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Hackers In Space: Designing A Ground Station

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the dod-responds-with-orbital-defense-platform dept.

Open Source 95

An anonymous reader writes with some new information on the happenings of the Hacker Space Program. From the article: "At the Chaos Communication Camp 2011 Jens Ohlig, Lars Weiler, and Nick Farr proposed a daunting task: to land a hacker on the Moon by 2034. The plan calls for three separate phases: Establishing an open, free, and globally accessible satellite communication network, put a human into orbit, and land on the Moon. Interestingly enough, there is already considerable work being done on the second phase of this plan by the Copenhagen Suborbitals, and Google's own Lunar X Prize is trying to spur development of robotic missions to the Moon. But what about the first phase? Answering the call is the 'Shackspace,' a hackerspace from Stuttgart, Germany, who've begun work on an ambitious project they're calling the 'Hackerspace Global Grid.'"

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I've been in space (0)

Garridan (597129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39107783)

It's not that cool. No biggie. Other hackers will probably want to skip it.

Re:I've been in space (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108795)

It's not that cool.

It's not cool, it's freezing cold!

Re:I've been in space (1)

Garridan (597129) | about 2 years ago | (#39111701)

Naw. It's like 2.7 Kelvin. I've seen colder.

Re:I've been in space (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#39117293)

Tell ye, should go there on periods of max solar activity: the solar wind contributes to the chill factor ;)

Re:I've been in space (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122749)

Actually, it's very, very hot. The kinetic energy of what few particles there are is very high. It just acts really cold because there are so few of them that heat transfer by conduction is reduced to a negligable rate.

Send them All (0)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110031)

Can't we send them all to the moon?

I'd pony up to send all of Anon too.

The only caveat is that they can't come back.

Re:Send them All (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39110899)

Can't we send them all to the moon?

I'd pony up to send all of Anon too.

The only caveat is that they can't come back.

Lets send you to the moon, without a suit, asshole.

Re:Send them All (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#39111675)

We'll strap your ass to the rocket's nose cone for a wonderful view.

Re:Send them All (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39111383)

Can't we send them all to the moon?

I'd pony up to send all of Anon too.

The only caveat is that they can't come back.

That was the first thing I thought after reading the summary. Let's set up a fund now.

Re:Send them All (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39113809)

You know I bet most of them would gladly sign up for just that. I would much rather go live in a community of "hackers" than here on earth with the way things are going currently. Hackers seem to have a much higher moral code than anyone in world government.

Whatever happened to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39107807)

Geeks In Space?

Re:Whatever happened to... (1, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108089)

Geeks In Space?

Taco got hitched, and she won't let him hang with the boys...

Re:Whatever happened to... (0)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109259)

We're Hackers on the moon, we carry our IBM PS/2's...

Hack into the ISS. Crash Into Moon. Done! (3, Insightful)

GiantRobotMonster (1159813) | more than 2 years ago | (#39107851)

Otherwise, why call this hacking?
Engineering, anyone?

Re:Hack into the ISS. Crash Into Moon. Done! (4, Insightful)

Trahloc (842734) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108019)

That's cracking.

Re:Hack into the ISS. Crash Into Moon. Done! (1)

GiantRobotMonster (1159813) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108087)

No, it isn't.

Do Anonymous call themselves crackers?
When companies suffer a serious security breach involving computers, do they say they have been cracked?
Cracking involves hacking, but refers specifically to removing copy protection from software.

Re:Hack into the ISS. Crash Into Moon. Done! (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108255)

Words change. These words have changed so much, hardly anyone knows what they mean any more.

Re:Hack into the ISS. Crash Into Moon. Done! (2)

GiantRobotMonster (1159813) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108337)

Indeed they do. Hjsdfh qeo, gfhe eight!

Re:Hack into the ISS. Crash Into Moon. Done! (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109297)

Man...fuck the media...It might be 2012 but i haven't given up the term Hacker is what inspired me to become a programmer.

The playfulness and ingenuity of a technologist, put on the same sideline as a scriptkiddie!

TO ARMS I SAY!

Re:Hack into the ISS. Crash Into Moon. Done! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109581)

I almost got expelled from school because I refused to deny accusations of hacking, instead trying unsuccessfully to convince the teachers that they were using the word incorrectly and that, while I was hacking, I was not hacking in the sense they were misusing the term.

Re:Hack into the ISS. Crash Into Moon. Done! (1)

codewarren (927270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109031)

It's also "hacking into".

I appreciate what you are trying to do here. "Hacking" does not always mean "cracking", yes thank you, but "hacking into", by definition, is a subset of "cracking".

If he said, "engineer your way past security" would you have had to correct him and say, "that's cracking"?

Re:Hack into the ISS. Crash Into Moon. Done! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39109121)

More cheese Grommit?

Re:Hack into the ISS. Crash Into Moon. Done! (3)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109427)

Because. Unless "hack into the ISS" involved "prep and advance a compatriot hacker into the ranks of a national space agency and get them accepted into and lodged in the ISS", the "person on the moon" wasn't the requisite "hacker", it was just some innocent victim of belligerence.

In this sense, "hack" as you intend to use it -- in the invasive and criminal context -- is a perversion of the form and a stereotype that the hacker community feels unjustly saddled with especially as it hurts their opportunities to research and perform hacks that are beneficial and/or harm no-one, steal nothing, and invade nothing.

In the article's sense, "hack" as it was used meant the many other possible definitions: "D.I.Y."; "without official clearance"; "not by the usual means, methods, paths, or prevalencies"; etc.

Re:Hack into the ISS. Crash Into Moon. Done! (2)

GiantRobotMonster (1159813) | about 2 years ago | (#39110433)

You are of course correct. I had envisaged swapping places with an astronaut that was due to go to the ISS, swapping out all the video feeds etc with computer generated replacements to keep the swap a secret for as long as possible, before finally boarding the ISS and then trying to reverse park it in the sea of tranquility, but that was a little tricky to fit into the subject line :-). And confusingly, this involves good-old-fashioned piracy in addition to cracking, hacking, and social engineering.

I do understand the pain of the unjustly stereotyped hacker - this is a decades old debate. Use more specific terminology or be doomed to be misunderstood.
The part that confuses me is why do I expect more from a language with auto-antonyms? Dusting the cake? Dusting the floor? Ahrghrgrgrhg!

As for getting into space via unconventional means -- I'm going for a giant trebuchet.

Money (2)

Zouden (232738) | more than 2 years ago | (#39107853)

Simple question: where are they going to get the billions of dollars required to put a man on the moon? The physical world isn't like the software world, where things are often shared freely. Perhaps it'll be a little different in 2034, but I doubt anyone's going to build a lunar module with a 3D printer and some free plans from the internet.

Re:Money (4, Funny)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39107909)

Simple question: where are they going to get the billions of dollars required to put a man on the moon?

Why, Bitcoin of course!

Re:Money (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39107997)

Another question might be: Where will find the hacker that belongs on the moon? Do we send up the person with the highest score on Lunar Lander [wikipedia.org] . Or do simply send up the most annoying hacker we can find to get him away from us? Also we need to make sure this hacker isn't going to turn into a full scale black hat in an unassailable moon fortress.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39108161)

Another question might be: Where will find the hacker that belongs on the moon?

1) Add "Newt Gingrich" to this list [wikipedia.org] .
2) Talk up his "hacker credentials"
3) ???
4) Now there's nothing preventing Newt from accepting his honorary ticket to the moon!

This plan comes with added advantage of not having to pay for a return trip.

Re:Money (1)

neyla (2455118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108023)

More than "a little bit" different, I'd say. Putting a man on the moon in 2034 is going to be very different from doing it in 1969.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39108061)

Yeah. He'll be from China, if things keep going at the rate they are now.

Re:Money (3, Interesting)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108115)

The question to answer that question is, will it cost billions of dollars? Copenhagen Suborbitals [copenhagen...bitals.com] are proving* that space travel can be a hobbyist project. Granted, there is a long way from suborbital to the moon, but just getting where they are now would have been called impossible twenty years ago.

Another point is that hacker space activity usually is more about the process than the goal. So what if they never put a man on the moon, if they put one in LEO and have fun on the way, that's a win.

*Pending their actual succes, and assuming the capsule will not burn on reentry.

Re:Money (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39108739)

What has always baffled me, is that we don't make launch platforms that are lifted by Helium (or even hydrogen) balloons and actually launch when the balloon is to it's peak altitude - would save a lot of fuel/weight/size.

Re:Money (2)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109287)

What's baffled me is why the craft carries a component gas of air in its fuel so it can force itself through the air, instead of using oxygen from the air while it can, and using wings to make the dense atmosphere help it climb efficiently. I guess materials and manufacturing for that would have been pretty tricky back in the day.

Re:Money (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39112161)

Because air is only 21% oxygen, give or take a little. We already have rockets that use atmospheric oxygen: We just call them jet engines.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39112571)

How much would it have cost to fly a high-resolution digital camera up to 120 km up into the air 30 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago?
30 years ago, a 10 MegaPixel camera wouldn't exist, 20 years ago, would have been something only research departments could afford. 10 years ago, the memory cards weren't large enough for more than a few dozen pictures. Now, you can take a helium balloon, a supermarket camera, some insulation and make a movie.

Same thing with the costs of transferring 4 Gigabytes of data across any continent. How much would it have cost 30 years ago, compared to now?
International flights have come down in price as well in the same way. Once the R&D into the design of a vehicle has paid for itself, advances go into improving fuel performance and comfort.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39115181)

They're Hackers - where do you think they will get billions of pounds from?

these guys.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39107967)

disclaimer: I'm a satellite telecom engineer.

What these guys don't know about satellite telecom could fill a swimming pool. "A open, free and globally accessible satellite communications network"? Sure. Except for the free part, it already exists. With a properly designed VSAT terminal (either C or Ku band) anywhere that's not beyond 83 degree latitude can get broadband net access. Why is VSAT service not cheap? It costs $200 million to launch a 6000 kilogram satellite into geostationary orbit, and the satellites lasts on average 12 to 16 years. The $200m satellite has less aggregate data capacity than a fiber optic cable the diameter of a pencil. Installing a 1.2 meter Ku-band VSAT terminal with DVB-S2 compliant TDMA modem (iDirect Evolution series, for example) is not rocket science, but proper service starts at $400/month and up.

If they're trying to push a large amount of bandwidth through small, cheap low earth orbit satellites I believe they're going to run into some fundamental engineering constraints (satellite power budget, shannon limit, the fact that two axis tracking antennas are expensive).

Re:these guys.... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39108037)

If they're trying to push a large amount of bandwidth through small, cheap low earth orbit satellites I believe they're going to run into some fundamental engineering constraints (satellite power budget, shannon limit, the fact that two axis tracking antennas are expensive).

They're not. At this point they aren't even looking at bi-directional communication. Stuff like simple downlinks of textual data (news, emergency info, etc). There are already a few satellites that do very similar tasks, like the FUNcube.

Nobody is suggesting or attempting satellite internet access.

Re:these guys.... (3, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108059)

they're going to run into some fundamental engineering constraints

Nooo.... they're going to run into some military constraints. Last time I checked nobody "owned" space. There is no sovereignty claiming it as their possession.

The US government, among others, is already targeting the Internet and shutting down websites over copyright. If they can do that with Internet services running on physical equipment that is actually on the ground in a country then I think they definitely won't give a crap about taking down a "free and globally accessible satellite communications network". Except that won't be done as cleanly as taking down a website. Probably involve some missiles.

If I was part of this group I would be thinking about ways of subverting existing networks to run Darknets. It's far less likely they will try a scorched earth tactic with those networks and a more productive use of their time.

Re:these guys.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39109209)

Sending missiles into space to shoot stuff is EXPENSIVE. More so if the targets are small, and there are lots of them.

Re:these guys.... (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110043)

Sending missiles into space to shoot stuff is EXPENSIVE

Remember that MAFIAA has the backing of governments, and governments have access to what basically amounts to unlimited funding. Not so SAT-HAM fans. If the community loses a couple of expensive satellites in a military confrontation, that's pretty much the end of the experiment.

More so if the targets are small, and there are lots of them.

LEOs are less expensive to take down too, since it requires less fuel to power the missiles.

Re:these guys.... (2)

Trahloc (842734) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108065)

As an expert in this field, what is your response to http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/08/viasat-residential-satellite-broadband-internet-hands-on-video/ [engadget.com] ? They claim to be faster and cheaper than previous providers. Far less than $400/mo.

Re:these guys.... (3, Informative)

schnell (163007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108883)

You're correct... satellite broadband can be had in the US for far less than $400/month. ViaSat and WildBlue's services (may or may not qualify as "broadband" depending on your definition) start at around $50/month [viasatresidential.com] . The GP's citation of $400/month for satellite broadband refers to "business class" VSAT data service. Residential satellite Internet is heavily oversubscribed, often north of 100:1. Also note the Fair Access Policy [montanasatellite.com] terms under which you will be throttled for excessive data usage.

For some use cases, the results will be indistinguishable at the lower price point; for others they will be very different. Think of the difference between the two as being T1 service from a business provider vs. home cable or DSL service.

Re:these guys.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39108927)

I am a different Satcom Engineer who has worked on similar projects.

They are claiming 50 per month for 20 Mbps down 3 Mbps up. However, there are several things not included in the press release.
          1. What type of contract will be required?
          2. What the service level agreement will be? A 600 ms delay means there are limits to what it can do. No MMPOG !
          3. Who pays for the ground user equipment, this is usually the most expensive part. I could see a rental fee that would not be cheap.
          4. How many users per terminal they would have per satellite?

The standard debate has been who would be the user base. Several similar project has died on the vine because they could not determine a viable user base. For example Astrolink and Iridium. Remote areas don't have enough user to support a satellite, Cities have too many users for a single satellite.

 

Re:these guys.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39118779)

The recent major development is that Viasat bought Wildblue.

TDMA VSAT services for residential use (sub $175/month) in Ku or Ka band are based on gross oversubscription of the contention ratio. As another person points out in their reply, often 100:1 or worse. The use of high capacity Ka band satellites such as those owned by Telesat, Viasat is helpful, as Ka-band spot beams are much more focused. If you don't have a lot of people in the same TDMA network segment as you, your speeds are likely to be okay. I would probably sign up for Viasat service if I happened to be located in rural Wyoming. You might see >10Mbps downstream in the middle of the night when less people are using it. During the rest of the day, speeds are anyone's guess... It's provided on a best effort basis with various rate limiting and queuing done at the router level to prevent people from abusing the bandwidth. If you want a dedicated data rate, even a CIR of 64 kbps, you're going to pay way more than $150/month.

There are also economies of scale in the cheap Wildblue type VSAT terminal which has a small BUC, LNB and feed horn integrated into a package that is manufactured in quantities of tens of thousands of units at a time. A regular VSAT system which can be assembled from subcomponents (not very much unlike assembling an x86 PC) is going to be more expensive, because it's totally modular and can be upgraded one piece at a time. Ka-band BUCs more powerful than 3W are still quite expensive.

OK I was with you until... (2)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108125)

you used the word "kilogram". Everybody knows that only Americans launch stuff, and they launch pounds. Except for Mars explorers, then they launch bricks.

-- Terry

Re:these guys.... (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109671)

I read that in Jeff Goldblum's voice.

.

Moon already inhabited (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39107991)

One of my avatars lives on the moon. He doesn't like it, though, because he's agoraphobic.

Work on the easy stuff first. (2)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108073)

Step #1) Improve HAM bandwidth for data transmissions to/from space.

On a good day my old 14.4k modem is faster then the throughput I can get on packet radio.

Re:Work on the easy stuff first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39108097)

Step #1) Improve HAM bandwidth for data transmissions to/from space.

On a good day my old 14.4k modem is faster then the throughput I can get on packet radio.

HAM radios operate on frequencies that don't make it past the ionosphere by design - the bulk of the interference and feedback they get goes away when you use sat frequencies.

Re:Work on the easy stuff first. (5, Informative)

drmpeg (1408305) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108151)

What you don't know about ham radio could fill a swimming pool (I love that phrase). Hams have access to all kinds of frequencies that penetrate the ionosphere and have built and launched many satellites. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSCAR [wikipedia.org] The most interesting amateur satellites were OSCAR 10, 13 and 40. These were in high altitude (40,000 km) Molniya orbits that provided many hours of coverage. Two-axis tracking was required, but was so slow that it could be done by hand. The big problem with amateur radio is that commercial traffic is not allowed. That is, no connection to the internet.

Re:Work on the easy stuff first. (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108505)

The big problem with amateur radio is that commercial traffic is not allowed. That is, no connection to the internet.

Who said internet access has to be commercial? At the low bitrates you're talking about there would be plenty of people donating their bandwidth.

sha(ck|g)space (4, Funny)

Fusselwurm (1033286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108083)

... see, children, the difference between nerds and non-nerds may be as small as the one between 'ck' and 'g'.

Lunar cable car? (1)

TheMathemagician (2515102) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108139)

Would it be possible to simply connect the Earth and Moon with a cable that vehicles could traverse? Yes some technologic problems to overcome but in principle?

Re:Lunar cable car? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108295)

Would it be possible to simply connect the Earth and Moon with a cable that vehicles could traverse? Yes some technologic problems to overcome but in principle?

Only possible if it is in the same reality where the Moon is made of cheese. In that case just hire Wallace and Grommit. Remember to bring the crackers.

Technological problems is an understatement. Assuming you could even get that much mass into space, the cable would be a feat of engineering worthy of the Greek Gods. You're talking about the Earth to the Moon.

It would only be useful for one day out of the month, assuming you did not mean it was actually connecting the Earth and the Moon. If so.... that is not going to work out real well. You see the Moon orbits the Earth, which kind of precludes the possibility of connecting them with a cable.

Unlesss........ you create a *huge* channel in the ecliptic plane of the Earth to allow the cable to slide through it, which would also require one on the Moon. That would be some really impressive engineering to pull that off. I don't want to be anywhere near the channel if the cable snaps or the channel fails.

Quite frankly, if you could do all that, you would be at a level of technology that would probably allow you to make it there and back with the equivalent of a space Winnebago.

Re:Lunar cable car? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39108423)

Easy, just put the moon into a geostationary orbit.

Re:Lunar cable car? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108703)

No, only the earth would need a channel. The moon is conveniently tide-locked. You could have the cable skim the upper atmosphere (Put bayload on balloon, balloon goes up, wait for cable, transfer payload) but you'd still need the type of cable that makes nanotubes look like tissue paper.

Re:Lunar cable car? (0)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109693)

In any case, we're building the cable out of what? If we don't mine it extraterrestrially, how big of a hicky is this project going to leave on the surface of the earth somewhere? How much is it going to cost to move all the Bagger 288 style megamachines out to that location to perform the work in a timely manner? The material to build several new ones at the site can't be spared. How much will it cost to pay off all the industrialists whose jobs depend on these materials being ready to be made into stuff people find useful in a more marginal and personal fashion? Or do we expect them all to go out of work while one company completes the cable project? Or do we expect to go global-socialist, requisition the materials in the name of the Fatherworld, and give each crying birdchick company one wormy thread of the cable to manufacture and make them responsible for ensuring it twines well with all of the other threads?

I mean really. When you get into massive projects that will require resources and cooperation on a global scale, you're already talking about Mission Impossible.

For starters, nice dirigibles you got there, asshole: ping! ping! ping! Down comes El Cable Monumento!

Or how about them near orbitals lying in wait in their fancy weather baloons, fighting turbulence sickness and hoping they don't end up way off course by the time the damn cable thing floats in their general direction because they only brought up so much oxygen and pressurizing gases? Slim pickings for any pirate with a long-range rifle and an electronically synchronized pair of drones to ease the payload back to earth in a specific location.

Or how about all that material! Just the fibers of the cable could be worth something to people, if it's such an exotic material. Hand me the nanosaw and the Francium welder! Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

How about this: I go up there, to the moon, I shoot every body up there except the ones I want to make babies with, and then I pull the ladder up behind me, throw you a finger, and start up mah moon base, and shoot down everybody who dares to even pretend they're on a trajectory to the moon from anywhere? What are you going to do, expend the REST of the resources on Earth in a strange and uniquely human bid for reclamation of the Moon? For who? Nobody's going to like you, because you're going to leave everybody poor for the rest of all time. You're going to reduce humanity to living in quonset huts and eating their own boogers as a spice on their kelp because you believe everybody should have a right to the moon, and I won the big game of King of the Hill.

Anyways, human endeavours of this sort are pathetic to even read about.

Re:Lunar cable car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39108399)

No.

Orbital rotation period changes over distance. The Earth end would rotate faster than the Moon end.

Re:Lunar cable car? (3, Interesting)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109207)

The moons orbit is oblong, so you'd have to have some method by which the cable length could change. You need a cable strong enough to support its own weight. Gravity drops off as altitude increases by the formula g = 9.8 m/s^2(r/r+h)^2 (r is the radius of the earth and his your height), so it's 100% at the surface (very slightly less if you're at the equator), 96.937% 100 km up, 94.012% 200km up, 85.990% 500km up, 74.730% 1000 km up, 57.955% 2000 km up 37.770% 4000 km up, 19.678%. 8000 km up and so on. Even at geosynchronous orbit altitude (which may or may not be relevant depending on how this cable is being managed) where gravity is 2.287%, the average weight of the 35,800 km of cable to that point is about 15.172% of its Earth weight. Out at 325,000 km, which is about the distance of the L1 point between the Earth and the moon the gravity is .037% of what it is on Earth (not at the actual L1 point where it's cancelled by the moons gravity, this is just an approximation, not taking all forces into account) the average weight of the 325,000 km of cable is still about 1.932% of its Earth weight. So, if you need to stretch a tether out to Geosynchronous orbit, it needs to be strong enough to hold 15.172% of the Earth weight of 35,800 km of material. If the tether masses 1 kg per kilometer, that means it has to be strong enough, at that thickness, to hold the Earth equivalent of .15172*35,800=5431.576 kilograms. Tapering the tether can help, of course, but we still don't have any materials strong enough. For the L1 point, it's equivalent to holding 6279 kg on earth with that size cable.

Then there's the problem that the moon isn't in a geosynchronous orbit, so you can't tether the cable at a stationary point on earth. The poles aren't stationary, so the best you can do is anchor to tower, built on a train on a huge circular track around one of the poles.

Of course, the cable doesn't actually need to be a straight line to the moon. If you could make a tether to geosynchronous orbit, you could then have another tether from there to the moon. For that matter, you might be able to build a 60,000 mile tether that circles the earth at slightly greater than orbital speed (maintained by propellant brought up from earth on the space elevator) then attach multiple secondary tethers that loop around the earth towards the poles where they connect to smaller tether rings suspended above each pole with a station suspended in a web in the middle and a variable length tether that need only be a 100 km long or so (and could be supported by dirigibles through a good portion of the atmosphere) that tethers to a polar base station. You could take an elevator up at the pole, then down along one of the loops to the equatorial ring. From the equatorial ring, you could suspend another ring further out, or perhaps just spokes out to additional stations. From one of those, you could potentially even build a tether all the way to the moon and set it up on an orbit that jump ropes the Earth. Of course, the tether all the way to the moon would hardly be necessary. Once you're out to the orbital ring, if it's fast enough, you can just drop off and fall toward the moon, it would be a heck of a lot faster than pulling an elevator car along 400,000 kilometers of tether. At the moon end you could have another space elevator. The one at that end could use the same equatorial ring with polar elevator trick, but the moons smaller size and lower gravity mean that you could actually have a plain old space elevator right to the surface.

Of course, the above idea might have a lot of problems. Getting that giant orbital lasso trick to actually work might be next to impossible. Also, such a long tether going around the entire Earth is going to have to be carefully designed. It could run into some really interesting electrical effects that could instantly fry it. On the other hand, they could also be used as a method of powering the whole thing. In any case, it's a massive endeavour. You would have to start with a super-lightweight tether, then, once you have a functional but flimsy elevator, ship a stronger version up in sections. The final structure would be enormous in scale. You'd be talking about something like 200,000 plus kilometers of space tether. Even with a super-light, super strong material, having it possess any strength at all will mean a lot of mass. Say 2 metric tons per kilometer plus the weight of space stations, solar sails, propulsion units, etc. So the whole thing would be something like 500,000 metric tons in the end. That's a lot, although it's not unimaginable. It's about 6 of the largest seagoing ship ever built. It would be pretty cool if we could build something like that, but it's probably not going to happen any time soon. Even if we do pick up the pace on colonizing space, it still may never happen at all because we may get some propulsion technology developed that makes a space elevator obsolete before it's ever built.

Meet satellite killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39108173)

This idea is not all that smart. When the point is going to reached that a satellite network is actually needed, even with the ground station untouchable (just for the sake of argument), there are two words that make this argument invalid:

"Satellite Killers"

Happy to help

and thats what I am talking about :D (1)

echonyne (2545100) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108193)

We all would be glad to hop on the HGG, in fact it would be an ultimate experience (not to mention a chance to jump on the lunar surface :P ). no more SOPA, IP Act and sh!t. No more chaos and flaming of each others. Open Information sharing. Pure eternal peace. period. This is exactly of what was required for the beginning of the Global Hacker Space aka Pirate Space :D 8) +1

Re:and thats what I am talking about :D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39108215)

lolwut?

Re:and thats what I am talking about :D (1)

echonyne (2545100) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108249)

bah' wha? :P

Re:and thats what I am talking about :D (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109549)

... and no more drugs for you!

Why Moon? (1)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108477)

Why the fixation on landing on the moon? It is as if people are trying to re-live the glory days of the 1960's. Why go down another gravity well after you have so arduously climbed out of one. The moon is only marginally more hospitable than empty outer space. Mars is only slightly better. Terraforming will take too long and possibly unethical. If mankind managed to make space travel cheap and energy-efficient, then we must be truly spaceborne, the Unbound. Outerspace will be our country, the universe will be our borders and mankind will be our nation.

Re:Why Moon? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108683)

Because the moon has Stuff. You can build things from Stuff. The moon may not be the best place to go mining, but it's infinitely better than vacuum - and even unprocessed moonrock will make a decent radiation shield if you bury your base under enough of it.

Re:Why Moon? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108851)

Because the moon has Stuff. You can build things from Stuff. The moon may not be the best place to go mining, but it's infinitely better than vacuum

Vacuum? Why there's plenty of matter and energy! True, dark [wikipedia.org] ones [wikipedia.org] , but a blackhat should be able to deal with darkness.

Re:Why Moon? (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109029)

Two words 'moon quakes', as little as we really know about the moon, one thing is for certain there is seismic activity there. Would you really trust your moon base to be underground when there is so very little knowledge about frequency or scale of them? The first based need to be above ground, perhaps under piles of excavation material, but certainly not under the surface of the moon. From NASA Science News [nasa.gov]

The first three were generally mild and harmless. Shallow moonquakes on the other hand were doozies. Between 1972 and 1977, the Apollo seismic network saw twenty-eight of them; a few "registered up to 5.5 on the Richter scale," says Neal. A magnitude 5 quake on Earth is energetic enough to move heavy furniture and crack plaster.

Furthermore, shallow moonquakes lasted a remarkably long time. Once they got going, all continued more than 10 minutes. "The moon was ringing like a bell," Neal says.

Re:Why Moon? (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109495)

The book by that former NASA scientist, called "Moonquake", was a humongous eye-opener for me, in terms of several things:

1. is the moon even plausible as a place to stay for very long and retain one's health while keeping any semblance of normal, uninterrupted operations? -- of course, if you can excavate your entire basement with radio controlled Tonka trucks, maybe anything's possible

2. whether or not NASA is capable of doing anything beyond putting a man on the moon. they weren't capable of carrying out the shuttle mission and they don't seem interested in doing anything else besides putting a man on Mars, which we know is going to be inflated beyond any nation's ability to expend.

Anyways. Aren't asteroids more valuable than moon-rock? why aren't we interested in robotically mining asteroids? wtf?

Re:Why Moon? (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109115)

Because the moon has Stuff. You can build things from Stuff.

...and they're going to bring their Makerbot 3D printer!

Re:Why Moon? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108769)

Yeah, that's cool and everything, but you are ignoring a couple of things: (1) we are about as far off creating liveable, large scale long term habitats as we are terraforming and (2) only certain people would want to live in a floating caravan in space for their whole lives anyway.

Re:Why Moon? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109351)

Terraforming will take too long and possibly unethical.

Oh, c'mon, with what the Europeans did to the Native Americans, the Chinese to the Tibetans, the Australians to the Aborigines, the whole damn world to the Hawaiians, the human race is running out of indigenous cultures / life forms to abuse, it's time we moved on to new horizons.

I think a little network redesign... (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108493)

Don't think of this as 'free internet in space.' The internet model, with it's simple dumb-endpoint packet-switching, isn't going to work. It's massively inefficient: Every time someone in the UK wants to view a webpage on a US server it gets send, possibly billions of times, through the oceanic fiber. If there is to be hope of getting any more than text through bidirectionally (And it must be bidirectional: Having one operator decide who gets precious capacity isn't in the hacker spirit) then it's going to mean some serious rethinking of networking fundamentals.

There is an advantage to be had with modern technology though. Storage is cheap. Cheap as dirt. Want to put a few gig in every ground station? Easy. Want to put a few terabytes in the larger ones? Compared to the cost of the radio gear you need anyway, barely adds anything. So I think what should be looked into is trying to shift the internet further towards content-addressible networking and caching (Proper content-addressible hash-based caching, not the evil that is trying to cache HTTP where every access needs to ask the server if the content has changed). Such technologies would reduce the need for expensive bandwidth by orders of magnitude, at the expense of consuming far cheaper storage at every caching node. Magnet links are a good place to start.

Re:I think a little network redesign... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108675)

I meant to say dumb-router, not dumb-endpoint. Kept getting distracted by work.

Anyway, to clarify, I'm thinking something like this: If there is demand for a particular file (be it a short video, an image from a popular website protesting the latest oppression of insert-government-here, a software update, etc - the network itsself would be content neutral), it shall be broadcast by the sat. Every listening ground station then picks in up and stores it, indexed by hash. Should any user then want it, they need only the hash - their local store already has the file. It combines the inherent efficiency of a broadcast network with the convenience and control of a packet-switched dumb network. There are a lot of practical considerations (not least how to decide what gets broadcast), but if there is to be any hope of this idea working it's going to need to take advantage of the broadcast nature of the communications medium. Given that a few popular files are going to make up a sizeable portion of demand, a content-addressible store seems to be an efficient way to go about that goal.

Sucks for realtime and point-to-point, of course. Still have to rely on the conventional internet-style methods for that. But what's the alternative? A thousand people view a website and every image, html and css file gets sent a thousand times in duplicate? Not practical.

Re:I think a little network redesign... (1)

washort (6555) | about 2 years ago | (#39113365)

Some people are working on this already: http://ccnx.org/ [ccnx.org] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z685OF-PS8 [youtube.com]

Re:I think a little network redesign... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39115057)

Not the only ones. Content-addressible networking has enjoyed on-and-off support for years by pirates - as a community that has a desire to shift massive amounts of data with limited resources and in a decentralised manner, they do put a lot of work into appropriate technologies. For a time the ed2k link was king, before the rise of bittorrent, and now magnet links are starting to be seen more and more. Freenet runs on the idea. The pirates and the free-sat-network people have the same problem: How to distribute lots of data on limited transfer capacity. So it makes sense that they would find common solutions.

Also, there is no ccnx.org. Watching the video now though.

Re:I think a little network redesign... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39117207)

There, watched. What he discusses is something similar to what I was envisioning, only he takes it further. Too far, in my view - he wants to make everything content-addressable, while I believe that existing transports are better suited to all things real-time and 1-to-1 and so current packet switching and content-addressable models should coexist. I do like his idea of CAN nodes as ubiquitous appliances, and that is exactly what I am calling for: Put them in the sat downlinks, put them in mobile phones, put them in vehicles, as appliances on your network, on the corporate network, in your cable box, in every laptop and tablet. A CAN doesn't *need* node addresses, it doesn't need configuration or routing beyond one hop unless you want low-latency... and that is what the conventional packet-switching is for.

Just envision what it could mean. You're on the train, on your phone, and a friend sends you a youtube video to watch. With today's technology, you would click the link and the video would begin downloading over the mobile network... which is slow, and which faces enough contention that you're probably on a transfer quota. In a world where PS and CAN coexist as I'd like them to, you'd still get the link via the SMS/IM/whatever means as you do today, but when you open it your phone will broadcast a message to all in range: 'I want the file of SHA1 xxxxx, anyone got it?' And, given that the most popular videos get millions of views, there's a good chance someone else on that train will have seen it earlier. Their phone sends it to you, you get your video. Much faster, and without putting any demand on the mobile network. If none of them have a file by that hash, then the phone can fall back to the current method.

Existing TCP/IP (By then, IPv6) and a CAN for content distribution, together. That's the type of technology that could make an ac-hoc internet possible.

Re:I think a little network redesign... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120041)

your vision of every consumer device also being a content provider has a few flaws, the largest of which is battery life of the end user device. Receiving data doesn't take much power, but broadcasting it does. My smartphone can already chew through a battery every four to six hours if i leave the data service turned on, it would be even worse under your model.

It would also bring problems with content tampering. sure using a hash would cut down on that, but as seen with the fake content that is posted on bittorrent, there can be problems. get someone who is maliciously installing malware or a trojan with your download and it could be a nightmare. Some sort of authority has to be on the net if it is to have creditably.

Re:I think a little network redesign... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122905)

Content tampering isn't a problem. A hash wouldn't cut down on that: It would completly eliminate it, baring the possibility of the hash being broken (Which is highly unlikely, and even then it'd be possible to switch to a new hash). Content would be self-authenticating: If it didn't match the expected hash, it'd just be discarded. The only problem then is making sure someone doesn't tamper with the hash on it's way to you - but that's no worse a problem than stopping someone replacing a webpage through traffic interception or false DNS responses. Existing problems, for which there are existing solutions.

The battery life would be an issue, yes. You could cut a bit off by not using the full 802.11a/b/g/n stack (You don't need to transmit a 'I don't have it' response) do you can keep the transmitter off as much as possible, but for really power-sensitive applications like mobiles you might just have to set it to selfishly not share data when on battery.

It would also be possible to do a priority system - each potential source responds with a measure of how willing it would be to transmit (A single short frame isn't going to take any significent power), and the requesting device then gets the device with the most willingness to send. That way the person with their laptop plugged into the train power ends up the preferential source. I can easily imagine the train operator sticking a little accelerator-node box (Based on NAS hardware) in every other carriage loaded at convenient chances with the most recent iPlayer releases, image files/videos from news sites and other things that are expected to be in demand.

The key is that, unlike the speaker in that video, I do not believe that a CAN would be a viable replacement for a packet-switched internet. I believe it would be a very beneficial suppliment, with each doing what it's best at.

Re:I think a little network redesign... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39109035)

"Every time someone in the UK wants to view a webpage on a US server it gets send, possibly billions of times, through the oceanic fiber." I dont think you understand how the internet works. Billions of times? There's something called a "TTL" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_to_live [wikipedia.org] . Traffic does not just bounce around aimlessly until it reaches its destination. You send a request out and get a response back. It doesn't just roam the vast internet for a while, taking in the sites before returning to your computer.

Re:I think a little network redesign... (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110021)

I'd like to think he was implying the light itself bouncing around, which happens so quickly that it would be indistinguishable to simply going through to the human eye.

Re:I think a little network redesign... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39112271)

You misunderstand. I didn't mean billions of times per request. I meant that it gets sent once per request, regardless of how many requests there may be. Which may be a lot. If a million people view a website (Large, but far from the largest userbase around) and each looks a thousand times (quite likely when checking for new posts, editing wikis or watching forums) than the page and all it's associated images, adverts and, CSS and JS files will all be requested and sent across the fiber. A billion duplicates of each traversing the same link. Browser caching only partially helps to alleviate the problem, because it still depends on the IMS request - and even IMSs are going to be ugly at orbital latency.

Bag of wank (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108539)

This sort of stuff is great as science fiction, but just pathetic when it's taken seriously.

Getting people onto the moon is serious engineering work, extremely time consuming and, above all, incredibly fucking expensive.

Nothing like hacking at all, IMHO.

Re:Bag of wank (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39108873)

Nothing like hacking at all, IMHO.

Do the hacking on the correct subjects and the expense matter is solved, I imagine.

co3k (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39108681)

I'Yes' To any

They're not thinking far enough ahead (3)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109071)

"At the Chaos Communication Camp 2011 Jens Ohlig, Lars Weiler, and Nick Farr proposed a daunting task: to land a hacker on the Moon by 2034.

I'll be more impressed if they can get someone back from the moon.

Re:They're not thinking far enough ahead (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109361)

I'll be more impressed if they can get someone back from the moon.

Ya, Kennedy was pretty visionary with that "and bring them back safely" thing...

Been there, done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39109543)

Yawn, phase one has been done (http://www.amsat.org/ [amsat.org] ) and also takes care of the nasty problem of radio spectrum management for up and down links with the bird. LEO satellites are fine for store and forward emergency communications, but anything less than geosynchronous is going to make for some grumpy consumers. After all, first the non-synchronous satellite finally comes above the horizon far anough to be useful, then the guy serving the bountiful buffet of pr0n torrents has to shut down his server because Mom says it's time for bed. After finally hitting enough servers through enough birds (and on and on) you get the file, only to find out it's a password locked fake, It would be maddening enough to make a guy go back to stroke books.

I wonder (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#39111153)

If we should get over sending humans into space and focus on telepresence, humans are so inadequately designed for space travel and low gravity living.

At least stay out of space until robots can build a viable environment that can be spun up for simulated gravity, properly shielded against micrometeorites and radiation with 90% self sustaining capabilities, those tin cans they have strung together in orbit and called a space station are pathetic.

We are capable of so much more.

Re:I wonder (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39112311)

Telepresence is fine for orbital work, but light-lag will get really awkward if you go further out. Though I suppose it might help on mars... you can send your ship of operators out there, have them operate the science robots, then return home. Saves the problem of having to achieve a launch from planet surface and the uncomfortably deep gravity well.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39113783)

Yes a movable rock hollowed out and spun would be ideal, send the bots down to the surface to work, no contanmination, also a decent place to live minig the Oort or asteroid belt.
I think we would already be there if it were not for petty politics and the war machine (military-industrial complex)

Re:I wonder (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122915)

Mining bots aren't advanced enough to be autonomous, and you couldn't operate them from earth with light-lag. Thus my Mars idea. Send operators, but you only need to put them in mars orbit (Maybe give them a couple of mini-relay sats to drop, so they don't have to shut down when on the wrong side of the planet). Close enough that light-lag isn't a problem, but a lot easier than getting humans landed and up again.

Hackers in Space?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39111955)

Better spend a couple billion of taxpayer money on a crazy orbital defense system..
 
Looks like the crazy moon base idea will go through after all.

The Makings of a Speech? (1)

lenmaster (598077) | more than 2 years ago | (#39118675)

I believe that hackerdom should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the next three decades are out, of landing a hacker on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in 2034 and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because we p0wn...
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