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Comment Re:The actual real problem with Mars... (Score 2) 100

The Curiosity mission cost $2.5 billion and that was a one-way trip for a robot.

A significant part of that cost was because of the inability to deliver large payloads to Mars cost-efficiently. It seems that Red Dragon is poised to offer a standardized transportation system that could land something like twice the mass of the MSL rover for half the money, and that could not only save you transportation costs (which included not just spending $200M on a top Atlas V configuration launch but also having to develop a "one-off" custom lander), but it could also remove some of the design constraints so that an equivalent mobile robot could be built cheaper, even if it weighed a little bit more in the end because of less money spent on shedding weight.

Comment Re:Efficiency is useless. (Score 1) 119

Cost is not everything, that is pretty dumb economic thinking. Cost efficiency is everything, the return on capital investment.

With solar panels, it turns out that these two correlate quite nicely. With the exception of potential panel area limitation, cheaper panels are also more cost efficient. Although the US is also an outlier with fixed non-hardware costs (permits, labor etc.), so your experience may be somewhat different than in other parts of the world, where the cost efficiency of ordinary panels is much more obvious.

Comment Re:Maybe I'm missing something. . . (Score 1) 100

Maybe you're missing the part where it would be a waste if some planetary scientists, such as those at NASA, didn't include some instruments in the mission payload? I mean, surely science enthusiasts at SpaceX will come up with some basic experiments of their own, but the idea is that NASA's planetary scientists have better ideas as to what to look for and there's some empty space available that would otherwise cost a few hundred million dollars with traditional launch providers.

Comment Re: A Very Old Performance Problem, Mostly Forgott (Score 1) 257

Huge work goes into figuring out how to do array operations in a fast manner. The work often becomes highly application dependent. Find special short-cuts that apply to particular matrices that allow one to make use of special theorems.

This is actually one of the things I'd like to see in the kind of experimental compiler I outlined above.

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