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DavidP
06-23-2008, 07:53 AM
Article link: http://spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=22&month=06&year=2008

So I guess now it is official.

abachler
06-23-2008, 07:59 AM
bad reporting, their assertion as to why it is water and not frozen co2 has a hole in it you can drive a saturn rocket through.

Avg daily temp means nothing, if the temp drops below 109 for brief periods, dry ice can form, then it warms up and the dry ice begins to sublime, but it doesnt explode into sudden gaseous form. It can still maintain a presence as long as the temp in the area drops below 109 on a regular basis. Most of us have seen snow piles that lasted into whether than was well above 32 degrees.

DavidP
06-23-2008, 08:02 AM
Okay here is an official article from NASA:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/news/phoenix-20080620.html

The way I see it...I don't doubt the NASA scientists. I am sure they have done all the proper analysis and have confirmed it is water.

indigo0086
06-23-2008, 08:02 AM
the LAPD could have just sprinkled crack on it.

Yarin
06-24-2008, 03:08 PM
I thought this was old news... but anyway...

So what? About 70% of Earth is covered with water, a little water is bound to be on neighboring planets. I bet there's even more water there than they think.

Mario F.
06-24-2008, 03:29 PM
They are justifiably happy because it was confirmed. Before we argued the presence of water ice. Now we know for sure.

It's even more important because it's a very good indicator that Mars may have had a denser atmosphere and liquid water sometime in the past. Even, more important, it gives a new boost to the search for extra-terrestrial life on Mars (past or present) since single and multi-cellular organisms can live on ice. Actually on Earth, a whole worm (the ice worm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_worm)) lives all its life inside ice.

More... It creates new possibilities for manned explorations of Mars and, for the bolder scientists, introduces a constant (where before was a variable) when discussing the possible terraforming of the planet.

It's a breakthrough discovery. One of the most important on the past 35 years and the first time we discover the precious liquid in another planet other than ours.

VirtualAce
06-24-2008, 05:31 PM
The way I see it...I don't doubt the NASA scientists. I am sure they have done all the proper analysis and have confirmed it is water.


With the recent direction NASA has been heading and the crazed non-scientific reports they have recently let fly I seriously doubt the credibility of a great deal of NASA scientists. It's way past time to private the space race. NASA is far too much of a political machine and since it relies on its funding from the government - it sorta has to be. However I feel this flies in the face of great scientific breakthroughs which normally don't align themselves with what we term the status quo.

And they now want to go back to the moon? C'mon it's been 40 years and the best we can do is still the moon. Isn't it time for some different types of propulsion. Isn't it time to get rid of the shuttle which BTW when they do they are just replacing with the standard rocket which again is old news. And they also send this robot to Mars and yet it has no way of detecting signs of life in its onboard systems. What a waste.

NASA needs a kick in the arse and hopefully some private firms will give it to them. I used to look up to these guys and now they just disappoint with their wild unproven theories that change from year to year - usually based on what's the 'new thing' in politics.

I guess I feel like Bruce Willis in Armageddon when he says NASA probably has a bunch of people in a room just thinking 'stuff' up and yet the only plan they have is to send people who are not astronauts into space to save the world.

Two thumbs down NASA. Way down.

I hope they revive the glory days of NASA when they were the front-runners of technology instead of trying to do the same old thing a billion times over and over and never gaining anything. The Shuttle hasn't gotten us any closer to what I would call space exploration and I cannot wait till it retires in 2010.

This article pretty much sums up my feelings. There is a glimmer of hope at the end that maybe we actually will start venturing beyond our own planet. Now that would be something worth funding.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/20/opinion/20porco.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2&oref=slogin

Mario F.
06-24-2008, 07:08 PM
My father, used to tell me that he would live to the day we would explore other planets or moons. He died without witnessing it. The space race of the 60s bred in him this strong idea anything would be possible now and it would be done fast.

Unfortunately, the 69 event (just 1 month and 3 days before I was born) had unfortunately nothing to do with space exploration and very little with the breaking of new frontiers. And as such it didn't meet with a follow up through the next decades.

I think you are however being unfair Bubba. If anything, my complaints go towards the Government which forced NASA onto its knees. If there is going to be any money for them to send a lousy probe to Mars and find water in there, they'll have to sell their souls. Which they eventually do, like many other scientists on completely unrelated fields that are government or privately financed in the US or in the rest of the world.

I, personally live with the idea that my life would be pretty much uneventful if I didn't witness the finding of extraterrestrial life. I would like to be on this earth that day and celebrate (or run for cover, whichever that may be. Doesn't bother me). I would also like to live the day we fund a permanent colony, even if only scientists, on extra terrestrial grounds.

I'm only hoping another politically oriented space race starts soon. Something that seems is not going to happen since ESA instead of trying to compete prefers to act as NASA's best friend... government funds, again. Well, that and the fact currently our planet seems to be going down in flames.

Meanwhile, I'll keep shouting joy at what may be "little improvements" like finding water on Mars, and hope for the day I will see there a permanent manned scientific base pulling ice water off the ground and using it as fuel to sustain their housing, machines and general habitat.

VirtualAce
06-24-2008, 11:12 PM
I'm only hoping another politically oriented space race starts soon. Something that seems is not going to happen since ESA instead of trying to compete prefers to act as NASA's best friend... government funds, again. Well, that and the fact currently our planet seems to be going down in flames.


I don't agree about the world going down in flames part but for the most part we agree. NASA is a disappointment because they basically sold out to non-science just for funding. This is the piecemeal problem with a national space agency funded by the government. They control the funds - they get to dictate the science...even if it's not science.

The big problem in our current scientific method is that we basically have forgotten how it works. It seems now that the more absurd the theory the more attention it gets - regardless if there is any science to back it up. Science as in the scientific method. I've read some about the current state of 'peer reviews' as it relates to IPCC reviews but not just IPCC but also several other fields. It seems that in our busy world that scientists themselves really don't have the time to accurately peer review another person's work. And I'm talking about a non-biased peer review not a 'yes-man' review. A review in which all views are taken into consideration. If we are to go anywhere in science in the future NASA, its scientists, and scientists worldwide MUST stop this horrible idea of absolutism. Essentially they only look at theories that that fit the current scientific view and others who don't meet this are not just debated...they are ridiculed.

I thought this only existed in religion and the church. Myself being a trained minister realize that nothing about religion is science - nothing. Even my college pounded this into our brains that religion, no matter how you slice it, is NOT science. Religion is about faith and also is quite intolerant of opposing views, etc, etc. It can't be tested and can't be proven. I cannot prove to you that God exists nor can I prove to you he does not. I cannot perform expirements to show the existence of a heaven nor a hell. Nor can I present all of it to you in such a way as you finally say....ok...that makes sense. Any evidence I give to you would all be circumstantial and wouldn't even hold up in a court of law. All of the evidence could be refuted by other theories just as prevalent as my own and thus it is not science. I'm fine with that.

However, I'm not fine with this very dangerous trend in the scientific community of conformance and absolutism. Let me relate this to computer science. If I tell you that you should use my algorithm because its the fastest and most efficient I'd better have sufficient evidence to prove it. If I ridicule your tests which prove my algorithm actually is incorrect or is flawed and I do not take your input seriously - you would think me to be a poor computer scientist and certainly would not want me on your dev team. But that is exactly what is happening in our science today. I thought only religion held these types of views that were unshakeable, unquestionable, and not up for debate. Now our own science is like a religion with believers and non-believers. None of us who are college trained can possibly believe that this approach is right or in any way contributing to technology and progress.

Science is always up for debate. You and I to this day can still debate gravity and how it works b/c we still don't completely understand it. That's what I used to love about science and yet now it seems we are heading into the dark ages of the scientific method where opinion and political pressure reign supreme.

Science creates progress. When a society stops using the science and starts relying on opinion and the current political trends - it is in serious trouble. We left this era a long time ago and I hope we are not attempting to go back to it. The only reason someone would not want their findings debated is because they know their findings won't stand up to the rigors of the test. If the science and research is sound then it will stand up to any amount of debate. Regardless the findings should always be up for debate but those debates should follow the scientific method - not hearsay, brainwashing, silencing others, or trying to ridicule the person behind the research.

Hopefully NASA and the scientists around the world will shake off this horrible trend and get back to what counts. We are getting nowhere as it is. However I also realize that most of the scientists out there don't have a voice and so it is difficult to judge the current state simply based on what's being published. It's getting harder and harder to find good solid news anymore so who is to say what the actual 'consensus' is - which by the way a 'consensus' is a political term and not a scientific one.

I guess I just want some people to post their findings, show us the equations, and possibly give us some answers. Let the science be judged, proven, and tested. Is that too much to ask? Let's get science to back away from the politicians (whom no one in their right mind trusts), back away from the pop culture, and give us some good hard fast solutions and answers. I'm not just talking about global warming or abiotic oil vs biotic oil - I'm talking about the whole gamut of theories that are presented to us today as fact - when they are not anything but a theory and should be presented as such.

Sorry so long but I do love science and research but this new 'I'm right because your wrong and an idiot to boot' trend is a bit scary. What does it matter if someone else thinks another is wrong? In the end the science and logic of the matter comes to light and wins. But where there is squelched debate there can be no progress.

39ster
06-25-2008, 12:41 AM
I thought this was old news... but anyway...

So what? About 70% of Earth is covered with water, a little water is bound to be on neighboring planets. I bet there's even more water there than they think.

It opens up the possibility of colonizing mars. Without a natural reserve of water on Mars, we would need to transport water from Earth to Mars which would be...bad. The importance of finding water on Mars has alot less to do with finding new life and alot more to do with moving in.

mike_g
06-25-2008, 03:09 AM
Somehow I dont think we are going to be moving in anytime soon. I reckon we will probably have the entire ocean floor inhabited before we manage to settle another planet. Although its a novelty IMO space exploration is a waste of money at the moment.

Mario F.
06-25-2008, 08:24 AM
Sorry so long

Not at all. Never scared me. Besides it was a pleasant reading.

Let us hope for better days. I do think we are probably reaching the limits of the pop culture indeed. Already we hear dissonant echoes everywhere. But technological advances get increasingly more expensive as we... advance. And I don't see a solution to that other problem. Maybe a large panel of scientists getting finaly frustrated and starting some sort of international consortium fully privately financed (with all the risks that too can carry).

Or the coming of a scientific messiah. Someone who grabs the seat of power in one of the more active countries and institutes a true scientific doctrine, maintaining the current fund dependency models, but actively promoting science in its various fields. AKA raising the budget considerably.

DavidP
06-25-2008, 08:38 AM
With the recent direction NASA has been heading and the crazed non-scientific reports they have recently let fly I seriously doubt the credibility of a great deal of NASA scientists.


Although I agree with much of what you said, I would still find their scientists to be credible. You have to remember that the scientist doing the research and analysis is not the same guy as the one up in his nice office negotiating funding from the government. The scientist is usually just another guy like you and me, and he went to some university and got his degree, and he is just doing his job.

On the other hand I agree with you on many other counts. I agree that back in the 60's there seemed to be bright prospects of space exploration, and now it seems we have just been grounded for almost 40 years. NASA does need to do better.



It seems now that the more absurd the theory the more attention it gets - regardless if there is any science to back it up. Science as in the scientific method.


You need to remember that the scientific method can never verify anything as truth. It can only verify something as not being true. (See Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method#Introduction_to_scientific_metho d)). The scientific method tests a hypothesis, and by testing this hypothesis you can draw some conclusions. You can absolutely prove what is not true, and you can draw some conclusions about what might be true, but the scientific method can never prove what is true.



I thought this only existed in religion and the church. Myself being a trained minister


I am confused. Being a trained minister, are you therefore ridiculing religion or are you just trying to point out the differences between science and religion?

I know what you are trying to say when you comment that "science and religion are not the same thing", and in some respects you are correct, but in others you are gravely mistaken. Science are religion are both about seeking truth. (If you missed this point from your religion classes, I'm sorry). One can seek truth through science by doing experiments, testing hypotheses, and discussing theories with other scientists.

Like I said, the scientific theory only disproves, and so much of what is "discovered" in science cannot be verified. Some things can (such as mathematical proofs which are called proofs for a reason). Other things cannot. Even Newton's Laws, although modeling the motion of objects quite well for every day purposes, have been found to not be true. There are cases where they fail, and thus they are just a model that seems to work well in most circumstances.

Nonetheless, science is a search for truth, and every once in awhile a bit of actual truth is discovered. Religion is the same way. Religion is also a search for truth, but it is a very different search than science. Instead of doing experiments and testing hypotheses, in religion one searches privately and confronts God in order to seek for truth. Truth then comes through revelation (divine communication). Some (especially athiests) might doubt this method of receiving truth. I am not here to argue that it is a good or bad method, but just to point out the fact that it is the method by which one seeks truth in religion.

Neither religion nor science are immune to this "intolerance of opposing views" as you have stated. Both are methods of searching for truth, and I think both have a long ways to go.

abachler
06-25-2008, 08:39 AM
Although its a novelty IMO space exploration is a waste of money at the moment.

Except if you dont do the stuff that doesnt turn a profit, you will never learn what does. Your statement sounds liek the same old tired 'stop wastign money in space' argument. I could argue that we shoudl stop wasting money feeding starving people in africa. People want the quick and easy answers from science, and yet don't consider that all teh quick and easy answers have probably been found. Now the only ones left are the slow and difficult (i.e. expensive) answers.

Nothing is obvious until you figure it out, then it is.

Mario F.
06-25-2008, 09:00 AM
I'd rather prefer if we left religion out of it this time. Not because I'm unwilling or afraid of confronting your points David (since I feel you are completely, totally and irrevocably wrong on this matter), but because it will invariably lead to an argument that would deserve instead a thread of its own.

As for the scientific method, I think you are taking the short-sighted view. In science an hypothesis is either corroborated or contradicted through an application of the scientific method. It is true it doesn't prove. But science is not so much about proving a theory, but exactly about producing and supporting those theories. Even fundamental Laws of physics, for instance, can fall as you so well explained. But that is exactly the strength of the scientific method.

Without anything to hold on other than theories, mankind has been able to explore the depths of the oceans, understand the story of our planet, explain phenomena like light, gravity and nuclear forces, and explore the depths of space. All founded on the scientific model. The bit you quote on Bubba doesn't contradict any of this. As I read it, it notes the fact there's hasn't been a true effort, on behalf of the scientific community, to disprove or support some of the more outrageous claims being currently produced.

Global Warming being an excellent example of this lack of proper peer review and in-depth analysis that used to be the mantra of any newfound theory.

DavidP
06-25-2008, 09:11 AM
Did I deny that science is a good thing or that it is needed? Did I say that the scientific method has not gotten us anywhere? No. I agree that because of the scientific method, peer review, and some amazing scientists in our age we have made some awesome discoveries and advancements.

I just wanted to point out the fact that the scientific method cannot prove that something is true. It can provide lots of evidence and support (like you mentioned), but cannot provide absolute proof. I do not deny that it has been a strong factor in our civilization's development. I also wanted to point out that both science and religion are two separate ways of seeking truth.

I was not arguing against Bubba's point that "Science is always up for debate" and "science creates progress", and the fact that conformance and absolutism is dangerous for science.

abachler
06-25-2008, 09:32 AM
I just wanted to point out the fact that the scientific method cannot prove that something is true.

That statement is wrong. That argument is made by Religious retards all the time (not implying you are one). Science can and does prove things true every time you type a key on your keyboard or read this board it is proof that science is right about the existence of electrons and how they behave. Religion however cannot prove anything, true or false. In fact the whole foundation of religion is faith, which is the belief in something in spite of a complete lack of facts, evidence, or reproduceable results. Don't even try to hold religion up as any kind of alternative to science. If you want to believe that some invisible man created the universe and out of all the worlds in it took a special interest in a single species and its reproductive habits on one rather unremarkeable planet, that it desperately wants us to believe in it, but refuses to provide any direct evidence whatsoever, then by all means go ahead. Personally, I will pick logic and reason over emotion and ignorance any day.

laserlight
06-25-2008, 09:57 AM
Science can and does prove things true every time you type a key on your keyboard or read this board it is proof that science is right about the existence of electrons and how they behave.
It depends on how much rigour do you expect from a proof. So, it is effectively proven that electrons exist and behave as we currently know them to behave, but perhaps more evidence will come to light that they behave differently from what we currently know, and then we may decide that the concept of an electron is no longer accurate. From one perspective, this could mean that the proof was not a proof to begin with (i.e., the rigour demanded is that when something is proven, it must always be true), but from another perspective it was proven until more evidence came to light (i.e., the rigour demanded is for a proof to follow from all known evidence). The latter demand of rigour certainly is more reasonable. Admittedly, electrons are a rather poor example since it is unlikely that we would reject the concept outright, but ideally the scientific method demands that we be open to this possibility.

indigo0086
06-25-2008, 09:59 AM
Why can't all scientists be creative like those guys who theorized about the cat in the box full of cyanide.

DavidP
06-25-2008, 10:47 AM
Science can and does prove things


You argued that science can prove things. I argued that the scientific method cannot. Those are two different arguments, so go back and rethink your argument and get it straight. One good way to do that is read the Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method) that I linked to.

Of course science might be able to prove that something is true. The scientific method cannot, never has, and never will be able to.



It depends on how much rigour do you expect from a proof. So, it is effectively proven that electrons exist and behave as we currently know them to behave, but perhaps more evidence will come to light that they behave differently from what we currently know, and then we may decide that the concept of an electron is no longer accurate.


I echo that.



Religion however cannot prove anything, true or false. In fact the whole foundation of religion is faith, which is the belief in something in spite of a complete lack of facts, evidence, or reproduceable results.


Once again, you are misconstruing my argument. I never said religion can prove anything. I said religion is a search for truth, just like science. Rethink your argument.

abachler
06-25-2008, 10:57 AM
Wow, what the hell are they teaching in school these days...

Religion isnt the search for truth in any way shape or form. Philosophy is the search for truth. A religion is a system of belief.

Mario F.
06-25-2008, 11:23 AM
Religion isnt the search for truth in any way shape or form. Philosophy is the search for truth. A religion is a system of belief.

This is entirely dependent on where you position yourself. If from within a religious belief it is indeed the search for Truth and there's no denying it. If from outside, no. Definitely it has very little to do with Truth, in my opinion. Although one can still argue there's an intrinsic search for it on any religious belief.

DavidP
06-25-2008, 12:14 PM
Religion isnt the search for truth in any way shape or form. Philosophy is the search for truth. A religion is a system of belief.


I would consider both philosophy and religion methods of searching for truth, but they go about it different ways. Philosophy is based upon the human intellect and reason. Religion is based upon faith and revelation.

In an ideal situation (which of course this world is not an ideal situation), I hope anyone who conformed to a system of beliefs or anyone who simply believed in any principle would have done some amount of searching to see if that something was true. I believe what I do because I believe it to be the truth. Now, it is obvious that we are not in an ideal situation, not everyone is that way (many simply lead lives of tradition or indoctrination), and so I won't try to argue that. Nevertheless, by principle religion is a search for truth just like philosophy is too.

abachler
06-25-2008, 12:48 PM
I would consider both philosophy and religion methods of searching for truth, but they go about it different ways. Philosophy is based upon the human intellect and reason. Religion is based upon faith and revelation.

So you agree that religion is based on things other than intellect, reason, facts, evidence, and reproduceable results. Adults call that 'make believe', fantasy, fiction, insanity, or if the subject insists it is true, outright lies.

VirtualAce
06-25-2008, 05:55 PM
DavidP I do not feel I have to respond to you. You were not with me in my classes nor do you know who I am short of this board. However religion is not a search for truth since most religions already feel they have the truth. I was never taught that it is a search for truth and most of my profs would probably be aghast at the claim.

But let's stop the religion argument. My point was that a science that has deniers and believers is more akin to religion than science. I hope we can back away from this type of behavior and foster a scientific community that is not immune to nor afraid of debate.



As I read it, it notes the fact there's hasn't been a true effort, on behalf of the scientific community, to disprove or support some of the more outrageous claims being currently produced.


I would further this by saying that the more outrageous the claim the more concrete the evidence ought to be. Otherwise it's very suspicious. We obviously all realize that there is no consensus and the debate is far from over. Maybe people can look beyond the disaster channels and news outlets and begin to analyze the heart of the issue. Let's let science take the reigns and leave this absurd absolutism and manipulation behind. I'm a bit tired of the 'oh crap we are all gonna die and if you don't believe me you are an idiot' approach.

And back on track: I highly doubt we will be going to Mars anytime soon. NASA's new baby has already been rumored to be put on hold. Good news is it is more than just a shuttle that stays in low earth orbit.

Mario F.
06-25-2008, 08:32 PM
BTW, next month will also be an interesting month. The Cassini-Huygens mission reaches its end after 4 years of intensive study of the Jupiter system.

Have been playing with Celestia a lot more now that I can finally load more detailed textures (here seen (http://www.quiettech.co.uk/Mars.jpg) at 1440x900). And was tracking Cassini movements for next month when the mission ended. A quick lookup on the web revealed this to be correct.

Oldman47
06-26-2008, 06:26 AM
And back on track: I highly doubt we will be going to Mars anytime soon. NASA's new baby has already been rumored to be put on hold. Good news is it is more than just a shuttle that stays in low earth orbit.

I don't think going to Mars without first learning how to live on the moon in a self-sustaining environment is a good idea. The moon should have been colonized decades ago, but that's another argument. Bottom line: First, hone your skills on our nearest heavenly body, perhaps consider a technological feat of creating a life-boat type space platform positioned between Earth n' Mars that could offer astronauts a safe-haven in case of in-flight trouble. I'd assume we're looking at 50 plus years before what we'd like to see in space exploration becomes a reality. Much too late for me (I'll be long dead), but I'd assume the younger people here will get to see it all.

indigo0086
06-26-2008, 06:31 AM
I was wondering, do those mars probes have tools to actually analyze materials, or does it have to be brought back here to do detailed analysis?

Also isn't space radiation one of the major drawbacks of colonizing mars?

CornedBee
06-26-2008, 08:17 AM
The moon should have been colonized decades ago, but that's another argument.
What for?

indigo0086
06-26-2008, 08:29 AM
It's not like there were space dinosaurs who's bones we can cultivate.

matsp
06-26-2008, 08:36 AM
I was wondering, do those mars probes have tools to actually analyze materials, or does it have to be brought back here to do detailed analysis?

A spectrometer isn't particularly large or difficult to run, so that would be a possibility. Gas/Liquid Chromatography takes a little bit more effort and space, but I'm sure it could be done.


Also isn't space radiation one of the major drawbacks of colonizing mars?

It would probably need to be solve somehow, yes.

--
Mats

Mario F.
06-26-2008, 08:52 AM
I was wondering, do those mars probes have tools to actually analyze materials, or does it have to be brought back here to do detailed analysis?

They do all the analysis onboard. It's actually quiet sophisticated and impressive, in my humble opinion. And new methods are constantly being devised.

The Huygens probe, for instance, that landed on the surface of Titan (Jupiter Moon) has a gas chromatograph and a mass spectrometer equiped with containers that collected atmospheric gases during the 3 stages of descent and analyzed them right then, even before impact. After the second parachute opened and it initiated the 2nd stage of descent it was able to send the data back to Cassini which later relayed it to Earth.

The two same instruments where used also to analyze the soil by heating the containers inlets right before impact in order to vaporize the contents.

The probe is also equipped with an aerosol colector (also used in combination with the GCMS above), three imagers and a spectral radiometer which can see through a wide range of spectra, an Atmospheric something that can measure physical and electrical properties of the atmosphere, a so far unique wind deduction device that can analyse wind speed through radio signals (it's the only instrument that failed to operate), a surface package to collect conditions of the landing site (speed of sound, temperature, thermal conductivity, refraction, radioeletric properties), 4 altimeters, a accelerometer and a lamp.

Typically the probes send the signals back to earth. But Huygens traveled piggybacked on Cassini which had a much bigger mission of analyzing the Jupiter system with a series of flybys over the planet itself and some of its moons (including Titan) that would last 4 years. Huygens was built to send all this data to Cassini in order to be relayed back to Earth for a maximum of 2 hours after impact. After those 2 hours, Cassini ceased to receive any information from Huygens and turned its attention towards its own mission.

What is extraordinary is that Huygens is still emitting today even though Cassini is not listening. And despite the signal being as weak as our cellphones, our radio telescopes on Earth can still pick it! It is also extraordinary because after 4 years that probe is still operating on an alien environment. This says a lot about the qualities of our materials on earth and gives a gleeful eye on anyone thinking on the possibility of building manned or unmanned space stations on extraterrestrial bodies.


Also isn't space radiation one of the major drawbacks of colonizing mars?

Definitely. Although all sorts of materials help in protecting ourselves, animals or plants from it. Necessarily any incursion on the outside could only be possible with protective gear. But mostly, it's my view any colonization efforts on Mars would, at least on an early stage, be made underground for economical reasons.


Bottom line: First, hone your skills on our nearest heavenly body, perhaps consider a technological feat of creating a life-boat type space platform positioned between Earth n' Mars that could offer astronauts a safe-haven in case of in-flight trouble.

I would not be so sure we can apply the same principles on earth in outer space. The major problem with colonization (even if merely for scientific purposes) another body is not one of lack of technology or lack of people willing to risk doing it. The big problem is sustaining that colony.

It's completely out of the question a system like the one we have in the ISS. With current technology and at the current prices it would probably take the budget of a medium country to sustain 5 scientists on the Moon due to the costs involved in space travel. So, the idea was always for the habitat to create itself the conditions in order to minimize to the absolute necessary any space travel.

A trip to Mars or a trip to the Moon costs essentially the same. May seem counterintuitive but that's just how it is. Once launched out of the earth influence, we can send anything anywhere with an incredible accuracy both in space and time at, from that moment on, essentially a cost 0.

So, with these two things in our minds, Mars becomes a much better prospect than the Moon because:

a) It offers more relevant scientific possibilities which will help a positive balance between mission costs and gains. The Moon, while still interesting, is not in any way comparable to Mars in terms of scientific output.

b) Mars offers better possibilities as it already contains materials that can be used on-site for the construction of the Habitat, its maintenance and continuous operation. Most(!) important, Mars has water. Water is more valuable than gold on a extraterrestrial human site. It reduces the cost of the whole mission exponentially, can fuel machinery, can help in the creation of a steady atmospehre inside the habitat and... can be drank. In contrast, the Moon is bare.

...

The whole going to the moon thing o the 60s was in my view a spectacular scientific failure immediately preceded by a spectacular scientific achievement. The taking humans there... in the 60s? Holly crap! What an amazing feat. Hold on to cellphones, dual cores and BlueRay all you want... but the King of the Hill is Apollo 11. We even put a rover in there!

However... there was nothing scientific about it. We sent astronatus, not scientists and we were on a mission to get there first, not to study it. Later we wanted to get back and set the record straight. Everyone in the scientific community (particularly the NASA heroes - and I don't mean the astronauts - behind the Apollo 11 mission) felt they had lost a great opportunity back in 69 and wanted to correct the mistake. But Nixon administration was now more interested in fighting the baby-eating communists than in "landing on a rock".

We will get back to the Moon. I'm pretty sure of that. And we will even have one, two or more permanent bases set (probably mostly observation and data collection outposts). But probably not before Mars. It's exactly the other way around... on this case farther has become cheaper. Although I cannot deny that an unmanned station on the Moon is cheaper than one on Mars (and more readily accessible). But we are talking about sending humans, not metal.

indigo0086
06-26-2008, 09:00 AM
See Mario, you CAN learn something from Anime. I pretty much learned a lot of stuff from Planetes, which is about space debris collectors. It even had commentary from NASA engineers. Pretty cool series.

DavidP
06-26-2008, 09:29 AM
What is extraordinary is that Huygens is still emitting today even though Cassini is not listening. And despite the signal being as weak as our cellphones, our radio telescopes on Earth can still pick it!


This is something that I have indeed been wondering about...principally: how the probes/rovers/landers last so long in alien environments. The main thing I wonder about is the electronic circuits. How do the electronic circuits in these things last so long in such rough climates (temperatures that go way below or above what we have on Earth)?

matsp
06-26-2008, 09:40 AM
This is something that I have indeed been wondering about...principally: how the probes/rovers/landers last so long in alien environments. The main thing I wonder about is the electronic circuits. How do the electronic circuits in these things last so long in such rough climates (temperatures that go way below or above what we have on Earth)?

Well, first of all, they aren't exactly using the highest spec modern parts. And the components are selected to run at specifically higher/lower temperatures than the commercially available parts. If you are Nasa and you ask Intel, Motorola or AMD if you can get some specially selected parts that tolerate +/-20% what the standard voltages are and -40 to +100 'C (instead of 0-55'C for example), at half the standard clock-speed, compared to the standard parts, for 10-100x the standard price, I'm pretty sure they'll do something for you - of course, I just made up those numbers to display the principle. The additional cost part may be way off - NASA don't tend to build very many of any of their devices, so per-part cost of the space-going parts isn't going to be a huge part of the budget. (For earth-bound development systems, most of them you only need commercially available parts).

Most of these systems also have redundancy, such as multiple modules of memory that can replace the original memory module(s).

But it is of course impressive still.

--
Mats

Mario F.
06-26-2008, 09:54 AM
I honestly don't know the details. I do know that the composites used to build these babies are specifically tailored for the task. There's simply no wiring as we are used to it over here. Everything runs inside specifically built tubes or is in some other way shielded.

The fuel used for these things is also nothing like what we use on earth (granted they have very limited fuel needs). The Cassini probe uses two modified gases that ignite on contact, relieving the probe from an ignition engine. These gases have obviously a very large resistance to low temperatures, remaining inert even on space. Meanwhile power is almost always provided by batteries that draw heat from the decay of radioactive materials (so far I think we have always used plutonium-238) in order to generate electricity.

In any case it is remarkable they last so long in sometimes incredibly harsh environments.

abachler
06-26-2008, 11:10 AM
A spectrometer isn't particularly large or difficult to run, so that would be a possibility. Gas/Liquid Chromatography takes a little bit more effort and space, but I'm sure it could be done.


It would probably need to be solve somehow, yes.

--
Mats

Mars has an atmophere less than 1% as thick as earths, which means for humans, it is essentially a vacuum. There could be no human activity on the surface outside environmental suits, which will block almost all radiation.

There realyl is quite a lot fo water on mars, even more than on earth, it just isnt concentrated on teh surface by an active core as it is on earth. The same amount of water is distributed in teh entire lithosphere. Rock on earth also contain water (unless fired). Earth however has an active core, the effect of which is to drive lower density materials to the surface, just like in a blast furnace. Water is a relatively low density material comapred to the mantle adn core, therefor, on a geologically active planet, the water tends to for concentrated pools ont ehsurface (i.e. oceans). Mars does not have a suignificantly active core, thus its water reserves are distributed.

abachler
06-26-2008, 11:23 AM
If you are Nasa and you ask Intel, Motorola or AMD if you can get some specially selected parts that tolerate +/-20% what the standard voltages are and -40 to +100 'C (instead of 0-55'C for example), at half the standard clock-speed, compared to the standard parts, for 10-100x the standard price, I'm pretty sure they'll do something for you - of course

Actually there are commercially avilable parts that can tolerate the conditions on mars. The temperature on mars may be low, but the atmospheric pressure makes any probe essentialyl a thermos. the cold isnt a problem if you can keep the stuff running. The wheels have problems, because they are in direct contact with the surface, so they get very cold at night, but the electronics dont have much of a problem if you can spare a few milliwatts through the night. Generalyl they still use space rated chips, but those arent that expensive, about 3 times the price of industrial parts. Its mreo the radiation hardening that si needed. The expense isnt from them using some special materials, but rather using much lower density lithography and lower doping density differentials.

Oldman47
06-26-2008, 02:52 PM
What for?

Already answered. To develop and fine tune the skills and technology needed to goto mars and beyond. Are you're asking, why bother with space at all?

Answer: Mankind and its future depends on it. We're a planet of 6 billion crazy apes and counting. All it would take is one catastrophe, whether that be a nuclear war or a ten mile wide asteriod striking the planet to pretty much eliminate our race. I don't care to get into a philosophical argument as to whether mankind is worth saving (let us just assume that it is) or whether or not spreading the seeds of humanity throughout the stars is a grand idea, but survival of future generations seems to be within our grasps. It may take hundreds or perhaps another thousand years before we're ready to leave our solar system and quite possibly find another earth-like home, but it could happen.

GanglyLamb
06-26-2008, 03:25 PM
This thread made me want to rewatch the movie Red Planet...

In that movie they shot rockets with algae to mars, thus creating oxygen...

Anyhow, the whole idea seemed very far fetched but looking back at history. It has been 40 years since we've been on the moon. Technology has evolved tremendously since then(looking back at the hardware they had back then I'm even amazed they got to the moon in the first place).

Anyhow, its not that I'm an expert in anything but I hope to live the day humans land on mars and settle there. Just imagine what an impact it will have on the world (worlds to be). What would happen politically (treat mars as another country or have a space run for available land), demographically (will it be populated by one race only or ...) ... all these question might seem very stupid at first but if you just think of it. Also the word globalisation should be redefined...

Man cant wait to sit in front of my tv as an earthling (hologram by then probably - or better brain implant sending signals directly to my whatever sensors I have up there) watching live shows from mars, performed by marsians!

whiteflags
06-26-2008, 05:03 PM
Mankind and its future depends on it.

Well I do think that the ethics regarding that decision is conditional. Earth would need to be in some great peril and it really depends on the reason(s) why. On one hand, the big, friendly, unnamed asteroid might be careening for the Pacific, and on the other hand we might have simply overpopulated and ruined the majority of our arable land. There are reasons, I think, if you named them, that people wouldn't want our own species to survive. If we do colonize another planet we'll have to do so sustainably or it would end us anyhow.

I would go as far as claiming that we need world peace before we have a chance in hell.

IMO, Earth is our one and only home.

VirtualAce
06-26-2008, 05:10 PM
A trip to Mars or a trip to the Moon costs essentially the same. May seem counterintuitive but that's just how it is. Once launched out of the earth influence, we can send anything anywhere with an incredible accuracy both in space and time at, from that moment on, essentially a cost 0.


This is a very interesting statement illustrating a point that most of us miss. Once you accelerate and put Sir Isaac Newton in the driver's seat...it really doesn't cost much to keep the spaceship operating. Very good observation that went right over my head on the first read.
So perhaps the most expensive portion of space travel is getting into space or far enough from a planet's gravity to be able to 'shut it off' and coast.

Would this work if we were to attain FTL speeds? I've heard some say that in order to maintain FTL speeds it would take an infinite amount of energy. However according to Newton once you get to the speed you can just shut the thing off and maintain that speed without adding any net acceleration to the system. So the real challenges for FTL travel (which I feel is the only way we will ever break the bonds of earth and our solar system and still be alive when you get there) is getting up to FTL speed, navigating so you don't smack into asteroids, stars, and planets, and slowing down on the other end. Piece of cake right? :D

Interesting.

Mario F.
06-26-2008, 05:14 PM
Well I do think that the ethics regarding that decision is conditional.

Precisely. Any current efforts only make sense in the context of science and general human curiosity (the father of science). It is too soon, and there is no reason whatsoever, to think it in terms of survival.

Colonization as such should only be (and that's how it is being discussed) made by scientists and technical staff.

Mario F.
06-26-2008, 05:40 PM
So perhaps the most expensive portion of space travel is getting into space or far enough from a planet's gravity to be able to 'shut it off' and coast.

Absolutely. The slingshot effect we have been using thus far is an exceedingly economic means of space travel. There's only a minimal need for readjustments once we get close to another flyby and another slingshot. But as our calculations become more precise even these tends to diminish, I'd think... although probably never reach an error margin of 0. Even more important though, is the fact we have been already able to initiate descent maneuvers without any expenditure of fuel (I need to find a quote for this one since I understand the eyebrows such statement can raise. But this is precisely what I've read not just long ago. I believe on the recent mars robot mission)

Anyways, that's why we can send a probe to Pluto (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4629486.stm) on a fuel tank smaller than a human being. And this, of course is true for any ship size and mass. Although, the last stage of descent may mean a large expenditure of fuel on the later cases... but would be the same whether we landed on the moon or mars.

...

As for NSL and FTL, I trully wished I knew more about it. Certain theories are simply fascinating. My favorite is the gravitational engine in which space travel would be achieved by a steady increase of velocity... say, 1G all through half way, and then the same rate of deceleration for the remaining half. This of course only would make sense in case there were no objects (planets, stars, moons, large asteroids) capable of propelling our spacecraft with the slighshot effect, and thus only meaningful for deep space travelling. It however would mean a considerable economy of fuel with no less loss in velocity.

I remember reading on an excellent book from Sagan & Chklovski how such an engine could even look like and what type of fuel could be used.

This would mean NSL. As for FTL... I honestly understand very little of the jargon used and can't make the debates on the several newsgroups and books I've got an hand on.

Oldman47
06-26-2008, 06:59 PM
It's completely out of the question a system like the one we have in the ISS. With current technology and at the current prices it would probably take the budget of a medium country to sustain 5 scientists on the Moon due to the costs involved in space travel. So, the idea was always for the habitat to create itself the conditions in order to minimize to the absolute necessary any space travel.



Granted. The economics of an ambitious space project cannot be underestimated. However, if we could put aside out national pride and egos and work together as a world community so much more could be accomplished (and in a shorter period of time). I'd like to see more international cooperation with regards to space exploration. I'd much prefer to see a world flag being displayed if and when humans reach Mars. One cannot claim that they represent the human race with an American, Russian or Chinese flag being planted onto another planet. Somehow, someway, all we humans need to see each other as the same earthly species, afforded the same inalienable rights. Perhaps it'd take contact with an alien culture before we all start thinking of ourselves as Earthlings and not by race or nationality.


remember reading on an excellent book from Sagan & Chklovski how such an engine could even look like and what type of fuel could be used.

I remember that book, I think it was called 'Road to the Stars'

VirtualAce
06-26-2008, 08:35 PM
One cannot claim that they represent the human race with an American, Russian or Chinese flag being planted onto another planet. Somehow, someway, all we humans need to see each other as the same earthly species, afforded the same inalienable rights. Perhaps it'd take contact with an alien culture before we all start thinking of ourselves as Earthlings and not by race or nationality.


So true yet humans flock together in groups be it in the workplace, home, government, nation, etc. It's just human to want to be with other humans who share common ground. I feel that going to Mars would probably happen well before any progress is made towards anyone identifying themselves by the world they live in rather than the country. It's so hard to see the big picture in our mere 12 to 20 miles of horizon that we see everyday. The internet has and still is bringing that picture a little more into view but we are a long way off.

This board is a clear step in the right direction. We have many different people here from many different countries all helping one another with some type of programming or technology. National differences aside it is clear to me that at the very core level most of us get up each day and go to work for the same reasons. We have similar goals and aspirations and overall we want the best for our families, friends, and fellow man. Maybe we aren't as different as our leaders say we are.

DavidP
06-27-2008, 08:19 AM
http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN2634952620080626

Sorry but I check Slashdot pretty often :D

abachler
06-27-2008, 08:31 AM
http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN2634952620080626

Sorry but I check Slashdot pretty often :D

Thats just micronutrients and the macronutrients P and K. It doesnt contain enough N either as NH4- or NO3+. Sorry but I actually know quite a bit about horticulture.

Mario F.
06-27-2008, 08:49 AM
It's just one more strong reason to support the notion of a future Habitat on Mars populated with scientists. If it's not enough the fact it has water, building materials and a atmospheric pressure that is not so oppressive as to make almost impossible the task of building anything on it, we now have a soil, that with enough treatment can allow for the growth of plants, essential for the Habitat sustainability and for food. One less expense and one more reason to believe in a sustained environment for scientists to work on.

The thought was pretty much established already for a few years. But it's always good to know (assuming all this information is the result of extensive analysis) for a fact.

Folks, forget the Moon. It's Mars that matters. Sure, the moon can be useful to us. I would like to think the Webb telescope (the successor to Hubble, expected to be launched in 2013) will be the last of its generation. The Moon is a great advantage point for the installation of observation material and communications relay stations. But the real science will be happening on Mars. It has to. We have to leave this scientific marasmus we have installed ourselves onto for the past 40 years.

abachler
06-27-2008, 09:07 AM
But the real science will be happening on Mars. It has to. We have to leave this scientific marasmus we have installed ourselves onto for the past 40 years.

Umm, not to split hairs, but what exactly do you think is going to happen on mars that cannot be done on earth at much lower cost? Exploration yes, but real science? Unlikely. I'm not saying we shouldnt go, just that the expectation that new technology will be developed ON mars and not merely as a result of GOING TO mars, is unrealistic. Unless we discover an ancient alien outpost or something.