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Old 07-13-2011, 11:10 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
Actually, when you start looking more closely at the list of things that NASA claims to have "invented," what you'll find is that the overwhelming majority were:

1. already invented, and NASA's use of said item merely brought it into popular parlance, or
2. invented by private contractors using NASA funding (which then had to be re-engineered, again by private contractors, for non-NASA commercial use).

In either case, it's unclear to me how NASA's involvement is in any way essential. On the contrary, the massive inefficiency of a government agency like NASA probably impeded the much more beneficial commercial development of many of these technologies. It's not dissimilar to the influence that the industrial military complex has had on technology, except it doesn't even have the purported necessity of stopping bad guys from winning and good guys from losing (at least not now that the Space Race is over, and probably not during the Space Race either).

The fact that NASA may be one of the slightly less inefficient government agencies is not a good argument for its existence.
I guess I agree with you on this. I'm not trying to argue that NASA itself is essential, but some form of space program IS essential to humanity. Unfortunately NASA is really all we have right now. Not only is it essential for our sciences, but humanity is a frontier dwelling species, we do great things when we push the envelope. We have few frontiers left here on this planet. We can't stay on this planet forever, and won't. If we don't destroy ourselves first, or if we aren't destroyed by an outside force, we will eventually make it outside the bounds of Earth, it just may take longer without NASA.
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:46 PM   #42
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humanity is a frontier dwelling species, we do great things when we push the envelope.
That is, without question, one of the most lucid, eloquent and rational statements that has ever been made in the history of the internet.

I am serious.

(This almost gets you off the hook for the whole torque wrench thing. )
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:52 PM   #43
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That is, without question, one of the most lucid, eloquent and rational statements that has ever been made in the history of the internet.

I am serious.

(This almost gets you off the hook for the whole torque wrench thing. )
Almost, good.

I just think science is, or will become stagnant here on Earth, with nothing truly unexplained to focus our minds on. Sure there are things we don't fully understand, but it's safe to say we understand most of what is going on here. We need new things, things that are on the edge of our comprehension to really allow us to "stretch" our minds. Of course particle physics are doing that here on Earth, but I think a lot of that can possibly be done better in space anyway. I don't think we have ever had a better laboratory than a space ship or station. If it takes an inefficient, government funded space program to get there, then I'm all for it, until something better comes along. Space X just hasn't really been doing much. They haven't progressed much that I have seen in a long time. I am thinking about the right company aren't I? Isn't SpaceX the one who had a **** ton of rocket failures when trying to launch satellites into orbit 6-8 years ago? I think they had a sea based launch platform at one point...
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:45 AM   #44
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I understand what you're saying, but I'm seeing no argument that allows you to jump from:

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1. I just think science is, or will become stagnant here on Earth, with nothing truly unexplained to focus our minds on.
to

Quote:
2. If it takes an inefficient, government funded space program to get there, then I'm all for it, until something better comes along.
If there are actual, tangible benefits to space exploration (or, at least, further space research), then the free market will fill the void. And, given the number of contracts that NASA has awarded to SpaceX, it kind of already has started to fill the void. We just have to stop trying to convince ourselves that nobody but government is smart enough to do this stuff.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:19 AM   #45
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I'm still assumed by the shuttle built in 1985.
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:23 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
I understand what you're saying, but I'm seeing no argument that allows you to jump from:



to



If there are actual, tangible benefits to space exploration (or, at least, further space research), then the free market will fill the void. And, given the number of contracts that NASA has awarded to SpaceX, it kind of already has started to fill the void. We just have to stop trying to convince ourselves that nobody but government is smart enough to do this stuff.
That's not at all what I am saying, private industry should take over. But losing NASA now will leave a void that will take time to fill. We can't allow a space program to sit idle for too long or we lose momentum.
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:25 PM   #47
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That's not at all what I am saying, private industry should take over. But losing NASA now will leave a void that will take time to fill. We can't allow a space program to sit idle for too long or we lose momentum.
So you're arguing for what, exactly? A gradual NASA phase-out? Meh. Just more wasted money.

If the need really exists, the market will fill it. No "momentum" necessary.
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:31 PM   #48
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The market already exsists, and now that the monopoly had been busted, it can acutally take off.


pun intended
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:34 PM   #49
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+1.
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:57 PM   #50
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My personal opinion is that NASA / the president needs to grow some ***** and announce that we are going to send a manned mission to mars within the next 15 years.

It can be done with the current budget, and would renew a lot of interest in engineering / aerospace in young kids. Most importantly it would be the start of the ultimate goal of the human race - space exploration and colonization.

If only I was president...

My reference: http://www.amazon.com/Case-Mars-Plan...=sip_rech_dp_8
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:05 PM   #51
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How will that outreach to Muslims?
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:39 PM   #52
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How will that outreach to Muslims?
Via laser or GPS targeting.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:30 PM   #53
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lol. well played.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:49 PM   #54
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NASA / the president needs to grow some ***** and announce that we are going to send a manned mission to mars within the next 15 years.
We already did that. The NASA Authorization Act of 2005 laid out a plan (and budget) for a four-step process which involved the development of what would become Project Constellation and the Orion spacecraft, a return to the Moon by the year 2020, followed by a manned mission to Mars.

The Obama administration nixed it all last year. Here is a link to the NASA Authorization Act of 2010: http://commerce.senate.gov/public/?a...d-f0a6a8824b01

In it, we've reduced our goals to thinking about "the eventual international exploration of Mars." The specific inclusion of the word "international" should be read in the context of China's recent achievement of being the third nation on Earth to accomplish a human spacewalk, and their announced policy of intending to achieve manned colonization of the moon as well as a manned Mars mission.


So I guess Jason was right all along. No need for the US to do anything- China is more than happy to pick up the slack (and no doubt they'll do it for less money.)
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:59 PM   #55
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Yay! America!!!
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Old 07-14-2011, 03:17 PM   #56
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the shuttle program was stopped because there isnt a use for it anymore since the space station is completed. like brain said, private companies will be taking contracts to take astronauts/supplies to the station which will be cheaper (also creating jobs). for the few year gap untill companies can do this i think we are paying for seats on russian ships.


one of our next missions is to try to land on a asteroid. then mars bitches!
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:34 PM   #57
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for the few year gap untill companies can do this i think we are paying for seats on russian ships.
Yup.

Soyuz is presently the only ISS-capable manned ship in operation (well, it will be after next Thursday afternoon).

"A Russian craft, flown by Russians, carrying a few poor Americans who need our help."

Cargo operations are presently being conducted by the Russian Progress, the Japanese H-II and the ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle.


NASA awarded COTS contracts to SpaceX and RpK in 2006, then ditched RpK the next year.

OSC got a contract in '08, but so far they've mostly focused on destroying commercial and scientific payloads by blowing up Taurus rockets during launch.

The SpaceX "Falcon 1" vehicle is looking like the most promising candidate so far. They finally managed not to blow one up on the fourth launch attempt. That mission didn't fail until the very end, when they lost the capsule after re-entry (and without Gus Grissom aboard, even!)


The Big Deal will be if they manage to actually dock a Dragon capsule with the ISS. Tentatively, that's planned for flight 3 of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle in October. If they pull that one off, I'll open the last bottle of Black Cat Espresso Stout that I've been hanging onto for going on four years now.



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one of our next missions is to try to land on a asteroid. then mars bitches!
"Our", meaning humanity, I assume, given that Project Constellation has been completely shitcanned.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:22 PM   #58
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:48 PM   #59
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Comments on the Shuttle Program

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In response to my recent article, Was the Space Shuttle Worth It, I received an interesting e-mail from George S. Giles, whos written several times for LewRockwell.com, including this on NASA aspirations toward Mars. With his permission, Im posting parts of it here, edited somewhat for clarity and length.

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I worked on the Space Transportation System [shuttle] for several years. Any economic calculation of pound into orbit is ridiculous. I am old enough to remember that when the project was announced it would be too cheap to measure, but it was impossible to measure as NASA accounting is miasma of doubletalk, doublethink and lost money. Kennedy Space Center was the only place I have ever seen that allowed pillows to be brought into work. The irony is that half of NASA does brilliant work: unmanned missions and has done true science.

It would be harder to think of a more expensive way to put payload into orbit. A good friend of mine was on the main engine reliability team that calculated and monitored reliability of these beasts. He said the odds were more than 100,000 to 1 for failure. Richard Feynman said One of 25, 4% would fail catastrophically. I worked with Jack Lousma, STS pilot, in 1985 and he told me that the post flight on the orbiter of his mission found that a small fleck of paint had gone half way through the wind screen. Windows are useless on the STS because a) it cannot be flown like a plane even though it looks like one and b) the only thing the pilots actually do is drop the wheels on landing. These things cost more than $1 billion so it was all left up to the capable hands of IBM to build the flight control computers.

A little while after the Challenger blew up Congress came to NASA and said, Lets go back to building the Saturn V because it is cheaper, more reliable, and lifts more payload into a higher orbit. The response was, We cant because we threw the plans away. A Saturn V cost about $10,000,000. Probably the only good thing Nixon did was cancel moon missions because he knew what they were for and that they were a waste of money. In a pique of political correctness, Saturn Program Manager Arthur Rudolph was deported because under Hitler he worked in a plant where slave labor was used. This was silly because everyone in Germany was slave labor.

Going to the moon was never the goal. When John Kennedy announced the plan to go to the moon it was much more palatable to the tax paying public than saying the truth: we want to put nuclear weapons the size of a greyhound bus in Red Square. Not very Camelot.

The STS set the American space program (civilian) back 30 years. It was so bad that the USAF took over the design of propulsion, payload, controls, etc., because they knew NASA was going down the wrong street. A rocket is a ballistic projectile, not an airplane.
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:56 AM   #60
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...two-part insulating foam.
This. ...is actually already happening, but with the more permanent structures. At the last FOB I visited on my longer-than-it-needs-to-be journey home, almost all of the tin-roofed buildings were sprayed with some kind of insulating foam from the bottom of the roof to the top.

And then at the shanty-town erected for temporary guests (since our flight was pushed more than 24 hours to the right and I wanted to lay down after having been up all night waiting on the non-existent bird...) it was the usual tents with AC, but at least with a floating shade layer on top to shield the tents from some of the radiant heat.

And then there's where I am now, which is an even larger base, where we're staying in a "clamshell" tent with two AC units and four "Port-a-Cool" boxes to try and cool it. Problem is there is no floating layer so you can feel the heat getting in, and it's too much for the AC to handle. So then those in charge open the ends of the tent to try and generate a breeze. All the while, the Port-a-Cool boxes are humidifying the air. Ah, logic.
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