Humans on Mars could conduct far better science than any machine

Feb 6, 2020
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I think the experts have started out with the idea that they want to see humans on Mars and then argued toward that thesis.

By the time even SpaceX' enthusiastic, accelerated, timeline gets exploratory boots on the ground, their own robotic autonomy program will have followed an exponential curve toward exploiting every kilogram of mass transported and landed for the purpose of actual doing science, instead of keeping suited meat healthy and alive.

By 2028, I expect every program will come around to a "bots on the ground" mindset instead of (initially) crewed exploration landings.
 
It's not worth the overhead. The only success would be getting there. Pride is the only payoff. Very expensive pride. Sending multiple probes is much more sensible. And allows multiple destinations to be explored. Much more discovery. And sample the entire system, not just one planet. Cost/benefit isn't there yet. Let private money pay for pride.

Just a taxpayer opinion.
 
I still don't understand why we need to put humans on Mars. They say field geologists can perform much faster than robots, but they don't say why. No detail other than faster on-site decision making due to the 20 minute time delay. So just put the humans in orbit around Mars. They have a bad case of boots on the ground fever.
 
Feb 7, 2024
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Mars’ surface is contaminated with perchorates. I don’t know that colonists could overcome that fact. Having said that, I believe a series of manned landings could, in relative short order, accomplish scientific research beyond our greatest hopes. Human scientists can cover ground and perform work in one day that would take robots months or even years. With the rapid advances made by private spaces industries continuing at a breakneck pace, I’m looking at you, SpaceX , we will put boots on the ground sooner rather than later. The moon is our launch pad. I hope I live to see it.
 
But it's ok to have months and years of human body decay and damage to get there? That cancels any human labor advantages easily. The moon yes, Mars no. There is no up side for manned Mars. At present time.

The first manned Mars flight will need much more shielding, rotation for gravity, and orphans to man it. Death is extremely possible. There is no plan B. It works or it dies. Mars is not an oasis or a refuge. We are not even close to manned Mars.

True science knows this. Mars is PR science. Possibility Relations science.
 
If humans were ten times faster at field geology then just put ten times more robots there. The cost is still one tenth that of a human. The people steering this are in it for the glory of landing a person. Fame, fortune, People Magazine, endless funding from Congress, catches the "American Eye". It's endless. No thanks, give me cheap, expendable robots.
 
Humans stay on Earth, robots to space. Short-term seems cheap, long-term is disaster and extinction . . . the malignant downside costs of no human breakout -- no life breakout -- into a frontier universe . . . of no birth out . . . beginning building up in the short term. Beginning yesterday and inexorably building!

Mars, though, can and should wait for L-point orbital stations and colonies, including ships, shipbuilding, and shipping, first. Otherwise, Mars colonization (Mars direct) will exist under a single thread: A "Damocles sword." One 'Nixon moment' and dead.
 
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JMB

Aug 21, 2023
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Why is every forum on Mars with humans is missing the most extreme part of this that destroys everything? The Solar Radiation on Mars is horrendous and doesn't have any Magnetic Field to dissapate the radiation which is Lethal to humans. Even the thought of astronauts walking through the landscape is crazy and these people will all end up with mental radiation burnout and this is nothing trivial!
I mean it literally fries your brain cells and it's so bad but not much can protect against it unless you want a suit full of water.
 
Sep 20, 2020
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As a human race we are all adventurers, explorers at heart I believe. Using robots for everything takes away from our humanity I feel. I understand that there are things robots can do better, but by putting feet on Mars, I am reminded of JFK's quote - "why go to the moon"?
 
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JMB

Aug 21, 2023
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That's fine if you don't mind severe brain & chromosome damage from solar radiation that's unchecked by anything. All that's said is you need PROTECTION on Mars from this thing that ruins the human body severely.
 
Feb 7, 2024
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All the logic in the world regarding ionizing radiation and near certain death will not stop it. Qualified people will still line up around the block for dangerous missions. What I’m most dubious of is long term colonization. Reproduction on the moon is a bad idea, ditto for space. We didn’t evolve for it. Mars could become a cemetery world. Yet human exploration there will still occur. It always has, it will on Mars too.
 
Any form of long term human habitation outside of Earth's protective atmosphere and magnetic field requires shielding. It cannot just be something heavy, like lead. High energy particles create dangerous cascade showers. Only by gently slowing them down bit by bit are they rendered safe. This requires lots and lots of low density shielding like water or plastic. If choosing water, forty feet of thickness is required.
There is a "whole Mars" concept where a large superconducting ring is placed in front of Mars to shield it from solar particles. Other shielding would still be needed.
 
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Any form of long term human habitation outside of Earth's protective atmosphere and magnetic field requires shielding. It cannot just be something heavy, like lead. High energy particles create dangerous cascade showers. Only by gently slowing them down bit by bit are they rendered safe. This requires lots and lots of low density shielding like water or plastic. If choosing water, forty feet of thickness is required.
There is a "whole Mars" concept where a large superconducting ring is placed in front of Mars to shield it from solar particles. Other shielding would still be needed.
It doesn't have to be five feet of otherwise useless sludge materials, what is figured for the non-rotating outer tube protecting the rotating inner tube of a Stanford Torus space colony, it can be generated force fields. The only problem there is dealing in incompatibility when it comes to the fields. What can protect in one dimension becomes a strong magnet for some ugly stuff in another. two such fields protecting against two different uglinesses (sic) would be trying -- from what I've read -- to cancel each other out.
 
Oh dear the anti-humans in space 'Luddites' are out today. A basic fact is that for the big things like space colonization you can never succeed if you never try.

A big criticism of robots and automation is that they introduce a lot of extra points of failure. Probably over half the space missions in total that have failed have failed due failure in various automations. - From stuck hinges to software or hardware failures to complex failures like unpredicted or uncounted geology confusing sensors/algorithms..

As for AI it is nowhere near to being ready for full independent control. That leaves robots under little more than sophisticated remote control. Not so good where signals & returns can take minutes or hours. Plus communications lines can be broken or interrupted for various reasons..

A quote I've heard before - 'a human can do in a day what a robot can do in a year'. Exactly.

Now for human missions. -- Yes probably the Moon is a far better initial target than Mars. The signal delay alone makes that true. Plus its far far cheaper and easier to get to the moon and back than Mars.

The ideal Mars transit technology would be some kind of orbital Cycler - with heavy shielding and rotational gravity. The ideal rocket technology for interplanetary missions is nuclear thermal with a higher thrust to mass ratio than any chemical rocket.
 
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NASA's moon-to-Mars strategy identifies science as one of three pillars upon which the agency's quest for a sustained human presence throughout the solar system is built.

Humans on Mars could conduct far better science than any machine : Read more
Humans can do so much more than robots, I honestly don't see why anyone argues against this. We have been sending robots to Mars since the 60s and we still don't know if there was ever any life there. Even when we send experiments to determine this, as we did on the Viking lander, the results are debated and denied. Since then we STILL don't know the answer.
Want the answer? Want 100 times the science a robot can do?
Send humans.
 
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Is it possible to go to Mars now? Yes, if we sacrifice and if the crew sacrifices, we can go to Mars. So what?

Severe cost and no gain. Very little knowledge to it. The sacrifice is based on a hope. And some ego.

And it will be the last place man goes. That's it. Man can go no where else. We will never see a Mars colony or asteroid mining. World powers have neither the will or the money for it. There will not be a federation. A world body. The UN is a joke.

We will be kept right here with simple distance. We can not escape.

Moving among the stars will remain a fantasy. I think that there is much more chance of aliens visiting us, than us moving about the stars.

And I don't believe in alien life.

Just my opinion based on old reasoning. I know it's against the mood. No insult or slighting intended.
 
Oh dear the anti-humans in space 'Luddites' are out today. A basic fact is that for the big things like space colonization you can never succeed if you never try.

A big criticism of robots and automation is that they introduce a lot of extra points of failure. Probably over half the space missions in total that have failed have failed due failure in various automations. - From stuck hinges to software or hardware failures to complex failures like unpredicted or uncounted geology confusing sensors/algorithms..

As for AI it is nowhere near to being ready for full independant control. That leaves robots under little more than sophisticated remote control. Not so good where signals & returns can take minutes or hours. Plus communications lines can be broken or interrupted for various reasons..
A quote I've heard before - 'a human can do in a day what a robot can do in a year'. Exactly.

Now for human missions. -- Yes probably the Moon is a far better initial target than Mars. The signal delay alone makes that true. Plus its far far cheaper and easier to get to the moon and back than Mars.

The ideal Mars transit technology would be some kind of orbital Cycler - with heavy shielding and rotational gravity. The ideal rocket technology for interplanetary missions is nuclear thermal with a higher thrust to mass ratio than any chemical rocket.
Anti-frontier Luddites. Utopia Earthers in a stone tomb Utopia looking nowhere, going nowhere, but to the eventual and inevitable extinction of Utopia . . . the extinction of all life trapped on Utopia Earth.
 
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Human expansion into space is laudable, we have only a billion years before the Sun vaporizes Earth. But, we cannot yet reliably land probes on Mars. We have never kept humans outside Earth's protective Van Allen belts for more than a few days. It is too early to be throwing money at human landings on Mars. Let's get the basics down pat first. Musk is certainly welcome to give it a shot, but no one should try it with my tax dollars just yet. I am open to arguments but have yet to see anything other than just "humans can do it better". No specifics.
 
Jul 26, 2020
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Let's accept that there are certain on the ground activities on a alien planet that humans might do better than a robot. Especially if you given the human an alien motor vehicle to get around. The trouble is, the humans need an extensive support network in order to do the work of exploration. Not to mention getting there and hopefully back. First, a base on the Moon and then onto Mars. It is not for science. The article mentions that was not even listed initially as one of the goals for the project. So what is the goal of such an undertaking. Keep in mind, this exorbitantly expensive project will steal funds from not human exploration which has been so productive over the past several decades.

Unfortunately, the project has begun without any real knowledgeable sign on from Americans who will have to financially support the mission. What is the mission? Is it relevant to life on Earth? What will the cost amount to? I can imagine a figure in the trillions.

Finally, is it not irresponsible to pursue a project with such a cost and such risks when there is so much here on Earth that demands our attention. Perhaps it is the opinion of the leaders of the mission that if they can lay the groundwork before the public understands the project it will be too late to abandon it. Given the problems that will be encountered along the way, it is a poor bet.
 
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Feb 8, 2024
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In fairness to the critics, this article overlooks the role of deep learning AI, which will impact manned and unmanned scientific exploration of space. Otherwise, I am overwhelmed by the number of bots which have come out opposed to manned exploration of Mars, rehashing old arguments and making repeated posts, and overwhelming and confusing the information space. I'm curious who is so motivated to initiate this...
 
Mankind running on a Utopia Earth treadmill going nowhere but inwardly toward inevitable eventual extinction -- sooner than later -- is not nearly as healthy for mankind as mankind going out -- expanding out from Earth / birthing out from the womb -- somewhere.

As I said, Mars' gravity well occupation and colonization is a sideshow good only for a very small percentage of mankind and other Earth life (for analogy: Massive mainframe computer systems were not -- are not -- nearly as capable of vast windows upon cyberspace (actually not capable of cyberspace at all) as custom personal computers and individual handheld systems). The big show is custom functional minor and major stations and facilitations, cloud-city-state-like orbital space colonies orbiting around some of the better L-points, orbiting the sun side-by-side with the asteroid belt, orbiting above Mars and Venus as cloud-city-state-like Martian and Venusian colonies, and having various orbits in the Jupiter and Saturn systems (as planet-system colonizers) as well as eventually doing something with Uranus and Neptune and points further on.

The big show will be custom building on the almost infinitely vast high seas high frontier surface of a maritime Solar Systemic space itself . . . on the way to "solving the problem of relativity" (as physicist Michio Kaku put it in his book 'Hyperspace').
 
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