Author Topic: Space exploration thread  (Read 155056 times)

Offline farawayred

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Space exploration thread
« on: December 10, 2011, 02:14:15 AM »
Mars is a difficult place to explore remotely. It takes years to prepare a mission and success is anything but guaranteed (just ask the Russians). The Russian Fobos-Grunt mission was extremely ambitious, very underfunded and underengineered, and (IMHO) had a marginal chance for success. But it's a pity, because it would have provided a piece of Mars back to Earth for analysis. NASA doesn't take the same leap-approach, they try turning the knob on the difficulty level incrementally. But this is very costly and requires new technologies at every level. How many remember the first Pathfinder rover, as big as a shoebox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Pathfinder)? How many know that the two MER rovers, Spirit and Opportunity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Exploration_Rover), were actually packed in the same shell (top right image in the Pathfinder link)? And they are big... But not as big as Curiosity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Science_Laboratory). Just look at the comparison of the three rovers in the picture at the bottom of the page. Curiosity is so big that the airbags technology is useless thereby the Sky Crane came about. Would it work? We'll find out next August, I suppose.

But that's not why I wanted to start this thread. After speaking with random people after the MSL launch on November 26, the general perception is that the mission was launched and we'll call in some time in August next year for the landing... Well, no. There is a lot of work to be done to verify the health of the spacecraft, instruments to be turned on, issues to be worked out, etc. So, I start this thread with the intention to raise awareness to that aspect of space exploration - arguably the more boring but critical one. I will keep posting periodic updates if there is significant interest and I would be happy to answer questions if I can.

Let me start with a picture from the launch (below). Did you know that the actual spacecraft is about the size of the MSL logo on the rocket (second from top)?

MSL status (Dec. 8) - safe and healthy. The spacecraft rotates with 2.05 rpm, the sun is at 36.7 degrees, solar array output is 684W, shunting 316W. Radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) output is 113W, battery SOC is 55% on each battery. Telecom is in the Cruise Nominal 2 configuration with a downlink rate of 25kbps and an uplink rate of 2kbps (no, there is no error, it's kilobits... Imagine that internet speed in your place...). No significant issues at work. The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) was turned on and will provide data throughout the voyage.

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Offline farawayred

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Re: MSL - a voyage to Mars
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2011, 06:14:36 PM »
The ACS (Attitude Control System) has been prepared for the execution of the first turn after launch scheduled for today, rover batteries are fully charged (just in case), and the command loss timer will be reset for 3 days. The RAD instrument will be turned off for the duration of the Turn #1.

No major issues at work. The thermal discrepancy data issue has been resolved, and the warm reset hiccup from Nov. 30 is still being investigated.

Outside flight issues, the major focus is on learning how to drill in simulated Mars environment, and investigating the limitations arising from the lifetime of the drill.
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Offline farawayred

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Re: MSL - a voyage to Mars
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2011, 04:41:57 PM »
Spacecraft update: Turn #1 was successfully executed, the spacecraft is sound and healthy and there are no significant issues at work.

At JPL: A significant victory in the fight for successful drilling on Mars - a successful completion of 1.5 drill lives at maximum stress (the second part of that tests will take it to 3X lives). Considering that the drill was used for 3X lives in prior experiment at mild conditions, it's a miracle that it didn't fall apart... Maybe there is a grain of truth in the joke that JPL stands for "Just Plain Lucky" ::)
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Offline farawayred

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Space exploration thread
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2012, 08:37:21 PM »
Is it a good idea to have a all-in-one space-related thread? I found a few threads on specific topics that come and go, but maybe we can concentrate the effort... Mods merge if you wish.

Congratulations on the successful Vega launch!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16956324

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Offline PROPER crazyemlyn72

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 11:27:30 PM »
good thread. my 2 cents. we have regressed since the moon landings, all that knowledge and expertise has been lost. if we had to go to the moon to save our planet i doubt we would get there. If we started a moon program tomorrow it may take 5 to 10 years before we could do it. i bet when we landed in 69 we all thought it we be a common occurance in 2012. we got that prediction well wrong.

the chinese might be motivated to go out into space to get resources. they might not be as worried about safety as westerners are. therefore they might progress quicker.

i would like to see that telescope put out beyond the moon. its do-able.

and nasa seems to be giving up, putting their hope in entrepreneurs of getting men into orbit. tis shocking so it is.

Offline G1 Jockey 4(betfair)

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2012, 11:03:29 AM »
to boldly go..........
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Offline farawayred

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2012, 04:12:31 PM »
to boldly go..........
Rather to boldly cut the NASA budget... 20% from planetary science as of yesterday...
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Offline It's Jimmy Corkhill

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2012, 04:50:18 PM »
Or fuck manned exploration off and send probes to the moons of the Solar System.

Titan, Europa and Enceladus all harbour pretty good hope for life. Fuck sending a man to Mars. Finding life elsewhere, as close as our own Solay System, would do more for the whole thing of space and it's exploration than sending a fella to Mars for a bit and then having to bring him back.
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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2012, 05:15:39 PM »
As a race we're pretty shite. Lobbed a couple of probes out of the solar system. Went to a moon that's a piss away from the Earth and haven't been back for years. Have managed a Space Station a few miles above the Earth and lobbed a few more probes into the Solar system before sticking a solar power bellend on the Moon.

I don't think we'll ever crack real space travel. The Yanks today said that they were going to pull out of pretty much everything.

If we get to Mars then China will be the country to do it.

But even then Mars is a hop, skip and a jump away compared to the billions of billions of billions of miles of travel we could do.

So pretty shite so far 1/10 humankind. Must try harder.
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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2012, 05:19:31 PM »
An ex-collegue of mine has just taken a job with Virgin Gallactic and will be one of first commercial Space Pilots, what are RAWK's thoughts on this venture or should that be adventure?  Will it lead to the want to go further into our known universe or just a jolly for the rich and famous?

EDIT - Here is a local news story about Keith.

http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/16673827/oro-valley-man-will-pilot-virgin-galactics-first-space-flight
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Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2012, 05:34:20 PM »


Personally I think they're going about it in the wrong way....they should be spending more money on space, and they should be concentrating efforts into finding a cheap and reliable way of getting big things into orbit.  If they can crack that, then suddenly you're opening up everything.....it would mean you could then, long-term, reduce the amount of money spent on space exploration, and by sharing it to the world you'd reignite the space race with not one other country but with dozens around the globe.
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Offline farawayred

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2012, 06:12:15 PM »
An ex-collegue of mine has just taken a job with Virgin Gallactic and will be one of first commercial Space Pilots, what are RAWK's thoughts on this venture or should that be adventure?  Will it lead to the want to go further into our known universe or just a jolly for the rich and famous?

EDIT - Here is a local news story about Keith.

http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/16673827/oro-valley-man-will-pilot-virgin-galactics-first-space-flight
I've always monitored that with interest, bt I've got no clue to what will transpire. It's clear that governments don't have enough money to pour in space exploration; bar ESA and JAXA to some extent, everyone else is on the decline. It's clear that space is not a commercially viable arena for private business. I think that the likes of Virgin are the future, their job is a pioneering one and I consider it a kind of "space charity". There is no telling (for an outsider) if the business model of targeting the mildly to filthy rich fraction of the population will work, but I do think they will invest and lose a lot of money.

There is a world of difference between making the Spaceship One flight to win a prize and getting people at the edge of space - safety and reliability. At that, no one comes close to that level at the Jet Propulsion Lab, not even other NASA centers, and even ESA is lagging significantly behind. There is deadwood at JPL, I can assure you, and we can be streamlined for better efficiency, but the effect of the current cuts will compromise the reliability of everything built here, bringing it (down) to NASA standard. Corners will be cut, probes will be lost, but no human life would be endangered. Virgin Galactic, Space-X and others will have to surpass that reliability by a large margin. That is the real challenge, and I wish them best of luck.
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Offline farawayred

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2012, 06:14:41 PM »
As a race we're pretty shite. Lobbed a couple of probes out of the solar system. Went to a moon that's a piss away from the Earth and haven't been back for years. Have managed a Space Station a few miles above the Earth and lobbed a few more probes into the Solar system before sticking a solar power bellend on the Moon.

I don't think we'll ever crack real space travel. The Yanks today said that they were going to pull out of pretty much everything.

If we get to Mars then China will be the country to do it.

But even then Mars is a hop, skip and a jump away compared to the billions of billions of billions of miles of travel we could do.

So pretty shite so far 1/10 humankind. Must try harder.
Pretty grim view, Andy...

But I think you have a point. We've gone backwards since the Cold War era and the first major symptom IMHO was the grounding of the Concorde. Flight was never the same afterwards.

Personally I think they're going about it in the wrong way....they should be spending more money on space, and they should be concentrating efforts into finding a cheap and reliable way of getting big things into orbit.  If they can crack that, then suddenly you're opening up everything.....it would mean you could then, long-term, reduce the amount of money spent on space exploration, and by sharing it to the world you'd reignite the space race with not one other country but with dozens around the globe.
Spot on.
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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2012, 06:34:35 PM »
I read somewhere that there is a substance commonplace on the moon that potentially can be used as a high output energy source.

If anything drives mankind back into space it will be commerce rather than merely the desire to explore.

Sad really.
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Offline DanFromMars

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2012, 07:30:33 PM »
Didn't that Brian Cox fella say that NASA makes more money off the space travel than it spends on them, or the shuttle programs selling off the technology.  Seems bizarre to cut them.

I think manned programs should be shelved until a better transport system is built.  Blasting up into the farthest reaches using old dinosaur slop is a bit silly.  Fusion power should make things a bit better and hopefully in the next few hundred years we'll be able to travel at immense speeds via new technology. 
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Offline farawayred

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2012, 07:53:47 PM »
Didn't that Brian Cox fella say that NASA makes more money off the space travel than it spends on them, or the shuttle programs selling off the technology.  Seems bizarre to cut them.

I think manned programs should be shelved until a better transport system is built.  Blasting up into the farthest reaches using old dinosaur slop is a bit silly.  Fusion power should make things a bit better and hopefully in the next few hundred years we'll be able to travel at immense speeds via new technology. 
NASA can't possibly be making money off technology as it is illegal to compete with private business. There is a lot of new stuff that has been developed for space, but private business is making the money. Especially from the shuttle program (which was promised to launch every other week, I kid you not!) But things that you find in your everyday life came from it - high-speed dentist drills (shuttle ceramic bearing technology), infrared thermometers in doctors offices (from satellite IR imagery), Matlab has largely been developed from JPL/NASA work, etc., etc. NASA (and other government agencies) transfers technology mostly through Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) programs; NASA pays the development cost of an item it can use, then the company makes money off of selling it to other aerospace companies.

As for the man program, it's catch 22. How many people are really interested in Mars robotic exploration? How many follow it? The news show a big discovery now and then, but they are few and far between. A rover on Mars (Opportunity) has been sending data all the time for 8 years (Spirit went silent after 7-ish), who has heard what's going on? These two rovers have been an astonishing success, considering that they were designed to operate for 90 sols (Martian day, ~25h)!!! In contrast, even a fart on the space station is probably televised, everyone talks about the Chinese, the Indians coming up, going to the Moon...

I agree wholeheartedly that robotic exploration has provided the most successful science return, but what most people don't know is that the success of a program practically kills it. The caveat is mission operation budget. If Spirit and Opportunity have completed the 90 sol mission as designed and were abandoned afterwards, over the next 7.5 years we would have saved probably about two billion dollars sufficient to cover the cost of the new robot (Curiosity). The success of the previous mission ate up another mission, simple as that... In contrast, the James Webb Space Telescope that is currently being built (by Goddard who don't have experience on such scale) has been overrun by a large margin and, as a result, more money are being dumped in it... Incompetence is being rewarded.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 07:55:51 PM by farawayred »
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Offline farawayred

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2012, 10:12:34 PM »
A bit of old news, but since it hasn't been posted, here is the link to an autonomous takeoff and landing video of a new private rocket - Xombie:
http://www.space.com/14596-xombie-private-rocket-landing-test.html

I believe the idea dates back to the 60s (along with other outside-of-the-box ideas like the "flying wing") and the first realization was in the early 90's. The McDonnell Douglas' Delta Clipper Experimental (DC-XA) was first tested in 1993, but in 1996 one of the struts failed to extend on landing and everything ended in a big fireball.
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/x-33/dc-xa.htm

Good to see a fresh look at old ideas!
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Offline Roady

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2012, 10:26:15 PM »
its crazy to think that in 40 odd years weve if anything gone backwards.Its a shame.
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Offline farawayred

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2012, 01:18:56 AM »
I came across an article about the "Wow!" signal, which has driven the search for extraterrestrial life since 1977! Enjoy!
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/the-wow-signal-one-mans-search-for-setis-most-tantalizing-trace-of-alien-life/253093/
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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2012, 01:23:44 AM »
Why have things gone backwards? Sorry just haven't been up to date with whats been going on in relation to the US space program.
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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2012, 01:58:12 PM »
Why have things gone backwards?
The Bush Administration? America has been digging itself into a hole over the past two decades or more. Maybe once China or some other rising nation starts to get ambitious about Space, then maybe that'll start a fire under the American's arses again in the same way the Cold War fuelled the space program back then?

Offline farawayred

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2012, 06:53:26 PM »
The Bush Administration? America has been digging itself into a hole over the past two decades or more. Maybe once China or some other rising nation starts to get ambitious about Space, then maybe that'll start a fire under the American's arses again in the same way the Cold War fuelled the space program back then?
As much as I wanted that to be true, the Bush administration gave more to the space program than Obama's... It was all a farce, of course. When Bush came, NASA had $80bn funding for 5 years. He announced that we'd go to the moon, build a base and take off from there to Mars... Added budget - $5bn over 5 years... Farce can hardly begin to describe it. Michael Griffin, Bush's NASA administrator, had a vision - he wanted to be the man who send people to Mars. He was formerly at JPL, and was rejected fro the director's post by Caltech, made it up top through DC and came back for a revenge. Oh well, it didn't last long.

Obama is doing something different - taking money from NASA and giving them to private businesses. NASA is being encouraged to transfer expertise to them, but that's doomed to fail. Sure, the efficiency will go up, but the level of safety never will. I can assure you first hand that I know no other area of technology that even comes close to providing such levels of reliability, redundancy, assurance and risk mitigation. And at that I would single out JPL and Johnson Space Center out of NASA, then the rest of NASA (Goddard are just learning), followed by ESA, then JAXA, etc. (All this is my personal view, not offense intended). Take Space-X for example. A private company, built by a billionaire (the PayPal founder, who also founded the Tesla car company), enjoying good relationship with NASA as they pre-fixed the price for their rockets that will substitute the shuttle. But the cost will skyrocket when they put all reliability requirements in place, then what? Corners will be cut and, I'm afraid, people will die. This is one area, IMHO, that should never go to the private business. No matter how expensive it is, the nation should carry the burden (a war could be stopped for a week to pay a year of funding for that after all...)
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Offline DanFromMars

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2012, 04:37:42 PM »


Astronomers have confirmed the existence of a new class of planet: a waterworld with a thick, steamy atmosphere.

The exoplanet GJ 1214b is a so-called "Super Earth" - bigger than our planet, but smaller than gas giants such as Jupiter.

Observations using the Hubble telescope now seem to confirm that a large fraction of its mass is water.

The planet's high temperatures suggest exotic materials might exist there.

"GJ 1214b is like no planet we know of," said lead author Zachory Berta, from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The planet was discovered in 2009 by ground-based telescopes. It is about 2.7 times the Earth's diameter, but weighs almost seven times as much. It orbits its red-dwarf star at a distance of just two million km, meaning temperatures on GJ 1214b probably reach above 200C.

In 2010, astronomers released measurements of its atmosphere. These suggested that GJ 1214b's atmosphere was probably made up of water, but there was another possibility - that the planet was covered in a haze, of the type that envelopes Saturn's moon Titan.
Hot ice

Mr Berta and his colleagues used the Hubble Space Telescope's wide-field camera to study the planet as it crossed in front of its star - a transit. During these transits, the star's light is filtered through the planet's atmosphere, giving clues to the mixture of gases present.
Hubble Hubble's observations can give clues to gases in the planet's atmosphere

The researchers said their results are more consistent with a dense atmosphere of water vapour, than one with a haze.

Calculations of the planet's density also suggest that GJ 1214b has more water than Earth. This means the internal structure of this world would be very different to that of our own.

"The high temperatures and pressures would form exotic materials like 'hot ice' or 'superfluid water', substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience," said Dr Berta.

The planet's short distance from Earth makes it a likely candidate for follow-up observations with the James Webb Space Telescope, which may launch by the end of this decade.

The study has been accepted for publication by the Astrophysical Journal.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17117030

Crazy planet that.  Loads of water orbiting a red dwarf.  Probably bubbling like a kettle the entire planet.  Also would the atmosphere contain oxygen from the gas released by the water?
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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2012, 05:54:06 PM »
You know you're old when you remember this happening clearly...http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17107817
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Offline farawayred

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2012, 06:22:30 PM »

Crazy planet that.  Loads of water orbiting a red dwarf.  Probably bubbling like a kettle the entire planet.  Also would the atmosphere contain oxygen from the gas released by the water?
If you are hinting at the possibility of life, oxygen is not relevant at all. When life started on earth, there was no oxygen in the atmosphere; it was produces as a byproduct of living things and it was toxic to them...

But the question of life, whether it exists elsewhere or not, is very much on everyone's mind. The quest for it is what defines us as a human race. I'm of the opinion that life not only exists elsewhere, but it can be found almost anywhere and virtually cannot be extinguished. Sometimes it's dormant and needs the right conditions to flourish, but the "seeds" are everywhere.
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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2012, 07:39:37 PM »
The conditions there probably wouldn't be all that different to some found on our own planet on the ocean floor near fault lines. Where it was once though life couldn't exist near active volcanoes at that depth with boiling sulphuric water, later found out that there is in fact life that can flourish in those conditions down there. The same could apply to that planet.

Offline farawayred

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2012, 09:41:16 PM »
The conditions there probably wouldn't be all that different to some found on our own planet on the ocean floor near fault lines. Where it was once though life couldn't exist near active volcanoes at that depth with boiling sulphuric water, later found out that there is in fact life that can flourish in those conditions down there. The same could apply to that planet.
I suppose it's possible (near the mantle), but highly unlikely, to have similar conditions on Earth. I glanced briefly through the literature and people quote an equilibrium temperature of ~560K (~285C) and GPa pressure range. This puts the water very close to the critical point (near the green-to-brown transition in the chart below), maybe even going up to the blue (solid) range. Pressurized water-cooled nuclear reactors is as close as we get to similar conditions - similar temperature but only ~0.01 GPa (125 atm). But perhaps the building blocks of life are being created there and if one day the planet cools...




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Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2012, 01:11:20 PM »
There was a good interview on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart yesterday where the guest, Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke very well on the need for space exploration.
"And on the pedestal these words appear: 'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains."

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2012, 03:57:07 PM »
There was a good interview on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart yesterday where the guest, Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke very well on the need for space exploration.
Could you give us the lowdown? Thanks in advance!
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Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2012, 04:02:32 PM »
Could you give us the lowdown? Thanks in advance!
Here's an article he did which is basically the same as what he was saying....

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/27/10521226-does-nasas-budget-need-a-boost
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Offline farawayred

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2012, 11:00:09 PM »
I had started an MSL thread before, but I'll put stuff in here from now on.

When MSL left, there was an anomalous event - the spacecraft charged up a few volts in spikes upsetting some electronic circuits. This has been put to rest; it's due to plasma interaction and won't happen again. But a few days ago there was another 'hiccup' - the CheMin instrument was turned on and it went to safe mode (powered itself off). Anomalies like that happen once in a while, but hopefully it's not anything serious as this is one instrument expected to produce a lot of the science data. The other one is the chemical analysis set, which uses a drill to get samples, but the drill has issues, which are not well understood at the moment...
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Offline Crosby Wych

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2012, 12:35:40 AM »
I read somewhere that there is a substance commonplace on the moon that potentially can be used as a high output energy source.

If anything drives mankind back into space it will be commerce rather than merely the desire to explore.

Sad really.

I believe it's a substance not found commonly on Earth that may allow us to finally crack, or at least get closer to cracking, cold fusion which would completely solve the energy issues on the planet right now and allow far more space travel etc. Could be wrong on that though.

The way it's going at the moment, unless there's some massive breakthrough out of nowhere (cold fusion or ways to travel at speeds that our current theories don't believe is possible) or some super genius comes along I don't think we'll see much more in our lifetime than a man stepping foot on moon, waving at the camera and hitting a golf ball to be honest.

The recessions hit hard, and I love Physics and space but you can see the situation the likes of Obama is in, it's hard to justify to the un-educated majority massive spending in a (what they would see as) "luxury" field whilst cutting jobs, public spending etc..
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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2012, 01:03:25 AM »
I'm sure this is utter nonsense but my Lad found this very helpful with his homework. Hes only twelve but its a great way for the kids (and adults) to see the World, Galaxy etc..

Sorry cant embed:

http://uploads.ungrounded.net/589000/589217_scale_of_universe_enhanced.swf



Offline farawayred

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2012, 01:36:21 AM »
The recessions hit hard, and I love Physics and space but you can see the situation the likes of Obama is in, it's hard to justify to the un-educated majority massive spending in a (what they would see as) "luxury" field whilst cutting jobs, public spending etc..
Just wanted to touch on that part in bold. Does 1.3% of the entire budget qualifies as 'massive spending'?
(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_federal_budget)

Unfortunately, this is a general misconception that I hear all the time. Half of the budget (understandably) goes to defense, but the entire NASA budget adds up to 1 week of the DOD one. Then, the entire NASA budget is $17bn, from which planetary exploration is $1.2bn, or 7% of that. So, 7% of 1.3% is less than 0.1%, or a penny for every $10 dollars we pay in taxes. Isn't that worth it? But, instead, planetary exploration is bundled with the entire NASA budget along with the man space program and some (what I consider) useless crap. The fact that what we know about the solar system comes mostly from planetary exploration is lost on many...
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Offline Shanks1965

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2012, 07:06:19 AM »
As a race we're pretty shite. Lobbed a couple of probes out of the solar system. Went to a moon that's a piss away from the Earth and haven't been back for years. Have managed a Space Station a few miles above the Earth and lobbed a few more probes into the Solar system before sticking a solar power bellend on the Moon.

I don't think we'll ever crack real space travel. The Yanks today said that they were going to pull out of pretty much everything.

If we get to Mars then China will be the country to do it.

But even then Mars is a hop, skip and a jump away compared to the billions of billions of billions of miles of travel we could do.

So pretty shite so far 1/10 humankind. Must try harder.
:)

Is there another Race or Lifeform that do it better that we could learn from?
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Offline Crosby Wych

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2012, 10:38:34 AM »
Just wanted to touch on that part in bold. Does 1.3% of the entire budget qualifies as 'massive spending'?
(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_federal_budget)

Unfortunately, this is a general misconception that I hear all the time. Half of the budget (understandably) goes to defense, but the entire NASA budget adds up to 1 week of the DOD one. Then, the entire NASA budget is $17bn, from which planetary exploration is $1.2bn, or 7% of that. So, 7% of 1.3% is less than 0.1%, or a penny for every $10 dollars we pay in taxes. Isn't that worth it? But, instead, planetary exploration is bundled with the entire NASA budget along with the man space program and some (what I consider) useless crap. The fact that what we know about the solar system comes mostly from planetary exploration is lost on many...

As I say, I was just playing devil's advocate. It's hard to educate the ignorant masses on such a topic as they'll just see sensationalist newspaper headlines causing a shitstorm.

I believe we should invest more money into space exploration if anything, particularly unmanned probes.
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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2012, 10:57:30 AM »
:)

Is there another Race or Lifeform that do it better that we could learn from?

Almost certainly.

Doubt they visit the Earth and fly around though.
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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2012, 05:17:03 PM »
Find the Mass relays and we'll be sound.
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Offline Baraka

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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #38 on: March 18, 2012, 10:54:35 PM »
Find the Mass relays and we'll be sound.

Yeah but then we gotta fight the reapers.
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Re: Space exploration thread
« Reply #39 on: March 18, 2012, 11:21:53 PM »
Yeah but then we gotta fight the reapers.
Scaring me now lad.
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