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Socialism or not, the lot of us are descendents of the folks who "up and left" whatever plot they were tilling (or ground they were hunting) at the time. Why go to Mars? - Because doing such a thing typifies who we are.


The argument isn't when, but how. And although watching another human travel to mars is really nifty, being able to request that your own targeted image from a mars sattelite is insanely cool http://www.uahirise.org/hiwish/. I personally would be fine with another decade or two of robotic exploration. That red planet is big enough for dozens, maybe hundreds of 'bots. Maybe even a few that the controls could be loaned out to high school vocational schools. Or rented to the space-geek to control for a day or two!


In a few years, this following could be a reasonable optional requirement for the space-ex merit badge:

"Learn about satelites/or space robots that are available for public requests. Select one and make a request for a specific mission within the cabability of that craft. Report if the mission was implemented, and if so, present the results of the mission."


This may postpone manned space flight to another planet, but it may better prepare the public for the challenges they will have to face.

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So I read the headline today: Associated Press Obama: US to Mars within his lifetime.   WOW! Is anybody as excited as I am?   What a total and complete waste of taxpayer money! Now look...I

Challenge is that a lot of what NASA pioneered has trickled down to everyday use. And I don't mean just Tang either. Fabrics that were created for insulating spacesuits are now used to make lightweig

I think NASA does great stuff. Lots of technology came about because of NASA.   But Mars exploration? Come on! Does anybody seriously expect going to Mars to be possible or practical? Even if m

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Interestingly, Tang existed before the manned space program began, but because it was used on many of the flights, folks started to believe that it was created by NASA.


Weirdly, some home tips sites say that Tang makes a good dishwasher detergent because of its high citric acid content.


NASA used to publish an annual journal called Spinoff that detailed all of the technologies that came out of, or were enhanced by, the U.S. space program. Manned exploration has always been a debated topic. Some things in exploration can only be done by humans. One of the Mars rovers is stuck in sand and can't escape by use of remote instructions, to the point that NASA now calls it a "stationary test platform". Why go to places like the Moon and Mars? Why did humans go to North America not knowing what was there? The North Pole? The South Pole? Australia? Why do we explore the bottom of the ocean? Probably because we are explorers, but also because you never know what you're going to discover by visiting an unknown environment, or what you might learn simply in the attempt.

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