Manned or Umanned Space exploration?

OM

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Byeman said:
All which could and were done with cheaper systems.

...Ah yes, the classic excuse to take the man out of the space exploration and utilization equation. And still a total festering load of crap over a half a century later.
 

Byeman

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OM said:
...Ah yes, the classic excuse to take the man out of the space exploration and utilization equation. And still a total festering load of crap over a half a century later.

Incorrect, it isn't crap, it is the truth. A. We are talking military applications and not exploration. B. The proof is "the half a century". There has yet to be a valid reason for the military man in space. And the reasons are decreasing as UAV and UCAV's become the rule vs the exception. The modus operandi of space vehicles is being applied to terrestrial vehicles.
 

OM

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Byeman said:
Incorrect, it isn't crap, it is the truth.

...Riiight. Take the man out of the equation, and you end up having nothing but robots fighting and the war eventually getting nowhere.

Sorry, it's a crap argument. Always has been, and always will be.
 

Orionblamblam

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Byeman said:
There has yet to be a valid reason for the military man in space.

Incorrect. No robot, no matter how advanced, can have babies. And the nation/culture that doesn't just *explore* space but *colonizes* it wins.

If, say, the Chinese colonize the Moon, Mars, asteroids, Venus, Jovian system, comets, Kuiper Belt, oort cloud and eventually the stars, while everyone else stays on Earth and congratulates themselves on their mastery of unmanned spysats... the Chinese win. Even if China gets wiped clean off the face of the Earth, the Earth is a tiny meaningless speck compared to the vastness of the accessible and exploitable universe.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Byeman said:
There has yet to be a valid reason for the military man in space.

Incorrect. No robot, no matter how advanced, can have babies. And the nation/culture that doesn't just *explore* space but *colonizes* it wins.

It's quite true that colonization by definition requires people in space, but colonization is not a military mission. Byeman's right: there's no sign 50 years on that any of the manned military space systems proposed in the 50s and 60s made sense for military purposes.
 

bobbymike

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Orionblamblam - absolutely agree 100% we need to expand off this planet ASAP and colonize the galaxy. There is an interesting book by Marshall Savage called "The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps" that is quite interesting and IMHO a very fascinating read.
 

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Proponent said:
Orionblamblam said:
Byeman said:
There has yet to be a valid reason for the military man in space.

Incorrect. No robot, no matter how advanced, can have babies. And the nation/culture that doesn't just *explore* space but *colonizes* it wins.

It's quite true that colonization by definition requires people in space, but colonization is not a military mission. Byeman's right: there's no sign 50 years on that any of the manned military space systems proposed in the 50s and 60s made sense for military purposes.

Why does the United States have manned missions on the sea? Why does the United States have manned missions in the air? Certainly robots/unmanned systems could do the missions cheaper. The lack of manned weapon systems in space operated by the United States has been more about politics than anything else.
 

Orionblamblam

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Proponent said:
It's quite true that colonization by definition requires people in space, but colonization is not a military mission.

Really? I'll keep that in mind the next time I pass through Fort Dodge Iowa or Fort Collins Colorado or Fort Calhoun Nebraska or any of the other myriad locations in the United States that are named after the military installations that were set up more than a century ago to provide support and defence for the colonists settling the western portions of what's now the USA.

Historically, colonizations occured with the support of, and were often preceded by, military forces. No reason why space exploration should be any different. The Norse failed in Vinland because they did not arrive with an adequate military to deal with the Scraelings; the Spanish succeeded in Mexico because they *did* arrive with adequate military force. And while it's unlikely that any military force out in space will need to fight the native Martians, military forces are uniquely skilled and disciplined in a way that makes them perfect for preliminary colony setup. And of course when some *other* nation decides that the first colony is a desirable bit of real estate, a military will be needed to defend it. And and of course, when your nation decides to take someone elses colony, you can't take and hold land with unmanned probes and UCAVs... you'll need troops.
 

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OM said:
Byeman said:
Incorrect, it isn't crap, it is the truth.

...Riiight. Take the man out of the equation, and you end up having nothing but robots fighting and the war eventually getting nowhere.

Sorry, it's a crap argument. Always has been, and always will be.

It is happening as we speak. UAV and UCAV are over the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq. There are unmanned road vehicles employed there. ICBM's, cruise missiles, etc
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Really? I'll keep that in mind the next time I pass through Fort Dodge Iowa or Fort Collins Colorado or Fort Calhoun Nebraska or any of the other myriad locations in the United States that are named after the military installations that were set up more than a century ago to provide support and defence for the colonists settling the western portions of what's now the USA.

Because there were hostile natives. There is no fort in LEO and ISS exists. There is no fort in Antarctica. The first moon outpost will be civilian.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
1. Historically, colonizations occured with the support of, and were often preceded by, military forces. No reason why space exploration should be any different. The Norse failed in Vinland because they did not arrive with an adequate military to deal with the Scraelings; the Spanish succeeded in Mexico because they *did* arrive with adequate military force. And while it's unlikely that any military force out in space will need to fight the native Martians,

2. military forces are uniquely skilled and disciplined in a way that makes them perfect for preliminary colony setup.

1. Because of natives. Not now. Civilians are doing it and not the military.

2. Not in space. They would be fish out of water.
 

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Topic split and renamed. - See McNamara and space projects.

Regards Bailey.
 

Orionblamblam

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Byeman said:
1. Because of natives. Not now. Civilians are doing it and not the military.

Actually, civilians *aren't* doing it. Nobody is.

2. Not in space. They would be fish out of water.

Wrong. A military expedition would be more appropriate for any sort of initial space colony than civilians, even if only for the rank & discipline systems.
 

Byeman

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Orionblamblam said:
Byeman said:
1. Because of natives. Not now. Civilians are doing it and not the military.

Actually, civilians *aren't* doing it. Nobody is.

2. Not in space. They would be fish out of water.

Wrong. A military expedition would be more appropriate for any sort of initial space colony than civilians, even if only for the rank & discipline systems.

1. Incorrect, it is called ISS

2. Again, incorrect, the current military is not set up for it, nor would it have the ability to gain the experience. They don't have an existing reason to gain the experience.
 

Byeman

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Orionblamblam said:
Historically, colonizations occured with the support of, and were often preceded by, military forces. No reason why space exploration should be any different. The Norse failed in Vinland because they did not arrive with an adequate military to deal with the Scraelings; the Spanish succeeded in Mexico because they *did* arrive with adequate military force. And while it's unlikely that any military force out in space will need to fight the native Martians, military forces are uniquely skilled and disciplined in a way that makes them perfect for preliminary colony setup. And of course when some *other* nation decides that the first colony is a desirable bit of real estate, a military will be needed to defend it. And and of course, when your nation decides to take someone elses colony, you can't take and hold land with unmanned probes and UCAVs... you'll need troops.

And again this proves my point. Without green men or colonization, there is no need for the military man in space and McNamara was justified in canceling Dynasoar and MOL
 

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There will be times where you need boots on the ground and a man in the loop

That should never be something to take out of the equation. The recent hacking of a Predator by insurgents (http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/12/17/drone.video.hacked/index.html) is good reason why you can never truly rely only on UAV's
completely. A manual override is much better alternative than a self-destruct charge.

Here's an example. Take the X-37B test coming up in April. As farfetched as this may seem, try and imagine if comms with the vehicle was lost on final approach and the thing went for a parked bird out on the flightline instead of the runway. Or worse, Base Housing.

Oh it gets better. What if the X-37B, unlikely as this may be, were to be hacked like that Predator.

Yes, those were pretty extreme examples of what could go wrong. But then again, the notion of something like 9/11 seemed pretty farfetched and in the realm of Hollywood till it actually happened.

Yes, unmanned is up-and-coming and more commnplace now than ever. However, we still have years if not decades before the technology becomes fully mature. Nothing will ever completely replace manned vehicles.
 

Orionblamblam

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Byeman said:
Without green men or colonization, there is no need for the military man in space

Aha. And so, once you agree that colonization is going to happen, the military man in space is immediately relevant. Now, if you want humanity and terrestrial life to survive in the long run, then that means you want space colonization. And thus, the sooner the better. And the sooner you get the military man in space, the better.

So, either you accept military manned space flight, or you accept that humanity, or at least your national/cultural part of it, is doomed to stay trapped on Earth and eventual extinction.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
And the sooner you get the military man in space, the better.

No proof of that. Especially since colonization isn't going to happen for many decades. And in the beginning only a police force will be needed. It is better to spend the limited money on the outpost and colonization efforts , than the military man in space in the near term
 

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Some of this is an emotional response to the debate.

Interplanetary, and perhaps more ambitiously, interstellar exploration is better served by robotic missions until such time that we have the fantastic sort of technology described in Star Trek and the like - and I'm not holding my breath on that. Cassini, Galileo, and (JIMO?) could not be better served with Humans along for the ride - particularly the outer Solar System stuff.

I'm for sending people back to the Moon and getting good at moving people and equipment off Earth and onto another terrestrial location. Robots are kind of a waste for Lunar activities - especially since there may be mineral wealth to be uncovered and utilized (exploited). I'm even for sending people to Mars - when it's reasonably possible. I think people are useless on outer planetary missions since they would just compromise the science. Cassini is a one way mission. If we sent people along then what would be accomplished other than irradiating them to death? That would be ridiculous.

Putting people in spy satellites is ridiculous in the same manner. People raise the cost and consequently lower the ability of such systems that function just fine with tele-presence.
 

prolific1

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More importantly I feel people also need to be realistic. As much as I would like to see some more ambitious manned space exploration I'm also totally aware that we aren't going to the Moon [again] in this decade and we aren't going to Mars anytime soon. In fact I will go out on a limb here. Firstly if the US sends a manned mission to the Moon within this decade I will eat my shorts. I also am willing to wager a crisp $100 bill that everybody except for single digit aged members of this forum will be deceased before a person steps foot on the Red Planet.
 

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Lauge

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prolific1 said:
Interplanetary, and perhaps more ambitiously, interstellar exploration is better served by robotic missions until such time that we have the fantastic sort of technology described in Star Trek and the like - and I'm not holding my breath on that.

I'm not holding my breath either, which is why I disagree that we should wait. Something like Charles Pellegrino's Valkyrie, or a Ram-Augmented Interstellar Rocket*, would theoretically be able to achieve speeds where time dilation becomes a significant factor. So significant, in fact, that the travel times to stars within 10 light years, as experienced by the crew, would be reduced to little more than, say, Charles Darwin spent on board the Beagle. Another argument for human crews on a starship is signal lag. Send a probe to Proxima Centauri, and if it runs into any kind of problem that its AI can't handle, it'll have to wait 4,5 years for its "What should I do?" to reach Earth, and anoother 4,5 years for the reply to arrive. So: Per Ardua ad Astra, and all that ;)

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

*) Assuming, of course, that these can be made to work. It won't be easy. It might not even be possible. But I think a Bussard Ramjet or a Valkyrie is a damn sight more possible than Starship Enterprise or the Millennium Falcon.

PS: And how come these discussions always seem to polarize into either-or? Of course, if they didn't, there wouldn't be much of a discussion....but seriously, can't we just get along, and agree that for some missions, robots are better, and for others, humans? And for some, of not most (in my opinion), a combination?
 

prolific1

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I'm clearly open to the merits of both options as evidenced by my reply.

PS: And how come these discussions always seem to polarize into either-or? Of course, if they didn't, there wouldn't be much of a discussion....but seriously, can't we just get along, and agree that for some missions, robots are better, and for others, humans? And for some, of not most (in my opinion), a combination?

Simple. Pro manned folks are, like most of us, are driven by the fantastic and the possible. They are adventurers, or in most cases vicarious adventurers. Pro robot folk are science driven people who don't get misty for the manned element and feel that the manned portion of space exploration compromises the science of the mission.

I'm not riding the fence here. I'm for manned where pertinent and for robotic for the extreme. Calling our feeble manned orbital work Space Exploration devalues the currency of the term...as Carl Sagan said.

I'm not holding my breath either, which is why I disagree that we should wait. Something like Charles Pellegrino's Valkyrie, or a Ram-Augmented Interstellar Rocket*, would theoretically be able to achieve speeds where time dilation becomes a significant factor. So significant, in fact, that the travel times to stars within 10 light years, as experienced by the crew, would be reduced to little more than, say, Charles Darwin spent on board the Beagle.

Again...pure fantasy. Having a sound idea, as these may be, and being able to execute them are mutually exclusive ideas. If building the space station (to what it was supposed to be) is as difficult as it was, then how are we to build some trillion dollar interstellar rocket? People often argue: "if only we had the political will." Well that's a lot like saying if only we all got along there would be no war. The political will for such ambitious missions will never exist until such time that such mission are doable on the cheap.

Another argument for human crews on a starship is signal lag. Send a probe to Proxima Centauri, and if it runs into any kind of problem that its AI can't handle, it'll have to wait 4,5 years for its "What should I do?" to reach Earth, and anoother 4,5 years for the reply to arrive.

Really? Well what happens when said suicidal crew sends an SOS. We tell them to eat cake I suppose.

If I'm betting against the reality of near term manned interplanetary missions - I got another crisp $100 bill against a manned interstellar mission in this century. That said...even I'll be dead before I can collect on it.
 

prolific1

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For now Science Fiction is our best outlet for such ideas - so Ladies and Gentlemen...get to writing. I got my laptop out and am fastidiously typing away - cup in hand - in a Cafe in Hollywood. ;D
 

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Man has to go or it really doesn't count. Robots can go first sure but humans have to take the step, our galatic survival depends on it. I would ask everyone on this thread, especially the pro-robotics group, what would be more exciting? What would have more philosophical meaning to our place in the universe? A human being stepping on another world exceeds robots infinitely in this regard.
 

prolific1

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I'm afraid the choice isn't between sending a robot or a person(s). It is a choice between sending a scientifically ambitious mission to far, far way or sending a manned mission someplace real close (like the Moon maybe).

If I had to decide between some kind of JIMO (Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter) or another Lunar flag planting mission...I'm with JIMO. I'd rather find out if there is life underneath the icy surfaces of Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa.

A human being stepping on another world exceeds robots infinitely in this regard.

Perhaps. Who could really disagree? But that isn't the choice is it? The infrastructure to send people to the outer planets or farther doesn't exist...yet or at all. How can galactic survival be enough impetus to drive mankind to the stars when my city dumps raw sewage onto my local beach twice annually? The survival instinct isn't one of humanity's strengths.

I don't despise manned interplanetary/interstellar missions since they would be 10 times more fascinating if they weren't the stuff of fiction.
 

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prolific1

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Both of these spacecraft are perfectly rational - yet one is 1000 times cheaper than the other and a 100 times more achievable at that. ICAN II of course is infinitely more fascinating - with trips to Mars in days, Jupiter in months, and the outer Solar System in years...all the while being reusable to some extent.
 

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Lauge

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prolific1 said:
Really? Well what happens when said suicidal crew sends an SOS. We tell them to eat cake I suppose.

The same could have been said of Apollo 8-17, couldn't it? But they went anyway (and anyone who raises the "Moonlandings were a hoax" argument at this stage better be prepared to face the Wrath of Nielsen) ;D

As for the crew being "suicidal"? I see nothing to prevent them from returning to Earth after a successfull mission (especially if we use something like a Bussard ramjet or a RAIR, which reduces the reaction mass/fuel requirements).

prolific1 said:
Again...pure fantasy. Having a sound idea, as these may be, and being able to execute them are mutually exclusive ideas.

Having a sound idea and being able to execute it are not the same, agreed, but "mutually exclusive"? By no means!

And at least the "pure fantasies" outlined in my previous post are within the limits of physics as we understand them today. As indicated, I agree they may not be within the limits of our current engineering skills, but neither was the Saturn V a hundred years ago.
[/quote]

prolific1 said:
If I'm betting against the reality of near term manned interplanetary missions - I got another crisp $100 bill against a manned interstellar mission in this century. That said...even I'll be dead before I can collect on it.

You're on :)

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg
 

NERVA

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Byeman said:
Orionblamblam said:
Historically, colonizations occured with the support of, and were often preceded by, military forces. No reason why space exploration should be any different. The Norse failed in Vinland because they did not arrive with an adequate military to deal with the Scraelings; the Spanish succeeded in Mexico because they *did* arrive with adequate military force. And while it's unlikely that any military force out in space will need to fight the native Martians, military forces are uniquely skilled and disciplined in a way that makes them perfect for preliminary colony setup. And of course when some *other* nation decides that the first colony is a desirable bit of real estate, a military will be needed to defend it. And and of course, when your nation decides to take someone elses colony, you can't take and hold land with unmanned probes and UCAVs... you'll need troops.

And again this proves my point. Without green men or colonization, there is no need for the military man in space and McNamara was justified in canceling Dynasoar and MOL

Well, which is it? You said earlier the military wasn't needed for space colonization because civilians on ISS are performing that function (which is a laughable contention). I mean, really... the ISS is involved in space colonization? I suppose you could say the Space Shuttle is lowering the cost of getting things to space... because we keep launching it.

And now we come to your statement above. You say "without green men or colonization, there is no need for the military man...". So, again, which is it?

McNamara cancelled Dynasoar and MOL largely for political reasons. Probably to help pay for more of his Vietnam War strategy. He did such a wonderful job with that, didn't he? The only point you're making is McNamara was an idiot.
 

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Message to everyone:- Please do not let this topic get too heated, otherwise I will have to consider locking it.

Many thanks, Bailey.
 

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You know, whenever this comes up, one thing everyone on both sides of the argument takes as a given is that robot/unmanned exploration is cheaper. It is, but only if your goals are very limited. Take the excellent work by our landers on Mars. They have lasted far longer and did far more than anyone thought they would. Yet the total output produced by the five successful landers over all these years is less than a human could do better in a week. And, humans don't take a week to decide how to go around a small rock and are smart enough to get out of a sandtrap. They also improvise real well. I'm not aware of any robot that as the ability to give something stuck a couple of good whacks.

It all depends on what you want to do. The upfront costs of humans is much higher (partly because it's usually a good idea to bring them back, eventually. When the objective is only to do a limited amount of work that can be handled by a robot, that's the way to go. But as requirements rise, the cost of robots to achieve those goals goes up dramatically, or those objectives are just written off. To achieve what humans can do with robots would be far more expensive (consider the size of mission control for such robots). This is not even counting the unbelievable amount of money necessary to develop such creatures even before you talk about missions. Humans, on the other hand, can be easily produced by unskilled labor.

Same thing for UAVs. They have a number of great advantages and do valuable work, but what they do is only a fraction of what a manned a/c can do. It all depends on how much you need.

Will we ever be able to develop practical machines that can do the things humans do now? I think so, after much treasure is spent. I even have a name for them. We can call them... "Cylons".
 

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F-14D said:
I even have a name for them. We can call them... "Cylons".

Don't make me come over there..... ;)

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

PS: Apart from that, I agree with your analysis.
 

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prolific1 said:
I also am willing to wager a crisp $100 bill that everybody except for single digit aged members of this forum will be deceased before a person steps foot on the Red Planet.

am willing to take the wager , do we have a time limit , say 2030 ?
 

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Frakkin unmanned rovers! :p
http://www.usatoday.com/NEWS/usaedition/2010-01-18-nline18_ST_U.htm?csp=34

On a manned mission, a man-in-the-loop coulda run a diagnostic, tracked down the source for the loss-of-comms, installed a replacement part from the bin, and comms would be restored by now.

But the Mars rover, well it's just gonna sit pretty .

If it were human, it'd reach for a candy bar right about now.

:D :D :D
 

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Byeman

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XP67_Moonbat said:
Frakkin unmanned rovers! :p
http://www.usatoday.com/NEWS/usaedition/2010-01-18-nline18_ST_U.htm?csp=34

On a manned mission, a man-in-the-loop coulda run a diagnostic, tracked down the source for the loss-of-comms, installed a replacement part from the bin, and comms would be restored by now.

But the Mars rover, well it's just gonna sit pretty .

If it were human, it'd reach for a candy bar right about now.

Why bother. The cost of the rover is a drop in the bucket compared to putting a human on Mars, so just send a replacement rover.
 

Byeman

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NERVA said:
McNamara cancelled Dynasoar and MOL largely for political reasons.

It was for cost and limited returns. There was no operational mission for Dynasoar. The MOL mission was better done by existing and/or planned spacecraft.
 

F-14D

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Byeman said:
XP67_Moonbat said:
Frakkin unmanned rovers! :p
http://www.usatoday.com/NEWS/usaedition/2010-01-18-nline18_ST_U.htm?csp=34

On a manned mission, a man-in-the-loop coulda run a diagnostic, tracked down the source for the loss-of-comms, installed a replacement part from the bin, and comms would be restored by now.

But the Mars rover, well it's just gonna sit pretty .

If it were human, it'd reach for a candy bar right about now.

Why bother. The cost of the rover is a drop in the bucket compared to putting a human on Mars, so just send a replacement rover.

Of course, it would be seven years at best before that replacement rover arrived, even ignoring the rather poor record of landers actually making it to Mars ,whereas the human would fix such a problem in an hour or two. Back to my point: if all you want is the very limited stuff a rover can do, then it's foolish to send a human. But if your needs start getting more sophisticated, you approach and pass the cost of sending humans.
 

bobbymike

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F-14D - right on the mark ;D

I have nothing against rovers or robotics but as I said earlier in this thread If humans don't go in the end it really doesn't matter.
 

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