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Author Topic: the great space race
kenmeer livermaile
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Remember a few years back whenBush got on his sci-fi kick and told us we were going to Mars?

Uh-uh:

article

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ngthagg
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I'm always conflicted about pursuing the space race. It involves some of the most mind-blowing accomplishments of the human race. (As Douglas Adams said, "You may think it's a long way down the road to the chemists, but that's peanuts to space.") On the other hand, it's bloody expensive. There are a lot of demands on the budget of a typical country, so finding room to pursue cool science is tough.

I really hope there is more private interest in building spacecraft in the future. It would be very nice if we could move past the government or nothing phase.

ngthagg

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Sampler
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Given that the space elevator would have cut the military/aerospace industrial complex's profits by a landslide and that by creating the space elevator we would have to create peaceful relations with all the countries the cable passes over, I'd say peace and lack of profits for cronies are two things that this administration stands firmly against.

Instead lets build incredibly expensive rockets and spaceships to send people to mars just to say that we've been there. All the real science stuff has been/will be carried out by all the robots we've sent/will send there.


Face it, if they were truly interested in maximizing our knowledge they would be building the space elevator first, then tons of more orbiting high-tech observatories. That is where the real science is right now. People carry too much of this ridiculous sense of the 1800s westward expansion "pioneering" spirit into places where it doesn't belong -- like space.


Lets all repeat this together, the logical progression of a space program is:

1. perfecting a cheap, environmentally-safe, reliable, long-term ground to orbit system.

2. Making good use of technology deployable in close-earth orbit.

3. THEN expanding out into solar system using cheap, efficient vehicles constructed in orbit that are not intended to land themselves.

4. Develop landers that work in different gravity than the earth and moon.

Any time you try to skip a step you automatically guarantee that whatever you are doing will NOT be as efficient and successful as possible.

But about the space elevator: Bush and the GOP have to hold off until all the rocket/missile companies can buy up the carbon nanotube makers.

[ April 06, 2007, 02:53 AM: Message edited by: Sampler ]

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Doug J
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I am appalled by the lack of fundamental understanding on the US budget process displayed here.
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Sampler
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug J:
I am appalled by the lack of fundamental understanding on the US budget process displayed here.

You are trying to say there aren't a jillion aerospace tech lobbyists influencing these decisions?
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kenmeer livermaile
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"On the other hand, it's bloody expensive. There are a lot of demands on the budget of a typical country, so finding room to pursue cool science is tough."

We're talking about roughly $4 million of a roughly $16 billion dollar budget.

"But about the space elevator: Bush and the GOP have to hold off until all the rocket/missile companies can buy up the carbon nanotube makers."

Ah! Makes sense to me!

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Clark
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quote:
by creating the space elevator we would have to create peaceful relations with all the countries the cable passes over
Huh? How many countries lie directly above the US?
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kenmeer livermaile
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Can't really build one over the USA. Needs a roughly equatorial locale.

But either way, the thing really is vulnerable to sabotage.

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ngthagg
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kl: Sorry, I meant that the space program in general is expensive. ie, $4 million not expensive, $16 billion expensive.

ngthagg

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Lobo
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
Can't really build one over the USA. Needs a roughly equatorial locale.

Excellent; a reason to take over the Congo! Iraq is soooo yesterday.
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TommySama
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The Belgiums will be pissed.
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Everard
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There's more then one?
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TommySama
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The Flanders and the Walloons [Wink]

Smarty pants.

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Sampler
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Not only equatorial, but as I understand it the cable has to circle around the globe 3 or 4 times?

As the little crimp-trolleys wind up it they would be perfect fodder for SAMs.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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kenmeer livermaile said:
quote:
Can't really build one over the USA. Needs a roughly equatorial locale.

But either way, the thing really is vulnerable to sabotage.

Actually, Puerto Rico would work for 'equitorial'.

It doesn't actually need to be an equitorial cable though. NASA had a paper out a while back detailing the stress factors involved in non-equitorial cabling. It's more difficult, but it is doable.

I'll see if I can find the paper. It's on my home computer, but I've no way to access it from here. I'll see if I can get my family to look.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Sorry, I meant that the space program in general is expensive."

I disagree so much it gives me gas. I think they're making their share of bad management decisions with that budget, but the benefits of space exploration/expansion have been and will continue to be enormous.

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Rallan
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
"Sorry, I meant that the space program in general is expensive."

I disagree so much it gives me gas. I think they're making their share of bad management decisions with that budget, but the benefits of space exploration/expansion have been and will continue to be enormous.

I'm with Kenmeer here. Why if it weren't profanity-riddled and completely inappropriate for Ornery I'd just lift the last tirade I did about this issue and cut and paste it here wholesale.

But since it's not up to this place's standards and I'm lazy, y'all will just have to make do with me making it known that I object to the notion that space exploration is a waste of money.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Aw, Rallan, just let go...

Don't hold it back. 's bad for ye...

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ngthagg
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kl and Rallan: I'm genuinely interested. I'm not sure I've ever seen space exploration/expansion (SEE) defended as anything other than cool.

So please hook me up with some links/rants about how the SEE is valuable.

ngthagg

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kenmeer livermaile
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Talking point # 1:

Enormous technological 'fallout' from gov funding of space race has proven enormously beneficial to economy. An indirect, side-effect benefit.

Talking point # 2:

commsats. weather sats. any kind of sats.

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KnightEnder
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There are a ton of things other than Tang that we got out of the space program. That is pretty much general knowledge.

How much is Iraq at now $300 billion? And what are we getting out of that?

KE

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ngthagg
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Yeah, satellites seem pretty obvious, now that they've been pointed out to me. Thanks kl, KE.

ngthagg

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Greg Davidson
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Here's a nifty factoid. We have spent more money on the War on Terror in the last 6 years than we have on NASA in the last 50 years. They are both at about $650B in today's dollars.

Benefits from space investments include:
- Significant acceleration of the development of computers (combination of NASA/Apollo and ICBM's); perhaps the biggest contribution to the economy
- Satellite communications (TV and voice)
- Weather satellites
- Climate satellites (remember that ozone hole thing that was identified by satellite imagery - we banned CFC's and allowed the atmosphere to begin recovering)
- Understanding of climate from the study of other planets (Venus is hotter than would be predicted based on proximity to the sun due to the C02 greenhouse gas effect)
- Pure science, such as proving the big bang, etc. Two Nobel prizes in the last 5 years have come from NASA research.
- The other A in NASA stands for aeronautics, and there have been significant improvements in aviation safety and fuel economy, etc.

Finally, the biggest benefit from NASA is on a completely different ledger. In a world where the "hard power" of military force tends to breed its own resistance, and the typical "soft power" of culture or religion tends to be greeted by hostility, the space program has been one way to unite peoples from across the world with a common vision. From the view of Earth from space that is being used by Evangelical Christians as a symbol of renewed interest in the environment as a stewardship issue, to the loss of the Shuttle Columbia with the Israeli astronaut that was even mourned in the Palestinian territories, space is one thing that still has the promise to bring us all together as a species.

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0Megabyte
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"space is one thing that still has the promise to bring us all together as a species. "

Yes. For now.

Until we put weapons up there and space starts to tear us apart, literally, by body part.

Then, later, we'll get into massive fleets of starships using nuclear weapons, fightercraft and accelerated particle beam weapons to annihilate each other in epic naval battles not seen since World War 1.

Then we get into super-powered giant robots.

... then the Death Star.

... then Unicron.

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0Megabyte
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... Did I mention that space is going to be awesome?
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TommySama
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Heh. For a minute there I thought you were pooing on there being a Unicron.


quote:
Then, later, we'll get into massive fleets of starships using nuclear weapons, fightercraft and accelerated particle beam weapons to annihilate each other in epic naval battles not seen since World War 1.
Jesus! We have to send this kid to our military leaders to give a speech about this. After they hear some of this sh*t, we'll be roaming the galaxy in forty, fifty years. Not because that was the goal, but because it'll turn out that some of the crud they invented won't be effective at mass murder.
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0Megabyte
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Hey. Sounds good to me.

Actually, I learned that nuclear weapons aren't quite as effective in space, as there is no atmosphere for an effective shock wave.

However, the sheer energy of a nuclear explosion would still make it a useful weapon to destroy an enemy capital ship.

And that's not even talking about the sattelite based weapon systems!

Sattelite based nuclear silos!

Huge tungsten rods which act as an asteroid to blow up a city through sheer kinetic force!

Did I mention the aforementioned accelerated particle beam cannons?

I mean, with a large enough solar energy rig (with large numbers of super-efficient solar energy collectors) you could effectively send a column of nuclear energy to create a massive nuclear blast on earth quite possibly without needing a missle, and only needing some kind of ionized form of very heavy element!

Then, of course, we could use these against not just the planet but against asteroids coming to annihilate us, aforementioned fleets of enemy starships (who's the enemy? Who cares! We can annihilate them with beam cannons!) and who knows what else?

Then there's the more boring microwave energy cannon. We could use it first to beam cheap, direct solar energy directly to the Earth to microwave collectors to be converted to mundane electricity, and they could also be used as energy weapons to literally cook enemy cities into submission as if it was a giant microwave oven.

That's just for starters, of course.

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organminded
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Is it possible we have not been to the moon yet and that is why we are spending all the money trying to beat China there again? I mean for the first time. Could you imagine what would happen if that hoax came out? Any other of you sci-fi fans really looked really hard at the “have we been to the moon” debt facts? I have some good friends in photography, and just the photos make it very questionable. Meaning the quality of the photos and the technology that produced them. I have some other engineering friends that have some big questions as well.

Did you know every man that has walked on the moon has had a nervous break down?

My wife chides me when I talk about this, but you know I never really thought about it until we went to see a movie about the space landings at an IMAX theater with the kids and about half way through the film it dawned on me that not one live image of Men on the moon was real. All the clips they were showing were computer generated clips. Very few of the original images were used and if so they were short and quick. I couldn’t help ask myself again and again why? SO, I started looking into the debate and found some really big questions. Ones I checked out with some friends and…well now I am about 50/50.

Wild to imagine that kind of a lie, but some things really don’t add up. So, I’m not a conspiracy person or anything, but I am questionable on this one.

Any thoughts?

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organminded
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oh, PS who was holing the camra on the moon landing filming anyway?
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Greg Davidson
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A greater miracle than landing on the moon would have been the computer generated animation in 1969 when the landing was televised
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kenmeer livermaile
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This would be a hoax of a scale several orders of magnitude larger than that required for the government to have been complicit in 911. I will invest belief in the latter, but the former is just beyond conceptual sustenance.
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0Megabyte
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Well, people have believed crazier things.

However, yes, we had a long thread about this over in War Watch awhile ago.

The evidence seemed pretty much on the side of "we have gone to the moon."

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Rallan
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The "we faked the moon landing" conspiracy theory is completely bogus organminded. Even Wikipedia, famous across the world for its tendancy of putting consensus between opposing views ahead of facts, is pretty damn sure that America really dude put dudes on the moon when it said it did. I mean if nothing else, how would you get a conspiracy so large that not just America, but the governments of all nations involved in tracking the missions still be willing to lie about it after all this time? Not to mention that you'd have a hard time explaining why the Soviet Union never got around to denouncing it as a hoax.


a point by point debunking, including arguments I'd never even heard of before.
http://www.redzero.demon.co.uk/moonhoax/

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Greg Davidson
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This reminds me of the "Is NASA hiding space aliens?" conspiracy theory. That one can be addressed by saying that if NASA could ever show a real space alien, it's budget would triple (a rare example showing that cynicism can be used to fight paranoia)
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0Megabyte
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Wow, Greg. You're right. Cynicism fighting paranoia. Nothing more wonderful than that.

I do know one thing. Should I ever become part of the U.S. government, I shall make grand and numerous arguements for why we need to go out into space, and multiply the budget of NASA at least by a factor of ten or so, minimum, to make it so.

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TommySama
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In order to do that I think you'll have to personally take up about 2/3's of the House and Senate, along with the presidency just to be safe.

You're going to be a busy Representative/Senator/President.

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Greg Davidson
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I do recommend sending a card or email to your Congressman and Senators every so often. Google their email address and send a few line note. Don't have to say much, just let them know it is an area of your interest.
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Adam Lassek
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quote:
Is it possible we have not been to the moon yet and that is why we are spending all the money trying to beat China there again?
Go here, organminded. We have been to the moon.

Nobody has brought up the real reason why we want to go back: Helium-3 fusion. This is THE fuel source of the future. A single payload of this stuff will be worth billions. This is why NASA is planning missions to the moon, and why there is a push for the private sector to develop spaceflight.

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0Megabyte
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Adam L. -- Holy crap.

That stuff sounds potent. I see a bright future for space travel, if our politicians know the potential of this stuff.

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
That stuff sounds potent. I see a bright future for space travel, if our politicians know the potential of this stuff.
It's about six times more power output per atom than the fusion process occuring in the core of the Sun [Smile]

Better yet, the byproduct is: hydrogen, part of which is reused for more fusion, and the rest could be collected for other uses. Once the fusion process burns out (because, like the Sun, it can't be refueled once it begins), we are left with Helium-4. This is basically the holy grail of alternative fuel.

The technology for sustainable Helium-3 fusion is at least a few decades away, but we have to collect the stuff first before we can work on the science.

[ April 14, 2007, 01:18 AM: Message edited by: Adam Lassek ]

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