Friday, May 15, 2009

Orion vs. Shuttle and Going to Mars...Now!

Sometimes, the best stuff to post on this blog are the conversations I have with others in the forums. lol.


This was about Orion vs. Shuttle, or more specifically why we have not designed another better shuttle an reverted back to a water landing pod. My comments are predicated by a hyphen. I typically write what the other person said, then comment on it, to keep up the context.

Aerospace_Cadet said to MCerc, "The shuttles were designed for 100 flights or 10 years. They all are way beyond their design life."

- So that's 1,000 flights. Um, have we reached even CLOSE to 1,000 flights? We've barely crested 10% of that, so no, the Shuttles have not surpassed their design life. Congress has underfunded NASA for so damn long that they're living on budgetary scraps, while the bastard politicians funnel money to their pet projects like Spotted Owl and California Rat bullsh**. I'm sick of the whole damn lot of them, the self serving, power hungry sh**heads.

You also said, "A new Aircraft Carrier looks very similar in design to ones they had 50 years ago. Are you saying that the new ones since they look similar but are bigger aren't better because they look the same?"

- But the new carriers are nuclear powered with advance radar and computer systems, reinforced hull structures and have better aircraft. You're right in this, that form follows function, which in this case sucks. I don't want water landings. It's ridiculous and more costly since you have to send a whole bunch of ships to not only go get the pod, but also set up a defense perimeter around the pod so "bad guys" don't try anything. This is why Shuttle was designed to land on land, because the Apollo people understood the cost and logistics savings by just landing on a runway.


The article is basically about how we have the technology to get to Mars now. We're just dragging our feet. There was a lot of discussion here, but some things are more poignant, as related to the notion of explorers, the dangers, pansy people whining about contaminating Mars with bacteria from Earth, etc.

fireflyMel said, "You know what that led to? It led to trans-Atlantic trade!"

- I like your thinking, and most of your posts, but there's one flaw with this analogy too, as there is with many Earth based analogies regarding this topic. The America's had people living there before anyone else arrived from Europe. The Europeans had instantly usable resources and the trade you speak of was mainly trading cool and weird "savage people" goods to the rich elite of Europe, who thought it would bring them status to own something from those "savage people" of the Americas.

Mars has no people, no cool stuff to trade in that manner. All Mars offers is scientific research and plausible resource extraction. The Moon is the same. Now I think those are good enough reasons to me, but I'm a science geek. The challenge is selling that to John Q. Public.

Eco-fanatics? More like eco-fascists.

topnotch said, "Our explorers had a baby to take care of. I'm pretty sure the astronauts won't have that problem."

- Wow chica wow wow. :) Otherwise, great points. You almost defeated my point to fireflyMel about how Earth based analogies don't work well for trips to the Moon or Mars.

fireflyMel said, "There is a difference between science and a political agenda -- you know that aspect of competition I told you about -- trust me, look behind the green movement and you will find big business interests who cannot compete in the current market who are attempting to leverage fear into the advantage of preferred government treatment and funding -- show me a political agenda and I will show you a bunch of people behind it who expect to get rich."

- Oh SNAP! Perfectly said.

HiGh_GuY - Terraform Mars? You're on that bandwagon too? No disrespect, but you're dead wrong! You cannot terraform a planet with no EM field to protect it from the solar radiation. Period.

Any atmosphere you try to naturally create will just get stripped away by solar wind and high energy particles. The best you can hope for is to manufacture "atmosphere" at the same rate that the sun strips it away, creating a man made equilibrium. That is not terraforming, that is Artificial Atmospheric Control.

And to do that you'd need a crap load of machines scattered throughout the planet, all spewing huge amounts of atmospheric gasses into the sky for God knows how long before that equilibrium point would be reached.

fireflyMel said, "In terms of trade I was thinking if we engaged in colonization, then local industry would be forced to grow, and that industry would need to trade for items manufactured on earth."

- Kind of a catch 22 there. You need to bring stuff with you at the beginning to set up a colony, which costs a lot for industry, but why set up a colony if there's nothing immediate to return to that same industry?

Mars is a 20 or 50 year return on investment scenario, and most businesses look at just 7 year return cycles. They want their return quick. We have to figure out how to make Mars profitable in just 7 to 10 years (10 could probably be acceptable), such that the investment is worth it.

Delphinus100 said, "And again, we are going somewhere after Mars, right? Excessive single mindedness for one specific target, rather than building up an overall spaceflight infrastructure and capability is part of what got us where we are now."

- Damn right! I want my Imperial Fleet...five minutes ago! :)

Screw it, let's build a program where its goal is to get humans to Pluto in 3 months. If we can do that, then every other planet in the solar system is covered. After Pluto...well...those distances become a bit more problematic and require more exotic propulsion systems, and I want to invent them. :)

Any eco-fascist bitching about polluting space should protest by tying themselves to the sun. Problem solved.

That last line got some laughs, but it's oh so true. :) Might be why it's so funny.

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