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Robotics Space

Robots Will Pave the Way To Mars 95

szotz (2505808) writes "There's a lot of skepticism swirling around NASA's plan to send humans to Mars in the 2030's, not to mention all those private missions. If we want to have sustainable (read: not bank-breaking) space exploration, the argument goes, there's no way we can do it the way we've been going to the moon and low-Earth orbit. We have to find a way to exploit space resources and cut down on the amount of stuff we need to launch from Earth. That's not a new idea. But this article in IEEE Spectrum suggests research on resource extraction and fabrication in low and zero gravity might actually be making progress...and that we could take these technologies quite far if we get our act together."
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Robots Will Pave the Way To Mars

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  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @10:47PM (#47116179) Homepage Journal

    Actually - religion seems to me to be more of an anchor to earth, than a reason to go off planet. Your religious nuts are more likely to argue, "If God wanted us in space, he would have PUT US IN SPACE!"

    As for getting out act together - I'm sure that will impress the next big rock scheduled to strike the earth. "Hey, those humans have gotten their act together! Maybe I'll just nudge myself into a near miss orbit, instead of obliterating life on earth!"

    So, tell us, which religion do you subscribe to? Sounds a bit like humanism. Basically, you believe that if we can all just get along, then everything will work out for the best, right?

    Screw that, Pal. Bad things happen to good people. Most religions admit that much - yours seems to be pretty screwed up.

  • Heard this before (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @01:18AM (#47116869) Homepage

    From the article:

    Thatâ(TM)s the scenario laid out some 35 years ago by a team of academics and NASA engineers meeting at the University of Santa Clara, in California.

    There were still AI people talking this up when I was at Stanford CS in the 1980s. They wanted to have self-replicating robots on the Moon or Mars by 2000. I asked "how soon could you have it working in Arizona?" Some people didn't like that.

    It's embarrassing how bad robot manipulation is in unstructured situations. DARPA is trying to fix that by throwing money at the DARPA Humanoid Challenge. But so far, the machines in that are mostly teleoperated. (Ignore the edited videos for popular consumption; look at the split-screen videos that show three views of the machine and one of the operators, who often are using game controllers.)

    I'd like to see a robotic system able to do simple parts changes on a car - air filter, fuel filter, spark plugs, etc., removing and replacing any covers and cables needed to do the job.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.