NASA's new mission: time to hunker down and design some spaceships.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jack Briggs, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    It is happening, and it is happening quietly. According to the UPI report linked below, the nation's civilian space agency now is beginning to lay down the requirements of the Crew Exploration Vehicle and to design mission profiles for reaching low Earth orbit and then onward to the Moon.

    By the report's wording, it seems as if NASA might opt for the Earth Orbit Rendezvous approach to sending a "flotilla" of manned spacecraft to the Moon. This mission profile once was considered for Project Apollo, but discarded then for fear of not meeting President Kennedy's deadline of reaching the Moon before the end of the decade (as well as because of such a mission's complexity).

    Bottom line: There appears to be growing support for Project Constellation and for giving our space agency the goals it needs in order to achieve excellence once again.

    The future is on the way.


    Onward and outward.
     
  2. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    What would be the possibility of creating a small craft that could launch up to a dozen people without all the extras. Crew supplies would be sent up by other remote rockets that just shuttled up supplies to the space station.

    The concept of the Shuttle never worked as it tried to do all things and never did any one thing well.
     
  3. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Jack
    I was working on Next Generation GPS till the budget was slashed by 50% this year. Iraq is just sucking money out of everything except for guns and food for soldiers.
    I don't see how we are going anywhere except the poor house until Iraq is paying for itself
     
  4. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    How about both Earth-Orbit Rendez-vous combined with Lunar-Orbit Rendez-vous? Build an orbiting garage in Earth orbit that will be used as a hangar for command/lunar modules, then use the old Apollo design of a command/lunar module to go to the moon. One change I wouldn't mind seeing is a single piece lunar module and not the original two piece design. This would bypass the need to ferry extra lunar modules into Earth orbit.
     
  5. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    Oooooo. A thread-bomb. Haven't seen one here is a long time! I miss the spunky-ness that was once here - but sadly it does get out of hand.

    RE: New spaceships. A 'rest-stop' half way between here and the mood sounds cool. All we need now is a low-earth orbit drive-thru!
     
  6. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter

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    Well maybe NASA can farm the job out to Burt Rutan. From what I have read, SpaceShipOne/White Knight have cost about 25 million to develope. Had NASA done it, it probably would have run about a billion or so and blown up at least once by now.

    -Keith
     
  7. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Keith you could be right...and these guys are doing it even cheaper then the SpaceShipOne crew

    da Vinci Project
     
  8. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    Grant raises the right question but for the wrong reason. The expense for Iraq is still smaller than the Vietnam war in the 60's, plus the huge expense of the moon program.

    Without getting political, the next administration and possibly two will have the benefit of an incredibly vibrant economy. The boom of the 90's will return, thougth maybe not quite a vigorous. This is regardless of who is elected. For all that the politicians and those who believe their rhetoric believe that the President has a lot of influence on the economy, I choose to differ.

    We are ending the time of the high productivety levels of the baby boom generation. By the end of the decade, the youngest boomer will be approaching 50 and the cadre of this several million spending machine will start to drastically cut back expenditures. Who will take their place? The population in the 60's and 70's didn't grow at anywhere near the boomer levels so the cadre of 46 year olds who will go through the decade of 2010'-2020's will not have enough of them continue pushing the economy. The Japanese saw this over the last 15 years as their great boom of the 70's and 80's came crashing down, for the reason that their population totals could no support the growth. In response the Japanese goverment went on a huge spending spree to try to stimulate the economy.

    The period after 2010 could be an enviornment where government spending on space exploration is embrased. Spending on space science, landing on the moon in the 60's will always be something akin to building pyramids for the Egptians, Cathederals for the Europeans, and highways for the Americans. Before I get flamed consider that there will be scientific gains, but more so in the future. As such, the money spend in 2010, or 2015 will not show a profit, or positive return for some years hence. The benefit to the economy is that hightened government spending may be pursued by the existing administration to help spur the economy.

    An effort to reinvigorate the space program should be considered over the rest of the decade, but not pursued till then. What we loose in the short run will be made up later. Remember that the expense in Iraq is similar as we will not get a return there for many years if ever. You can lay out an economic model to calculate that but we are getting a bit afield, plus run the risk of a political debate.

    The space program is not dead, just quiescent.
     
  9. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Easy solution: find somebody rich that'll be willing to fun this stuff. Otherwise, forget the government.

    You heard it here folks: if I become a billionaire, come to my front doorstep, and I'll glady help.
     
  10. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Government interest in space exporation seems to be at an all-time low. There was an incentive in the 50s and 60s to 'conquer' space, to land on the Moon 'for all mankind', blah, blah, blah. But today, it just doesn't seem a top priority for the latest administration.

    One of my fears is that the incentive is - or will be - to militarize space:
    "U.S. space capabilities enable military forces to be warned of missile attack . . . and precisely attack targets in ways that minimize collateral damage and protect the lives of U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen." - Donald Rumsfeld, May 8th, 2001


    Perhaps there are fears in the US Government that the Chinese may get there first, so it may be a future priority.

    Also, if we want to go to Mars, it will easier to do it from the Moon - in short, build a base, launch from the Moon. So, NASA had better get the skates on!
     
  11. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Actually, Gordon, the incentive in the 1960s to go to the Moon was political, not explorational. And once the Soviets were beaten to the Moon and what with Vietnam still raging — and being fought with borrowed money — political support for NASA waned precipitously. It never has enjoyed executive and congressional support the way it did under LBJ ever since.

    Now, the situation is more fluid. The loss of STS-107 threw a cold splash of water in the face of all those who have a say-so about the nation's space policy. And this new proposal appears to be gaining bipartisan support — enough to carry it along with whatever administration is in charge come January.

    But that is all we can say about it here. So, let's please not bring politics into this thread any further than it already has. Thanks.
     
  12. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    I think that when the first moon base is founded it will be a privately funded endeavor and not government funded. The private sector has a lot more to gain than any government interest.

    Yes there ARE a lot of government interests but if a large phamaceutical company (for example) could conduct research in such a environment who knows what wonder drugs it could lead to.

    Who would have thought in the 60's that the Moon would be largely forgotten when a colony would have been the next logical step. And then the ultimate next step which would be a Mars launch from the lunar surface.

    My money is on the private sector in reaching these goals before NASA.
     
  13. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    That is exactly the reason that private enterprise is not conducting research on the moon. If you don't know what benefits can be derived, how can you justify the expense of building a vehicle to get there, set up a base and then begin testing - what?

    Before you can suggest that there is a benefit it is necessary to make a case for a plausible outcome.

    The moon can be mined for material to sent out into a space station at a stationary place between the earth and moon. That space station can have both gravity and zero or low gravity. At least a space station of even as small as a few thousand people is a start toward deep space exploration and possible commercial activity. But again, what economic activity can be identified?

    A little imagination here would be helpful.
     
  14. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    Hilton's in Space!!!!

    I am not 100% sure what the possible benefits could be, I'm not a space visionary. I would say that I am sure that many people who are visionaries have thought of this and have many designs on building a Moonbase.
    I mean come on it is a MOONBASE, surely someone has thought of a thousand uses for such a structure.

    (Low gravity sex for one.....)
     
  15. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Well I think we can mention politics in one regard.

    Bush has brought up the space program in speeches.

    Kerry just made the "science first" (something along those lines) comment at the convention.

    Either man could just be feeding us BS, but at least both are giving lip service to science and the space program.

    It may yet get back in vogue with the guys controlling the cash. Hell, it just about has to at some point in our future, unless we wipe the place out before then. [​IMG]
     
  16. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    Jack enjoys opening these discussions and few join in. The lack of participation hints at two things. Manned space exploration is not a topic of interest in this country. Even if there were a highly profitable use found for man in space it would be a hard sell to fund a program.

    Which brings up the second point. The discussion about manned flight fails to bring get the creative and imaginative juices of the members. Maybe that is why there are so few visionaries and when one does dare to stand out rom the crowd, he/she is hammered. Love the new commercial about the guy advising about overnight delivery and fax.

    In the months issue of POPULAR SCIENCE, Matthew Teague travels to Sri-Lanka to interview Arthur C. Clarke, the 87 year old author and visionary. His parting prognostication is that a "brain cap" will allow people to swap thoughts, turn on mechanical devices, and basically merge minds. At the pace of chip development it is not a far off possibility - ten years by his estimate, (25-50 by mine.)

    We will cheat death by uploading our essences to computers in about 20 years, (50 years and we will be saving our thoughts as they happen and create a virtual clone of ourselves.)

    He sees the space elevator coming in 20 years, (assuming a use for them can be created.)

    The old sci-fi writer comes out in his prediction that money will be abolished and instread we will trade megawatts as currency. I mean old sci-fi as the concept of hugs amounts of energy being the result of our scientific advancement goes against his many insights that computers/chips will come to dominiate the world. You don't need to waste megawatts of energy when computers make utilization of energy more efficient.

    Space tourism, in about twenty years. Maybe the wealth of the western nations will become so great that the most novel thing to do with money is to spend it on conspicuous consumption, (like that has ever happened before.)

    Arthur's thoughts are not so revolutionary as his past preditions. The short length and scope of the article left a lot of fleshing out to do. I guess the fleshing out is being done by thougands of geeks working on very small pieces of the technology that is leading to the future.
     
  17. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    I believe that perhaps transporters could be a result of moonbase technology. Why not? A fast, efficient way to "beam" someone from a distant place to another quickly and safely.

    A moonbase would require some sort of fast and efficient way of travel and would perhaps spur that sort of research.

    Out of all the "Trek Tech" I think a transporter would truly revolutionize the entire world. Distances would practically be nothing. Time would be able to be more efficently used. You could live anywhere you wished and work anywhere you wished and still be on time for work!

    Yeah, a transporter! Imagine living in Kansas City, meeting your friends from LA in NY for lunch and then going back to work a hour later and then meeting them in New Orleans for drinks after work!
     
  18. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    Why not just gather around a hi-def video phone? That would be a near term possibility. A transporter is a bit of a stretch.
     
  19. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Well, I'll be political to this extent: There simply isn't much of a constituency for space exploration. The "space race" aspects of the 60s had a lot to do with the politics of the Cold War. With that incentive gone, there's not much left (the very day that Apollo 11 launched, there were people protesting that money for the space program should be spent on more pressing needs). Those of us who like scientific research for its own sake don't have big lobbying groups spending bags of money to convince politicians to shell out the bucks. What politician today has the genuine desire and vision (and charismatic ability to articulate that vision) to explore space? None, and neither are enough people pushing for such a person. My hope is that private individuals will have the means, the desire, and the ability to profit from space exploration. Then we won't have to worry about which way the political winds blow.
     
  20. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    I'm being visionary. In 200 years people will look back at this very thread and say WOW!!! He called it right after seeing a lot of Star Trek episodes!!!! He got that one right 30 years after Gene Roddenberry thought of it!!!
    Amazing!!!

    LOL!
     

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