Real space studies

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
1. I think it's something everyone's *expected* for years - just not something we've been able to prove. Determining whether or not there was water on Mars was the primary objective of the current rovers, not an amazing incidental discovery. The belief that there were oceans on Mars goes back at least to Herschel in the 18th century.

2. I don't think it's possible to say anything other than that it's a possibility - and that it's more of a possibility now that the existence of a standing ocean has been supported. I'd certainly welcome the discovery of microbes if and when it comes, because it'll mean more money for the space program.

3. I don't know about the ISS - I don't recall any plans to have the Mars Sample Return mission involve the station. The desirability of the ISS as a 'clean lab' might be offset by the increased difficulty of inserting a sample return probe into low Earth orbit.

4. Absolutely - as I've said before, I believe that manned spaceflight is the most important thing the government can spend its money on, and this just supports that idea. We'll be planning a manned Mars mission long after the interweb gets over its poorly understood world view.


I think the ISS would be a good starting point for examining samples from Mars. Reason being is we dont know what effect the slightest exposure could bring if quarantine measures were to fail with the samples being brought to the surface. Nothing is 100 percent safe, but having these samples upstairs certianly leaves out any doubt or question as to these samples having any undesirable effects on Earth's environment.

Another reason for using the ISS to study the samples is to give the ISS some real purpose to its exsistance. Right now the experiments on the ISS are nothing new, considering a majority of these experiments were done decades ago onboard the SkyLab space station. It cant be there because of studying the effects of zero gravity on the human body, that too was done even before SkyLab..on board the Mercury and Gemini missions, including continuing study during the Apollo missions.

As to other types of studies in space, just about every shuttle mission that ever flew, long before ISS even was a thought...many experiments covering a wide range of things were performed on the shuttles.

But eventually those samples would be brought to the surface for study. But the quarantine and security measures will have to be at their peak and never allowed to slide off track. One bad element or particle or microbe could be as deadly as the plauge of the middle ages, or alter our ecosystem so radically that it might not be recoverable. We certianly do not want Earth to become a mirror image of what Mars is today! I like Earth the way it is!

I just think extreme caution should be adhered to if samples are brought down to Earth's surface. They take extreme caution to keep the probes as clean as possible during assembly and testing so that we dont contaminate Mars, mostly to prevent false readings from the instruments, but also to keep the planet as free from contamination as possible that might be carried along for the ride from Earth.

I am a firm believer in Bush's plans to return to the Moon and eventually a manned mission to Mars. For one thing it can open up new industry, which in turn creates jobs, and of course...opens the potential for space tourism. And those space tours are gonna need pilots right? ;)

Who knows...if things progress at a steady pace..we all might get to put our piloting skills to the test in a real world situation flying tour ships or freighters ferrying folks and cargo between Earth and the Moon or even Mars. But I wouldnt hold my breath to encounter any cats or bugs out there, well cept for the microbe bugs! :D


Unknown Enemy
1. I don't think 'suspect' is the right term. Rather, I wanted to believe it. Which, I guess, is the case for most people interested in space exploration - they want to believe that there's something of interest out there. And what could possibly be more interesting than finding new lifeforms beyond Earth?

2. LOAF's answer sounds right.

3. Should a sample be brought back at all? Definitely. Should it be brought to Earth or to the ISS? There are people far more qualified than us to make that call, and they should be allowed to decide.

4. Yes and no. I want to see space exploration advance, and Bush's plans will clearly accomplish that goal. However, what I'm really hoping is that private investors will start trying to work out ways to make a profit off space exploration - if they find a way to do it, then space exploration will begin advancing at the same kind of astonishing pace we are used to in other privately-funded industries, like computers, cars and planes.

Bob McDob

Better Health Through Less Flavor
1. It wasn't really a big shock, per se, but it's still pretty exciting.

2. Doubtful ... I don't think our luck's that good :)

3. Hell yeah

4. Hell yeah