View Poll Results: What's next for the United States?

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  • More rigorous and extensive manned exploration of moon.

    20 52.63%
  • Permanent lunar colonies

    17 44.74%
  • Construction of "O'Neill" habitats.

    6 15.79%
  • Mars exploration with goal of colonization.

    21 55.26%
  • Asteroidal/comet exploitation?

    11 28.95%
  • Other

    10 26.32%
  • Nothing. Abandon space to the robots.

    7 18.42%
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Thread: Space Goals For America: What Next?

  1. #41
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cilogy View Post
    So if Earth becomes uninhabitable, there is no need for us to research and move to other planets, because the robots can do it more efficiently, cheaply, easily, and safely.
    If that happens anytime in the next few decades, all the space exploration in the world won't save the human race. If it doesn't happen in the next few decades, then it's a moot point because we wouldn't have any sense of urgency to go to space NOW.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cilogy
    I agree, but there are many who are saying we should back off for a while. I say not entirely, I say continue the research and then boost after we have solved some of our problems here.
    I agree. Research is good. Robots are good. Manned "exploration"...nothing but a mindbogglingly expensive stunt.
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow Akhbar View Post
    I see.

    You can't wait the scant minutes needed for the poll options to be posted.

    IMO the moon should be claimed as US territory, if the natives don't protest, and used as a military installation for national defense and subsequently developed into an civillian commercial industrial playground.

    Your assumption that space isn't useful is illustrative of your ignorance, and not a reflection of reality.
    Claiming the moon for the USA invites a space war with Russia, China etc. to determine future "ownership."

    OBL 11/24/02

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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Here are both the space programs named "Orion"
    Thank you for your info, but I was already aware of it.

    Of course the original Orion project could be used to exit the atmosphere. Given our retarded socialist move, Orion may very well be the last best hope of mankind when the socialists have consumed all the resources and nothing is left to invest.

    The issue is a legal issue wherein wimps object to setting off nukes on earth.

    Resource depletion and starvation and possibly an extremely urgent need to put MASSIVE amounts of men and weapons in a strategically advantatgeous high ground, and Orion becomes feasible, wimpettes be damned.

    Landing back on earth would be a bitch, there's not a lot of fine control for this system.

    But enough of that, it's not like you're wrong on any significant point.

    What the US needs for effective space exploration is a reliable unmanned launch system that can, for now, place unliving cargo on the moon using powered approach to reduce the force of impact to something reasonable, say less than ten or fifteen g's.

    I would envision the initial loads to be heavy earth moving machinery, telerobotically operated (it's the moon, telerobots for specialized machinery is a cost effective option), with additional building materials for construction of human habitats and essential operating facilities. As any carpenter knows, the roughing in work can be done well enough by clumsy apprentices (the telerobots), the final setting up requires the master craftsman to make it work, and that would be the man on the spot in a spacesuit.

    Those guys would need a more reliable vehicle than that used to launch the cargo. It's absurd to use an expensive man rated vehicle to launch cargo that can easily survive a hard landing on the moon. If the first launch fails, figure out why, fix it quick, and launch another. NASA spends WAAAAY to much money on "perfection". That's fine for manned launchs, but that's also why basic weather and com satellites cost so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Imagine how much education and training an astronaut needs.
    Yes, imagine that. All that training when they're going up to turn wrenches and horse things into place because robots are basically useless for real jobs.

    They make too big a deal out of it. In two years the Navy can teach a high school educated recruit how a nuclear reactor works but the essential theory behind it, and teach him a specific trade in the field of reactor operation and maintenance, and does it on an asesmbly basis....after about a year of ship specific training in the fleet, has produced the world's finest reactor operators as a result.

    Yet NASA takes PhD's, works them so they're super-totally competent in areas they have absolutely no need to know, and then uses most of them, the "mission specialists", pretty much for just one mission and that's the end of that. No, NASA is a massive government bureaucracy dedicated to the safe return of astronauts, and they've managed to kill fourteen astronauts in flight, and done their best to make sure they continue their hold on their monopoly of manned American space flight.


    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Imagine how much oxygen is used, how much water is drunk and how much food is eaten. Imagine how much space they need, imagine their muscles deteriorating, and the psychological problems from being in space too long.
    I"m an ex-submariner, I'm familiar with the logistics of loading a ship for a cruise. And of course, I'm advocating a return to the moon just exactly so we gain operational experience and develop technological competence for practical returns before attempting more hazardous extended missions deeper into the solar system.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Its a problem yes, but not insurmountable. We drove a rover around on mars, on the very complex martian surface. Space is much simpler by comparison.


    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    No you don't. Pretty much every spacecraft that ever exited orbit except for the moonlandings were not manned.
    Actually, you do.

    A man could have horsed Gallileo's high gain antenna into position, since the apparent failure mode was dried lubricant (thanks to NASA's success with Challenger, Gallileo had to sit for years longer in storage before launch, and then without it's Centaur booster). Just having the ability to do an inflight check of all systems before sending it off on it's own would have saved billions right there. So much for the glorious robots. Relying on them has resulted in seriously compromised missions many times.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Overcoming the problems of robots using technology is practical, look at how far robotics has come. Explain how we are going to fix humans needing to breathe, eat, sleep and drink.
    We don't.

    People are going to die in space, just like they died at Jamestown and on the Oregon trail. It's something pioneers are good at. What we try to do is mitigate known risks to manageable levels, and make sure there's enough redundancy and flexibility in the systems to meet anticipated crises and unforeseen events.

    Could a robot have coped with something similar to Apollo 13? Not bloody likely.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    There is zero advantage to controlling the moon.
    Oh, yes, that's true. No general ever made any effort to control the high hills in the back of the town where the enemy could put cannons to shoot at him from. Not ever.

    No military value in the moon whatsoever, no, of course not.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    You have an absurd logistics trail that puts you millions of miles away from anything useful, and no beneficial capabilities.
    You are aware that the moon's orbit has a semi-major axis of less than 250,000 miles, right? And that cities always start out as swamps or cross roads or harbors, and have to be built by men who have to provide their own logistical solutions to the problems at hand, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    How would being on the moon give any kind of useful military advantage?
    Rail gun launch of stealthed ballistic weapons at extreme high velocities with practically zero infrared signature.

    Solid siting of heavy high energy particle beams and laser weapons, including x-ray lasers for interception of earth launched enemy ballistic missiles and destruction of enemy C3I assets in orbit and in the air, possibly using orbital mirrors for over-the-horizon targetting.

    Implementing and supplying Project Thor, which consisted of orbitting solid bars of DU with re-entry packages and guidance systems to target enemy assets on the ground and hitting them with massive 20kps kinetic energy weapons from the sky.

    To name just a few things.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Why not just base it on earth? Getting it into the atmosphere is tough, but not nearly as tough as trying to maintain a functioning military outpost on the moon.
    Because earth based weaponry isn't as effective or as frightening to the enemy. The sniper from the high hill is a foe no one likes to confront, especially when he can fire both nuclear weapons and pin point lasers.

  4. #44
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    The issue is a legal issue wherein wimps object to setting off nukes on earth.
    No its a laws of physics issue. Using Orion on earth would kill the crew without question. Most likely, the spacecraft would get torn apart as well. Thats assuming would could design something that even worked in the atmosphere. Even if you somehow got around all those problems, you would have an extremely expensive dangerous launch system with absolutely no benefits and a crappy means of re-entry.

    I"m an ex-submariner, I'm familiar with the logistics of loading a ship for a cruise. And of course, I'm advocating a return to the moon just exactly so we gain operational experience and develop technological competence for practical returns before attempting more hazardous extended missions deeper into the solar system.
    Then you should know just how much crap it takes to have a functioning human crew. Getting rid of that would dramatically aid in efficiency.

    Rail gun launch of stealthed ballistic weapons at extreme high velocities with practically zero infrared signature.
    Railguns on earth work fine, plus they have the advantage of hitting targets, instead of hitting where they were 30 minutes ago.

    Solid siting of heavy high energy particle beams and laser weapons, including x-ray lasers for interception of earth launched enemy ballistic missiles and destruction of enemy C3I assets in orbit and in the air, possibly using orbital mirrors for over-the-horizon targetting.
    If mirrors can redirect a weapon, than our enemies will simply mirror any targets of interest. Without mirrors, our enemies will simply fire missiles when the moon is on the far side of the earth. You are better off using already existing earth missiles or deploying orbital assets actually near the fighting.

    Implementing and supplying Project Thor, which consisted of orbitting solid bars of DU with re-entry packages and guidance systems to target enemy assets on the ground and hitting them with massive 20kps kinetic energy weapons from the sky.
    Except they now have a moon based system with 100x the logistical problem and a huge flight time delay.

    Because earth based weaponry isn't as effective or as frightening to the enemy. The sniper from the high hill is a foe no one likes to confront, especially when he can fire both nuclear weapons and pin point lasers.
    Except the high ground if its so far away from any battleground, its pointless. Nobody cares about a sniper in the Rockies, if you are fighting a war in Iraq.

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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    No its a laws of physics issue. Using Orion on earth would kill the crew without question.
    You mean outside of the engineering studies done to prove just the opposite.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Most likely, the spacecraft would get torn apart as well.
    What part of "big" and "massive" and "thick" and "heavy" and "shock absorbers" and all the other aspects of nuclear pulse engine did you miss, the fact that energy yield of the impulse devices would be in the low kiloton range, not the megaton range?

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Thats assuming would could design something that even worked in the atmosphere.
    Not a problem. Been done already.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Even if you somehow got around all those problems, you would have an extremely expensive dangerous launch system with absolutely no benefits
    You mean outside of a million pounds of payload or more to orbit?

    Those kinds of no benefits I can live with.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    and a crappy means of re-entry.
    Gee, we'll have to leave the spaceship up there and return the crew on a smaller vehicle, and use smaller chemical powered vehicles to re-ascend...when we're not launching a million pound cargo. And then we'll have that vehicle up there for use as transport to some other destination.

    What a shame.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Then you should know just how much crap it takes to have a functioning human crew. Getting rid of that would dramatically aid in efficiency.
    Yes, we should have made our submarines unmanned robotic vehicles, after all, we all know absolutely nothing ever happens to unmanned vehicles in space, they work perfectly.

    Y'all keep trying to pretend the crew is nothing but useless supercargo. The crew makes it possible to simply other parts of the ship. It makes it necessary in fact, since they have to have something to do to maintain their readiness.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Railguns on earth work fine, plus they have the advantage of hitting targets, instead of hitting where they were 30 minutes ago.
    How far does Beijing or Moscow travel in three hours? In general, how far does an earthly city move in three hours away from the spot it is predicted to be in?

    WELLLL! I guess transit time isn't an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    If mirrors can redirect a weapon, than our enemies will simply mirror any targets of interest.
    You should read that sentence.

    A mirror is a physical object that reflects beams and particles, it's not just a site on the internet intended to handle traffic overloads. Generally speaking, it's not difficult to determine if an object seen in a mirror is a real object or not, considering that one would usually be tracking these objects for significant periods until hostilities commence.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Without mirrors, our enemies will simply fire missiles when the moon is on the far side of the earth.
    Yeah, we'd never have any earth observation assets in orbit that would be in a position to see what the moon couldn't.

    Not a chance of anyone ever figuring out how to do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    You are better off using already existing earth missiles or deploying orbital assets actually near the fighting.
    Yes, it's must be much better to have assets at risk on the ground than to have them a quarter million miles away to act as a deterrent to aggression in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Except they now have a moon based system with 100x the logistical problem and a huge flight time delay.
    So, if we launch a stealthed warhead from a lunar solar-electric launch system at 20 mps, how long does it take that weapon to reach it's target?

    250,000 mile/72,000 mph < 4 hours.

    Or we launch them into long ellipses with impact times up to a week in the future and tell the enemy to surrender or die at our leisure.

    Taken any courses in orbital mechanics?

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Except the high ground if its so far away from any battleground, its pointless. Nobody cares about a sniper in the Rockies, if you are fighting a war in Iraq.
    You mean as opposed to that crazy guy with the terrawatt laser on the moon toasting your satellites from the moon at the speed of light?

    It takes 1.5 seconds for a laser to hit a target on the earth from the moon, not much longer than the transit time for bullets on long range shots, and a hell of a lot faster than ICBM ballistic trajectories.

  6. #46
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow Akhbar View Post
    ...stuff and things...
    Some of these ideas interest me greatly. The nuclear propulsion system, for example. Although the side effects (without extensive work on reducing them), IMO, are too great.

    The miThe various ideas for militarizing the moon, while sounding cool to a Sci-Fi/science fan like myself, are probably not a good idea. Starting construction of such a setup would probably start a war on earth. The only way to avoid that would be to use your million pound launch vehicle to land it on the moon in one piece, already set up.

    And even thenÖ

    I donít really think itís a good idea, personally.
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  7. #47
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Larry Niven is a older science fiction writer, who leans more toward "hard" sci-fi and often consults with engineers and scientists on his books. He's been invited to many NASA events and is one of the "old masters" of sci-fi literature. His frequent collaborator, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, is even more of a hard-science-in-my-fiction writer, and former military officer.

    Together they wrote "Footfall", an alien-invasion story with many facinating twists.

    One aspect of the story was the conversion of a mothballed battleship into a spacegoing warship, using the nuclear version of Orion, and launching from a platform on the shoreline. If the whole concept of launching an Orion from the surface was ludicrous, I doubt Niven and Pournelle would have used the idea at all. It's an easy-money bet that they researched the idea carefully and consulted with relevant engineering experts.

    Would it be desireable or practical to do this unless we were in some sort of desperate situation? Well, probably not... but I wouldn't mind having one built and ready to go up just in case.

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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    I voted for everything except the last one...

    I'm hoping for a deathstar being build between Earth and Mars within my lifetime.
    "All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language...No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." - John Donne

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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Larry Niven is a older science fiction writer, who leans more toward "hard" sci-fi and often consults with engineers and scientists on his books. He's been invited to many NASA events and is one of the "old masters" of sci-fi literature. His frequent collaborator, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, is even more of a hard-science-in-my-fiction writer, and former military officer.

    Together they wrote "Footfall", an alien-invasion story with many facinating twists.

    One aspect of the story was the conversion of a mothballed battleship into a spacegoing warship, using the nuclear version of Orion, and launching from a platform on the shoreline. If the whole concept of launching an Orion from the surface was ludicrous, I doubt Niven and Pournelle would have used the idea at all. It's an easy-money bet that they researched the idea carefully and consulted with relevant engineering experts.

    Would it be desireable or practical to do this unless we were in some sort of desperate situation? Well, probably not... but I wouldn't mind having one built and ready to go up just in case.
    Dr. Pournelle IS a relevant engineering expert.

    Footfall was massively entertaining, eminently realistic (outside the basic SF assumption of alien invaders), and perfectly consistent with known physical law.

  10. #50
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Let's go to Mars!!!

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