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Maksutov
2004-Mar-05, 12:53 AM
John Glenn provided criticism of the Bush space exploration plan today. He was especially critical of plans to eliminate US-supported science on the ISS that wasn't related to Moon and Mars goals. Details are here (http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=4501019 ).

Diamond
2004-Mar-05, 01:17 PM
John Glenn provided criticism of the Bush space exploration plan today. He was especially critical of plans to eliminate US-supported science on the ISS that wasn't related to Moon and Mars goals. Details are here (http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=4501019 ).

There is science on board the ISS? :o

Darkwing
2004-Mar-05, 01:35 PM
If the research that John Glenn is talking about is really only a few million dollars like he said, then I'm all for keeping it.

However I don't agree with his assessment that we should go Mars Direct rather than building the "stepping stone" on the moon. If we're going to go to space to stay, skipping over the moon won't help. If we build a moon base, then we'll have the capability and infrastructure to stay up there and from there, go wherever we want--Mars included. If we go straight to Mars, then we'll have the same problem as Apollo--we'll end up sending some missions and not have much to show for it to be a building block for subsequent, more ambitious missions.

Of course, Glenn says money is the issue, and he's right--it's a huge issue. I just don't think spending money to make an infrastructure on the moon is a waste.

daver
2004-Mar-05, 05:59 PM
Of course, Glenn says money is the issue, and he's right--it's a huge issue. I just don't think spending money to make an infrastructure on the moon is a waste.
There are a lot of variables here. It seems to me that a lunar colony would only be useful if it was essentially self-sustaining and if it could produce some useful material for less cost than launching it from earth. I'd think it would take the better part of a century for those conditions to be met (if at all--it's not that clear to me that there would ever be a time when manufacturing something on the moon would be cheaper than manufacturing it and launching it from the earth).

Darkwing
2004-Mar-05, 07:32 PM
Of course, Glenn says money is the issue, and he's right--it's a huge issue. I just don't think spending money to make an infrastructure on the moon is a waste.
There are a lot of variables here. It seems to me that a lunar colony would only be useful if it was essentially self-sustaining and if it could produce some useful material for less cost than launching it from earth. I'd think it would take the better part of a century for those conditions to be met (if at all--it's not that clear to me that there would ever be a time when manufacturing something on the moon would be cheaper than manufacturing it and launching it from the earth).

As you say, it probably will take a really long time for a lunar colony to become self-sufficient, which is why I think we need to start the ball rolling now.

Kaptain K
2004-Mar-05, 07:45 PM
...it's not that clear to me that there would ever be a time when manufacturing something on the moon would be cheaper than manufacturing it and launching it from the earth...
With launch costs of ten to twenty thousand dollars per Kg, I would expect that anything that could be manufactured on the Moon would be cheaper than the same item launched to the Moon from Earth.

Cougar
2004-Mar-05, 08:00 PM
"We're going to do the research that's important for us to fulfill the president's vision," Mahone said.
The president's vision?? Where did he get this vision? Did it come to him in a dream, or did Karl Rove tell him it would be worth some votes? It seems certain this vision was not the result of any careful consideration, and equally certain that no actual scientists were consulted in constructing this vision. Manned flights to the Moon and Mars? What science program is such a "vision" intended to accomplish that the current robotic programs can't do? Oh, there would likely be unforeseen scientific advances that result as side-effects of such a program, but it's a pretty poorly directed program that has to count on the mere potential of advancement that may or may not pan out.

No, it's a matter of priorities. What is the scientific priority of sending men back to the Moon and on to Mars? I see very little. On the other hand, the past five years have uncovered a HUGE scientific question that demands investigation, and that is: What the heck is going on with these continuing observations that seem to indicate that 70% of our universe is made up of some heretofore completely unknown form of "energy" that we have termed dark energy? NASA and the Dept of Energy were set to explore this question with a planned Joint Dark Energy Mission set for launch around 2014. But because of our fearless leader's "vision", what should be one of the highest priority scientific missions (listed as a "top priority" in a Nat'l Academy of Sciences study of interdisciplinary research in astronomy and physics) is now on hold as NASA retools for possible manned flights to the Moon and Mars. Two other missions in NASA's "Beyond Einstein' astrophysics program also disappeared from NASA's 5-year budget outlook.

I suppose such poor leadership should not come as a surprise. Bush has misled and misguided this country in practically every category from his first week in office. In some cases, that's probably just my opinion. In other cases, that's just the hard facts.
http://www.xmission.com/~dcc/cougarsnarl.jpg

daver
2004-Mar-05, 09:31 PM
With launch costs of ten to twenty thousand dollars per Kg, I would expect that anything that could be manufactured on the Moon would be cheaper than the same item launched to the Moon from Earth.

How much weight would we need to launch to the moon before we could get a colony there capable of mining and refining and manufacturing the products? Once it can start manufacturing it will be able to bootstrap, but getting it to that point will probably require at least a megaton of stuff to be placed on the lunar surface.

You might argue that it's not going to cost $50- to $100-million/ton to put that on the moon (I've derated by a guestimate for the ratio between LEO costs and costs to land it on the moon), but if the price of launching and landing moonbase elements drops then the cost of launching mars ship elements would also drop.

Darkwing
2004-Mar-05, 11:51 PM
With launch costs of ten to twenty thousand dollars per Kg, I would expect that anything that could be manufactured on the Moon would be cheaper than the same item launched to the Moon from Earth.

How much weight would we need to launch to the moon before we could get a colony there capable of mining and refining and manufacturing the products? Once it can start manufacturing it will be able to bootstrap, but getting it to that point will probably require at least a megaton of stuff to be placed on the lunar surface.

You might argue that it's not going to cost $50- to $100-million/ton to put that on the moon (I've derated by a guestimate for the ratio between LEO costs and costs to land it on the moon), but if the price of launching and landing moonbase elements drops then the cost of launching mars ship elements would also drop.

It probably going to cost a huge amount of money to get an infrastructure on the moon capable of supporting itself. Which is exactly why I think we should get started on it sooner rather than later.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Mar-06, 10:24 PM
its all about the returns, harder to make money from these types of programs today

Tito_Muerte
2004-Mar-06, 10:52 PM
I suppose such poor leadership should not come as a surprise. Bush has misled and misguided this country in practically every category from his first week in office. In some cases, that's probably just my opinion. In other cases, that's just the hard facts.

That's pretty political dude... (just warning ya because I agree with you entirely, but I was also reprimanded for a similar rant on a different post, shortly after the initial announcement)


With launch costs of ten to twenty thousand dollars per Kg, I would expect that anything that could be manufactured on the Moon would be cheaper than the same item launched to the Moon from Earth.

You don't seem to be considering the fact that, last I checked, the Moon wasn't a source of...you know.... Rocket Fuel. Which means that fuel would need to be blasted there, just in order to be used from there. Which I'd say puts an end to the idea of the moon possibly being cheaper for launches.

beck0311
2004-Mar-06, 11:22 PM
With launch costs of ten to twenty thousand dollars per Kg, I would expect that anything that could be manufactured on the Moon would be cheaper than the same item launched to the Moon from Earth.

You don't seem to be considering the fact that, last I checked, the Moon wasn't a source of...you know.... Rocket Fuel. Which means that fuel would need to be blasted there, just in order to be used from there. Which I'd say puts an end to the idea of the moon possibly being cheaper for launches.

Actually there is pretty good evidence of water on the moon which certainly contains the elements needed to make rocket fuel. While I like the idea of creating a permanent Moon Base, I don't think that any near term Mars missions will be launched from there. Launching the necessary spacecraft components that cannot be manufactured on the Moon in the near future (like circuit boards, displays, plumbing, etc...) to the Moon would likely cost more than simply building it and testing it from here. I agree with the sentiment that we ought to get the ball rolling soon though (though I would like to see the current economic climate improve a little).

daver
2004-Mar-08, 08:56 PM
It probably going to cost a huge amount of money to get an infrastructure on the moon capable of supporting itself. Which is exactly why I think we should get started on it sooner rather than later.

While I agree that we should start building a moon-base as soon as reasonable, i don't think that we could justify the moon base by economics. About the only material that strikes me as cheap enough to economically mine on the moon is the moon--say, as shielding for an L5. Maybe, if it turned out that there was lots of water, easily available, in the polar regions or somewhere, the story would change.

wedgebert
2004-Mar-08, 09:20 PM
I believe Helium-3 is one of the best reasons to begin construction on a lunar base. He3 is the best of the 'clean' fusion fuels (it produces no neutrons when fused with Deuterium, and you only get a small amount from the occsional D-D fusion), making it ideal for both power generation and space propulsion.

So why wait until we need it? Why not start collecting it now, both for future use and current research? Only downside I see the potentional for attack from terrorists (possibly backed by Big Oil if we find ourselves in a Holllywood movie)

The Bad Astronomer
2004-Mar-08, 09:47 PM
Cougar, cut the political rhetoric. Only warning.

daver
2004-Mar-08, 10:00 PM
I believe Helium-3 is one of the best reasons to begin construction on a lunar base. He3 is the best of the 'clean' fusion fuels (it produces no neutrons when fused with Deuterium, and you only get a small amount from the occsional D-D fusion), making it ideal for both power generation and space propulsion.

So why wait until we need it? Why not start collecting it now, both for future use and current research? Only downside I see the potentional for attack from terrorists (possibly backed by Big Oil if we find ourselves in a Holllywood movie)

1. As you point out, we can't use it yet. We're decades away from needing it.

2. D+D fusion yields either H3 or He3+n. So we have a dirty source of He3 as it stands (one which produces energy, and is easier to achieve than He3 fusion). So, the question will be whether it is cheaper to go to the moon and gather the He3 or to produce it locally. It may be that the spare n from the He3 leg can be used to bombard lithium to generate more He3; the H3 will eventually decay to produce He3. My guess is that He3 from fusion reactors would be much cheaper than He3 from the moon, even if you count the extra cost for disposal of radioactive wastes.

[edit to put the n in the proper reaction]

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Mar-17, 04:56 PM
Another strong theory here about future missions

"Pike calls the Bush Plan "a roadmap for the quiet and orderly phase-out of manned space flight."


http://www.spacedaily.com/news/spacetravel-04j.html


"commentators have denounced Plan Bush an insanely grandiose program that will waste $1 trillion dollars of tax money."



"People who say that a manned moon mission could be assembled in LEO out of small pieces launched on existing boosters like the new EELVs are dead wrong. This option was never seriously considered by either the Red Team or the Blue Team back during the Moon Race. It vastly magnifies the chances of failure."

Who is right I wonder? I think Glenn the hero Astronaut, knows lots about the ability of future missions

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Jun-17, 12:56 AM
NASA has been great in the past, it has launched the great voyagers and put men on the moon. The Americans have done great things in space.

however recntly I have read about this space plan

another website called it an 'election-stunt'

gethen
2004-Jun-17, 01:09 AM
It's hard to say this without getting political, but I think this "plan" is indeed an election year stunt. Why? Because most of the money earmarked would be spent after the current President's term, even if he is re-elected. Meaning, someone else will have to veto it or bury the legislation, and be the heavy. Proposing a multi-million (or billion) dollar program that won't be funded under your own administration seems a bit cynical to me. Whatever the motivation, political or otherwise, it seems doomed.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Jun-17, 03:06 AM
The paper is out. When Bush announced his new space exploration plan earlier this year, he tasked a special committee to figure out the best way to implement. After several months of research, including public forums and feedback from a wide range of space experts, the committee has released its findings in a 64-page document. Now it has been released, the Exploration Report is Released today.

The report contains eight findings and fourteen recommendations on how to implement the vision, which emphasizes the importance of a vibrant space exploration industry

however others like Glenn have been critical of the Bush vision

Joe87
2004-Jun-17, 03:35 AM
You don't seem to be considering the fact that, last I checked, the Moon wasn't a source of...you know.... Rocket Fuel. Which means that fuel would need to be blasted there, just in order to be used from there. Which I'd say puts an end to the idea of the moon possibly being cheaper for launches.

You might not need a lot of rocket fuel if you build a rail gun launcher to get your spaceships off the moon. Without an atmosphere, it is much more feasible from the moon than from the earth. All you need is a fission or fusion reactor on the moon to supply the electrical power for the rail gun. Once off the moon, you then hoist your solar sails and tack around the solar system. 8)

Grand_Lunar
2004-Jun-17, 09:26 AM
You don't seem to be considering the fact that, last I checked, the Moon wasn't a source of...you know.... Rocket Fuel. Which means that fuel would need to be blasted there, just in order to be used from there. Which I'd say puts an end to the idea of the moon possibly being cheaper for launches.

You might not need a lot of rocket fuel if you build a rail gun launcher to get your spaceships off the moon. Without an atmosphere, it is much more feasible from the moon than from the earth. All you need is a fission or fusion reactor on the moon to supply the electrical power for the rail gun. Once off the moon, you then hoist your solar sails and tack around the solar system. 8)

Another option (and this is quite a ways out) would be a plasma drive. A fission reactor provides power for electrodes, which turn the working fluid into plasma, which can then be forced out by magnetic fields. If memory serves, lunar rocks have gathered material blasted from the sun for billions of years. Surely enough must be there for us to use? And if there's not enough hydrogen, we not liberate oxygen from the dirt? Its easier to make LOX than LH. I think there's also nitrogen, which is just as easy to make (relitivly speaking). And as a bonus, you have a reserve atomsphere supply. This is, of course, my speculation. Something else may also serve our needs. Besides, my second quote says it all.

Kaptain K
2004-Jun-17, 10:24 AM
You don't seem to be considering the fact that, last I checked, the Moon wasn't a source of...you know.... Rocket Fuel. Which means that fuel would need to be blasted there, just in order to be used from there. Which I'd say puts an end to the idea of the moon possibly being cheaper for launches.

You might not need a lot of rocket fuel if you build a rail gun launcher to get your spaceships off the moon. Without an atmosphere, it is much more feasible from the moon than from the earth. All you need is a fission or fusion reactor on the moon to supply the electrical power for the rail gun. Once off the moon, you then hoist your solar sails and tack around the solar system. 8)
You don't even need a reactor. Just solar collectors and a huge capacitor bank! :o

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Jun-17, 05:36 PM
another man named John Kerry has also been critical of the Bush Space plan

here is what he just recently said



In written responses to questions submitted to him by Space News and SPACE.com, Kerry criticized the Bush space vision as big on goals but short on resources. Kerry also offered a preview of how NASA’s agenda might change if he is elected president in November.

“NASA is an invaluable asset to the American people and must receive adequate resources to continue its important mission of exploration,” Kerry wrote. “However, there is little to be gained from a ‘Bush space initiative’ that throws out lofty goals, but fails to support those goals with realistic funding.”

The Bush Administration plans to fund a human return to the moon by 2020 by more sharply focusing an only slightly enlarged NASA budget on the new exploration goals. Under the Bush plan, NASA’s $15.4 billion budget would increase about 5 percent a year before leveling out at $18 billion in 2008 and with only rate of inflation increases thereafter. The bulk of NASA’s exploration budget, Bush Administration officials say, would come from money that will be freed up after completion of the international space station in 2010 and from retiring the space shuttle fleet, moves expected to free up about $5 billion to $6 billion a year.

Kerry’s comments were received a day before a presidential commission issued its recommendations for implementing Bush’s vision.

Kerry said that the most immediate impact of the Bush plan is that NASA’s resources are being stretched “even further than they were before the Columbia tragedy,” forcing NASA to make unpopular choices like canceling a space shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA is currently seeking industry proposals for servicing Hubble robotically, but space agency officials have made clear that the highest priority of such a mission is attaching a module to Hubble that can be used to guide the space telescope safely into the ocean at the end of its life.



it seems like there could be some flaws in this plan for space

is it the correct space plan for the USA in the future , or does it have flaws ?

Kaptain K
2004-Jun-17, 05:46 PM
is it the correct space plan for the USA in the future , or does it have flaws ?
It does not have a flaw.

It is a flaw!

Just my personal opinion.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Jun-23, 10:44 PM
Now there's more news...the Accounting people are blasting the US Space program and latest Bush plan, saying it is not right. The Auditors with the US Government delivered a negative report this week about NASA's ability to properly estimate large projects, and manage them effectively in the future. As part of this study, the General Accounting Office reviewed 27 programs, 10 of them in-depth, and came to the conclusion that "NASA lacks a clear understanding of how much programs will cost and how long they will take to achieve their objectives" is what they said. Money seems like a key issue in the past few months, with the shakey world economy and the cost of the operation for the war in Iraq, it is bad now that the cost of the program has been rapped and meet with such criticism. I hope this won't be too bad
So what is happening? Too many great and promising missions and vehicles have gotten scrapped, after already spending hundreds of millions of dollars on these projects. Some were scrapped because the project or craft was taking to long to build many three times longer to build. Was it wise to then put such a mission on the scrap heap after all that effort and money in the designs. Hopefully the US can improve and NASA will learn from this.

beck0311
2004-Jun-24, 02:01 AM
The NASA Watch website has been taking comments about the Bush Space Plan, they can be found here (http://www.nasawatch.com/misc/01.09.04.bush.html). More recently there have been comments on the Aldridge report, they can be found here (http://www.nasawatch.com/misc/06.17.04.aldridge.html). You might be interested in reading them. My impression from reading the report and attending the presentation with Aldridge and NASA Administrator O'Keefe is that those of us who work for NASA who enjoy doing actual engineering may have to start looking elsewhere for work.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Jun-26, 05:26 AM
no , don't get me wrong


I am not a Chinese communist, may name is just a name..that's all


The US has been very good :D NASA had done great things in the past, the wonder of putting men in space, the missions to the lunar surface and the voyager probes, the USA done wonderful things and the world was proud of them..but now I can't be so sure about these latest plans...there could be problems :-?

beck0311
2004-Jun-26, 05:31 PM
no , don't get me wrong


I am not a Chinese communist, may name is just a name..that's all


The US has been very good :D NASA had done great things in the past, the wonder of putting men in space, the missions to the lunar surface and the voyager probes, the USA done wonderful things and the world was proud of them..but now I can't be so sure about these latest plans...there could be problems :-?

I certainly hope that you did not get the impression from my last post that I thought that you were some sort of communist (or any other word that we use in place of "boogie man"). I was merely trying to provide you with another source of information on how people are seeing the new initiative and the Aldridge Commission report.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Jun-27, 02:59 AM
sorry my last reply wasn't directed at you beck0311

and thank you for the link in your to the NASA feedback site in your post

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Jul-17, 12:31 AM
NASA has been great in the past, and done some incredible things
I hope they can fix the problems but right now with safty and finance it's difficult to see how they are going to send people to Mars,
I have great respect from Glenn and his ideas and knowledge are much respected around the world, I was kind of shocked to hear him say the Bush-Plan "pulls the rug out from under our scientists" and might waste too much money to ever put astronauts on Mars
there might be a few flaws with the Bush Space plan, there are mnay unanswered questions about budget and safety . I hope NASA's science program can move forward