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Old 20th February 2021, 08:09 PM   #81
Skeptic Ginger
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
There's only one left. That doesn't mean that there was ever only one. It's entirely possible there was more than one, but the others went extinct early on from competition, which is especially likely if they got a later start.
One hypothesis for which there is some evidence for is that there was a lot of intermingling of genetic material in the initial lifeforms.
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Old 21st February 2021, 12:44 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
One hypothesis for which there is some evidence for is that there was a lot of intermingling of genetic material in the initial lifeforms.
Its also not beyond possibility that life started in several, or hundreds or thousands or perhaps millions of places on the Earth virtually at once, within a few million years. It may be that when the right conditions are met, life starts like a shot - that given the right conditions, life is an inevitable consequence of those conditions.
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Old 21st February 2021, 01:00 AM   #83
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Like right now with a few new amino acids?
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Old 21st February 2021, 03:15 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
Like right now with a few new amino acids?
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Old 21st February 2021, 04:01 AM   #85
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I am not qualified but those 4 amino acids in every cell on the planet need explaining.
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Old 21st February 2021, 04:14 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
I am not qualified but those 4 amino acids in every cell on the planet need explaining.
What do you think is unexplained? Have you read stuff like this: https://www.nature.com/scitable/topi...specifies-935/

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Old 21st February 2021, 04:26 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Its also not beyond possibility that life started in several, or hundreds or thousands or perhaps millions of places on the Earth virtually at once, within a few million years. It may be that when the right conditions are met, life starts like a shot - that given the right conditions, life is an inevitable consequence of those conditions.
This is the most likely scenario, I think. However, we must realize that speciation is a product of evolution. Speciation allows life-forms to retain and hoard their adaptations, in order to compete.

Early proto-life would not only have been very primitive, but also with little or no distinctive species. It would exist in an essentially sterile environment without competition or enemies. All it had to do was survive the challenges of the environment itself, and no doubt this was the first pressure towards speciation.

Once a few forms managed to advance, the rest would be lunch to them. And presumably, in the end a specific group became all-dominant, either by selection or merging of forms.

Hans
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Old 21st February 2021, 04:44 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
What do you think is unexplained? Have you read stuff like this: https://www.nature.com/scitable/topi...specifies-935/

Hans
Thank you.
Lunch to them therefore is the bright idea happening in a billion ponds right now.
I am not doubling down, I am genuinely curious.
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Old 21st February 2021, 10:24 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
Thank you.
Lunch to them therefore is the bright idea happening in a billion ponds right now.
I am not doubling down, I am genuinely curious.
Well OK, that's what you are getting at: Why doesn't it happen all the time even now?

Basically two reasons:

1) Conditions on Earth were quite different when life presumably began. One important difference: At some point some evolving organisms started eating the carbon in the atmosphere and polluted it with a dangerous waste-product; oxygen. Oxygen is probably poisonous to very primitive proto life organisms. So there are very few places left on Earth for them to evolve.

2) Well, lunch. Earth now is crawling with organisms that would love a primitive, defenseless proto life thing for lunch.

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Old 21st February 2021, 11:17 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Well OK, that's what you are getting at: Why doesn't it happen all the time even now?

Basically two reasons:

1) Conditions on Earth were quite different when life presumably began. One important difference: At some point some evolving organisms started eating the carbon in the atmosphere and polluted it with a dangerous waste-product; oxygen. Oxygen is probably poisonous to very primitive proto life organisms. So there are very few places left on Earth for them to evolve.

2) Well, lunch. Earth now is crawling with organisms that would love a primitive, defenseless proto life thing for lunch.

Hans
Understatement of the year so far.

Atmosphere
- around 60°C to 80°C
- composed mostly of hydrogen, ammonia, water vapour, and methane
- no oxygen or nitrogen yet

Oceans
- planet-wide
- no land masses or polar ice caps
- likely green in colour due to a high amount of iron ions in the water
- temperatures around 55°C to 85°C

This is what the early Archean Eon probably looked like at the time life began, utterly hostile to current life as we know it, and why abiogenesis is not an ongoing process... i.e., no new amino acids.
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Old 21st February 2021, 09:10 PM   #91
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Mars is the only planet we know of that is inhabited only by robots.
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Old 21st February 2021, 11:48 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Mars is the only planet we know of that is inhabited only by robots.
I wish I'd said that.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 04:45 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Mars is the only planet we know of that is inhabited only by robots.
aka Solaria (Asimov reference because I am currently re-reading some of his books)
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Old 22nd February 2021, 08:08 AM   #94
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I'm curious and haven't seen it mentioned anywhere. What happened to the touchdown assist craft after it dropped the rover on the surface? Did it have any other function beyond that like fly around and take pictures until it ran out of fuel or anything else?
Just seems like giving it more purpose, since it was there anyway would have made it's life more fulfilling.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 08:23 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
I'm curious and haven't seen it mentioned anywhere. What happened to the touchdown assist craft after it dropped the rover on the surface? Did it have any other function beyond that like fly around and take pictures until it ran out of fuel or anything else?
Just seems like giving it more purpose, since it was there anyway would have made it's life more fulfilling.

NASA wrote about the Descent Stage, one of several mechanical components of the Mars 2020 spacecraft:

Quote:
The descent stage is the rover’s free-flying “jetpack,” which separates from the backshell and uses eight engines to slow the final descent. It also contains the landing radar system used to make last-minute decisions about touchdown. Just before touchdown, the descent stage lowers the rover on cables before gently placing it on the surface. Once the rover is on the ground, the descent stage flies off to make its own uncontrolled landing on the surface, a safe distance away from the rover.

Source:
NASA. Spacecraft Overview.
https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/spacecraft/overview/
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Old 22nd February 2021, 09:44 AM   #96
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"Uncontrolled landing."
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Old 22nd February 2021, 09:53 AM   #97
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The descent stage in future missions might carry a few low-weight experiments, e.g., evaluating materials exposed to Martian conditions.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 09:53 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by Ernie M View Post
NASA wrote about the Descent Stage, one of several mechanical components of the Mars 2020 spacecraft:




Source:
NASA. Spacecraft Overview.
https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/spacecraft/overview/
"Uncontrolled landing." = crash, right?

Well I hope they used that crash/uncontrolled landing to do some kind of seismic science or at least something else useful back at the newly landed rover.

I would think you'd try to pack every bit of reasonable information gathering possible into most every aspect of the mission you could to get the most bang per buck.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 10:16 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
"Uncontrolled landing." = crash, right?
"Premature or inadvertent contact with the ground" is the best euphemism for crash I ever came across. 'Twas in an article in Aviation Week many moons ago.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 10:29 AM   #100
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Yeah, "uncontrolled landing" is a euphemism for crashing. And yes, we engineers really do think up these euphemisms with tongue firmly in cheek. But often we need them when the tone of some document requires dispassionate wording.

Yes, hopefully future missions will be comfortable enough with the skycrane technique that the descent stages can soft-land somewhere and expand mission capability. For now, the descent stage has only one job. It lasts only a couple minutes, but it must do that job perfectly. And for now, it remains a hard job. So I can understand why initially you wouldn't want to complicate things.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 10:31 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
"Premature or inadvertent contact with the ground" is the best euphemism for crash I ever came across. 'Twas in an article in Aviation Week many moons ago.
More inevitable than inadvertent in this case.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 11:08 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
"Premature or inadvertent contact with the ground" is the best euphemism for crash I ever came across. 'Twas in an article in Aviation Week many moons ago.
I think they call it UFIT now - Uncontrolled Flight Into Terrain.

Myself, I prefer the term "lithobreaking".. yes , literally spelled that way!
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Old 22nd February 2021, 12:46 PM   #103
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NASA is showing the videos of the landing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYQwuYZbA6o
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Old 22nd February 2021, 02:34 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
"Uncontrolled landing."
Your summation is clear and concise.

I learned from your example.

I'm so wordy it hurts.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 02:42 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Yeah, "uncontrolled landing" is a euphemism for crashing. And yes, we engineers really do think up these euphemisms with tongue firmly in cheek. But often we need them when the tone of some document requires dispassionate wording.
More than one SpaceX prototype has undergone spontaneous unplanned disassembly.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 03:19 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
I wish I'd said that.
So do I.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 05:42 PM   #107
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Perserverance's decent and landing.
https://youtu.be/qC4wdD14VzE
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Old 22nd February 2021, 05:45 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Yeah, "uncontrolled landing" is a euphemism for crashing. And yes, we engineers really do think up these euphemisms with tongue firmly in cheek. But often we need them when the tone of some document requires dispassionate wording.

Yes, hopefully future missions will be comfortable enough with the skycrane technique that the descent stages can soft-land somewhere and expand mission capability. For now, the descent stage has only one job. It lasts only a couple minutes, but it must do that job perfectly. And for now, it remains a hard job. So I can understand why initially you wouldn't want to complicate things.
Would it really be worth the extra weight?
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Old 22nd February 2021, 10:40 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by Steve001 View Post
Perserverance's decent and landing.
https://youtu.be/qC4wdD14VzE
Fan-bloody-tastic!!!!
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Old 23rd February 2021, 09:16 AM   #110
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The parachute used is a stunning piece of engineering, capable of opening at ludicrous speeds in limited atmosphere and this:

https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeaut...he_message_in/
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Old 23rd February 2021, 11:40 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
The parachute used is a stunning piece of engineering, capable of opening at ludicrous speeds in limited atmosphere and this:

https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeaut...he_message_in/
Adam Steltzner, Perseverance's chief engineer, and the man behind the "skycrane" concept, has confirmed the riddle had been solved.

"It looks like the internet has cracked the code in something like 6 hours! Oh internet is there anything you can’t do?"

The mismatching red and white stripes were the first clue. Puzzle solvers then converted those into binary code - ones for red, zeros for white. The ones and zeros were then separated into groups of 10, and each of those sections had 64 added to it.

Each final number represented a the ASCII code for letters of the alphabet.
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Old 23rd February 2021, 04:25 PM   #112
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For those who don't click Reddit links, the message encoded on the parachute was "Dare Mighty Things" and the GPS coordinates of JPL.
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Old 23rd February 2021, 04:30 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Adam Steltzner, Perseverance's chief engineer, and the man behind the "skycrane" concept, has confirmed the riddle had been solved.

"It looks like the internet has cracked the code in something like 6 hours! Oh internet is there anything you can’t do?"

The mismatching red and white stripes were the first clue. Puzzle solvers then converted those into binary code - ones for red, zeros for white. The ones and zeros were then separated into groups of 10, and each of those sections had 64 added to it.

Each final number represented a the ASCII code for letters of the alphabet.
Very cool. When I first saw it I was wondering why it was colored that way because there didn't seem to be a practical reason an I thought it might be a code. I didn't have time to work on it. These things happen fast these days.
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Old 23rd February 2021, 05:16 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
I'm curious and haven't seen it mentioned anywhere. What happened to the touchdown assist craft after it dropped the rover on the surface? Did it have any other function beyond that like fly around and take pictures until it ran out of fuel or anything else?
Just seems like giving it more purpose, since it was there anyway would have made it's life more fulfilling.
It flew away to a crash landing.
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Old 23rd February 2021, 05:17 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
Very cool. When I first saw it I was wondering why it was colored that way because there didn't seem to be a practical reason an I thought it might be a code. I didn't have time to work on it. These things happen fast these days.
The "official" reason is that the pattern is there so that they can precisely track how the parachute moves and flexes during descent. That they happened to hack an appropriate pattern into a code is just a bonus.
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Old 23rd February 2021, 05:37 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Would it really be worth the extra weight?
It depends. We're talking about adding weight to expand the mission. There are some that would question whether anything these probes are doing on Mars is worth even a fraction of the money and effort it takes to get it done. By terrestrial standards, they're doing miniscule amounts of science at astronomical cost.

But if you're in the camp that the current missions are worth the cost (and the weight), then it should probably follow that expanding these missions even by a little bit will also be worth the expanded cost (and weight).

My view is, go big or go home. If we've decided that doing science on Mars is a good investment of resources, then we should probably throw as much weight as we can, and do as much science as that weight affords. That said, I'm still not in favor of manned missions. I think that after taking human safety into account, the science-per-dollar is way more profitable using robots, even though the robots will do way less science.
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Old 23rd February 2021, 08:04 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It depends. We're talking about adding weight to expand the mission. There are some that would question whether anything these probes are doing on Mars is worth even a fraction of the money and effort it takes to get it done. By terrestrial standards, they're doing miniscule amounts of science at astronomical cost.

But if you're in the camp that the current missions are worth the cost (and the weight), then it should probably follow that expanding these missions even by a little bit will also be worth the expanded cost (and weight).

My view is, go big or go home. If we've decided that doing science on Mars is a good investment of resources, then we should probably throw as much weight as we can, and do as much science as that weight affords. That said, I'm still not in favor of manned missions. I think that after taking human safety into account, the science-per-dollar is way more profitable using robots, even though the robots will do way less science.
Way... way.. waaaay less science

The Apollo 17 astronauts explored a few square kilometres of the lunar surface, driving the LRV a cumulative distance of approximately 36 km in a total drive time of about four hours and twenty-six minutes; They walked up to 7.6 km from the LRV. . They did all that during three surface EVA's totaling 22h 3m 57s.

Curiosity Rover has driven 24 km in.... 8 years!

A human can see something interesting, make an immediate decision to walk over and pick it up, and make a decision on the spot as to whether it is worth further examination or not... can turn over things, look behind things, and make decisions based on what it sees. We haven't even begun to design a space-faring robot that can do anything like this.

Brilliant as Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity have been, they are/were extremely limited in what they could do. A couple of humans on the surface of Mars could have achieved everything they have done over the last 17 years... in less than a couple of weeks
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Old 23rd February 2021, 08:20 PM   #118
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There are more easter eggs!

Mars rover Perseverance's giant parachute carried a secret message from NASA

Quote:
The huge parachute used by NASA's Perseverance rover to land on Mars contained a secret message, thanks to a puzzle-lover on the spacecraft team.

Systems engineer Ian Clark used a binary code to spell out "Dare Mighty Things" in the orange and white strips of the 21-metre parachute.

He also included the GPS coordinates for the mission's headquarters at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

...

Another added touch not widely known until touchdown: Perseverance bears a plaque depicting all five of NASA's Mars rovers in increasing size over the years — similar to the family car decals seen on Earth.

Deputy project manager Matt Wallace has promised more so-called hidden Easter eggs.

They should be visible once Perseverance's 2-metre arm is deployed in a few days and starts photographing under the vehicle, and again when the rover is driving in a couple of weeks' time.

"[You] definitely, definitely should keep a good lookout," he said.
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Old 24th February 2021, 07:54 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Yeah, "uncontrolled landing" is a euphemism for crashing. And yes, we engineers really do think up these euphemisms with tongue firmly in cheek. But often we need them when the tone of some document requires dispassionate wording.

Yes, hopefully future missions will be comfortable enough with the skycrane technique that the descent stages can soft-land somewhere and expand mission capability. For now, the descent stage has only one job. It lasts only a couple minutes, but it must do that job perfectly. And for now, it remains a hard job. So I can understand why initially you wouldn't want to complicate things.
Not sure that's worthwhile. It's mostly propellant tanks, thrusters, cable-handling mechanisms, and some structure. What you'd need to add...long-term power and thermal control systems, instrumentation, independent communications...pretty much amounts to a whole new probe, or at least a weather station or something that could be dropped with the rover and deployed somewhere at a later time.

However, the sky-crane approach was in large part a result of a limited mass budget. Simpler approaches might be possible for missions sized for the Falcon Heavy.
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Old 24th February 2021, 08:01 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It depends. We're talking about adding weight to expand the mission. There are some that would question whether anything these probes are doing on Mars is worth even a fraction of the money and effort it takes to get it done. By terrestrial standards, they're doing miniscule amounts of science at astronomical cost.

But if you're in the camp that the current missions are worth the cost (and the weight), then it should probably follow that expanding these missions even by a little bit will also be worth the expanded cost (and weight).

My view is, go big or go home. If we've decided that doing science on Mars is a good investment of resources, then we should probably throw as much weight as we can, and do as much science as that weight affords. That said, I'm still not in favor of manned missions. I think that after taking human safety into account, the science-per-dollar is way more profitable using robots, even though the robots will do way less science.
I was thinking more in terms of mission budget for weight.

If you've got spare weight on the disposable sky crane bit, perhaps you'd be better served by adding functionality to the long term rover rather than the soon to be crash landed skycrane.
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