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Neil Armstrong Gives Rare Interview

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the describe-the-tang-mines-you-discovered dept.

Moon 248

pcritter writes "In a rare coup for accountants' association CPA Australia, CEO Alex Malley interviews Neil Armstrong, whose dad worked as an Auditor, bringing him back four decades to the pinnacle of the space race. Neil reveals, 'I thought we had a 90 per cent chance of getting back safely to Earth on that flight but only a 50-50 chance of making a landing on that first attempt.' The four-part video series is now posted on CPA Australia's website."

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248 comments

What's the problem with building self-sustaining b (4, Interesting)

CAKAS (2646219) | about 2 years ago | (#40106429)

I still don't understand this. We have the technology to do it, we have the people wanting to do it, and we have another group of people wanting to live and work there. Why don't we build a base on moon?

There would be no insects (I really hate those, but at least geckos take a good care of them!), and it would be a good base for our future discovery of new planets and solar systems. There ARE more there, earth is nothing special.

Is the United States incapable to do this? Does it take Russians [slashdot.org] , Chinese [slashdot.org] or Japanese [slashdot.org] to get there? What the hell happened to America?

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40106467)

A certain group considers it a waste of money for the government. Ignoring the fact the NASA at it's peak allows billion in revenue to go back to the government. But some people don't want to understand anything about long term payoff, spin-off, and the fact that they create cutting edge industries.

This is what happens when non scientific and ignorant people get equal say how the government works.

And yes, I DO believe people without a fundamental understanding of science shouldn't be allowed to participate in the government.
Same with people who can't do intermediate algebra.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (5, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | about 2 years ago | (#40106483)

Or maybe because even most scientists (actual scientists, not armchair commentators on slashdot) can't find an actual utilitarian reason to build a moon base other than juvenile delight at living out their sci-fi fantasies?

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | about 2 years ago | (#40106517)

Isn't that reason enough? What happened to ambition, curiosity, and doing things "because it's there?"

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Insightful)

Zeroedout (2036220) | about 2 years ago | (#40106561)

Well, finite resources don't allow for infinite growth. See global warming / climate change

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (2)

mikael_j (106439) | about 2 years ago | (#40106595)

So why are we building so much other, even less useful, crap?

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106681)

because that results in a positive ROI aka whats in it for the person building it ? money.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (3, Funny)

Nethead (1563) | about 2 years ago | (#40106959)

So why are we building so much other, even less useful, crap?

Because the human race would stop if we didn't have this:

http://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Nicole-Polizzi/Snooki-13729.html [fragrantica.com]

Obligatory "I don't want to live on this planet anymore."

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40106737)

You really should have said that finite resources can't satisfy infinite demand. I can want far more than humanity's capability to provide. So we have to prioritize those wants.

Growth is a vague label that can mean many different things. Growth of knowledge, for example, can be sustained for a long time while growth of people (as we currently are) can only go so many doublings before we exhaust all physical resources (space, energy, matter, etc) in the Solar System.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

mug funky (910186) | about 2 years ago | (#40106855)

how do you expect us to trump earth's limited resources then? perhaps we could look elsewhere for minerals. obviously fossil fuels aren't likely to be found off earth, but it's something to aim for.

also, OP said "self sustaining". one would presume the resource usage would be a one-time thing.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40107175)

obviously fossil fuels aren't likely to be found off earth, but it's something to aim for.

Howzabout TItan? There's literally oceans of hydrocarbons there. Or do you want nice, clean-burning hydrogen? Can't go wrong with with the most common substance in the universe, and you can even get megatons the isotope of Hydrogen3 right next door on the moon if that's what you decide fusion power requires. Water? Hell, Europa has more than Earth does, by all reckoning. Of course, if you want cheap, abundant titanium, there's enough incredibly rich ore in locations on the Moon that would make you uber-wealthy if they were located here on Earth. You wouldn't even have to worry about pollution while extracting it.

Earth is only rich in comparison to the rest of the Universe in having all those nicely balanced environmental conditions and self-seeded biomass that's built up over a couple billion years that makes living on it comfortable. If all you're interested in is raw materials, theres places elsewhere where they're much more abundant.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Insightful)

_KiTA_ (241027) | about 2 years ago | (#40106565)

Isn't that reason enough? What happened to ambition, curiosity, and doing things "because it's there?"

It got buried under quarterly budget reports and two generations of short sighted politicians whose only motivation is to get themselves reelected and to push a hyperpartisan agenda.

Oh, and Democrats, who are generally worthless at any form of argument or debate.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106713)

Oh, and Democrats, who are generally worthless at any form of argument or debate.

True dat. The last several years can be summed up thusly:

Republicans: We want this!
Democrats: If you get this, than we get that.
Republicans: No! We get this or we filibuster!
Democrats: Okay.
Republicans: (later) Obama forced this on us and now our country is a step away from complete socialism!

Case in point: Obamacare, which is pretty much the same healthcare reform Romney passed in Massachusetts, and contains many rather Republican ideas (e.g. Gingrich lobbied for years to require everybody to have health insurance). If Obamacare was even halfway liberal it would contain a government option. The only thing Democrats 'got' was Medicare expansion, but that's only because Republicans depend on old homophobic and xenophobic bible-thumpers so much.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40107055)

Case in point: Obamacare

I giggle when I hear it called "Obamacare", because he didn't exactly work up a sweat pushing for it.

And what little he did do, was almost entirely after the Democrats in Congress had already caved on practically every point, to appease Republican committee members who didn't vote for it even after they got what they wanted.

Democrats are stupid. If they had 1/3 of a clue they could have destroyed the Republican party after 2005.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40106741)

Or farsighted politicians who don't want to have a multi hundred billion dollar base on the moon sucking up cash for no reason 10 years from now in circumstances they can't predict.

When you have money to burn a lot of things look like ideas you can fling money at, including tax cuts for people who don't need tax cuts, bridges to nowhere etc. The problem is that when the economy takes a negative dip (as it always does) you need to cut things which aren't necessary so you can focus resources on something that really needs it.

Any sort of adventure like a moon base needs to be as part of an investment into something. Maybe that's as a jumping off point to Mars, maybe that's for mining asteroids, or maybe it's just because we desperately need living space and it looks like it might be viable. But right now, it's none of those things.

National prestige is worth something, as is general investment in scientific curiosity. So you pay a bunch of scientists to figure out what is a good use of scientific money, and if they tell you 'not a moon base' then you should probably follow that. There are lots of other problems to be solved that look far more likely to be successful at this point.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106577)

it died with the educational system. now the new mantra is -- whats the ROI ? and whats in it for me ?

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106583)

Isn't that reason enough? What happened to ambition, curiosity, and doing things "because it's there?"

What are the forecasted profits in the first quarter?

What? It's blue-sky and we're supposed to just see what valuable tech falls out? That isn't going to look good on my performance review! I need that bonus to pay the mortgage on my 23rd McMansion!

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (2)

dutchd00d (823703) | about 2 years ago | (#40106975)

The space race was never about that. It was a dick-measuring contest between two superpowers. Ambition and curiosity were good for the rousing speeches but not much else.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 2 years ago | (#40107003)

What happened to ambition, curiosity, and doing things "because it's there?"

A dose of reality? First there's the 9-5 followed by the wife and then the kids, the house, the mortgage and the cars. By the time that we're done doing all of these things there isn't much left for curiosity or doing non-essential things, "because they're there". Besides, why should I keep doing all of those things and paying my taxes so that you can live out your boyhood moon base fantasies? If you want a moon base, pay for it yourself.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40107043)

Isn't that reason enough? What happened to ambition, curiosity, and doing things "because it's there?"

Actually, the US space effort was motivated by "because Sputnik's there".

Don't worry; it's just a matter of time until someone provokes our latent inferiority complex again.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Insightful)

boshi (612264) | about 2 years ago | (#40106549)

I think this line of reasoning is very short-sighted. History is filled with examples of discoveries made by accident while trying to push the boundaries of a field. How do you know that a more permanent presence on the moon wouldn't lead to the next major breakthrough?

To think that we can learn everything that we need to by doing all of our experiments at the bottom of a gravity well in our own tiny little corner of the solar system is absurd.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Interesting)

demachina (71715) | about 2 years ago | (#40106649)

We've spent well over $100 billion on a foray somewhat out of the bottom of a gravity well. So far it has produced almost nothing, its called ISS.

Chances are a base on the moon would be only slightly more productive than ISS.

The moon might be worthwhile for mining water or Helium isotopes though this has not yet been well established. The far side might be a good place for some observatories. It might be a place to train for a base on Mars. Then the use cases starts trailing off pretty quickly

Its pretty simple, you need to build a strong, well thought out, case that there is something on the Moon worth doing that would actually justify the significant expense of returning and building a base. This is the step that was completely missed in the Apollo program which is why everyone stopped caring around Apollo 12 and the program ended at Apollo 17. An emotional case about the coolness factor, and pointless space races with other countries, doesn't really cut it.

The spinoffs from Apollo did end up making it worthwhile but its not really clear you would get anything close to the same spinoffs going back. Apollo had to actually invent a lot of things to pull it off. If you go back to the moon you would mostly be revisiting technologies that have already been developed so the spinoffs would almost certainly be much less.

Mars would be a much harder destination but it would be substantially more worthwhile since it is an almost colonizable planet. A case can be made for the that though it wouldn't be easy. It might also produce some new spinoffs since it would be a much harder journey and much more challenging to do.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (5, Interesting)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#40106679)

The spinoffs from Apollo did end up making it worthwhile but its not really clear you would get anything close to the same spinoffs going back. Apollo had to actually invent a lot of things to pull it off. If you go back to the moon you would mostly be revisiting technologies that have already been developed so the spinoffs would almost certainly be much less.

Yeah, but you wouldn't just be "going back". Building a long-term habitat on the moon is likely to bring about just as many - if not more - useful spinoffs. In fact, since the challenges that need to be met are largely centred around making a limited-resource environment friendly and liveable, I'd think their application would be even more direct, since we're all into the whole sustainable living/climate change/peak oil thing these days.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106689)

you mean eco freaks/idiots are into it. the rest of us could care less if global warming wiped out 90% of the population since its statistically likely the 10% who survive if it will be in the western world.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (3, Interesting)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#40106785)

More likely, that 10% survivor rate will be someplace out in the 3rd World. Kill off the skillage needed to sustain a high tech civilisation, that civilisation will fall. For instance, kill off anybody who knows how an oil refinery works and how to make it produce gas & diesel. When the current stockpiles dry up, there'll be no more. Modern agriculture depends on that (relatively) cheap energy. No way we'll be able to feed 7 billion people on Bronze Age farming gear. The people doing Bronze Age style farming right now will still eat. Mostly. Unless they need to refrigerate some of their food. Then they're fucked.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106807)

youre forgetting that the biggest guns win. the 10% can compel third world slave labor to work for them if it comes to a food problem.
everything is fixable with enough firepower.
 

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#40107181)

Do have any idea of the logistical and industrial "tail" that's necessary to sustain a modern army in the field? And bear in mind we're talking about a situation where the society behind that has collapsed.

To quote from Zulu Dawn: "Bullets run out, them bloody spears don't!".

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (3, Insightful)

demachina (71715) | about 2 years ago | (#40106747)

I'm willing to wager a long term habitat on the moon would look disturbingly similar to the ISS . . . . but on the moon.

I am williing to bet it would be operated with a supply chain disturbingly similar to the ISS with just about everything shipped from Earth. I suppose they could open a land fill and dump the trash on the Moon saving having to fly it back to Earth like ISS. Is that what you would call a "spinoff"? There will probably be objections from the environmentalists on that one.

If they really pushed the envelope they might mine water on the Moon and get some Oxygen and Hydrogen, but I think that would require you to put the base on the South Pole and its not clear yet if there are in fact large ice deposits there.

If they were to put a nuclear reactor in the base that would be interesting but I'm willing to bet the opposition to launching one and doing that would be massive. I'm willing to bet instead it will have a big array of solar panels, like ISS.

You are seriously kidding yourself if you think its a given there will be huge technological breakthroughs as a result of this particular program.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (3, Insightful)

Nethead (1563) | about 2 years ago | (#40106979)

ISS with gritty dust that fouls all the seals and bearings. Can't do micro-G stuff because of 1/6th gravity. Really bad ping times, can't game or hold a decent conversation. No atmosphere to brake a landing, nothing but regolith to putz around in. The only thing that rock is good for is tides and sonnets.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40107129)

Well, the current Australian Labor didn't give any good reason for the 200 billion dollars they have pissed up against the wall in the 4 short years they have been in power (labor voters, don't waste your breath with your "saved us from the GFC" lies). When you consider our economy is 10% the size of the US it tends to put the amounts of money in perspective. We could have had our own space shuttle program for the money wasted on putting pink batts in ceilings because the owners couldn't be bothered doing it themselves, building million dollar shade cloths in school playgrounds etc etc ad nauseum.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40107271)

WTF has Australias deficit (which is a small proportion of GDP) got to do with anything? You could argue that about any country which has spent 200 billion dollars over any time period...so whats your point?

Australia does not have a debt crisis. Conservatives like you should stop telling lies.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40106665)

Or maybe because even most scientists (actual scientists, not armchair commentators on slashdot) can't find an actual utilitarian reason to build a moon base other than juvenile delight at living out their sci-fi fantasies?

No offense, but being a scientist (which incidentally many armchair commentators are on Slashdot) doesn't help you evaluate the utility of a moon base. And a large portion of space scientists have a natural conflict of interest. Namely, under current conditions, a moon base would cut into their funding.

I think the original poster which you replied to was way off base, but let's not go to a different extreme and let unqualified people make decisions for us merely because they have a degree.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106667)

Most scientists (actual scientists, like me) can't find an actual utilitarian reason to do what they're doing at the moment, apart from "Maybe something unexpectedly useful will turn up.". That applies to a moon base, too.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#40106915)

Most scientists (actual scientists, like me) can't find an actual utilitarian reason to do what they're doing at the moment, apart from "Maybe something unexpectedly useful will turn up."

Define "actual scientist." Papers published in journals? Which ones? Which discipline? Particle physics, astronomy, biology? Do you consider Archimedes an actual scentist? What're his credentials? What's he published? I can go on and on listing "actual scientists" from history who were considered little more than charlatans by their contemporaries.

The chutzpah in here is deafening.

Back on topic, wouldn't it be nice to have a "Hubble" in a stationary mount on the other side of the moon? Wouldn't it be nice if we found tons of water at the bottom of a few craters up there? Wouldn't it be nice if it was a stepping stone to that vision Riker had in Startrek First Contact, when the whole moon was populated and cities up there shone down on us?

Perhaps you're lacking vision. Just a thought.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about 2 years ago | (#40106919)

How the hell are you being funded?

I'm a research scientist working on UAV systems - something that is arguably useful and a hot topic right now, and I'm finding it brutal to get access to funding. The money just isn't there, especially when you're competing with people who are developing vaccines and novel methods of leveraging social networks to sell tchotchkies. Unless you can show a serious payoff for your research within 5 years or so, nobody is interested in funding you, government or otherwise.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#40106705)

What was the utilitarian reason for landing on the moon? Saber-rattling? Hardly an important cause.

Trying to do something hard is a great way to spur innovation. Who better to make the effort than the federal government... an organization that can fund the attempt with less than 1% of its budget, and ensure that the resulting discoveries are available to the public. Even if we never build a base, we'll solve lots of hard engineering problems in the process, come up with innovations that can apply to other fields, and maybe even push back a little against a culture that more and more likes to celebrate idiocy and condemn intelligence.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106733)

because the the outer space treaty forbids governments from building moon bases (sadly)
      and as a left over from the cold war.... its still in force...
So NASA couldnt do it..

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#40106759)

Spinoff technologies. It will be cheaper to mine the moon for the raw materials for steel and put the finished product in geosynch orbit than it will be to boost every goddamned gram of every SPS we hang in space from Canaveral or Baikanour. SPSes are a spinoff technology. Also, lunar-built space vehicles that don't need to fight ehir way out of the Earth's gravity well. It's raining soup in space, and all everybody is doing is bitching their clothes are getting wet instead of hunting for a bucket.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Insightful)

subreality (157447) | about 2 years ago | (#40106793)

juvenile delight at living out their sci-fi fantasies

What's wrong with that? What do YOU live for? We have a lot of other things needing, but fulfilling my childhood fantasies is the long-term end goal, even if it doesn't happen in my lifetime.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (2, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#40106879)

Or maybe because even most scientists (actual scientists, not armchair commentators on slashdot) can't find an actual utilitarian reason to build a moon base other than juvenile delight at living out their sci-fi fantasies?

You sound like a dinosaur to me... You know, the kind of ignorant fool who scurries about, oblivious to the Universe at large, worrying over utterly inconsequential crap while there's a huge asteroid headed for Earth about to make them extinct. Make no bones about it, one is headed this way right now. EVERY scientist will tell you that it's just a mater of time. What if we got out to the asteroid belt, captured us a few and had them orbiting the moon for quick dispatch. Meanwhile we mine them, not because it's oh so much cheaper to ferry them back to Earth, but because the raw materials aren't trapped in the bottom of a gravity well and it's cheaper to build shit in space.

The moon is just the first foothold, there's a whole solar system full of resources to utilise and SPACE to EXPAND since we hate the idea of state regulated birth control... Thirsty? Hell, Ceres is about 1/3rd the asteroid belt, and is probably full of water we can use. There's probably other BIG things floating about we have no clue of. You're either really clueless, or just chauvinistic because you're not extinct yet.
EG: [wikipedia.org]

Eris, is the most massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System and the ninth most massive body known to orbit the Sun directly. It is estimated to be approximately 2300–2400 km in diameter, and 27% more massive than Pluto or about 0.27% of the Earth's mass.

Eris was discovered in January 2005 by a Palomar Observatory-based team led by Mike Brown, and its identity was verified later that year.

Now look here, you short sighted, ignorant twit: You don't know what the fuck you're talking about. Get your damn priorities straight. If getting off this rock isn't priority #1 then you're just burring your head in the sand, and ignoring the fossil records found therein. We've got a CHANCE to dominate our corner of the Universe, and prosper wildly beyond your puny minded dreams, you're saying: Nope, I vote for certain death at an uncertain time. FUCK YOU MAN, that's NOT how any rational being should think. Just off yourself now, you're hindering the herd.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

sysrammer (446839) | about 2 years ago | (#40107285)

"If getting off this rock isn't priority #1 then you're just burying your head in the sand, and ignoring the fossil records found therein."

Nice line, that's a keeper. I was just watching a show on the top 7 catastophic events to occur on Earth: "The Great Dying", "Ordovician Die-off", "K-T Event" (of course), etc. Cosmic events ranging from planetoids to asteroids to supernova gamma rays.

Diversify.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#40107305)

There's a whole solar system full of resources to utilise and SPACE to EXPAND since we hate the idea of state regulated birth control>

Even with multiple space elevators, you can't move more people off the planet than are being born on it at any given moment. Expansion into space is not a realistic solution for overpopulation.

You also present a false dichotomy between space colonization and extinction somewhere in the short term. Instead of expanding into space, a quite possible future for sentient races is to move into a virtual reality. Merged with machines and living underground, the human race could withstand catastrophic asteroid strikes and last until the sun expands to a red giant. Voluntary extinction may even be a possibility at some point after the human races has transcended biology. Your fanatical dreams of immortality and exploration of the universe are not the way it has to be.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | about 2 years ago | (#40106981)

Or maybe because even most scientists (actual scientists, not armchair commentators on slashdot) can't find an actual utilitarian reason to build a moon base other than juvenile delight at living out their sci-fi fantasies?

Apart from that, sex and food what else motivates humanity?

Making money (which seems to be what *everyone* wants to do) is just to get more food, and sex time anyways. Oh and moon bases, ferraris, whatever.
So yeah. Good enough for me

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

sysrammer (446839) | about 2 years ago | (#40107203)

Apart from that, sex and food what else motivates humanity?

Making money (which seems to be what *everyone* wants to do) is just to get more food, and sex time anyways. Oh and moon bases, ferraris, whatever.
So yeah. Good enough for me

Power. Monkey power.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (3, Interesting)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#40107033)

Or maybe because even most scientists (actual scientists, not armchair commentators on slashdot) can't find an actual utilitarian reason to build a moon base other than juvenile delight at living out their sci-fi fantasies?

Well, how about experiments conducted in a low-gravity environment?

How about telescopes and other such sensors that are capable of things we'd never be able to do on the Earth?

How about because fuck it, it's there, which is one of the most important driving factors in humanity?

Why did we climb Everest? Because it's the tallest mountain. Why does man try to skydive from ever-increased heights? Because we've never skydived from that high before. Why does the Heart Attack Grill make a Quadruple Bypass burger? Because honestly, a good cheeseburger has more calories in it than a month of your salary.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (3, Insightful)

sFurbo (1361249) | about 2 years ago | (#40107153)

Fine, but don't force me to spend my money on your fantasies.

I don't think anybody would object to private corporations making a moon base*, but if you want to use tax money on it, you had better come up with something better then "But it would be REALLY COOL".

*OK, this is /., SOMEBODY will complain.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

thej1nx (763573) | about 2 years ago | (#40107149)

I agree! Columbus should have stayed home! Look what all his exploration nonsense lead to!
.

Oh wait...

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

physburn (1095481) | about 2 years ago | (#40107339)

Once you have a moon space, you can mining material from the moon, particularly silicon, aluminium, titanium and oxygen. And launch to space some 36 times more cheaply in terms of energy. The up front cost of a moon base is a lot, especially including the mining equipment, a smelter, and frabrication planets. But once you have one you can build earth satellites, and explore the other planets, many time more cheaply. Earth is dependent on satellites, and since its getting crowded in orbit, we will need space tugs and debris cleaners craft up earth orbit, to manage the earth satellite. We can do that a lot more cheaply, if we can mine and frabricate in space.

---

Space Colonization Feed [feeddistiller.com] @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

turing_m (1030530) | about 2 years ago | (#40106493)

In an ideal world I would tend to agree. However, that does limit the number of people who can vote to maybe 10% of people, if that. It's a hard sell.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

smileygladhands (1909508) | about 2 years ago | (#40106503)

A certain group considers it a waste of money for the government. Ignoring the fact the NASA at it's peak allows billion in revenue to go back to the government. But some people don't want to understand anything about long term payoff, spin-off, and the fact that they create cutting edge industries.

This is what happens when non scientific and ignorant people get equal say how the government works.

And yes, I DO believe people without a fundamental understanding of science shouldn't be allowed to participate in the government. Same with people who can't do intermediate algebra.

I agree with your sentiment, but define "ignorant". Ignorance is subjective. Not everyone is scientific. Some people actually believe that reiki is legit and that believe Tim Ferriss actually knows what he is talking about. But these ignorant people are nothing compared to what ignorance was 50 years ago, or 100 years ago. Please codify (as in law, not C) a definition of ignorance that will be useful in 10 years, and then 100 years.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106643)

I agree with your sentiment, but define "ignorant" ... [p]lease codify (as in law, not C) a definition of ignorance that will be useful in 10 years, and then 100 years.

I can think of a relatively simple legal codification, though it would become expensive in terms of court time:

Any person whose general standard of knowledge and level of education is such that a reasonable minded person would consider that knowledge or level of education to be defective and below the standard ordinarily expected by the community.

Upon such definitions great case law is made. :)

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106657)

You need to work on your tail-recursion.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40107079)

You need to work on your tail-recursion.

I'll get on that as soon as I finish working on my tail-recursion.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#40107049)

> Some people actually believe that reiki is legit

Just because you've never done distance healing doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Scientists are still ignorant to the causes of electricity, gravity, only discovered 4 of the 6 fundamental forces, let alone don't have a fucking clue what consciousness is, so why are you surprised they don't understand energy healing?

Guess what traditional medicine doesn't always work either.

According to Science the Placebo effect should NOT even exist, but it does.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18524911.600-13-things-that-do-not-make-sense.html [newscientist.com]

It is a proven fact that the mind can effect the body's biochemistry.
See Morris Goodman's story:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfKn92klPeU [youtube.com]
http://www.inspiresoul.com/miracle-man-proof-that-your-mind-is-bigger-than-any-science/ [inspiresoul.com]

Like any modality of healing the standard disclaim needs to apply: Your Mileage May Vary. If it does then great! If not then try something else until it does.

Tossing the baby out with the bathwater just because your dogma of "doesn't work for you" being applied to everyone is plain stupidity and ignorance.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106585)

You're right. We should reinstate poll tests. Long live Jim Crow.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40106719)

This is what happens when non scientific and ignorant people get equal say how the government works.

If things ever truly worked that way, then you'd be among the first to get the boot for your non scientific, ignorant post above. There are no hard numbers or data surrounding your opinion above.

The only way to support such an argument scientifically is to compare how things would be with and without. We can't compare an Earth or particular society without space activity to one with, but we can compare contemporary societies with differing levels of commitment to space activities.

For example, the US spends a lot more on space activities than the member states of the European Space Agency, especially including DoD spending. Yet Europe is generally considered to be the more advanced culture scientifically and doesn't have quite the problem with the "non scientific, ignorant people" that are vexing you. So we have right here a data point indicating that maybe space exploration isn't all that beneficial in your own terms.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Interesting)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#40106811)

For example, the US spends a lot more on space activities than the member states of the European Space Agency, especially including DoD spending. Yet Europe is generally considered to be the more advanced culture scientifically and doesn't have quite the problem with the "non scientific, ignorant people" that are vexing you. So we have right here a data point indicating that maybe space exploration isn't all that beneficial in your own terms.

They didn't democratize education in Europe with any of that 'no child left behind' and 'let's teach them to embrace their diversity and acknowledge their uniqueness' bullshit. In Europe, they actually (gasp) try to make the kids read, write, do basic math up to elementary mathmatical analysis, speak at least 2 languages, learn their own and world histories, and more. Google up the stats on how the schools of the various countries are rated. Do it. I dare ya.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40107107)

Go to China then. I remember reading somewhere that majority of the people running the show have degrees in technology rather than rhetoric.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#40107127)

Ignoring the fact the NASA at it's peak allows billion in revenue to go back to the government.

Right kids! One slingshot each from the table on the left. Choose marbles or ball-bearings from desk B. Now get out there and boost the economy!

P.S. A sentence should contain a finite verb.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40107317)

And yes, I DO believe people without a fundamental understanding of science shouldn't be allowed to participate in the government.

As someone who moved from mathematics into law because I saw scientists ambitious for political leadership as nothing less than technocratic fascists, I think that anyone without a fundamental understanding of and respect for law shouldn't be allowed to participate in government.

Unfortunately there are a lot of lawyers in that position - but more scientists, since at least the corrupt lawyers are merely self-interested, while the scientists tend to be on a Glorious Mission. And people with a Glorious Mission are the most dangerous of all.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (5, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 2 years ago | (#40106477)

What the hell happened to America?

Too busy spending money on killing people and figuring out more efficient ways of killing people.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (5, Interesting)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 2 years ago | (#40106567)

Indeed. If Osama bin Laden hid on the Moon you would be there by now... for about the same money and with fewer people killed in the process.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#40106691)

Indeed. If Osama bin Laden hid on the Moon you would be there by now... for about the same money and with fewer people killed in the process.

Although I get where you're coming from, if Osama had the ability to hide on the Moon, much more money would be spent and many more people would have probably been killed in the process....

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40107111)

Indeed. If Osama bin Laden hid on the Moon you would be there by now... for about the same money and with fewer people killed in the process.

I doubt it. Only tiny amount of the USA's post-9/11 security spending went toward I'm gonna git that bastid!

Most of it went toward pointless wars and security theatre.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

_0x783czar (2516522) | about 2 years ago | (#40106991)

Too busy spending money on killing people and figuring out more efficient ways of killing people.

Well.. it should be noted that when we went to the moon we were also rather involved in killing people. I could also be argued that we went to the moon with a largely military goal, and thus (at least indirectly) with the purpose of killing people. So lets not just pick popularized cliché critiques to hammer home what we must learn from Armstrong's legacy.

I am saddened that while our government bleeds out money on 'pork' and wasteful spending, they have cut the most successful and lucrative government program ever established. We are heavily in debt, but I could personally list a number of things I'd cut before the one thing that has brought such a great measure of success. But then, what do I know?

I believe our actions are often judged unfairly, but I readily admit we an imperfect nation. I will say, however, that if we fall it will be our own doing.

Our success or failure hinges on many factors, but I believe the more we can listen to, learn from, and be inspired by men like Armstrong, the brighter our future may be.

Might need insects (3, Interesting)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#40106479)

Assuming the colony will produce it's own food, it may need insects to aid in decomposition of the compost.

Re:Might need insects (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#40106895)

That's a big assumption, there have been a few high profile experiments with closed loop "ecodomes" built on Earth, some of them are quite large structures. Building one that doesn't turn into rotting sesspit after a year or two is still beyond our technical grasp. For the foreseable future I think any off world colony is going to need a supply line for food and water. Our inability to create a sustainable source of food in isolation from Earth's environment is the tallest technological hurdle we have to leap wrt to colonising nearby rocks, let alone rocks who's distance is measured in light years.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106499)

Ok, we have people wanting to do it. We have the technology to do it.

But do we have the budget and what do we get out of it?

I am of course a slashdotter, and would love nothing more then a base on the moon. But for starters, I think that its stupid that you would differentiate between countries. All countries should be working together on this.
Second, the base would only be usable for science, at this time. So its not like we could say, "rent a flat" there. And working from there would also be a big problem. You couldn't go to meetings, and not even videomeetings would be very good. 2.5 seconds delay would be extremely annoying.

But then we have to think, what scientific benefits would it give that are really worth the enormous cost that we can't do with the ISS yet? We can currently figure out long term effects of being in space with the ISS, we can figure out how plants work and lots of other things in space. Building a base would have as main thing to test out "how to build a base on another planet". Which is without doubt something we MUST learn sooner or later. But we still have quite a bit of science left that could help us make the first base work well. So until we have to let go of the ISS, I don't think a moonbase is really worth it yet. We can do lots of science in the ISS without spending billions to make a moonbase which may be used for the same science we can already do.
Cue the incoming "take some from the military budget". I wish. I wish so hard, but we all know that humanities favorite hobby is killing every other fuck out there.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (5, Interesting)

demachina (71715) | about 2 years ago | (#40106715)

" All countries should be working together on this."

Excepting that multinational consortiums tend to turn in to bureaucratic quagmires. Haggling over who does what, who pays for what, whose astornauts get what rides. Some countries fall short on their commitments, others have to pick up the slack, schedules slip, budget soars. Just look at the history of the ISS.

If you want to do things fast, cheap and well a Kelly Johnson Skunkworks model is probably a much better choice than a bureaucratic quagmire. Find very talented engineers and program managers, give them a very precise goal and sufficient funds to do it, and keep the politicians as far away from it as possible.

Ones of NASA's now fatal flaws is politicians change the goal and the plan about every four years right before anything is actually done. They also dictate where and how things are done, not for engineering reasons but to insure they get pork in their states and districts. For example, every recent NASA proposed launcher has Shuttle SRB's in it just to insure Orrin Hatch wont try to kill it. That's why Ares I turned in to the monstrosity it was, and why Allient and Astrium have resuscitated the design that will not die as their proposed Liberty [wikipedia.org] launcher.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#40106837)

Ones of NASA's now fatal flaws is politicians change the goal and the plan about every four years right before anything is actually done.

NASA's budget comes up for review yearly. And every budget cycle, they still get a loud mouthed no-brained minority on the Hill bitching about all that 'money wasted in space'.

That's why Ares I turned in to the monstrosity it was, and why Allient and Astrium have resuscitated the design that will not die as their proposed Liberty launcher.

Hopefully, it'll have more than the 3000 kilo suborbital payload of Hermes. I'm thinking Falcon Heavy is the way to go. It'll lift just about any damned thing you can wrap a fairing around, cheap.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40107095)

Sure, but I would say that getting a base on the moon may very well be more useful political than scientifically. Having a base that is funded by many countries, all working together for science would probably make it a lot more useful.

Just think about how wasteful it would be if we had to have a ISS for every major country that wants to do space experiments. Especially since the base being of just one country often ends up with science being done for just one country and it not being shared. In my opinion thats an enormous waste. I admit that its a political minefield, but who doesn't love having some politicians blow up. I still believe strongly that it should be joint effort between many countries, for on the scale of space, a country is nearly nothing. One full race may be worth it.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (4, Insightful)

kermidge (2221646) | about 2 years ago | (#40106615)

What's to understand?

Read the responses by the overwhelming majority of posters here for almost any space-related article, for starters. They already have the answers, so why bother asking questions?

Consider, perhaps, the huge aversion to risk, personally and societally, and the lawyerly legions ready to pounce on any 20-20 hindsight "mistake." Toss in the long-term trend of disparagement of learning, of exploration and discovery; the notion that it's somehow cool to be jaded by everything but the getting of more money and having fun, often as not at the expense of others, while thoroughly ignoring larger issues or even personal growth, and the rigid resistance to any kind of personal involvement beyond one's comfort bubble of prejudice and appetite.

I found it telling that Cdr. Armstrong estimated a 1-in-10 chance he wouldn't return. He went. He went, not because he was ordered to go, but because of whatever blend of desire, ambition, duty, honor, competitiveness, what have you. He damned sure didn't go for fame and riches.

All the astronauts at the time were pilots and aviators. All had degrees, many had advanced degrees, mostly in engineering. Many had been in combat. Most had done flight test. Every one believed, _knew_, that he was the best.

So, find that blend, those skills, that education, that dedication. Put behind them an infrastructure built to get things done and a public will to see it happen. I suggest you look elsewhere than the United States.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#40106951)

Armstrong had balls of steel, nobody who has watched the landing approach can deny that. Not to mention their craft had tinfoil walls which they could not touch for fear of tearing them. However, as you have indicated, big balls without education and experience rarely achives anything more than a Darwin award.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40107029)

I found it telling that Cdr. Armstrong estimated a 1-in-10 chance he wouldn't return. He went. He went, not because he was ordered to go, but because of whatever blend of desire, ambition, duty, honor, competitiveness, what have you. He damned sure didn't go for fame and riches.

my first reaction to the story was that surviving 9 out of 10 sounds way too high for that sort of project (bleeding edge tech driven by political deadlines) and that Armstrong did probably whole-heartedly buy a nice little lie by NASA (to keep his and his family's minds at ease).

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

thereitis (2355426) | about 2 years ago | (#40106645)

No state can conquer the moon or put weapons on it according to the Outer Space Treaty [wikipedia.org] . This author [thespacereview.com] says "The current doctrine of international space law is restrictive and suffocating. For real progress in space to be made, the Outer Space Treaty and its res communis doctrine must be rethought in terms of the realities of today."

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106921)

Just had a spot of deja vu, I've finally gotten around to reading Baxter's Manifold series. He approaches that theme several times from both positive and negative viewpoints.

If you want private investment in space, the only way to do it is to return a profit. I've got no issue with that. I'm 100% behind not weaponising space for various reasons.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#40106903)

If we had told these men that it was near certain death: that there was almost no chance of survival whatever but we might learn something from their ashen corpse - it would not have made any difference. They were ready to GO. They would have strapped in with a smile on their lips. Once upon a time we were made of sterner stuff.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40107133)

If we had told these men that it was near certain death: that there was almost no chance of survival whatever but we might learn something from their ashen corpse - it would not have made any difference. They were ready to GO. They would have strapped in with a smile on their lips. Once upon a time we were made of sterner stuff.

Actually, I suspect that the fraction of the population who would sign up for a job as a test pilot has been pretty constant since the invention of the airplane.

The notion of "the right stuff" is just propagandistic idol-making. Governments love to offer the public a hero.

Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (2, Insightful)

bertok (226922) | about 2 years ago | (#40106949)

The Russians, Chinese, and Japanese are just talking about it, which is cheap. Practically free. Doing it is another matter.

Why would any government want to set up a trillion dollar base on what amounts to a lifeless rock in the middle of nowhere? Because you watched too much Star Trek as a kid, and want it really badly to be true?

We wouldn't get anything out of it, except things we could have gotten for a tiny fraction of the cost here on Earth! Spin-off technologies? That's like saying we should burn huge piles of money to stay warm in the winter. It's bureaucratic buzzword talk for "only 99% wasteful!".

If you think isolated cold rocks in a hard vacuum are so fantastic, why don't you move to Bouvet Island [wikipedia.org] for the rest of your life? You can set yourself up a nice vacuum chamber there, sprinkle some radioactive isotopes around it to simulate the harsh radiation of outer space, and you have yourself a perfectly adequate simulation of life on the moon. For extra credit, take drugs that cause osteoporosis, and do all work outside the habitat in scuba gear. Make sure to carry your water, food and oxygen with you too -- no cheating! You're allowed supplies from the outside, except that you have to give $1000 to charity for each pound imported to the island.

Does that sound like something you want to do for the rest of your life? Would you want your family to live there like that, away from friends, family, and an "outside" that won't kill you in seconds? What would you do with your time there? Break rocks?

If you can't think of a good reason to move to Bouvet Island, then you don't have a good reason to live on the Moon either, which is a worse place to live, further away, and more expensive to get to.

Would have been more fun if somebody asked him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106443)

If he'd faked it. And if his response was like Buzz Aldrin's.

Could have gone on that new Betty White show.

Goodluck Mr.Gorsky (0, Flamebait)

blue_teeth (83171) | about 2 years ago | (#40106569)

It's a pity Neil Armstrong did not explain about the remark he made to Mr.Gorsky.

Re:Goodluck Mr.Gorsky (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106617)

It's a pity Neil Armstrong did not explain about the remark he made to Mr.Gorsky.

Facepalm.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is part of why he never bothers giving interviews any more. Between the "Moon Landings were fake" trolls and these trolls you just lose faith in humanity.

Re:Goodluck Mr.Gorsky (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40107143)

It's a pity Neil Armstrong did not explain about the remark he made to Mr.Gorsky.

It's a pity you can't afford a computer that uses proportional fonts.

Moooon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106661)

You sweet bitch, you ruined me for anyone else. AhhHOO!!!!

If we ever colonize Mars... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#40106663)

If we want to ever colonize and live on Mars (and beyond), the mopn is the ideal jumping off point. Low gravity takeoff = less fuel consumption. A reliable launch window every two years. We have the abiity, knowledge and resources to accomplish near planet travel. If we don't start a moonbase now, humans may be stuck on this planet for good. Extreme short sightedness.

Re:If we ever colonize Mars... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40106763)

Uh... the moment someone decides that plan is worthwhile they can go ahead and do it. To this point no one has decided it's worth doing, or more to the point worth the risk that the project would get half completed before more immediate problems require the money, and then you could end up with half a moonbase, or a moonbase and no mars mission or the like. None of which would be a good use of public finances that could be spent elsewhere.

With a goal of 'going to the moon and back' at any meaningful intermediate step you can cut your losses if it's not working and not be out a whole lot. There are dozens of useful intermediate steps and goals. A moonbase can't be half hearted, you either build a moonbase, or you build a very expensive scrap heap. All of the intermediate steps were done in the apollo programme already.

Re:If we ever colonize Mars... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#40106845)

We don't have to create a Hilton luxury hotel right.off the bat. Using prexisting caves and sealing them off would be an economical beginning. And people can learn more about the moon by actually living on it. Robot rovers can glean only so much about it's surroundings, put humans there full time, using modern and future tech, well,..then the ability for new discovery might be worth the gamble. Male it involve a world wide effort, all nations. After 200 years or so of terraforming, Mars could have a breathable atmosphere. We won't ever know for sure until we try. That takes risk, it's a risk that could bring unimagined returns.

Nice article... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106795)

It was a good experience to read the articles and contents on this site.
http://www.deccansojourn.com

Will my generation have such a defining moment? (4, Interesting)

CoolGopher (142933) | about 2 years ago | (#40106863)

Watching and listening to the lunar landing sends shivers down my spine. For all our cool tech these days, nothing compares to that moment, and I can't help but wonder if our generation will have such a defining moment. Right now the world seems too obsessed with "safe" and "profit", and appears to have lost the vision and drive to push our boundaries.

I wish we would have some leaders who would follow in the footsteps of "we do these things not because they're easy, but because they're hard."

Re:Will my generation have such a defining moment? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40106963)

How about bringing extinct animals back. Like a mammoth?

we're going back... (2)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#40107087)

somewhere, hopefully for a profit. The recent success of the SpaceX rocket is crucial because its vision pushes the envelope for cheaper launch costs, now. $ per lb is the hurdle for commercial space development. Mining, energy, colonization - flight has to be affordable for large scale development. That first step is hardest and most expensive. SpaceX just made a significant rung. Everyone else has to beat that, like the microprocessor manufacturers of the 1970s and 80s.

Not exactly a revelation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40107115)

Armstrong has made the "50% percent chance of success" comment several times before, for example in September 2005: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2005-09-06-mars-armstrong_x.htm

Main lesson to be learned from Neil's generation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40107199)

... something which we have clearly lost...

A respect and strive for humility.

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