1074: "Moon Landing"

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Max™ » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:17 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
Max™ wrote:Anyone who doesn't wanna go live in Antarctica or Siberia is less crazy than someone wanting to go to Mars, as both are far less harsh environments than Mars is.



1) "Harsh living conditions" are only a small, small fraction of the reason why someone might be terrified to go to Mars. There's also the matter of the months-long journey through space to get there and the inability to return.

2) How do you define harsh? There are plenty of things that would be pretty tough about life on Mars that you would not encounter in Siberia. For example, you know, being crushed by the vacuum of space or whatever the hell would happen, I don't even know. Or literally never once being able to breath without a machine.

3) Nobody has ever lived on Mars, so you don't know this anyway. If we already knew exactly what it would be like for people to live on Mars, there wouldn't be much reason in going. Except for colonization I guess, but certainly no scientific endeavor.

Uh, you don't get crushed by vacuum, you freeze (and boil if you're in the sun), your lungs (and intestines) attempt to equalize their pressure, your eardrums probably pop as well, I wouldn't open my eyes, I can't imagine having them freeze would be fun... but yeah, Mars isn't a vacuum.

Close enough though, given that it's only got 0.08~ psi on average compared to the 14~ psi we're sitting under, and it's like 95% CO2 as well.

It ranges from 130 to 300 K (Antarctica goes from 184 to 288 K) with low enough pressure that even on the occasions that its warm enough for liquid water, the pressure is still far too low for it to be found in a stable state.

Did I mention the gravity is low enough that once you got accustomed to living there, you could probably never walk on Earth again without a exoskeleton of some sort?

Oh yeah, you're only SLIGHTLY safer from the solar wind on Mars than you are floating around in space, as it has jack squat for a magnetic field... so yeah, choosing between cancer and life underground?


I mean, it's a neat idea, but it's just ridiculously hostile and adds the complications of getting down into or back out of a gravity well... for what?
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Wnderer » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:25 pm UTC

SerMufasa wrote:My point was that:
1) If someone is really interested in going to Mars, they probably haven't thought it all the way through: the training, the psychology, having to read Red Mars, etc. I'd be concerned that such a person might not understand the gravity of the situation.
2) Someone who is both really interested and has thought it all the way through is probably a scarier proposition and even less likely to be eligible to go.

A trip to Mars combines two contradictory social aspects: you're both isolated (from the rest of the Earth) and forced together (with the other members of the expedition). It's fraught with issues.

There's a debate whether a moonbase is necessary as a stepping stone to a Mars settlement. I think it is. I think we need to determine exactly how to handle the psychology of a (most-likely) one way trip to Mars in an environment when people can be removed from the situation if necessary.


Magellan sailed around the world in a crowded little wooden boat with a crew that mostly couldn't read or write. Lewis and Clark traveled across the U.S. Both these trips had dangerous environments, hostile people, dangerous animals and no way to phone home for months on end. A Mars mission will be in continuous if delayed contact with Earth and mostly have to deal with technical issues. No grizzly bears, hurricanes or angry natives.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Max™ » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:38 pm UTC

Wnderer wrote:Magellan sailed around the world in a crowded little wooden boat with a crew that mostly couldn't read or write. Lewis and Clark traveled across the U.S. Both these trips had dangerous environments, hostile people, dangerous animals and no way to phone home for months on end. A Mars mission will be in continuous if delayed contact with Earth and mostly have to deal with technical issues. No grizzly bears, hurricanes or angry natives.

30 minute communication delay, planet wide dust storms, and no backup to help you out when the technology you're relying on to keep the environment from killing you has a glitch.

Comparing a trip across the pacific ocean to a nice sunny island to a trip to mars is silly.


Imagine if Magellan took the equipment and know-how he had and went to Antarctica, and he had to remain there for 2 years before he could even consider coming home.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby SerMufasa » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:39 pm UTC

Magellan didn't complete the trip, and without Sacajawea Lewis and Clark probably don't complete theirs. Plus there was an expectation of return. The situations aren't analogous.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Max™ » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:52 pm UTC

SerMufasa wrote:Magellan didn't complete the trip, and without Sacajawea Lewis and Clark probably don't complete theirs. Plus there was an expectation of return. The situations aren't analogous.

I know, he died in the Philippines, hence the bit about a nice sunny island across the Pacific.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby am3930 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:52 pm UTC

Some people are always going to want to be the first to do something, to get their names in history books at any cost. Some have put more thought into it then others and have a better understanding of the risks. If that's the kind of person you are so be it. A great many things would never have happened if everyone played it safe. Columbus wouldn't have tried to sail what? 3/4ths of the way around the world. Early glider tests would have waited till people worked out some solid means to maintain stability...

At the same time I'd say people are probably a little smarter if they don't try to do things that are ape-shit insane.

Nothing personal but there's room for more then one kind of person in this world. No reason to get worked up because other people have different dreams.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Wnderer » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:21 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
Wnderer wrote:Magellan sailed around the world in a crowded little wooden boat with a crew that mostly couldn't read or write. Lewis and Clark traveled across the U.S. Both these trips had dangerous environments, hostile people, dangerous animals and no way to phone home for months on end. A Mars mission will be in continuous if delayed contact with Earth and mostly have to deal with technical issues. No grizzly bears, hurricanes or angry natives.

30 minute communication delay, planet wide dust storms, and no backup to help you out when the technology you're relying on to keep the environment from killing you has a glitch.

Comparing a trip across the pacific ocean to a nice sunny island to a trip to mars is silly.


Imagine if Magellan took the equipment and know-how he had and went to Antarctica, and he had to remain there for 2 years before he could even consider coming home.


These were journeys into the unknown. A trip to Mars is a journey into the known.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby SerMufasa » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:24 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:I know, he died in the Philippines, hence the bit about a nice sunny island across the Pacific.


I was responding to Wnderer, not you. Stop posting when I post! :wink:

Regarding
"Nothing personal but there's room for more then one kind of person in this world. No reason to get worked up because other people have different dreams."

That's the whole point. People who have a dream to go to Mars are not a good choice for the first trip. We won't need poets and artists. We'll need professionals who feel an obligation to go, not a desire.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Max™ » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:24 pm UTC

am3930 wrote:Some people are always going to want to be the first to do something, to get their names in history books at any cost. Some have put more thought into it then others and have a better understanding of the risks. If that's the kind of person you are so be it. A great many things would never have happened if everyone played it safe. Columbus wouldn't have tried to sail what? 3/4ths of the way around the world. Early glider tests would have waited till people worked out some solid means to maintain stability...

At the same time I'd say people are probably a little smarter if they don't try to do things that are ape-shit insane.

Nothing personal but there's room for more then one kind of person in this world. No reason to get worked up because other people have different dreams.

Note, I do advocate setting up orbital colonies, asteroid mining, lunar bases and mines, and even think it would be awesome to see aerostat colonies floating around Venus, since it's the most habitable environment in the solar system besides Earth.

Temperatures in comfortable ranges coincide with pressures in comfortable ranges around 50~ km up, you can use the fucktons of energy floating around between thermoelectric tethers hanging into the hotter atmosphere and solar panels on every inch of your craft (since the clouds below you reflect enough sunlight to be useful) would let you do things like crack CO2 with hydrogen (which you'd need to bring in, unfortunately, but can use as a lifting gas) and feed the products into various plants for recapturing the hydrogen, making usable water, oxygen, and hydrocarbons.

There's sulfuric acid, true, but hydrocarbons can make polypropylene which laughs at battery acid (and makes AWESOME nigh-unbreakable bokkens, had the big one for a year, short one for half a year, and the only signs of what they've been through is scuffs and scrapes) among other things.

Nitrogen and Oxygen in a breathable mix is a lifting gas on Venus about 60% as buoyant as Helium is here on Earth, combining a couple of lifting shells with Helium, Hydrogen storage tanks, and the atmosphere in the habitat itself you'd have to really work at it to risk sinking, and with pressure similar between the inside and outside, any leaks aren't fail-deadly like they are with a spacecraft, though Martian habitats would have to deal with dramatic depressurization if punctured.

Best of all: even 50 km up you are still pulling about .9 G so you don't have to worry about atrophying or being unable to go back to Earth.

I recall reading that there is a trajectory which could let you swing in towards Venus, stay there for a period of time, swing back out to Mars, stay there for a bit, then return back to Earth.

Image
Image
Image
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/vexag/may2008/p ... Landis.pdf
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi. ... 047211.pdf
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby boradis » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:31 pm UTC

Orlando wrote:I was taught journalism by a sharp and scrutinizing professor who'd been one of the first women to receive a PhD from her institution... she steadfastly insisted the moon landing had been faked. You can throw all the sound arguments you want at some people's skepticism, but they'll find a way to maintain it. My guess is hers was powered by cynicism towards the American political system more than anything else.


Letting your emotions get in the way of the facts is neither sharp nor journalistic. All humans are fallible in this way, but that's pretty bad.

Anyhow, the reason we haven't sent humans back to the Moon or beyond is simple. With current technology it's still really, really, really hard, dangerous and expensive, and produces few scientific benefits that an unmanned probe can't. Or at least none that are valuable enough to outweigh the dangers and cost.

The biggest problem is propulsion. Liquid rocket fuels like (mixing LOX with Kerosene or liquid hydrogen) is not much different from riding a MOAB Slim Pickens-style and jumping off at the last moment. More powerful propellants are either insanely unstable chemical combinations or straight-up radioactive.

Its not a lack of motivation either, because there is TONS of money to be made just in better delivery systems for satellites and missiles. The world's telecommunications companies and military branches are ridiculously hungry for better systems, but despite lots of research there isn't one yet.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby webgrunt » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:43 pm UTC

bassguy wrote:So I've been lurking here for months and finally had to register - did anyone else have sinking feeling as they read this one - "it's been forty years since we've been on the moon?!" - please god tell me I'm not that old...

Many things seem like they were just yesterday - yesterday is having to account for a larger and larger time frame... I swear it was just a couple years since all that moon stuff...

J


You know what's sad when you think about it? In one billion years, we'll all have been dead for about a billion years.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby BrianB » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:45 pm UTC

philip1201 wrote:I heard this from my cosmology professor, so it's not a primary source, but she said the lander wasn't filled with fuel exactly to prevent this from happening. Wikipedia concurs.


You spelled cosmetology wrong. And anyway, what would a hair stylist know about lunar landings?

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby BytEfLUSh » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:47 pm UTC

I thought someone would've already posted this, but anyway:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6MOnehCOUw
Image

Image

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby webgrunt » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:49 pm UTC

boradis wrote:
Anyhow, the reason we haven't sent humans back to the Moon or beyond is simple. With current technology it's still really, really, really hard, dangerous and expensive, and produces few scientific benefits that an unmanned probe can't.


Be that as it may, sending people into outer space produces the most valuable scientific benefit possible: the survival of humanity. We know a big meteor or comet is coming and it's doing to kill all people on the earth. This will happen. We just don't know when. So we don't know how much time we have to start learning how to live in space and/or (more likely) terraform other planets.

We as a species have our faults, but I think we have a lot of potential and we're worth saving.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Max™ » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:51 pm UTC

boradis wrote:
Orlando wrote:I was taught journalism by a sharp and scrutinizing professor who'd been one of the first women to receive a PhD from her institution... she steadfastly insisted the moon landing had been faked. You can throw all the sound arguments you want at some people's skepticism, but they'll find a way to maintain it. My guess is hers was powered by cynicism towards the American political system more than anything else.


Letting your emotions get in the way of the facts is neither sharp nor journalistic. All humans are fallible in this way, but that's pretty bad.

Anyhow, the reason we haven't sent humans back to the Moon or beyond is simple. With current technology it's still really, really, really hard, dangerous and expensive, and produces few scientific benefits that an unmanned probe can't. Or at least none that are valuable enough to outweigh the dangers and cost.

The biggest problem is propulsion. Liquid rocket fuels like (mixing LOX with Kerosene or liquid hydrogen) is not much different from riding a MOAB Slim Pickens-style and jumping off at the last moment. More powerful propellants are either insanely unstable chemical combinations or straight-up radioactive.

Its not a lack of motivation either, because there is TONS of money to be made just in better delivery systems for satellites and missiles. The world's telecommunications companies and military branches are ridiculously hungry for better systems, but despite lots of research there isn't one yet.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby SerMufasa » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:57 pm UTC

webgrunt wrote:Be that as it may, sending people into outer space produces the most valuable scientific benefit possible: the survival of humanity. We know a big meteor or comet is coming and it's doing to kill all people on the earth. This will happen. We just don't know when. So we don't know how much time we have to start learning how to live in space and/or (more likely) terraform other planets.

We as a species have our faults, but I think we have a lot of potential and we're worth saving.


But remember the valuable lesson we learned in Flash Gordon: it was because Zarkov was right that the Earth was to be destroyed. We may not like what we find!
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:04 pm UTC

FourTael wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
JudeMorrigan wrote:But ... how is this like a politician or a police officer? We're not talking about people who are going to be in a position of power. I don't see how the situations are analagous.

I was just commenting that people who desperately want power are exactly the wrong people to have it. I think anyone who doesn't want to go to Mars or Luna or whatever is crazy.


I think that people that make this argument seriously misunderstand things. The vast majority of police officers and politicians don't seek the job for power, they seek it to help people. That's largely why the political parties choose them.


How would we test this? A small minority gets convicted of horrible misbehavior. For police that includes rape, murder, false arrest, bribery to avoid arresting criminals, and bribery to falsely arrest innocent people (who do usually have enemies, or why would anyone pay to get them jailed) etc. Is it that a few of the police are criminals, and the rest catch them and throw them out? Or is it that they are typical of the rest, but they accidentally get caught, or perhaps they are the ones who cause trouble for the rest and get taken out this way? How would we find out which is the case?

I've seen reports about individual ex-policemen who claimed their particular police departments were entirely corrupt, and they tried to reform them but got booted out. I've met four individual policemen from four different police departments who told me privately that their own departments were entirely corrupt but they personally tried to do good whenever they got the chance. I knew two separate children of policemen in different places, who told me that all such stories had to be false because no real policeman would tell, that they know it is death to tell such stories. One of them said that the police were like the mafia that way. The other said that the police kept stricter omerta than anybody else. I have not known any children of police who disagreed. This is all anecdotal data, though, and does not really prove anything.

It might be possible to test the idea. Secretly arrange to put spy cameras etc in a few thousand patrol cars, bug the cars so the police don't know about it. Check how many of the police using those cars incriminate themselves. If it's only a small fraction then that would be evidence that most of the police are not crooked. But if they find out about the testing, that would invalidate the results.

With politicians, though, I think there is every reason to think that publicly-disgraced officials are the ones that are considered more useful as an example to the rest than as blackmail targets. Particularly when interns are involved. It would be so easy to frame a politician for trying to seduce male interns, for example.... And it's nationally important. People are willing to put a whole lot of effort into making sure legislators vote the way they want. We have the Church Commission evidence that the FBI used to do it. We have various FBI agent autobiographies detailing it. Do we have much reason to think the FBI has stopped doing it?

A Republican legislator who votes independently presumably has a constituency that will not believe scandals about him. Otherwise he would either be driven out of office or blackmailed into submission. The same could be true for many Democrats.

People always point out the <1% of politicians and police officers that clearly want power and end up in the news because of it. Spotlight fallacy? Bah. If the news tells us that these few politicians and/or police officers are power hungry, well that must be true for all of them.


Clearly, politicians and policemen who get caught and made public examples of, are not representative of the rest. They would only be representative if they were caught at random. Their example doesn't tell us about the rest. So we don't know about the rest. There is no more reason to believe that the others are good than there is reason to believe that they are bad, based on this information.

Edit:

Laserdan wrote:Of course, scientific studies are generally propaganda by whoever pays for it (that's how the system works, champ!)


Sadly, this isn't entirely inaccurate in some fields, most especially anything dealing with what we put into our bodies. Especially if you only read the abstracts.

Of course, anyone that knows anything about statistics can see from full texts, but how many of your family members read full text studies and have enough statistics training to spot when one is crap and another isn't?


Particularly in medicine, you have to know as much as possible about the subject material. While medical researchers routinely draw utterly unwarranted conclusions from their studies, it is often still possible to get some value from the work.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Tynach » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:26 pm UTC

It was a soundstage on Mars.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby SerMufasa » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:39 pm UTC

Tynach wrote:It was a soundstage on Mars.


Tell that to Louis Armstrong!
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:45 pm UTC

I like to advocate for space research in the following way:

If we had the technology it would take to colonize anywhere off the Earth, we could build 100% self-sustaining self-contained cities anywhere on Earth; and not just the quarter of it that's relatively dry, either.

If we had the technology it would take to make anywhere besides Earth comfortable enough to talk a walk outside, we would never have to worry about climate change or anything like it again; and on an Earth-sized planet, that technology would just be the aforementioned technology scaled up a lot.

So lets keep doing the rocketry stuff and exploring with robots, and meanwhile work on colonizing the middle of the Sahara, Antarctica, and the bottom of the Ocean, as testing grounds for the Moon, Mars, and Venus. Along the way we'll also increase the habitable area of the Earth over fourfold, solving large parts of the overpopulation problem, and solve basically all environmental problems in the process (via efficient recycling of everything and efficient transfer of heat to and from the environment, both of which would be absolute necessities for any kind of extraterrestrial habitat). The Earth is nothing but a really big space ship with no engines. Environmental and resource management problems here are just a big, sloppy version of the same problems we'd face living in space.

So shoot for the moon. The Earth will be better off for it, even if in the end we decide it's not worth going to the moon after all.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:50 pm UTC

webgrunt wrote:Be that as it may, sending people into outer space produces the most valuable scientific benefit possible: the survival of humanity. We know a big meteor or comet is coming and it's doing to kill all people on the earth. This will happen. We just don't know when. So we don't know how much time we have to start learning how to live in space and/or (more likely) terraform other planets.

We as a species have our faults, but I think we have a lot of potential and we're worth saving.


This is why I worry about humans in space.

How long is it likely to take before we get a meteor which kills everybody on earth?

Suppose we go into space, and within a hundred years or so we get the technology that can make such a meteor miss the earth. Given human politics, how long is it likely to take after that before somebody does in fact send such a meteor to hit the earth on purpose?

Given human beings the way they are now, we are safer to hope a meteor does not hit us, than we are to go into space.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby armandoalvarez » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:09 am UTC

Look, everyone, there's no reason at all to send humans to Mars until you either A. get the cost of getting into down sufficiently that individuals, companies, universities, etc. can send things to Mars or B. Terraform Mars. If Terraforming Mars is possible, it will take centuries.
In the meantime, there's nothing that we want to do from a science/exploration standpoint that can't be done more efficiently and incomparably more cheaply with unmanned probes. As xkcd has shown, we've gotten incredible amounts of science from Spirit and Opportunity http://xkcd.com/695/ . The total Mars Rover program cost $940 million (including the extensions of the mission from 90 days to 8 1/2 years and counting). The marginal cost of one space shuttle flight was $450 million. If I were head of NASA and you came to me and said, "Armando, we can cancel two shuttle flights or we can cancel the Mars Exploration Rover program. What should we do?" I would say, "How is that even a question?"
It's very expensive to get humans into space and not kill them. Sometimes despite the hundreds of millions of dollars, you still kill them. In the case of a Mars program, you might drive them insane or destroy their bone structure, or give them lethal doses of radiation in the process. All because it makes for a better photo op to have a man standing on Mars than a robot. If you're going to attempt colonization before terraforming, you're basically just sending people to live in a bunker, growing vegetables, analyzing rocks, and never seeing their families again. Great accomplishment. We can get all the geology done with an unmanned probe, maybe with a sample return, incomparably more cheaply.
It made sense to have a manned space program in the '60s. Robotics were primitive. Now there's nothing we want to do scientifically that takes a human. Since we have a limited budget, we can't be wasting half our budget sending humans into low earth orbit, let alone wasting our whole budget sending them to Mars.
NASA two goals for the foreseeable future should be accomplishing our various scientific goals through the unmanned space program (space telescopes, Mars rovers, probes to the outer planets, etc.), and bringing down the price of getting things into space. Once you do that, you'll have tourists on Mars, crazy religious hermits making Martian colonies (like the Plymouth Bay colony), university geologists going to Mars, mining companies scouring the solar system, pioneers setting off to Mars just for the challenge, in short, everything we dreamed about the possibility of space as kids. But as long as it's going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars to get to another planet, I'd rather spend NASA's $18 billion budget on unmanned probes that get real science done than sending tourists to tell us how pretty it all looks.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby JimsMaher » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:11 am UTC

"if the Earth were a basketball, in 40 years no human's been more than half an inch from the surface."

Well, it's all kinda lifeless and inhospitable out there. No readily collectible gems or precious metals to scoop up by the fistful. It's simply not cost effective for our financial societies at this time to run off and play explorer much faster than we have. Yes, we have instinctive imperatives for wanderlust, but at our current stage of development, it's some wonder we've gone as far into that vacuum desert as we have.

COLONIZE MARS!

MSL lands on August 6th, 2012 ... if you squint, you might just see a photon or two of it during atmospheric entry.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby armandoalvarez » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:31 am UTC

webgrunt wrote:
boradis wrote:
Anyhow, the reason we haven't sent humans back to the Moon or beyond is simple. With current technology it's still really, really, really hard, dangerous and expensive, and produces few scientific benefits that an unmanned probe can't.


Be that as it may, sending people into outer space produces the most valuable scientific benefit possible: the survival of humanity. We know a big meteor or comet is coming and it's doing to kill all people on the earth. This will happen. We just don't know when. So we don't know how much time we have to start learning how to live in space and/or (more likely) terraform other planets.

We as a species have our faults, but I think we have a lot of potential and we're worth saving.


This is such a silly reason for having manned spaceflight (until we have the technology for terraforming, but that's going to take centuries of preparation and trillions of dollars if it's possible at all, and it won't require humans during the prep work). Until you can terraform the planet you want to colonize, you're basically talking about sending maybe 1000 people to grow vegetables underground in a lethal environment. If the earth were destroyed, those thousand colonists are going to die off, period.
Anyway, think about how much we've advanced between the Titanic (100 years ago) and now. If we stick to unmanned spaceflight for 100 years, we'll probably bring the cost of spaceflight down tremendously. If it cost even $50 million per person to go to Mars, you'd have companies going there, rich tourists going there, well-funded scientists going there, you name it. And we'd definitely be having rich people trying to live there just to be pioneers. From a geological/biological perspective, the chance of the earth becoming uninhabitable in the next hundred years is about the same as it becoming uninhabitable tomorrow (~0). So there's no rush.
Anyway, if your big worry is an impact event, wouldn't it make incomparably more sense to develop technology to save the earth from impact events and save billions of lives rather than spend trillions of dollars on helping maybe 1000 people survive for a couple years on Mars?

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby whateveries » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:51 am UTC

wait. this is heading dangerously close to "the Giant Space Goat" scenario.
it's fine.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby JustDoug » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:50 am UTC

kevinjardine wrote:
If you can't understand the desire to go somewhere yourself rather than stare at pictures all day, then I pity you.


Do you really think that the ambitious exploration of the solar system (and with Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer etc. the Galaxy and the universe) that NASA has undertaken for the last few decades is about "pictures"?

If so, I think you have a very limited view of science. With these robotic craft we have all actually gone very far indeed.

;)

Kevin


The other thing you're leaving out in this argument is that an Astronaut on the surface of Mars would not bog down in a pile of sand nor have to have their hand held every meter they moved. Also, the flexibiity in gathering samples and impromptu original toolset use...

Screw it; let's keep it simple. It's much, much better when you're there on the spot exploring rather than trying to do it remotely by running a fancy RC car with a screwdriver and digital camera taped to it that has control lag up the ying-yang.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby armandoalvarez » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:24 am UTC

JustDoug wrote:
kevinjardine wrote:
If you can't understand the desire to go somewhere yourself rather than stare at pictures all day, then I pity you.


Do you really think that the ambitious exploration of the solar system (and with Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer etc. the Galaxy and the universe) that NASA has undertaken for the last few decades is about "pictures"?

If so, I think you have a very limited view of science. With these robotic craft we have all actually gone very far indeed.

;)

Kevin


The other thing you're leaving out in this argument is that an Astronaut on the surface of Mars would not bog down in a pile of sand nor have to have their hand held every meter they moved. Also, the flexibiity in gathering samples and impromptu original toolset use...

Screw it; let's keep it simple. It's much, much better when you're there on the spot exploring rather than trying to do it remotely by running a fancy RC car with a screwdriver and digital camera taped to it that has control lag up the ying-yang.


Yeah, but the rover only got stuck in the mud after almost six years. The human would probably have died a dozen times before then. And the human has to go inside to avoid radiation. And who knows how the human will fair on the trip there (more radiation), whether they'll go insane from isolation and kill themselves, kill the other crewmembers, whether they'll survive a dust storm. The round trip would mean what, four years for you to get there and back and have the orbits line up? Failure means killing someone, driving them insane, giving them cancer, etc. for the cost of at least a dozen unmanned missions. Whatever flexibility is gained from having a human there does not make up for increasing the cost of the mission by a factor of ten (at the very least). Better to have ten robots, or one robot with ten times as much spent on programming it (so it can be more indepedent).

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:23 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I like to advocate for space research in the following way:

If we had the technology it would take to colonize anywhere off the Earth, we could build 100% self-sustaining self-contained cities anywhere on Earth; and not just the quarter of it that's relatively dry, either.

If we had the technology it would take to make anywhere besides Earth comfortable enough to talk a walk outside, we would never have to worry about climate change or anything like it again; and on an Earth-sized planet, that technology would just be the aforementioned technology scaled up a lot.


This is an old argument. When I was a kid people talked about how the space program resulted in lots of "spin-offs" for the civilian economy. Space blankets. Space pens. Corning ware. Etc. My college geology teacher's response to that argument was that if it really works that way, we can spend the money for research on civilian stuff, and then run the space program on the spin-offs from that.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:51 am UTC

I don't see that as significantly different at all. The point is to dissolve the "we need to go to space to get off this doomed rock" vs "we can't afford pie-in-the-sky dreams when we have more immediate problems at home!" debate with "the same technologies are useful for both things. Lets develop them and put them to progressive use here as they improve and then when they're good enough move on to the really hard stuff like the dark vacuum of space."
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Eternal Density » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:08 am UTC

michaelmalak wrote:There has already been another fake: 9-11.
So what did NASA do with all the people who are supposed to be dead? And where are the towers now? Or are they still there but invisible?
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:22 am UTC

Duh, they were transported to the far side of the moon to form the basis of the top secret new lunar colony.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:26 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I don't see that as significantly different at all. The point is to dissolve the "we need to go to space to get off this doomed rock" vs "we can't afford pie-in-the-sky dreams when we have more immediate problems at home!" debate with "the same technologies are useful for both things. Lets develop them and put them to progressive use here as they improve and then when they're good enough move on to the really hard stuff like the dark vacuum of space."


Sure. Except we can't afford all that research stuff because the economy is so bad.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:51 am UTC

Which is not a problem of any real resource shortage, but an organizational problem of the way we use and distribute the resources at our disposal. We have, if anything, a glut of manpower available, which is probably the biggest resource needed in such an endeavor. I'm not making any definitive claims on this point, but it is at least an interesting hypothesis that a large-scale long-term project like this might help better focus our organization and use of resources, and thus help our economy.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Eshru » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

webgrunt wrote:
bassguy wrote:So I've been lurking here for months and finally had to register - did anyone else have sinking feeling as they read this one - "it's been forty years since we've been on the moon?!" - please god tell me I'm not that old...

Many things seem like they were just yesterday - yesterday is having to account for a larger and larger time frame... I swear it was just a couple years since all that moon stuff...

J


You know what's sad when you think about it? In one billion years, we'll all have been dead for about a billion years.

To be fair, there is at least some chance that some of the people here are young enough that they will live long enough to have their consciousness (sp?) uploaded into some form of machinery and live for tha billion years. Unlikely, sure, but possible.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby SerMufasa » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:47 pm UTC

Eshru wrote:To be fair, there is at least some chance that some of the people here are young enough that they will live long enough to have their consciousness (sp?) uploaded into some form of machinery and live for tha billion years. Unlikely, sure, but possible.


Not with current manufacturing standards. Maybe a decade, tops.

EDIT: I can just imagine the electronic intellects all panicking due to Y10K.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:52 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Which is not a problem of any real resource shortage, but an organizational problem of the way we use and distribute the resources at our disposal. We have, if anything, a glut of manpower available, which is probably the biggest resource needed in such an endeavor. I'm not making any definitive claims on this point, but it is at least an interesting hypothesis that a large-scale long-term project like this might help better focus our organization and use of resources, and thus help our economy.


I agree with you about the manpower. Maybe we have another limiting resource. In the short run we have a limited amount of cheap fossil fuel, and all our energy alternatives look expensive too. This is probably solvable, but we have organizational problems on that front as well.

I can imagine that a large-scale long-term project might help us get focus. However, the US government already has a large-scale long-term project. They anticipated that as the Chinese government gets stronger, it will develop a military that will threaten the free world. So we must create a military that can defeat China within the next 30 years or so. Preparing for this, the US government made precisely the right threatening gestures against China to get them to increase their military spending, thus demonstrating the growing Chinese threat.

How can a new project compete with that one? It would have to better meet our needs. I've found it useful to think that people and organizations have a hierarchy of needs, and the highest needs take priority. The highest need is a sense of identity. People will do whatever it takes to affirm who they are. Second is excitement. Third is security.

Americans traditionally thought of ourselves as pioneers and innovators. But when the frontier was gone that image dwindled. Still it could fit. We had a sense of manifest destiny, an idea of taking what was ours. When we ran out of America to take that dwindled. We took the Philippines and talked about spreading democracy, but we had no stomach for a long expensive occupation. That was our only real colonial effort apart from latin america which has always been our punching bag. (And South Korea. And of course Iraq.) Still, we strongly feel the duty to make the world safe for democracy. The Chinese government oppresses their people, it runs giant slave labor camps, and we will nuke them if we can stop them from nuking us back.

So to get the USA into space, we would need to strongly emphasize our pioneering innovative spirit, and also come up with reasons why we must succeed. A space-based solution to global warming? A looming catastrophe like a giant meteor which will hit us in 30 years unless we start preparing now? A space-based source of cheap energy? Missile bases dug into the moon, where they cannot be attacked but can attack anywhere on the surface of the earth?

Assuming we can at least get a draw on identity, then there's the competition between the excitement of space versus the excitement of war with China. That's tough.

Say we can get a draw on excitement. Then we have the security of setting up a vibrant world economy that can tame the solar system, versus the security of winning the war against the biggest economic and military threat the world has ever seen. If present trends continue for the next 30 years, the chinese population will be 4 times the size of the US population and the chinese economy will be 10 times as big, and the US military will be facing an opponent that outspends them by 2 to 4 times. To win such a war the USA must rely heavily on secret weapons. And to keep the weapons secret, they must first do lots of secret military research, and then prevent anybody else from duplicating that research. They would have to be careful not to fund research which might lead to discovering secrets, and also influence foreign nations not to do so by all means including assassinating foreign scientists who are heading in forbidden directions.

But sharing a space program with the rest of the world works directly against this approach. We can't do both. Either we have our war with China (which might include a military space effort, with the details kept secret and every effort to keep civilians and foreign governments out of space) or we have a world effort for space exploration and development. And if the USA chooses the war route, can the rest of the world ignore us and proceed with a serious space program?

The USA desperately needs a competing long-term plan. I'm not sure that space travel is the best choice, but it's one of the choices. But then, it would be much easier for the USA to collapse than to change focus that way. A militant USA that resembled North Korea needn't stop a world effort into space, and a USA that split into several quarrelsome parts wouldn't be that much of a threat to anybody else.
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Eshru » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:45 pm UTC

SerMufasa wrote:
Eshru wrote:To be fair, there is at least some chance that some of the people here are young enough that they will live long enough to have their consciousness (sp?) uploaded into some form of machinery and live for tha billion years. Unlikely, sure, but possible.


Not with current manufacturing standards. Maybe a decade, tops.

EDIT: I can just imagine the electronic intellects all panicking due to Y10K.

Once uploaded, transferring to a new 'shell' should be easy. In theory. Easier at least.

Edit: Keeping the first successful transfer alive would be a priority as well, I'd assume.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby webgrunt » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

Eshru wrote:...there is at least some chance that some of the people here are young enough that they will live long enough to have their consciousness (sp?) uploaded into some form of machinery and live for tha billion years. Unlikely, sure, but possible.


Not sure how that would work. I suppose it might someday be possible to read a brain and make a simulation of it, but the simulation ifs not the thing. When you die, you're dead. Your "mind" may exist in some other machine or entity, but that's not you, it's just a copy of you--you're dead.

Out of concern that I might be threatening someone's security blanket surrounding the fear of death, I will say that being dead is almost certainly not bad at all. All reasoning would point to the experience of being dead as the same as what you experienced before you were conceived. I don't have any memories of bad times back then, so I have no reason to suspect I'll dislike being dead.
Last edited by webgrunt on Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:29 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby nitePhyyre » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:49 pm UTC

That all depends on how you answer "What makes you, you?"

For a lot of people the answer is: "I think therefore I Am."
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Re: 1074: "Moon Landing"

Postby Max™ » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:52 pm UTC

Ship of Theseus, etc.
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