Posted by: grokscience | February 9, 2011

Space 2011

Space may be the final frontier, but exploring it will require plenty of ingenuity. What is in store for space exploration in 2011? On this program, Tariq Malik discussed the upcoming year in space exploration.

Live long and prosper… 😉

LISTEN TO EPISODE

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Responses

  1. Let’s make better robots.

    Often there is emphasis on need for human exploration of space. Why? Humans, by nature, aren’t made to go to space. We should strive to make better robots than squandering our money on human space exploration. Someone at JPL once told me that sending human to space cost 10 times or more than sending robots.

    Benefit we get out of human exploration is negligible. How much more could a human have done with the instruments he took compared to what the Mars rovers have done over the years? Humans in a space suit can’t do much outside the ability of their instruments. They also cannot carry much instruments and could not have stayed on Mars for years as the robots have. And yet, time and again, I hear sending ill suited equipment (human bodies) to outer space from some scientists and politicians. Very wasteful. We should be working on making better robots for home (earth) use. And if they are able to self replicate / heal themselves, send those to space.

    It’s interesting that the new space craft is called Orion. When I first heard it, I thought they were really going to make Freeman Dyson’s nuclear bomb powered Orion space ship for interstellar travel. Then the disappointment…

    Here’s an idea. Make self replicating, self healing robots, have them make more that are better suited to moon environment, have them build Dyson’s Orion ships out of material on the dark side of the moon, then off they go with all the nuclear bombs. Cost would be negligible as they are self replicating / healing. Using the moon as nuclear shield should protect the earth, and we’d really be doing space exploration then.

    There was mention of SETI, another complete waste of resources. Let’s see. Earth is 4.5 billion years old, humans have been sending radio signals for less than 0.00000001 billion years. How likely is it that we’ll detect something? And even now, the signal is getting more and more scrambled. We’re now doing code scrambling to squeeze more signals out of given bandwidth and more scrambling within codes to make it even more jibberish to the receiver for security reasons. Even if aliens are using exact same codes as we are, I doubt SETI or anyone else could easily recognize the signal.

    I doubt any space faring beings would use radio anyway. It is just way too slow. Looking for alien radio signal is like looking for needle in trillions and trillions of haystacks. Lottery, anyone? Lottery has billions of times better chance than SETI.

    I feel like SETI and other ET searchers based on current technology as primitive caveman, looking at the moon for a smoke signal from beings there. Nice thought, but complete waste of time. Instead, let’s make better robots.


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