NASA's Maven Enters Mars Orbit: What's Next? - InformationWeek

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NASA's Maven Enters Mars Orbit: What's Next?
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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/26/2014 | 12:51:05 PM
Re: science is a way
@prospecttoreza- Well, every time we post something on space, someone brings this up--the cost per knowledge learned ratio. I always bring up that we've actually gotten quite a lot of brealthroughs because of space programs. NASA has directly given us advances in safety including anti-icing and safer roads, networking and communications, hazardous chemical detection, and solar power. They've helped us learn about water purification, growing crops in less than ideal places, cleaning up chemical spills, LEDs, and countless other advances.

The commercial value of all of NASA's inventions far exceeds the cost of the programs. And the number of people who have been helped is countless. 

We learn from great engineering feats. And that's what this is. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/26/2014 | 12:42:37 PM
Re: Three points.
@tzubair- Yes, I'm really thrilled for India. Great achievment. Any country not giving them a call right now and saying, "let's work together" is just plain crazy.

As for bringing something back from Mars to Earth, the problem is building something that can leave the MArs gravity after it lands. Right now, we're landing things there by having them literally smack into the ground with air bags to protect them. It is really more like a controlled crash.

We need to be able to create something which can land more like the moon landing with a softer touchdown. And it needs to be heavy enough to carry enough fuel with it to return. Not surprisingly, it takes a lot of fuel to leave Mars. It also takes a lot of fuel to break Mars orbit and come back all the way to Earth in a reasonable amount of time.

This is just a guess, but I'm guessing what we'll have to do is launch a super big rocket from Earth. Then when the rocket gets to MArs, we'll send a small lander down. That lander will get samples and take off and redock with the larger rocket that has the fuel and boosters to put it back on a retun to Earth. That's quite a difficult ask.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
9/26/2014 | 12:11:58 PM
Re: science is a way

I don't think it's a waste of money to investigate planets in our galaxy the more we understand about other planets the more we can do to protect our own planet and understand key issues of planetary evolution. As long as the missions have a clear goal and clear results it's beneficial, the missions that sound cool without clear research are the issue.

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