Moon, asteroids, and Mars are GO!

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by cygonaut, Jan 9, 2004.

  1. buffys Registered Loser Registered Senior Member

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    Kinda angry little fella aren't ya.

    Why do anything now? because it's within our reach. I'd rather piss money away on this than our current multi-trillion dollar project: the worlds largest gun.

    But the biggest reason I'm in a hurry is soley out of greed, I want to see it in my life time ... it's that simple. No big, high scientific ideals or to 'save humanity', I just want to see it. Thats as good a reason as any. We waste billions like toilet paper, it might as well be on something that interests me.
     
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  3. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    This is a pointless waste of NASA money.

    Don't get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of space research and space exploration. It's generally accepted that money spent on space research provides better returns than most other investments, and I fully support spending money on space. The problem here is that Bush wants to spend money on the wrong things. Our number-one priority for space needs to be developing a reusable, inexpensive, single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle. That in its self is a huge project, and far more of an engineering challenge than simply going back to the moon. Investing in the development an economical STO launch vehicle would produce far better returns than investing in going back to the moon. As far as I can tell, setting up a permanent base on the moon would be a complete waste of time and money. What possible benefit could it be?

    There's radio astronomy, but there is no need to go to the moon for that. It would be far easier and more cost-effective to build an unmanned radio telescope. In fact it would actually be better, since an unmanned telescope could be sent out much farther than the moon, allowing for far more accurate parallax measurements.

    Many people bring up helium 3 as a justification for going to the moon. Although it’s true that helium 3 is far more abundant on the moon than on earth, it still only has a concentration of around 4 -5 parts per billion in the lunar soil. Perhaps some day processing facilities could be built to sift through tons of lunar soil and extract helium 3, but this isn't the sort of thing that we will be able to exploit any time soon; especially since we don't even have a low-cost space vehicle yet. Collecting helium 3 from the moon will require an industrial infrastructure far greater than anything we could hope to set up on the moon in the foreseeable future. Oh, and by the way; no one has ever actually managed to build a working fusion reactor that runs off helium 3. Perhaps we should think about overcoming that little hurdle before we dream about importing helium 3 from the moon?
     
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  5. Stokes Pennwalt Nuke them from orbit. Registered Senior Member

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  7. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    NASA has always made a big show of their 'space spinoffs,' technologies that were originally developed for the space program but have since found uses in medicine and industry. When confronted with the enormous amount of money that NASA wastes, people often point to the spinoffs as evidence that NASA deserves its large budget. Of course NASA has produced tech spinoffs. NASA gets $15 billion a year. If you gave me $15 billion a year I can guarantee you that I would produce plenty of new technologies for you. With that amount of money to spend on R&D, it would be shocking if NASA hadn't accumulated an impressive portfolio of new technologies.

    The point is that you could develop a lot more new technologies, more efficiently, if you simply spent the money on focused research programs and development programs. As impressive as NASA's list of spinoffs is, consider the fact that for the same price we could donate $150 million dollars each year to the top 100 research universities in the country.
     
  8. Vortexx Skull & Bones Spokesman Registered Senior Member

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    How much time do we have before things get critical?

    With the current carefull progress of the chinese spaceprogram they are expected to put man on the moon around 2020, now that by itself is not threating to US hegomony because it's just a nice PR show, but after that, how many time and money would they need to set industry on the moon?

    Most people agree that the initial costs for full scale moonhabitation could even be up there with the US deficit, so you can imagine they would need to build that industry in like 50-70? years in order to just to cough up that kind of money, no matter how advanced technology gets ?

    ...So I believe there is enough time to focus as Nasor suggested on affordablo SSTO, from there journeys and cargo to the moon would become much cheaper, maybe the focus on SSTO would delay the return to the moon 5 or 10 years, but you would make a much better and more impressive comeback for less money and would after several years probalby have more moonpresence than if you didn't use the SSTO etc.

    The same could be said against those who like the moon for huge scientific projects like putting radio telescopes on the far side of the moon (i like that myself). Maybe the focus on development of the SSTO would delay the building of that radiotelescope for 5-10 years, BUT with a large affordoble fleet of SSTO and other transportmeans, you make up for that by building a much larger radiotelescope.

    To put it in one sentence: it may look impressive in te short term if the americans send an astronaut to mars within the next 25 years, but the chinese will be looking much more impressive in te long term if they decide to grab the moon instead within the next 100 years and have the moonindustry produce spacehips that go to Proxima Centauri 10 years later, wouldn't you agree?

    Knowing, that just their are some die hard Marsoholics out there with the red fever, i just hope Bush put the Mars announcement in his plans just to get some extra votes, let's hope some real quality long term vision is burried in those enthusiastic plans...
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2004
  9. cygonaut Registered Member

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    Good point.
     
  10. Vortexx Skull & Bones Spokesman Registered Senior Member

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    A good analogy would be the competition in videocardland. Nvidia was leading all the way, allthough in a rather noisy way

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    and 3dfx dropped out of the race, but meanwhile silently ATI was biding their time and silently developing the Radeon Pro series and BAM! out of nowhere they took the lead in one day....So, keep a close eye on the chinese in the spacerace..
     
  11. Godless Objectivist Mind Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks for link Undecided!!.

    Godless.
     
  12. cygonaut Registered Member

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  13. Persol I am the great and mighty Zo. Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, so while china sends 8 people who can last all of a couple days on the moon... we can send hundreds of robots, which would last a month each and cover a larger area.

    When we actually find something that is worth setting up industry, THEN we send people. There ARE things you can do on the moon which would give a positive return, but you and I both know that it will most likely just be a half-assed duplication of Apollo. Depending on WHAT they are doing there, it may be worth the money.

    The same can not yet be said about Mars.
     
  14. Undecided Banned Banned

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    If nations actually learned how to effectively work together, then this even shouldn't be a reality. Scientists have this issue, they complain about the lack of funding in the civil sector, but they get more then enough in the defence sector. Worldwide we spend $800 billion on defence. Half of that in the US alone! You what it is? Waste, wasteful programs like NMD, or wars like in Iraq. With those two gone the US could have payed for the moon and possibly even more. Scientists are really hypocrites, they wanted to do NMD at $60 billion, and actually the gaul to complain about not being able to afford to go to the moon. It's Karmatic... The Moon is about as important as Thanksgiving Diner, you don't want to go, it's takes time to travel, and when you get there it's boring.
     
  15. Persol I am the great and mighty Zo. Registered Senior Member

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    There are many many scientists who do not all do the same work and do not have the same opinions? Not all complain about lack of civil sector funding, and not all work for the military.

    This is a large group, and can not be treated as a single person.
     
  16. Undecided Banned Banned

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    Persol.

    That is true, I err-ed for putting them all in one category. But there are zealots who want it all. At the expense of social programs, no freaking way. The Shuttle disaster, the ISS disaster, the list goes on and on. I think that the X prize is the future, not government funded space programs. Really if you are a scientist and you get a thrill out of this, go to one of the X prize contenders and make space cheap for all. That would be the best thing to do right now. The Elitist NASA, ESA, etc. is nothing more then a remnant of the Cold War past. Why should the public have to actually put itself into more debt, to find out what type of rock is on the Moon? Logic please? I support Robots on the moon, cheaper, better, and more agile. I mean a human on the moon; if he falls down (I heard it's a bitch to get up). It's simply not worth it, and too bad if a scientist can't jerk it for the next 20 years live with it.
     
  17. buffys Registered Loser Registered Senior Member

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    personally, I'm not advocating cramming a few jar heads in a can and firing them at mars tomorrow but I would like to see a focused and methodical progression to that end.

    I like the plan Robert Zubrin detailed in his book 'The Case for Mars', its one of the few truly pragmatic plans I've run across. Much of the info can be found at http://www.nw.net/mars/, it's surprisingly well thought out and very little (as yet) unknown technologies are required (the details are free to download and posted in various formats). It's also so much cheaper than NASA's projections it frankly makes them look a bit stupid. What I like about it is it uses robots to gather necessary resources even before we get there. Very basically, the bots gather and store resources (the fuel for returning home, water needed to live and other useful chemicals) then they wait for us until we get there. Not only does this save a fortune by 'living off the land' so to speak but it allows for redundancies to be set up even before we get there, like building a gas station on mars. It even outlines a cheap way to simulate mars g for the duration of the trip there and back.

    If you're fundamentally against manned missions under any circumstances then, of course, this info won't change your mind but it's the best and cheapest (a rare combination) plan I've read so far. If you would like to see us, eventually, on other planets I encourage you to take a look at this stuff. It's well considered and very grounded, at the very least its an interesting read.
     
  18. Persol I am the great and mighty Zo. Registered Senior Member

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    personally, I'm not advocating cramming a few jar heads in a can and firing them at mars tomorrow but I would like to see a focused and methodical progression to that end.
    Agreed. We are just not yet at that end.

    What I like about it is it uses robots to gather...

    Sounds like a reasonable plan. Does it outline a reason for going besides 'just because'?
     
  19. buffys Registered Loser Registered Senior Member

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    In the very long term the reason is human colonization of course and in the short term its simply knowledge but beyond that there is no other reason (speaking for myself). Many high ideals can be floated, for example in case of disaster it gets a few eggs from humanity's single basket and into another one. But I'm not laying the future hope of man on mars as a sort of saftey valve for an expanding population, maybe in 1000 years of careful preparation but not now. The only reason to go is the same reason we explore the nooks and crannies on our own planet ... because we're curious and something of value might be there. As I stated before, we've wasted plenty of cash on lesser goals.

    To me these reasons are enough but I don't expect everyone to understand, either you agree or you don't. In my opinion neither view is wrong and the view with the majority behind it should decide if it's worth it.

    but thats just me
     
  20. Persol I am the great and mighty Zo. Registered Senior Member

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    I don't agree though that we should waste cash by jumping into this just because "we've wasted plenty of cash on lesser goals." You know the 'if everyone jumped off a bridge' line well enough.

    The long term goal IS very good... but at the current time sending people doesn't actually advance that goal any more then sending a few robots would.
     
  21. buffys Registered Loser Registered Senior Member

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    hmmm, I think we're arguing nearly the same thing but in different words.

    When I referred to a "focused and methodical progression" I meant having an aggressive 10-15 year plan (for example), purely robotic, that prepared mars for manned landings. First getting to know exactly where what we need is and gathering it together as well as generally getting as deep an understanding of the planet as possible in that time (climate, available resources, good landing sites, etc.). As you said we aren't there yet but thats the whole point of a progression, to get there.

    The REALLY important thing is a long term commitment, not sending people today, there'd be no point to that but we have to start somewhere and some-when so why not now? The book i referred to earlier lays out a plan that doesn't require some outrageously expensive space platform, moon base, any other unnecessary infrastructure or technology that doesn't already exist ... just careful planning and long term commitment.
     
  22. Undecided Banned Banned

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    The REALLY important thing is a long term commitment, not sending people today, there'd be no point to that but we have to start somewhere and some-when so why not now?

    Because it cannot be something that is always on constant danger of being cut from funding. The US right now cannotafford to to all this. Its just that simple, if the US could all the power to them. For this phallic race to moon, you are ensuring that you're children have no healthcare, bad education, and tonnes of taxes. Bush is all short term, and sadly this "patriotic" biz is catching people like fly's and they are going to be bit in the ass eventually. Future on Earth, or no future at all.
     
  23. buffys Registered Loser Registered Senior Member

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    I think we can afford it, I guess we disagree there, fair enough.

    As far as "a phallic race to the moon"? I don't see any need to get Freud involved, I don't even follow what that's supposed to mean. I (personally) think more can be gained in the long run by bypassing the moon entirely for now, it doesn't have the gravity or resources avalable on mars to live off the land (the cheapest way for manned missions to go).

    again I disagree but you're certainly welcome to your opinion.
     

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