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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:32 AM
Original message
Another big day for Mars Exploration
Scheduled to go into orbit this afternoon...a very tricky thing around Mars...hope all goes smoothly

This is a cool piece of machinery...


Larger than any of the three other orbiters currently studying Mars, NASAs $ 720 million MRO mission carries a hefty suite of science tools to study the red planet with unprecedented detail.

The 4,806-pound (2,180-kilogram) probe is equipped with a six-instrument package that includes the ultra high-resolution HiRISE camera, a ground-penetrating radar and several other climate, atmosphere and surface scanning tools to tracking Mars water history and pinpointing potential landing sites for future missions.

Its the most technologically advanced payload that weve ever sent to another planet, said James Graf, NASAs MRO project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, said in a March 8 mission update. I think were ready.




http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/060310_mro_preorbi...
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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
1. Almost all future science missions have been cancelled.
:(
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brokensymmetry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Now benburch.
You know perfectly well that all TRUE science can be divined by reading the good book. Intelligent design dontchaknow. So why bother with science missions when we already know everything that needs to be known?


for(int i=0;i<1000000;i++)
{
System.out.println( :sarcasm:);
}
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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. That's not true...
Only the Dawn asteroid mission has been cancelled. In reality, the science budget was not cut as I understand it, but just was not given the increase they had expected.

I know it is a blow, and I am a big supported of space science. But I am a firm believer in a human presence in space. I think once advances in that infrastructure are gained, the science gains will be astronomical compared to what would have been possible otherwise.

FOr example, how about a permanent set of manned telescopes on the dark side of the moon? With humans at the controls, unexpected discoveries can be followed up on immedietely, rather than having to schedule yet another robotic mission. The possibilities are really endless, both for earth science and space science!!!

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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. I thought the Terrestrial Planet Finder was gone too.
Or did I mis-read that?
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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I didn't see that...
If you have a link I'd like to see it. I think NASA is underfunded in any case...they spend in a year about as much as the Pentagon spends in 10 days or so.
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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Link...
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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. Sagan said it best
The view of budget makers is clear, Why fund pure science research? There's no "practical" application for the information gleamed...

*sigh*
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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. This is true...
But Sagan was also a big proponent of manned Mars exploration...which is where this money is being diverted...

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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. Except I think we will find that NASA is a money funnel for black ops.
Then again, it always has been.
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jim3775 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
3. Actually it is going to begin its orbit insertion maneuvers today
Orbit insertion involves a 6-month long process of slowing down it's speed and the long process of tightening its orbit around Mars. The riskiest part of this process is when the MRO dips into Mars' upper atmosphere to further slow it down.

Thanks to bush's budget there will be massive cuts in the unmanned spacecraft program.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
4. The insertion begins but will take near 6 months to see if sucess!
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 09:39 AM by papau
Slowing this thing down fails more than 50% of the time.

I hope they get lucky, as this would be a massive data collection that would exceed all others to date combined.

But a toast to the effort, no matter how it ends.

:toast:

:-)

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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Actually...today it will be in orbit....
A very long elipitical orbit, but orbit nevertheless...The first sign of success is if a signal is regained after the probe has gone behind mars and reappeared. This is the point where NASA has lost spacecraft before. The aerobraking is dangerous as well, but NASA will have more flexibility to control those maneuvers. Today's insertion is a one shot deal!!!
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
9. the story goes they found tritium in the atmosphere, so there was a Fusion
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 09:49 AM by sam sarrha
reactor operating on mars..

it will be cheaper to go to mars and bring it back and reverse engineer it at taxpayers expense than to continue the hopeless research we are doing now

we need Fusion power to save civilization, we have already passed the point of no return toward world wide famine and chaos with the down turn of peak oil.
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librechik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:52 AM
Response to Original message
10. I LOVE LOOKING AT MARS PIX (LINKS)
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 10:00 AM by librechik
There's a whole bunch here

http://www.marsunearthed.com /
ttp://
(bring your 3D glasses!)

and here

http://www.marslife.com /
http://www.marslife.com/flyinginsect.htm
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(they link to FoxNews, calling it "news at the speed of lies")

and my fave, Joseph Skipper's The Abyss:

http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com /
http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/evidence-reports/200...
(bring your :tinfoilhat:)




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Radio_Guy Donating Member (875 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
11. I'm torn on the space issue
Yes, we now have computers and plastics, etc. thanks to NASA. But so many hundreds of billions of dollars is spent on Mars exploration, for example, when so many people go hungry in the US.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Split the DOD budget between helath, education and non military space
missions.
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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. One has little to do with the other...
The problem with hunger is not a lack of resources, but a lack of will. If humanity stopped all exploration until all of humanities ills were cured, we would still be living in caves. You never know what exploration and research will get you, but over the years it has provided far more benefit to our country, and to the world frankly, than the opposite.

And you sluff off advancement in computer technology as if it were nothing...a pretty significant contribution if you ask me. How about MRI technology, an offshoot of NASA research. But really, the primary benefit is not its concrete practical applications, as important as those are, it is that humanity has to have a leading edge, a side of it that is moving us to the next level. If we held back until the neediest among us were taken care of (which can never really happen), we would never advance as a civilization.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. NASA is money well spent-- the PENTAGON on the other hand...
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 10:07 AM by mike_c
...is the reason there isn't enough money to feed people and provide medical care, etc.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. I'm not torn at all--and I'm what Bushites would call a "communist,"
that is, I'm in the middle politically, where most Americans are (if the truth were known)-for peace and justice. It is not a choice between NASA and feeding people. It is a choice between NASA and TRILLION DOLLAR ILLEGAL WARS, THE SLAUGHTER OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE and MASSIVE THIEVERY BY THE RICH.

The choice has been WRONGLY framed!

Think of an ant crawling somewhere on planet Earth. That ant is US--our whole planet, indeed, our whole solar system--in relation to the rest of this galaxy alone. Then think of a bit of DNA in the ant's body--that's us, in relation to the rest of the universe (billions and billions and billions of galaxies).

Think big, in other words. Real big. The evidence has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last several years that we are not alone in the universe--and that in truth life may be quite abundant elsewhere. We've just discovered a FOURTH source of water within our own minuscule solar system (on Saturn's moon Enceladus), yesterday. FOUR sources of water--the element of life--in this small location alone. We've now found many planets--including an earth-like planet (rock and ice)--orbiting distant stars, another key component for judging the odds for abundant life and for abundant sentient life.

I don't know about you-all, but I feel a deep rumble of destiny in these discoveries. We are not alone. There are OTHER PEOPLE out there--who think, who feel, who are aware of themselves, who have created civilizations--many of them likely far in advance of our own. And we are nothing if not intrepid explorers--it is in our genes--from our first step out of Africa on the long, long trek round this globe. We are also bursting at the seams--our own species is so successful that the planet cannot support us all. We are driving all other species to extinction, and destroying our beautiful blue-green home. We are the species that has violated natural law and will not--and possibly cannot--live sustainably. We MUST find other habitats--or learn how to terra-form the rock/ice globes we are finding everywhere (our solar system is full of them). This is not a moral judgment--it is what is real; it is who we are.

History does not repeat itself, in my opinion. It is a gyre with repeating themes (as W.B. Yeats believed). Each repetition of history's themes provides us with an opportunity to evolve toward a higher state of consciousness, almost always accompanied by vast migrations and explorations. We are right now on the cusp of such a change--as was western civilization back in 500 A.D. (--end of the Roman Empire). So take this comparison with that in mind. We are not on a treadmill; we are part of a gyre of repeating themes. After the Roman republic fell, and later the empire, western civilization went into a period of dormancy for 1,000 years--a period marked by ignorance and brutality and loss of hope, during which virtually all the advances in medicine, science, mathematics, engineering, art, law, hygiene, navigation, library science, literature, and all other civilized endeavors were lost and had to be re-invented or re-discovered. The few items of knowledge that were saved--such as the masons' preservation of architecture/ engineering that resulted in the great cathedrals, and the troubadours' preservation of at least the memory of ancient mental sciences and earth science, through ancient Keltic bardic arts--had to be preserved in utter secrecy; written knowledge was almost all lost, some of it preserved by the Persians and Arabs, and later by monkish scribes capturing oral traditions or transcribing fragments of Greek/Roman texts.

So, what happened? Did the Romans run out of room? Hardly. In fact, they expanded beyond their ability to govern. Did they run out resources? To some extent, yes. North Africa, "the break-basket of the Roman Empire," was already turning into desert, due to unsustainable agricultural practices; and forests had been leveled all over Europe, England and Asia Minor. But I think the most important thing they ran out of was vision--especially the vision of explorers--and the reason they ran out of that was that they had killed it, brutally and completely, when they smashed the Carthaginians, the ancient Phoenician inventors and explorers who had built Solomon's temple for the Israelites, who had supplied and engineered much of the grandeur of the Pharaohs, who had given their alphabet (and much else) to the Greeks, and who had navigated around the horn of Africa: the original masons, the original doers, the original thinkers (Pythagoras was half-Phoenician!), the original shipbuilders who had little interest in ownership and control of land, who lived on the sea--the original explorers and creators and builders and connectors of western civilization. The restless people. The people who are not happy with how things are on terra firma, and thus try to think up ways to improve things, or ways to go elsewhere and obtain the resources and ideas that they need.

The Romans smashed them utterly--massacred them all. And when the crunch came for Rome--which I won't go into here (read Gibbon!), except to say that it involved running out of resources, over-extended borders, and over-extended supply lines, and a dependence on resource wars--what followed was the virtual end of trade, exploration and invention, for a thousand years. There were no more Phoenicians to renew civilization. (The Romans had also smashed the Kelts, who were related to the Phoenicians--had driven them out of Europe and Asia Minor to the far edges of Britain, and then continued smashing them there. The Romans never got to Ireland, though; and never really conquered Wales.) The thick-headed, straight-roaded, square-building, conquest-thirsty Romans had destroyed the creative, exploratory spirit of their own civilization, which soon succumbed to the highly hypocritical "witch-burning" so-called "christian" patriarchs of North Africa, who smashed, burned, dismembered and destroyed everything that the Phoenicians, Kelts, Greeks and Romans had created.

Western civilization ended in 415 AD*, when the "christian" "patriarch" of Alexandria, one Cyril (future "saint" and "father of the church") ordered the death by flaying of the famous woman philosopher, mathematician and inventor Hypatia, and the final destruction of the Alexandria Library where she taught (700,000 manuscripts from all over the world). Fini.

We seem to be there again, at that same kind of vortex of change. Do we descend into ignorance and brutality--and the utter hypocrisy of killing people in the name of Jesus? Do we do THAT again for a thousand years (if we don't annihilate ourselves first)? Or do we...explore? Do we become Phoenicians again? Do we follow that restless, creative impulse--that BEST human impulse--into the unimaginably vast and mysterious territory "out there"?

"Feeding the poor" and going "out there" are not in conflict. She who can figure out how to "feed the poor"--who can generate the ideas, inventions, creative thoughts and organizational principles needed to do that--is likely the same kind of person who would get in a space ship to Enceladus tomorrow, if one existed--to explore the unknown, to marvel at it, and to find the resources that her society needs. The creative, exploratory spirit. Creative thought for solar energy. Creative thought in rediscovering ancient permaculture techniques. Whatever is needed. The restless, the explorers, the inventive. Further, HER explorations--think NASA, think men on the moon and missions to Mars and Saturn--INSPIRE all of us. They help us think bigger and better. And they have the spiritual power to change us utterly--with new ideas about human life, God, earth and the universe. Think what that one snapshot of earth-rise FROM THE MOON did to transform our notion of the earth: this precious, fragile swirl of blue-green atmosphere and life, hanging like a Christmas bobble out there against the vast cold darkness of space. How small and vulnerable it looked--and how beautiful!

The stupid, mean, small-minded greedbags and warmongers in Washington DC are like the stupid, mean, small-minded greedbags and warmongers of the early "christian" Church, who built a small cage in which to confine the human spirit, and appropriated the last vestiges of Roman imperial power to lock the door. They have no vision. They have no faith in our marvelous human brains, and in our best human desires and impulses. Only one modern president ever did: JFK. The rest of them have betrayed us--and have hampered and underfunded space exploration, which is the best use of technological know-how. They are like the idiots whose first question about the internet, a decade or so ago, was: But how do you make money from it? They have no idea what generates prosperity--the wild, creative, exploratory human spirit!

Anyway, that's my argument for NASA, with liberals who say they want to feed everybody first. I'm far more liberal than they are, and I say, go to the moon, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Pluto and out of the solar system, THEN you will feed everybody. You do not "feed everybody" by staying home.



---------------

*(The end of western civilization could also be dated a bit later, to 451 AD, the Council of Chalcedon, where empire was firmly wedded to religion, and to one, narrow "christian" faction (headed by Cyril) to be imposed by the sword. Interestingly, the name "Chalcedon" has arisen again in our own time. It is the name of a rightwing "think tank" that, among other things, touts the death penalty for homosexuals, and that was given a one million dollar contribution by Howard Ahmanson, the same rightwing billionaire who initially funded the electronic voting company, ES&S, spinoff of Diebold. Diebold and ES&S together "tabulated" 80% of our nation's votes in 2004, using "trade secret," proprietary programming code.**)

*(Some may argue that the end of the Roman Empire and the end of western civilization are not one and the same thing--and that the Roman Church combined its reign of terror with some aspects of civilization, such as (eventually) copying books, and educating a clerical class for their own purposes, and building the cathedrals (built by pagan-at-heart masons, not by priests). It did eventually produce Michelangelo and da Vinci, (products of both Church and anti-Church humanism), along with the Inquisition, the witch-burnings, the pogroms, the bloody crusades, and vast poverty, ignorance, misery and ill health. "Civilization" in monasteries, on vast landscapes of misery and bondage. Others will argue that the Romans were barbarians--for all their civilized borrowings from the Phoenicians and the Greeks--and that their empire was built on the blood of others who were far more "civilized" than they; the Phoenicians and the Greeks, of course, but also the Kelts, who didn't build roads but instead followed deer paths; whose highly poetic and artistic culture was based on closeness to nature, and was quite well-organized in its own way. There is some truth to be found in these arguments--but I don't buy them on the whole. The death of Hypatia and the burning of the Alexandria Library where she taught--at the hands of the kind of "christians" who then erected a vast prison for the human soul--was definitive. She, a Roman citizen, represented civilization. They did not. They were brutes like Bush. Civilization ended that day, and took a thousand years to recover, in Europe and England. This is not to say that there were not individual civilized men and women in the midst of Cyril's millennium of brutal "christianity." There were. I am looking at the broad picture. All of the founding cultures--Phoenician, Keltic, Greek and Roman--were war-like--the Phoenicians perhaps the least so. (They were more interested in clever inventions and in trade, than in conquering.) The Romans were not more bloody-minded than the others--maybe just better organized. And the "Pax Romana" was real (after the conquests). They were not bad colonialists. They produced hundreds of years of peace, near universal education and literacy, the rule of law, unimpeded trade and travel, good roads, many a fine villa, generally good housing (not to mention public baths), schools, libraries, and many other civilized works. And the fall of the western empire was catastrophic for everyone within its boundaries--from north Africa and across western Europe to England.)

-------------------------

** Throw Diebold and ES&S election theft machines into 'Boston Harbor' NOW!

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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Didn't have time to read the whole thing...but
This statement sums it up perfectly!!!

"Anyway, that's my argument for NASA, with liberals who say they want to feed everybody first. I'm far more liberal than they are, and I say, go to the moon, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Pluto and out of the solar system, THEN you will feed everybody. You do not "feed everybody" by staying home.
"
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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 02:14 PM
Response to Original message
20. Fifteen minutes to the start of coverage....
Crossing my fingers!!!
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