×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

NASA Shows Off Mock-Up of Mars-Capable Spacecraft

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the kick-the-tires-check-the-fluids dept.

Mars 247

N!NJA writes with this snippet of a report from Reuters: "NASA gave visitors to the National Mall in Washington a peek at a full-size mock-up of the spacecraft designed to carry US astronauts back to the moon and then on to Mars one day. The design of Orion was based on the Apollo spacecraft, which first took Americans to the moon. Although similar in shape, Orion is larger, able to carry six crew members rather than three, and builds on 1960s technology to make it safer." They're still working on the parachute.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

247 comments

Nuclear? (2, Informative)

Doches (761288) | about 5 years ago | (#27400555)

Is this the same 'Orion' as the old atomic bomb powered Project Orion?

Re:Nuclear? (3, Informative)

Ruie (30480) | about 5 years ago | (#27400583)

Is this the same 'Orion' as the old atomic bomb powered Project Orion?

No - this is a derivative of the 1960s Apollo capsule. But look at the bright side - all the relevant patents have expired by now.

Re:Nuclear? (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#27400661)

Current Unixes (Mac OS X, FreeBSD, Darwin, Solaris, etc.) are also a derivative of 1960s technology. And if we were talking about that, the Unix and most of tne Linux guys, at least, would all be saying "yeah, but it's stable because it's so mature."

what's the difference then, with a 1960s Apollo-derived capsule, then?

Re:Nuclear? (3, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#27400967)

It would be the case if they had continued working on that model, but they didn't. So basically you would be saying that Windows is stable because Unix is old, which doesn't add up.

Re:Nuclear? (1)

bloodninja (1291306) | about 5 years ago | (#27401141)

It would be the case if they had continued working on that model, but they didn't. So basically you would be saying that Windows is stable because Unix is old, which doesn't add up.

From the summary:
"...and builds on 1960s technology to make it safer."

So, apparently, they did!

Re:Nuclear? (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 5 years ago | (#27401335)

So, the Orion/Unix analogy doesn't work.

Anyway, I was expecting something bigger ;-)

I only hope they pick up people who are claustrophiles.

patents have expired :) (1)

MindKata (957167) | about 5 years ago | (#27401317)

"No - this is a derivative of the 1960s Apollo capsule. But look at the bright side - all the relevant patents have expired by now."

I like the idea of an open source Apollo Rocket. Although for home build, I'm guessing finding a big enough garden shed for it, is going to be the least of the technical problems, so to speak.

Re:Nuclear? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#27400645)

No, apparently coming up with a new name was too complicated for Nasa. I don't have much faith in the ability of an air and space agency which can't name two constellations to produce a working Earth-Mars vehicle...

Yes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27400659)

We'll be at Alpha centuri in a few years, if all goes well.

Re:Yes (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#27400679)

We'll be at Alpha centuri in a few years, if all goes well.

Nah, I prefer to win the game by global conquest. It's much more entertaining to pour all of your resources into armies, fleets and aircraft than spaceship components. Those fucking Celts will soon pay for sacking Athens back in 3400 BC, muhahahahahahahahaha.

Re:Yes (0, Offtopic)

furby076 (1461805) | about 5 years ago | (#27400955)

Life isn't that simple. If we didn't have leaders of countries comitting attrocities (ala rowanda, iraq before hussein was deposed, afghanistan, serbia, nazi germany, etc) and then other countries fighting over dumb ass shit (ala US vs Soviet Russia) and then other countries oppressing their people when they really don't need to (ala China) then we wouldn't have a need for a military. Trust me I wish we didn't need it. I wish we didn't need guns or other weapons. I wish we lived in a happy place. But humans are violent in nature and as long as there is someone out there who may decide to blow me up then I want my team to have the biggest and most powerful guns to keep them at bay.

Re:Yes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401157)

But humans are violent in nature

I smell bullshit. All omnivores and carnivores could be said to be "violent in nature." However, since we try not to anthropomorphize in science, we just say they act naturally. If you remove our sentience, we revert back to our animalistic selves. Would we then be violent for showing our competitive natures?

Ultimately when you think about this you will reach a point where you will see that peace and violence are man made. This is akin to good and evil, they don't truly exist in the natural world except in the hearts of men.

New definition of "Live TV"... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27400579)

when we get to watch em die light minutes from earth in space.

Send a robot.

Re:New definition of "Live TV"... (2, Insightful)

bloodninja (1291306) | about 5 years ago | (#27401149)

when we get to watch em die light minutes from earth in space.

Even with that risk, I'd sign up as the first to go.

"builds on 1960s technology to make it safer" (4, Funny)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | about 5 years ago | (#27400591)

Would that be the large, unmarked banks of blinking square lights, the female voice that always says "Insufficient Data" followed by a dramatic orchestral chord, or the engine that the chief engineer can only repair 10 seconds before destruction?

Re:"builds on 1960s technology to make it safer" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401353)

No, they're afraid of the Cylons hacking into their systems so nothing is networked...

I'm confused (3, Interesting)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | about 5 years ago | (#27400595)

"Although similar, it builds on 1960s technology"? While the old one was build on 1860 technology? I don't get it.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | about 5 years ago | (#27400665)

NASA - Improving safety by employing designs from over 4 decades ago. You know those astronauts are in safe hands...

Re:I'm confused (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 5 years ago | (#27400799)

You're assuming they still have the designs from 4 decades ago - which they don't.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | about 5 years ago | (#27400913)

So what you're saying is that they're piecing it together from guesses and the original notes written on the back of cigarette packets?

Good lord, NASA need to get their act together.

Re:I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401531)

Well yea, but there weren't any problems with the Apollo capsule.

Re:I'm confused (2, Interesting)

GargamelSpaceman (992546) | about 5 years ago | (#27400809)

1860's tech was pretty reliable. I'd feel more comfortable trusting my safety to it in most cases with a few exceptions such as:

Explosives, Medicine, Air/Space Travel.

Re:I'm confused (3, Insightful)

rbanffy (584143) | about 5 years ago | (#27401459)

There is really not enough data to attest Apollo spacecraft were much safer than the shuttles. There were less than two dozen Apollo manned launches with one nearly (because the crew got really, really lucky) catastrophic accident and more than a hundred shuttle launches done by a small fleet that went to space a couple times each with two very serious mishaps.

The best one can do is to extrapolate on data from about a hundred Soyuz missions. Soyuz seems to be slightly safer than shuttle and has in common with the Orion both the 60's tech and the mostly expendable architecture (IIRC, some systems are transferred from a used Soyuz to a new one after being recertified).

Re:I'm confused (1)

omuls are tasty (1321759) | about 5 years ago | (#27400829)

No, they're replacing the obsolete 1980s technology (shuttles) with modern, 1960s technology. It's progress.

Re:I'm confused (2, Informative)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | about 5 years ago | (#27401013)

There is an apocryphal story about how the SRB's on the Space Shuttle are directly related to the width of a horse's ass... Snopes [snopes.com] has called the story "false" when in fact it is the case that the SRB's are limited in their size by the width of a horse's ass... The simple fact is that all technology is based on the technology that came before it. The computer industry is rife with examples... most of us are still using x86 technology is one... Why should rocketry be different?

Re:I'm confused (3, Interesting)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 5 years ago | (#27401255)

Indeed, good example. Although lot of the 1960's stuff wasn't exactly rocket science....for example, the Saturn V's had a problem with instabilities building up on the face of the combustion plate due to the pattern of holes that the fuel/oxidiser was sprayed through. In the end they got a bunch of blank combustion plates and drilled holes at random until they found one that worked without blowing the rocket to smithereens....or at least worked for the eight minutes or so that it took to get to orbit.

Re:I'm confused (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 5 years ago | (#27401063)

"Although similar, it builds on 1960s technology"? While the old one was build on 1860 technology? I don't get it.

You have to realize these guys are journalists. Its big, and vaguely cylindrical, therefore its "the same technology". Rest assured they aren't using discrete transistors and core memory.

Doh, this only *now* hit /. ? (-1, Offtopic)

rwa2 (4391) | about 5 years ago | (#27400597)

Sorry, I should have tried submitting this story sooner, over the weekend.

My father-in-law had told me about it in advance. While he does work for NASA, he actually found out about it by reading some Russian news site. I guess it wasn't very well publicized...

Mock-up! (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 5 years ago | (#27400619)

"Hey! I just touched it and this piece fell off!"

"Hmm... It's... a Mock-up?... Yeah! It's a Mock-up!"

Looks cosy (1)

Gauntt (1419065) | about 5 years ago | (#27400651)

Not sure that I would want to be stuck in that with 5 other people for two years.

Might end up with an Event Horizon type situation.

Although perhaps without the portal to hell..

Re:Looks cosy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27400761)

At the perigee the Earth/Mars trip would only take a few months. It's still a long time to be cramped up in that little thing with people who haven't been able to shower for that entire time.

Re:Looks cosy (2, Insightful)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | about 5 years ago | (#27400921)

Yeah, I'm having a little trouble believing that's going to be an adequate space-craft for going to Mars. For a several day trip to the moon, ok - but being bottled up in that thing for 2-3 years? And where are you going to store several years worth of supplies in there?

I think somebody is smoking something.

Re:Looks cosy (3, Informative)

OolimPhon (1120895) | about 5 years ago | (#27401183)

Perhaps in the large, cylindrical service module which will be launched by Ares 5 before the crew takes off? The crew capsule is just for earth takeoff and landing. They dock with the rest of the spacecraft in earth orbit before leaving for elsewhere.

Re:Looks cosy (1)

rwven (663186) | about 5 years ago | (#27401257)

If you recall, the lunar lander attached to the re-entry capsule on the way there and the way back and added a LOT of room that wasn't there originally. I'd imagine that for a trip to mars, they'd do the same thing, just have a bigger lander/whatever module.

Re:Looks cosy (2, Informative)

goodben (822118) | about 5 years ago | (#27401361)

I believe that the capsule will only be the command center/cockpit/bridge of the spacecraft that is planned to go to Mars. The rest of the craft will be assembled in orbit from various Ares V launches.

Re:Looks cosy (1)

furby076 (1461805) | about 5 years ago | (#27401005)

I agree - that shit is way too small. They need shuttle size at LEAST! Talk about fish in a sardine can. At least the space shuttle is more like a small aquarium - again a bit too small but doable. I would honestly pass on that trip. Space is an issue for people - and everyone needs some alone time and space to stretch out and work-out. That's a death-trap ala mazda miata style.

Re:Looks cosy (1)

v1 (525388) | about 5 years ago | (#27401095)

I can see fitting three in the smaller 60's craft, and maybe packing 5-6 in that bigger orion, for a trip to the moon. But MARS? How can you possibly cram 5-6 people in THAT for such a long trip? That's insane.

Bone mineral loss (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 5 years ago | (#27401155)

Yup, really cosy for a long-distance space trip.

Specially since it's small capsule.
Not some big rotating structure.
No rotation = no "Stanley Kubrick's 2001 : Space Odyssey"-like artificial gravity. (Or like a five-years old playing with a bucket of water, whichever mental picture you prefer)

And a trip to Mars is surely going to be rather long (several months).
Several months without gravity means muscle atrophy and space osteoporosis.

Which means that once they land on mars, the astronauts will hardly be in shape to do their historic "small step for a human".

Imagine the historic phrase: "One small roll-down-the-stairs for a human, but a huge step for mankind". It sort of doesn't play out.

If only the NASA had the same budget as the war in Irak...

Yeah well. (4, Interesting)

MrKaos (858439) | about 5 years ago | (#27400653)

I know you'll probably mod me a troll but I have a sinking felling that me and actually many of the people reading slashdot will never see a real push into space by humanity. I really want to remain optimistic about it but for me this whole orion project is like a reminder of where we *could* have been at the completion of the Apollo launchers.

Don't get me wrong I hope we get off this rock and have a *real* space program but I suspect that I am not the only person reading this that thinks they were born before their time.

Good luck NASA, I hope it all goes well, this time.

Re:Yeah well. (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#27400709)

I know you'll probably mod me a troll but I have a sinking felling that me and actually many of the people reading slashdot will never see a real push into space by humanity

We'll see a real push into space by humanity when there is an actual economic incentive for doing so. When Earth becomes completely overpopulated and/or runs into resource shortages, that's when we'll see space flight really take off. As much as I love NASA, as a Governmentally funded agency they are always going to be held hostage to political considerations -- and you just know some Congressman needs some pork^Weconomic development back home more than NASA needs to go to Mars.

Re:Yeah well. (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#27400963)

Space flight is not going to be a solution to overpopulation for a really long time. The cost of getting something to LEO is around $20,000 per Kg, maybe as low as $4,000 / Kg if you go with something with a fairly high failure rate. The cost with a space elevator would be around $220/Kg, just for the marginal costs, assuming that the magical space pixies built the elevator for free, or closer to $2,000/Kg for the full cost.

Assume a person plus their life support equipment (no possessions) weighs around 100Kg, and you've got a cost of $200K to get someone into orbit (using wildly optimistic figures based on technology that doesn't exist yet). Getting them to somewhere where they can live, and including the cost of actually building that habitat, is likely to at least double this cost and more likely add another order of magnitude.

The people who can afford this kind of expense (probably around $2m, more for anything much above subsistence living) are going to be the ones who can already afford a very comfortable life down here. The people who will most want to leave Earth will be the ones who can't afford to.

Re:Yeah well. (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#27401373)

I didn't claim it was a solution. Only that external economic factors will drive space exploration. IANARS (I am not a rocket scientist) but my hunch would be that resource shortages will drive the initial commercialization of space. Over time as the spaceflight components become standardized and mass produced it would stand to reason that the costs will come down.

Re:Yeah well. (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 5 years ago | (#27401645)

Not until it becomes much cheaper.

For the current prices, it's probably cheaper to extract metals from thin air than it is to mine an asteroid for it.

Re:Yeah well. (1)

rotide (1015173) | about 5 years ago | (#27400853)

Unfortunately, starting a new civilization on another planet is prohibitively expensive.

Think about the support structure needed to really START a new civilization.

You need the basics first.
Water
Food
Electricity
Healthcare (doctors and basic equipment for emergencies)

After that you're going to need places to live and work. I mean, when you're out there, someone has to be making a profit to make it worth even going (yes, that's the world we live in). So you have to assume there is something to mine/create that makes it worthwhile to even be there.

But with all that stuff, it has to come FROM somewhere so you have a bit of a chicken and the egg issue. How do you get all the raw steel, machinery, etc, up to START to build, let alone start to create a worthwhile place to live and work?

So you either fedex (read: rocket/shuttle) all those raw materials up there, or you somehow mine/smelt/forge/create everything, but then you need the stuff TO mine/smelt/forge/create.

With the costs of "shipping" being astronomically high right now, something on the order of hundreds to thousands PER POUND? Just who do you think has the money to SERIOUSLY look into actually creating a moon base?

I'd LOVE for it to happen, but the earth is much cheaper to exploit right now, until the corporations see MORE profit on other worlds, we aren't going to be seeing a push. Even if the government funds such an initiative and subsidizes the startup costs, what company is really going to take that risk?

Re:Yeah well. (1)

cj5 (795058) | about 5 years ago | (#27400903)

Yeah it's called getting rid of useless politicians, and greedy capitalists. The only way to effectively build spacecraft capable of effective space travel is resource-based economy. Until humans can get past their fix on money, forget about leaving behind 1960's technology.

Re:Yeah well. (2, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 5 years ago | (#27401205)

We could be a lo further if we had taken just a fraction of the war budget and let Nasa keep going to the Moon. There is no reason we couldn't have a permanent base by now.

2030 to Mars? Where does this come from. We could have 1 way manned missions to mars right now. Ill bet there would be volunteers.

No, I think Nasa has just become a cash register for the usual defense contractors with no vision.

I am truly sorry we couldn't have had just a little less war, and a little more science.

Re:Yeah well. (1)

DaleRimkunas (409373) | about 5 years ago | (#27401445)

We can't get really serious about this until we start building on 1970's technology and initiate the electric guitar/ spaceship. One for each major city, and we CAN'T wait until the earth is imploding underneath us to launch them!!

How many years have they been working on this? (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 5 years ago | (#27400655)

Wow, all these years of working on the new moon/Mars project, and they hit upon the ingenious idea of making an Apollo splashdown pod slightly bigger. My tax dollars at work.

Re:How many years have they been working on this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27400705)

not only, but it's totally fake, and proud of!

Re:How many years have they been working on this? (1)

xenolion (1371363) | about 5 years ago | (#27400711)

it looks to me like a quick answer.. Just like how old the shuttles are, lets keep dumping very large amounts of cash into aging items and not looking form something new..Oh hold on if forgot we are talking about the U.S. Government putting large amount of cash with no real results.

Re:How many years have they been working on this? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#27400977)

Surely part of the problem with the Shuttles is that they did try to come up with something new, even when the older ideas were better?

If it isn't broken...

(And if sending an Apollo style rocket to Mars was as trivial as that, it would've been done in the 70s. As with most things, ideas are cheap, implementation is hard - the idea of "I know, let's avoid that mad expensive shuttle design" is trivial in terms of cost compared with actually designing a new craft, and the fact that it has a passing resemblance to Apollo doesn't mean it's the same in terms of technology or capability.)

Re:How many years have they been working on this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27400771)

Sorry we couldn't design the Buck Rogers' Rocket as to meet with your approval.

-NASA

Re:How many years have they been working on this? (1, Insightful)

Pravetz-82 (1259458) | about 5 years ago | (#27400791)

Very small part of your tax money, I would say. The bulk of your taxes goes to Iraq and Afghanistan... yeah and for saving greedy bankers. Cheers!

Re:How many years have they been working on this? (1)

rwven (663186) | about 5 years ago | (#27401283)

On the contrary, our taxes aren't supporting Iraq, Afganistan, or the bailout. The federal reserve bank is.

Re:How many years have they been working on this? (3, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#27400929)

Good point, yes, obviously making a spacecraft to carry six people to Mars is as simple as just coming up with the idea "make it bigger". It's not like it's rocket science, is it. They should have just read your comment here on Slashdot, we'd be there by now.

What a waste of those tax dollars, if only we hadn't spent all that money funding NASA this past five years we could have had enough for, I don't know, almost an extra year of war in Iraq ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Budget [wikipedia.org] ). And it's not like they did anything else with all that money, like Shuttle launches is it.

Re:How many years have they been working on this? (1, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 years ago | (#27400993)

It also screams failure to me. The ride to the moon was a sunday drive in a car, the trip to mars is quite a bit longer. Cramming 6 guys in a soupcan for that long is a BAD IDEA. why cant we build something larger? Yeah, yeah launch capacity.. who says it has to be assembled here on the planet, why cant they make the parts screw together in space? We launched skylab, and that was larger than this. use 3 launches. 1 for the engine and spacionics pack, 1 for the crew cab, and 1 for the mars lander. assemble the three pieces in space, man it with a smaller launch or even have them start from the ISS, it could be docked there for assembly. far less fuel would be needed to get to mars and they can even use the earth/moon gravity wells to use even less fuel.

I sat in Apollo 18's capsule that was at the cape. 3 guys in that was nuts (and I was a kid then) I cant see them scaling tat up enough to fit 6 comfortably for a month.

Re:How many years have they been working on this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401325)

SIX months, to Mars. Not one.

In six months of such cramped quarters, the astronauts will have muscle atrophy, since that thing does NOT have a rotating gravity simulation environment. When they GET to Mars, they will have a hard time CRAWLING out of that capsule.

Re:How many years have they been working on this? (5, Insightful)

beejhuff (186291) | about 5 years ago | (#27401327)

I (for once) RTFA, and from what I gathered, they've developed this module and updated launcher to provide an effective round trip mechanism for Moon expeditions, where they will practice the operations that will be required when a full scale Mars mission is executed (sometime around between 2020-2030). I think the important point is that NASA is realizing that the shuttle is not an effective mission system for the next generation of Moon missions, which are a pre-req for any future Mars missions.

To me, this actually sounds like a sober assessment - and one that is long overdue.

New spacecraft runs under Ninnle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27400685)

The computers and glass cockpit inside the Orion spacecraft are similar to those now being installed on the new Boeing 787. It is well known that the 787's software is run under NinnleBSD and it is expected that the same will be true for Orion. Development in cooperation with Ninnle Labs is ongoing.

Princess Leia : (3, Funny)

That_Dan_Guy (589967) | about 5 years ago | (#27400715)

"You came in that thing?, Youâ(TM)re braver than I thought"

Re:Princess Leia : (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 5 years ago | (#27400995)

"You came in that thing?, Youâ(TM)re braver than I thought"

Iuâ(TM)m brave, youuâ(TM)re brave, Weuâ(TM)re all brave, brave.

Re:Princess Leia : (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401037)

That unwanted (TM) is strangely appropriate when referencing Star Wars (TM).

1960s safety? (2, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | about 5 years ago | (#27400719)

"...and builds on 1960s technology to make it safer."

Ah, am I the only one reading this and questioning just exactly what the hell we have been paying NASA Engineers millions of dollars for over the last 45 years?

I mean, I'm all for K.I.S.S. methodology and all, but damn, 40+ years worth of advances should not be completely looked over for "tried and true". Even that is questionable, given Apollos not-so-perfect track record.

Hell, how many "safety" features are still in use today from the 60's in automobiles?

Guess I better start buying stock in vacuum tube manufacturers...

Re:1960s safety? (1)

mbrod (19122) | about 5 years ago | (#27400815)

It is just marketing to make people think they are using pre-existing tech to keep things cheap.

If they came out and said they were working on a shape shifting liquid metal clokeable craft for the Mars mission it would die in five minutes because people would know it would cost a gazillion dollars.

The current path will still cost a gazillion dollars, just not scare the public in to rejecting it before it gets off the ground.

Re:1960s safety? (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | about 5 years ago | (#27400943)

The current path will still cost a gazillion dollars, just not scare the public in to rejecting it before it gets off the ground.

Some would say that's an unfortunate choice of words given the past "failures to launch".

Re:1960s safety? (3, Insightful)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | about 5 years ago | (#27400847)

Well seat belts came in around the late 60's... I think what they mean is the fundamental craft was sound (in the same way that cars are still fairly car-shaped) however they are now adding ABS, Air bags and a musical horn.

Re:1960s safety? (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | about 5 years ago | (#27400867)

Hell, how many "safety" features are still in use today from the 60's in automobiles?

Anti-lock brakes and head restraints are the two most prominent.

Car seat belts were invented in the 50's. Wouldn't want a car without those.

Re:1960s safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401045)

What part of "built on" didn't you understand?

Keep in mind that machine you're currently using to post to /. is based on technology that's been around since the 1950's. I think you'll agree that they've since built on it since then.

By the way, seat belts are still in use.

Re:1960s safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401139)

Oh, I don't know - maybe the brakes? Could be the headlights too. Come to think of it, how about the brake lights? Could it be the windshield wipers? You know, maybe you could re-think your comment. I think the answer to:
 
  Hell, how many "safety" features are still in use today from the 60's in automobiles?
 
is: All of them.

Re:1960s safety? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 5 years ago | (#27401593)

Hell, how many "safety" features are still in use today from the 60's in automobiles?

This is purely off the top of my head, so I might have things a bit mis-placed... but I know that these were in use during the 60s:
Dual-chamber master cylinder
Disk brakes
Seat Belts
Padded dash
Breakaway steering column
Unibody construction
Crumple zones
Halogen Headlamps
Protected passenger area

There is no doubt that cars are safer and more reliable today - but you are very wrong if you think that they aren't "built upon" 1960s technology.

Same ol' shite in a different packaging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27400743)

So is this where millions of dollars are sank into?

NASA could've just went to Maytag who already has the latest generation of washing machines ready and standing-by. They are about as good and probably safer than this dishwasher NASA built.

A little early... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27400887)

... for April 1st, isn't it?

The prospect of a mars mission (3, Insightful)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 5 years ago | (#27400901)

Sets some interesting challenges never mind the amount of time to get there but simple landing and taking off again will be horrendous. Bear in mind that to achieve even Low earth Orbit you kneed some pretty impressive ordinance. Getting back from the moon will be a piece of piss in comparison at only 16.6% earth gravity but Mars's gravity is 38% earth gravity which means any escape mechanism is going to kneed orders of magnitude more impulse in order to achieve marsion orbit compared to to same feat on the moon. I'm not sure it could be achieved with a single stage rocket although I admit it's a possibility. But what about Launch a pad???? Will it be Liquid or Solid propellant???? Many many questions of which I'm sure even NASA hasn't even started to look for answers yet.

Wait -- what? (1)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#27400905)

...and builds on 1960s technology to make it safer.

Does this mean that since the 1960's the safety of space travel has declined?

That is just fucking stupid. (0, Troll)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 5 years ago | (#27401001)

This is the best we can come up with? a fucking capsule?

That's not a spacecraft, it's a damn escape pod for a real space craft.

Why are we not focused on building a space ship? A real space ship? Why no earth corvette? or frigate?

I feel sorry for the crew who has to spend all that time in that shit box.

Re:That is just fucking stupid. (0, Troll)

GrmpyOldPgmr (824319) | about 5 years ago | (#27401501)

Mod parent up. This shit is just ridiculous. Hey, retards. Maybe it might make a little more sense to explore "the moon, Mars, and beyond" with an actual goddamn spaceship?!?! You know, one that isn't going to take a goddamn year just to get to another planet that's practically right next door, considering just how big "space" is. Instead of wasting what little money they have building ridiculous stupid shit like this maybe Nasa should spend it all on research on a new form of propulsion. Even if it takes 200 years to figure it out. That'd be a lot better than them stuffing 6 people in this retarded ass sardine can for a year just so they can say we got to Mars a little earlier. But they'll probably do it anyway. Yeah, I'm sure we'll be zipping around the Milky Way in our Apollo rockets any day now. Talk about jumping the gun. NASA, the Amtrak of space exploration.

Re:That is just fucking stupid. (1, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | about 5 years ago | (#27401585)

Maybe it might make a little more sense to explore "the moon, Mars, and beyond" with an actual goddamn spaceship?!?! You know, one that isn't going to take a goddamn year just to get to another planet that's practically right next door, considering just how big "space" is.

Yeah, you retards. It's not rocket science.

Oh, wait, it is. I'd mis-identified the retards involved here.

For the record, there are ways of getting to Mars in substantially less time. However, they're not going to happen, because people don't like hearing the N-word.

Re:That is just fucking stupid. (2, Insightful)

rbanffy (584143) | about 5 years ago | (#27401561)

"I feel sorry for the crew who has to spend all that time in that shit box."

They won't. And you can really consider that capsule is more or less the escape pod from the real spaceship. Other way to think about it is the "shipping container for the crew and return samples".

I suppose most of the time the crew will have more spacious quarters, specially when en route to Mars. The capsule will also never get to the Martian surface - they will probably have a descent vehicle either with them since Earth or safely parked in Martian orbit as well as an ascent vehicle landed near their working site on Mars that's there since before they leave Earth.

Did they show the "Green Screen" too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401059)

Wow, based on 60's technology for safety, amazing. that "cone shape" is really a nice touch too. Will they be using DEC PDP-8 computers like the first shuttle (designed in the 1960's), or just stick to analog, or gear driven computers for enhanced reliability (like the German V-1 and V-2) The advantage of mechanical computers is that WD-40 can significantly decrease computing time as required by speeding up the cogs. Also, mechanical computers are easier to keep cool. In 40 years, you would think that somebody at NASA would have watched "Space 1999" or "UfO", and stolen some of the ideas they had. The "Moon Shuttle" that docks with he high altitude bomber style aircraft and hence doesn't need wings or landing gear was a cool idea. This is practical as we recover satellites that way today. It could take passengers to either the space station or the moon directly. Also, the "Eagle" and "Hawk" ships from "Space 1999" were roughly based on the Apollo capsule shape for the command / cockpit section for limited use in atmospheric reentry, or as a lifeboat but overall were more of a helicopter style of design which allowed multiple use while in space. Passengers, cargo, or supplies such as fuel could be carried in the "cargo container area", much like a heavy lift Sikorsky does. Both ships were of space frame design (no pun intended) which allowed great flexibility in application, use, and customization to mission types. As a child of the 1970's I was extremely disappointed to see the Orion craft so reminiscent of Apollo. First the "Big Traks" on Mars (Spirit and Sojourner), now a retread of Apollo. What about the ships designed by Von Braun and company? Sure he was a Nazi and should have been deported / indicted for War Crimes, but like it or not while he was here he was our Guru when it came to spacecraft. It would be a lot easier to get excited about a "real spaceship" than a "cement mixer" looking thing like Orion. Even the Soyuz is cooler looking than that and more importantly more robust as spheres are very strong. The Apollo Service Module was shaped like a ballistic missile warhead which re-entered the atmosphere backwards thanks to an ablative heat shield. Its real purpose was for ascent not descent, since the Saturn 5 was our answer to the heavy lift Soviet ICBM launch systems. Seriously, Aerodynamics aren't important in space, however radiation shielding is. A cone shape provides less forward shielding than a sphere for example due to less cross sectional surface. I guess NASA needs some "new blood", too bad Burt Rutan wasn't involved, or science fiction writers, or dare I say, the Russians? We have been absent from space since 1972, is this how we want to return? Jim

Building on 1960's tech? (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about 5 years ago | (#27401075)

How about starting from scratch and learning from our mistakes instead of using duct tape on it. Reference 1960's material, don't build on it.

Yay! 1960s tech! (1)

Pedrito (94783) | about 5 years ago | (#27401179)

... builds on 1960s technology to make it safer.

Can you imagine a car manufacturer throwing out a line like that? "Our new car builds on 1960s tech to make it safer." Boy, that inspires me with all kinds of confidence.

Vista Capable vs Mars Capable (1)

sslk (1287796) | about 5 years ago | (#27401217)

Immediately after reading the headline containing the words "Mars Capable" the image of the Vista capable sticker flashed into my mind accompanied by the BSOD on all Command Center computers and some unfortunate astronaut's last communication transmissible to earth before his untimely death being "I told you we should have used Linux"

Waste of money and time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401245)

That's nice, but it's a horrible waste of money. What are we going to do in space? We don't have the technology to do anything useful there, and the few things we might do robots can do just as well. Why not take all of the money wasted on this and do basic research with it?

We'd all be much better off. Then every few decades we can decide if space is useful. And no, there is no scientific reason to put humans into space.

This seems misleading (3, Informative)

JerryLove (1158461) | about 5 years ago | (#27401383)

The vehicle in question is an ascent/re-entry craft. It might be sufficient for the trip to the moon (though certainly landing and relaunching will require a second craft as it did for Apollo), but this vehicle is not up to the task of providing suitable living conditions for a trip to Mars.

For a Mars trip this is at best a way to get up to the interplanetary vessel and return to Earth from it. Given that, I can't imagine why you would bother to cart it all the way there just to cart it back.

Mankind should assemble a spaceship in orbit. (1)

master_p (608214) | about 5 years ago | (#27401409)

The only realistic approach to space travel in our solar system is to build a good nuclear-driven space ship in orbit, big enough so as that people can live many years in it, with rotating sections to simulate gravity. This spaceship will never land onto planets, but it would contain pods that could land and take off.

It could take a few trillion dollars, but if all the major countries co-operate, it is feasible. All the money spent in weapons could be spent for space exploration.

Re:Mankind should assemble a spaceship in orbit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401589)

I agree Master P

~Skelator

A little reading, please (4, Interesting)

stuntpope (19736) | about 5 years ago | (#27401455)

Is it too much to ask for people who read a supposedly tech site actually read, and perhaps think, before pounding their keyboards with things like "how's that little thing going to get 6 astronauts to Mars?", "NASA is stoopid", and the like?

Its proposed use is to carry up to 6 astronauts to the space station, and from there, 4 to the Moon. For the Moon missions, Orion will travel along with the Altair lunar lander.

For Mars missions, "Orion could rendezvous in low Earth orbit with vehicles that will take explorers to other destinations in our solar system such as Mars." http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/306407main_orion_crew%20_expl_vehicle.pdf [nasa.gov]

These Mars-bound vehicles will be assembled in low Earth orbit. There is no reason to believe that 4 or 6 astronauts would be confined to the small Orion capsule for the duration of a Mars voyage.

On a side note, I was 5 years old when I watched the first manned landing on the Moon. It's amazing to me that a manned Mars mission may happen when I'm in my 70's. Certainly not how I imagined things when I was young.

Re:A little reading, please (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | about 5 years ago | (#27401547)

I remember the moon landings well, was only 8 myself, but when an article supposedly shows the spacecraft mock up that will take us to mars, you have to question, if this wasn't it then where is the mock-up? So far NASA has not published a single design for spacecraft that would get to Mars.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...