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Jarad
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Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5333335 - 07/24/12 03:52 PM

Well, some of them did pursue careers in space exploration. We have several who are regular posters here.

As for return on investment, the biggest bits are probably the technology developed for space exploration that found application on earth (microwave ovens, velcro, the general push to make all the electronics lighter and more efficient, etc.). Most of these returns are more long-term than short-term.

As for inspiration, I think that we can be inspired by Chinese achievements in space as easily as by U.S. achievements. In some ways, the competitive instinct may make space achievements by another country more inspiring than by our own. I think Congress will be likely to ignore a call from a President of either party to spend lots of money on NASA, but if China actually starts sending equipment to Mars to prepare for a manned landing, you will see Congress demand that we catch up.

As for a push to Mars, right now I think we need to take some incremental steps first. I would like to see more money put into space exploration, but there are a lot of other priorities that need funds, too.

Jarad


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jonbosley
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/19/05

Loc: Texas
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Shadowalker]
      #5333411 - 07/24/12 04:29 PM

Man space exploration in the US is now being out-sourced to Space-x etc, I don't see that changing in the near future.

Its to late now but a few years back Armstrong could have run for president and more then likely of won, got the budget and put the US on Mars.

Edited by jonbosley (07/24/12 04:36 PM)


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Andy Taylor
Twisted, but in a Good Way
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Epsom - UK
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: jonbosley]
      #5333432 - 07/24/12 04:40 PM

Quote:

Man space exploration in the US is now being out-sourced to Space-x etc, I don't see that changing in the near future.




That's my point - they see it as an investment in their future with an unknown but potentially high pay off.

Private investors is the way to go. They can think outside the box by being able to hire the best minds.

A new industry that employs 1000s.

Whats not to like about that?


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Shadowalker
Apocaloptimist
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: jonbosley]
      #5333445 - 07/24/12 04:50 PM

Quote:

Man space exploration in the US is now being out-sourced to Space-x etc, I don't see that changing in the near future.






Well, if by exploration you mean routine launching of people into orbit, then yes. But I don't see that part as exploration. That is what hopefully become routine access that can be purchased. By individuals, groups or government.

Routine Operations... That is not what NASA does well. Shuttle, as wonderful a machine as it was, was terribly inefficient and expensive.

NASA needs to do Exploration. The way I would see such an human exploration project now would be for NASA to contract out the heavy lifting. Design and build the habitat modules, earth departure stages, landing craft, return vehicles, etc., but don't get bogged down in attempting to develop systems that replace Shuttle. Contract out moving the gear and people from earth to low earth orbit. NASA needs to do NEW things. Let private companies develop new ways to do what's already been done.

Anyway, that's my opinion and I speak for myself, not NASA.


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Skip
Starlifter Driver
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Shadowalker]
      #5333469 - 07/24/12 05:05 PM

Speaking of SpaceX, I think an interview that was recently linked here with Elon Musk said that he has Mars in his sights as well. IIRC, he indicated he would do that in concert with NASA. I think he mentioned 2030 or 2035 as his vision. I believe the thread was something like, "It Would Be Cool to be Born on Earth and Die on Mars"?

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Rick Woods
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Reged: 01/27/05

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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5333582 - 07/24/12 06:16 PM

Quote:

If today's kids are genuinely bored and uninspired, and if the only thing that will lift them out of that malaise is a manned mission to Mars, then they and their parents really need to look in the mirror. We just finished a couple of decades of Shuttle missions, the ISS is still staffed and orbiting, the HST and a host of other robotics are exploring the far reaches of the solar system and the universe beyond, and, for reasons unknown, those endeavors apparently haven't stirred youthful imaginations and ambitions to the extent some folks on this forum would like. But a return mission to the Moon or a mission to Mars would change things? I doubt it.




But, those are the things that inspired the earlier generation. The space age started when I was a kid, and orbital missions were really exciting. While still difficult and dangerous, let's face it - we've been there and done that over and over and over for the last 50 years. The Moon landings are just history now, having happened over 40 years ago. After a while, kids need something *new* to be inspired about.
NASA is doing a wonderful job trying to engage people's imaginations with the Mars rovers, etc; but only people going to new places will really fire the imagination and let today's youth connect in a personal way. (If, indeed, that's even still possible in the current sensory-overload entertainment environment.)

True, the ISS is staffed and orbiting. (It would be nice if it did something else too.) The yawn factor for the ISS is tremendous. What robotic probes are on the boards now? We have Messenger, Cassini, and Opportunity nearing end of mission; Curiosity is about to land; New Horizons will have a brief (but exciting) look at Pluto in a couple of years. What else is in the works? Anything?

But again, this thread is about China taking the bold step, not about the US's failure to do so. Again I say, three cheers for China for having the moxie to do it (if, that is, they actually follow through).
It's a dirty job, being the world leader in human expansion into the Solar System; but someone's got to do it. They obviously can see the benefits of being that someone. Who knows, if they really do go for it, that might B-slap the US into getting into gear again. We can only hope.


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timfiskwa
member


Reged: 12/22/07

Loc: Richardson, TX
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5333831 - 07/24/12 09:20 PM

I SAY HOORAY FOR CHINA. We need another Sputnik moment ala 1957 to get our engineering and technology competitive juices flowing again. If China hits Mars we may wake up. Gearing up for space is certainly as lucrative as making war with a lot fewer casualties.

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WillCarney
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 10/08/09

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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: jonbosley]
      #5334691 - 07/25/12 12:28 PM

Quote:

Man space exploration in the US is now being out-sourced to Space-x etc, I don't see that changing in the near future.

Its to late now but a few years back Armstrong could have run for president and more then likely of won, got the budget and put the US on Mars.




Ronald Reagan wanted us to go to Mars. Congress laughed at him. Unless we get the travel time to less than one month one way to Mars it won't happen. The cosmonaut that spent over a year on Mir could not walk when he came back. You could have a rotating section that would help. Radiation is also an issue which is lessened if you have less travel time. VASAMIR or a pebble bed reactor NERVA type engine will do the trick but takes funding.

William


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PhilCo126
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/05

Loc: coastline of Belgium
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: WillCarney]
      #5334725 - 07/25/12 12:48 PM

Basically, the Chinese manned space program is duplicating the Soviet-Russian program of the 1960s and 1970s but in a far faster pace. They have 20 female astronauts in training!
You can be sure that the first Chinese on the Moon will be a female Taïkonaut ( sometimes called a Taïkonette ) as such a feat will hit news headlines worldwide!


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gavinm
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/26/05

Loc: Auckland New Zealand
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: PhilCo126]
      #5335479 - 07/25/12 08:11 PM

Quote:

...the Chinese manned space program is duplicating the Soviet-Russian program of the 1960s and 1970s ....




Reverse engineering at its best...nothing new.


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: PhilCo126]
      #5335949 - 07/26/12 02:53 AM

Quote:


Basically, the Chinese manned space program is duplicating the Soviet-Russian program of the 1960s and 1970s but in a far faster pace. They have 20 female astronauts in training!
You can be sure that the first Chinese on the Moon will be a female Taïkonaut ( sometimes called a Taïkonette ) as such a feat will hit news headlines worldwide!





The Chinese will have to copy a more successful model than the Soviet program if they aspire to reach the Moon and beyond. There still aren't any Russian footprints up there.


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PhilCo126
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/05

Loc: coastline of Belgium
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5336019 - 07/26/12 05:37 AM

Indeed because NASA was first, the Russians planned a single cosmonaut on the Moon with their LK spacecraft. The suit had a kind of hula hoop at the waist in case the cosmonaut would fall so he would bounce upright again...
Spaceflight strategists are convinced that future missions should minimal comprise 3 people on the lunar surface. But the next human on the Moon will be a Chinese Taïkonaut/Taïkonette as propaganda remains a big part of their overall space program and China will get there first before any of the new commercial players will...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LK_(spacecraft)


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PhilCo126
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/05

Loc: coastline of Belgium
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: PhilCo126]
      #5337962 - 07/27/12 07:50 AM

Well more than a thousands years after Chinese alchemists invented gun powder and used chemicals to propel rockets, their successful space flight program is their awarded...
Mankind must explore!


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FlorinAndrei
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/28/10

Loc: California
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Sean Cunneen]
      #5342597 - 07/29/12 11:33 PM

Quote:

At one of our recent club meetings, one of our member made presentation of micro-gravity's effects on the human body. In short, let the Chinese do it. Space is not for humans.




30k years ago, our distant ancestors were looking into the distance across the vast expanse of water, saying "the ocean is not for humans".

How hard would it be to build a carousel structure to provide at least 0.1 g centrifugal, or thereabouts? Enough to prevent the bones from melting off.

A great challenge would be to keep the bearings rolling without seizing for a few years, in space, with very high reliability.

Then, the whole structure would have to be humongous, far bigger than regular manned satellites, to minimize Coriolis effects and so on - disorienting for the crew.

Pretty expensive, yes, but perhaps not more so than some wildly unpopular ventures overseas in recent years (I could provide examples but then Dave would smack me on the head with The Forum Rules).

Quote:

After all, space exploration is really cheap compared to the benefits it returns. It's convincing the voting public of the legitimacy of those benefits that's difficult.




Quote:

Please list all of those "legitimate" benefits and assess their values (in terms of dollars or whatever) so we unconvinced voters can judge for ourselves whether human space exploration is worth the expense.




I've a feeling that this is a re-hash of the debates before Columbus or Magellan did their thing.


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Joad
Wordsmith
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Reged: 03/22/05

Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: FlorinAndrei]
      #5342601 - 07/29/12 11:40 PM

Columbus wasn't an explorer. His knowledge of Greek texts informed him that the world was round (as educated people knew in the 15th century), but the size of the terrestrial globe was vastly underestimated. Columbus simply promised an autocratic monarchy (public opinion didn't come into it) that he could provide a cheap route to the East Indies by sailing west. Had there been no continental mass between Spain and the East Indies, Columbus and his crew would have perished long before they got there. Columbus died convinced that he had gotten there.

My point is that this wasn't exploration for exploration's sake. It was sheer commerce. There was nothing glorious about it, and it led to the most awful atrocities.

At least there aren't any Martians to enslave and slaughter, but still, any talk of sailing to Mars is incommensurate with sailing across the Atlantic for a few thousand miles.


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scopethis
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Joad]
      #5342613 - 07/29/12 11:52 PM

yea..cause if it were not for Columbus the world would not have chocolate candy bars, chocolate malts and shakes, chocolate syrup......

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FlorinAndrei
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/28/10

Loc: California
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Joad]
      #5342852 - 07/30/12 05:50 AM

Quote:

My point is that this wasn't exploration for exploration's sake. It was sheer commerce.




Yes, money was involved. But let's take a few steps back and look at the whole picture.

I've seen this argument before, but it misses the point entirely. Or rather, not the "point", but the psychology of that kind of individual, their driving force, the ethos (lower-case, as in "character", not upper-case, as in the eyepiece).

If it was for the money entirely, Columbus would have been a banker, or an accountant. It takes a very very different kind of individual to set sail and cross the desert of water into the big unknown. Sometimes it makes me wonder - do historians and so on really understand the people they're talking about? Sure, there were political and financial interests who saw some promise in Columbus' idea, and invested in it the way venture capital firms invest in start-ups today. But that's not how Columbus, or Steve Jobs for that matter, saw the whole thing, otherwise they would have been the investors, not the trail blazers.

Furthermore, to fixate on the negative outcomes of that particular event is to ignore the majority of its consequences. It was not all bad, not even most of it was bad; native americans may rightfully disagree, but I'm thinking globally. It led to the birth of a nation which became the torch bearer of scientific and technologic progress through the entire 20th century, and arguably continues to do so. I say "arguably" because I'm looking at the chinese space program, and then at the american space program, and I'm kinda scratching my head, if you know what I mean.

Finally, sensitive readers should have felt that "Columbus" was more of a suggestion, rather than a strict, fixed, hard-logic example. I was thinking (and kind of threw out its expression half-baked) of every instance when a new path was hewn open, all the way back to the first amoeba in the primeval pond who dared step out into the ocean, while all the other blobs of gelatin stayed behind and died inconsequentially. Again, figuratively speaking.

Forks in the road, and the winners were always those who pushed forward. But I said pretty much the same things on the other thread now trending on SASE.


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Jarad
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Reged: 04/28/03

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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: FlorinAndrei]
      #5342948 - 07/30/12 08:29 AM

Quote:

How hard would it be to build a carousel structure to provide at least 0.1 g centrifugal, or thereabouts? Enough to prevent the bones from melting off.





Probably need to go higher than 0.1g to maintain bone and muscle mass. I would think at least 0.5g. As an example, if we made a ship with a ring 100 meters in diameter, it would need to rotate at just under 2 rpm to generate 1g. G force scales linearly with diameter, and with the square of the rpm.

Quote:

A great challenge would be to keep the bearings rolling without seizing for a few years, in space, with very high reliability.




No need for bearings - just rotate the whole ship. It is travelling in a vacuum, no friction. Line the rotation axis up with your direction of travel, and you can even accellerate or decellerate while rotating if necessary.

The concept is simple, but the execution is tough. A few of the major difficulties are:

1 - Lifting enough mass into orbit to assemble such a large structure. Possible workarounds include two smaller structure on a long tether, spinning around their center of mass, but that introduces it's own set of structural and technical issues. This is why I think moon exploration is worthwhile - if we can mine and manufacture on the moon, lifting mass from there is far easier.

2 - Protection from radiation for a long-duration trip. This is tied to the mass issue, since the best protection involves thick metal walls (which are heavy).

3 - Food, oxygen and water for long-duration trips. Unlike crossing the Atlantic, you can't catch rainwater or fish between here and Mars. We would probably need to establish a true carbon cycle on the ship. This means we either need a technological way to convert CO2 and solid wastes back into something edible and breathable, or we need to plan for a enough plants to produce O2 and food for the crew (which will make the crew a small minority of the living mass on the ship - again, requiring more size and mass).

4 - Fuel to return. We would probably need to send robotic missions in advance to harvest oxyen and hydrogen to use for the return trip, and not send people until there is enough prepared.

While I like the idea of eventually doing missions like these, I think that improvements in robotic space tech are going to be required first.

Jarad


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Joad
Wordsmith
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Reged: 03/22/05

Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Jarad]
      #5343260 - 07/30/12 11:55 AM

"native americans may rightfully disagree"

I'm not a Native American, and, in fact, my family wasn't murdered in Europe precisely because the North American continent was colonized by Europeans who, unintentionally, created a haven for us and people like us. But that doesn't mean that I can, or will blithely gloss over the unspeakably hideous consequences of what Europeans did to the people who were already living in this hemisphere and what they have done, in a scant number of centuries, to the land itself. What gives anyone the right to think "globally" when that involves the total rejection of the point of view of those who paid the price of history? That is a typical dehumanizing, the denial of full human status to people that makes it possible to destroy them without conscience, and destroy the Indians the Europeans did. Read the history in its detail. It is more revolting than you can imagine. Again, though I am a beneficiary of this history and don't really lose much sleep over it at night, I will not endorse denial. There are indeed winners and losers in history, and the suffering of the losers is rarely of any concern to the winners, but it is of concern to me, and it is not I who am missing the point entirely.

Incidentally, Steve Jobs is no hero of mine. He adapted existing technologies and found ways to make money off them while crushing the competition, helping to create a near-monopolistic environment.


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simpleisbetter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 04/18/11

Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Joad]
      #5343286 - 07/30/12 12:07 PM

Quote:

"native americans may rightfully disagree"

I'm not a Native American, and, in fact, my family wasn't murdered in Europe precisely because the North American continent was colonized by Europeans who, unintentionally, created a haven for us and people like us. But that doesn't mean that I can, or will blithely gloss over the unspeakably hideous consequences of what Europeans did to the people who were already living in this hemisphere and what they have done, in a scant number of centuries, to the land itself. What gives anyone the right to think "globally" when that involves the total rejection of the point of view of those who paid the price of history? That is a typical dehumanizing, the denial of full human status to people that makes it possible to destroy them without conscience, and destroy the Indians the Europeans did. Read the history in its detail. It is more revolting than you can imagine. Again, though I am a beneficiary of this history and don't really lose much sleep over it at night, I will not endorse denial. There are indeed winners and losers in history, and the suffering of the losers is rarely of any concern to the winners, but it is of concern to me, and it is not I who am missing the point entirely.

Incidentally, Steve Jobs is no hero of mine. He adapted existing technologies and found ways to make money off them while crushing the competition, helping to create a near-monopolistic environment.




So? That applies here wrt the Chinese Space program how? Then again maybe it does, if we weren't teaching our children such nonsense and apologizing for our ancestors we'd still be in the lead.


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