dalhousie

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True, R5 gave a harsh interpretation to the team collaboration.  Dalhousie objects, and attempts to reframe the discussion from a discussion of higher purpose to a discussion of the educational criteria of the collaborative team.

You are not making sense here.  What "higher purpose" do you mean?

I am only pointing out R5's apparent failure to grasp how legitimate sciencew works. 


If one considers the "group interpretation of a Rohrschach diagram" in a slightly different light, one can understand something more about the higher purpose of all this flimmed MSL data.[/quote]

Geochemical data is not an Rohrschach diagram.

What is "flimming"?

Quote
The "group interpretation" of the unmanned planetary science group is:  We need a sample return from Mars as the very next, highest of high priorities, no matter the cost.  They have been insisting upon this since Viking.

The evidence pointing to this group interpretation is from the first location from where they intended to get a sample; a location where the flimmed data at the time was thought to be very "lifelike": a volcanic site.

The common man assumed all along that the search for life would follow the water, but the group of scientists at that time disagreed.  Now the group says, "fer shure, follow the water.  This time we already know where that sample should be taken".

They don't.  Because they don't, they shouldn't be placing MSR at the highest priority.

Really, the group wants the technical challenge of returning a sample, and will say pretty much anything to get policymakers to foot the bill.  It's a consistent, thirty year effort:

Quote from: Decadal Survey 2013
For the past three decades, the scientific community has consistently advocated the return of geologic samples from Mars.

Sample return in due course.  Finish looking for life.  Make the final determination about whether is now lifeless and if it ever had life.  Do it robotically at first, then as understanding grows, put a manned lab in orbit around the planet and make the final call on life.

Attempt to drail the discussion onto your anti-MSR hobby horse noted.

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If the planet is alive today, determine what the preservation standards should be.  Otherwise, start selling plots.

Off topic

Quote
The group interpretation will always be:  The data are inconclusive.  We need more money.

Wrong.  Here is an example of an the abstract from a recent multi-author publication from MSL.


R. M. E. Williams, J. P. Grotzinger, W. E. Dietrich, S. Gupta, D. Y. Sumner, R. C. Wiens,N. Mangold, M. C. Malin, K. S. Edgett, S. Maurice, O. Forni, O. Gasnault, A. Ollila, H. E. Newsom, G. Dromart, M. C. Palucis, R. A. Yingst, R. B. Anderson, K. E. Herkenhoff, S. Le Mouélic,7 W. Goetz, M. B. Madsen, A. Koefoed, J. K. Jensen, J. C. Bridges, S. P. Schwenzer, K. W. Lewis, K. M. Stack, D. Rubin, L. C. Kah, J. F. Bell III, J. D. Farmer, R. Sullivan, T. Van Beek, D. L. Blaney, O. Pariser, R. G. Deen, MSL Science Team

Martian Fluvial Conglomerates at Gale Crater

Observations by the Mars Science Laboratory Mast Camera (Mastcam) in Gale crater reveal isolated outcrops of cemented pebbles (2 to 40 millimeters in diameter) and sand grains with textures typical of fluvial sedimentary conglomerates. Rounded pebbles in the conglomerates indicate substantial fluvial abrasion. ChemCam emission spectra at one outcrop show a predominantly feldspathic composition, consistent with minimal aqueous alteration of sediments. Sediment was mobilized in ancient water flows that likely exceeded the threshold conditions (depth 0.03 to  0.9 meter, average velocity 0.20 to 0.75 meter per second) required to transport the pebbles. Climate conditions at the time sediment was transported must have differed substantially from the cold, hyper-arid modern environment to permit aqueous flows across several kilometers.

Science Vol 340 31 May 2013, p1068-0972


Conclusive results, no request for more money.

Edited for completeness.



« Last Edit: 06/17/2013 03:47 AM by Dalhousie »
"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 RigelFive

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Geochemical data is not a Rohrschach diagram.
How does this picture make you feel?

Offline Dalhousie

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Geochemical data is not a Rohrschach diagram.
How does this picture make you feel?

XRD diffraction pattern.  Rich in meaning to cryallographers and mineralogists, the most precise means available for determining mineralogy and classifying any crystalline material.
"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 RigelFive

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XRD diffraction pattern.  Rich in meaning to cryallographers and mineralogists, the most precise means available for determining mineralogy and classifying any crystalline material.
Yes.  Excellent.

But the XRD technique cannot reveal individual elements to low ppm concentrations.  This is due to a combination of crystalline as well as amorphous materials existing in the samples.  Perhaps if boron carbide is in a mineral as a crystal, this could be detected.  News ive read from MSL is that boron carbide is not even in the top 10 minerals.

The latest U Hawaii paper used Xray dispersive spectroscopy XRDS with an SEM that is used to make counts of individual elements rather than compounds.  This technique can measure low concentrations of boron. 

There is no likely chance that trace ppm amounts of boron can/will be detected using XRD.  MSL needed an SEM that could do XRDS, which is likely why we need an MSRM.
« Last Edit: 06/17/2013 07:13 AM by RigelFive »

Offline R7

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How does this picture make you feel?

Deeply scientific, and warmth in chest area knowing that experts interpret such images based on math, physics, calibrations using known targets etc. instead of random inkstain induced feelings based on anything from yesterday's chili curry to repressed childhood tensions with mother.

But the Ancient Aliens are true and already here:
AD·ASTRA·ASTRORVM·GRATIA

Offline Dalhousie

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XRD diffraction pattern.  Rich in meaning to cryallographers and mineralogists, the most precise means available for determining mineralogy and classifying any crystalline material.


But the XRD technique cannot reveal individual elements to low ppm concentrations.  This is due to a combination of crystalline as well as amorphous materials existing in the samples.

Nope.  XRD gives crystal structure and hence mineralogy, not chemistry.  It's got nothing to do with the proportions of amorphous to crystalline material or whether particular elements are in ppm concentrations or not. Mineralogy is important, and XRD is the best way to determine mineralogy.  MSL's XRD system, part of the CemMin, is the first we have sent off planet.

Chemistry comes from the APX, ChemCam and ChemMin in XRF mode.  if you want to know the boron content you use these.

The ChemMin, marketed on Earth as the Terra, can provide both XRF and XRD on the same sample.

Quote
Perhaps if boron carbide is in a mineral as a crystal, this could be detected.  News ive read from MSL is that boron carbide is not even in the top 10 minerals.

Boron carbide is not a naturally occurring substance AFAIK.  What makes you think it will be found on Mars?

Boron minerals of any type are going to be rare on Mars, possibly rarer than on Earth.  It is unlikely they will occur in the top ten minerals.

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The latest U Hawaii paper used Xray dispersive spectroscopy XRDS with an SEM that is used to make counts of individual elements rather than compounds.  This technique can measure low concentrations of boron. 

If this is the paper discussed earlier then no, they did not, they used an electron microprobe, which is quite a different technique.

X-ray dispersive spectroscopy is, more properly known as Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDX, EDS, or XEDS).

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There is no likely chance that trace ppm amounts of boron can/will be detected using XRD. 

Once again, you don't use  XRD to determine boron, although you can use it to determine the presence of borate minerals.  To determine boron you would use ChemMin in XRF mode, ChemCam or the APX.


Quote
MSL needed an SEM that could do XRDS, which is likely why we need an MSRM.

There are many reasons why MSL could not have a SEM.  Volume and  power, for starters.  Some work has been done along this line, but the systems are now where near flight ready.  There are also the small questions of sample preparation (doing SEM-EDX on Earth requires a polished block or slide, and then carbon coating) and usually follows extensive optical microscopic study to identify targets.  Very difficult to do on Mars.

The great difficulty of doing sophisticated investigations such as SEM-EDX, also plain SEM, SEM-BSE, and a host of other methods not possible to miniaturise and automate, is precisely while MSR is a priority.  But that is another topic.
« Last Edit: 06/17/2013 10:09 PM by Dalhousie »
"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 JohnFornaro

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You are not making sense here.  What "higher purpose" do you mean?

Are you a proponent of unmannned robotic science only, or do you see a possible future where people live on Mars, and the work done today suits that higher purpose?

The former group specifically excludes the latter group.

Quote from: Dalhousie
Geochemical data is not an Rohrschach diagram.

You are not willing to discuss any similarities in those two topics; how they might relate to a higher purpose of HSF and a martian base; whether group interpretations can be subject to group think; whether group thinking can lead to incorrect mission prioritization; how these issue could be applied to the topic of a barren Mars and what to do next; and several other things besides.

Quote from: Dalhousie
Attempt to drail the discussion onto your anti-MSR hobby horse noted.

Note that I can draw false conclusions based on opinions which I do not care for:  I note that you are quite in favor of top priority for MSR without any scientific justification.

Quote from: Dalhousie
Here is an example of an the abstract from a recent multi-author publication from MSL. [which does not conclude 'we need more money'.]

Exception noted.

From the Keck paper Conclusions:

"...that such an endeavor may be essential technically and programmatically for the success of both near-term and long-term human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit."

An "essential" endeavor would need more money to verify whether it would be "technically and programmatically" successful.  The word "may" is used as a weasel word, with the intent to imply objectivity.  Even so, this is the statement in the study, corroborated by the full court press from the President down, to put this project at the forefront of NASA's efforts.  Starting with the 'more money' part: $2.6B for openers.

They want more money.  It's a common, widespread request; it's not surprising nor illegal nor conspiratoria; it's to be expected.  That doesn't mean that the heist should be funded.  Same with the many many other papers proposing expensive missions.

In this case, Gongress is saying no funding for an asteroid rendezvous mission.

I pretty much disagree with your opinion on these policy matters.  But here's where, if I had a goat, you would have gotten it:

The OP:

What happens to space travel if it is proven that there never was life on Mars?

I answered this question quite succinctly:

Quote from: JF
If the planet is alive today, determine what the preservation standards should be.  Otherwise, start selling plots.

But you think such a response is "off topic".
« Last Edit: 06/17/2013 01:41 PM by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Online spacenut

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I think it would be best if no life was ever found on Mars.  I think it would make it easier to colonise.  We wouldn't have to worry about some odd ball DNA infecting us or us trying to protect it which might result in a more costly colonization effort.  If we bring our own crops, animals, ourselves, we will also bring our own bacteria and viruses.  If we can get some of our life forms to survive on Mars this would also be a plus.  Mars and the Moon would be good lower gravity areas to mine for resources for further space travel within our solar system.  We are going to need water, oxygen, fuel etc, to travel around the inner solar system and to eventually mine the astroid belt and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn for resources.  However I do agree that searching for life forms on these planets, moons, and large asteroids is necessary to keep from cross contaminating earths life forms with others.  Because earths gravity and atmosphere cost more to escape and return through, the Moon, Mars, Ceres, and the smaller bodies would become great resource centers for a space based colonalization society.  We are eventually going to have to escape the confines of earth and the earths easily accessible resources are slowly dwindling.  Research and development of space based technology to crack and assemble the molecules needed for resources and space construction can eventually be used on earth. 

Offline RigelFive

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The great difficulty of doing sophisticated investigations such as SEM-EDX, also plain SEM, SEM-BSE, and a host of other methods not possible to miniaturise and automate, is precisely while MSR is a priority.  But that is another topic.

Perhaps this was Wolfe-Simons point.  MSL cant do it all.

The difference in a mars sample return mission is that full scale lab equipment on Earth can be brought to bear on a Mars specimen.  Since there are already multiple samples of Mars rocks/meteorites on Earth - I really see no point to a MSR mission. Is there really any significant difference to what MSL is seeing vs what has been seen with the Mars based meteors???

So with Mars, I'd say the best option is to wrap it ALL up.  We stopped going to the moon as all the science was gained that was worth gaining.

Now gathering samples from other objects (asteroids and moons out to Saturn) would likely bring more gains to science.  Save lots of dough and just send robotic explorers to these places.  The space station was really meant to investigate long term effects of space travel on humans (simulating a trip to Mars).  We can't get enough plants to effectively grow on the ISS to make one side salad on Mars. 

Offline hop

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Since there are already multiple samples of Mars rocks/meteorites on Earth - I really see no point to a MSR mission.
Right. Since one geologist has a handful of rocks in a lab, there's no further need for field geology on earth.
Quote
Is there really any significant difference to what MSL is seeing vs what has been seen with the Mars based meteors???
If you pick up a random out of context rock on Earth, it totally tells you about the sedimentary history of the entire planet, right? Instead of studying the stratigraphy of the grand canyon, you could instead just look at a chunk of gravel from your driveway.
Quote
So with Mars, I'd say the best option is to wrap it ALL up.  We stopped going to the moon as all the science was gained that was worth gaining.
Right, no one is studying the moon any more. There have been no lunar science missions since Apollo, and no one studies the Apollo samples.
Quote
Now gathering samples from other objects (asteroids and moons out to Saturn) would likely bring more gains to science.
Yes, because unlike Mars, there are no meteorites that come from asteroids.

 ::) ::) ::)

Offline JohnFornaro

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So with Mars, I'd say the best option is to wrap it ALL up.  We stopped going to the moon as all the science was gained that was worth gaining.

That would be a disappointment on a great many levels.  The most important level is that "science" is not the most important activity of the human race.  "Living" is.

Second level disappointment:   Even if "science" should be relegated to is appropriate place in human affairs, as an important, but nice to have luxury, then it is particularly troubling for the scientists to assert that we've gained all the "science" from studting Luna that there was to be gained, for all time.  Soon, we will reach that same point with Mars.  After all, we've thoroughly, uhhhh.... scratched the surface of that planet and still the conclusion is that life "could have" evolved there in a second genesis from Earth.

Clearly, we have been to Mars, and done that.  After one or two asteroids, Saturn, Titan, and Europa, say, would that be sufficient "science" to satisfy humanity for pretty much all time?

The government, as we have seen verified by the actions of both branches, has no need to risk the lives of its astronauts on a government built launch vehicle for the time being.  At the moment, only robotic missions are being considered and planned for.

They are painting themselves into the "It's a Wrap" corner.

***************************************

As an aside, I love the English language.  Only language I ever bothered to get fluent in.  Even so, mine is a continued struggle.

So you allege that "We can't get enough plants to effectively grow on the ISS to make one side salad on Mars."

Just as a point of clarification, did you mean that we couldn't make one complete side salad any where in the ISS, or that on one side or another of the ISS, we could not make a salad, whether complete or incomplete, or that we could not make a salad of undetermined completeness which would satisfy one side of the HSF/robotic argument that might very well be taking place on the ISS?  Somehow you tied Mars into all those salad variants.

Just askin'.

Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Right, no one is studying the moon any more. There have been no lunar science missions since Apollo, and no one studies the Apollo samples.

They are certainly free to continue studying those existing samples.  Obviously, there's no need for more samples, or else they would be calling for a Lunar Sample Return mission.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Dalhousie

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You are not making sense here.  What "higher purpose" do you mean?

Are you a proponent of unmannned robotic science only, or do you see a possible future where people live on Mars, and the work done today suits that higher purpose?

The former group specifically excludes the latter group.

If you have read what I have written you know I am part of the second group.

Not that which group people belong to has any relationship to the actual evidence being discussed here.

Quote
Quote from: Dalhousie
Geochemical data is not an Rohrschach diagram.

You are not willing to discuss any similarities in those two topics; how they might relate to a higher purpose of HSF and a martian base; whether group interpretations can be subject to group think; whether group thinking can lead to incorrect mission prioritization; how these issue could be applied to the topic of a barren Mars and what to do next; and several other things besides.

Not a question being "not willing", there is no connection.  I reject any suggestion of "group think" in this area as a risible, ignorant and baseless assertion.  Anyone who actually has read the relevant literature or been to a Mars conference would know how silly it is to accuse martians scientists of"group think".

Quote
Quote from: Dalhousie
Attempt to drail the discussion onto your anti-MSR hobby horse noted.

Note that I can draw false conclusions based on opinions which I do not care for:  I note that you are quite in favor of top priority for MSR without any scientific justification.

That isn't the topic under discussion.

[/quote]
Quote from: Dalhousie
Here is an example of an the abstract from a recent multi-author publication from MSL. [which does not conclude 'we need more money'.]

Exception noted.[/quote]

No an exception, it is the norm for scientific papers.  I am  going to quote fifty or a hundred papers to show this to you.  Go andread them yourself.

Quote
"...that such an endeavor may be essential technically and programmatically for the success of both near-term and long-term human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit."

That's not a scientific paper, not is it relevant to Mars, so both off topic and irrelevant.

Quote
But here's where, if I had a goat, you would have gotten it:

The OP:

What happens to space travel if it is proven that there never was life on Mars? 

I answered this question quite succinctly:

Quote from: JF
If the planet is alive today, determine what the preservation standards should be.  Otherwise, start selling plots.

But you think such a response is "off topic".

Because the OP has already assumed this, therefore you should be discussing under than assumption, not using it as a platform to rant about your usual bugbears.
"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 JohnFornaro

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Quote from: JF
If the planet is alive today, determine what the preservation standards should be.  Otherwise, start selling plots.
But you think such a response is "off topic".

Quote from: Dalhousie
Because the OP has already assumed this, therefore you should be discussing under than assumption, not using it as a platform to rant about your usual bugbears.

You raise some interesting points.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Dalhousie

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Quote
The great difficulty of doing sophisticated investigations such as SEM-EDX, also plain SEM, SEM-BSE, and a host of other methods not possible to miniaturise and automate, is precisely while MSR is a priority.  But that is another topic.

Perhaps this was Wolfe-Simons point.  MSL cant do it all.

It's not a point she made in the paper, but it is one that almost everyone interested in martian chemistry makes sooner or later.  But let's keep MSR to a separate discussion.

Quote
The difference in a mars sample return mission is that full scale lab equipment on Earth can be brought to bear on a Mars specimen.  Since there are already multiple samples of Mars rocks/meteorites on Earth - I really see no point to a MSR mission. Is there really any significant difference to what MSL is seeing vs what has been seen with the Mars based meteors???

A good question.  The preliminary results are very, very different to the SNC meteorites.  But a topic for another discussion thread.

Quote
So with Mars, I'd say the best option is to wrap it ALL up.  We stopped going to the moon as all the science was gained that was worth gaining.

We haven;'t wrapped Earth up yet, let alone Mars!  And certainly not the Moon.  We stopped going because the Apollo mission objectives were achieved, not because we learned all that was worth knowing.  But again, something for another discussion.

Quote
Now gathering samples from other objects (asteroids and moons out to Saturn) would likely bring more gains to science. 


Sample return from the moons of Saturn would be very difficult with current technology.  Sample return from asteroids has already happened, and there are two more missions in the works.  Plus we have hundreds of tonnes of material already in the form of meteorites.

edit - spelling and additional material
« Last Edit: 06/18/2013 01:05 AM by Dalhousie »
"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 RigelFive

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That would be a disappointment on a great many levels.  The most important level is that "science" is not the most important activity of the human race.  "Living" is.

***************************************

As an aside, I love the English language.  Only language I ever bothered to get fluent in.  Even so, mine is a continued struggle.

So you allege that "We can't get enough plants to effectively grow on the ISS to make one side salad on Mars."

Just as a point of clarification, did you mean that we couldn't make one complete side salad any where in the ISS, or that on one side or another of the ISS, we could not make a salad, whether complete or incomplete, or that we could not make a salad of undetermined completeness which would satisfy one side of the HSF/robotic argument that might very well be taking place on the ISS?  Somehow you tied Mars into all those salad variants.

Just askin'.

You are right!  It was late.  I should have been more careful with my wording.  Here ya go!

*** Lettuce on Mars - A poem by RigelFive ***
Living is made of life with a purpose by divine inspiration.
English is made of letters that transfers words of imagination.
Salad is made of leaves that man eats while gazing upon the stars.
Therefore, lettuce will never just start talking about traveling to Mars.
« Last Edit: 06/18/2013 06:32 AM by RigelFive »

Offline JohnFornaro

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I gotta say, R5, that NASA could reduce its costs by hiring me as staff artist.  And you as staff poet.  And I mean that in the most way that you can imagine.  Bretheren and Sisteren:  Lettuce spray.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline RigelFive

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I gotta say, R5, that NASA could reduce its costs by hiring me as staff artist.  And you as staff poet.  And I mean that in the most way that you can imagine.  Bretheren and Sisteren:  Lettuce spray.
;D

Yes NASA could use a poet and a real artist.  This computer generated animation technology really is too much. What are they going to do next?  Seven minutes of terror by THX LucasFilm?   If we had nice hand drawn sketches, greater progress will be achieved. 

Davinci would never have used these infernal CAD programs.

Anyways... If one thinks about the history of NACA and NASA, they really started out as a small committee.  Eventually these committees grew to the massive bureaucracies we now have with NASA.

NACA was formed to regain leadership in aeronautics after Germany made warplanes.  NASA was formed to regain our leadership in astronautics as Sputnik was launched.

So this NAI organization... Hmmm!  If we fail to find life on Mars OR fail to determine habitability, perhaps NAI becomes the eventual new organization to replace NASA (and the lesser portion with the aeronautics).

Perhaps NAI is that small committee that drives the whole vision of the organization.  CAN'T figure out the new word that transcends astro/aeronautics though.  The new organization would have a lesser component of astronautics and aeronautics.  However the elements of the new organization would consist of:
1) using robotic explorers, but with much more anthropomorphic and autonomous capabilities rather than being remotely controlled and lethargic (like a bunch of scientists flimming thru the XRD data from Mars).
2) cosmochemistry (whatever this is?)
3) astrobiology (or whatever the next equivalent discipline from a fully accredited academic institution is)
and
 4 ) cosmoterrabioticarcheology -  investigating the distribution of living molecules originating from Earth out to the solar system and beyond. Are trace elements of life from Earth found on Pluto?

  Perhaps this could be defined as the new era of cybernautics?   
« Last Edit: 06/19/2013 08:01 AM by RigelFive »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Perhaps this could be defined as the new era of cybernautics?

Uhhhh.... Stick with the poetry there, yungsta. Ya prose gittin' dense.  Again, I mean that in the most way possible (TM).

First, I didn't catch your new acronym, NAI.

Second, would the following be a fair interpretation of your rant outline?

Accepting the notion that government agencies grow from small committees to large bureaucracies; acknowledging that the original functions of those agencies evolve over time; noting that the evolution can result in agency mission creep resulting in a culture of non-accomplishment; what then would be a good strategy of directing the nation's aeronautic and HSF goals?

You suggest four areas of possible government endeavor.  All of them depend only upon robotic methodologies.  Therefore, it sounds like you are positing the tentative premise to remove the "H" from HSF and replace it with an "R".

Is this a fair paraphrase?
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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