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Should Better, Faster, Cheaper be Revived?


fredinno
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Should it be revived?  

12 members have voted

  1. 1. Should it be revived?



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During the '90s, NASA pursued an approach to planetary science that involved lowering mission costs by making many smaller missions with cost caps, rather than a few flagship missions (think Discovery Program on Steriods.)

However, though this allowed 16 missions to be made with less cost than Cassini, and still yielded great scientific results, the reliabilty rate of these missions was low, partially because safety (to the probe) was comprimised to reduce costs and schedule.

However, with planetary exploration in NASA being on near-life support (with few missions in the near future), should such an approach be revived?

Full article for more information: http://amyshirateitel.com/2012/03/06/should-nasa-reconsider-the-faster-better-cheaper-approach-to-exploringmars/

Though this article focusses on Mars exploration, I believe it should be able to easily extend across all Solar System destinations. (Including the outer Solar System- there are some sweet Discovery Mission Outer Solar System missions I would like to see.)

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I think the high failure rate might cause the public to dislike the program for a while. After you get over the initial hump it should be fine "Oh, another mars probe failure this week." and It might have a great advantage. I just can't see it getting past that though.

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The failure rate was 40%.

That's too high for public opinion. Look at Tesla. One minor engine fire that was handled by the car automatically and as designed, and "OMG electric cars are fire hazards let's keep using GASOLINE instead."

Though I personally would prefer it. When Curiosity was in the planning stages one of the late contenders for a mission was to send - instead of 1 large rover - dozens (perhaps hundreds) of tiny rovers. The idea was that if you lose one (or a dozen) of those, no big deal, so you can take risks.

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That's too high for public opinion. Look at Tesla. One minor engine fire that was handled by the car automatically and as designed, and "OMG electric cars are fire hazards let's keep using GASOLINE instead."

People are not aboard the probes. That is a major difference, though 40% might be just a bit too much.

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People are not aboard the probes. That is a major difference, though 40% might be just a bit too much.

It doesn't matter. NASA is a huge drain on resources* and 40% of all that waste is just waste of waste.

*I know and you know it's not, but we're already in the throes of the next presidential election cycle and can you imagine how much mileage the politicians (who are spending more to get elected than NASA does on all projects combined) would get out of "thanks Obama"ing a 40% failure rate?

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