July 14, 2005

Russia approves new space plans

Russia approves new space plans, including a mission to mars. I don't think that this will actually happen, like President Bush's plan to get NASA to go to mars this is just a PR exercise of a president doing the vision thing. Why do I think this, simple the cost $10.5 billion. The cheapest mission plan from NASA, the Mars Direct plan, requires at least $20 Billion. The Russians are good at space having inherited much from the Soviets, who comprehensively beat the USA in just about every category of human space exploration except getting to the Moon, but not even they will be able to haft the cost of this mission.

We can also tell a lot about the type of mission that they are planning by the amount of time that they say the people will be in space for, 500 days. Now unless the Russians have been developing some kind of new propulsion system for manned flights this means that they are going to have a particular type of flight where they leave when mars is as close to earth as it can get, travel for 180 days to reach Mars, stay on Mars for just 30 days, then travel back going deep into the inner solar system to get a boast from Venus before reaching earth after about 430 days. This doesn't leave much time for science on the surface, but if this is a PR mission then that doesn't matter as the point is to get some really expensive photos then head back.


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