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rambo07
2006-Feb-08, 04:34 PM
when I was young it was thought that by know we be living on the moon !! what has gone wrong ? ,recently I 've heard news that NASA has lost its way , doesn't seem to know in which direction it's going , the european's arn't much better ,china is just beginning .russia is at a dead end ,private enterprise is left private with no help for the state , there's a lot of talk but no action , isnt it about time , we did something about this ,,,, the USA wants to be the best ,secrets will be kept secret ,each country for its self ,what a waste of time and money , isnt it about time we all got together , the US ,Russia ,europeans and all the others , perhaps the whole world ,with the aid of the UN to create just one space enterprise ,with the sole aim to just get off this planet ,with everything else a bonus , such as rich sourse of minerals etc, etc

Romanus
2006-Feb-08, 04:50 PM
<< isnt it about time we all got together , the US ,Russia ,europeans and all the others , perhaps the whole world ,with the aid of the UN to create just one space enterprise ,with the sole aim to just get off this planet ,with everything else a bonus , such as rich sourse of minerals etc, etc>>

In theory, yes. In practice though, I think the countries of the world are too wrapped up in their own problems. There's also the issue of nationalism; China could ask in on NASA and ESA's racket any day, but because she (presumably) wants to go it alone to prove the world that she can do it, she probably won't for a while yet.

I think that one thing that space colony proponents have not considered adequately is that there is no real impetus--at present--to colonize space. Talk about surviving the next cataclysm, like an asteroid impact, plague, or global war rings hollow for people who can't or don't want to think about things that are over their horizon.

For instance, we've been living with the possibility of global annihilation for over 40 years now; it's lost its immediacy. There are no asteroids that are currently proven threats--that is, that are *unequivocally* going to hit--even though it is even their very possible threat alone that makes colonization attractive. Living in a postindustrial developed world, with only a few exceptions any metals we could get from asteroids or the Moon can be obtained more cheaply on Earth.

What I'm trying to get it is that--and this is directed at no one in particular--space visionaries are overlooking the fact that IMO, it would be very difficult to justify to Joe Blow why colonizing space is important. Even if space travel were dirt cheap, I doubt many people would go to Mars or the Moon to live, not even in space cities. For the sake of my fiction writing, I hope I'm wrong ;) , but I think the future will bear my pessimism out. The only thing I could possibly see prompting global action from humans would be the discovery of an Earth-like planet with a breathable atmosphere within a few light-years, and I doub we'll be that lucky.

baric
2006-Feb-08, 05:01 PM
when I was young it was thought that by know we be living on the moon !! what has gone wrong ?

No air.
No water.
No food.
300 degrees below zero.
Lethal cosmic radiation.

You know, just the usual stuff that precludes the notion of "living on the moon".

It would be cheaper, and quicker, to reforest Easter Island and let our astronauts live there.

Halcyon Dayz
2006-Feb-08, 09:32 PM
Here is a previous thread (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=37590&highlight=billion) about this issue.
For some reason it is in Astronomy.

SolusLupus
2006-Feb-08, 09:42 PM
No air.
No water.
No food.
300 degrees below zero.
Lethal cosmic radiation.

You know, just the usual stuff that precludes the notion of "living on the moon".

It would be cheaper, and quicker, to reforest Easter Island and let our astronauts live there.

The food, air, and temperature "issue" isn't really an "issue", though at the moment it implies a bit of work and expenditure. The water and radiation issue are the strongest, but radiation can be avoided more or less by simply making the "moon bases" underground (and, by giving the bases an environment and growing lots of plants in there using a variety of techniques, you can get rid of the air and temperature issue).

I could come up with some more ideas if I devoted a lot of time to it, and I'm not even an engineer.

The real issue is budgeting, IMO, as well as feasability (it may be *possible*, but not necessarily beneficial).

Photon
2006-Feb-08, 11:21 PM
I think our best bet is hitching a ride with ET, If they exist.
Mind you I reckon we'd be the ugliest pedestrians they ever encountered.:neutral:

SolusLupus
2006-Feb-08, 11:58 PM
I think our best bet is hitching a ride with ET, If they exist.
Mind you I reckon we'd be the ugliest pedestrians they ever encountered.:neutral:

If that's true, then they'd probably be the ugliest aliens to ever pick us up.

This reminds me of one of Asimov's short stories. I forget the title and the storyline, and I don't really want to know it fully (though Asimov might not actually be the author). Anyways, in the short story, a woman meets (through her husband) an alien that is an "ugly reptilian" type of alien. She shakes it's hand, and notes that it has a rough, dry, hot palm, and she disliked it.

But she also reminded herself that the reptilian probably thought of her hand as cold and clammy.

publiusr
2006-Feb-09, 10:06 PM
NASA hasn't lost its way. It has found a good leader. griffin is ten times the man of those two who came before him. Gfiffin has to fight the space libertarian frauds and the NASA-bashers. The 'life-science' and robots crowd don't help matters--forgetting that the rocket has to come first. Once we have the SDLVs then larger unmanned payloads and life-science can continue.

We have a good engineer running things.

We just need to support him.

Ara Pacis
2006-Feb-10, 04:44 AM
I think we will eventually. Globilized markets will want to keep expanding satellite operations for new communications services. Google will want to expand its offerings to Google Moon, Google Mars, and Google Space. Moviemakers will want to start using real orbital facilities for filming people in space. These satellites and interplanetary orbiters will keep the rocket makers working on better and cheaper systems. Finally, an affordability threshhold will be crossed and companies and countries alike will want to establish a moonbase for astronomy. Giant telescopes on Luna may be remotely controlled at first, but other types of imaging for other particles will drive a need to have scientists on hand.

Once we decide to have one group of people on the moon, it is only a matter of scale to put more people there to act as structural engineers, building laborers, administrators, communications specialists, computer techs, repair techs, medical support personnel, cooks, janitors, gift shop cashier, dishwashers. It won't be long until a hydroponics test farm becomes a hydroponics food production facility and Luna will become increasingly self-sufficient. It will even start generating enough surplus that entrepeneuers will be able to move there and set up shops and services catering to the local residents as well as commercial services to and for earth. This will expand to include entertainment services to people on earth. It may start as tele-tourism, like remote controlled rovers and telescopes, and become actual tourism. The ball is rolling pretty well at this point.

Don't forget associated technologies and requisites. As we move away from petroleum, for political or capacity reasons, we may want to go solar. Cheaper access to space may make space-solar attractive. But more efficient solar tech may be susceptible to CMEs, just like increased human traffic. Therefore, we'll need solar observatories in multiple orbits around the sun that can predict and detect CMEs so we can protect people and equipment. This will probably require heavier capacity rockets as well. In fact, we may need this even if we only want to keep using GPS and Telecom sats, without any PV or humans in danger.

I think this is almost inevitable. It wouldn't require an instigating event, such as a threat of imminent collision. However, I think a large collision on one of the inner terrestrial planets would work much more than the Shoemaker-Levy comet strike on Jupiter. Luna would be easily visible and worrisome, but perhaps Mars would be better. Either one would be visitable by current probes, which could jumpstart the new paradigm.

rambo07
2006-Feb-10, 01:02 PM
why not use the space station as a platform or ferry to the moon/mars ,(I say) all you need are extra modules such as spare air/food etc , with two landers and extra fuel plus some boosters to get the station there and back ,we are half way there already with most of the station up and running ,it would be a great way to form a full time base on the moon ,with some of the equipment ,such as easy to erect prefabs and oxygen tanks etc already there from previous unmanned rocket launches ,we could do this as we have done this on mars with the rover ,rockets go up all the time so supplying the moon with unmanned ready to use equipment now ,waiting for furture manned missions should not be a problem , I think the best way forward is to build space ships (like the space station) in bits ,one bit at a time and then when you are ready to go you go

NEOWatcher
2006-Feb-10, 01:53 PM
why not use the space station as a platform or ferry to the moon/mars ...
I am in agreement with that, but I do realize that there are many things that may not make if feasable. It sounds easy but:
- Look what it is taking to build the ISS. Not an easy task.
- You would need to accelerate the ship from around 17kMPH to over 25kMPH, that's a heck of a boost.
- The boost is now on a much heavier craft, Newton forgive us.

Now there are things that will ease the second one, but it's going to take time (although the anticipation is killing me)

Ilya
2006-Feb-10, 03:59 PM
why not use the space station as a platform or ferry to the moon/mars
"The" space station (i.e. ISS) is in a completely wrong orbit for that, not to mention not designed for the job. Your idea has merit, but it would be cheaper to launch a whole new purpose-built space station than to tow ISS into appropriate orbit, let alone rebuilding it to be a spaceship dock.

rambo07
2006-Feb-10, 04:14 PM
thanks for that , the ISS is already a space dock for the shuttle , all we need to do is add more of the same, the beauty of the ISS is that you can add modules to it , you don't have to follow the old design , why go over kill , space needs people to take risks

Ara Pacis
2006-Feb-11, 08:58 PM
I don't think the ISS would make a good space vessel. I don't have the numbers, but I doubt the ISS module linkages could withstand the accelerations, especially if the thrust is off-axis. I don't think the ISS has the amount of radiation shielding required beyond the protection of Earth's magnetosphere.

Skipjack
2006-Feb-11, 09:00 PM
Well personally I would first focus on RLV- development, the rest would be soo much easier once we have cheap and relyable access to orbit.
I am convinced that SSTO is possible and it is possible to do it cheaply and I dont care what some people think after the X33- failure (which failed because of stupid decisions that were made, not because of it being technically impossible like some want to make us believe).
Personally I am still very sad about the DCX- project not being followed on by the USAF...
CU
Skipjack

galacsi
2006-Feb-12, 12:05 AM
IMO There are some basics questions to solve before colonizing space :

First ; the human body cannot stand a long duration in low gravity.And i am talking about astronauts who are very fit people. What about babies , young children ?

Two ; we dont know how to designe a real stable ecology. Remember BIOSPHERE II failures. We will have to depend on mecanical solution for our air , water , elimination of waste. No closed cycle means big expences.

Three : nobody can stand living in a cave like a mole for a prolonged period.

Rockets and especially Chemical ones are very limited vehicules.

But it does not prevent some limited exploration or building a semi-permanent base on the moon.

rambo07
2006-Feb-12, 10:23 AM
why can't we put say small rectangle blocks together (self made living modules) that can be blasted off earth or sent up by the shuttle and then using astronauts to fix then together to form a wheel ,with a axel in the middle and then form our own gravity when they are in motion(why this idea hasn't been expored or experimented in space I don't know ) but it doesn't have to be as big as the 2001 film just big enough for twenty people to live in so that they can regain strength or to live in space for long periods without ill effect this can then be attached to the ISS as a seperate module , but even if it can't , the easy to erect module idea I think is a cheap way to build objects in space that can form anything you want

jkmccrann
2006-Feb-12, 11:55 AM
I think everyone on these boards hopes to see space travel come along in leaps and bounds as soon as possible, but most here realise that within our lifetimes its likely to advance only at what we would perceive as a snail's pace, simply due to the amazing expense required to overcome all the environmental issues one has to deal with when one is in a location somewhere in Outer Space.

Lack of breathable air, differing gravitational levels and intense feelings of literal and social claustrophobia/agoraphobia are just 3 issues that are incredibly hard to overcome. Anyone living in a community on the moon for years and years in a low-gravity environment would have a huge gravity-shock upon returning to Earth.

I am confident that in time we can overcome these hurdles, but the more you think about it the more you realise that for the next several decades we're not likely to be at the stage of creating permanent sustaining environments on places like the moon without some sort of major impetus thrust behind such ventures that does not at the moment seem forthcoming, and given everything else there's not necessarily anything wrong with that because there's definitely a lot we can learn from unmanned probes and experiments in NEO that will help us when the environment for creating sustainable extra-terrestrial habitats improves.

Ara Pacis
2006-Feb-12, 06:01 PM
JKMcCrann, I'm not sure what seems like a snail's pace to you, but in less than a century mankind went from horse-and-buggy to driving around on the moon. I'd prefer to think of the pace of the hare and the tortoise. Human space programs are not the tortoise, they are the hare. They stop and start repeatedly and it seems that progress is slow because of it. The tortoise would probably have a moon and mars base by now, as well as stations on several other planetary moons. From the first mass produced space capable rocket (V-2) until the moon landing was less than 30 years. From the time of deciding to go to the moon until we did was less than 10 years.

The high costs associated with living in space have less to do with technology and more to do with style, I think. NASA appears to have wanted to finesse their way to space, whereas some of us think a brute-force approach was better. Perhaps it's a failure of engineers: wanting to minimax their designs. I'd be happy with wasting a few million dollars in fuel if we could reduce launch costs by a factor of ten while lofting 10 times the mass.

The dangers of space have been addressed through human analogs for a long time. Lack of air has been dealt with in high altitude flights and climbs and in submersibles/submarines for almost a century. Claustrophobia and agoraphobia might be treated with drugs, psychology, or addressed by vessel design, once proper vessel design becomes financially feasible. Gravitational levels may be tricky, but many people learn to swim, so that part of it is covered, and perhaps drugs or proper vessel designs would alleviate the issue, once it is financially feasible. So, most of your listed problems are not unsolved, merely unfunded --an entirely different debate.

I think humanity has an extensive enough knowledge-base to return to the moon and go to mars within 5-10 years, if there was enough funding. And that does not mean exhorbitant funding. With economies of scale working in our favor, I think a space economy and space infrastructure could be started, with Luna and Mars missions completed, for significantly less than a trillion dollars.

I am reminded of what Heinlein wrote in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress: "Never mind financial aspects. Anything which is physically possible can always be made financially possible; money is a bugaboo of small minds."

Bobunf
2006-Feb-12, 07:20 PM
I think the business of claustrophobia and social problems with long space flights is really over-blown. In part, I think, that’s because it’s easy to understand, easy to relate to others, everybody has experiences and can have something to add. It’s sort of a popular problem.

But, we’ve successfully dealt with this problem over and over for millennia. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. People have been snowbound in caves for months, exiled to islands for years, served on ships and in submarines without leave for months, suffered in trenches for months, held prisoner in isolation for years, lived in Biosphere II for months, and on and on and on.

People on Mars, the Moon or in space will not be physically uncomfortable—temperature, food, water and other necessities will be adequately available. They’ll have a near infinite variety of entertainment available; they’ll be able to talk as much as they want to whomever in the world they want. Their situation won’t be hopeless, as with hostages, but a great adventure. They won’t be isolated, the whole world will be with them.

Even when confronted with 40 minute communication delays from Mars, it will be like exchanging video e-mails. Inconvenient, but no big deal.

It seems to me that human social factors are issues with which we’ve had a huge amount of experience, that humans are very resilent in this regard, and that the issues are easily dealt with.

Bob Unferth

Ilya
2006-Feb-13, 03:37 AM
People on Mars, the Moon or in space will not be physically uncomfortable—temperature, food, water and other necessities will be adequately available.
You are being extremely optimistic. Life-support systems have a depressing record of breaking down -- not fatally, but rather uncomfortably. Read "Dragonfly" to find out just HOW uncomfortable a space station can be. A poor insulation or a frozen toilet pipe (possibly resulting from poor insulation) can make for truly miserable experience.

Romanus
2006-Feb-13, 06:01 AM
<<But, we’ve successfully dealt with this problem over and over for millennia. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. People have been snowbound in caves for months, exiled to islands for years, served on ships and in submarines without leave for months, suffered in trenches for months, held prisoner in isolation for years, lived in Biosphere II for months, and on and on and on. >>

Not so sure about that. In most of those instances, people weren't really isolated from their environment; they had air, and a natural water. For Biosphere, they had the safety valve of opening the vents, and submarines can surface for air. People on the Moon or Mars will not those options--it will either be a suit for them, or an enclosure of some kind.

For what it's worth, I can imagine people who are born into a life like that acclimating to it with no problems. For people going to space from Earth though, I think it will be difficult for most people, especially if it's for keeps. I'm guessing that only something very large, like a space city or a canopied settlement would minimize the problem.

Bobunf
2006-Feb-13, 03:16 PM
…I think humanity has an extensive enough knowledge-base to return to the moon and go to mars within 5-10 years, if there was enough funding. And that does not mean exhorbitant funding. With economies of scale working in our favor, I think a space economy and space infrastructure could be started, with Luna and Mars missions completed, for significantly less than a trillion dollars.

I am reminded of what Heinlein wrote in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress: "Never mind financial aspects. Anything which is physically possible can always be made financially possible; money is a bugaboo of small minds."

Tell that to General Motors today.

I do think it’s true that with a budget of about $100 billion annually (a trillion dollars divided by 10 years) it would be feasible to have bases on both the Moon and Mars within 10 years. I think the $100 billion is a very considerable difficulty considering that that is about six times NASA’s current budget.

Certainly this is a very affordable sum. Even considering such an essential commodity as food, I think that if the amount of money spent on food in the United were reduced by $100 billion per year (about $400 per capita, excluding young children and pregnant or potentially pregnant women), the effect could be managed without any adverse health and little in the way of other effects.

For instance, strategies could be invoked to reduce the number of calories consumed per capita (and consequently obesity), to reduce the amount of meat consumed (horrendously inefficient to convert food into a cow or chicken before eating it), and to eliminate quotas on sugar and avocado imports—benefiting Brazil and New Zealand. We could even strongly suggest that these countries could give us a little help with this new and vigorous space program considering how much it’s benefited them.

I think a lot of this could be handled in very benign ways such as, for instance, forbidding the advertising of good looking animal foods. We might dub it “The Vegan Space Program.” The indirect effect of a space program funded at $100 billion annually could be a healthier population and a more rational economy. Doesn’t seem like much of a hardship.

On the other hand, if you were to ask the average Joe, “Would you support a space program which will establish bases on the Moon and Mars by 2017? There would be no new taxes, nor any increase in the deficit. Of course, you wouldn’t be able to have steak ever again—unless you were pregnant.” Assume you could convince Joe this was for real, and would really work. I still think a majority would vote no. “Space, but no steak? Forget it!” I wouldn’t even think of considering suggesting eliminating beer instead of steak.

All of which indicates, I think, the very low priority the populace at large gives to exploring space. And therein lies the difficulty. It’s not really even a financial problem, but one of public understanding and attitude.

Oh, and let us not think this is a problem with its origins exclusively rooted in the benighted nature of Americans. The rest of world spends far less on space exploration then Americans per capita or as a percentage of GDP. What sort of diet do all those guys require?

Bob

jkmccrann
2006-Feb-13, 06:25 PM
JKMcCrann, I'm not sure what seems like a snail's pace to you, but in less than a century mankind went from horse-and-buggy to driving around on the moon. I'd prefer to think of the pace of the hare and the tortoise. Human space programs are not the tortoise, they are the hare. They stop and start repeatedly and it seems that progress is slow because of it. The tortoise would probably have a moon and mars base by now, as well as stations on several other planetary moons. From the first mass produced space capable rocket (V-2) until the moon landing was less than 30 years. From the time of deciding to go to the moon until we did was less than 10 years.


I agree with you that advancing from the horse-and-buggy to driving on the moon in less than a century is certainly not something that was achieved at a snail's pace - it was an incredibly speedy examply of our capacity for ingenuity and technological development. And with the benefit of hindsight and looking back at that advancement, one can see that compared to the previous centuries it was at anything but a snail's pace.

I certainly would have hoped that that level of development could have continued. You mention the tortoise and the hare analogy, you can possibly relate our endeavours to Space with that, but I would argue that given the key role politics, and the funding it provides or withdraws, (and for that matter the regulatory environment for private concerns it creates - there are definitely political issues tied up with that) it inevitably means that predicting how our advancement is going to proceed over anything more than a 5-10 year horizon is fraught with danger. (I would say that in terms of Space Exploration 5-10 years is a short-term to edge of medium-term length, but politically speaking, in 10 years you're in a different political generation).

So although we have shown that we can make great advancements if we pull together in that direction, history shows that there needs to be some perceived real need - and that probably inevitably relates to national security in the USA. For the forseable future that type of security rationale will likely remain the main driver of Government Space Policy and hence NASA. One must remember that the whole initiative relating to Mars has really been given impetus by the possibility that the Chinese, amongst others, are aiming to do just that sometime around 2020/2030 or so. If it wasn't for that possibility I would say there's no chance NASA would be on Mars before 2030, as it is, I am hopeful that they will be sending a manned mission there sometime between 2020-2025.

And as for what I regard as a snail's pace, I would have to relate that to my own life, how long I can expect to live, and what I've seen done in the past. I was born 1979, and since I was born, not one human has set foot on the moon. In the grand sweep of history, 26 years is but a blip - I agree, but that's hardly relevant to my personal perspective, which is obviously subjective.

But put simply, I've probably already lived between 1/4 to 1/3 of my life, and in that time to put it bluntly (and not necessarily correctly, but to put it bluntly), there has been a distinct lack of progress when it comes to manned space travel. If I am to wait a similar amount of time as I've already lived before we expect to be landing a manned mission on Mars, then that means that over a period encompassing between perhaps 1/2 to 2/3 of my entire life, we've only managed to progress to 1 further heavenly body. From my subjective personal perspective, that is a snail's pace - certainly compared to my imagination and what I believe is possible given fantastical funding projections.

Really the only way two ways overcome this is for funding to be immediately increased out of site (simply not going to happen) or for our endeavours in genetic research to yield amazing breakthroughs, throughout the next perhaps 50 years, and thus effect change on things like life expectancy and thus what I subjectivly perceive to be a snail's pace. (IMO not impossible, but probably very unlikely)

Doodler
2006-Feb-13, 08:33 PM
Not so sure about that. In most of those instances, people weren't really isolated from their environment; they had air, and a natural water. For Biosphere, they had the safety valve of opening the vents, and submarines can surface for air.

I believe US submarines can actually extract oxygen from seawater. Food is pretty much their only limiting factor.

That aside, you're correct. With the possible exception of as yet undiscovered ice allowing any long term residents the same options of manufactured air on the Moon or Mars, spaceborne life support systems will need to, pardon the pun, operate in a vaccuum.

Ara Pacis
2006-Feb-14, 07:19 AM
Bobunf, I'm not sure where to start. Could you explain how space exploration would reduce the number of cows available for slaughter?

JKMcCann. Yes, politics is important. But are you referring to government specifically or politics in general? If we have either the money or the will, it can happen, even if it is preferable to have both. But don't forget desire, it is just as important. The political scientist Robert Kagan wrote that the regulatory license and the economic license is also balanced by the social license, such as the public's opinion of a particular endeavor. If society wants it, it can happen.

Right now there is little pushing for space exploration in any of these licenses. However, that could change. We could increase public expectations and desire for space missions with better public relations campaigns. We could also increase PR and funding both with a sale of Space Development Bonds. We could change regulations to make private space access easier. There are some good places to start.

jkmccrann
2006-Feb-14, 01:51 PM
Ara, I was referring to both in the sense that they impact upon these funding decisions. As you say, there is little pushing for increased space funding at the moment, and as such, therefore, little reason for an administration to make funding of space a priority.

The lack of any societal pressure for funding is obviously tied up with all the other things that are much more important to people on a day-to-day level, health, education, employment etc. At the moment, were it not for 9/11 and all the ongoing effects that has had, I believe indeed that societal pressure to do something about Space could be on the increase, but its precisely because those effects continue to be felt that there will not be any room, as I see it, for that societal pressure to grow - or for funding to be diverted from the so-called `War On Terror' for some time to come.

Its impossible to know when the War On Terror will be winding down, because its ending is likely to become a case of political spin for a future administration - I don't believe there is any prospect of this administration coming anywhere near declaring victory, no matter what success they enjoy. One thing is certain, and obvious, as long as the major non-state actors and perpretrators of those crimes remain at large, UBL, Ayman Al-Z et al, it will remain a priority and funding of something like Space will remain on the backburner.

That's a reality, and I don't see that changing for at least 5 or 6 years, at which time Chinese (and perhaps other nations?) progress in terms of their Space endeavours may begin to rachet up pressure to match and exceed them. Which means, unfortunately, that the next few years are likely to be somewhat barren from a manned space point of view, but we can all hope that some of the private enterprises really use this `window' to make some concrete progress and begin to put pressure on NASA from another direction to really smarten up.

ryanmercer
2006-Feb-14, 03:20 PM
I believe US submarines can actually extract oxygen from seawater. Food is pretty much their only limiting factor.

That aside, you're correct. With the possible exception of as yet undiscovered ice allowing any long term residents the same options of manufactured air on the Moon or Mars, spaceborne life support systems will need to, pardon the pun, operate in a vaccuum.

Nuclear subs need to surface for air, but some can go , allegedly, YEARS without doing so (which they'd never have to do), diesel subs have to surface much more often though, but the best diesel subs can store enough oxygen for the crew and engines for several months.

Romanus
2006-Feb-14, 04:56 PM
I don't think many Americans are really worried about China reaching the Moon. The Cold War will have been over for a generation if America makes it back to the Moon by 2017. The per capita GDP of China is far below the U.S.'s, and probably will remain so for some time. The U.S. still has a nuclear arsenal that dwarf's China's. The average American probably thinks of China as "that place where they torture people--and that made half the stuff in my house".

NEOWatcher
2006-Feb-14, 05:30 PM
I don't think many Americans are really worried about China reaching the Moon.
Most would say, yep, been there done that, without knowing any details.

The average American probably thinks of China as "that place where they torture people--and that made half the stuff in my house".
And "stir-fry take out".

kzb
2006-Feb-14, 06:41 PM
This is the future of space unless people start waking up:

http://www.abd.org.uk/

Then click on "Galileo signals end of liberty in Europe"

Ara Pacis
2006-Feb-14, 07:29 PM
I don't wholly agree, JKMcCann. You referred earlier to a snails pace, which I find to be constant and slow. I see it as a start-stop movement instead. I think that a few changes in political ideas and social desires could kick space exploration back into high gear. With all the private development in cybernetics and aeronautics since the Apollo program, NASA won't have to reinvent everything, and development costs should be relatively low. So, even a modest increase in funding could see a high return, perhaps to a level befitting private capitalization.

It may even be related to Terrorism. If we can finish developing long range lasers or if they want even better spy satellites, it might drive a need for heavier lift. Heavier lift means lower costs per mass, and that will drive affordability. This could jump-start a private space economy.