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News Briefs 19-10-2010

He ain’t an echo, he’s my brother

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.

H.P. Lovecraft

  1. Fourth rock from the sun…
    In re:

    Going to Mars … on a one-way trip
    “Will the first explorers to visit Mars come back to Earth? Or does it actually make more sense to leave them there?”

    What is it about Mars that brings out the stupid in us?

    Oh yes, we’ve been going to Mars since we landed on the moon, with each planning incarnation pushing the date back by decades. We’re at the point now where anyone who was alive during the Apollo years will probably be dead of old age before a manned mission to the red planet finally happens… if it ever happens at all.

    Then there is the colonizing thing.

    Mars has very little atmosphere and what is present is not breathable by human beings. Anything even resembling a colony will be forced to live in artificially pressurized confines, probably subterranean and wholly dependent on technology.

    Replacement parts for any one of a hundred critical systems will be impossible to manufacture on-planet because their are no mines, no refineries, no smelting operations, no casting industry, no nothing.

    Built-in redundancies and spare parts will be fine in the short term but… it’s not like you can just drive down to the corner hardware store for things even as simple as nuts and bolts. And if the people of Earth end up nuking themselves back to the stone age, there goes your delivery service.

    But on the brighter side, if we do eventually work up enough political will to go to Mars, the technology for faster space travel will have (probably) matured enough by then to produce a one-way trip in less than half the time it takes today.

    There will be no need to depend on long term bases/colonies or face down the prospect of abandoning our explorers to a Martian funeral.

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