Tuesday, September 1, 2009

One Way Trip to Mars

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/opinion/01krauss.html

Argh! I was with him until he made his ridiculous statement about robots over humans for scientific research. That one sided, unchallengeable statement (because you can't comment or debate in an op-ed I guess) was recently directly refuted by none other than Dr. Steve Squyres of the Mars Rover Missions. The lead of one of the most successful robotic missions ever conducted thinks humans can do better, faster science than even his rovers did or can possibly do. I'd like to know why Krauss has doubts about why humans are much more adept for doing science off world than a robot ever would, costs and risks be damned.

7 comments:

Norman Copeland said...

Well, considering the articles main concern, I beleive that the effects of radiation via differing light sources and it's effects upon the human body can be observed from the scientific moniters of task robots, but, ultimately we haven't any way of declaring any light combined with multiple plasma sequence's conditions safe.

It will be many, many years before we have all of the data 'and' tested on ourselves before we could say that we have approached the journey across space sensibly with regards to research, even if all the condition's that we may of created on earth to test for the many space virus's that inevitably will effect us have been tested we will still encounter more.

Star trek's mantra is 'to boldly go where no man has been before'. Surely that tells us what we must risk as explorer's...

I guess the question is when listening to reporters and commontators speak is, are they explorer's?

On the whole, considering the need to survive maybe we are and will learn that we're mostly an adventurous curious race.

If that's the situation [and, I'd rather say I was an explorer] we need these men and women on those planets as soon as possible sending us constant neuclide reports on all organic species.

It's about time we new our stuff...

http://www-nds.iaea.org/relnsd/vchart/index.html

Marcel F. Williams said...

The safest and cheapest way for humans to eventually venture beyond the Moon is by light sails, IMO. Even the largest space manufactured light sails shouldn't weigh more than a few hundred tonnes (we already know how to manufacture ultralight nano carbon sheets on Earth).

Light sails should be capable of transporting several thousand tonnes of payload as rapidly as chemical rockets do that could carrying only a few hundred tonnes of payload through interplanetary space. That's plenty of payload capability for mass shielding a human transport vessel from galactic radiation for a light sail flight less than 6 months to Mars orbit. And since light sails would be reusable interplanetary space craft that use no fuel, they should be extremely cheap human transport and unmanned cargo carriers.

However, light sails probably couldn't operate at LEO because of the significance of the Earth's atmospheric drag, but they should be able to operate efficiently at GEO, L1, L2,,L4,L5, lunar orbit and Low Mars orbit. I suspect that we'd probably have to manufacture light sail material and assemble these titanic ultralight space craft at L1, L2,,L4,or L5.

Douglas Mallette said...

The sails have to be huge though. Stability is an issue I've heard of, but I'm not well versed on light sails to give much of a comment.

Marcel F. Williams said...

Below are some interesting links to solar sails and solar sail material for your readers:

http://alglobus.net/NASAwork/papers/AsterAnts/paper.html

http://www.aeiveos.com/~bradbury/Authors/Engineering/Drexler-KE/SS.html

http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/02/large-sheets-of-carbon-nanotube.html

http://www.scribd.com/doc/14548592/Solar-Sails

Norman Copeland said...

Electromagnetism and moral may have something in common...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uH-UqB7uYiE&feature=related

Douglas Mallette said...

Thanks Marcel, I'll check that out as time permits.

Norman Copeland said...

The volkswagon beetle engine is the most successful car engine of all time on this planet. It is 80 years of age and still a very reliable car, while thinking about engineering space machines for the next generation we will do well to remember that quality is worth it's work and building for the martian adventure will probably be building for the solar system experience...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQk5Qo0y-ac&feature=related