Russia going to the Moon, then Mars

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signalhill

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><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.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />I will not rule that out but such a rate in 30 years even if doubled would appear to be a mere cost of living rise in proportion to the devaluation of money effect. <br /><br />I think 25 to 30 years is WAY ambitious and unrealistic to have humans on Mars. They would have to be already sending test flights, manned or unmanned to test vehicle designs, to the Moon next year, somehow, in order for this to happen. They're nowhere even near going to the Moon currently, let alone Mars. The longer they languish in idle talk at press-releases/events about a return to the Moon, we're that farther away from a mission to Mars. <br /><br />If this rationale is not paramount: Moon = Mars, we're not going. At this point they are NOT mutually exclusive projects but the SAME project. If this mode of thought is not primary, we're not going to Mars. <br /><br />And then to reiterate, how long will they then dally around with a (currently fictional) extended Lunar program once we have the "Neil Armstrong part 2" moment? The Moon is cool and everything, but Mars is FAR more interesting and pioneering by several orders of magnitude. <br /><br />In my opinion, the Moon should be seen at this point only as a test ground and not the main focus. 25 years is not very long, really. That will be here in a New York minute, particularly when considering how abysmally slowly ANY government agency conducts it's affairs. Major space programs are notoriously nearly ALWAYS 1) behind schedule 2) over-budget 3) obsolete before they are launched.
 
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thebigcat

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Sorry for being absent this discussion. I were busy elsewhere. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />Jon Clarke: <i>Calling the Moon a springboard for Mars is misleading and incorrect. It will always be easier to go directly to Mrs rather than via the Moon. <br /><br />However, lunar experience in almost every field will be a very powerful learning tool for going to Mars and will allow a lot of technology development to be funded under a different program. </i><br /><br /><br />Me: If you are looking at the bottom line cost in money and effort, yeah going straight to Mars, bypassing the moon entirely <i>is</i> cheaper and easier. That's if you are factoring all the expense in as the cost of reaching Mars.<br /><br />I have told you before of the attitude of the Mars Society people I have met in Seattle. Hype the MarsDirect, yadda yadda yadda. One can get the impression that they believe that the only purpose for Humans to leave the planet is so that we can send some to Mars, do the flags and footprints thing, make some "scientific observations", and then forever we'll be able to say that we sent people to Mars and returned them safely to the Earth. I realize that that isn't the case, but it does seem that way at times.<br /><br />Want to do some serious science, not just samples for the news cameras, that's going to take long term study utilizing the most advanced, versatile scientific instrument ever. Specifically, the human being. Probes are wonderful, they can stay on-station for long periods with a minimum of needs, Spirit and Opportunity are doing marvelously, and the next generation should be even better, but just as an airplane is a collection of compromises flying in close formation, a probe is even more so. Pack in as many light-weight multi-purpose gadgets as you can get away with, sort of like a miniature leatherman in space, and you are still limited to very little more than what the design specifics called for. But science done with probes is very shallow <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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signalhill

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><br />But before we go we are going to need some serious experience in living in low-gravity artificial environments and we will kill a lot fewer people if we get that experience somewhere that is only four days away. That's why we need a permanent Lunar presence.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />I 95% agree with your whole point of view. A human team of pioneers will never be surpassed. People must actually go to places. Until we have an android technology that equals human perception and mobility, we have no choice but to send people to the planets first. <br /><br />I feel that a perma-base on the Moon achieved before we even attempt to go to Mars will not have us on Mars anytime soon unless the nascent Lunar base is built up in stages, like the ISS, and is <i>concurrently developed</i> with Martian missions.<br /><br />There will have to be a point when we have done "enough" on the Lunar surface to enable a Mars journey possible within a reasonable time frame not getting into a mid-century scale. Otherwise the Lunar program, if ever even done, will pose to stand in the way, indefinitely pushing back justifications for Mars. People can say forever "we're not fully trained on the Moon yet." And this can go on for decades, mounting into vast stretches of delays.<br /><br />In my opinion, a brief flag-and-bootprint Mars mission will be the only mission if a Mars shot is to be done "soon." What you speak of in your post is a century project. It will be nearly a dozen years or more from start to end before the ISS is finished. A Martian base of the same scale will probably not be built in our lifetimes. <br /><br />Even if they were to start ferrying equipment to the Moon tomorrow night, the Moon is not in LEO but is a 1/4 million miles away. No such spacecraft exists to truck such cargo there and back. So 1) Lunar shuttling technology must be developed. Where is it? Doesn't exist.<br /><br />next 2) Lunar base must be built. Wh
 
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vandivx

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I should say something here in connection with pioneering spirit of Russians, I used to live in one of the communist satelite countries and used to work in a factory that was making TV transmiters which were mostly for export to Russia<br /><br />those transmiters weren't always assembled on time and when the deadline came they boxed them up (threw in stuff that was left out of assembly) and away they went to Russia in incomplete state and that's how we helped to fulfil those five year economic plans <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />then a crew of techs was sent to Russia wherever those transmiters went and finished the assembly there on the site, once a close friend of mine who was on such trip told me he visited some space museum where you could see rockets of the Russian space program <br /><br />being technician he was most interested in what they looked like behind the surface shell where the wiring is hidden and he said he was flabergasted when he saw the rat nest of wires patched together and that was even on units like landing modules that made it back from actual space trips with human cargo and that he wouldn't trust his life to such coffins<br /><br />that is taking into account that each of those units was one of a kind (no serial production)<br /><br />while there is probably limit to how much should be risked, to me that showed the pioneering spirit the Russians had and I think which they still have, of course it may lead to such things like that nuclear submarine that blew up on them some years ago killing all aboard and I am not sure if we know nowadays about all accidents of their space program during cold war days, still I like that way of doing things better than what I see today with American lumbering space program (of course I don't mean killing people side of it)<br />what is needed is some middle road btw the two extremes, Americans try to be way too safe and in the end it can and does blow up on them too and best is not to overdo it becau <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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signalhill

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I agree with your points. <br /><br />The American space programs are often so long in development, with so many delays, it typically takes decades from concept to launch of even small programs. A Mars mission will encompass several agencies, probably globally, having to work for decades together, with full commitment and focus.
 
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JonClarke

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Interesting story.<br /><br />There is a mind set change required as we move from short to long term missions and from mission in Earth orbit to those in deep space. The first is like an aircraft sortie, the second is like a ship voyage, the third a polar expedition. <br /><br />When something goes wrong with an aircraft you contain the situation and then bring the plane down as soon as possible. <br /><br />When something goes wrong at sea you contain the problem and then fix it. Abandoning ship is something done only as last resort.<br /><br />At the poles you stick with your station until the last possible moment. Almost anything is better than abandoning it.<br /><br />This evolution requires a cultural shift. The Russians did it during the Salyut program, the US during the Shuttle-Mir missions (kicking and screaming in the process), and the next will happen with a Moon station.<br /><br />The other cultural evolution is with the degree of micromanagement by the ground. Long duration missions require much greater autonomy than short ones. The Russians learned this on Salyut, the US began to learn it on Skylab and had to relearn it on Shuttle-Mir. Missions with significant time lag are essentially completely autonomous, with mission control becoming mission support.<br /><br />Jon<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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<In my opinion, a brief flag-and-bootprint Mars mission will be the only mission if a Mars shot is to be done "soon."><br /><br />There is no such thing as a 'flags and footprints' mission when it comes to Mars. Even those plans with a brief visit at Mars amount to the equivalent of 30 Apollo missions. More likely mission plans have a crew stay on Mars for 18+ months!
 
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gunsandrockets

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<I will not rule that out but such a rate in 30 years even if doubled would appear to be a mere cost of living rise in proportion to the devaluation of money effect.><br /><br />I did not mean inflation, inflation is something completely apart from economic growth. I am talking about the economy doubling in size within the time frame of 30 years, the Gross Domestic Product becoming twice what it is today and therefore the budget of NASA doubling in size (AFTER taking into account inflation).<br /><br /><I think 25 to 30 years is WAY ambitious and unrealistic to have humans on Mars. /><br /><br />And you continue to overestimate the difficulty of going to Mars.<br /><br />NASA could have landed men on Mars more than twenty years ago if it weren't for budgetary politics. And even twenty years before that the Russians were planning a manned flyby of Mars until they were distracted by Kennedy's race for the moon. The problem with Mars travel is not technological, and every decade that passes makes it easier to accomplish than before.
 
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alokmohan

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Robert Zubrin has some concrete plans in mind.He has persuaded US govt to some extent.
 
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ariesr

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<i>A Mars mission will encompass several agencies, probably globally, having to work for decades together, with full commitment and focus. <br /></i><br /><br />That's probably about the size of it. Although is it possible the Russia and China will go on a joint exercise with NASA/ESA doing something else?<br /><br />Does NASA/US Policy of technology transfer to other countries slow things down dramatically?
 
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signalhill

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><br />And you continue to overestimate the difficulty of going to Mars.<br /><br />NASA could have landed men on Mars more than twenty years ago if it weren't for budgetary politics. And even twenty years before that the Russians were planning a manned flyby of Mars until they were distracted by Kennedy's race for the moon. The problem with Mars travel is not technological, and every decade that passes makes it easier to accomplish than before.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />You are largely restating and bolstering what I have been saying this whole time. The bureaucratic hurdles are often larger than the technological ones. Space programs take at least TEN years before any new emerging craft technology makes it into orbit. No such plans for a Mars lander are even on the table. No such Lunar landers are on the table. It's only hot air on the table. <br /><br />Regardless, the actual technology to go to Mars with people actually <i>does not yet exist</i>. Even if it can be created from off-the-shelf pieces and developed with a budget and focus of purpose, it has yet to be assembled and tested in-situ. <br /><br />Lunar programs as manned Martian landing "practice" technologies: Doesn't exist. Where are the designs for the Mars craft? Doesn't exist. Where are the technologies for manned life support to Mars? Doesn't exist. It's all just talk. <br /><br />One could say that if the Apollo era technology was used to go to the Moon, then certainly technology for Martian landers must already "exist." But it doesn't. The technology to go the Moon doesn't even exist. It used to exist! But not anymore. <i>It could be made to exist if such focus were aimed at it.</i> But that is exactly the problem! <br /><br /><i>There are no plans to even go to the Moon or Mars right now.</i> It will probably take another 5 to 10 years to actually "begin" anything serious that is beyond mere dreaming or thinking or wishing. That just wasted 5 to
 
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kyle_baron

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<font color="yellow"><br />. R&D for an entirely new manned Apollo program and manned Mars lander program has not even begun. And if it has, it's not being revealed. </font><br /><br />Apparently you don't get cable. I just watched a 1 hr. program on the Science Channel (Ch 1911), on the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). It had a tremendous amount of R&D with the latest computer (CAD) designs. They shrunk the capsule from 15.5 meters to 15 meters in diameter, which will hold 6 astronauts. Because of the electronics, only 1 person is needed to fly the capsule, rather than 2, like in Apollo. The heat shield will probably be made out of the same material as billiard balls (plastic) which is ablative, and will burn off at a steady, predictable rate. <br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="4"><strong></strong></font></p> </div>
 
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signalhill

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><br />Apparently you don't get cable. I just watched a 1 hr. program on the Science Channel (Ch 1911), on the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). It had a tremendous amount of R&D with the latest computer (CAD) designs.<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><br />I stand corrected. GOOD! <br /><br />Have they begun building it? Did the documentary visit the build facitily?<br />Did the show mention a Mars lander? Is the Mars lander being built?</p></blockquote></p></blockquote>
 
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kyle_baron

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<font color="yellow"><br />I stand corrected. GOOD!</font><br /><br />You stand partially corrected. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><font color="yellow"><br />Have they begun building it?</font><br /><br />They've built a partial and a full scale model. Nothing complete at this time.<br /><font color="yellow"><br />Did the documentary visit the build facitily?</font><br /><br />They've visited the companies, and the NASA facilities that will build the vehicles. They showed ALL the testing that needs to be done. Even showing, dropping the capsule with cables attached on compacted dirt, like the type that would be found in the desert.<br /><font color="yellow"><br />Did the show mention a Mars lander? Is the Mars lander being built? </font><br /><br />No, not directly. But it was my understanding, that the Mars lander is the same as the moon lander (I could be wrong). <br /> <br /> <br /><br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="4"><strong></strong></font></p> </div>
 
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signalhill

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At least they have begun something towards the goal. Now they need to actually really do it. When they begin testing prototype equipment in the desert, as they did with the Mars rovers, I will really know they mean it.
 
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JonClarke

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<i>There are no plans to even go to the Moon or Mars right now. It will probably take another 5 to 10 years to actually "begin" anything serious that is beyond mere dreaming or thinking or wishing. That just wasted 5 to 10 more years! So now they have 15 to 25 years to make it to Mars --not going to happen.</i><br /><br />Wrong. Orion, Ares I, Ares V, LSAM are all funded projects. Hardware development has been funded that will get us back to the Moon. It's only Wikppedia, but this page is a good place to start and will give you some ideas on where to search for to get original material http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Constellation<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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signalhill

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Thank heavens I am wrong (at least partially)! Time is a wasting!<br /><br />Now let's see how long it takes them to actually decide build and test these pieces, those that do not yet exist! Even if the Ares uses off-the-shelf Shuttle boosters as it's main body, my guess is it will be 5 to 10 years before they actually build and test it. The other pieces are nowhere to be seen. <br /><br />Let's hope for a miracle. <br /><br />
 
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