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Oswald06
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11 Jul 2011, 1:28 pm

I watched part of the final shuttle launch on Friday. Atlantis will return on either July 20th or 21st. The shuttles are going to different locations: Discovery to the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum (this is replacing the test shuttle Enterprise, which will go tothe Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York), Endeavour is going to the California Science Center in Los Angeles and Atlantis will stay at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near Cape Canaveral. I hear that NASA will try to get astronauts on an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars by 2035.



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11 Jul 2011, 1:37 pm

I don't understand why they're shutting the program down. That seem like a huge backwards step. But then if they want to get astronauts on an asteroid... I don't understand this at all. Is it just lack of funds?



CaroleTucson
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11 Jul 2011, 1:43 pm

I think NASA is doing the right thing. I think the manned programs have reached the end of their usefulness, and in the future NASA should put its resources into developing better, smarter robotic explorers.

What can a human do on the surface of Mars that a next-generation, smart robot couldn't do, at a fraction of the cost?



Whosinabunker
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11 Jul 2011, 1:45 pm

Well I've heard that the government has obviously cut most (if not all) of NASA's funds, and this is FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF**KING ridiculous in my opinon. We could cut our military budget by one half and start spending funds on NASA and still have the largest military budget of any nation in the world. SPACE! NOT WAR!



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11 Jul 2011, 2:08 pm

I say we strap every politician in this country in a shuttle, blast them off into space, and let them see first hand the wonders of space exploration. That should change their minds about seeing space exploration as a dollar figure instead of an advancement of humankind.

Problem is we don't have any shuttles anymore...



ruveyn
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11 Jul 2011, 2:14 pm

The management of NASA is corrupt and incompetent.

The best and the brightest have long since left NASA. They are longer the agency that launched the Apollo Project.

ruveyn



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11 Jul 2011, 2:40 pm

ruveyn wrote:
The management of NASA is corrupt and incompetent.

The best and the brightest have long since left NASA. They are [no] longer the agency that launched the Apollo Project.

ruveyn

+100


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11 Jul 2011, 6:10 pm

CaroleTucson wrote:
What can a human do on the surface of Mars that a next-generation, smart robot couldn't do, at a fraction of the cost?

Colonize.

Reduce the time required to get a human decision to near zero. Smart robots really can do amazing things, but there are some things they are simply inferior at. They even made one robot that, most of the time, could successfully fold a towel.


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11 Jul 2011, 6:28 pm

Ancalagon wrote:
CaroleTucson wrote:
What can a human do on the surface of Mars that a next-generation, smart robot couldn't do, at a fraction of the cost?

Colonize.

Reduce the time required to get a human decision to near zero. Smart robots really can do amazing things, but there are some things they are simply inferior at. They even made one robot that, most of the time, could successfully fold a towel.


Mars is the wrong world to colonize at this time. We should be building our habitats on the moon. Why?

1. The Moon is close enough so emergency support from earth is available.
2. The Moon has 1/6 the gravitation of earth and it would be a good place to build large interplanetary vessels.
3. There are helium 3 deposits on the Moon which would be valuable if we ever develop controlled nuclear fusion.
4. The Darkside of the Moon is the perfect place to build obsevatories in all spectra. The low gravitation would make the building telescopes with 10 or 20 meter mirrors quite feasible.

When we have a decent propulsion system (not rockets) we can think about mining the asteroids and Mars would be a good base of operations to that end.

ruveyn



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11 Jul 2011, 7:36 pm

Don't forget that it only takes 4 days to reach the moon and only about 3 seconds for communications to reach Earth. With Mars, it's about a year one-way and it takes about 30 minutes for communications to reach the surface.



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11 Jul 2011, 7:52 pm

So we have been to the edge of space, and found it is large. I think the next step is something large in high orbit. After the first expensive step, getting it off planet, which the Russians will sub contract, we will have a long term staging area. Maybe an elevator.

Something large to carry all the materials needed for a Moon Colony. From the surface to high orbit will take more energy than from the Earth to Moon orbit. With a large base in orbit around both, the shuttle between will be energy light.

Then we can build on the Moon surface, and I am with Ruveyn, the dark side. A base that is a livein telescope, with planned expansion. Hubble is good for a point far away, but for the next few hundred years, a multifacted spider eye, that can scan for planet killing rocks.

If you think terrorists are a problem, I have some large holes in the ground to show you. They are only a mile across, but the dust they would kick up would leave us in the shade for a few years. We already live on the edge of food production.

Now we only have to figure out how to deflect something that large and fast. While asteroids do pass between the Earth and Moon, Nothing we have could stop their motion, put them in orbit, where we could hollow them out, make them a base, and have 10 meters of shielding. We are puny, our technology febble.

If we could, there are two points between the Earth and Moon where they could remain stable for long term. That would give four steps to the Moon, and a lot of building material. We will need to work out food production in space. Depending on Earth for supplies or rescue, includes a large margin of, it did not work, everyone dies.

It comes down to the cost of lifting from the surface, and the Shuttle was expensive.

Not much to do on the Moon but science. From Mars, the Sun is just another star, but from the Moon, Earth is big and bright. Tourism might work.

There may well be some things worth mining. Helium 3 who knows what else. The asteroids hold great promise, if it was once a planet, some sections of the core could be worth it. Plantenates are found around some craters. Platium, Paladium, the whole group is useful. That is a long way out.

NASA seems to have outlived it's usefulness. Right now we have more pressing needs, but building on the knowledge, having some plan for the future, it might be slow, but better technology, a lot easier when we do.

For the elevator we need light but strong ribbons, and I remember when the first whiskers of carbon fiber were formed. That was thirty years ago. Spectra is even better. Once we get that first step, surface to the Clarke Belt, the rest will come along. Powered from Solar cells in space, it would be near energy free.

Then we just need a real propulsion system.



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11 Jul 2011, 8:41 pm

Inventor wrote:
So we have been to the edge of space, and found it is large. I think the next step is something large in high orbit. After the first expensive step, getting it off planet, which the Russians will sub contract, we will have a long term staging area. Maybe an elevator.

Something large to carry all the materials needed for a Moon Colony. From the surface to high orbit will take more energy than from the Earth to Moon orbit. With a large base in orbit around both, the shuttle between will be energy light.

Then we can build on the Moon surface, and I am with Ruveyn, the dark side. A base that is a livein telescope, with planned expansion. Hubble is good for a point far away, but for the next few hundred years, a multifacted spider eye, that can scan for planet killing rocks.

If you think terrorists are a problem, I have some large holes in the ground to show you. They are only a mile across, but the dust they would kick up would leave us in the shade for a few years. We already live on the edge of food production.

Now we only have to figure out how to deflect something that large and fast. While asteroids do pass between the Earth and Moon, Nothing we have could stop their motion, put them in orbit, where we could hollow them out, make them a base, and have 10 meters of shielding. We are puny, our technology febble.

If we could, there are two points between the Earth and Moon where they could remain stable for long term. That would give four steps to the Moon, and a lot of building material. We will need to work out food production in space. Depending on Earth for supplies or rescue, includes a large margin of, it did not work, everyone dies.

It comes down to the cost of lifting from the surface, and the Shuttle was expensive.

Not much to do on the Moon but science. From Mars, the Sun is just another star, but from the Moon, Earth is big and bright. Tourism might work.

There may well be some things worth mining. Helium 3 who knows what else. The asteroids hold great promise, if it was once a planet, some sections of the core could be worth it. Plantenates are found around some craters. Platium, Paladium, the whole group is useful. That is a long way out.

NASA seems to have outlived it's usefulness. Right now we have more pressing needs, but building on the knowledge, having some plan for the future, it might be slow, but better technology, a lot easier when we do.

For the elevator we need light but strong ribbons, and I remember when the first whiskers of carbon fiber were formed. That was thirty years ago. Spectra is even better. Once we get that first step, surface to the Clarke Belt, the rest will come along. Powered from Solar cells in space, it would be near energy free.

Then we just need a real propulsion system.


Are they seroiusly thinking about colonizing the moon??

what about oxygen? I dont think plants could grow on the moon...I dont know if there is co2 on the moon, if there is...maybe water could be transported.
Could the building blocks of life on earth be placed on the moon and see if life can be sustained??
I heard a theory that an astroid with life on it hit the earth which started the chain reaction of life on earth, could that be staged on the moon?


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CaroleTucson
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11 Jul 2011, 10:40 pm

Ancalagon wrote:
CaroleTucson wrote:
What can a human do on the surface of Mars that a next-generation, smart robot couldn't do, at a fraction of the cost?

Colonize.


Well, true ... but to what purpose? I don't see any significant colonization on Mars happening. It's a more extreme environment than Antarctica, and who wants to go live there?

Quote:
Reduce the time required to get a human decision to near zero. Smart robots really can do amazing things, but there are some things they are simply inferior at.


Well, sure. Maybe I should have said ... robots can give you 80% of the capability at 20% of the cost. And you don't have to worry about the social implications of losing one of them. If a manned Mars-bound spacecraft was lost with all aboard, the repercussions would last for years.

Quote:
They even made one robot that, most of the time, could successfully fold a towel.


I want one of those!



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12 Jul 2011, 8:22 am

crmoore wrote:
Don't forget that it only takes 4 days to reach the moon and only about 3 seconds for communications to reach Earth. With Mars, it's about a year one-way and it takes about 30 minutes for communications to reach the surface.


1.5 seconds. a round of conversation is delayed by twice that, giving the three seconds. 1.5 seconds for the message get to the moon. 1.5 seconds for the reply to reach earth.

When Mars is closest to earth a one way transmission takes 12.7 minutes so a round trip is approximately 25 minutes.

ruveyn



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12 Jul 2011, 10:47 am

CaroleTucson wrote:
Ancalagon wrote:
Colonize.


Well, true ... but to what purpose? I don't see any significant colonization on Mars happening. It's a more extreme environment than Antarctica, and who wants to go live there?

Well, I was basically just being overliteral and answering your question. :P Ruveyn's right about the moon being much more attractive as an immediate target for colonizing.

But it would be possible to colonize Mars on a large scale if we terraformed it. That would not be cheap or quick, though. We might not be able to make it Earth-like, but we could at least raise the temperature if we spent enough time and effort messing around with greenhouse gasses.


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