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Comment: Re:Baby steps (Score 1) 348

Wrong. I said mass manufacture - you don't have to re-engineer curiosity from scratch and hand-build it every time. And if you can pay to build a super-heavy-lift vehicle, or tons of smaller (but still very large) launches to get your ~100 tonne manned Mars round trip spacecraft into orbit, then you can launch a 100x 889kg curiosity rovers.

You literally can launch about 100 mass-manufactured curiosity-sized rovers for the cost of one manned mission. The scientific bang for your buck is way, way, way higher with robots.

My experience with these robotic projects points me in a different direction. They're fundamentally over-budget and no where near ready for mass-production. The support systems developed on the west coast took forever to test correctly, too. I'll admit that a different focus (like yours) could change that, but history hasn't shown that with products like this. However, private companies are definitely making a better push for launch systems.

And FYI, if your goal is to be able to help people "live on another planet", then you absolutely should not be supporting wasting money on a trip to Mars on today's way overpriced launch systems. You should be supporting spending it on developing novel systems for orders-of-magnitude reduction of launch prices, be they scramjets, launch loops, coilguns, metastable fuels, nuclear thermal propulsion, or in general insert-your-favorite-potential-cost-reducer-here, so that it doesn't cost an impractical amount of money to send people there. (never mind that we're not even centuries away from being able to recreate a full self-sustainable tech tree on Mars.. see earlier in the thread)

I never indicated anything different on improvements in launch schemes. I certainly support better launch systems. I more back one-way systems that deliver people on site. We probably will never find middle ground on that but there are just too many variables that require a human decision-maker on site to accomplish by my estimation. If delivery wasn't an issue (work with me!) the best solution in my mind is getting an invested populace into the "new country" and supporting an economy. Robots cannot do that on any reasonable schedule that doesn't last lifetimes.

I always find it funny to hear people the same alt-space fanboys complaining vitriolically about how maintaining ISS is a huge waste of money but then insisting that we set up a manned outpost that would cost orders of magnitude more to maintain ;)

My only complaint for the ISS is that it was rather underwhelming. We've plenty of money to give the NFL billions in tax breaks but true investment in the science of our species' survival (in the ISS) doesn't even get pennies in comparison.

Comment: Re:Baby steps (Score 1) 348

by Sarius64 (#48178631) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"
Remember that time advantage next time you like getting anything accomplished in your own life. I'll sit back and see how well you experience the type of latency you're describing. The other advantage is that people actually on Mars can live and diversify the species. Preventing extinction seems like a fairly strong advantage.

Comment: Re:Baby steps (Score 1) 348

by Sarius64 (#48176425) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"
Also, I can't believe you aren't throwing out some hyperbole on those stats. A one-way manned mission to Mars would cost considerably less than 100 Curiosity rovers. At $1.8 billion per package and a total of $2.5 billion per launch, that's nominally $108 billion to $250 billion for your methodology at the level of Curiosity. Making robots that can do "anything" at the end of a wire would probably be considerably more. Sends some humans and make a colony. Much cheaper.

Comment: Re:Baby steps (Score 1) 348

by Sarius64 (#48175269) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"
Only plausibly because you're vastly underrating the engineering for robotics implementation will require. Sending 100,000 humans would be easier than creating this all-purpose robot you seem to be describing. Robots are not anywhere near the competency you've described as necessary.

Comment: Re:Space is ok (Score 1) 348

Exactly. The science and resource abundance in the asteroid belts or even Saturn orbit warrant this effort. Zero-g problems to the physical would all be easily overcome with a ring station of some kind. Our early-warning technologies would probably need to improve for the vicinity.

Comment: Re:Baby steps (Score 1) 348

But you're not being honest. Your proposal makes assumptions that the robots will make/react/design decisions with the breadth of our intellect. If this existed we would already be using it to control the solar system. Your technology doesn't exist, is unlikely to be created, and more complex than anything even approaching anything needed to establish a Martian or space-based station with current technology. Also, Curiosity could be replaced by one human being costing immeasurably less than today or future robotic construction. There's absolutely no example of your proposal in working format, or even engineering-level designs.

Comment: Re:Baby steps (Score 1) 348

What you propose doesn't exist, and is probably beyond the ability to create functionally with today's technology. What does exist is millions of humans capable of learning basic environmental safety for operations on Mars and construction skills to get a base started now so we can move ahead now instead of when some apex of robotics produces your described nirvana.

Make headway at work. Continue to let things deteriorate at home.