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    Re: Manned Venus Flyby
    From: Brad Morris
    Date: 2012 Sep 3, 22:44 -0400

    Hi Alex

    The Lunahod (spelling?) was the SU precursor to all of these remotely piloted "robots". 

    At the time, the Soviet program did not get much publicity.  How was it there?

    I've seen a program on TV that explained the SU program and I was very impressed.  Imagine landing a 6 wheeled vehicle on the moon and driving it around.  What nerves of steel those remote drivers had.

    Brad

    On Sep 3, 2012 4:02 PM, <eremenko@math.purdue.edu> wrote:

    Robert,
    I just add few comments:

    > I was a young lad, 12 years of age when Armstrong set foot on the moon. I

    I was 15. I do not remember the first Sputnik (I was 3 then) but remember
    very well the first space flight of Gagarin and our reaction to it:-)
    And of course, the US Moon flights.

    Much later I realized that no one is going to spend large resources
    "just for exploration". For spending large resources, there should be
    strong interest. Economical or political.
    Intensive space programs in 1950-s to 1970-s are explained by the cold war,
    the competition between the US and SU, and the relevant technology
    development
    was just a byproduct of development of military systems.
    Since the SU lost this competition, there was no reason to go further.

    After all, America was discovered not as a result of scientific inquiry,
    but as a result of greed and craving for gold, goods, territories and
    slaves.

    During the Dark Ages, the Vikings discovered Grenland and America,
    but nothing came out of it. Because there was no powerful economic
    interest.

    Same happened to the space travel in our days.

    > but the last 40 years of  "space exploration" has been, in my opinion, a
    > huge disappointment; at least with respect to my youthful expectations
    > circa
    > 1969.

    A "disapointment" only from the point of view of the " our youthful
    expectations".
    In general, space exploration was a great success. It just did not follow
    the way we imagined in the 60-s.

    > Yet we have seemingly gone nowhere;
    > notwithstanding the amazing feat of putting that robot on Mars this past
    > summer.

    Come on! This was not the first robot on Mars! US sent a lot of robots
    everywhere, and we really learned about the planets almost everything we
    could  possibly learn with human flights, but at a fraction of coast.
    And several of our spacecraft are currently traveling outside of the
    solar system.
    The first robots on Mars were Vikings 1 and 2 in 1975. And I remember very
    well the excitement they created, and the pictures they sent, and the
    sophisticated program of search of life they performed.

    Not as exciting as human travel, perhaps, but for the science it is a huge
    success.

    Alex.





       
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