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Hellbent
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Computerworld - As NASA celebrates its super rover's first year on Mars, scientists made it clear that the space agency's interest in the planet is only ramping up.

NASA, which will be sending more robotic rovers to Mars, also has set its sights on sending humans to the Red Planet between 2033 and 2043.

"Our destiny is to leave lower Earth orbit and trek out into the solar system," said Jim Green, director of NASA's planetary division, in a news conference today. "We believe that humans can land on Mars in 20, perhaps 30, years from now."

NASA has long planned on sending humans to Mars. Robotic rovers like Curiosity and its predecessors Opportunity and Spirit are paving the way for that exploration.

Green said that the current rovers are helping scientists understand Mars and its history, as well as whether or not the planet was ever able to sustain life. Future rovers will go to Mars ahead of their human counterparts to begin building a outpost there and to work with astronauts once they arrive.

A little more than three years ago, NASA showed off a six-legged robotic rover that could one day help to set up a human habitat on Mars. At the time, NASA engineers expected this rover to be ready to blast off by 2015. An updated timeline has not been given.

"Men on Mars will communicate with orbiters and they'll be working and living on Mars and they'll have rovers helping them," said Green. "We're thinking of a rover like Curiosity, in terms of volume, size and mass, but it'll have a completely different set of instruments."

Prasun Desai, acting director of Strategic Integration with NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, said NASA already is working on technologies that it'll need to not only get astronauts to Mars but to enable them to live there temporarily and then to make it back to Earth.

He noted that scientists are working to improve life-support systems, power sources, navigation, radiation protection and propulsion.

Desai also noted that NASA is investigating whether 3D printing can be used to build tools and spare parts in deep space to help decrease the weight a spacecraft would have to carry on a long journey to Mars. 3D printers might also be able to create food for astronauts that they could eat in place of freeze-dried meals.

"Old settlers had to bring everything they needed with them or they lived off the land," said Desai. "When we go to Mars, we have to bring the air with us too, not just the water to drink and the food to eat. We need to make rocket fuel there so we can launch off the surface to come home. We need to be able to live off the land on Mars."

http://www.computerworld.com/s/arti...bring_them_back

Old Post Aug 6 2013 22:56 #
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Eris Falling
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Shit, it's been a year already?

Old Post Aug 7 2013 00:02 #
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Hellbent
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Eris Falling said:
Shit, it's been a year already?

I was looking for that reply. :) Speaking of, does anyone know if Curiosity found anything of note?

Old Post Aug 7 2013 00:38 #
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Eris Falling
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Just today, I believe NASA announced that the water which was confirmed to exist million of years ago was in a similar chemical composition to that of Earth's, meaning it was most likely drinkable. This shows that life definitely had a large chance to exist on Mars.

Personally, I still don't understand why water has to exist to sustain extra-terrestrial life. Oh well.

EDIT: Actually, that discovery was made back in March. I haven't been following Curiosity as much as I should have been. I blame New Horzions

Old Post Aug 7 2013 00:46 #
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Maes
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Eris Falling said:
Personally, I still don't understand why water has to exist to sustain extra-terrestrial life. Oh well.

Because of its chemical importance -it's an important solvent, reagent, byproduct, catalyst etc. of many organic chemical reactions, which are the base of life as we know it. This doesn't rule out alternative chemistries just yet -but even then, water + carbon are at the base of the most "powerful" ones, allowing higher-energy reactions (and therefore growth/speed/metabolism/strength) than any other possible chemistry.

Old Post Aug 7 2013 01:19 #
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Eris Falling
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I'd like to think that if there ever were inhabitants of Mars, they'd be rather like those that populate Earth today. The same could be said of pre-historic Venus, when the sun wasn't so luminous, and it was probably another Earth.

water + carbon are at the base of the most "powerful" ones
Which suggests to me that there must be other equally powerful reactions out there which can sustain ET and friends. So, if you're a Uranium based life form that survives on the consumption of neutrons*, then we look forward to making contact with you. Preferably not in person.

*Randomly picked, scientifically incorrect/impossible example.

Old Post Aug 7 2013 01:34 #
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SavageCorona
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2033 is only the start of Doom 3 in real life.

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Old Post Aug 7 2013 02:34 #
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GreyGhost
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Thread title said:
There and Back Again

I'm going nowhere near the place if dwarf or hobbit remains start turning up.

Old Post Aug 7 2013 04:45 #
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dew
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Eris Falling said:
Which suggests to me that there must be other equally powerful reactions out there which can sustain ET and friends.

indeedio. none of them are as probable or potent as ours, though.

Old Post Aug 7 2013 09:01 #
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Kontra Kommando
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I bet we'll find some fossils underground. If so, I hope we find something sapien.

Old Post Aug 7 2013 14:44 #
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Scet
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Kontra Kommando said:
I bet we'll find some fossils underground. If so, I hope we find something sapien.

Please, NASA would be happy just to find some bacteria let alone anything multicellular.

Old Post Aug 7 2013 16:42 #
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Kontra Kommando
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Scet said:
Please, NASA would be happy just to find some bacteria let alone anything multicellular.

I'm sure they would be.

Old Post Aug 7 2013 16:45 #
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zZaRDoZz
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NASA has long planned on sending humans to Mars...

One of the reasons listed for shutting down the Apollo program (1972) was to free up funding for Mars exploration. They trot out these announcements every 5-6 years to assure us that they're still thinking about it.

Old Post Aug 8 2013 02:59 #
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Quasar
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If even one greedy billionaire had interest in space exploration instead of hoarding enough money to last the next 8 generations of his family, we could probably actually be on Mars now.

Old Post Aug 8 2013 20:25 #
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dew
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I don't think so, look at Branson reinventing the wheel. NASA doesn't give them all its know-how, so they're like poor Iran struggling to build a simple ICBM with a nuclear warhead.

Old Post Aug 8 2013 20:57 #
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