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(Originally posted on: 12-05-14 08:41:22 AM)
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Reply 1 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-05-14 10:42:58 AM)
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I have such mixed feelings about this.
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Reply 2 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-05-14 01:10:54 PM)
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Why?
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Reply 3 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-05-14 10:36:19 PM)
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Manned spaceflight is mostly a waste of money from a scientific perspective, and the tension between the budgets of NASA's manned program and research programs is something that the public and congress don't understand. On the one hand, manned space programs are good for public perception, public outreach, and international relations (and they're just cool and uplifting). On the other, they are not scientifically productive on a per dollar basis. As someone who is paid off of NASA grants and who spends a significant amount of time each year competing for observing time on NASA spacecraft and NASA research grants, I'd definitely like to see NASA's budget grow, but not on the manned side (Congress separates those budgets on the federal level).
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Reply 4 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-05-14 10:48:56 PM)
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Do you buy the argument that the cool and uplifting missions bring more money into NASA as a whole, which may bring more money in for the research side?
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Reply 5 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-05-14 11:02:29 PM)
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It's not clear, which is part of my mixed feelings. I could believe it either way. Manned missions have value, such as the intangibles you listed and the other things I mentioned, as well as economic (and some scientific, just not much per dollar). It's just hard to see what the broader impact on research funds is. And it's just personally frustrating on a somewhat irrational level, because the things that could be done with that money....
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Reply 6 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-05-14 11:55:41 PM)
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That's what I figured. Makes sense.
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Reply 7 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 12:20:51 AM)
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To be perfectly honest with you, I'd also prefer if NASA focused less on manned missions and more on research-related missions. There's so many fascinating programs that could not only increase our awareness about the cosmos, but improve our own way of living. Yet, I've watched over the last two decades how those programs get shafted or consistently delayed. It's really depressing.
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Reply 8 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 01:02:22 AM)
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Or how about we slash the defense budget and assign it to NASA and do BOTH.
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Reply 9 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 01:10:27 AM)
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So admittedly admit that I don't know much about this, and I may very well be falling for some con, but I wish there were more ambitious manned missions happening. I agree with everyone that the research and robotic missions are more valuable scientifically and for technological development and to increase our understanding. And I think we shouldn't have to try to come up with tricks to wow the public in order to get that kind of research funded (so my argument in my other post is not what I'm arguing here). If the process of dividing up public money was at all legitimate, more money would be spent on that. People don't need to be convinced with spectacles that scientific research is valuable and important.

The reason I want more manned missions is because they are exciting and capture our attention and get us excited and wanting to know more. Like I said, I don't think Mr. Joe Average needs to be convinced that it's good to invest in scientific research, but I do think that there is a good chance that he won't ever know that he himself is interested in science unless he gets a tangible sense of what it can do. Or maybe I'm just full of shit and just think it would be sooooo cool if we had humans running around on Mars. Since my argument is not very coherent, that may very well be the case.
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Reply 10 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 01:30:35 AM)
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It's actually great that people are interested in any missions that NASA does. I'm also, admittedly, a bit biased here when it comes to unmanned research projects. I've never cared much for the manned missions. Other missions have captured my attention more. Take for example the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to Hubble and Spitzer. Once, or if it is ever launched successfully, it'll have the ability to peer into the depth of space like never before. It will help us discover planets around other stars - maybe even figure out what they're made out of and what they actually look like. It will help us figure out how the universe came to be and what happened in the early universe. It may even help answer unknown questions regarding dark matter. That's just one experiment. There's so many cool ones...

But we've lost a few over the years to funding cuts and a focus on manned missions. Take for example the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, which may have helped us figure out what's going on under Europa's icy surface or the Mars Telecommunications Orbiter which was to prove a concept for interplanetary Internet (and might have affected how we use Internet on Earth) due to a continued fascination with putting a person on a one-way trip to Mars. It just sucks that certain projects get shafted or even just delayed time and time again. Anyway, rant over.

EDIT: I dunno, I have nothing against a manned mission to Mars, but at this point in our history I've tended to see it as an unfortunate excuse. On the one hand people want to see a human on another planet because it's cool and awesome, just like how I guess unmanned projects are also cool and awesome. But, on the other hand, there's this latent notion underscoring a manned Mar's mission that there's an urgent need to get off this planet. I sometimes see it being imagined as a means to "move on" from Earth, when what we really should be doing is finding ways to make our survival on Earth more tenable, you know? Instead of focusing on getting to a planet which died in its childhood (and which would take a lot of time and effort and money to get to and live on), maybe we should be putting our main focus on figuring out how to keep Earth from becoming inhospitable to us in the meantime.
This reply was last edited on 12-06-14 01:41:22 AM by Sunn O))).
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Reply 11 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 01:51:47 AM)
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Well yea, I don't think we need to argue your last point there.

To be honest, since the moon landings happened almost 20 years before I was born and we haven't done any manned missions nearly that exciting since, it almost feels like a legend more than reality. (I'm not saying it was a hoax or anything like that.) I know it's dumb to suggest that space exploration has downgraded since then considering how many more technically impressive and significant things have been done since then; still it's hard to shake the feeling.
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Reply 12 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 01:52:52 AM)
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We need to allocate more money towards research and development of technologies which will enable us to safely and efficiently send people into space, to Mars or wherever. It is vital to the survival of the human race at this point. It's no longer just because of curiosity, or to sate our desire for exploration. The Earth will not be able to sustain the human race for much longer, unless things DRASTICALLY change (i.e. a plague wipes out 75% of the population). We need to start now in order to give future humans a fighting chance. This isn't a science fiction story, or a chicken little scenario. It's the cold hard reality of our situation. We probably have 50 "good" years left.

It's not like we don't have the money.

2013 US Defense Budget: $672.9 billion
2013 NASA Budget: $17.8 billion
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Reply 13 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 08:36:47 AM)
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Quote:
We need to allocate more money towards research and development of technologies which will enable us to safely and efficiently send people into space, to Mars or wherever. It is vital to the survival of the human race at this point. It's no longer just because of curiosity, or to sate our desire for exploration. The Earth will not be able to sustain the human race for much longer, unless things DRASTICALLY change (i.e. a plague wipes out 75% of the population). We need to start now in order to give future humans a fighting chance. This isn't a science fiction story, or a chicken little scenario. It's the cold hard reality of our situation. We probably have 50 "good" years left.



Do you really think that the program you advocate for would be likely to include you in the boarding list at the loading bay?

Unless you have a net worth well through the outer limits of the so-called "1%", I think it is unlikely you'd see any fruits of the project you so desperately want. To be sure, humanity may survive, but what does that matter if you yourself do not?
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Reply 14 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 09:49:24 AM)
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I also think that manned spaceflight should be held-off until we can actually do something more useful with it. Focus on the resources on developing better rocket technology and in-space infrastructure, and when we have that, *then* send people on a one way Martian suicide colony. So much went into sending astronauts into low-Earth orbit on a semi-reusable launch vehicle that ultimately didn't advance our spaceflight capabilities at all.

In terms of crazy science projects that won't ever get built, my favourite is LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antennta), three satellites in a 1.5 million km (4x distance to the moon) triangle firing lasers at each other trying to detect gravitational radiation. I think the first proposal was for like 2018, but now if it exists it won't be until the late 2030s. Then beyond that there was an even crazier proposal to build six of them in a hexagon around the sun...but that's too crazy.

From a "human imagination" perspective, I think the Kepler mission has done the most in recent years, discovering literally thousands of extrasolar planets, some of them not too too different from Earth. The next step would be to do spectroscopy on them and try to make emission maps of their surfaces (currently possible in very lucky cases!).
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Reply 15 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 10:09:46 AM)
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Quoted from Flaming Arrow XI:
We need to allocate more money towards research and development of technologies which will enable us to safely and efficiently send people into space, to Mars or wherever. It is vital to the survival of the human race at this point. It's no longer just because of curiosity, or to sate our desire for exploration. The Earth will not be able to sustain the human race for much longer, unless things DRASTICALLY change (i.e. a plague wipes out 75% of the population). We need to start now in order to give future humans a fighting chance. This isn't a science fiction story, or a chicken little scenario. It's the cold hard reality of our situation. We probably have 50 "good" years left.


Really, we can send people to Mars pretty simply whenever someone wants to spend the money. It's not all that difficult to visit the Moon or Mars, it's just obscenely expensive. There's not much to do there with people though. A visit to Mars will do nothing to change its usefulness, and it will not develop any way for people to stay there long term. The "do both" idea is nice, but the general attitude of the American government and populace has been swinging against science funding for quite some time now.
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Reply 16 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 01:50:57 PM)
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Quoted from oirassiv:
Quote:
We need to allocate more money towards research and development of technologies which will enable us to safely and efficiently send people into space, to Mars or wherever. It is vital to the survival of the human race at this point. It's no longer just because of curiosity, or to sate our desire for exploration. The Earth will not be able to sustain the human race for much longer, unless things DRASTICALLY change (i.e. a plague wipes out 75% of the population). We need to start now in order to give future humans a fighting chance. This isn't a science fiction story, or a chicken little scenario. It's the cold hard reality of our situation. We probably have 50 "good" years left.



Do you really think that the program you advocate for would be likely to include you in the boarding list at the loading bay?

Unless you have a net worth well through the outer limits of the so-called "1%", I think it is unlikely you'd see any fruits of the project you so desperately want. To be sure, humanity may survive, but what does that matter if you yourself do not?


You're right, I may never see the fruits of it. But I still want humanity to survive for some stupid reason. Plus, there's the off chance that if they really work on space travel then by the time I'm 60 or 70 it may be cheap/safe/ubiquitous enough for me to go even if I'm not rich.
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Reply 17 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 03:56:26 PM)
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Quoted from Flaming Arrow XI:
Plus, there's the off chance that if they really work on space travel then by the time I'm 60 or 70 it may be cheap/safe/ubiquitous enough for me to go even if I'm not rich.


Nope, it's an energy density problem. It will always be expensive because you have to explode lots of stuff rapidly to get off the earth.
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Reply 18 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 04:14:06 PM)
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Come on now, if you've conceded the idea that in 30-40 years we figure out either a way to travel to other habitable planets or moons, or we figure out way to terraform currently unlivable nearby planets, surely you can concede that the current strategy for escaping earth's gravity is not necessarily the best/only/cheapest way.
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Reply 19 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 04:17:47 PM)
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Quoted from emtilt:
Quoted from Flaming Arrow XI:
Plus, there's the off chance that if they really work on space travel then by the time I'm 60 or 70 it may be cheap/safe/ubiquitous enough for me to go even if I'm not rich.


Nope, it's an energy density problem. It will always be expensive because you have to explode lots of stuff rapidly to get off the earth.


I was at the kennedy space......thingy last week and that was my big take away.

Well my two take away's were

1. They use explosions for literally* everything
2. We need to find propulsion fuel with a higher energy density

*not actually literally

I'm a big advocate for manned space travel, not so much for reasons that are "good" but because it feels like the one thing that humanity at large can get behind.
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Reply 20 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 04:27:36 PM)
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Quoted from emtilt:
Quoted from Flaming Arrow XI:
Plus, there's the off chance that if they really work on space travel then by the time I'm 60 or 70 it may be cheap/safe/ubiquitous enough for me to go even if I'm not rich.


Nope, it's an energy density problem. It will always be expensive because you have to explode lots of stuff rapidly to get off the earth.


As of today, we have to explode stuff to get to space. Who's to say that doesn't change? New technology, space elevator, who knows.
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Reply 21 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 04:29:36 PM)
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Apparently there's a company throwing out the idea of a space elevator on the moon. The reduced gravity means that existing high tensile strength fibers like xylon will work.
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Reply 22 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 10:16:07 PM)
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Quoted from D_:
Come on now, if you've conceded the idea that in 30-40 years we figure out either a way to travel to other habitable planets or moons, or we figure out way to terraform currently unlivable nearby planets, surely you can concede that the current strategy for escaping earth's gravity is not necessarily the best/only/cheapest way.


I don't concede any of those. We quite obviously will not be living on other planets in 40 years. That's not even vaguely plausible on any level.
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Reply 23 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 11:08:33 PM)
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Quoted from emtilt:
Quoted from D_:
Come on now, if you've conceded the idea that in 30-40 years we figure out either a way to travel to other habitable planets or moons, or we figure out way to terraform currently unlivable nearby planets, surely you can concede that the current strategy for escaping earth's gravity is not necessarily the best/only/cheapest way.


I don't concede any of those. We quite obviously will not be living on other planets in 40 years. That's not even vaguely plausible on any level.


Which is why it's weird that you didn't say that, and instead picked on the least problematic obstacle on that list. In response to the hypothetical where 80 year-old FA is packing his bags to go live on a terraformed Mars for his retirement on the economy flight, your reaction was that it's ridiculous that there would be an economy flight because it'll always be too expensive. Just found that a bit silly.
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Reply 24 of 32 (Originally posted on: 12-06-14 11:19:27 PM)
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Dimi, manned space flight is clearly possible for the likes of boy band sensation, Lance Bass, but not noted former fast food worker and inmate, Flaming Arrow XI
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