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ToSeek
2005-Jul-11, 04:14 PM
Humans (http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArti cle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031783736373&path=%21editoria ls%21oped&s=1045855935007) or robots? (http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArti cle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031783736413&path=%21editoria ls%21oped&s=1045855935007)

Astronaut Kathy Thornton and physicist Bob Park duke it out in the pages of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. (http://www.timesdispatch.com/)

Extravoice
2005-Jul-11, 04:34 PM
Kathryn Thornton, a former NASA astronaut, a veteran of four shuttle flights, and an associate dean of engineering at UVa, is a member of the Times-Dispatch's 2005 Board of Contributors. loved family pet. :o

Manchurian Taikonaut
2005-Jul-11, 06:27 PM
Man or Machine?
http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=16910
debate

2005-Jul-11, 06:51 PM
Kathryn Thornton, a former NASA astronaut, a veteran of four shuttle flights, and an associate dean of engineering at UVa, is a member of the Times-Dispatch's 2005 Board of Contributors. loved family pet. :o

A more complete quote would have shown what was obviously a cut/paste error (probably a Microsoft moment) that interplated the biosketch of Thornton into a passage likening a Mars Rover to a "beloved family pet"

PatKelley
2005-Jul-11, 07:38 PM
Unfortunately, the "Humans" argument appears to be full of emotional rhetoric rather than an analysis of the pros and cons, or of even an argument befitting a true return to space of, like Apollo, achieving benchmarks before throwing in wholesale. There is plenty of science and research to be done by humans; but we have trouble sustaining a mission for months in earth orbit, and funding levels for NASA only appear to be on the decline.

publiusr
2005-Jul-13, 09:22 PM
The funding cut is not helped by the robots only types. The large human carrying R-7 was needed to get the space race to the point where good sized probes were possible. The robots people just don't want cuts--and their own position is itself faulty.

The last truly robotic rovers we had were the Dara challenge bots that all failed. Spirit and Opportunity would not have gone very far in place of Lewis and Clarke--it is just all the Delta II can carry.

The same HLLVs that the robots-only crowd will fight against is what is needed not only to put humans on Moon and Mars--but to place large interplanetary probes or Europa landers in Jupiter orbits. A Solar Foci scope which will resolve good extrasolar pictures also needs a good sized launcher.

We would not replace a good cop with a bomb-disposal robot--because there simply is no comparison. The same goes for Human Spaceflight.

If all we had were ROVs from the very start--we wouldn't have construction divers who risked life and limb learning how to work in the deep--and our construction tech would have suffered.

PatKelley
2005-Jul-13, 11:26 PM
Uh, I would replace a cop with a bomb-disposal robot in a heartbeat if it meant the cop didn't get shot or blown up. Robotics are working their way into negotiations as well, and any other situation in which it would be dangerous for a human to go.

Denegrating "sides" by labeling others as "robots-only crowd" is not a good tack unless one's purpose is not true debate but rather emotional appeal and dismissal of arguments based on ad-hominem.

The weakness of the human space-explorer essay is precisely that it is an emotional rather than a factual appeal. The disposition (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=10683), given by Michael Griffin (and originally linked to by moxy1 (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=502569#502569)) gives a much better view of the practical appeal as well as the emotional. National security, exporting of ideas to new frontiers, legacy to later eras, survival and a Sagan-invoked manifest destiny, while at the same time acknowledging LEO (i.e. ISS) should not be an end-goal but a waypoint. This is more of the tack that should have been taken in the human-spaceflight editorial.

publiusr
2005-Jul-14, 06:12 PM
Only so that could be itself dismissed out of hand as emotional? I think not. If we were to replace all our cops with robots--it might save their lives but leave us less safe. The having our eggs in one basket approach should convince--but you have Jeffrey Bel and others with their own talks that also verge on the ad hom.'

Robot's only therefore is a very accurate term. David Obey thought we needed to spend more on cops instead of NASA. (we have plenty of ticket writers--trust me--its how podunk PDs get revenue for small towns)--yet some of the same people who would never replace a cop with a robot use the arguement that we don't need people in space because a robot is better. Staying at home is no guarantee of safety either. And shunting shuttle safety money to robotics probes as per the Goldin era was the big problem--so for the robotic suporters to tout safety after that is rather galling to me.

Imagine if I underspent on bridge safety in order to fund new fiber-optics pathways--a disaster happened--and then I said "Well--we don't need people on the roads--they're unsafe--so we need to cyber-commute on our fiber optics."

The arguements of Human spaceflight just get dismissed out of hand as emotional this-that-or the other--while we are supposed to ignore the failure of the Darpa Challenge. And the fact that is takes a lot of humans to run those two small robots on Mars--makes me wonder just how robotic they are.

I would remind the robotics people that the manned Vostok today serves admirably as the FOTON materials sat--and how that--without the larger rockets needed for manned craft--our biggest sat would probably be in the explorer range. Comsats continue to grow--and while the AF once thought the Saturn IB was too big--the Titan IV ends with about the same ability that Saturn IB began with as a dedicated man-rated launch vehicle.

We tried to shrink assets--and it bit us.

So I would suggest that when it comes to getting bigger and better probes--the robotics folk are limiting themselves by this not-compromise-an-inch mindset that will insure they never have anything better than tiny craft that are constantly fighting weight to fit in the tiny shrouds of Delta II--which might just be on the way out--as per the article in SPACE NEWS a week or two ago.

If the robotics folk want to go to Europa and land there--Delta II would not cut it.

If I were Griffin--I would cancel all Delta II discovery missions and focus all on new launcher development.

The robots people may hate me at first--until I give them a nuclear thermal outer-planets probe or interstellar precursor mission like TAU that needs to ride atop an HLLV that I also need to put people on the moon with.

If that gets killed--so does TAU and other types of craft Delta II simply cannot lift.

Therefore the robots only people are cutting their own throat due to their own stubborn adherance to Goldin's tiresome 'faster-better-cheaper' mantra of mediocrity that must needs give way to Griffin's bigger-bolder approach that we must accept if spaceflight in general is to truly progress.

Otherwise we get the same-old same old we got during the 1990's that we all remember as an era of stagnation.

PatKelley
2005-Jul-15, 03:05 PM
Only so that could be itself dismissed out of hand as emotional? I think not.


Presumption. Allow me to ilucidate the comparison:much like the statement above, the first essay is full of straw men that the author assiduously knocks down: artificial statements from unnamed "they." Unattributable quotes. Classic combative language, and classic in conjuring up bogeymen opposed to an agenda. It is an appeal to emotion. Example:

Why were we so profoundly affected by the Apollo program? Certainly spin-off technologies such as communications and microelectronics dramatically altered the way we live today, but some would argue that those technologies could have and would have been developed without putting men on the end of rockets and hurling them into space.

Begging the question, assertion of absolutes, attribution of strawman position to "some." None of these argues the cause on its merits; only as opposition to another viewpoint.



If we were to replace all our cops with robots--it might save their lives but leave us less safe. The having our eggs in one basket approach should convince--but you have Jeffrey Bel and others with their own talks that also verge on the ad hom.'



Bad attribution. At no point in my statement was it implied that "all" cops would be replaced. Please keep your comments on my particular response to my actual comments, rather than attributing to my arguments elements which do not exist.




Robot's only therefore is a very accurate term. David Obey thought we needed to spend more on cops instead of NASA. (we have plenty of ticket writers--trust me--its how podunk PDs get revenue for small towns)--yet some of the same people who would never replace a cop with a robot use the arguement that we don't need people in space because a robot is better. Staying at home is no guarantee of safety either. And shunting shuttle safety money to robotics probes as per the Goldin era was the big problem--so for the robotic suporters to tout safety after that is rather galling to me.


More galling to me is the money wasted on replacement shuttles and orbiters that never went beyond the drawing board. The shuttles are well beyond their initial established service lifetime. Sueing Boeing and Lockheed-Martin for their failed money-pits would be a better endeavor than attempting to rake a constructed foe over the coals. "Staying at home" is an unattributed statement: another emotional appeal, and not an option offered in the robotics essay.




Imagine if I underspent on bridge safety in order to fund new fiber-optics pathways--a disaster happened--and then I said "Well--we don't need people on the roads--they're unsafe--so we need to cyber-commute on our fiber optics."



Inaccurate mis-statement of an opposing viewpoint with a poor analogy.




The arguements of Human spaceflight just get dismissed out of hand as emotional this-that-or the other--while we are supposed to ignore the failure of the Darpa Challenge. And the fact that is takes a lot of humans to run those two small robots on Mars--makes me wonder just how robotic they are.

Note that I did dismiss this essay as an appeal to emotion. This was not done in the case of the testimony to congress; rather that was offerred as a counterexample, by the very same person (me) who had described the previous op-ed piece as an emotional appeal.



I would remind the robotics people

Another unattributed group of unspecified individuals. Please, if you are going to speak to established positions be so courteous as to identify those establishing these positions. Else one is left confused as to where your foes lie.


that the manned Vostok today serves admirably as the FOTON materials sat--and how that--without the larger rockets needed for manned craft--our biggest sat would probably be in the explorer range. Comsats continue to grow--and while the AF once thought the Saturn IB was too big--the Titan IV ends with about the same ability that Saturn IB began with as a dedicated man-rated launch vehicle.

We tried to shrink assets--and it bit us.

So I would suggest that when it comes to getting bigger and better probes--the robotics folk are limiting themselves by this not-compromise-an-inch mindset

Another unidentified indistinct opponent. Please, again, identify these zealots you describe. I certainly do not fall in this category.


that will insure they never have anything better than tiny craft that are constantly fighting weight to fit in the tiny shrouds of Delta II--which might just be on the way out--as per the article in SPACE NEWS a week or two ago.

So the stated goal of the robot only group is to stymy scientific exploration? An odd goal to attribute, but again, appears to be an emotional appeal and poor extrapolation to ridicule an opposing viewpoint: hyperbole.



If the robotics folk want to go to Europa and land there--Delta II would not cut it.

If I were Griffin--I would cancel all Delta II discovery missions and focus all on new launcher development.

The robots people may hate me at first--until I give them a nuclear thermal outer-planets probe or interstellar precursor mission like TAU that needs to ride atop an HLLV that I also need to put people on the moon with.

If that gets killed--so does TAU and other types of craft Delta II simply cannot lift.

Therefore the robots only people are cutting their own throat due to their own stubborn adherance to Goldin's tiresome 'faster-better-cheaper' mantra of mediocrity that must needs give way to Griffin's bigger-bolder approach that we must accept if spaceflight in general is to truly progress.

Again, ad nauseum.


Otherwise we get the same-old same old we got during the 1990's that we all remember as an era of stagnation.

An era of shuttle flights and putting satellites in orbit with manned space flights, building the ISS and launching all of the parts? It appears that much of the 1990's and the dollars within were spent on human spaceflight, to include the failed STS systems, and funded to a level never seen for unmanned spaceflight.

publiusr
2005-Jul-20, 07:34 PM
I wrote:

Imagine if I underspent on bridge safety in order to fund new fiber-optics pathways--a disaster happened--and then I said "Well--we don't need people on the roads--they're unsafe--so we need to cyber-commute on our fiber optics."

"Inaccurate mis-statement of an opposing viewpoint with a poor analogy--"

In your opinion that is--the failure of the Darpa Challenge was a very real fact. Why is it that Human Spaceflight critiques are not considered mis-statements but robot-critiques are exposes your own bias in the matter.

I would remind the robotics people

"Another unattributed group of unspecified individuals. Please, if you are going to speak to established positions be so courteous as to identify those establishing these positions. Else one is left confused as to where your foes lie."


Now you're nitpicking. You have no problem with making broad statements about the emotional human spaceflight people. If we are going to get in arguements over the use of language as a distraction from what robots can--and cannot do, then perhaps we could get an adherant of Micheal Focault and deconstructionism to visit.


"So the stated goal of the robot only group is to stymy scientific exploration? An odd goal to attribute, but again, appears to be an emotional appeal and poor extrapolation to ridicule an opposing viewpoint: hyperbole."


That simply isn't true. If all you do is budget for Delta II flights--that is all you can expect. "If you always do what you always have done--you always get what you always got." FOTON and other Soyuz launches of automated craft prove that human spaceflight has merit--otherwise you would not have had that big booster to start with. If it had been up to some--Topol-Ms and Minutemen would be our biggest lvs, and we'd have no real space program. Many considered Soyuz a waste as being too big. But now it is a workhorse for automated flights that would not be possible if you had no human spaceflight advocacy from Korolov. That is a fact you cannot dispute as much as you might like to. The rocket is what it is--an LV meant to take humans aloft as a new form of transportation, which later found a use in lofting unmanned craft

"It appears that much of the 1990's and the dollars within were spent on human spaceflight, to include the failed STS systems, and funded to a level never seen for unmanned spaceflight.[/i]"

Talk about hyperbole. Goldin wasted money on reusable craft prototypes like X-33 that had no chance of working. Most of the money was spent giving each center a piece of the pie--and not on useful equipment.

At least with Energiya--the orbiter was a parasite that could be exchanged with 100 ton modules that would have been both good space station modules, heavy probes, etc.

We had a chance to have a good STS replacement with ALS/NLS, but that was put down--we relied too heavily on existing launchers, and got saddled with the EELVs when the DOT.COM bubble burst. Now the EELV-people are trying to use robotic missions to undermine Griffin's heavy-lift mandate. I might add that Griffin and others want to do away with STS as soon as possible.

Just don't fool yourself into thinking that also-ran Delta II missions don't siphon away vital funds like the Shuttle-Mir missions that at least gave us hands on use of space station equipment that we are going to have to learn at some point in the future if real progress is to be made.

ROVs are fine for insecting oil platforms--but have not replaced the diver.

Neither should we replace the astronaut.

PatKelley
2005-Jul-20, 08:13 PM
A few points to address in your response, publiusr

the failure of the Darpa Challenge was a very real fact. Why is it that Human Spaceflight critiques are not considered mis-statements but robot-critiques are exposes your own bias in the matter
Yours was not a critique; it was an attack piece. There is distinct difference: one deals with fact, the other with fancy. Considering my supposed bias; why did I hold up Griffin's article as an example of a good pro-human-spaceflight stance; wouldn't my "bias" prevent that?

Additionally, I did not ever say anything remotely like:

"...broad statements about the emotional human spaceflight people"
You choose to expound my definition of an article as an emotional appeal to somehow be an attack on all proponents of human spaceflight.

Finally, again, twice now I have made the point that robotic mission are best where there is substantial risk; you keep twisting that into "robots only" Your selective reading inures me to finish this conversation, as it is apparently you talking to a straw man or yourself, with me taking no part.

Tilt away.

publiusr
2005-Jul-20, 08:53 PM
A few points to address in your response, publiusr...Yours was not a critique; it was an attack piece.

That all depends on whose ox is being gored. I noticed you had nothing to say about how the history of the R-7--the heavy-lifter of its day--would not have been possible without the dream of human spaceflight that drove Korolov to build something strictly necessary.

But I see you ignored that point and want to dwell in semantics.

Tilt away


That's not loaded language now is it? No matter--Griffin was described as the Man from La Mancha himself.

A great compliment.

Yours truly
Sancho Panza

Ilya
2005-Jul-20, 09:19 PM
ROVs are fine for insecting oil platforms--but have not replaced the diver.

Actually, in offshore oil industry, which is the biggest employer of commercial divers, ROV's increasingly are replacing divers, at least at "mandatory decompression" depths. Which is why rebreather companies are struggling to find serious civilian markets.

And Pat Kelley is right -- you keep throwing words like "robots only people" or "replace all cops with robots" without ever naming names or providing quotes. That's a dishonest debating tactic.

publiusr
2005-Jul-20, 09:23 PM
It's one thing to look--another to weld. Same with Hubble servicing missions. Rovers are nice--but you can only do so much with them. If you were to have replaced Bob Bakker with Spirit--I doubt you would find dino-bone one.

Just being in the field with your own eyes--and the intagibles that go along with it just cannot be dupicated.

Ilya
2005-Jul-20, 09:51 PM
Remote-controlled underwater welding is also gaining ground, and quickly. But that's really an aside.

I am asking again: Who are "robots only" people? Please name someone who is on record claiming that ALL space activities must be done with robots, and better yet "all cops should be replaced by robots." Until you do, you are just spouting empty rhetoric.

Not even Robert Park ever claimed such thing, although he might think so -- and certainly no one on this BBS. However, plenty of people, myself included, completely lost faith in NASA's ability to carry out manned spaceflight. Actually, I would say I lost faith in United States's ability to carry out civilian manned spaceflight. When safety (and even worse, appearances of safety) take precedence over getting the mission done, you won't get very far, either in space or under water. I am sorry to sound callous, but inescapable fact of manned spaceflight is people will die. Astronauts themselves know it and accept it. American public, Congress, and consequently NASA management seemingly do not. Thus I oppose not only Space Shuttle (touted as "most complex machine ever built" -- as if it were something to be proud of!), but the entire NASA Office of Manned Spaceflight -- because ultimately, it is living a lie. I would LOVE Department of Defense take over manned space operations -- because the military accepts risks, rather than pretending risks are zero, then running like headless chickens when reality bites. When a test pilot crashes at Edwards AFB, they name a street after him, then fly the next day to find out what went wrong. NASA had same attitude during Apollo days. Today it does not, and given overall political climate, probably CAN NOT have such attitude. In short, I oppose manned civilian spaceflight because in this country and this generation it is a giant fraud.

publiusr
2005-Jul-20, 10:14 PM
By robots only I mean individuals who love to question human spaceflight--but get awfully defensive when robotics are challenged--or who ignore the fact that the greater lift capacities of human-rated vehicles allowed bigger robotics missions to come later.

I don't trust the DoD, exept for Lance Lord and one or two others. That you have lost your trust in NASA leads to a self-fulfilling negativism that can only undermine what Griffin is trying to do.

I had no faith in Goldin--I do have faith in NASA--this NASA.

Goldin gave everyone a piece of the pie--that was the problem. Something has to be cut--and so we are repeating ourselves with yet another Delta II orbiter to Mars--it just makes more sense to focus on larger Man-rated vehicles that can be used for better Europa missions.

Scientists get all parochial--then question manned missions and make a lot of noise.

We saw this with Korolev's generation. The military wanted smaller ICBMs and wanted Stalin to wait until warheads were shrunk dowhn. Korolov saw an opportunity for a big man-rated booster--and now the Venus craf has a ride thanks to his not compromising on his vision of a human-rated booster--that he had to sell as an ICBM.

Griffin is a lot like Korolev or Glushko in this regard--and understands the need for growth. O'Keefe didn't. He wanted to go the EELV route at the urging of that JSF hack Steidle. Goldin gave us stagnation--and that allowed the so called Space Libertarians to make promises they couldn't back.

Therefore, the "I don't trust NASA" folks and the Jeff Bells who were mad at NASA leadership have become the biggest enemies NASA has--with anti-human spaceflight opportunists using this distrust to their own ends.So that Griffin won't axe their next also-ran Delta II contraptions while dreaming of Europa missions no Delta II can do thanks to their own short-sightedness.

Korolov faced the same arguements and prevailed.

Let's hope Griffin can do the same.