×

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

Thank you!

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

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

NASA Pondering L2 Outpost, Return To Moon

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the moon-mars-L2-just-go-somewhere dept.

Moon 122

New submitter Joiseybill writes "Now that the election is over, any voters that may have been influenced can rest easy. Space.com reports that the agency has been 'thinking about setting up a manned outpost beyond the moon's far side, both to establish a human presence in deep space and to build momentum toward a planned visit to an asteroid in 2025.' Space policy expert John Logsdon said, 'NASA has been evolving its thinking, and its latest charts have inserted a new element of cislunar/lunar gateway/Earth-moon L2 sort of stuff into the plan. They've been holding off announcing that until after the election.' According to the article, 'Rumors currently point toward parking a spacecraft at the Earth-moon L2 gateway, so NASA (and perhaps international partners) can learn more about supporting humans in deep space. Astronauts stationed there could also aid in lunar exploration — by teleoperating rovers on the moon's surface, for example.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

122 comments

Old news... (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936903)

I am pretty sure it has been discussed couple weeks ago on this very website.

Re:Old news... (3, Interesting)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936957)

The more discussed, the better. If it was here two weeks ago, the planet's population has increased by somewhere in the vicinity of 2,952,992 humans since then.

Getting time to leave.

Re:Old news... (3, Interesting)

gagol (583737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937079)

Don't get me wrong, I love space and cannot wait to go to mars for vacation when I retire! But better this than more election coverage... As for your argument, I somehow doubt the newborns will be able to contribute to this discussion. In other news, a facebook phishing scam has been left unreported on Slashdot. I blame the editor ;-) looking forward to all of your comments here.

Re:Old news... (5, Funny)

FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937669)

I thought facebook was a phishing scam!

Re:Old news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41940977)

It's recursive.

Thankfully, it's built on PHP so it'll crash in a minute.

Re:Old news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41939929)

Some will. However historicall trends suggest that many more people stay behind then ever colonize. So colonies are a great place to find more leg room but don't expect it to solve population problems on Earth.

Re:Old news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41940443)

WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?! Seriously, I really dont get it...

Budget (1)

fufufang (2603203) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936953)

Does the congress have a budget for this kind of thing...? Considering they are doing quite a lot of cuts.

Re:Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41937069)

Yes it does.

Re:Budget (2)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937089)

NASA's budget is going to be cut due to sequestration anyway, so the answer is ultimately no. Even cutting money wasting abominations like the James Webb Space Telescope (a good idea, just extremely lousy in terms of implementation) and the SLS ("Senate Launch System") program won't really pay for anything like this.

Then again the U.S. federal government is headed for a fiscal brick wall anyway. NASA may not survive the fallout from that when it ultimately hits.

None the less, it is good to be thinking about the future rather than the past. I give kudos to these guys for at least thinking about what the future could be, even if it may not happen for another fifty or hundred years.

Re:Budget (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41938161)

ESA does not consider James Webb to be a waste of money, and have been keeping up with their part of the bargain for the project. ESA have been getting very annoyed with NASA's funding problems. They do not like allocating hundreds of millions of euros into a project and then finding out that it was all wasted because an international partner couldn't complete their part.

It's already policy for ESA to deny NASA anything but the most trivial of partnerships in any new project. If Webb was scrapped, that policy would be firmly in place for a decade or more, and push a hell of a lot of interesting missions out of everybody's price range.

Sometimes collaboration is the only way to get a big job done. it can only work where there is some trust, honesty, and competence in planning.

Re:Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41938685)

How the ESA Mars rover project going?

Re:Budget (1, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938883)

They do not like allocating hundreds of millions of euros into a project and then finding out that it was all wasted

You are ignoring the criticism if you think it requires a partner not throwing money at this project to figure out that its a waste.

The current cost projection is US$6.8 Billion (~5.3 billion euros.) If the ESA doesnt admit by now that it has been and will continue to be money wasted, then the ESA is as corrupted as NASA.

The fact that you don't see it means that you really have no idea how much money that is. Thats about 4 times as much money as it took to develop the space shuttle, a god damned re-entry vehicle with reusable fuel tanks, and put it into space for the first time. Normally in industries, costs go down over time. Not so with government-funded space programs. Costs are skyrocketing out of control, and no its not added value. Its pure corruption.

I get that we like to support science shit.. space stuff in particular.. but you gotta call a spade a spade.

Re:Budget (2)

bertok (226922) | about a year and a half ago | (#41940451)

The fact that you don't see it means that you really have no idea how much money that is. Thats about 4 times as much money as it took to develop the space shuttle...

You have your numbers wrong and you're also forgetting about inflation! The JWST program will cost a fraction of the Shuttle's development costs! The Space Shuttle cost $6.744 billion [wikipedia.org] to develop, but that's in 1971 dollars -- today, that would be $38.5 billion dollars, according to "usinflationcalculator.com".

Don't forget that the JWST is a seriously high-tech device, with many entirely new or never-before-tried technologies required. Much of the cost is R&D, not manufacturing or assembly. In contrast, the shuttle program had relatively little R&D, followed by a much more expensive construction and operation phase. The total cost of the space shuttle program is about $200B in 2012 dollars.

Re:Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41941671)

Roger A. Pielke, Jr. has estimated that the Space Shuttle program has cost about US$170 billion (2008 dollars) through early 2008. This works out to an average cost per flight of about US$1.5 billion.
From wikipedia. Thats with the development of 5 operational shuttles, and an additional takeoff and landing test shuttle.

You can claim that a lot of the JWST is R&D, but in the end its just a freaking telescope. They arent breaking new ground here. The first plan for the JWST used an 8 meter mirror and an estimated cost of $500 million. Now they are looking at $6.8 billion and counting and only a 6 meter mirror. The cost is now almost 14 times the original plan, and uses a smaller mirror. Which part of this is confusing you?

Re:Budget (1)

bertok (226922) | about a year and a half ago | (#41941829)

Which part of this is confusing you?

The hilariously low estimate of $500M.

That's much lower than the Hubble cost, which was a much simpler telescope.

Interestingly, the Hubble cost $2.5B to develop and had a total operating cost of $10B, but the original estimate was $400M, which is similar to your $500M figure.

It's likely that what happened in both cases is a symptom of big government contract negotiations: bid insanely low to win the contract, and then keep adding "cost overruns" until you get the actual amount of money required.

Re:Budget (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#41941931)

The issue with the Jame Webb Telescope is one of misappropriations of money and a lack of a plan. The management of the program has been absolutely horrible, If you go back into earlier threads here on Slashdot about this program, not to mention on other forums that talk about how it is being managed, it is really more of a domestic jobs program for research scientists than much of an actual program for going into space and doing something useful.

I say it is horribly mismanaged because the program lacks focus, basic design requirements keep changing, and in spite of the fact that it has been developed supposedly over the past decade to one degree or another they still are almost back to the original drawing board starting over yet again to get the thing built. It has been said that a definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. The same thing over and over again is a huge money pit of problems and a space telescope that will never leave the ground.

Because so much money is being dumped into the JWST, they expect big things. At this point in time, a whole lot more science could have been done had a series of half-billion dollar telescopes (aka the original price of the vehicle I might add) been put into production and actually put into space. You learn far more by actually putting the vehicle in space too, I might add. Stick with a list of unchanging design requirements, and then engineers can actually have a design ready for you in a reasonable period of time and at a reasonable cost.

Re:Budget (1, Insightful)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937295)

Since when does congress let a silly thing like a budget get in its way? After all, they have magical economic powers that let them ignore economics indefinitely.

Re:Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41942053)

Considering economics is just something invented by humans, so what?

Re:Budget (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937485)

Perhaps we should start a Super Pac...

Re:Budget (1)

ldobehardcore (1738858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939949)

By Atheismo's great shaven face! I would so donate every discretionary cent to a SuperPAC set up to force congress into funding NASA better!

I'm not being sarcastic, quite the opposite. Although, a SuperPAC would probably just waste all the money on slandering JAXA and the ESA in order to make NASA look like the only electable cadidate XD

Re:Budget (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939719)

Does the congress have a budget for this kind of thing...? Considering they are doing quite a lot of cuts.

Can the congress balance a budget for this kind of thing...?

NASA interns research project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41936975)

Some NASA funded summer research interns did some La Grange point studies a few years ago at Embry - Riddle. They worked out a scheme where a resupply space ship would show up at each point every 2 months. Details are fuzzy now, but the point being they have been working on the basic science for awhile.

Re:NASA interns research project (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937161)

Travel to a Earth-Moon Lagrangian point is really no harder than going to the Moon. I don't know why there would be any special alignment or other issues related to travel to the Lagrangian points, other than perhaps there might be some sort of Aldrin cycler [wikipedia.org] between the Earth and the Moon for a low-energy transfer system of bulk supplies. Note the link is in reference to such a "cycler" between the Earth and Mars, but a similar system could be put between the Earth and several Lagrangian points or even the Moon itself.

Re:NASA interns research project (4, Informative)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937233)

L2 is actually significantly easier than going to the Moon, assuming you want to stop and not just crash. You need to expend fuel to slow you down in the Moon's gravity well, and for L2 you do not. Relative to the Earth, the Moon and L2 are very close in energy to reach, not counting the gravity well.

Re:NASA interns research project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41943661)

You need fuel to slow down or get to the L2 point too, assuming you don't just want an orbit that intersects the point from time to time.

Again with the manned space mission insistence (0)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937141)

Given the budgetary constraints that will exist for about the next 10 years, it is ludicrous to continue insisting on manned space missions. An L2 way station, as well as multiple way stations on the way to Mars can only be affordable and practically achievable for unmanned missions. Even then it will be a struggle to keep such projects funded.

The presence of humans adds essentially nothing of practical utility, and certainly nothing whatsoever of scientific utility. Its sole enormous contribution is expense. If the point is to explore space, then adding humans to the mix will stop these projects cold.

Re:Again with the manned space mission insistence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41937297)

Totally agree!!!!!!!!

There is no reason to send humans to the moon, Mars, asteroids, etc. to pick up rocks. If they want to prove humans can exist in space, that has already been established by the ISS and Russian long term orbiter missions. Don't send any more humans unless they have a much stronger justification than "exploration".
Probes don't need air, water, food, temperature control, waste control, etc. That all adds a massive burden on any mission and provides very little return. With probes there isn't any worry about people dieing also.

Re:Again with the manned space mission insistence (4, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938085)

The role of a human on a science mission is to provide a way to rapidly react to situations at the location and to give very short instructions to perform complex tasks or for somebody 'on the spot' to make some sort of judgement call in terms of what to do next in a time critical situation. I wouldn't call that a lack of utility, but it is a narrow set of situations where early exploration science missions admittedly don't need to have those kind of parameters.

Right now there is still a whole lot of low-hanging fruit in terms of things that can be done with robotic spacecraft, so I would have to agree that some sort of increase in spending for robotic missions is warranted even at the expense of manned spaceflight. Then again you have projects like the James Webb Telescope that have been sucking up even the money that could be spent on other deserving robotic missions, so demonizing the manned spaceflight program really shouldn't be the only target here. More intelligent and fiscally responsible spending should be happening in this area.

None the less, when Harrison Schmitt was on the Moon, he was able to perform the kind of scientific analysis on the spot that simply couldn't have been done by a robotic probe. There really is a need to send up some geologists to the Moon to perform a really extensive survey of lunar materials and to follow up on previous scientific research that has been done there. The kinds of things that a robotic vehicle could do on the Moon would be significantly limited without having somebody on site able to really perform the kind of science that needs to be done there.

Carl Sagan performed a major disservice to America by making it a manned vs. unmanned mission argument anyway. The reasons and needs for either really have separate motivations and objectives, other than robotic missions are really good for doing the early preparatory work needed to make manned missions successful.

Re:Again with the manned space mission insistence (2)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938351)

My argument has nothing to do with Carl Sagan. It is purely a cost issue, and the far greater expense of manned space flight limits space exploration overall.

I understand your argument, but "on the spot" analyses are rarely needed, and missions like Curiosity will be very productive without them. I can't see any practical justification for manned space missions today. This will likely be the case for decades. Slowly building way stations for gradually more ambitious robotic missions to Mars, the asteroids, and eventually other planets can later be augmented to serve as way stations for manned space exploration when resources and technology make it practical and affordable.

Let's face it, though. We are all rational adults here. This would all be part of a hundred year plan. Humans will not go to Mars or any other location in our solar system for decades, possibly a century or two. They probably will rarely if ever go to the moon in our lifetimes. The money and justification are simply not there. We have a historic responsibility to play our role and leave the rest for future generations to each play the role that corresponds to them.

Re:Again with the manned space mission insistence (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939033)

If you're worried about cost, then don't do anything at all. For all the talk of robots, humans make pretty good robots for surface exploration. Humans also make good decision makers should we ever want to do things outside of the Earth-Moon system without a huge speed of light lag coming from doing everything from Earth.

Re:Again with the manned space mission insistence (2)

tftp (111690) | about a year and a half ago | (#41940397)

humans make pretty good robots for surface exploration

I don't know any human who could fly to Mars without food and air for a year, then be dropped to the surface with 20G deceleration, then pick himself up and walk around for two years while sending detailed images of the planet to Earth via a transmitter in his backpack, and living all this time on solar power alone. That human also has to be suicidal because he will be abandoned on that remote planet.

A human researcher is needed only if the communication link to Earth is unacceptably slow. But even that can be dealt with by sending smarter robots. A human does not have built-in hi-res cameras or chemical labs or lasers in fingers. Robots do. Who is better now?

Re:Again with the manned space mission insistence (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41942007)

A human researcher is needed only if the communication link to Earth is unacceptably slow. But even that can be dealt with by sending smarter robots. A human does not have built-in hi-res cameras or chemical labs or lasers in fingers. Robots do. Who is better now?

The human. What you're saying is that the human has a little overhead and requires a little better handling so you need to pay more upfront. But in turn you get a lot more capability.

Re:Again with the manned space mission insistence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41943881)

But in turn you get a lot more capability.

You would need to quantify that increased capability though, and not just assume it is much bigger. What specific things are on a todo list that our current rover can't do that a human could do? How much of that is just a matter of needing different equipment, whether carried out by human or rover? The human might be able to work faster, but for the same price, could we build a rover that works slower but for a much longer time?

I'm not saying sending humans wouldn't be a net gain, but we would need to look carefully to see if the price difference really is justified in terms of what can be done.

Re:Again with the manned space mission insistence (4, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939395)

Humans will not go to Mars or any other location in our solar system for decades, possibly a century or two. They probably will rarely if ever go to the moon in our lifetimes. The money and justification are simply not there. We have a historic responsibility to play our role and leave the rest for future generations to each play the role that corresponds to them.

The reason why it will take decades or even centuries in order to put people on Mars or elsewhere in the Solar System has nothing to do with money, but simply the will and having governments permitting people to be able to go there in the first place. Money and justification is not an impediment.

One relatively cheap and easy way to encourage development of space economically is to simply say over the next century that any activity which takes place primarily in space is exempt from any form of taxation. Providing liability wavers would be something else that doesn't cost money but would make a huge difference for activities in space as costs could be a whole lot more predictable. The same could be said about simply making some sort of sane type of space law where things like ownership of resources obtained or manufactured in space could be made much more certain. There are people who are willing to go into space and to do things on their own dime, so it really doesn't need to cost anything from a government perspective, and if people can make money they will pay whatever it takes to get there.

Besides, I think the current approaches for getting into space are far too overpriced and other methods for getting into space can be done much more cheaply, even if ultimately it is exploding the equivalent amount of energy of a small nuclear bomb under your chair to put yourself or at least a metric ton of "stuff" into orbit. Cost is even less of an issue in terms of moving stuff around that is already in interplanetary space (aka extracting resources from asteroids). A couple of companies are currently in the process of setting up the infrastructure to do just that.

If you are asking if the USA or for that matter any other country in the world (or even group of countries) has the money to put together a government boondoggle that is a Manhattan Project-style "waste anything but time" mission that would put a bunch of people on Mars, I'd have to agree that such money simply doesn't exist. The Apollo missions were pretty much the most that could be done using such a fiscal model. That isn't exactly true, as the money dumped into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could have easily supported such a mission and have done it in under a decade. But it would be in the trillion dollar range none the less and it wouldn't be done in the name of science. If any science actually was accomplished, it would be an afterthought and not the purpose of the mission. I would dare say that spending that kind of money on a "stimulus" program instead of the junk that it was spent on non-military spending (appropriations above and beyond the normal budgetary process mind you as well) could have paid for such a mission as well.

I just simply reject the notion though that we must scale back our dreams. Some creativity in terms of how to finance these missions could happen, but I also am suggesting that even framing the debate in terms of manned vs. unmanned missions and that you can only have one or the other is simply the wrong approach to be taking at all. If it makes sense to send robots and to do something useful, send them. There are separate reasons though to get people into space as well, and if they are going to be on the frontier of human experience they might as well be doing some science too.

America as well as several other countries from around the world have scientific bases set up in Antarctica... at rather significant expense I might add too. If robotic missions were so wonderful, why do you think people are at those research locations instead of tele-operated robots? Note that there are teleoperated robots in Antarctica as well, so it isn't an either-or proposition. I'm just asking you to justify your logic in light of a similar situation that exists perhaps a little closer to home.

Re:Again with the manned space mission insistence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41944003)

If robotic missions were so wonderful, why do you think people are at those research locations instead of tele-operated robots?

Costs. Having worked a few projects that are at Amundsen–Scott, that while travel is a little more expensive than your typical commercial air flight, it is still a lot cheaper than space flight. For large parts of many projects there, it is far cheaper to send cheap labor (and/or grad students) to assemble off the shelf commercial equipment than it is to develop some automated system. Compare the US Antarctic Program annual budget of about $300 million to NASA's budget for getting experiments into low Earth orbit.

And while commercial interest is a way to get space exploration for "free" in a sense, something fundamentally has to change. Either we have to find something out there we don't know of now, or there has to be a sudden change in demand for something we do know is out there. As is, what we know is out there wouldn't be economical to collect without transportation costs dropping by several orders of magnitude from even optimistic projections of commercial space flight (as in, not compared to current government space flight costs). It is going to take more than a tax break to cross that gap.

Re:Again with the manned space mission insistence (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year and a half ago | (#41942357)

As much as we should be doing more unmanned missions, there is one thing that unmanned missions have been very bad at: sample return. The reason is simple. Robotic probes are expendable, humans aren't. Also, landing safely on the Earth is harder than launching safely from the Earth. Samples return with the humans, in missions that are already required to land safely. Harrison Schmitt wasn't just able to do "scientific analysis on the spot", he was a geologist who could quickly identify the best samples to return for scientific analysis back on Earth.

Sure, we've had a few unmanned sample return missions, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

reason for going to the moon... (5, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937171)

Often, I hear people demanding to know what practical reason humans would have to travel to the moon again. Many people bring up pipedreams like space ports, or lunar mining complexes.

I have a better reason.

The moon is tidelocked with the earth, has a very stable orbit, and a fairly large circumference. We should put an interferometric space telescope on the dark side of the moon. We could then use the entire circumference of the "visible/invisible" hemisphere terminator zone as the effective aperature size, and be free of atmospheric distortions.

The kinds of pictures we could get from such a telescope would make hubble look like a cheap webcam in comparison.

Put the command/control antenna on the visible side of the moon, and have it garanteed to always be pointed at the earth.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (2)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937465)

None of that requires a human presence, though.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (4, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937603)

Putting the parts there, no.

Assembling them and testing all the moving parts? Yes.

Rovers and robots are very robust things, but that level of assembly requires humans still.

Once built, it wouldn't need humans anymore, except for the occasional maintenance or upgrade mission, but the benefits of having it up there would be astounding.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938377)

There is no reason for that. Things can be sent up pre-assembled or with enough robotic equipment to perform modest final assembly remotely. The latter, even if expensive, will be significantly less costly than sending human-habitable infrastructure and the resources for a return trip.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (2)

IrquiM (471313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41941713)

Rovers and robots are very robust things, but that level of assembly requires humans still.

Nah, we [where I work that is] do this with robots already thousands of feet under the surface of the sea! Only difference is the ping time.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938189)

For an idea to be practical.... it first has to be, well, practical. Which an optical interferometric telescope of that size, isn't.

Among other problems, it would be many orders of magnitude bigger than any such telescope currently in operation. (Currently, the largest such interferometric scope is only a couple of hundred meters across.) The engineering challenges involved in building the observation stations alone are staggering, let alone the interconnections between them.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (3, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938513)

Who said anything about it being optical?

I was actually envisioning an array of radio telescopes, and smaller optical ones used in concert to create a composite aperature.

We have sufficient data processing technology, and the construction and engineering requirements for the individual nodes of the array are not that different from what is currently in operation.

The difference would be entirely from the location. On the moon, it des not pose an environmental impact on any life forms. It does not run into problems with human economic activities (as pointed out countless times by others, mining on the moon will never be practical), it is far removed from human radio sources on the dark side of the moon, is removed from earth light pollution and atmospheric defraction, and does not need any station keeping equipment.

Freed from all those constraints, and with the potential to be an astronomical array of unprecidented size, it is hard to imagine reasons NOT to do I, if scientific investigation is truly the motivator. (With an aperature that size, the potential to directly image an exoplanetary system becomes plausible, as well as charting the local stellar neighborhood with previously impossible levels of detail.)

If it helps you to imagine what I envision here, I will describe the array for you.

There are 2 concentric circles of discrete radio and optical telescope "nodes" on the dark side of the moon, linked with optical fiber data interconnections. There are 4 additional semicircles that are tangent to the inner circle, and meet at 90 degree intersections with the outer circle. (Forms a diamond shape.) The combined data from these nodes allows the digital reconstruction of what would be observed, as if the entire dark hemisphere of the moon had been completely covered in nodes. (At least for radio wavelenths.)

You would only need a few hundred nodes.

On the light hemisphere of the moon, you construct the communications tower.

I was in no fashion suggesting plastering the entire dark side of the moon with CCDs. That is unfeasible logistically, and unnecessary. The point of having multiple points for interferometry is to permit multiple simultaneous observations of distant objects, and to have a variety of interferometric angles from which to discriminate frequency of emission with.

Eg, the array could track multiple objects, give location, vector, speed, and suggestions on composition for all of them simultaneousy. It could also be used in aggregate to observe a single, very distant object using a statistical approach to resolve signal from noise.

It would be well within our engineering capacity.

It would just cost an unbelievable amount of money.

Unlike an artificial satellite however, it only needs to be made ONCE.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938899)

Who said anything about it being optical?

I presumed optical since you specifically mentioned pictures and the Hubble. If you meant radio, we can and already do 'build' interferometric radio telescopes the size of the Earth - which is much larger than the moon. Going to the moon gains us nothing.
 

the construction and engineering requirements for the individual nodes of the array are not that different from what is currently in operation.

The mind boggles at the level of cluelessness involved in believing that the Lunar environment is "not that different" from the terrestrial one.
 

(With an aperature that size, the potential to directly image an exoplanetary system becomes plausible, as well as charting the local stellar neighborhood with previously impossible levels of detail.

So, now we're back to optical (which, as I said, isn't currently practical) even though you claimed you weren't talking about optical. You're not only clueless, you're stupid too - because you can't even keep track of what you're proposing.
 

Unlike an artificial satellite however, it only needs to be made ONCE.

Yeah, it's not like that huge array won't require staggering amounts of maintenance and support... oh, wait...

You have no clue what you're talking about - you're just slinging buzzwords around like a parrot.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939169)

No, you are being a dick. :D that is an entirely different problem, and is more yours than mine.

Here: there is no reason why the array cannot be both (local) optical, and (collectively) radio in scope.

The "earth sized" interferomtric radio telescopes you mention, (like the square kilometer array) have fixed angles of observation. A large dedicated array on the moon in the configuration I cited would have multiple graduated angles of interferometry, allowing greater precision of measurement. Being on the dark side of the moon it would not be as subject to terrestrial radio noise sources. It could also be used as a partner to the earth based arrays to give a substantially larger angle than either could provide alone.

As for maintenance.. other than the risk of stuck motors and tin whiskers on electronic devices (issues that also plague orbital telescopes), the use of solid state hardware would remove a staggering portion of it. A lot of the building maintenance on terrestrial optical telescpes, like mona kea, comes from weather and atmosphere interactions. (You know, like corrosion, weathering, peeling paint, birdshit, etc.) On the moon, your biggest problem is energetic charged particles from the sun blasting into the equipment and micrometeorites. (With proper design, this isn't much of a problem. The moon has subsurface moisture in trace amounts, meaning you can hard ground the equipment. This makes protecting computer circuits considerably less difficult. Hardened housings would provide passable protection from micrometeors.)

As for maintenance, you are forgetting that the moon is under 2 light seconds away from earth, and that the construction of the array would require an army. NASA has already designed and tested humanoid telepresence service robots. (Robonaut.) The most cost effective approach would be to drop a bunch of these units at the same time that the components of the array are first delivered, and use telepresence to construct the array.

The robots would remain at the site. If the array needs repair, the robots can be reactivated, and used to perform the maintenance from earth. (Just store them inside the nodes of the array, and capitalize on the shielding the nodes provide.)

The implication was that the array could create composite optical images using local optics on each node, and a massive radio frequency array using the same topology.

You were the one creating strawmen out of whole cloth, implying that I meant trying to collimate the entire quantity of light hitting the dark side of the moon all at once. Yes. I agree, that idea is laughably silly. It is not what I suggested.

Next time try being civil and asking questions.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41944109)

Freed from all those constraints, and with the potential to be an astronomical array of unprecidented size, it is hard to imagine reasons NOT to do I, if scientific investigation is truly the motivator. (With an aperature that size, the potential to directly image an exoplanetary system becomes plausible, as well as charting the local stellar neighborhood with previously impossible levels of detail.)

With a baseline the size of the moon, resolution limits would be several times the size of Jupiter just at the distance of 4 light years, if you are using microwave wavelengths. You are not going to be mapping or imaging exoplanets with a radio telescope network of that size. At that point, there isn't much reason to bother using the moon, and you can just use space craft much further away to create large baselines.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (1)

Malvineous (1459757) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938795)

The problem is, the type of person who thinks going to the moon is pointless also thinks telescopes are pointless too, along with most scientific progress. So your argument unfortunately wouldn't convince anyone who didn't already agree with you.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938975)

Unfortunately, you are probably right. :(

Still, using the moon as a stable platform for deep space sensors is a much more sensible application than a human lunar colony. (Even just within our solar system, the array would greatly reduce the need for expensive probe missions for general data collection. An effective aperature of that size would let you see things that even the best terrestrial telescopes could never image. We could use it to listen to the magnetosphere of jupiter, for instance, or to track CMEs as they enter into the outer solar system. Perhaps even listen to the heliopause against the interstellar medium.)

Sadly, the data processing system would probably get coopted by world governments for military purposes, if it ever got built. :(

The worst part, is that this would probably have to be by design in order to get funding.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41939029)

For a moment there I thought you were going to suggest building a telescope on the near side of the moon, so that governments could spy on people.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939525)

More like:

"Hey NASA, we know you have this fancy data aggregation and digital image processing system up on the moon, designed to correlate a huge number of discrete data sources. Well, we have a huge number of spy satellites that we want to have processed. If you want more funding, you'd better let us make use of the goods."

Re:reason for going to the moon... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41940153)

If you're talking about an interferometric radio telescope, the atmospheric distortion isn't a big deal, an aperture the size of the moon is smaller than arrays already built on the earth, and there's no benefit to having the elements of the interferometer on the moon rather than as free-orbiting satellites. In fact, with the RadioAstron [wikipedia.org] satellite being used in conjunction with earth-based telescopes, we've already got an effective aperture size of 400,000 km.

If you're talking about an interferometric optical telescope, adaptive optics does a pretty good job of compensating for atmospheric distortion (though it doesn't help with atmospheric opacity if you want to see into the infrared), and there's still no advantage to building on the moon rather than as a satellite: we're limited by phase coherence problems to maximum element spacings of about a hundred metres, so we wouldn't benefit from the lunar diameter.

Re:reason for going to the moon... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#41942419)

Why is this so hard for people to grasp?

No, I dont mean trying to interfere two beams of visible light from either side of the moon's circumference. As you point out, this would pose serious problems.

Instead, the optical portion of the array would use large, high resolution CCDs at each node. The data gathered from the CCDs would be processed digitally, and compensation for the viewing angle would be performed digitally. The combined datasets would be statistically filtered to increase the signal to noise.

The resulting images would make use of multiple high resolution optical telescopes, to create a composite optical image mosaic. This is especially important for infrared, which has very large wavelengths, and would be very difficult to focus onto single CCD panels.

It does NOT try to split a single light beam and then measure it at 2 points hundreds of kilometers apart. The physics just wont allow that. Radio wavelengths would be interferometric over the array, but not the optical portion.

The configuration pattern of the nodes themselves allows for detection of polarization of radio frequencies in all three forms, Vertical, Horizontal, and circular.

The problem with radio telescopes on the earth is not atmospheric distortion, but instead terrestrial signal pollution. (Cellphones, TV stations, Radio broadcasts, etc.) Using the moon as a giant occulting filter by putting the array on the dark side greatly reduces this source of noise, improving quality of measurements. (Hundreds of kilometers of rock tends to block radio noise pretty effectively you see.)

Another benefit of a radio telescope on the moon, is that it can be employed alongside a terrestrial one for very wide angle measurements of very distant objects. EG, instead of just the earth's diameter, we could have "Earth-moon orbit" diameter, and with multiple samples per measurement. (which you wont get with a single orbiting satellite listening device.)

So, for the 3rd time, I dont mean trying to analyze visible light using analog physics over that distance. Stop with the strawman already.

Space travel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41937267)

Ummm, how are they going to get there? Obama killed the space ship.

Re:Space travel (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939097)

What space ship? The Space Shuttle only operated in Earth orbit and wasn't designed for deep space operation. That's why it had limited capabilities such as propellant and life support (for a couple of weeks) and needed a warm planet, Earth covering up half of the horizon.

Re:Space travel (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939233)

What the AC meant was, Obama killed the manned space program.

Re:Space travel (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939485)

Ok. I'll have to disagree with the AC on that one. The manned space program looks a lot healthier now than it has since Apollo.

Re:Space travel (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year and a half ago | (#41940361)

L2 is bullshit. Sure, it's easy. No gravity well to deal with. The goal should be boots on Mars.

Please don't misunderstand me and think I'm opposed to this. I'm all for it. But as Kennedy (that filthy Democrat!) said, "We do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard..."

Mars. Boots.

Teleoperating rovers (3, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937287)

There's only a 1.3 second one-way communication delay between here and the Moon, making real-time control from Earth perfectly feasible (unlike Mars which has a 3 to 22 minute delay). The L2 point is even further away from the moon than the Earth is (on average around 4-5 times further) , thus there is an even larger communication delay which would make real-time control far less practical. Teleoperating a rover on the moon is a very contrived reason to place humans at the L2 point.

Re:Teleoperating rovers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41937491)

Isn't the JWST supposed to park there?

Re:Teleoperating rovers (2)

TheDayOfMe (808363) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937675)

Isn't the JWST supposed to park there?

No, James Webb Space Telescope will be at Sun-Earth L2 we're talking about Earth-Moon L2 here.

Re:Teleoperating rovers (3, Informative)

TheDayOfMe (808363) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937783)

The L2 point is even further away from the moon than the Earth is (on average around 4-5 times further) ..

L2 is closer to the Moon that the Earth is to the Moon. Lagrange Points of the Earth-Moon System [gsu.edu]

Re:Teleoperating rovers (1)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937953)

Then the Wikipedia link in the story refers to the wrong L2 (earth / sun).

Re:Teleoperating rovers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41938371)

the Wikipedia link in the story refers to the wrong L2 (earth / sun).

Welcome to /.

Err (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41937359)

We only have one L2 point what happens if other countries other than the US wants to use it?

Re:Err (2)

NEDHead (1651195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937501)

Screw 'em

Re:Err (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937569)

more to the point, there is a volume where the net gravitational field (and orbital forces) nearly balance out. Assuming you are near this place, your station keeping efforts are minimal, but not zero as the location of the 'perfect spot' moves slightly as the moon/earth/sun relationship changes. Multiple vehicles can be in the region with similar energy requirements for station keeping.

I support this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41937913)

I think it would be awesome for man to finally set foot on the moon.

Re:I support this (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41941993)

I think it would be awesome for man to finally set foot on the moon.

On 20 July 1969, he will.

"Beyond" the far side? Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41937993)

"setting up a manned outpost beyond the moon's far side"

What does that mean, exactly? What is 'beyond' the far side? The near side? Idiots.

NASA won't put a man on the moon again, because there are too many NON-WHITES in the USA, and their number is growing every year.

"hate" speech alert! He spoke the obvious truth which everybody knows, burn him! Burn the heretic!

While you assholes are denying free speech to anybody who dares to question the insane state 'party line', your country is being destroyed all around you by third world parasites. Well done.

Re:"Beyond" the far side? Huh? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938301)

I keep seeing aburd rhetoric like this. At this point I am not sure if this can be ascribed to shameless trolling, or to poes's law gone terribly wrong.

Regardless, the concentration of melanin in human skin does not have a demonstrable relationship with mental ability. If it did, there would be a profound trend in medical literature, as people would become dumber after summer sun exposures. This does not occur. Therefore, the color of the skin is meaningless for the ascribed metric.

What you are really trying (and failing) to say, is that you feel that the subset of people who naturally have dark skin pigmentation are statistically more likely to suffer from a medley of social and psychological ills, and appear predisposed toward deleterious behaviors. I would conjecture that this is cultural, and has nothing to do with the actual skin pigmentation level itself, due to the lack of evidence to substantiate such a claim. The pigmentation itself does not appear to have any deleterious effect on human behavior, else getting a tan would have significant effects. Getting said tan does not appear to do so. Thus, skincolor does not appear directly causal.

The issue therefore, (should there even really be such an issue to begin with) is not one of skincolor at all, but with a cultural subsegment which engages in deleterious practices.

History suggests that this subsegment of the population came to exist because of unsubstantiatable biases on the part of the lightly pigmented demographic in the first place. The same outcome would have occured if the conditionals had been reversed.

The assertion that the problem has to do with skincolor, despite the lack of substantiatable evidence, would seem to be nothing more than a perpetuation of the incorrect and insubstantiatable assertions that gave rise to the very problem said assertion claims to address. More of the same will not solve the problem, and only an irrational or insane mind would attempt such when presented with actual data.

Skin color is not the causal factor. Institutional and cultural ostracism, and disenfranchisment is demonstrably at fault for any percieved inequality. Purpetuation of those practices will NOT improve things, no matter how much you want for it to be so.

Accept this fact, divert your attention from skin color to the actual problem, and stop wasting bandwidth.

Of course, if you are just a troll, go die in a fire.

Re:"Beyond" the far side? Huh? (1)

FlyingCheese (883571) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939599)

Regardless, the concentration of melanin in human skin does not have a demonstrable relationship with mental ability. If it did, there would be a profound trend in medical literature, as people would become dumber after summer sun exposures. This does not occur. Therefore, the color of the skin is meaningless for the ascribed metric.

Excuse me, have you ever seen Jersey Shore? Not to say you're wrong, I just had to throw that out there.

Location location location (1)

Turminder Xuss (2726733) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938123)

Here at Lagrangian Virtul Realty we offer solutions to the three body problem to suit all budgets. Missed L2 by 'that much' ? Check out the broad kidney shaped boulevards of L4 and L5.

Maybe Someone Should Explain L2? (4, Informative)

PuckSR (1073464) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938433)

Maybe someone should explain L2? LaGrangian points are not exactly common things discussed over coffee, and the importance of the Earth/Moon L2 isn't going to be readily understood by most people.

L2 is referring to the L2 Langrangian point

Quick Primer:
Any time two planets interact with each other there are 5 points where gravity is essentially zero. These can be though of as eddies in a stream. These are known as "Lagrangian Points". They are referred to as L1, L2,...L5. L1 is the point between Earth and the Moon. L2 is the point behind the moon. L3 is the point behind the Earth. L4 and L5 are not in a direct line between the two bodies. They exist at a 60 degree angle off of the first 3.

These Lagrangian points exist between ANY two gravitational bodies. The greater the gravity, the larger the 'hole'. Anything that falls into this 'hole' stays there. This makes it ideal for a satellite or similar. It wouldn't drift away. Just like the eddy in a stream, the external current keeps forcing everything back into the hole.

Re:Maybe Someone Should Explain L2? (1)

mestar (121800) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938769)

"L1 is the point between Earth and the Moon. "

Ok, moon pulls in one direction, Earth in another. Total gravity zero.

"L2 is the point behind the moon."

Both Earth and Moon pull you in the same direction. Total: Not zero. Something is wrong with your explanation.

Re:Maybe Someone Should Explain L2? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41938967)

"L1 is the point between Earth and the Moon. "

Ok, moon pulls in one direction, Earth in another. Total gravity zero.

"L2 is the point behind the moon."

Both Earth and Moon pull you in the same direction. Total: Not zero. Something is wrong with your explanation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrangian_point#L2

Gravity and centrifugal effects balance out at L2.

Re:Maybe Someone Should Explain L2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41939001)

"L1 is the point between Earth and the Moon. "

Ok, moon pulls in one direction, Earth in another. Total gravity zero.

"L2 is the point behind the moon."

Both Earth and Moon pull you in the same direction. Total: Not zero. Something is wrong with your explanation.

L2 is the point where gravity and centripetal force cancel each other out.

Re:Maybe Someone Should Explain L2? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#41942093)

L1-L3 are not technically stable. However, you can keep in position using very little fuel. Also, they've devised some funky micro-orbits about these points that help, too.

Dark orbit (1)

MangoCats (2757129) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938565)

Is there a "dark orbit" about the moon that stays perpetually in shadow (28 day period), or would that be too close to earth to be stable?

If it could work, that would be a neat place for a deep space station - giant solar radiation shield, all you have to do is bring your own nuke powerplant instead of using solar panels. Still get to see the earth most of the time, too.

Re:Dark orbit (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938745)

No. Staying purpetually in the moon's shadow would require lunar-centric orbit. The moon's gravity well is very shallow, and dominated by the earth's. Orbital resonances with the earth would make any spacecraft attempting to stay in the moon's shadow have to actively perform continuous course corrections.

By comparison, the L2 lagrange point is a "calm waters" location, where gravitational influences from both the earth and the moon are balanced perfectly. A spacecraft at this location with the correct momentum will sit there peacefully with only very minimal course corrections.

The Muslims (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41938885)

How will this make the Muslims feel good about themselves?

Neither Moon nor LEO nor L2 (2)

menkhaura (103150) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938931)

I've just read an excellent book by aerospace engineer Robert Zubrin, called "The Case for Mars", in which he argues in great detail for the possibility of puting humans on Mars in our own generation. His project is called "Mars Direct", and involves basically a Saturn V class launcher, which can take, on a first mission, an habitat which would be used to generate supplies (fuel, oxygen, water etc.) from Mars natural resources, and on a second mission, a crew of four Earthlings. The idea is that when the crew arrives, the factory from the first mission has generated enough fuel, water &c. for the return trip, as well as to power rovers ando other equipment.

His project is very credible, and he estimates a cost of 30 billion USD (which is peanuts when compared to other manned Mars missions projects [vide "90-day report", on the order of 450 billion USD]) for the first launch, with costs amortized over multiple launches.

Mr. Zubrin also argues that going to the Moon is pretty much useless, because it has nearly no natural resources to be explored and exploited, and almost as costly as going to Mars.

If you will, his site is at http://www.marssociety.org/ [marssociety.org] . The book is great reading too, and inspiring as it gives me the hope to see one of my own species walking over the Red Planet.

Re:Neither Moon nor LEO nor L2 (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#41941413)

His project is very credible

Only so long as you're not picky about details - like the difference between a technology that's barely been tested on the lab bench and one that's actually been prototyped and tested and ready for development into a flight article. Zubrin is very fuzzy on the difference, and treats the former as if it were the latter... resulting in some very optimistic budget and schedule assumptions.
 

he estimates a cost of 30 billion USD (which is peanuts when compared to other manned Mars missions projects [vide "90-day report", on the order of 450 billion USD]) for the first launch, with costs amortized over multiple launches.

Um... optimizing what over multiple launches? The costs of booster development? That's true of all boosters and not particularly notable. The costs of the mission? You can't "amortize" the costs of a mission across multiple launches because the total mission cost is the total mission cost, regardless of the number of launches. (Or, to put it another way, this sounds like more of Zubrin's fuzzy handwaving.)
 
Etc... etc...

Re:Neither Moon nor LEO nor L2 (1)

menkhaura (103150) | about a year and a half ago | (#41942563)

Well, I confess I'm not a conoisseur of these subjects, but the technology he proposes is one we've had (not really "we", but you Americans) since the 60's: Saturn V launchers, habitation modules akin to the Lunar Module AND the ISS etc. Maybe I'm too easily influenced, maybe I'm too hopeful, but I'm inclined to believe what he said.

As for the amortized costs, what you said is true if we consider "one mission" two, four, six or another even number of lauches as a whole (to put a crew on Mars, Zubrin proposes one uncrewed launch which will prepare the terrain for a follow-up manned launch), but the greatest expenditure will be the design and implementation of this first pair of launches.

He also argues that the proposal for utopical launches, "Battlestar Galactica" style ships (as he words it), which can be postponed to the future until "adequate technology" is developed, is of interest to government contractors, but not to our own wish of sending humans to Mars ASAP.

Re:Neither Moon nor LEO nor L2 (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#41943377)

Well, I confess I'm not a conoisseur of these subjects, but the technology he proposes is one we've had (not really "we", but you Americans) since the 60's: Saturn V launchers, habitation modules akin to the Lunar Module AND the ISS etc. Maybe I'm too easily influenced, maybe I'm too hopeful, but I'm inclined to believe what he said.

Well, other the fact that ISS type systems would require considerable modification... (the thermal environment is radically different, as is the radiation and micro meteor environments) Nor is the Lunar Module a particularly useful design element, as no Mars lander will be anything like it.
 
And you missed his (not significantly tested) system of producing fuel on Mars.
 
Etc... etc....

Re:Neither Moon nor LEO nor L2 (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#41942099)

At the other extreme, I read a short story, "Return to the Golden Age", where orbits of Earth are crammed and many people have private space ships, but nobody still went back to the moon, so somebody does.

Re:Neither Moon nor LEO nor L2 (1)

menkhaura (103150) | about a year and a half ago | (#41942593)

I loved his "First Landing", even though the end isn't as appealing as it could be. The novel is about a "what if" his Mars Direct plan were done in the present.

Re:Neither Moon nor LEO nor L2 (2)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#41943363)

While Robert Zurbin is an interesting person and I like some of the arguments that he makes in that "Case for Mars", I flat out disagree with his notion we should abandon the Moon as a source of resources or even for scientific exploration. It is an interesting place to hang out for a variety of reasons all to itself, and offers some interesting and even unique attributes that make it useful. For myself, I think development and even settlement of the Moon should be happening at the same time as similar developments on Mars, and it doesn't have to be an exclusive or situation. In fact, I think development of lunar resources together with development of Mars along with asteroids is a really good idea.

There is even a school of thought that large gravity wells like the Moon, Mars, and even places like Ceres or Vesta are places to avoid other than to be used as anchors for things like the Lagrangian points. Smaller asteroids can easily be mined and have minerals extracted, where you don't even need to worry about getting them out of a gravity well in the first place or it is trivially easy to get that to happen.

I'll also suggest that if Zurbin's plan hits a government bureaucracy (who Zurbin is hoping will pay for his dreams), that same bureaucracy will inflate the price of that plan several times simply because of the fiscal controls needed for government accounting alone. Since Robert Zurbin is insisting upon an international mission instead of one done by just one country, add another 5x multiplier to the cost on top of the additional multiplier due to being a government operation. International cooperation never keeps cost down and cost savings (especially for the primary country running the operation) would be had simply by telling other countries to try their own approach instead. This isn't to say that international cooperation is to be feared or dismissed, but rather that cost reasons should not be even remotely a consideration for that to happen. I'm not against international protocols being established for exchanging technical data or even for joint docking procedures (aka Apollo-Soyuz, Mir, and the ISS for joint Russian, American, and even European and Japanese docking on the same location),

In other words, if multiple countries are going to Mars, set up some standards for exchanging components and especially life-critical systems so an air scrubber or filter can be exchanged by crews on Mars to support each other if necessary. Such stuff happens in Antarctica between various national research stations, even though each station has its own objectives and research goals.

The ultimate driver for what happens in space will be determined by economics though. I would like to see the economic resources of space to be exploited and used in a manner that would be able to essentially have spaceflight (manned and unmanned) pay for itself rather than be an annual budget battle for how much needs to be spent for that purpose as if space is somehow only something for scientific curiosity and nothing more. With that in mind, I am a firm believer that CNN will cover the first landing of NASA astronauts on Mars live with a reporter on the spot ready to greet them with a party when they arrive. At the party will be some ale of some sort brewed at a local distillery made by previous settlers.

YES! 7p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41938937)

obsessed - give [tuxedo.org], are looking very which allows mistake of elec7ing are a pathetic the rain..we can be DEVELOPERS. THE have an IRC client short of a miracle

Wastelands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41940589)

This is a frivolous waste of what remains of vital earth resources needed to save this planet.

Re:Wastelands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41940983)

What resources? Used how to change what?

Hazards of scanning text (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41942553)

by teleoperating rovers on the moon's surface, for example.

I read the above as "teleporting"! (snicker) Got a little excited until I re- read it! (sigh) Reality strikes again.

The ultimate assisted living center... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41943177)

Wouldn't an L2 outpost be the perfect assisted living center for old guys-n-gals?

No gravity to fight - no need for hip/knee/shoulder/heart replacements
If Harvey is found wandering the halls, just give him a big floaty shove in the right direction
We already know a lot of stuff [well, except for dementia...]
We'd be highly motivated to be away from Earth politics & wars
We aren't nearly as addicted to cellphones
The delay in communications would fit right into our ponderous pace
Burial would be easy - just a shove out the airlock

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

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

Submission Text Formatting Tips

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

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

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

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

Loading...