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Space: The Final Frontier


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#1 MoNuckah

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:52 AM

I'm kind of a Mars nut. Well, a space and astronomy nut too, so I wanted to start a thread for us to share and discus Space, space travel, and related technologies. I'll have some other cool stuff to add later, but for now:


I found this REALLY exciting. I thought you all might find it interesting as well.

http://www.baeinstitute.com/pr1.html

http://dialog.newsed...mp;rtcrdata=off

A new photon thruster that can get us to Mars in less than a week.

Thats huge. Current technologies take 6 months for the same voyage. A critical stumbling block and risk/cost multiplier has a practical and tested solution.

If we (and by we, I mean NASA) could combine this technology with Dr. Zubrin's (http://en.wikipedia....i/Robert_Zubrin) Mars Direct mission approach, we could have men on Mars for less than a 1/10 of the cost of the Iraq War. The Case for Mars is one of the most inspirational and exciting books I've ever read, I highly recommend it to those who feel humankind is capable and destined to reach beyond short sighted squabbles, and want a first step that matters and makes sense.

Imagine if mankind could be joined together and inspired by a cooperative effort to expand our species and knowledge beyond our incredible shrinking planet, instead of being mired in endless conflict over obsolete and dwindling resources and ideas.

Yeah, I can dream.

But I think this technology takes us one gigantic step closer.

Happy Friday,

Mo

#2 NJ Shlice

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 11:46 AM

I have a space question. How come we haven't gone back to The Moon? I know there are conspiracy theories that we never even went to the Moon. (not saying I believe that, I'd rather not formulate an opinion on something I know nothing about.) But I find it strange that we haven't gone back to the Moon, or if we have, we haven't seen any extensive footage of it. I know we cannot live on The Moon but I'm sure there is plenty to study, they could put Area 51 on the Moon, some Super Secret training facilities in a dome on the Moon, etc. Why no love for The Moon?

#3 quickshade

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:32 PM

We don't have a craft that can go to the moon is the problem.The amount of money to make the shuttle able to land on the moon is not worth it. And considering they just were rebuilt in 2000 for a billion dollars each or something it's pointless to spend more money on a ship thats been out of date for 10 years now. Computers have changed since the mid 80's and thats one of the big problems with the space shuttle. But if you start building a new spacecraft you have to cut back on current missions and start training everyone with the new tech of a new spaceship. So after the space station is completed in 2010 or whatever we should see a new spaceship prototype within 3 years. Then we can talk about the moon.

Edited by quickshade, 14 September 2007 - 09:33 PM.


#4 MoNuckah

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 10:09 PM

I have a space question.

How come we haven't gone back to The Moon?

I know there are conspiracy theories that we never even went to the Moon. (not saying I believe that, I'd rather not formulate an opinion on something I know nothing about.)

But I find it strange that we haven't gone back to the Moon, or if we have, we haven't seen any extensive footage of it.

I know we cannot live on The Moon but I'm sure there is plenty to study, they could put Area 51 on the Moon, some Super Secret training facilities in a dome on the Moon, etc.

Why no love for The Moon?



Unfortunately, there isn't much on the moon. Space travel is super expensive, so its not cost effective to go there yet. No atmosphere whatsoever makes it very difficult.

However, Helium 3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-3 is abundant on the Moon, so we may yet have reason to go. It could be a very big deal. THe Chinese going there is reason for us to go.

The real goal should be Mars. Much evidence of water in its geologically recent past, and many hints that lots of water is just under the surface over much of the planet. Once we have water, we have the main ingredients for air. Many other minerals found on Mars can be cracked using 18th century chemical reaction technology to provide us with the rest of the stuff we'll need there, like fuel, air and energy. The atmospheric pressure in the lowland canyons is thick enough for us to easily erect domes. This can all be done with technology literally off of the shelf.

This recent breakthrough with proton thrusters is like the icing on the cake.



I'm playing COD right now, but I'll get into more later.

#5 NJ Shlice

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 06:44 AM

I'm playing COD right now, but I'll get into more later.


Please do, this stuff is very interesting. Not only from a scientific, nerdy standpoint, but because this is our future, and space will be a very crucial part of this future.

What happens when countries are racing to Mars to establish civilizations. Who gets the right? World War V on a separate planet? Oh Noez!



Quickshade, tell me more about this space station, are they building a new one or something? Where is it going to be?

#6 quickshade

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 02:32 PM

the space station has alot of goals. It began back in 1997 but wasn't started until 2000 if my mind serves me correctly. It's a group effort (5+ countries I think) are helping NASA build a space station to help study the effects of space. Shockingly Another big challenge of space flight is how much "damage" it does to the body. No gravity and other space matter make the body lose alot of it's bone and muscle strength meaning longer space flights could be very harmful to humans. Thats one of the things they are studying up there.

Currently we are 2 years behind on building it because of the Columbia accident but we hope to be finished by 2010. It is awesome and when I was down in Florida in 2002 I saw a section being built. Amazing how much prep goes into it. Anyways check out the wiki for more info link

#7 CandyKid

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 03:56 PM

humm.. since it seems you guys are quite knowledgable in astronomy.. i have a question.. how could you high-jack another moon and put it in the Earths orbit?!?! cus in this vid we watched in class... the moon is eventually gonna break apart from our orbit.. and the earth would just be raped basically.. soo this one guys theory was to high jack another moon... and he was a professor and seemed credible.. any idea how this is possible!?!?! and i dont think we were ever on the moon.... but arent we going to the moon in like 2016? i mean.. if we can go in the 60's.. shouldnt it be easy to go now!!!

#8 SharpeWolfe

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 04:00 PM

In order to move a moon, one would either use a large number of rocket-type boosters, or large explosions. Possible, but rather difficult to achieve the proper orbit for it or get it to a Trojan Point.
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#9 Va1or

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 05:48 PM

I've been thinking about how a strict scientific naturalist would look at space travel and a few things strike me as heavy burdens that they must bear intellectually. Isn't it the prevailing scientific consensus that given it's current course, the universe will one day in the far future inevitably collapse upon itself and that all life and everything in it will be completely and utterly destroyed? Many doubt the human race would survive long enough to see such a day, having been wiped out long before by one cruel means or another. Almost certainly this would take place before humans would have had but an infinitesimal fleeting glance of the unimaginable expanse of space in our universe that, even now, expands. We will never see it all or know it all but the tiniest fraction of a fraction and even then, what good will it have done us? What is space exploration but an expensive practice in futility? Even the legendary trip to Mars, as heroic an undertaking as that would seem to us, would be akin to small children dipping their toes in shallow puddles on the galactic scale, let alone the universal one. Beyond that, all of our love and lives and all trace and thought of the courageous and heroic deeds of the human race will be lost forever. Not even a memory of a memory of us will remain. To call it a bleak outlook would be a gross understatement. What would you tell your kids? Would you be truthful and horrify them with the reality that everyone and everything they know and love will be erased from space and time? That's a tough pill to swallow.

Edited by Va1or, 06 November 2007 - 05:49 PM.


#10 txlonghorn

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 07:17 PM

I think this is a dangerous path to go down Valor, when you start trying to make your position sound best by making the other position sound bleak, logic leads people to think that neither is good and they are picking the best of the worst. Is it bleak to know that the existence of man depends on man, I don't think it is. I don't want to be bailed out by some supreme being because my race couldn't hang in galactic Darwinism. Yeah, its a tough thing to talk to a 4 year old about, but so is telling them santa clause isn't real.

#11 CandyKid

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 08:37 PM

0.0 santa isn't real! :unsure: :( ?!?! :yucky: well.. your point of view is very pesimistic valor..... you never can know what is for sure.. telling a 4 year old such a thing that wont effect him, i dont know if that would scare him.... but why not have more positivity to your posts.... :thumbsup:

#12 NJ Shlice

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 09:01 AM

On Topic: NASA getting to Mars would require a complete overhaul of their system. They're way out of date and too bloated to get anything done. It might be cheaper to eliminate NASA and start up an entire new agency, or farm it out to private corporations (make it competitive--not Halliburton style).



Werd.

Valor, I think to look at it as "Well we will never see the whole universe so why waste our time" is the wrong way to look at it. In theory, the benefits of studying Mars and its possible habitat are great, but like Mattacus said, we are nowheres near being able to go there.

I kind of think that space exploration should be put on hold, or started over until we have some new technological breakthrough that will make space travel/exploration easier,more plausible, or even possible. (cough Shaw-Fujikawa)

#13 Drew

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 11:34 AM

I'm a huge space buff, and it's usually for that reason that I tend to not get involved in topics involving space. I'll end up whittling away hours of my day and get nowhere. I will say this, however. With the recent advances in nuclear technology (especially the advent of nuclear fusion reactors), ion thrusters are becoming more and more an option in propelling payloads extremely far distances relatively quickly. NASA's HiPEP (High Power Electric Propulsion system) improves Ion engines' effectiveness ten-fold. In little more than a decade, we'll be back on the moon and have a manned mission planned for Mars. Technology is advancing at ever quickening rates, and even though it may seem impossible to explore our solar system on manned missions in our lifetimes, you'd be surprised at how much progress we're making. Think about this; in 2009 you'll be able to buy a ticket to fly in space for $200,000 with six other passengers on daily flights. Considering that it used to cost $30,000,000 for a single passenger once a year, this is a massive step. Space elevator research is continuing, and bar the monetary and political problems, it would actually be possible to construct one today. Anyway, sorry for going off on a tangent, but yeah. Space travel, while still difficult and expensive, is still much more possible than it was even ten years ago. I think we'll be seeing some pretty significant breakthroughs in the next few decades, and I personally can't wait.

#14 MoNuckah

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 01:02 PM

I've been away a little while. Lots of stuff going on in the world. Valor, I think that you miss the point of space travel, as well as the outlook of Realists. Yes, the universe is a huge expanding void, and yes, someday humanity may not even be a memory. But doesn't that make right now all that more important and special? Doesn't that make expanding humanity's reach to the stars more important? Carrying all of our eggs in one shrinking basket is the surest way to make sure Humanity does not continue. I don't think the truth is bleak at all. It is ripe with opportunity for us to better ourselves, as long as we choose to meet those challenges head on, and not lie to ourselves about a comforting but demonstrably false ideas of reality. When I discuss space with my seven year old daughter, she is in amazement. She is fascinated with space and stars, there is no harm in telling your kids the truth. In fact, you owe them the chance to decide for themselves whether they want to believe in an Iron Age story or observable fact. Let them decide what gives them the best understanding of reality, and how to best deal in a positive way with it. I think we humans are best when we are challenged. Our pioneering spirit is best engaged in great endevours and expanding our understanding of thel universe. I think its a good way to spend our short time we have. I believe we are very, very lucky to be alive, and for our best chances of continued survival as a species, we need to spread out to other places. Think about it strictly from a resources point of view. Humanity's population is growing at an exponential rate. We are consuming resources at an even faster rate. You cant have one without the other. So, we either use up everything we possibly can right now, poison the earth and leave our surviving ancestors doomed to eek out a living in a destroyed planet, or we learn to harvest the endless amount of raw materials in space. Read The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin. Seriously, anyone interested in space should buy and read it. This book made me almost cry at the opportunities we aren't engaging in. He lays out an amazing, realistic, practical and common sense plan to get human exploration started on Mars. We have the technology to do it, we've had it for years, its a matter of foresight and will. What would inspire Humanity more: more wars for effing SUV juice, or humans living and traveling to new planets? The resulting technology explosion alone would be crazy. We are finding out more and more about the Red Planet, and a couple of moons around saturn, that pointy to the very real possibility of bacterial life, if not multicellular alien life in our solar system. This isn't crazy talk, this is the idea behind the next round of proposed NASA probes. We have spotted nearly 300 extra-solar planets, and thats just been in the few years we've know what to look for. Chances are, we will spot 1,000s, if not eventually millions of planets. There is a very, very good chance that there are many habitable planets waiting to be found. Getting to those will be the trick. Instead of the Trillion dollars we're going to end up spending fighting in the Mid East, we could have a small colony started on Mars already. We could have robotic probes scouting the Kuiper belt looking for ore rich asteroids to bring back to Earths orbit for processing. Instead, we squabble over dwindling and obsolete resources, leveling both mountains and people to get at them. That to me is the definition of bleak. Be inspired by the wonder and majesty of our universe, look up at night in awe of what we could, should and hopefully will be doing up there someday. The unknown has a beauty to it that we should embrace, not recoil from.

#15 Blaze

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 01:20 PM

Valor, I think that you miss the point of space travel, as well as the outlook of Realists.

Oh shit, fasten your seat belts kids. Here we GOOOO...

#16 NJ Shlice

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 01:21 PM

Oh shit, fasten your seat belts kids. Here we GOOOO...


Please no. Fight in another thread.

#17 mattacus

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 01:56 PM

I believe in Christ. But I also believe in the value of exploring our universe. Everything was created for a reason. If He hasn't explicitly revealed the purpose of the stars and the other planets through his Holy Prophets, then it is incumbent upon us to figure it out. But that's just how I feel about it. I've always loved space and the possibilites out there. An interesting mid-20th Century Christian bit of science fiction is C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy starting with "Out of the Silent Planet," followed by "Perelandra." The third one takes place on earth, so it doesn't count.

#18 Va1or

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 06:26 PM

Oh shit, fasten your seat belts kids. Here we GOOOO...


I lol'd.

#19 MoNuckah

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 08:29 PM

I believe in Christ. But I also believe in the value of exploring our universe. Everything was created for a reason. If He hasn't explicitly revealed the purpose of the stars and the other planets through his Holy Prophets, then it is incumbent upon us to figure it out. But that's just how I feel about it.

I've always loved space and the possibilites out there. An interesting mid-20th Century Christian bit of science fiction is C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy starting with "Out of the Silent Planet," followed by "Perelandra." The third one takes place on earth, so it doesn't count.



I don't think belief in the supernatural and understanding the importance of space exploration has to be mutually exclusive at all.

I was just trying to point out that embracing the scientific view of our universe doesn't require arriving a nihilistic conclusion about our fate as a species. Quite the opposite. I'm not trying to get into a religion thing here, but it was posed as question 'why bother doing this stuff if its all going to blow up, I won't depress my kids with the truth'. It sounded like a misunderstanding.


Carl Sagans introduction in his book The Pale Blue Dot does a great job summarizing our tendency as a species to think small and to forget our scale in the cosmos.

Here's a nifty YouTube'd video of the intro.

Extrasolar planet hunting is really entering its own. Records being broken daily.

So.Cool.

#20 Va1or

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 09:53 PM

I don't think belief in the supernatural and understanding the importance of space exploration has to be mutually exclusive at all.


I don't either. If you read my post carefully you will see that I never said or implied that about myself. I said that if scientific naturalism was true, which I do not subscribe to, then space travel would be an exercise in futility (as would everything else really). I do believe that there are many good reasons for man to go to space and explore the unknown.

but it was posed as question 'why bother doing this stuff if its all going to blow up, I won't depress my kids with the truth'


Again, go back and read what I said. I never said I would not depress my kids with the truth. I simply do not believe it is truth.


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