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The Future Of Space Exploration


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Poll: What should NASA do next ? (8 member(s) have cast votes)

What should NASA do next ?

  1. Send human beings to Mars (1 votes [14.29%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.29%

  2. Explore with unmanned probes (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  3. Build a new space telescope (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  4. Build another space station (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  5. Build a base on the moon (3 votes [42.86%])

    Percentage of vote: 42.86%

  6. Invest in new propulsion research (2 votes [28.57%])

    Percentage of vote: 28.57%

  7. Other ? Please specify.. (1 votes [14.29%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.29%

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#1    Saru

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Posted 12 December 2002 - 08:40 PM

                    With the International Space Station up and running, and with no other major projects planned for the forseeable future, what should NASA aim to do next ?

Should it strive to get humans to Mars as quickly as possible, or continue to send unmanned probes with ever-better capabilities to explore the solar system from the earth ? Would a new space telescope be a good idea, to allow them to actually see and measure the light from planets around other stars, or would they be best trying to construct a base on the moon in which to further familiarise mankind with living and working in space.

At this time, it is possible for NASA to work towards any of the above-mentioned options. The question is, which, if any, should they attempt ?                    


#2    Homer

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Posted 12 December 2002 - 09:36 PM

                    I voted for Invest in new propulsion research, but I also think NASA can do this as well as to continue to explore with unmanned probes. Sending humans to explore the solar system and beyond is impossible with current propulsion systems, and in my humble opinion, sending people out into space to explore new worlds should be the ultimate space goal, but that canít even be contemplated without first improving propulsion systems.                    

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#3    Loonboy

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Posted 12 December 2002 - 10:05 PM

                    Agreed Homer, yet think of all that can be learned from establishing a permanent base on the Moon (which is what I voted for). Experiments with new propulsion systems that function in space are best performed in a vacuum where they would function anyway. Our atmosphere is polluted enough.
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#4    Homer

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Posted 13 December 2002 - 02:15 PM

                    LB,
SaRuMaN started a thread awhile ago about the future of manned space flight, and there was a debate about going to mars versus building a base on the moon. In that duscussion, I advocated building a base on the moon, because it was the perfect testing ground for living in space, yet it was close to home. That discussion is here: "The Future Of Manned Space Flight"

So I donít disagree with you, LB, but although the moon is closer to a vacuum than earth, it is not a vacuum. Also, debris hit the moon and earth all the time, except the earth has an atmosphere to protect it. Just something to keep in mind.                    

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#5    Saru

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Posted 13 December 2002 - 02:39 PM

                    On the whole, I'm not completely sure which of the options I would chose, however I can eliminate a few that I do not think NASA should work towards next.

For a start, going to Mars - it's the mission that a lot of people have been waiting for, and would be the biggest achievement of mankind since the moon landings. The trouble with it though, is that it would stretch current technology too far. Going to Mars is something that we will almost certainly see 20-25 years in the future.

As for building a new space station, I think the ISS will fulfil all NASA's space station needs for the time being, unless we are talking about a space station around the moon, which could help make the possibility of building a moonbase a reality.

I agree with Homer that with NASA's new policies regarding much cheaper unmanned probes, they could probably attempt a major project and still send out probes to explore the solar system.

I think I'd have to chose either the moonbase option or the technology research option, because both are stepping stones towards more advanced things. NASA will almost certainly need to develop a new means of propulsion and have considerable experience with living and working on another planetary body before a manned mission to Mars would be feasable.                    


#6    Mystify

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Posted 13 December 2002 - 04:04 PM

                    I think Space Exploration alone should be the current Goal for Nasa.   Why not build something to travel around space just to explore and learn more about what is out there.  Maybe even try to specifically look for other forms of life?                    

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#7    Homer

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Posted 13 December 2002 - 05:08 PM

                    Mystify,
I think we all agree on that. But the question remains: by what means, and what steps to take? The technology simply isnít available at this time to just build a space craft and go exploring. That is the reason I mentioned propulsion research, to have an effective means of transportation to get to various places. That is also the reason LB chose a moon base, to build a realistic facility to train and test people and equipment.
                    

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