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Manufacturing and Engineering

Terrence Lewis

November 19, 2012

First, a major impediment to anything achievable in space is the problem of manufacturing and engineering. I cite the boondoggle of the ISS. That situation must be corrected. I believe that a major push to put humans on Mars is an unnecessary and mistaken effort. It will be horrifically expensive, and we must ask, "At this point in time, what can humans do there that cannot be done by robots?" A moon base for the purpose of testing equipment and life support systems, testing radiation shielding, and low gravity experiments would be a much more valuable goal. It should be supported by a simple space station in orbit around the moon whose primary purpose is to support the moon base, act as a nearby safety measure, and to manage the parking of cargo vessels. I believe this sort of goal could ignite the interest of people world wide and gain a lot of support for space missions.


J-squared: 11/19/2012 07:15 CST

Robots are usually configured to do what humans do but faster, cheaper, and with less environmental protection. I would like to see/hear the development of microbial species that 1) replicate vigorously in harsh environments and 2) remove harmful elements or compounds that exist in alien environments by sequestration into minerals that resist most solvents. This should NOT be done on a planetary scale but in earth laboratories. Of course, we need thorough testing of Mars, Venus, and other environments with terraforming in mind.

Ian Miller: 11/24/2012 11:48 CST

What can humans do that cannot be done by robots? (1) Improvise. A robot cannot do anything it was not designed to do, which limits the unexpected discoveries. Most robots also have limitations on where they can go, usually not being able to dig deeper than the length of a drill packed on Earth, and it cannot climb down certain slopes.

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