Apollo 13

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Re: Apollo 13

Postby jamiebk » Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:36 pm

.....And she's buying a stairway to heaven...... :rofl:
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Shapley » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:14 pm

Apparently, Cambridge is producing cable for the Space Elevator, and NASA is ready to buy every foot of it they can produce.

I'm curious about President Obama's views on space exploration. I don't think I've heard it mentioned. Will he de-fund NASA, or will space exploration be expanded during his term in office? I can't see how any major increase in NASA funding will be justified, given the current state of the government's finances. Then again, he has promised to put science at the forefront, although I'm thinking he's talking about hot-button items like stem-cell research (which doesn't fall within NASA's realm) and climate research (which does).
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Haggis@wk » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:24 pm

The latest NASA administrator, Michael Griffin, leaves office today. A new administrator has not been nominated. Griffin is a good guy but not a very good administrator

NASA has been, IMO, adrift for a long time. The international space station is a a money sink seemingly without a mission beyond completion. The ill-fated, soon-to-be-retired shuttle program has been another money sink, with little purpose beyond completing the ISS. The Constellation program is busily rediscovering everything the Apollo program learned.

I’m a big supporter of manned space missions and I think we need to get back to the Moon and on Mars.

I’m not confident Mr. Obama feels the same.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Shapley » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:30 pm

I concur. I think they've bought into, and fueled, the global-warming hype in order to keep the funding flowing their way. Global warming is what sells in Washington, so they're devoting all available cash to researching it, and the rest of the programs are fighting for scraps. Such is life, I suppose.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby BigJon@Work » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:23 pm

The ISS will be the platform to test the survival equipment for a manned mission to Mars. (if properly funded) Constellation is doing a lot better than just aping Apollo.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:04 pm

I’m a big supporter of manned space missions and I think we need to get back to the Moon and on Mars.


I know I've pointed out that robots can do any space science better, cheaper, and safer than humans. I doubt any manned mission will ever go to Mars as the medical problems are too big. If one does, it probably won't be repeated.

Putting people into space and on the moon is political theater.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Haggis@wk » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:52 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote:Putting people into space and on the moon is political theater.


I think the future of mankind is in space. The Moon, Mars, Lagrange points 1-5. As Tsiolkovsky wrote, "Earth is the cradle of mankind, but man cannot remain in the cradle forever." One asteroid, comet, or other space rock could kill all of mankind tomorrow.

All the resource of the solar system can't be harvested by robots no more than robots could have harvested the new world. Every resource on Earth, with the possible exception of oil, and a few rare ones, Hydrogen-3 for one, on Earth are available in abundance in our solar system.

The only fear I have had for years is that the language of our space farers will be Chinese or Hindi rather than English.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby barfle » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:17 pm

I'm inclined to agree with Haggis. Space travel may not be inevitable (my experience as a fortune-teller shows I'm not very good at it), but it is highly likely.

What needs to happen is a way to make it pay for itself. Jamestown didn't prosper until they had a cash crop to send back to Mother England (tobacco). Hopefully what we reap from space will be more beneficial, but commercial ventures are vital for a continued presence there. Geosynchronous communication satellites have shown that space CAN be profitable.

The Martian rovers, as successful as they have been, have only travelled a few miles from their landing points. A human being on site could have travelled thousands of miles, analyzed a multitude of rocks and minerals, and dug for ice.

GCR, I believe you've been tainted by our Apollo experience. Without saying so, JFK's challenge was simply a stunt - get there and get back alive. No challenge of establishing a presence, no challenge of seeing if there was value there, no challenge of using what we found. Even so, each Apollo landing brought us far more information than any Surveyor landing. By the way, both projects brought a comfortable living to our household through my dad's employment.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:03 pm

I'm inclined to agree with Haggis


My views are unpopular. Its a moot point, as the earliest manned mission to Mars I have heard about is scheduled for 2030--assuming they can solve all the problems.

What needs to happen is a way to make it pay for itself


None of us will live long enough to see it, if it happens.

A human being on site could have travelled thousands of miles, analyzed a multitude of rocks and minerals, and dug for ice.


No human could be sent up for the same cost as the rovers. For the cost of sending people to Mars, you could get a better job done with robots and less risk, too. I believe Bob Park wrote about sending people to Mars, commenting on having to pack out 18 months of waste products lest they contaminate the place. Just one problem. 18 months is about how long one would have to stay; now add time to and from. I know, lots of people think it will happen.

Geosynchronous communication satellites


Not people, a kind of robot.

JFK's challenge was simply a stunt


I used "theater," and I like the term. A lot of politics is theater, or noise without substance if you prefer. But we have to have it. Having done this dance before, we need to focus on the science.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby barfle » Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:51 pm

GCR wrote:My views are unpopular. Its a moot point, as the earliest manned mission to Mars I have heard about is scheduled for 2030--assuming they can solve all the problems.

If all the problems were solved, it would be scheduled for January 2009. But popularity isn't the discussion.

GCR wrote:None of us will live long enough to see it, if it happens.

Most of the people alive when Columbus made his trips didn't see successful colonization of the Americas.

GCR wrote:No human could be sent up for the same cost as the rovers.

I didn't say one could. But the cost/benefit ratio is what's important. Would you rather get a nickel's worth of value for a dime, or a dollar's worth of value for a dollar? The only time your answer would change is if you don't have the dollar.

{quote="GCR"]Not people, a kind of robot.[/quote]
Again, I didn't say it was. What I DID say it was was a commercially successful use of space.

GCR wrote:I used "theater," and I like the term.

Fine. I used the term "stunt" about five years ago, so I was quoting myself, not you. Nonetheless, I was agreeing with your sentiment.

GCR wrote:Having done this dance before, we need to focus on the science.

And I say we have to focus on value returned. Simply saying Mars is made of green cheese (or not) bears us little value. Having another location for humans to spread their DNA could have value.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Shapley » Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:36 pm

barfle wrote:And I say we have to focus on value returned. Simply saying Mars is made of green cheese (or not) bears us little value. Having another location for humans to spread their DNA could have value.


Well, the green cheese would have been useful, if we could have brought some back. As it is, we have to keep making our own...
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby barfle » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:29 pm

Shapley wrote:Well, the green cheese would have been useful, if we could have brought some back. As it is, we have to keep making our own...

As far as I know, we haven't ever returned anything from Mars. We've identified a few meteorites as being Martian in origin, but the only time I know of getting things back from someplace is when we sent humans to get them. That was Luna.

There are plans for a robotic Martian sample return mission. From what I can tell, it won't be a lot of stuff. It COULD help us decide to send humans, if we can figure out how to make something useful from the stuff (like habitats, then farms).
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Shapley » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:46 am

barfle wrote:As far as I know, we haven't ever returned anything from Mars. We've identified a few meteorites as being Martian in origin...


I may have mentioned this before, but I read Brother Guy Consolmagno's book Brother Astronomer, in which he discusses those meteorites. The Vatican has the largest collection of meteorites anywhere on Earth. (Or did, according to the book, at the time of publication. That could have changed.) For decades, scientists argued that it was impossible for any of the meteorites to have come from Mars, and they had the calculations to prove it. However, the atmosphere of Mars is considered to be unique, at least among known planets. Therefore, when they discovered pockets of Martian atmosphere inside some of the meteorites, they set about revising their calculations to prove that the meteorites did, in fact, come from Mars.

You quoted a link a while back that said something to the effect that we'll never have the last word on science. That is true. Anytime we think we have all the answers, someone comes up with a new set of questions... :)
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby barfle » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:52 am

One thing about the condition of knowledge and understanding - it keeps changing.

I believe that's a good thing, at least for now.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:06 pm

The Martian rovers, as successful as they have been, have only travelled a few miles from their landing points. A human being on site could have travelled thousands of miles, analyzed a multitude of rocks and minerals, and dug for ice.


Its clear here that you are comparing the rovers to humans, so bringing up issues of safety and cost are fair. For the cost of the multi-year voyage of sending a human a "gold-plated" robot could be sent and do a better job analyzing rocks. Thus far, only about 50% of the attempted landings on Mars have suceeded, which should be a sobering statistic to those anxious to send someone there.

As far as digging for ice, we have plenty of that here--why go to Mars (tee--hee)? Sending someone there for such a long time seems impractical unless they can be self-sufficient, and they will need water. The rovers, designed to last four months, still working after five years, don't need any. I think I know what you are thinking--self sufficient exploration, base establisment, colonization. But this stuff is so far beyond what we can do its beyond the lifetimes of anyone reading this, and my bet is they will never happen. They are science fiction. Firing up space agencies around the world to send someone to Mars will accomplish less science than sending up robots, but it certainly has that science fiction appeal.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:20 pm

They are science fiction.

I'm living in science fiction now, and so are you. Every time you swipe your check card at the grocery store. Check your bank balance online. Order an on-demand movie on the cable. Heat up leftovers in the microwave. Call someone on your cellphone. Find an address using your Garmin.

The list never ends. Maybe Mars will make the list.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:34 pm

All those things are technology, Selma, not science. Even I'll admit Mars may one day make the list.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby barfle » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:55 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote:Its clear here that you are comparing the rovers to humans, so bringing up issues of safety and cost are fair. For the cost of the multi-year voyage of sending a human a "gold-plated" robot could be sent and do a better job analyzing rocks. Thus far, only about 50% of the attempted landings on Mars have suceeded, which should be a sobering statistic to those anxious to send someone there.

As far as digging for ice, we have plenty of that here--why go to Mars (tee--hee)? Sending someone there for such a long time seems impractical unless they can be self-sufficient, and they will need water. The rovers, designed to last four months, still working after five years, don't need any. I think I know what you are thinking--self sufficient exploration, base establisment, colonization. But this stuff is so far beyond what we can do its beyond the lifetimes of anyone reading this, and my bet is they will never happen. They are science fiction. Firing up space agencies around the world to send someone to Mars will accomplish less science than sending up robots, but it certainly has that science fiction appeal.

The point isn't to send someone there to do more work than an RC car. The point isn't about comparative costs between humans and robots. The point is to have value. Maybe robotic missions can have value, but so far they haven't raised the human condition, and they won't get human protoplasm off this planet.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:03 pm

The point isn't to send someone there to do more work than an RC car. The point isn't about comparative costs between humans and robots. The point is to have value. Maybe robotic missions can have value, but so far they haven't raised the human condition, and they won't get human protoplasm off this planet.


Ok. All I meant to say was better, cheaper, safer science could be done by robots or RC cars. Value, such as raising the human condition (and pointed out by Selma), comes from technology.
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Re: Apollo 13

Postby piqaboo » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:39 pm

lasers are science. So much so the inventor couldnt get a patent for some 20 yrs because he couldnt build an application.
Now they drive a ton o technology.

Science tends to do that.
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