Monday, February 2, 2009

GM/Ford/Chrysler & NASA

Okay, so why not stimulate the economy in such a way as to help the auto industry and progress science? These untracked handouts are ridiculous, but here is a radical...idea to do this.

Via NASA, contract the auto makers to mass produce rovers for Mars, or anywhere else for that matter. NASA dumps a crap load of cash into the design and build of just 1 vehicle, then they move on to something completely different. Complete redesign every time. By having the auto industry mass produce a series of rovers, you can drastically reduce the cost, people keep their jobs building something WAY cooler than just a car, and the scientific return would be amazing.

Can you imagine what kind of scientific return we'd get if we have 300 Spirit's and Opportunity's on Mars, all over the place? Ford could make one type of rover for a certain complement of instruments. GM another. Chrysler another. Send 3 or 4 of these babies at a time. Also send them to the moon. Send them wherever they could be used.

This would not only save NASA the headache of having to worry about a rover supply, but would boost the economy in the right way, through technological advancement, scientific advancement, and human advancement. Much more important than just dollar signs.


Anonymous said...

Douglas, I have to agree with you upon this concept. If the rovers and exploration vehicles were mass-produced on an existing automobile assembly line, the question would become "Why hasn't the UAW gotten involved with the scientific community for the exploration of the Solar System. We had useful technology, skilled assembly workers and society is now recouping the benefitial knowledge of discovery all because of the workers within the United Auto Workers factories." Jerry Matthew Weikle

Anonymous said...

Ok so it is a totally great idea. The only problem is we can bearly into orbit with peices of tin crap hairdryers there using as shuttles now. How on earth are we gonna get all these vheicles to the moon or (even less likely) mars?
Just a thought.
Louise Ryan. London, UK.

Douglas said...


The Shuttle wouldn't carry these. Delta Heavies would, which is their purpose. :)

Monsal Varga said...

Hi there! Just came directly from to check your blog :)

Although one could pinpoint some difficulties arising in your plan, I find it a fresh way to look at some very old problem.

I'll be back to check on your ideas!

BTW, I'm strangekindasnow on space forums, but I'm here as my alter ego that's starting to write a novel (at least trying to!). Curiously, I've chosen the exact same look to my blog.

And give you a hint: search for NeoCounter (it's for free) and get to see all the nationalities visiting your blog (I've noticed at least someone from London here, and myself from Portugal); it gives yet another touch of class to this place of yours ;)


Anonymous said...

I agree, it's a great idea, as well as an example of the kind of thinking these organizations lack. Do you think the costs associated with re-tooling MV factories to produce a limited number of high-technology products would be too prohibitive? It would obviously involve dumping some huge government contracts all over the place, but GM/Ford/Chrysler would still have to soak up some of the cost.

I've heard arguments that robotic exploration projects are limiting the scope of possible manned missions in the planning stage, due to budgetary constraints. Do you think a massive investment in robotic technology like this would have a good or bad effect on the manned program? Obviously things would be different if NASA was receiving any money at all in the government's budget.

Would it not cost much more to send up a Delta with a single rover than it would just to build the rover?

Kenneth Mays, Houston TX

Douglas said...

Kenneth, you are loaded with questions. lol. Good.

1. The contract would be such as to help them redo their lines to accommodate the task.

2. If done cheaper and more cost effectively, robotic exploration for the purpose of scientific gathering can only benefit human space exploration. Right now, it's a "choose one" operation due to cost. Bring down the cost of one of the two drastically, and you can do both with equal benefit.

3. No. The cost of the launch is far less than the cost of the rover itself, especially now. And my thoughts are that you'd pack 3 or 4 rovers in one launch, making it WAY more cost effective overall.

4. Houston!? I'm in Houston too. Cool.

Anonymous said...

It's about time someone with a little sense is spouting the truth. I suspect everyone is hanging on every word. Maybe with a little luck, Douglas and others of like minds will get us off this rock and out there where we belong, EXPLORING!

His Dad, Houston