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#94211 - 02/06/03 06:06 PM Re: Space Shuttle Explodes  
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WhitmanO'Neill Offline
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Yes, all I've heard and seen would seem to support the intitial foam/tile damage on takeoff theory...but, evidently, they're backing off on that one now.


#94212 - 02/06/03 07:38 PM Re: It's Time to Dream Higher  
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Just a mention from the essay...we went from Kitty Hawk to the Moon in just 66 years!...just think about that...

It's Time to Dream Higher

http://makeashorterlink.com/?T2FA62E53


#94213 - 02/07/03 05:53 AM Re: It's Time to Dream Higher  
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Capfka Offline
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Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
Yep, I agree with him. The current policy of pottering about in LEO gives no one anything worth the constant risks of getting there and back. Mars or bust, I say! Would they need someone to carry their bags?

- Pfranz

#94214 - 02/07/03 09:59 AM Re: It's Time to Dream Higher  
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Rubrick Offline
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No, I don't agree with him. Dreams are all very well but there are very good reasons why there are manned missions to space. Firstly, if scientific experiments and research are still carried out manually on earth what makes the different medium of space any different? A human presence is still required. Secondly, scientific experiments in space are not affected by the extremes of gravity on earth. Successions of tests over the decades have proved that research into medicinal compounds and serums are greatly enhanced under these conditions - thus justifying the expense of the ISS and the shuttle flights.

If space flight is just to be about flights of whimsy and flag-waving and space races to Mars and bases on the moon then it will have to funded globally and probably through private enterprise. They're the ones (judging by the two space tourists) who really want that kind of thing to succeed. The real point of space flight is not about dreams but about aiding reality through the benefits of reserach in space.

Space flight is not a game which should be produced as a crowd pleaser. It is dangerous, unwieldy and still in its nascency despite its rushed beginnings which led to seven unnecessary deaths in the 60s. As great as it sounds to reach the stars, the asteroids or, more humbly, Mars this is just pie on the sky at the moment. The technology to get a small cart-sized robot to Mars was immense and very lucky. The technology to get it back doesn't exist. It also took five years to get there. That would mean a return manned-trip of at least ten years. The problems of oxygen, food, waste disposal, exercise, bone-marrow loss, mental and physical fatigue and psychosis from being cooped in such a confined space for so long are the least of the problems to be faced. These are only the ones dealing with the human side of the mission. A justification is necessary to send people that far and or so long. Flag-planting is not one.

If dreams of space exploration are to a fore then we need to know more about the place where we will send our astronauts before we make such bold a leap. Forty years is not long enough to get to know something which is boundless in size and which is more hazardous than sending a rowing boat out in a squall.

Dream the dream but don't get too disappointed if it doesn't happen in your lifetime or that of your grandchildren.


#94215 - 02/07/03 10:35 AM Re: It's Time to Dream Higher  
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Thanks, Rubrick, for the information about the ten years (at least) required to get to and from Mars. Most excellent point.

Too bad there aren't wormholes in the solar system. That's a fascinating consideration.


#94216 - 02/07/03 11:15 AM Re: It's Time to Dream Higher  
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Just think of the (crazy) guys who originally went to explore the North and South Poles. Some of those trips lasted several years due to mechanical breakdowns, etc. And all for what? To claim some part of Antarctica as belonging to some country. Lots of people died on those missions. They were mostly privately funded by rich guys who wanted their name on some distant bay or cove. There was some oceanographic research conducted, but that wasn't the main thrust. Sounds strikingly similar to Rubrick's argument about space exploration. The arguments could've applied equally well to polar exploration 100 years ago. I'm not saying it [space flight] is good or bad, noble or foolhardy...but just think about the parallels.


#94217 - 02/07/03 11:49 AM Re: It's Time to Dream Higher  
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Rubrick Offline
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Ah, there's nothing wrong with the human spirit of exploration. This is natural. But we are less gung-ho now about such risks as we were a hundred years ago when the poles were first conquered.

Exploring the unknown and the dangerous was considered part of the Edwardian nobleness (when the poles were discovered). But, then again, so was volunteering to get machine-gunned in Flanders. Whole continents were explored (and annexed) during a relatively small time and usually at a much greater expense (in human terms as well as monetary) than the space race. A hundred years later we are still reconsidering what is worthwhile and what is not when we endeavour to conquer the unconquerable.

At the moment the average stay in space for an ISS crew is four months. The confined space is ample for the crew to work well together without a feeling of claustrophobia and they have the added assurance that earth is just below ina case their is anything wrong. The same went for the moon shots. The earth was but a blot but it was still reachable by the three astronauts.
Not so Mars. Halfway on their journey the earth will disappear and blend into the masses of other heavenly objects like just another star. The feeling that this could be a one-way journey with no chance of rescue would phase even the hardiest of astronauts. Imagine being stuck in a telephone booth for five years only to be let out into a cold environment for a few hours (wearing a spacesuit) and then having to do the return journey. Just the thought makes me claustrophobic.

The only hope for space exploration is to develop our endurance in such conditions while engineering larger and more habitable spacecraft which can only be feasibly constructed in space. Barring the setbacks of the recent disaster that could take another 50 years - if NASA and the other administrations get full funding which, in the current climate, isn't forthcoming or likely.


#94218 - 02/07/03 01:51 PM Re: It's Time to Dream Higher  
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my guess is that there would be a line several miles long(slight hyperbolic statement, there) of people waiting to take that trip to Mars. danger, or no. we've no shortage of people willing to take the risks necessary to be the first at anything.
my feelings:
vision, moderated with care and thought. but first, vision.





formerly known as etaoin...
#94219 - 02/07/03 01:58 PM Re: It's Time to Dream Higher  
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Rubrick Offline
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Hey, I'm high up that queue, etaoin. That's one feat I'd love to achieve.

I'm just saying that it's ridiculous to put unnecessary stress on current technology in order to get us there now. It's hard to believe that men got to the moon using a computer with the same processing power as a modern VCR but we still haven't progessed much since then. Let's wait until the technology exists to get us to Mars before we commit to a manned (or womanned) mission.


#94220 - 02/07/03 02:05 PM Re: It's Time to Dream Higher  
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Let's wait until the technology exists to get us to Mars

I agree with you Ru, but the technology already exists. maybe not as fast or as safe or as comfortable as we might like, but we could get there. matter-of-fact(maybe), if we always waited until everything was perfect, we'd still be swimming in the sea...



formerly known as etaoin...
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