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NASA's Mars Spacecraft Team Answer Reddit AMA

07/11/2014 10:21 GMT | Updated 07/11/2014 10:59 GMT

The team that designed and built NASA's new Orion spacecraft have spoken out about their thoughts on travelling to Mars, why NASA is worth funding and how best to write software for a spaceship.

The AMA was typically eclectic in nature with questions covering all topics. Our favourites however were a mixture of answers and just general points:

orion spacecraft

What would you say is the main reason you're building Orion? What do you stand to achieve with the new spacecraft that we couldn't previously?

Orion will enable us to travel farther into space than we have ever explored. Current spacecraft are only capable to take relatively short (or close) trips to space. To put things into perspective, the Space Station is only about 205 miles away while the Moon is about 239,000 miles away and the distance between the Earth and Mars is over 39 Million miles. Kevin R.

How much money does it take to build Orion?

Orion costs each American tax payer $3 per year... About the price of one Starbucks latte. The real question is how much is the universe worth to you? -Heather

Will the Orion crew capsules be christened with an individual name?

We haven't decided for sure yet -Molly

Were you interested in space from a young age? Or was it through your schooling (engineering degrees)?

I was raised on Star Trek and Star Wars, so I grew up thinking space was the coolest thing! I always wanted to work for NASA or in the space program. - Kristin

I'm wondering if Orion has kept up with Moore's Law compared to NASA spacecraft of the past. What are the specs of Orion's computing hardware? Has the spacecraft outpaced the cellphone? If not, why?

Orion is capable of handling 480 Million instructions per second. It is certainly more capable than spacecraft of the past. All of the electronics that fly have to survive launch and abort scenarios, as well as be radiation hardened to survive in space, so it is tough to compare to cellphone improvement pacing. -- Casey

This is just a taste of the full AMA so head over to Reddit and find out the full story including why Orion still looks like the capsules of the 60's, why they're all terrible at space simulator games, oh and there's also a great argument between the team over the best University.

Reddit's Ask Me Anything sessions have become something of a shining light for the website, they're everything that's great about the internet blending truly meaningful discussions with moments of pure silliness.