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Chip
2003-Apr-20, 08:50 PM
I lean towards Interferometry. 8)

darkhunter
2003-Apr-20, 08:55 PM
Realistically: robot probes.

What I personally would like: manned expiditions (where do I sign up? :D )

Chip
2003-Apr-20, 09:01 PM
Realistically: robot probes.

What I personally would like: manned expeditions (where do I sign up? :D )

===

I had "human exploration" but the poll software allows for 5 maximum choices, so I had to edit.

(The other omitted ones were: "Solar Sail deep space probes,"
and "Quantum computer applications to astrophysics and astronomy.") :wink:

g99
2003-Apr-20, 09:29 PM
Planets. There is so much more we need to learn about if the specific conditions of our earth (% co2, N, O) are uniqe or very common. Are earth size planets common or reare? That is what we need to find out.

nebularain
2003-Apr-20, 10:40 PM
Hey, Chip -

I'm trying to understand what you mean by "beneficial advance in applied astronomy." Is this beneficial to increasing astronomy investigations or is this beneficial to society or either?

ToSeek
2003-Apr-20, 11:47 PM
What about space telescopes based on interferometry?

David Hall
2003-Apr-21, 03:10 AM
I'll say I'm a bit confused by it too. An "advance" usually means a technological improvement of some kind. More probes and extrasolar planets don't really fit into that category. They're more like targets for more research.

kilopi
2003-Apr-21, 04:00 AM
I see that as of now I'm the only one to go with number five.

My choice?

A new theory of physics will be the most beneficial advance in applied astronomy during the first half of this century.

Nanoda
2003-Apr-21, 09:59 AM
Well clearly, 1kļ. It'll be used to make a better space telescope. :D
I'm voting against probes, especially in the first half of this century. The dang things take decades to build/launch/fly, and since nothing I like looks like it's going anywhere, it'll be the second half before things start to happen.

I'm all for interferometry in space telescopes. I even did a paper that included some research on that, now that I recall. It promises direct imaging of near-Earth sized planets, if I'm not mistaken. Dunno about the rest of you, but it's that kind of thing that turns my astronomical crank. (Well, planetary exploration really, but I already turfed that, sadly) ;)

informant
2003-Apr-21, 07:56 PM
I voted for the interferometry.
Although I'm a layman, I just feel that computers have been evolving so quickly in the last decades that some of that is bound to benefit astronomy (more).

Chip
2003-Apr-22, 06:48 AM
Hey, Chip -

I'm trying to understand what you mean by "beneficial advance in applied astronomy." Is this beneficial to increasing astronomy investigations or is this beneficial to society or either?

Yes and Yes. (As to the latter, I think society can be benefited or enriched by new insights.) :wink:

Chip
2003-Apr-22, 06:52 AM
I see that as of now I'm the only one to go with number five.

My choice?

A new theory of physics will be the most beneficial advance in applied astronomy during the first half of this century.

I included that one for you. :wink: Though I'm sure there are a few others who might offer overlooked insights. (Never forget the wildcard.)

tvelocity
2003-Apr-22, 09:24 AM
Difficult call, but I lean toward robot probes. Today's scientific instruments are pretty well established, but I think to send those instruments directly towards the celestial objects we are trying to observe and beyond terrestrial noise and interference, would become a large priority within the astronomy community. I think you might see more electric-drive probes cruising throughout the solar system dropping landers on the moons of the outer planets, and maybe even nuclear-propelled probes making mad dashes toward the Kuiper Belt. I guess I'm saying that I think the most significant advances will be in increasing the specific impulse of space vehicles, with any luck, by the orders of magnitude necessary to do some serious exploring within reasonable timeframes.

kilopi
2003-Apr-22, 11:51 AM
(Never forget the wildcard.)
You...are a genius.

Reacher
2003-Apr-22, 12:00 PM
what excactly is interferometry?
i could google, but i cant be bothered, as im rather busy, and i will probably get a more understandable explanation here.

Glom
2003-Apr-22, 12:12 PM
what excactly is interferometry?
i could google, but i cant be bothered, as im rather busy, and i will probably get a more understandable explanation here.

I know how you feel. It's much easier to get the answer here.

Interferometry is the technique of using many smallish dishes positioned as an array to simulate a very large dish. You may have seen photos of these large arrays with loads of dishes all lined up. Those are interferometers. By using all of them in synchronisation, they get the resolving power of a huge dish. It's commonly used in radio astronomy because the long wavelength requires extremely large dishes to get good resolution.

A couple of months ago on the The Sky at Night (http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/spaceguide/skyatnight/proginfo.shtml), Sir Patrick was talking to the guy at Jodrell Bank about the refurbishments being made to their big fat dish and how they plan to use it in conjunction with radio telescopes all over the world to simulate a dish the size of the planet. 8)

Pinemarten
2003-Apr-22, 12:27 PM
I believe our planet may be unique. We should invest in signs of technology. It may come from under five kilometers of liquid silicon ocean. A dolphin-like critter with a radio transmitter?

nebularain
2003-Apr-22, 04:12 PM
OK, Chip - in that case, I go with the robotis. I beleive this has benefits to both astronomy and other Earth applications. Controlling a self-regulating robot (or however it works) across the solar system is pretty impressive!

I like G-K's idea of a new theory of physics, but there is no guarentee this will be discovered any time soon. Sorry.

ToSeek
2003-Apr-22, 04:13 PM
Interferometry is the technique of using many smallish dishes positioned as an array to simulate a very large dish.

You only need two, actually (though obviously more is better). When set up properly, two scopes doing interferometry have the same resolving power (though not the same gathering capacity) as a single scope with the diameter of the distance between them. However, you need to know that distance to within a wavelength of whatever radiation you're monitoring, which explains why space interferometry is so cutting-edge: it's very hard to determine a spacecraft's position to that degree of accuracy.

Kaptain K
2003-Apr-22, 04:22 PM
Planets. There is so much more we need to learn about if the specific conditions of our earth (% co2, N, O) are uniqe or very common. Are earth size planets common or reare? That is what we need to find out.
If you find oxygen, you have found life. It is so reactive, that it is not found free in nature. If you find chlorine or florine, you have probably found intelligent life (with a possibly terminal pollution problem).

kilopi
2003-Apr-22, 04:23 PM
OK, Chip - in that case, I go with the robotis. I beleive this has benefits to both astronomy and other Earth applications. Controlling a self-regulating robot (or however it works) across the solar system is pretty impressive!

I like G-K's idea of a new theory of physics, but there is no guarentee this will be discovered any time soon. Sorry.
No need to be sorry. :)

Unless you're sorry that you also can't provide a guarantee that those robots will be funded, built, and fully operational before 2050.

On the other hand, I think I can provide a guarantee about that new theory of physics, you can inspect it here (http://mentock.home.mindspring.com/index2.htm). It'll be based on a triangle, and three-valued in all things, even logic: True, False, and D*rnedifino.

kilopi
2003-Apr-22, 04:26 PM
If you find oxygen, you have found life. It is so reactive, that it is not found free in nature. If you find chlorine or florine, you have probably found intelligent life (with a possibly terminal pollution problem).
That sounds like an oxygenmoron.

Kaptain K
2003-Apr-22, 04:29 PM
However, you need to know that distance to within a wavelength of whatever radiation you're monitoring...
It is not so much knowing the exact separation, as controlling it to within a wavelength.

Chip
2003-Apr-23, 06:08 AM
I voted for the interferometry.
Although I'm a layman, I just feel that computers have been evolving so quickly in the last decades that some of that is bound to benefit astronomy (more).
That's why I voted for it too. Although interferometry has its origin way back in the 19th century, it is being developed today in combination with high speed computers, and excellent optics. There are arrays built today that can resolve detail of 1 milliarc-second wide. Much finer than the best seeing limits through the atmosphere, and ten times sharper than both adaptive optics and the Hubble Space Telescope!

Reference: Sky & Telescope, May 2003, Page 30. Article by Peter Lawson.

(I was amazed by the information in this article. I had no idea!) :wink:

newt
2003-Apr-23, 10:10 AM
The new guy votes for #4 (taking "beneficial advance" to mean to us humans). I think astronomy is at its' most basic, sentient beings gazing upwards and wondering if there are any more like us. Robotic missions still take too long to get new places, and are too limited in data transfer and size (and thus payload). New telescope designs (SIM, SIRTF, JWST, KEPLER, etc.) are so amazing that I wonder what's left to improve on. Finding another life-bearing planet would bring incentive, encouragement, hope...maybe also better reflection on how we conduct ourselves on this planet. Anyway, for those interested, the aforementioned missions will serve to prove technology and determine targets for the biggie: Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF). Check it out at planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF. Cheers.

nebularain
2003-Apr-23, 06:37 PM
Welcome to the Board, newt!

Good first post, BTW! :wink: