55 years of NASA


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Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : 55 years of NASA

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OzzFan
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Message 1396992 - Posted: 31 Jul 2013, 15:10:10 UTC

Another excellent write-up from ArsTechnica:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/07/gallery-55-images-for-nasas-55th-anniversary/.

"Lee Hutchinson@ArsTechnica.com" wrote:
The future for NASA is complex. I'm a fan of space—in case you haven't figured that out yet—but NASA is an agency undergoing a crisis of leadership. There is no clear mission for NASA's manned space flight directorate, and that lack of mission can be blamed squarely on the Congress and on NASA's administrators. There is no inspiring plan, no consistent messaging, no sensible goal, and, most damning, insufficient funding to accomplish any mission of significance (and a manned asteroid landing, the agency's current vaguely-stated goal, is not a mission of significance).

If this set of image galleries seems biased toward the glories of the past, there is reason: NASA is not now what it was. Decades of stagnation and bad leadership across multiple levels of management have cause the agency to take on the aspect of a nursing home-bound pensioner—once lively and spry and able to accomplish literally anything, and now plodding forward while spending an inordinate amount of time recalling past glories. My generation, raised in the 1980s and 90s, has had no moon shot—no triumph of science and imagination. Instead, we've been able to see mankind venture timidly back and forth into low earth orbit, never even leaving its own front yard. It is more than disappointing—it's dispiriting.

I expect more from an agency whose mission by its very nature is designed to generate awe. NASA is failing, and it deserves to be saved.

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Message 1397726 - Posted: 1 Aug 2013, 21:13:20 UTC

That quote sums up exactly what I thought.

1. The Shuttles should not have been scrapped before their time, in fact more should have been built. Why is the USA relying on Russia of all people to hitch a lift to the ISS?

2. It would make sense to build a moonbase to get experience of living on another world in space.

3. Visiting the asteroids???? what in gods name for????

4. It would make more sense to have a manned mission to Mars.

If Obama really wants to go down in history then he has a couple of very easy options.

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of constructing a base on the moon."

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the next decade is out, of landing a man on Mars and returning him safely to Earth."

The money is there, use it.


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Message 1397766 - Posted: 2 Aug 2013, 0:13:44 UTC - in response to Message 1397726.
Last modified: 2 Aug 2013, 0:14:19 UTC

That quote sums up exactly what I thought.

1. The Shuttles should not have been scrapped before their time, in fact more should have been built. Why is the USA relying on Russia of all people to hitch a lift to the ISS?

Overly expensive and complex for their mission. Also, another critical failure and disaster would be expected with high profile loss of life again.


2. It would make sense to build a moonbase to get experience of living on another world in space.

We already have that with the ISS.

A 'Moonbase' has the added cost of greater distance, another gravity well, and no protection from all forms of solar radiation and solar wind radiation. Hence likely scenario is to burrow under-regolith!

We could go to the moon again but I suspect we would gain a better return by going directly to Mars.


3. Visiting the asteroids???? what in gods name for????

Due to orbital mechanics, easier to do than the moon.

Also, scientifically 'more interesting'.


4. It would make more sense to have a manned mission to Mars.

Indeed so.

If Obama really wants to go down in history then he has a couple of very easy options.

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of constructing a base on the moon."

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the next decade is out, of landing a man on Mars and returning him safely to Earth."

The money is there, use it.

Really enough money for both?

Direct to Mars looks to be the better bet. At least there are better atmospherics!


Keep searchin',
Martin
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Message 1398649 - Posted: 4 Aug 2013, 15:31:08 UTC - in response to Message 1396992.
Last modified: 4 Aug 2013, 15:49:39 UTC

So far NASA had spent nearly US$200 billion on space shuttle programme.

Just wondering, isn't it more useful if the money is spend on new renewable energy research. Example more funding for ITER project? More funding means higher chance of success? And Shorter term to achieve the success?

The first duetrium-tritium reactor might be too expensive for producing electricity, but as more research is carry out, later improved design reactor might one day become economically viable for large scale electricity generation.

Just like the first computer was very expensive but as the technology improve, the cost of computers have decreased tremendously.

http://www.space.com/11358-nasa-space-shuttle-program-cost-30-years.html

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Message 1398702 - Posted: 4 Aug 2013, 17:39:58 UTC - in response to Message 1398649.

ITER shall not produce any electricity, only 14 MeV neutrons, which can destroy any material, and must be used to heat water in a vessel, whose first wall is subject to swelling,m as it is well known in fission reactor and must be substituted in a short time, after becoming radioactive. Si ITER is not a reactor useful for producing electricity.This is left to a demonstration reactor, which has not yet been designed and perhaps never will be.
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Message 1398758 - Posted: 4 Aug 2013, 23:14:52 UTC - in response to Message 1398702.

ITER shall not produce any electricity, only 14 MeV neutrons, which can destroy any material, and must be used to heat water in a vessel, whose first wall is subject to swelling,m as it is well known in fission reactor and must be substituted in a short time, after becoming radioactive. Si ITER is not a reactor useful for producing electricity.

Indeed so. Note however that it is not intended for on-grid power generation.

We already have seconds long sustained magnetically confined fusion at JET in the UK. The continuous fusion has been pretty much taken as far as is possible with the equipment installed there. The necessary physics is nicely advanced.

ITER is the next step to prove/demonstrate the engineering for much longer durations and higher power. A lot of that includes practical research for how to build it.

Hopefully, the Japanese materials research can overcome the problem of materials suffering the neutron bombardment.


This is left to a demonstration reactor, which has not yet been designed and perhaps never will be.

Who knows?

The physics is mostly done and good. The engineering looks good. The biggest problem is politics.

Is there also possible adverse lobbying from the fossil fuels industry...?



Meanwhile, more on-topic: NASA makes use still of various thermonuclear generators for their spacecraft.

Unfortunately, some spacecraft got cancelled and funding cut due to the politics behind not wishing to see too much of Earth that might be embarrassing about Global Warming!


Keep searchin',
Martin

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Message 1398767 - Posted: 5 Aug 2013, 0:19:37 UTC
Last modified: 5 Aug 2013, 0:20:01 UTC

Forget fusion in your life time// Plutonium breeder reactors make a lot more sense and should yield to today's technology and engineering.

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Message 1398819 - Posted: 5 Aug 2013, 4:54:15 UTC

I have followed the ALCATOR experiment at MIT since I met Bruno Coppi at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste in 1969. I have read that it is in danger since the US Gov is concentrating its fusion effort in ITER. I think this is a bad idea, since ALCATOR costs much less than ITER.
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Message 1403038 - Posted: 14 Aug 2013, 11:17:31 UTC - in response to Message 1398819.
Last modified: 14 Aug 2013, 11:17:49 UTC

I have followed the ALCATOR experiment at MIT since ... 1969. I have read that it is in danger since the US Gov is concentrating its fusion effort in ITER. I think this is a bad idea, since ALCATOR costs much less than ITER.

The USA de-funding of ALL science is a bad idea... All a conspiracy to not risk looking at global warming?... Trust in God instead??

Aside: Has not ALCATOR been somewhat left behind by JET? That has x8.5 the plasma heating capacity and is now being used as a test-bed for ITER...


What the USA does have uniquely is the "laser ignition" facility: National Ignition Facility

Quite a long shot but almost plausible!


Keep searchin',
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Message 1403054 - Posted: 14 Aug 2013, 11:56:34 UTC

I know Coppi was trying to follow ALCATOR by an IGNITOR, which was to be a joint Italian-Russian venture to be built at the Kurcatov Institute in Moscow. But I think it fell under a "spending review" by the Italian Gov. JET is a joint European effort.I've read that the laser ignition facility is encountering problems.
Tullio
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Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : 55 years of NASA

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