Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Space Exploration Act of 2003

By Mark Friedenbach in News
Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 12:49:02 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX) introduced a bill on September 10th that would set broad goals for NASA's manned space program, including a manned facility on the Moon and missions to Mars and Earth-crossing asteroids.


Congressman Nick Lampson (D-TX) re-introduced his Space Exploration Act on Wednesday, September 10th. The bill has 26 cosponsors, and has been referred to the House Committee on Science. If passed the bill would create a new department within NASA, the Office of Exploration, which would be responsible for carrying out the goals of the bill. The legislation calls for NASA to

Within 8 years develop and demonstrate a reusable space vehicle capable of carrying people, from low Earth orbit, to the L1 and L2 Earth-Sun libration points and back, to the Earth-Moon libration points and back, and to Lunar orbit and back.

Within 10 years develop and demonstrate a reusable space vehicle capable of carrying people from low Earth orbit to and from an Earth-orbit crossing asteroid and rendezvousing with it.

Within 15 years develop and demonstrate a reusable space vehicle capable of carrying people from Lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon and back, as well as the deployment of a human-tended habitation and research facility on the Lunar surface.

Within 20 years develop and demonstrate a reusable space vehicle capable of carrying humans to and from Martian orbit, deploy a human tended habitation and research facility on the surface of a Martian moon, and develop and demonstrate a reusable space vehicle capable of carrying humans from Martian orbit to the surface of Mars and back.

The bill comes at a time when, in wake of the Columbia accident and investigation, a number of elected officials have criticized NASA's lack of long-term vision. Some officials, like Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), have called for presidential leadership on this issue. Space advocacy groups have yet to comment on the bill.

(Some text taken from Rep. Lampson's press release)

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Are manned missions to the Moon, Mars, and asteroids worth funding?
o Yes, absolutely! 53%
o Yes, but it should be an international effort. 26%
o Yes, but it should be privatized, with cost shared by industry. 7%
o No, it's too ambitious. We need to learn more about space and the human body. 3%
o No, humans are too expensive. Send robots instead. 6%
o No! It's a waste of money. 3%

Votes: 128
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Nick Lampson
o introduced
o bill
o House Committee on Science
o NASA
o called
o press release
o Also by Mark Friedenbach


Display: Sort:
Space Exploration Act of 2003 | 98 comments (96 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
It would be cool. (2.60 / 5) (#1)
by SanSeveroPrince on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 04:39:26 AM EST

Space exploration. Real moon bases. Now we only gotta find some aliens to have it out with!

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


conventions (3.83 / 6) (#8)
by adiffer on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:44:30 AM EST

I'd rather set up conventions and invite the alien kids to show up wearing round ears and the latest fashions.
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]
Moon Commies (5.00 / 2) (#77)
by n0mj121 on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:14:38 AM EST

We could fight Commies on the moon! Yeah! Moon Commies! It's be like the movies.

[ Parent ]
AWESOME <nt> (2.60 / 5) (#2)
by Torka on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 04:45:14 AM EST



Big dumb booster (4.30 / 13) (#3)
by Blarney on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 04:49:05 AM EST

Why all this talk about reusable space vehicles? This is what got us into this mess in the first place - NASA spending all its resources on their pathetic handful of Shuttles that can't go to the moon or Mars or even geosynchronous orbit, which require an extravagant amount of maintenance, whose launch rate is orders of magnitude below that intended, which occasionally blow up and halt the space program for years at a time - screw the Shuttle and let's not build a bigger one.

You want reusable spacecraft? Great. Build them in orbit. They never need to land on Earth at all. In the meantime, we need to concentrate on quantity. To get anywhere, there need to be rockets - cheap rockets - going up every week carrying either people or stuff people up there need. We need a mass production system.

Big Dumb Rockets (4.90 / 10) (#11)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:09:26 AM EST

Yes, Big Dumb Disposable Rockets are probably the best idea for getting payloads from the Earth into LEO. But if you re-read the summary, you'll note that the idea is for reusable vehicles from LEO to the LaGrange points, the Moon, and later, Mars. This is an appropriate use for reusable craft.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Thank you for the clarification (5.00 / 2) (#25)
by Blarney on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 12:34:44 PM EST

I guess it isn't such a bad plan after all. No more Shuttles, please, they weren't worth my parent's tax money let alone mine.

[ Parent ]
I fully agree (5.00 / 1) (#29)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 01:38:35 PM EST

The Shuttle plan was and is misbegotten. Big dumb rockets are the way to go for getting cargo up there. Disposable re-entry pods are the way to go for getting cargo, if any, back down. It's quite mad to try to mix humans and cargo in a single vehicle. I'd go for some sort a reusable vehicle for humans, but it would be a lot more like the X-15 than the Shuttle.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Big dumb boosters (5.00 / 2) (#69)
by alizard on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:17:00 AM EST

Short-term solution. To put the gigatons of space infrastructure up to make space industrialization and powersats and nice, cheap exploration expediions practical, we need something a hell of a lot cheaper than rockests. We need dollars a pound to LEO, not thousands or hundreds of dollars a pound.

We need a skyhook. The candidates are the Space Elevator and REAL big honking rail guns. Are the problems with nanotube fabrication for the Elevator something we can throw money at? From my quick look at research in the area, the railgun problems are something that money can solve.
"The horse is dead. Fuck it or walk away, but stop beating it." Juan Rico
[ Parent ]

The Act missed something (3.20 / 10) (#4)
by United Fools on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 04:55:34 AM EST

One of the goal should be to land men on the Sun. How can you ignore the center of our solar system?
We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
Unless I'm mistaken, (5.00 / 7) (#19)
by rodoke3 on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:28:14 AM EST

The sun isn't the center, it's merely a focus.

I take umbrage with such statments and am induced to pull out archaic and over pompous words to refute such insipid vitriol. -- kerinsky


[ Parent ]
OK smarty (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by United Fools on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:59:30 PM EST

So it's a "focus." But what difference does it make?

We hate people who like showing off, which is just another way of supressing fools.
We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
[ Parent ]

Hah! (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:11:06 PM EST

Like the woman with two boys that started a cattle ranch, it's where sun's rays meet.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
NASA is broken (4.12 / 8) (#5)
by dn on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:01:48 AM EST

This proposal is a bad idea. As far as manned space flight goes, NASA has no vision. They took the last working interplanetary spaceship and turned it into a lawn ornament to demonstrate their devotion to the Shuttle, which they knew could not possibly work as promised. Then they took the Shuttle and flushed it down the toilet by accepting the flawed segmented booster design and the excessive Air Force requirements for payload capability. Then they got us entangled with an ill-conceived space station project to justify continued use of the flawed Shuttle. All this happened because their manned space program has, on an institutional basis, no real goals or desires for any particular accomplishments. It's just another bureaucracy. It exists to capture funding, and spend it in particular states. The people who quashed an attempt to look at Columbia with a spy satellite simply don't have the gumption to walk on alien worlds. They don't have The Right Stuff.

Contrast them with with NASA's science craft, which are spectacularly successful precisely because they are "owned" by a bunch of different science teams that really care about succeeding and who have well-defined goals. Vision and the love of the thing are the only way to succeed in something as hard as space flight.

    I ♥
TOXIC
WASTE

not true (4.50 / 4) (#6)
by Mark Friedenbach on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:22:20 AM EST

They took the last working interplanetary spaceship and turned it into a lawn ornament to demonstrate their devotion to the Shuttle.
No, they cancelled Apollo and SkyLab 2 (which the Saturn V in question was designated for) because Congress pulled the plug. NASA had nothing to do with it (in fact, they had plans for Apollo reaching far into the 1970's).
All this happened because their manned space program has, on an institutional basis, no real goals or desires for any particular accomplishments.
But isn't that the point of this bill? To set firm goals for NASA's manned space program?

[ Parent ]
Don't forget Hubble and Webb (3.00 / 4) (#14)
by cestmoi on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:14:39 AM EST

The saddest thing about NASA is they've decide to kill the Hubble scope. Hubble has produced orders of magnitude more science than the space station but to fund the space station, they're killing Hubble.

They claim the new Webb (a project named after a NASA bureaucrat) will outperform Hubble but then again, it won't be launched until a year after they've destroyed Hubble. Moreover, Webb is optimized for infrared, not visible radiation so if Webb finds something worth looking at in visible light, we won't have anything comparable to Hubble to see it.

The best idea I've heard for manned flight is to get NASA out of it and allocate their funding to prizes for clearly defined goals. That and grant property rights on the moon ala the rights granted the homesteaders in the 1800's. Instead of funding failed missions, the prize money would only be paid out for achieving the stipulated goals.

[ Parent ]

Hmm... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by Noodle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:15:59 AM EST

It might cause in international stir if the US of A gave itself the authority to divvy up the Moon...

The again, causing international stirs seems to be America's favorite pasttime, so why worry? : )

{The Nefarious Noodle}
[ Parent ]

Interplanetary Imperialism (2.00 / 8) (#20)
by debacle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:30:38 AM EST

Would bring about global prosperity on a massive scale for any country that allied itself with the larger space-faring nations.

And our flag is on the moon, fuck the rest of the world.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

well (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by speek on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 06:02:42 PM EST

Should those capable of going wait for those not capable or not willing? Should space on the moon be reserved for Argentina? I can foresee a war over the moon, but I'm not sure what's worse - never going, or going through that war.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Neutral grounds. (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by Vesperto on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:53:59 PM EST

As you said, causing international stirs seems to be America's favorite pasttime, tehrefore i doubt those with the power will even consider thinking about other nations. Very american indeed.

The logical solution, to me, seems to be a decision made by all countries regarding planetary exploration. All countries should be able to have a say, although those with space capability should have a heavier influence (but not veto-power). In practical terms, i think a UN resolution defining a limited radius to claims would make sense. You'd own the 5 miles around your flag. I say radius (i.e., circle) and not square, because that would avoid claiming adjacent space. Secondly, to prevent just that, some resolution that would limit the ammount of space claimed.

In fact, i think there should't be a US circle, a EU circle, a Japan circle. That's plain human stupid. But, alas, such resolutions would have to be passed in order to liberate space exploration from chaos. Another usefull anti-chaos resolution would be that any party claming land on a planet must consist of an equal number of people from all spaceenabled nations, plus one (or a %) from the "non-align countries" (sorry ;) This would force explorers not only to plan well what to claim (it always reminds me of conquer), but to be limited in decisions.

As for vehicles, apparently one that can ''fly' in space and land within at atmosphere doesn't seem too practical; however, i don't think why shouldn't the existing shuttles be used in space - and only in space. As for orbit-to-land, why not space-elevators? Little geostationary orbiting stations that have a hatch (spelling?) on one end, where the space vehicles dock; and a pod on the other end, which pretty much falls to the planet. And planet-to-orbit, has anyone read Heinlein's The moon is a harsh mistress?

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

Actually, (5.00 / 1) (#88)
by Ward57 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:15:49 AM EST

the un already worked this out - you get 50 miles round the flag (/hab), but the US didn't sign the treaty.

[ Parent ]
that's real genius (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by bolthole on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:52:19 AM EST

(the sig block, that is)


[ Parent ]
oh boy (4.33 / 9) (#7)
by adiffer on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:41:16 AM EST

There are so many ways to screw this up and so many to do it right I'm scared and excited at the same time.

How much you wanna bet this thing dies when some people start coming back with realistic cost estimates for having NASA do all this?  I'm pretty sure this stuff can be done cheaper.  I'm also pretty sure NASA can't do it cheap without a lot of help/direction from the US Senate.

A reasonable question people are going to ask must be answered though.  Why would we want to send humans to the Earth-Sun libration points?  That line is a mission, not a vision.  There is a really big difference between the two concepts.

(Yay!  Comment 1000 for me.  I'm feeling so opinionated lately.)
--BE The Alien!

Human space exploration is a waste of resources (2.83 / 12) (#12)
by antichrist stormtrooper on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:12:35 AM EST

The only thing human space explorers can do that robots cannot is die in spectacular crashes. There following therefrom on every concievable news medium a seemingly endless cascade of tearfully sentimental tributes to our brave, incinerated space pioneers. Barf.


"I hate cats almost as much as I hate Italians" -Albert Einstein
A few years ago (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by nusuth on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:27:03 AM EST

...I would just 2 your comment and move on. Now, I'm not so sure that you are not right. Given limited resources allocated to space agencies and given robotic exploration is vastly more efficient in bang for buck sense, not only robots can do everything human beings can do but they can do more too. A lot more, infact.

I'm not sure human exploration is better than robotic exploration, even without cost concerns. Robots can see everything humans can but reverse doesn't hold. Short of colonizing planets, I just don't see the need of any human beings leaving LEO.

OTOH, I find your (appearant?) lack of enthusiastism for humans in space concept disturbing.

[ Parent ]

Oooh... (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by Vesperto on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:59:57 PM EST

...I would just 2 your comment and move on. Now, I'm not so sure that you are not right. So you 2rate comments with which you don't agree? How clever!! Ever read this?

As far as bots go, although they can do a great deal of man's job, they haven't invented a computer geek/biochemist/_ scientist robot yet. Eitherway the best solution would be to use both.

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by nusuth on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:18:32 AM EST

Grand-grand parent is obviously a trolling attempt, that is why rating 1 or 2 is good idea, not because I don't agree with its content. However (unlike few years ago) I'm not sure manned is the way to go and since I see noone else raises the issue (except in poll) I feel like responding to him/her. My rating history is open for all to see but just accusing is easier than checking it, I guess.

How exactly do you plan to use both? If you know how to put more manned missions into the program without cutting robotic exploration programs, please share your insights.

[ Parent ]

Using... er... both. (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by Vesperto on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:59:08 AM EST

accusing is easier than checking it - of course it is, you seemed to be the rule, not the exception. Why even bother rating trolls? Imho ignoring is the best one has to do, unless the post is offensive (i.e., verbaly offensive). Oh well, opinions.

As for using both. i'm no rocket scientist but i think both should be used. Like i said, they haven't invented PhD robots, so having brains behind the machine can be useful. They also haven't invented humans that need no breathing, can go though an atmosphere and land on a planet, etc. this is why i think both should be used. Maybe a lot of robots and few humans to control them, but both nonetheless.

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

Apollo vs. Mars Missions (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by ceejayoz on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:37:57 PM EST

The several years of manned missions to Luna accomplished far more exploration than the fourty or so years of unmanned probes to Mars.  Our unmanned landers just aren't good enough to do much more than taking some photos and sniffing the atmosphere.

Until we get 'em a good source of power and a good enough AI to work mostly on their own, instead of waiting for instructions through a time lag, humans will be the best way of exploring a planet.

[ Parent ]

What about Orbiters? (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by nusuth on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:27:22 AM EST

The several years of manned missions to Luna accomplished far more exploration than the fourty or so years of unmanned probes to Mars.

In what ways?

Our unmanned landers just aren't good enough to do much more than taking some photos and sniffing the atmosphere.

I agree landers have done relatively little but orbiters did very good jobs. What is really missing from Martian exploration is samples. Humans are somewhat better at picking samples, but returning dumbly selected samples is vastly easier than returning humans and samples.

[ Parent ]

Another thing (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by antizeus on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 12:01:55 PM EST

Humans can write poems about their experience in space.
-- $SIGNATURE
[ Parent ]
Which is not to be sneezed at (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 12:37:31 PM EST

I mean, seriously, why the fuck should humans do anything? We could just sit around all day and eat and piss and shit and sleep and occasionally fuck and pop out new humans to eat and shit and piss and and sleep and occasionally fuck.

But we're humans, and we need frontiers to stay emotionally healthy. Right now there are three possibilities for a frontier: the sea, space, and thought. All of them are widely denigrated.

But they're all about what we are as humans. A human without a frontier is just an animal or robot.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Voyage (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by nusuth on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 02:08:45 PM EST

Have you read Voyage by Stephan Baxter?

[ Parent ]
I think so (5.00 / 1) (#37)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 04:46:27 PM EST

I went through a Baxter period about two years ago. Yes, here it is. Perhaps I should read it again. My memory is that it was interesting, but there was a lot of stuff in it that went amazingly right when it was unlikely to do so.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Manned vs. Robotic (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by nusuth on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:03:27 PM EST

IMHO the book was medicore. However it portrayed what could have been lost if the available limited funds were steered to manned exploration. In the end of the book, humanity has a clown on Mars and that is pretty much it. No probes going round Jupiter, no new pictures of Saturn, no space telescope, no asteroid close-ups, not even as many Mars exploration missions.

[ Parent ]
Now I remember better (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:46:15 PM EST

I probably should re-read it, in light of your comments.

Is Robotic Vs. Manned a real dichotomy, though? I have a hard time believing that without the Moon Race, there would have been any robotic missions, either.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Look at it this was (5.00 / 3) (#44)
by nusuth on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:09:18 PM EST

Sputnik catched USA by surprise. She neither had a space program back then nor vision for one. Moon race gave a clear and defined goal for USA with a deadline to catch and catapulted the whole program. NASA was formed, resources were poured into it and a succesful program (at least for a decade) was born.

OTOH, prior to moon race, Soviets already had a very detailed and long term plan about exploring the space. Their plans had stations at LEO and Moon. Until the Moon race, they were keeping up with their program pretty well. However, they weren't planning to go to Moon that soon. When they were forced to race, allocation of most funds to Moon race stagnated their long term program and pushed back their plans for a decade or so. Their program ultimately would fail because of waning political support (partly due to losing the Moon race) and then collapse of the USSR.

Moon race, in a sense, created a space program for one nation and destroyed the other's.

I think rushing a Mars mission, or another massively expensive manned mission right now will do the same thing for NASA. NASA already lacks a long time space exploration program with well defined goals but at least they are at various stages of completion of planned robotic missions. I would very much like to see a human walking on Mars or drinking tea at a Moon base, except when that means no more missions to other planets for decades to come. I think such high-profile missions are more suited to countries that don't have a developed space program right now, like China, Japan or India.

I'm not advocating robotic exploration forever, I just think it is a better idea for NASA, RKA and ESA right now.

BTW, robotic probes predate Moon race. Both countries have started building probes to explore Mars, Venus and Moon before and during Apollo program, although (IIRC) only a few were actually launched before Kennedy's speech.

PS: if I were an American, I would have been far more proud of Apollo than all other achievements of the nation combined. What's up with you guys? Even if you are not particularly interested in space exploration, it is about the only thing you can do that pisses off nobody and makes everyone on this planet adore you.

[ Parent ]

Mars mission (5.00 / 4) (#46)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:34:48 PM EST

I think rushing a Mars mission, or another massively expensive manned mission right now will do the same thing for NASA.

Rushing a Mars mission? No. Getting some sort of semi-permanent presence on the Moon, which we already know how to get to? Yes, and we should have been doing it for 20 years.

if I were an American, I would have been far more proud of Apollo than all other achievements of the nation combined. What's up with you guys?

The baby-boomers discovered cocaine and tax-free municipal bonds. I'm quite serious. The abandonment of the space program, the war on drugs, and the increasing belligerance of the U.S. are all related to the aging of the Baby Boomers. Furthermore, we have two generations of people who have only known aging Baby Boomer cynicism.

I was born in 1961. The 1964 World's Fair and the moon landing on July 20, 1969 are central myths of my existence. I think the moon landings were fucking awesome. But my generation was the punk generation, the last attempt at resistance against Boomer cynicism, and it didn't work. And so nowadays I rent a film on the World's Fair which is a bunch of boomer talking heads saying how naive and 50s it was, and reminiscences of the Apollo project are all about Buzz Aldrin and his alcoholic liver viewpoints, because that's the kind of ennui that Boomers think is great and intellectually cynical.

BTW, robotic probes predate Moon race.

Not by much. There's not too much in the way of robots or even rockets that worked worth a dam that predated Kennedy's speech. Also, if Kennedy had not been assassinated, maybe even the Apollo program would not have gotten off the ground. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe shared more than body fluids--they were both dreams preserved by dying young.

I don't really disagree with you about robotic exploration--there should be a lot of that. But it's kind of hard to get people fired up over a robot. I think of robotic exploration as the occasional Hollywood films that are really good but don't make much money, and manned exploration as the summer blockbusters that make it possible to pay for them.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
why not both? (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by Mark Friedenbach on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:48:07 PM EST

I think rushing a Mars mission, or another massively expensive manned mission right now will do the same thing for NASA.
I'd hardly say the Space Exploration Act would be "rushing" a Mars Mission. 20 years is far more time than would be required, and the Act makes sure that real infrastructure (reusable vehicles in orbit) is put in place, unlike Apollo.
I would very much like to see a human walking on Mars or drinking tea at a Moon base, except when that means no more missions to other planets for decades to come.
Does it have to be either/or? Why not both? Manned missions provide very different science than robotic probes do, and develop technology needed for colonization. If you new manned missions would lead to colonization (within our lifetimes), would you support it then?
if I were an American, I would have been far more proud of Apollo than all other achievements of the nation combined. What's up with you guys? Even if you are not particularly interested in space exploration, it is about the only thing you can do that pisses off nobody and makes everyone on this planet adore you.
I agree 100%.

[ Parent ]
Manned Space Flight (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by AndrewW on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 04:08:24 PM EST

There was actually an excellent discussion on NPR a while back about this.

There was a debate on whether we should continue manned space flight. The two interesting points were:
1. One of the reasons for the space flight that exploded was to see if a rose had a different fragrance if it bloomed in space. Hardly something worth risking lives over.
2. Whether it is a good idea or not, we will always want to explore, so we will want to stand on Mars. The idea was that exploration is 'hard-wired' in to our DNA.

I tend to believe that the particular project was ridiculous. Although I like the idea of manned space flight, we need some better goals to achieve.

www.emptycauses.com

[ Parent ]
Are you serious?! (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by Vesperto on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:07:02 PM EST

One of the reasons for the space flight that exploded was to see if a rose had a different fragrance if it bloomed in space.

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
Link (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by AndrewW on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 11:42:56 PM EST

I guess a link would make it a little more believable:
http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/sts107_update_030122.html
That was from a google search for columbia space fragrance
And I just noticed the linked article was actually written before the crash.

[ Parent ]
OMFG. <nt> (5.00 / 1) (#75)
by Vesperto on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:54:40 AM EST



If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
I'm glad this is getting voted up (3.40 / 5) (#13)
by debacle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:13:40 AM EST

Not that anyone in Congress really cares what kuro5hin.org thinks, but it is an important issue. The space program has been continually squandering money on things that don't need to be developed, and crawling along at a snail's pace.

I am kind of sad that not enough people are posting comments. With a score of almost 40 you'd think that there'd be about twice that many comments, there aren't.

Lets have a little discussion here, eh boys?

It tastes sweet.

NASA (3.00 / 5) (#15)
by helenk on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:04:36 AM EST

is a great employer and it should be given as much money as we can give it. if we don't explore space then the chinese, russians and indians are more than happy to claim it first.

---
Do your bit to save the Ground Zero Cross and sign the petition

What a sick obsession! (3.00 / 4) (#52)
by Vesperto on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:08:05 PM EST

How about an international exploration group? Is it that hard to imagine? Get out of your bellybuttons!

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
Navel lint can be informative sometimes (5.00 / 2) (#62)
by Stickerboy on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 11:47:29 PM EST

Well, while I don't agree with the parent poster, I also don't agree with the rampant "internationalize everything!" viewpoint that seems popular here on K5.

To me, it would be much more reasonable to evaluate each space project on a case-by-case basis on the level of internationalization.  Does it reduce or increase costs to bring in other space agencies?  Do language/cultural barriers present a problem for an international mission?  How does bringing on other space agencies affect the probability of mission success/failure?  

If it turns out that adding other space agencies will just add bureaucratic layers and even more political wrangling to a spaceflight mission without significantly enhancing its capabilities, then that would be a No.

If, on the other hand, bringing other space agencies provides missing expertise, equipment or knowledge, then that would be a Yes to internationalize it.  But not in a "let's include every agency and their dog mascot" way.

[ Parent ]

Not mindless internationalisation. (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by Vesperto on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:50:48 AM EST

I was ranting because that We Are The World thinking seems very popular in the US. Obviously, one should create an internation space-exploration group just for the sake of internationalisation; however, i believe it would be both profitable as well as fair for everybody.
Does it reduce or increase costs to bring in other space agencies?
Well, if you have 2 instead of 1 and you share costs/labour/knowledge, i think everyonw would gain.
Do language/cultural barriers present a problem for an international mission?
Nah, english has unfortunately become the "international" language in space affairs as well, it's language imperialism when there are very good alternatives. What could cause problems would be the lack of transparency that could originate pretty dumb errors: like that probe that crashed on Mars 'cos some of its computers were on the metric system and others on the US system.
How does bringing on other space agencies affect the probability of mission success/failure?
Now i'm having  ahard time trying to convince myself that you do not think NASA is better than all the other space agencies. How would it not help any mission to have 10 spacebrains instead of 5?

Using international teams would not only be practical, but fair as well. A new Oklahoma race is not logical.

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

...one should NOT create an... <nt> (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by Vesperto on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:51:49 AM EST



If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
-1, NASA IS GAY (1.75 / 16) (#16)
by Hide The Hamster on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:57:04 AM EST




Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

Pork + Publicity = HR 3057 (3.00 / 8) (#21)
by thelizman on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:11:32 AM EST

As big of a space geek as I am, I have to raise a huge red flag here. This bill is pure pork with the added benefit that it can be trumpeted to the American people and receive great fanfare. But of the 26 sponsors, 20 are from states like Texas, Louisiana, and California where the aerospace industry is desperately in need of a shot in the arm.

On the other hand, the bill is aggressive and challenging, and it's a good idea. However, we need to flush out NASA and end its corporate behavior. NASA also needs to be split, and its redundant functions combined with competing government agencies like NOAA, the US Naval Observatory, the EPA, NRO, and a bunch of other letters. We're spending too much money so NASA can replicate the capabilities of a dozen other government agencies. Other functions NASA now assumes should be spun of into new government agencies, such as NASAs supercomputer research programs. This would also be an excellent time to create a system by which government agencies share information seamlessly, and securely - which would have added benefits for the CIA/HSO/FBI/NRO/NSA.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
Oh, good (4.33 / 6) (#28)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 01:31:41 PM EST

You mean people who see particular benefits from this bill to their constituency are supporting it? It must be bad, then. God forbid representatives actually represent the people who elected them. Because that would be a representative form of government. Which would be bad, because it's pork. And we can't have that. Because space exploration can't possibly be allowed to be something that's actually good for the economy. Because, shit, if we allowed some tax funds actually to flow back into the economy, the U.S. would be even less like Somalia. And what about Bubba, drinking his beer and insisting that the moon landings were a hoax! Doesn't he deserve some money? Of course he does. He's alive, isn't he?

Phew! It's all so much simpler now.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
No You Pedestrian Moron (2.60 / 5) (#38)
by thelizman on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 04:49:20 PM EST

It's pork because the bill is ineffective, and fails to address the root causes behind America's stangnating space program. I know morons like you think the answer is always to have the government throw money at something, and you just love preserving wasteful beauracracies, but the reality of the case that no matter how much we spend on Space, we'll still be stagnating in antiquated technologies. Shit, the RUSSIANS of all people are still 10 to 20 years ahead of America in implemented rocket technology.

Now, don't you have something better to do that use your 5 troll acounts to play mod-bomb with?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
<grin> (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:37:40 PM EST

Is that like "Jane, you ignorant slut"?

Now, don't you have something better to do that use your 5 troll acounts to play mod-bomb with?

It takes one to know one. Actually, I have exactly one K5 account, and I've put my real name on it. Might there be just a teensy bit of projection going on here?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Jane, you lackadaisical harlot? (2.50 / 2) (#60)
by thelizman on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 11:05:13 PM EST

Is that like "Jane, you ignorant slut"?
Similar.
It takes one to know one. Might there be just a teensy bit of projection going on here?
Guilty.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
throwing money at a problem (2.66 / 3) (#43)
by speek on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 06:11:14 PM EST

It's such a great line - "you can't just throw money at a problem" - it's no wonder so many people use it as argument. But, what problems do you think you can solve without money? And would you really rather that all money from congress come with instructions (in a misguided attempt to prevent a wasteful use of that money)? No, from a congressional viewpoint, throwing money at problems is exactly what they should do. Let's let the local educators decide how best to educate, NASA set it's own goals, state's run their own affairs, etc.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

:) Babe ... (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by Queenie on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 10:42:12 AM EST

I miss you ...
________________________________________________ ... :) ...
[ Parent ]
"corporate behavior" (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by khallow on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:36:54 AM EST

However, we need to flush out NASA and end its corporate behavior.

I'm not sure what you mean by the phrase "corporate behavior". At the very least, when I hear this phrase, I think of a sensitivity to profits and results that NASA seems institutionally incapable of achieving. Ie, I can think of several descriptions of their behavior some which do apply to certain large corporations, but it's an insult to corporations in general to compare them to the current NASA.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Corporate Does Not Mean Corporation (2.50 / 2) (#78)
by thelizman on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:25:58 PM EST

The term "Corporate" when used to describe behavior means "acting as one insoluable, rigid body". In this sense, NASA has grown to eschew individual achievement. In the 30+ years since Apollo, it has grown beyond the state of teamwork and synergy where an individual or team of individuals can effect a systemwide policy change. In the days of the Moon Race, everyone had input, from the guy that turned the wrench on the couch in the re-entry capsule, on up to the guy who signed the astronauts paychecks, and in between.


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
I'll forgive you (5.00 / 1) (#87)
by khallow on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:20:59 AM EST

My angst and I will leave you alone. Just be aware that that meaning of "corporate" is like two or three definitions behind the usual meaning of "corporate".

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Add this to the bill. (4.36 / 11) (#22)
by Meatbomb on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:14:15 AM EST

Within 6 months develop and demonstrate a disposable space vehicle capable of carrying George W. Bush from Earth to Pluto, one way.

_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

Pluto? I'd prefer the Sun (n/t) (4.00 / 2) (#57)
by ceejayoz on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:33:10 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Pluto? For GARBAGE DISPOSAL? (5.00 / 2) (#68)
by alizard on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:07:25 AM EST

Let's use technological development for reasonable things. Solving the problem with Bush just takes a big trash compactor.
"The horse is dead. Fuck it or walk away, but stop beating it." Juan Rico
[ Parent ]
harhar (4.00 / 2) (#80)
by auraslip on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:26:34 PM EST


___-___
[ Parent ]
Wait a sec (4.00 / 4) (#23)
by RyoCokey on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 11:40:32 AM EST

Aren't the democrats the ones harking about our huge looming deficit? Refunding the space program might be a noble mission, but this is one of the worst times to do it.



farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
compare the costs (5.00 / 3) (#27)
by Mark Friedenbach on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 01:02:24 PM EST

The bill authorizes $50 million for FY 2004 and $200 million for FY 2005. Compared to, say, the war in Iraq, that's quite a bargain.

[ Parent ]
let's do a little analysis (5.00 / 2) (#56)
by ceejayoz on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:31:10 PM EST

Space Program Cost: $250,000,000 (as allocated by the bill)
Bush Tax Cuts Cost: $1,500,000,000,000

Space Program Benefit: Further space exploration and scientific discovery, create thousands of jobs
Bush Tax Cuts Benefit: Budget cuts for space exploration and scientific discovery, lost 3 million jobs and counting

I'll take "Repeal the Tax Cuts" for $1,000, Alex.

[ Parent ]

there is no better time (5.00 / 2) (#67)
by alizard on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:05:42 AM EST

Aren't the democrats the ones harking about our huge looming deficit? Refunding the space program might be a noble mission, but this is one of the worst times to do it.

We're going to run out of oil. The most optimistic info I've seen says a generation, and I'm seeing the words "peak oil" a lot lately. Renewable alternative energy and conservation will help, but without a new energy source, it will at best, put off the inevitable. The only new energy source I see (yes, I've heard of HTGRs... but the supply of uranium is hardly unlimited... and who knows when we'll have practical fusion power) that's big enough to handle the demand of not only the First World, but rapidly industrializing places like China and India is the sun, captured by power satellites and beamed down to earth as microwave energy.

When it's obvious to everybody that the oil really and truly is running out, we need to have our space technology up to the point where this can be done using things we know how to do. We can't do this at several thouands of dollars a pound, therefore the Shuttle needs to be put out to pasture. We can't do this without a lot of people with experience in space. We need better life support than

We can get this experience NOW when it means adding a few dollars a year to everyone's taxes.

Or we can wait until the wars for control of the last few billion barrels of oil are already starting and getting all sorts of new technology running RIGHT NOW means investing in this means a lot of people won't be eating very well.

Or we can simply give up on keeping a technological civilization except for the leaders and their famiilies who got us into this mess to begin with. And their standard of living will decline over time.
"The horse is dead. Fuck it or walk away, but stop beating it." Juan Rico
[ Parent ]

Less SimCity, dude. (5.00 / 2) (#79)
by RyoCokey on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:51:30 PM EST

At least quote a link with some solid information if you're going to go off on such a tangent.



farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
[
Parent ]
Try this (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by hardburn on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 09:27:49 AM EST

Here.

Maxis didn't just invent microwave power stations. It's workable technology that needs to be developed further.


----
while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


[ Parent ]
Ouch. (4.75 / 8) (#31)
by pla on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 02:12:58 PM EST

Some officials, like Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), have called for presidential leadership on this issue.

Great idea... Let's ask a president who believes in creationism to decide the future direction of scientific exploration.

Forgive the pun, but this does count as "rocket science". Asking King Ludd how to proceed doesn't exactly give me the warm and fuzzies.


Within 20 years develop and demonstrate a reusable space vehicle capable of carrying humans to and from Martian orbit

Although probably possible, if we trimmed 90% of the fat off of NASA, I would consider this part as rather impractical. We need to spend a few decades building up our ability to produce needed materials off-planet, to save on launch costs. I'd say start with mining ops on the moon, then move to manufacturing facilities at L5, and only then should we move onward.

Not to say we can't "toy" with further exploration, with nonreuseable vehicles, but reuseable does not always mean economical - Each shuttle launch costs more than using an Atlas V with a disposable reentry vehicle, so why do we continue to waste money on them? Use a series of one-shots to establish a small colony on Mars early in this process, and by the time we can conveniently make round-trips, they will have hopefully expanded enough to support restocking any visitors for the return trips.


Right. Sure. (3.50 / 4) (#32)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 02:22:02 PM EST

Any proof to the assertion that Bush is a creationist?

As for L5 facilities - you're missing the point. If you want the public to back space exploration it has to be exploration. It has to be dramatic, exciting, dangerous. The only way to get the basic stuff done - like establishing factories at the L points - is to slip them in while dazzling the public with our dashing heroes challenging the great unknown.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Fair 'nuff... (5.00 / 6) (#35)
by pla on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 02:52:26 PM EST

Any proof to the assertion that Bush is a creationist?

Only inductive, since, like all politicians, he won't actually come out an take a stand on the issue. However, relating to that inductive evidence, check out: http://slate.msn.com/id/1006378/

Now, if you know that "1+1=2", would you support the "right" of school districts to teach "1+1=3"?


As for his qualifications to decide space exploration policy, I think this quote aught to seal the case:
"Mars is essentially in the same orbit... Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe." ...Governor George W. Bush, Jr., 8/11/94
Kinda makes you wonder... Then again, considering that he also said "We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe," he might actually believe Mars occupies the same orbit as Earth. But, at least, "For NASA, space is still a high priority", since "It's time for the human race to enter the solar system" ;-)


Regarding your point on space exploration needing excitement, action, and glamour to sell it to the public, I unfortunately agree completely. I made a similar comment recently on Slashdot, regarding why we like Hubble so much while we let the GRO (which has performed quite a lot more "real" and useful science) decay into uselessness.

However, we will never have any real success at the space exploration game until we can establish off-planet manufacturing facilities. I don't know how to get the public to buy into that, but, at the present rate we might have a small colony on Mars in a century. If we build up the infrastructure first (with massive benefits for those on-planet, if not "flashy"), we could conceivably make it out of the solar system in that same time.


[ Parent ]
Well, given how many times I've had to explain (4.33 / 3) (#50)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:04:36 PM EST

to otherwise competent engineers that Mars is visible 6 months out of the freaking year and that it gets almost this close every two years I'm not surprised by anything.

Heh. After doing a public starparty and losing my voice explaining the lagoon nebula over and over for 3 hours - I'm just happy when someone knows the diff between astronomy and astrology.

What's really funny is my hippy brother the astrologer who is just as frustrated... :-P

For manufacturing - eh. To be honest, I'm not sure we're going to be up for that even in another 20 years. When I realized that even the space shuttle isn't actually air tight (it loses it's entire atmosphere during the course of a mission, due to leaks around seals) I knew we aren't ready for real long term space-based operations yet.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Probably not real quotes... (5.00 / 3) (#63)
by jsight on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:16:14 AM EST

They've been attributed to Dan Quayle and Al Gore as well...

http://www-students.biola.edu/~woopy/faith/algore.htm
http://www.jokemonster.com/quotes/quotes/d/q102056.html

I often wonder who actually said them, but many are just bad jokes.

[ Parent ]

Mars, Canals, and who's the dumbest politician (5.00 / 2) (#83)
by treat on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:39:22 AM EST

I dislike Bush as much as anyone, so I hate to be seen as defending him. But this is primarily because I value honesty and a committment to speaking the truth. The oldest source for this quote I could find is from 1989, attributed to Dan Quayle: here.

And here's some alleged results of a Lexis-Nexis search on the statement.

Anyway, the statement is more accurate than not and, if it was said by anyone, is clearly the result of an idiot trying to repeat something that is completely over his head.

[ Parent ]

Reusable vehicles (4.75 / 4) (#33)
by nusuth on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 02:39:37 PM EST

Yes, the ascend like a rocket descend like a brick concept didn't really work well. However reusable vehicles that never land makes awfully good sense and this is what is being advocated here. Some good reading:
http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0202/07marshotels/
combine such a ferry with one of these:
http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/m2p2_winglee_010621.html
and you can do without ultra precise orbit calculations, cut down travel times quite a bit and protect astronauts (or hotel clients) from ionizing radiation without massive shields.

[ Parent ]
For the sceptics (5.00 / 2) (#45)
by Tatarigami on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:21:53 PM EST

Advocates of space exploration should be pushing it as a science mission to the science geeks, a fount of exploitable technologies to the businessmen, and a brave adventure to the TV audience.

[ Parent ]
nonreuseable has hidden costs (4.66 / 3) (#55)
by ceejayoz on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:26:08 PM EST

Not to say we can't "toy" with further exploration, with nonreuseable vehicles, but reuseable does not always mean economical - Each shuttle launch costs more than using an Atlas V with a disposable reentry vehicle, so why do we continue to waste money on them? Use a series of one-shots to establish a small colony on Mars early in this process, and by the time we can conveniently make round-trips, they will have hopefully expanded enough to support restocking any visitors for the return trips.

There are a lot of overlooked costs for nonreusable space vehicles.

First, you have to have an entire fleet floating around in the Pacific to retrieve the craft.  That's a huge expense, and given how stretched out our military is, it's just not possible right now.

Reusable space craft also allow us to do a lot of experiments that a nonreusable craft would not.  That's because a lot of the experiments done on the Space Shuttle need to be brought back for analysis.  The Apollo spacecraft had minimal room for such experiments.

'though it doesn't happen much, the ability to retrieve satellites and bring them back to Earth can be quite useful.

[ Parent ]

but in practice (5.00 / 2) (#64)
by khallow on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:20:26 AM EST

There are a lot of overlooked costs for nonreusable space vehicles.

First, you have to have an entire fleet floating around in the Pacific to retrieve the craft. That's a huge expense, and given how stretched out our military is, it's just not possible right now.

Why do we need a "fleet" waiting in the Pacific? We don't need an aircraft carrier just to pick up a capsule.

Reusable space craft also allow us to do a lot of experiments that a nonreusable craft would not. That's because a lot of the experiments done on the Space Shuttle need to be brought back for analysis. The Apollo spacecraft had minimal room for such experiments.

Just make a larger capsule. Also, if space is an issue, then cut back on the people. Ie, most of these experiments could be run without people present. Doing science in space is a poor excuse for the presence of people. It hurts the science and ties the manned space program to less important matters.

'though it doesn't happen much, the ability to retrieve satellites and bring them back to Earth can be quite useful.

True. Such retrieval can be built into a very large capsule, but it would be better for a reusable.

Now, let me point out the hidden costs of a reusable vehicle. First, it has to meet a higher engineering level. An expendable simply won't have the problems with fatigue and stress that a reusable will have. This can include restricting the sites from which you can launch the vehicle. A man-rated vehicle is a more logical choice for a reusable since it has to meet a higher standard anyway.

Second, there are often design sacrifices made for reusables. Eg, the shuttle had to be positioned on the side of the rocket rather than on the top because the main rockets were built into the orbiter. This has resulted in a sacrifice of cargo space.

Reusables must be inspected after each launch and possibly with significant replacement and repair of parts. If you lose or permenantly damage an orbiter, then you lose a more significant portion of your space fleet than with an expendable.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

I agree, sort of (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by nanobug on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 07:30:32 AM EST

There are a lot of overlooked costs for nonreusable space vehicles.

First, you have to have an entire fleet floating around in the Pacific to retrieve the craft.  That's a huge expense, and given how stretched out our military is, it's just not possible right now.

This isn't really true.  The reasons for having a whole fleet out to pick up the space capsules of old were more about posturing and propaghanda purposes than actual need.  The Soyuz space capsules routinely land on the ground as opposed to water, and even if we chose to land them in the water, we could pick them up with something similar to the size of a fishing boat. No aircraft carrier needed.

Reusable space craft also allow us to do a lot of experiments that a nonreusable craft would not.  That's because a lot of the experiments done on the Space Shuttle need to be brought back for analysis.  The Apollo spacecraft had minimal room for such experiments.

I agree, and I don't believe getting rid of the space shuttle is a good idea either.  However, I think we need to have other options available.  When the shuttle is needed, then we should use it, but a lot of the things we do with the shuttle today could be done safer and cheaper with reusable capsules.  

Sometimes less is more, especially when you consider that rocket technology and disposable capsules are far more mature and dependable than the shuttle.   Theres simply no reason to send a shuttle up to the ISS just to switch crew and bring supplies.  That could all be achieved with a disposable capsule at a lower cost.  I

Also, we could build a larger capsule than the Apollo that could have room for experiments and such.  Although we might not be able to cram as many things on one flight as we do with the shuttle, the fact that it would cost a lot less to do would mean we could have more launches per year.  

[ Parent ]

radar capabilities (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by fenix down on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 12:55:38 AM EST

Actually, early on it was a legitimately good idea to have a large spread of ships out there. It wasn't quite as easy to find things before GPS, so it was a big help to have a bunch of guys with binoculars looking for the parachutes, or at least a good spread of radar antennas to get an acurate idea of where the capsule is. With Soyuz, they could waste a few hours cruising around the tundra in a jeep, with Apollo, they'd have sunk by then.

[ Parent ]
creationism? non sequitur in the extreme (5.00 / 4) (#81)
by bolthole on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:50:32 AM EST

What the heck does a belief in creationism have to do with a viewpoint of whether we should colonise the moon?

Believing in creationism says absolutely nothing about whether that person "believes" that it is possible to build and/or fly rockets, or whether going to to moon is a cool/advisable/beneficial thing.

Creationism: unprovable and unDISprovable belief about something long in the past

Colonising the moon/mars: viewpoints about our directions for the future


[ Parent ]

that rapture thing works too (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by fenix down on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 12:28:51 AM EST

True, we should pick another crazy belief, that the world's going to end because of a war in the mideast and we're all gonna go to heaven Real Soon Now.  No point in having a viewpoint about our future if you don't think we have one.

[ Parent ]
Easy w/ Orion NT (3.00 / 3) (#34)
by bjlhct on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 02:46:58 PM EST



*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
Seriously, who cares. (1.76 / 13) (#53)
by tkatchev on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:08:12 PM EST

Seriously, who cares.

Seriously, who cares.

Seriously, who cares.

Grow up and stop reading "Red Mars".


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.

you really an amateur astronomer? (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by alizard on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:48:17 AM EST

When space industrialization in orbit is a real thing, there will be hundreds and thousands of telescopes, for traffic control, research, and for personal hobbies.

Many will be available from the Web, including simple controls. Imagine what a 12" reflector scope will be able to see when there's nothing between it and the farthest stars but the odd hydrogen atom, a little cosmic dust, and space curvature. You'll never have to worry about weather in connection with your hobby again.

Anybody who wants to explore the stars will be able to with a simple web browser. Personally, I prefer that future to the one of every industrialized nation on earth fighting over the last billion barrels of oil. If you don't understand why renewable energy and conservation will not prevent this future and that running out of oil is not something we're going to wait thousands of years for, you should spend a few years learning about things closer to home than the Lesser Magellanic Clouds.

Given your position, I hope every night you plan to take your telescope out to play will be spent under sudden heavy rain.
"The horse is dead. Fuck it or walk away, but stop beating it." Juan Rico
[ Parent ]

No, of course I'm not. (-) (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by tkatchev on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:47:54 AM EST


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Hey! That was a good book! [n/t] (none / 0) (#97)
by bblaze on Wed Sep 24, 2003 at 04:23:38 PM EST



Tollis lintea neglegentiorum. Hoc salsum esse putas? Fugit te inepte: quamvis sordida res et invenusta est est. - Catullus
[ Parent ]
Whatever happened... (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by Easyas123 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 11:27:14 AM EST

to the semi-privitization of space exploration? I am by no means a spce geek, but I remember reading on of the respected "hard" SF writers, (cannot remember who), who simply stated that if the govt. accepted bids for their goals instead of handing it off to NASA the industry, and as essential part, the science would explode. Does NASA actually have a good reason to do well? I would imagine that most people who are not space geeks only think of NASA when they screw up and it is in the news.

***********************
As the wise men fortold.

I think I'm missing something (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by fenix down on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 01:07:45 AM EST

Isn't that what NASA does now? Runs the big pile of money and figures out what to start accepting bids for? I guess you could make their bids more vague, so instead of "we need a rocket to do this and this and this and the only way to do that is to make it this way, so how much is that?" you could change it to "A billion dollars to the first to get a monkey to Jupiter! Yeehaw!" but I'm not sure if that's an improvement. Maybe you'd get more interesting results, but if you're just handing out public money and not expecting anything back, it kind of makes sense to try and make sure everybody doesn't repeat themselves. You're trying to maximize both technology and accomplishments, not just the speed of accomplishments. You could get a guy on Mars with a big rocket for not so very much, but eventually you want a useful product there, so it's not a bad idea to try and advance the long-term technology while going for the short-term goal. That's not going to happen if you just subsidize an artificial space industry. Once there's profit (serious profit, which space tourism isn't) to be made, then the industry takes over on it's own, but until then, you want bang for your buck, and anal-retentive overplanning by NASA gets you that.

[ Parent ]
spending public money (none / 0) (#94)
by adiffer on Sat Sep 20, 2003 at 10:18:07 PM EST

One of the difficulties is that NASA's own labs are often in the competitions.  How do you compete with a lab that doesn't have to make a profit?

They also tend to adjust the requirements for a mission a bit to get the results they want.  You won't catch them at it, but it does happen.  After all, if the private market can't supply the requirements, they have to build and manage the capacity themselves, right?

There are ways to spend the money in the private markeet to get good results without lots of duplication.  It requires a good customer, though, and NASA rarely fits that description.  The odds go way down the closer you get to groups that handle human spaceflight capabilities.
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]

We are out there (none / 0) (#95)
by adiffer on Sat Sep 20, 2003 at 10:21:26 PM EST

Come take a look at the Frontier Files project if you like. We tend to focus on this kind of stuff, so we aren't as riveting as K5. 8)

I have a column for press releases at the FFO project. Look for new stuff in there along with a list of the commercial efforts underway.
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]

What about the Space Elevator and updated Apollo? (5.00 / 2) (#90)
by wolverine1999 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:35:07 AM EST

What about the Space Elevator which is being talked about? Wouldn't that be more useful right now? And what about the new updated version of the Apollo capsule? Wouldn't these be better than the current risky shuttles?

check this out (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by dzimmerm on Sat Sep 20, 2003 at 11:39:23 PM EST

One website about an actual non governmental
space programe

http://www.scaled.com/

We need more of this kind of thing and a different kind of NASA or we will be stuck in low earth orbit for all eternity.

dzimmerm

Too Late (none / 0) (#98)
by bblaze on Wed Sep 24, 2003 at 04:31:32 PM EST

I would much rather see a Space Exploration Act of 1970.  Humans landed on Luna over thirty years ago and no one lives there?  That's foolish.  I have a National Geographic laying around somewhere published shortly after the Moon Landing.  It showed what kind of lunar settlement would be in place within twenty years.  They had a bunch of plants, a ping pong court, comfortable living quarters, and even a swimming pool.  That would be fun.  What happened to the space program?  When did we become so apathetic about it?

Tollis lintea neglegentiorum. Hoc salsum esse putas? Fugit te inepte: quamvis sordida res et invenusta est est. - Catullus
Space Exploration Act of 2003 | 98 comments (96 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!