That's no moon...
wait... yes it is.
US space agency NASA published its long awaited National Space Exploration Campaign Report this week, and it makes for sobering reading for those still recovering from its 60th birthday celebrations. The report (PDF) was in response to the 2017’s NASA Authorisation Act (PDF) and is a little late. NASA does specialise in delays …
the vision and moral fibre of [...] Nixon
Richard "prevent peace in Vietnam until after the election" Nixon? The guy who is most well known for Watergate.
What vision and moral fibre did 'Tricky Dicky' have exactly? He'd have sold his own granny for a vote.
"It's all about doing more with less. So this will send daily missions to the moon at £5/capsule."
Yeah, but those are Ryanspace prices, so don't forget to add several million for your luggage, being able to pre-book your seat, and for priority boarding.
" ... and when they say "moon", they actually mean Cruithne, ..."
Well, that would not be so bad a thing. Cruithne has dark skies, is a long way from Trumpet Town so is probably a nice quiet place to live and has few bickering neighbours so is probably a *safe* place to live.
Luna is far too close to Earth to ever be anything but Las Vegas II. For the Real Frontier one needs to get far, far away from both of those overused, noisy, dangerous, human-spoiled dumps.
Realistically, M33 is about minimum distance.
yeah without the cold war urgency of the moon program in the 60's, and with all of the new environmental and political roadblocks in its way, a "modern" space program is lucky to even have a rocket to get into orbit...
Seriously, a private industry solution makes way more sense. Private industry is driven by GETTING THINGS DONE, and not GETTING MORE FUNDING.
@BBob; Bwhahahaha. Never worked for USA multinationals have you ? Private merkin industry is about theft of wages, bonuses for boards, screwing the customers, owning glove puppets who pretend to govern for the peasants. In short, it is the USSR revisited with a different flag and same denial of its supposed philosophical basis. No surprise, both are or were running under fundie materialist world views. NASAs inability to do anything is just some of the twitching of the country's corpse.
Elons and others companies may indeed put cheaper rockets up, but the basic problem is there is no economic reason for any activity beyond geosynchronous orbit. Research is accepted as non-economic initially. To be fair to NASA, their engineers make Mars Rovers and long range probes that are exemplars of engineering and science gathering. However, it has been a long time since someone like Kelly Johnson ran anything in MerkinVille.
"I bet there are not many original moon astronauts alive today. We are lucky Buzz Aldrin is still with us!"
The last time I was bothered to WikiP it there were something like seven out of the original 12. It would be quite easy to look it up again but I can't be arsed.
One thing I'm fairly sure of, there will never be a thirteenth. Indeed, I suspect that may be one reason for us never going back, that the Placate-The-Woo-Woo-Tribes supporters of diversity and multiculturalism couldn't figure out how to land anyone else without including The Horrible Unlucky Number so they avoided the issue by stopping at twelve.
Of course, they could have landed a pod with three doors and had three people step out simultaneously but there is probably something quantum that prevents this. Or maybe Special Relativity.
Somewhere, deep in Area 75, there is possibly a team of genii working tirelessly, as they have been since 1968, on how to avoid 13. Aided by acres of quantumised super-computers and borrowed alien tech from Areas 51 to 74, the international group struggles to overcome the simple facts of arithmetic to progress the manned space effort and initiate The Human Galaxy.
Their core task, finding a way to avoid 13, could be rendered moot were they to discover a method of eliminating the Woo-woos who are terrified of a number but *that* is politically impossible. And so, the sound of quiet, desperate weeping from Area 75 continues.
And there still is no plan for more lunar landings.
"how to avoid 13"
Let the programmers take over the next mission, coz all programmers count from zero. That way the next one will be number 12, then we can switch to hexadecimal, and the one after will be number C, and finally NASA comes to it's senses, returning to the original numbering system, coz hexadecimal will eventually get to 13 again, and the 14th astronaut steps out.
Or if that isn't confusing enough use the Dr Who numbering system. Would be good to see a woman walk on the moon.
What kind of lunatic believes the earth is flat in this day and age? You have to be a special kind of stupid.
These people should go back to their shacks in the woods and let their foolish theory die like it should have five hundred years ago.
Now, you have to think what the real reason is that they don't want to go to the moon.
I will tell you that reason.
As any intelligent person with a lick of common sense should know; it is the moon that is FLAT and they don't want to have to hide that fact if they send lots of people there.
Think about it, when you look at the moon its always the same; same craters, same hills same dirt, same moon buggy; It doesn't rotate because it is FLAT FLAT FLAT. It makes perfect sense.
Join the Flat Mooner Legion and spread the word by using our universally recognized sign; a naked buttocks firmly pressed up against a window .
Flat Mooner's unite!
Oh, c'mon.. There's no need to send up any Flat Earthers. All it needs is to tart up the old Moon stage in the Nevada desert so it looks good in 4K/8K and hire Spielberg or Michael Bay to shoot a series. Spielberg if it's a happy ending, Bay if it explodes once the budget's run dry.
(Modern sfx makes a conspiracy theory even easier than it was in the '60s and '70s.)
"What kind of lunatic believes the earth is flat in this day and age? You have to be a special kind of stupid."
The intersect on a Venn Diagram (which looks like a flat Earth) is probably quite large when mapped against those who think the Earth was created in 4004BC. There's a significantly large portion of that "special kind of stupid", especially in certain US states.
This is Meine Land!
Or China/India/Russia's land. Which is a little frustrating. Space exploration and colonisation should be one of those 'common good' things that we could all get along and just do. But then politicians get involved with work share agreements and everything ends up massively delayed and over budget.
I think the UN missed a trick by not claiming space IPR. 2.5hrs of Marvel licences created over $2bn in revenues & $600m+ in profit (give or take Hollywood accounting) so licencing the Moon could have helped fund a lunar colony. It's a little crazy the amount we waste on frivolous things.
And personally I think NASA should skip the lunar orbiter and go straight for a lunar colony. Curious what we can achieve from above the Moon that can't be done by unmanned surveyors or from the ISS or ISS Mk2. Now with added factory modules!
Honestly is that the best they can come up with?
Yes we know it's a lump of rock - been there done that.
If you really want to prep for long trips with new hardware then why not do something original and with a long term future...e.g. build a shipyard at Lagrange point L4 or L5 (stable). Perhaps even call it Utopia Planetia....
>Yes we know it's a lump of rock - been there done that.
Do you realise only once has a geologist visited the Moon? And yes, it was the very last mission. Moreover it now turns out many samples have been stored improperly and have been damaged by our atmosphere.
Moreover it now turns out many samples have been stored improperly and have been damaged by our atmosphere.
ISTR a lot of samples were also given away as diplomatic gifts. Meanwhile, I'm still fascinated by a bit of NASA working on lunarcrete. A mission to return a couple of tons of geology would give them a lot more chance to work on how we could build lunar habitats using resources there. Lunar dust hasn't been abraded, so apparently makes for strong concrete. Or just a very abrasive dust hazard for both machinery and lungs.
Yep really isn't possible. Well it's possible but it's improbable. It would need a big feck off booster fitted to it and somehow the whole thing would need to be shored up to cope with the move. TBH it's pretty old, and like many things you're better starting a new with the lessons learned from previous versions.
But I agree with others it's a sad state when we're really not a long way from where we were 50yr ago.
I'd have liked to have seen moon obiting bases, larger earth orbiting habitats maybe as places to build Mars vehicles. I'm sure we could have done it ages ago had politics, wars and other top table nonsense not taken over again.
> "It would need a big feck off booster fitted to it and somehow the whole thing would need to be shored up to cope with the move."
Only if you want to do it the inefficient way. The smart way is to use a few ion engines, letting them slowly enlarge the orbit until a lunar capture is effected, then tightening that orbit. No big strain on the station and far less fuel needed. Okay it takes a while, but that doesn't matter in this case.
Only if you want to do it the inefficient way. The smart way is to use a few ion engines, letting them slowly enlarge the orbit until a lunar capture is effected, then tightening that orbit.
If you don't mind the ISS spending a few months climbing through the Van Allen Belts, then that's fine. You're not going to be able to change its orbital plane until it has climbed above the belts, either.
Stop the silly talk - space stations will need to remain in low earth orbit for one big reason - they need the protection of the earth's magnetic fields or astronauts would not be able to spend extended time on board. Until it becomes cheap enough to lift lead shielding or they come up with some sort of equivalent to a sci-fi ship shield, putting anything manned out near the moon is not realistic. And if you are just wanting to move it out there to park it, well that is an expensive proposition. Australia is a big target and has been tested before :)
"Until it becomes cheap enough to lift lead shielding or they come up with some sort of equivalent to a sci-fi ship shield, putting anything manned out near the moon is not realistic."
Radiation shielding in space is not as hard as you might think, says this link:
"Polyethylene is a good shielding material because it has high hydrogen content, and hydrogen atoms are good at absorbing and dispersing radiation" and [re: reinforced polyethylene] "Since it is a ballistic shield, it also deflects micrometeorites"
Until it becomes cheap enough to lift lead shielding or they come up with some sort of equivalent to a sci-fi ship shield
Lead? If you want to block all radiation including cosmic rays, you need about 10 metric tons of any mass per square meter of hull. If you want it to be thin, then you use 10 tons / square meter of lead. If you want to be strong, then you use 10 tons / square meter of steel. If you want it to be broadly useful for astronauts, then you use 10 tons / square meter of water, food, and feces (hopefully in separate storage systems).
Though 1 ton per square meter is plenty if you're not planning to spend a life time on the station.
If you want to avoid lifting a lot of stuff out of Earth's gravity well, then use lunar or asteroid material: water or regolith. Parking a space station in lunar orbit is a good motivation to start some in situ resource utilization by mining the moon for water, metals, oxygen, and whatever else captures your fancy.
With enough spending power, anything that isn't physically possible is TECHNICALLY possible.
You'd basically have to launch entire rockets up to the ISS, break it back up into segments, boot them into their new orbits one at a time, stitch the thing back up again, and then drop the rockets back to Earth.
It would be an order of magnitude more expensive than dropping the thing into the ocean and putting a whole new one up.
Is it really not possible to put it into orbit around the Moon? or Mars?
It's possible, just challenging. To get out of Low Earth orbit and into Low Lunar Orbit would require about 4500m/s of delta-V (with margin). An efficient hydrogen-oxygen rocket strapped to the 500-ton ISS would need about 900 tons of fuel. Since the biggest proven rockets can deliver about 100 tons to the ISS, that's a lot of Saturn V-equivalent launches to move the ISS.
They also spent over $25bn dollars. And that's 1960/70s dollars. So at current rates we're talking well over $100bn (depending on average inflation rates). I mean it's not improbably huge money, we're talking the same ballpark as the UKs annual healthcare spending - but it's major moolah.
But I don't think calling not doing laughable is at all sensible. The big bang approach of Apollo failed. Thney got to the Moon, and then junked everything. So maybe going more slowly, with cheaper vehicles and more commercial capacity will get us something more long term. The COTS program has got us Falcon, and if it also gets us Dragon 2 and Boeing's capsule, for a few billion each - then that's not too bad.
It seems to me that facilitating long-term habitation of space is still the most important thing NASA should be doing. If we can get commercial crews living in orbit repairing satellites, then we're getting all the brilliant things satellites do cheaper - and we're building up experience and capacity for habitation in space. Plus building up the knowledge and equipment that get us to the Moon, Mars or wherever else we might want to go. It's slower, and more boring, but might end up more effective in the long run.
Plus of course NASA is getting some amazing science done with the Mars rovers and its other science missions. I'd love to see boots on the Moon and Mars, or an asteroid, but it would be depressing if we then declared mission accomplished and gave up on it again afterwards.
>The big bang approach of Apollo failed. Thney got to the Moon, and then junked everything.
That is seriously b0rken logic. Kennedy started the race to the moon. And it was Nixon who junked everything. The same president who did not want to see Voyager extending a mission beyond his presidency. Much has been said about Trump but he has at least not shut down the Mars rover projects. Nixon probably would.
There was a will, then. Nobody had to make a "busssssssinessssss case" for going to the moon. The moon was there! And we climbed it. And we learned so, so much from doing so, and we're STILL LEARNING from the science we did, the samples we took back then. We blast the moon with frickin' laser beams and gigantic mirrors left there by men from the planet Earth shine them right back at us!
If anybody had said "Let's do a cost-benefit analysis" or "where's the profit?" about those days, they would have been sacked. If a congresscritter had even SUGGESTED slashing NASA's funding, they would have been done up like a Viking sacrifice at Uppsala come the midterms.
Unfortunately, sometime between then and now, BUSSSSSSINESSSSSS came up with the idea of letting someone ELSE do all the hard work, go bankrupt, and then buy the fruits of their labor for (Zimbabwean) pennies on the (American) dollar.
That's why corporations want to hire "experienced" workers. They want someone ELSE to have assumed the costs of educating and training a worker, and then snap them away for a fractional pay rise that's still much cheaper than training them. This is why patent and copyright trolls are a thing; they PRODUCE nothing, they just threaten and bully to get others to give them money to not drag them through a costly legal battle.
All of the big McLargeHuge corps want to exploit the Moon, and Mars, and the asteroid belts, and Mercury, and beyond. THEY just don't want to be the ones shouldering the initial burden of developing the technologies to get there, and if possible they'd rather let someone else build the first infrastructure, go broke, and then snatch it up at the auction.
"...having a man walk on the moon and return safely - with 1960's technology."
There was nothing safe about the Apollo missions or the 1960's technology they relied upon: it caused the death of three astronauts and nearly killed another three. Considering the low number of missions actually flown, its safety record can only be regarded as poor.
It wasn't just because of the cost that Saturn was retired, it was also because the Saturn launch stack was, to use computing jargon, an emergency hack, the sole purpose of which was to boost the US ego by beating the USSR in what history has shown to have been a totally pointless race - pointless because, if there had been some point to it, other than simply beating the USSR, they'd still be there.
Science was always secondary to winning the 'race': whilst the Apollo astronauts were very smart people, and did do some good science while they were there, only one of them was actually a scientist and once Apollo 11 had landed on the Moon and returned, NASA struggled to get financing from the US gov for further science based missions.
In numbers rounder than my stomach:
Cost of Apollo* - something around $250bn - $300bn, inflation adjusted. Benefit to humanity - some practical, huge psychological
Cost of invading Iraq** : $3 trillion
Number of times Apollo could be re-run for the same amount: Ten
Number of times a Mars mission at 10x the cost of Apollo could be run for the same amount: One
Number of Falcon Heavy Mars orbit launches you could buy for the same amount: Thirty
Benefit to humanity of any of the above - well who knows, but I'm damn sure it's more than shooting people in Iraq.
* Actually total NASA budget 1960-72, but a) it was mostly Apollo and b) Gemini and Mercury spend were ultimately to support Apollo
** Stiglitz and Bilmes 'conservative estimate'
Cost of Apollo* - something around $250bn - $300bn, inflation adjusted. Benefit to humanity - some practical, huge psychological
I thought the normally bandied about figure of the US economy benefiting to the tune of $10 for every $1 spent on the Apollo program was generally considered to be somewhat conservative.
> NASA’s solution is to try to get disinterested commercial outfits using the orbiting laboratory,
The most interesting possibility would be for an outfit like SpaceX to take it off NASA's hands. Then if they bought themselves a suitably placed "Tracey Island" far from any other country's jurisdiction they could make their launches from there. And once free from annoying things like national laws, taxes and things they could set themselves up with the world's first (and only) extra-terrestrial tax haven.
I am sure that Apple and many other mega-corps would be interested in a slice of that!
Just take those old records off the shelf
I'll sit and listen to 'em by m'self
Today's music ain't got the same soul
I like that old time rock and roll
Still like that old time rock and roll
The kinda music just soothes the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
With that old time rock and roll
No disco for me!
The ISS was built because a once mighty nuclear power was about to descend into anarchy and there was a concern that all its nuclear + rocket scientists would go and work for dodgy 3rd world dictators rather than starve or have to work in the fields picking sprouts.
Suppose you could arrange for another once mighty, and still nuclear armed, power to fsck up its economy, make all its nuclear/rocket scientists redundant when JET/Galileo closed and need to find something for them to do so that they don't defect to Belgium or have to work in the fields picking sprouts?
That would be a perfect justification for a new ISS (Imperial Space Station)
>Apollo WAS the future, it was right there on TV.
That was a generational thing. The adults were concerned about race tension. The young followed Apollo and watched The Jetsons. And those who were young then are the older generation today.
Do not forget that many thought space was a costly dead end and wanted the money directed elsewhere.
I remember being an 11 year old kid, watching the moon landing on my schools library power mac from a CD encyclopedia (the kind that used to be in a case!)..
I used to head to the library and watch that almost every week, at the time I thought the world would be on the moon or mars by now.
>Amazing they managed to get to the moon with that technology
It is even more amazing when you hear the story from those who were there. One of my lecturers was working on the Gemini or Mercury project, I forget which one. And the stories he told us were amazing. Health and safety were unknown terms, it was all out pedal to the metal - the Soviets just HAD to be beaten. Tech was primitive but still sufficient. And it is amazing that there were no more losses of human lives than what happened.
In 1969, my mother was seven years old and I was fifteen years from coming along.
When I was seven years old, Sir Patrick Stewart and his band of merries capering about in somewhat silly outfits (that got progressively less sillier the more beard Johnathan Frakes wore,) was promising me that Apollo was the primitive past of spaceflight - vital, pioneering work to be sure, but only the beginning.
Now I'm thirty-bloody-three, jobless, trying to care for increasingly-elderly-and-poorly kinfolk, watching my friends go through shit like two months of wage theft and being at risk of winding up without a roof over their heads during a terrifying electrical storm whilst madmen occupy top spots in governments big and small and the shining tech luminares of our times piss away everything calling divers paedarasts, or developing censored spyware search engines for oppressive regimes.
Where the HELL is the future? Even if it was a gritty, nasty future like Shadowrun or Red Faction, that'd be something. It seems like we developed Jean-Luc's PADD, declared "Mission Accomplished!" and went to go shit in a sandbox instead of building the future.
And in 30 years from now people will be on some similar forum, complaining that back when they were young(er), humanity even had a manned research space station orbiting Earth! Something that day's technology isn't able to do anymore (save for some vague future ad-supported projects).
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