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Mars Rover Perseverance Landing... and continuing...

No, but we are doing the most convenient one, and have been stuck on Mars for decades.

Science takes time. 'Stuck' in this case, simply means busy learning all kinds of wonderful stuff.

We are (hopefully) learning how to do this on more promising locations.

This IS a promising location, but you've got to start somewhere. There are several planets with an environment a good deal more hostile than that of Mars. Given the fact that most countries that undertake these kinds of missions have tried and failed to reach our closest planet, how about we stick with the closest planet for now? Once we feel like we can reliably land there, we can move on to more challenging projects.

Plus, the work being done here might form the foundation for the first manned journey to Mars, and the first base on Mars. This can then provide a springboard for further exploration of our solarsystem, as we venture deeper and deeper into the great unknown.

Mars is like one of those Star Wars planets. It's uniform because of the environment there. It's all rock and desert. And at the rate we're exploring the cosmos, I'll be long dead before anything interesting happens.

I'd say something very interesting just did happen.

It just depends on how you look at it... Landing a rover on Mars with a frickin' skycrane system and ai navigation is beyond cool. Just look at this! This is scifi stuff! We can do this now:

 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I guess my practical side is saying if you don't find the evidence of life on Mars, will you stop looking on Mars?

Eventually, yes. There are other places to look for life, after all. Once we have sufficient evidence (or lack of evidence), we will look elsewhere. Mind you, we are nowhere near what we'd call sufficient evidence, because our ability to do experiments and explore is so limited at such remove.

So if Mars had some evidence of life that we could observe from earth, and then we sent a rover in an attempt to make contact or study it, that would be a comparison to manned flight.

So, the Wright Brothers were engineers, not scientists. The scientific principle upon which flight is based was discovered by Bernoulli back in 1738. However, that principle was not discovered in the context of trying to fly - Bernoulli was working in hydrodynamics. It just happens to be that air is also a fluid, and so Sir George Cayley could apply that principle when developing the airfoil generations later in 1810. The Wright Brothers added some structural engineering and improved control systems in 1900.

And this is how science typically goes. The principle or information you find at one time is later (often much later) used in unrelated applications by other people. This is the value of research for the sake of research - you cannot predict what science bits will be needed a decade or a century in the future. So, trying to limit people to targeted pursuits with known outcomes will put a decided drag on advancement.

Sending rovers to Mars is the equivalent of rednecks throwing different things on a fire to see what will happen.

You do realize that doing this systematically was some of the founding work of chemistry, right? And that writ very large and with very complicated mathematics, this is the high-energy physics of colliders, which can be characterized as trying to figure out how a mechanical watch works by throwing it at a brick wall really hard, and watching the pieces fly out.

My doctoral thesis was effectively about smashing watches against walls.

Your "practical side" is apparently uninformed about how well these things pay off over time. Your entire technological world is based on what was, at its time, like rednecks throwing things into a fire to see what would happen.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
No, but we are doing the most convenient one, and have been stuck on Mars for decades.

No, we haven't been stuck on Mars. There's all sorts of other things going on - In the time since the first landing on Mars, we've done explorations of the moons and atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn, some basic workup of Uranus and Neptune, and a most excellent flyby of Pluto. We've done sample returns of solar wind, comet tails. Landed on and done sample returns of asteroids. Tested solar sails and ion drives....

With respect... you seem profoundly out of the loop on what NASA's been doing. Maybe you should stop making judgements, and start getting informed.

And at the rate we're exploring the cosmos, I'll be long dead before anything interesting happens.

Dude. It isn't about you.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Now,all i have is an image of Umbran talking about the best way to smash a watch as part of his thesis defense "It's under hand but using your off hand with a twist but it has to be going at about 5 MPH"

It was more about figuring out what some of the resutling whirling of gears implied about the teeny-tiny screws, but yeah.
 

Istbor

Dances with Gnolls
No, we haven't been stuck on Mars. There's all sorts of other things going on - In the time since the first landing on Mars, we've done explorations of the moons and atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn, some basic workup of Uranus and Neptune, and a most excellent flyby of Pluto. We've done sample returns of solar wind, comet tails. Landed on and done sample returns of asteroids. Tested solar sails and ion drives....

With respect... you seem profoundly out of the loop on what NASA's been doing. Maybe you should stop making judgements, and start getting informed.



Dude. It isn't about you.
Humanity has been slowly losing our will or perhaps even ability to think generationally. At least from my perspective as a rugged capitalistic American. Obviously all of that colors how I see the world.

It is a trait that I hope has a resurgence.
 


Istbor

Dances with Gnolls
It is not clear that we've ever really had that ability in any consistent way.
Fair. Only noting that in the past we have begun structures or feats of engineering that wouldn't be complete until our children's children were of age. Perhaps some of that was due to technology and construction methods of the time, but I have to think at some point there were people asking what the point was, and enough people thought it worth while to complete for people they would never meet.
 

ART!

Hero
Fair. Only noting that in the past we have begun structures or feats of engineering that wouldn't be complete until our children's children were of age. Perhaps some of that was due to technology and construction methods of the time, but I have to think at some point there were people asking what the point was, and enough people thought it worth while to complete for people they would never meet.
Or they were slaves and didn't have a choice. :(
 

Istbor

Dances with Gnolls
Or they were slaves and didn't have a choice. :(
Sigh, that somewhat misses the point, but sure. Some of the projects I can think of were during very different socio-economic periods, where you didn't have to pay your labor for their time, but simply keep them alive. Others were not.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Sigh, that somewhat misses the point, but sure.

Well, I dunno. The classic examples of slave-built multi-lifetime projects are pyramids, and they don't benefit the living, so are hardly examples of long-timescale projects for future generations.

Some of the projects I can think of were during very different socio-economic periods, where you didn't have to pay your labor for their time, but simply keep them alive. Others were not.

How many of those were vanity projects for the national leader, vs projects that were actually for the people? Tombs are out, for same reason as the pyramids. We can accept, say the Cathedral of Notre Dame as at least a building for public use. The Roman road network took a long time to complete, but it wasn't conceived, planned, or executed as a single project. For similar reasons, I don't think "building a city" counts as a single project.
 

Ryujin

Hero
Ideally, if we don't find life, or evidence of life on Mars, over the coming decades we become the life on Mars. What is being done now paves the way for that. I don't really think that anyone wants to go to Mars if we can't reliably get stuff to the surface in one piece, for example.
 

Remember we found life but it was covered by sector 7

294803805_ae455013b3-jpg.27869400
 

Ideally, if we don't find life, or evidence of life on Mars, over the coming decades we become the life on Mars. What is being done now paves the way for that. I don't really think that anyone wants to go to Mars if we can't reliably get stuff to the surface in one piece, for example.

Indeed. One of the methods discussed for a possible longer stay on Mars, is to deliver prefab buildings and supplies ahead of said mission, so that everything is ready for when the first human visitors arrive.

In order to do that, we'd first need to be able to deliver objects to the surface of Mars reliably. But we'd also need a further study of circumstances on the surface.
 


Rabulias

Adventurer
In order to do that, we'd first need to be able to deliver objects to the surface of Mars reliably. But we'd also need a further study of circumstances on the surface.
This. Heck, we build places on bad land here on Earth all the time (sinkholes, earthquakes, mudslides, etc.). We really need to find a stable place to build on Mars if we plan to go there.
 

briggart

Explorer
Well, I dunno. The classic examples of slave-built multi-lifetime projects are pyramids, and they don't benefit the living, so are hardly examples of long-timescale projects for future generations.
If you are referring to the Egyptian pyramids, my understanding is that there is compelling evidence they were built by paid workers, not slaves, and that they were not just vanity projects, but they played a significant role in creating create a national/religious identity for the unified Egypt (though this may have been an unintended side effect).
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
If you are referring to the Egyptian pyramids, my understanding is that there is compelling evidence they were built by paid workers, not slaves

When it gets beyond compelling evidence, and to consensus, then I'll change my position on that point.

, and that they were not just vanity projects, but they played a significant role in creating create a national/religious identity for the unified Egypt (though this may have been an unintended side effect).

I will accept that, much later, they became cultural icons, but that seems to me to fit in the unintended side effects bin.
 

Arilyn

Hero
There has been detailed archaeological work done in recent years on the lives of ordinary Egyptians, as well as ancient Egyptian social structure. Slaves were not employed in the building of the pyramids. This idea was popularized by Hollywood movies. They were paid, and there was a large infrastructure of rotating workers, made up of labourers, engineers, scribes, painters, etc. They found evidence of long dormitory type houses where the workers stayed, supported by rows of bakers and brewers. The work was incredibly hard and dangerous, as evidenced by the wear and tear we can see in the bones.

The first known recorded strike in human history took place during the reign of Rameses lll. The payment of grain was late.

This is off topic, but the building of the vanity projects in Egypt did provide paid work, as well as support for secondary businesses such as bakers, painters, brewers, and supposedly tool makers. So, there is a little similarity to the positive effects NASA has on the economy. Okay, it's mostly a side topic. 😊
 

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