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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:30AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Boldly-going dept.

hubie writes:

"U.S. House of Representatives's Science, Space and Technology Committee had a meeting to discuss whether NASA should help out the Mars Foundation. The Mars Foundation scrapped their earlier plans to send two humans to Mars, and revised it to do a two-person fly-by. However, they want NASA help. They want a design modification to the Orion spacecraft and they want use of the Space Launch System. If this goes anywhere, it will be interesting how it is proposed that funding get allocated."

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:49AM (#10518)
    test
    • foo
    • bar
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:03AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:03AM (#10526)

      I believe you meant to say 'FOR TRAINING ONLY - do not release!'

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by anubi on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:53AM

    by anubi (2828) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:53AM (#10535) Journal

    I can't help but be floored with what I have seen those geniuses at JPL have done with the Mars rovers.

    If the argument is made that nothing that happens on Mars is relevant to us on earth, I claim the same argument about fashion, entertainment, movies, and sports.

    NASA has shown just what they can do with a dream... exploring another world. I'd rather support NASA than a roomful of bankers any day.

    I consider Steve Squyres the ultimate geek. Almost a god in my view. To do what him and his team has done is dreams of science fiction come true. I am afraid I could not name you not even one professional football player's name, but someone mention Steve's name and I am all ears.

    So what I am asking is Congress: bless NASA, so NASA can bless the Mars Foundation.

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 1) by tibman on Tuesday March 04 2014, @02:29PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 04 2014, @02:29PM (#10640)

      I'm also very happy with their rovers. Their entry into the Darpa Robotic Challenge wasn't very good though : /

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by geb on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:59AM

    by geb (529) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:59AM (#10550)

    Somebody seems to have become confused, and failed to look up Inspiration Mars on wikipedia, through losing the "inspiration" bit of the name.

    The Inspiration Mars 2018 mission plan was not a landing, it was to be a free return trip very much like the one proposed, except that they vastly underestimated the difficulty.

    The original plan was to have a 100% privately funded Mars mission, by cramming two people into a tiny tin can, reducing weight everywhere possible, and hoping the crew would still be sane and healthy by the time they got back. They eventually realised that it wasn't possible to fit everything they needed onto one launch booster, or even two, and the costs started rising to an order of magnitude above what they originally had hoped for.

    It's at that point that they realised that the SLS was the only launch booster that could do the job, and that the US government via NASA was the only organisation who could pay for it.

    The 2018 mission was to be a simple Earth -> Mars -> Earth free return trip. Since they were going to miss that anyway through lack of money or any available hardware, they moved on to a more exciting combined mission, Earth -> Venus -> Mars -> Earth multiple flyby. It's very similar to a mission proposed under the Apollo Applications Program, just before Apollo had its funding cut.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by AsteroidMining on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:34PM

      by AsteroidMining (3556) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:34PM (#10601)

      I have to say that I am unsympathetic. After everyone and their brother told them their mission plan was unrealistic and their cost estimates way too low they have found... that their mission plan was unrealistic and their cost estimates were way too low. Now they want to get NASA to execute one of ideas of von Braun and the NASA Advanced Concepts Office (still around, by the way, and now headed by Les Johnson), but to do it for them, not that they are going to pay for it.

      The number of things wrong here is more than I care to list, but here is one that sticks out - do they seriously think that NASA should pay for a ground-breaking spaceflight and then use non-NASA astronauts, who are (to be blunt) not going to be well-trained? Do they have any idea how the NASA astronaut corps would react to this if it actually reached some level of serious possibility?

      I predict the Mars Foundation will devolve into a "support space exploration" advocacy group, which is find. At least they got some good press.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:52PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:52PM (#10813)

        "not going to be well-trained?"

        For political reasons the original astronaut corps, despite being spam in a can, had to be jet fighter test pilots.

        For this mission, frankly you need something like two mellow buddhist monks, or maybe ex-submarine service bros who can chill. Or maybe two monks who can treat it like a long silent retreat. Or maybe two theoretical scientist academics who can read papers and screw around with theories the whole time (but they better be from different disciplines or they're going to fight). Maybe two old school RPG DnD / Pathfinder fanatics who can play out a couple long adventures, although how you roll a D20 in space is a mystery to me. Its going to be a very long and boring mission. Tom Cruise from Top Gun need not apply.

        The odds of death are actually pretty good, and there's not much for them to do, so some totally mellow religious monk types on a very long retreat might be the best choice. Celibate means no grieving family, generally in the west they have decent liberal arts educations so they'll have things to think and talk about. No worries about mortality. Could be a good gig.

  • (Score: 2) by TWiTfan on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:41PM

    by TWiTfan (2428) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:41PM (#10603)

    Every one of these "private" space foundations starts off talking big shit about how they're going to do all this amazing shit with private funding. And EVER SINGLE ONE OF THEM ends up running to the government in the end, begging with my tax dollars to fund their ridiculous pipe dreams.

    Face it, there is no private funding for space. Everyone in the private sector long ago realized that there is no money to be made in space. It's a money sink, a void that goes nowhere.

    Okay, I grew up during the space race. And that was great and all. But it was a political fluke--and interesting side-effect of the Cold War that produced a lot of entertainment and a little science. But it's over. And that science is much easier and cheaper to produce on earth.

    Earth is our home. It's the only home we will ever be able to survive on in any sustainable way. If we screw it up, there is nowhere for us to go. Deal with it.

    --
    If real life were like D&D, my Charisma score would be a negative number
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:57PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:57PM (#10614)

      Everyone in the private sector long ago realized that there is no money to be made in space.

      Umm, satellites?

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:52PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:52PM (#10814)

        Solar panels too. A lot of the tech developed for space exploration is used today for things other than space. If you factor all that in, the ROI is probably great. You just need to wait a while.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jcd on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:57PM

      by jcd (883) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:57PM (#10818)

      I can't say I agree with this line of thinking. And I'm of the generation where nothing is worth it because I'm totally disillusioned about everything (even this comment). But I do have to say that we aren't doing very well at advancing and doing worthwhile things on this planet. So why not reach out? Inspire? 1969 style? I'd frankly rather they spend my tax dollars inventing stuff and sending people to other planets than blowing up people on this one.

      --
      "What good's an honest soldier if he can be ordered to behave like a terrorist?"
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by rts008 on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:15PM

      by rts008 (3001) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:15PM (#10831)

      "Earth is our home. It's the only home we will ever be able to survive on in any sustainable way. If we screw it up, there is nowhere for us to go. Deal with it."

      We won't know if this is the only world we can live on in any sustainable way, unless we look for one.

      And considering expanding the human race to other worlds could be a prudent idea, considering how we've buggered this planet, and continue to do so in the name of profit.

      "Don't keep all your eggs in one basket", as the old saying goes...

      Not even taking the above reason into consideration, we could be wiped out by an asteroid or such. It's not like we know of every potential 'dinosaur killer' out there, we get surprised all the time by near earth trajectories by these things. Who knows how close we came to being wiped out in the past, before we had the ability to spot them. It's probably best for our sanity we don't know how close it might of been!

      Regardless of the above, there are some of us that can't help but explore the unknown out of insatiable curiosity.

      I suspect that urge may be a subconscious manifestation of some 'hard wired survival instinct' that appears to be inherent in most(if not all) living things in this world.

                "Deal with it."

      They/we are, in our own fashion....Deal with it.

    • (Score: 1) by emg on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:29PM

      by emg (3464) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:29PM (#10839)

      "Everyone in the private sector long ago realized that there is no money to be made in space."

      Not when you're launching on NASA rockets that cost billions a flight. If SpaceX get a Falcon launch down to a few million, as they're suggesting they should be able to with reusable stages, we'll be well on the way to making good money up there.

    • (Score: 1) by anubi on Wednesday March 05 2014, @02:22AM

      by anubi (2828) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @02:22AM (#11125) Journal

      NASA attracts young minds to science, like professional sports attracts young minds to the skills of throwing a ball into some hoop, hitting it, or throwing it between two goalposts. I am a bit INTP here, as I see no real benefit to society of winning some sports game, as after the game is played, what is left?

      On another thread, I have discussed with several other Soylenters about China's problem with air pollution and possible ways to fix it. Maybe I am full of crap on my suggestions... maybe I have some merit... but after all is said and done, if anything we did resulted in cleaner air for the Chinese, we have left something of value.

      Same for things like water desalination. I have had a particular interest in magnetically desalinating water by using passing water with DC flowing in it in magnetic fields, trying to take advantage of the fact that salt water conducts electricity, while pure water does not.

      NASA gives kids dreams. They helped start me off in Engineering. As a science fair winner, I was invited to Melboure, Florida to view the NASA launch facilities. That was like a kid being wooed into sports by being invited into a major league game.

      I know I am being very nerdy here, but I feel I have wasted my life if I leave nothing behind but a bunch of trophies where I demonstrated I could throw a ball into some hoop, or could acquire large tracts of rental houses by taking advantage of laws that make ownership of things one does not use profitable. I feel I am of worth only if I leave something truly meaningful behind... like how to clean the air, have fresh water to drink, or maybe I can arrange refrigeration systems to make us more comfortable.

      Maybe in and of itself, what I leave on the moon does not mean all that much, but many of the same technologies we play around with trying to make an inhospitable place survivable can be used right here.

      I am in awe of what generations before me have done and to this day wonder how they did it. ( very massive stone structures come to mind ), and wonder how I could harness the energy provided by nature to better our own condition without creating an environmental mess. I find this to be far more of a challenge worthy of my time than say participation in what passes for entertainment these days. Quite frankly, this stuff the media panders to me is sheer boredom, as I feel I have far more meaningful things to work on than what is offered.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]