New Era for NASA

Discussion in 'The Club House' started by kbd512, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Well Ladies and Gents,

    Early tomorrow morning, if everything goes well, NASA will execute EFT-1 for the Orion Program.

    Although I'm sure the test will keep some folks at NASA up tonight, I for one, am pleased that NASA has finally taken a step in the right direction to returning their activities to space exploration.

    Obviously many more years of tests and other activities will have to be successfully completed before we can take a trip to Mars, but any step in the right direction is a good one at this point.

    I attempted to play a tiny part to further space exploration by enticing a Spanish professor who has done some interesting things with magnetics, namely projecting, shaping, and intesifying magnetic fields using alternating magnets and superconductors, to submit a proposal to the InnoCentive Program that NASA runs whereby cash prizes are awarded to selected contenders for innovations that assist with space exploration technology objectives.

    As some of you may know, space that lies outside of Earth's protective Van Allen belts can be hazardous to your health due to highly energetic particles that are referred to by the misnomer of cosmic rays. These particles are primarily protons, essentially hydrogen atoms stripped of their electron, and travel at a substantial portion of the speed of light. Naturally, these things are difficult to stop, but using projected magnetic fields it may be possible to re-route them around a spacecraft.

    When Mike, Buzz, and Neil set out on their little trip to the moon, every so often they'd see these flashes or floaters inside the command module. They never said anything about it to CapCom at the time because they didn't want anyone thinking they had lost their marbles. However, what they were actually seeing were "cosmic rays" or the energetic reaction between these high energy particles punching through the command module and anything that was in the way until the ions were stopped by enough matter in front of them.

    A handful of those involved with the Apollo program were aware of this phenomenon and its deleterious effects on equipment and personnel if intense enough or sustained for a long period of time. This was one of many reasons why NASA elected not to travel to Mars at the time. Whereas spacecraft are generally capable of withstanding a severe exposure to radiation, humans don't fare so well.

    It now appears that with research only recently conducted by Professor Sanchez and his compatriots at the Autonomous University of Barcelona that we might have something approaching a solution to this problem, assuming power requirements for this form of active radiation shielding are not inordinately high.

    I'm looking forward to a successful completion to EFT-1 and a speedy second launch into lunar orbit. Everyone keep their fingers crossed. We may actually live to see humans set foot on another planet.
     
  2. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I have tried, unsuccessfully up to this point, to respectfully illustrate the problems with SLS to NASA and others. I'm quite certain that SLS will fly successfully, it just can't put enough mass into LEO for a successful Mars mission on anything resembling a reasonable time table. Simply put, we need bigger rockets.

    For space propulsion, chemical rocket technology is at or near the limit of what it is capable of achieving. Any chemical rocket powered trip to Mars will be unnecessarily long, dangerous, and expensive due to the relatively poor specific impulse that chemical rockets can attain. An analogy I like to use for gun people is the relative efficiency of a rail gun versus gun powder. Although the rail gun is more complicated than a firearm, the velocity it can accelerate projectiles too is also substantially higher.

    The type of rockets I envision NASA using for successful Mars missions have low earth orbit payloads of 500 metric tonnes on up, versus the 170 metric tonnes that the most evolved variant of SLS will be capable of launching. These things are about the size of the Washington Monument.

    With a 500t payload, you can send up unimportant things like nuclear powered VASIMR engines to cut your travel duration to Mars to a scant 40 days or so by utilizing those ions to do something useful. Obviously a sufficiently powerful nuclear reactor could also handle all of the spacecraft's power generation requirements for purposes other than propulsion, making power efficiency and usage less of a concern for mission planners.

    Instead of a thin aluminum alloy hull spacecraft with the minimum supplies necessary to complete a mission, with a 500t payload you can utilize a more durable titanium alloy for a pressure hull and compartmentalization similar to a Navy ship, line the hull of the spacecraft with materials dense enough to attenuate some of the radiation received, and carry an inventory of spare parts and extra supplies. If the nearest service station, which would be Earth, is millions of miles away, you don't want to discover that you need another thingamajigger half-way to Mars. Buzz may have saved his bacon by using his NASA-issued space pen to complete the circuit to fire the ascent engine on the LEM, but that's not a professional solution to the problem.

    Any outpost on Mars will, realistically, need a nuclear power supply. Martian dust storms do a number on solar panels and there are times, and places, where the Sun don't shine. It may be possible to tap into geothermal vents if there is any significant geothermal activity that initial surveys have missed, but nuclear power is the most compact and efficient option. Either way, the power supply is sure to have a decent heft to it.

    VASIMR engines make things like active radiation shielding largely unnecessary for Mars exploration, although I still believe active radiation shielding is a key technological capability required for deep space exploration. You're not sending humans to the gas giants without it.

    Ok, that's enough of that. I sincerely hope they succeed, but I think they've grossly underestimated the mass that they have to take with them.
     

  3. primer1

    primer1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    But every new phone I get screws up regularly, and don't even get me started on computers. :p

    These are the same particles that miners see when they turn out the lights, correct? Or is it a similar particle, of varying strengths? I'm tired. Iirc, they have the capability to travel through earth and keep on going. Luckily our magnetic field protects us from the nasty ones.

    This is interesting stuff. Now how the astronauts react to footprints on the Martian soil will be most interesting.
     
  4. TLuker

    TLuker New Member

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    Thanks for the posts. That really is interesting stuff. I'm glad to NASA doing something besides thumbing a ride into space. :)
     
  5. ironmike0311

    ironmike0311 New Member

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    ? they going back to the moon because someone stole all their rocks?
     
  6. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    Given the state of our economy, should going to Mars, (or anywhere else a plane can't take us) be a priority?

    As a taxpayer, I vote no.
     
  7. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

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    Wow kbd512! Science! That was fascinating, really! But I have to say a Mars mission is primarily an ego trip. I have no doubt the human survival problems can be engineered, but how many MORE Mars missions could be had and knowledge obtained (about Mars) for the money with one way, or even round trip, robots that don't need space pens, let alone O2, H2O, or Tang?
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
  8. Mercator

    Mercator New Member

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    I like when we put the world on notice on who we are, and what we stand for. Good stuff.
     
  9. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

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    NASA's several billion dollar budget is less than 1% of the 3 trillion dollar Federal budget. It's not big enough to have it's own slice in the pie charts. Even if it quadrupled it wouldn't be enough to solve any of our significant problems.
     
  10. mopowerbmx

    mopowerbmx New Member

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    Going to Mars is not an ego trip or a waist of taxpayer money. It is a major step into progressing the future. Our scientist would have to invent new technology. Just like the space program in the 60s and going to the moon. We advanced ten fold. I'm all for my tax dollars going to advancement than paying off corporate welfare or buying off other countries.
     
  11. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

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    I’m making a distinction between trips to Mars, and manned trips to Mars. It’s true the space program had many productive offshoots like Teflon and others. But I don’t think you needed a manned space program in order to develop non-stick surfaces or miniaturization. They would have been cheaper to develop if they were done as a primary objective. The same is true for advances in human health and hemostasis for long term voyages. As far as scientific knowledge obtained about other planets, unmanned provides a much bigger bang for the buck.
     
  12. mopowerbmx

    mopowerbmx New Member

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    Give humans a challenge and we will find a way to make it work. Heart and insulin pumps came from the moon projects. So did the cochlear implants. Plenty of other things benefited from the space program. Without the challenges sure they would have been developed but we would be years behind. Just sending probe after probe will not get the same results of progression as sending humans.
     
  13. SparkPlug

    SparkPlug New Member

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    all advancements in technology in the space program trickle down to all levels of manufacturing at some point.

    i have been a huge supporter of the space program for a great number of years. manned spaceflights to Mars is just the next logical step.

    unless i'm wrong, no one else but the United States has put a man on the Moon.
     
  14. Mercator

    Mercator New Member

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    That's true. It is also true of military research, like it or not...

    Something else trickles down, an intangible that moves mountains for us as a Nation. R-E-S-P-E-C-T :thumbs up:
     
  15. rjd3282

    rjd3282 New Member

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    He said typing on his high tech computer which he has thanks to the space program and other research programs. What else would you propose we do with tax money? Give it to the poor illegal aliens. Give it to muslim countries that hate us. Maybe continue to house and feed the irresponsible and lazy. God forbid we should invest it in something that has the possibility of creating thousands of jobs.
     
  16. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

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    This is true. It would've been faster.

    It would've freed up money, scientists and engineers to develop insulin pumps, cochlear implants, and who knows whatelse directly. I really think the best way to develop a implantable artificial kidney, or device that can give sight to the blind, or artificial blood, or whatever, would be with an artificial kidney, sight, & blood, etc., program on the scale of a Mars mission. I really think going to Mars is a roundabout way, to put it mildly, to achieve these things.

    We'll never know if these things, and others like them, would already be a reality if they received the kind of support a manned Mars mission needs.
     
  17. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    LOL, what, seriously? Given my stance on Mars, and space toys in general, you really think I'd give some to illegal aliens, muslim countries, and welfare crack monkeys? Trust me, I put ALL of that stuff into the same category. Waste of $$$$$$$$$$.

    Vincine, yeah, maybe it's a drop in the bucket, but add up all those other things, and it's huge dollars.

    How about this? We fund social security properly, take care of the vets we fuc*ed up in the middle east, pay down the debt, you know, the responsible things... And those space scientist can still invent new and cool toys, just not for space first. A healthier economy would create jobs either way, space or not. BTW, I'd bet that even without going into space, I'd still have this computer I'm typing on. And if not, oh well. I wouldn't know any better, right?
     
  18. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Well, those space toys that were a waste of money are what provided you with the technology to voice your opinion on an electronic forum to people you've never met.

    If you truly believe it was all a waste of time and money, then stop using the technology in all aspects of your life. Don't buy any more computers, radios, cars, cell phones, TV's, and sell the ones you have. Don't ever go to a hospital or doctor's office to receive modern health care. You can continue to use the technology that was available before the war. Life was harsh and short and the people were, generally, ignorant of the world around them even though they all thought they knew everything.

    Thankfully, people with more forethought and vision of what's possible are in positions of influence. You may not see the utility of a computer that utilizes microcircuitry for processing, but the lower relative prices you pay for food, gas, clothing, and just about everything else you use in your daily life, unless you make all that stuff yourself, most assuredly would not exist in the form you know it today without computers.

    Advanced health care for our veterans? A lot of that technology was made possible by the space program. The debt clock has a microprocessor that controls it. Robotics of the kind necessary for giving vets artificial limbs has technology deeply rooted in our space program. Are peg legs and claws better to your way of thinking?

    Those "cool new toys", as you put it, don't get invented without a specific purpose in mind. Space is a proving ground for many of the most advanced technologies humans can devise. As far as "not knowing any better" because you never had a computer, that's kind of like an argument for not using tractors or center pivot irrigation because you've tilled the fields with an ox and watered with a hose your whole life and think that using them is the lazy man's way of sowing and watering the fields.

    My wife and son are alive today because of technology derived from the space program. She had a rather large brain tumor removed when she was pregnant with my son, and is still alive today to be a mother to her children and a worker, a network security engineer, for oil companies, hospitals, and the government. That may not mean much to you, but for me she's walking, talking, living, breathing proof that technology is a good thing.

    If the technology saved the life of someone you loved, would the money "wasted" on it be worth it?
     
  19. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    We're gonna have to agree to disagree, because no one is going to convince me that the modern world in it's entirety is a result of the space program.

    But that's ok.:)

    Although, I'm not necessarily saying that it was ALWAYS a waste of money. Just now, in particular, with the state of our country and economy.
     
  20. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    The Apollo Saturn V Launch Vehicle Digital Computer (LVDC) Circuit Board:

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0ggqY7vnAw"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0ggqY7vnAw[/ame] <- Skip to 7:25. The technology that computers use today for circuit board design was specifically created by IBM for manned space flight.

    Robotics are important for deep space exploration due to our current technological limitations, but short of artificial intelligence, they'll never be as adaptable as human explorers. If you thought of everything, then robots are great and the robots don't have human limitations. If not, you have problems.