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hokkaido53
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Reged: 05/07/12

Loc: New Mexico
China is seriously working on manned space voyages
      #5331028 - 07/23/12 09:43 AM

China is beefing up their manned space program, to include voyages to the moon and Mars.

Here are some details:
http://www.exploremars.org/msl-picture-of-the-day-t-14-days-eyes-on-mars-china

Questions for discussion:

Shouldn't the U.S. being doing likewise?
Why isn't the U.S. doing likewise?


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rdandrea
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: hokkaido53]
      #5331095 - 07/23/12 10:39 AM

1. Yes
2. Record deficits


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ColoHank
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Reged: 06/07/07

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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: rdandrea]
      #5331160 - 07/23/12 11:22 AM

When the Chinese finally reach the Moon, they'll only be duplicating a feat that was accomplished multiple times five or six decades earlier. And then, like the USA, they may conclude that further missions there really don't offer much payback. Getting safely to Mars and back is much easier said than done, and it doesn't hold the promise of much reward other than a fleeting sense of accomplishment and national pride (though I hasten to add that a few samples of fossils would be a nice bonus). If and when they ever get to the point where such a mission is achievable, their national economy may also be as much in the tank as ours is now.

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Joad
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5331207 - 07/23/12 12:05 PM

Yes, indeed. Even the U.S. government is still talking about manned Mars expeditions. Easily said . . . .

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starbux
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Reged: 02/08/06

Loc: Sunnyvale, CA
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: rdandrea]
      #5331303 - 07/23/12 01:09 PM

Quote:

1. Yes
2. Record deficits




You know, the problem with the discussion of the fiscal limitations of manned space flight today is that it easily comes down to politics, which is taboo here but impossible to ignore.

Without laying blame to specifics, the US has dug itself an economic abyss that it would take a miracle to claw itself out of. I hold extreme pessimism for NASA to actually have the resources to get humans to Mars in my lifetime.

China may not have as many original concepts as the US/Russia, but as long as they aren't dragged down with the rest of the world economy they may be humanity's best hope for colonizing space, as they have not squandered their resources as the US has (not going into specifics here).

My ultimate hope is that private enterprise will finally get a foothold and fulfill its potential, leaving tax-funded agencies like NASA as obsolete relics. And for scientific probes, if the tax money isn't there anyhow, why not have a consortium of entities like the National Geographic Society, Discovery Networks, and others solicit donations from the public for specific space missions (again talking unmanned science for now)? I know it's not conventional thinking, but if NASA disappeared tomorrow, why not? I'd donate (more than NASA is currently getting from my taxes), and I'm not rich.


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Sean Cunneen
Let Me Think
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Reged: 08/01/07

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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: starbux]
      #5331625 - 07/23/12 04:14 PM

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.

I like the recent push towards privatization. I haven't seen this much interest in rocketry/baloing/spaceflight in decades!


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Rick Woods
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Sean Cunneen]
      #5332326 - 07/23/12 11:25 PM

Well, let me be the first to say "good for them"! Why should an ambitious manned space program by the Chinese be viewed as some sort of failure by the US? What is everyone thinking here?

The US went to the Moon, then lost momentum. The Russians have stayed in space through thick and thin, but never went past LEO. It's time SOMEbody took the next step, and right now, China has the industrial and scientific infrastructure to pull it off. Why not them?

Human space exploration is a race-wide thing (do the words "We Came in Peace for All Mankind" sound familiar?) China is filled with humans. Maybe it's their turn, and I say Godspeed. We did ours, and maybe we'll do it again. If they can do it too, all the better.


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llanitedave
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Reged: 09/26/05

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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5332499 - 07/24/12 02:09 AM

Let's try to keep the politics out of it, difficult as that may be. So far, I don't think it's been over the line.

Personally, I think deficits are an excuse rather than a reason for our hesitancy in space. If there was a national consensus to do it, we'd find ways to do it in spite of the economic conditions. A number of years ago, when the economy was humming, the U.S. still wasn't committing to any bold exploration. 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.

Edited by llanitedave (07/24/12 02:10 AM)


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ColoHank
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Reged: 06/07/07

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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5332836 - 07/24/12 10:20 AM

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.




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. For the sake of comparison, it would be instructive also to list the cost/benefit ratios of alternative means of exploration.


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lightfever
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5332990 - 07/24/12 12:06 PM

Hank,

The benefit of a manned mission to Mars would be in the millions of young people inspired by this grand undertaking and want to become scientist and engineers. Most of these young people would go into other enterprises and do great things and come up with new ideas that would expand our economy and again make us leaders in innovation. It is penny wise and pound foolish to not think big and inspire people with exciting endeavors. We lack funds because of bad policy and a stalled economy, grow the economy and the money spent on these missions will be small compared to the rewards. Neil Degrasse Tyson makes a great case for this. I have children in their teens and early twenties and they see their future as grim, they see this country declining, they are bored and feel uninspired.


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dyslexic nam
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: lightfever]
      #5333039 - 07/24/12 12:39 PM

FWIW, I also think that there would be more than a "fleeting sense of accomplishment" brought about by a successful manned mission to Mars. The NASA moon landings were widely viewed as a monumental achievement in human history, and inspired a generation of people. I believe that a mission to Mars would have the same magnitude of impact.

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lightfever
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Reged: 09/27/04

Loc: Macomb Michigan
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: dyslexic nam]
      #5333052 - 07/24/12 12:47 PM



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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: dyslexic nam]
      #5333053 - 07/24/12 12:48 PM

I am genuinely puzzled by the social claims being made here. The generation purportedly inspired by the Apollo program is the so-called Baby Boomer generation (of which I am a member), and that generation came of age (and into power) precisely during the period when manned space exploration in the United States came to an end, and also during the period when the United States at least came to appear to be in the decline lamented in this thread. So it could be argued that the Apollo program was a dead end in social terms.

Of course it is more complicated than this. No single phenomenon can be responsible for the course of a nation, and planning to go to Mars is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for national revival. That's what my real point is.


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lightfever
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Loc: Macomb Michigan
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Joad]
      #5333119 - 07/24/12 01:31 PM

Two companies that came from that generation Apple and Microsoft, their net worth dwarfs the spending on NASA and I don't think their contribution to society can even be calculated.

Speaking of my own life, the Apollo era was a life changing time, the way things are going it seems like my kids will face nothing but disappointment.


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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: ColoHank]
      #5333127 - 07/24/12 01:37 PM

Quote:

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.




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. For the sake of comparison, it would be instructive also to list the cost/benefit ratios of alternative means of exploration.




What it all boils down to is there is no net expense.

Only the hardware goes into space - the money stays on earth.

The cost of a mission is almost all wages. A mission or supplier employee then pays his taxes, buys cars, pays rent, buys groceries etc. This all returns to the economy.

What a bargain - the economy is stimulated, we get a new generation of engineers etc, employment for a LOT of people, the actual hardware itself and more leads on new technologies.

More of an investment.


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Shadowalker
Apocaloptimist
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Reged: 11/23/04

Loc: Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, ...
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Andy Taylor]
      #5333219 - 07/24/12 02:37 PM

Quote:

Only the hardware goes into space - the money stays on earth.




No, no... Not true. Prior to launch we load each rocket with as many hundred dollar bills as they will hold. We blast all of that into space, never to be seen again. Why do you think space travel is so expensive?


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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: Andy Taylor]
      #5333220 - 07/24/12 02:38 PM

Exactly the same thing can be said about any form of public spending, and at the moment there are very powerful forces in the U.S. that are weighing against public spending.

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dyslexic nam
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Joad]
      #5333242 - 07/24/12 02:56 PM

Quote:

Of course it is more complicated than this. No single phenomenon can be responsible for the course of a nation, and planning to go to Mars is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for national revival. That's what my real point is.




But this thread/mission isn't about reviving US national pride. It is about a relative newcomer to the "space race" potentially taking a huge leap in the commitment to exploration and in the process advancing the state of the art. And while I have no real evidence to back it up, I have a sneaking suspicion that Chinese success in something like a Mars mission would be a massive boost to national pride in that country (as well as elevating their nation's profile globally).

I don't pretend to understand the factors that went into the current malaise when it comes to funding space exploration, but I shudder to think of what the state of NASA would be without the early inspirational achievements of the Apollo missions. It is no coincedence that your presidential candidates frequently dole out ambitious space exploration goals in their effort to engage voters - these lofty aspirations are still the type of undertakings that inspire folks.


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ColoHank
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Reged: 06/07/07

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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Joad]
      #5333309 - 07/24/12 03:36 PM

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.

All along, we've also been cranking out plenty of really bright scientists and engineers, many of whom have opted, instead of designing space hardware or exploring the human genome or whatever, to make piles of money by developing sophisticated hedge-fund marketing algorithms on Wall Street.

The vibe I get is that a relatively small number of people with an abiding interest in manned space travel are put out because everyone else doesn't share their passion, and they somehow think that's indicative of a greater societal ill. If it's so important to them, then why did they choose to pursue careers in other fields?


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Shadowalker
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Reged: 11/23/04

Loc: Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, ...
Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5333333 - 07/24/12 03:52 PM

Quote:

If it's so important to them, then why did they choose to pursue careers in other fields?




Some of us did.


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Jarad
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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
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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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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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Loc: Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, ...
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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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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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


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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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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
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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
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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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Joad
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5343326 - 07/30/12 12:25 PM

I'm responding to Florin. And what credentials do you have to determine what is "nonsense" and what isn't? Declaring something to be "nonsense" is usually a way of refusing to create a rational argument. Privileging your own position is not an argument.

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simpleisbetter
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Joad]
      #5343343 - 07/30/12 12:33 PM

I know you were replying to Florin, but you stated it in open forum context for all the see and hear. Therefore since you stated it publicly I was asking, rightfully, how that your particular personal view applies in this discussion that everyone is reading. How does that view apply to the Chinese Space program?

If you want a private discussion with Florin, then please PM him offline.

Edited by simpleisbetter (07/30/12 12:42 PM)


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Shadowalker
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5343352 - 07/30/12 12:36 PM



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Joad
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5343357 - 07/30/12 12:42 PM

All views are questionable. So long as I remain politely within the rules here on CN, it is not your place to censor me. Florin brought up Columbus in this thread. What has that to do with the Chinese? I pointed out that the Columbus analogy had some problems. You don't like my view. You like Florin's. I am going to lose very little sleep over that.

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simpleisbetter
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Joad]
      #5343377 - 07/30/12 12:54 PM

It's not my intent to censor you Joad, only the moderators have that tool. Nor do I find Florin's views anymore correct, I certainly don't he's wrong. But I found the views and statement in your post rather offensive. Please take it as nothing more than the question I asked; how does this apply to the Chinese Space program this thread is about?

And I don't expect you or anyone to lose sleep over anything I say, I have no pride in myself in that regard.

Edited by simpleisbetter (07/30/12 01:00 PM)


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Joad
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5343396 - 07/30/12 01:03 PM

And I find the analogy between space colonization and Columbus offensive. Guess what, we're even.

And if you are offended by anyone expressing sympathy to those who have suffered unspeakable suffering in history, you might want to consider why.


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simpleisbetter
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Joad]
      #5343418 - 07/30/12 01:17 PM

You still haven't answered the question.

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Joad
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5343438 - 07/30/12 01:32 PM

I can answer the question, and will, but you seem to think that I am under an obligation to answer your questions, and I assure you that I am not. But my answer will be rather involved, so you'd best be prepared to read it all carefully and not nit pick individual sentences.

If you haven't noticed, every time (yes, every time) discussion of human space exploration comes up in this forum, the discussion veers away from the pure science of the matter (years ago, Groz clearly explained that a manned mission to Mars is impossible using available technologies, but the discussion keeps coming up) to socio-political disagreements. I was a moderator for some six years, and I know first-hand the challenge this presents to the moderators of this forum. They choose to let us veer off. That's fine.

So we veer off, every time. In two threads going on simultaneously right now a disagreement is going on with respect to manned space flight. Some people just don't understand why some of us aren't enthusiastic about manned space flight. Those of us who aren't have different reasons for it, and I cannot (and do not) speak for anyone else.

What bothers me is the analogy, brought up not by me but by others, drawn between the European Age of Exploration and space exploration, as well as the very non-scientific insistence that "man must explore space." Such judgments, which appear every time, have nothing to do with science. They are in this thread. The moderators could delete them if they liked, because they have nothing to do with science (there is nothing, I repeat nothing, scientific about a belief that "man must explore": that is a value judgment). (Maybe I'd better explain this: the fact that homo sapiens sapiens has been an exploring species is not at all commensurate with the judgment that homo sapiens sapiens ought to be an exploring species. "Ought" is a value judgment and it does not derive logically from "is.")

So, when I respond to value judgments, that's all I am doing. The connection to Chinese space flight lies in the fact that someone else made the connection, and I am responding to it.


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Rick Woods
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5343446 - 07/30/12 01:35 PM

Jeez, I thought Hank and I were getting testy in the "Robotoic or Manned" thread - but, you guys are getting into a whole different league! Wanna put a sock in it and get back to the topic? Thank you!

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simpleisbetter
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Joad]
      #5343480 - 07/30/12 01:56 PM

Guess what, I agree 100% with everything you just said. It amazes me how regularly threads detour. I've been busy over the weekend and was trying to catch up on this one, only to be diverted through the Euro exploration and each person's perceived views of what the truth is on that. So I was getting a bit annoyed trying to weed those posts out. When I came to the statement on native Americans, and the judgment call on what happened, I had to question the views and how they applied here. I agreed with everything you were saying up until that one example or statement where you posed your sympathetic bias in your view of American History.

I remember that you were a moderator here and appreciate all that group does. But to me it doesn't mean we can't question someone's views we think are wrong just because they are or were a moderator. That's why I persisted, you asked for my credentials and challenged me, but didn't talk to or answer the question. I'm a retired bomb squad tech so by nature I keep going until I get honest conversation, that's why I kept pushing. If you don't want to answer...don't... the dialogue ends here.

But as I said I agree with this last post 100%. Best to you and yours.


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Rick Woods
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5343505 - 07/30/12 02:13 PM

Quote:

I'm a retired bomb squad tech so by nature I keep going until I get honest conversation, that's why I kept pushing.




So, you're the guy who if I see you running away, I should follow you!


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simpleisbetter
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5343518 - 07/30/12 02:20 PM

ROFL! Yep I would be one Rick, though at 50yo I'm not so fast anymore.

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scopethis
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5343691 - 07/30/12 03:54 PM

Here's my thought about China's Space Program (not intending to open a can of worms here)...but how much of their program is "original" and how much have they "copied"? Did/do they actually "invent" anything?

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simpleisbetter
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: scopethis]
      #5343735 - 07/30/12 04:11 PM

I suspect much is copied, which makes good sense. Why expend resources for work that's already been done, and when proven ideas and technology already exists? OTOH - how much has been honestly acquired and how much have their spies stolen, is my question.

In the thread on Manned vs Unmanned Spaceflight, a more curious question was posed. How much of China's space program is real and how much is propaganda? Especially WRT their long-term lunar/planetary plans, given that China's made these claims before but it all turned out to be vaporware. If this question was already asked in this thread I apologize I haven't caught up on all the posts here yet.


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Shadowalker
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: scopethis]
      #5343738 - 07/30/12 04:13 PM

Quote:

Here's my thought about China's Space Program .... how much of their program is "original" and how much have they "copied"? Did/do they actually "invent" anything?




Well, they are building it and operating it. Some of their equipment uses technology borrowed from the old Soviet program. Much of it is new.

However, nothing in the space business is easy. Regardless of the head-start China got in technology, what they're now doing is world-class. I think what they're doing is very worthy of merit.


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Rick Woods
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5343809 - 07/30/12 04:56 PM

Quote:

OTOH - how much has been honestly acquired and how much have their spies stolen, is my question.




Not really important, either. I'd bet dollars to donuts that we stole a lot from the Soviets back in the day, to make up for their substantial lead in rocket technology. There's no "honesty" per se in this field; if the other guy knows something you need to know, you find it out however you can. Just business.

Whether they actually go to the Moon is another matter. Look how much they've stirred us up just by talking about it! Maybe they just know what buttons to push to make us squirm.


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simpleisbetter
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5343836 - 07/30/12 05:15 PM

You're right, it's not necessarily important, just a curiosity. One of my favorite Cold War stories is the fact the Soviets sold us all the raw titanium in open trade that we built the SR71's with to spy on them.

Whether we stole technology from the Soviets I'm not sure, but I'll bet if I were to brush up on my history of our space program I'd probably find lots of references to us reverse engineering what the Soviets at the time were doing wrt rocket and ICBM research. Curiously, to an extent there was a limited open dialog between the two nation's space programs for a period of time. Not sure if either nation had to steal from the other but my history on that is a bit rusty.

The same is quite possible true of China and that they don't need to steal anything, unless it comes from Sandia Labs...


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Rick Woods
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5344046 - 07/30/12 07:25 PM

Luckily our German scientists were more organized than their German scientists. (Or maybe just better funded.)

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ebusinesstutor
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5351146 - 08/04/12 01:12 AM

I am very pleased to see China taking such an active role in space. The more countries who are active and are learning new and better ways for us to explore, travel and live in space, the better.

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hokkaido53
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: ebusinesstutor]
      #6252348 - 12/14/13 09:51 AM

Quote:

I am very pleased to see China taking such an active role in space. The more countries who are active and are learning new and better ways for us to explore, travel and live in space, the better.




Yesterday, a Chinese unmanned craft landed on the moon:
http://www.reuters.com/article/email/idUSBRE9BD06T20131214


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dickbill
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: hokkaido53]
      #6252457 - 12/14/13 11:08 AM

Nasa proved that robots are far superior to humans, regarding scientific exploration, per kg of payload.
The mars rovers are superb, efficient and produce everyday their weight in scientific return. If you mention the cost now, the issue is settled.
Now what is true for the US must be true for the Chinese too. Conclusion : Science chooses robots.
To put man there, you have to use Zubrin's arguments, it's very different.


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groz
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: Joad]
      #6252508 - 12/14/13 11:46 AM

Quote:


If you haven't noticed, every time (yes, every time) discussion of human space exploration comes up in this forum, the discussion veers away from the pure science of the matter (years ago, Groz clearly explained that a manned mission to Mars is impossible using available technologies, but the discussion keeps coming up) to socio-political disagreements.




That's why I dont participate much here anymore. Reality is, most of the discussion here is socio-political, disguised as an attempt at science. Years ago, I did exactly what you said, showed in great detail why some of these missions are impossible using todays technology, with the math to prove the point. It's all about propulsion systems, and area which I have _just a tad bit_ more than average knowledge. Altho in dreamland theory, some of these things can be done, what the dreamers dont include in the equation, is cost. Lofting a manned mission to mars today, would cost more than not just the GDP of any single nation, it would cost more than the GDP of all nations combined. That's the detail that most dreamers want to try sweep under the rug.

Over the last 7 years or so I have participated on CN, I've seen a few well informed folks show up off and on, and they all seem to fade away, for the same reason. There are a few here that have staunch opinions based outside of reality, and they are well versed in the techniques of misguiding online forums. I read an article a few days ago at a consipiracist website, a complete step by step set of directions on how to manipulate online forums, in an attempt to sweep facts and rational arguements under the rug, and displace them with the conspiracy fiction as the 'real facts'. Turns out, there are a significant number of regular posters here, that have read similar instructions, and engage in that practise regularily.

It kind of reminds me of a time, quite a while back. I was sitting in a bar, doing drinks with a couple of employees of one of my clients. Subject of lunar missions came up, and somebody suggested china and / or india were headed in that direction. Immediate response was something to the effect of 'big deal, we did that 50 years ago, it's old hat, old news'. I pointed out a minor detail, which they found quite upsetting. No, you didn't do that. Your grandparents generation did that, in the age of slide rules and vaccuum tubes. They had guts, and determination, so they got the job done. You on the other hand, just sit back and watch the television, and today, cannot even loft a man to low orbit, instead choose to outsource that task.

I really lost interest in the 'space exploration' subject as it is portrayed here on CN a few years back. Myself and somebody else that obviously studied in the field back when I did, ended up in a conversation that included the math as to why it's impossible to do many of the missions folks go on about, using chemical rockets as the propulsion mechanism. To successfully complete those missions, requires a new propulsion system, which is an order of magnitude, or two, more mass efficient than a chemical rocket. Showing that, is simple newtonian physics, based on the F=ma equation, with the limitations of a fluid / gas flowing in a nozzle.

And the whole process is ongoing again here, couple of folks are hijacking threads, displacing facts with opinion and fiction, all dressed up to present as the 'real truth', with some rather slanderous insinuations along the way, all designed to hit a few hot buttons that will stir up more folks that have a mild underlying racist bent, and get them 'on side', whilst driving away those who have informed opinions based on 'been there, done that'. And guess what, it's working. I cant be bothered to get into that kind of a discussion, there is no point. Doesn't matter how many facts one injects into that type of a discussion, somebody will dispute them with fiction dressed up to be an 'alternate fact', and the conversation goes nowhere.

Its very similar to getting into a discussion of hard science at the sub-atomic level, then somebody jumps in and de-rails factual discussion with string theory type of arguements. Injecting total fiction with no basis in fact, does a fantastic job of degenerating a discussion into a yelling match, which ends up discrediting everybody, including those with hard factual knowledge. It's all about manipulating forums, to sway the opinion of those who dont have a factual / informed base of knowledge on which to base opinion.

And back to the subject line material, I fully expect over the next few years, there will be LOTS of bickering online between americans and others, regarding the chinese space program, lots of accusations, etc. Most of it will be designed to foster an opion of 'they just stole it from us anyways'. But, the hard facts of the matter are actually indisputable.

a) China has a manned space program today, USA does not.
b) China has the political will to direct funding toward a lunar expedition, USA does not.
c) China has the manufacturing infrastructure to build what is required, USA does not.

Paint it any way you want, you cannot overpaint those facts, but, I bet within 24 hours there will be plenty of posts here on this thread trying to do so, sweep facts under the rug, provide dis-information to make it look otherwise, etc.

And in the end, China will loft a mission to the moon, while americans sit back and watch on 72 inch 'made in china' television sets. Just remember, purchasing those television sets, finance the chinese trip to the moon. Thank You Walmart.

And with that off my chest, I'll fade away into the background again, start my clock, and wait to see how long it takes for old thread to get re-visited, to try push this one off the front page. I'm going to bet long odds, the 'intelligent design' old threads end up above this one in short order, it's part of the forum misdirection strategies.


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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: groz]
      #6252591 - 12/14/13 12:37 PM

That's the problem. Americans keep getting fatter, lazier, and dumber. The space race against the Soviets (and the main reason, if not the sole reason, we went to the moon was to beat the Soviets, let's be honest) brought a great deal of progress to American scientific and mathematical education. The main benefit for manned space flight is to inspire the public.

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seryddwr
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: seryddwr]
      #6252609 - 12/14/13 12:44 PM

BTW, I think China's government is doing this now in part to rub it in our faces. If we could convince the politicians of that, we might have a shot to increase NASA funding.

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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: ColoHank]
      #6252639 - 12/14/13 12:58 PM

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.




Dont have to list them all, just a few will do the trick.

Have you ever walked thru the grocery store, and see all the shelves full of disposable diapers, all based on a variant of the 'stay dry lining'? The first crude 'stay dry lining' was invented for the apollo astronauts, who would be trapped in suits for periods of many hours. That spun off into an industry, that over the years, has returned enough tax dollars to various taxation coffers to recover the ENTIRE original cost of the apollo program. Disposable diapers is an industry unto it's own today, which grew from seeds planted by the apollo research and development.

In the retail world, it's all about shelf space, and how much space gets allocated to various products. Shelf space is allocated based on how much margin is available in selling the product. There are many, many stores that dedicate an entire aisle to the disposable diaper, one of the direct spin-offs of the space program. That aisle dedicated to disposable diapers is not because they are being nice to young mom, it's because the economics justify allocating all that shelf space to disposable diapers.

There are many more examples, of technology developed specifically for that program, which are regular household items today, manufactured in mass quantity, that folks just take for granted, and spend lots of money on each and every day. Every one of those dollars spent, tallies into the current economy.

The voter problem you mention, that's a whole different beast. Trying to convince voters in a 'right now, instant gratification' type of consumer society that investments today, will pay off in spades for the next generation, that's pretty much an impossible sell. It's kind of hard to discuss long term investments with a demographic that has mortgaged the childrens future, for short term instant gratification stuff. They just dont 'get it'.

Edited by groz (12/14/13 01:00 PM)


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The Mighty Mo
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: groz]
      #6252657 - 12/14/13 01:10 PM

You certainly make some very good points. Unfortunately, I think much of exploration is socio-political, so we unfortunately often do have to get into the discussions of the "why" and "how". If it were strictly about science and learning, then unmanned missions can teach us far, far, more for much, much, less. And this, the unmanned (science) vs manned (exploration and beyond science) is itself a socio-political motivated argument.

In this case and the Chinese space program, you are absolutely right Groz. And the reason for your a, b, and c list of China's capability and our outsourcing to China, are the socio-political result of why we are behind and don't have any manned spaceflight capability. And as you say, funding and budget concerns play a HUGE part, so that adds in. Not to mention, as you say, a need for a different type of propulsion, and the socio-political arguments of how to get the "fuel" for those into orbit.

Basically, I'm afraid we'll always have to have these discussions every time threads about these missions come up. I fear it's unavoidable. I am curious though, can you post a link to the website you mention with those instructions? Or PM me if you don't feel comfortable posting them here. I'd like a good laugh for the day.


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ColoHank
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: groz]
      #6252705 - 12/14/13 01:42 PM

Quote:



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.




Dont have to list them all, just a few will do the trick.

Have you ever walked thru the grocery store, and see all the shelves full of disposable diapers, all based on a variant of the 'stay dry lining'?




Yes, I have. I've also seen a lot of used disposable diapers discarded in parking lots and, in one very windy and rather impoverished part of the country where I once lived, even piled up against fences. In places, they combined with Budweiser cans to form drifts. Thankfully, folks who are more thoughtful ensure that their used disposables eventually reach a landfill, but then that creates its own set of challenges for local governments. One diaper in a landfill isn't a big stressor; tens of millions of them are.

Now, I have to admit that I'm old enough to have kids who used disposables for their own kids and wouldn't have had it any other way. I suppose for them it was a convenience, and I'm fine with that. I'm also old enough to know what great rags our repurposed cloth diapers became after our little ones (all now in their forties) were potty trained. Of course, that was before cloth-diaper manufacturers began stitching extra padding and a shape into their products.

When I posed the original question, I guess I was seeking evidence of lasting benefits more noble (at least in my opinion) than disposable diapers.


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groz
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: The Mighty Mo]
      #6252780 - 12/14/13 02:25 PM

Quote:

I am curious though, can you post a link to the website you mention with those instructions?




I didnt make a bookmark when I followed a link to it, thought it would be easy to find back. I originally wanted to put it in the original post, but couldn't find it at the time.

I dug thru browser history now, and here it is.

http://endthelie.com/books-and-reading-material/the-gentlepersons-guide-to-fo...


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The Mighty Mo
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: groz]
      #6252793 - 12/14/13 02:32 PM

Thx, off to some entertaining afternoon reading. LOL.

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groz
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: ColoHank]
      #6252828 - 12/14/13 02:47 PM

Quote:


When I posed the original question, I guess I was seeking evidence of lasting benefits more noble (at least in my opinion) than disposable diapers.




No, actually you asked specifically for 'in terms of dollars', which implies 'in terms of economic benefits'. Wether you like the product or not, doesn't matter. It generates jobs in the manufacture, distribution, and sales of the product. All of those jobs translate into food on the table for somebody, along with various tax slices as the product winds thru the system. Tally up all of those tax slices from start to delivered product, over the 40 years those products have been on the shelf, and it's a LOT of money that has fed directly back onto the government coffers that originally financed the development, not to mention all the food on various tables over the years.

But that's the whole thing, when dealing with opinions, what is worthy in one persons opinion, is unworthy in anothers opinion. This discrepancy has LOTS of examples availabe. But, if you define 'worthy' as 'economic benefit', then it becomes much simpler to define. Gross sales is the economic benefit, and the margins generated by those gross sales, filter directly into other areas of the economy. That is measurable, whereas opinions are like ***holes, everybody has one.

But, it is actually fairly easy to quantify the question in this case. There seems to be a lot of opinion here on CN, that space exploration is worth doing. My experience in conversation with most folks, is they want to see it done, but, they dont want to pay for it, would rather that somebody else paid the bills. So, I'll ask the question, bluntly.

If it meant a 2% increase in your personal tax rate, and that money flowed directly to manned space exploration R&D, would you vote for, or against the increase?

I'm willing to bet, more than half the proponents of more expenditures in the space program, will quantify that as 'by re-directing funds from elsewhere', and come up with lots of arguements to justify why they support the program, but, wont support a tax increase to pay for it. And that translates directly to 'want it, but want somebody else to pay for it'.


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choran
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: groz]
      #6252888 - 12/14/13 03:29 PM

Good points, Groz. During the Kennedy presidency when we were going full bore, tax cuts resulted in increased revenues to the treasury. We had not yet devolved into the entitlement society we have become, with more and more of our revenues locked in to various programs, and with less of the pie remaining for discretionary spending. Sure I'd give 2% extra if I could be assured it would go toward space exploration. Would I bet two cents that it would? Nope. Without raising taxes, one might also ask if people would give up a portion of their government benefits, be it medicaid, medicare, or a host of others. Of course, the answer is most probably would not agree do so. Entitlements, once in place, are rarely if ever cut back or eliminated. "Ask not what your country can do for you…" sounds terribly naive in this day and age. I certainly miss that attitude.

Back in the 50s and 60s it was imperative, in my view, that we beat the Russians to the moon, for a number of reasons. The program was a huge success in every way I can think of, truly. We have now allowed ourselves to become a society that may never again lead in this area. That is tragic, in my view. I can only hope that the next generation does a lot better than we have done in the past 50 years in getting our financial house in order so that the space program might once again thrive. Given the difficulty of the federal government undertaking large projects, this will not happen in my remaining years, I'm sure. It would take a change in the present national character, a total commitment and national unification around the goal, and risk taking. It would probably require a relaxing of environmental laws, labor laws, federal hiring laws, union labor requirements on federal projects, etc. Much would be required other than a 2% tax increase earmarked for space.

Edited by choran (12/14/13 03:36 PM)


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The Mighty Mo
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: choran]
      #6252898 - 12/14/13 03:35 PM

Choran, without taking this too much further for fear of locking the thread, I'll also just say that I think a paradigm shift is about to take place in the industry, with the private sector taking over many of these functions, especially for NEO missions, which will result in a realignment of priorities and perhaps relaxation of funding for more advanced or longer range missions. I'm starting to think we (every spacefaring nation) are at the cusp of a drastic change, and the way things have been done the last 50 years is about to be turned on its head.

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choran
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: The Mighty Mo]
      #6252912 - 12/14/13 03:42 PM

Could be, Mo. I am nostalgic for the days when we were the undisputed pioneers in space travel. I'm just finishing up a good book called "Surrounded by Thunder", a very inspirational book about the early days of the space program starting with our efforts after the Russians put up sputnik. It centers on a guy named Darrell Loan, a rocket guy who was there for much of if. I tell you, we have lost so much of what we had. Let's hope things change.

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llanitedave
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: groz]
      #6252932 - 12/14/13 03:50 PM

Quote:


If it meant a 2% increase in your personal tax rate, and that money flowed directly to manned space exploration R&D, would you vote for, or against the increase?





That's the 64 billion dollar question, and worthy of a thread and poll of its own.

I'd pay it in a heartbeat.


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ColoHank
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: choran]
      #6252944 - 12/14/13 03:57 PM

Just because the manufacture and sale of something generates dollars doesn't make it beneficial. Cocaine sales generate income. Tobacco sales generate income. Prostitution generates income. Blood diamonds generate income. Auto theft generates income. The harvesting of "new" ivory generates income. All of those dollars are fungible, so they work their way through the economy just like dollars from every other source. But most folks would probably agree that the products and activities that generate them aren't beneficial.

Disposable diapers may be useful, and their sale may produce income that moves through the economy, but they also have negative effects on the environment which are costly not only in terms of dollars but in terms of adverse impacts to environment and public health and safety. In 2006, they accounted for 2.1% of all landfill deposits in the U.S., and their manufacture has been intensely damaging to some ecosystems. Tally up those costs, compare them with the so-called economic benefits, and get back to me.


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The Mighty Mo
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: llanitedave]
      #6252946 - 12/14/13 03:59 PM

I wouldn't Dave, for the very reason Groz proposes. Everytime something like this comes up, and we vote for this or that (whatever it is), very seldom does the money go where it's supposed to. And it often costs more than 2-3x what it should or was agreed to. And when the program is supposed to end, the tax is most often never canceled, just rediverted to another "need".

All this is why I'm looking forward to companies like SpaceX and others to take the lead.


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llanitedave
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: The Mighty Mo]
      #6253044 - 12/14/13 05:12 PM

Well, as long as we're talking hypotheticals, the hypothetical here is that we would know and be able to verify that the funds are actually going where they are intended.

I know how diversion works, I was a professional victim of it for many years.

As you can tell from the other thread, I'm a big fan of SpaceX and privatized space commerce myself. But they don't have the same mandate that NASA does, and they can't do the things that NASA is mandated to do. NASA, I think, will always have to take the lead.

The only reason SpaceX is doing what it's doing is because Elon Musk is a mad genius. Most private companies will not be willing to take that same level of risk. NASA, in my perfect fantasy world, should be the one taking the risks and breaking new ground. That's what can justify their higher costs.

And finally -- sorry, my bad -- this thread should be about China's space program, which is very impressive. I'll try to stick to that from here on out.


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choran
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: llanitedave]
      #6253079 - 12/14/13 05:41 PM

Dave, the thread is not only about China's program. Here is the Original Post:

"China is beefing up their manned space program, to include voyages to the moon and Mars.

Here are some details:
http://www.exploremars.org/msl-picture-of-the-day-t-14-days-eyes-on-mars-china

Questions for discussion:

Shouldn't the U.S. being doing likewise?
Why isn't the U.S. doing likewise?"

Edited by choran (12/14/13 05:43 PM)


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llanitedave
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: choran]
      #6253264 - 12/14/13 07:24 PM

Right-o!

I do think the US should be conducting an integrated manned + robotic program of systematic exploration. I also think we should do it in partnership with the EU, with Russia, India, South Korea, and Japan. (And at some point, China too).

As for politics, I think such partnerships themselves, and our contributions to them, should be matters of national pride. And to further the pipe dream, I think we should not only fund our own share adequately, but encourage those other partners to hold up their ends.

We aren't doing any of that, and about all I can hope for is that China's success may trigger some sort of national shame that we aren't.

For that reason, and simply because I want to see knowledge progress, I applaud China's efforts.


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hokkaido53
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: seryddwr]
      #6253646 - 12/14/13 11:48 PM

Quote:

BTW, I think China's government is doing this now in part to rub it in our faces. If we could convince the politicians of that, we might have a shot to increase NASA funding.



Also, the Chinese government remains essentially a dictatorship. If they decided the country should go to Mars, the citizenry would have no say in the matter: China would go to Mars.

- Roy


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alegator
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: hokkaido53]
      #6255660 - 12/16/13 04:10 AM

If the US has almost unlimited money to fund its military, why can't it divert a small percentage of it to the space program to lead again in manned space exploration? Wouldn't that be considered as strategic as having the strongest military in the world? If so, there wouldn't be a need to raise taxes, or am I missing something?

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dawziecat
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Re: China is seriously working on manned space voyages new [Re: alegator]
      #6255901 - 12/16/13 09:41 AM

Seems to me there is some incredibly short-sighted stuff being said here.

The fact is we simply don't know what, if any, benefits to humankind would eventually come to fruition should we further our space program.

I'm not even going to start in on a list of human endeavors, considered even folly at the time, that went on to have "value," monetary and otherwise.

We have no idea what the ultimate "destiny" of our species may be. We went from the Wright Brothers' almost laughable flying machine, through the Saturn V behemoth and the Space Shuttle in one human lifetime!

Who's to say what the future holds?


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