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Buzz Aldrin's Radical Plan For NASA

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the he-was-there-when-it-happened dept.

NASA 519

FleaPlus writes "Apollo 11 astronaut (and MIT Astronautics Sc.D.) Buzz Aldrin suggests a bolder plan for NASA (while still remaining within its budget), which he will present to the White House's Augustine Commission; he sees NASA heading down the wrong path with a 'rehash of what we did 40 years ago' which could derail future exploration and settlement. For the short-term, Aldrin suggests canceling NASA's troubled and increasingly costly Ares I, instead launching manned capsules on commercial Delta IV, Atlas V, and/or SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. In the medium-term, NASA should return to the moon with an international consortium, with the ultimate goal of commercial lunar exploitation in mind. Aldrin's long term plan includes a 2018 comet flyby, a 2019 manned trip to a near-earth asteroid, a 2025 trip to the Martian moon Phobos, and one-way trips to colonize Mars."

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519 comments

Good ideas. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478195)

Seriously, NASA (and most space programs in general) should have one crucial long term goal: Getting us off this ball of rock and inhabiting other ones. I think that Aldrin's plans make more progress towards this than most of what has been going on for pretty much my entire lifetime.

Re:Good ideas. (2, Interesting)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478317)

Yes, one step closer to living my fantasy life like in Firefly. They can cancel the show but they can't stop the Serenity

Re:Good ideas. (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478519)

Agreed. They even left it hanging after the movie.

If ever there was a time that show's message was needed, it's now.

Re:Good ideas. (1, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478325)

That's going to be difficult. Would you want to live on titan? Much better to spend the colossal amount of money on fixing this world. Manned space flight seems like a waste of money as well. What's the point? It makes everything massively heavier and more expensive for very little return. We *should* be going to the moon - for Helium3.

Re:Good ideas. (5, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478533)

Except it's not a colossal amount of money at all--this is the absurd misconception about space travel. The reality is it is peanuts. Cheaper in fact than fixing this world, by a several orders of magnitude.

Re:Good ideas. (5, Informative)

TiberSeptm (889423) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478713)

True - the NASA budget is about 1/20th what our total military expenditures are if you leave out the ongoing operational costs that are not in the primary budget. http://throb.typepad.com/special/2004%20US%20Budget.jpg [typepad.com]

Most Americans also believe we should increase spending on NASA.
http://www.spacepolitics.com/2007/01/10/bad-and-good-news-about-public-support-for-space/ [spacepolitics.com]

If we spent as much on space exploration as we did on the military or on bank bailouts for just one year we would have an endowment capable of funding permanent bases on the moon and robotic development of Mars.

for what purpose? To mess up the moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478889)

I just don't get the benefits of going to the moon

Re:by a several orders of magnitude. (1)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478837)

That is a problem, when you talk about *B*illions of dollars peoples eyes glaze over and they shut down. For many people there's no real conceptual difference between 2, 20, or 200 billion dollars. It's all just an unimaginably huge amount of money.

If there's any good to come out of the whole economic mess, one may be that trillion is the new billion. It will seem so petty to obsess over relatively minor expenses like education, social programs, and space exploration.

Re:Good ideas. (5, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478703)

I have a couple of articles that I might suggest you read:

Neil Tyson on exploring space [discovermagazine.com]

10 Everyday Gadgets With Ties To The Space Program [gizmodo.com]

And actually, I could continue copying links for a long time. This is just barely scraping the surface. The space program has paid for itself many times over (one conservative estimate is 3 times) with advances to technology and industry.

Re:Good ideas. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478359)

Not just NASA and space programs. A good chunk of our entire worlds resources should be devoted to getting us off this rock.

Sooner or later we will have a global disaster that WILL wipe us out. Volcano, comet, magnetic shift, meteor, gamma ray burst, germ, ect ect ect... And then what. we're done. no more humans. haha. game over.

Instead we bicker over who owns what dirt and what invisible superbeing is watching us try to die with more stuff than everyone else.........

Maybe its not such a bad idea to wipe us out. We're insane.

Re:Good ideas. (4, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478643)

I am so tired of the "get us off this rock" crap.

I'm a lifelong NASA nut and space fan, and my fantasies are as elaborate as anyone's but that's all it is - fantasy.

There are billions of people on this planet, and counting. We would have to launch over 200,000 people a day into space each day just to keep up with the daily increase in the population, without even making a dent in the "reserve."

Apart from thousands of years off Nivenesque dreams of turning the planet itself into a spaceship, we just stuck here and we have to face it.

The absolute best we could hope to achieve is to launch a very select elite by using far more than their fair share of resources, while leaving essentially the entire human populace behind to deal with the consequences.

And when they left, then what? Here we are with a perfectly self-regulating ecosystem in the prime location with conditions tailor made for us (or rather us for them), and we can't understand it well enough or control our own impulses well enough to keep from fucking it up.... but somehow we'll be smart enough to go somewhere else less opportune and build one from scratch?

"Get us off this rock" attitudes are the product of denial, passing the buck to the our future victims, the ultimate expression of our throw-away consumer culture. We'll use up this planet, toss it and get a new one.

No. Exploration of space is vital to scientific knowledge and indeed to our attempts to understand earth (as exploring Venus helped us understand global warming) but as a species we are stuck with what we have and we'd better take care of it, there's nowhere else in the neighborhood worth anything more than an outpost.

If a sentient species from earth ever DOES spread out far enough to fully leave Earth behind for good, it won't be Homo Sapiens who does it... it would be far enough in the future that either our descendant species (or something else's) will be doing it.

Re:Good ideas. (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478753)

Really? Have you read your Darwin? Are you aware of how much of natural selection takes place? Often, it happens because a population gets isolated due to the destruction of the main population.

You may think it's fantasy, but keep in mind that eventually, a life-killer asteroid strike, while extremely unlikely in any given year, is eventually a mathematical certainty. By all the best evidence, it has happened before, probably more than once.

It may be a long-term goal, but eventually we must send at least some people "off this rock". Scoff all you want, but that is playing the real probabilities.

Re:Good ideas. (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478923)

"You may think it's fantasy, but keep in mind that eventually, a life-killer asteroid strike, while extremely unlikely in any given year, is eventually a mathematical certainty. By all the best evidence, it has happened before, probably more than once."

That comes under learning to take care of the planet we have. It would be a hell of a lot easier and cheaper and more quickly accomplishable to build an asteroid detection and intercept system than to create a self-sustaining population of humans off the earth that can be the entire future of the species.

There are reasons to send people out there, maybe even permanently at some point. Thinking that they could be a future branch of the human race any time within the forseeable future is nuts. We can more easily come up with way to deal with any calamity to befall the Earth until the sun goes red giant than we can move off of it.

Re:Good ideas. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478771)

I thought we only here because another planet launched a select few off of it...like the middlemen...?

Re:Good ideas. (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478815)

We would have to launch over 200,000 people a day into space each day just to keep up with the daily increase in the population

You are right, shipping people off to other planets without making other changes, such as reducing birthrate, is not going to reduce population of Earth. However, if your goal (among others, such as access to new resources) is to ensure the survival of the species should something horrible happen on Earth, then a long term plan to spread to one or two other worlds does make a lot of sense. A self sustaining base on Mars is not a fantasy, it is something that could possibly be achieved with today's technology if the will was there. In 50 years, just as the biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction are getting within reach of even small groups of psychos, it will be no problem at all. You have to make a first step somewhere.

Re:Good ideas. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478791)

Maybe its not such a bad idea to wipe us out. We're insane.

Right, and I propose we start with you, JACKASS!

Gravity wells (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478581)

I don't see the big plus of inhabiting other "gravity wells". It's not like they're that much nicer places, and it'll be expensive to get back off them.

Better to work on building sustainable space stations with necessary stuff like artificial gravity and radiation shielding, so that people can actually live on them _indefinitely_. Start by building them near the Earth. After that work on space stations that can build space stations out of stuff like asteroids - space factories. Then we can have space colonies and roam about colonizing the solar system.

Once you have a sustainable space station, it doesn't really matter how long it takes to get to Mars or Titan (within reason of course). No rush.

In fact, the long term inhabitants of space colonies might view living on Mars or the Moon far more unpleasant than living in a space colony.

Trying to live on some other planet or some moon without having a "real" space station seems like trying to jump before even being able to stand unsupported. Yes, maybe you can still do it with great effort and cost, but it's ridiculous and stupid.

The current space stations don't count - they're spaceships "going nowhere", the equivalent of living in a cramped subcompact car. Not suitable places for raising future generations of humans.

Re:Good ideas. (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478689)

Yes! That should really be the doctrine of any space program. Fix the 'all the eggs in one basket' problem. I think some of this is great progress towards that ultimate goal. Using Luna as a learning tool should be our main focus I think. Start a colony on the moon, immediately.

Re:Good ideas. (2, Insightful)

dugrrr (582161) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478747)

Absolutely!. We need to double our odds as fast as possible as a species. My concern is that there is a preoccupation with sinking us into another gravity well simply for a nice photo-op. We need to work on self-sustaining habitats that are space borne. The next logical step after creating a low Earth orbit platform (ISS) would be an assembly platform in either a higher Earth orbit or at one of the Lagrangian points this side of the Moon. space should actually be the destination.

Re:Good ideas. (5, Insightful)

savuporo (658486) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478751)

Seriously, NASA (and most space programs in general) should have one crucial long term goal: Getting us off this ball of rock and inhabiting other ones

NASA is a government agency ( an arthritic one ), government agencies don't colonize. Especially when international law explicitly forbids that.

What most people miss in 2001: Space Odyssey, are the logos on the space plane and Space Station V itself, where dr. Heywood flies to . They read "Pan American" and "Hilton Hotels" accordingly, NOT NASA, RSA or any other *SA.

Ironically, when time called for beating the communists to the moon, the great U.S. of A. did not tap into free enterprise, but created a huge socialist government-run space business, which 40 years later still thinks it should be running a space trucking line.

Re:Good ideas. (4, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478789)

I think we will get off this rock. But not in the form that you might think of.

We will send out robots. With our brains uploaded into them. And robots with a high intelligence.
We will also create wetware robots. We will move from planet to planet via data transmission. From robot body to robot body... to wetware body.
In a way, we could call this the "energy lifeform" that you see in so many sci-fi movies.

So, in some time in the future, "humans" will be a term, associated to the "program" (or whatever it will be), and not to the body itself. That will just be another tool.

I wonder, what porn we will be watching. ^^

one way the only way to explore (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478197)

how much for a one way ticket?

Re:one way the only way to explore (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478301)

Biggest problem moving to Mars.
Although your network connection will be optical fiber, the lag is just beyond freaking belief...

No Australians on Mars... (5, Funny)

GrpA (691294) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478309)

Yeah, a one-way ticket to colonise some other place...

We believed you the first time, when you said we were all "Criminals" and needed to be sent to Australia.

We're going to be a bit more suspicious when you start sending us to Mars though for the same reason...

And it won't be for stealing bread this time I bet... Probably for downloading music or similar.

GrpA

Re:No Australians on Mars... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478895)

Yeah, a one-way ticket to colonise some other place...

We believed you the first time, when you said we were all "Criminals" and needed to be sent to Australia.

We're going to be a bit more suspicious when you start sending us to Mars though for the same reason...

And it won't be for stealing bread this time I bet... Probably for downloading music or similar.

GrpA

This would mean that Mars would get a culture of free information sharing. And as we all know from numerous Science Fiction stories, Martians always try to take over the Earth. The fact that the humans always win won't help that time, because the Martians will be humans as well. And they will have the advantage of more rapid development, because they don't waste their time fighting over copyrights, patents etc.

Reality TV (3, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478857)

Don't worry, start a Reality TV show called: "Vote Them Off The Planet".

Depending on the categories, winners get a one way or return ticket to various space destinations.

The voters pay for the tickets by voting (SMS etc).

And depending on the categories, either the candidates or someone else presents the case for why the candidates should win.

For example:

Proposer #1: "I propose George Bush, 'one way', since he's so keen on going to the Moon, we should send him and it would be a net benefit to the world".

Bet buzz is only good... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478205)

for the second post! Always second! Poor guy. (He followed Armstrong onto the moon.)I prefer the first post!

Oh and one final thing.... (4, Insightful)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478243)

...punch Bart Sibrel in the mouth. Repeatedly. My only criticism of Buzz Aldrin is he didn't plant his feet hard enough to break Sibrel's jaw with the punch. And have me there so I could hold Buzz's coat. Hey! Maybe we could fire Sibrel at Mars to colonize it on his own. And then deny he ever existed.

Re:Oh and one final thing.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478285)

I want to add to this that I'd like to hold the guy whilst Mr. Aldrin is punching him. That way it will be easier for his jaw to be properly broken. Not that I doubt the Mr. Aldrin's ability to do the job, but I'd like to make it easier for him.

Re:Oh and one final thing.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478475)

Since I had to look it up: [wikipedia.org]

Most astronauts have refused to grant him interviews due to his questionable tactics used in attempts to obtain footage of them confessing to being conspirators in a hoax. The most infamous incident involved Apollo 11 crew member Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. According to Aldrin, he was lured to a Beverly Hills hotel under the pretext of an interview on space for a Japanese children's television show. When he arrived, Aldrin claims Sibrel was there demanding that he swear on a Bible that he had walked on the moon.

When Aldrin refused, Sibrel called him a coward, a liar, and a thief. Aldrin punched Sibrel in the jaw and the incident was captured on video. Sibrel later attempted to use the tape to convince police and prosecutors that he was the victim of an assault. However, it was decided that Aldrin had been provoked, and did not actually injure Sibrel, and so no charges were filed. Many talk show hosts aired the clip.

Re:Oh and one final thing.... (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478621)

Yes, of course Aldrin had been provoked. That and the fact that no jury in the US would convict Aldrin had he pulled out a gun and shot him live on TV. I don't know why I'm still incensed, but I guess spending too much time studying the Apollo missions makes me just in awe as to what Armstrong and Aldrin did, and makes me angrier than hell that anyone could seriously call Aldrin a liar for saying he did what he did.

Gah, no. (5, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478287)

Good idea ditching the extra launch vehicles. Let someone else take the risk if you can.

But an international consortium? Did he even pay attention to station?

International consortiums are great, if your goal is "to work together with other nations towards a goal." But they tend to fail miserably if you have something you want to actually accomplish. You end up doing everything redundantly anyway, and somehow it costs even more than just the redundancy ought to account for.

The only upside to the consortium idea is also a huge downside: you can sort-of force certain milestones by making them treaty obligations. Unfortunately, then you have a pile of treaty obligations in your way if you need to scrap part of the project to go down a better avenue, or you just want to cut your losses and get out.

Where are my mod points (2, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478329)

Parent nailed it.

Re:Where are my mod points (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478651)

Parent nailed it.

No, Buzz nailed it before parent did. Buzz doesn't want to go back to the moon. However, no one (including him) has the balls to cancel this project.

Therefore, Buzz is suggesting that we instead sandbag the project, cut our losses, and give it to other countries. That can be our contribution to the consortium. If those other countries fail, who the hell cares? If they make it there, that's fine also. Either way, we've been there, and we've done that. There isn't much to gain for us, but there may be something to gain for the countries that want to go to the moon -- but that haven't gone yet.

Re:Where are my mod points (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478781)

Wrong on both counts. He actively advocates we develop stations on the moon for commercial purposes. If he was "wimping out", he would suggest that we get there simply for the sake of getting there.

Second, he is NOT suggesting that we "give it to other countries." Anywhere. Ever. Did you really read anything he has been saying these many years?

Re:Gah, no. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478495)

NASA has a lot of experience in some fields and the Russians have a lot of experience in others (eg. launch vehicles, long term missions etc). Also NASA has efffectively been doing a lot of things successfully with international contractors for a very long time - NASA has paid for a lot of work done in Australia for at least twenty years. All it takes for it to work is clear divisions of responsibility and good management. Shiny things to distract meddling politicians also help and allow the real work to be done.

Re:Gah, no. (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478527)

But they tend to fail miserably if you have something you want to actually accomplish

Did you not read his article? You need to read it again. What Buzz is saying is essentially: "Going back to the moon is old-hat. I even have a t-shirt to prove it is. We need to think bigger, but I realize that the moon stuff needs some attention. Let's make an international consortium where the others do the heavy lifting on this mission since it is probably mostly useless anyway. Then we can focus on going to Phobos and Mars."

Buzz has something he actually wants accomplished, that is why he wants someone else to do most of the lifting on the moon project. It is a side-track. Its only value (probably) is training. We need to be there though.

I hope this is the path NASA takes (2, Insightful)

seekret (1552571) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478323)

I really like his ideas, hopefully they will come to fruition and NASA will turn into the space agency we all have been wishing we had. To think, if Aldrin's plans succeed we will be on Mars in my lifetime...That sends thrill filled shivers through my body.

Re:I hope this is the path NASA takes (1)

kzieli (1355557) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478513)

The thing with one way tickets to Mars is that you need to find a very rare combination of attributes. You need people that a) are willing b) are psycologically stable and likely to remain so living in a hostile environment for decades or possibly for the rest of their lives c) have the needed skills. I strongly suspect that the majority of thouse who possess trais b & c are lacking trait a, as they would see that they can have a much better life if they stay on Earth. To have a viable colony you need about 50% of said volanteers be female. Every woman I know would react negatively to this proposition. Even then I suspect most of the men who would be happy enough to volanteed when discussing this over a beer, would probably back out when the chips where down and it was time to get in the launch vehicle.

Re:I hope this is the path NASA takes (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478559)

If only you had 300 million people to choose from - oh wait, you do.

Re:I hope this is the path NASA takes (2, Funny)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478577)

To have a viable colony you need about 50% of said volanteers be female

The history of European colonization says this is wrong, so long as the native Martians are attractive enough to rape.

Re:I hope this is the path NASA takes (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478827)

If you want to be technical, there is no real reason that the split would have to be anywhere near 50%. It could theoretically work with a 5 to 1 or even higher mix, either way.

no one else is saying it so i will... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478327)

all across the world millions of young negros and fags are weeping over the death of michael jackson. i just wonder how many of them run linsux.

Commercial exploitation (1)

taucross (1330311) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478331)

It just saddens me that man, after thousands years of dreaming of the stars, should not use space travel for anything other than the financial enslavement of his planetary brothers. Doesn't space travel put human pettiness into perspective for anybody?

Ah well. At least it will be great to see more pictures.

Re:Commercial exploitation (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478399)

it saddens me that people like you still bitch about commercial ventures, when you wouldn't have the PC or internet to do so if it wasn't for such ventures. repeat after me - just because it's being done for money, it doesn't mean it's evil....

Re:Commercial exploitation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478573)

He didn't say it was evil. He just said it saddens him that we don't have a better reason for doing it than money.

Re:Commercial exploitation (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478411)

Eh?

Exploitation of resources has been the fuel for all major geographical migrations in the history of man. Why stop with Earth?

What is important is to get space-faring technology to the masses, before governments or private interests gain a long term monopoly on the technology. Building a boat was easy, buying a car is easy. Airplanes are less accessible, but cars/boats take you anywhere you need to go. If space travel is held in the hands of a few (in the very long term, obviously) I would have concerns about the use of said technology.

"Commercial exploitation" is desirable! (4, Interesting)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478647)

Would you rather see Mars as an eternally dead rustball, or a thriving new home for humanity, full of farms, factories and cities? And if millions of people are ever going to participate in exploration and colonization, how exactly are they going to get food (or even air!) from the new and hostile environment other than by "exploiting" it? And should we expect them to live non-commercially and work together out of selfless collectivism, as on Star Trek? They tried that method in Jamestown and Plymouth for a while -- and the death rate was incredible.

Also, I don't see how the concept of "enslavement" can be applied to an inanimate object.

Re:Commercial exploitation (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478855)

"It just saddens me that man, after thousands years of dreaming of the stars, should not use space travel for anything other than the financial enslavement of his planetary brothers. Doesn't space travel put human pettiness into perspective for anybody?"

Give me half of your money, and I will believe you are not being a hypocrite.

Safety? (2, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478363)

Aldrin suggests canceling NASA's troubled and increasingly costly Ares I, instead launching manned capsules on commercial Delta IV, Atlas V, and/or SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.

Weren't those considered unsafe for manned flight?
     

Manned flight is unsafe (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478457)

IMO we should just leave it to nice little bots until we can come up with something other than giant firecrackers to put people in space.

Re:Manned flight is unsafe (1)

Myrcutio (1006333) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478603)

They're really safe firecrackers though. I bet there have been more people injured and killed by M80's than space flight.

Re:Manned flight is unsafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478697)

space flight deaths or injuries: 18 (http://www.airsafe.com/events/space.htm)

fireworks deaths or injuries: somewhere in the thousands (http://www.airsafe.com/events/space.htm)

Re:Manned flight is unsafe (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478645)

And when we finally get there we have to fight the bots for their land... No thanks.

Re:Manned flight is unsafe (3, Insightful)

TiberSeptm (889423) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478735)

It's kind of paternalistic to condemn manned spaceflight as risky when the risk is something that many astronauts assume gladly for the chance to experience space.

The inherent risk of manned spaceflight is an argument that people tend to throw in to give their otherwise self-serving cost arguments a false feeling of moral weight.

Re:Safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478521)

his proposal includes modifying them to make them safe for human flight. it shouldn't take too much. hell, nasa's early rockets were basically just small airtight capsules on modified ICBMs!

Re:Safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478543)

The safety of the Atlas V and Delta IV was estimated from the failure rates of all Delta II, Atlas Centaur, and Titan launches since 1992, although they are not similar designs. This meant, for example, that the relatively high failure rate of the Titan IV, which used strap-on solid rocket motors, did not count against the Ares, which has a main solid rocket motor, but counted against the Delta IV-H, which has only liquid propulsion. In May 2009 the previously-withheld appendices to the 2006 ESAS study were leaked, revealing a number of apparent flaws in the study, which gave safety exemptions to the selected Ares I design while using a faulty model which unfairly penalized the EELV-based designs. ~ Wikipedia

They were defined unsafe by NASA because of politics, not facts.

I trust the man (1)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478379)

he's been to mach 32.

Re:I trust the man (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478407)

Trust Buzz? What about this, Google:

XlkV1ybBnHI

Re:I trust the man (1)

TSchut (1314115) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478605)

Read the wikipedia article on buzz aldrin and you'll learn that his words were edited such that it was all very much out of context.

Re:I trust the man (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478531)

He's calculated the trajactories for docking two incredibly fast moving bits of metal orbiting the moon on a slide rule! If he hadn't got that perfectly right he wouldn't be here today.

Re:I trust the man (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478565)

He's calculated the trajactories for docking two incredibly fast moving bits of metal orbiting the moon on a slide rule! If he hadn't got that perfectly right he wouldn't be here today.

The way I read it you could do it without the slide rule. He had a simple method based on keeping the other vehicle static relative to background stars.

Definitely the right person to send to the surface with Armstrong.

Re:I trust the man (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478821)

Simple for him perhaps since he did a Doctorate on it, not so simple for the rest of us :)
Definitely the right person to be there when the navigation computer didn't work and there was the moon in the way blocking radio communication with earth.

Re:I trust the man (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478625)

And not forgetting the whole standing on the moon thing. Brown trouser time.

All he has to do next is get his knob out in front of the pope and we can rename him Captain Awesome.

Colony practice? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478397)

Shouldn't self-sustaining colonies be practiced on the moon first, before Mars? The moon is a two-day trip while Mars is roughly an 18-month one. It's easier help them if things go wrong during the learning curve. Moon colonies is what the current plan calls for.
   

Re:Colony practice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478471)

Parent post:

Shouldn't self-sustaining colonies be practiced on the moon first, before Mars? The moon is a two-day trip while Mars is roughly an 18-month one. It's easier help them if things go wrong during the learning curve. Moon colonies is what the current plan calls for.We'll cross that bridge when we come back to it later.

Tag line immediately below that post:

We'll cross that bridge when we come back to it later.

Coincidence?

Re:Colony practice? (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478591)

I think given the expanded resources of Mars, it would be easier to make self-sustainable compared to the moon.
And there is next to no chance of terraforming the moon. I think Mars has a small chance doesn't it?

Re:Colony practice? (1)

Mr. Roadkill (731328) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478601)

The moon is closer, but it's also likely to be a more hostile environment - for the equipment, and possibly the crew too. Moon dust is *really* nasty stuff.

Re:Colony practice? (1)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478677)

As I understand it, the two environments are substantially different. Mars has higher air pressure, double gravity, less temperature variation (deadly cold to just really cold, instead of deadly cold to deadly hot), and a different and lighter required suit design. The main similarities are that they're far away, hard to reach, require spacesuits, and have that problem with ultra-fine dust. A lot of that scenario can be practiced in Antarctica, and is actually being done. So, I don't think that going to the Moon specifically for practice would be all that useful.

Re:Colony practice? (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478813)

No. Self sustaining colonies should be practiced in orbit around the Earth.

The moon is an X day trip, whereas the time to orbit is much shorter. It's easier to help them if things go wrong.

Once you have self sustaining colonies in space, it doesn't matter so much how long it takes to get to Mars.

But people might then think, hey why bother landing humans on Mars, we'll just stay in our comfy space stations and send robot probes down to mars, while we mine the asteroids (and build more probes if necessary).

Re:Colony practice? (2, Interesting)

TiberSeptm (889423) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478905)

The moon has effectively zero atmosphere, no water (frozen or otherwise), highly abbrassive surface dust, and offers practically no protection from solar radiation. It has little in the ways of mineral wealth or useful building materials. This things (mostly the lack of water) combine to make a truly self-sustaining colony on the moon effectively impossible. Even with the best recycling technologies, you would still need water, oxygen/replacement atmosphere every now and then. There would be some leakage, especially whenever airlocks are cycled- even once depressurized they will still release some atmosphere every time they're opened.

The moon would still be ideal for some things. If we ever figure out the nuts and bolts of profitable fusion, the He-3 on the moon could power us for a century or two. Yes it's close, so it's a good first place to put some permanent structures. It would be a great location for a science station and telescope array. So I'm all for putting an externally-sustained helium-3 mine and telescope base, but I don't think it's the place to try a truly self-sustaining colony.


Mars has dry and water ices. That alone provides a major component required for a self-sustained colony. There's also large amounts of metals and metal oxides in the soil. These can provide both building materials and oxygen. Sodium, Aluminum, Sulfur, Titanium, Iron, Magnesium, and Calcium can be found readily in the soil in various oxides.

The obvious challenges Mars presents are the distance from the earth and the distance from the sun. Solar power may not be practical since solar cells sufficient for any large colonization effort would weight quite a lot. A self sustaining colony would likely have to be nuclear powered. The challenges posed by landing a nuclear reactor on mars would make an orbital power station and microwave power transmission attractive - at least until and unless manufacturing on the surface could eventually locally produce solar and nuclear power systems.

Manned space flight is a fucking waste (1, Troll)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478439)

For every useless wanker up there, just to make sure he has a reasonable chance to come back in one piece, and to provide him with a place to shit, sleep and eat, you've spent the equivalent of a hundred Mars rovers.
For the price of the Uselessational Space Station, we could have built an interferometric telescope with which we could have looked at neighbouring solar systems' planets, and figure if they had life.
Go ahead, tell me how sending dozens of rovers exploring the whole solar system and/or having a look at Proxima Centauri's planets is any less interesting for the general public than watching a bunch of bozos awkwardly trying to bolt a nut in 0g.

Re:Manned space flight is a fucking waste (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478489)

I agree, but those don't excite the average joe, and thus get insufficient funding. Even finding moss via spectrum on a planet 50 light-years away is probably not something appreciated much by the public.
 

Re:Manned space flight is a fucking waste (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478629)

The mars rovers' photos are very sexy. They made the news. How often does the ISS make the news? Who cares? Seriously, look it up. It doesn't register, for a simple reason: that shit does nothing and accomplishes nothing.
The little rovers, for a mere billion dollars, are a captivating story.

Re:Manned space flight is a fucking waste (3, Insightful)

terjeber (856226) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478549)

Go ahead, tell me how sending dozens of rovers exploring the whole solar system and/or having a look at Proxima Centauri's planets is any less interesting for the general public than watching a bunch of bozos awkwardly trying to bolt a nut in 0g.

Why would anyone care what is interesting or not? The purpose of space flight is gain the ability to colonize (as in moving people out there) space. All we do we do for survival, and colonizing space is vital for survival. That is why we need manned space flight.

Re:Manned space flight is a fucking waste (4, Insightful)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478653)

That's just a canard. The only thing we learn from manned spaceflight is that it's really expensive. If we want to colonize other worlds we need to spend the money doing the research and developing the technologies we need, not wasting money sending people on weekend getaways to airless rocks or spacestations that will deorbit in ten years.

Re:Manned space flight is a fucking waste (1)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478711)

"Bolting a nut in 0g" doesn't much interest me either! But I'd be a lot more excited by humans setting foot on Mars and puttering about with a greenhouse, than I would with some little robots that spend months poking rocks. Which is the better headline: "Man Walks On Mars" or "NASA Engineers Try To Coax Robot To Pour Rock Dust Into Sample Chamber"?

For the price of "setting foot on Mars" (3, Insightful)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478799)

For the price of "setting foot on Mars" you could have hundreds or thousands of robots circling it, drilling it, terraforming it and beaming back terrabytes of data every second.

Re:For the price of "setting foot on Mars" (5, Funny)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478893)

beaming back terrabytes of data every second.

Aresbytes, not Terrabytes.

Re:Manned space flight is a fucking waste (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478829)

For every useless wanker up there, just to make sure he has a reasonable chance to come back in one piece, and to provide him with a place to shit, sleep and eat, you've spent the equivalent of a hundred Mars rovers.

Rovers don't really get us anything we want though. I'm aware the "Space is for Science" crowd thinks that's all we need. The reality is though that NASA needs to be about exploring exploitation of space for financial profit. If we follow that path then we'll be sure to get far more science per buck in the long run.

A space base on Phobos? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478487)

We just go there and, like, build it on top of the anomaly?

About time we had some public debate (3, Interesting)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478563)

In my lifetime three things have driven technology's march:

* Space exploration.
* People wanting to kill each other more efficiently.
* Making a quick buck.

Of these, only space exploration is an example of Man aspiring to greatness. It's about time we shifted our space program out of neutral and brought back the creativity and blue sky thinking that went on in the 1950s and 1960s. What NASA has been doing the past 10 years or so has been minor league and simply lacking ambition. Setting big goals and developing the ideas and technology to reach those goals is what our people are investing in.

To the robot mafia: YOU DON'T GET IT. Space exploration is not just about getting data. Sure, collecting data is important. But so is forcing man to grow and adapt to new challenges. The scientific advancements driven by the space program in the past are in large part due to making it possible for a person to travel and explore a hostile environment over impossible differences. Sending humans is expensive, complex and risky, but is rewarding thousandfold beyond it's cost. Exploring space with robots is easy and cheap but does not drive the kind of thinking that changes the world as the space programs of the 50s, 60s and 70s did.

Another note to the robot mafia: Robots killing people is a bad idea. Actually, so is people killing people.

Old coot (1, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478597)

I'm reading this thing so let me chime in with my annoyances as I read it.

Instead, we should stretch out the six remaining shuttle flights to 2015--one per year. Sure, that will cost money, but we can more than make up for it by canceling the troubled Ares I. In its place, we should use the old reliable Delta IV Heavy or the Atlas V satellite launchers, upgraded for human flight. (It won't take much.)

Sigh. I expect better from Buzz Aldrin - he's Buzz Freakin' Aldrin! What it "will take" is 6 years and the time it takes to build and gift new launch facilities to ULA. And that's their estimate. It will likely take longer. SpaceX says they can do it faster, but it's still not an Ares I class vehicle we're talking about here.

NASA should also step up its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program to subsidize private rockets like the SpaceX Falcon 9, which could make its first flight any time now. SpaceX is also developing the Dragon capsule to fly seven astronauts to the space station.

Yah, more money for SpaceX.. I humbly agree with Mr Aldrin. However, even if SpaceX's COTS D capability was available tomorrow it would not dejustify the Ares I. They're two different launch vehicles with two different capabilities.

In the short term, some combination of an extended shuttle schedule and a new Orion/Delta, Orion/Atlas or Dragon/Falcon would fill the gap and give us the kind of continuity and flexibility we had during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. In the meantime, we need to develop new strategies, new launch vehicles and new spacecraft for the years beyond 2015 to bring us to the threshold of Mars.

Orion isn't ready and won't be ready for 6 years. Whining about the 5 year gap is not going to change that. Anyway, I can see that Mr Aldrin is now setting us up for the "love the Mars" speech.. so let me just say the ESAS specifically addressed the support needed for mating with a future Mars Transfer Vehicle and that is being studied right now.

The key to my medium-term plan is simple: Scrap our go-it-alone lunar program and let international partners--China, Europe, Russia, India, Japan--do the lion's share of the planning, technical development and funding. The U.S. would participate, and we would provide the technological leadership.

Wow, you actually want to lunar mission based on the International Space Station model?

To encourage more partners for both the lunar program and the space station, we should develop a manned spacecraft that other countries could afford to buy or lease.

Uh huh. So you're saying that other countries are interested in paying the small fortune the US spends to launch the shuttle? Or are you saying that if we just tried a little harder we could make the shuttle cheap and affordable? Aldrin, you're not this naive.

My alternative plan is simple math: Ares 3+3 is better than Ares 1+5. In other words, two medium-size Ares 3s would be a more efficient way to launch crew and cargo than a small crew-only Ares I and a huge cargo-only Ares V. NASA would require just one much less expensive rocket program.

Sigh, this again. Read the ESAS.. is that too much to ask?

If no commercial or mineral exploitation pans out, perhaps a few wealthy space tourists will pay $100 million for a lunar flyby.

Like they're lining up for the Soyuz flyby that is available right now?

To reach Mars, we should use comets, asteroids and Mars's moon Phobos as intermediate destinations. No giant leaps this time. More like a hop, skip and a jump.

News Flash: Buzz Aldrin doesn't understand delta-v.

For these long-duration missions, we need an entirely new spacecraft that I call the Exploration Module, or XM. Unlike the Orion capsule, which is designed for short flights around the Earth and to the moon..

Umm.. no. It's designed for lifting the crew to the station, or to an ERS/LSAM or to a mars transfer vehicle. Again, it's right there in the ESAS.

Re:Old coot (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478867)

"News Flash: Buzz Aldrin doesn't understand delta-v."

He has a frigging doctorate in orbital mechanics. Do you?

...Buzzz, if that is your real name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28478631)

I, uh, don't think this contest is over yet Buzz. If that is your real name. I believe there is still a little something called the swimsuit competition.

Was doing well till... (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 4 years ago | (#28478805)

He started to talk about one way trips to Mars. That last statement just made him sound like a crack pot loony. Even if we could find a few people willing to (say they will) live on Mars for their days, in conditions that would make your average prison look spacious and well lit, I don't think the general public would accept it. Most people would think we were sending nutjobs into space and a fair portion would demand that we have some way to bring them back.

As for the other stuff, sounds good. Ares I is shaping up to just a be rehash of what we already have. While it's certainly very expensive to build a new man-rated rocket are we really saying that it's so expensive it's not worth capitalizing on the advances of the last 40 years and sticking with the original craft?

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