Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by AV8R, Dec 31, 2010.
Can't wait til this comes out in (less expensive) paperback.
It's a long trip to Mars, but it's still only a couple of years, right?
The really interesting dilemma will come up when we have the capability to send a spaceship to places that are so far away it takes an entire lifetime to get there. For the astronauts that take the job, it will be the last job they'll ever have and when they blast off they'll be on that mission for the rest of their lives. Then their children and grandchildren will have to take their places (like it or not -- little Billy is GOING to be an astronaut when he grows up, even if he'd rather be a musician!). Talk about motivation to "teach your children well."
Space exploration is the noblest effort humanity can make. I think it is sad that we will soon have no vehicle to send astronauts into space. Imagine if no one had ever dared to cross the Atlantic. I guess the American Indians would be happy.
That scenario isn't going to happen. The physics doesn't work out. If we have the propulsion technology to move the VAST amount of material required for a generational ship, we might as well use a much smaller ship and push it to near lightspeed, resulting in a subjectively small mission time for the astronauts. The advent of working cryonics would similarly negate the necessity of a generational ship.
Unless we can figure out a way to defy physics and travel faster than the speed of light (not very likely), we will be restricted to visiting only a few places within our own solar system; Mars and perhaps a couple of the moons of Jupiter. For places outside our solar system, the distances are just too great (many light years away).
Hopefully, the future missions will be internationally funded (and staffed) so that the massive costs can be shared among the participating countries. I was around for the moon-landing, but doubt I'll see the Mars-landing. There was a lot of speculation recently about a "one-way" trip to Mars, the advocates stating that many have volunteered to make the trip, and that it would be less expensive and could occur much sooner than a round-trip. I had assumed that both men and women would make the trip; hadn't thought about the possibility of the birth of the first Martian. If it's a one-way trip, I suppose there are ethical issues involved concerning the birth of Native Martian Americans (or whatever nationality is involved).
I'm glad I don't have to make the decisions. I'm having enough problems deciding whether to buy a new Glock 22 or stick with the ol' 17, and whether to buy a green or red dot laser sight for my Mini 14.
Wish they'd release it on Kindle
We're still messing around in row boats and looking at the island just over the horizon. We have quite a ways to go before we put Columbus out there just because we can. It will also be a while before economic pressures get us building a Mayflower -- quite possibly a good deal of time after we get decent at orbital agriculture.
If we're going to go for science, then it will be a grand experiment as soon as somebody finds a queen Isabella type to fund it. We're not going for economic reasons anytime soon.
Just like Columbus it's not going to be the discovery aspect that is the catalyst, it's going to be the promise of wealth. That's why I'm quite sure most of the more innovative future missions will be privately funded. Right now the most likely candidates are mining companies who see asteroids and other planets as mineral rich dollar signs.
Theoretically, we can reach pretty fast speeds now with the ion drive. The problem is two folds:
1 - Fuel (and this is now almost a non issue - still theoretically)
2 - High velocities impacts.
And the second one is the problem right now. At 62,000 KM/hour (The fastest speed one of our craft reached - Voyager), and it is way slower of what an ion drive can do now, an impact with a small rock would be catastrophic. I remember my physics/material resistance teacher gave us a challenge and made us calculate the impact of a 100 grams rock with steels plates at very high speed. If I remember correctly, during the discussion, it has been said that rock with an impact at the speed of 150,000 KM/hour would have destroyed the space shuttle in very tiny particles.
BTW, the space shuttle speed is about 28,000 KM/hour when it is in orbit if I remember correctly.
Another fun fact. A bullet that goes 3 000 foot/second goes to 3,291 KM/hour. It has been written a few hits from a machine gun on the space shuttle in space would be enough to destroy it. Is it true? I dunno....
P.S.: I think I got my numbers right. I got all of them by memory. If I made a mistake, please someone correct.
We are not going out of our Solar System anytime soon. At the speed of light it would take nearly four and a half years to reach the nearest star.
If we don't get our act together soon, we won't get back to the moon before everybody who has walked there is dead.
Thing is, outside of earth orbit, space is almost asymptotically close to being empty
From the point of view of the star, yes. If, however, the ship was traveling at 99% lightspeed, the trip would take a little under seven months for the astronauts.