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Is Nasa's entire space program a disaster?
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JazzLover
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Is Nasa's entire space program a disaster?      Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:27 pm Reply with quote

A shuttle that can't fly reliably and can't return to its home base unless everything's perfect and its main mission is to fly to a space station with no useful pupose.

Sounds pretty much like the typical government project doesn't it?
 
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CrazyAboutTV
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      Tue Aug 30, 2005 11:11 am Reply with quote

Well, there's no doubt that the manned portion of the program has its problems. Nothing against the astronauts. They are generally dedicated individuals who can't help what NASA's overall policies are. They just do the job given them and they do it well.

Even NASA can't be given all the blame. Congress has consistently refused to give NASA the funds they need to accomplish the tasks that they would like to do. The space shuttle is a perfect example. The design was changed (for the worse) many times due to funding cuts.

And NASA has done a really amazing job with their unmanned programs (robotic missions on Mars and missions to explore the planets, comets, etc.) with extremely limited funds.

It's sad, but the recent problems with the shuttle's dependability did cause me to remember more pleasant thoughts from the 1960s!

There was a comedian named Bill Dana who appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show (and others) during NASAs early years when they were having many (unmanned) vehicles blowing up. They were just starting to put men into the spacecraft and Dana created a character called Jose Jimenez for his comedy act. It was so popular that Bill got his own television show (The Bill Dana Show).

Jose was a reluctant astronaut who was not too keen about riding in those first dangerous manned missions! Here's just a bit of his routine with Ed Sullivan:

Ed: Is that a crash helmet?
Jose: Oh, I hope not!

Ed: What's the first thing you're going to do when you reach orbit?
Jose: I'm going to cry a lot!

Ed: Did NASA give you something to break your fall?
Jose: Yes ... the state of Nevada.

Jose: The most important thing in rocket travel is the blast-off. I always take a blast before I take off! Otherwise, I wouldn't go near that thing!

It was pretty funny stuff back then considering that no one had died during a flight at that time.
 
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MainMan
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      Mon Sep 12, 2005 7:49 am Reply with quote

I saw that guy doing his act while channel surfing one night. I can't remember for sure, but it may have been on the Ed Sullivan Show which is still shown (I think) occasionally on public television. It was really funny!

What was really disappointing to me was that, at one time, there were plans to put men on Mars in the 1980s. When the public lost interest in the moon landings (and the U.S. race against the Soviets was won), the space program was cut big time (including the manned mission to Mars being totally scrubbed).

I was a teen in 1989 but now it's doubtful as to whether or not a manned Mars landing will happen in my lifetime! The politicians and space enthusiasts often say it will happen within 10 or 15 years but that's VERY unlikely. The moon landings were an amazing feat but Mars is geometrically more complicated.

Estimates are that a manned Mars mission could cost $1 trillion and such extimates are almost always 5 to 15 times too low. Can such an expenditure be justified?

I think we need a much faster method of propulsion before we attempt a manned Mars mission. That would reduce the cost dramatically and reduce the danger to the astronauts by several levels of magnitutde too.
 
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CrazyAboutTV
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      Mon Sep 12, 2005 6:11 pm Reply with quote

You're right about a manned mission to Mars being geometrically more difficult than the moon landings. The trips to the moon took only a few days each way and, therefore, only a small amount of food and breathable air needed to be taken along. Also, the chance of deadly levels of exposure to cosmic rays was easy to deal with in so short a period of time. In a case like the Apollo 13 accident, they could just forget the landing and return in a hurry.

With a Mars mission, all of those things become much more problematic. Plans up to today for a mission anywhere in the near future call for trips of 9 months to get there, 9 months or more on Mars (you have to wait for Earth to go around the Sun far enough to "catch back up" with Mars before the crew can leave to return to Earth. No emergency returns are possible) and then, 9 months or so to get back.

In other words, somewhere between 2 and 3 years to make the round trip!

The consumables (food and air) necessary for such a long flight would weigh tons and every pound of those necessities requires several more pounds of fuel.

Could we build a spacecraft the size of a small asteroid that's big enough to make the trip? Possibly. Are there other possible answers to those problems like growing things to eat during the trip? Yes, but those technologies haven't worked in enclosed areas here on Earth very well. If the plants die of disease or something, so do the astronauts. Could we protect the crew from solar radiation? Yes, but there's more weight ... more fuel ... bigger spacecraft ... etc.

It will happen in this century, but it's likely that it will be somewhere around the middle of this century. That's my guess anyway.
 
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freespirit
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      Mon Oct 10, 2005 5:06 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
a manned mission to Mars


What about a "womaned" mission to Mars!!!!!
 
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kcsummer1one
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Space Program      Tue Oct 11, 2005 4:12 pm Reply with quote

We shouldn't be wasting money or fuel (seeing's as how its in short supply anyway). Guess money is in short supply too. Our government needs to learn how to do a REAL budget and tighten their belt. What ever happened to government of the people....for the people?
 
BeachBoy
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      Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:25 am Reply with quote

It's never been a government of the people ... we just choose from a few candidates that a very small, select group of politically powerfull people give us to choose from.

Then, those candidates that get "elected" make all of the decisions ... often based upon what those powerfull people who made them candidates want done.
 
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JazzLover
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      Sat Jul 07, 2007 1:02 pm Reply with quote

Yeah! We need to change the system so that NO candidate can accept any money from anyone. Have debates where the broadcast networks donate time for the debates (as they already do now). Give any candidate that can get a million signatures (or whatever number) a certain amount of money from the Treasury to pay for campaign travel expenses, etc, but NO TV ads!

Political TV ads are almost all garbage. They say something nice about the candidate or something bad about the candidate's opponent. Now EVERYONE has nice and bad things that can be said about them but it doesn't give you a complete picture of what type of elected official they will make so they're pretty much useless.

As long as Congressional, Presidential, and other candidates are forced to raise huge sums of money to win office, we will continue to get a lot of lousy politicians.
 
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Nebka
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      Wed May 28, 2008 12:03 am Reply with quote

It is the Humans Race destiny to go to the stars.

I am old enough to remember some of the Apollo missions and Skylab and the other missions and i thought how much i wanted to be up there doing that.

Yes there has been set backs Apollo 1 fire the two shuttles that have been lost and the losses the Russian program has had.

This all will be overcome and we will go to the stars
 
misterg
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nasa still rocks      Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:27 am Reply with quote

i don't think that nasa's entire space program is a disaster. the manned space program is mostly because it's ridiculously expensive when compared to the benefits we are getting from it. the fact is that most of what man can do in near earth orbit has already been mostly fully explored. another fact is that our current level of technology makes it ridiculously expensive to send men any farther than the moon and even that is outrageously costly.

but nasa also does a terrific job with the much cheaper and much more scientifically beneficial unmanned space program. we now know a tremendous amount about our entire solar system and others in our galaxy. we know how the universe began. more than 400 planets have been discovered circling other stars. water ice has been found on the moon, mars, and several of the gas giant planet's moons. one of jupiter's moons may have a liquid water ocean under its icy surface that could contain life!

as to the manned space program, we should concentrate on developing new propulsion systems to get astronauts to the moon and other planets faster and cheaper. three years is way too long and unsafe for astronauts to travel to mars and back! and that is ignoring the bankruptcy of our nation that would be necessary to do the mission.

trying to send astronauts to mars in the near future would be like asking the wright brothers to fly passengers from north carolina to europe with their first airplane.

when it comes to manned travel through space, we are still little babies taking our very first steps. getting to mars is like running the boston marathon 100 times non stop.

so fantasize all you want about how men will land on mars in a decade or two. it's just simply not gonna happen that fast! fifty years from now would be an optimistic guess. a century is almost a certainty, but not guaranteed even then. any world economic crisis or discovering some danger to the astronauts that we aren't currently aware of could push the date far into the future.

My guess is 2065.
 
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Becky
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No Manned Moon Missions Right Now!      Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:58 am Reply with quote

I agree completely that it's time for the government to switch from driving the manned space program to assisting businesses in developing ways that make sense for humans to visit, live, and work in space.

People always talk about how many things have been invented due to the space program but most of those discoveries were made by the contractors, not by government employees. All the more reason to have them decide what direction the manned space activities should take.

I also agree that NASA has done well with their "cheaper, smaller, better" program in basic science and robotic space missions. They should keep on doing those things and assist businesses in the projects they decide are most important from a return on investment approach.
 
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JazzLover
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      Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:24 pm Reply with quote

Becky's got it right! By turning over parts of the space program that can produce a profit for companies to the private sector, there will be new innovations and competition and lower cost benefits that a government agency will never achieve.

 
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AidansMom
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      Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:15 pm Reply with quote

It's a shame we're not going back to the Moon or sending astronauts to Mars though. Wouldn't that be exciting?
 
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johnmason
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      Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:36 am Reply with quote

Yeah Exclamation

My dad has told me many times how he sat glued to the tv while Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon Exclamation

I'm a little bit annoyed that I haven't had anything in my lifetime to equal that experience Evil or Very Mad
 
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Alyssa
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      Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:50 am Reply with quote

With all of the people who are unemployed and living on the streets, I don't see how we can justify spending one single tax dollar on space. People matter more than that.
 
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