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#1 2002-01-12 08:29:11

Alexander Sheppard
Member
Registered: 2001-09-23
Posts: 178

Re: MSR-ISPP

Perhaps in the future the Mars Society might be able to launch a MSR-ISPP mission. This mission would obviously be the best mission any organization could possibly launch except for the human mission. The balloon mission might be interesting, "showing the public that Mars is a world", but I think bringing back a piece of Mars would do this a lot better, and the best thing is, the political ramifications for our plodding space agencies would be enourmous. NASA's current scheduled MSR-ISPP is set for a 2011 launch date, with likely further delays as the bureacrats realize that their mickey-mouse date is finally drawing near enough that they might actually have to do something. Clearly, the current situation is ridiculous. If we could launch our own MSR-ISPP, we would show the world that the future of space exploration is not completely in the hands of government, it is also in the hands of private organizations. The PR boost for all space organizations and companies would be enourmous. What is more, government would have to reorganize its Mars exploration campaign around the fact that MSR is already done, and with the technology they claim is "untested". Clearly MSR-ISPP would set them all one step, and very possibly many steps closer to a human mission.

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#2 2002-01-18 23:57:22

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: MSR-ISPP

I sense your disgust with NASA over its glacial progress toward a manned Mars mission! I empathise 1000%!!!
   It seems that every time they have another meeting, they come out of it with a longer and longer time-table of less and less ambitious missions. They really do need a fire under their tails to wake them up. I think a lot of the trouble comes down to the same old thing: Risk. Nobody wants to do anything audacious or exciting any more in case it doesn't work and they're left with egg on their faces. It's a symptom of today's world that risk-taking is politically and culturally unpalatable.
   The problem is that virtually nothing can be attempted without at least some risk. And great strides forward can rarely be taken without quite substantial risks. I often think about the Apollo astronauts and the things they did with clunky 1960s technology! That whole program was so far ahead of its time it's hard to believe, in retrospect, that it was ever tried. And the raw courage of those astronauts has been very greatly understated.
   But getting back to the point: You write as though there is actually some possibility of the Mars Society pulling off a major coup by retrieving a piece of Mars ahead of the major space agencies! Are you serious or just making a rhetorical point? I mean, how much would it cost and where would we get the money? And what about a quarantine facility? From what I've read, you need an enormously intricate and expensive building just to process the samples in biological isolation.
   I'm not trying to rain on your parade but I'm having trouble digesting this idea. Surely there is just no way for a small space-advocacy group to really contemplate such a mission? Please somebody .... explain to me why I'm wrong. I'd love to be wrong!!


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#3 2002-01-19 13:40:55

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: MSR-ISPP

I like the idea someone else posted here awhile back about fastening IMAX cameras to probes that could film gorgeous, wide-angle shots of Mars.  I think your balloon idea would be perfect for that sort of thing.  We could have a combo sample return and filming mission.  I'm somewhat skeptical if those types of pr campaigns would be the catalyst that finally fires up massive public interest, but they could help.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#4 2002-01-19 22:11:09

Alexander Sheppard
Member
Registered: 2001-09-23
Posts: 178

Re: MSR-ISPP

Don't me wrong, I think the balloon idea is wonderful, but if we could do a sample return, I really think we should go with that first (it would cause a major sensation). A sample return might not cost very much (as space missions go, anyway), really, assuming we launch the whole thing on the Delta II, which is perfectly possible.

If we announced that we were doing a sample return, I'm sure it would open up funding from a lot of places. Corporate sponsors would show up much more than they have so far, of course. We could sell the rocks to the government and private buyers for outrageous prices. We could get corporations to finance us in return for assocating them with the mission in some way-- send your logo to Mars! That is just a few ideas. We might even be able to grab some monetary help from some space or science related government organization, somehow. I don't think NASA would be real friendly to the idea, although it is possible, given that NASA wouldn't really have much of an excuse to feed the public like they did with the Tito thing.

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#5 2002-01-20 13:52:33

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: MSR-ISPP

If we announced that we were doing a sample return, I'm sure it would open up funding from a lot of places. Corporate sponsors would show up much more than they have so far, of course. We could sell the rocks to the government and private buyers for outrageous prices. We could get corporations to finance us in return for assocating them with the mission in some way-- send your logo to Mars! That is just a few ideas.

I think your right.  If you want to finance your missions via private sponsorship, you'd more likely find it by promising a sample return mission than a filming one.  I think there's a certain romance to bringing back materials from an alien world that captures people's imaginations.  And on top of that the mission would just have a lot more scientific value, which might appeal to some corporations who sponsor it in hopes that it gives them the public image of being progressive.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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