NASA says it Will colonize the Moon by 2024 (Page 4)
Corwin: NASA would love to send a man to Mars... there's just no initiative... no budget allotment.
The manned space program is pretty much dead in the water.
If NASA had have been allowed to continue with the Saturn V program, we could have had a man on Mars back in the 1980s or 1990s... but they beat the Russians to the Moon, put on their "show" as a display of Cold War superiority, and then packed it all in.
The Apollo manned Moon program was NEVER about "exploration"... and the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station was just a "make work" program that served little purpose.
limboo75: well, we can hope that the Chinese continue to make progress in their space program. They seem to be taking a long term methodical approach, which is the only way to go really. It might trigger the US into a new space race.
Nothin like a dick measuring contest over "national honour" to loosen the purse strings. Positive side effect, every dollar/renmibi spend on space exploration can not be wasted on some new military boondoggle.
Corwin: NASA does have a new heavy-lift rocket in the works, but it's progressing at a snail's pace for lack of budget. In about 15 years, if all goes well, the new rocket will almost achieve the lift capabilities of the old Saturn V... which they had already perfected over 50 years ago.
And they're still slowly moving forward with their Orion spacecraft, which is really just an up-scaled version of the Apollo Command Module.
How's THAT for progress?
stevenchiverton: the moon is already colonized like mars and other planets and its all kept secret nasa says many things its allready done and act like its a new thing when its old
Corwin: Yes... NASA colonized Mars with Big Foots, and Elvis lives there too. But of course it's all kept super top-secret.
I only know about it because I am in telepathic communication with the Mars Bigfoots, but only for 1 hour a day, as I like to keep my tin-foil hat on for the other 23 hours to prevent the space-aliens from using their mind-probing ray on me.
Do you like my clock? --->
stevenchiverton: theyve allready got a base on the moon and its an old nazi one there useing and they expanded upon it and they have mining colonies to and mars has allready been lived on they have bases there and much more
limboo75: Obviously that was just a ploy to lull us in a false sense of security.
Just like that whole losing the war and having their country bombed to rubble bit. All just a cunning distraction manouver. And you all fell for it.
iqoverlord: I am waiting for someone to develop a much cheaper and safer means of getting into orbit. The cost of getting persons and equipment into orbit is still way to high. I wonder if anyone is research the possibility of magnetically generated electron fields. If I remember correctly, they have two types of anti-gravity research. One uses super conductors and the other is inside of a super electromagnet. But if you combine the two and add a very strong rotating magnetic field to the haul of a craft. I think it might help lower the inertial mass of it allowing for heavier transport for less thrust and fuel requirements.
kittybobo34: Iq, interesting idea, I have another idea though, how about a space elevator. We build a carbon nanofiber tower all the way to space, anchored into bedrock on the earth side, and tethered to something heavy on the space side. from there the cost of freighting to space would be minimal.
limboo75: The key problem in the space elevator thing is the phrase "from there". Once you have the thing going getting cargo etc in orbit is indeed really cheap on a per weight basis. The problem is though that building the space elevator itself will be extremely extremely extremely expensive. Think several times the global GDP over. Of course, you have to keep that start up cost in mind, meaning that it will be a long time before you actually break even in regards to traditional launch methods.
It is indeed a great idea long term, but the cost up front is a huge hurdle.
Not to mention that at present we completely lack the infrastructure and materials required to build such a ting.
kittybobo34: all good points, but like the Hoover Damn, or the Panama Canal, it would be a project that would ignite the imagination.
iqoverlord: Kitty have you calculated the distance and mass of the counter weight. It might be possible using modern rope called spectral but even that would be at it's limit. I was looking at some of the math and it is a big headache. I think a space plane using a magnetic rail launch system with solid stage eject-able boosters would be more viable. If we are going to do any major space exploration we will need to build a craft in orbit that is at least the size of a aircraft carrier. I wonder how hard it would be to weld steel in space.
limboo75: I would love for a project like this to come true Kitty, but igniting the imagination is not enough. These things don't get done unless they are economically feasible in a reasonable time frame. Which is one of the problems here: due to the absolutely colossal start up costs the break even point will be so far in the future that it will be really difficult to find investors (be they private or public).
I for one can not imagine any entity far sighted enough to invest huge sums in a project that won't reach break even within say 150 years.
iqoverlord: Limboo75 you have a very valid point. According to NASA website it cost about $10,000 to put a pound of "payload" in space. (That's funny.... I remember researching this same thing around 10 yrs ago. It was estimated around $5,000 per lb. back then. But the shuttles were still in use.) I believe we need to find a way to lower the cost to less than $5 per 1,000 lb. before it would ever be possible. The shuttle program was a great advancement but we went backwards after that. I believe they need a new type of reusable transport that can do something like Virgin Galactic was trying. Take off and land like a airplane but have the thrust needed to achieve orbit. That means the transport will need to go from about 550 mph to 17,000 mph to achieve a low earth orbit about 150 miles up. Keep in mind it is starting at a altitude around 8 miles high. They have been experimenting with supper sonic scram jets for years. I believe they are even attempting hyper sonic scram jets. I believe we are on the edge of one of the greatest advancement the world will ever know... Just give us a little more time...
(Edited by iqoverlord)
limboo75: Actually I think the future of space travel will require relatively cheap transport. In that sense the shuttle was a huge failure, in that it was more expensive than one off rockets. There is a reason why nobody is trying to relaunch a shuttle these days, and that reason is that the concept didn't work.
If there is a way to make it work, that would be great, but personally I do not see any imminent breajthrougs. Would love to be proven wrong though.
iqoverlord: You are right the old shuttle program is dead. We still need a large reusable freight carrier to get a large amount of material and personnel into space. We have plenty of concepts and ideals. Just not the motivation and financial backing. I believe the exploration of just our solar system would require the support and financial backing of the entire planet. Unfortunately I do not believe that will ever happen. Mankind is far to corrupt and arrogant to join forces with peace and harmony with one goal in mind. There is always going to be someone wanting to make a profit and control everyone else......
limboo75: On the bright side, the Chinese seem to have a bit more of a long term vision. Let's hope that we can get some form of dickmeasuring contest going in the space realm (nothing like "national honour" at stake to get funds for something). I'd rather that money gets spend there than on purely military expenditures.
kittybobo34: I was hoping durring the resession, that they would spend more money on space, kind of a shovel ready project to get the economy going.
Corwin: In regards to the Shuttle... it was doomed from the start. Simply a flawed design altogether.
That's why the Russians abandoned their own shuttle program before they even sent a man into space with it.
Two major flaws...
 It cost far more to refit a Shuttle for its next flight than it did to build a disposable vehicle like the Apollo Command Module and Service Module.
 The manned vehicle belongs at the TOP of the rocket, not strapped to the side, for two reasons - the Shuttle was rained down on with big slabs of ice that the fuel tank shed during ascent, which can (and did) cause irreparable damage to the re-entry heat-shields. And because if the rocket explodes, it's best not to be strapped to the side of it.
An Apollo crew would have had a good chance of survival if a Saturn V booster exploded during ascent. The capsule located safely at the tip would simply fall back to Earth on a ballistic trajectory and they could fire the parachutes. The Command Module itself its own emergency escape vehicle.
When the Shuttle Challenger's fuel tank exploded, the Shuttle was disintegrated with it.
The Shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry because its heat-shield was damaged by slabs ice on the way up.
Same with lift-off... even before they cleared the tower, any trouble with the Saturn V and the Apollo Command Module could fire an abort rocket at the nose that lifted it away from ground-zero so it could parachute to safety. No such escape system on the Shuttles.
Which brings up a point... the Russians are STILL using their tried-and-true Soyuz spacecraft and rockets perfected in the 1960s... the STUPIDEST thing America did with their space program was cancel the Saturn V and Apollo program. They had a PERFECTLY good heavy-launch system and spacecraft, and they pulled the plug on it. And then wasted all that money building a lemon of a Shuttle.
Now they're building the Orion spacecraft (basically a larger Apollo) and a new heavy-lift booster... and with some luck, in 10 or 15 years they MIGHT get back to where they left off 50 years ago and match the performance of the Saturn/Apollo program.
As far as cheaper payload costs, Elon Musk is our new champion in that field. Building a reusable re-entry vehicle was folly... Elon is developing a reusable first-stage booster that lands itself back on the launch-pad after it separates from the second-stage. During the Apollo program they ditched that expensive beast of a first-stage Saturn V booster into the ocean each time... and that thing cost WAY more than an Apollo Command Module.
Way to go Elon!!
iqoverlord: Well we were using Russian rocket engines on the shuttle because the Apollo engines sucked......
Corwin: That's utter nonsense.
The Space Shuttle's main engines were designed and built by Rocketdyne in the United States, the most efficient and reliable ever built. The Shuttle's short-comings had nothing to do with the engines.
The Apollo engines far from "sucked"; they were awesome. Powerful and ultra-reliable. The Apollo Service Module main engine (SPS) had to be reliable... if it wasn't, those Apollo astronauts could be stranded in space with no hope of rescue and die when their air ran out.
The Apollo 13 incident had nothing to do with the engines... it resulted from a faulty relay in one of the O2 tanks that sparked when the tanks were stirred.
The Saturn rockets were designed by none other than Werner Von Braun himself, the German rocket scientist who designed the V-2, and were also awesome. And incidentally, Von Braun based his original V-2 designs on the designs of Robert Goddard the American rocket pioneer.
Russia's rockets were just beefed up copies of Von Braun's V-2, and they attained more thrust by simply strapping more and more of then together, rather than design a true heavy-lift rocket engine like the American Saturn employed.