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Old 17th October 2017, 11:23 PM   #401
smartcooky
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Robots have already replaced humans in space exploration

.. and throughout the solar system .
In a very, very limited way, and in reality, only in tasks that would be nigh on impossible, or 100% fatal for humans to do anyway.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Robots are already doing science on Mars

A human could do the same amount of science as Curiosity in a fraction of the time, but the cost would be astronomical,
Curiosity cost $2.5 billion... for ONE robot, and if you want to send another one, that is going to set you back another $2.5 billion or more, and then another, and then another. Now while it has lasted 6 years to date, NASA were very lucky it didn't fail after only 6 months.

https://www.space.com/36841-mars-rov...0-minutes.html

That would have been $2.5 billion down the tubes.

The cost of space flight is huge, but once you bring in reusability, the reduction in cost is dramatic. Like others here, you are still thinking old school space... build one rocket to go somewhere - throw it away when you're done., and then build another one from scratch when you want to go again. You need to get your head around the fact that this way of doing things is going to be over soon. Think about this....

1. The Airbus A380 cost about $23 billion to develop

2. An Airbus A380 costs about $436 million per aircraft to buy

3. An A380 on a 14-hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, uses around 220 tonnes of JP1 at a cost of around $244,539.

You are equating the cost of sending people on BFR to Mars with 1 or 2, when 3 is the really important bit. You don't build a new A380 every time you want to take 500 passengers from Sydney to LA, let alone develop one from scratch.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
...and the risk unacceptable.
The acceptability of the risk is in the purview of the people taking that risk.. There will be no shortage of volunteers.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
And robots will only get better. Every technological advance that makes humans more efficient and surviveable makes robots commensurately more cost effective as well.
The suggestion has been that there are many technological hurdles to overcome before a manned mission to Mars can take place. That is true, but at least we have a fair idea what they are and how to overcome them. However, it is utterly laughable to even suggest that robots of the type that barehl says StevaA is talking about would be a better prospect than sending humans. Get this into your head... we are nowhere near having autonomous robots that could go to Mars and perform even a fraction as efficiently as human scientist with his experience, knowledge and intuition, his potential to think outside the box and to make abstract connections between unrelated facts We don't even know what problems might arise with developing such robots, let alone have any idea how we might begin to resolve them. We won't even be close for many decades to come.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
A human's job is to go in harm's way to save lives.
No, a human's job is to do what he wills. We delegate jobs to robots because we choose to do so.
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Old 18th October 2017, 02:04 AM   #402
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
The cost of space flight is huge, but once you bring in reusability, the reduction in cost is dramatic. Like others here, you are still thinking old school space... build one rocket to go somewhere - throw it away when you're done., and then build another one from scratch when you want to go again. You need to get your head around the fact that this way of doing things is going to be over soon.
That isn't an argument against robotic space exploration or in favour of human space exploration, though. There's no reason, in principle, that we couldn't put robots in reusable rockets, and if we're sending a large number of payloads to Mars that those couldn't be robots of a single design, mass produced to achieve economies of scale.

Robotic exploration of Mars would benefit a great deal from the sorts of things you are talking about.
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Old 18th October 2017, 02:56 AM   #403
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
That isn't an argument against robotic space exploration or in favour of human space exploration, though. There's no reason, in principle, that we couldn't put robots in reusable rockets, and if we're sending a large number of payloads to Mars that those couldn't be robots of a single design, mass produced to achieve economies of scale.

Robotic exploration of Mars would benefit a great deal from the sorts of things you are talking about.
Indeed! The term robot comes from a book/play called "Rossum's Universal Robots" written in the 1920s by Czech playwright Karel Capek. The play was about artificial humans, or robots (more like what we would now call androids) created as slave workers. The word "Robot" comes from the Czech word "robota" meaning "forced labor, drudgery, servitude".

And that it what robots should be... machines that work for us, not machines that replace us. By all means, if this is technically feasible, send specialised robots to Mars so that they can prepare the way for humans.
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Old 18th October 2017, 04:30 AM   #404
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post

And that it what robots should be... machines that work for us, not machines that replace us. By all means, if this is technically feasible, send specialised robots to Mars so that they can prepare the way for humans.
That sounds to me very much like an ideological statement, not related to what is the most useful approach.

Of course if you are saying that the [i[goal[/i] is to have humans on Mars, that's fine. Personally my view of space exploration/colonization is different and has different goals. But I do see some room for goal of humans visiting Mars.

I also think, however, that it's important to keep goals and means of achieving them clearly separate. Saying that we should send humans to Mars because they will be better at exploring it than robots is different from saying we should send humans to Mars because that's what we are trying to achieve.

It may be that we have both goals and you would like to make both arguments. But they are clearly separate and you can't defend an argument against one by bringing up the other.
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Old 18th October 2017, 08:50 AM   #405
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Simply not having any formal training in a subject does not mean you "know nothing" about it. I am a formally trained and qualified Aeronautical Engineer (MEng) specializing in Avionics Maintenance and Technology. So, I know about these subjects.

However, I also have a keen interest in Music (no formal training), Astronomy (no formal training), Aerospace (no formal training), Sports Journalism (no formal training) and Photography (no formal training). Just because I have no formal training in any of the last five subjects doesn't mean that I "know nothing" about them.
Have you started over 400 business ventures? Did you spend time trying to fly around the world in a balloon or sail around the world on a sailboat? I assume that you will next claim that Nathan Fillion managed to acquire enough engineering knowledge in between doing acting work and appearances that he could be well informed before he endorsed "Solar Freaking Roadways". There is no shortage of stupid ideas or people willing to throw money at them.

How to blow $120 MILLION DOLLARS in one year!

Quote:
Had you said "He has no formal training in the fields related to this technology" I'd have no quibbles, but your statement "He knows nothing about the technology" is unverifiable nonsense.
No, I'm saying that the rational assumption, the common sense assumption is that he has none. Asking me to disprove that he has no engineering knowledge is in the same vein as asking me to disprove God or unicorns. Even so, I did find an article that proves that Branson knows nothing about engineering. It mentions the job listing for chief engineer that Virgin put on its website. It also lists some of the gullible people who put down $20,000 to get on the waiting list to take one of his flights. There's been 450 altogether. Keep in mind that this article is from 2012.

Here's The Help Wanted Ad Richard Branson Posted For An Engineer To Send Him To Space

When Branson started Virgin Galactic with Scaled Composites back in 2004, he said that they would be flying in 2007. If they manage to carry passengers in 2018 then he will have missed his claim by only eleven years. Notice that neither the actual president of Virgin Galactic nor the engineers at Scaled Composites have been making these outrageous predictions, just Richard. In fact, the president stated publically, "Sometimes, I wish he wouldn't talk so much."

Quote:
PS: Albert Einstein, Ann Bancroft, Jack Horner, Michael Faraday, Pierre Curie, Carol Greider, Fred Epstein, Harvey Cushing and Peter Lovatt all have or had dyslexia.
Yeah, not so much.
Einstein’s Learning Disability

True, Jack Horner did not finish his bachelors degree.

Ann Bancroft (you might be confusing her with Anne Bancroft, the actress) was formally diagnosed with dyslexia as a 7th grader, but continued to fall behind in her studies despite intensive tutoring.

Pierre Curie is another myth.

Michael Faraday, another myth.

Fred Epstein, no. He was never diagnosed with dyslexia and performed normally in school. However his claim is that many decades later he decided that he had had a learning disability in second grade. Apparently he grew out of his "dyslexia". This is laughable.

Carol Greider, yes. “When I was in elementary school I was considered a poor speller and somebody who couldn't sound out words, so I was taken into remedial classes," recalls Greider. “I remember having a tutor come down and take me out of class and bring me to a different room. It certainly felt like I wasn't as good as the other kids.”
“I found ways to overcome any difficulties that I had. I would memorize words and how they were spelled rather than try to sound them out. So, I feel as though that taught me that if I want to do something, I just put blinders on and I go forward and I do it. Some of the ways that I overcame my struggles in school helped me later on to be able to focus.”

Harvey Cushing. Another myth. This would be the neurosurgeon born in 1869 but there is no indication of any learning disability with him.

Peter Lovatt, yes, definitely. Peter Lovatt had a tough time being the only boy in the ballet class, but being unable to read until his early 20s was far worse. Peter attended Beaumont School in St Albans where he was put in a remedial English class because he was dyslexic.

“I was an academic late starter,” says Peter. “I didn’t read due to three problems – I couldn’t read irregular words because I couldn’t sound them out in my head. I had a poor memory of what I was reading and in a sentence with multiple embedded clauses such as ’the car at the end of the road was blue’ – I wouldn’t know what blue was."

“I challenged myself to read a 140-page book. It took me two weeks, reading 12 hours a day to get through it. I didn’t understand all of it but I realized I didn’t need to know every word to get the meaning. I found I could get the gist of what was happening by breaking down the sentences into small chunks. I’d have a visual recoil from a big block of text but if I looked at it very closely I could understand the individual words. It helped to put brackets around the words I didn’t know or to cover them up."

Last edited by barehl; 18th October 2017 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 18th October 2017, 10:24 AM   #406
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
In a very, very limited way, and in reality, only in tasks that would be nigh on impossible, or 100% fatal for humans to do anyway.
There is nothing impossible for humans, nor 100% fatal to humans, about what Curiosity is doing.


Quote:
Curiosity cost $2.5 billion... for ONE robot, and if you want to send another one, that is going to set you back another $2.5 billion or more, and then another, and then another.
Somehow I don't think it'll cost less than $2.5 billion to deploy a manned science station on Mars, nor less than that per year to keep it supplied and operational.


Quote:
Now while it has lasted 6 years to date, NASA were very lucky it didn't fail after only 6 months.

https://www.space.com/36841-mars-rov...0-minutes.html

That would have been $2.5 billion down the tubes.
And if NASA sends humans, they'll have to rely on that same kind of luck, only that kind of failure will be $2.5 billion *and human lives* down the tubes.

Quote:
The cost of space flight is huge, but once you bring in reusability, the reduction in cost is dramatic. Like others here, you are still thinking old school space... build one rocket to go somewhere - throw it away when you're done., and then build another one from scratch when you want to go again. You need to get your head around the fact that this way of doing things is going to be over soon. Think about this....
No. This is a non-sequitur. I am talking about payloads, not transportation costs.

Quote:
The acceptability of the risk is in the purview of the people taking that risk.. There will be no shortage of volunteers.
There is no shortage of volunteers for all kinds of risky and even pants-on-head-retarded endeavors. NASA must still weigh risk against reward when investing public funds.


Quote:
The suggestion has been that there are many technological hurdles to overcome before a manned mission to Mars can take place. That is true, but at least we have a fair idea what they are and how to overcome them. However, it is utterly laughable to even suggest that robots of the type that barehl says StevaA is talking about would be a better prospect than sending humans. Get this into your head... we are nowhere near having autonomous robots that could go to Mars and perform even a fraction as efficiently as human scientist with his experience, knowledge and intuition, his potential to think outside the box and to make abstract connections between unrelated facts We don't even know what problems might arise with developing such robots, let alone have any idea how we might begin to resolve them. We won't even be close for many decades to come.
This is a straw man. I'm not talking about human-equivalent robots. I'm talking about automated probes that are--and always will be--more cost-effective than humans because they can do a fraction of the science at an even tinier fraction of the cost, and at zero risk.

Quote:
No, a human's job is to do what he wills. We delegate jobs to robots because we choose to do so.
Idealism aside, we base that choice on rational consideration of tradeoffs between risk and reward.

If a wealthy thrillseeker can afford a ride on Musk's rocket, and is willing to take the risk, his reward will be the thrill of visiting Mars. If he agrees to do some science while he's there, so much the better for us. But NASA is not a social club for wealthy thrillseekers.

Last edited by theprestige; 18th October 2017 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Fixed a missing quote tag.
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Old 18th October 2017, 11:31 AM   #407
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Yes... and?
Do you understand subtraction? Total payload - spacehip weight = actual payload. The reusable BFR only lifts 150 metric tons.

150 - 85 = 65 metric tons. So, more than half of the payload would be wasted on the spaceship. That's the same problem that the shuttle orbiter had.

Quote:
A broad statement. Explain in detail why this is not possible.
The idea is ludicrous for many reasons.

1. In Musk's video, the city is maybe 5 miles away. However, you can't put a launch pad near any city because of the launch noise and the danger of a mishap. The launch pads at Kennedy are 35 miles from the outskirts of Orlando but they are now getting sonic booms from SpaceX so that isn't going to work near New York. You need more like 60 miles.

2. The floating platform doesn't have a runway attached so that means either Chinook helicopter or ferry. A ferry ride is 2 hours out and 2 hours back plus 10 minutes loading and 10 unloading each way. Let's say 5 hours added. A Chinook can fly that in 20 minutes + 10 + 10. So, let's say an hour and a half added. This assumes that the rocket is fully fueled when the passenger arrive since this would otherwise add many more hours.

4. The cost of flying by rocket is vastly more expensive than flying by jet.
5. Jets can takeoff in rain but rockets don't.
6. Jets are vastly safer than rockets.

Now, I know that in the fantasy world of Musk, you could claim that one of his (non-working) self-driving cars will pick you up and then take you to the (imaginary) underwater, hyperloop which will whisk you out to the BFR which has magically become 1,000x safer. And then you stop huffing the paint thinner and come back to reality. Let's consider cost:

Falcon Heavy is $2,200 per kg to LEO.
If BFR can lift 250 metric tons at $2,000 /kg then we have:
250 x 1000 x 2000 = $500 million.
If you have 250 passengers that's $2 million apiece.

A Gulfstream carries 19. At $2 million apiece you could pay for it in just two trips. A Boeing 787 can carry can carry 250 and it costs about half of one $500 million trip. So, even if by some miracle, you could get the cost down 75% from $2 million apiece to $500,000 apiece you could still buy a Boeing 787 outright for the cost of two round trips.

And what about Musk's claim that you can get anywhere in 30 minutes? No. To do that you have to deal with 10 gees acceleration and hit the ground at mach 3. It should be obvious why this wouldn't work (well, obvious to anyone except Mr. Musk). The shortest possible trip is 35 minutes if you just go up and immediately back down. Getting to a point on the far side of the Earth would take more like an hour.

Last edited by barehl; 18th October 2017 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 18th October 2017, 12:22 PM   #408
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Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
He built the scaled test track
Yes, and it accomplished absolutely nothing. The winner was able to drive just as fast outside of the tube as in. And his next levitation competition will also take place outside the tube.

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It's been held back by the slow pace of tunneling. Musk seeks to change that.
You mean by leasing a used tunnel boring machine from Super Excavators? The Channel Tunnel was finished in 1990. It's been 27 years since then. That's a lot of time for improvements. So, no one is expecting Musk to improve the design much. His goal of 10x faster is not at all likely.

Quote:
Evidence please?
That it doesn't work? How about the fact that it isn't available? Nvidia's is also not available and theirs works better than Musk's.

Quote:
Musk for now is concentrating on lowering the cost to the point where sending humans becomes if not economically viable
I'm kind of puzzled what this "concentrating" consists of. The estimate for Falcon Heavy is $2,200 / kg and it hasn't even flown yet. Where does this magic cost reduction between Falcon Heavy and BFR happen?
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Old 18th October 2017, 12:26 PM   #409
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Where does this magic cost reduction between Falcon Heavy and BFR happen?
100% reusability. The Falcon Heavy still has an expensive disposable second stage.
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Old 18th October 2017, 12:54 PM   #410
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Do you understand subtraction? Total payload - spacehip weight = actual payload. The reusable BFR only lifts 150 metric tons.

150 - 85 = 65 metric tons. So, more than half of the payload would be wasted on the spaceship. That's the same problem that the shuttle orbiter had.
DOH! The BFR is a 100% REUSABLE rocket!

And this is NOT any of the key problems the Shuttle had, which actually were...

1. The extraordinarily expensive maintenance programme due to the over 24,000 individually unique (no two the same) heat resistant tiles used for reentry, each of which had to be individually checked after every flight. Its why NASA ended up with this...



instead of this...



for turnaround maintenance


2. The safety aspect of using SRBs for human spaceflight... extremely dangerous to begin with, made even more so by political compromises causing them to be manufactured in Utah and therefore needing to be segmented rather than made in one piece at the Cape - this ultimately resulted in the deaths of seven astronauts in the Challenger launch ascent failure

3. The safety aspect of launching the Orbiter on the side of the vehicle, leading to an unbalance lauch system and further design compromises, where foam pieces would fall off the fuel tanks and strike the Orbiter - this ultimately resulted in the deaths of another seven astronauts in the Columbia re-entry failure.

The small size of the payload relative to the overall size of the vehicle was never a real drawback (what drawback it was, was only due to the compromise in the size of the payload bay thanks to the US Air Force's demand that it be made to fit their KH-9 spy satellite).

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
The idea is ludicrous for many reasons.

1. In Musk's video, the city is maybe 5 miles away. However, you can't put a launch pad near any city because of the launch noise and the danger of a mishap. The launch pads at Kennedy are 35 miles from the outskirts of Orlando but they are now getting sonic booms from SpaceX so that isn't going to work near New York. You need more like 60 miles.
I concede this is an issue that will need to be resolved, but its not insurmountable.

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
2. The floating platform doesn't have a runway attached so that means either Chinook helicopter or ferry. A ferry ride is 2 hours out and 2 hours back plus 10 minutes loading and 10 unloading each way. Let's say 5 hours added. A Chinook can fly that in 20 minutes + 10 + 10. So, let's say an hour and a half added. This assumes that the rocket is fully fueled when the passenger arrive since this would otherwise add many more hours.
Or a high speed train... 15 minutes

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
4. The cost of flying by rocket is vastly more expensive than flying by jet.
5. Jets can takeoff in rain but rockets don't.
That's a choice, not a mandate

Planes dont operate in zero visibility... rockets do!

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
6. Jets are vastly safer than rockets.
So far...

Listen to the presentation... and try doing so without your mind clamped and bolted shut.

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Let's consider cost:

Falcon Heavy is $2,200 per kg to LEO.
If BFR can lift 250 metric tons at $2,000 /kg then we have:
250 x 1000 x 2000 = $500 million.
If you have 250 passengers that's $2 million apiece.

A Gulfstream carries 19. At $2 million apiece you could pay for it in just two trips. A Boeing 787 can carry can carry 250 and it costs about half that. So, even if by some miracle, you could get the cost down 75% from $2 million apiece to $500,000 apiece you could still buy a Boeing 787 outright for the cost of two round trips.
Oh dear you still don't get it do you?

The $2,200/kg you are quoting for Falcon Heavy INCLUDES THE TOTAL COST OF THE WHOLE BLOODY ROCKET!!!!!!! Do you think that Qantas include the $436m pricetag for an A380 for each flight in every passenger ticket they sell?

Can you do subtraction? Subtract the cost of the rocket (which is 100% reusable; its the same rocket that was used for the last 20+ launches and the same one you will be using for the next 20+ and you are left with the actual cost of each launch; propellant + maintenance.

A Falcon Heavy launch will use about $350,000 worth of RP1/LOX. If we double that for maintenance, that is ball park figure of $700,000 per launch. Falcon Heavy will launch 8 tonnes to LEO - $700000/8000 = $87.50/kg, for a 100 kg person, $875.00

Also, BFR would only be sub-orbital, not LEO, so significantly less fuel is used.
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Old 18th October 2017, 02:01 PM   #411
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
"Elon Musk stated publicly in July 2017 that "It actually ended up being way harder to do Falcon Heavy than we thought. ... Really way, way more difficult than we originally thought. We were pretty naive about that."[12] The current initial test flight is intended to be no earlier than November 2017."

The BFR is not the Falcon Heavy, and the Falcon Heavy is touted to use RP-1 (kersosene) as its propellant. Are kerosene and liquid methane interchangeable, or will the BFR head for Mars using methane?
I've only just started looking at the thread, so it may have already been answered. F9 and FH are using Merlin engines using refined RP-1 and LOX, BFR will be using Raptor engines using Methalox. The aim is to generate Methane in-situ using the Sabatier Process.
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Old 18th October 2017, 02:49 PM   #412
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
There is nothing impossible for humans, nor 100% fatal to humans, about what Curiosity is doing.
Wait, you didn't say just Curiosity, you said...

"Robots have already replaced humans in space exploration.

Robots are already doing science on Mars, and throughout the solar system".


That's a pretty big goalpost shift. A manned Cassini or manned New Horizons mission would be a death sentence for the astronaut.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Somehow I don't think it'll cost less than $2.5 billion to deploy a manned science station on Mars, nor less than that per year to keep it supplied and operational.
How about 10 Curiosity Rovers ($25bn), or 100 ($250bn)?

Still think the robots would be cheaper?

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
And if NASA sends humans, they'll have to rely on that same kind of luck, only that kind of failure will be $2.5 billion *and human lives* down the tubes.
Err no. You underestimate the human ability to repair stuff that goes wrong. The Curiosity problem could have been repaired by an astronaut. Things go wrong on ISS all the time... and the astronauts repair them, they don't just die and we launch another ISS.

Its clear that the robot in this case MSL could not have repaired itself. It was just dumb luck that the fault came right on its own... it might not have.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
No. This is a non-sequitur. I am talking about payloads, not transportation costs.
Whether you like it or not, transportation is part of the cost. You can't dismiss it simply because it doesn't suit your argument, and you can't be picky-choosy about when it matters and when it doesn't.


Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This is a straw man. I'm not talking about human-equivalent robots
We were!

You jumped in on a conversation without checking what it was about.

.
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Old 18th October 2017, 03:18 PM   #413
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As superb as the Mars rovers have been, the actual science carried out so far could be replicated in a matter of a week or two, just because humans have more energy immediately available and can make split second decisions without relying on time delayed feedback. On the plus side they have gathered that data at far less cost compared to a manned mission.

In the near term a manned outpost in Mars orbit or on the ground could teleoperate rovers far more precisely and with better responsiveness and achieve a lot more.
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Old 18th October 2017, 03:38 PM   #414
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Wait, you didn't say just Curiosity, you said...

"Robots have already replaced humans in space exploration.

Robots are already doing science on Mars, and throughout the solar system".

That's a pretty big goalpost shift. A manned Cassini or manned New Horizons mission would be a death sentence for the astronaut.
Not a death sentence, just really really expensive.

But okay, let's stick to Curiosity.

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How about 10 Curiosity Rovers ($25bn), or 100 ($250bn)?

Still think the robots would be cheaper?
If we start mass producing them bulk deployment via commodity space travel? Yes, I think the price per unit will drop dramatically.

Especially since NASA and other researchers won't be limited to a single mission every few years. They won't have to make individual units as reliable. If one breaks down, there's still nine others carrying on, and nine more missions in the pipeline. All without risking a single human life.

On the other hand, you can't cut costs on human missions by reducing reliability.

Another thing Musk's plan does is open the door to rapid prototyping. You can start throwing batches of robots at the red planet, each one iterating on a different tool design, power harness, etc. You can incorporate lessons learned from the early batches into later batches.

Right now, NASA basically has to approach each new rover as a bespoke one-off. We need to move beyond that situation.

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Err no. You underestimate the human ability to repair stuff that goes wrong. The Curiosity problem could have been repaired by an astronaut. Things go wrong on ISS all the time... and the astronauts repair them, they don't just die and we launch another ISS.
I'm well aware of the human ability to repair stuff. But there's a trade-off. The cost of sending a human repairman along with Curiosity would be astronomical. Humans are great at repairing stuff... as long as they have radiation shielding, and warmth, and power, and water, and air... Putting all that on Mars, and maintaining it there, is going to be very expensive. Even after you factor in the cost savings from reusable launch vehicles.

You need to take a good look at those costs, and consider the number of robots you could deploy for the same amount.

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Its clear that the robot in this case MSL could not have repaired itself. It was just dumb luck that the fault came right on its own... it might not have.
And humans, for all their vaunted adaptability, still get screwed over by dumb luck and human error all the time--and that's here on Earth where things like radiation shielding and *air* are a non-issue, and the full force of Earth's industrial base is never more than a few hours away.

People still die at a rate of 1-2 per year or more, on Antarctica. People die regularly while cave diving, while climbing tall mountains. I'm not saying don't go to Mars. I'm saying Mars is ridiculously inhospitable, and it will require a *substantial* amount of resources just to make it minimally safe enough for humans to do science there, with anything close to the level of productivity they do it even in the most inhospitable places here on Earth.

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Whether you like it or not, transportation is part of the cost. You can't dismiss it simply because it doesn't suit your argument, and you can't be picky-choosy about when it matters and when it doesn't.
You're confusing me with someone else. I'm saying the cost (and, obviously the risk) of sending humans rather than robots will remain substantially higher even after amortizing the cost of transportation over several missions via reusable hardware.

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We were!

You jumped in on a conversation without checking what it was about.
I saw the aside about humanoid robots, and considered it too silly to even pretend to take seriously. I'm surprised you didn't ignore it as well. Anyway, now that you know I'm not talking about that, we don't have to worry about such confusion anymore.
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Old 18th October 2017, 03:46 PM   #415
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Originally Posted by Mikemcc View Post
As superb as the Mars rovers have been, the actual science carried out so far could be replicated in a matter of a week or two, just because humans have more energy immediately available and can make split second decisions without relying on time delayed feedback. On the plus side they have gathered that data at far less cost compared to a manned mission.

In the near term a manned outpost in Mars orbit or on the ground could teleoperate rovers far more precisely and with better responsiveness and achieve a lot more.
I agree with all of this.

For me the big question is whether it's worth the risk to human life, to set up such a station. smartcooky and others seem to believe "I *********** love science" is worth any cost, but I'm not so sure. I don't buy the implication that people should be risking their lives just to do more science faster on the red planet. I would prefer to keep sending robots, more and better robots all the time.

I know that sooner or later, wealthy romantics will put themselves on Mars because they want to be there. And I know they'll do an amazing amount of science there (assuming they don't die in a fire, as human researchers in remote and hostile places sometimes do). And I'm totally okay with that. They have my blessing.

But if you're asking me what policy I advocate? What I think space agencies should spend our money on? Robots. Let the private citizen thrillseekers seek their thrills, if they can afford it. Let them tender bids to NASA to operate science packages on their joyrides, if they think they can be competitive and would like the sponsorship.
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Old 18th October 2017, 06:37 PM   #416
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I agree with you about the issue of cost. As long as robots can do more/$ spent then they are the better option.

On the other hand I disagree about the danger issue. People die in their occupations every day. Many jobs are dangerous and a cost in human life is simply a part of getting anything done. Of course that danger has to be taken into account and if the mortality rate is 1/2 per year that's different from if it's 1/10,000 (about what we see in mining).
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Old 18th October 2017, 07:09 PM   #417
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I agree with you about the issue of cost. As long as robots can do more/$ spent then they are the better option.

On the other hand I disagree about the danger issue. People die in their occupations every day. Many jobs are dangerous and a cost in human life is simply a part of getting anything done. Of course that danger has to be taken into account and if the mortality rate is 1/2 per year that's different from if it's 1/10,000 (about what we see in mining).
My argument is not that it's too dangerous. Rather, there are two things about the danger that I think are easily overlooked. The first is, sending humans necessarily entails risk to human life. That has to be weighed against the tradeoff of sending a robot, doing less science, and eliminating the risk entirely.

The other is, reducing that risk to an acceptable level is going to be expensive. And that expense also has to be considered. It's an opportunity cost, again, that needs to be weighed against the number of robots you could send instead of sending a human, and all the other stuff a human needs to reasonably stay alive.
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Old 18th October 2017, 11:41 PM   #418
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
My argument is not that it's too dangerous. Rather, there are two things about the danger that I think are easily overlooked. The first is, sending humans necessarily entails risk to human life. That has to be weighed against the tradeoff of sending a robot, doing less science, and eliminating the risk entirely.

The other is, reducing that risk to an acceptable level is going to be expensive. And that expense also has to be considered. It's an opportunity cost, again, that needs to be weighed against the number of robots you could send instead of sending a human, and all the other stuff a human needs to reasonably stay alive.
Since 2000 there have been a total of 237 scientists, engineers and researchers from 52 countries who have visited and spent several months at a time, in a place that has been very nearly as inhospitable as Mars or the Moon; if you go outside unprotected, you die. A small electronics failure could kill everyone. Air supply system fails and you can't fix it, everyone dies. A fire would be almost certainly fatal.

Its called the International Space Station. There is a long waiting list for people wanting to go to this very dangerous, highly inhospitable environment, and I'll bet you that none of them are "pants-on-head-retarded" or "wealthy romatics" or "private citizen thrillseekers operating science packages on their joyrides".

Now if you are going to continue to claim that transport costs are irrelevant, and that only payload counts, then having a manned space station in Earth orbit would be no different from having one in Mars orbit. The only remaining issue is shielding, a difficult but not unresolvable problem. I think a combination of a static shielding, and an active shield such as electrostatic (proposed by Prof. Charles R. Buhler, Applied Physics Laboratory and Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory), or plasma magnetic (proposed by Dr. John Slough, University of Washington) are things that would need to be worked on.
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Old 19th October 2017, 07:33 AM   #419
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Musk is a business man, so I'm looking at this from a business point of view. Doing so appears to clarify matters considerably.

Planning a manned Mars mission is relatively inexpensive, such that it fits within a reasonable PR budget for a rocket company whose business is partly dependent on attracting subsides and launch contracts from governments and from large corporations. You get cool CGI images of spacecraft and habitat modules and orbital maneuvers and surface operations you can put on your web site and your press releases. Your company gets the attention and prestige of being involved in The Conquest of Space, without any risk of disaster and without anyone else (charismatic astronauts, sponsoring nations, corporate partners) sharing that attention. Your actual product, the ability to haul cargo into orbit, is advertised in an exaggerated way, completely analogous to pickup truck ads where the truck hauls a huge load of boulders or climbs a 45-degree incline. "I don't need to be able to go to mars, but a rocket that can do that would be amply capable of launching my satellite array." And, you have control over the whole project; you can let the engineers you employ make major decisions if you wish to, but you also have the option of steering them into expressing your own personal vision. That makes it fun.

Carrying out a manned mars mission is enormously expensive. You can't pay for it all yourself; it needs buy-in from entire nations and industries, who will only do so if they have a say in how it's conducted. You get cool actual images of spacecraft and habitat modules and orbital maneuvers and surface operations you can put on your web site and your press releases. Your company gets enormous prestige if it succeeds, but must share that with the many necessary partners, and there's also a significant risk of losing prestige instead if something goes terribly wrong. (Imagine your logo on the shoulder of a charismatic astronaut who dies slowly on television news segments over the course of two or three months.) Your many partners in the project also want to minimize the risk of that happening, so you and they will insist on scrutinizing and approving every fastener, line of code, and mission detail (and some of those partners, remember, are government agencies), making the actual development a nightmare of molasses-paced cross-micro-managed collaboration. Is that how you, the bold adventurous innovator, want to spend your time?

If you were Elon Musk, which of these, if any, would you do? Which, if any, would you have not the slightest intention of doing?
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Old 19th October 2017, 08:37 AM   #420
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
My argument is not that it's too dangerous. Rather, there are two things about the danger that I think are easily overlooked. The first is, sending humans necessarily entails risk to human life. That has to be weighed against the tradeoff of sending a robot, doing less science, and eliminating the risk entirely.

The other is, reducing that risk to an acceptable level is going to be expensive. And that expense also has to be considered. It's an opportunity cost, again, that needs to be weighed against the number of robots you could send instead of sending a human, and all the other stuff a human needs to reasonably stay alive.
I find that quite reasonable.
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Old 19th October 2017, 10:58 AM   #421
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Musk is a business man, so I'm looking at this from a business point of view. Doing so appears to clarify matters considerably.
Musk says he does not seek profit. He has spoken about it in several interviews. He seeks to create successful businesses, in order to fund his ambitions. Humans on Mars in his lifetime. That was the impetus behind the company's founding and his actions thus far, agree with his stated principles.

He's no doubt a master showman, much like Steve Jobs, but then his company did launch more often than any other *nation* this year, so he's can't just be dismissed as a flim-flam artist.
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:20 AM   #422
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Since 2000 there have been a total of 237 scientists, engineers and researchers from 52 countries who have visited and spent several months at a time, in a place that has been very nearly as inhospitable as Mars or the Moon; if you go outside unprotected, you die. A small electronics failure could kill everyone. Air supply system fails and you can't fix it, everyone dies. A fire would be almost certainly fatal.

Its called the International Space Station. There is a long waiting list for people wanting to go to this very dangerous, highly inhospitable environment, and I'll bet you that none of them are "pants-on-head-retarded" or "wealthy romatics" or "private citizen thrillseekers operating science packages on their joyrides".
I think the ISS is also a bad idea.
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:28 AM   #423
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
<snip>
If you were Elon Musk, which of these, if any, would you do? Which, if any, would you have not the slightest intention of doing?
The second, of course, although you have simplified this far too much. Its not a matter of whether SpaceX does all or nothing (plans and carries out), its how much of it they are willing to do. You likened this to a trucking company, so let go with that analogy.

There are half a dozen small trucking companies doing half arsed jobs of moving stuff from "A" to "B". They charge a lot for their services because running a small fleet of trucks is expensive, and they have to leave their trailers behind when they get to "B" None of them have the range to get to "C".

Along comes EM TruckingTM. They propose to build really Big Freaking Trucks that will carry as much in one load as four or five of the other companies' trucks will. They will be cheaper to run due to economies of scale, and furthermore they will get ALL of their truck back.. 100% reusable trucks! Their website has lots of cool pictures of forests, milling operations, their logging trucks on the road and houses being built (or gravel and material excavations, their gravel trucks on the road, and roads being built). However, like other trucking companies, they don't have a say in what is transported. They don't own the businesses who want the goods transported, and they don't own the businesses using the goods at the other end. They are just offering more versatile, longer range, and heavier payload transport and a lower cost to the user.

Not only that, but their trucks will have the range to get to "C" as well!
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:33 AM   #424
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I think the ISS is also a bad idea.
That's your answer? Well, I guess you didn't have to think too much!

Hundreds of thousands of scientists, engineers and researchers disagree with you, and at least 237 of them (and the many hundreds on the waiting list to go) consider that risk worthwhile.

Perhaps "because science" IS a good enough reason after all!!
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Old 19th October 2017, 02:52 PM   #425
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
That's your answer? Well, I guess you didn't have to think too much! : thumbsup :
That's kind of rude.

And actually I have given it a lot of thought over the years. I've summarized much of it in this thread.

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Hundreds of thousands of scientists, engineers and researchers disagree with you, and at least 237 of them (and the many hundreds on the waiting list to go) consider that risk worthwhile.

Perhaps "because science" IS a good enough reason after all!!
It's good enough for some, sure. It's not good enough for me. Argumentum ad populam doesn't change that.

You know who else is in LEO doing science experiments? The Air Force. And they're using robots. If "because science!" is such a compelling reason, why doesn't the Air Force have its own space station?
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Old 19th October 2017, 04:36 PM   #426
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
That's kind of rude.

And actually I have given it a lot of thought over the years. I've summarized much of it in this thread.

It's good enough for some, sure. It's not good enough for me. Argumentum ad populam doesn't change that.
Fair enough. However, those who feel its worth the risk get to decide whether they want to take the risk... its their choice (and I support them) not ours.

If I was asked if I would like to go spend six months on ISS, I would say yes before they finished asking me.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You know who else is in LEO doing science experiments? The Air Force. And they're using robots. If "because science!" is such a compelling reason, why doesn't the Air Force have its own space station?
The missions of the X-37B OTV are a closely guarded secret, so how do you know what they are doing is science? Its sure to be for military applications and therefore more likely engineering or technology in nature and not science; maybe they are carrying out surveillance of North Korea so they can figure out how to nuke 'em without getting caught. Maybe its the unmanned vehicle itself they are testing (after all, the OTV in X-37B OTV stands for "Orbital Test Vehicle"). They claim to be researching "reusable space technologies". That's hardly cutting edge pure science of the kind that a Mars missions would be doing... looking for more clues to the origin of the solar system, and the possibility of past life on Mars.
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Old 19th October 2017, 05:04 PM   #427
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If "because science!" is such a compelling reason, why doesn't the Air Force have its own space station?
Because it can use the ISS too?
http://www.airforce-technology.com/news/news43096.html
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Old 19th October 2017, 06:15 PM   #428
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
***[snicker]***. Well, that rather whips the rug out from under that argument doesn't it?.... "Argumentum Rugwhipoutum"?

Looking at the description of this experiment makes me think they are testing shielding materials.
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Old 20th October 2017, 09:39 AM   #429
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LOL. Of course the Air Force uses the ISS. Why wouldn't they? It's there, it's paid for... But when the ISS can't accommodate their needs, due to resource constraints or security requirements, what then? To hear you tell it, they should have their own manned lab in orbit to do their experiments.

Instead, they go with robotics.
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Old 20th October 2017, 09:55 AM   #430
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
The missions of the X-37B OTV are a closely guarded secret, so how do you know what they are doing is science? Its sure to be for military applications and therefore more likely engineering or technology in nature and not science;
Much is made of the secrecy surrounding the OTV missions, but they're not really that secret. Details are classified, but the general summaries are clear enough. Mostly they're studying the effects of exposure to the space environment on materials and components.

And this makes sense. The OTV is too small for the bigger payloads such as surveillance satellites, but it's a good size to carry a rack of prototype artifacts, expose them for a long duration, and bring them home for examination. It's a classic automated sample return mission.

"Military applications" is a red herring. The military has a need for weather reports, communications satellites, etc., just like everyone else. They conduct a lot of scientific research beyond simply guns and bombs.

And "engineering or technology in nature and not science"? Really? You're just embarrassing yourself now.

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maybe they are carrying out surveillance of North Korea so they can figure out how to nuke 'em without getting caught.
The OTV is too small to carry a useful surveillance platform. The Air Force already has better reconnaissance and intelligence solutions in place. And "nuke 'em without getting caught" is an absurd fantasy. You're flailing.

Quote:
Maybe its the unmanned vehicle itself they are testing (after all, the OTV in X-37B OTV stands for "Orbital Test Vehicle"). They claim to be researching "reusable space technologies".
No doubt this is true as well.

Quote:
That's hardly cutting edge pure science of the kind that a Mars missions would be doing... looking for more clues to the origin of the solar system, and the possibility of past life on Mars.
Science is science. There's no magical difference between pure science and applied science that requires manned labs on Mars. Again, you're flailing.

The fact is, when the Air Force needs a classified research program in LEO, they don't build themselves a manned orbital lab. They use robots. Because even though the Air Force is no doubt full of people who would volunteer for space missions in heartbeat, the robotic solution is cheaper, safer, and smarter.
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Old 20th October 2017, 11:06 AM   #431
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Because even though the Air Force is no doubt full of people who would volunteer for space missions in heartbeat, the robotic solution is cheaper, safer, and smarter.
Except of course all of the Air Force people who actually have volunteered and flown space missions.
https://www.usafa.edu/academy-grad-p...space-station/

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Old 20th October 2017, 11:24 AM   #432
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
2. The safety aspect of using SRBs for human spaceflight... extremely dangerous to begin with, made even more so by political compromises causing them to be manufactured in Utah and therefore needing to be segmented rather than made in one piece at the Cape - this ultimately resulted in the deaths of seven astronauts in the Challenger launch ascent failure

3. The safety aspect of launching the Orbiter on the side of the vehicle, leading to an unbalance lauch system and further design compromises, where foam pieces would fall off the fuel tanks and strike the Orbiter - this ultimately resulted in the deaths of another seven astronauts in the Columbia re-entry failure.
We're talking about a lot of launches though. The failure rate of rockets is orders of magnitude higher than planes, and survival is usually impossible.

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Or a high speed train... 15 minutes
A train on the water?
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Old 20th October 2017, 12:41 PM   #433
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You're flailing.
No, I'm taking the piss!

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Science is science. There's no magical difference between pure science and applied science
Now you're embarrassing yourself


Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
... that requires manned labs on Mars.
And yet, there are still plenty of good reasons to go

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/...s-to-mars.html

And pretty knowledgable scientists who think humans should go, e.g. Bill Nye, Stephen Hawking and Neil DeGrasse Tyson

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Old 20th October 2017, 01:44 PM   #434
smartcooky
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
We're talking about a lot of launches though. The failure rate of rockets is orders of magnitude higher than planes, and survival is usually impossible.
Its early days yet.

The safety record of jet airliners in their early years wasn't all that great either. Jet aircraft were around for over 10 years before a jet airliner was actually built and carried passengers (the DH Comet) in 1952. Airlines had about had 20 of them (BOAC, BEA, SAA) and three crashed due to structural failure. The Comet was grounded for 4 years while aeronautical engineers learned about metal fatigue. A total of 114 Comets were made, of those, 26 were involved in airframe-loss accidents. This included 13 fatal crashes - 426 fatalities - almost one in five Comets crashed with loss of the airframe.

Besides, you (and others) keep forgetting (or ignoring) what Musk said about this issue...

“The objective is to meet or exceed passenger airline levels of safety,” he said. “That will be especially important for point to point journeys on Earth. The advantage of getting somewhere in 30 mins by rocket instead of 15 hours by plane will be negatively affected if ‘but also, you might die’ is on the ticket.”

They will want to see launch and flight success at least to the levels of that exhibited by passenger airlines before flying any fare paying passengers on rockets.
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Old 20th October 2017, 01:56 PM   #435
theprestige
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
Except of course all of the Air Force people who actually have volunteered and flown space missions.
https://www.usafa.edu/academy-grad-p...space-station/
Americans are conflicted about human spaceflight. Yes, there are Air Force personnel on the ISS doing science. But that still doesn't answer the fact that the Air Force also has robotic labs in LEO. smartcooky thinks that shouldn't happen.
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Old 20th October 2017, 02:20 PM   #436
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
No, I'm taking the piss!
The "I meant to do that" defense?

Quote:
Now you're embarrassing yourself
Not at all. You're the one who's resorting to special science categories, just to avoid admitting that the Air Force is doing science with robotic orbital labs.

Quote:
And yet, there are still plenty of good reasons to go

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/...s-to-mars.html
... According to Fox News. Fox News Opinion. I won't bother addressing each of the points; half of them amount to exactly the kind of romanticism that colors so much of our thinking about Mars.

However, there is one interesting contradiction in that opinion piece. First, it is argued that we can't get much more from robots, because robotic technology isn't up to the task. Then, it is argued that the technology for manned missions is also not up to the task, but if we were to set a goal of putting humans on Mars, that would spur us to advance the necessary technology.

There is actually a potentially interesting and nuanced argument to be made, here. I doubt you and I are going to budge much from our respective views of the question. But if you do happen to stumble across that argument and make it, I would definitely pay attention.

Quote:
And pretty knowledgable scientists who think humans should go, e.g. Bill Nye, Stephen Hawking and Neil DeGrasse Tyson
It is in part because of their romantic notions about Mars that I have lost respect for these three men, outside their actual fields of scientific expertise. And Tyson is known to spew inaccurate feel-good crap in general.

Speaking of fields of scientific expertise... Bill Nye is actually a mechanical engineer by trade (before pursuing a career in comedy and ultimately developing BNTSG). Are you sure engineering isn't science?
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Old 20th October 2017, 02:23 PM   #437
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
They will want to see launch and flight success at least to the levels of that exhibited by passenger airlines before flying any fare paying passengers on rockets.
Seems like a robotic payload would be a good way to sponsor the safety and reliability demo of the Mars Return mission profile.
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Old 20th October 2017, 03:56 PM   #438
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Americans are conflicted about human spaceflight. Yes, there are Air Force personnel on the ISS doing science. But that still doesn't answer the fact that the Air Force also has robotic labs in LEO. smartcooky thinks that shouldn't happen.
Er, no, you have me confused with someone else. I have never said that. I think both should happen...

Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
And that is what robots should be... machines that work for us, not machines that replace us. By all means, if this is technically feasible, send specialised robots to Mars so that they can prepare the way for humans.
Robotic machines have their place in science and exploration, but that place is to enhance human exploration, not to replace it.

Humans not exploring space themselves simply is not an option for the race. Its the equivalent of living your life in the basement, too afraid to wander outside and explore your environment. If humans always had this attitude to exploration, they would still be living in caves with "Ug" and a few other grunts as the extent of their vocabulary. There would have been no Polynesian colonisation of the Pacific, no Phoenician traders, no Herotodus, no Leif Erikson, no Pytheas of Massalia, no Marco Polo, no Ferdinand De Lesseps, no Vasco Da Gama, no Zheng He, no Christopher Columbus, no Ferdinand Magellan.

Sorry, but I just can't (and won't) accept a future world where the human race becomes satisfied with the mediocrity of living in the basement, too afraid to take risks, and then dying from sheer lack of ambition.
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Last edited by smartcooky; 20th October 2017 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 20th October 2017, 05:34 PM   #439
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
If humans always had this attitude to exploration, they would still be living in caves with "Ug" and a few other grunts as the extent of their vocabulary.
When exactly do you think that was the case?
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Old 20th October 2017, 06:14 PM   #440
smartcooky
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
When exactly do you think that was the case?
OK, you have me on a technicality, I'll rephrase for the pedants

If members of the human species always had this attitude to exploration, they would still be living in caves with "Ug" and a few other grunts as the extent of their vocabulary.


...and before you ask, about 750,000 years ago (the Zhoukoudian cave system, by both Homo Erectus Pekinensis and Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Also, about 100,000 to 170,000 years ago in various cave systems in what is now South Africa.

Of course, whether or not "Ug" was the actual extent of their vocabulary, I don't know... I was just kidding.

Anyway, thanks for detracting from the point I was making, and causing me to have to waste my time elaborating on something that didn't need to be elaborated on when you and everyone else reading this knew exactly what that point was!
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