Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml en-gb 30 Fri 19 Sep 2014 00:32:18 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml PDWilliams http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=98#comment49 Hey guys, let's not assume bad things about AllenT2 just because he is a nationalist. I think his relevant points, and the other relevant points on this post, illustrate an issue that will keep coming up - the idea that 'space' can be nationalised, militarised, owned etc. by individual nation states of our planet, and that collaboration between nation states will occur (or not) due to perceived benefits.We need to better understand the consequences of our various actions, before we can plan what to do in the future. I view the collaborations between agencies as a welcome move towards an exciting future, one where we have moved beyond the pettiness of who owns something, or who did it first etc. and where we all enjoy the fruits of all of our labours.It is apparent that there can be bitterness on any side about a variety of issues. I suggest that if we do not put these differences aside, as a species we will never reach other planets, and may risk our own ecosystem too. Ideas of protectionism and isolationism are outdated today, and have been for some time, as they assume that the nation state actually has power and control over its territory, population and material assets. In short, with China owning the US national debt and significant amounts of privately owned territory inside the US, the US has joined the long list of other nations around the world that no longer control their affairs or destiny. The concerns that AllenT2 expresses should be listened to, as they are also our concerns. The big question is: can we go back to anything like how it used to be? And if not, do we understand what future we are creating?The Mars Rovers are a fantastic success story. In the long run, it will be the success that will prove important, and not that it was a success of any one nation or group of nations. We simply must keep enjoying these successes. In the medium term, the USA will not be able to afford the funding of space research and exploration to the same degree that first China, and then later India, will. I believe that it is in the USA's interests to foster other space programmes around the world, in order to create a 'cloud' approach to funding and executing these activities. If not, they risk losing out as the far greater (and increasingly wealthier) populations of China and India outperform them. That would be my worry if I was American. My instinct then might be to go for isolation and protectionism, but how would they succeed? Fri 28 Jan 2011 02:24:52 GMT+1 SONICBOOMER http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=96#comment48 Worth noting that it was not in fact AllenT2's loathed Europeans who gave military secrets to China, it was Israel.In the 1980's they were, with much US technical help, developing a fighter called the Lavi, a canard delta, a bit smaller than a F-16.US companies like Grumman and Pratt and Witney, as well as numerous systems and avionic companies, were involved and though Israel instead chose not to put it into production, it flew and was a viable design.Instead Israel got more heavily subsidised F-16's from the US, with a lot of Israeli avionics.Then one of the Lavi prototypes turned up in China, gifting them with an aircraft design at least two generations ahead of anything they had, heavily subsidised by the US - that means US taxpayers.All the obsessively intense 'contributions' across multiple BBC blogs by AllenT2 cannot change the fundamental untruths of what he posts.Back to topic, with the manned vs unmanned argument (a stale one in my view since they are complementary), what about the Apollo 15's find of the geologically important primordial 'Genesis Rock'.A sample sought after as part of this first 3 day, lunar Rover supported, landing.Dave Scott and the late Jim Irwin came across such a sample, their flexible human brains, training, intuition and commitment to their mission were major factors, even a modern unmanned rover might well have missed such a sample, even by a distance of a few feet.Advances in intelligent rovers will continue, is vital, however as was once pointed out, mark 1 human brains are still quicker, cheaper and more fun to produce! Wed 19 Jan 2011 21:33:02 GMT+1 TheWelshCJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=94#comment47 @AllenT2"Most Americans would rather have jobs coming from American companies as most so-called Europeans would prefer their jobs came from European companies."I don't think that is true, when I was first looking for a job I applied for a good cross-section accross my industry - including american companies - as it happened benefits and wages were better coming from UK/European companies, not to mention larger commercial R&D budgets in areas that interest me.With unemployment of nearly 10% in the U.S. I am sure that there are plenty of people who are happy that they have a job, and I am sure that there are areas of America that would welcome a European company if they were bringing a few thousand jobs to the area. I know that there are parts of the UK that commend japanese car makers for opening new factories (and other such companies) as we are currently experiencing a higher than usual unemployment rate also.Seeing as I have stepped away from the main article anyway, I may as well pose a question to yourself - how do you feel about European companies buying out failing American companies, on the one hand it means profits come to Europe, on the other hand your fellow americans get to keep their jobs in a traditionally American company and the US government continues to get the taxes that it needs!? Would you have them face unemployment just so Europe doesn't benefit from American labour?--------"No sane nation should ever outsource to foreign countries or companies when it comes to their defense, and especially if they are obviously capable of providing for their own defense. If it were up to most Americans Airbus and EADS wouldn't even be allowed to bid for defense contracts. Our founding fathers had the same view on that."I personally think that when it comes to safety, operational might, and operational availability, a country should purchase the best they can. Regardless of where the selling/bidding company is based. To go back to my original case study - the tanker bid - companies outside of the U.S. were allowed to bid, and alot of them came up with bids that encouraged growth in the U.S., as it happens an EU company won it (originally) - and then Boeing threw their toys out of the pram...---------"No surprise there considering German and French companies were found to be dealing with and selling high tech to America's enemies, even while under UN sanctions. Anything for a few more Euros. And another reason why America shouldn't get to close to so-called Europe."What companies, and to what countries? You seem to think that most people are your enemies, so it would be hard to sell to anyone...Plus, I believe that you yourselves gave weapons, training, intelligence to Iraq in support of a dictator and the on going war against Iran in the 80s. I don't see how you giving weapons to someone elses enemy is any different than someone selling weapons to your 'enemy'.--------"No sane and patriotic American is going to sell out his country for some Euros."So cooperation to try and further our understanding of this universe through space programs is insane? Technology that comes out of space research can truly better the world, yet you would be so selfish (sorry 'Patriotic') to deny the technology that may be discovered through cooperation and collaboration - through the sharing of information and resources?I wonder if you would be so quick to judge if the rest of the world started denying you some of its technology too...Regards,CJ. Wed 19 Jan 2011 09:16:42 GMT+1 govhealthwarning http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=92#comment46 @ AllenT2Would you like to research the Family Trees of your Founding Fathers? Tue 18 Jan 2011 22:55:03 GMT+1 Richard L http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=90#comment45 AllenT2My reference to California was because you seem to be putting 'Europe' in quotes all the time, like there is something wrong with the collaborating and union that resides there. The U.S. is not too different in the fact that each state has its own laws and is governed in Washington. Europe is similar.I think you should read up more on the economy and realise that China is pretty much buying up the U.S. debt in the form of bonds, which ultimately is funding the U.S. government and their/*your* interests.So in short, any country that's going to play by its own rules and disconnect from the world would fall on its knees. No two ways about it.I think the more open-minded of us appreciate that countries are willing to look past their own petty self interests and strive towards great achievements, hence the collaboration on projects for space exploration and scientific discovery.Aside from the Voyager missions and the moon landings, I don't see why you should have to look down your nose at the rest of the world, it really must reduce quality of life having that attitude. Mon 17 Jan 2011 16:06:17 GMT+1 oglidewell http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=88#comment44 @AllenT2Given your desire for American independence in science and technology, I'm sure it's the case that you totally eschew anything that was not funded and developed solely by the US and its citizens.Like, say...cars...or radio...television...or the jet engine.The English language? Mon 17 Jan 2011 13:01:53 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=86#comment43 Richard L wrote:"One final thing, I don't see a huge difference between Europe and the United States, perhaps California should have its own space programme?"I forgot to address the "I don't see a huge difference" remark as I was trying to digest the bizarre "California" remark.No "huge difference," huh? Are you sure you want compare America's achievement in space to that of so-called Europe? And if there is no huge difference then "Europe" can simply carry on on its own instead of trying to ride piggyback on America. Mon 17 Jan 2011 04:09:46 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=84#comment42 Richard L wrote:"AllenT2, I hope you have a website to promote your protectionist views as this non-American website seems to be keenly used by you."My "views" are being directed exactly where I want them. "I would have thought someone who treasures American values would believe in the free market (for reference, see Adam Smith). Collaboration is done to achieve the best result, the cheapest and most effective product."Not when it comes to foreign companies, organizations and governments on matters of national security, which space exploration certainly falls under. If you knew much about the "values" of my country you would know that such views go back to the founding fathers."You seem to have the narrow view to 'protect American interests' yet history tells us that protectionism ends up resulting in more job losses."Obviously I have not been talking about outright blanket protectionism for all industries. That said, I wouldn't allow any American industry or market to be **controlled** by foreign organizations, companies and governments. Most Americans and most people from any other country would agree with that as it relates to their countries. America had its most productive and creative periods of growth during previous times of much higher levels of protectionism, and that includes the space exploration and defense industries."If you don't know already, the world's economy is massively interwoven between nation states. Did you know that bad mortgage debt in the U.S. caused a huge financial crisis in recent years?"No one forced foolish foreign governments, companies and organizations to invest in bad foreign debt. America is not responsible for such losses."I believe that a lot of money from 'emerging' economies paid for the huge amounts of borrowed money used in the Western world to bail out the banking system."Oh you mean those "emerging" economies where Western jobs, production and technology have been exported to? Right."In your world, the U.S. and Europe would have been bust overnight."Then you have a very odd view and interpretation of history."I think it's safe to say, as said above, that any 'sane' person would advocate collaboration," You need to go back and read my remarks more carefully. All I have said is that America should **as much as possible** protect its technology, its production capabilities, its jobs, its industry and most of all its control of such things. That doesn't rule out some minor forms of "collaboration, especially in areas where America may be weak in. But it should never give up control of its projects and programs."and it seems a bit rich for someone to be in the *discussion* forum advocating otherwise!"Why is that "a bit rich??" Is there a requirement for consensus of views and opinions in a "discussion" forum? "One final thing, I don't see a huge difference between Europe and the United States, perhaps California should have its own space programme? I don't know what you are trying to get at but if you haven't noticed California is a part of America. Mon 17 Jan 2011 03:09:10 GMT+1 Richard L http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=82#comment41 AllenT2, I hope you have a website to promote your protectionist views as this non-American website seems to be keenly used by you.I would have thought someone who treasures American values would believe in the free market (for reference, see Adam Smith). Collaboration is done to achieve the best result, the cheapest and most effective product.You seem to have the narrow view to 'protect American interests' yet history tells us that protectionism ends up resulting in more job losses. If you don't know already, the world's economy is massively interwoven between nation states. Did you know that bad mortgage debt in the U.S. caused a huge financial crisis in recent years? I believe that a lot of money from 'emerging' economies paid for the huge amounts of borrowed money used in the Western world to bail out the banking system.In your world, the U.S. and Europe would have been bust overnight.I think it's safe to say, as said above, that any 'sane' person would advocate collaboration, and it seems a bit rich for someone to be in the *discussion* forum advocating otherwise! One final thing, I don't see a huge difference between Europe and the United States, perhaps California should have its own space programme? Sun 16 Jan 2011 10:14:58 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=80#comment40 USA citizen wrote:"Just a view from a scientist and concerned citizen of this planet and it's population. We do not need to send humans into space. Period! We can do all the necessary work with robotic craft and with their associated instruments as we have already demonstrated countless times. The cost and wastefulness of manned missions is too great. With most of the world's population living perpetually in poverty and massive starvation, we, the countries that have the resources to help, need to help more in that direction."How so? By saying don't worry we will feed you so go ahead and keep unsustainably growing your populations? Sun 16 Jan 2011 04:19:54 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=78#comment39 TheWelshCJ wrote:"It is worth noting that Airbus is an EADS company, so you cannot really use them as seperate case studies to prove your point... as any policies they have would exist throughout the entire corporation."Would you like me to provide the names of other so-called European organizations with the same kind of mindset? After all, it is quite easy to do so considering that that mindset is actually quite common throughout the European continent."It is worth noting however that EADS does have North American sites, and is hence providing jobs to Americans."So what? Most Americans would rather have jobs coming from American companies as most so-called Europeans would prefer their jobs came from European companies."They also won a bid with the United States military for the next generation air tankers, something that was supperior to the offer posed by boeing. Boeing complained about this, so the bid requirements were redrafted in there favour so that they could win ... a bit anti-competitive if you ask me. Especially considering that the airbus tankers would have been built in the US, so you would have had more jobs created than would have been lost by boeing. Although the money would still go to Europe."No sane nation should ever outsource to foreign countries or companies when it comes to their defense, and especially if they are obviously capable of providing for their own defense. If it were up to most Americans Airbus and EADS wouldn't even be allowed to bid for defense contracts. Our founding fathers had the same view on that."One of the reasons that European companies, especially tech companies, need to keep away from sourcing in america is that if they source technology supplies from yourselves (ie; processors) there are US government laws that say that the product can then only be sold to certain countries! This means that European companies usually will not buy certain components from the US as that means that will restrict the market that they approach."No surprise there considering German and French companies were found to be dealing with and selling high tech to America's enemies, even while under UN sanctions. Anything for a few more Euros. And another reason why America shouldn't get to close to so-called Europe."I appreciate that some of these regulations and your own thinking are trying to protect American money and jobs, but sometimes these can mean that less jobs are created, and less money is brought into the country. The globes finances are bad as a whole, but the US is in considerable debt at the moment - so opening your markets slightly and cooperating with Europe may help!"America protecting its defense and high tech industry was the norm long before poor economic choices were made. Maintaining or getting back to the former has nothing to do with the later. I'd rather you keep your money instead. No sane and patriotic American is going to sell out his country for some Euros. Sun 16 Jan 2011 04:15:56 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=76#comment38 balkanman wrote:"Allen, who discovered America? Last time I checked it was Europeans."Not, the people that crossed over on the land bridge to Russia?"Basically, roughly 500 years ago your great, great, great, great, grandfather moved to America and wheather you like it or not, chances are, you may have a bit of a Brit in you afterall, or maybe a bit of an Italian, who knows, but by the sound of your comments you most probably have German ancestry."What if I am American Indian?And what does all that have to do with the fact that America is a sovereign country with its own culture?"When the whole world stood together, trying to get rid of Hitler, the country you are so proud of stood by and allowed the horror to continue instead of stepping in sooner rather than later, cashing in, and then..in the last moment... walking in as heroes."I'm sorry, I'm have trouble keeping track of what you so-called Europeans want America to do. Do you want America to get involved in the affairs of other countries, or not? Even a casual observer would have thought it was the former rather than the later. Or do you only want us to get involved when it benefits you, as it would if America continues doing joint missions with so-called European agencies?"War profiters...but I don't blame you, humans are selfish creatures and any empire, whether it be Roman Empire, or American, has earned their money in the same way(profiting on other peoples misery). As a result America recruited all the top scientists from around the world, with their dirty money, who were looking for better life somewhere else."And obviously they did get a "better life" in America since most never left."Most of inventions coming out of America, last time I checked History books, were not made by Americans but by refugees fleeing to America, the brain drain from other countries."Most? That's a very interesting observation. Too bad it has no basis in fact.Besides, even for the ones that did come here they were obviously more happy being Americans than so-called Europeans since most stayed."I am not sure what exactly are you so proud of. The only thing that America has (and is slowly running out of) is money, that it wisely used, and still uses today, to attract the most brilliant minds from all over the world. (and I truly mean that. Every country in the world has some brillian minds.)"Well that about says it all, doesn't it? It's quite clear you are anti-American so no point in going on. Just come out and say it and save your fingers the typing. "Are you so blind not to see that if we are going to progress, we need to do it together as a human race!!! Some countries are better in making money, some at inventing things, we need to put all our resources together and move forward."Obviously we have been progressing. Why you think we are not progressing is beyond me. Unlike you, I have no desire to be part of an authoritarian and oppressive social collective that determines what does and doesn't get done. No thanks.If you feel your part of the world is so good at "inventing things" then get on with it. What do you need America for? "Basically, you need to stop playing cowboys and indians and open your eyes, grow up, wipe the swastika off your forehead, get a passport and venture outside of America and you will find that the rest of the world still sits on the same planet as America, and guess what, we even breathe the same air. And when you realise this, and the fact that not everyone is out to get you, I am sure your comments will be more in line with everyone else on this page."Oh I see, so now I'm a Nazi just because I want America to protect its jobs, its technology and its future? Yea, that makes a lot of sense. Don't worry, I won't report you for that comment. I believe in freedom of speech, unlike the Nazis, and many European countries today that put you in prison for having the wrong opinion of the Holocaust or for offending someone and not getting "in line with everyone else." Sorry to break it to you, and every other so-called European, but you do not represent the world. And as for my travel experience, I have traveled to over 2O countries so far and lived in a European country for number of years. But how would you know that while making ridiculous assumptions about other people and their lives to the extent that you call them a Nazi? Sun 16 Jan 2011 03:58:54 GMT+1 JonClarke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=74#comment37 @ USA Citizen“Keep in mind that the influence of space business public relations are very powerful and that the average citizen wants "the armchair adventure" of manned space missions” – that is conspiracist language. Would that it were true! If it were then we might not have stopped sending people to the Moon and would be on Mars already. “everything can be done with robotics” – let’s not confuse the indistinguishable-from-magic robots of the popular imagination with the real capabilities and limitations of unmanned spacecraft. Some things unmanned missions can do better than crewed ones – orbital imagery for example. Some things unmanned missions do worse than crews ones but we use because we are not prepared to send people – traversing Mars for instance. And for some missions people are vastly superior – like repairing Hubble. “Not until you have the facts in front of you can you say anything about manned or unmanned missions” – the facts are readily available to those who are prepared to look for them.“Unnecessarily large and more costly Unmanned missions also have to be abandoned” – The key word is “unnecessarily”. Some missions are best carried out by small cheap missions, other by large extensive ones. The MER mission could not have been performed by the smaller and cheaper rover of the Pathfinder mission.“Big business is in charge right now” – Really? No, not really. “Big business” has not funded a single mission beyond Earth orbit (BEO). The only “big business” missions are telecommunications and Earth observation. Northing wrong with that. But there is not yet a business case for BEO exploration that field remains the province of government programs. Sun 16 Jan 2011 01:30:14 GMT+1 SONICBOOMER http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=72#comment36 To this (well worn) argument that ending human spaceflight will somehow help Earthly problems, it was very nearly done in the US, in the wake of Apollo the NASA budget was slashed repeatedly, I don't recall any great extra push in solving closer to home issues.(The Shuttle only survived due to a combination of Nixon wanting jobs in politically important states and an interest in the concept from the Pentagon, AllenT2 might not like it, but this reverse had nothing to do with the European demons of his imagination).The only time that the NASA budget made any real dent in the US public finances, was a for few years in the early/mid 60's, from 1965 it declined, the rate speeding after 1967.And the USA got a whole load of technologies, many with down to Earth applications, from it.This whole paranoia about 'Europe' from AllenT2 is laughable, concerning too, I mean what does it say about someone who trawls a site (paid for by British citizens), endlessly trying to find slights - usually imagined - against his ego, which he dresses up as a national one.Even when, in this case, when those with rather a lot of knowledge about this subject - I don't include myself here - often for professional reasons, expose the fallacy of what can be gleaned from his posts. Sat 15 Jan 2011 19:16:15 GMT+1 USA citizen http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=70#comment35 @JonClarkeKeep in mind that the influence of space business public relations are very powerful and that the average citizen wants "the armchair adventure" of manned space missions. With manned missions costing more than 10x unmanned missions and with some programs having to invent things for the astronauts to do, as everything can be done with robotics, it's about time that manned missions were abolished. Not until you have the facts in front of you can you say anything about manned or unmanned missions and this should be brought out by the governments of countries where the business sector is stronger and vying for BIG projects where profit is great, as it is their responsibility to be honest with their citizens. Unnecessarily large and more costly Unmanned missions also have to be abandoned for more smaller missions so as to involve more scientists, students, teachers and citizens. Big business is in charge right now, but hopefully governments (US, Europe etc..) will at some point be in charge of more responsible scientific space exploration planning with an eye more on value and less on bulk. Sat 15 Jan 2011 16:59:49 GMT+1 JonClarke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=68#comment34 @NigWilLanding large payloads on Mars is “unsolved” only in the sense that nobody has actually done it. A combination of initial atmospheric braking, either a hypersonic deaccelerator or a supersonic parachute and terminal rocket braking should be able to land payloads large enough for crewed missions. There is nothing inherently impossible with the process, despite the thin atmosphere, as numerous studies have shown.As for the “problems somewhat closer to home” they are being attended to with far greater budgets than Mars exploration. Sat 15 Jan 2011 12:24:50 GMT+1 NigWil http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=66#comment33 The un-solved problem with Mars is the thin atmosphere and the high gravity; no one has figured out yet how to get a payload of more than a few hundred kilograms onto the surface in one piece.The atmosphere at surface on Mars is as dense as on Earth at 30km up.If you try at use aero-drag to slow down then by the time you are traveling slow enough to deploy a huge parachute to land you have no altitude left; crash. If you try using a retro-rocket all the way down the fuel demand is huge, and the buffering as the rocket plume faces the air-flow face-on will shake your craft to bits.NASA has used 'cranes' with a combination of aero-drag, parachute then retro-rocket and drop-and-roll with some success but those aren't viable for larger payloads as there is not enough altitude to complete those steps with a precious human on board.So until we can solve the basic problem of how to get a multi-tonne craft safely onto the surface of Mars its all dust a sad dream.And as others have said we have more problems somewhat closer to home to attend to. Sat 15 Jan 2011 05:13:54 GMT+1 JonClarke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=64#comment32 @USA citizenYour statement is somewhat off topic but cannot be left unchallenged.I too am a "scientist and concerned citizen of this planet" and my conclusions are completely different to yours regarding the importance of crewed missions.1) The cost of crewed missions is trivial compared to the amount already spent on eliminating "poverty and massive starvation", let alone education, defence, and social welfare.2) Crewed space exploration has revolutionise our understanding of the Earth, Moon, Sun and our place in the universe. 3) Just one shuttle mission alone, the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (STS-99), has probably repayed all the investment in crewed spaceflight through improved management of natural resources, better maps, and protection of critical infrastructure4) Direct results from orbital research possible only in microgravity have delivered major improvements in combustion technology and improved vaccines.5) Unmanned exploration has its place, but is very limited compared to what people can do. Humans can outperform unmanned spacecraft by orders of magnitude on the surfaces of the Moon, Mars, and asteroids. If we really want to explorer these places and develop their potential for humanity, we need to send people there.6) Only crewed missions allow the potential of widening human experience and culture beyond our planet. Abandoning human spaceflight is an irresponsible course of action that would narrow the potential of humanity. Sat 15 Jan 2011 02:11:22 GMT+1 USA citizen http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=62#comment31 Just a view from a scientist and concerned citizen of this planet and it's population. We do not need to send humans into space. Period! We can do all the necessary work with robotic craft and with their associated instruments as we have already demonstrated countless times. The cost and wastefulness of manned missions is too great. With most of the world's population living perpetually in poverty and massive starvation, we, the countries that have the resources to help, need to help more in that direction. A big step for man is to be responsible and take care of all mankind's needs which are many. We do not need manned projects to drive our students, engineers, business leaders, teachers and parents, among others, to aim high. We have plenty of current and planned remote sensing projects to keep many generations busy in the pursuit of better understanding about our Universe. Let's get responsible. Fri 14 Jan 2011 20:50:38 GMT+1 TheWelshCJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=60#comment30 @AllenT2"And once again, Euro-centric organizations, such as ESA, EADS, Airbus, are well known to not go to outside suppliers, especially American ones, if at all possible. That's a fact! America should go back to doing exactly the same thing!"It is worth noting that Airbus is an EADS company, so you cannot really use them as seperate case studies to prove your point... as any policies they have would exist throughout the entire corporation.It is worth noting however that EADS does have North American sites, and is hence providing jobs to Americans. They also won a bid with the United States military for the next generation air tankers, something that was supperior to the offer posed by boeing. Boeing complained about this, so the bid requirements were redrafted in there favour so that they could win ... a bit anti-competitive if you ask me. Especially considering that the airbus tankers would have been built in the US, so you would have had more jobs created than would have been lost by boeing. Although the money would still go to Europe.One of the reasons that European companies, especially tech companies, need to keep away from sourcing in america is that if they source technology supplies from yourselves (ie; processors) there are US government laws that say that the product can then only be sold to certain countries! This means that European companies usually will not buy certain components from the US as that means that will restrict the market that they approach.I appreciate that some of these regulations and your own thinking are trying to protect American money and jobs, but sometimes these can mean that less jobs are created, and less money is brought into the country. The globes finances are bad as a whole, but the US is in considerable debt at the moment - so opening your markets slightly and cooperating with Europe may help!CJ. Fri 14 Jan 2011 15:31:57 GMT+1 balkanman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=58#comment29 @ AllenT2 Allen, who discovered America? Last time I checked it was Europeans.Basically, roughly 500 years ago your great, great, great, great, grandfather moved to America and wheather you like it or not, chances are, you may have a bit of a Brit in you afterall, or maybe a bit of an Italian, who knows, but by the sound of your comments you most probably have German ancestry. (That was a bit of a bad joke and I apologise in advance to all the Germans, who in my opinion, are one of the smartest and hardest working nations in the world...not to mention their awsome soccer team!!!)When the whole world stood together, trying to get rid of Hitler, the country you are so proud of stood by and allowed the horror to continue instead of stepping in sooner rather than later, cashing in, and then..in the last moment... walking in as heroes. War profiters...but I don't blame you, humans are selfish creatures and any empire, whether it be Roman Empire, or American, has earned their money in the same way(profiting on other peoples misery). As a result America recruited all the top scientists from around the world, with their dirty money, who were looking for better life somewhere else.Most of inventions coming out of America, last time I checked History books, were not made by Americans but by refugees fleeing to America, the brain drain from other countries.I am not sure what exactly are you so proud of. The only thing that America has (and is slowly running out of) is money, that it wisely used, and still uses today, to attract the most brilliant minds from all over the world. (and I truly mean that. Every country in the world has some brillian minds.)Are you so blind not to see that if we are going to progress, we need to do it together as a human race!!! Some countries are better in making money, some at inventing things, we need to put all our resources together and move forward.Basically, you need to stop playing cowboys and indians and open your eyes, grow up, wipe the swastika off your forehead, get a passport and venture outside of America and you will find that the rest of the world still sits on the same planet as America, and guess what, we even breathe the same air. And when you realise this, and the fact that not everyone is out to get you, I am sure your comments will be more in line with everyone else on this page. Fri 14 Jan 2011 09:31:07 GMT+1 Aaron http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=56#comment28 @ AllenT2Possibly one of the saddest comments I have read in a very long time.... Thu 13 Jan 2011 16:09:54 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=54#comment27 SONICBOOMER wrote:"AllenT2, 'point?' Only point that rational people can discern is multi national co-operation is a reality, of course NASA/the US can launch telescopes, clearly NASA had good reason to, this time, go with Ariane, what's YOUR point?"My point was already made. You simply do not like it because my point would cause your part of the world to lose out the most. Now that is a "reality" you couldn't accept."If the US seeks to use NASA/JPL etc to retain core high tech skills, good for them, the same can also be said of ESA too, or indeed of Russia and emerging powers, the latter for the gaining of such capabilities.The US has not got a god given right to dominate the space sector, it's all down to money and will."America most certainly has the "God given right" to excel in whatever industry it chooses to excel and succeed in. If the result of that success means that it dominates a particular industry then guess what, there is nothing you can do about it outside of developing and building your own space capabilities. And because I have stated that America should protect its own industry, technology, capabilities and jobs what makes you think I don't think other countries should do the same?"The way that the crowning glory of NASA and the US, Apollo, was done however, was a one off due to the geopolitical circumstances of the time.Public support for carrying on and going further dropped like a stone after Apollo 11, being a democracy, the elected leaders acted accordingly."You don't get my point at all. With Apollo, for example, America developed, built and maintained control of that mission. It was not a joint American/European space program project. Try and see the difference. Think Russian titanium and America's SR-71."That is not going to be repeated, it wasn't even repeated in the 20 years the Cold War had to run after Apollo."Oh really? You sure about that? Would you like to compare differences between international participation of the development of the many different Americans weapons programs all the way until the end of the Cold War to today with such weapons as the F-35? You sure you want to do that?"International co-operation, in varying degrees, some with the US as the outright leader on a project, or a more joint operation, or as others above have pointed out, contributing to others projects, as has been the case for decades already, that's the reality."The "reality" is that America is **increasingly giving more and more** away that it shouldn't and doesn't need to. No sane and sovereign country would do that, especially as it relates to high tech and defense.And once again, Euro-centric organizations, such as ESA, EADS, Airbus, are well known to not go to outside suppliers, especially American ones, if at all possible. That's a fact! America should go back to doing exactly the same thing! Tue 11 Jan 2011 23:19:05 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=52#comment26 This post has been Removed Tue 11 Jan 2011 22:45:27 GMT+1 SONICBOOMER http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=50#comment25 AllenT2, 'point?' Only point that rational people can discern is multi national co-operation is a reality, of course NASA/the US can launch telescopes, clearly NASA had good reason to, this time, go with Ariane, what's YOUR point?If the US seeks to use NASA/JPL etc to retain core high tech skills, good for them, the same can also be said of ESA too, or indeed of Russia and emerging powers, the latter for the gaining of such capabilities.The US has not got a god given right to dominate the space sector, it's all down to money and will. The way that the crowning glory of NASA and the US, Apollo, was done however, was a one off due to the geopolitical circumstances of the time.Public support for carrying on and going further dropped like a stone after Apollo 11, being a democracy, the elected leaders acted accordingly.That is not going to be repeated, it wasn't even repeated in the 20 years the Cold War had to run after Apollo.International co-operation, in varying degrees, some with the US as the outright leader on a project, or a more joint operation, or as others above have pointed out, contributing to others projects, as has been the case for decades already, that's the reality. Mon 10 Jan 2011 20:45:03 GMT+1 U14748444 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=48#comment24 AllenT2 wrote:"My desire as an American is for America to preserve and retain it's jobs, technology, capabilities, control and lead, especially in industries that it currently dominates. Most Americans would agree with that. In fact, your European Union and other so-called European organizations similarly agree when it comes to so-called European projects. If they see that they can accomplish something without American or foreign participation then you can bet that is exactly what they will do, without question!"AllenT2 you are clearly very passionate about keeping the NASA space exploration programme wholly American as most Americans (who presumably care about such matters) would agree... So why do you think that the American/US bodies controlling and directing space exploration matters over the years (assuming here that is the US government(s) and NASA administrators) keep making these same mistakes over and over again, and keep involving foreign (non-USA) bodies in these activities? What could possibly justify the loss of jobs and the willful dissemination of US technology & capabilities, as well as the loss of control and lead, especially in industries that it currently dominates? Mon 10 Jan 2011 12:19:20 GMT+1 Aston1-Fan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=46#comment23 Im one of those people who like to say a big well done to others who deserve praise for their hard work and lengthy endeavours. It is truly remarkable that the little Mars Rover is still going strong. I just wish that in each country, they should divert all research to scientific goals like deep sea exploration and space exploration instead of finding new ways to kill one another. I know it is in Mankinds nature to destroy rathert than create but the way the east is generally strenghtening its arms ( look at the Chinese) they want their cake and eat it. The weight of selfishness, greed and power is overwhelming. I dream of the day when we all pull together that will never be in my life time. Mon 10 Jan 2011 12:16:01 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=44#comment22 SONICBOOMER wrote:”Good point about Ariane launching the James Webb Telescope, clearly NASA are not listening to the 'wisdom' of AllenT2.”What "point" was that? America clearly has the ability to launch their own telescopes, as they have now done on numerous occasions. Mon 10 Jan 2011 06:52:32 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=42#comment21 JonClarke wrote:"Silly claims AllenT2? They were the facts, no more and no less."How does such a remark like "Hubble may not have flown without ESA input" equal a fact? Face it, you are simply wildly guessing, as you are with your other remarks. And you need to read my remarks more carefully. I have said I have nothing against the purchase of foreign resources, if truly necessary, for America to accomplish it's goals. I gave the example of America's SR-71 and them being built primarily out of Soviet titanium. In the end though the planes were American designed, built, owned and controlled, as it should be."You can be as isolationist as you like, the fact is space exploration is international and multinational and has been so for many decades. It will remain so in future."It's funny how so many in this forum and in your part of the world want America to mind it's own business but when it is somehow to your advantage then America is derogatorily called isolationist if it chooses to tend to it's own affairs or do things on it's own."James Webb space telescope? Joint ESA mission. Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres? Spanish instrument onboard.Mars Science laboratory? Experiments from Russia, Canada, France, Spain and Germany.ESA's trace gas mission to Mars? Extensive US involvement. ExoMars? Ditto."So from that how do you get conclusions that America couldn't do those things on it's own?"You can either swim against the tide and be miserable, or embrace it. This is my last word on the subject."And that is simply your desire. If you are not American then obviously it is to your advantage so I'm not surprised you disagree with me. My desire as an American is for America to preserve and retain it's jobs, technology, capabilities, control and lead, especially in industries that it currently dominates. Most Americans would agree with that. In fact, your European Union and other so-called European organizations similarly agree when it comes to so-called European projects. If they see that they can accomplish something without American or foreign participation then you can bet that is exactly what they will do, without question! Mon 10 Jan 2011 06:47:29 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=40#comment20 SONICBOOMER wrote:Another of the better blogs getting a visit, one about as welcome as flatulence in a spacesuit, from the ever obsessive AllenT2, who seems to spend an large amount of time trying to find, in his own mind, imagined 'Anti-Americanism', like a cyber age McCarthy. Very sad really, not a great advert for a healthy outlook on life."So that's your idea of a mature and respectful reply to someone's comments in this forum? Now **that** is sad.'"Of course a massive load of nonsense too, as the more balanced and knowledgeable have pointed out with numerous examples."More "knowledgeable" in what capacity? After all, what is essentially being discussed are matters of opinion. In my opinion America shouldn't be giving away its jobs, its technology, its accomplishments and control of its space missions to any other country or foreign organization. Most Americans would agree with that."It is a testament to the design and build of these Mars rovers, to still be, at least in one case, operating and mobile way beyond the original hopes.It's happened before, did the 1970's Viking probes both also operate well beyond their design life too?But Mars is a tricky target, the nadir for NASA being the double probe attempts failing in 1999, though the USSR/Russia never managed a successful one."Yes, and those rovers are American built, American controlled and American owned, as it should be."But for me, the most exciting probe of the past decade was the one that landed on Saturn's moon Titan, the furthest landfall from Earth (and likely to be for a very long time), on to what was a genuinely unknown world.A stunning example of NASA/ESA co-operation, a sign of what sensible, clever, inspired (and frankly sane) people can do, unencumbered by the sorts of ravings we've got above."Obviously America has the know how and capability to do such a mission on it's own so there is nothing clever about handing over control, jobs and technology to accomplish such a mission with ESA. If you are a so-called European and you disagree then I am not surprised. Mon 10 Jan 2011 06:08:46 GMT+1 JonClarke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=38#comment19 @SONICBOOMERFair enough, the landers are a different story.Mars 2 and 3 came down in the global dust storm of 1971. Uncertainies in the known position of Mars meant that Mare 2 probably entered at too steep and angle, landing on the western margin of Hellas. Mars 3 landed on the northern part of Ptolomey crater, transmitted about 15 seconds of data and then stopped. The data included a fragmentary image of a rocky surface, something not known in the West until the BBC's series "The Planets", which showed it. The image suggests that the lander was on its side, so it probably hit a big rock and was badly damaged. Some have suggested coronal discharge from dust-related charging have have been the cause for the signal loss from all transmitters.Mars 5 and 6 had major hardware problems due to defective chips. These chould not be replaced in time for the 1973 window and so they were sent anyway, hoping for the best. Mars 5 missed the planet altogether, Mars 6 entered successfully and transmitted descent data, but stopped on touchdown near Samara Vallis. It was probably destroyed on touchdown, another large rock perhaps, or rolled down a very steep slope.Orbital and flyby imagery from Mars 2-7 was fairly ordinary, but weren't the main purpose of the missions. They did collect a lot of useful geophysical and spectral data. Sun 09 Jan 2011 21:49:12 GMT+1 SONICBOOMER http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=36#comment18 18, I should have clarified, success as in landings, though one of the 1971 landers was of course unlucky enough to come down in that vast dust storm.However, I don't remember seeing good imaginary from Soviet orbiters?Good point about Ariane launching the James Webb Telescope, clearly NASA are not listening to the 'wisdom' of AllenT2. Sun 09 Jan 2011 09:35:24 GMT+1 JonClarke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=34#comment17 Getting back to the topic, the Mars rovers, I am looking forward to the view of Endeavour crater when Oppotunity final gets there, hopefully towards the end of the year. Not only will the scenery be impressive but we will finally get to see some different geology. Sun 09 Jan 2011 04:02:28 GMT+1 JonClarke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=32#comment16 @SONICBOOMER"But Mars is a tricky target...the USSR/Russia never managed a successful one."It's not ofetn realised that most Russian missions that reached were at least partly successful.Zond 3 - successfully completed mission to Mars orbital distance.Mars 2 - orbiter successful completed mission.Mars 3 - orbiter successful completed mission, lander returned a fragmentary image of the surface.Mars 4 - failed to enter orbit but returned byfly dataMars 5 - successful orbiter.Mars 5 - successful flyby, lander returned descent data.Mars 7 - successful flyby.Phobos 2 - successfully completed first half of orbital mission. Sun 09 Jan 2011 03:56:11 GMT+1 JonClarke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=30#comment15 Silly claims AllenT2? They were the facts, no more and no less.You can be as isolationist as you like, the fact is space exploration is international and multinational and has been so for many decades. It will remain so in future.James Webb space telescope? Joint ESA mission.Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres? Spanish instrument onboard.Mars Science laboratory? Experiments from Russia, Canada, France, Spain and Germany.ESA's trace gas mission to Mars? Extensive US involvement.ExoMars? Ditto.You can either swim against the tide and be miserable, or embrace it. This is my last word on the subject. Sat 08 Jan 2011 21:55:59 GMT+1 SONICBOOMER http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=28#comment14 Another of the better blogs getting a visit, one about as welcome as flatulence in a spacesuit, from the ever obsessive AllenT2, who seems to spend an large amount of time trying to find, in his own mind, imagined 'Anti-Americanism', like a cyber age McCarthy.Very sad really, not a great advert for a healthy outlook on life.Of course a massive load of nonsense too, as the more balanced and knowledgeable have pointed out with numerous examples.It is a testament to the design and build of these Mars rovers, to still be, at least in one case, operating and mobile way beyond the original hopes.It's happened before, did the 1970's Viking probes both also operate well beyond their design life too?But Mars is a tricky target, the nadir for NASA being the double probe attempts failing in 1999, though the USSR/Russia never managed a successful one.(Oddly though, they did have a series of successful Venus probes where the surface conditions are literally hellish).But for me, the most exciting probe of the past decade was the one that landed on Saturn's moon Titan, the furthest landfall from Earth (and likely to be for a very long time), on to what was a genuinely unknown world.A stunning example of NASA/ESA co-operation, a sign of what sensible, clever, inspired (and frankly sane) people can do, unencumbered by the sorts of ravings we've got above.In the early 1990's there was a programme shown late on the BBC in the 'Open University' slot 'Design For An Alien World', where mostly young scientists in England were developing parts of the instrument package for Huygens and the parachute system, for a place where they had no clear picture of what it would be like, something almost out of the very early part of space exploration, you can see a full sized mock up of the lander in the Science Museum in London.Lovely buildings those museums, good job none of Von Braun's (slave labour built) V-2's ever flattened them . Sat 08 Jan 2011 19:48:46 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=26#comment13 JonClarke wrote:"Fortunately US technocrats have a different opionion to you. Non US instruments have flown on most US deep space missions in recent decade, to the great gain of the US space program.Where would Mars Pathfinder and the MERs have been without their APX, developed largely in Germany?Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter without the SHARAD radar, developed largely in Italy?Mars Odyssey or Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter without their Russian neutron detectors?Completely joint missions like Cassini-Huygens would not have even flown.Neither would Spacelab.Hubble may not have flown without ESA input.And of course there is the opportunity to fly US instruents on spacecraft from other nations, such as the M3 and MiniSAR instruments on the Indian Chandrayaan lunar mission._________________________________________________________________________Without even getting into the questionable and even silly claims that you make I will say that I have no problem with America buying something from other countries **if it is absolutely necessary.** America built its SR-71s mostly out of Russian titanium. But, **America** built them, not any other country. Sat 08 Jan 2011 09:59:41 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=24#comment12 Mark_McCaughrean wrote:"I'm closely involved in the science side of ExoMars and the joint ESA-NASA (order switched deliberately for parity :-) Mars exploration programme, and I was in the room when the programme was agreed in mid-2009. As such, I don't really take your points about "outsourcing", "taking advantage", and "control over policies and missions"."The fact is so-called Europe would not be able to do it on its own without investing a great deal of money, research and effort so it chooses to ride off of America's investment, research, technology and effort. And if America is doing missions with ESA, as opposed to strictly doing them on their own, how do you figure jobs would not be outsourced? That makes no sense.As for trying to exert control of our policies and missions, that is obviously in the gene of the many anti-American Europhiles and Eurocrats throughout Europe. You see it expressed every day in your media, universities, corporations and dinner parties throughout the continent. "Both sides entered into this collaboration fully consentingly, on the basis that we can achieve more science and exploration together by combining our budgets, and recognising the complementary talents and experience of the two agencies."As I said, this is a very big mistake for America.What "experience" does so-called Europe have in space exploration and technology that is so essential and noteworthy compared to America's? America landed on Mars in the 70s! Please, lets not even begin to compare. It's not America that needs Europe."We're collaborating on a great number of other space science missions, sometimes one side leading (e.g. Hubble), sometimes the other (e.g. Herschel), and while NASA clearly has by far the bulk of the experience in orbit around and on the surface of Mars,"ESA has **no experience** on the "surface of Mars." Lets be clear on that."ESA has a growing portfolio of planetary mission successes including Mars Express, Venus Express, and the Huygens lander on Titan (carried there by NASA's Cassini, of course)."Again, another mistake by America."So, we're in this together and I think to the strong mutual benefit of both sides of the Atlantic. I hope we can follow up on the 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter mission and the 2018 twin rover mission with a plan that leads us through to a joint sample return mission in the 2020s."No, we may live on this planet "together" but that does not obligate America to carry out space missions with anyone else. I look forward to the day when America goes back to building things within America and for America, first. That day will come, again. Sat 08 Jan 2011 09:51:52 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=22#comment11 spacemeister wrote:"I am afraid that this is the kind of attitude that is going to be the undoing of your great country, one only has to look at the great international collaborations in the science arena that not only benefit the "good ol USA" but the world as a whole."Nonsense. America achieved most of its greatness and achievements before it started giving away its jobs, expertise and technology to other countries. America's **primary job** is to provide for itself. All of our founding fathers and great leaders believed in that."if i can quote one of your greatest presidents JFK "do we not all live on this earth and do we not all breath the same air" What does that have to do with my comments?"remember the inventor of the rocket was a German."No, the man who invented "the rocket" was Chinese. "The British "invented" the industrial revolution"No, the British invented some things and the Germans invented some things and the French invented some things, etc, etc, etc."and at the end of the day, lets face it the USA just can't afford to do it on it's own any more. (can anyone) that's why we Collaborate."Nonsense. Opening up our space efforts to more competition within America has already proven that to be false."I am sure the ISS would be a lot smaller without the contribution from others."Most of that so-called "international" space station was built with American money, effort and technology. Sat 08 Jan 2011 09:23:25 GMT+1 JonClarke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=20#comment10 @AllenT2Fortunately US technocrats have a different opionion to you. Non US instruments have flown on most US deep space missions in recent decade, to the great gain of the US space program.Where would Mars Pathfinder and the MERs have been without their APX, developed largely in Germany?Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter without the SHARAD radar, developed largely in Italy?Mars Odyssey or Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter without their Russian neutron detectors?Completely joint missions like Cassini-Huygens would not have even flown.Neither would Spacelab.Hubble may not have flown without ESA input.And of course there is the opportunity to fly US instruents on spacecraft from other nations, such as the M3 and MiniSAR instruments on the Indian Chandrayaan lunar mission. Sat 08 Jan 2011 03:08:17 GMT+1 Mark_McCaughrean http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=18#comment9 @AndyS: I agree with your personal frustration that after the huge success of the Apollo programme, we (in the broadest sense) didn't continue on to Mars. Yes, it's expensive, yes it's a lot harder technically, but it's galling that we seem to have gone nowhere in the intervening four decades.But I have to disagree somewhat with your chiding of the British government who did, after all, try to put a lander on Mars in 2003 (Beagle 2 as part of ESA's Mars Express mission), and who are also one of the biggest contributors to the ESA ExoMars programme, leading the development of the rover due to fly on the 2018 mission. While this is robotic exploration and not manned, I think it's clear that a robotic Mars sample return mission, the ultimate goal of the joint NASA-ESA Mars exploration programme, is very worthy step to take before we send people there.@AllenT2: I'm closely involved in the science side of ExoMars and the joint ESA-NASA (order switched deliberately for parity :-) Mars exploration programme, and I was in the room when the programme was agreed in mid-2009. As such, I don't really take your points about "outsourcing", "taking advantage", and "control over policies and missions".Both sides entered into this collaboration fully consentingly, on the basis that we can achieve more science and exploration together by combining our budgets, and recognising the complementary talents and experience of the two agencies. We're collaborating on a great number of other space science missions, sometimes one side leading (e.g. Hubble), sometimes the other (e.g. Herschel), and while NASA clearly has by far the bulk of the experience in orbit around and on the surface of Mars, ESA has a growing portfolio of planetary mission successes including Mars Express, Venus Express, and the Huygens lander on Titan (carried there by NASA's Cassini, of course). So, we're in this together and I think to the strong mutual benefit of both sides of the Atlantic. I hope we can follow up on the 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter mission and the 2018 twin rover mission with a plan that leads us through to a joint sample return mission in the 2020s. In the meantime, congratulations are due to the MER team for keeping on going way, way beyond all expectations. We're all looking forward to NASA having a successful Martian 2011, with Opportunity hopefully making it to the Endeavour crater and the Mars Science Laboratory being launched. Fri 07 Jan 2011 12:22:49 GMT+1 MattSmidebush http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=16#comment8 "Dear AllenT2I am afraid that this is the kind of attitude that is going to be the undoing of your great country, one only has to look at the great international collaborations in the science arena that not only benefit the "good ol USA" but the world as a whole. if i can quote one of your greatest presidents JFK "do we not all live on this earth and do we not all breath the same air" remember the inventor of the rocket was a German.The British "invented" the industrial revolutionand at the end of the day, lets face it the USA just can't afford to do it on it's own any more. (can anyone) that's why we Collaborate. I am sure the ISS would be a lot smaller without the contribution from others."I am an American and I completely agree. I think moving forward we need to look more and more for collaborative opportunities rather than avoiding them. We, as people, can achieve so much more together. Fri 07 Jan 2011 10:08:09 GMT+1 TheyCallMeTheWonderer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=14#comment7 @ spacemeister:--remember the inventor of the rocket was a German.I'm afraid that's not really true. The chinese were using solid fuel rockets as early as the ninth or tenth century. The inventor of the modern liquid fueled rocket was an American - Robert Goddard.However@ AllenT2:--As an American I'm tired of seeing our technology and jobs, and ultimately our accomplishments, being given awayIt is very naive of you to believe that science and technology only moves one way. For instance, Radar and supersonic flight control were technologies given to the USA by Great Britain, and as inferred by spacemeister, the rocket technology used during the Apollo era was indeed of German design.But you are right, AllenT2, in one thing - It all comes down to money. You Americans have some, we Europeans have some, them Russians have some. None of us have enough alone to take the next step but if we pool our resources then we just might. In our lifetime men might stand at Endevour and pick up the remains of the opportunity rover and bring it back to take pride of place in a museum on earth.The only thing that stands in the way is the provincial, protectionist attitudes of some citizens of this planet who are still thinking in terms of 'Them and Us' Fri 07 Jan 2011 09:52:22 GMT+1 spacemeister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=12#comment6 Dear AllenT2I am afraid that this is the kind of attitude that is going to be the undoing of your great country, one only has to look at the great international collaborations in the science arena that not only benefit the "good ol USA" but the world as a whole. if i can quote one of your greatest presidents JFK "do we not all live on this earth and do we not all breath the same air" remember the inventor of the rocket was a German.The British "invented" the industrial revolutionand at the end of the day, lets face it the USA just can't afford to do it on it's own any more. (can anyone) that's why we Collaborate. I am sure the ISS would be a lot smaller without the contribution from others. Thu 06 Jan 2011 22:48:15 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=10#comment5 AndyS wrote:"But, I continually ask this question and have done since the Apollo missions I watched on TV as a kid. WHEN is the time going to come that we NOW take that additional step and put astronauts not just back on the moon with some form of permanent base, but also send astronauts out to Mars."It comes down to one thing, money. "From past interviews with astronauts, they have all said this is the direction we should be going, but still nothing. Every astronaut that has signed up to the space programme knows that there will always be an element of risk and a risk they believe acceptable and I think most people accept there will always be an element of risk. Starting from that point, shouldn't the powers that be now seriously look at this and start working together for a plan?"If by that you mean joint missions between countries then I say no. As an American I'm tired of seeing our technology and jobs, and ultimately our accomplishments, being given away and outsourced to those wanting to take advantage of and/or have an element of control over our policies and missions. That remark is squarely directed at all the so-called "European" agencies, including ESA. Tue 04 Jan 2011 08:50:52 GMT+1 AndyS http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=8#comment4 Being just a regular 'joe bloggs', I think for one of the rovers to last this long and still travelling is one heck of an achievement and not enough praise can be given to the engineers and scientists that have come this far.But, I continually ask this question and have done since the Apollo missions I watched on TV as a kid. WHEN is the time going to come that we NOW take that additional step and put astronauts not just back on the moon with some form of permanent base, but also send astronauts out to Mars.From past interviews with astronauts, they have all said this is the direction we should be going, but still nothing. Every astronaut that has signed up to the space programme knows that there will always be an element of risk and a risk they believe acceptable and I think most people accept there will always be an element of risk. Starting from that point, shouldn't the powers that be now seriously look at this and start working together for a plan?And for god sake our government (British) wake up to the fact we shouldn't be on the sidelines anymore and start taking this more seriously. Mon 03 Jan 2011 18:06:47 GMT+1 TonyP http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=6#comment3 hunster1701, many thanks for the explanation.cheersNerderello Sun 02 Jan 2011 20:30:49 GMT+1 Huntster http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=4#comment2 @Nerderello, The road to Endeavour crater was plotted around terrain features and science targets.Early on, when the possibility of reaching Endeavour presented itself, it was realised the terrain was, in places, rather difficult to navigate. One or two of the drivers even (unofficially) reached out to the community for suggestions, and several folks collaborated to build some incredible terrain/obstacle maps, plotting possible safe routes. I don't know if they were used, but I can't imagine such a resource simply being throw away.Aside from obstacle avoidance, it was always recognised that, given its age, Opportunity could fail at any moment. So rather than driving straight to Endeavour the quickest way, which would still take many months, it was decided to maximise science targets along the way, even if it meant driving a bit out of the way to reach them.So, when you look at the map, you can easily see that, as mission operators gained more and more confidence in Opportunity's perseverance, they started looking to more target-rich environments: first just in the area around Eagle, then venturing to nearby Endurance, then to the larger Victoria, and finally to Endeavour, where it will have enough targets to last it the rest of its life. Sat 01 Jan 2011 01:37:32 GMT+1 BluesBerry http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=2#comment1 "Amazingly, this six-wheeled robot is about to celebrate its seventh anniversary on the Red Planet."Ray Arvidson, Washington University: “This is the first time mineral detections from orbit are being used in tactical decisions about where to drive on Mars." Steve Squyres, Cornell University, is the Principal Scientific Investigator for NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity Mars Rovers: “We’ve just pulled up to the rim of Santa Maria, and the workload is very high.” December 15, 2010, Opportunity had just arrived at the western side of Santa Maria Crater. Spectral observations recorded by CRISM indicated the presence of water-bearing sulfate minerals.Santa Maria crater appears to be relatively fresh, likely created by a meteor strike only a few million years ago. Endeavour is an ancient crater with a discontinuous rim that is heavily eroded at many points. By exploring craters, scientists are looking back to ascertain earlier geologic periods in Mars history.Apparently, Mars has experienced many episodes of wet environment at diverse locations as well as climate-change cycles persist into the present era.February 11, 2010, after the upcoming Solar Conjunction, Opportunity will procede eastwards for the last leg of the long march to Endeavour. She heads for a rim fragment dubbed Cape York (spectral data shows surrounded by exposures of water bearing minerals), then southwards towards her next goal – Cape Tribulation – where CRISM has detected clay minerals (formed in milder environments & more favorable to life). But after I read all about these Mars Rovers, I think so what?If there are really significant archeological or anthropological discoveries to be made on Mars, these would be buried under the historical drifts of sand, hard soil and other materials - like archaeologists had to unbury the Sphynx in Egypt. The Rovers are incapable of this type of exploration.I keep asking myself, what is it that all these scientists think they are going to find - a little water, wet clay, a living cell...or perhaps the future of out own little blue planet if we do not soon take care and stop the destruction? Fri 31 Dec 2010 17:32:31 GMT+1 TonyP http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/12/opportunity-rover-creaking-art.shtml?page=0#comment0 quite an achievement.Does anyone know, as Endevour is its goal, why it hasn't steered directly towards it from Victoria (it's made a dog-leg south before turinging towards it)? Fri 31 Dec 2010 13:19:51 GMT+1