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Thread: Curiosity on Mars

  1. #1 Curiosity on Mars 
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    The Curiosity rover will land on Mars, August 5. It will travel 12 miles in two years, analyzing soil and looking for a habitable environment. It will look for water, carbon and sources of energy, three things required for the presence of life.

    When I got into astronomy over 50 years ago, Mars was little more than a light in the night sky. Now, it is a real place with geology and geography. Astrobiologists maintain that water once flowed and that fossilized microbes may await discovery. There was that meteorite in the mid-90s supposedly from Mars and containing fossils that turned out to be a sham. Imaginations can run wild. The movie 2001: A Space Odyssey forecasted routine travel to the moon by 2001. Instead, that year is remembered for the 9/11 attacks. When Carl Sagan was doing Cosmos in 1980, I thought we would be on Mars in my life time. Now, I doubt it. I also question the benefits of going to other planets. It is rough enough finding hotels in American cities and dealing with foreign languages in other countries. At least, we can breathe on earth. We can't breathe on the moon or Mars. (Not to mention the temperature extremes).


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    Forum Bachelors Degree dmwyant's Avatar
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    Last I read we had a tentative launch date for a manned mission in 2028. Plans include the launch of a habitat and supplies to be set up with robotic assisstance prior to the arrival of the manned mission. I seem to remember talk about hydroponic gardens and such to allow for a long-term mission to our red neighbour.


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    Last I read we had a tentative launch date for a manned mission in 2028.
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    Thinking about the population boom, I wonder if Earth would sustain humans for long. So, Space colonization seems to be the only chance for survival of humans.
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    Forum Bachelors Degree dmwyant's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Lynx_Fox;331893]
    who is we?


    United States, Japan, Europe, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United Kingdom.... You know.... Everybody... It is going to be a multinational joint production.
    Not all who wander are lost... Some of us just misplaced our destination.

    I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.
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    OK, and what's the name of the mission? How much money has been committed to it?
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    Forum Bachelors Degree dmwyant's Avatar
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    Here is one proposal- http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/382362main_4...1.mars2019.pdf

    And then there is a proposal for a red dragon mission wich is supposed to have its first budget proposals this year. Certainly we are looking at a billion+ dollar program But if we can get multinational backing and support it should be feasible.
    Not all who wander are lost... Some of us just misplaced our destination.

    I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.
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  9. #8  
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    Note the key word "proposal"
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    Note the key word "proposal"
    Note the key word "tentative".

    Quote Originally Posted by dmwyant
    Last I read we had a tentative launch date for a manned mission in 2028.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Colyer View Post
    The Curiosity rover will land on Mars, August 5. It will travel 12 miles in two years, analyzing soil and looking for a habitable environment. It will look for water, carbon and sources of energy, three things required for the presence of life.

    When I got into astronomy over 50 years ago, Mars was little more than a light in the night sky. Now, it is a real place with geology and geography. Astrobiologists maintain that water once flowed and that fossilized microbes may await discovery. There was that meteorite in the mid-90s supposedly from Mars and containing fossils that turned out to be a sham. Imaginations can run wild. The movie 2001: A Space Odyssey forecasted routine travel to the moon by 2001. Instead, that year is remembered for the 9/11 attacks. When Carl Sagan was doing Cosmos in 1980, I thought we would be on Mars in my life time. Now, I doubt it. I also question the benefits of going to other planets. It is rough enough finding hotels in American cities and dealing with foreign languages in other countries. At least, we can breathe on earth. We can't breathe on the moon or Mars. (Not to mention the temperature extremes).
    Curiosity's trek of discovery will be regularly reported all over the world as were previous Mars missions. Only 12 miles in 2 years seems like a very slow pace but each chosen location within its path will receive much experimental analysis. Looking for life and water are not the only tasks. The geology and surface chemistry are equal objectives which could pave the way to future possibilities for manned missions to Mars, providing information that most likely will help direct the course of future missions to Mars as well as future possibilities of colonization and terraforming.
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    TheNorthStar - as a solution to overpopulation I think mass migration to space has a few major problems. It isn't cheap for one and I have trouble seeing how that could change.

    "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."? Unfortunately not even the air will be free. It's mostly hard vacuum and hard radiation out there - even the air and water needs to be manufactured. Nothing will be cheap or easy. It will be a major effort to get a small select number of workaholic perfectionists into space and them not remain utterly reliant on the resources of Earth for the foreseeable future. How much our current prosperity depends on our inheriting a world and environment of abundance, shaped by and for life, is greatly underestimated IMO and the difficulties for life in it's absence is greatly underestimated.

    Apologies to the optimistic dreamers but sticking to robotics makes a lot more sense - they'll be cheaper, easier, more reliable and tell us much more much sooner about our neighbourhood in space.
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    I think the commercialisation of space is our only saving grace, and will drive innovation with regards to the cost reduction of future space flights to Mars and beyond.
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    For garr. We cannot do that here on Planet Earth. We are 128 years away ( construtive estimate ), before some silly and trusting group of Scientists set off for Jupitors Ice Satellite. Having said that it is more than possible we will not be in a position here on Earth to concern ourselves about Space Exploration. It is more than likely we will be fighting Poverty, control of Food Production and resources, Access to clean water, The need for Nucleur Power Stations, and we will be under the Politics of World Government. You will have to justify your rights to exist. George Orwell, that's not his real name is it? is still with us. The Animal Farm scene is coming into vision. So we have all this to look forward to. So long as you all understand the real situation than it is OK to be optimistic. After all, we may get together and Start Building our Mother Ship in Orbit with the Space Station. This will incorporate features designed to sustain Life for those aboard to to live out their Generations during their journey through Time and the Galaxy. This Mother Ship will be similar to the Alien Mother Ship that visited Planet Earth recently, having been here several times before, last visit 23 thousand years ago. Of course all this is hypotheses, conjecterey, imagination, and cannot be supported by factual arguement. Nevertheless, unless you all try to understand future direction you may be party to your own destruction. I'm off now to smell the roses. westwind.
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  15. #14  
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    Lets try and stick to the topic of Curiousity on Mars, and post mankind's future, and space exploration's future in threads discussing those subjects.
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    Jim Colyer - so is your standpoint along the lines that we are in such dire straights on Earth that it is no longer practical to go to other planets "just because it's not easy, but hard"?

    I believe that if we "wait until we sort things out here on Earth before moving to off-world", we would not survive, since that moment will never come.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    Apologies to Jim Colyer for drifting away from your Thread. If it had been proven that the Quote " The face on Mars '' End Quote, was in fact intelligently created, then there is no doubt we would have landed an exploratory expedition of Scientists on Mars by now, and a Habitat to sustain them. Just one other observation I'd like to make here. When the mobile explorer/ camera were operating, they beamed back scatterings of what appeared to be basaltic rocks. These rocks look identical to basaltic rocks at a nearby Quarry to where I live. The local basaltic rocks came about by blasting with explosives. I couldn't help making the comparison with the Martian Rocks. As there appears to be no lava flows near these basaltic rocks on mars, where were they blasted from? westwind.
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  18. #17  
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    No, the local basaltic rocks came from magmatic lava entering the crust.
    The blasting made them visible to you.
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    Deferring to Moderator Meteor Wayne and in the vain hope of keeping this thread pure in topic I started a thread in General Discussion to talk about humanity's future in space. Humans in Space: Costs, Benefits, Obstacles and Opportunities

    Meanwhile I will be looking forward to Curiosity making (I sincerely hope) a successful landfall in about 5 weeks time. Evidence of Life past or present would be exciting news. Should we keep in mind that if bits of Mars can end up as meteorites that landed on Earth that bits of Earth could end up as meteorites that landed on Mars?

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    I don't understand the location they choose, especially if they were hoping to find biology.
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    Gale Crater was chosen because there is a safe landing zone near a stacked history of Mars (Mt.Sharp).
    It's also near the equator, which allows more electricity to be used for science, and less for heating.
    It's a 150 km wide crater, so has dug down some.
    Mt Sharp is 5 km high and contains layers of sedimentary rock, and appears to contain history from the warm and wet era at the bottom all the way to the present day at the top.
    I don't believe any place on earth has such a layer cake containing 4 GY of history, neatly stacked for examination (too much tectonics).
    Orbital examination shows many signs of a watery past, in fact canyons appear to be carved onto the mountain.
    It's possible the crater was once filled with a huge lake.
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    MeteorWayne - "Curiosity" isn't solar powered, it uses radioisotope thermoelectric generator with waste heat used for keeping systems warmed. I didn't think there would be much advantage by being near the equator unless waste heat isn't always enough?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    MeteorWayne - "Curiosity" isn't solar powered, it uses radioisotope thermoelectric generator with waste heat used for keeping systems warmed. I didn't think there would be much advantage by being near the equator unless waste heat isn't always enough?
    That's not correct. I know it's not solar powered, but the waste heat is insufficient to keep the lab warm in mid winter, so electricity that is generated would need to be used to keep the temperature high enough instead of powering instruments.
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