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Ares V Rocket Bigger and Stronger For Moon Mission

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the ask-your-doctor-if-ares-v-is-right-for-you dept.

Moon 295

wooferhound writes "In a move to make the heavy-lift vehicle more robust (predicting an increased launch thrust requirement) to send four astronauts, a lunar lander plus supplies, NASA has announced the Ares V rocket will be beefed up to cater for our future needs to get man back to the Moon. This huge vehicle is now designed to carry payloads of over 156,600 lb (71,000 kg), some 15,600 lb (or 10%) more than the original concept. Ares V was originally designed to be approximately the same length as the original Saturn V lunar rocket (361 feet or 110 metres long), but to accommodate an extra booster engine and extra payload volume, Ares V will be 381 feet (116 metres) long. This upgrade will be capable of sending far more instrumentation into space, an extra 15,600 lb (7,000 kg, or the equivalent mass of a male African elephant)."

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Thank god. (5, Funny)

sleeping123 (1109587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988099)

Elephants have been rather underrepresented in space recently.

Re:Thank god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988141)

A male African elephant? How much is that in football fields?

Re:Thank god. (3, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988229)

I'm more interested in the airspeed velocity of the Ares V rocket, as measured in swallows (continental origin subject to your locale).

Re:Thank god. (3, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988363)

The more important question is: How much is that in libraries of congress?

Re:Thank god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988387)

But how many Rhode Islands does the Ares V rocket measure?

Re:Thank god. (5, Funny)

32771 (906153) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988149)

Then again, in space no one can hear you trumpet.

Re:Thank god. (5, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988167)

Elephants have been rather underrepresented in space recently.

I hope you are right. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Thank god. (1)

LeninZhiv (464864) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988583)

Wow, nice reference!

Re:Thank god. (5, Funny)

joetheappleguy (865543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988303)

Little known fact, but the mass of a male African elephant is a common unit of measure used at NASA and other space agencies.

for smaller masses the female Albanian shrew is the preferred unit.

Re:Thank god. (5, Funny)

rswail (410017) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988383)

Is that a metric elephant or imperial?

Re:Thank god. (1)

TRAyres (1294206) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988411)

I, for one, welcome the male African elephant to our system of force-measure.

May it stay long, and prosper, right next to teaching intelligent design in public schools.

I mean, without such advanced measures, how did the world ever see us as scientific before? end:sarcasm

Re:Thank god. (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988461)

Elephants have been rather underrepresented in space recently.

Well the mass of male Americans has increased somewhat since the last moon mission. Perhaps that has something to do with it.

Re:Thank god. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988517)

Yeah, but knowing this administration, that capacity's only good for sending up white elephants. [wikipedia.org]

Wrong mass... Re:Thank god. (3, Informative)

geomobile (1312099) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988529)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_elephant [wikipedia.org]

From wikipedia: Males stand 3.64 meters (12 feet) tall at the shoulder and weigh 5455 kg (12,000 lbs), while females stand 3 meters (10 feet) and weigh 3636 kg to 4545 kg (8,000 to 11,000 lbs).

Article should read: 7,000 kg, or roughly equivalent mass of two female african elephants.

Re:Thank god. (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988657)

Elephants have been rather underrepresented in space recently.

Except for structural purposes [artswom.co.uk] .

Bigger and stronger? (1)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988105)

Bah. If it had been a gas-core nuclear rocket, we could put bases on the moon in a single shot.

I would have said Orion, but there's even less chance of getting that to the moon, even if you could get rid of the outer space WMD ban -- just imagine the environmentalists' reaction to something that uses nuclear bombs as propulsion.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988169)

"Scientists build 'chernobyl catastrophe propelled spacecraft', enviromentalists rage"

Re:Bigger and stronger? (3, Insightful)

LS (57954) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988179)

What exactly would be the impact of the radioactive matter expelled by an Orion rocket on the atmosphere and the environment in general? Has there been a study? Do you know? Please enlighten me as you seem to be sure that this type of propulsion is not a problem.

LS

Re:Bigger and stronger? (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988255)

The enviromental impact would be that of a series of nuclear explosions at altitudes variying from ground level to orbit. Considering the amount of historical ground and airburst tests the soviet and us have done we should survive a couple of launches.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (4, Informative)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988353)

The Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] says this about the subject:

Freeman Dyson, group leader on the project, estimated back in the '60s that with conventional nuclear weapons, that each launch would cause on average between 0.1 and 1 fatal cancers from the fallout.

A super-Orion might be more friendly (since it would use fusion bombs), but also might not be (since it would have to use larger bombs, and would need conventional atomic bombs for the first few "strokes" anyhow). In the worst case, one could use GCNR "nuclear lightbulb" (no radioactive release whatsoever) to assemble an Orion in orbit. But even with a GCNR, I'm pretty sure you would have heard "AAH! Hiroshima! Chernobyl!" all the way round the globe.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (1)

Dipsomaniac (1102131) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988369)

Of course, there's also the problem of multiple EMP bursts, ranging from low to high altitude detonation. Those probably wouldn't be desirable.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (1)

zanybrainy941 (972076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988391)

But even with a GCNR, I'm pretty sure you would have heard "AAH! Hiroshima! Chernobyl!" all the way round the globe.

Ah that's no problem. We'll just make sure the whiners get a visit from Uncle Orion.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988543)

Can a nuclear light bulb design have enough thrust/weight ratio to lift itself and a vehicle and a payload out of a gravity well? The solid-core designs like NERVA were meant to start from orbit because the thrust-to-weight ratios were so bad. A gas-core reactor will have a way better specific impulse, but that's not the same thing as generating a lot of thrust for a given mass of engine.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (1)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988781)

The NERVA page linked to in another post here said they got NERVA up to a T/W of 3 or 4. It's unlikely that a closed cycle gas-core design would be that much heavier than a solid-core one that its gains in thrust were absorbed by its weight, particularly since both engine types heat up some gas passing through it (or around it, in the case of the nuclear lightbulb). Thus there are no obvious contention issues like those that plague ion drives.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (1)

imipak (254310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988749)

"Zis is not nuts, zis is super-nuts!"

Re:Bigger and stronger? (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988871)

The problem with nuclear rockets is not what happens if they work. But what happens when they go Challenger on you. The current failure rate for rockets is not so good that this can't be discounted credibly. Thats a lot of fallout.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (3, Interesting)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988385)

Freeman Dyson [wikipedia.org] estimated that launching a 6000 ton Orion would cause .1 to 1 fatal cancers, and it's been shown that efficiency increases with increasing size such that the amount of fissionables expended is almost constant on scales up to nearly 8 million tons.

The fallout from a launch would be similar to that of a ten-megaton nuke, of which the Soviets and the US detonated quite a few. Seriously, if you had the chance to put an eight million ton starship in orbit in exchange for one random death, would you say no? The chance to set up a self-sustaining moonbase in one move? To visit the entire solar system in short order?

Re:Bigger and stronger? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988421)

Seriously, if you had the chance to put an eight million ton starship in orbit in exchange for one random death, would you say no? The chance to set up a self-sustaining moonbase in one move? To visit the entire solar system in short order?

We could do that now if we wanted to. It would be expensive but so would be building an Orion.

As for how: consider using ion thrusters and small fission reactors.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (4, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988431)

As long as it's not someone you care about that is.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988465)

Launch the starships from the Middle East whenever there's a big Islamic Terror attack.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (3, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988495)

eight million ton starship in orbit in exchange for one random death, would you say no?

I find that question so incredibly fucking hypocritical, it borders on insanity just to comprehend it.

Americans are the most unhealthy people on the planet. Shoving fast food, dioxins, heavy metals, high fructose corn syrup, and god knows what else in shitty prepared foods into their bodies every single day.

I tried to clean up my act and just ate Tuna as protein with fresh vegetables for 6 months. I now have mercury poisoning since I was not aware that the FDA actually allows small amounts of mercury to be sold in fish. The CA attorney general sued them, but he ended up losing since federal authority overruled him. Fucking bastards. If they had a label, I would not have eaten it.

In any case, considering the absolute crap we stuff down our pie holes EACH AND EVERY DAY at a future burden of billions upon billions of dollars to health care, I don't see what the big deal is with a little more radiation. I mean seriously, I know that I sound upset (which I am a little) and trolling here, but since when have we really demonstrated a real commitment to either our health or the environment?

Fuck it all people, seriously, just fuck it. If we can take that risk and actually get a craft like that in orbit that will allow us all to explore the solar system together, let's do it. I would love to see a real manned mission to Mars in my lifetime. Maybe even farther. 8 million tons is a LOT of spaceship. We can take more than enough supplies and energy for manned missions even further out.

If you told me that I was one of ten people in the room, and one of us had to die, but that death would make such a profound contribution to the human race... I would be one of those 10 people. No question, no hesitation. I honestly believe you take a greater risk eating prepared foods loaded with high fructose corn syrup, so sign me up for the dose of radiation.

american food (1)

sirmonkey (1056544) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988661)

yes its nasty. but i blame over-population.
as for the risk of death and raidation poisning from orion rockets....

the sat's that the worlds militaries put up (US military puts one up about once a month) tend to use super deadly mono/biniary propellents such as hydrazine... you know the sort of stuff that works great for instane on/off rocket boost but also makes used motor oil look like organic-euro-hippy-super-fruit's. so why don't people complaine about that? all it takes is one rocket to go off course and not self distruct and you've got alot of poisned dead life everywhere. just like the nuke rocket. so why are people complaining? is it because they are uneducated as to what goes on in the world? i say yes, ya know why? because i've got quite a few guns. and when something bad happens in the news all my friends want to borrow one to keep under there pillow.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988669)

There are other options. Besides, what gives you the right to kill someone because you're impatient?

Re:Bigger and stronger? (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988505)

It isn't your choice - it is the choice of the random schmuck who gets to die, and of course you can ID them in advance.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988397)

just imagine the environmentalists' reaction to something that uses nuclear bombs as propulsion.

And what would your reaction be if they launched the thing within 10000km of your home?

Re:Bigger and stronger? (2, Insightful)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988509)

they can launch it within .1 km of my home as long as they give me nuclear space launch life and house insurance before they do so.

Re:Bigger and stronger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988933)

Fucking awesome! Let me get my camera first, though.

Meh. Nuclear is not the solution to everything. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988559)

Bah. If it had been a gas-core nuclear rocket, we could put bases on the moon in a single shot.

Which kind? The open-core, spewing radioactive gas into the atmosphere kind? Or, the closed-core, made of unobtainium that is transparent and physically stable at all temperatures even under the influence of heavy radiation.

I was excited by the prospects of closed-cycle gas core rockets myself for a while, but I'm just not sold on the engineering anymore.

I would have said Orion, but there's even less chance of getting that to the moon, even if you could get rid of the outer space WMD ban -- just imagine the environmentalists' reaction to something that uses nuclear bombs as propulsion.

All those "wacky" environmentalists not wanting to set off continuous chain of nukes in the atmosphere on a semi-regular basis. Never mind what the EMI would do to satellites and electronics as the craft started to get into the upper atmosphere.

Re:Meh. Nuclear is not the solution to everything. (2, Interesting)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988639)

Which kind?

The one with the quartz. If one's to use the open-cycle, it'd have to be in space - the velocity of the gas would bring it far away as long as the engine isn't pointed at the Earth. And if one's in space, perhaps the salt-water rocket would work better -- that is, if its particular neutron-absorbing (near?) unobtainium actually exists.

What are the main engineering problems with the closed-cycle GCNR? As far as I know, the continuous reaction will be outputting EM in a range to which the quartz is transparent. This leaves the material reaction on the inside of the vessel. I thought the ablation would be manageable - does it happen too rapidly?

"space wmd ban"? what teeth does that have? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988741)

even if you could get rid of the outer space WMD ban --

Honestly.. we're developing "rods from god", etc etc.. i'm sure china and russia both have satellites overhead with releasable warheads.

Who is going to enforce this? anti-satellite weaponry isn't exactly prolific or well proven through real-life exercises.

I suppose it would be a good thing for bush 3 (mccain) or bush for (our new pro-fisa obama) to use as an excuse.. "wmd's IN SPAACE"...

"The war in the vacuum above iraq is on it's 678th day"

Hmmmm. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988821)

And exactly, which nation has the most sats that are 5-10x the size need to perform their stated job? Careful where you point the finger.
Now, with that said, yeah, China and Russia has similar sats in space. That is also why China and Russia have land-based lasers that are capable of hitting our sats. Also, why we are developing the ABL? You did note that the ABL has a nose mounted turrit that is capable of pointing straight up, yes? What is interesting about those 747's is that they are being modified to fly at 60K feet.The atmosphere is pretty darn thin there. In contrast, the ground based lasers have a LOT of atmosphere to get through. Of course, you can easily argue that it allows us the ability to shoot out a launch in the middle of any nation as long as we are on the periphery.

Re:"space wmd ban"? what teeth does that have? (1)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988935)

It's a holdover from the Cold War, basically. The major powers didn't want to militarize space with nuclear weapons platforms and their defenses - or rather, they didn't want to waste resources building ASATs, ASAT counters, counter-counters, more sophisticated platforms, etc..

Rods from god are "just" conventional weapons, and thus aren't prohibited. I don't imagine the people at ground zero will notice the difference, though. "Ahh, I'm being turned into superheated vapor by a tungsten rod, but at least I'm not being turned into superheated vapor by a nuke!"

Re:Bigger and stronger? (3, Interesting)

imipak (254310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988789)

Posit, for the sake of stimulating discussion (feel free to -1 troll me if it helps you to relax):

I assert that this entire thing is a waste of time money and cycles. A pound to a penny the supposed manned lunar landings are cancelled long before launch. I can believe the Ares-1 will fly, because without that there's no US manned launch capability so big political symbolism, but with the economy guaranteed to be in the toilet for the next five years and with oil permanently at least ten times more expensive than the historical average, "Apollo (slight reprise)" simply won't have enough domestic political support to avoid the axe. No doubt Dubya had something like that scenario in mind when he announced the ludicrous and engineeringly illiterate "first the Moon, then Mars" scheme but denied it the funding in the first place. And with the relative costs of fantastically amazing missions like MRO, MER and Phoenix compared to manned operations, then frankly I'm glad.

Interesting dichotomy (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988117)

When we produce a huge rocket, the news reports it as for space exploration. When China builds one, it's reported to be for threatening their neighbors.

Re:Interesting dichotomy (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988237)

China has had ICBMs for a long, long time. Of course, so has the USA. It's not terribly difficult to hurl a warhead around the globe.

Re:Interesting dichotomy (4, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988533)

It is stated US policy to completely control space, and deny access to it for anybody not friendly. China wants independent access to space, which is seen as unacceptable, so in order to be able to secure this access they need to be able to fight the US in space. If they can't blast American satellites to pieces they won't be able to have any serious space programme.

Re:Interesting dichotomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988849)

Mine da moon, is what we want to do, so we can make more cheap stuff and ship it back. ::echo::

SWEATSHOPS IN SPACE!!!!

Re:Interesting dichotomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988395)

You are thinking of North Korea, who not only do not have a space program, but like to threaten people, want the bomb like crazy, and have the nasty habit of testing their missiles by launching them over their enemy neighbors.

Really? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988833)

Where have you seen any media (ignore fox news) reporting that Chinese ROCKETS is threatening its' neighbor? China is building up a massive military, but I do not think that I have seen their rockets being associated with a threat (other than theft of Russian and America goods).

Totally necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988125)

It's about time. Ares V got finished too soon, and since CEV came in overweight they've been trying to drop bits and failing. They should've made their vehicle and made a rocket to put it where it needs to go, and I guess that's what's happening now.

Is the CEV a factor here? (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988263)

From everything I've heard, NASA wasn't planning on using the CEV with the Ares V, just with the Ares I (and toying with the idea of an Ares IV). For certain, there have been performance shortfalls of the Ares I which are the primary driving factor in reducing the weight of the CEV. The driving factor for the Ares V would be the cargo weight requirements for moon missions.

Fuel costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988133)

And how much will the fuel cost?

Re:Fuel costs? (4, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988247)

Fuel cost isn't really a frequently considered factor for research applications where the entire program's cost is measured in the billions of dollars.

NASA Engineers (4, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988139)

God bless them, they really do think of everything...


NASA Engineer: "The extra weight it can carry is equivalent to a male elephant."
The Press: "Oh yeah, African or Indian?"
NASA Engineer: "Why African of course."
The Press: [wanders off trying to find someone to interview who will make them feel smarter]

Re:NASA Engineers (2, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988239)

Of course, African elephants are non-migratory.

African elephants ARE migratory (2, Informative)

waynemcdougall (631415) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988403)

> Of course, African elephants are non-migratory.

Just not true

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/worldonthemove/reports/mac-on-the-move-week-ten/ [bbc.co.uk]

Re:African elephants ARE migratory (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988441)

Funny, I never saw any in rural England.

Re:NASA Engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988727)

That makes sense, I was wondering why there aren't any in Europe.

Re:NASA Engineers (1)

alchemy101 (961551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988535)

It is a well known fact that African elephants are less susceptible to space sickness.

Video (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988155)

Am I the only one? (I should have learned my lesson about asking at /. for video but I haven't.) I don't care *what* the video is made of really. I just really want video with my space stories. When something launches, when something crashes, when something oh, lands on Mars or something... I want video. I don't care if it is computer generated, you (and I) know that the NASA folks made a video to present to someone somewhere.

Maybe I grew up in the wrong era. I watched, while on detention (recess restriction really), Columbia before anyone else in my school other than the remainder of the kids. I'd watch, while in class, them launch everything. Back then we'd (I'm not THAT old) watch everything that took off, even if it was a public showing of a communication satellite.

Today the major networks don't even show the shuttle launches and usually don't even show clips on the news. Sometimes they blow up and we get some video coverage but, no... With the rover on Mars we got some nice computer generated or animated videos. The IIS gets no major media coverage, finding interesting video that I haven't watched online is difficult, and it is as if someone, somewhere, forgot the magic of moving images.

I'm surely more sad about this than I should be, at this moment in time, but I blame the wine which you can interpret as whine but I'll interpret it as the crappy boxed crap my wife made me buy but I'm gonna drink all of just to get rid of it and get really hammered but that's digressing beyond the scope of the post so ignore this last bit, eh?

Re:Video (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988225)

I don't care *what* the video is made of really. I just really want video with my space stories. When something launches, when something crashes, when something oh, lands on Mars or something... I want video. I don't care if it is computer generated,

Take it easy Son. I had to walk 50 kilometers uphill in the snow to watch Neil Armstrong take that first step.

Re:Video (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988349)

I'll get off yer lawn mister but, well, don't you recall the exciting (even a whole room of excitiment that radiated from person to person) moments of watching the video of them taking off, landing, etc? Hell, when was the ACTUAL landing of a space craft shown live on the major networks? (Crashing, while landing, doesn't count but at least it got media attention though all of the attention was in the wrong way I think.)

Re:Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988271)

I applaud your ability to spew a rocketload of enigmatic rants.

Re:Video (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988343)

Thank you. :) It's a skill but, well, (my wife and I actually sat and read every one of them so pardon my obsession, "Can I has Cheezburger now?"

Re:Video (2)

durrr (1316311) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988329)

Blame the engineers. They build the vessels as tools for scientific study. All good for themself and other scientists, but for the nontechnical public it's old and boring. We need more HD videorecorders in space.

Re:Video (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988359)

I am heavily biased and think that the additional weight would cause to increase a renewed interest in space exploration or understanding (more so with today's youth) so if anyone's got a mod point or two to spare - mod that post up please.

Re:Video (4, Interesting)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988361)

Am I the only one? (I should have learned my lesson about asking at /. for video but I haven't.) I don't care *what* the video is made of really. I just really want video with my space stories. When something launches, when something crashes, when something oh, lands on Mars or something... I want video. I don't care if it is computer generated, you (and I) know that the NASA folks made a video to present to someone somewhere.

Here you go:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PMvS1hQKxM [youtube.com]

(Computer-generated video from last year of Ares V concept)

Re:Video (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988427)

See? Now you are a god, in some small country at least, for that. That was one that I hadn't actually seen and, mind you, I watch a LOT of them as often as I can. So, if someone's got mod points... Fix that for me. :) I'm not certain but I think I actually got to send my name on this mission on a disk as I recall. (Whenever given the chance I point and click and blame alcohol in the morning when my wife wakes up and finds my spreading our names across the galaxy.)

Re:Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988373)

I want video.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Yu_moia-oVI [youtube.com]

It had to be done.

Here's to more coverage. But how? (1)

RustinHWright (1304191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988457)

Amen. And again I say, amen. It blows my mind that we HAVE A FRICKIN" REAL WORLD SPACE STATION and it gets almost no coverage in the mainstream press. Last coverage I saw beyond page 15 was about the toilet malfunctioning because oooh-funny!

So, I agree. You agree. We should see more coverage and this should be partnered with more interest on the part of kids, teachers and parents.

Nice theory. Whatcha gonna do about it?

Personally, if the group I rent my space from, with their 26,000 square foot building and a big central space, can get a better video projector, I want to start doing free screenings of every frickin' episode of The Cape, the extended cut of Apollo 13, and any and everything else I can find to get folks into this and I intend to push to get local schoolkids to attend.

That's my plan. And I spent part of today getting AV equipment towards accomplishing it. What's yours?

In the spirit of one-upmanship... (5, Funny)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988159)

If China manages to put a man on the moon, we'll put a goddamn elephant on the moon, because we're America!

Re:In the spirit of one-upmanship... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988895)

Yes, putting a Chinese man on the moon is no problem but putting an average weight American man on the moon is (nowadays) as hard a challenge as putting an elephant but the latter just sounds better.

One wonders... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988187)

African or European

7,000 kg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988191)

How many chairs is that?

Oblig (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988193)

That's no moon...that's a male African elephant!

YUNO FAIL IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988211)

The curtOains flew truth, for all

the design must carry an elephant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988233)

shudder...I've been on committees just like that.

Moon vs Mars - benefits... (1)

spineboy (22918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988267)

Seems like the Moon is a dead end - not much water there, no atmosphere. Mars on the otherhand, has water, a slight atmosphere (to protect against radiation).

Obviously we haven't even really tried to place a person on Mars yet, and can not do so practically, as opposed to the moon. I guess the Moon could be a learning "tool", so that we can get Mars right.

I always thought that the excessive radiation present on the Moon would make any long term colonization impossible, due to the doses people would receive. Mars has a minimal atmosphere which does protect somewhat against harmful radiation, and has higher gravity 0.3 Mars vs 0.16 for the Moon. The higher Martian gravity may protect us better against low gravity osteoporosis (thin bones).

Re:Moon vs Mars - benefits... (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988331)

The moon is close by, and has less gravity. Think launchpad.

Re:Moon vs Mars - benefits... (1)

Dipsomaniac (1102131) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988377)

Of course, once you're in Earth orbit, you're halfway to anywhere.

We should go to the moon because... (5, Insightful)

RustinHWright (1304191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988497)

Yes. Launchpad.
And source of materials out of which to build larger vessels and simply bulk matter to provide more shielding for stuff in space. (If we're ever going to have real settlements at L5 we're going to need many tons of matter of whatever the frack is cheapest to protect them from radiation.
And, if we can mine it and refine it cheaply enough, even "sparklers", low Joule but cheap supplementary rockets.
And, if nothing else, a place to stop and "catch our breath". If you're planning to climb a mountain, it makes it easier if you have a place to stop a third of the way up to refuel, do repairs, etc. The moon provides that.

I just don't understand why we have to keep going over this again and again and again any time the idea of going back to the moon is raised. This is basic logistics, people. A base near the top of the gravity well makes it easier to reach anywhere beyond that gravity well. It's just that simple.

Re:Moon vs Mars - benefits... (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988381)

Whats your point?

The moon is closer, cheaper, wasn't very well investigated, is essentially stationary, and has a far more direct correlation with Earth. We shouldn't have ever stopped going, and just skipped that whole bullshit with Vietnam.

Its the perfect platform for a lot of things, some for immediate results, others as practice, and future results. I don't think anyone is really that worried about the Planet suddenly becoming inhabitable, Mars isnt going anywhere and we already have a signifigant amount of bots and scopes investigating it.

CHA..

Re:Moon vs Mars - benefits... (3, Informative)

soldeed (765559) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988573)

Lunar soil contains; Oxygen 40% Silicon 20% Iron 12% Calcium 8.5% Aluminum 7.3% Magnesium 4.8% Titanium 4.5% Sodium 0.33% Chromium 0.2% Manganese 0.16% Potassium 0.11% Sulfur 540 ppm Carbon 200 ppm Nitrogen 100 ppm Hydrogen 40 ppm Helium 4 28ppm Helium 3 0.01 ppm Don't you think all that stuff would be useful?

Yeah, I use to think that same way (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988907)

A couple of things:
  1. The moon almost certainly has water at the poles. In addition, it has plenty of hydrogen/oxygen. So that is a none issue.
  2. The radiation is a none issue. We will almost certainly bury outselves in the ground, wether at the moon or mars (really no choice for long-term living).
  3. The moon has uranium. That provides us CHEAP power. In particular, it provides us power to go places, send big sats, go fast to mars, live on mars, etc.
  4. On the moon, we can build a rail launcher. Since the moon is 1/6 our gravity, it should be relatively cheap and doable (of course that ignores our not having manufacturing there).
  5. If we settle the moon first, then when we go to mars, we send a PERM team i.e. it is a one-way flight.

Going to the moon is not that bad of an idea.

ESA's Launcher Program (2, Funny)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988399)

If Ares V can't do it, Arianne 5 will! If we don't explode while launching, that is... :p

Re:ESA's Launcher Program (3, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988561)

On a serious note, I don't see why an interplanetary mission can't be assembled from a bunch of ~20t pieces instead of putting it all up in one shot. There are a lot of working, proven 20t launchers (Ariane 5, Delta IV, Proton, Long March 5) so international cooperation would be relatively simple.

Re:ESA's Launcher Program (2, Informative)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988577)

Of course, the Soviet Energia [wikipedia.org] beats all of them, hands down.

A hundred metric tonnes to low Earth orbit!

Two launches, in 1987 and 1988, both successful (Polypus' problems weren't the launcher's fault) - and then the project was closed down.

Oh well...

Of course, it cost an absolute fortune - so much so that it and its sister project Buran (the 'Russian Space Shuttle') arguably contributed to the downfall of the Soviet Union.

See, that's why the USA have an edge in space... (2, Funny)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988437)

Your rockets are both strong and big, while Chinese rockets are big in nothing important in good elephant. Of course, if NASA screws up the calculations the front of the rocket will be a lemon avenue flying straightly but as they say, worry to lose is to lead to the evil augury, so you shouldn't worry about that too much. Just don't let the land kill the project to let it going to bed.

Anyhow, rock on NASA. The wish power are together with you.

Re:See, that's why the USA have an edge in space.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23988711)

wat

Cool, but not so good for access to space (5, Interesting)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988443)

The Ares V is certainly cool from a "bigger, shinier" perspective, but not so good from the perspective of wanting to reduce our immense launch costs to something even marginally more manageable. A big part of the (somewhat shoddy) reasoning for going with a shuttle-derived system was that it would be able to make use of currently-existing facilities and infrastructure. It's now looking like the Ares V is getting to be too large to use those facilities, so NASA will have to revamp its facilities, raising the cost even more.

In general, it was pretty peculiar of NASA to not devise a launch system which would take advantage of what we've learned (the hard way) from the ISS and use in-orbit assembly, which would've allowed NASA to use the already-existing launchers available from the private sector. Instead, NASA decided to compete against the private sector and create a new family of Ares boosters, basically from scratch.

Here's some interesting commentary from a couple of knowledgeable folks within the aerospace industry:

http://chairforceengineer.blogspot.com/2008/06/directly-seeing-light.html [blogspot.com]

In a recent post, I discussed the weight issues associated with Ares V (probably to be renamed Ares VI if the extra RS-68 engine is slipped in.) The rocket is growing to address performance shortfalls, but it has become too heavy for the existing crawlers, too heavy for the existing launch pad, and too heavy for the hard stand on which the mobile launcher sits. I suggested that NASA should have initially determined weight and size limits on their rocket, based on the existing infrastructure, and limited the weight and size of Ares V to fit within those requirements. If that rocket were insufficient to meet the lift requirements for Project Constellation, use two heavy-lifters instead of one heavy-lifter and one crew launcher.

http://www.transterrestrial.com/archives/2008/03/out_takes.html [transterrestrial.com]

As noted, the vehicle has come a long way from the originally advertised "Shuttle-derived" system that was supposed to save us so much money and time, and utilize the existing Shuttle infrastructure (though the latter was always a politically-induced pork-driven bug, not a feature, if one wanted to actually lower launch costs). It (like Ares I) is now essentially a new vehicle, including components, though if Ares I ever comes to fruition, Ares V will probably be at least in part derived from it. ...

So, they're going to launch the Orion, with crew, on an Ares I, and hope that they can get a successful Ares V mission off within four days, because they can't afford the duration. They build this mondo grosso launch vehicle to avoid having to do multiple launches, and yet, they not only have dual launch, but it's one on a tight window. And if they can't get the launch off on time, the lunar mission is scrubbed, and the crew comes back home from LEO, having wasted the cost of an Ares I launch (and an Orion, if they end up not making it reusable).

This is an affordable, resilient, sustainable infrastructure?

http://www.transterrestrial.com/archives/2008/06/thoughts_on_the.html [transterrestrial.com]

The rationale for the heavy lifter has always been to avoid the complication of orbital assembly (apparently, the false lesson learned from our success with assembling ISS is that we should throw away all that experience, and take an entirely different approach for VSE). But it's already a "launch and half" mission, needing both Ares 1 and Ares 56, so they're not even avoiding it--they're only minimizing it. And even if the lunar mission doesn't outgrow the Ares 6, it won't be able to do a Mars mission in a single launch. So if we need to learn to do orbital assembly (and long-term propellant storage) anyway, why postpone it? Why not take the savings from not developing an unneeded heavy lifter (and new crew launch vehicle), and invest it in orbital infrastructure, tools and technology to provide a flexible system that can be serviced by a range of launch vehicles, without the single-point failure of Ares? These are the kinds of issues that a new administrator will have to consider next year.

And don't get me started on the Ares 1 problems:

        The currently favored mitigation approaches - still undergoing a trade study - for thrust oscillation will add around 500 lbs to Orion for shock mounting on the crew seats and vital components.

So, because the geniuses behind this concept decided to put the crew on top of the world's biggest organ pipe, they'll add a quarter of a ton to an already-overweight vehicle with no margin, so that the astronauts will (might?) be able to survive watching the rest of the capsule being vibrated even more intensely around them.

Re:Cool, but not so good for access to space (1)

vought (160908) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988487)

Instead, NASA decided to compete against the private sector and create a new family of Ares boosters, basically from scratch.

Seriously, this is so naive as to be laughable. You do realize that NASA, in the vast majority of items and processes in Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Shuttle and Constellation, contracted with defense and space contractors, right?

Re:Cool, but not so good for access to space (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988541)

Instead, NASA decided to compete against the private sector and create a new family of Ares boosters, basically from scratch.

You do realize that NASA, in the vast majority of items and processes in Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Shuttle and Constellation, contracted with defense and space contractors, right?

Sure, and the Ares I and Ares V are primarily contracted to ATK. However, the fact remains that NASA is funding the development of two new launchers which will compete (albeit poorly) against existing launchers in an already-crowded rocket marketplace.

Thanks Universetoday.com! (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988589)

We have Libraries of Congress for measuring data, furlongs and fortnights for distance and time, but mass was sorely lacking. Leave it to highly trained professionals to come up with a meaningful elephant analogy regarding weight!

Dreams (2, Interesting)

TopSpin (753) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988613)

First, dear NASA: Permitting whatever mission creep that has led to this embiggining of Ares V is a fatal mistake. Driving up the cost only provides a larger surface on which to paint a bullseye.

Ares V is a pipe dream. Learn why by reading this [orlandosentinel.com] .

US citizens generally elect the young shiny guy in any given election. McJowls doesn't stand a chance against Obama by that criteria. That means Ares V will whither on the vine after it's defunded to pay off Obama's NEA campaign support (a.k.a 'education').

Yes, I know Obama's current (dramatically revised) position only threatens 'later stages' of the Constellation program. Ares V is the later stage, because no Moon and no Mars means no need for heavy lift. He'll let NASA build Ares I to replace some fraction of the Shuttle's capability and send the rest of the money off to whichever interest group will deliver the most votes in 2012.

Space zoo (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988667)

First dogs and apes, now elephants? They are building a zoo up there!!

Ares V? (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988701)

I'm only up to v 2.09.3030. I'd better check for updates.

This architecture is flawed and will never fly (5, Interesting)

ab8ten (551673) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988783)

The Ares V is not being super-sized because it's the best way of getting back to the moon. This rocket is the result of NASA administrator Mike Griffin's desire to build the biggest mofo rocket ever built. It is so big, much of the Kennedy Space Center infrastructure will have to be rebuilt. This will cost billions more. The main fuel tank is much wider than the shuttle tank. This requires a new production line, transportation barge and infrastructure at the cape. The 'extended' solid boosters require extensive design work and are not cheap either.

Meanwhile, the Ares I is ,undersized. At every design review, it is struggling to meet the thrust requirements for getting the Orion capsule into orbit. The Orion itself is suffering as a result, having to be stripped back to the bones before safety systems are carefully added back in.

So, instead of designing two badly sized, expensive rockets that has almost no hardware re-used from the Shuttle, NASA could be building a direct evolution of that hardware. Luckily, such a design already exists. It's been proposed by NASA engineers twice in the past - after the fatal Shuttle accidents. The idea is simple: Retain the existing Shuttle tank and solids. Place engine on the bottom of the tank. Place a payload on top of the tank. This concept has been around for years, but today it's being promoted as DIRECT.

http://www.directlauncher.com/ [directlauncher.com]

lots of discussion here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=12379.0 [nasaspaceflight.com]

This architecture will meet all the lifting requirements for getting back to the room whilst being: Cheaper (by many billions), and Sooner (the 'flight gap' after shuttle retirement is reduced from 6 years to 2. This retains all the technical staff that would otherwise be layed off. A similar brain drain after Apollo did massive damage to NASA and we don't want that to happen again

I could go on and on. It is obvious that DIRECT is the better option. They are actively lobbying congress and have plenty of support within NASA. In fact, an internal NASA study found that DIRECT was superior to Ares in every way, but this study was squashed by management. With DIRECT, the next president can have astronauts back in space in his administration. But only if his NASA administrator cancels Ares and Chooses DIRECT.

obligitory.. (1)

ROMRIX (912502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23988903)

Well I for one welcome our new Space Elephant Overlords!
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