Astronomy and space exploration

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by eloyc, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. eloyc

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    The landing spot for NASA's Mars 2020 rover was finally announced this week:
    https://www.space.com/42489-lakes-on-mars-burst-formed-canyons.html

    Elon Musk rebrands BFR rocket:
    https://www.space.com/42499-spacex-bfr-mars-spaceship-name-change.html
     
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  2. cheapchips

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  3. eloyc

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  4. eloyc

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    https://www.space.com/42514-spacex-first-crew-dragon-launch-january-2019.html

    I'm happy to see that we finally get some dates, and that those are not later than expected.

    Now I want some updates on the new BRF... sorry, Starship! :roll:
     
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  5. rcf

    rcf
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    Elon Musk's obsession about mars colonization is so out of touch with reality that it's not even funny anymore.
     
  6. nutball

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    I half agree.

    He glosses over the details - and by details, I mean some really quite challenging technical hurdles. Showstoppers potentially.

    Where Musk and people like him (specifically Jeff Bezos) have an advantage is being able to have a singular focus on their personal goal, regardless of how out there it might seem, and the money to back it up. They might fail, quite probably they will, but it's their money and what the heck, why not let them try?

    The US and European state-funded space programmes are so tied in to politics, with shifting sands and shifting goals, and borderline corruption that they are basically irrelevant at this point in time.

    Russia has no money. China could do what the privateers are aiming to do, because they are in a position to have a singular focus.

    Western state-funded space agencies can't figure out what they want to do. Even if they could, they cannot persuade the people who sign the cheques to give them the money to achieve it. Therefore, they will achieve nothing.

    If some dope smoking loon wants to shoot for Mars using private money, what the hell let him try.
     
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  7. zed

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    you dont think they will launch an astronaut in the next year?
     
  8. Davros

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  9. rcf

    rcf
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    Maybe they will, but launching astronauts into low earth orbit is very different from colonizing (and terraforming) another planet.
     
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  10. eloyc

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    Do you really think that's that far from reality? We may like it or not, but it think it's not (I'm talking about colonization... terraformation is a different story).
     
  11. Davros

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    eloyc you realise any trip to mars would be a one way mission ?
     
  12. eloyc

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    Yes, I do. At least now, but maybe in a near future it won't be just that way.

    At any rate, I'm just saying that I'm pretty sure we'll see humans in Mars in this very century.
     
  13. zed

    zed
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    yeah putting ppl on mars why difficult certainly aint as difficult as putting ppl on the moon in 1969.
    terraforming OTOH is just a pipedream ATM
     
  14. rcf

    rcf
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    We would have to move and deploy very large amounts of infrastructure into a planet located many millions of miles away in order to have the slightest chance of long term survival there.
    Martian settlers would require a periodic and very expensive influx of supplies coming from earth, stuff like food, water, oxygen, energy, medicines, raw materials, building materials, replacement parts, etc, as we won't have the technology to make all that stuff on mars anytime soon.
    If NASA alone spends US$ 4 billion per year on the ISS, then just imagine the costs of a martian colony.

    Then we have the physical degeneration of the human body caused by extended periods in zero/low gravity, the psychological degeneration caused by the awful living conditions, and also the fact that mars has no magnetosphere to protect the settlers from prolonged exposure to cosmic radiation. Also, some people say the ship wouldn't even have enough shielding to protect the astronauts from cosmic radiation during the 6 to 12 month trip.
     
    #374 rcf, Nov 25, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  15. cheapchips

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    We don't know what long term exposure to low gravity does. We've never had humans in a third of earth's gravity for any period of time. Other than a few mice, we've never had anything in a low gravity enviroment for more than a few days.

    Zero g has know effects, most of which can be mitigated on the 3-6 month trip SpaceX propose. But then we don't know if ⅓g is enough to recover and be healthy in.

    Cosmic radiation isn't an issue on the trip. It's an increased risk of cancer. Take the risk or not. We don't know what it means for life expectancy.

    Solar radiation on the trip can kill outright but unlike cosmic radiation you can shelter against it. If there was ever a Mars railroad, I'm pretty sure they'd be the odd corpse ship arriving due to poor space weather forcasts. :)

    As it stands, these aren't reasons to just not bother with exploration and colonization or the solar system.

    The cost of a Mars/Moon base depends on large fully reusable rockets. In the next decade, SpaceX and Blue Origin will either succeed or fail at these. ISS and NASA costs are due to a large part that it costs $100m+ send anything to orbit on expendable rockets.

    Changing this cost to mainly fuel with reusability means $1m for the entire habitable volume of the ISS to orbit. That's a crazy amount of volume in orbit for annual ISS costs!
     
  16. rcf

    rcf
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    Mitigating most of the effects may not be enough if the remaining ones are still serious.
    How would they mitigate the permanent visual impairment that starts happening after a few weeks in zero gravity due to high intracranial pressure?
    Would astronauts arrive at mars with eyesight problems?
    Would the spacecraft have to be rather large and spin like a centrifuge as shown in sci-fi movies?

    By "cosmic radiation" I meant all kinds of radiation and particles to which the astronauts/settlers would be exposed, and as you've mentioned the biggest danger comes from the sun. Settlers could not only be killed during the trip but also have to live underground since mars has no magnetosphere to protect them. It also suffers from global dust storms that can leave the planet in the dark and hinder communications.

    Exploration of the solar system is valid, but it can be done by machines and it's very different from colonization.
    IMO there are no good reasons for trying to colonize mars during this century. It's just an obsession of billionaires and sci-fi fans.
     
  17. eloyc

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    Despite all those side effects, which are true, and without even considering the advancements in science and technology that could soon mitigate or even eliminate some of them, I'm sure there are people in this planet willing to make the move. But they will do it provided more people will go there, not just 3 or 4 people... I guess.

    PS: some people bought the new RTX cards because they think they're worth it, no matter what. I totally see the parallel, here. :grin:
     
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  18. cheapchips

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    The billionaires in question have both stated their love of good sci-fi authors.

    There's no magic TV show physics that suddenly happen next century. Do it now while the economics are favourable.

    Cheap spaceflight is possible. It's not inevitable. If it was, it would have happened in the 50 years since Apollo. Instead, it was bogged down by jobs programmes. A somewhat ironic legacy from a communism Vs capitalism race.

    From a science point of view, 100t + reusable launch vehicles will enable some utterly amazing missions in the late 2020's.
     
    #378 cheapchips, Nov 26, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
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  19. eloyc

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    I'm pretty sure the people who like to visit this thread already saw it, but here it goes: :)
    https://www.space.com/42544-insight-mars-landing-first-photo.html

    And
    https://www.space.com/42550-insight-mars-lander-solar-arrays-deployed.html

    MarCO's farewell picture of Mars!
    https://www.space.com/42547-amazing-mars-farewell-photo-marco-cubesats.html
     
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  20. London-boy

    London-boy Shifty's daddy
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    Meh. If I wanted to live in a sad wasteland, I'd just stay in London and wait for the inevitable to happen.
     
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