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SkepticDoc
10-09-2009, 02:05 PM
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17951-spacecraft-kamikaze-smashes-into-moon.html

It would have been interesting, but my pragmatic side tells me that money would be better spent on Earth, so maybe it was a good thing it failed...

Why would we want to set up a lunar colony when we have millions of Americans uninsured?

JonIrenicus
10-09-2009, 05:09 PM
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17951-spacecraft-kamikaze-smashes-into-moon.html

It would have been interesting, but my pragmatic side tells me that money would be better spent on Earth, so maybe it was a good thing it failed...

Why would we want to set up a lunar colony when we have millions of Americans uninsured?

I am all for bombing the moon, the bust to me was that we saw nothing !!!


It was Sooooooooooooooo anti climactic, any human being who watched it would come away thinking the same. And what is with the cameras? All the modern technology and we are still dealing with slideshows?

WTFH

AemJeff
10-09-2009, 05:20 PM
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17951-spacecraft-kamikaze-smashes-into-moon.html

It would have been interesting, but my pragmatic side tells me that money would be better spent on Earth, so maybe it was a good thing it failed...

Why would we want to set up a lunar colony when we have millions of Americans uninsured?

I think you're misinterpreting the signficance of what you're reading.

ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/WireStory?id=8790606&page=1):

Video transmitted back from the trailing craft did not show, as hoped, the eruption of debris, but infrared devices showed a hot flash that indicated a crater about 18 to 20 yards (meters) wide.

"We didn't see a big splashy plume like we wanted to see," said Michael Bicay, director of science at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ames Research Center.

Scientists did not know whether there had been no plume or if it could not be seen in the Internet-quality video shown as the craft crashed.


"I was blown away by how long this little spacecraft lasted," Tony Colaprete, the mission's principal investigator, told a news conference. He said it got good spectroscopic data which would show what elements were in the crater and how they were changed by the heat of the first impact.

"The fact that we flew in, saw the crater and it was still glowing hot means that if there was ice there or a pool of water or whatever else, it was subliming (turning to vapor)," he said. "We got the data we need."

SkepticDoc
10-09-2009, 05:36 PM
So what if there actually is water in the moon?

The money should be spent here making sure every person has access to clean water on Earth.

Once our basic needs on Earth are satisfied, go for the interesting Space stuff...

AemJeff
10-09-2009, 05:52 PM
So what if there actually is water in the moon?

The money should be spent here making sure every person has access to clean water on Earth.

Once our basic needs on Earth are satisfied, go for the interesting Space stuff...

Doc, I don't know what you're talking about. Do you think this is a zero sum game? Would dollars spent on projects you don't like be spent buying groceries?

Which categories of research would you approve of? Do you oppose scientific research as an inverse proportion to its physical proximity? Are you an Earth's gravity well chauvinist? Do you think that dollars spent on research in space are different from dollars spent on research on the surface? Do you oppose scientific research generally? Should we stop building particle accelerators, too? Maybe all the money spent on test tubes could be devoted to feeding Africa? Channel the funds formerly devoted to obtaining technical Phds to funding soup kitchens?

What's the point?

SkepticDoc
10-09-2009, 06:19 PM
Please correct whatever I misunderstand:

The mass of the moon was part of the Earth until some asteroid knocked it into orbit.

The USA went to the moon to show our superiority over the Russians.

We know as much as we can ever know from the actual moon rocks brought to Earth (that is why we know the first statement is true).

Maybe water was brought by asteroids to both the Earth and the moon, Earth kept hers because of the magnetic field and the atmosphere, the moon's water is long gone because of the physical world laws.

The Bush administration had a pipe dream of colonizing the moon, maybe the motivation was to establish military superiority. The Space shuttle only took off after the military saw some use for the project, the motivation was not "Science" but the "Art of War".

Virology is not as seducing as astronomy, but preventing and treating the flu is more important than going to the moon, or any other interplanetary project. The actual science for virology is more complicated than astrophysics, we know less about "life forms" than what we know about the moon.

your turn

AemJeff
10-09-2009, 06:50 PM
Please correct whatever I misunderstand:

The mass of the moon was part of the Earth until some asteroid knocked it into orbit.

The USA went to the moon to show our superiority over the Russians.

We know as much as we can ever know from the actual moon rocks brought to Earth (that is why we know the first statement is true).

Maybe water was brought by asteroids to both the Earth and the moon, Earth kept hers because of the magnetic field and the atmosphere, the moon's water is long gone because of the physical world laws.

The Bush administration had a pipe dream of colonizing the moon, maybe the motivation was to establish military superiority. The Space shuttle only took off after the military saw some use for the project, the motivation was not "Science" but the "Art of War".

Virology is not as seducing as astronomy, but preventing and treating the flu is more important than going to the moon, or any other interplanetary project. The actual science for virology is more complicated than astrophysics, we know less about "life forms" than what we know about the moon.

your turn

Just plot the relationship between degree of human misery and technological progress. It's simple. If you want to reduce suffering, learn more science. Whinging about military involvement is disingenuous. Military applications are the single best driver of scientific and technological progress there has ever been - and will be be for the foreseeable future.

It's a sad truth, but an overwhelming irony is that the human instinct for warfare is directly responsible for the most significant engine of improvement for the human condition as has ever been seen - and by multiple orders of magnitude.

And trying to make distinctions by discipline is nonsense. We know less about life science because it's ultimately harder than physics, not because it's been somehow neglected.

Let's reserve Luddism and anti-science for Creationists, flat earthers and AGW deniers.

SkepticDoc
10-09-2009, 06:56 PM
Sad isn't it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM0Z75KEd_o

SkepticDoc
10-09-2009, 07:18 PM
The War Machine just generates more war and weapons.

It is disingenuous to claim that most of our knowledge needs the war efforts to advance. The Human Genome project and the work of Norman Borlaug are the first examples of humanitarian science that come to my mind (cynics may say that medical profiteers funded the human genome project, but you can only profit if there is a benefit that you can sell).

Many Scientists just become war whores because there is always money for war.

AemJeff
10-09-2009, 07:30 PM
...

Many Scientists just become war whores because there is always money for war.

And thus you show that you do grasp the logic that governs the world. How far back do you want to remember - how about Archimedes? The inventor of bronze? Fire? It's easy to name individuals unmotivated by human aggression - Einstein comes immediately to mind; but, do you remember this (http://www.atomicarchive.com/Docs/Begin/Einstein.shtml)?

cragger
10-09-2009, 09:11 PM
Wheew, the knives came out quickly in this thread. Since the moon shot was a collective expense, it doesn't seem that unreasonable to question whether it is the highest priority for such expendatures, or suggest a perference for other options with better perceived cost/benefit ratios. Isn't questioning the size, scope, and nature of government action exactly what we should be doing as citizens?

Space is way cool and all, but still. I suspect that if there is an A.E.M.Judy at home who questions your buying a nifty new video card instead of paying some bills when times are tight you don't accuse her of being an anti-science Luddite. The costs of doing so would likely be higher than those in this thread, but then a better or at least a different view of costs vs. benefits seems to be the same argument SDoc is making.

And do you really want to be making the argument that war is the best way to drive technological progress? I could belabor this ad nauseam but it doesn't seem necessary judging by your forum posts overall.

AemJeff
10-09-2009, 09:43 PM
Wheew, the knives came out quickly in this thread. Since the moon shot was a collective expense, it doesn't seem that unreasonable to question whether it is the highest priority for such expendatures, or suggest a perference for other options with better perceived cost/benefit ratios. Isn't questioning the size, scope, and nature of government action exactly what we should be doing as citizens?

Space is way cool and all, but still. I suspect that if there is an A.E.M.Judy at home who questions your buying a nifty new video card instead of paying some bills when times are tight you don't accuse her of being an anti-science Luddite. The costs of doing so would likely be higher than those in this thread, but then a better or at least a different view of costs vs. benefits seems to be the same argument SDoc is making.

And do you really want to be making the argument that war is the best way to drive technological progress? I could belabor this ad nauseam but it doesn't seem necessary judging by your forum posts overall.

Aem "Judy" has exactly the role you imagine. But I reject the analogy. Space exploration and my technological imprudence aren't alike. My video card doesn't have much of an effect on my income (Since I'm a programmer who often works at home on equipment I own... - but I won't go there. :) ) I don't think that there's a meaningful distinction between space exploration and any other big science endeavor - and I completely reject the notion that big science is a luxury. I fully stand behind my assertions about technology and human misery. Even more fundamentally, I reject the notion that the raw acquisition of knowledge is a luxury and I assert that space exploration is an integral part of that endeavor, indivisible from research into particle physics. or information theory, or epidemiology, or whatever.

Also, I'm not making a moral case for the relationship between human aggression and the development of technology. What I'm saying is that it has been a necessary (and sufficient, though not sole) driver in the progression of technological advancement. If anybody is capable of making a compelling case that the quest for better weaponry (and better command of information and communications [e.g. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bletchley_Park)]) has not been, by far, the most consistent force behind advancement, I'd love to hear that argument.

cragger
10-09-2009, 11:10 PM
Yeah, I just don't see anyone on the other side of the somewhat absolutist points you are making here (e.g. science is good, science has helped mankind). It is quite possible to recognize the value of science, and agree that some degree of collective investment toward various advancements is desirable but still question and disagree about whether any given project is the best use of what will always be limited resources. The discussion strikes me as a bit of the attack/defense mode prevalant online, but you are probably aware that's how I see some of the effects of this sort of forum. Technology is a two-edged sword in human hands.


That having been my main point, I'll add related to my earlier aside:

While the horse of war has dragged the cart of certain areas of technology some distance behind it throughout history as you say, that doesn't imply that a considered investment in those areas otherwise beneficial would not achieve greater benefits at lower direct costs, and far lower overall cost. We can learn after all. The first tool might have been a rock or stick employed as a weapon but we have advanced to the use and creation of tools that aren't just dual-use killers.

And though I'm not prepared to expound on your theory that the ancillary benefits of military spending are the primary drivers of improving mankind's lot at any length, I would suggest you consider a couple things. Relatively modest investments in public health measures could well be the single most important improvement in terms of impact on human lives made in recent centuries, especially in terms of bang for the buck. Secondly, the US military budget overall is greater than US overall primary and secondary education investments. Is the annual beneficial technological spin-off really a greater benefit than education?

Per your challenge, maybe one of the science saturday folks would want to take you up.

AemJeff
10-10-2009, 01:17 AM
Yeah, I just don't see anyone on the other side of the somewhat absolutist points you are making here (e.g. science is good, science has helped mankind). It is quite possible to recognize the value of science, and agree that some degree of collective investment toward various advancements is desirable but still question and disagree about whether any given project is the best use of what will always be limited resources. The discussion strikes me as a bit of the attack/defense mode prevalant online, but you are probably aware that's how I see some of the effects of this sort of forum. Technology is a two-edged sword in human hands.


That having been my main point, I'll add related to my earlier aside:

While the horse of war has dragged the cart of certain areas of technology some distance behind it throughout history as you say, that doesn't imply that a considered investment in those areas otherwise beneficial would not achieve greater benefits at lower direct costs, and far lower overall cost. We can learn after all. The first tool might have been a rock or stick employed as a weapon but we have advanced to the use and creation of tools that aren't just dual-use killers.

And though I'm not prepared to expound on your theory that the ancillary benefits of military spending are the primary drivers of improving mankind's lot at any length, I would suggest you consider a couple things. Relatively modest investments in public health measures could well be the single most important improvement in terms of impact on human lives made in recent centuries, especially in terms of bang for the buck. Secondly, the US military budget overall is greater than US overall primary and secondary education investments. Is the annual beneficial technological spin-off really a greater benefit than education?

Per your challenge, maybe one of the science saturday folks would want to take you up.

My argument is that science is a net good; and that from the perspective of somebody arguing for social justice, it should be considered paramount.

Quibbling over projects is one thing. Scrapping entire broadly defined areas of inquiry isn't the same thing. Deciding to spend 79 million (the actual cost of the lunar "bombing" btw) on a research project, rather than ten billion on another (assuming approximately comparable expected benefits) is an obvious good thing. But the "we shouldn't be spending in space when there are things to do at home" argument is pointless and based on an incoherent premise.

I'm sure I've made the same point about public health (and generally about the importance of the germ theory of disease) somewhere among my posts here. I don't think that's inconsistent with my premise: "[warfare is] a necessary (and sufficient, though not sole) driver in the progression of technological advancement." It's technology and scientific understanding that allow us to alleviate human suffering. That's distinct from the notion that war development is a significant impetus in developing those thing.

It's also probably relevant to point out, not for the first time, that I work in an industry closely tied to both space and military applications. And I grew up in the shadow of the Apollo moon shots (my mother worked for a major contractor at Goddard) and before I was ever a liberal or a hippie (and I certainly was one of those at one time) I was a geek and completely taken in by the romance of space and technology. And when I hear liberals use the line I listed at the end of the second graf, above, my teeth grate just as hard as when I talk to a Creationist.

SkepticDoc
10-17-2009, 02:41 PM
Thanks for clarifying your position, AEMJeff.

I am sorry if I offended you in any way, I thought you were retired.

We'll just have to agree to disagree.

BTW, Noam Chomsky had something to say that relates to our discussion:

http://fora.tv/2009/10/06/Noam_Chomsky_Philosophies_of_Language_and_Politics #fullprogram

There is no transcript available, I have to caution that the comment was very limited, IMHO Chomsky is always a fascinating speaker!

AemJeff
10-17-2009, 03:06 PM
Thanks for clarifying your position, AEMJeff.

I am sorry if I offended you in any way, I thought you were retired.

We'll just have to agree to disagree.

BTW, Noam Chomsky had something to say that relates to our discussion:

http://fora.tv/2009/10/06/Noam_Chomsky_Philosophies_of_Language_and_Politics #fullprogram

There is no transcript available, I have to caution that the comment was very limited, IMHO Chomsky is always a fascinating speaker!

Doc if I seem to be taking personal offense, then that's my fault, not yours; and the apology is due to you, not the reverse. I'm sorry about that.

My reaction in this debate is predictable and probably Pavlovian. And since I'm pretty hard on what I see as right-wing anti-science arguments, I feel obligated to be pretty tough on what seems to me to be the same thing coming from the left. (I have a pretty strong feeling that you and I agree completely in regard to some other claims - such as those of the anti-vaxxers.) Thanks for the Chomsky link.

AemJeff
10-20-2009, 11:27 PM
It worked as planned:
Scientists are 'are blown away by the data returned (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-moon17-2009oct17,0,1184394.story?track=rss)

bjkeefe
10-20-2009, 11:33 PM
It worked as planned:
Scientists are 'are blown away by the data returned (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-moon17-2009oct17,0,1184394.story?track=rss)

Hey, great! Thanks for passing that along.

AemJeff
11-13-2009, 01:23 PM
It worked as planned:

And, it turns out they found what they were looking for.

Water Found on Moon, Scientists Say (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/science/14moon.html)

There is water on the Moon, scientists stated unequivocally on Friday, and considerable amounts of it.

“Indeed yes, we found water,” Anthony Colaprete, the principal investigator for NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov/), said in a news conference.

...

Sorry Doc, but this definitely makes additional manned missions far more likely, and increases their likely scale, as well.

bjkeefe
11-13-2009, 01:39 PM
And, it turns out they found what they were looking for.

Water Found on Moon, Scientists Say (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/science/14moon.html)

Hurrrah!

And thanks very much for passing along this great news.

Sorry Doc, but this definitely makes additional manned missions far more likely, and increases their likely scale, as well.

Not to be mean to Doc, but ... Hurrah again!

SkepticDoc
11-13-2009, 01:40 PM
Maybe the Chinese will get there first...

a whopping 25 gallons! (http://news.aol.com/article/nasa-evidence-of-water-found-in-moon/721823?icid=sphere_newsaol_inpage)

Will the Astronauts need flood insurance?

Media manipulation, like the Niger yellow cake, WMD?

SkepticDoc
11-13-2009, 04:18 PM
More "news":

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/11/13/nasa-finds-reservoir-of-water-ice-on-the-moon/

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/11/13/the-moon-is-a-wet-mistress/

What I would like to know is what is the exact cost so far, what are the projected expenses, and more importantly, if the amount is really significant, what would be the expense to "harvest" the ice into a drinkable form?

What if the ice is contaminated with heavy metals?

How could the ice be melted cost effectively, where will the heat energy come from?

I am sure the scientists have discussed all this, I am afraid that NASA may be deluded by the expectation of funding based on possibly false/exaggerated promises.

Who is going to tell the emperor that he is naked?

AemJeff
11-13-2009, 04:23 PM
More "news":

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/11/13/nasa-finds-reservoir-of-water-ice-on-the-moon/

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/11/13/the-moon-is-a-wet-mistress/

What I would like to know is what is the exact cost so far, what are the projected expenses, and more importantly, if the amount is really significant, what would be the expense to "harvest" the ice into a drinkable form?

What if the ice is contaminated with heavy metals?

How could the ice be melted cost effectively, where will the heat energy come from?

I am sure the scientists have discussed all this, I am afraid that NASA may be deluded by the expectation of funding based on possibly false/exaggerated promises.

Who is going to tell the emperor that he is naked?

Doc, I answered the first question in this very thread. ($79 million.) Heat energy on the lunar surface? There's quite a lot of solar energy available. Plus.. fission, eventually? It's possible, and far more likely, I think, than carrying oxidants up the gravity well.

SkepticDoc
11-13-2009, 04:25 PM
I was under the impression that 79 million is has been spent so far...

AemJeff
11-13-2009, 04:29 PM
I was under the impression that 79 million is has been spent so far...

My fault, I glossed over the rest of the question accidentally - I have no basis for an estimate.

SkepticDoc
11-13-2009, 04:46 PM
I would be mesmerized to look at the actual calculations for the energy balance of harvesting ice in the moon!

I am coming from the position that just as ethanol from corn does not reduce petroleum consumption, it may be impossible to harvest that ice in a cost effective fashion (unless a small nuclear reactor can be deployed to the moon to generate heat...).

bjkeefe
11-13-2009, 04:50 PM
I would be mesmerized to look at the actual calculations for the energy balance of harvesting ice in the moon!

I am coming from the position that just as ethanol from corn does not reduce petroleum consumption, it may be impossible to harvest that ice in a cost effective fashion (unless a small nuclear reactor can be deployed to the moon to generate heat...).

Why, if you think heat is the main hurdle, do you not accept the reality of solar power available on the Moon?

Seems to me the bigger pain would be keeping the ice from melting (or sublimating) as you mined it.

AemJeff
11-13-2009, 04:52 PM
I would be mesmerized to look at the actual calculations for the energy balance of harvesting ice in the moon!

I am coming from the position that just as ethanol from corn does not reduce petroleum consumption, it may be impossible to harvest that ice in a cost effective fashion (unless a small nuclear reactor can be deployed to the moon to generate heat...).

Well, "cost effective" in this context implies a comparison with carrying things up from here. The goals are a sustainable habitat on an (as yet) undefined scale; and, possibly, a source of fuel for missions that don't originate at the bottom of the well. By that standard it will be cost effective, by definition.

TwinSwords
11-13-2009, 04:56 PM
More "news":

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/11/13/nasa-finds-reservoir-of-water-ice-on-the-moon/

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/11/13/the-moon-is-a-wet-mistress/

What I would like to know is what is the exact cost so far, what are the projected expenses, and more importantly, if the amount is really significant, what would be the expense to "harvest" the ice into a drinkable form?

What if the ice is contaminated with heavy metals?

How could the ice be melted cost effectively, where will the heat energy come from?

I am sure the scientists have discussed all this, I am afraid that NASA may be deluded by the expectation of funding based on possibly false/exaggerated promises.

Who is going to tell the emperor that he is naked?

You are earning your name, today.

bjkeefe
11-13-2009, 05:01 PM
Well, "cost effective" in this context implies a comparison with carrying things up from here. The goals are a sustainable habitat on an (as yet) undefined scale; and, possibly, a source of fuel for missions that don't originate at the bottom of the well. By that standard it will be cost effective, by definition.

It is time to double funding for the Space Elevator every year until we get it built. (I hope it's not $0 right now, or it could take a while.)

cragger
11-13-2009, 05:21 PM
From information released to date we are far from being able to come up with any sort of estimate for establishing a self-sustaining presence on the moon that I would trust as being within an order of magnitude of the actual costs. For that matter, the benefits are equally vague beyond the coolness factor and the general idea that if we spend enough money and effort there are bound to be some. Maybe when all those sexy alien babes Kirk was always hooking up with show up it will seem like a better idea.

AemJeff
11-13-2009, 05:51 PM
From information released to date we are far from being able to come up with any sort of estimate for establishing a self-sustaining presence on the moon that I would trust as being within an order of magnitude of the actual costs. For that matter, the benefits are equally vague beyond the coolness factor and the general idea that if we spend enough money and effort there are bound to be some. Maybe when all those sexy alien babes Kirk was always hooking up with show up it will seem like a better idea.

Of course, just getting up out of the well is a tangible benefit. Research in various fields benefits from a perch on the moon for a number of reasons. Taking steps out toward all the available metals in the asteroids, volatiles in the gas giants will eventually reap huge rewards.

And, yeah, it's pretty cool; though I think getting laid in space is going to be problematic for some time yet.

cragger
11-13-2009, 07:24 PM
Of course, just getting up out of the well is a tangible benefit.

So I'd like to see some more tangible results from the space station as a starting point. Seems like the latest view is: we spent a lot of time and money (and two shuttles full of astronauts) building it, so lets dump it in a couple years and start the next big show.

I'm probably as into the coolness as you are. Love the air and space museum, have seen manned launches go up, considerable technical background. Still, like everybody else who wants to demand a piece from the public pie, space nuts have to make a specific case on costs, benefits, and priorities. Without the magic involved in all those nifty SF stories - just find some Dilithium crystals and presto, cheapo FTL travel! Beam those resources up Scotty! Gotta find those crystals, or make a real case for any significant investment.

And are you really sure nobody has had sex in space yet?

AemJeff
11-13-2009, 07:35 PM
So I'd like to see some more tangible results from the space station as a starting point. Seems like the latest view is: we spent a lot of time and money (and two shuttles full of astronauts) building it, so lets dump it in a couple years and start the next big show.

I'm probably as into the coolness as you are. Love the air and space museum, have seen manned launches go up, considerable technical background. Still, like everybody else who wants to demand a piece from the public pie, space nuts have to make a specific case on costs, benefits, and priorities. Without the magic involved in all those nifty SF stories - just find some Dilithium crystals and presto, cheapo FTL travel! Beam those resources up Scotty! Gotta find those crystals, or make a real case for any significant investment.

And are you really sure nobody has had sex in space yet?

I'm definitely not sure about that last question.

As to the rest, I don't think there's a requirement that each step pays for itself. The eventual benefits of exploration and colonization of the solar system seem self-evident to me; but there's a lot of investment required to get there. I really don't think we have the option not to do so, any more than I think crossing the oceans didn't become inevitable, once it became feasible.

claymisher
11-13-2009, 08:35 PM
I'm definitely not sure about that last question.

As to the rest, I don't think there's a requirement that each step pays for itself. The eventual benefits of exploration and colonization of the solar system seem self-evident to me; but there's a lot of investment required to get there. I really don't think we have the option not to do so, any more than I think crossing the oceans didn't become inevitable, once it became feasible.

Where are the profits in space? I mean, back when the Spanish and Dutch were prowling the oceans there was loot on the other end of the voyage. Since there aren't any natives to exploit in space you're going to have find some natural resources out there. Is there anything so valuable on Mars or the moon that it's worth the cost of getting to it?

Ocean
11-13-2009, 08:37 PM
... but this definitely makes additional manned missions far more likely, and increases their likely scale, as well.

So when are we leaving?

Oh, you said "manned" missions! And I was starting to get excited...

:)

bjkeefe
11-13-2009, 09:11 PM
Where are the profits in space? I mean, back when the Spanish and Dutch were prowling the oceans there was loot on the other end of the voyage. Since there aren't any natives to exploit in space you're going to have find some natural resources out there. Is there anything so valuable on Mars or the moon that it's worth the cost of getting to it?

Don't forget that what a lot of those colonial missions promised to find for riches didn't pan out, whether it was cheap spices from the new route to India, gold, or the Fountain of Youth. But once people got to the New (to them) World, all manner of things presented themselves, things that they couldn't even have imagined.

It's unreasonable to ask for a solid prediction of the benefits and profits when you're talking about exploring new worlds. In fact, one of the things I blame NASA for most is falling into that trap of over-promising tangibles when trying to secure funding. If we can get there (space elevator to orbit, permanent Moon bases, the asteroids, etc.) without it having to be a heroic effort and a one-time-only deal, people will figure out ways to capitalize upon what we find.

Remember what Faraday said (http://books.google.com/books?id=6iHge3iO9_IC&pg=PA340&lpg=PA340&dq=%22presently+you+will+be+able+to+tax+it%22&source=bl&ots=js3BNSPhxP&sig=zukAXubdcWUFPmsw8loU0D5fdaU&hl=en&ei=IhH-SvOVM4nVlQe7leXeDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22presently%20you%20will%20be%20able%20to%20tax %20it%22&f=false). And he was right.

bjkeefe
11-13-2009, 09:14 PM
So when are we leaving?

Oh, you said "manned" missions! And I was starting to get excited...

:)

Heh. It's still really hard to remember to say crewed missions. Way harder than, say, police officer, firefighter, server, or even letter carrier.

AemJeff
11-13-2009, 09:17 PM
Where are the profits in space? I mean, back when the Spanish and Dutch were prowling the oceans there was loot on the other end of the voyage. Since there aren't any natives to exploit in space you're going to have find some natural resources out there. Is there anything so valuable on Mars or the moon that it's worth the cost of getting to it?

The resources are there, of course, orders of magnitude more of some than are available here. Metals and volatiles, especially. Plus potential lebensraum on Mars, Europa, Ganymede, etc... There's strategic advantage in holding a position out of the well. Plus the lure of pure science, of course. And the longer term goal of putting some of our eggs into oher baskets.

What did we know of the specific commercial advantages to be bestowed by travel to the New World in 1500? Many of the real advantages and opportunities are almost certainly not clear to us, yet. That's not an impediment, in the long run, I think.

AemJeff
11-13-2009, 09:20 PM
Heh. It's still really hard to remember to say crewed missions. Way harder than, say, police officer, firefighter, server, or even letter carrier.

Or "chairperson." Ugh.

AemJeff
11-13-2009, 09:21 PM
So when are we leaving?

Oh, you said "manned" missions! And I was starting to get excited...

:)

I did say that certain things were still problematic!

Ocean
11-13-2009, 09:25 PM
I did say that certain things were still problematic!

OK. I'll put away my green make up then...

bjkeefe
11-13-2009, 09:33 PM
Or "chairperson." Ugh.

My mother always insisted that the -man in chairman came from the Latin word for hand, as in "the hand that guides the board," and though quite the language <strike>policeman</strike> police officer on most sexist aspects of language, always asked to be called "chairman" when she held that role.

I was never completely convinced of that, and so prefer, simply, chair; e.g. Department Chair, the chair of the committee, and so on.

Because, yeah, "chairperson" is teh ugh.

cragger
11-14-2009, 12:54 PM
If I may continue as Advocatus Diaboli for a moment -

What did we know of the specific commercial advantages to be bestowed by travel to the New World in 1500?

... potential lebensraum on Mars, Europa, Ganymede, etc ...

and from Brendan
Don't forget that what a lot of those colonial missions promised to find for riches didn't pan out, whether it was cheap spices from the new route to India, gold, or the Fountain of Youth. But once people got to the New (to them) World, all manner of things presented themselves, things that they couldn't even have imagined.

This really isn't a particularly applicable analogy. Neither the discovery nor the following exploitation and colonization of the Americas involved any new or special technology nor presented any particular challenges different in kind from those of life in the Old World. People had been sailing around for a long while, sailing a bit further was relatively trivial. The nationally funded portions of this adventure were both cheap, and like everything else at the time, done at the whim of absolute monarchs, operating on the then-current theory that having a subject set foot on a new territory made it exclusive crown property and an easy expansion of royal dominion. The large movements of colonizing populations were private, not public ventures. Emmigration required nothing more than getting on and off a boat, and doing exactly the same things after plunking down in the New World that one would upon moving to the fields and forests outside the villiage of birth.

And there was nothing exotic about any of this, the lure of free land and the ability to exploit native populations for gold were hardly unimagined surprises, they were well defined motivators. People knew exactly what they were coming for and how they would get it.

None of these characteristics holds for the Pinkertonian (though hardly original with him) dream of space colonization. (I always suspect Jim is thinking "not only will the party rule this world, we'll rule all the worlds! Bwahaha!") The orders of magnitude of difference in the cost and difficulties of the travel and of interplanetary transport of any resources vs. the sailboat model aside, you certainly can't just dump people off the ship at the destination and tell them to build a nice little colony, extort valuables from the natives, and we'll be back in a few years to see how they're doing and gather the swag.

AemJeff
11-14-2009, 01:11 PM
If I may continue as Advocatus Diaboli for a moment -





and from Brendan


This really isn't a particularly applicable analogy. Neither the discovery nor the following exploitation and colonization of the Americas involved any new or special technology nor presented any particular challenges different in kind from those of life in the Old World. People had been sailing around for a long while, sailing a bit further was relatively trivial. The nationally funded portions of this adventure were both cheap, and like everything else at the time, done at the whim of absolute monarchs, operating on the then-current theory that having a subject set foot on a new territory made it exclusive crown property and an easy expansion of royal dominion. The large movements of colonizing populations were private, not public ventures. Emmigration required nothing more than getting on and off a boat, and doing exactly the same things after plunking down in the New World that one would upon moving to the fields and forests outside the villiage of birth.

And there was nothing exotic about any of this, the lure of free land and the ability to exploit native populations for gold were hardly unimagined surprises, they were well defined motivators. People knew exactly what they were coming for and how they would get it.

None of these characteristics holds for the Pinkertonian (though hardly original with him) dream of space colonization. (I always suspect Jim is thinking "not only will the party rule this world, we'll rule all the worlds! Bwahaha!") The orders of magnitude of difference in the cost and difficulties of the travel and of interplanetary transport of any resources vs. the sailboat model aside, you certainly can't just dump people off the ship at the destination and tell them to build a nice little colony, extort valuables from the natives, and we'll be back in a few years to see how they're doing and gather the swag.

Obviously, I don't share this point of view. For instance, crossing oceans was initially a huge deal. It had been done, but it was dangerous, time consuming, and a lot more expensive than you're implying - Isabella and Gloriana, for example, provided a hell of a lot of treasure for that purpose. We just mounted a mission to the moon for under a hundred million dollars, in the same approximate time frame as trillion dollar deficits have become points of contention. Four orders of magnitude separate those numbers. Moon missions in my childhood cost forty or fifty times that in unadjusted dollars.

Creating colonies is going to be hard. Getting people to the moon in the first place was hard. And, while I acknowledge the analogy with sea travel isn't exact (if it was it wouldn't be an analogy) I think it's directly applicable - even if the problems we face are unique to the specific task.

I doubt we're going to come to an agreement about this - I do think that historical precedent supports my view.

bjkeefe
11-14-2009, 01:34 PM
[...] None of these characteristics holds for the Pinkertonian (though hardly original with him) dream of space colonization. (I always suspect Jim is thinking "not only will the party rule this world, we'll rule all the worlds! Bwahaha!") The orders of magnitude of difference in the cost and difficulties of the travel and of interplanetary transport of any resources vs. the sailboat model aside, you certainly can't just dump people off the ship at the destination and tell them to build a nice little colony, extort valuables from the natives, and we'll be back in a few years to see how they're doing and gather the swag.

First, please do not diminish the ideas under discussion here by characterizing them as "Pinkertonian." He is far from the originator of any of them, and his views are so suspect on so many other topics that to label these ideas with his name is unfair. You might as well say "the Hitlerian ideas of eating vegetables and having dogs as pets."

;^)

That aside, I want to make clear that I am not advocating a massive new program to colonize Earth's orbit, the Moon, and asteroid belt given the current state of our technology. We will have to figure out, first and foremost, how to get out the gravity well we're in much more cheaply. We will have to figure out how to clear a number of other hurdles, too, like radiation shielding and faster transport for anything farther away than the Moon, just to name two. But that we haven't yet solved all of these problems is no reason not to be planning for what we should be doing once they are solved.

As to what you said earlier about my analogy, well, sure. In some senses, there are limits to how directly it applies. But I don't agree, for example, that "sailing a bit further was relatively trivial." The 15th and 16th century voyages were pushing the limits of the existing technology. For example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Magellan):

Of the 237 men who set out on five ships to circumnavigate the earth in 1519, only 18 completed the circumnavigation of the globe and managed to return to Spain in 1522.

(One important difference between exploring then and now, it appears, is in the change in amount of tolerance for risking loss of life. This contributes to the cost, at least as things stand now.)

I also don't agree when you say "[t]he nationally funded portions of this adventure were ... cheap." I don't have the figures at hand or the energy to look them up at the moment, but my memory from reading Freeman Dyson's analyses, among others, is that financing these missions of exploration was not at all trivial for the monarchs concerned. I grant that the current state of the art for space exploration means an order or orders of magnitude more expense, but, as I said above, that's just right now.

Finally, while I agree that the seafaring explorers had some confidence that they'd be able to live off the new lands they arrived at, it is also true that they (a) encountered unexpected challenges, (b) found some expectations unfulfilled and some assumptions wrong, and (c) discovered unexpected benefits. And while in some narrow sense it is true that they did not have to develop any "new or special technology," it is also true is that they had to develop the technology at some point; i.e., couldn't have done what they did much before the time that they actually started doing it.

So it will be with us -- we can't go exploring until we develop some more technology and make some new discoveries.

Which brings us to the thought that there may be significant amounts of water on the Moon. This is huge, if it pans out -- it obviates the need of having to carry it with us, and it's also a useful raw material for taking the next steps.

claymisher
11-14-2009, 01:56 PM
The resources are there, of course, orders of magnitude more of some than are available here. Metals and volatiles, especially. Plus potential lebensraum on Mars, Europa, Ganymede, etc... There's strategic advantage in holding a position out of the well. Plus the lure of pure science, of course. And the longer term goal of putting some of our eggs into oher baskets.

What did we know of the specific commercial advantages to be bestowed by travel to the New World in 1500? Many of the real advantages and opportunities are almost certainly not clear to us, yet. That's not an impediment, in the long run, I think.

Aw, in the age of sail they knew exactly what the commercial advantages were. As for metals, there's not a metal that's more expensive to mine on Earth than the cost of interplanetary shipping, probably by a factor of a million.

I think the scale of the factors here is really important. Other planets are really, really far away and our propulsion and energy technologies aren't anywhere close to adequate to the challenge. Right now we're more like cavemen contemplating airplanes than Columbus looking for a shortcut to India. I don't think cavemen doing aviation R&D used their resources wisely.

AemJeff
11-14-2009, 02:43 PM
Aw, in the age of sail they knew exactly what the commercial advantages were. As for metals, there's not a metal that's more expensive to mine on Earth than the cost of interplanetary shipping, probably by a factor of a million.

I think the scale of the factors here is really important. Other planets are really, really far away and our propulsion and energy technologies aren't anywhere close to adequate to the challenge. Right now we're more like cavemen contemplating airplanes than Columbus looking for a shortcut to India. I don't think cavemen doing aviation R&D used their resources wisely.

Maybe, but I don't like that metaphor at all. We have the raw tools. We can physically do these things. We understand the implications of doing these things. Technology is a fluid thing. The economics of doing these things will change as we refine our knowledge and methods, and with the invention and construction of supporting infrastructure, and improving technology. The LCROSS mission cost something like two orders of magnitude less than an Apollo mission, possibly three if you account for inflation. (Even accounting for the fact that the latter were crewed missions, that's huge.) We can't predict the curves on which any of the supporting factors will progress, of course - but that slices both ways. I'm optimistic - you're welcome to argue too much so, but - obviously - I don't think so.

SkepticDoc
11-14-2009, 03:34 PM
Some cynics claim that the only real gain from the Apollo program was the prestige and pride of beating the Russians. All the technological advances would have come about with adequate funding from private enterprise.

Let's be honest about what can be accomplished, even on Earth the generation of hydrogen from water for fuel is only "efficient" when you have hydroelectric power for electrolysis. How are they going to do it in the Lunar Station?

Space exploration is a big hole in the sky where money is propelled into using rockets, if the "awe" factor is worth it, call it for what it is, don't use "scientific" smoke and mirrors for a show.

AemJeff
11-14-2009, 04:09 PM
Some cynics claim that the only real gain from the Apollo program was the prestige and pride of beating the Russians. All the technological advances would have come about with adequate funding from private enterprise.

Let's be honest about what can be accomplished, even on Earth the generation of hydrogen from water for fuel is only "efficient" when you have hydroelectric power for electrolysis. How are they going to do it in the Lunar Station?

Space exploration is a big hole in the sky where money is propelled into using rockets, if the "awe" factor is worth it, call it for what it is, don't use "scientific" smoke and mirrors for a show.

That's a point of view, Doc. I don't agree. The scope of technological fallout from the space program is evident everywhere you look. I'd argue we've gotten back every penny a thousand times over. Even if we hadn't, I'd still think there's only one direction to consider, always up and out.

cragger
11-14-2009, 06:51 PM
Being lazy, I'm going to combine replies to you and Jeff both here with the assurance that you can recall or figure out the whats and whos. And the overarching point I think applies to both.

First, please do not diminish the ideas under discussion here by characterizing them as "Pinkertonian." ...

Caught a sensitive point with the ol' Vulcan nerve pinch apparantly. :o)

... I don't agree, for example, that "sailing a bit further was relatively trivial." The 15th and 16th century voyages were pushing the limits of the existing technology. {link to fact that few of Magellan's men completed circumnavigation replaced with this summary} ...

Magellan and most of his men didnt die due to pushing technological limits. That particular expedition suffered almost exclusively from human failures. They were ripped off by suppliers who seriously shorted them on foodstuffs at the beginning of the trip. They were in frequent combat with each other in assorted mutinies. A number are believed to have quit and stayed at various landfalls along the way, and more were killed by natives who resisted conversion as demanded by Magellan's religious fanatacism. [Without intent to start another divergent tangent, as Heyerdahl demonstrated, crossing the oceans didn't even demand or likely wait for 16th century technology]

Beyond which, a bit of cherry picking there. How many men died on Columbus' trip? To which point, I suppose we could argue just what is or isn't cheap and compared to what. Outfitting the expedition wasn't pocket change for the local tailor. But there was no need for special design or purpose-built ships. Exploration used pre-existing ships, crewed by men who needed no special training or equipment beyond the same sailing skills and gear already in daily use. And more to the point under contention, there was a quick and substantial profit to the crown which outfitted the expedition. The Spanish empire was financed for a long time by gold and silver from the new world. Not every trip had so great a payoff, but by and large exploration and colonization of the New World were considered investments and limited financial risks with expectation of short term payoffs.

To return from the oceas to the skies, Jeff, your justification of the recent lunar mission by the facts that we have spent more on past ventures and that the cost is a lot smaller than the deficit ... well, the logic of those arguments escapes me entirely I'm afraid. And I wonder if you would consider that justification for any and all other potential public expendatures if made by another. I also suspect you would demand more than your bald assertion that whatever we have spent on various space ventures has been repaid a thousand times over by benefits were such a claim made by an ideological opponent on some other subject.

Any unique benefits from expendatures on space are truly pie-in-the-sky. These are highly speculative long-term long shot investments and some are probably worth a flyer once other needs have been met, and other options considered. Nobody here has yet made a credible case as to why this particular venue for spending the public dime should be any more exempt from cost-benefit and priority considerations than any other proposed project. Hence the somewhat "triumph of the human spirit" and Manifest Destiny tones.

And all this "get out of the gravity well" stuff? Too much Heinlein or Niven or something?

AemJeff
11-14-2009, 07:08 PM
Being lazy, I'm going to combine replies to you and Jeff both here with the assurance that you can recall or figure out the whats and whos. And the overarching point I think applies to both.



Caught a sensitive point with the ol' Vulcan nerve pinch apparantly. :o)

... I don't agree, for example, that "sailing a bit further was relatively trivial." The 15th and 16th century voyages were pushing the limits of the existing technology. {link to fact that few of Magellan's men completed circumnavigation replaced with this summary} ...
Magellan and most of his men didnt die due to pushing technological limits. That particular expedition suffered almost exclusively from human failures. They were ripped off by suppliers who seriously shorted them on foodstuffs at the beginning of the trip. They were in frequent combat with each other in assorted mutinies. A number are believed to have quit and stayed at various landfalls along the way, and more were killed by natives who resisted conversion as demanded by Magellan's religious fanatacism. [Without intent to start another divergent tangent, as Heyerdahl demonstrated, crossing the oceans didn't even demand or likely wait for 16th century technology]

Beyond which, a bit of cherry picking there. How many men died on Columbus' trip? To which point, I suppose we could argue just what is or isn't cheap and compared to what. Outfitting the expedition wasn't pocket change for the local tailor. But there was no need for special design or purpose-built ships. Exploration used pre-existing ships, crewed by men who needed no special training or equipment beyond the same sailing skills and gear already in daily use. And more to the point under contention, there was a quick and substantial profit to the crown which outfitted the expedition. The Spanish empire was financed for a long time by gold and silver from the new world. Not every trip had so great a payoff, but by and large exploration and colonization of the New World were considered investments and limited financial risks with expectation of short term payoffs.

To return from the oceas to the skies, Jeff, your justification of the recent lunar mission by the facts that we have spent more on past ventures and that the cost is a lot smaller than the deficit ... well, the logic of those arguments escapes me entirely I'm afraid. And I wonder if you would consider that justification for any and all other potential public expendatures if made by another. I also suspect you would demand more than your bald assertion that whatever we have spent on various space ventures has been repaid a thousand times over by benefits were such a claim made by an ideological opponent on some other subject.

Any unique benefits from expendatures on space are truly pie-in-the-sky. These are highly speculative long-term long shot investments and some are probably worth a flyer once other needs have been met, and other options considered. Nobody here has yet made a credible case as to why this particular venue for spending the public dime should be any more exempt from cost-benefit and priority considerations than any other proposed project. Hence the somewhat "triumph of the human spirit" and Manifest Destiny tones.

And all this "get out of the gravity well" stuff? Too much Heinlein or Niven or something?

I guess I didn't make my point about the costs with enough clarity. Between the billions of dollars typically spent on an Apollo mission and the less than a hundred million spent on LCROSS, there's been a substantial change in the economics of going to the moon. That's likely to continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. Cost projections based on current spending just don't mean that much. As far as the phrase "get out of the gravity well" goes - between a steady diet of pop science and sci-fi, and working among people who do this space stuff for living (I'm still waiting to hear about a piece of equipment for which I've had some significant responsibility arriving on the ISS) I think I can be forgiven. (I hope.)

cragger
11-14-2009, 08:40 PM
Quite the contrary, I recognize that the latest shot was cheaper than an Apollo mission. I also recognize the apples to oranges comparison. And while I similiarly recognize that we can't specify the exact cost of doing X fifty years from now that fact holds regardless of whether X has anything to do with space or not. It doesn't change the decision processes nor add to the force of the argument of space expendatures.

You have a personal and professional bias in favor of space projects. Others have personal, professional, and/or partisan biases in favor of other public endeavors. Doesn't give any of them, myself included, a free pass. If you read this thread, you will note that at no point do I say we shouldn't have launched the mission that the thread started about. Nor do I insist we should have, as you do. I may well, and in fact do, think that spending 80 million or so (and stated costs for any government project are pretty questionable exercises in creative accounting at best in my experience and opinion) to get the simple sentance "there is at least some water on the moon" is worth more than say 1/3 or so of another F22. But that doesn't necessarily mean we should do so in favor of doing yet something else, or perhaps in favor of leaving people with their money to make their own decisions. The case must be made.

I think I've made clear that I share some of the personal enthusiasm for space ventures. But that doesn't go anywhere at all in making a real case for public financing. I can't come up with an off the cuff justification that there aren't other and more worthy candidates for public expendature that address more pressing matters, and with all the dancing and refusal to address that specific problem, nobody else on this thread has either. It requires the same rigor that you or I would or should demand for some proposal we disagree with, such as "lets build a GMD system, if we spend enough money for long enough we would probably get at least some increase in protection from some very specific potential threat" or "lets invade some countries and remake their governments, religious environments, and culture to our liking so it will be rainbows and a big group hug". The standards don't change.

SkepticDoc
11-14-2009, 08:46 PM
That's a point of view, Doc. I don't agree. The scope of technological fallout from the space program is evident everywhere you look. I'd argue we've gotten back every penny a thousand times over. Even if we hadn't, I'd still think there's only one direction to consider, always up and out.

I politely challenge you to name at least five "inventions" that originated in the space program that have significant applications in our everyday life.

If space exploration is such a good investment, why is it dependent on tax payer dollars?

Enough of generalities and wishful thinking, get down to specific examples...

AemJeff
11-14-2009, 09:08 PM
I politely challenge you to name at least five "inventions" that originated in the space program that have significant applications in our everyday life.

If space exploration is such a good investment, why is it dependent on tax payer dollars?

Enough of generalities and wishful thinking, get down to specific examples...

Jeeze Doc, it's inches from your hands. Significant development in digital communications, data compression technologies, digital video protocols, digital image manipulation, electronic miniaturization, large scale software development and multi-disciplinary project management methodologies, satellite technology, GPS, communications satellites, weather forecasting, hurricane tracking. Military applications in rocketry, target tracking, fuels, telemetry, high speed ballistics.

The scale of development has been so huge that it's hard to think of a high tech field that wasn't significantly advanced.

There are plenty of companies working in space these days. DirecTV, AT&T, Boeing, and a thousand others.

bjkeefe
11-15-2009, 05:07 AM
I think I've made clear that I share some of the personal enthusiasm for space ventures. But that doesn't go anywhere at all in making a real case for public financing. I can't come up with an off the cuff justification that there aren't other and more worthy candidates for public expendature that address more pressing matters, and with all the dancing and refusal to address that specific problem, nobody else on this thread has either. It requires the same rigor that you or I would or should demand for some proposal we disagree with, such as "lets build a GMD system, if we spend enough money for long enough we would probably get at least some increase in protection from some very specific potential threat" or "lets invade some countries and remake their governments, religious environments, and culture to our liking so it will be rainbows and a big group hug". The standards don't change.

Eh, be against humans exploring and colonizing space if you want, but this is kind of a fallacious argument. You could make the same demand of any research and development program (my bold) -- that you be provided in advance with an airtight business plan showing that it's going to be profitable and how -- as a way to sound like you're being the voice of reason, and your demand would still be, in actuality, unreasonable. No one knows what exactly will be found. That's a big part of the reason for exploring, and doing R&D, in the first place. (Matter of fact, it's hard to think of any publicly-financed program, even leaving aside the R&D narrowing, where one could make an objective case that "this is the best use of our money.")

Second, as far as "dancing and refusal to address" goes, how about you acknowledge what I've said at least twice: that I am not arguing for a new crash program based on our existing technology?

And finally, I must say, equating dollars spent on a space program with a missile defense system or a program of imperialism is just nonsense. The first is the kind of thing you hope never has to be used and the latter is known from history to result in huge amounts of death and misery, every single time.

Which made me want to hurl this back at you ...

I also recognize the apples to oranges comparison.

... but no can do. Damn that d-squared (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2009/02/now-thats-pedantry-i-can-believe-in.html).

bjkeefe
11-15-2009, 05:10 AM
And all this "get out of the gravity well" stuff? Too much Heinlein or Niven or something?

On the contrary, not enough.

But just so you know, that expression was in common use among physicists before it was popularized by sci-fi writers. In my case, I can't remember where I first heard it -- most likely was Feynman, Dyson, or Clarke -- but I wouldn't be surprised if the coinage was centuries in the past.

What's your problem, cragger? You get beat up by the propeller heads when you were a kid or something?

;^)

SkepticDoc
11-15-2009, 06:51 AM
Jeeze Doc, it's inches from your hands. Significant development in digital communications, data compression technologies, digital video protocols, digital image manipulation, electronic miniaturization, large scale software development and multi-disciplinary project management methodologies, satellite technology, GPS, communications satellites, weather forecasting, hurricane tracking. Military applications in rocketry, target tracking, fuels, telemetry, high speed ballistics.

The scale of development has been so huge that it's hard to think of a high tech field that wasn't significantly advanced.

There are plenty of companies working in space these days. DirecTV, AT&T, Boeing, and a thousand others.

I should have been more specific in my criticism, "manned space exploration"...

Are you sure you are not a Republican infiltrator? :)

There are several fallacies in your argument, as far as understand, GPS uses satellites to locate points in the Earth, not for "space" navigation, the "private" companies you listed use satellite technologies to provide Earth services, unless you have "inside" knowledge about plans to have satellite relay of DirectTV programming for the lunar station. We all know how critical it is to provide entertainment to the lonely astronauts...

Weather forecasting is an Earth application of space technology, not a development of a space exploration project that found use in Earth.

At least you are acknowledging "military industrial complex" interest in space...

Whatfur
11-15-2009, 09:11 AM
...
Are you sure you are not a Republican infiltrator? :)
...

Hey hey hey!!!!
That is uncalled for. I have reported this post to Admin. ;o)
Although the way they work they BAN Jeff under the suspicion that you are correct.

I wonder though...would NASA be something David Orr and his ilk get rid of first or last.

AemJeff
11-15-2009, 10:18 AM
I should have been more specific in my criticism, "manned space exploration"...

Are you sure you are not a Republican infiltrator? :)

There are several fallacies in your argument, as far as understand, GPS uses satellites to locate points in the Earth, not for "space" navigation, the "private" companies you listed use satellite technologies to provide Earth services, unless you have "inside" knowledge about plans to have satellite relay of DirectTV programming for the lunar station. We all know how critical it is to provide entertainment to the lonely astronauts...

Weather forecasting is an Earth application of space technology, not a development of a space exploration project that found use in Earth.

At least you are acknowledging "military industrial complex" interest in space...

I'm running out of gas here Doc. Space exploration is what it is. Low earth orbit and lunar trips differ in degree, not kind. Without space exploration the technology to lift satellites into orbit wouldn't exist. In other words I think you're making a distinction without a difference. If you think there's a qualitative diifference here, make that argument - don't ask me to assume your point of view.

Ocean
11-15-2009, 10:33 AM
I should have been more specific in my criticism, "manned space exploration"...


Not that I would want to interfere with such interesting and technical conversation, gentlemen, but, if you ask about contributions to humanity at large from 'crewed' space exploration, you shouldn't forget one of the most important inventions of the past century: memory foam.

And it would be great for those lonely astronauts too! :)

AemJeff
11-15-2009, 10:33 AM
Quite the contrary, I recognize that the latest shot was cheaper than an Apollo mission. I also recognize the apples to oranges comparison. And while I similiarly recognize that we can't specify the exact cost of doing X fifty years from now that fact holds regardless of whether X has anything to do with space or not. It doesn't change the decision processes nor add to the force of the argument of space expendatures.

You have a personal and professional bias in favor of space projects. Others have personal, professional, and/or partisan biases in favor of other public endeavors. Doesn't give any of them, myself included, a free pass. If you read this thread, you will note that at no point do I say we shouldn't have launched the mission that the thread started about. Nor do I insist we should have, as you do. I may well, and in fact do, think that spending 80 million or so (and stated costs for any government project are pretty questionable exercises in creative accounting at best in my experience and opinion) to get the simple sentance "there is at least some water on the moon" is worth more than say 1/3 or so of another F22. But that doesn't necessarily mean we should do so in favor of doing yet something else, or perhaps in favor of leaving people with their money to make their own decisions. The case must be made.

I think I've made clear that I share some of the personal enthusiasm for space ventures. But that doesn't go anywhere at all in making a real case for public financing. I can't come up with an off the cuff justification that there aren't other and more worthy candidates for public expendature that address more pressing matters, and with all the dancing and refusal to address that specific problem, nobody else on this thread has either. It requires the same rigor that you or I would or should demand for some proposal we disagree with, such as "lets build a GMD system, if we spend enough money for long enough we would probably get at least some increase in protection from some very specific potential threat" or "lets invade some countries and remake their governments, religious environments, and culture to our liking so it will be rainbows and a big group hug". The standards don't change.

I really don't know what instances of "refusal to address" you're talking about. I don't think we have a choice here, in the long run, except to go into space. It's not zero sum, and I think has more than paid its way up 'til now. So if you're arguing about where the resources could be better used, you're going to need to factor that into your calculation. I don't like the comparison to missile defense at all, particulary since I've strenuously argued that missile defense doesn't work, here and elsewhere.

SkepticDoc
11-15-2009, 10:56 AM
Several years ago the WSJ debunked the myth of the "discoveries" related to the Apollo project, I have not been able to find it to give the direct quote.

I am in favor of Space Exploration, it is an awesome project, the pictures are fantastic, even when the are "doctored" by the software you mentioned earlier (after watching "2012", I wonder how much of the photos released by NASA are the product of creative artists and fancy computing!).

Many experts have argued against manned exploration, I will not repeat those arguments here.

I believe money would be better spent in the "pale blue dot", it is all we have, we better take care of it now, I am against the "pipe dreams" of salvation from space. The "space elevator", microwave power sources beaming energy down to Earth are all BS!

I believe in nuclear power, the safest generator is 93 million miles away (with some variation that I know are part of your field of knowledge). We better spend the money in the USA, mundane things like vaccines for mutating viruses, control of bacterial infections, safer food, etc...

AemJeff
11-15-2009, 11:03 AM
Several years ago the WSJ debunked the myth of the "discoveries" related to the Apollo project, I have not been able to find it to give the direct quote.

I am in favor of Space Exploration, it is an awesome project, the pictures are fantastic, even when the are "doctored" by the software you mentioned earlier (after watching "2012", I wonder how much of the photos released by NASA are the product of creative artists and fancy computing!).

Many experts have argued against manned exploration, I will not repeat those arguments here.

I believe money would be better spent in the "pale blue dot", it is all we have, we better take care of it now, I am against the "pipe dreams" of salvation from space. The "space elevator", microwave power sources beaming energy down to Earth are all BS!

I believe in nuclear power, the safest generator is 93 million miles away (with some variation that I know are part of your field of knowledge). We better spend the money in the USA, mundane things like vaccines for mutating viruses, control of bacterial infections, safer food, etc...

"Discoveries" is a stronger claim than I've made. The economic returns, however are palpable and all around you. There are good arguments against "crewed" exploration, but I don't think that they're the end of the story. Your economic arguments all assume that it's a zero sum proposition. It's not.

SkepticDoc
11-15-2009, 11:14 AM
"Discoveries" is a stronger claim than I've made. The economic returns, however are palpable and all around you. There are good arguments against "crewed" exploration, but I don't think that they're the end of the story. Your economic arguments all assume that it's a zero sum proposition. It's not.

My impression is that "manned/crewed" exploration is not a zero sum, it is negative or less than zero so far, how many astronauts have died so far?

What price do you assign to those lives lost?

From Wikipedia:


As of 2008, eighteen astronauts have lost their lives during spaceflight, on four missions. They include thirteen Americans, three Russians, one Ukrainian, and one Israeli.

The Space Mirror Memorial, which stands on the grounds of the John F. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, commemorates the lives of the men and women who have died in the space programs of the United States. In addition to twenty NASA career astronauts, the memorial includes the names of a U.S. Air Force X-15 test pilot, a U.S. Air Force officer who died while training for a then-classified military space program, a civilian spaceflight participant who died in the Challenger disaster, and an international astronaut who was killed in the Columbia disaster.

The artistic value of this is not worth it in my humble estimation. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFks9A9TCF0)

AemJeff
11-15-2009, 11:32 AM
My impression is that "manned/crewed" exploration is not a zero sum, it is negative or less than zero so far, how many astronauts have died so far?

What price do you assign to those lives lost?

The artistic value of this is not worth it in my humble estimation. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFks9A9TCF0)

Compared to what? The people who died understood the risks they were taking. Why would you want to remove the option to knowingly take the risk? How many people die on highways? Is travel by automobile worth that? How about sea voyages in wooden ships? Why imply a different standard here?

SkepticDoc
11-15-2009, 11:36 AM
The real question is, what was discovered by the astronauts that could not have been discovered by robots?

AemJeff
11-15-2009, 11:40 AM
The real question is, what was discovered by the astronauts that could not have been discovered by robots?

Workable life support systems is the first thing that comes to mind. Eventually people are going to live in space - assuming we don't kill ourselves off on the meantime.

SkepticDoc
11-15-2009, 11:47 AM
BS! They could not do it here on Earth2, what makes you think that you can have a space colony outside of the movies?

AemJeff
11-15-2009, 11:47 AM
Workable life support systems is the first thing that comes to mind. Eventually people are going to live in space - assuming we don't kill ourselves off on the meantime.

Added: If you don't mind my saying so Doc, you started this thread complaining about an unmanned mission.

AemJeff
11-15-2009, 11:48 AM
BS! They could not do it here on Earth2, what makes you think that you can have a space colony outside of the movies?

I wouldn't draw any conclusions from that whatsoever.

SkepticDoc
11-15-2009, 11:50 AM
Added: If you don't mind my saying so Doc, you started this thread complaining about an unmanned mission.

Yes, an unmanned mission to look for water to sustain a manned station.

We better take care of ourselves here, not out there...

SkepticDoc
11-15-2009, 11:54 AM
Oh really?

If we cannot figure out how to sustain life in a closed system on Earth, how can we do it in Space? Because it is magical wishful thinking?

AemJeff
11-15-2009, 12:02 PM
Oh really?

If we cannot figure out how to sustain life in a closed system on Earth, how can we do it in Space? Because it is magical wishful thinking?

Come on, Doc. In what sense do you think this was a valid test of anything?

SkepticDoc
11-15-2009, 12:09 PM
Come on, Doc. In what sense do you think this was a valid test of anything?

You are correct, Earth2 proved nothing, just wasteful spending from some rich guy that abandoned the project.

Please correct my statements, Earth 2, should have been "Biosphere 2".

Biosphere 2 (http://www.b2science.org/)

AemJeff
11-15-2009, 12:25 PM
You are correct, Earth2 proved nothing, just wasteful spending from some rich guy that abandoned the project.

Please correct my statements, Earth 2, should have been "Biosphere 2".

Biosphere 2 (http://www.b2science.org/)

That's a much better example, thanks. But the fact that these guys haven't solved the problem doesn't signify that it's an unsolvable problem. I'd guess that they've moved the ball forward, which is what you'd expect from this sort of project.

SkepticDoc
11-15-2009, 12:41 PM
That's a much better example, thanks. But the fact that these guys haven't solved the problem doesn't signify that it's an unsolvable problem. I'd guess that they've moved the ball forward, which is what you'd expect from this sort of project.

That is my point, instead of wasting money in lunar projects, we need to make our "pale blue dot" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p86BPM1GV8M) work, we may not have a "second" chance.

cragger
11-15-2009, 02:12 PM
Eh, be against humans exploring and colonizing space if you want ... Whoa now cowboy. Please move that straw man to another field. I challenge you to find anywhere I've said anything of the kind.

... You could make the same demand of any research and development program (my bold) -- that you be provided in advance with an airtight business plan showing that it's going to be profitable and how -- as a way to sound like you're being the voice of reason, and your demand would still be, in actuality, unreasonable. No one knows what exactly will be found. That's a big part of the reason for exploring, and doing R&D, in the first place. (Matter of fact, it's hard to think of any publicly-financed program, even leaving aside the R&D narrowing, where one could make an objective case that "this is the best use of our money.")

This is all a bit boggling. Lets leave aside the corrupt realities of how public policy is shaped and consider how such things should be decided, or consider the case of setting expendatures in a large corporation. In these latter cases, one absolutely does have to meet the demand of making a case for any program, research or otherwise. You can't just go to the CEO and say "Hey, I've got some real blue-sky ideas that might have a payoff somewhere down the line" and be automatically handed a blank check. You had better have a case in hand or you'll likely get tossed out on your ass. You aren't the only one who would like to be handed money either. You are competing for limited resources. You had better expect that the availability of those resources for your pet project will vary depending on the overall financial situation, the immediacy of other demands on the resources, and how the case you can make for your favorite line of investment stacks up against the cases other contenders make.

And please, don't even wind up the pitch of accusing me of being against abstract inquiry that increases human knowledge. I'm more than aware that developments occur for which applications aren't realized for some time afterward. (See R-S codes for example). I'm putting on my big happy hat about this right now. (No propeller, but I was thinking of equipping it with a subminiature mag-lev system if only somebody would give me enough dough. Please? Its science, who knows what kind of spin-offs will develop).

Second, as far as "dancing and refusal to address" goes, how about you acknowledge what I've said at least twice: that I am not arguing for a new crash program based on our existing technology?

Hear ye, Hear ye: Let all and sundry be aware from this date forth that Brendan is not arguing for a new crash program based on our existing technology. Signed and acknowledged in the sight of any and all gods, spirits, and other trans-dimensional and/or noncorporeal extraterrestrial intelligences on this day. Cragger

As I said earlier the reply conflates somewhat the posts by both yourself and Jeff, as I'm too damn lazy to put up dozens of posts on this, especially to make what seems to me an astoudingly simple and obvious point. Crash program (and the recent mission was rather ironicaly just that, no?) or not, space ventures are still in competition for resources. I see no reason space should get a free pass when 'Doc comes up and says we should put the money into viral research instead, and somebody else presents a case that it would position us better going forward to spend it on improving photovoltaic conversion. And someone else wants to pursue mathematical arcana. And on and on. Visions of our manifest destiny among the stars or not.

And finally, I must say, equating dollars spent on a space program with a missile defense system or a program of imperialism is just nonsense. The first is the kind of thing you hope never has to be used and the latter is known from history to result in huge amounts of death and misery, every single time.


Here you are going to have to do better than a dismissive declaration "that's nonsense". And I'll here address Jeff's complaint that he doesn't like the GMD comparison either, and puzzling claim that since he doesn't think GMD will work the comparison is invalid. All by saying: That's the damn point!

GMD advocates have made their case - spend this money and we will get these benefits. One can rationally address this case. You examine the case, question the benefits, consider the likelihood of achievement and probable scope, argue endlessly about secondary effects due to the reactions of other actors. Decide whether the cost is justified and it's an investment well made. Both of you, Brendan and Jeff, have done so and come up with the answer: No. And this despite the fact that by at least one wide net Jeff has cast defining "space programs" in claiming the realm of benefits garnered therefrom, GMD certainly qualifies for that category.

The same thing holds for the certainly more complicated and probably poorer and less clear comparison of the cases made for invasions. Advocates admit certain financial, human, and moral costs but argue that various benefits will someday accrue that justify the costs. But this does get into things more complex than the more directly financial questions of resource availability, competition for same, likely returns, and the choices that need to be made on these bases so I'll withdraw it.

So drop this in your gravity well and let's see if it generates a Newton moment ya SciFi geeks:

TANSTAAFL: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!

bjkeefe
11-15-2009, 02:24 PM
[...]

Noted.

AemJeff
11-15-2009, 02:46 PM
...
Here you are going to have to do better than a dismissive declaration "that's nonsense". And I'll here address Jeff's complaint that he doesn't like the GMD comparison either, and puzzling claim that since he doesn't think GMD will work the comparison is invalid. All by saying: That's the damn point!
...
TANSTAAFL: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!

Just to be clear, I think there are tangible economic benefits that far outweigh what we've already spent on the space program. There's a big pie - virology and space exploration both get pieces of it, and both have rewarded us for doing so, and will continue to do so. Doc's choice is a false one - he's not arguing priorities, he's arguing that certain types of inquiry should not be pursued at all. You arguing that we don't believe we should discuss relative priorities just doesn't have a basis in what we've said.

Even GMD ought to be explored, btw. My point is that the current state of the art doesn't justify the expenditures. Whereas I think the space program has not only shown commensurate progress; I think it's easy argue that the returns far outweigh what's been spent.

One issue I've only hinted at is that I think the impulse to explore is an imperative - we'll do it because that's what we do; just like we'll continue to study virology and high energy physics, e.g., all at the same time - silly arguments that any one particular form of inquiry ought just to be shut down as a matter of taste notwithstanding.

SkepticDoc
11-15-2009, 03:04 PM
Just to be clear, I think there are tangible economic benefits that far outweigh what we've already spent on the space program. There's a big pie - virology and space exploration both get pieces of it, and both have rewarded us for doing so, and will continue to do so. Doc's choice is a false one - he's not arguing priorities, he's arguing that certain types of inquiry should not be pursued at all. You arguing that we don't we should discuss relative priorities just doesn't have a basis in what we've said.

Even GMD ought to be explored, btw. My point is that the current state of the art doesn't justify the expenditures. Whereas I think the space program has not only shown commensurate progress; I think it's easy argue that the returns far outweigh what's been spent.

One issue I've only hinted at is that I think the impulse to explore is an imperative - we'll do it because that's what we do; just like we'll continue to study virology and high energy physics, e.g., all at the same time - silly arguments that any one particular form of inquiry ought just to be shut down as a matter of taste notwithstanding.

False choice?

I argue that there are more urgent needs on Earth that have to be addressed before military projects in the moon.

I feel we should pay back the money we have borrowed from the Chinese before trowing away more money in the moon...

I say take care of Earth first! After that, do whatever the majority wants.

Ocean
11-15-2009, 06:56 PM
Oh, Carl! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc)

Eternal Carl keeps coming back!

AemJeff
11-15-2009, 06:58 PM
Oh, Carl! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc)

Eternal Carl keeps coming back!

Thanks. That is just awesome.

AemJeff
01-01-2010, 03:58 PM
I did say that certain things were still problematic!

Moon Hole (http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/space/01/01/moon.lava.hole/)

Ocean
01-01-2010, 04:17 PM
Moon Hole (http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/space/01/01/moon.lava.hole/)

And who is the woman that would follow a man to a hole in the moon? Talking about safe dating!


OK, I admit I'm free associating here... ;)

bjkeefe
02-01-2010, 06:12 PM
An update, of sorts: "Obama Calls for End to NASA’s Moon Program (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/science/space/02nasa.html)."

(Not sure if I should have posted this here, but I couldn't find the non-fun science thread.)

Anyway, hope we have a diavlog about this, and that the Bh.tv overlords do not feel as though it must wait until a slot opens up on SciSat. This is important stuff.

SkepticDoc
02-01-2010, 06:19 PM
This is scary, I was going to post the same!

But I was going to use a different smiley :) !

bjkeefe
02-01-2010, 06:28 PM
This is scary, I was going to post the same!

But I was going to use a different smiley :) !

LOL! YOU BASTARD!

;)

AemJeff
02-01-2010, 07:06 PM
An update, of sorts: "Obama Calls for End to NASA’s Moon Program (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/science/space/02nasa.html)."

(Not sure if I should have posted this here, but I couldn't find the non-fun science thread.)

Anyway, hope we have a diavlog about this, and that the Bh.tv overlords do not feel as though it must wait until a slot opens up on SciSat. This is important stuff.

I am not a happy Democrat today. :(

Ocean
02-01-2010, 08:17 PM
I am not a happy Democrat today. :(

Stop crying, kids (http://news.discovery.com/space/buzz-aldrin-mars-is-the-next-frontier-for-humankind.html). :)

SkepticDoc
02-01-2010, 08:29 PM
We won't have to worry about moon holes...

AemJeff
02-01-2010, 09:14 PM
We won't have to worry about moon holes...

Don't get too excited about that yet, Doc. This is the beginning, not the end of a process.

bjkeefe
02-01-2010, 09:53 PM
Stop crying, kids (http://news.discovery.com/space/buzz-aldrin-mars-is-the-next-frontier-for-humankind.html). :)

Huh. That was kind of interesting. And hopeful. Thanks.

AemJeff
02-01-2010, 09:56 PM
Huh. That was kind of interesting. And hopeful. Thanks.

I agree. Thanks Ocean. There's also this (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/01/president-obamas-nasa-budget-unveiled/).

bjkeefe
02-01-2010, 10:30 PM
I agree. Thanks Ocean. There's also this (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/01/president-obamas-nasa-budget-unveiled/).

Even better!

AemJeff
02-03-2010, 10:48 AM
This is also interesting. Mars (http://www.informationweek.com/news/government/leadership/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=222600942)?

bjkeefe
02-03-2010, 11:53 AM
This is also interesting. Mars (http://www.informationweek.com/news/government/leadership/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=222600942)?

Some hopeful possibilities there, not least of which is that Richard Shelby (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2009/02/wingnuts-in-high-places.html) is against Obama's priorities, which gives additional confidence that they're correct.

;^)

Thanks for the link.

uncle ebeneezer
02-03-2010, 11:59 AM
Great link. I'm reading Phil's "Death From the Skies" book right now and it is wonderful. I highly reccomend it. He's one of the funniest science writers out there.

SkepticDoc
02-04-2010, 07:45 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_(film)

If we can imagine it, could it be possible?

bjkeefe
02-04-2010, 01:00 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_(film)

If we can imagine it, could it be possible?

Sounds like a good one. I had to force myself to stop reading the plot summary, just in case I get around to watching the film.

bjkeefe
02-09-2010, 08:13 AM
An update, of sorts: "Obama Calls for End to NASA’s Moon Program (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/science/space/02nasa.html)."

(Administrivia: I forget whether I noted this earlier, but later the same day, the NYT changed the headline on the above to "Billions for NASA, With a Push to Find New Ways Into Space." Anyway ...)

Today's NYT has a couple of pieces worth a look: an editorial titled "A New Space Program (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/opinion/09tue1.html)," and a news analysis piece by John Noble Wilford, headlined "For Human Spaceflight, Can Measured Beat Bold? (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/science/space/09essay.html)"

bjkeefe
03-02-2010, 08:55 AM
Ken Layne (http://wonkette.com/413976/fly-me-to-the-moon), from this morning's daily briefing:

Millions of tons of ice have been found on the Moon’s north pole. [...] [MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35653907/ns/technology_and_science-space/)/BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8544635.stm)]

AemJeff
03-02-2010, 03:08 PM
Ken Layne (http://wonkette.com/413976/fly-me-to-the-moon), from this morning's daily briefing:

Millions of tons of ice have been found on the Moon’s north pole. [...] [MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35653907/ns/technology_and_science-space/)/BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8544635.stm)]

Therefore, Global Warming is a hoax.

bjkeefe
03-02-2010, 03:16 PM
Therefore, Global Warming is a hoax.

WIN!

SkepticDoc
03-02-2010, 07:39 PM
Somewhat related, should be fun!

NOVA PRESENTS
The Pluto Files
Tuesday, March 2 at 8pm ET/PT on NOVA

Dear Mr. Tyson, I think Pluto is a planet. Why do you think Pluto is
no longer a planet? I do not like your anser!!! Pluto is my faveret
planet!!! You are going to have to take all of the books away and
change them. Pluto IS a planet!!!!! Your friend, Emerson York

When the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium
stopped calling Pluto a planet, director Neil deGrasse Tyson found
himself at the center of a firestorm led by angry, Pluto-loving
elementary school students who wrote letters like the one above. But
what is it about this cold, distant, icy rock that captures so many
hearts? Now, almost 10 years after the news broke on the front page
of The New York Times, "Pluto Not a Planet? Only in New York," and
nearly four years after the IAU (International Astronomical Union)
officially reclassified the ninth planet as a plutoid, NOVA travels
cross-country with Tyson to find out.

Listen in as 11 planetary scientists make pitches for the "best"
planet, then vote yourself. Share your ideas for new ways to
remember planet names, and more on the program's companion website.

Watch the program online beginning March 3.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pluto/

bjkeefe
03-02-2010, 10:38 PM
Somewhat related, should be fun!

NOVA PRESENTS
The Pluto Files
Tuesday, March 2 at 8pm ET/PT on NOVA

[...]

Watch the program online beginning March 3.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pluto/

Yeah, I look forward to that.

Meantime, here's a bit of a warm-up: Tyson on Maddow (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/35654985#35654985). Pretty entertaining. About eight minutes long.

SkepticDoc
03-28-2010, 10:35 AM
How this this happen?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/27/AR2010032702810.html

notice the author, we should ask Bob to have another diavlog!

bjkeefe
05-27-2011, 06:39 AM
Short article in the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/27/science/space/27moon.html) reporting new evidence of subsurface water:

... scientists analyzing tiny fragments of hardened lava from long-ago lunar eruptions report that the fragments contain about as much water as similar magmas on Earth, meaning there is plenty of water inside the Moon too (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/05/25/science.1204626).

Not certain, though -- other researchers have come to opposite conclusions using different approaches. But maybe!

SkepticDoc
05-27-2011, 07:39 AM
Thanks for the link, still sounds like a siren song. If the water content of the Moon minerals is similar to Earth's, it makes no difference in the quest for liquid water, the true nectar of Life. We are not able to send self sufficient explorers to any of our own Earth's deserts, and we want to send some to the Moon?

I am cynically pessimistic about Space exploration, the same Science deniers are supporting Space exploration with the ulterior motive of war mongering/"Defense". Perhaps in the most perverted twist, some are just planning to have an escape from a dying Earth.

Wouldn't it be more cost effective to spend the money in our only "Mother Earth"? Is there anything we can do to reduce the CO2 concentration in our atmosphere? Can we do anything the prevent the formation of tornadoes?

I believe those two "simple" questions are more important for mankind than "how much water is the Moon?".

bjkeefe
05-27-2011, 08:40 AM
Thanks for the link, still sounds like a siren song. [...]

You've been singing the same song yourself on this topic for quite some time. I am not going to bother trying to contradict it again. I think the notion that we have to make everything on Earth perfect for everyone before we reach out to other places is a thoroughly foolish one, but clearly, you have your mind made up about this, so let's leave it there.

handle
05-27-2011, 02:54 PM
You've been singing the same song yourself on this topic for quite some time. I am not going to bother trying to contradict it again. I think the notion that we have to make everything on Earth perfect for everyone before we reach out to other places is a thoroughly foolish one, but clearly, you have your mind made up about this, so let's leave it there.

I think the space program has done much to improve things here on earth, look at this way we are communicating right now for example.
Then there's the contribution to the science knowledge base.
Besides, does anyone seriously think NASA money wouldn't otherwise get spent on weapons and wars?
So win-win-win.
I say we do much more, before the Chinese space program overtakes us.

Bring back the X-33 (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lockheed-Martin-X-33/112151338800129)!!! And it's linear aerospike engine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerospike_engine)!!

SkepticDoc
05-30-2011, 10:37 AM
I say we do much more, before the Chinese space program overtakes us.

Do you think the Chinese are going to to lend us the money? ( or any lender, I know space exploration is a small fraction of the budget but a billion here and there adds up to real money...:) )

The Space Program was successful because there was a specific goal: get an American to the Moon, and it was funded without limitations. The same approach can be applied to any Scientific Project.

handle
05-30-2011, 02:13 PM
Do you think the Chinese are going to to lend us the money? ( or any lender, I know space exploration is a small fraction of the budget but a billion here and there adds up to real money...:) )

The Space Program was successful because there was a specific goal: get an American to the Moon, and it was funded without limitations. The same approach can be applied to any Scientific Project.

How 'bout you answer the central question, that you severed from my post?:

I think the space program has done much to improve things here on earth, look at this way we are communicating right now for example.
Then there's the contribution to the science knowledge base.
Besides, does anyone seriously think NASA money wouldn't otherwise get spent on weapons and wars?
So win-win-win.
I say we do much more, before the Chinese space program overtakes us.

Bring back the X-33 (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lockheed-Martin-X-33/112151338800129)!!! And it's linear aerospike engine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerospike_engine)!!
We spent 10 billion a month in Iraq alone. So I guess two months of a war to stop a nonexistent weapons program is a higher priority than the peaceful scientific exploration of space (NASA's mission*) in your mind.

Just another unexpected benefit was the bloom box (http://www.bloomenergy.com/), an oxygen generator developed for a mars mission, run backwards to create a clean energy fuel cell technology.

*NASA's vision: To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind.

But I'm wasting my aerospace industry inspired miniaturized microprocessor computing power arguing with you.
Perhaps you could become Amish, and freeze technology at some arbitrary stage of development, quit looking forward, and live a simple life criticizing the life's work, dreams, and efforts of those who would rather move forward, by calling it a waste of money.

SkepticDoc
05-30-2011, 02:38 PM
How 'bout you answer the central question, that you severed from my post?:


We spent 10 billion a month in Iraq alone. So I guess two months of a war to stop a nonexistent weapons program is a higher priority than the peaceful scientific exploration of space (NASA's mission*) in your mind.

Just another unexpected benefit was the bloom box, an oxygen generator developed for a mars mission, run backwards to create a clean energy fuel cell technology.

*NASA's vision: To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind.

But I'm wasting my aerospace industry inspired miniaturized microprocessor computing power arguing with you.
Perhaps you could become Amish, and freeze technology at some arbitrary stage of development, quit looking forward, and live a simple life criticizing the life's work, dreams, and efforts of those who would rather move forward, by calling it a waste of money.

It is very likely that your "aerospace industry inspired miniaturized microprocessor computing power" is now manufactured in China...

To try to answer the bigger question, "necessity is the mother of invention", the motivation for the Space Program was not the pursuit of Science, but to beat the Russians, in order to do it effectively, Science was actively supported at all levels of education.

How can we afford to support the scientific exploration of Space when we are spending so much borrowed money in the MIC? My personal position is that we should apply the same cost/benefit analysis applied to Medicine to every Government project/expenditure. I don't support any war expenditures, if the "Big Oil" companies want to control the Iraqi oilfields, demand that they pay XE (Blackwater?) or whichever mercenaries for that venture. If there are some strategic minerals in Afghanistan, demand that those companies that will profit from those minerals pay for that war effort.

If we want to rebuild any societies, the American "rust belt" is a nice place to start, who knows, we may even see an actual ROI...

handle
05-30-2011, 03:02 PM
It is very likely that your "aerospace industry inspired miniaturized microprocessor computing power" is now manufactured in China...

To try to answer the bigger question, "necessity is the mother of invention", the motivation for the Space Program was not the pursuit of Science, but to beat the Russians, in order to do it effectively, Science was actively supported at all levels of education.

How can we afford to support the scientific exploration of Space when we are spending so much borrowed money in the MIC? My personal position is that we should apply the same cost/benefit analysis applied to Medicine to every Government project/expenditure. I don't support any war expenditures, if the "Big Oil" companies want to control the Iraqi oilfields, demand that they pay XE (Blackwater?) or whichever mercenaries for that venture. If there are some strategic minerals in Afghanistan, demand that those companies that will profit from those minerals pay for that war effort.

If we want to rebuild any societies, the American "rust belt" is a nice place to start, who knows, we may even see an actual ROI...

Bush borrowed the money because his high income tax cuts, and war efforts put us in the hole, and you want to destroy the good programs that won't even make a dent because you think the space program was just about the moon mission? Why are people always out to destroy the things they know so little about? Don't you want to debate the defunding of the x-33, (venture star) due to the composite fuel tank failure, even though a functional and more cost effective aluminum design had already been found? The aerospike engine alone uses 20 to 30% less fuel. And no need for the solid boosters!

Oh, but the oil companies should pay for the war, and intel should make all the chips in the US.
You ain't no skeptic, doc, you are a total dreamer.

SkepticDoc
05-30-2011, 03:16 PM
Please enlighten me, how would a Moon colony benefit Mankind or even just the USA?

handle
05-30-2011, 06:59 PM
Please enlighten me, how would a Moon colony benefit Mankind or even just the USA?

C'mon doc! I just gave specific examples of how the program has benefited us.
You can't be so blind as to believe it's just about the moon when we have hundreds of satellites in orbit serving communication, science, weather, news, Just to name a few.
But if you think a moon colony isn't beneficial, then why is China going? Hint: It's an isotope of H, and if they have it and we don't, we won't just owe them money, they will eventually own us outright.

But exploration is more about what you don't expect to find or get out of it.

SkepticDoc
05-30-2011, 07:32 PM
C'mon doc! I just gave specific examples of how the program has benefited us.
You can't be so blind as to believe it's just about the moon when we have hundreds of satellites in orbit serving communication, science, weather, news, Just to name a few.
But if you think a moon colony isn't beneficial, then why is China going? Hint: It's an isotope of H, and if they have it and we don't, we won't just owe them money, they will eventually own us outright.

But exploration is more about what you don't expect to find or get out of it.

You may be confusing reality with a movie...

Moon, the film (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_%28film%29)

handle
05-30-2011, 07:39 PM
You may be confusing reality with a movie...

Moon, the film (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_%28film%29)

Haven't seen the movie but I did post on this before it was made.
Sometimes movies are based on real scientific possibility (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-3).

Materials on the Moon's surface contain helium-3 at concentrations on the order of 0.01 ppm in sunlit areas,[40][41] and may contain concentrations as much as five times higher in permanently shadowed regions.[2] A number of people, starting with Gerald Kulcinski in 1986,[42] have proposed to explore the moon, mine lunar regolith and use the helium-3 for fusion. Because of the low concentrations of helium-3, any mining equipment would need to process extremely large amounts of regolith (over 100 million tons of regolith to obtain one ton of helium 3),[43] and some proposals have suggested that helium-3 extraction be piggybacked onto a larger mining and development operation.[citation needed]

handle
05-30-2011, 07:41 PM
But this is just one possibility.. there are many possibilities and benefits to continuing exploration and progress. Like I said, you can always become amish!

SkepticDoc
05-30-2011, 07:56 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Lunar_Exploration_Program sounds like the Thorium reactor. The Chinese are supposed to be in the vanguard too...

Not too late to learn Mandarin, but I would rather emulate other Western countries that don't suffer from the "Moon Delusion".

handle
05-30-2011, 09:54 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Lunar_Exploration_Program sounds like the Thorium reactor. The Chinese are supposed to be in the vanguard too...

Not too late to learn Mandarin, but I would rather emulate other Western countries that don't suffer from the "Moon Delusion".

It's clean fusion power, and it is very promising. But that's not my point.
It's not just about the moon, it's about progress, you said it yourself... necessity is the mother of invention. Stagnation, apathy, and pursuing imperialism is the opposite of progress. So I'll ask it one more time:
Does anyone really think the money won't simply get diverted to the military?

Starwatcher162536
05-31-2011, 04:18 AM
Rockets have steep diminishing returns in terms of payload capacity that's just fundamental to the physics of propulsion powered by throwing things out of your rear end once you give up on higher exhaust velocities. I'm of the mind anything not spent on finding higher exhaust velocities, a technology that is as far as I know been more or less static for fourty years, is wasted money*. Regarding secondary benefits; It's a nice side benefit if for whatever other reasons you want to initiate program anyways, but I think if you want improvements in communications, medicine, & computer science you're probably better off just directly funding communication, medicine & computer science. All that being said, history seems to show the state is going to spend about 18-25% of GDP regardless of just about anything. So I'm not really for gutting NASA as there are plenty of other programs I'd rather see go first, and cutting NASA will probably just make those programs bigger.

*Exception for projects that look at alternative ways to escape Earth's gravity well.

SkepticDoc
05-31-2011, 06:56 AM
I am not aware of any fusion nuclear reactors, it is the "Holy Grail".

On the other hand, there are small Thorium reactors in Universities, the Engineers need to work on scaling them up, the MIC does not support the Thorium reactors because they don't generate plutonium.

The Shuttle program got off the ground when the military funded it after it was modified for military payloads. If we are going to think strategically, instead of going back to the Moon, we should develop satellite protection technology for our own and offensive satellite "Killers" to disable the "others". The Chinese already claim they are able to blow up satellites.

BTW, I totally support NASA!

handle
05-31-2011, 05:00 PM
I am not aware of any fusion nuclear reactors, it is the "Holy Grail".

On the other hand, there are small Thorium reactors in Universities, the Engineers need to work on scaling them up, the MIC does not support the Thorium reactors because they don't generate plutonium.

The Shuttle program got off the ground when the military funded it after it was modified for military payloads. If we are going to think strategically, instead of going back to the Moon, we should develop satellite protection technology for our own and offensive satellite "Killers" to disable the "others". The Chinese already claim they are able to blow up satellites.

BTW, I totally support NASA!

You may be right about fusion, but I hope no one ever supports me by insisting my funding would be better spent elsewhere!