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Bush To Announce Manned Trip To Moon, Mars

CowboyNeal posted about 11 years ago | from the earth-to-president dept.

Space 1595

edmunz writes "Foxnews just placed an article on their website saying that Bush is expected to make an announcement towards the middle of next week, proposing a manned mission to Mars as well as a return to the moon. Bush hopes to spark a renewed public interest in space exploration. No mission would happen any time soon, rather a preparation of over a decade would take place before the first men/women set out to explore Mars."

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Who to send...how many to send... (5, Funny)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | about 11 years ago | (#7924641)

It's too bad there isn't a "Survivor" series in the works: "Who Will You Vote off the Planet?"

"Survivor Planet Wide Edition"

Re:Who to send...how many to send... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924688)

IIRC I he was supposed to say something about it back in December?!?

Re:Who to send...how many to send... (1)

cujo_1111 (627504) | about 11 years ago | (#7924730)

You obviously didn't read the article did you? :)

Re:Who to send...how many to send... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924742)

Space missions. What are they all about? Are they good or are they whack?

Re:Who to send...how many to send... (5, Funny)

madmancarman (100642) | about 11 years ago | (#7924702)

It's too bad there isn't a "Survivor" series in the works: "Who Will You Vote off the Planet?"

Can we start with people on this planet?

Re:Who to send...how many to send... (5, Funny)

ad0gg (594412) | about 11 years ago | (#7924709)

Better yet based off the "Joe Millionaire" show, Send a bunch of people too the moon with one "pilot" and 1 return space craft that has room for 2 people, the pilot and someone else. They have to win the pilots choice to who goes home. Jokes on them since the pilot is really just a construction worker from LA.

Re:Who to send...how many to send... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924713)

I vote George W. Bush! What about you?

Sadam (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924726)

We could have made a little commado raid to Iraq, grabbed Sadam and spend the remaining $B179.99 sending him to Mars.

Re:Who to send...how many to send... (2, Funny)

Saven Marek (739395) | about 11 years ago | (#7924743)

> "Who Will You Vote off the Planet?"

I think you have a fantastic idea. Can we start with the loosers from next year's American Idol?

swimsuit 2003 [scrounger.ath.cx]

Re:Who to send...how many to send... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924766)

I say we start with the losers who cannot spell "loser."

Re:Who to send...how many to send... (2, Funny)

Cobranzino (634480) | about 11 years ago | (#7924801)

Actually, this isn't an entirely bad way to fund a fraction of the mission. Have like, some kind of a "who wants to be the first on Mars" TV show were the best and brightest compete to have one (1) seat on the mission to Mars. Make the network that gets this show pay oodles of cash.

poop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924645)


let's get this out of the way first (4, Insightful)

kippy (416183) | about 11 years ago | (#7924654)

There are a number of common arguments against sending humans to Mars. I thought I would address them up front before too many people put forth incorrect claims.

- Mars exploration is expensive

Not so. The best estimate I've heard is a 20 billion startup cost spread over 10 years with a 2 billion cost per mission. Sure that's a lot but it's well within the current NASA budget if you take away ISS and the Shuttle program. Neither of those are of much use anyway.

Also, If you take a look at the federal budget [whitehouse.gov] , you'll see that the NASA budget of around 17 billion is an order of magnitude cheaper than either the defense budget, or health and human services (wellfare). Even Veterans affairs gets about 3 times that money. It's a small part of the national budget if done right with large rewards down the line.

- Mars exploration is dangerous

True to an extent but nothing work getting is without risk. NASA will run out of hardware long before it runs out of volunteers. That's not to say that we'll be killing most people we send up, but rather than there is no shortage of people willing to take the risks. Oh, and if you're going to bring up the old "too much radiation" argument, see this [marssociety.org] . There are lots of things more dangerous on Earth than going to Mars. My morning comute is probably more risky.

- There's nothing to gain from going to Mars

Where do I even start? New home for humanity. Unprecedented Scientific discovery. Easy access to the asteroids ($trillion apiece in ore!). Tech jobs at home. Youngsters inspired to go into science and engineering. Plentiful fusion fuel (this will be important in the next 10-20 years). I could go on.

Going to Mars and taming space is the only way forward for humanity as a whole. For a better description of this and more please check out Entering Space [amazon.com] and The Case for Mars [amazon.com] .

Lastly, I would urge everyone who is enthused about this to take action and write your representatives. I cannot stress that enough. Papa Bush made a call for this but backed out when it looked too hard because of a falsely inflated sticker price. We have to make sure that he sticks to his guns. We have to make sure he does it write and we have to make sure that he has the backing in Congress to make it work. Check out this [marssociety.org] for a primer.

Re:let's get this out of the way first (0, Flamebait)

tentimestwenty (693290) | about 11 years ago | (#7924700)

"Going to Mars and taming space is the only way forward for humanity as a whole"

It's thinking like this that's killing the planet.

Re:let's get this out of the way first (4, Interesting)

Frymaster (171343) | about 11 years ago | (#7924704)

why spend money and time going to mars?

nasa has a plan for a lander on europa [nasa.gov] complete with a sub-ice probe that's been sitting on the backburner for years.

if dubya is going to spend money on the space program that's a worthwhile project!

Re:let's get this out of the way first (4, Informative)

Aardpig (622459) | about 11 years ago | (#7924776)

nasa has a plan for a lander on europa complete with a sub-ice probe that's been sitting on the backburner for years.

I wouldn't even call these plans; at the moment, the only Europa-relevant mission currently under consideration by NASA is the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter [nasa.gov] (JIMO). Unfortunately, as its name implies, JIMO won't have a lander facility. The mission, if it goes ahead, will be launched no sooner than 2011.

Re:let's get this out of the way first (1)

9Nails (634052) | about 11 years ago | (#7924794)

You gotta crawl before you can run.

I'd agree that Europa looks promising. Heck, if life does start from water, then Europa is the place to look! But, what's a trip to Europa cost these days? About 9 years, give or take a few months? I think Mars can be pulled off in a 6 month trip.

Where does the line start for the ride to Mars? :)

why spend money and time going to mars? (-1, Flamebait)

corebreech (469871) | about 11 years ago | (#7924810)

Cause that's where Saddam hid his WMD's, silly.

Re:let's get this out of the way first (5, Funny)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 11 years ago | (#7924811)

Didn't you get the memo? "All these worlds are yours except Europa."

Re:let's get this out of the way first (5, Insightful)

myc (105406) | about 11 years ago | (#7924739)

I agree with just about everything you say, except that I think establishing a permanent moon base first should be a priority. Reasons:

1. The moon is only 3 days away. Mars is months away. Logistically, it's easier.

2. The moon gives us an opportunity to work out engineering issues of establishing a permanent base on foreign celestial bodies.

3. There may be immediate tangible benefits to a moon base: mining, factories, observatories, astronaut training, research.

Re:let's get this out of the way first (2, Insightful)

sciper (692871) | about 11 years ago | (#7924786)

Many of the same arguments could be made for the Moon. A base on the Moon, however, would not require transportation times of six months, and communications with Earth would be received within seconds rather than 10-20 minutes compared with Mars. Between Mars and the Moon, the Moon is the better candidate for the debut of an extraplanetary human establishment. When the required technologies have been deployed and are allowed to mature on the Moon, then Mars will be within reach should we decide it is indeed ethically and practically sound to set up a Mars base.

$20 billion? More like $200 MINIMUM (4, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | about 11 years ago | (#7924805)

It cost them more than 3x the original estimate on ISS, and this is after the project was watered down. Your $20 billion number is laughable and I defy you to cite the source as being remotely legit or realistic. Even if a valid scientific method can be attached to the $20 billion number you haven't factored in the absurd cost overruns this project will most obviously experience.

Re:let's get this out of the way first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924830)

To summarize:

1) Announce manned moon/mars missions
2) Spend $20 billion (but don't raise taxes)
3) Get re-elected
4) ??
5) ??
6) Profit!

Isn't he (3, Insightful)

Peyna (14792) | about 11 years ago | (#7924655)

the same president who wants to cut funding to NASA? So we'll be sending people to Mars on a shoestring budget? Yay for making it there alive!

Re:Isn't he (4, Funny)

goon america (536413) | about 11 years ago | (#7924813)

We'll put Rumsfeld in charge of the whole thing!
REPORTER: What will happen when we touch down?
RUMSFELD: An explosion of joy will greet our astronauts!

Re:Isn't he (1)

rifter (147452) | about 11 years ago | (#7924827)

the same president who wants to cut funding to NASA? So we'll be sending people to Mars on a shoestring budget? Yay for making it there alive!

Interestingly enough, we are behind our timetable for Mars. Reagan, the president Republicans seem to worship as a god-king and want to place upon the dime instead of the loathsome FDR, had set a goal of reaching mars within ten years. Obviously we did not get there. Then there was some talk of a joint Russian-US mission to Mars by I think 2005 with a Mars base by 2013. That seems to be out if Bush is setting the time to 10 years again. Likewise if he and the Republicans continue to both force NASA to work on a shoestring budget and prevent private companies from building spacecraft on their own.

Re:Isn't he (5, Funny)

SWPadnos (191329) | about 11 years ago | (#7924832)

This plan will be called "No Planet Left Behind".
It will be an unfunded mandate that NASA must establish a base on the moon and Mars, or lose its funding.

Skip the moon! Go straight to Mars! (5, Insightful)

bc90021 (43730) | about 11 years ago | (#7924656)

While we can practice (as this [yahoo.com] version of the story at Yahoo! suggests) a possible Mars mission by going to the moon, we have already done that! We did it in the 60s... that was almost 35 years ago!! What's on the moon? While a nice place for an observatory, we should go straight to Mars.

Everyone today wants to be "safe". And while there is certainly no justification for recklnessness, this country didn't get to where it is today by being overly cautious. I hope that President Bush has the courage and conviction to challenge America to take our space program to the next level and plan a mission direct to Mars.

For those of you that don't know, Dr. Robert Zubrin, in his book "The Case for Mars" has shown that a mission to Mars is not only feasible, but that it is feasible with much of the technology that existed in the 60s! For more information, see here [nw.net] . With the technology we have today, and the ingenuity, fortitude, and bravery that America has demonstrated for almost 230 years, we should go straight to Mars!

Re:Skip the moon! Go straight to Mars! (1)

Saven Marek (739395) | about 11 years ago | (#7924802)

> While a nice place for an observatory, we should go
> straight to Mars.

Considering how quick it is to get to the moon (a few days travel) and how quick it is to launch off the moon (not much in the way of gravity) a moon base could very well be part of that "straight to mars". Launching everything at once is risky, if we throw things up in pieces it could build up a far better base to start with, on the lunar surface. Use the moon as a tool to get to mars, not sit around exploring it. We've been there done that

swimsuit 2003 [scrounger.ath.cx]

And.. (3, Funny)

dswensen (252552) | about 11 years ago | (#7924660)

Cue flood of "Bush Invades Mars" and WMD jokes in 3...2...1...

Re:And.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924775)

Troll? Looks like he was right...

Re:And.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924785)

aw c'mon. troll? that was some funny shit -- and right to boot, you see if it isn't.

Dubya's on the moon (1, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 11 years ago | (#7924664)

In other news... the International Monetary Fund released a report yesterday that said U.S. deficits are threatening the world economy. [nytimes.com] They are worried that the unprecedented massive deficits and trade imbalances may cause the dollar to undergo a "disorderly plunge". Which makes this talk of space trips seem a little surreal.

A rat done bit my sister Nell with Dubya on the moon.
Her face and arms began to swell and Dubya's on the moon.
I can't pay no doctor bills but Dubya's on the moon.
Ten years from now I'll be paying still while Dubya's on the moon.

Re:Dubya's on the moon (1)

Bobzibub (20561) | about 11 years ago | (#7924724)

"A rat done bit my sister Nell with Dubya on the moon...."

...But he *is* going to the moon right????

= ) -b

Re:Dubya's on the moon (2, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | about 11 years ago | (#7924783)

Yeah, you're right, let's just stop all space exploration. <rolls eyes>

Anything else that makes life fun that you care to destroy, while you're at it?

Better that a rat bit your sister, and MANKIND is on the Moon, than a rat bit your sister and the Moon nobody's on the moon.

Re:Dubya's on the moon (2, Interesting)

DarkBlackFox (643814) | about 11 years ago | (#7924792)

Finances shouldn't be too big an issue. As an earlier post mentioned, it is well within the budget of the US government to sent people to Mars. Hell, if they really wanted, they could bring back rocks from Mars and sell them [slashdot.org] to make up for some of the cost.

Not to mention the unity of a massive, interplanetary project for the country to rally behind. Look at the sense of national and global unity gained from landing on our own moon, and extrapolate it out to another planet.


Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924817)

what the hell does this have to do with the Space Proogram?

Nothing of course, it's just a way to get your Bush-hating rocks off.

Agreed, this is just vaporware (4, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | about 11 years ago | (#7924829)

He's trolling for America-firsters votes for 04, and he might pick up some of the science geeks.

Bottom line is that 04 will see a record budget deficit - there is not room for a $50-$200 billion Mars mission.

Huh? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924666)

So did we find oil on the moon and on Mars or something?

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924747)

No, otherwise, he will sent someone there next month.

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

SB5 (165464) | about 11 years ago | (#7924803)

Actually no, Sean O'Keefe whispered into Dubya's ear that video from Bin Laden's latest tape looks surprisingly like the images we are getting back from the rovers.

Oh... (1)

Weirdoradio (683744) | about 11 years ago | (#7924670)

For a second I thought I was looking at Fox's new fall line-up.

My bad.

Conflicted slashdotters... (5, Funny)

Cyno01 (573917) | about 11 years ago | (#7924671)

"Hate bush so much but want to find hot alien babes someday..."*head explodes*

Re:Conflicted slashdotters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924784)

Captain Kirk, is that you?

Re:Conflicted slashdotters... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 11 years ago | (#7924807)

Unfortunately, it's more likely to be like galaxy quest than star trek.

"Oh, that's just wrong"

FoxNews? (1, Insightful)

e r i k 0 (593807) | about 11 years ago | (#7924672)

This is Fox News, people, they aren't exactly the most accurate source in the country.

Re:FoxNews? (3, Insightful)

swordgeek (112599) | about 11 years ago | (#7924741)

Hmm. I've been back to the 'States a few times in the last few years, and I'm no longer convinced that Fox News is any worse than the rest. Certainly, CNN isn't any better anymore.

Tragic but true. Sigh.

Re:FoxNews? (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | about 11 years ago | (#7924791)

Why is the parent of this marked as offtopic? The person makes a valid point. It's not entirely offtopic to question the news source. If you didn't agree with it, you should have just left it alone.

One day long ago (2, Insightful)

mrpuffypants (444598) | about 11 years ago | (#7924676)

Remember when conservatives were all about limiting government spending? Wow. what the hell ever happened to that party?

I suppose Bush may be looking for a 'legacy' here. JFK is always thought of when people mention Apollo and other programs from that era. I'd personally hate to lay the credit for a return to space on Dubya.

Re:One day long ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924779)

You know Bush is trying to send the illegal immagrant to the moon with a valid U.S. visa.

Re:One day long ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924834)

yeah the one illegal immagrant

If memory serves me... (1)

gt25500 (622543) | about 11 years ago | (#7924680)

I recall speaking to pal whose father worked for Nasa (USAF now)... He was on a project for a spacecraft which was to replace the current fleet. Bush cut funding and the project was canned. NOW he wants to promote space interest? According to the scheduled completion of the spacecraft it would have been in service BEFORE Columbia was lost.

Is he serious? (2, Interesting)

ActionPlant (721843) | about 11 years ago | (#7924681)

If it's a serious proposal I think that'd be great. Let's get the funding approved and be off then.

I fear though that this may be a stunt to gain some more traction in the polls. It'll be interesting to see how it pans out.


Re:Is he serious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924734)

hahaha it really burns u up its bush doing this and not say someone more reliable, like clinton..

Re:Is he serious? (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | about 11 years ago | (#7924816)

I was thinking the very same thing.

Bush Cronie: Uh... sir, it seems you don't have the support of the 'geek' (for a lack of a better term) community.
Bush: Well, I know, even though I'm not exactly to serious about this, I'll announce a manned mission to the moon and Mars! Besides, I'll get to do what I love doing best, spending the tax-payers money!

Great (2, Funny)

j1r3 (586944) | about 11 years ago | (#7924689)

now bush plans to invade the moon and mars... tsk tsk tsk...

Re:Great (1)

9Nails (634052) | about 11 years ago | (#7924715)

Yeah, but with good reason... He is fairly certain that Bin Laden is on either one.

The Fake Movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924691)

Can we get OJ to star again in the fake Mars landing?

And why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924692)

We can just print more money!


Bush's real agenda. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924693)

He likes killing people in imaginative ways. Not only did he send thousands to die in Afghanistan and Iraq, but now he wants them to suffer slow painful deaths millions of miles from home, with no hope of relief.

Hey. I didn't vote for him

When do we get the next Michael Crichton book... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924694)

entitled "Martian Park" or perhaps "The Martian Strain??"

Life on Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924696)

Has the possible life on Mars already been sued for owning WMD's? If not, why not sell them some nukes?

bush... bush.. bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924698)

Sure it's getting closer to elections. Might want to be a "scientific" president for a minute. I cant wait to get this joker voted out of office. What an embarassment. This quicktime video pretty much says it all. [bushin30seconds.org]

$1 trillion? (1)

grossdog (15657) | about 11 years ago | (#7924699)

Last time around, under Bush, Sr., the cost estimate for a manned mission to mars was between $500 and $800 billion. Unless things have radically changed, $1 trillion would be a reasonable estimate today.

That's a lot of money. I'd rather see my taxes going to other things...like back into my pocket, for example.

If this is going to happen at a reasonable price, it cannot go through NASA, which may be the most inefficient federal agency (and that's really saying something!). If recent history is any indicator, a NASA-led mission will cost lots of money and probably not even get off the ground.

Private industry and competition (lots of it) are the way to get to Mars at a price we can afford.

Re:$1 trillion? (2, Interesting)

POds (241854) | about 11 years ago | (#7924769)

I dont see why China Europe and America and maybe even Australia (haha) cant all work together, the costs can be lessened that way.

The problem lies with the people in power, they all wanna be the first to do something.

Re:$1 trillion? (1)

jkcity (577735) | about 11 years ago | (#7924822)

Europe already has a program albiet not everything is in place yet called Aurora [esa.int] whose eventually goal is a manned mission to the moon the to mars.

It seems this could fit really well with america's goals, so hopefully they'll partner up, it'll be alot easier ont he esa as frankly they don't have the means to get a man into space yet.

Re:$1 trillion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924800)

That cost estimate was calculated using the 'battlestar galactica' model for getting to Mars.

Read 'The Case for Mars' -- it presents a cheaper (and arguably better) scenario, if you have a long term stay in mind.

Sounds cool, (1)

MyFourthAccount (719363) | about 11 years ago | (#7924701)

I'm sure he's got the cash laying around, right?

Seriously though, I actually think this is very cool and I would not mind if it cost me some money personally. Even if there's no scientific value to it.

Show me the money!! (1)

thermopile (571680) | about 11 years ago | (#7924705)

This sounds more like vote-getting blabber than science-promoting talk.

One, somebody needs to pony up some serious dough for this. Moon mission would be, in my humble estimation, about $10B. The price tag is going to be much, much harder to swallow when the Big Bad Soviet Union isn't around to defeat.

Two, what about fixing the Space Shuttle? Project Prometheus? Making the ISS financially stable and properly crewed? There aren't the resources for this.

Don't get me wrong. I really, really want to see manned space flight get the heck out of lower earth orbit. But it's difficult to believe in an election year. It didn't work for his dad.....

*Yawn* Money Talks and Bullshit Walks (5, Insightful)

the_mad_poster (640772) | about 11 years ago | (#7924707)

Bush hopes to spark a renewed public interest in space exploration.

Bush hopes to spark renewed public interest in his re-election campaign....

It's campaign season, folks. I'd love to see it happen, but let's save the Huzzahs! until it actually does, hmm?

...Bush wants to aggressively reinvigorate the space program, which has been demoralized by a series of setbacks, including the space shuttle disaster last February that killed seven astronauts.

Funding and realistic goals. Reusable craft and cheaper delivery methods to space and blah blah blah. You know the drill.

Or, we could just throw money at the problem and pretend it will go away that way. Actually, I'll chip in to a fund for an X-Ray machine for the NASA managers' and directors' skulls in case someone's actually looking for the source of the "setbacks".

Send Bush to the moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924708)

On the back of this announcement - it is an ideal time for a concerted campaign by all fair and reasonable people to push to send Bush to the moon, and Cheney to Mars (mars would be very fitting, being the angry red planet, god of war, and all that)

How are we going to pay for this? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | about 11 years ago | (#7924710)

How will we be able to pay for this? The current budget is, in a word, BAD.

Where will the money come from?

Bush (1)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 11 years ago | (#7924711)


Now 'moon'

They just keep adding those words on there, don't they

Hum... (1)

zeux (129034) | about 11 years ago | (#7924716)

Looks like recent news from China may finally help the return to the moon...

Osama? (0, Troll)

Aardpig (622459) | about 11 years ago | (#7924717)

Maybe the Pentagon saw a turban poking up behind a boulder in one of the Sprit MER pictures?

Both the moon AND mars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924719)

Well, everything is bigger in Texas.

But even Texas isn't big enough for Bush.

Pat Robertson says that Bush will win by a landslide [sun-sentinel.com] . His predictions have been right before [cbn.com] .

Who gives a crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924721)

Who really cares about sending a man to the moon when our economy is going in the shithole. We have bigger problems right now then f***ing MARS.

Just remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924727)

Every dollar they tax is another dollar out of your pocket. The only other option is creating more debt, which reduces the value of every other dollar.

Every dollar they spend on this ($400-$500 BILLION dollar project???!?) comes out of your pocket no matter what.

I certainly hope every single family in America is willing to kick in $6,000 towards this project.

who will pay? (2, Insightful)

blue_adept (40915) | about 11 years ago | (#7924736)

I'm all for space exploration, but you have to wonder whether this is just an "inspirational" idea that isn't REALLY meant to get implemented.

The reality is that there is a ballooning deficit that already threatens the health of the ecomony, I don't see how the average joe will think it's such a great idea to go to mars or the moon when suddenly the mortgage payments have doubled because interest rates have gone up because the govt has a money shortage!

Mars is out of reach using current technology (4, Interesting)

Chuck_McDevitt (665265) | about 11 years ago | (#7924737)

using conventional rockets, a mars trip would take at least 2 years. During that time, NASA has estimated the crew would be irradiated at such a high level that every cell in the body would have received some damage. There are few solutions to this: 1) Go faster. Requires nuclear propulsion. Not going to happen in my lifetime. 2) Use lots of sheilding with high density materials (e.g. Tungsten). 10x more weight than we can currently send to mars and back. 3) Some new thing nobody has thought of yet. It's nice to think it's just a matter of money, but it really isn't.

Re:Mars is out of reach using current technology (1)

Aardpig (622459) | about 11 years ago | (#7924835)

using conventional rockets, a mars trip would take at least 2 years

But Mars Express got there in 6 months. How is that?

Good news, but (-1, Troll)

Linus Torvald (739359) | about 11 years ago | (#7924745)

This is good news, but we need to have cheaper spaceflight and cheaper vehicles. (I guess they go hand in hand, of course)

Manned spaceflight these days is not cost effective for the scientific knowledge gained. The shuttle costs 500 million dollars per flight, including upkeep, the shitloads of people at Cape Canaveral, etc. Considering that Mars probes have been launched for 250 million, it ain't such a good deal.

The Moon is a good destination. Low earth orbit is not a worthwhile place to bother sending people to anymore. We've done most useful experiments that justify the huge cost of launching somebody into space (ie, longterm effects of weightlessness on the human body) Now we're just finding excuses to keep people in the ISS or put launch people up in the space shuttle. The Columbia's main experiments with last week's mission included ant biology in space, and I believe biology of 2 other animals. Who the fuck cares?

Manned spaceflight is worthwhile. However, before we should resume manned spaceflight, we should get a practical way of launching people into space! IE, a way that doesn't cost $5000 per pound of payload. NASA should cancel the shuttle program, and parlay the money into development of a cheaper launch method, such as the cancelled X-33, a SCRAMJET-assisted launch vehicle, a low cost "big dumb booster," or a ribbon-style space elevator.

Also, we should discontinue manned spaceflights to LEO. We should focus on human habitation on Luna and Mars. Once we got a cheap launch method (~$500/lb or less, achievable with any of those methods listed above) we could build a relatively low cost moon base. Moon habitations could be simply constucted with an inflatable fiberglass stucture, which would be inflated and allowed to cure. After curing, several feet of rocks would be piled on top, shielding the inhabitants from radiation and extremes in temperature. An excellent inexpensive, low weight method of lunar construction. Anyway, if water ice is available on the moon, the ice could be used for growing crops, drinking water, and, perhaps most importantly, it could be electrolyzed into rocket fuel.

For the long, long term, I can envision Luna as kind of a shallow gravity well springboard to Mars and the rest of the solar system. Trips from Luna to Mars (although not necessarily from Earth to Luna) would be very inexpensive due to the plentiful electrolyzed rocket fuel and Luna's shallow gravity well. Mars could eventually become even more viable than luna. It has the advantage of a thin CO2 atmosphere, which could actually harbor special genetically engineered plants in the equatorial areas. In addition, water is widely available, both frozen in the ground and in the ice caps.

I'm not quite sure other places in the solar system will ever harbor more than a few scientists and researchers. To get people to move en masse, there would have to be some kind of economic opportunity in space. I can't see how it would ever be economically feasible to leave a planet with a breathable atmosphere, food, good climate, etc, to a planet which would kill an exposed human instananeosly.

Manned? (1)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 11 years ago | (#7924746)

If it's to be manned, stick Dubya on it. If it's to be unmanned, the same applies!

Can we say... (4, Insightful)

Burdell (228580) | about 11 years ago | (#7924749)

Election year grandstanding?

What this really means is that NASA might see a 1% budget increase instead of a budget cut next year, and after that (after Bush is re-elected or someone else is elected), it'll go back down.

Election time is drawing near... (0, Redundant)

SmoothOperator (300942) | about 11 years ago | (#7924755)

I think that in the near future we will see many such ideas originate from the White House. People need to be interested in what the government can do. They need to be informed, and right now, that is not really happening. As soon as someone mentions "Bush", everyone is thinking about the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Bush needs to introduce many new ideas if he wishes to get himself re-elected, because the problems in the Middle East will not be solved any time soon... And in my opinion he can't win unless they are solved, or unless the country focuses on a grand new goal.

Posturing. (1)

chadw17 (308037) | about 11 years ago | (#7924756)

I'm more than all for manned missions in space, and even more expansion of our space program, but this strikes me as horrible posturing. Being an election year, this smacks of lack of real dedication. Anyone willing to donate the kind of time needed to travel to Mars, maybe even back, deserves better than this.

Lots of time then... (1)

geordie (258181) | about 11 years ago | (#7924759)

"a preparation of over a decade would take place before the first men/women set out to explore Mars."

It's one thing for Bush to announce this, but it leaves plenty of time for the next president to cut funding and throw the whole program out the window.....

Relevant Link (2, Insightful)

qaffle (264280) | about 11 years ago | (#7924764)

I was reading this link http://boingboing.net/2004_01_01_archive.html#1073 57767583280159 over at boingboing.net and think it's pretty relevant. basically it's a comment towards why bother going to mars when we avoid the mars like climates on earth.

I don't totally agree with the article, especially since it doesn't consider our need to eventually figure out how to live off this planet, but it is interesting.

So did Bush Sr. in 1991 (0, Flamebait)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | about 11 years ago | (#7924768)

Bush Sr. also called for a MArs mission. No one cared then, no one really cares now. Its obvious we do not have the money to fund anything remotely resembling a Mars mission - Bush is just trolling for votes. With the illegal immigrant amnesty and now this appeal to geeks, he'll be two-for-two in reeling in the lemmings for November 04.

Not all bad (2, Insightful)

dtfinch (661405) | about 11 years ago | (#7924772)

The idea of further space travel may inspire americans to innovate more. Plus a lot of inventions and discoveries come out of the space program. Computers would not be where they are today without the space program. I see a great potential for new recycling and power consumption technologies to come out of this, which could help reverse the damage we've been causing to the planet. Etc.

Step Backwards? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 11 years ago | (#7924781)

When Kennedy did this, he announced it in 1962 and put us on the moon in 7 years and that was without an infrastructure. Bush is now giving us 9 years with years of experience and in-place infrastructure.

I wish every would quit trying to send ppl to mars and back. Intially it should be one-way trips. Not only would it be cheaper, but safer. It is the travel there that is dangerous. In fact, I would love to put ppl on the moon permantantly, but bringing them back is not a big deal.

Also on spaceflightnow.com (5, Informative)

Greeneland (598616) | about 11 years ago | (#7924782)

here [spaceflightnow.com] . They have links to other news sites. In particular, the UPI article [interestalert.com] has a mention about a presidential commission to review Nasa's plans. Interesting...

I am not particularly happy with the statement that all other Nasa programs that do not support the new effort are to be scrapped. Indeed. Perhaps this whole proposal can be amended to include a peer review of top scientists in reign in some of this...

Other soon to be expected announcents (0, Troll)

halo8 (445515) | about 11 years ago | (#7924787)

Soon to be announced from the white house and George bush in the comming months

- Going for forgive 3rd world debt
- Pollution is blocking the radiation from the sun spots
- no more taxes.. FOR ANYONE
- logging of all the trees in alaska to print money
- Free Beer

and finally just before november George W. Bush will announce to the world


I hope we can find Osama out there in space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924788)

because we aren't able to do it here on earth.

Gollum W. Bush needs to get his priorities straight and follow through on some of his pledges and commitments first.

And we need to balance the budget.

There would have been some sense in using this project as a way to stimulate the economy through targeted spending on R&D, education, training and employment, but we've put all of our eggs in the tax-breaks-and-prayer basket and it might be too late to turn back without a little domestic regime change

How about Antarctica? (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about 11 years ago | (#7924793)

Of course, Mars is more exciting. But practicly, exploring Antarctica is many orders of magnitude easier. The barren continent (a few penguins may be) may hold plenty of promise within a much easier reach...

In a related story... (5, Funny)

mabu (178417) | about 11 years ago | (#7924796)

Halliburton has just started a new manned-space-exploration division.

Here's a summary. (5, Informative)

Visceral Monkey (583103) | about 11 years ago | (#7924814)

Regarding the forthcoming Bush announcement on space policy: From the various sources reporting on the subject, here's what the Presidents plan will look like. 1. Manned space flight will be NASAs only priority. Almost all non-manned projects will done away with or rolled into the manned program if appropriate. 2. The space shuttle fleet will be retired. Done. Finished. They will stay in service long enough to finish construction of the space station in the next few years. 3. A new space vehicle, the CEV (Crew Exploration Vehicle) will be built and rolled into production in place of the shuttle. The era of winged spacecraft is over for nasa, the CEV is akin to a large Apollo capsule, only able to carry up to 6-8 crew. The CEV is usable in earth orbit AND lunar orbit. The shuttle was only capable of reaching earth orbit, the CEV will be able to leave earth orbit and fly to the moon! 4. Europe's Ariane rockets and Russia's Soyuz capsules will be used to access the space station until the CEV in finished and ready for use. 5. The hierarchy of NASA will be changed so that the Defense Department is now included in the planning and future use of future technology. Expect big stuff from this. Having the military involved is a GOOD thing. 6. The first return trip to the moon is planned for 2013 and the following missions will begin the process of building a permanent, manned presence there. 7. Also starting in 2013, NASA will end almost all involvement with the ISS. Expect this to possibly become a private venture. 8. The CEV and moon base construction will be a test-bed for the Mars missions that will follow. 9. MARS 10. After mars, there will be manned missions to the asteroids. NASA will become one of only 3 federal agencies to get a spending increase (5%) in its budget over the next 5 years. The other two being the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. In 2005 a lump sum of $800 Million will be awarded to NASA. If this is indeed the Presidents plan, it is nothing short of remaking NASA in the image of what it once was in the days of Apollo. Manned space flight with a purpose, the days of space truckers in orbit is *over*.

"Bush To Announce Manned Trip To Moon, Mars" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7924819)

That's great! When is he leaving?

The moon is just a rock! (not) (2, Interesting)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | about 11 years ago | (#7924821)

The moon is a giant rock that happens to be covered in a consistent layer of Helium 3. Harvesting that could, combined with the advent of Fusion power, provide us enough power to light the entire planet for thousands of years. Oh, and we'd make a tidy profit from it. The Moon is also a really fine source of raw material for building other things in orbit alot cheaper than lofting them from earth. It's also likely we can find sufficient raw materials to seperate out vital components for rocket fuel, also a lot cheaper per pound than trying to bring it up from Earth.

Mars is a spooky prospect for me, too. I'm not thrilled with the idea of bringing back samples, let alone sending people there. Bringing samples back to a well isolated lab on the Moon (or in some other spot, like a lagrange point) is another matter.

I'd a lot rather have us go from the Moon to the asteroids anyway -- now there's some profit potential! Plus, what we don't find a direct commmercial use for we can always drop down the gravity well on terrorists at really nice velocities. Kinetic energy is our friend. :D

Go Go GO!! (0)

quanto (579912) | about 11 years ago | (#7924826)

Let's do it! it's time to move somewhere else!
1 Trillion dollars? let's turn on the dollar machine

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