Russia going to the Moon, then Mars

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JonClarke

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<font color="yellow">The US has launched more than 50 space exploration missions (not counting Apollo) through a civil agency compared with 6 by the military. That counts as almost zero in my book.</font><br /><br /><br /><i>Assuming that the military is making their missions public record and taking your figures as you posted at face value, Let me get my calculator here: 6/50=12%... hmmm that's far from zero in my calculator book. Thus the military has greater than almost zero interests in Space activities. </i><br /><br />You want accuracy? OK.<br /><br />Military sponsored missions 10 (including 5 failures). NASA missions 79 (including failures and those on route). Not ccounting Apollo. That’s 11 percent by number. <br /><br />Going into actual expenditiure is, I suspect, more than this conversation is worth. But all 10 military sponsored missions were very small spacecraft, and cannot be compared to the large and complex NASA probes. So actual military expenditure on space exploration would, I suspect be much less than 11%.<br /><br />Also note that of the 11 missions, 10 were launched between 1958 and 1960, when NASA was in its infancy and the US military still had a formal role. Since 1960 and now there has been one military sponsored space probe in 48 years. That is pretty close to zero in my book.<br /><br />As for “the military is making their missions public record†launches are a matter of public record, even if the details are not. But the details can be worked by people who are interested, let alone other countries with tracking facilities. We can be very confident that the US military not sent any clandestine spacecraft beyond LEO since Clementine.<br /><br />If you have evidence to the contrary though, share it. We would be fascinated.<br /><br />Jon<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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<i>Over the years Putin has been gathering oil resources back into state hands once again. That is one source of wealth.</i><br /><br />More importantly the Russian economy has been showing strong and consistent growth for the past 10 years. Overseas debt has been paid off ahead of scheule and cahs reserves are growing. Which is all great news.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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Define "get anywhere in space".<br /><br />So far we have been showing slow but steady progress. As for land ownership, what this actually means in therms space is not clear. It is unlikely that terrestrial pardigms can or should be applied without careful thought and some evolution. As for mineral rights, these are meaningless untill there is actually something worth mining. Which there isn't (as yet).<br /><br />Jon<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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<i>Yes in terms of a competitive "stake" that is what it will take.</i><br /><br />Collaboration can be as powerful a drive as competition. there is a place to both. Since there is nothing to complete for on Mars we had better look to the collaborative incentive.<br /><br /><i>Otherwise it is wishful thinking masquerading as official press-releases from NASA, lumbering bureaucratic inaction, budgetary hurdles ad infinitum, lip service,</i><br /><br />Your opinion. No much evidence for it though, so far. If you are not happy with the present situation, do something, don't complain. the MarsSociety, the Planetary Society, the National Space Society, many other groups, could use your support. <br /><br /><i>fictional moon base precursory habitats = nowhere near a manned Martian landing in this current paradigm.</i><br /><br />How will we ever have bases on the Moon of Mars unless people do studies now? That is not fiction, that is research.<br /><br />Jon<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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<i>Speaking of benefactors or private corporations doing a Mars mission, do you know, if they do it, whether they'll have the right to licence what they find or must their findings be open to all mankind? <br /><br />I'm thinking about big biotechnical and pharmaceutical corporations (I'm swiss) like Roche, Novartis, Merck... Everybody speaks about life on Mars but I read that, even short of life, finding pre-biotic molecules (the missing links) would be a formidable boost for biochemistry. </i><br /><br />Bioprosecting on Mars is a possibility and if it is done commerical then I am sure the corporations responsible would keep the information for their use and sell the results.<br /><br />the question is (assuming that there is any bio to prospect <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> ) is whether the return would be worth the investment. Big corporations are risk adverse and want dood rates of treturns. that is how they survive and grow.<br /><br /><i>That would be a feat ala "The Mars Race" with corporations keeping their results for their scientists but developping and creating the infrastructure for others to use (to lend?). </i><br /><br />As i recall the profits in that book were primarily from the media and entertainment sector.<br /><br /><i>John, is someone talking about things like that in the Mars Society US ? </i><br /><br />It's been mentioned in passing I am sure. But I haven't seen any papers. But then, I only have the proceedsings of one of their conferences.<br /><br />Jon<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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jaxtraw

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<i>Define "get anywhere in space". </i><br /><br />Something more than "Geologists' Playtime".<br /><br /><i>So far we have been showing slow but steady progress.</i><br /><br />Towards what goal?<br /><br /><i>As for land ownership, what this actually means in {terms of?} space is not clear. It is unlikely that terrestrial pardigms can or should be applied without careful thought and some evolution.</i><br /><br />That's an assertion I can't evaulate since it's just an assertion. Land ownership is a fully understood and well-tested concept. Ownership is the basis of our society and financial systems. You can't do anything without it. You certainly can't build an economy; and without an economy you can't do anything else. Simply put; if one day somebody is to live on Mars, they need a house to live in. That house needs to be on some land. If they can't buy the land, what paradigm do you propose?<br /><br />Please don't tell me the future in space is some kind of "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" thing.<br /><br /><br /><i>As for mineral rights, these are meaningless untill there is actually something worth mining. Which there isn't (as yet).</i><br /><br />It's unlikely there'll be much in space that's worth bringing back to Earth, but there's probably quite a lot in space worth mining for use by locals. The question is whether there'll ever be any locals.<br /><br />If space is just for science, it's a dead end. There are only so many maps of a planet you can make before you pack up and go home. The "science return" is currently in its heyday, but will dwindle until there are no more things of any interest to learn. What then, for space beyond LEO?
 
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signalhill

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I'm all for doing research and making the necessary measures to get to Mars with human beings. It is the bogus empty blabbering tripe about the incredibly short time frame allotted to get there that is reprehensible. <br /><br />In 25 years it will be a miracle to have even gone to the Moon with a "base" established. We're already 20 years too late in going back to the Moon to then establish a "trailer park" there. <br /><br />The only way i see a Mars human mission in 25 to 30 years time is to forgo entirely an extensive Moon program and just go straight away to Mars using research gleaned from ISS research and Earth-based desert Mars habitats. The whole Moon odyssey is a decades-long haul that will add so many years to a Martian visitation from ET (humans). There was never a Moon base or any such thing done about the Moon except for tiny orbiting human-created craft prior to people setting foot there. We went there without having had much experience in space flight at all. In tin cans. <br /><br />Why we need to prepare endlessly for a Mars touchdown by going again and again and again and again and again and again to the Moon seems largely unnecessary.
 
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alokmohan

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After that ET will terraform and make a new world like Columbus did.Join mars society.
 
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JonClarke

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<font color="yellow">Define "get anywhere in space".</font><br /><br /><i>Something more than "Geologists' Playtime".</i><br /><br />It’s always been a lot more than that. Not that there is anything wrong with geological research on the Moon, Mars and elsewhere. Geology is an essential component to just about anything you want to do.<br /><br /><font color="yellow">So far we have been showing slow but steady progress.</font><br /><br /><i>Towards what goal? </i><br /><br />Greater and more diverse capabilities.<br /><br /><font color="yellow">As for land ownership, what this actually means in space is not clear. It is unlikely that terrestrial paradigms can or should be applied without careful thought and some evolution.</font><br /><br /><i>That's an assertion I can't evaulate since it's just an assertion. Land ownership is a fully understood and well-tested concept.</i><br /><br />Even on Earth what is meant by land ownership varies in time and space.<br /><br /><i> Ownership is the basis of our society and financial systems. You can't do anything without it. </i><br /><br />Indeed. But what is meant by “ownership†is subject to change and evolution.<br /><br /><i>You certainly can't build an economy; and without an economy you can't do anything else.</i><br /><br />Agreed. But the structure and basis of that economy may be quite different from what we have at present, just as that differs from the basis of 18th century economies, and those from earlier ones.<br /><br /><i>Simply put; if one day somebody is to live on Mars, they need a house to live in. That house needs to be on some land. If they can't buy the land, what paradigm do you propose?</i><br /><br />You don’t need to own the land to build a house. You don’t need to own a house to live it in. There are a range alternatives here.<br /><br /><i>Please don't tell me the future in space is some kind of "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" thing.</i><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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<i>I'm all for doing research and making the necessary measures to get to Mars with human beings.</i><br /><br />Good, we agree. So let’s not have any more talk of such studies being “science fictionâ€.<br /><br /><i>It is the bogus empty blabbering tripe about the incredibly short time frame allotted to get there that is reprehensible. In 25 years it will be a miracle to have even gone to the Moon with a "base" established.</i><br /><br />Why would 25 years it be a miracle? It is a reasonable prediction based on current levels of funding and priorities. If those priorities change and funding decrease then it will take a lot longer. If funding was doubled or tripled and Mars made a top priority we could be there in 10 years. I don’t think this is likely so 25 years is a reasonable middle estimate, neither optimistic or pessimistic. IMHO!<br /><br /> <i>We're already 20 years too late in going back to the Moon to then establish a "trailer park" there. </i><br /><br />Twenty years too late for what? What have we missed out on?<br /><br /><i>The only way i see a Mars human mission in 25 to 30 years time is to forgo entirely an extensive Moon program and just go straight away to Mars using research gleaned from ISS research and Earth-based desert Mars habitats.</i><br /><br />Sure, we could do that. It would be more expensive way to do it because a lot more technology would have to be developed from scratch and the goal would be much further away. It would be much more risky because of lack of experience in planetary exploration. This is why we aren’t going down this route.<br /><br /><i>The whole Moon odyssey is a decades-long haul that will add so many years to a Martian visitation from ET (humans).</i><br /><br />It will add some years to this, but they will be years well spent. Exploring Mars will be cheaper, safer, and more effective with lunar experience.<br /><br /><i>There was never a Moon base or any such thing done about the Moon except for tiny orbiting human</i> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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signalhill

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You raise good points. Well stated.<br /><br />Regardless of my cynicisms about the lumbering bureaucratic slow-motion effects of space programs, to establish a Moon base, however far-fetching presently, would be about the best possible model for a Martian outpost. <br /><br />On the Moon we have poisonous radiation, dust, about the most hostile environment for human existence, a perfect analogue of Mars. Except Mars will be worse because it has a viable meteorological cycle that only adds to the mounting list of threats. It probably makes the Moon dust situation look like a picnic. Martian dust will destroy about anything man-made given enough time. <br /><br />Technologies that do not yet exist need to be created for a Martian "campaign." I think the Space Shuttle needs to be axed in favor of a more Apollo-like manner of ISS rendezvous that can be applied to Moon shots as well. I don't see the Space Shuttle program with all of it's mammoth reuqirements being able co-exist with yet another full-plate Moon/Mars focus of intent. <br /><br /><br />Let's say a Lunar program is started using the ISS as an example of a time frame to completion. Even neglecting the 250,000 mile one-way journey to ferry equipment, if it takes another 12 or 13 years to dry-run a Mars landing, however brief, that leaves another 13 to 17 years to go to Mars to fit the "window."<br /><br />So, then, in this time, 13 to 17 years is "it." This considers, too, that the ISS is flourishing and online and a routinely visited outpost working in tandem with the Lunar outpost. The remaining time must be used to create and test the actual Martian space craft capable of making the journey with human cargo.<br /><br />This excludes actually building another Martian outpost in similar fashion the ISS or even the cursory Moon facility. The first Mars shot will more than likely be a Neil Armstrong moment with the spacecraft itself being the living quarters, some excursions over the horizons in a buggy, rock sample colle
 
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vandivx

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personally I have no problem with going on training trips to Moon before going to Mars, however those long time frames and everything else one knows about space programs in EU and USA makes me pesimistic and only hopes are now in China/Russis/ perhaps India because they still have some of that raw 'make do' without much of red tape out there<br /><br />I get goose bumps when I hear of such long time frames because they bespeak of bureaucratic fat government agency taking its proper time which in the end typically means not meeting those timeframes by a long shot and when eventually they are met we end up with outdated technology going someplace for very short time of flag waving...<br /><br />I would have faith in it if somebody said we are going to Mars in five years and we are going to throw money at it whatever it takes because we badly want to put first people on another planet and we want it to be us because then we will go down in history - after that, any other subsequent landing even if on another planet will not be the same anymore, what it at stake here is to be first to land on another planet as such and it can be done and people are so %^& they'd rather fund some milk to slum program than such trully heroic undertaking<br /><br />if what we have is halfhearted lukewarm approach to space trip like this one and thinking it will get funded on a side from little bits what could be spared from social programs funding and what not, then the risk is it will not happen in the end at all or if it will it will be one time hooplah with everything going to sleep for decades once the celebrating flags are stored away again<br /><br />what is missing here is broad public enthusiasm showing in the priorities (at least such as we had in 1960s) and the relatively few fans of space exploration won't cut it, bamboozling funding in various ways while only realistic way as you said (with which I agree given how things are) is a sad state of affairs<br /><br />while Moon base would <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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kelvinzero

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But are russia or china serious, and how will this affect america's motivation?<br /><br />I think all future posts should mention russia at least once <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />Hey Jon, do you have a wishlist for the moon?
 
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ariesr

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<i>while Moon base would be no doubt valuable in preparation for Mars landing I would like to see instead fast push to put people into Mars orbit first without landing but only sending down some probes and handling them directly from orbit (I suppose there would be some value to be had from that as opposed to have mission remotely controled from Earth)</i><br /><br />That would be my thoughts also. Remote control from mars orbit. Even that sort of project seems over a decade away. <br /><br />Havent experiments being going on for decades on exposure to less gravity and the loneliness of space itself? <br /><br />What new technology is needed for the above type of mission. <br /><br />On the same breath, I'd also like to see a moon base alpha. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />
 
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dragon04

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<font color="yellow">While one small reason to go to the Moon is because it is there. There were - and are - many more compelling reason.</font><br /><br />No doubt there are, but again.. To what end?<br /><br />For example. The Moon is platinum rich. Nice. That would find valuable uses, but the cost of applying those uses to terrestrial purposes would be cost-prohibitive based on current technology.<br /><br />I think that it's a case of getting the cart ahead of the horse, so to speak.<br /><br />Not that I wouldn't like to see a Moon Base, mind you; a Keck sized telescope on the "dark side" of the Moon would be interesting indeed.<br /><br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <em>"2012.. Year of the Dragon!! Get on the Dragon Wagon!".</em> </div>
 
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kelvinzero

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You mean commercial use of the moon?<br /><br />The moon could become a far cheaper way to deliver materials to LEO than launching from earth, in theory at least. Oxygen first, reducing the cost of other space projects, perhaps solar power satelites materials later. The moon is more plausible for an eventual tourist destination than mars since only days would be spent in travel.<br /><br />You would have met ideas like that before though so Im guessing you mean something else?<br /><br />hmm.. trying to think of something to say relevant to russia... <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />
 
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alokmohan

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CommeRcial and logistic reason.But mars excels both .We may use it as future space to say.Zubrin is in USA,SO DONT WORRY.
 
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signalhill

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It seems Russia is way overdue for their Moon landing. It would make sense for them to finally go there with people. They appear to have the most experience in human space visitations, for very long periods of time. A Moon visit would seem a natural progression for them, requiring less time to get there than the rather long wait the USA proposes. They could probably go there with Soyuz technology.<br /><br />They have already proven that the Soyuz technology, as old as it is, is highly reliable and became the main mode of transport to the ISS when the Shuttle program was on hiatus. It sort of made the Shuttle appear to be an overly bloated waste.
 
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kelvinzero

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I was just reading about their Lunokhod program. Quite cool they had something trundling around there for about a year though it only traveled about 10km.<br /><br />What range could a modern robotic rover be expected to have? It may not be very scientific but there are a lot of sights I would like to see. Wouldnt it be great to see one of the luna landers on the horison, crawl up and see an actual foot print. Or should the dust be left undisturbed till we can build viewing platforms for future tourists? Everything we do on the moon is permanent in a way nothing in LEO can be.
 
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JonClarke

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<i>You raise good points. Well stated.</i><br /><br />Thank you! <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br /><i>Regardless of my cynicisms about the lumbering bureaucratic slow-motion effects of space programs, to establish a Moon base, however far-fetching presently, would be about the best possible model for a Martian outpost.</i><br /><br />Agreed.<br /><br /><i>On the Moon we have poisonous radiation, dust, about the most hostile environment for human existence, a perfect analogue of Mars. Except Mars will be worse because it has a viable meteorological cycle that only adds to the mounting list of threats. It probably makes the Moon dust situation look like a picnic. Martian dust will destroy about anything man-made given enough time.</i><br /><br />Weather is the new variable on Mars that we don't have on the Moon.<br /><br /><i>Technologies that do not yet exist need to be created for a Martian "campaign." I think the Space Shuttle needs to be axed in favor of a more Apollo-like manner of ISS rendezvous that can be applied to Moon shots as well. I don't see the Space Shuttle program with all of it's mammoth reuqirements being able co-exist with yet another full-plate Moon/Mars focus of intent.</i><br /><br />This is what is happening with the end of Shuttle missions in 2010 and the development of Orion.<br /><br /><i>Let's say a Lunar program is started using the ISS as an example of a time frame to completion. Even neglecting the 250,000 mile one-way journey to ferry equipment, if it takes another 12 or 13 years to dry-run a Mars landing, however brief, that leaves another 13 to 17 years to go to Mars to fit the "window."</i><br /><br />I think you have touched on an interesting point with this. How many unmanned test flights would be needed to qualify manned Mars missions? Would we need to fly a complete mission cycle unmanned? Could it be done using in Earth orbit? Or can be have enough confidence with our technology that we can fly everything first up and expect it to <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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<i>Hey Jon, do you have a wishlist for the moon?</i><br /><br />NASA sems to prefer the lunar poles because of ice. Scientists seem to prefer the South Pole Aitken Basin because it exposes the mantle. But I must say as a romantic I would like to see mission to the localities that have features so much in human imagination. Plato, Alphonus, Aristarchus, Tycho, Clavius, the Alpine Valley, the Straight Wall, Pico, Pito, the Straight Range. And on the farside Tsiolkovsky and Mare Moscoviense.<br /><br />Jon<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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<i>I was just reading about their Lunokhod program. Quite cool they had something trundling around there for about a year though it only traveled about 10km. <br /><br />What range could a modern robotic rover be expected to have? It may not be very scientific but there are a lot of sights I would like to see. Wouldnt it be great to see one of the luna landers on the horison, crawl up and see an actual foot print. Or should the dust be left undisturbed till we can build viewing platforms for future tourists? Everything we do on the moon is permanent in a way nothing in LEO can be.</i><br /><br />Because the Lunakhods could be driven direct from earth they were fast, averaging 100 m a day, 10 times faster than the MERs. In a modern Lunakhod could last as long as the Mers would would have travelled more than 100 km by now.<br /><br />Yhe Lunakhods carried a heavy scientific payload too. I think this would be a great way to explore the Moon and would identify the most productive sites for human visitation. <br /><br />Imagine a Lunakhod traverse round Mare Imbrium starting from Alphonsus and ending up at Hadley Rille. You would take in Herodetus, Schroter's Valley, Pico, Piton, the Straight Range, Sinus Iridium, the Alipine Valley, and the landing or crash sites of several missions on the way.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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I think you are right. It would take a certain amount of courage to commit to a mission fo such duration, courage that is rare in this day and age. Maybe you are right, may it will be China or India or even Brazil who will do such missions. I don't mind, so long as someone does it in my lifetime <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />Symptomatic of this is the panic over over every little chip in the Shuttles tiles or whether Hubble should be visited because there is no safe haven, it is hard to imagine people going on a 1000 day mission to Mars.<br /><br />I think there are two ways round this problem. First of all is to build confidence in spacefaring to such a degree that going to Mars seems less of a risk. This means lost of experience in LEO and on the Moon, and extensive knowledge and experience on Mars from robotic missions.<br /><br />The other is to design mission archiectures with as few dead zones as possible, with many abort and safe haven options. And to do this with blowing the budget <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> !<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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gunsandrockets

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<Otherwise it's just rhetoric and BS and they'll never ever make the 25-30 year window. Ever. And this excludes any budgetary BS and political strife and holdups.><br /><br />With a normal and modest economic growth rate of 2.5% over the next thirty years the budget of NASA could double. Then take into account 30 years worth of improved technology. A manned mission to Mars will look much less daunting 30 years from now than it does today.<br /><br />
 
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