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Mir Mortals

By nascent in News
Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 02:33:17 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

The BBC has some ...just plain jarring news from Mir, courtesy of the people that stayed there. From having to stir poop (because the effluvium was ...er, backing up) to burning oxygen-generating candles because the oxygen generators failed.

I've always felt the problem with Mir was overblown thanks to the media, but this is really giving me second thoughts. And if you thought it was bad already, this is going to make you cry.


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Mir Mortals | 23 comments (23 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Burning O2-generating candles? How... (none / 0) (#5)
by fluffy grue on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 01:59:04 AM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

Burning O2-generating candles? How do you do that? Technically, "burning" means things bonding exothermically with O2, not releasing it. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Re: Burning O2-generating candles? How... (none / 0) (#8)
by Skippy on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 02:40:28 PM EST

I would imagine that the "candle" contains some sort of oxygen heavy compound which when burned produces more oxygen than it uses in the reaction. But that's just a guess.
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
[ Parent ]
Burning O2-generating candles? Here's how... (none / 0) (#22)
by cottingham on Fri Mar 24, 2000 at 02:39:03 PM EST

The short answer is: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/ask/science/Oxygen_candles.txt

The slightly longer answer is: Lithium perchlorate (LiClO4) decomposes into lithium chloride (LiCl) and oxygen (202) when heated with a catalyst.

Craig S. Cottingham, who didn't think he'd need chemistry after college
craigc@unicom.net
PGP key available; ID=A2FFBE41, fingerprint=6AA8 2E28 2404 8A95 B8FC 7EFC 136F 0CEF A2FF BE41



[ Parent ]
this is cool... when we start spend... (none / 0) (#1)
by rongen on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 05:59:23 AM EST

rongen voted 1 on this story.

this is cool... when we start spending a lot of time in space there will inevitably be a low-rent element. MIR is the first glance of that.
read/write http://www.prosebush.com

Re: this is cool... when we start spend... (none / 0) (#13)
by fluffy grue on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 06:09:17 PM EST

Well, Mir isn't exactly low-rent. It's more like a slum with a corrupt money-grubbing slumlord known as "outer space."
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: this is cool... when we start spend... (none / 0) (#14)
by rongen on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 07:01:41 PM EST

s/rent/budget/;

I must confess I was thinking "jury rigged surplus space gear" with Han Solo rattling around, along with some of those Rastas from Gibson's _Neuromancer_. :)

It's amazing what astro/cosmonauts can pull off up there when things go wrong. Puts McGyver to shame! Then again maybe I am romanticizing close brushes with hard vacumn largely brought on by a lack of funding. We have benefitted so much from the spin-offs of space research that it always amazes me when people flip out about the amount of money governments allocate for it. I think I'd rather have tax dollars funding space programs than military bases... Oh, boy, better not start a discussion about that! :)
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]

Re: this is cool... when we start spend... (none / 0) (#15)
by fluffy grue on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 07:25:17 PM EST

Speaking of MacGyver, I wonder how many rolls of duct tape Mir would take to become not quite so unsafe. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Interesting story, but don't really... (none / 0) (#3)
by Fish on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 06:42:33 AM EST

Fish voted 0 on this story.

Interesting story, but don't really know what we could discuss about it.

I won't click a link if I don't hav... (none / 0) (#6)
by Velian on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 10:01:32 AM EST

Velian voted -1 on this story.

I won't click a link if I don't have the slighest clue what it's about. :P

Re: I won't click a link if I don't hav... (none / 0) (#12)
by fluffy grue on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 06:08:23 PM EST

It's about Mir.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: I won't click a link if I don't hav... (none / 0) (#23)
by Velian on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 05:58:56 PM EST

Really? :D

[ Parent ]
... (none / 0) (#7)
by marlowe on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 10:38:19 AM EST

marlowe voted 1 on this story.

--- I will insist on my right to question ---
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --

I doubt the people on the ships tha... (none / 0) (#2)
by hattig on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 12:09:31 PM EST

hattig voted 1 on this story.

I doubt the people on the ships that went exploring the world had a very nice time either, except they could do their business overboard. On the otherhand, they didn't have a lot of the benefits of today, and storms are more frequent on the sea than in space :-)

They really need to bring Mir down.... (none / 0) (#4)
by Skippy on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 02:33:17 PM EST

Skippy voted 1 on this story.

They really need to bring Mir down. It's served its purpose and it's just dangerous now. The problem with space stations is that up till now they have been national or international projects. What we really need is a corporate sponsored space station. Companies usually don't put up with the kind of crap contractors pull on the government. Everyday I look at the news and think we better get some portion of the human race off this rock before we become extinct. Think about the opinions put forth by Bill Joy recently. In a few years one disguntled person with bio/nano technological terrorist act could eliminate human life on the planet. We really need a human "backup".
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #

Why care about extinction? (none / 0) (#10)
by error 404 on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 04:09:29 PM EST

We need to explore because that's what humans are about. We need to explore
space because there is no better or more human thing to do than to explore, and
we have this part of space pretty well mapped out.

We need to explore space to win, not to drag the game on forever.

Extinction will happen eventualy no matter what we do - the attainable goal is
to live well. Stagnant, unexploring existance is a sadder fate than extinction.


It's better to burn out than to fade away - rust never sleeps. - N. Young.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Re: Why care about extinction? (none / 0) (#11)
by rongen on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 04:25:47 PM EST

Yeah. People really are explorers at heart. What do you do when you visit a new place? Go walk around and see what's what. Buy a new car? Take it for a drive and see what it can do. With space as your new neighbourhood, and a decent spacecraft as your new car there's a lot of driving around to do. Eventually the cost of reaching some resource (like an asteroid) will be less than the value earned by exploiting that resource and we will be there. Just a matter of time.

It's important to remember that exploration has always had an economic motive when done on a grand scale (can anyone think of a counter example? I'd be willing to learn a little more in this area). What could be more human than combining the drive to prosper with the drive to explore?
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]

about extinction (none / 0) (#19)
by xah on Fri Mar 24, 2000 at 06:50:11 AM EST

It would be a bad thing if there were no descendants of humans, there is no doubt of that. Needless to say, eventually Homo sapiens will become extinct. The question is, will we have successful descendants?

I think it was Ray Bradbury who suggested that by colonizing other planets, human beings can insure their longevity as a living species.

That said, I disagree with your felt need for corporate space exploration. This would entail exploration on a for-profit basis. Compare the discovery and colonization of the New World by the Europeans. The for-profit adventures of Columbus and Magellan set things in motion. But the motive for colonization was either to escape persecution or search for a better life. I feel strongly that colonization will only occur for non-commercial reasons.

[ Parent ]

Re: Mir Mortals (none / 0) (#9)
by joeyo on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 03:09:17 PM EST

VIKTOR BLAGOV: As for the fire, the term 'fire' itself I don't like it and I don't think it applies here. We just called this unfortunate incident the unplanned burning of an oxygen canister.

Dear God!


--
"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi

strange thing about that "fire" (none / 0) (#20)
by xah on Fri Mar 24, 2000 at 06:52:57 AM EST

Viktor Blagov put those words in context by also saying in the transcript:

It was like a cigarette lighting up but it gave off flame rather than smoke as it should have done. Nothing caught fire, not the chair, not the cable. no bit of rag, not a hat, not a jacket, nothing else burned. That's the truth, ask anyone.

[ Parent ]

Re: strange thing about that "fire" (none / 0) (#21)
by joeyo on Fri Mar 24, 2000 at 12:43:01 PM EST

So, a cigarette is not really on fire? Is it just "smoldering"? That sort of double-talk is disgusting. The lives of the crew were at stake.

(The analogy is also very poor because a cigarette is supposed to be lit- oxygen canisters are not!)

--
"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi
[ Parent ]

Re: Mir Mortals (none / 0) (#16)
by FlinkDelDinky on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 07:25:23 PM EST

I remember seeing something that sounds just like this on PBS.	I forget what
the show was called but it was good.  As for MIR, just let it die.

PS. (flame bait allert)  What have we really gotten from the space program that
entreprenurial inventors/free industry wouldn't have provided anyway?

As an example fuel cells.  Not invented by NASA, some guy figured them out in
1839! (http://216.51.18.233/fcfaqs.html#from)

Here's a (a strange but real) gripe I've got.  There are people out there who
believe there's a face on Mars, although I'm not one of them.  How hard is it
to take a good picture of the location?  If the believers are looney a good
series of photos will provide absolute proof.

Down with NASA.  They're probably only a shell for covert sattelite work
anyway.


Re: Mir Mortals (none / 0) (#17)
by analog on Thu Mar 23, 2000 at 10:09:35 PM EST

There are people out there who believe there's a face on Mars, although I'm not one of them. How hard is it to take a good picture of the location?

Not hard at all; it's been done. Problem is, the formation that made the 'face' has continued the process that created it (namely wind erosion), and it no longer resembles anything other than a pile of rocks and sand. Of course that's no fun, so you don't hear about it.

I can't remember which site it's on (could be NASA's, could be JPL's Mars site), but there is a recent picture floating around the net somewhere.

Oh, yeah...

PS. (flame bait allert) What have we really gotten from the space program that entreprenurial inventors/free industry wouldn't have provided anyway?

If that's a sincere question, you owe it to yourself to do some checking into it. Suffice it to say that the list is so long that posting it here could constitute a DoS attack. You might be very surprised indeed to find out how many things you take for granted in daily life are direct descendents of the space program.

[ Parent ]

good article! read the transcript, too (none / 0) (#18)
by xah on Fri Mar 24, 2000 at 06:42:59 AM EST

I just wanted to encourage everyone to read the transcript of the documentary. The link is at the bottom of the article.

Mir Mortals | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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