Klapaucius

The one space mission you'd most like to see in your lifetime

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Just a fun question:

What is THE one mission above all else you would like to see NASA (or some other space agency) accomplish in your lifetime?  Manned mission to Mars?  Remote submarine on Titan?  Cassini type mission to Uranus?  Lander on Europa?  A mission to Sedna to coincide with its one in 10,000 year closest approach?  Your answer can be anything, from proposed missions to ones you just thought up. The only restriction is that they have to be achievable right now and in your lifetime. If you are 60, your answer may likely differ from a 16 year old.  No future tech stuff.

 

Personally, I'd like to see a dual mission to Uranus and Neptune. If I had to choose just one...Probably Neptune because of Triton...Though I would love to see Uranus's rings close up.

Edited by Klapaucius

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All of the upcoming ones just much sooner, plus Europa/Enceladus subsurface robot.

Edited by Wjolcz

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Establishment of a permanent base on the Moon, hopefully the precursor to a colony.

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I can not decide between sample return from Mars or Cassini like heavy and versatile orbiter to Uranus or Neptunus. Both of them would be hyperinteresting for me. I think those would be possible in my lifetime (expectation value is about 40 years), with some luck both of them. I prefer hard science over manned propaganda tricks.

Exploration of Europa's ocean would be of course on my favorite list too, but I do not see it realistic if ice cover is several tens of kilometers thick. Piercing through the ice, operation at huge pressure, communication with surface station etc. are quite nasty problems which would need decades of development time and more funding which is realistic to expect for space science, especially if politicians prefer manned operations on Moon during next decades.

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I want to see the completion of Breakthrough Starshot. At my current age we could have close-up images of another star system before I die.

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1 hour ago, sevenperforce said:

I want to see the completion of Breakthrough Starshot. At my current age we could have close-up images of another star system before I die.

Godammit I almost forgot about that!

Yeah. That’s my new “thing I want to see”

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SpaceX Starship (or similar) working as planned.

Because if they get full, rapid, operational reuse working, all the other missions become much easier to do (except maybe Starshot, which requires a lot of new tech, though perhaps it might enable GW level solar power in space for the lasers to be space based instead of terrestrial).

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Anything involving extra-terrestrial resource extraction, not necessarily for terrestrial use. Because that is absolutely necessary for any truly grand space projects

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1 hour ago, tater said:

SpaceX Starship (or similar) working as planned.

Because if they get full, rapid, operational reuse working, all the other missions become much easier to do (except maybe Starshot, which requires a lot of new tech, though perhaps it might enable GW level solar power in space for the lasers to be space based instead of terrestrial).

Actually, I change my mind. I want THIS^^^

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6 minutes ago, Wjolcz said:

Actually, I change my mind. I want THIS^^^

Breakthrough Starshot, or Starship? There’s two in that quote. I’d personally rather Breakthrough Starshot, as it sounds awsome!

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32 minutes ago, έķ νίĻĻάίή said:

Breakthrough Starshot, or Starship? There’s two in that quote. I’d personally rather Breakthrough Starshot, as it sounds awsome!

No, that's a great one, and would be astounding, no question. There are a lot of long poles to accomplish it, however---though I suppose if we get to magically jump the line for one, then maybe it's in fact a good candidate, since we get all the needed tech into the bargain.

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2 minutes ago, tater said:

No, that's a great one, and would be astounding, no question. There are a lot of long poles to accomplish it, however---though I suppose if we get to magically jump the line for one, then maybe it's in fact a good candidate, since we get all the needed tech into the bargain.

Such as more powerful lasers or better technology for the circuit boards, I guess

Edited by έķ νίĻĻάίή

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Starship 100% because again it just enables so much- pretty much every mission yoiu could list here would benefit from it. Besides it's just cool as heck- the first proper "spaceship" by scifi standards! Though that kind feels like cheating, since it's not a specific mission and it's kind of just an "all of the above" option (besides people have said it already), so I'm going to say something new:

a giant space telescope (>10m) specifically to characterize exoplanet systems by taking direct images of the whole system. I wanna see exoplanets really badly, and honestly I think people don't always realize jsut how incredibly exiting this would be, and I'll explain in a moment why.

Our current understanding of exoplanets is enough to know that we can expect a planetary system around any individual star, but not the exact details of each planetary system- the transit method is extremely limited to only a small number of systems, and long-period planets are hard to find by any method, no matter how big the planet may be. All except direct imaging.

We have directly imaged planets before, but not at this scale. I'm talkin' all the way down to Mars-size planets at Venus-sized orbits (around G-type stars, smaller orbits around like Red Dwarves obviously) (Mercury sound too ambitious). Unbelievably, this may be coming relatively soon- LUVOIR and HabEx in particular are very promising, very real proposals for a telescope that fan do this.  HabEx is even specifically focused on imaging whole exoplanet systems like I mentioned. So Yes, this IS a current technology thing. Just ask the HabEx team. That's what they want to do. (I'd settle for LUVOIR, but if the decadal study was up to me I know what I'd choose)

Why is this such an amazing idea to me? Imagine dozens of different Voyager-style family portraits showing hundreds of tiny dots. Every single one of those dots is an entire physical world. Every one of them is unique. We can surmise that they exist now, but we can't see it. This would give us something concrete to think of and truly appreciate the sheer diversity of the universe. Not only would we know for a fact that that all of these individual worlds exist but we would actually be able to know details about them! Size, color, mass, composition, atmosphere- all of these we can actually figure out from these observations and all of them can help us actually imagine what these worlds are like. There would just be so many details to learn. It would be great for science fiction, too- it would reignite the sense of wonder from the dawn of the space age for our own solar system, but multiplied by a hundred (assuming 7 planets per star- which could be wrong- that's 100 stars, which is a sphere with a radius of only 18 ly). Just imagine that for a moment. Hundreds of worlds, each revealing their own mysteries to solve, and each open for imagination. The general public would be captivated as news of especially astonishing exoplanets- WITH IMAGES (even if they are just dots)- hit the press. Perhaps it would motivate some to look at these not only as distant worlds, but as destinations- it would be the best motivator to work on some technology capable of interstellar travel than just about anything else (obviously that can't count as my chosen mission because that's future technology).

And, of course... there's always a chance... maybe- just maybe- one of those hundreds a dots will be a certain... very familiar... pale, blue color.

That might not be a very likely scenario, but it would be... something else. Had to mention it.

 

TL;DR: We know we're just one planet in one planetary system out of trillions... but we can't see it. Those are just numbers right now. With this... they'd be worlds. Real places. Distant, but so incredibly tantalizing. You would have to learn more from there.

TL;DR Alternate: Play SpaceEngine.

 

 

If that's too much can we just send a Cassini-style something to Uranus already? It's got a whole moon system and everything. And there's not even any PLANS for this? It's a shame. Just don't let the internet know you're sending something to Uranus for the first time in decades and you'll be fine.

Edited by ThatGuyWithALongUsername

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The Tellus and Vesta Colony missions.  Only good can come of it.

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Well an manned mission to the gas giants would be nice because I would live an long time. An manned mission to alpha centauri would be better but would require lots of new technology including radical life extension. Yes this is a bit trolling :)

If I don't focus on living long, rapid reuse of starship or similar heavy fully reusable rocket. 
it will totally change how we operate in space. Would cheaper electronic with 20 ton of shielding make sense for an satellite?  You can always pick it up and take it down again. Water as shielding makes sense here as you can dump it. 
For launch systems, either you plan for an fully reusable orbital rockets now or you are not an player, yes some nations like want to keep their space programs for national security reasons to not being tied to the superpowers. Israel and Brasil comes to mind. 
However this list will increase significantly. 
An parallel is middle of 19th century and warships, all major powers knew that it would be an shift from sail powered ship of the line made of wood to steam powered ships with iron armor. 
Or then planes beat liners for transatlantic travel, this was far more of an surprise because the aircraft performance increase during WW2 and the years following. 
However liners also used the engine development from carriers and fast battleships developing during WW2 but this was a dead end as ships moved to diesel, and they would be too slow anyway. 

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23 hours ago, ThatGuyWithALongUsername said:

If that's too much can we just send a Cassini-style something to Uranus already? It's got a whole moon system and everything. And there's not even any PLANS for this? It's a shame. Just don't let the internet you're sending something to Uranus for the first time in decades and you'll be fine.

The internet will really only lose it if we attempt a sample return from Uranus.

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99942 Apophis, with blackjack and nukes.

P.S.
Will somebody mention 3753 Cruithne?

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On 1/22/2020 at 5:20 AM, έķ νίĻĻάίή said:

Mission to Eeloo Pluto. Because it’s the furthest one away :)

That reminds me of another cool one- this. Triton lander that uses nitrogen ice to refuel and "hop" long distances, able to cover the entire moon with all it sa diverse features. The team specifically mentions Pluto as a possible follow-up since it's icy, too.

 

In fact, we need more landers in general! It's kind of sad to think that- counting Earth- we've only landed on 5 of the solar system's "worlds" (planets, dwarf planets, large moons), and even then only 3 of those with some kind of moving landers to see more than just one small part of the surface (hopefully we'll get Titan squared away by 2034 on that front, and in the coolest way possible, too!).

Preliminary plans exist to add 2 to that first number (Laplace-P for Ganymede, Europa Lander for... well, Europa), but neither are guaranteed and face serious budget challenges.

Out of... at least 32, perhaps more than 40 depending on how many dwarf planets there are.

Geez, we really have a lot of exploring to do, don't we?

Edited by ThatGuyWithALongUsername

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11 hours ago, ThatGuyWithALongUsername said:

Geez, we really have a lot of exploring to do, don't we?

I know right! We do!

Also, strange to think that more people have been to space then tha Mariana trench. And before you go at me, yes, I know why...

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