The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

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The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Uncle Sherm » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:34 am UTC

Today is the 43rd anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon. It took 8 years, including the fly-by missions to find a suitable landing place, to get there in 1969. I think we should go back, if for no other reason than to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Any thoughts?

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby blowfishhootie » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:27 am UTC

Uncle Sherm wrote:I think we should go back, if for no other reason than to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.


Fine, you pay for it.

EDIT: Sorry, realized a split-second after I posted this how rude that comment is. I don't mean anything toward you personally. I just think something as expensive as going to the moon should serve some greater purpose than "remember that we went there before." I think the huge budget cuts NASA has endured are criminally stupid and short-sighted, but what specifically do we gain by going back to the moon at this point? If there is some compelling interest, I say go for it, but not as a memorial.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby ahammel » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:08 pm UTC

Uncle Sherm wrote:Today is the 43rd anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon.

Or so They would have you believe :wink:
blowfishhootie wrote:I think the huge budget cuts NASA has endured are criminally stupid and short-sighted, but what specifically do we gain by going back to the moon at this point? If there is some compelling interest, I say go for it, but not as a memorial.

Isn't there a vague plan being kicked about to set up a semi-permenant installation on the moon and use that to launch various objects to the rest of the solar system? The justification being that it's easier to get to Mars if you start in a shallower gravity well.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby SlyReaper » Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:46 pm UTC

Uncle Sherm wrote:Today is the 43rd anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon. It took 8 years, including the fly-by missions to find a suitable landing place, to get there in 1969. I think we should go back, if for no other reason than to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Any thoughts?

Putting inflexible deadlines on rocket launches has historically proven to be an absolutely disastrous idea.

ahammel wrote:Isn't there a vague plan being kicked about to set up a semi-permenant installation on the moon and use that to launch various objects to the rest of the solar system? The justification being that it's easier to get to Mars if you start in a shallower gravity well.

That's another silly idea, since we still need to get all the materials for the rocket out of Earth's gravity well to begin with. We gain nothing by moving them to the moon first unless the idea is to use resources on the moon to construct the bastard. And if there's one thing we learned from the Apollo and subsequent robotic missions, it's that there's fuck all on the moon that's useful. The mass of the refining equipment we'd have to lug over there would be far in excess of any energy saving we'd gain from a moon launch.

No, if the idea is to build an interplanetary spacecraft, the only way I see that being feasible is to construct a ship in orbit. Something like the ISS, but with engines.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby poxic » Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

Also, moon dust is toxic. Not as in made of arsenic, but as in made of pain and glass shards. Teeny tiny glass shards. With sharp edges. And pain, and lung and equipment damage.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Uncle Sherm » Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:32 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
Uncle Sherm wrote:I think we should go back, if for no other reason than to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.


Fine, you pay for it.

EDIT: Sorry, realized a split-second after I posted this how rude that comment is. I don't mean anything toward you personally. I just think something as expensive as going to the moon should serve some greater purpose than "remember that we went there before." I think the huge budget cuts NASA has endured are criminally stupid and short-sighted, but what specifically do we gain by going back to the moon at this point? If there is some compelling interest, I say go for it, but not as a memorial.

I may be new here, but I've been on the internet many times before. No offense taken. :lol:

As for costs, the Shuttle Program was the biggest scientific boondoggle of all time, which is what tends to happen when engineers are left to their own devices. A return trip to the moon would make a great showcase for new technology that demonstrates how far we've come in 50 years, much better than 30 years of the shuttle program did. The Apollo program used a ship with the computing power of a modern cell phone. How far has our Rocket Technology come? How would a Falcon 9 Heavy compare to the Saturn V in terms of power and efficiency? How much farther do we need to go before we can contemplate a manned mission to another planet? All questions that can be answered by a real organized effort to go to the moon.

SlyReaper wrote:Putting inflexible deadlines on rocket launches has historically proven to be an absolutely disastrous idea.
In the short term, sure. After a frost in Florida, which caused the Challenger disaster, there should have been a more flexible launch window to recheck everything. But a 7 year goal to go from where we are to the moon, when in 1969 it took 8 years, should be relatively easy if we really are as advanced in that time as we let ourselves believe. It shouldn't even require much of an increase in NASA's budget.

SlyReaper wrote:
ahammel wrote:Isn't there a vague plan being kicked about to set up a semi-permenant installation on the moon and use that to launch various objects to the rest of the solar system? The justification being that it's easier to get to Mars if you start in a shallower gravity well.

That's another silly idea, since we still need to get all the materials for the rocket out of Earth's gravity well to begin with. We gain nothing by moving them to the moon first unless the idea is to use resources on the moon to construct the bastard. And if there's one thing we learned from the Apollo and subsequent robotic missions, it's that there's fuck all on the moon that's useful. The mass of the refining equipment we'd have to lug over there would be far in excess of any energy saving we'd gain from a moon launch.

No, if the idea is to build an interplanetary spacecraft, the only way I see that being feasible is to construct a ship in orbit. Something like the ISS, but with engines.

That was Von Braun's dream before the Apollo Officials abandoned the Earth-Orbit Rendezvous in favor of the Lunar Orbit model. The space shuttle program, if it had been as successful as it was conceived to be, would have already made such a goal feasible. Unfortunately, the plan of having 50 missions per year with a reusable space shuttle lived up to a tenth of that goal.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Uncle Sherm » Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:36 am UTC

poxic wrote:Also, moon dust is toxic. Not as in made of arsenic, but as in made of pain and glass shards. Teeny tiny glass shards. With sharp edges. And pain, and lung and equipment damage.

If anyone suffers lung damage on the Moon, something went very, very wrong. :wink:

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Meteoric » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:00 am UTC

When something goes wrong in space, there's enough to worry about without ALSO worrying about toxic moon dust floating around. I'm not talking about "take off your helmet and sniff that moon soil", just "fail to clean all the moon dust off when you go back inside", and according to Nasa, cleaning off that dust is very difficult (plus, in addition to being toxic, it just plain interferes with doing stuff on the moon's surface, by scratching things up and gumming hinges and joints). Jack Schmitt, one of the Apollo 17 astronauts, said that "the dust issue is one that just has to be addressed. It's going to be the major environmental issue for future missions to the Moon."

It's not an insurmountable problem, but it's definitely a problem, according to the people who know way more about it than you or I do, and certainly a factor in deciding whether more Moon missions are the best goal for the space program.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby SlyReaper » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:35 am UTC

Uncle Sherm wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:Putting inflexible deadlines on rocket launches has historically proven to be an absolutely disastrous idea.
In the short term, sure. After a frost in Florida, which caused the Challenger disaster, there should have been a more flexible launch window to recheck everything. But a 7 year goal to go from where we are to the moon, when in 1969 it took 8 years, should be relatively easy if we really are as advanced in that time as we let ourselves believe. It shouldn't even require much of an increase in NASA's budget.


Well the Kennedy speech simply said "before this decade is out", which is an extremely flexible deadline. They could have waited another year and a half and they would still have met that goal. However, scheduling a launch for a specific day to commemorate an anniversary, which is what you suggested in the OP, tends to end badly.

Uncle Sherm wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:
ahammel wrote:Isn't there a vague plan being kicked about to set up a semi-permenant installation on the moon and use that to launch various objects to the rest of the solar system? The justification being that it's easier to get to Mars if you start in a shallower gravity well.

That's another silly idea, since we still need to get all the materials for the rocket out of Earth's gravity well to begin with. We gain nothing by moving them to the moon first unless the idea is to use resources on the moon to construct the bastard. And if there's one thing we learned from the Apollo and subsequent robotic missions, it's that there's fuck all on the moon that's useful. The mass of the refining equipment we'd have to lug over there would be far in excess of any energy saving we'd gain from a moon launch.

No, if the idea is to build an interplanetary spacecraft, the only way I see that being feasible is to construct a ship in orbit. Something like the ISS, but with engines.

That was Von Braun's dream before the Apollo Officials abandoned the Earth-Orbit Rendezvous in favor of the Lunar Orbit model. The space shuttle program, if it had been as successful as it was conceived to be, would have already made such a goal feasible. Unfortunately, the plan of having 50 missions per year with a reusable space shuttle lived up to a tenth of that goal.


The new heavy launcher NASA are building should do the job, lofting ~70 tonnes of payload per launch. Like I said, we already know we can do it because we built the ISS, and Mir and Skylab before that. All we need to do is apply those same principles, and add an engine module, some fuel tanks, and lay out the whole thing so as to be able to survive the acceleration from the engines.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Soralin » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:59 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:The new heavy launcher NASA are building should do the job, lofting ~70 tonnes of payload per launch. Like I said, we already know we can do it because we built the ISS, and Mir and Skylab before that. All we need to do is apply those same principles, and add an engine module, some fuel tanks, and lay out the whole thing so as to be able to survive the acceleration from the engines.

SpaceX is also doing well on that front. Their Falcon Heavy should be able to loft about 53 tons to orbit, at $120 million per launch. And it's planned to launch next year, which would put them 4 years ahead of the first planned SLS launch.
Uncle Sherm wrote:How far has our Rocket Technology come? How would a Falcon 9 Heavy compare to the Saturn V in terms of power and efficiency? How much farther do we need to go before we can contemplate a manned mission to another planet? All questions that can be answered by a real organized effort to go to the moon.

Saturn V was massive, it could lift about 120 tons into orbit. In terms of fuel efficiency, there's been minor gains, the specific impulse largely depends on the fuel used, and we're still using the same sorts of propulsion. Either RP-1(refined kerosine) and liquid oxygen, or liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. And Saturn V might have the advantage there, it's RP-1 engines (F-1), aren't as efficient as the Falcon's Engines (Merlin), but it uses hydrogen for it's upper stages which is inherently more efficient per unit of mass. SpaceX does have a LH2 rocket in design stages (Raptor), for use on an upper stage, but that will probably be a while.

Manufacturing efficiency on the other hand is definitely in the favor of Falcon Heavy. With a planned launch cost of $120M, compared to the inflation adjusted $1.17B of a Saturn V rocket. It's an order of magnitude cheaper, and that could come down even further if they can manage to recover their spent stages for reuse, as they have planned.

If you wanted to do a manned mission to land on the moon with the Falcon Heavy, you'd need multiple launches, meet up and do refueling in orbit, or something similar, but that does require a bit of extra finesse. Fortunately, with computers and electronics extremely advanced over what was available back then, we have finesse in abundance. :)

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Thesh » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:12 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:That's another silly idea, since we still need to get all the materials for the rocket out of Earth's gravity well to begin with. We gain nothing by moving them to the moon first unless the idea is to use resources on the moon to construct the bastard. And if there's one thing we learned from the Apollo and subsequent robotic missions, it's that there's fuck all on the moon that's useful. The mass of the refining equipment we'd have to lug over there would be far in excess of any energy saving we'd gain from a moon launch.


The idea isn't that we would launch a rocket to the moon, and just use another rocket to get off the moon. It's that we would send rockets to the moon, and then use what is essentially a solar powered rail gun to shoot people to mars. At least, that's the idea I've seen.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby EdgePenguin » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:22 am UTC

We should explore space in order to utilise its resources, and become a multi-planet species. Such objectives are very long term, and I can't see us sticking with them. Much easier for politicians to promise cheap tax cuts, and capitalists to invest in companies that sell the latest and greatest in happy pills/erection enhancers.

Soralin wrote:Manufacturing efficiency on the other hand is definitely in the favor of Falcon Heavy. With a planned launch cost of $120M, compared to the inflation adjusted $1.17B of a Saturn V rocket. It's an order of magnitude cheaper, and that could come down even further if they can manage to recover their spent stages for reuse, as they have planned.


You can't compare the costs of a proven rocket with one that is, at the time of writing, still fictional. Paper projects *always* come out cheaper! Even if SpaceX can deliver everything it promises, on time and on budget - which historically, it hasn't been able to - Falcon Heavy is a considerably smaller rocket than Saturn V.

Or for that matter, Long March 9.

If we are going to be comparing launch systems that haven't flown yet, look at what the Chinese are doing. With Long March 5 and its derivatives close to flying, they are looking to the next step - which is a super heavy lift rocket. Incidentally, I think the LM-5 is capable of putting a Shenzhou capsule on a free return trajectory around the Moon on its own, and should be flying by 2014. If the Chinese choose to race, they would have a good shot at being able to send a person around the Moon before Falcon Heavy is ready to do the same, and could well have LM-9 ready before the only comparable launch system in development, the SLS, is available.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Max™ » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:25 pm UTC

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby mosc » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:12 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:We should explore space in order to utilise its resources, and become a multi-planet species.

Besides the urge to procreate like some intergalactic virus and some measure of species survival against planet-wide disaster, what purpose does this serve? The great success of the "space age" was a bunch of tech we use here on earth we didn't know we needed designed for surviving in space. The major funding for the "space race" was a competition of political ideals that had nothing to do with space. Flag waving on the moon and big dick foreign policy are hardly productive human achievements.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for space exploration. I just don't understand what business a squishy, heavy, inefficient, "ugly bag of mostly water" has in space. Hubble didn't require a human operator. The mars rovers are remotely controlled from far, far away. At best, we're repair men servicing a fleet of orbiting satellites and sometimes I question if robotic workers could even do those jobs cheaper.

I have a hard time justifying the biblically high costs of working in orbit let alone beyond. The international space station has depressingly few deliverables for it's cost. Until orbital life becomes a larger part of the human footprint, looking beyond the earth's orbit seems foolish. Unmanned space exploration seems to win the cost benefit analysis for me. What money we do want to spend on a human presence, I'd focus on orbit.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:53 pm UTC

mosc wrote:some measure of species survival against planet-wide disaster

I don't even see this one, really. By first approximation, space is hell. What kind of disaster could possibly make Earth worse to live on than the rest of the solar system already is? Even the dinosaur-killing meteorite left Earth with a breathable atmosphere, moderate temperatures, plenty of water, radiation shielding, etc. Indistinguishable from paradise, compared to any place off-planet.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby SlyReaper » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:20 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
mosc wrote:some measure of species survival against planet-wide disaster

I don't even see this one, really. By first approximation, space is hell. What kind of disaster could possibly make Earth worse to live on than the rest of the solar system already is? Even the dinosaur-killing meteorite left Earth with a breathable atmosphere, moderate temperatures, plenty of water, radiation shielding, etc. Indistinguishable from paradise, compared to any place off-planet.

Well for one thing, learning how to establish offworld colonies will be a great help in establishing onworld colonies if such a disaster ever did strike. Secondly, can it hurt to establish those offworld colonies in the first place? It means, in the event of the human race still being around in billions of years time, we'll have somewhere to live that hasn't been gobbled up by the expanding sun.

And what about a pure unbridled spirit of exploration? There's only so much a robot can do. A robot can bring back a few dust particles from an asteroid or the moon and take photographs of pre-determined things. An astronaut can haul back fuck-loads of moon rocks. An astronaut can oversee construction of useful things like a massive telescope on the far side of the moon with a gigantic mirror made of moon-stuff. An astronaut can take holiday snaps of a particularly interesting something that a robot would have missed. And who doesn't want to find out what it's like to swim in the methane lakes of Titan, or drill into the sub-surface oceans of Europa to see if there really is anything alive down there? Land on Io and witness the all-encompassing glow of the aurora where Jupiter's radiation belt slams into the tenuous atmosphere. Take a ship and see what Saturn's rings look like really close up - close enough that you could reach out and touch one of the chunks of ice. Land on Triton and have a fight using snowballs of nitrogen. Photographs and data from probes is fine, but all it really does for non-scientists is to tease them with what they can never touch.

It doesn't really matter if it serves a purpose. In the incredibly long run, everything we do will be pointless as the universe experiences heat death and life becomes impossible to sustain regardless of how advanced the technology might be. But that doesn't mean we just go "ah fuck it, let's not even bother". If we can make space travel cheap and safe, much like we made sea travel cheap and safe, and then air travel cheap and safe, then people will do what I described above for the sheer hell of it.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Soralin » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:39 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:
Soralin wrote:Manufacturing efficiency on the other hand is definitely in the favor of Falcon Heavy. With a planned launch cost of $120M, compared to the inflation adjusted $1.17B of a Saturn V rocket. It's an order of magnitude cheaper, and that could come down even further if they can manage to recover their spent stages for reuse, as they have planned.

You can't compare the costs of a proven rocket with one that is, at the time of writing, still fictional. Paper projects *always* come out cheaper! Even if SpaceX can deliver everything it promises, on time and on budget - which historically, it hasn't been able to - Falcon Heavy is a considerably smaller rocket than Saturn V.

True, but the Falcon Heavy isn't really that far off from being launched. I mean, They've launched a few Falcon 9's and those have costs around $50m or so I think, and a Falcon Heavy is basically a Falcon 9, with 2 additional Falcon 9's strapped to the sides of it (the first stages of them at least), and a crossfeed system. So there's not a whole lot of extra stuff or changes in manufacturing that need to be done to make it work. And yeah, you do need 3 of them or so to beat the Saturn V for lifting capacity, but it's still looking quite good in terms of $/kg.

EdgePenguin wrote:Or for that matter, Long March 9.

If we are going to be comparing launch systems that haven't flown yet, look at what the Chinese are doing. With Long March 5 and its derivatives close to flying, they are looking to the next step - which is a super heavy lift rocket. Incidentally, I think the LM-5 is capable of putting a Shenzhou capsule on a free return trajectory around the Moon on its own, and should be flying by 2014. If the Chinese choose to race, they would have a good shot at being able to send a person around the Moon before Falcon Heavy is ready to do the same, and could well have LM-9 ready before the only comparable launch system in development, the SLS, is available.

Yeah, looking at the stats, it looks like Long March 5, or at least the larger variants of it, could do that. Although a Delta IV Heavy should be capable of doing that too. And there actually is a planned launch of Orion on a Delta IV Heavy in 2014, but Orion is quite a bit heavier, and so you'd probably need more than that to lob it around the moon. Falcon Heavy is planned to launch a year earlier, and their Dragon capsule was already designed to be able to handle atmospheric re-entry from a lunar return. Although SpaceX would presumably need someone to provide funding for such a mission to them, so having the capability of doing so, and actually doing so, are two different matters there. But yeah, China has definitely been making good progress with its rocketry

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby EdgePenguin » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:02 am UTC

Soralin wrote:True, but the Falcon Heavy isn't really that far off from being launched. I mean, They've launched a few Falcon 9's and those have costs around $50m or so I think, and a Falcon Heavy is basically a Falcon 9, with 2 additional Falcon 9's strapped to the sides of it (the first stages of them at least), and a crossfeed system. So there's not a whole lot of extra stuff or changes in manufacturing that need to be done to make it work. And yeah, you do need 3 of them or so to beat the Saturn V for lifting capacity, but it's still looking quite good in terms of $/kg.


I think in rocket engineering, the word "basically" is often the last thing you hear before a gigantic explosion :)

Falcon Heavy is not a proven launch vehicle until it, not Falcon 9, puts a few things into orbit without blowing up.

Yeah, looking at the stats, it looks like Long March 5, or at least the larger variants of it, could do that. Although a Delta IV Heavy should be capable of doing that too. And there actually is a planned launch of Orion on a Delta IV Heavy in 2014, but Orion is quite a bit heavier, and so you'd probably need more than that to lob it around the moon. Falcon Heavy is planned to launch a year earlier, and their Dragon capsule was already designed to be able to handle atmospheric re-entry from a lunar return. Although SpaceX would presumably need someone to provide funding for such a mission to them, so having the capability of doing so, and actually doing so, are two different matters there. But yeah, China has definitely been making good progress with its rocketry
[/quote]

I can't imagine there being political will in the US to do it quickly. Delta IV/Orion is I think simply a high altitude Earth orbit, not a shot around the Moon. It will test if Orion can handle re-entry from interplanetary missions. Falcon Heavy probably won't be called upon, as NASA seems to like SLS for this mission, with the aim of doing it in 2019.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Soralin » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:11 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:I can't imagine there being political will in the US to do it quickly. Delta IV/Orion is I think simply a high altitude Earth orbit, not a shot around the Moon. It will test if Orion can handle re-entry from interplanetary missions. Falcon Heavy probably won't be called upon, as NASA seems to like SLS for this mission, with the aim of doing it in 2019.

Well, it wouldn't necessarily have to be funded by NASA. :) A number of people paid like $20 million to visit the ISS, and the Dragon can fit 7 (although that might get a bit crowded on a long flight). I'm sure there are a few people out there who would be willing and able to pay for a trip around the moon. :D

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Max™ » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:15 am UTC

Just to point out, there is only one thing that an astronaut can do which a robot can not quite manage.

NOTHING except this one task is better suited by sending a can of air and juice with a monkey inside a suit to go hop around on a rock, rather than a robot of some sort... or several for the same cost.


Now, that one thing is a big deal, I admit.


A person doing these things is inefficient, risky, costly, and generally stupid.

But fuck if it isn't awe-inspiring and an excellent motivation to do something beyond bicker over stupid fucking lines on a map, ideologies, or fossilized tree goop.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby mosc » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:40 pm UTC

Max, I don't think most people would react the same way as Edgar Mitchell and even if they did it would be the panacea you're making it out to be. And fuck, the cost we paid for Edgar Mitchell's perspective is unacceptably high.

As another poster asked, "what can it hurt?". It can hurt money. Money we could be using to protect our environment so we don't destroy the only sustainable place for human life we're likely to realize in our existence. Money can save lives. Quite frankly, it "hurts" lives. To put it bluntly, you kill people by sending Edgear Mitchell to the moon.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:53 pm UTC

That presumes that the money will be better spent. Mandatory birth control would work better for preserving what we have now. If we are going to stay in space then putting men in space is just not that more expensive than putting a satellite in space. Rockets only care about mass. Space in general has been a good thing. Deep space capability would be a good thing even if we never colonize. The moon is valuable because it is local, comparatively speaking.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:55 pm UTC

mosc wrote:Max, I don't think most people would react the same way as Edgar Mitchell and even if they did it would be the panacea you're making it out to be. And fuck, the cost we paid for Edgar Mitchell's perspective is unacceptably high.

As another poster asked, "what can it hurt?". It can hurt money. Money we could be using to protect our environment so we don't destroy the only sustainable place for human life we're likely to realize in our existence. Money can save lives. Quite frankly, it "hurts" lives. To put it bluntly, you kill people by sending Edgear Mitchell to the moon.


No no no no fucking no.

It costs fuck all. Compare the amount of money it costs to launch 100 rockets with the amount of money it takes to invade and occupy 1 country, or bail out 1 bank. Then tell me it costs a lot of money to send people to the moon.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:02 pm UTC

If it's so little, I'd like some.

Seriously, the Apollo program cost significantly more than, for example, the first Gulf War and the RBS bailout combined, with none of the upsides.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Puppyclaws » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:12 pm UTC

Compare the amount of money it costs to launch 100 rockets with the amount of money it takes to invade and occupy 1 country, or bail out 1 bank. Then tell me it costs a lot of money to send people to the moon.


Just because other things are also a waste of money, that does not really justify a space program. I'd like our government to get out of all three of those actions. Without leaps forward that essentially amount to "magic," our limited resources are not going to allow us to explore space further in any meaningful way.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:20 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:If it's so little, I'd like some.

Seriously, the Apollo program cost significantly more than, for example, the first Gulf War and the RBS bailout combined, with none of the upsides.

While that's true (my search indicates a cost of ~$170 billion for Apollo vs a $91 billion for the 1st Gulf War, both in 2009 dollars), it's also a bit of an unfair comparison. The costs for Apollo include all R&D spending in them, even though it included a lot of developments that were useful outside of the mission (integrated circuits, fuel cells, rocket technology advances, etc.), which are not costs generally included in war tallies. While I would say that you definitely can't write off all of the Apollo R&D costs (as much of it wouldn't have happened otherwise), I don't think it's fair to say that it didn't bring us noteworthy upsides. That money didn't just go into the vacuum of space and produce nothing useful other than some pretty pictures for the astronauts to put on their fridges.


Puppyclaws wrote:Without leaps forward that essentially amount to "magic," our limited resources are not going to allow us to explore space further in any meaningful way.

How do you propose to make those leaps of technological progress without actually investing in said technology?

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby EdgePenguin » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:35 pm UTC

Soralin wrote:
EdgePenguin wrote:I can't imagine there being political will in the US to do it quickly. Delta IV/Orion is I think simply a high altitude Earth orbit, not a shot around the Moon. It will test if Orion can handle re-entry from interplanetary missions. Falcon Heavy probably won't be called upon, as NASA seems to like SLS for this mission, with the aim of doing it in 2019.

Well, it wouldn't necessarily have to be funded by NASA. :) A number of people paid like $20 million to visit the ISS, and the Dragon can fit 7 (although that might get a bit crowded on a long flight). I'm sure there are a few people out there who would be willing and able to pay for a trip around the moon. :D


Unfortunately, that number is 7 people in 11 years. The commercial orbital manned spaceflight market is miniscule.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Puppyclaws » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Puppyclaws wrote:Without leaps forward that essentially amount to "magic," our limited resources are not going to allow us to explore space further in any meaningful way.

How do you propose to make those leaps of technological progress without actually investing in said technology?


Well since I don't believe in magic, I don't think it's possible for those leaps of technological progress to happen. I'm pretty sure we are not going to get past the problem of limited resources. So I am not interested in throwing money in that particular black hole, so to speak.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:55 pm UTC

Puppyclaws wrote:Well since I don't believe in magic, I don't think it's possible for those leaps of technological progress to happen. I'm pretty sure we are not going to get past the problem of limited resources. So I am not interested in throwing money in that particular black hole, so to speak.

By 16th century standards, a telephone would be a magical leap forward in technology. The investments made for all the intervening technologies to allow the telephone to happen were not just money being thrown away. While there is a difference in that I doubt anyone in the 16th century started a sustained effort to get us to the point of having a telephone, it's not as-if investments in space exploration just go "poof" -- the technologies developed for it don't just get tossed away afterwards. Think of how amazingly useful satellites are in the modern world, yet they might as well have started off as orbiting trophy stands. How hard is to imagine that we would find amazing uses for space stations that exist outside of Earth orbit, or a Lunar colony, or an asteroid mining, or... Is it really so inconceivable that we would find other significant advances to benefit those of us on Earth, out in the rest of the solar system?

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:32 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:The costs for Apollo include all R&D spending in them, even though it included a lot of developments that were useful outside of the mission (integrated circuits, fuel cells, rocket technology advances, etc.),

At first it sounds obvious that the Apollo program contributed a lot to rocket technology, but is there really much evidence for that, on closervlook? Even in the US, the major launcher families are not related to the program. The Thor/Delta, Atlas and Titan all derive from ICBM designs from the 1960s, developed quite separately from the Saturns, mostly for military purposes at first. Later rockets have even less in common with the Saturns, and foreign rockets were developed with even less links to Saturn.

The only thing I can find is the Space Shuttle main engine, which was related to the engines in Saturn upper stages. But for every other purpose, Saturn-related rocketry was apparently just too big, and people never used it again.

The same is even more true for the ICs. The Apollo's computers were based on RTL, a technology that basically died afterwards. While the future would be build on TTL and later CMOS, both of which were developed at the same time in completely unrelated efforts.

Think of how amazingly useful satellites are in the modern world, yet they might as well have started off as orbiting trophy stands.

Dear god no. The first American spy satellite was launched (in secret) in 1959, hardly a year after the Explorer. People were very,very aware of the potential of satellites. EDIT: some more examples: the first attempt at a weather satellite is also from 1959, with a better one launched in 1960. Useful communication satellites would follow in the next few years. Transit, the predecessor to GPS, was launched between 1960 and 1964. People were already developing these applications before Sputnik had even flown.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:59 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:At first it sounds obvious that the Apollo program contributed largely to rocket technology, but is there really much evidence for that?

Even with things not be based directly on that technology doesn't really mean that it didn't contribute to the advancement of that technology. Sure, they might have abandoned RTL* and the Saturn launchers, but that doesn't prevent other technology families from incorporating the lessons learned with them. From my quick reading, it would seem to me that the requirements of the Apollo missions meant that Saturn was a poor fit for a general purpose rocket, but they still would have learned more about rocketry in general while designing it. You would expect the same with integrated circuits; a lot of knowledge there might have been RTL specific, but there would also be a lot learned that could be applied to ICs in general. It wouldn't be implausible to me to think that they might have decided, in part, on what to switch to afterwards based on their experiences with trying to make RTL work as an IC.

* Fun note on that -- I had only seen RTL expanded to mean register transfer language, so I was confused as to how this made sense in context. I didn't know they used resistors and BJTs for those chips -- interesting! Though I rather enjoy CMOS from my experiences with it, and I never particularly enjoyed working with BJTs.

Zamfir wrote:Dear god no. The first American spy satellite was launched (in secret) in 1959, hardly a year after the Explorer. People were very,very aware of the potential of satellites.

I know they were aware of the potential, I was more highlighting that they didn't start off as being that significant to our quality of life. Nowadays we have a lot of benefits on things like GPS and all the communication satellites -- but the initial benefits from satellites (as far as I can surmise) were not that significant for civilians.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:27 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Zamfir wrote:At first it sounds obvious that the Apollo program contributed largely to rocket technology, but is there really much evidence for that?

Even with things not be based directly on that technology doesn't really mean that it didn't contribute to the advancement of that technology. Sure, they might have abandoned RTL* and the Saturn launchers, but that doesn't prevent other technology families from incorporating the lessons learned with them. From my quick reading, it would seem to me that the requirements of the Apollo missions meant that Saturn was a poor fit for a general purpose rocket, but they still would have learned more about rocketry in general while designing it. You would expect the same with integrated circuits; a lot of knowledge there might have been RTL specific, but there would also be a lot learned that could be applied to ICs in general. It wouldn't be implausible to me to think that they might have decided, in part, on what to switch to afterwards based on their experiences with trying to make RTL work as an IC.

But they didnt develop those things afterwards with the lessons incorporated. They partially even predate Apollo. TTL was developed for air-to-air missiles in the early 1960s, then became big with the cheap 7400 stuff from Texas Instruments. At that time, the Apollo computer was still under development.

Just like satellites, the potential of ICs was very clear in those days. It really didn't need a special boost. Missile guidance in general might have been a useful stepping stone, putting money in the process when it wasn't quite ready for the mass market. But by the mid-60s, that hurdle was past and ICs were going into the civilian market.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:06 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:But they didnt develop those things afterwards with the lessons incorporated. They partially even predate Apollo. TTL was developed for air-to-air missiles in the early 1960s, then became big with the cheap 7400 stuff from Texas Instruments. At that time, the Apollo computer was still under development.

That's a valid point (effectively killing my suggestion of using lessons learned to develop the replacement), but it still misses the general idea of what I was going for -- while there will be application-specific advances while working with that kind of stuff, there will also be advances that are not application-specific. While developing a processor you might discover a better way to handle cache that can be applied to processors in general, separate from their ISA, architecture, process node (and so on and so on) -- I am suggesting that they very well could have had those kinds of discoveries. Those discoveries would then filter through to TTL and CMOS. Similar idea with rockets -- maybe they found a better way to handle the fuel injection system (or something.. I'll admit that I don't know much about rockets), that they could then use in future rocket projects. Not all of the advances they would make in developing the specific technology would be difficult to apply to different project families within that field.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby mosc » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:21 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Mandatory birth control would work better for preserving what we have now.

This is the most horrendously stupid and manically horrible thing I've ever read on the internet. How arrogant must you be to make a statement like that. You sweepingly comment that what is essentially the MOST fundamental of human rights (procreation) should be taken away which is fucking lunacy but! The justification you use is even worse. You presume to know that bringing another person into this world will have a net negative impact on the world. Man, fuck you. You can't even imagine how horrible that is to say to millions of millions of people trying to have a kid. Who died and made you god with the omniscience to know what is to come? Maybe we should all go off ourselves to make the world a better place. Wow, you first my friend.

On TOPIC...

All this discussion about rockets and IC's misses the point that none of that has to do with the HUMAN BEING you're launching into space. Exploring space need to be completely separated from HUMANS in space. They are completely separate and often directly opposed goals.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby cphite » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:24 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:If it's so little, I'd like some.

Seriously, the Apollo program cost significantly more than, for example, the first Gulf War and the RBS bailout combined, with none of the upsides.


Upsides?

How about:
    CAT-Scanning
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    The modern microchip
    Improved batteries
    Improved efficiency electric motors
    Optical thermometers
    Freeze drying
    Improved insulation
    Transparent ceramics
    Memory foam
    Satellite television
    Scratch resistant plastics
    Improved rubber
    Smoke detectors
    Improved water filtration
    Improved air filtration
    Kidney dialysis
    Rotary blood pump
    Fiber optics
    Bar codes
    Fire-resistant fabrics

All of these things were invented as a direct result of the Apollo program; and most of them were revolutionary, world-changing things that improved lives and literally changed the world. The program accelerated technology beyond the dreams of the people who set it into motion.

What, exactly, were the revolutionary, world-changing upsides to the First Gulf War or the bailouts?

Dunno about you, but I would MUCH rather spend a hundred billion on another Apollo program than on dropping explosives on people halfway around the world, or even on bailing out banks.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby mosc » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:27 pm UTC

The monkey did all that. The humans that went up afterwards just gave us space bathrooms.

There's also a world of difference between a person in orbit and a person going to the moon.
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:41 pm UTC

mosc wrote:All this discussion about rockets and IC's misses the point that none of that has to do with the HUMAN BEING you're launching into space. Exploring space need to be completely separated from HUMANS in space. They are completely separate and often directly opposed goals.

Rockets and ICs are just easy to pick out. Sending a person to the moon still requires advances in life support, food storage, waste management, and everything else needed to keep somebody alive in a hostile environment for a moderately extended period of time. I expect that some of that is probably represented in cphite's list. Tossing a human into the mix also changes the viable timescales rather dramatically (doing a manned Pluto mission would require far more technology than what we needed for a something like Voyager), resulting in needs for further advancements in those subjects like rocketry and ICs in order to make the mission fit the new limited time profile. That is, after all, a huge part of why manned missions cost more in the first place.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:51 pm UTC

You don't need to justify the manned program with technology spinoffs or anything other than what it was, which was showing the will to do it. The ability to do it outside a military regime was perhaps most important outcome. The rockets themselves were product of the Second World War. But it demonstrated the ability to put a complicated project together over time, and the will to complete it. The astronauts were the sell. They were the faces of the program. Now there is a reason to keep the technology alive. We may need it. And it would be foolish to give up the manned capability, since the added cost is not all that great.


mosc wrote:This is the most horrendously stupid and manically horrible thing I've ever read on the internet. How arrogant must you be to make a statement like that. You sweepingly comment that what is essentially the MOST fundamental of human rights (procreation) should be taken away which is fucking lunacy but! The justification you use is even worse. You presume to know that bringing another person into this world will have a net negative impact on the world. Man, fuck you. You can't even imagine how horrible that is to say to millions of millions of people trying to have a kid. Who died and made you god with the omniscience to know what is to come? Maybe we should all go off ourselves to make the world a better place. Wow, you first my friend.


I see your in true form. Most of the problems we face environmentally are a product of having too many rats in a cage designed for two. I don't care if you don't like it. If your goal is to change the environment and save the world then look who's changing it for the worse. Take the space program away and you will have exactly the same situation you have today. Just no shiny rockets. We managed to change the climate without the benefit of rockets. We are able to track the changes better, see things earlier and basically do more to save people with the infrastructure developed by NASA. More ever the program gave a lot of children the idea that maybe they could change the world. The moon shot helped to kick off the environmental movement. As for you saying the space program caused deaths, bullshit.

mosc wrote:As another poster asked, "what can it hurt?". It can hurt money. Money we could be using to protect our environment so we don't destroy the only sustainable place for human life we're likely to realize in our existence. Money can save lives. Quite frankly, it "hurts" lives. To put it bluntly, you kill people by sending Edgear Mitchell to the moon.


Korea killed people, Vietnam killed people, and so on, I believe you get it. Power plants kill people. Cars kill people. People kill people. Forgive me if I think that you are slightly hysterical.

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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby Max™ » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:35 am UTC

mosc wrote:Max, I don't think most people would react the same way as Edgar Mitchell and even if they did it would be the panacea you're making it out to be. And fuck, the cost we paid for Edgar Mitchell's perspective is unacceptably high.

As another poster asked, "what can it hurt?". It can hurt money. Money we could be using to protect our environment so we don't destroy the only sustainable place for human life we're likely to realize in our existence. Money can save lives. Quite frankly, it "hurts" lives. To put it bluntly, you kill people by sending Edgear Mitchell to the moon.

I don't think you realized what I was saying.

There is nothing worth the time and effort it takes to send people into space as far as science goes.

There is a certain inspirational quality which manned spaceflight has, and I still get choked up a bit watching shuttle launches (though mostly because of the rather traumatic experience of watching Challenger blow up on tv as a 6 year old, but it's still an awesome spectacle dammit), but ultimately rockets aren't a good way to get out of a gravity well, and spending all that effort to leave one just to go climb down into another one seems silly.


As for the costs, I think there is something fitting there, because anyone who thinks the apollo program was as shitty on the cost/benefit scale as the gulf war is exactly the type who would benefit the most from velcro so they don't have to struggle with tying their shoes. :P
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Re: The 1st moon landing...43 years ago today.

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:26 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:If we are going to stay in space then putting men in space is just not that more expensive than putting a satellite in space. Rockets only care about mass.
Yeah, and life support is hella massive.

I'm not saying it's never worth that additional cost, but you can't just dismiss the fact that each person you launch needs a corresponding amount of space and air and water and food and protection from radiation, which isn't necessary with satellites. Estimates I've seen for a Mars mission put life support equipment alone at greater than the total mass of things we've sent there to date.
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