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DailyDirt: A Mars Mission By 2018?!

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Space exploration is gradually becoming cheaper and more reliable. Reusable rockets haven't proven to be economical yet, but presumably, they will be. Robot missions that roll around on the surface of other worlds have been shown to be very effective, if a bit slow, and bigger and better robots are probably going to be sent to more and more objects in space. However, people are still dreaming of colonizing the moon or Mars -- and it looks like there has been some progress to be able to do so. After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

Filed Under: astronauts, deep space, fungi, iss, manned missions, mars, orion, red dragon, space, space exploration, spacecraft
Companies: nasa, spacex


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  • identicon
    Pixelation, 27 Apr 2016 @ 5:41pm

    Start now

    "The fungi Cryomyces antarcticus and Cryomyces minteri are...just the kind of life we might be looking for on Mars if it already exists there."

    Let's send some there now and see if it survives. Start terraforming early.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2016 @ 5:53pm

    "people are still dreaming of colonizing the moon or Mars"

    Why?

    It makes for good sci-fi, which I find interesting, but there is little to be gained at this point from human flight to other planets. Maybe I'm not looking at it from the right perspective.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2016 @ 6:52pm

      Re: Why?

      If you follow Elon Musk's logic.. it's because human civilization needs a "backup planet" to live on.

      But for Science, I agree -- no need to send people when robots are cheaper and disposable.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 27 Apr 2016 @ 8:06pm

        Re: Re: Why?

        We don't need backup planets, we need space habitats. Any backup planet will eventually have all the same issues as Earth - super volcanoes, planet killer asteroids, gamma bursts withing 8000 ly, etc. If mankind is to survive, we need to spread wide and far through space.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Roger Strong (profile), 27 Apr 2016 @ 8:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why?

          Planets will be safer than space habitats for a long, long time.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            JoeCool (profile), 27 Apr 2016 @ 9:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Why?

            Long, long - meaning maybe 100 years, if that. Progress is happening faster than you seem to think. Unless we screw things up really bad in the next 50 years, I think most scientists see us with a real presence in space.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 28 Apr 2016 @ 7:15am

          Re: Re: Re: Why?

          If mankind is to survive, we need to spread wide and far through space.

          A journey of a thousand light-years begins with a single colony. ;)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2016 @ 5:03am

        Re: Re: Why?

        We would not need another planet if we took better care of this one. Over population and continuous pollution needs to stop.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 28 Apr 2016 @ 7:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why?

          Yes we would. No matter how much "better" we take care of the planet, we cannot do anything about many extinction level events. Probably won't be able to for many thousands of years... if we last that long.

          Short term, we have things like super volcanoes and asteroids. Long term, we have things like "close" super novae and gamma ray bursts. Much much longer term, we have the eventual life cycle of our sun. Sure, WE probably don't need to worry about any of this, and maybe our kids don't either, but beyond that, humanity needs to consider these things.

          First step probably is colonizing other worlds. But eventually, any world will run into the same problems and need to be abandoned. Eventually, fully self-sufficient space stations floating in the void of space will be the safest way to preserve humanity. We've always asked, "where are the other intelligent species?" They're in space stations floating in the void between galaxies.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2016 @ 5:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Why?

            Rather than wasting trillions on foreign wars, we could have been researching methods of space object detection and course correction. Granted, the volcano thing is a real concern but Mars is not really habitable nor can it be terraformed due to its lack of a strong magnetic field.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2016 @ 6:58pm

      Re:

      You're thinking too much. Stop it, immediately.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Atkray (profile), 28 Apr 2016 @ 5:54pm

      Re:

      Why?

      Trump v Clinton

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stephen, 27 Apr 2016 @ 7:37pm

    Why 2018? Is there a rush to get to Mars?

    The SpaceX article goes on to say the company's "colonisation architecture" will be "reveal[ed] later this year" so we'll have to see what they have in mind, though 2018 does sound a mite ambitious, especially as the rocket being contemplated for launching the mission has apparently yet to be tested.
    Sources at SpaceX say that the Dragons will fly on the Falcon Heavy, a yet-to-be unveiled rocket that can be roughly described as three of its Falcon 9 rockets strapped together. The company intends to test the rocket for the first time in the fall of 2016, following a hold-up caused by a failed mission in 2015. Given the long history of delays at SpaceX and in the aerospace industry more generally, the 2018 target date should be taken with a grain of salt.
    Given the length of time NASA has spent developing the SLS rockets, for SpaceX to be able to get their unbuilt and unblown Mars rocket ready in a mere two years sounds at best overly ambitious.

    Why 2018 anyway? 2020 would seem a more realistic date.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 27 Apr 2016 @ 9:11pm

      Re: Why 2018? Is there a rush to get to Mars?

      SpaceX developed and launched its Falcon 9 rocket in less time and FAR less money than it took NASA to develop - unsuccessfully - Ares I.

      SpaceX's Mars rocket, Falcon Heavy, has been in development for several years and is expected to have its first launch in November. It's essentially three Falcon 9 first stages strapped together with a Falcon 9 second stage on top, so most of the hardware has already flown.

      Propellant crossfeed between the first stages and the extra staging events are a new wrinkle.

      > Why 2018 anyway? 2020 would seem a more realistic date.

      2018 sounds like the absolutely most optimistic date. If there are any bugs to work out with those new wrinkles in Falcon Heavy, it could push back the mission by a couple years.

      And while the Dragon capsule is now making regular visits to ISS, it hasn't done a propulsive landing from altitude yet. It has however done a short hover test, verifying that the propulsion system can be used to do so.

      Keep in mind that the 2018 goal is for an unmanned lander. Colonization is much further in the future.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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