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CRYSiiSx2

Our Big Brother... Jupiter

7 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Do you guys ever think we might give an effort to find life under Europa's surface? I think Titan would be a better candidate, but whether or not there is life on it, it will be captured by Saturn some day anyway... but look at our time frames now. It takes 20-30 just for us to plan a mission anymore.

God there is so much to explore around Jupiter... yet I will never see it in my lifetime. I know "Juice" is going there...

Edited by sktm06

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I agree... I get so frustrated with the various space programs sometimes...

IMO We should have aggressivly followed up the moon landings and at the very least had a fully functional and staffed moon base by now... Well on it's way to a 'colony'... and we should have at least made an attempt at a Mars landing (with real people)...

It seems that all they want to do is send out robots, with very limited mission capabilities...

I know some people would say it is a waste of money, etc... but it would create new jobs, new technologies and give us something to 'aim at'....

The very sad thing is as a small child watching the Mercury missions on TV, I wanted to be the first man to walk on Mars... And now almost 60 years later, I still could be... (not that I actually had any chance at all... :cry: )

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but look at our time frames now. It takes 20-30 just for us to plan a mission anymore.

Is that really surprising? These "flagship" space probes are immeasurably superior to those of the past. The instruments they carry are cutting edge technology. They have to operate in the harshest environments for years or even decades without failing. When something costs billions it would be irresponsible not to ensure that it will work as advertised and that takes time. If you remember Dan Goldin's "Faster, better, cheaper" philosophy of the 1990's you will remember the Mars Climate Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander, both of which were total failures in 1999. There is a saying in quality control, " faster, better, cheaper; pick any two because you can't have all three".

It seems that all they want to do is send out robots, with very limited mission capabilities..

This is wrong on so many levels.

Firstly there have always been robot missions, even during the Apollo era.

Secondly to describe them as having very limited capabilities shoes a profound lack of understanding of exactly what these missions are doing and the vast amount of scientific information they are returning.

Thirdly it would seem that you either haven't heard of, or are ignoring the fact, that NASA is currently developing the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System rocket which will allow astronauts to venture beyond earth orbit for the first time since 1972.

I share your frustration that manned spaceflight has not progressed as it should, but to belittle the amazing discoveries made by unmanned space probes is rather ridiculous. Without unmanned exploration, manned exploration would be virtually suicidal. Indeed why would we even be discussing the need to explore Jupiter's moons if it hadn't been for the discoveries made by the Pioneer, Voyager and Galileo spacecraft?

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Posted (edited)

I don't think he was implying unmanned missions are bad. I think he was implying that NASA would rather do ALL unmanned missions rather than a mixture of both. Can't say I agree either way it was meant though.

Edited by Alex44

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I don't think he was implying unmanned missions are bad. I think he was implying that NASA would rather do ALL unmanned missions rather than a mixture of both.

Even if this is what was meant it is still not correct. As I pointed out NASA is currently designing spacecraft and launchers which will take men beyond low earth orbit again.

NASA is not the problem here, it is the politicians that ultimately control the purse strings.

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Posted (edited)

Sorry I haven't been on this thread in a while...

I agree 100% about the budget statement Waspie... And that is what will put the Orion, etc, out well past my lifetime at least...

However, when I worked with NASA personnel (at Huntsville, Alabama and at White Sands Missile Range)... everyone I worked with was of the opinion that humans should not ever leave orbit until the 'robot missions' were completed...

Understand that these were the engineers, programmers and ground specialists, and I got the distinct impression (though they didn't actually say it) that - if they couldn't go... no one should... I'm being a bit bitter about this I suppose, but while I greatly respected their skills and their abilities (and liked them as people also) - I was disappointed greatly by their lack of drive to get actual boots on the ground - of Mars, etc...

Edited by Taun

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I've never been in your position Taun, and so can only look in from the outside. I do know there is some truth in what you say. There have always been those opposed to manned missions and, in some cases, they put forward some very strong arguments.

Robot missions MUST be the precursors to manned missions, so to a degree I agree with those engineers. We need to know what conditions will be faced, where it is safe to land etc, before we can send astronauts. That is not anti-manned spaceflight, it's commonsense and it is how Apollo was done. No manned mission was sent to the moon until after the Lunar Orbiter, Lunar Ranger and Lunar Surveyor missions were completed.

There are those in the science community that believe the science can be better accomplished by unmanned missions (James Van Allen was in this camp). Again there is a good argument. Imagine what could have been achieved by unmanned missions to the moon if they had Apollo's budget. The advancements in robotics could have been amazing.

We can send robots to places it would simply not be safe to send humans.

One of the biggest arguments for manned missions is the flexibility that humans provide over computers. Humans can make decisions that computers can not, however as computing advances that may not be the case much longer.

The one thing all of the arguments I have presented assume is that science is the only thing that these missions should be focused on. Personally I think there is more to manned exploration than this. Apollo inspired a generation to become scientists and engineers in a way that no unmanned mission could have achieved.

We need both manned and unmanned exploration. They compliment each other.

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