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invisible
2010-Sep-03, 01:31 AM
Seems not many people want to see any progress in outer space. I know its expensive but there is more to life than football, work, beer and sex. Hardly anyone cares about anything. Are we a species of introverted two legged cattle? There is a whole universe to explore and nobody is making any effort to get out there. Human beings used to be more adventurous and less risk averse. I think we are all doomed to stagnate on this planet until we either revert to slime or get invaded and conquered by a more ambitious and daring alien race.

Spoons
2010-Sep-03, 02:21 AM
I don't think that's really true. There's huge interest in space. All manner of research is going on, but I think the fact that, the more you know the more you realise you don't know, that probably makes us fairly cautious about sending people out there. There are more space agencies these days than there used to be though. There is a bit of robotic exploration happening. Man will follow along when fruitful exploration is nice and feasible, but you want to have robots sent first for reconnaissance.

There is probably less happening right now than there would be if it weren't for the distractions of wars and in particular the global economy worries.

baric
2010-Sep-03, 03:31 AM
Seems not many people want to see any progress in outer space.

It's the economy.

tashirosgt
2010-Sep-03, 03:40 AM
Perhaps we could blame it on science fiction - the same old stuff, same motifs over and over. Why do something for real when we've seen it all before?

SkepticJ
2010-Sep-03, 06:57 AM
It's the economy.

Before 2008, what was it?

What's been the hold up the last forty years?

Spoons
2010-Sep-03, 07:08 AM
Does anyone have a list of the missions for the last forty years? Manned and unmanned? (Both of which yeild valuable data.) The research done in that time? How about the preceeding forty years?

astromark
2010-Sep-03, 07:29 AM
Seems not many people want to see any progress in outer space. I know its expensive but there is more to life than football, work, beer and sex. Hardly anyone cares about anything. Are we a species of introverted two legged cattle? There is a whole universe to explore and nobody is making any effort to get out there. Human beings used to be more adventurous and less risk averse. I think we are all doomed to stagnate on this planet until we either revert to slime or get invaded and conquered by a more ambitious and daring alien race.

Firstly, the last first...:eh:What aliens ? we have no clue as yet as to if there are any.
We are in little danger of stagnation. Genetics and electronics and synthetic diamond electric circuitry super conductors and........
Yes we have become more careful, thats a good thing, yes. ?
Unfortunately cost and economy are real factors.
Most of the good people that visit these pages want. As you do...

Spoons
2010-Sep-03, 07:39 AM
I don't know whether modern tv shows are a symptom of society changing or whether all these sitcoms are dulling peoples' sense, but my ex-housemate (YAY! Finally moved back home today!) just gets home from work, opens a box of wine and sits in front of repeat episodes of Friends, Will & Grace, Jersey Shore and all that rubbish and giggles when the canned laughter cues her, does the "aw!" when prompted, and everything seems to happen as prompted.

The conspiracy folk would have a field day if they tracked her for a week - it's the perfect example of the idea that society is being turned into a bunch of cows on a farm. Spit out your work produce and then go home, keep your mouth shut and do as we say. I do actually think there's a little to that idea - good corporate citizens. It does benefit some groups. Any knowledge scares people like this. A documentary is the ultimate fright.

There are still a great many people who keep their minds active, and plenty of those people want more research in space and many other areas. I wouldn't get too despondent. With rising electricity prices we might even see more people getting outdoors and stimulated by everything out there.

MAPNUT
2010-Sep-03, 01:16 PM
but there is more to life than football, work, beer and sex.

Well, that's about 99% of it, right?

No, seriously, until the 20th century explorations were done by tiny expeditions of a few ships or a bunch of camels and a few dozen people, or even a few sleds, a single plane, and a handful of people. Space exploration takes a big program. In the Apollo era most of a country was behind the program. Nowadays progress is still being made, as noted above, but by smaller programs. There are new countries building programs, which likely will grow to surpass the accomplishments of Apollo. And there are some private programs making real progress but limited by the funds available. There's a lot happening, there's just not any unified push.

George
2010-Sep-03, 02:48 PM
Lack of mankind in space... "Too much squeeze for the juice" - a phrase a lady entrepreneur once used on why she did not want to do something. It's a bit too myopic a view because astronauts have been known to contribute a great deal to the enthusiasm necessary in kids when they choose science for a career. Just ask Neil Tyson.

baric
2010-Sep-03, 04:58 PM
Before 2008, what was it?

What's been the hold up the last forty years?

The end of the space race?

Number of space launches:
1950s: 18
1960s: 110
1970s: 50
1980s: 13
1990s: 20
2000s : 22
2010s : 3 so far

jfribrg
2010-Sep-03, 07:10 PM
It's really just the economics of space travel. The vast majority of the cost of the Apollo program was devoted to keeping the astronauts healthy, alive and returning them safely to Earth. With an unmanned probe, you don't need to send fuel for the return trip, you don't need any oxygen for breathing, you can use a much smaller rocket, leave the Tang at home, etc. Yes you might be able to learn more if you sent a scientist like Jack Schmitt, but for the same amount of money, you can send many probes without endangering anyone's life. This is the same reason that nobody has been to the bottom of the Marianas Trench for decades. Two people went to the bottom in 1960. Since then, there have been two unmanned probes sent. No need to risk one's life for marginally better science.

danscope
2010-Sep-03, 07:43 PM
There is no lack of interest. It's simply a matter of "Practical interest" . Our primary interests are in LEO , along with GPS further out.
These satelites serve us well .... as witness Hurricane Earle for tracking and analysis and my favourite, HubbleST .
But science fiction and Hollywood has an influence and exagerates it's stereotypical "Man in space" , man on mars theme. They are living in a vaccuum , oblivious to the fact that we don't have the money for such esoteric ventures that have 0.00 revelance to the man on the street.

SkepticJ
2010-Sep-03, 09:00 PM
The end of the space race?

Yeah, but why did it end is the question.

Why wasn't Apollo-era funding maintained for NASA the past forty years?

I wonder what we'd have had it been.

Instead we've got . . . what? A bloated military to show for it, anything else?

Salty
2010-Sep-03, 10:00 PM
Well, for one, the space program no longer has the media coverage it once had.

Another thing, it was a long time before I noticed that most science fiction (magazines, books, movies and TV series), seldom mentioned economics and glossed over the financial aspects of it, when they did. And, like many posters have noted, robots are not only cheaper but also safer ways of exploring. Without the extra volume needed to carry people and their life support, 21st century space goers are very small. That's less fuel to propel them.

So, there are some real factors here, that have limited manned space exploration since the end of the Apollo/Soyuz programs.

However, in closing, China has entered the empty arena of the manned lunar exploration and plans to put Chinese cosmonauts on the moon in a few years. The economical, political and military impact of manned lunar bases may well shake loose the western world to make more manned efforts. Or, not. Things change so fast, and the sixties were a long time ago...I'm not in a position to forecast international and national reactions to the Chinese efforts.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-03, 10:43 PM
Why wasn't Apollo-era funding maintained for NASA the past forty years?
Because Apollo era funding wasn't about space exploration, it was about winning a propaganda war with Russia so the politicians would look good.

Currently there's no propaganda war with any space-faring nations, so it isn't a way for politicians to look really good, so there's no big budget.

If e.g. China triggers a new propaganda war over space, the funding will appear again.
Or alternatively if the big aerospace companies figure out it's a way to make money despite air travel and starts buffing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buff_(computer_gaming)) their lobbyist to buy more politicians for space.

slang
2010-Sep-03, 11:30 PM
I'm 41. I've been a space enthousiast since ... well, a very young age. 8? 9? Perhaps even younger. I wrote my first letter in English (something approaching English anyway, re-reading it years later) with a bit of help from Dad to NASA at about that age (and received a huge PR package that made me a kid happy beyond belief). I can not remember any age in which it was less difficult to find like-minded individuals in my real life surroundings than it is now. From my perspective it's a sad fact: there are very few people who have a real interest in space, stars, the universe, and everything. Sure, sometimes a high-profile mission catches the public eye (Hubble missions, Mars landings), but sadly it catches the public eye about as much as the next controversial private video of Paris Hilton. To me, it's always been this way, and there are no indications that it will change anytime soon. Somewhat depressing... until you think about how the air industry must have been like in the early 20th century. Sure, everybody read about Lindbergh, but how many of those were really interested in aviation, other than someone did something first? ETA: How many are really interested in it now?

baric
2010-Sep-04, 12:08 AM
Yeah, but why did it end is the question.


Because we won.

USA! USA! USA!

SkepticJ
2010-Sep-04, 12:46 AM
Because Apollo era funding wasn't about space exploration, it was about winning a propaganda war with Russia so the politicians would look good.

If true, that's just sad.

Their position makes about as much sense as me saying, "Hey everyone, look how great I am! Michael Phelps won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games! Suck on that!"

We need to elect better representatives, and not vain children.

slang
2010-Sep-04, 12:51 AM
We need to elect better representatives, and not vain children.

Good luck, going back to the 60's and the Cold War to exercise your voting right. Things were different on the heels of WW II.

Jens
2010-Sep-04, 08:10 AM
Number of space launches:
...
2010s : 3 so far

Those numbers look way too low. I cannot believe that there have only been 3 spacecraft launched into space in the last ten years.

geonuc
2010-Sep-04, 08:23 AM
Those numbers look way too low. I cannot believe that there have only been 3 spacecraft launched into space in the last ten years.

In the last 8 months.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-04, 10:09 AM
The end of the space race?

Number of space launches:
1950s: 18
1960s: 110
1970s: 50
1980s: 13
1990s: 20
2000s : 22
2010s : 3 so far

That doesn't work. There have been around 2500 artificial satellites not counting bits of debris and junk, rocket stages, and so forth, and most are launched on separate rockets, so for 53 years that works out to an average of 47 launches per year, or 470 per decade.

It doesn't work for manned launches either. For the Space Shuttle, the first orbital launch was in 1981, and it's now up to a 132 launches. That's an average of about 44 launches a decade, and this is just for the shuttle. It doesn't include the Russian or Chinese manned launches.

Romanus
2010-Sep-04, 06:08 PM
Re OP:
I think there's plenty of interest in space; it rarely extends far enough for actual sacrifice, though. A big part of it is money, as has already been posted. Another is a kind of chicken-or-the-egg relationship with public interest; the public's lack of enthusiasm leads to a lack of official enthusiasm, which perpetuates (or at least validates) preexisting ennui.

However, I think the proverbial elephant in the room is the fact that we humans just aren't very good at thinking long-term. This is no surprise, considering that throughout the vast majority of human history you were lucky to make it into your twenties, and every generation was identical to the previous one in lifestyle to the edge of memory. One doesn't undo thousands of years of instant gratification in fifty; between considering what can be spent with a dollar today, and what a dollar can do in a generation, most people will pick today. This is why I always sigh when I see people pushing for space exploration and colonization to "keep our eggs in multiple baskets"; warning people about a comet impact at an unspecified date in the future, or a global plague, or a Malthusian collapse, what have you, is a waste of time. A lot of people bring up the case of the ozone hole and CFCs for optimism, but I wonder: what if there had been absolutely no cost-effective alternatives to CFCs?

My two bits: get people to think long-term by breaking the future into short-term increments. Profit is one way of doing this; so too are geopolitics (re the Cold War) and consumer demands (like satellite services).

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-04, 07:03 PM
However, I think the proverbial elephant in the room is the fact that we humans just aren't very good at thinking long-term. This is no surprise, considering that throughout the vast majority of human history you were lucky to make it into your twenties, and every generation was identical to the previous one in lifestyle to the edge of memory.
That wasn't quite how it went, you were very lucky to make it into your third year, but once there you could expect about fifty more.

baric
2010-Sep-04, 10:55 PM
That doesn't work. There have been around 2500 artificial satellites not counting bits of debris and junk, rocket stages, and so forth, and most are launched on separate rockets, so for 53 years that works out to an average of 47 launches per year, or 470 per decade.

My source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Solar_System_exploration

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-04, 11:27 PM
My source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Solar_System_exploration

From there, it includes:

- All spacecraft that have left Earth orbit for the purposes of Solar System exploration (or were launched with that intention but failed), including lunar probes.
- A small number of pioneering or notable Earth-orbiting craft.

But leaves most space launches out.

Elukka
2010-Sep-04, 11:29 PM
That's a list of interplanetary and lunar probes and "a small number of pioneering or notable Earth-orbiting craft", not all space launches.

baric
2010-Sep-04, 11:41 PM
From there, it includes:

- All spacecraft that have left Earth orbit for the purposes of Solar System exploration (or were launched with that intention but failed), including lunar probes.
- A small number of pioneering or notable Earth-orbiting craft.

But leaves most space launches out.


Yes, that is correct.

If your objection is to my casual labeling of this data as "space launches", then your point is taken. But if your objection is that I failed to include the hundreds of orbital satellites launched in the last 20 years, then my defense is that I did not consider those to be representative of the "interest in space" that is declining, as described in the OP.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-05, 12:14 AM
Yes, that is correct.

If your objection is to my casual labeling of this data as "space launches", then your point is taken. But if your objection is that I failed to include the hundreds of orbital satellites launched in the last 20 years, then my defense is that I did not consider those to be representative of the "interest in space" that is declining, as described in the OP.

How are they not representative of an interest in space? It ignores almost all crewed flights, almost all orbital spacecraft, and doesn't count the useful applications for those spacecraft.

Sure, if you want to argue we should be doing more in space, fine, but don't ignore the many things we are doing there already.

baric
2010-Sep-05, 01:41 AM
How are they not representative of an interest in space? It ignores almost all crewed flights, almost all orbital spacecraft, and doesn't count the useful applications for those spacecraft.

Sure, if you want to argue we should be doing more in space, fine, but don't ignore the many things we are doing there already.

Because launching satellites into Earth orbits is a mundane task that fails to fire the public imagination.

Cougar
2010-Sep-05, 02:21 AM
Seems not many people want to see any progress in outer space. I know its expensive but there is more to life than football, work, beer and sex. Hardly anyone cares about anything. Are we a species of introverted two legged cattle? There is a whole universe to explore and nobody is making any effort to get out there. Human beings used to be more adventurous and less risk averse. I think we are all doomed to stagnate on this planet until we either revert to slime or get invaded and conquered by a more ambitious and daring alien race.

Ha ha! That's a great first post there, visible. I just had to respond prior to even looking at the other 30 responses you've got so far.


I know its expensive but there is more to life than football, work, beer and sex.

Oh, that's just your theory. I recall numerous peer-reviewed papers supporting the view that life is precisely that: football, work, beer and sex.


Hardly anyone cares about anything. Are we a species of introverted two legged cattle?

Whoa, dude! Have you been reading Margaret Atwood (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oryx_and_Crake)?


There is a whole universe to explore and nobody is making any effort to get out there. Human beings used to be more adventurous and less risk averse.

Yes, apparently you just don't know that we've entered the era of precision cosmology. Now you do. Welcome to the club.

danscope
2010-Sep-05, 02:34 AM
Just curious, Invisible: How far exactly do you consider to be "getting out THERE " ??? And you DO realize that ..... after a point,
you will never live to tell anyone about your trip .

Cougar
2010-Sep-05, 02:57 AM
Why the loss of interest in space?

This looks like a pretty good 'lecture' demonstrating no lack of interest in space: The Next Giant Leaps in Space Exploration (http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/739).

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-05, 09:20 AM
Because launching satellites into Earth orbits is a mundane task that fails to fire the public imagination.

In your opinion, and we'll have to disagree on that (for one thing, you seem to be arguing that, except for the moon missions, the public has never cared about any crewed mission). It seems to be a poor defense for ignoring the vast majority of space launches, which I would submit would not be happening without an interest in space.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-05, 09:40 AM
Re OP:
I think there's plenty of interest in space; it rarely extends far enough for actual sacrifice, though. A big part of it is money, as has already been posted. Another is a kind of chicken-or-the-egg relationship with public interest; the public's lack of enthusiasm leads to a lack of official enthusiasm, which perpetuates (or at least validates) preexisting ennui.


I also think there is plenty of interest in space, and I'm impressed by how much is sacrificed for non-commercial and non-military missions. We're doing better than I would have expected in robotic exploration. I think much of the reason why we don't have those orbital hotels and moon bases is because a government monopoly was maintained for too long on crewed launches. Hopefully, things will finally start to change now.

baric
2010-Sep-05, 02:25 PM
In your opinion, and we'll have to disagree on that (for one thing, you seem to be arguing that, except for the moon missions, the public has never cared about any crewed mission). It seems to be a poor defense for ignoring the vast majority of space launches, which I would submit would not be happening without an interest in space.

Are you seriously suggesting that the OP was talking about Earth-orbit satellite launches?

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-05, 03:27 PM
I don't think that's really true. There's huge interest in space.

I disagree with you. I'm 23 years old but I can already feel the loss of interest in space.

When I was 7-8 years old we were talking a lot about astronauts and rockets in school. We were studying poems about Yury Gagarin and our first (Bulgarian) cosmonaut - George Ivanov. Now all of this is all but gone.

Looks like years pass and these firsts are looking so distant. Let's take the fact that astronauts nowaday aren't doing exciting stuff in space. No new firsts in manned spaceflight. Yet another station. Yet another docking. Yet another launch.

In Russia cosmonauts are seen just as government contractors that are no longer heroes. And we can see the consequences of that - for a first time in history the Russian Ministry of Defense refused to award cosmonaut-officer Maxim Suraev with "Hero of Russia" award. This happened just a few days ago.

And because astronauts are no longer considered heroes, there is lack of interess.

Since you are right about this:


There is a bit of robotic exploration happening.

But robots are just ... robots. Just machines. They can't get the public excited. Robots can't be heroes. Only men can be heroes.


Man will follow along when fruitful exploration is nice and feasible, but you want to have robots sent first for reconnaissance.

Unfortunately we don't see this happening for the next 10-15 years.

Selenite
2010-Sep-05, 04:15 PM
Robots can't be heroes. Only men can be heroes.

Aww. Only men? You're leaving 50% of the human race out of the hero business. :(

danscope
2010-Sep-05, 04:38 PM
Sir: Robots are an extraordinary reflection of our ingenuity and their employment in deep space or anywhere that people would come to harm
reflects our values of human beings. We don't trash humans in some casual interest, commercial, scientific or other when we can build a
good machine and control it from afar. If you are smart enough to go into space, you are smart enough to send a machine who is better suited for that theatre, physically, financially and other ways.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-05, 04:39 PM
I never wanted to sound sexist and I think people understood me... We call it manned spaceflight despite having women onboard. Men in this case=people.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-05, 04:41 PM
Danscope: Yes, robots are an extraodinary reflection of our ingenuity, but also an extraodinary reflection of our risk aversion as well.



We don't trash humans in some casual interest, commercial, scientific or other when we can build a
good machine and control it from afar.

So why don't we trash the whole manned spaceflight?

Selenite
2010-Sep-05, 04:44 PM
I never wanted to sound sexist and I think people understood me... We call it manned spaceflight despite having women onboard. Men in this case=people.

I was being somewhat flippant. ;) Congratulations on your first publication book by the way.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-05, 06:25 PM
Thank you very much. I have dedicated much of my time on writing about space, loss of interest and unfulfilled dreams. So yes... I think the question should be: Why the loss of interest in manned spaceflight? Not why the loss of interest in space of a whole.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-05, 09:01 PM
Are you seriously suggesting that the OP was talking about Earth-orbit satellite launches?

Did he say he wasn't including them?

If you are talking about an interest in space, you don't ignore most of what is being done in space.

The (mostly) robotic exploration of other worlds is great and all, but that isn't going to provide an economic incentive to keep going to space. That isn't going to be the commercial space stations that I hope to see soon.

baric
2010-Sep-05, 09:17 PM
Did he say he wasn't including them?

Why don't you re-read the very first sentence of his post?

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-05, 09:19 PM
Speaking of things that fire the imagination, SpaceX fires my imagination. Rutan and his spacecraft fires my imagination. A few decades ago, I fully expected I'd be working in space by now, but then I never thought that government would keep the monopoly on crewed spaceflight for so long. I expected there would be thousands of people living in space by now. Seeing pictures from a robot orbiting Saturn is great, but I'd trade that in a minute for a bunk on a space station. The recent developments suggest to me that something like the future I was hoping for might actually happen, if a bit late for me, personally.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-05, 09:23 PM
Why don't you re-read the very first sentence of his post?

"Seems not many people want to see any progress in outer space."

So?

Spoons
2010-Sep-06, 12:48 AM
Danscope: Yes, robots are an extraodinary reflection of our ingenuity, but also an extraodinary reflection of our risk aversion as well.



So why don't we trash the whole manned spaceflight?

Trashing manned space missions would be something of a hissyfit, it seems to me. Yes, it is taking quite some time, but there is so much to learn, and we should take the time to learn as much as we can prior to the manned missions in order to minimise risks, increase efficiencies and get the most out of each mission.

The more we know, the more efficient each mission can be and the more missions we'll be able to afford to do.

I think part of it may be that we want the best, and the best takes time. In the meantime we're achieving quite a lot with the robots. I'd say that the view from the Mars rovers were quite inspiring. They were very impressive to me. Sure, they might not inspire every uncouth beer-swilling sports nut, but it worked on this one. ;)

Jens
2010-Sep-06, 01:53 AM
If your objection is to my casual labeling of this data as "space launches", then your point is taken. But if your objection is that I failed to include the hundreds of orbital satellites launched in the last 20 years, then my defense is that I did not consider those to be representative of the "interest in space" that is declining, as described in the OP.

I think Baric is taking a bit of an unfair rap here. I didn't really understand why the figure was so low, but I think it is valid to point out that a certain category (in this case "explorations") has decreased over time. I don't know if it's significant--it may be partly that we are sending more complex missions. But I don't think the point can be simply dismissed because it fails to include personned missions, for example.

Spoons
2010-Sep-06, 02:29 AM
Yes, I was surprised when I saw those numbers.

When I started thinking about it a bit more I came to a similar conclusion, Jens. The missions now are probably achieving quite a bit more, so the need to launch as many of them would be decreased. If I drive to the shop and grab one or two items at a time then it'll take dozens of trips to get all my shopping, but if I create a robot to collect it all at once then it only takes one run. (I'm not convinced the robot is even necessary in this case.)

Also, didn't the earlier missions have many more launch failures (and other failures) than the modern era launches? That would result in more being launched too.

baric
2010-Sep-06, 04:11 AM
"Seems not many people want to see any progress in outer space."

So?

Are you suggesting that the public views launching satellites as progress into outer space? I certainly don't! All they represent is that earth orbits are mundane, technologically.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-06, 08:57 AM
I think Baric is taking a bit of an unfair rap here. I didn't really understand why the figure was so low, but I think it is valid to point out that a certain category (in this case "explorations") has decreased over time. I don't know if it's significant--it may be partly that we are sending more complex missions. But I don't think the point can be simply dismissed because it fails to include personned missions, for example.

Well, my key issue was that it wasn't properly represented. The source wasn't initially given, and it wasn't clear to me what it was a count of, except that it certainly wasn't a count of space launches. The later debate came from the issues raised in the attempted defense, for, well, ignoring most launches.

Anyway, regarding the issues you mention, it's still a bit tricky to determine just what those numbers are telling you. Here's the source again:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Solar_System_exploration

It includes some spacecraft orbiting Earth that the people writing the page considered notable (subjective criteria). It is mostly showing spacecraft leaving the vicinity of Earth (going to the moon counts), but not always: It doesn't count spacecraft that aren't used for solar system exploration, so space telescopes intended for studying other stars wouldn't be counted, whether near Earth or not, unless somebody considered them "notable."

If you look at the list, you'll notice that a large number are listed as "attempted" - meaning that they failed in the mission (in a number of cases, they are failures at launch). The USSR, in particular, had a lot of failed missions, though the U.S. had its share as well. Both the US and USSR had many lunar missions in the '60s, and going into the '70s (Apollo for the US, quite a few continuing unmanned missions for the USSR). As interest in the moon race faded, these dropped out. That's one of the reasons why the numbers dropped quite a bit later.

Anyway, the information on the page might be interesting if studied carefully, but given the criteria of what is included and what's not included, the numbers without explanation don't really tell you that much.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-06, 09:21 AM
Trashing manned space missions would be something of a hissyfit, it seems to me. Yes, it is taking quite some time, but there is so much to learn, and we should take the time to learn as much as we can prior to the manned missions in order to minimise risks, increase efficiencies and get the most out of each mission.


Luckily the early Soviet Union didn't think much about minimizing risks. This is how we got the first manned flight into space, the first spacewalk, the first orbital station (and the first crew even died on the return).

If the Soviet Union has thought much about risks, the first manned space flight would have occured much later, the first manned orbital laboratory - much, much later...

This risk aversion is killing the manned spaceflight and the interest in spaceflight alltogether.


I think part of it may be that we want the best, and the best takes time.

We want the best, but in the meantime we don't take any steps further because we're afraid of risks and go nowhere.


In the meantime we're achieving quite a lot with the robots. I'd say that the view from the Mars rovers were quite inspiring. They were very impressive to me. Sure, they might not inspire every uncouth beer-swilling sports nut, but it worked on this one.

They inspired me too. Recently I find myself watching these images and telling myself: well, but nobody will go there anytime soon.

I know there are hardcore unmanned spaceflight fans here who don't care about this and are satisfied with the sensor-touching technology. The same people took over even the Planetary society and are working against manned spaceflight.

And yes, the question remains: why the loss of interest in space?

The answer is: we're risk averse.

We are very risk averse. The space agencies are risk averse. But when you think too much about risks, then you go to nowhere.

The public sees that... they see no reason to admire the pilots and astronauts - because they are doing all that mundane and boring stuff.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-06, 09:26 AM
Are you suggesting that the public views launching satellites as progress into outer space? I certainly don't!


I suspected you didn't :lol:

It is pretty clear we have different views on what is important in space, and I doubt I can speak for the public any more authoritatively than you can. I can tell you that I don't consider robot (and a few human missions) to other worlds as the only measure of progress in space.

Progress in space, to me, is reducing launch costs, so we can do more. It is finding economic interests in space for companies to develop, so that we don't have to depend on political whims for space access and development. It is developing a clear purpose for government programs, so they don't flail around for another 40 years.

Pictures from robot spacecraft are great, but they don't really argue for any serious development in space. That way doesn't lead to progress.

Salty
2010-Sep-06, 12:21 PM
I've often wondered if the asteroid belt could be mined and if Venus' atmosphere would provide the type of hydrocarbons for drug runners.

So, there's a legitimate and an illicit development in space, that different people could pursue.

I guess the present obstacle would be cost vs return profit makes those activities too expensive at this time to try.

Cougar
2010-Sep-06, 12:38 PM
I know there are hardcore unmanned spaceflight fans here who don't care about this and are satisfied with the sensor-touching technology.

Why go into space at all, manned or unmanned? What is the point?

The point is to learn.

I don't know what all was learned in the first manned flight, but one thing for sure was: hey, we can do it. Humans can go into space and return still alive. Wow. Excellent. But once that was learned, we don't need to keep doing it just to confirm that one finding. OK, what's next? What do we want to know? This isn't about entertaining the masses. It's about learning about the universe around us. It's not about the personality of the robot, it's about what that robot can detect and relay back to us. The Hubble Space Telescope is a robot. My guess is that it has brought us more understanding of our surroundings that all manned missions combined....

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-06, 12:46 PM
Space exploration isn't only about learning. It is also about living in space, building habitats and space colonization. This is the ultimate goal - colonize the solar system because in our case all eggs are in one basked and everything could happen to our civilization at any time.

The sad truth is that people expected lunar bases and trips to Mars to happen. They didn't happen. The only thing that happened is a huge space station the size of a football field and hosting... only six people aboard. So yes - this also contributed to the loss of interest.

danscope
2010-Sep-06, 06:05 PM
Well said, Cougar . That is exactly the point. So very well said.
Best regards,
Dan

CosmicUnderstanding
2010-Sep-06, 06:10 PM
Can we as a human species not come up with a way to allow 'unlimited funding' for lack of a better term for certain topics such as space or deep ocean exploration? It's always 'money' being the problem. A problem we ourselves created. If we can't even advance as fast as we want because of artificial limitations such as a lack of money, we've really screwed ourselves over in a big way. We need to find a solution that allows us to continue space and ocean research without being hindered by those dead and dyed trees otherwise known as dollars.

Cougar
2010-Sep-06, 10:29 PM
Space exploration isn't only about learning. It is also about living in space, building habitats and space colonization. This is the ultimate goal - colonize the solar system because in our case all eggs are in one basked and everything could happen to our civilization at any time.

Oh, I thought the only reason we would need to mass 'colonize', say, Europa, would be during the early red giant phase of our Sun, which is quite a ways off. For other potential home-planetary catastrophes, I think we should just call Bruce Willis.

I haven't been following these manned missions too closely, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe one of the things manned spaceflight has taught us is that human physiology did not evolve, and does not do well for long periods in a very low gravity environment. And it's not like our organs can readily adapt to the change....

Cougar
2010-Sep-06, 11:05 PM
Can we as a human species not come up with a way to allow 'unlimited funding' for lack of a better term for certain topics such as space or deep ocean exploration?

Actually, it's a pretty cool thing that humans have attained organization enough so that contributions from some can fund pure research for a few. This has grown to be a fairly big deal. I'm sure most scientists would like to see it bigger.


It's always 'money' being the problem. A problem we ourselves created. If we can't even advance as fast as we want because of artificial limitations such as a lack of money, we've really screwed ourselves over in a big way.

Well, you can always be a theoretical physicist....:razz: or an etherial mathematician like Kurt Gödel (http://www.jannalevin.com/books.html).... but "money" is a pretty real limitation in most cases. We could see if Bill Gates wants to help .... :think:

Spoons
2010-Sep-07, 01:22 AM
Space exploration isn't only about learning. It is also about living in space, building habitats and space colonization. This is the ultimate goal - colonize the solar system because in our case all eggs are in one basked and everything could happen to our civilization at any time.

The sad truth is that people expected lunar bases and trips to Mars to happen. They didn't happen. The only thing that happened is a huge space station the size of a football field and hosting... only six people aboard. So yes - this also contributed to the loss of interest.

I understand your disappointment, and your impatience, but you really cannot just assert that interest in space is waining just because the average person isn't as interested as us enthusiasts. I disagree with the logic that because we're not sending humans to other planets that we're not interested, and I used the point that the more we can achieve with robots, the less urgency there is in sending humans. I am yet to see this point countered successfully.

I agree that human investigation can provide so much more in many areas, but I also appreciate that, while on the whole human life is like a virus the way it spreads so a loss here and there may seem trivial, every life is precious to someone. We're not losing opportunities, we just need patience. I don't think that's such a problem. If you're into space you should appreciate the cosmic timescales and realise that taking an extra 20 to 200 years to improve safety, efficiency and potential should be regarded as a smart and sensible decision.

In the long run, taking more time to prepare for manned missions should logically ultimately yield greater value.

The "people are losing interest" argument seems very vague and subjective. I still wonder how people are gauging this with any great conviction. So far I haven't seen any particularly convincing arguments for this belief.

I would say there may be more fields for people to take interest in, but just because I start watching soccer (sorry, football) doesn't mean I lost interest in F1.

Jens
2010-Sep-07, 01:50 AM
Can we as a human species not come up with a way to allow 'unlimited funding' for lack of a better term for certain topics such as space or deep ocean exploration? It's always 'money' being the problem. A problem we ourselves created. If we can't even advance as fast as we want because of artificial limitations such as a lack of money, we've really screwed ourselves over in a big way. We need to find a solution that allows us to continue space and ocean research without being hindered by those dead and dyed trees otherwise known as dollars.

I understand your impatience, but I can't say how wrong this is. Money is not an "artificial limitation." It's true that you can always print more money, but do you know what happens? The value of the money falls. Money is not a magic thing that can be conjured out of thin air. It actually represents our ability to produce. So we can't just print up more money to pay for space programs. Actual people actually have to do actual labor, and actual farmers have to make food for them to eat while they're doing it.

Let's imagine for a moment that we give the space program unlimited funding, and hire every single person on earth to work building rockets. How are we going to eat and where will we live and how will we get clothing? Who will make the electricity for us to use tools? Who will build roads for us to drive to work?

Spoons
2010-Sep-07, 01:53 AM
Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads! ;)

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-07, 08:03 AM
I haven't been following these manned missions too closely, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe one of the things manned spaceflight has taught us is that human physiology did not evolve, and does not do well for long periods in a very low gravity environment. And it's not like our organs can readily adapt to the change....

Actually, considering that we didn't evolve for that environment, humans do quite well in microgravity environment. If you're talking decades, it might be a problem, but that can be dealt with (with artificial gravity, for instance). There might also be some physiological advantages to long term living in a microgravity environment, but we don't have the experience to determine that yet. Also, we have almost no experience with reduced but significant gravity environments, so we don't know how things like bone loss scale. It might be that something like lunar gravity would be enough to counter most effects, but nobody can say - yet.

Jens
2010-Sep-07, 08:07 AM
Actually, considering that we didn't evolve for that environment, humans do quite well in microgravity environment.

It's an interesting issue, not one I've really ever thought about. I wonder if it's possible that it's our monkey background that makes it possible. Being a monkey means having to adjust to different situations, head-up and head-down, quite rapidly, so presumably our body is quite adept at adjusting blood flow. I presume that an animal like a giraffe would do quite poorly in microgravity.

Spoons
2010-Sep-07, 08:09 AM
I presume that an animal like a giraffe would do quite poorly in microgravity.

If they ever get their space program off the ground we will find out.

CosmicUnderstanding
2010-Sep-07, 09:42 PM
I understand your impatience, but I can't say how wrong this is. Money is not an "artificial limitation." It's true that you can always print more money, but do you know what happens? The value of the money falls.

Absolutely agree, and I wasn't insinuating printing more money was the solution to the problem. I was more or less just stating that there was in fact a problem, seeing as how I keep hearing about budget cuts in regards to exploration ventures. I only wish I had the answer to it.

danscope
2010-Sep-08, 02:07 AM
The answer is patience. Space technology and ambition require time, patience. Right now, we can do much in LEO , and we DO have a space station. We should be proud of what we already have accomplished. And we will do more, bye and bye.

Cougar
2010-Sep-08, 02:38 AM
Actually, considering that we didn't evolve for that environment, humans do quite well in microgravity environment.

Simulating Earth gravity is apparently going to be a prerequisite for long-period space exploration.




The primary physiological responses to spaceflight included fluid shifts, repositioning of certain organs or organelles, unloading of the cardiovascular system and support structures, and lack of stimulus to the gravity sensors. Even short term exposure to microgravity resulted in significant deconditioning of the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and vestibular systems2–8.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Gravity in Space and on Earth (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2577396/), C Kourtidou-Papadeli, C L Papadelis, J Vernikos, P D Bamidis, M Hitoglou-Antoniadou, E Perantoni, and E Vlachogiannis

____________________________________
2. Baldwin KM, White TP, Arnaud SB, et al. Musculoskeletal adaptations to weightlessness and development of effective countermeasures. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996;28:1247–1253. [PubMed]
3. Booth FW. Terrestrial applications of bone and muscle research in microgravity. Adv Space Res. 1994;14:373–376. [PubMed]
4. Convertino VA. Countermeasures against cardiovascular deconditioning. J Gravit Physiol. 1994;1:P125–128. [PubMed]
5. Edgerton VR, Roy RR. Neuromuscular adaptation to actual and simulated weightlessness. Adv Space Biol Med. 1994;4:33–67. [PubMed]
6. Perry TW, Reid DH. Spacelab mission. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1983;54:1123–1128. [PubMed]
7. Riley DA, Ellis S. Research on the adaptation of skeletal muscle to hypogravity: Past and future directions. Adv Space Res. 1983;3:191–197. [PubMed]
8. Simmons DJ, Russell JE, Gynpas MD. Bone maturation and quality of bone material in rats flown on the space shuttle "Spacelab-3 Mission". Bone Miner. 1986;1:485–493. [PubMed]

Jens
2010-Sep-08, 03:52 AM
Simulating Earth gravity is apparently going to be a prerequisite for long-period space exploration.


Definitely, as long as you remember to put in the "manned" or "personned" or whatever before "space exploration."

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-08, 04:21 AM
Simulating Earth gravity is apparently going to be a prerequisite for long-period space exploration.


That's not certain. It might turn out to be useful to have some form of centrifuge (perhaps a short-arm centrifuge) for use in an exercise regimen. If a centrifuge is used, it isn't clear that "Earth gravity" would be required. It might turn out in the long run that some combination of medicine and non-centrifuge exercise procedure works out better.

Also, exploration is different from long term living in orbital or surface environments on worlds with lower but significant gravity. We don't have any real experience in that.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-08, 08:07 AM
I understand your disappointment, and your impatience, but you really cannot just assert that interest in space is waining just because the average person isn't as interested as us enthusiasts. I disagree with the logic that because we're not sending humans to other planets that we're not interested, and I used the point that the more we can achieve with robots, the less urgency there is in sending humans.

And yet nations continue to send humans in space. Even ESA and JAXA which are conservative are looking for a way to transform their cargo capsules into crew capsule. Apparently despite not sending people to other plants space agencies don't give up on space exploration.

As for your last sentence - very few people would agree with you. After the great success of Spirit and Oppy it was Steve Squires, the father of these robots, who said:

http://www.space.com/news/090715-apollo11-40th-squyres.html

You know, I'm a robot guy, that's what I have spent most of my career doing, but I'm actually a very strong supporter of human spaceflight. I believe that the most successful exploration is going to be carried out by humans, not by robots.

What Spirit and Opportunity have done in 5 1/2 years on Mars, you and I could have done in a good week. Humans have a way to deal with surprises, to improvise, to change their plans on the spot. All you've got to do is look at the latest Hubble mission to see that.

And one of the most important points I think: humans have a key ability to inspire, that robots do not. Somebody once famously said, ' Nobody's ever going to give a robot a ticker tape parade,' and there's something to that.



We're not losing opportunities, we just need patience. I don't think that's such a problem. If you're into space you should appreciate the cosmic timescales and realise that taking an extra 20 to 200 years to improve safety, efficiency and potential should be regarded as a smart and sensible decision.

In the long run, taking more time to prepare for manned missions should logically ultimately yield greater value.

I don't think that taking an extra 200 years is a good decision. Nobody wants to wait for such a long time. 10, 20, even 30 years is acceptable. Not 200... keep in mind that space exploration is dependent on tax funds. When you make such statement somebody will reply: "So what? We will go to deep space after 200 years? I don't wish to fund such nonsense". Plus, technology constantly improves and you don't know what technology breakthrough will come out after 200 years.


The "people are losing interest" argument seems very vague and subjective. I still wonder how people are gauging this with any great conviction. So far I haven't seen any particularly convincing arguments for this belief.

While I agree that this argument is vague (well this thread is in the OFF-topic section and the discussion isn't exactly scientific), I can still argue that the argument is valid based on my own experience. I remember than 15 years ago we were studying poems about Yury Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova, about the distant planets. Modern textbooks for kids mention these aspects vaguely.

There's yet another thing we must consider - conspiracy theories are quite widespread nowdays. Like the moon hoax theory. Remember - people keep asking the question why 40 years later nobody has been on the Moon. I know the answer of the question. You know it... The average person doesn't know it... he senses something is wrong but doesn't know what... He may even think that deep space travel is impossible... This could lead to loss of interest.

Jens
2010-Sep-08, 08:13 AM
As for your last sentence - very few people would agree with you.

Maybe few, but I'm definitely one of them. From past discussions on the board, I would say I'm probably not the only one, even here. I'm a space enthusiast but just happen to believe that using robotic missions is a better option at this point.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-08, 08:25 AM
Maybe few, but I'm definitely one of them. From past discussions on the board, I would say I'm probably not the only one, even here. I'm a space enthusiast but just happen to believe that using robotic missions is a better option at this point.

You are still making the scientific argument and yes - if we care about science only it's better to send robots rather than men.

As I'm going to repeat myself - space exploration is not only about science, but also about colonization, inspiration, national pride.

Spoons
2010-Sep-08, 08:31 AM
And yet nations continue to send humans in space. Even ESA and JAXA which are conservative are looking for a way to transform their cargo capsules into crew capsule. Apparently despite not sending people to other plants space agencies don't give up on space exploration.
I never suggested people are giving up on space exploration. Quite the opposite.


As for your last sentence - very few people would agree with you. After the great success of Spirit and Oppy it was Steve Squires, the father of these robots, who said:

http://www.space.com/news/090715-apollo11-40th-squyres.html

<snip>
You seem to have misunderstood what I said. I basically said that if we can acquire data with robots then we have data to use in our research, which obviously makes the manned flight less urgent. I did not say this would mean there's no need to send humans, or that robots are inspirational, or whatever you appear to think my point was. Yes, I agree that sending a human would inspire more excitement in folks back on Earth. I think that is pretty obvious though. There is a role for both.


I don't think that taking an extra 200 years is a good decision. Nobody wants to wait for such a long time. 10, 20, even 30 years is acceptable. Not 200... keep in mind that space exploration is dependent on tax funds. When you make such statement somebody will reply: "So what? We will go to deep space after 200 years? I don't wish to fund such nonsense". Plus, technology constantly improves and you don't know what technology breakthrough will come out after 200 years.
You seem to repeatedly get my meaning wrong. If I'm difficult to understand please let me know (PM me if you like, because there seems to be some sort of communication barrier).
I suggested that... well... The human species doesn't need to cater to a few impatient people, it should not do that, it should find the best, safest and most efficient ways to do thing - that way we can do it more, get more out of it and achieve more as a species. If you're disappointed by that you're not alone, I would love to live to see humans landing on other planets too, but that may just be tough. The species should not pander to individuals, it should do what's best in the collective interest.

Impatience is not a good reason to rush these things.

As a simplistic example (not to be taken too literally): What if we find that we only have x litres of fuel, but we want to go to the shops? We want to go now! NOW NOW NOW! But our car is a wreck, somewhat dangerous and a gas guzzler. We might be able to improve the efficiency of our vehicle and go several times, and safely. But we're impatient, so I guess we just ignore the rational, best decision, to improve efficiency and safety and allow several trips. With the extra fuel, and time until that fuel runs out, we may find alternative fuels, or a better vehicle. But we want to go NOW!!! I'd say, tough.


While I agree that this argument is vague (well this thread is in the OFF-topic section and the discussion isn't exactly scientific), I can still argue that the argument is valid based on my own experience. I remember than 15 years ago we were studying poems about Yury Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova, about the distant planets. Modern textbooks for kids mention these aspects vaguely.

There's yet another thing we must consider - conspiracy theories are quite widespread nowdays. Like the moon hoax theory. Remember - people keep asking the question why 40 years later nobody has been on the Moon. I know the answer of the question. You know it... The average person doesn't know it... he senses something is wrong but doesn't know what... He may even think that deep space travel is impossible... This could lead to loss of interest.
I think you underestimate peoples' intelligence. In most of the world people are actually quite accepting of the fact that we did go to the moon, and, for example, most people in Australia consider those who think we didn't go to the moon to be complete fools. But the fool speaks loudest and makes himself known. Don't mistake that for widespread belief.

After all that, I will still say that I strongly encourage anyone who works to generate more interest, as I still think that interest in space exploration has never been high enough amoung people. I applaud the work you've done with your book (I'm interested to check that out one day), what Jay does with his site, what Fraser and Phil do, what this site and all its contributors do.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-08, 08:38 AM
You are still making the scientific argument and yes - if we care about science only it's better to send robots rather than men.

As I'm going to repeat myself - space exploration is not only about science, but also about colonization, inspiration, national pride.

And if it's just about space exploration, there isn't much point in having people for now. It's just so much cheaper to use robots.

If you want to get out of the rut, get away from the idea that it's all government's job to put people in space. Look for economic reasons to put people in space. Exploration is something you do when you can afford it. You want people exploring space? Make it cheaper, add the infrastructure, and you might get somewhere.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-08, 08:56 AM
Van Rijn: I totally agree with you and I'm all for private attempts to reach space. I'm interested in what Bigelow does, for example or Burt Rutan if you want...

Next - let's see what Spoon says:


You seem to have misunderstood what I said. I basically said that if we can acquire data with robots then we have data to use in our research, which obviously makes the manned flight less urgent. I did not say this would mean there's no need to send humans, or that robots are inspirational, or whatever you appear to think my point was. Yes, I agree that sending a human would inspire more excitement in folks back on Earth. I think that is pretty obvious though. There is a role for both.

I think I finally got what you wish to say. Yes, you are correct that we have tons of data from unmanned probes and analyzing the data takes time... I personally would like to avoid the word "less urgent" because it does cause confusion.


You seem to repeatedly get my meaning wrong. If I'm difficult to understand please let me know (PM me if you like, because there seems to be some sort of communication barrier).
I suggested that... well... The human species doesn't need to cater to a few impatient people, it should not do that, it should find the best, safest and most efficient ways to do thing - that way we can do it more, get more out of it and achieve more as a species. If you're disappointed by that you're not alone, I would love to live to see humans landing on other planets too, but that may just be tough. The species should not pander to individuals, it should do what's best in the collective interest.

Impatience is not a good reason to rush these things.

As a simplistic example (not to be taken too literally): What if we find that we only have x litres of fuel, but we want to go to the shops? We want to go now! NOW NOW NOW! But our car is a wreck, somewhat dangerous and a gas guzzler. We might be able to improve the efficiency of our vehicle and go several times, and safely. But we're impatient, so I guess we just ignore the rational, best decision, to improve efficiency and safety and allow several trips. With the extra fuel, and time until that fuel runs out, we may find alternative fuels, or a better vehicle. But we want to go NOW!!! I'd say, tough.

I think I understood this too. However I will disagree. My opinion is that we are ready to go to outer space (if not to surface of another planet), a safe car can be made, but we're not doing it. THe fact that we did it with Apollo makes this obvious - we have the technology to explore deep space with humans. We could at least do a manned L1 mission or go to fly by Venus. But we're not doing it.

I know that we need to work for years - maybe decades before sending people to the surface of Mars. I'm familiar with a whole lot of problems and we need to work on safety. I'm all for Mars 500. But in my opinion this is not an excuse not to do simpler things. We should go to L1 or lunar orbit, but we''re not doing it.

I consider these steps necessary if we want to go to Mars. The ISS is teaching us virtually nothing beyond how to make bigger spacecraft. We still have to learn how to live in lunar orbit or outside LEO for a long time.


After all that, I will still say that I strongly encourage anyone who works to generate more interest, as I still think that interest in space exploration has never been high enough amoung people. I applaud the work you've done with your book (I'm interested to check that out one day), what Jay does with his site, what Fraser and Phil do, what this site and all its contributors do.

Thank you for your support. I would ask you where you live. The interest in space exploration was very high in the Eastern bloc (I'm Bulgarian), mainly due to propaganda work.

Spoons
2010-Sep-08, 09:34 AM
Well, I'm glad we understand each other, and I think for the most part, and in our ultimate desire we both agree strongly. I too would love to see it happen asap. My fingers are crossed.

Maybe you're right, and we re ready technologically for a relatively safe voyage to Mars. I'd like to think so, but I'd have to trust those more involved in the process to inform me on that, of which I think we have a few in our ranks on this site. If that is the case, then the obvious remaining barrier is funding, which can be raised in a number of ways. I'll gladly throw my support behind this in whatever way I can.

I'm on the west coast of Australia. We don't really get (well, I didn't experience) a great deal of space education, but we still have a lot of people very interested in the area. I don't know whether the relatively clear skies down here help that, I wonder though.

Glom
2010-Sep-08, 12:20 PM
Speaking of things that fire the imagination, SpaceX fires my imagination. Rutan and his spacecraft fires my imagination. A few decades ago, I fully expected I'd be working in space by now, but then I never thought that government would keep the monopoly on crewed spaceflight for so long. I expected there would be thousands of people living in space by now. Seeing pictures from a robot orbiting Saturn is great, but I'd trade that in a minute for a bunk on a space station. The recent developments suggest to me that something like the future I was hoping for might actually happen, if a bit late for me, personally.

You make your point in such a melancholy way.

But yes, what SpaceX is trying to do is excellent. I wonder how much the policy of the 80s on putting everything into the STS basket cemented the government monopoly.


Luckily the early Soviet Union didn't think much about minimizing risks. This is how we got the first manned flight into space, the first spacewalk, the first orbital station (and the first crew even died on the return).

If the Soviet Union has thought much about risks, the first manned space flight would have occured much later, the first manned orbital laboratory - much, much later...

This risk aversion is killing the manned spaceflight and the interest in spaceflight alltogether.

Bull honky! The way the Soviets did their space programme in the early days was a disgrace. Balancing risk is an important thing. Pioneering spaceflight was always going to be a little bit dangerous, but sending a cosmonaut out to do a spacewalk in a hastily clubbed together spacecraft that nearly kills him is just stupid. The Americans were reckless too in ways they didn't need to be, but at Ed White had a proper spacecraft. You don't have to be fully gung ho to push the boundaries of space exploration. The problem is not risk aversion, it's budget aversion plain and simple.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-08, 12:26 PM
You have your right to think what was done was a disgrace. But if you lived in the Soviet Union or any country of the Eastern bloc, it was not considered a disgrace. It was considered heroism. Soviet cosmonauts accepted these risks. They knew they can be killed either on launch (there were times when 30-40-to 60% of the rockets exploded on pad) or either on descend - they even didn't have the opportunity to land in the capsule and had to eject themselves.

I also don't consider this a disgrace, but rather heroism. They knew the risks. They accepted them. They flew anyway. And they were awarded as Heroes of the Soviet Union. Young children wanted to be brave as Gagarin.

Ilya
2010-Sep-08, 12:39 PM
A lot of people assume that if we are ever going to advance into space, it will have to be Big Money Up Front or nothing. If that is true, then the answer will be 'nothing'. Big piles of money are notoriously risk-averse, which is how they grew so big in the first place.

So I'd say that sentiment such as Zvezdichko's actually impedes our progress into space, by its stubborn emphasis on Manned Flight Now. It always sets the bar too high, and when it's implemented, budgets are drained to death.

There could however be an incremental, almost emergent path into space, pardon my future-wank:

1. Let's say telerobotics mature to become cheap and widespread, which is plausible. So then, the resulting full-immersion gaming market both hones interface technology and trains a generation of skilled operators. Note the word 'generation' -- this places the next step already at least 20 years into future.

2. Earthbound telebot tourism grows, especially with haptics-transmitted sex. To a lesser degree, legit business also feeds the money-progress loop.

3. Modern life becomes saturated with cheap telerobotics. A few 'garages' of miniature telebots are put permanently into orbit for satellite repair and recycling. Reusing space junk becomes more cost-effective than deorbiting a lot of it, so the spacemonkey industry grows.

4. Once there are about a hundred bots in orbit, tele-tourists start plugging in to the space experience for maybe $5/minute.

5. The spacemonkey industry extends to ever-higher orbits, and delay-compensating techniques expand with it.

6. Humans industrialize the Moon without ever setting foot on it.

7. Big satellites become *way* cheaper to produce, and LEO blooms with little factories to produce profitable:

* Traditional sats, e,g. communications, global positioning, observation of weather/traffic/mapping/ecology etc.
* Solar power stations.
* More telerobot garages.
* Environments filled with telerobotic tourists and scientists, and laboratory terrariums of plant and animal life.

8. As experience with small teleoperated in-orbit enclosed biospheres grows, these biospheres grow, eventually becoming big enough to accomodate 160-lb primates.

What I'm saying is that, developing into space is such a big step that we're more likely to get there by evolution than by intelligent design. And to anyone who feels their expectations have been dashed -- who promised you your generation will be space travelers?

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-08, 12:51 PM
I'm not sure that my sentiment (or the sentiment of other people) that "defies reality" as stated by Dr. James van Allen is the one that sets the bar too high. As Swift has commented in a thread of mine long ago (I don't remember the name of the thread) : "The measure bar isn't Apollo or any other mission, but more likely Star Trek".

So I'm making a point now: The measure bar is already set too high by the movies, sci-fi stories. In my opinion modern space agencies should try to keep up to that measure bar, doesn't matter how impossible it may seem now.

But I'm all for telerobotics. I remember the LEGO robots on a simulated Mars surface. Back in 2003 I was still a teenager but I enjoyed to drive these telerobots. Actually I was a hard guy even then and when I saw that the Martian surface ends at the end of the table, so I drove the robot off and it fell :) But it's another story.

It will be cool if some day we will be able to drive telerobots on the Moon or Mars.

galacsi
2010-Sep-08, 01:07 PM
Zubrin wrote a science fiction novel , I've read and even if not the best of books , he shows a positive atmosphere. It's normal, he campaigns for developing space travel. But often the science fiction novels give no desire to go into space.
Now if we talk about TV series or movies, some are pleasant, I think FIREFLY is an example, but very often the atmosphere is grim, space is seen as a source of danger, full of psychopaths who dream only of murder or genocide. The scenery is metal, often nothing but metal, no comfort, no greenery, nothing but clean rooms and hallways dimly lit!

If you have a problem, do not bother to scream , as we all know , in space nobody can hear you scream!

And what is the scenario most time ? People kill each other! It is allway about war! The space is a militaristic orgy, decorated by maniacs!

And so why wonder if so many people turn away from such nonsense?

Ok , I am exaggerating , forcing the line , but don't you think something shoulld be done about that ?

PS : I did enjoy BSG even it was dark and a little twisted .

invisible
2010-Sep-08, 02:17 PM
I agree Galacsi. When is somebody finally going to create a scifi movie with exciting alien planets which don't resemble desert (or Canada in the case of stargate). Oh right. Pandora was pretty neat. I guess nobody could be bothered making rubber flora and fauna so we had to wait for cgi technology to catch up with human imagination.


How are they not representative of an interest in space? It ignores almost all crewed flights, almost all orbital spacecraft, and doesn't count the useful applications for those spacecraft.

Sorry. I assumed that everyone knew orbital missions were rather monotonous in the public eye. I base this on the fact that very few people get excited over them. In fact most people I've met dive for the remote control. Remember that Simpsons episode where Homer goes into space. Its eerie how that long running cartoon reflects reality. But I shouldn't have expected everyone as informed as you lot to agree or even be aware of such lack of interest among the masses. I can only speak of my own experience with humanity. Personally I don't think orbital journeys very exciting. I agree its a spiral of disenchantment. Less funding leads to less inspired missions which in turn lead to uninspired spectators ad nauseum.

I love robots. The longterm viability of humans in space is questionable. But robots could be inspirational too. Incidentally, why were those mars robots so slow? A terrestrial snail could almost outpace the things. However, I'd like to see more probes being sent out. To the planets and beyond.

Its a big universe out there and we are naive if we think its devoid of other complex chemistry capable of expanding into the universe. I think of it as a race. We are not as high on the bell curve as many other species in my opinion. Our democratic and monetary systems are not the only way of running a large and complex society. Insects can teach us a lot. They don't have leaders or equality as we think of it. Small they might be but technically they dominate this planet. Ants will still be around after humans have evolved into something else. Assuming the earth survives our present and future activities.

We don't have a clue what is out there past the Oort cloud. Not really. The stars are just balls of fire. Exo-planets exist but we know very little about worlds outside our own system. Perhaps when we discover the first earth-like planet orbiting another star with spectral indications of an oxygen atmosphere it will reinvigorate astronomy and space exploration. But don't count on it. Human beings lose interest in new discoveries remarkably quickly.

danscope
2010-Sep-08, 03:40 PM
Perhaps we should explore clean water and how to perfectly recycle that precious commodity. If you really want to go to mars, you need to
genuinely solve that problem. Then you can work on growing food in a manner that cannot fail. Solving these problems will translate to solving problems here on earth. This is a good way of winning advocates for your dreams. Ya have to thimk.

Ilya
2010-Sep-08, 03:56 PM
Perhaps we should explore clean water and how to perfectly recycle that precious commodity. If you really want to go to mars, you need to
genuinely solve that problem. Then you can work on growing food in a manner that cannot fail. Solving these problems will translate to solving problems here on earth. This is a good way of winning advocates for your dreams. Ya have to thimk.
And there lies the rub. Enclosed self-contained biosphere which provides all nutrients for humans AND can recover from disasters is a hard problem. Hard as in "nobody in the world has even a clue how to start on it". Sure, you can make it much easier by accepting less than 100% recycling, and periodic import of depleted nutrients, but then biggest/farther space goals become out of reach. And it is entirely possible that "enclosed ecosystem problem" is not computable -- the number of variables involved is so great, you can only solve it by trial and error, a.k.a. evolution, a.k.a. genetic algorithm. Which will take decades at least.

danscope
2010-Sep-08, 05:24 PM
And that evolution is reflected in a superb robotic presence in deep space. It is the way of things.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-08, 06:00 PM
Somebody can think that I'm against robotic exploration while reading this post. However it was robots that got me interested in space - particularly Spirit and Opportunity. I still wait nervously for Spirit to respond.

But hey, I do believe robots should be followed by human beings.

naelphin
2010-Sep-08, 07:39 PM
Unlike in the glory days when Apollo 11 got prime news coverage, there is very little competition nowadays. Russia has no money, and they cooperate with NASA anyhow, and the same with ESA.

The only real competition is China and India, but they're progressing so slowly that there's little momentum. Doesn't make much of a good story for the press.

invisible
2010-Sep-08, 10:46 PM
But hey, I do believe robots should be followed by human beings.

So do the Chinese. Lets hope they aren't as risk averse as NASA. Otherwise nobody will ever reach Mars. I think there is a limited window open to us. Civilisations never endure too long and space exploration is one technology definitely at the bottom of the list of those which might survive apocalypse. Remember that the Romans had to reinvent cement. Space travel die forever with the next global catastrophe.

Spoons
2010-Sep-09, 01:11 AM
That seems pretty cynical.

danscope
2010-Sep-09, 04:55 PM
"So do the Chinese. Lets hope they aren't as risk averse as NASA. Otherwise nobody will ever reach Mars. I think there is a limited window open to us. Civilisations never endure too long and space exploration is one technology definitely at the bottom of the list of those which might survive apocalypse. Remember that the Romans had to reinvent cement. Space travel die forever with the next global catastrophe. "
Is THAT what really drives your inspiration for space? Sir: we have not built our space program to fund the fears of a certain
Chicken Little . We are not driven by paranoia .
Good science is a better and honest answer.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-09, 05:30 PM
Fear has always been a great motivation. Fear gave us the flight of Sputnik 1, Gagarin's flight, the spacewalk of Leonov, the small step of Neil Armstrong and the first orbital stations.

NEOWatcher
2010-Sep-09, 05:41 PM
Fear has always been a great motivation.
But what the fear is based on can be considerably different, and with considerably different probabilities.

Salty
2010-Sep-09, 11:44 PM
Then, it seems to me, what we need is western fear of what the Chinese may do with a lunar base militarily. The old military axiom of "He who holds the high ground.." has the edge was true at Masada, WWI and WWII aviation, SDI. LEO satellites and will be true for who has military bases on the moon. And, from what I hear, China has no reputation of being "good guy" who go only in the spirit of science.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-10, 07:17 AM
Well... a friend of mine told me something interesting. When they asked the Chief of Energia, Gleb Lozino-Lozinsky about what is needed so they can restore the production lines of Energia rocket, he replied: CC fo CPSU (KPSS), the military complex and Dmitry Ustinov. The truth is that if we trust only the market and science needs, we will never see grand cosmic project.

China however has something like CC of CPSU, the military complex and someone like Dmitry Ustinov. This is interesting. However I think they are also risk averse. Look at what they did when they made their first spacewalk. The taikonaut outside was wearing a Feitian spacesuit, but there was another taikonaut wearing a Russian Orlan spacesuit.

Salty
2010-Sep-11, 01:21 AM
Well... a friend of mine told me something interesting. When they asked the Chief of Energia, Gleb Lozino-Lozinsky about what is needed so they can restore the production lines of Energia rocket, he replied: CC fo CPSU (KPSS), the military complex and Dmitry Ustinov. The truth is that if we trust only the market and science needs, we will never see grand cosmic project.

China however has something like CC of CPSU, the military complex and someone like Dmitry Ustinov. This is interesting. However I think they are also risk averse. Look at what they did when they made their first spacewalk. The taikonaut outside was wearing a Feitian spacesuit, but there was another taikonaut wearing a Russian Orlan spacesuit.

I think that the Chinese may well send a manned spacecraft to the moon.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-11, 02:19 AM
Then, it seems to me, what we need is western fear of what the Chinese may do with a lunar base militarily.
The old military axiom of "He who holds the high ground.." has the edge was true at Masada, WWI and WWII aviation, SDI. LEO satellites and will be true for who has military bases on the moon. And, from what I hear, China has no reputation of being "good guy" who go only in the spirit of science.

LEO is an issue militarily, but the moon isn't that useful for military purposes. It's just too far away, even light takes over a second to get there, so you can't quite have real-time communication.

This came up in the '60s - folks were trying to find a military use for the moon, but they couldn't find a good justification.

The big issue in space, I think, will be whoever finds the next big commercial use. Too many people think in terms of what government will or won't do, and how to persuade governments to do things, or whether governments are being too timid, etc. Things won't change significantly until we get away from thinking it is all up to government.

SkepticJ
2010-Sep-11, 05:28 AM
I suspect we're not going to see anything really interesting in space until we've built a space elevator, space pier, and/or have developed molecular manufacturing and can build far lighter rockets.

We need to be able to get out of Earth's gravity well on the cheap. It's "easy" once you're over that hurdle.

Zvezdichko
2010-Sep-11, 08:20 AM
LEO is an issue militarily, but the moon isn't that useful for military purposes. It's just too far away, even light takes over a second to get there, so you can't quite have real-time communication.

This came up in the '60s - folks were trying to find a military use for the moon, but they couldn't find a good justification.

The big issue in space, I think, will be whoever finds the next big commercial use. Too many people think in terms of what government will or won't do, and how to persuade governments to do things, or whether governments are being too timid, etc. Things won't change significantly until we get away from thinking it is all up to government.

I totally agree with you. Couldn't actually say anything more. The Moon is indeed of little military interest. And that's why China will build a station and won't fund a manned mission to the Moon.

Salty
2010-Sep-11, 10:00 PM
LEO is an issue militarily, but the moon isn't that useful for military purposes. It's just too far away, even light takes over a second to get there, so you can't quite have real-time communication.

This came up in the '60s - folks were trying to find a military use for the moon, but they couldn't find a good justification.

The big issue in space, I think, will be whoever finds the next big commercial use. Too many people think in terms of what government will or won't do, and how to persuade governments to do things, or whether governments are being too timid, etc. Things won't change significantly until we get away from thinking it is all up to government.


Well, sir,

I agree with your closing statement.

Maybe we'll see people on the moon when a health franchise builds 1/6th gravity spa and exercise room on the moon? Anyway, things will get done when private enterprise forges ahead.

Salty
2010-Sep-11, 10:02 PM
I still think China may send a manned mission to the moon, for national prestige.

I don't know if it will get there, but I think they will send one.

SkepticJ
2010-Sep-11, 10:41 PM
I totally agree with you. Couldn't actually say anything more. The Moon is indeed of little military interest. And that's why China will build a station and won't fund a manned mission to the Moon.

What good does a manned military station do? An unmanned station could drop nukes, or rods, or use lasers just as well as a manned station.

The only thing people do well in space is fix things, and die if they don't fix things.

kamaz
2010-Sep-11, 11:55 PM
[This post doesn't discuss politics, it discusses history]


Before 2008, what was it?

What's been the hold up the last forty years?

Intentional suppression of two key technologies.

I am not talking about antigravity. The two technologies which have been denied to the world at large were the chemical rocket technology and the nuclear technology. They both have been born with an original sin: originally strictly military technologies, and still military hardware being an important part of their applications. As such, they were necessarily tightly controlled by the governments which have acquired them. This followed the non-proliferation logic, namely, that smaller countries should not be allowed to have neither nuclear weapons nor means of delivery. (See a primer on nuclear strategy (http://homepage.mac.com/msb/163x/faqs/nuclear_warfare_101.html) to understand why).

As a result of the tight grip on the rocket technology, the space programs have been run by the governments and for the governments. When militarily useful applications have been demonstrated, the technology has largely stagnated and even recessed when unnecessary (abandoning of HLVs). The shift of focus from manned to unmanned spaceflight had to do with the development of robotics, which allowed militarily useful things to be performed automatically, eliminating the need for costly and heavy life support systems.

It wasn't until 1990 that the U.S. government has allowed private companies to provide launch services and until 1994 till the Russian government privatized Energya; until 1990 that Russians would start flying non-government employees and later tourists; and until recently that the U.S. government allowed private spaceflight. Interestingly, these changes of policy have coincided with the end of Cold War, and followed an independent development of rocket technology by other actors. However, the U.S. still treats space hardware as weapons, much to the detriment of its own industry, as foreign customers take their business elsewhere (http://blog.reallyrocketscience.com/node/979).

The second point where nuclear technology ties in here is that it has been known since 1950s that we can't do sensible human exploration with chemical rockets. We can go to Moon (and we did), we could maybe even push it and go to Mars, but that's basically it. Further planets require impractically long transit times. Around the same time, it has been proposed to build nuclear-powered rockets. Such projects have been attempted with partial success (NERVA); but they were abandoned for political reasons before they could be fully developed. They were running afoul of the treaties preventing nuclear weapons in space (or at least perceived to do so). To make matters worse, even if this issue was resolved, the idea of a private company operating a vehicle containing enough fissile material to build a couple of weapons (or cause widespread contamination by crashing a "hot" reactor somewhere on Earth, intentionally or not) does not sit well with some people.

I am not completely pessimistic however. I think we are at the beginning of the renaissance of space exploration. At the time of the Moon landing we've had 2 agencies with launch capability; now we have 9. We have private (SpaceX) and semi-private (SeaLaunch) companies which can do the same. We have investors interested in putting humans in space. We have non-state actors (corporations) with budgets surpassing these of many countries, capable of building large space installations (Iridium).

We are mapping the Moon in high detail, we have first landers since almost 40 years under development, and multiple parties make suggestions about a manned mission. Sooner or later someone will commit the funding, and then the rest will just jump along. Granted, one party apparently wants to get out of this business, but the rest seems to be quite happy to take the chance instead.

As for the nuclear rockets, we have this global warming thing to tackle, and the only way to do this is to switch over to nuclear energy, which should finally destigmatize the nuclear industry, and make nuclear rockets politically acceptable. That non-proliferation thing is not really working anyway.

It is not going to be spectacular, it is not going to be fast, but we will eventually have Moon bases, nuclear rockets and all those cool things.

Hey, it's my birthday, I can dream :cool:

kamaz
2010-Sep-12, 12:06 AM
I still think China may send a manned mission to the moon, for national prestige.


Indeed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_space_program#Proposed_Lunar_Exploration



I don't know if it will get there, but I think they will send one.

That's the Chinese you're talking about. If it fails, they'll just send another one.

kamaz
2010-Sep-12, 12:14 AM
I totally agree with you. Couldn't actually say anything more. The Moon is indeed of little military interest.

...today. When someone finally figures out how to tap lunar resources, it will become a prime asset overnight. For an underdog superpower aspiring for global domination, it makes sense to establish presence there "just in case".



And that's why China will build a station and won't fund a manned mission to the Moon.

And in 40 years, this reasoning will be regarded as a very costly error..

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-12, 12:21 AM
...today. When someone finally figures out how to tap lunar resources, it will become a prime asset overnight. For an underdog superpower aspiring for global domination, it makes sense to establish presence there "just in case".
Getting things moved from the moon will still be hideously expensive.
Though weaker than the Earths gravity, it's still a gravity well and you have to accelerate everything to at least 2.28km/s to get it to the Earth.

kamaz
2010-Sep-12, 12:29 AM
Getting things moved from the moon will still be hideously expensive.
Though weaker than the Earths gravity, it's still a gravity well and you have to accelerate everything to at least 2.28km/s to get it to the Earth.

1. Theoretically not bad with lunar propellant and reusable ships.

2. Space resources are extremely useful if you want to build large structures in space. Although asteroid mining is normally cited in such case, there are arguments that Moon would be better (http://blogs.airspacemag.com/moon/2010/07/23/space-resources-asteroids-and-the-moon/).

Salty
2010-Sep-12, 10:35 PM
Indeed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_space_program#Proposed_Lunar_Exploration



That's the Chinese you're talking about. If it fails, they'll just send another one.


Thanks for the link. It made great reading. In the '50's, who'd ever have pegged the Chinese for continuing manned space exploration?

Yeah, they'd send another one.

Salty
2010-Sep-12, 10:47 PM
1. Theoretically not bad with lunar propellant and reusable ships.

2. Space resources are extremely useful if you want to build large structures in space. Although asteroid mining is normally cited in such case, there are arguments that Moon would be better (http://blogs.airspacemag.com/moon/2010/07/23/space-resources-asteroids-and-the-moon/).


To me, it's inevitable that earth's resources will be recycled beyond use. So, it's inevitable that we will have to turn to the resources in the rest of our solar system. I see that view point unspoken in the excellent article that you gave the link for, thank you.

SkepticJ
2010-Sep-12, 11:08 PM
Well, that's not supported by scientific evidence. Energy is neither created nor destroyed, and unless you get into nuclear stuff, neither is matter. Most of the elements that are on the Earth are what it started out with, cycled over and over and over again. The stuff that Earth didn't start out with are stuff like radon and helium, the products of radioactive decay over the eons.

The water you drink and pee out each day went through dinosaurs, though it's been chemically broken and reformed since then many times by plants.

Ilya
2010-Sep-12, 11:17 PM
Thanks for the link. It made great reading. In the '50's, who'd ever have pegged the Chinese for continuing manned space exploration?

It always annoys me when science fiction writers assume that the dominant (or even SEEMINGLY dominant -- see all 80's SF with "unstoppable Japan") power/culture of the day remains that way centuries into future. I would think the history of last 200 years amply shows that power, both military and economic, shifts much faster than that.

I found it both refreshing and hilarious that in "Inhibitors" future history (Alastair Reynolds) the culture that dominates solar system around year 2300 and proceeds to spread among the stars[1] is an amalgamation of Chinese and Québécois, and its language, called Canasian, is a mix of Cantonese and French. It does not use Latin alphabet either.

[1] several others do too, but this is the main one

invisible
2010-Sep-13, 03:14 AM
So we need more fear to get more space exploration. I suppose we could spread rumours about China building a nuclear missile riddled space platform in LEO and hope they go viral.

Spoons
2010-Sep-13, 03:15 AM
One word: put a video to that effect on youtube.

SkepticJ
2010-Sep-13, 03:57 AM
If knowledge of KT event-like asteroids isn't striking the fear, what's a nuclear-tipped space station gonna do?
Odds are we won't get another impact like that for some millions of years hence, but that's derived from averages. It could happen in ten years--we just don't know.

Soviet Russia may not be the US' enemy anymore, but we've maintained much of our MAD defense. China's government isn't psychotic, they don't want the end of the world.

I think it's pretty freakin' stupid we're gamboling with our future. The politicians and Joe Public just don't get it.
We're lucky to be here; the world wasn't made for us to live in.

invisible
2010-Sep-13, 05:23 AM
I've heard it said that the Dinosaurs became extinct because they weren't smart enough to build rockets. Maybe some day somebody will be saying the same thing about our fossilised remains.

danscope
2010-Sep-13, 07:17 AM
Well, if you want to hang around on a space station for 20 to 60 years ( for what ever reason....) untill earth is free to suport people again,
that becomes your goal in survival , "Go up, young man . " . It sure costs an awefull lot of peope to make a big enough station, and still,
just how big and who goes.....and when? Next spring? Year? 125 years? 4000 years?

Cougar
2010-Sep-13, 01:20 PM
The big issue in space, I think, will be whoever finds the next big commercial use.

Televised moon football. You heard it here first.

SkepticJ
2010-Sep-13, 06:47 PM
Well, if you want to hang around on a space station for 20 to 60 years ( for what ever reason....) untill earth is free to suport people again,
that becomes your goal in survival , "Go up, young man . " . It sure costs an awefull lot of peope to make a big enough station, and still,
just how big and who goes.....and when? Next spring? Year? 125 years? 4000 years?

The point is to make Earth redundant, redundant as in unneeded. People live elsewhere self-sufficiently, and never need return.

Spoons
2010-Sep-13, 11:33 PM
Televised moon football. You heard it here first.

Yep, in another 30 years. Favre will still be playing too, having retired and come back 13 more times.

danscope
2010-Sep-14, 05:47 AM
Making earth redundant is not a widely held view. If you were to spend 7 years in a dry gravel pit in northern Saskatchewan, you would look fondly on New England or some other nice, warm green place at 70 degrees ... with a nice drink and a slice of pie.
Spend some time below the ocean.... say a few years and perhaps you will view space differently .
Just my opinion and a little experience.
Best regards,
Dan

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-14, 03:35 PM
If knowledge of KT event-like asteroids isn't striking the fear, what's a nuclear-tipped space station gonna do?
It's gonna be nearby, immediately visible, and striking the fear of the Chinese.

Vastly easier to get people to relate to.

SkepticJ
2010-Sep-14, 11:12 PM
Making earth redundant is not a widely held view. If you were to spend 7 years in a dry gravel pit in northern Saskatchewan, you would look fondly on New England or some other nice, warm green place at 70 degrees ... with a nice drink and a slice of pie.
Spend some time below the ocean.... say a few years and perhaps you will view space differently .
Just my opinion and a little experience.
Best regards,
Dan

There are plenty of artificial space habitat designs I'd rather live in or on compared to Earth.

If people are going to be spending their lives there, don't you think they'd make them pretty? Why wouldn't they?

Wouldn't you like to live in a giant version of an O'Neill cylinder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Neill_cylinder)? Or a Virga (http://www.kschroeder.com/my-books/sun-of-suns/engineering-virga)?

Screw planets, intelligently designed worlds are the future. You never have droughts, earthquakes, tornados, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, hurricanes, or winter (unless you want it). You're also not trapped in a gravity well; you can cruise over to other artificial worlds with ease using dinky little rockets, laser-propelled craft, or whatever.

Salty
2010-Sep-14, 11:40 PM
After 46 days at sea in an USN aircraft carrier (lots of room on that big ship) I'd rather be on good old earth, with dirt, traffic, greenery, animals and other people.

Now, I can conceive, theoretically, of a space station, or artificial world, miles in diameter. But, nowadays, the resources to build something that big are out of reach economically and technologically.

Nah, in my life time I'm not going to wish for a scifi answer, pseudo-science answer nor real science answer. I'll just enjoy my stay on God's green earth.

SkepticJ
2010-Sep-15, 12:19 AM
I'm not sure what the minimum size of space habitat I'd be comfortable with.

As long as it was as pretty as the rocks and jungle around Angel Falls, it wouldn't have to be huge; but the bigger the better.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-15, 12:24 PM
I'm not sure what the minimum size of space habitat I'd be comfortable with.

As long as it was as pretty as the rocks and jungle around Angel Falls, it wouldn't have to be huge; but the bigger the better.
Knowing me, I'd say the minimum would have to be big enough that I can have a place that's mine, where I can shut the door and all the rest of the world is outside. It wouldn't have to be big, I'm fairly non-claustrophobic, it would just have to be private.

That said, the main reason for large structures to live in is that for spin gravity, you need it large to have enough at sufficiently low rpm's to not make people sick.

danscope
2010-Sep-19, 03:01 AM
When you go into space, you will certainly find that there is no such thing as "personal space" . There is no such luxury as "personal space" .
Every square inch is shared and used . You share each other's air, food, supplies, and recycled water.
Personal? You don't get much more personal than sharing a small environment in space. Television makes light of such luxuries.
Realities smack of....... well....reality ! :)
Best regards,
Dan

Spoons
2010-Sep-20, 04:46 AM
I at least demand shower curtains.

danscope
2010-Sep-20, 04:21 PM
" Son, someday all this ..... will be yours !"
" What..... the curtains ? " :)

Salty
2010-Sep-20, 09:16 PM
I wonder if future space stations will have water showers; or air blast showers; or white light exposure showers?

As a matter of fact, does the ISS have any cleaning facilities for the astronauts? With six month stays, I hope so.

danscope
2010-Sep-21, 01:52 AM
Well, if you have just a 'little bit' of local gravity, the local shower will work, filtered and recycled of course. I wonder if they use
" Irish Spring " ? :)

Jens
2010-Sep-21, 05:29 AM
As a matter of fact, does the ISS have any cleaning facilities for the astronauts? With six month stays, I hope so.

Well, my understanding is that they do, sort of. Towels, for wiping. That's one of the reasons I would never ever ever consider being an astronaut.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-21, 06:06 AM
Well, my understanding is that they do, sort of. Towels, for wiping.


I believe they have a shower, but it's not used much, because it's not easy to use - you need a face mask (because of the danger of breathing in too many water droplets), and you need to vacuum the water off. Skylab had a shower too, and I think the Russians had one. From what I see online, on ISS they usually use towels and a special shampoo.


That's one of the reasons I would never ever ever consider being an astronaut.

I wish more people felt that way . . . it would leave room for me!

Salty
2010-Sep-21, 08:48 PM
I thank all of you, for your responses.

danscope, Maybe they use Dial?

danscope
2010-Sep-22, 04:10 AM
Hi Salty, " Good One !!!! " . LOL :)

Dan