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I Hear Mars Is Lovely This Time of Year
January 6th 2004, 16:55 CET by Caryn

The new lander is on Mars, and you can see all the cool things that are happening with it at NASA's Mars Rover site.

Being a long time space nut, when I looked at the images in the Yahoo story this morning, I couldn't help but get a tear in my eye as I looked at the picture of the rover on the surface, the horizon clearly visible and a hazy mountain off in the distance. For me, someone who has always wanted to see humans land on Mars in our lifetime, the image struck me as being so painfully close to being there, but just a fingernail out of reach.

So, my discussion questions are these:

- Have you been following the Mars missions? Why or why not?
- Do you think we'll land humans on Mars in our lifetime?
- Do you think we even need to? Why or why not?
- What do you think of the overall direction that spaceflight is going in these days? Do we need less exploration of distant planets? More of it?

Personally, I want us to land humans on Mars, even though I could agree that it's not really necessary to do so. I want to see it done because I think it would be a remarkable achievement and endeavor for humanity. I'd love to see it done by an international team for that very reason. I think we could get good science out of it because the space program has an excellent track record for producing lots of spin-off innovation. But most of all, I just want to be one of the astronauts that goes, even though it would never happen.

So what say you guys?
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Home » Topic: I Hear Mars Is Lovely This Time of Year

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#1 by jafd
2004-01-06 17:00:12
If they put humans on Mars before putting a base on Luna, it'll be for little other reason than politics.

Ask me about your mother.
#2 by Darkseid-D
2004-01-06 17:03:59
rogerboal@hotmail.com
Going to Mars needs another visionary to lead the way, and a `race` to get there. Arguably, the US only got to the moon because a) the cold war and b) JFK. Now for all Kennedys faults (hello Ms Monroe), he was an inspirational leader and could get stuff done.  Today, the presidency is battered and assailed, and not the position of respect and authority it once was.  Could Bush jr take the US to mars, only if they manage to find oil there, its about all he understands.  

However, given the chinese`s progress with Taikonauts and their early space steps, in a decade or so, perhaps sooner, I could see the US entering a race to Mars, to prevent `the commies` getting to Mars first.  A change in presidency at the next election (oh please oh please), could bring it about sooner, but Wesley Clarke or John McCain et al have other targets hight on their lists, such as social healthcare, reforming welfare, cutting debt amongst others. The financing may not be there for NASA to compete on a level (or biased) playing field, it could take a co-optive mission between NASA and the Euro Space agency along with Russia to achieve it.  But given the progress of the current space station and Russia`s financial dire straits, I could see that being a miserable failure.

Do not go gently into that good night.
Old age should burn and rage at the close of day.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
#3 by Matt Perkins
2004-01-06 17:04:13
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Fuck!

What happened to real space stations (not these little baby things we call space stations now)?  What happened to people living, working, farming on the moon?  What happened to really exploring our solar system?

Know what?  No money was perceived to exist in it.  So just like everything else, if no money exists in it, we (the US of A) won't do it.

What of discovery for the sake of it?  What about wanting to know about space?  What our oceans for that matter?  Discovery is all most a lost thing compared to the amount of resources that used to be put into it....    And that's depressing.

"Good, good. Now, and here is where I'm going with this - I'll be fucked if I can remember how to farm."
- LP
#4 by Matt Perkins
2004-01-06 17:05:37
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
to prevent `the commies` getting to Mars first


Of course the problem with that theory is we make WAY to much money in trade of with 'the commies' now to want to offend them by competing against them.

"Good, good. Now, and here is where I'm going with this - I'll be fucked if I can remember how to farm."
- LP
#5 by Marsh Davies
2004-01-06 17:13:27
www.verbalchilli.com
Huzzah!

As I mentioned in irc, to a total lack of response, I've been following the Mars missions with great excitement, but, curiously, limited information was being broadcast here in Britain about the NASA effort. Well, limited up until the point where British engineering was once again shown up to be a stupid waste of effort. Poor Beagle 2, the budget Mars lander. Does anyone know how far apart they landed? I don't suppose there's any chance Spirit will go looking for the Beagle...

I certainly hope we'll land humans on Mars - I want to hear from a human perspective exactly what it is like, not just data via the clinical perceptions of mecha-widgetry, as thrilling as that may be. Scientific necessity doesn't really figure in this desire; but I've always been... deeply moved, I guess, by the idea of journeying to other planets. I've always felt space-flight should be one of the top priorities of any nation in an ideal world.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'distant planets', Caryn. Do you mean, as opposed to Mars? Either way, surely one of eventual aims of spaceflight is colonisation, so I expect, and want, more flights to other planets. Jupiter's satellites are the most intriguing in terms of potential to life.

#6 by Chunkstyle
2004-01-06 17:14:03
Mankind does lots of things we do not need to do, just to say it's been done.  I think we'll send someone to Mars within 30 years.

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon.
 -Woody Allen
#7 by Marsh Davies
2004-01-06 17:15:38
www.verbalchilli.com
I need to buy some red and green acetate for those 3D panoramas.

#8 by Charles
2004-01-06 17:17:45
www.bluh.org
I want to see it happen just because.

<Gabe> My indifference is palpable!
#9 by Charles
2004-01-06 17:19:10
www.bluh.org
Honestly, the sci fi lover in me wants it to happen just on the light chance of a sign of life.  Or perhaps a lander that isn't ours...  Who knows.  It's the unknown, and I've always loved exploration of any kind.  And really, the is the ultimate exploration.

<Gabe> My indifference is palpable!
#10 by Matt Perkins
2004-01-06 17:21:46
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
It's the unknown, and I've always loved exploration of any kind.

Exactly...and this has been sorely lacking in recent times.

"Good, good. Now, and here is where I'm going with this - I'll be fucked if I can remember how to farm."
- LP
#11 by Warren Marshall
2004-01-06 17:25:57
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
While I hope we go to Mars within my lifetime, don't forget that we have lots of discovery to do right here on Earth.  Specifically, the deepest parts of the ocean floor.  We have no idea what's down there.

"Cheap Garbage Disposal Canít Handle Femur"
#12 by Charles
2004-01-06 17:32:44
www.bluh.org
It's almost easier to go elsewhere cause of the pressure down there.

<Gabe> My indifference is palpable!
#13 by UncleJeet
2004-01-06 17:37:28
Hello?  All that's down there are CGI water tentacles and the Titanic.  Duh.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#14 by Bailey
2004-01-06 17:39:45
Hrm, well, not trying to sound my usual and jaded self here, but I could probably care less about the Mars lander. It simply doesn't seem very important. Space travel, in the scifi sense, would be a wonderful thing, but this current stage of puttering around our galactic backyard in the go-kart dad build from a lawnmower... doesn't affect me. Well, it fills the media and I get to hear about it five times over when something happens, but the actual Mars landing, the hope of spending baby jesus knows how much money to get humans up there several decades from today, really has no meaning to me, here and now. They could be scooting a remote control car around the Nevada desert with a sepia filter over the camcorder for all these images speak to me.

Year Of The Bastard
#15 by Neale
2004-01-06 17:42:43
neale@pimurho.co.uk www.pimurho.co.uk
We have no idea what's down there.


Water.

9 years later you're the fat kid with his face pressed against the window of The Industry. - crash
#16 by Charles
2004-01-06 17:45:44
www.bluh.org
They could be scooting a remote control car around the Nevada desert with a sepia filter over the camcorder for all these images speak to me.


I didn't know you were a Believer.

<Gabe> My indifference is palpable!
#17 by UncleJeet
2004-01-06 17:45:57
Hrm, well, not trying to sound my usual and jaded self here, but I could probably care less about the Mars lander.  It simply doesn't seem very important.


Well, it's good to know that you do care about the missions, because if you couldn't care less I'd be worried that there might not be any hope of getting you interested.  Think about the children, Bailey....alien children - with hooves and six spleens.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#18 by Warren Marshall
2004-01-06 17:46:49
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
#14 Bailey
Hrm, well, not trying to sound my usual and jaded self here, but I could probably care less about the Mars lander. It simply doesn't seem very important. Space travel, in the scifi sense, would be a wonderful thing, but this current stage of puttering around our galactic backyard in the go-kart dad build from a lawnmower... doesn't affect me. Well, it fills the media and I get to hear about it five times over when something happens, but the actual Mars landing, the hope of spending baby jesus knows how much money to get humans up there several decades from today, really has no meaning to me, here and now. They could be scooting a remote control car around the Nevada desert with a sepia filter over the camcorder for all these images speak to me.

Well, yeah, but to get to the cool space travel we need to build the go-karts first.

"Cheap Garbage Disposal Canít Handle Femur"
#19 by jafd
2004-01-06 17:47:07
#2 Darkseid-D
for all Kennedys faults (hello Ms Monroe),

Having sex with Marilyn Monroe was a 'fault'?


I really echo Bailey's statement. Mars just seems like a waste of time. A moonbase, several habitable orbiting platforms, and tourism: then I'm excited. Going to Mars just to say "we went to Marrsss!!11!!" is hugely stupid.

Ask me about your mother.
#20 by UncleJeet
2004-01-06 17:51:22
Didn't Val Kilmer already go to Mars?

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#21 by Matt Perkins
2004-01-06 17:55:44
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
How can exploration of the unknown, whether it be here in our oceans or deep jungles, or out in space, how can it be seen as useless?  Learning about things, about the world, the solar system, the universe around us is...the point?

I don't know, for me, the whole point of existing is to learn.  Exploring being one of the best ways to do that...

"Good, good. Now, and here is where I'm going with this - I'll be fucked if I can remember how to farm."
- LP
#22 by UncleJeet
2004-01-06 17:57:40
Wait just a minute here, I'm almost positive that Gary Sinese AND Tim Robbins have already been to Mars as well.  Shit, I'm thinking even Ahhhnold's been there, done that.  Why not try for a different planet?  Like Pluto....go there, set up a Disney park on it - it's got the right name, anyway.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#23 by Warren Marshall
2004-01-06 17:59:43
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Duhr, isn't Pluto the name of a dog?  We've already seen it then, hyuk hyuk!!

"Cheap Garbage Disposal Canít Handle Femur"
#24 by UncleJeet
2004-01-06 18:00:55
What if we set up a Bubble Bomb franchise there?  Would that entice you?

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#25 by jafd
2004-01-06 18:02:45
#21 Matt Perkins
How can exploration of the unknown, whether it be here in our oceans or deep jungles, or out in space, how can it be seen as useless?
Not entirely useless, just effectively so. Risk vs. reward. The money would be better spent on tourism applications.

I guess the thinking amongst the investors with the money to really launch such an operation is that space tourism would just be... a fad?

Ask me about your mother.
#26 by UncleJeet
2004-01-06 18:04:28
So by that logic, jaffy - we should scrap every R&D department at every company, government, whatever across the globe because, hell, learning new shit is teh st00pid.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#27 by UncleJeet
2004-01-06 18:06:05
And don't forget, if we never explore we'll never find out vital information such as: Peak 37 is the ants!

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#28 by nothing
2004-01-06 18:09:56
In order to get space exploration really going, we need to find something valuable somewhere else.  Until it's profitable to go, the funding won't be there.

Even sci-fi is full of cargo ships and mining colonies.
#29 by jafd
2004-01-06 18:10:11
No, that's not my point at all.

Ask me about your mother.
#30 by UncleJeet
2004-01-06 18:10:58
And ray guns.  I know I'm not going to Mars until I can carry a ray gun with me.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#31 by Bailey
2004-01-06 18:11:09
Charles

I didn't know you were a Believer.

If you're referring to Believing that the current space program is like driving a Model T off the Mayflower with Destination: Calla-forn-eye-ay! emblazoned across the back, then yes. If you're referring to faking the moon landing, I'm pissing in your sock drawer and telling you the CIA did it.

Jeet

Well, it's good to know that you do care about the missions, because if you couldn't care less I'd be worried that there might not be any hope of getting you interested.

Congrats on helping us meet our fuckwit quota. Yes, I could care less. Right now I'm eyeing the grainy pictures of the world's largest beachfront property with a casual layman's interest. A month from now, when they find a dirty rock with a smudge that might possibly maybe be indicative of a lichen fossil, I will not be able to care less, by the definition of reality's boundaries.

Warren

Well, yeah, but to get to the cool space travel we need to build the go-karts first.

I know, and that's fine. It's part of the process. But we could probably funnel all that space program effort into developing warp nacelles on earth, bypassing the go-kart stage and going right to the Shelby Cobra.

Year Of The Bastard
#32 by UncleJeet
2004-01-06 18:13:10
I don't think warp nacelles are really real, in the sense that Star Trek is dumb and boring.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#33 by E-ph0nk
2004-01-06 18:15:34
http://www.electrophonk.be
We should use the huge bugets being thrown away on war in a better way:
- Cure diseases
- Feed the hungry
- SPACE TRAVEL!

I didn't know that needed any discussion?!

*sigh*
#34 by Bailey
2004-01-06 18:16:55
Well, it'll never be clever and interesting with that sort of attitude.

Year Of The Bastard
#35 by Dethstryk
2004-01-06 18:17:30
jemartin@tcainternet.com
All I know is these high-resolution pictures are amazing. I can't wait to see more.

sunny days have funny ways of quieting the roar
#36 by Charles
2004-01-06 18:19:07
www.bluh.org
Link to high res pictures?

<Gabe> My indifference is palpable!
#37 by Dethstryk
2004-01-06 18:21:10
jemartin@tcainternet.com
They were being panned about on Fox News during the press conference that's going on right now. Of course, the Fox tool asked if they were doctored.

sunny days have funny ways of quieting the roar
#38 by Bailey
2004-01-06 18:22:06
"Yes, we airbrushed out the alien sex enclaves."

Year Of The Bastard
#39 by chris
2004-01-06 18:23:13
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
So THAT'S where the three-breasted hookers are.

-chris
#40 by m0nty
2004-01-06 18:23:37
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
I sleep soundly at night with the knowledge that visitors from the future are, as we speak, visiting the Mars lander in situ, speaking some soliloquies about mankind's quest for knowledge, interacting with fellow officers in a limited and non-permanent fashion, and wrapping it all up before the crappy end credits theme music.
#41 by UncleJeet
2004-01-06 18:23:44
Kick ass.  Back on the bus, kids - we're headed to Mars!

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#42 by mnemonic
2004-01-06 18:29:36
xmnemonic@softhome.net http://jti.developer.graphyx.net
The rover just found a human skull on Mars!
#43 by jungleB0y
2004-01-06 18:48:24
#33:

- Feed the hungry

Sure, let's start with your country and all the jewish familys that control a huge part of the world wealth.

What a naive little bastard.
#44 by Chunkstyle
2004-01-06 18:50:11
The rover just found a human skull on Mars!

Elvis?

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon.
 -Woody Allen
#45 by E-ph0nk
2004-01-06 18:54:47
http://www.electrophonk.be
#43 My country is doing just fine thank you.

*sigh*
#46 by jjz
2004-01-06 19:05:52
I'm not sure about going to Mars.  Ray Walston sure brought a lot of trouble to Bill Bixby's life.
#47 by jjohnsen
2004-01-06 19:10:30
http://www.johnsenclan.com
What of discovery for the sake of it?  What about wanting to know about space?  What our oceans for that matter?  Discovery is all most a lost thing compared to the amount of resources that used to be put into it....    And that's depressing.


When has exploring been about discovery?  I'll bet any exploration wever done was to find a source of food, money or stuff to get more money.

I'm all for going to different planets, or even back to the moon.  Who is going to pay for it though?
#48 by Jibble
2004-01-06 19:10:50
#22 UncleJeet
Wait just a minute here, I'm almost positive that Gary Sinese AND Tim Robbins have already been to Mars as well.  Shit, I'm thinking even Ahhhnold's been there, done that.  Why not try for a different planet?  Like Pluto....go there, set up a Disney park on it - it's got the right name, anyway.

Does Don Cheadle get NO CREDIT AT ALL for surviving on the planet all by his lonesome?  People like you are the reason he's not credited for Ocean's Eleven...SHAME ON YOU.

Also, Tim Robbins didn't technically make it to Mars, unless you count making it there after freezing yourself with the terrible secret of space (hint: it's cold).

There's no sense beating a dead horse -- but if you've reached the point where you even seriously consider that abusing a dead animal might improve your lot in life, I say go ahead and give it a shot.
#49 by CheesyPoof
2004-01-06 19:16:44
That movie stuck, but it wasn't as awful as the travesty Val Kilmer was in.

I think people going to Mars will be cool but it just seems to be a "because it's there" thing.  You could argue search for life and all that, but I doubt they could get a heck of a lot of science done.

That said one day we will get to Mars and it will be a big accomplishment, but I don't think it will be seen in history as bigger than the moon landing.
#50 by Charles
2004-01-06 19:17:49
www.bluh.org
Mission To Mars was Doctor Pepper Saves the Day, right?

<Gabe> My indifference is palpable!
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