Mars dull like Tetris?
My friend Nathan read the space story Sunday and writes, "Do any of these people fixated on Mars realize that ... there's nothing fundamentally new about a Mars mission? It's sort of like the next level in Tetris, where the blocks fall faster and more often. But still the same exact thing as level one: same shapes, same screen, even same music. Very dull."
It's funny you mention a computer game (that's what Tetris is, right??), because it reminds me of something Bob Park said: That young people today don't make a distinction between machines and people the way the older generations do. Park was making the point that we don't need to send people to Mars, we can send robots, and that will be just as exciting. I think Park's view offers some balance to the rah-rah talk you hear from NASA, but the robots need to get a lot better before they'll be able to replace Neil and Buzz. The gap could close over the next century. If you could put a robotic explorer on Mars with a fair bit of artificial intelligence and a good camera, and then let ordinary people on Earth participate in the exploration -- voting, for example, on what hill to climb, what crater to explore, etc. -- or even joysticking microbots as they bounce around the surface [what am I talking about??] -- then you might not need to go through the cost and danger of sending human beings, and still produce exciting, thrilling science. But the gap between robotic and human intelligence at the moment is enormous. No robot has as much brainpower as a cockroach.
Posted by: Dreamer | May 18, 2005 9:43 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Karen B | May 18, 2005 10:47 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bc | May 18, 2005 10:50 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Last guy from the chat | May 18, 2005 10:58 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: lizlips | May 18, 2005 11:02 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Science Tim | May 18, 2005 11:15 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: AVRAAM THE POISONED | May 18, 2005 11:21 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Joe | May 18, 2005 11:42 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: ahab | May 18, 2005 11:48 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Pogostick comment | May 18, 2005 11:59 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Kevin Parkin | May 18, 2005 12:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Reader | May 18, 2005 1:47 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.