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dildenusa On April - 18 - 2010

In July of 1969 I was eighteen years old and a United States Air Force mechanic stationed at Luke Air Force Base outside Phoenix Arizona. I remember watching on a tiny television in blurry black and white, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon. It seems today as though Mr. Armstrong would like to become a permanent fixture on the Moon while Mr. Aldrin is ready to go exploring the solar system and beyond. The Obama administration has articulated its new NASA policy – http://www.nasa.gov/ – and the short sighted Mr. Armstrong has spoken out.


The editor of MSNBC Science has weighed in on the debate on his Cosmic-log page. http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2010/04/15/2271747.aspx

It’s obvious that Earth’s Moon holds some kind of nostalgic feelings for certain of the Apollo astronauts and the real estate developers in the Republican Party. I guess with the drop in housing prices during the recession they figured they would look for cheap real estate. And how much cheaper can you get than the Moon? No air, no electric, no phone, no roads, it’s a real estate developer’s dream come true. Also it’s fairly obvious now that the space shuttle was a bad idea. Back in 1975 it seemed like a good idea but when it became obvious that the cost of a reusable vehicle was way above the cost of one time use vehicles, the policy should have changed. So now with a permanent human presence in space at the International Space Station the republicans decided on a permanent Moon base. Why? Even with the discovery of subsurface water ice on the Moon, the cost of establishing a permanent Moon base and mining the subsurface water ice in a vacuum makes it a non-starter. One practical use for the Moon would be to position a space station at the Lagrange point between Earth and Moon

The development of new propulsion systems will make liquid hydrogen fueled rockets and using water to make liquid hydrogen for fuel, fine for Earth based heavy lift rockets.

One of the new uses of hydrogen for fuel is a Plasma drive engine. Also Ion Thruster engines are already coming on line. The new types of engines will likely be used once space craft are in deep space since they don’t have enough power to escape the Moon’s or Earth’s gravity. For that we will still need the large liquid fueled high powered rockets.

Categories: Astronomy, News & Politics

25 Responses so far.

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  1. Chernynkaya says:

    I look at it as a continuation of evolution for human beings-- from the water to the land, from the land to the stars. If we last that long.

    • SueInCa says:

      So you would rather see NASA continue to waste money? It sounds more like NASA trying to invent jobs for themselves. And Lockheed has always been involved in NASA projects. My cousin was on the team who worked on the shuttle projects back in the 80’s. Why do you think the government bailed out Lockheed in the 70″s?

      • KQ says:

        The whole Obama is privatizing NASA is a false argument most of NASA spends most of it’s money on contracts now private contracts now. The only difference is now a small portion of NASA’s budget will go to companies that can manage the projects from the beginning.

        My vision for NASA would be to join with the European Space Agency but of course right wingers and nationalists would call that socialism.

    • KQ says:

      You obviously don’t know the plan and don’t know what led to this change in mission. NASA instead of using shuttle based technology tried to literally reinvent the big booster rocket. It has already led to huge overruns and would cost billions more than building off of existing booster technology. Yes and most of the money would be contracted out to the Big Corporations you are complaining about.

      The mission now is based on building launch vehicles in space that can take us deeper into the solar system. You seem to think we have almost unlimited resources we had in the past but that’s simply not true like in the 60’s. The reason the Chinese and Indians have the money to build huge booster rockets is off their unfettered capitalist systems.

        • choicelady says:

          Hey BT -- we LOVE people from OK! KQ is our resident “in the know” science guy, so we do rely on him for details. He’s cleared up my misunderstandings more than once. We don’t always agree, but he’s not asserting things at you personally. Honest!

        • KQ says:

          Snark is the lowest form of humor.

          Other people are arguing this from Buzz Aldrin to Neil Armstrong. Mr. Aldrin said most people who don’t like this plan don’t understand it as well. The current Constellation program along saps billions from money that can be better spent.

            • KQ says:

              Nice diversion from the original argument. What companies do you think dominate the Constellation project?

          • Kalima says:

            Do we really need to destroy another planet K?

            • KQ says:

              Well you know China’s mentality better than anyone here and they have no problem pillaging anything they can get their hands on for sure.

              China has money to burn now. To think we can keep up with them in a space race would ruin us. Vision is governed by how much money you have and we are going broke.

            • Kalima says:

              I say fix our problems here on earth first. I have no other way to say it except to say [email protected]@k the billions for space if the money saved can prolong a life here. There, I said it.

    • choicelady says:

      Hi BT -- wow, I surely don’t see it that way. I am very uncomfortable at the idea of “colonizing” the moon, and his emphasis is on real science rather than applications that may have huge negative consequences. I don’t see his cooperation with those invested in application the issue but whether we should be doing that at ALL. I also don’t see the issue as competitive with other nations rather than calling on us to be very careful collectively about pillaging resources in space when we have no idea what the short or long-term consequences will be. One has only to visit the Owen’s Valley in CA to see what massive destruction was wrought with short-term vision, and I’d rather see us weigh in on the side of care vs. exploitation. With the moon controlling tides, it’s pretty clear we could in fact do damage. No one thought in the early 20thC you could destroy an entire region with water diversion, but we did it. We are not yet so well developed in terms of engineering that we can alter our own world without impact, so it’s pretty irresponsible to go haring off into outer space to start raping and pillaging the moon. We have lots left to learn first. I would like to see Obama convene an international panel to make coherent and wise decisions about all the technical applications before we move individually or collectively to do anything irreparable!

        • KQ says:

          You just don’t get it the Constellation program was just a boondoggle to fund the very special interests you are railing against. It’s a red herring to think the Chinese are going to “mine” the moon and defeat us somehow. Let them spend money on their space program. It’s simply nationalistic to not want other countries to focus on future missions that benefit mankind. The space race is over. We can’t afford it any more. I’m much more worried about the US being behind China in developing new energy technologies not mining the moon.

          You are arguing for Bush’s mission to the moon so I don’t know why you are slamming his mission. It’s also pretty shortsighted of you to bemoan Bush’s mission objectives as well because many of them make sense.

  2. Kalima says:

    I would have to side with Buzz Aldrin on this as I believe that to live in the past as some do, only hinders the future.

    Although fascinated by space travel, I believe that there is still so much left on Earth to conquer and find solutions for, call me old fashioned but how many people are still without clean and safe drinking water or how many die of starvation each day, we still have so much work to do here.

    Reviewing this comment I believe that it came from a place inundated with the volume of global suffering I see, I have nothing against exploration and space travel, I’m just a little exhausted by the news these days.

    • Mightywoof says:

      At the risk of a ‘me-too’ post, I feel exactly the same way Kalima! My only caveat is that sooner or later humankind will have to find a way to move beyond the stars given that in a few millenia (give or take a thousand or more) our sun will consume the earth -- our many-times-removed descendants will have to find a new home eventually!

      • dildenusa says:

        It’s a given that our Sun as it ages will heat up and eventually make the Earth uninhabitable and don’t forget that comets or asteroiods can buzz the Earth with very little warning even with our sophisticated observation technology. Also a supernova going off nearby within 10 light years will send enough radiation this way to sterilize our solar system.

        I think President Obama has the long term vision that our country needs. Instead of focusing on short term political gain he is focusing on the big picture.

      • Kalima says:

        “me too” all you want Mightywoof, maybe this explains my tears when ET lifted his finger and pointed to “home” or maybe I’m just a soppy old thing.


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