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Thread: SpaceX makes historic rocket landing

  1. #26
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    With the laser stuff I've seen demo vids of, you have a sort of cone thing on the bottom of the vehicle which gets heated by a ground-based laser, and this heat forces air through it to generate thrust or something. Sounded reasonably plausible.

  2. #27
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas

    Worldís biggest boondoggle?

    A joyride around the moon sounds like the ultimate bucket list item. But the sheer wastefulness of it bothers me. Iím thinking about the amount of money and resources that it will take, and the pollution it will cause, and the extra space junk it will create just to send two guys on a weekís vacation in space.

    To be honest, Iím kind of down on the whole idea of space tourism. It just highlights the excesses of crony capitalism when some civilian can rent-a-ride on the Soyuz and ISS, taking up the space & resources that should be filled with a real astronaut and/or a scientific experiment. After all, that's what the ISS is supposed to be for. I'm pretty sure the taxpayers of the world wouldn't have wanted to spend $150B on the thing if they knew it was going to be used as a hotel for the super rich.

  3. #28
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Bulgaria
    I'm all for space tourism, if it leads to meaningful exploration. In a sense, I'd be happy if they go to the freaking Moon, our last moon trip was in 1972. Better have something rather than nothing.

    But Elon Musk... geez, this guys never keeps his things up to schedule. The first manned expedition to the ISS is already slipping to 2019, how does he think he'll send a man to the Moon in 2018?

    Oh, I get it... He's an adviser of Donald Trump and hopes that NASA will choose his rocket over the other boondoggles.

  4. #29
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I don't see that happening until there is a shift away from pumping every $$$ into the war against terror. I'd love to go into space and see the stars, and (as I spoke about in the what are you watching thread) we all pre-9/11 had similar dreams. Huge budgets of governments were being pumped into space tech. Then 9/11 happened and all that money has gone bye bye.

    So until we (being the US, England, Australia etc etc) stop putting every dollar into the war against terror then things like colonization of other planes, a moon base etc etc just aren't going to happen imo.

  5. #30
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Bulgaria
    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    I don't see that happening until there is a shift away from pumping every $$$ into the war against terror. I'd love to go into space and see the stars, and (as I spoke about in the what are you watching thread) we all pre-9/11 had similar dreams. Huge budgets of governments were being pumped into space tech. Then 9/11 happened and all that money has gone bye bye.
    Even in pre-9/11 there was no funding for space. During Bill Clinton-Goldin era NASA was badly underfunded, if was during that time the "faster better cheaper" space probes were developed. It was during that time when some techs mixed metric and imperial units and the Mars probe went kaboom.

    The truth is - politicians don't give a crap about space. No, really. And even if some do and start funding space programs, uneducated jerks appear and start moaning: bubububut why dont we give the money for dah poor and hungry but instead go to the stupid Moon?

    Mars got hot during the past few years because Elon Musk appeared and everybody said: hey look, he's a private sphere guy, he does great things minus the gummint beurecracy. Which is a delusion - Musk developed the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft with NASA money.

    If you care bout space, better follow Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos. These guys get no penny from the government, yet still do some cool things. Like Bezos, he sends rockets to space and back.

  6. #31
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Too true. I stand corrected.

    It's the nature of the vast majority of politicians to only care about the span of their turn in office and nothing else. Same reason we see the lack of action on climate change, even though the reality of it is visible if one compares weathers and natural disasters just within their own life times. So short sighted.

    I hope we get there someday space wise, and don't blow ourselves to oblivion or completely ruin the planet before then.

  7. #32
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    US administrations haven't had any real appetite for manned spaceflight since GHW Bush announced his Space Exploration Initiative proposal which included building the ISS, returning to the Moon, and a manned mission to Mars. Bush was the last President to back up the rhetoric with funding. NASA's budget went up by around 50% during his administration, but he had pushed Congress for even more. NASA's budget and employment have been shrinking ever since.

    Back then I was all for it. I was born in the early 70s and like many kids my age I was practically brainwashed into an obsession with space exploration. TV watching was dominated by space-themed shows. My early movie favorites were too. We watched Cosmos, and pretty much every PBS program about space. There was extensive media coverage and hype about Skylab and especially the Voyager missions. It was fascinating, and we all coveted fancy reflector telescopes. The schools I attended also heavily encouraged our fascination with space. I remember when I was in elementary school, most of our class showed up early at school to watch the first space shuttle launch on the big TV they had in the library, and then again to watch the landing. In the 7th grade Jim Irwin and another Apollo astronaut visited our school and we spent a whole science class talking about the future of manned space flight. Visiting the Smithsonian Air & Space museum was a right of passage, and most of us grew up wanting so bad to go to space camp.

    So when President Bush said we should establish a Moon base and eventually go to Mars, and cleaned house with NASA management and increased their funding, I was pretty excited. Then Clinton came in and reversed course. IIRC, Clinton tried to cancel the space station too but the Russians made cooperation on non-proliferation & weapons reduction contingent on US aid to keep the Russian space program alive.

    Now that I'm older though, I question whether manned space flight makes any sense. The ISS is probably the worst science facility in history if judged by scientific value produced vs. money spent. And going back to the Moon makes no sense to me at all. There's very little that a manned mission could accomplish that an unmanned mission could not, and it doesn't seem like much of an accomplishment to go beating our chests about, considering the feat is already done and that was nearly 50 years ago. I don't fancy sending people to Mars either. It would be a grandiose accomplishment if we could do it, but ultimately it's as pointless as putting people on the Moon. It just doesn't seem like a worthy use of resources and we have much bigger problems to solve.

  8. #33
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    So we should just give up and settle for living on 1 planet for all of eternity until we've ruined it to the point where we all kark it from rising temperatures etc? Bugger that.

    Plus with the global population rising quite massively with each passing year and fewer wars than in previous generations, we simply don't have the space to support the amount of people on the planet very soon. Colonization of other planets solves this + allows humanity to continue on and to expand.

    I still see it as inevitable that we'll have to expand out into space someday. It's that or overpopulating the planet to the point that all resources run out and we all just die out slowly. That'd be a horrible way to go.

  9. #34
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    We're not colonising Mars any time soon. There's a bunch of logistical and habitat-related problems to be solved first, which I haven't seen Musk talk about. If he has a colony engineering plan, I'd dearly love to see it.

  10. #35
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Bulgaria
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    Now that I'm older though, I question whether manned space flight makes any sense. The ISS is probably the worst science facility in history if judged by scientific value produced vs. money spent.

    About ten years ago, I used to think like you. I was literally in love with unmanned space probes and though that we're giving too much money for manned spaceflight. Now, after pursuing a carreer in science and with a PhD degree behind my back, my viewpoint is a little different. In a sense, I learned how to grow a heart about the International Space Station.

    First, I came to realize that what you consider to be a "scientific value produced vs. money spent" is a bad comparison. Money spent - that's easy to measure - we know how much the Mars rovers cost, and how much the ISS costs. And the difference is indeed damning. But how do we measure the scientific value? That's a tricky question. One may point to scientific articles and whether they're published in high impact journals. This is what we, researchers, usually do.

    However the amount of articles is not always a good measure. For example, we know that the ISS took a long time to be built. Construction started in 1998. Modern research laboratories like Kibo and Columbus were not added until 2007-2008. And utilization as a science lab only started in full in 2011, after construction was declared complete. Some advantageous modules weren't added at all, like the Centrifuge module. Right, I don't argue it's a loss for science. However, next year we mark 20 years since the birth of the ISS. Of these only 7 years were dedicated to research. The ISS is scheduled to be used until 2024 and maybe even beyond that. I'd guess 2030. It's still too early to judge the real value.

    Some experiments have been meaningful. I could point to results in my field - plant physiology. Outside of these, the Scott Kelly flight was very interesting. There were cutting edge genetic studies between him and his twin brother Mark who served as a control on Earth. The results have just started to arrive and there are some intriguing differences of the telomeres between the brothers.

    And here comes the most important part of my point. How can you tell that these results are really worthy? Intriguing to scientists? Yes, of course! But sometimes decades pass between a scientific discovery and its application in practice. Maxwell wrote his famous equations about electricity and magnetism, but the TV was invented 80 years later. It would certainly take time to see if there are spinoffs from ISS research.

    Let's also remind that the Human Genome Project was initiated in 1984. Real work was started in 1990 and it was declared complete in 2003. Now it's 2017 - and we've yet to see some real applications in practice. Sure, we have deciphered the human genome. And sure, we know the mechanisms of many diseases. But we're nowhere close to their cure. It was thought that genetic engineering will lead to curing most diseases, but this has yet to happen. What we can do right now is to scan a human fetus for dangerous diseases and if we're not happy with the genetic background, we are able to abort it. This is the biggest disappointment for Francis Collins, one of the leading HGP scientists.

    And going back to the Moon makes no sense to me at all. There's very little that a manned mission could accomplish that an unmanned mission could not, and it doesn't seem like much of an accomplishment to go beating our chests about, considering the feat is already done and that was nearly 50 years ago. I don't fancy sending people to Mars either. It would be a grandiose accomplishment if we could do it, but ultimately it's as pointless as putting people on the Moon. It just doesn't seem like a worthy use of resources and we have much bigger problems to solve.
    In a sense you're right - a robot can do everything a human can do. And for the cost of building the ISS we could send an armada of Mars Rovers. However, this is only if we watch the scientific merits. In order to meaningfully defend manned space exploration to other planets, we must step outside of science. Yes, robots are better. But humans, working alongside robots, could inspire the public in a way a robot alone can't. Just think about it - there are many space telescopes around. The biggest one is the Russian Spektr-R (Radioastron). There are many others - Chandra, Kepler, Swift, Spitzer, Integral etc etc etc. But people know mostly about Hubble. Why? Because Hubble is a good example about cooperation between humans and robots. Hubble would have never been famous enough without the drama of the failed instruments and repair missions.

    The biggest boon of the Apollo program was not science itself. Nobody cares too much about lunar geology. But those trips inspired many people during 70s to pursue carreers in science. This is called "The Apollo Effect" - and it lead to many technology wonders in our world.

    I'm fully convinced that my generation doesn't just need rovers and satellites. My generation needs another Apollo - a program that could inspire countless people all over the world, so the kids would become scientists and engineers. Right now being a scientist and an engineering is not considered prestigious enough amongst young people. This is something we should fix ASAP. So why not create a viable space program?

  11. #36
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Cologne
    Space isn't the next frontier. Settling on another planet is so far out of reach, it would be much easier to solve our problems here instead. And if we don't we would just bring these problems with us.

  12. #37
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Bulgaria
    Quote Originally Posted by Kolya View Post
    Settling on another planet is so far out of reach, it would be much easier to solve our problems here instead.
    Space exploration vs solving our problems first - it's a false dichotomy. We have resources to do both space science and colonization, and solve our problems. Plus space exploration already produces important spinoffs. Including planetary exploration.

  13. #38
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Quote Originally Posted by Kolya View Post
    Space isn't the next frontier. Settling on another planet is so far out of reach, it would be much easier to solve our problems here instead. And if we don't we would just bring these problems with us.
    Indeed. Hoping to escape to another planet makes sense if the resources available and potential benefit outweigh the cost, because this is a few orders of magnitude larger than, say, colonising North America. Mars is an uphill struggle and a colony plan has many, many things working against it. The amount of legwork required to make the first Mars colony not have the highest mortality rate in human history makes it, by default, something that needs the joint co-operation of multiple nations.

    At any rate, looking to the stars as a form of egress because we can't solve our problems down on the ground is a somewhat depressing thought to me. (Makes for great science fiction though.)

  14. #39
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Kolya View Post
    Space isn't the next frontier.
    Then what is?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolya View Post
    Settling on another planet is so far out of reach, it would be much easier to solve our problems here instead.
    The problem of settling other planets is merely one of resources - money and time. We certainly have enough. We can do it (in-system), eventually. Our "problems here" are, by-and-large, not at all due to overall lack of resources. Indeed, many of them (certainly Trump) are symptoms of an overconcentration of resources.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolya View Post
    And if we don't we would just bring these problems with us.
    Is that not inevitable? Wherever we go, there we are.

  15. #40
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    Wherever we go, there we are.
    Even so, not all of us are all there.

  16. #41
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    So we should just give up and settle for living on 1 planet for all of eternity until we've ruined it to the point where we all kark it from rising temperatures etc? Bugger that.

    Plus with the global population rising quite massively with each passing year and fewer wars than in previous generations, we simply don't have the space to support the amount of people on the planet very soon. Colonization of other planets solves this + allows humanity to continue on and to expand.

    I still see it as inevitable that we'll have to expand out into space someday. It's that or overpopulating the planet to the point that all resources run out and we all just die out slowly. That'd be a horrible way to go.
    If over-population and over-pollution and eventual resource exhaustion are the things we really should be worried about long-term, we should be putting our best minds and resources into solving those problems right here. You simply canít send people off into space fast enough to overcome population growth.

    Besides, there are no plans on the table for a colony on the Moon or Mars. We have the technology and resources needed to go there and put our boots on the ground and bring some samples back. At huge cost and for no real purpose except to pat ourselves on the back and say we did it. Thatís about it.
    We donít even have a practical concept on paper which could sustain a permanent base on Mars without supplying nearly 100% of its resources from Earth (everything except electricity basically). A colony would have to be mostly self-sustaining and right now that is just science fiction. Weíre still gathering preliminary information about the planet to learn about its history and see what resources it might have. We can do that more effectively and much more cheaply through unmanned missions.

    And if the purpose of colonization is to provide a new place to host a permanent human civilization, to give us room to grow, donít you need a place that is hospitable to human life? If we desperately needed more space, we could start by settling Antarctica. Itís cold, but so is Mars, and it has breathable air and plenty of fresh water and itís relatively easy to get to. If thatís not exotic enough, what about the oceans?

  17. #42
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    It's not like we don't have pseudo-permanent bases on Antarctica and scattered about the oceans (e.g. oil platforms).

    But I totally agree that there's a lot more work that can and should be done before sending human colonists. Far better to have robots build a sustainable habitat and indeed industrial base before anybody sets foot thereupon. And of course you'd have to develop and test that sort of equipment on Earth first. If I'm not mistaken, right now there is no such thing as a small industrial base for anything; our world is heavily interconnected.

    'Course, running a full miniaturized mining and factory complex on Mars would require advanced AI, and a self-sufficient self-replicating machine intelligence sounds like the start to any number of disastrous sci-fi scenarios...

    EDIT: Hmm, maybe this should be my next game. "We're landing on Mars to take over the running of the robot base established years ago and now running well enough to support human life. There's just one leeettle problem..."

  18. #43
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Well what needs to be solved is bringing down costs / developing better and cheaper technologies. We certainly for example need much faster propulsion for rockets to get to places quicker, and we need to develop plant life that would survive and thrive on Mars + start creating oxygen.

    Once we have that it's do-able. Looking only at the costs like Bulgarian_Taffer said is the wrong way to look at it, when the long term benefits are there.

    The problems here don't have to correspond out there. Just because down here for example we have religious fanatics wanting the extermination of the US and all that, would have no relevance up on Mars. I think that Mars will have it's own issues to deal with. Daily life would be far more dangerous, especially in the early days. It's very much worth the effort though. If we can pull it off with Mars then the sky is the limit. And it's our greatest challenge as a species to pull it off.

  19. #44
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Cologne
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    "There's just one leeettle problem..."
    What is it, Mr. Chekhov?

  20. #45
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Iacon
    Maybe the first step would be some sort of industrial base on the moon. It would help if mining resources there could be profitable. Dig stuff up, shoot it back to earth.

    We really need better propulsion too, to make manned flights to further destinations more practical.

  21. #46
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: The Spiraling Sea
    A beautiful Earth Day shot from space!...



    https://twitter.com/SpaceX


  22. #47
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2003
    Location: Location, Location
    My god, look at all the stratospheric aerosols! How far will you go until you're satisfied, liberals!?

  23. #48
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: The Spiraling Sea

  24. #49
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    That 2nd brain looks like been stroganoff. Now I'm hungry.

  25. #50
    Taking a break
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by Vae View Post
    A beautiful Earth Day shot from space!...



    https://twitter.com/SpaceX


    Cool pic. Good to see some tangible results coming from the effort.

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