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Planning to the Moon and Beyond

Earl Finkler

Cyburbian
Messages
190
Points
7
With the recent and very sad tragedy with the Space Shuttle, I was wondering if planners on this board ever think about long-term plans for space exploration.
As an amateur astronomer, I am fascinated with that new frontier.
But resources for the exploration of the solar system and beyond are dwindling. And our manned program is both risky and extra expensive, compared with robotic missions, such as the Voyager 1 and 2 spaceprobles, following lots of success with the outer planets, now on their way to the stars, if at a very slow pace.
Should we emphasize manned missions to orbit, the moon and Mars, or rather, robotic missons to those places and planets out to Pluto, and even beyond? There is so much to learn. What do you think?
Earl
 

Perry Norton

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
89
Points
4
Which Way

I think I come down in favor of unmanned spacecraft.
It's a question of quality. But manned missions are
important. We can't avoid them altogether. So I guess
what I'm saying is COMBINE the two programs.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Well, I think we need to maintain a human presence out there - maybe not go to Mars just yet. I'm still waiting for these so-called low-cost launch platforms to become reality...
 

Earl Finkler

Cyburbian
Messages
190
Points
7
Super responses! I agree that some blend would be appropriate. And yes, we do need a truly economic
(and maybe less complicated) reusable launch vehicle.
Something where "the tiles will not fall off"
But if we do send humans on long missions, like to Mars, we should be fully aware of the risk.
Here we have 3 astronauts almost "stuck" in the International Space Station in Earth orbit because of problems with Shuttle.
Imagine how folks will feel if 7 astronauts get in trouble 40 to 80 million miles away on Mars, with no possibility of rescue.
But heck, I'd go on that mission anyway --just for the chance to set foot on another world, one where there is a chance, maybe even a good chance, of finding life or remnants of life.
Keep looking up.
Earl
 
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