NASA Vision of Space Exploration

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by BRYAN_SEECRETS, Jul 28, 2006.

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  1. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    Actually, I believe cell phone towers do use GPS to communicate. They take the timing signal from GPS to allow precise synchronized communication.



  2. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    But GPS was developed by the military, and the Sat TV was done through commercial investment in space.
  3. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    It's the same thing; you pay for military satellites through taxes and commercial launches through consumer spending. Developing smaller satellites and cheaper launch vehicles allows for more to be done with fewer resources.
  4. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    This is the category of "I tried to check this and found nothing indicating it but wasn't sure". Though it still covers that telecommunications satellites, and GPS satellites I believe as well, aren't using manned missions anyway, so its still not relevant to my initial point.
  5. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Explain.

    Since when have unmanned missions suddenly not mattered to the subject?
  6. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    After saying that I think its important to get space elevators as a reality at some point, I said the following:

    "That said, I do think that missions should be prioritized according to the science they can offer, not just to keep the astronauts busy."

    The response to that was about unmanned missions, when that was not what my statement was addressing as my quoted statement, and the one that actually pushes for prioritization, was purely as it related to manned missions.
  7. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Okay... then the subject of manned missions should be evaluated for their benefits and if not, unmanned missions should take precedence over all that involve human activity. Only when you have a mission such as deploying the upgraded space telescope would the scientific value justify the costs. The ISS is just pointless. The moon missions could be done with limited success in sample collection, but with a much smaller budget.

    NASA should go back to the drawing board and prioritize which projects could be done without astronauts and which manned missions yield the greatest returns. Before another ISS mission, figure out what really demands a human presence and whether there are alternate solutions to save on costs.
  8. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2005
    star 5
    ISS does some science, but mostly it keeps manned spaceflight alive (I doubt China would be as eager in it's own program if other manned spaceflight programs would end) and that in itself is a worthy goal in my opinion.

    And in the end, the billions spent in manned spaceflight are small money compared to the overall budgets of the countries involved - all who use far, far greater sums to their "defense" (too often attack) budgets. I find it odd how people complain about the money which NASA gets, when USA uses yearly more to space activities through Department of Defense, NSA and other organizations. Whose expensive space activities don't seem to bother as many people as those of NASA's - somehow it's ok to put up big, expensive spy satellites but not to keep a few astronauts on orbit.
  9. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    NASA accounts for about .5% of the federal budget of the United States. That may be a very small percent, but the US federal budget is enormous. And what does that return?

    I would say I have no issue with the photos returned from the Hubble, or continuing to operate the Mars rovers beyond their original mission lives. Compared to what it took to build them, it costs very little to operate; but it's still measured in millions of dollars. Repairing the Hubble cost about a billion dollars each shuttle mission, but for what it returns; I have no issue with the funds that go into it.

    The ISS is just an enormous waste of money, as it takes billions to operate... forget just the construction costs. What it returns is WAY less valuable than the images from the Hubble and it required how many shuttle missions to assemble?

    Ultimately humans are the most expensive aspect of missions into space. The only times it makes sense to use them is when nothing else would suffice. As much as I would value humans being the ones collecting samples on the moon, I really don't think that it's worth ~$140 billion.
  10. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2005
    star 5
    The act of building and running ISS is a learning experience and will give lot of useful knowledge to
    be used if humanity will ever establish manned bases farther out, on the Moon, Mars or whoever.

    '

    US has soon spend 1000 billion dollars on the Afghan and Iraq wars; US' defense budget for this alone is 651.2 billion.
    The costs of manned Moon and Mars programs would be spread out over several decades, and could perhaps be shared with
    other nations.
  11. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    For what purpose would that serve? Getting into Earth orbit has become so routine that you can't exactly expand upon it. Skylab pretty much covered everything in regards to long-term living outside Earth's atmosphere. What do you really get out of the billions invested into the ISS?

    Maybe you're not exactly familiar with just how large a number a billion is...

    Take someone's annual salary of $35,000 as an example. If you were to collect that enormous sum of money every single day, you could almost live your entire life and still not reach a billion dollars. Here are the numbers: $35,000/day * 356 days * 78 years. That's just how much a single billion really is.

    When the US is suffering from an enormous annual budget deficit, NASA may only be .5% of the federal budget, but it's not the only place where funds are recklessly tossed around. It's not this ONE problem that's the issue, but in ALL the pointless expenditures.

    You mentioned the funds spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars... American taxpayer money should never have been placed there either. Just because you've got something criminally ignorant of the needs of Americans doesn't mean another needless waste of funding is justified.
  12. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2005
    star 5
    Skylab did no such thing, nor have Mir or ISS missions, which have been hundreds of days longer than those of Skylab,
    exhausted what can be learned of the effects of long term living in space to human body. Which builds for the goal of
    leaving low Earth orbit.

    I'm quite familiar how small number a billion is. ;)

    And that's why one needs government and it's taxes to fund manned spaceflight. (Space tourism by Virgin etc will probably
    soon lead to some rich people dying, which will create bad publicity to them and likely lawsuits, no matter how tight legally
    the documents which one has to write to get in their crafts are supposed to be.)

    But what is pointless expenditure? Isn't all government expenditure necessary one way or another in the eyes of the
    majority of politicians that pass it, if only necessary evil (sometimes just so that their own special interest
    projects get funding too).
  13. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Well I'll say that there are many alternate ways for NASA to spend its funding which could produce greater results.

    I would support going back to the moon for unmanned spacecraft. It would not be cheap, but it would be only a fraction the cost of sending people to the moon. With a solar-powered rover, you could spend months collecting samples before sending them back to Earth. Or you could even send a remote laboratory to do lunar annalysis on location. Considering what we invested on Phoenix for Mars, we could send a craft to a much closer and much smaller body.

    Or what of the Hubble telescope's replacement? I would be much more in favor of NASA perfecting its next generation space telescope for what $15 billion can produce than to spend ten times that to get men to the moon. What would $15 billion spent on the ISS return? Very little of practical value.
  14. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2005
    star 5
    NASA has several coming missions to Moon, as have other space agencies, in the early next decade,
    some of which have at least parts of what you describe. But they too are mainly meant to just explore
    the Moon in case of future human habitation. In the currently really interesting parts of Moon, the
    permanently shadowed craters on the poles, one would need to use a nuclear powered rover, similar
    to the future Curiosity rover for Mars. Which might happen.

    Cutting manned missions wouldn't increase the money for the James Webb Space Telescope, nor does it seem likely that
    the money would be used to revive the currently abandoned Terrestrial Planet Finder -program. It's just more likely
    that the money would be as a whole out of NASA's budget, instead of the amount being used to fund robotic missions.
  15. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    There are a few ways NASA can get manned exploration done right.

    1. They have to conduct NASA like a business. If NASA agress to a cost for a company to make a thing they must stick to that cost instead of paying them for cost overruns.

    2. Get out of the manned operations alltogether. But keep the budget. Use that money to create and research but not use. Sell the tech off to bidders. This is why Bigelow has 2 test modules in orbit right now.

    3. Get out of th emanned operations and let the money be used for reward operations. 100 million dollar prize to a company that gets a probe to the Moon. 200 million for a manned landing, a billion for a Mars shot, and so on.

  16. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    The Herschel Telescope has been pointed at the largest known Star, VY Canis Majoris, to observe the death throws as it nears the point of becoming a supernova.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8382348.stm



    Also, the Atlantis shuttle touched down today having Successfully returned after the crew's 11 day mission to the International Space Station.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8383140.stm
  17. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    As opposed to the International space station just being another chunk of their budget lost? It would be far better for NASA just to lose those funds than to squander them in pointless projects.
  18. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    There are now reports that a piece of debris from a Russian/American satellite collision is endangering the International Space station. It was discovered too late to move the station out of the debris' path, so the crew are taking shelter in the reentry vessel... just in case.

    I almost hope that this debris does hit the station, but also don't like thinking NASA would invest even more money to repair the damage.
  19. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
  20. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I hope that no one takes Obama's opinion for space exploration and NASA funding seriously. He clearly has his priorities out of order. The ISS is a piece of garbage, but a very expensive one at that.

    If he simply doesn't care about returning to the moon, then I have no issue with that. Transferring funding from one major project in order to provide for another really expensive project with even fewer rewards... neither one should be supported.
  21. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    My problem with Obama's plan isn't so much that it pushes back returning to the moon, but more that as part of canceling or delaying Constellation, it delays the Ares I CLV and Ares V CaLV programs as well (which in turn delays the Orion project). That means that once the Shuttle is retired this year, it will be an even longer wait for us to regain any manned-launch capabilities.

    Extending the ISS does no good if we don't have any way to reach it ourselves. The delay of Ares and Orion will mean that for the time being, only the Russians will have manned-launch capabilities for reaching the ISS.

    Kimball Kinnison
  22. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Good. It's good that keeping the ISS in orbit in turn delays the development of Orion and Ares I booster. The longer they take to become spaceworthy, the fewer chances there'll be for them to be launched for pointless missions to the ISS. That might actaully be the cheapest course. Of course they all go to waste.

    I would rather see the funds for the ISS have been diverted into a spaceborne radio telescope. Such a project would have been perfect for the shuttle, but it would not be as feasible for an Orion spacecraft.
  23. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    I can sort of see the logic of this flexible path idea, which seems to be that most of the exploration will be done by droids, but they will controlled from Lunar/Martian orbit by a manned spacecraft and that humans will land at the most scietifically interesting sites. OK fine, there is a certain logic to that approach, but in the meantime, the Space Shttle is due for retirement later this year and now we don't even have a spacecraft on the drawingboard to replace it with.
  24. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    The problem with that is that once we decommission the Shuttle (which is actually long overdue in my opinion), we won't have manned spaceflight capabilities, something that I consider essential in the long term.

    Remember, the default state of almost any NASA program is to be delayed and eventually canceled. If we start delaying Ares (both the CLV and the CaLV versions) and Orion now, it only increases the chance that they will be canceled later. Once we lose manned spaceflight abilities, it will be that much harder for us to get them back, and relying on private companies that are still not even at the same level as the Gemini program to make up the difference isn't a good idea in the short term.

    No, Orion itself wouldn't be good for launching a telescope, but that's because it's meant as just a crew vehicle. You would use the accompanying Ares V rocket to launch the cargo, and the Ares I would launch the Orion with its crew to get the telescope up and running (or later make repairs). Without manned spaceflight, Hubble would have been almost a complete loss once the optic problems surfaced after launch. Instead, it has given almost 20 years of service, including some of the most amazing pictures of our universe.

    Kimball Kinnison
  25. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Well there are no plans for the launch of a radio telescope that I know of.

    Hubble was a great idea, as a space telescope would be free of all optical interference by the atmosphere; but its success should have lead to the development of a better space telescope in later years. The mirror of Hubble took an astounding sum of time to grind to perfection, which was one of the most expensive parts of the project. So rather than try and grind another mirror on a larger scale, it would make more sense to try and mass produce a number of reflective surfaces and combine them while in space. The James Webb telescope will go by this principle of using multiple mirrors assembled after launch. Each in themselves will not be as perfect as the Hubble's mirror, but the sheer reflective area can be multiplied dozens of times.

    The idea for a radio telescope in space is to be clear of all interference by artificial radio signals on Earth. And the reflective surfaces don't have to be as perfect as with an optical mirror. The general rule of assembling pieces in space is to make them durable enough to be assembled in zero-G. And such a project could yield greater results with less funding than would the Webb telescope. While more expensive, I think the clarity of the images a radio telescope in space could return would be multiple times greater than the Hubble.
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