[extropy-chat] MARS: Because it is hard

Emlyn ORegan Emlyn.Oregan at micromet.com.au
Wed Apr 14 04:12:04 UTC 2004

It seems as though it'll be really hard to put physically capable people
on the surface of Mars, and they'll only be necessary as very flexible
labour (putting fallen over wheeled devices back on their feet, that
kind of thing).

If we can do without the need for those people, the next need is for
operators/coordinators, as Eugen says below. They need to go much closer
to Mars (the lags for Earth->Mars->Earth are far too long) but they only
need to get close enough that lags become much less (a couple of seconds
round trip, something like that?) 

This ties in with something about the trip; ie: that you not only need
to speed up, but you need to slow down. Machines can possibly land
pretty hard and otherwise require far less babying across the void. But
people are problematic. If you could minimize this, by leaving the
people in space, and perhaps in a very far orbit (?), then maybe you
could even keep a lot of your velocity for the trip back... so you get
something like "fire off from the moon base (from a big
slingshot/cannon?), adjust and orbit Mars (wide!) then adjust again and
fling straight back to the moon/earth. It seems like that might shorten
the trip in both directions (no slowing down) and minimize the fuel
(whatever form) required (minimal stopping and restarting, no climbing
down and up gravity wells). 


-----Original Message-----
From: Eugen Leitl [mailto:eugen at leitl.org] 
Sent: Wednesday, 14 April 2004 4:21 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] MARS: Because it is hard

On Mon, Apr 12, 2004 at 10:58:16PM -0700, Spike wrote:

> Well, not really.  Propulsion has been well understood
> for many years.  The natural constraints that go along 

Chemical propulsion, yes. Nuclear propulsion, no. Ion/Plasma, no.
and photonic sails, no.

> with taking humans anywhere keep dragging us back to 
> the old fashioned tried-and-true chemical propulsion.

The system is telling you something, but you choose to ignore what it
It tells you that people don't fly well, far, and long. As such there
are no
options left but automation.

> Once we stop designing way beyond that which we really
> need, humanity will collectively realize that the technology
> to do Mars has quietly come into being while no one
> was watching.

The technology is there already, or will be shortly. In absense of
automation and at sufficiently high distances to prevent teleoperation
are good to have as local coordinators and operators (but operators
scale, coordinators are more loosely coupled and higher-level).

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>

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