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Thread: RIP Neil Armstrong

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    Default RIP Neil Armstrong

    I'm sad to hear of the passing of Neil Armstrong. Neil was a true hero who put his life on the line to expand the horizons of the human race. Only 8 elderly men remain who are able to tell humanity what it is like to walk on another world (I was privileged myself to attend a talk by Apollo 12's Alan Bean a few years ago).

    In my opinion, it will be a tragedy if the remaining moonwalkers have to pass away before another human being walks on the Moon again.

    Come on America ... 40 years is too long.
    Last edited by Northumbrian; 08-26-2012 at 08:34 AM.

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    Super Moderator eatmywords's Avatar
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    All three of them were true heroes. Essentially going straight up in a missile is pretty brave, but to also then step into an environment they knew nothing about is just as brave. A very humble man too from what I've learned.

    I'm not sure about wasting any more time with the moon; that business about finding ice on the Moon has gone awfully quiet. I'd prefer them to invest time trying to investigate the inner structure of Mercury or Venus
    Faced with certain disaster, defiance is the only answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eatmywords View Post
    I'm not sure about wasting any more time with the moon; that business about finding ice on the Moon has gone awfully quiet. I'd prefer them to invest time trying to investigate the inner structure of Mercury or Venus
    I think the Moon is still a pretty useful intermediate step, perhaps followed by visits to near-Earth asteroids and the Lagrangian points. A trip to Mars will take around 2 years using current chemical rocket technology - a year flying there and back, and a year on the surface. A permanant lunar base would be incredibly useful experience in this endeavour. There is certainly plenty of water ice at the Moon's poles - this has been proven beyond all doubt now - and that ice can be used not only for drinking, but via electrolysis to produce oxygen and rocket fuel. Utilising natural resources to make rocket fuel is probably something the first astronauts on Mars will have to do as well.

    What is needed is serious budgets and serious deadlines. Moon by 2018, near-Earth asteroid by 2020, Mars by 2025 I would say. The Americans certainly have the technology and know-how to do it - in fact they could have done it decades ago. Before Apollo was cancelled in 1972, they were planning a manned fly-by of Venus using the Saturn V rocket and Apollo! Instead the last Saturn V's ended up rusting in museums. The problem is lack of political commitment on the part of the Americans. Can you imagine any American president making the sort of brave speech that JFK made in the early 60's? Certainly not the woefully weak Obama who abandoned the Constellation project.

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    Super Moderator eatmywords's Avatar
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    I think a joint moratorium on defence spending between the West and the East, and to agree about investment into a serious space-station or base, should be seriously considered. I think there is too much investment going into defence spending despite this downturn in the economy. I consider if Obama were to stand up like JFK and tell the American people of the intention to put a "society" on the moon by 2020 it would really pull the people behind a noble goal. JFK was a deeply unpopular figure to a lot of people, and there was no guarantee he would have been elected in the forthcoming election.

    We really can't examine space unless were are in space. Surely all these experiments the Challenger, et al, were doing should start to be used in a global capacity. I remember one billion dollar experiment was to grow mushrooms/fungus in space. Come on, did the US economy really suffer such a billion dollar hit just to satisfy someone's curiosity, or are we going to start implementing all this knowledge?
    Faced with certain disaster, defiance is the only answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eatmywords View Post
    I think a joint moratorium on defence spending between the West and the East, and to agree about investment into a serious space-station or base, should be seriously considered.
    I believe NASA's budget is about 1% of the US defence spending. We can't really talk in the UK as we spend precisely zero on human spaceflight, despite being the world's 5th biggest economy. To send humans to Mars would cost something like $50-$100 billion spent over about a decade. This sounds like a lot of money but it equates to about 3 US aircraft carriers, around 10% of the money spent by the UK in 2008 bailing out the banks, or about 6 month's worth of spending on the British NHS (spending that was tripled under Labour to no visible effect!).
    Last edited by Northumbrian; 08-27-2012 at 12:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northumbrian View Post
    Can you imagine any American president making the sort of brave speech that JFK made in the early 60's?
    I remember Bush making a speech about establishing a moon base, and going on to Mars by 2015 (IIRC?). But he was very sneaky about it (imho) as he gave NASA a meagre (relatively speaking) budget increase which only coninued up until 2008 - lumbering the next president with having to fund it.

    I love space, and would dearly love to see more men on the moon. But only from an emotive viewpoint. Scientifically, I'm not sure what a manned mission would get you that a robot couldn't. It's a barren rock with barely anything of consequence on it. Even the water that is there is not easily accessible, and I've heard it argued that it'd be cheaper (and easier) to import water from Earth than it would to develope the tech to squeeze moisture out of extremely parched rock - rock that is drier than anywhere on Earth, I think.

    I also don't really see the economic benefit of manned-space flight to governments (except in the Kensyian sense, I suppose). $50-100billion and what do you get in return?? Perhaps some cool new tech and . . . national prestige?

    I think it's the emotive and prestige factor that is going to get the US moving back into manned flights properly. The Chinese are making headway, and it'd be a 'brave' president who allows the Chinese to get to Mars first, or build a moon base . . . we need a new (warmer) 'Cold-War-Space-Race' between the Yanks and the Chinese

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