Spaaaaace!

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Spaaaaace!

Postby fantasia_kitty » Aug 15, 2013 1:49 pm

We have an Astronomy topic, but no Space Exploration topic. I suspect the reason is because space discussion often ties into political news, like when the government shut down the shuttle program at NASA, but I think the forum is slow enough now that space news and other related topics can be discussed without delving into political debate, so here goes.... ;)

Has anyone else besides me been following the news on Space X's Grasshopper? :D If you haven't, it's a rocket that can blast off, hover, and then land again in the same spot. If and when this rocket is fully and successfully designed, it means that we can take off, land somewhere, take off again, rinse and repeat, without having a rocket that breaks apart throughout its flight. :D Cool! Here's a video from Space X from about 3 months ago. (Sorry about the Johnny Cash)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoxiK7K28PU

And then of course the big news is that yesterday they went up, went sideways, hovered, went down and sideways, and landed at the same spot again.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2t15vP1PyoA

:D I think it's pretty cool anyways.... ;))

And then of course there's NASA's project, destination Mars. Someone is gonna have to fill me in on that one cause I don't know much about it. People are supposed to go there right?

And last but not least, Virgin Galactic, for a mere $250,000.00 USD will book a flight for you into space. ;))

Anyone else besides me excited about the direction space flight and exploration is headed? :)
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby starkat » Aug 15, 2013 1:58 pm

With the recent Space.com article on the impending death of the International Space Station and the potential unraveling of the consortium behind it, I'm hoping that the commercial space ventures can kick it in to high gear over the next ten years.

In regards to NASA getting back off the ground, I honestly don't think they really will. That portion of my train of thought is entirely too political. ;)) I hope they do since they are guardians of a rich space history.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 15, 2013 2:03 pm

People can have their space fancies. . . But regardless of whether or not they get the cost down to 10 bucks a person, my feet will be staying firmly entrenched on the soil of this planet, thank you very much ;)).

Space history is something that has never really fascinated me. . .

The only explorations in which I'd be interested would be to Enceladus, Callisto or Titan (and only two of those have potential for any earth-based life forms)
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby fantasia_kitty » Aug 15, 2013 2:30 pm

starkat wrote:With the recent Space.com article on the impending death of the International Space Station
:-o Missed that bit of news. Do you have a link?

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:People can have their space fancies. . . But regardless of whether or not they get the cost down to 10 bucks a person, my feet will be staying firmly entrenched on the soil of this planet, thank you very much ;)).

Space history is something that has never really fascinated me. . .

The only explorations in which I'd be interested would be to Enceladus, Callisto or Titan (and only two of those have potential for any earth-based life forms)


;)) I like space news but I don't have much interest in going into space myself. But I'd do it for $10.

Why those three moons DiGs?
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby Aslanisthebest » Aug 15, 2013 2:36 pm

I have a huge fascination with space. If they made that commercial space exploration cheap... man, I'd definitely do it. To see stars and galaxies for myself. This is why I refuse to get surgery for my glasses - I guess you can't go to space if you get it, and I don't want to leave that option off. :P

I'm not sure how I feel about space exploration to live outside earth... as that could go into politics, I guess. I think I'm more inclined to exploring it to get a closer look. :)
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby starkat » Aug 15, 2013 3:11 pm

This is pretty obviously a speculation piece, but these kinds of rumors tend to be around awhile. http://news.yahoo.com/international-space-station-really-last-beyond-2020-222429165.html;_ylt=AwrNUbDFUQ1SUyQANq_QtDMD
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 15, 2013 4:32 pm

FK wrote:Why those three moons DiGs?


Titan: Titan is one of the moons of Saturn, and I'm pretty sure it's the only moon to which we've sent some kind of craft capable of taking surface pictures.

Here is a picture of the surface of Titan:

Image

The reason I've always been interested in Titan is that it is the only other place in this solar system confirmed to have a liquid on its surface. The problem? The liquid isn't water, it's methane. But still, lakes, rivers and possible seas of methane and methane rain. . . . It's just a very interesting idea. Here's an artists conception that is just stunning.

Image

Enceladus

Enceladus is another of Saturn's moons. Here is a picture of Enceladus:

Image

Notice how smooth the surface is? Considering other moons (even our own) it's incredibly smooth. It's surface is covered with water ice, and the fact that whatever craters exist are not visible suggests that there is some sort of resurfacing.

Image

These plumes have been shooting out of Enceladus as long as we've been observing it. One of our spacecraft (Casini I think) flew through one of these, and was able to do enough analysis to show that it was mostly water.

So what happens? A lot of people think that just beneath the frozen surface of Enceladus lies a moon-wide liquid ocean of liquid water. Beneath the crust of the moon (aka the ocean floor) would be a molten core similar to ours, the circulation of which causes the oceans to move, giving the surface a geyser effect. Any craters get filled in with falling snow/water, thus allowing the planet to remain smooth.

Image

Nobody knows what this ocean might look like. . . . . but might something like this be right underneath the frozen surface?

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Artists conception:

Image

Callisto Oops. . . I misspoke. Right planet, wrong moon. I meant Europa!

The reasons I would greatly enjoy a journey to Europa would be the same as I would enjoy a visit to Enceladus. This planet too is very smooth, shoots plumes into the air, and therefore is also likely ice covered.

Image

The lines across the moon are vast chasms, likely miles deep. Miles of ice. . . what a gorgeous sight. . . It would likely look a good deal like Enceladus, but here is another interpretation:

Image

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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby Shadowlander » Aug 16, 2013 6:42 pm

I tend to get irritated at the politics behind the issue (or non-issue at this point) of space exploration. I'm a huge proponent of exploring and settling this great big universe of ours, and the sooner the better I say! That said, the cancelled moon missions make me X( . We should have been there years ago, and we should have landed folks on Mars by now too. Of course there's health risks from colonizing them full time for the time being, especially the moon because it has no atmosphere and can get really fried by solar flares and radiation. And if you spend too long there your bone density drops and you'd have a hard time coming back to Earth because the gravity would be just too much (they found this out during long-term trips to Mir years back).

We need the right kind of leaders to bring space exploration to its rightful place, but it may be some time before we do. I wish we'd get on with it already though, I feel the ache in my bones to make a special trip to the lunar surface, just to say I've been there. ;))
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby Puddleglum » Aug 16, 2013 10:41 pm

I must admit that as a youth I was fascinated with the possibility of life from other worlds, and had I though it would fit I might have picked a more Vulcan name for my avatar. But alas, I have too great a respect for fact, rather than wishful thinking, thanks in part to a pointy eared science officer.
Not that puts a damper on my desire for space exploration. I just have come to believe that the motivation needs to be a bit different. As has been noted, politics has played too great a role, as has many a scientist desire to safeguard there funds. (Think "Mars" meteor that supposedly had fossil microbes).
While I am a bit leery of the money making ventures, I can also look at the past, How many an explorer was financially backed by people who were simply in it for the potential monetary return. A space station built as a resort for the super rich. Or a long term cruse to Mars on a space liner. In order for these things to occur the knowledge, and expertise must be funded. In the process I would hope that other disciplines will also grow, zero gravity metallurgy, horticulture, etc.
true these advances will at first be too expensive for the average person, but how long was it before computers were no longer just for the rich?
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 17, 2013 6:42 am

Luxury cruises to Mars? I don't think that'll be happening anytime soon. One of the big problems with traveling to Mars right now is the sheer distance. Mars is appropriately 137 million miles away, whereas the moon is only about 250,000 miles away. It took four days for Apollo 11 to reach the moon's surface. Assuming that it speed would remain similar to what it was back in Apollo 11, that would mean that it would take 6 years for a module to reach the Martian surface (and therefore 6 years to get back). 12 years of supplies would take up a TON of room. . . . not to mention the time commitment away from family, friends, and what 12 years in zero gravity would do to a human body.

Luxury cruises to the moon might be doable. . . but I think Mars is out of the picture until we can get rockets that can travel a heck of a lot faster. . . For example, to reach the martian surface in one year would require sustained speeds of almost 16,000 miles per hour. . . That would be about Mach 25. So yeah. . . . . not gonna happen anytime soon.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby fantasia_kitty » Aug 17, 2013 7:15 am

Oh, heh heh, those speeds have already been far surpassed. 16,000 mph is no problem at all. The problem with accelerating to faster speeds on the way to the moon is that you have to burn more fuel to slow down again.

Mission trip times for manned trips to and from Mars are set at 400-450 days. Fast-tracking based on planetary alignment and on-orbit staging, you could cut that time to 245 days (I don't know what on-orbit staging is, so here's the Source).

The current MRO that's hanging out there now made it to Mars in just under 7 months and that was back in 2005-2006. :)
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby stargazer » Aug 17, 2013 12:21 pm

Ah, space exploration! The topic brings back childhood memories of crowding around the radio or old TV sets for glimpses of Gemini and Apollo missions. (One of my earliest memories is the "Godspeed John Glenn" callout on his Mercury Friendship 7 launch in 1962).

My interest in astronomy and space exploration is intertwined, and I couldn't tell you which came first. I remember going out to look at the moon after Apollo 11's 1969 landing, and watching newspapers for predictions of when to see Skylab pass overhead (no internet in those days!).

And now, we have the Curiosity rover on Mars watching one of its moons pass in front of the other. Fun stuff!
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 19, 2013 8:23 am

FK wrote:Oh, heh heh, those speeds have already been far surpassed. 16,000 mph is no problem at all.


Shows how much this life sciences person knows ;)).

Gazer wrote:And now, we have the Curiosity rover on Mars watching one of its moons pass in front of the other. Fun stuff!


Loved that link, Dale! I've always loved the idea of having more than one moon. Pity our planet only has 1 in my opinion (although two moons might royally mess up our tidal systems).

I've always loved the names of Mars' moons. Phobos and Deimos translates to "Fear" and "Dread." ;))
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby Shadowlander » Aug 19, 2013 4:15 pm

I would urge each of you to watch this NatGeo episode entitled "Living on the Moon". It was made early last year and I caught part of it on TV and was absolutely enthralled. If you believe in space exploration and colonization as fervently as I do this will all but double your desire to visit our moon!

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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby fantasia_kitty » Aug 25, 2013 7:23 am

I'll definitely have to take the time to watch that SL. :) It's hard to fit in 45min of time these days. ;))

Well, I had quite the experience yesterday. Buzz Aldrin was at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center signing his new book Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration. We couldn't pass up the opportunity so we stood in line for a couple hours and snagged a signed copy. :D We also saw shuttle astronauts Jeff Ashby and Steve Hawley in passing, but didn't buy the pictures to get their autographs.

There was also a big fundraising dinner last night that was attended by Buzz Aldrin, Walt Cunningham, Joe Engle, Richard Gordon, Fred Haise, Jeff Ashby, Steve Hawley, and Bruce McCandless II. I would have loved to be able to go but we just found out about it too late. I guess the Cosmosphere did this event last year as well (but not quite the big names as this year) so we'll have to watch for it next year too. :)
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby stargazer » Aug 28, 2013 11:18 am

Meeting Aldrin is pretty exciting, fantasia. Great picture too.

I quite enjoyed our visit to the Cosmosphere during our trip there a couple of years ago. If the Cosmosphere was around here I'd probably spend entirely too much time there. ;))
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