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Survey: broad support for manned Mars missions


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#1 DocM

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 07:02

This survey should be mailed to every member of Congress and the White House - along with phone numbers for SpaceX and other innovative Mars-oriented players.

http://www.aviationw..._p19-550529.xml

While policymakers seem perplexed over the nation's ambitions in human space exploration, a recent sounding of public sentiment suggests there is broad support for Mars as a destination but for reasons somewhat apart from those most often mentioned, such as ensuring U.S. leadership, high-tech spin-offs and creating a catalyst for youthful scientific literacy.

Americans are most intent on dispatching humans to Mars to gain a greater science-based understanding of the planet and to search for signs of life, according to the Mars Generation survey conducted Feb. 4-6.

More than 50% believe the objectives justify a human presence. Despite current economic ills, three in four Americans believe it is worth doubling NASA's budget to achieve them—once they were told the agency receives $17.7 billion annually, according to a “snapshot” of survey results. Explore Mars and Boeing sponsored the poll in a run-up to the Humans to Mars Summit, hosted by the George Washington University Space Policy Institute in early May.

“We certainly did not expect these sorts of numbers,” said an elated Chris Carberry, executive director of Explore Mars, the Massachusetts pro-exploration non-profit and summit co-sponsor. “This is a wake-up call to our leaders that Americans are still explorers.”

Phillips & Co. of Austin, Texas, conducted the email survey from a stratified random sample of 1,101 respondents 18 and older, selected to achieve a 95% confidence level with a plus/minus 3% error margin.

Only after greater awareness and the search for life does global leadership emerge as a justification in the survey, followed by a youthful boost to science, technology, engineering and math studies; permanent settlement of Mars; domestic job stimulus, and constructive international cooperation. Most do not care whether the U.S. leads a Mars exploration initiative as long as it participates. The majority believe a public/commercial partnership will be most effective in achieving the goal, as well as in sharing the spin-offs and reining in costs.

A March 4 release of the full report will offer a breakdown of the findings by region, level of education, income and ethnicity. However, seven in 10 Americans—men and women equally and African-Americans as much as whites—expressed confidence that humans are destined to walk on Mars by 2033, according to the initial results.
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#2 Pam14160

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 07:31

Probably too old, albeit it would be a great final chapter. . . :)

#3 Hum

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 22:03

Hopefully they won't fake it, this time ...

#4 Growled

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 00:47

There has always been broad support for our space program.

#5 The_Observer

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 00:51

this is silly! if this was a game, then i would make transport to space cheap and then build from there. Get round trips to the moon sorted and then we will look at Mars!!

#6 Andre S.

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 01:03

I'm not sure people are realizing what's involved in sending humans to Mars compared to robots:
- They must be provided with a highly secure and controlled environment from liftoff to Mars and back, this includes, for months:
- Supplies of breathable air
- Supply of food and water
- Protection against extreme temperatures
- Protection against the complete array of solar radiations, including gamma rays
- They must have a reliable mean to come back to Earth, this means lifting off from Martian surface, which has never been done
- The level of reliability must be much higher than for machines, since human life is at risk, and to achieve that level with the amount of unknown involved, the costs would be astronomical (no pun intended).

I would expect that for the cost of one manned mission on Mars, we could easily have 20 unmanned ones with different robots at different locations, that are able to dig, explore, film and analyse, not for a few weeks, but for years. What are humans going to achieve there that couldn't be achieved with robots anyway?

That this was done in 1969 on the Moon was nothing short of a miracle and let's not forget that many lives were lost to achieve that. Also that some risks were not even taken into consideration in 1969 (such as solar flares) and that security norms are much more stringent today.

Manned martian missions would be a great technological achievement, but also a very inefficient use of resources compared to sending robots. As such they would divert funds from a productive (science-wise) venture to a highly improductive one, and so it's not a good idea.

#7 Crisp

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 14:56

What are humans going to achieve there that couldn't be achieved with robots anyway?


It's one step closer to achieving a way of getting off / away from Earth. If we didn't try, then why bother at all?

The research we're getting from putting humans into Space is what's required for the next small step.

#8 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 16:27

Nothing is more likely to encourage support for the space program than sending humans out there. Robots just don't garner the same excitement and interest.

#9 hagjohn

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 16:36

I think we have other priorities that need to be taken care of first.

#10 Hum

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 16:38

It's one step closer to achieving a way of getting off / away from Earth. If we didn't try, then why bother at all?


Maybe it's cold out there, and the aliens are unfriendly.

#11 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 16:40

I think we have other priorities that need to be taken care of first.


Those other priorities are never going to go away, so waiting just means we'd never go.

There's money to be made out there, huge buckets of hard currency. There are also massive amounts of untapped resources that will solve many of our issues. We just need to GET to them! That's only going to happen by biting the bullet and going there.

#12 Hum

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 17:11

^ I thought money was made here on Earth. ;)

#13 compl3x

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 16:34

I think we have other priorities that need to be taken care of first.



True. We should solve every terrestrial problem we have before investing any money in this. We should also pull all money for the arts, that is a useless pursuit considering all of the other pressing issues.

/s