I bet the risk factors associated with those launches were over 1%. Look at what happened on Apollo 1 and 13.
Apollo was reckless and that was politically motivated. Taking the first manned Saturn 5 flight all the way to the moon .....
Apollo 8 was a reasonable risk for the program. Once Apollo 8 was in earth orbit, the Saturn V was largely irrelevant, and they had the opportunity to verify everything else was working properly before proceeding. The Saturn V's only remaining task was the 3rd stage TLI burn, which had already been tested on an unmanned flight.
I would not call the Apollo program reckless on the whole, especially since they stopped to address the problems exposed when the accidents occurred, but our appetite for risk certainly was a lot higher 45 years ago and in a significantly different political context.
Only for about 90 minutes if it's not working too hard, then they have to figure out how to get a 55 pound robot to carry a 90 pound RTG to recharge the batteries. Energy is far more of a limitation for Mars rovers than agility.
Imagine where they will be in another 10 years.
Possibly to the point of having found an actual practical application for the design. Boston Dynamics is doing some really interesting R&D, but it's not without compromises, and efficiency is a big one.
Point being, they could just use a donkey rather than millions on developing a donkey replacement. Same thing with sending robots to mars when you can send men. spend billions developing ai, computers, robots that can just barely do the tasks a person can do, rather than just using a human.
Total inflation-adjusted Mars spending so far over the last 50 years is probably in the $20-30 billion ballpark, which has included a huge amount of R&D over that time - the MSL cost less than half as much as each Viking lander, for example, but has far more capabilities. The Mars 2020 rover will re-use the same chassis but with a new package of science instruments yet still lower the overall mission cost - around $2.1 billion.
A manned Mars program might be conducted for less than $200 billion, not counting similar prior decades of R&D to the unmanned programs. Cost is not even remotely in favor of a manned mission. While it might be credibly argued that a manned mission will return more total information per dollar, the likely tradeoff is we do more detailed study, but of a smaller area than if we stick to unmanned missions. We also still have to decide as a nation or group of nations that the information is worth that much money.
I very much like to believe it is, but it's not my decision alone. So far, the majority of the US disagrees with me.
Yeah, how much science has those pricey rovers on mars done? driven a few hundred km at best, took some pics, looked at some rocks closely. A trained geologist can do all that in a few days and still learn more.
Quite a bit actually. Also, you're repeating, in crude form, an argument made by Dr. Squyres, one of the leading Mars robotic researchers, who has also been in favor of manned missions, because he knows as well as anybody what the limitations of unmanned missions are.
Part of what you're missing that muddies the comparison is that once the geologist is done looking at the rocks under the microscope, like the rover does, and feeling their consistency and texture, which the rover currently does only poorly, what he's going to be really eager to do is get the rocks under more specialized instruments like spectrometers, which the rover also does.
While the human will almost certainly work faster, ultimately both are limited in how much they can study by travel range and the capabilities of the instruments available, and both of those are problems closely linked to landed mass, which is a factor the manned mission is at a big disadvantage due to the need to dedicated literally dozens of tons worth of equipment and supplies to keeping the delicate human bodies alive and getting them back to earth - NASA's Mars Design Reference Mission 5.0, requires around 60 tons of landed mass.
The Mars 2020 rover has a landed mass of right around 1 ton, and by the way, will actually be testing one of the critical technologies without which a manned Mars mission will not happen.
Throw massive amounts of money to advance tech that has been around since the 50s and 60s... rather than innovating new gear. That is why SpaceX is landing and reusing rockets, doing it cheaper, and making money at it.
SpaceX is also advancing tech that has been around since the 60's. They are not creating new technology. The difference is they're taking more risks by using the existing technology in more ambitious ways and doing it leaner. They may someday make money at it...real money, not just money that appears to exist due to accounting methods that defer R&D costs complemented by development grants like CRS and CCDev. I actually think based on my own rough estimates they're getting close to that point.
What is ULA going to do when SpaceX is launching satellites for more than $100m cheaper than ULA can?
If that ever happens, ULA will work on reducing their costs to the degree necessary such that their significantly better reliability record still supports their price premium.