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Bigelow Aerospace Investigating Feasibility of Moon Base for NASA

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the tea-time-on-the-moon dept.

Space 140

littlesparkvt writes in with a bit from Space Industry News about Bigelow Aerospace's plans for the moon: "NASA and Bigelow Aerospace are in the initial planning phases for a moon base. 'As part of our broader commercial space strategy, NASA signed a Space Act Agreement with Bigelow Aerospace to foster ideas about how the private sector can contribute to future human missions,' Said David Weaver NASA Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications." Bigelow will be performing the study for free too. Robert Bigelow chatted with a radio host a few weeks ago about Bigelow's long-term space plans. They include refueling depots and a commercial moon base, since NASA isn't planning to go there.

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TAILS OS (w/ Tor) - Anonymous needs your help! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523031)

TAILS OS - do you use it? Anon needs help to improve it.

New Anonymous project to curb Tails privacy/security issues!

Tails - new unofficial project to nip the buds

(Please see the .onion link at the bottom of this article for where to respond and help this project with your suggestions. Please do not post at the Tails forums, Tor mailing lists, or in IRC - we are only checking the existing thread at the .onion location below, which requires Tor to access.)

In a few areas of the Tails Forums, (one example below) Tails users have posted about certain 'data collection, logging, debugging, Whisperback', and other issues a distro such as Tails should not include!

I am working on a project which will stop this type of collection and it will be free and released with each new version of Tails (it won't be included with the Tails distro or worked on by Tails/Tor developers) â" matching any changes the Tails team may make to try and obscure these data logging/collection activities between versions.

Here is one example post from a concerned user (post exists now, could be deleted later!):

Why does Tails log too much? .recently-used.xbel
https://tails.boum.org/forum/Why_does_Tails_log_too_much__63___.recen%E2%80%8Btly-used.xbel/ [boum.org]

#

An example of this is this hidden file: .recently-used.xbel located in amnesia folder. To see, open Home/amnesia, press Cntrl+h, look for that file. The contents of that file logs recently used programs and files with names and timestamps.

There are many other logs for different activities and events, a simple look around can locate these.

Caching thumbnails, recent documents, terminal command history and the similar..

Why would Tails need to log all these things during the session?

Some are useful for bug reporting, but many other arent and are widely revealing of system activities.

Yes, a restart will wipe everything, but what about while in the session?

Can an option be made for Tails to be log free or normal where the user can choose between the two? Like run log free and if a problem occurs to re-run tails with logs to identify the problem.â

#

There are debugging scripts, Whisperback, a script to drop all firewall protection, and much more in Tails.

I need more information from Tails users (Tails developers and those pretending not to be Tails developers posting against this will be ignored) before the first release is announced.

Boot into Tails and examine every nook and cranny and post about any file(s) with full path, which contain anything related to logging (excluding /var/log directories â" those will be dealt with) and/or sending of individual personal data.

On their mailing list they even had the balls to discuss whether or not they should add the package 'popcon'!

This project will be developed by an anonymous user (not included in the well known 'Anonymous' group). I will not reveal usernames from posters here, but I may credit this forum with each release with thanks for the help.

So boot into the most recent release of Tails, sniff around as much as possible, and post back juicy information to the thread in 'NEWS': http://clsvtzwzdgzkjda7.onion/ [clsvtzwzdgzkjda7.onion]

Thank you.

Feasibility - in terms of what ? (4, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#43523183)

Unlike planet Earth, the moon does not have a lot of water to be wasted

Sure, it got water (ice) but the amount is miniscule when compared to what we got right here on Earth

What I need to know more is the exact definition of "feasibility" in that study

If it means "can live on the moon for quite a while", of course, the amount of water on the moon is enough to support some people on the moon for some time

We need to understand this --- it's like archeology --- what we do today might affect the future generations --- if we dig up the ancient grave today we might get X number of discoveries

But if we leave that ancient grave untouched, and leave it to future generations who may have even better equipments and technologies to excavate that ancient grave, they may yield EVEN MORE INFORMATION than what we can obtain

Same thing on the moon

We can build moon base today, it's entirely feasible to get enough water to let some people survive there for some time

But if we do that, we are, inevitably, going to pollute the water, and diminish the amount of the already limited amount of water on the moon

In doing so, we might negatively affect the future of the future generations for their own moon explorations

That is why I am interested to know how they are going to define "feasibility" in their "feasibility study"

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#43523315)

We need to understand this --- it's like archeology --- what we do today might affect the future generations --- if we dig up the ancient grave today we might get X number of discoveries But if we leave that ancient grave untouched, and leave it to future generations who may have even better equipments and technologies to excavate that ancient grave, they may yield EVEN MORE INFORMATION than what we can obtain

Tomorrow will always have better tech than today no matter what "today" you're talking about. If you always wait for tomorrow's tech, you'll wait forever; tomorrow never comes.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523593)

You do realise tat after the fall of Rome, people forgot how to make/use cement. It was quite a number of centuries until we re-learnt that tech.

Now I would consider cement to be a fairly easy to use hard to forget tech. But there you go it happened.

When you then think that we've been around for ~200,000 years and we only remember that last 10,000 or so one begins to wonder what else we've forgotten.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524233)

When you then think that we've been around for ~200,000 years and we only remember that last 10,000 or so one begins to wonder what else we've forgotten.

You seem to be conflating human existence with technology such as writing. One can't overstate what a game-changer being able to make words tangible really was; in evolutionary terms, it's up there with starting to walk upright.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a year ago | (#43525207)

The Romans had writing.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#43525585)

Yes, the Romans had writing. For some time it was a popular game and exercise to go over the writings of ancient Rome and Greece to see if there might be some sort of technology or concept that hasn't been implemented in "modern society" (whatever that was). There certainly were things like aqueducts and even very sophisticated machines like the Antikythera device [wikipedia.org] that spoke of incredible engineering and design skills that existed in the past but were lost.

I agree with the original parent post by AC that sometimes technologies can be forgotten either through neglect or failure to pass that information onto the next generation. Nuclear engineering is one of those fields I'm currently very concerned about in terms of hard won knowledge is not being passed onto the next generation, and there are some other similar kinds of things like that where it does appear we are in a civilization in decline. None the less, I really doubt there are exotic technologies like how to build spacecraft, teleporting machines, or ancient "stargates" to other worlds that have yet to be found. Really doubt as in I think there is a higher likelihood that the flying spaghetti monster is real.

I suppose you can claim that the 1960's Apollo Project effort was ancient knowledge that has to be rediscovered (another example of technology being forgotten), as the ability to go to the Moon has been lost in America and the rest of the world. None the less, that isn't anything close to 100 thousand year old technology that needs to be rediscovered in an archeological dig. It is digging through warehouses of government records though, so I suppose it might as well be the same thing.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (2, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#43524327)

No they didn't. What, you think it was a secret, or the knowledge just mysteriously vanished from peoples minds? The fall of Rome wasn't over night, it was over decades. And the people didn't just vanish, nor did the knowledge. The "Dark Ages" following the "fall" of Rome, wasnt really dark. Really the only thing lacking was this huge overarching unification and relative stability granted by being part of the roman empire, and even that was only in europe.

Farmers have been making crude cement for thousands of years. You think they never noticed that when sandy/gravelly soil and clay soil mix (effort to loosen up the clay soil so it drains/grows better), it only gets worse, such that you can't farm? Then somoene got thebright idea...whoa...this stuff is hard...we can't grow with it...but we can cut it into blocks and make walls and homes from it!

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43525155)

I think GP meant concrete (as opposed to mortar or simple cement).

There were a lot of technologies that were lost, though - mostly because once things did finally grind into the dirt, there wasn't enough of a societal structure left in the Western Empire to support learning or continuing such technologies, and literacy dropped to the point where re-learning from what little writings survived to that point was hit-or-miss at best.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#43524341)

this is actually one of the arguments for why we shouldnt wait for sometime in the future to make colony ships for interstellar exploration, but should instead start now.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (2)

morgauxo (974071) | about a year ago | (#43525349)

I can imagine how that could work out.

Generational colony ship leaves.
Several generations later some form of FTL is invented. Colony ship is still generations away from any star system.
People on Earth remember the colony ship from their history books. there is a huge public concern over their fate. The people of Earth regret having sent those poor people on this now 'pointless' mission. One of the first FTL ships is sent to 'rescue' their descendants.

The descendants are happy to have visitors, see some new faces, get news of Earth. However, much to everyone else's surprise they have adapted. The ship is their home and they have their own way of life. Few return.

In the very long run the colony ships (yes plural now) colonize more worlds than the Earthlings with their FTL. When they finally arrive at a star system with a usable planet they orbit for some generations. They gather supplies, repair and upgrade their ship. They allow their population to grow. They build more ships. A fraction do stay behind on the new planet but since ship life is now their nature many more fly on to the next worlds.

Pointless mission indeed!

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43525485)

this is actually one of the arguments for why we shouldnt wait for sometime in the future to make colony ships for interstellar exploration, but should instead start now.

My problem with the idea of colony ships is that the only sort of people who are prepared to go on a voyage in a cramped, windowless tin box until they die, and their children, and their grandchildren and...die are essentially insane and shouldn't be allowed anywhere outside of a padded cell.

The idea of being on a ship where everyone knew they were never going home frankly terrifies me.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525209)

No one is a bigger proponent of manned spaceflight than me but let me be brutally honest here: There will be no manned bases on the moon ... ever. Oh, we'll go and study every interesting spot on the moon. We'll spend upwards of a month or more in certain areas of enormous interest. But humanity will not build a moonbase for permanent occupation. The technology and logistics are not insurmountable but the degree of difficulty will run smack into 'Why?'.

The ISS is going to cost 150 billion dollars over its lifetime. It took 13 years to build and it was a relatively easy task at 250 miles up. Try to build anything on the moon and that task just became exponentially more difficult, expensive and dangerous in ways we are only just beginning to get a handle on. It will cost north of a trillion dollars and when you're done building it ... now what?

The reasons for a base are vapid bordering on nonsensical. Harvest helium 3? How? For what fusion reactor that will exist in a distant future? and then, how do you get a viable quantity back to Earth without pricing yourself right out of the market? You'd be better off to extract the little bit that exists here on Earth than go to the moon for your source ... and that's IF it's a viable fusion fuel. No one has demonstrated a viable design or established a preferred fuel. So, you're going to build trillion dollar moon base on a hunch that hellium 3 will be the 'go-to' fuel of the future?

Here's an eye opener: The Orion space capsule has 691 cubic feet of interior space. Orion and its variants are going to be our ride into space for the forseeable future. You discover a solid 24k gold asteroid and you send an Orion to 'harvest' your gold. You manage to get 691 cubic feet of gold into your Orion. At $1600 an ounce you'll see roughly $22 billion for your efforts. That won't even come close to covering your costs. Oh, yeah, and it'll weigh over 400 tons. You ain't bringing that back to Earth. And, even if you could get it back to Earth, what would 400 tons of gold do to the market? Would you even get $1600 an ounce if you could get it to Earth intact?

Back to the moon base: Just for one example of the enormous difficulty the planners are dealing with, let's look at harvesting the regolith for oxygen & hydrogen for rocket fuel. The very notion of this task is silly to the point of inanity.

Assuming you can build a liquifaction facility on the moon where do you put the liquid? Even on the moon it will require a dewars flask to keep it liquid. How do you build an insulated flask that would be similar to the storage tanks at KSC? Do you bury it to protect it from the inevitable meteor impacts? What kind of uniquely designed construction equipment would it require to do that? How many SLS flights will it take to get the construction equipment, tank components and other support hardware there? At 130 metric tons of throw weight to LEO you might be lucky to get 20-30 tons of actual hardware on the surface of the moon and a large portion of that is going to be the lander mass, quite useless to your construction after it lands. Again, how many flights to build one tank? You'll need at least 2 for hydrogen and oxygen. You can be sure it will take a lot of flights -- and successful flights, at that ... don't have even one failure.

When the landers arrive you're going to have to space them out so an accident doesn't impact the construction site. Now we're a safe and long distance from the construction site. How many truck-like vehicles will you need to get all of the usable hardware to the construction site? Did I mention all of these lunar vehicles will be running on electricity? Ponder those implications.

As more and more landers arrive over time you're going to be further and further out. If your solution is to remove the old lander to make way for a new one as you would on a dedicated landing pad, what do you use to remove the dead tonnage of the lander? It's still got hypergolics left in the tanks that you don't want spilling from a puncture. Assuming you can safely remove the lander where do you put the carcass such that it poses no issues for the construction site? Yep, we're talking 'way over there' in a boneyard. Just exactly how difficult of a job are you willing to undertake to liquify oxygen and hydrogen?

Now for the real zinger: You succeed in building your liquifaction facility. Your regolith harvesting operation is running smoothly and you haven't had to do much more than scoop up the loose regolith in the top few inches (to get to the packed and very hard older regolith below you'll need hammers and 'HEAVY' equipment to get to that ... your shovel has to be much heavier than the resistance of the compacted regolith, another fly in the ointment). So here you are at your brand new, fully operational fueling depot. Your first customer, a Mars rocket needing refueling arrives. Does it land next to the tank to refuel or do you launch a tanker to the orbiting rocket to Mars? Are you starting to see the myriad problems and their silly solutions? And all of this trillion plus dollar expense will be abandoned when the 'easy' (?) resource access is exhausted. Think oil wells and gold mines on Earth and how quickly they are closed as the lode is exhausted.

We should go to the moon to study it. We should go to the moon for the technical expertise that will result just as we saw with Apollo. We should go to the moon because it's there. But there are no viable economic reasons for going so we need to get over this nonsense of a moon base that builds/extracts something for profit.

And, regarding refueling a rocket to Mars, forget it. No one is going to Mars until the transit time issue is resolved. All we'll get back from a ballistic trajectory trip to Mars is nothing or dead bodies or, in the most optimistic result, seriously screwed up human beings with a hell of a story to tell.

Steven Hawking is right: We need to go to space for the ultimate survival of our species but we need to be realistic about it and not wallow in adolescent fantasies of what we wish science and technology to be. Our ventures outward must be fully informed and based on realistic goals that are within our technical capability.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43525517)

Not surprised you posted as AC, the only people more rabid than the space nutters on slashdot are ...oh wait, no there's simply no one more rabid. Even libertarian Apple users of emacs are moderate by comparison.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523317)

probably the most sensible thing i've read all day!

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523385)

A) Future generations can only get better at moon colonisation if we try, and learn, and maybe fail and learn some more. Just like today's archaeologists only got to be so good at archaeology because they stood on the shoulders of their less sophisticated predecessors.

B) There is a HELL of a lot more water on the moon than you think. Yes, only a tiny fraction of the Earth's but still way more than we can deplete in a thousand years of missions/ bases on the scale being discussed here.

C) The moon water will not be "polluted" or wasted away. Most of it will be recycled, ready to be re-used. Any sensible long-term moon plan will have water recycling as a core requirement. OK, some may end up scattered to the interplanetary void after being used as reaction mass or hydrogen fuel but again, not enough to be worried about.

D) By the time we deplete the moon's water, we should be more than capable of picking up more from asteroids/ comets/ elsewhere in space and transporting it to the moon.

Here's a classic sci-fi short story that deals with water as a (supposedly) limited resource for space travel and colonisation. It has hard numbers to help put the scale of the issue in context. Worth a read, and won't take too long: http://archive.org/details/TheMartianWay

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#43523821)

I really don't think many of you appreciate how hard it will be to actually get to the water on the moon (in any usable form, anyway). IIRC, it's scattered in tiny amounts and mixed in with regolith. Getting to it will be less like digging a well and more like industrial gold mining. Hell, we have a hard enough time doing desalinization in large quantities on earth, and that's a LOT easier.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524247)

It's hard, but it can be done, and will be a fundamental part of any future moon mission that lasts longer than "plant a flag and run". However hard it is, it will certainly be preferable to shipping cubic tons of water from Earth.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (0)

OolimPhon (1120895) | about a year ago | (#43524749)

You do realize that you produce water every time you breathe out? With a decent enough size colony it might be that water is less a scarce resource than a nuisance.

Even now they have to carefully control the humidity levels on the ISS since too much water make mold grow on the equipment.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (2, Insightful)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43525535)

Future generations can only get better at moon colonisation if we try, and learn, and maybe fail and learn some more.

That is begging the question of whether having a moon colony serves any useful purpose in the first place.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43523551)

It's also worth remembering that the "ancient grave" of water on the Moon is far more use to us in the near future than it would be to a future generation. After all, if they need water on the Moon, they would just be able to ship it to the Moon (due to all that fancy future tech and knowledge they'll have) while we don't have that luxury.

And there is, of course, time value where things are worth more today than they are in some distant future.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (1)

Yomers (863527) | about a year ago | (#43523553)

How exactly water will be wasted? Moon colony, if there will ever be one, will operate as closed system - all water will be recycled, same as it is now recycled on ISS.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (3, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#43524383)

One of the oddities that people overlook in spaceflight, is that people with excess fat would make ideal colonists.

I don't think there is a more cost effective means in terms of payload to transport 'food and water' in a form usable to humans than fat people. I'm not talking morbidly obese, but an astronaut with 20kg extra weight is carrying pre-processed nutrients/energy/water in a form that requires the least amount of energy to turn back into work. As the astronaut burns off the excess fat, the wastes produced can be collected and reprocessed into useful water and fertilizers.

Consider the two options:
A healthy astronaut with 20kg of fat
A healthy astronaut with 0kg of excess and 20kg of food/water.

kg for kg, the stored fat will be much more efficient than 20kg of extra food/water.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524611)

So you are sending your wifes eggs, and your sperm to the moon? That would cost less then sending something that could be utilized when it got there?

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a year ago | (#43525411)

Actually, I bet a sperm bank will be a huge part of the first self-sustaining multi-generational colonies or colony ships. It will probably be needed in order to have wide enough of a gene pool.

I say sperm banks because eggs don't keep so well.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#43524891)

Hmm, I suppose this explains the crew in the WALL-E movie.

Re:Feasibility - in terms of what ? (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#43524813)

But if we do that, we are, inevitably, going to pollute the water, and diminish the amount of the already limited amount of water on the moon

Any moon water we pollute can be purified again; we have the technology [wikipedia.org]

WMD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523033)

Here's some cognitive dissonance for you douchebags.

According to the criminal code (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921) Obama's relying on, the bombs these Chechen mozzie nutjobs were using are considered "weapons of mass destruction."

By Obama's own definition, then, we found plenty of WMDs by invading Iraq.

There ya go.

Re:WMD (-1, Flamebait)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43523115)

Strawman [wikipedia.org] . Obama is not the supreme authority that attaches meaning to words or acronyms. Two extra moron points for being both offtopic and racist, and a bonus point for an opening sentence that immediately loses the audience' attention. Good job.

Re:WMD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523159)

No strawman whatsoever douchebag, just making a comparison.

And, racist? Really? In what sense? What are you even talking about?

Re:WMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523583)

And an 'Ad Hominum' for the 'counter-punch'. Whether or not you think that the first comment for this thread was a good example for a strawman argument, one must admit that reading comments from 'the conservative movement' is practically a test in figuring out exactly which logical or informal fallacy they are making. In the end it's sort of a fifth column attack on sane, 'on topic' conversations, which actually further discredits the GOP.

Re:WMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523615)

Ad Hominum? Fuck off doucebag.

"which actually further discredits the GOP"

You're welcome.

And I am still waiting for anyone to point out the racism which of course did not exist.

Crickets....

MSM Breaking news: Mozzie Jihadis kill infidels for fun, smoke weed and fuck goats.

Re:WMD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523657)

And worth further noting, you all conveniently ignore the fact that I am right, you cannot complain that no WMD's were found in Iraq when the place is just lousy with IEDs and then call the Marathon bombs WMDs. You socialists don't seem to have the whole logic thing quite together there do you? Of course those of us with our eyes open have known this all along.

Facts... troublesome things.

Re:WMD (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43525631)

And worth further noting, you all conveniently ignore the fact that I am right, you cannot complain that no WMD's were found in Iraq when the place is just lousy with IEDs and then call the Marathon bombs WMDs. You socialists don't seem to have the whole logic thing quite together there do you? Of course those of us with our eyes open have known this all along.

Facts... troublesome things.

I don't know any socialists who would agree that the Marathon bombs were WMDs. That's a rightwing US word choice.

Re:WMD (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43525593)

And, racist? Really? In what sense? What are you even talking about?

Technically, "Muslim" isn't a race, so your use of the word "mozzie" is not racist, it's just offensive, bigoted, xenophobic and puerile.

Re:WMD (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a year ago | (#43525529)

Hmm... GP is either a bigot, a troll or both and his statement is assinine but I don't see the racism. Is it because he writes about the president? He doesn't say anything about his race. He could just not like that one person for all we know. Is it because he mentions Chechens? Again, he doesn't say anything to imply they are all like the bombers. Or maybe it's because he refers to muslims as 'mozzie'. Sorry, Islam isn't a race it's a religion. He may be bigoted but that does not imply racism. Let's not bring out the 'r' card where it doesn't belong. It only serves to dilute it's meaning.

wow.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523075)

NASA is so poor they need handouts?

Re:wow.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523227)

Considering their operating budget is severely underfunded and less than a lot of other government subsidized groups, and that the technologies NASA develops are released as open source/patent, AND that their technologies have improved and saved millions of lives; the least we as a society can do is give them a handout.

We're paying Russia to fly our people and equipment to space. What does that say for the great American economy when we've got to carpool to go anywhere?

Re:wow.... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43524765)

Worst yet, the house republicans are actively working to kill private space and keep paying Russia .5b/year so that SLS is funded.

QOS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523099)

Be honest. Would you, a Christian or a Jew, expect the same quality of service in an Islamic hospital that #Jahar receives at Beth Israel?

Re:QOS (-1, Offtopic)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43523143)

Be honest. Would you, a Christian or a Jew

Hell yeah I would. Would you a pasty basement nerd? Call me for a time.

Re:QOS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523171)

The question is what English speaking people like to call rhetorical. Language, words, sentence structure, learn them and be happy.

Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523101)

So now NASA needs handouts....

Bring on Moonbase Alpha (5, Interesting)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#43523113)

Space:1999 [wikipedia.org] a few decades late?

Re:Bring on Moonbase Alpha (2, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#43523457)

I was thinking the personnel from this moon base should be organized into two elite moon unit divisions: Moon Unit Alpha and Moon Unit Zappa [youtube.com] .

Space:1999 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524455)

You might be interested in the Eagle lander's great grandfather: Masten are doing a study for Lockheed Martin on the Dual thrust axis [aiaa.org] moon lander (DTAL). [pdf, 19 pages] Which has led to their Xeus [michaelbelfiore.com] concept [nasaspaceflight.com] .

Re:Bring on Moonbase Alpha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525147)

I'm hoping for Alpha Complex, myself.

What's the catch? Will they get to name it? (2, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43523161)

Does NASA need alternate funding avenues?
Space Base Bigelow's Gigolos -- A Sugar Cougar's One Stop Shop for Moon Poon Pleasure. Ask about our Zero-G Whoopee for Free!

Oooh, just like before? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523267)

How is this different from, oh I don't know, the last five decades? We use computers now to generate the "real estate brochure" artwork? And didn't Bigelow lay off half its work force a few years ago? Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the commercial value of a vacuum.

Gravity? (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year ago | (#43523287)

Is the gravity on the moon sufficient to prevent the bone de-calcification and muscle atrophy in humans there for a prolonged period of time? I know that people who go up to the ISS for a few months are irreparably damaged, though the idea of making a spinning station would counter most (if not all) of that. At 1/6 earth gravity, would humans suffer the same fate as they do in micro? Can they build a spinning habitat on the moon?

Re:Gravity? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523353)

Is the atmosphere on the moon sufficient to prevent the de-oxygenation and breathing atrophy of humans there for a few seconds? How about the lack of a magnetoshpere? What is this obsession with sci-fi golly-gee Tom Swift fantasies about space? It's a hostile radiation-blasted vacuum with nothing in it. You have to bring the world's most advanced technology just to breathe. And what is so important on the Moon? It's the same periodic table of elements as on Earth. Plus here you have every specialist and every industry right here to solve any problem you might have.

This space stuff is just an extension of America's history of expansion and the "wild west", translated into the modern era with WWII technology and German engineers.

Re:Gravity? (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year ago | (#43523443)

It's a hostile radiation-blasted vacuum with nothing in it

Apart from a few million billion gigantic balls of fire often surrounded by massive rocks.

Re:Gravity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523471)

We can see these fireballs just fine from the Earth, I fail to see how getting a few hundred kilometers closer will change anything? Or are you suggesting that we somehow have access to them? When you're drowning alone in the middle of the Pacific, with no one around for thousands of kilometers, does the presence of the coast 5000 kilometers away help in any way? Can you swim there?

Re:Gravity? (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year ago | (#43523483)

Party pooper :(

Re:Gravity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523669)

I prefer the term "reality bringer". Seriously, time to grow up. Space isn't at all like in the movies.

Re:Gravity? (1)

dpilot (134227) | about a year ago | (#43523941)

Have fun with your front-row seat watching the next asteroid impact on Earth. You're right in that there is no short or medium term justification for manned space exploration. In the long term, simply having some of our eggs in a second basket is sufficient justification.

Another long-term justification for a space program is protecting the one basket of eggs we've got now better. If that can be done with robots, fine. If it requires men, let's do it.

Re:Gravity? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year ago | (#43523851)

The life raft 1km away is worth closer inspection. And is that an island with a few trees on it over yonder? I wonder if I got into the life raft, could I possibly reach the island and then see where that leaves me.

Re:Gravity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524169)

Except that in this case, we're already living on the island, the moon might be the life raft, and we can only reach sea from there.

Re:Gravity? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#43524747)

Luna is 10 kilometres / second closer to anywhere than the earth is, that makes a big difference if you only have chemical propulsion.

Re: Gravity? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523731)

What's on the moon is sunshine, real estate, and a relatively small escape velocity. Put a machine there to convert sun heat and moon dirt into silicon crystal boules. Then add a machine to make solar cells. Then add a machine to place them across the land. People will probably have to visit to get it all working. Having a place for them to stay would be nice. After a while you have enough power to do anything you want. Eg, make materials needed to build a rail launcher. Then you could, eg, send rocket fuel (made from moon dirt) to earth orbit. All this would probably take a long time, but the investment would be low.

Re: Gravity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523847)

Barring the fact that none of your magical machines exist, but if they did, why can't we use them right here on Earth?

Re: Gravity? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43524291)

Because we have:
1. Atmosphere. Good for humans, but not for solar power.
2. Clouds.
3. A nasty gravity well that makes getting off the planet a very expensive matter.

Re: Gravity? (2, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#43524487)

A HUGE problem for solar energy is not necessarily atmosphere, but dust. A massive array of panels/mirrors on Earth must be continually protected against sandstorms and dust accumulation. (This is because many of the massive mirror/panel arrays are placed in desert like environments, much like the moon).

Without rain to wash the panels and plants to keep the dust storms down, solar panels must be protected/maintained.

However, while the moon seems like it would be terrible due to the fact that it is basically one giant dusty (and sharp dust at that) desert, the lack of an atmosphere means that any panel placed will not accumulate any dust or suffer sandstorms absent nearby impacts with meteors.

Long winded post short: I'd add that the moon has lots of open land that doesn't produce sandstorms in your positive category for solar power generation.

Re: Gravity? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524687)

Sorry to dispel your illusion, but there is dust in space. Just the same as the "dust" falling into our atmosphere. There is also "wind", remember there is pressure created by the waveicle actions against a "sail", ohh,now class where does this come from???

Re: Gravity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524787)

You're insane.

Re: Gravity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524483)

Barring the fact that none of your magical machines exist, but if they did, why can't we use them right here on Earth?

Because:

What's on the moon is sunshine, real estate, and a relatively small escape velocity.

Re:Gravity? (5, Informative)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43523355)

According to NASA [nasa.gov] it has yet to be determined what causes the bone degradation. The damage is also not "irreparable", though bone mass is not fully recovered. From the link:

The exact mechanism that causes the loss of calcium in microgravity is unknown. Many scientists believe that microgravity somehow causes bone to break down at a much faster rate than it is built up. However, the exact trigger for this rate change has not been found. Researchers are currently pursuing multiple lines of research, including hormone level, diet, and exercise, in order to determine exactly what causes -- and may control or prevent -- osteoporosis during space flight.

On Earth we see the same thing happen from time to time (my mother used to have it). Bones suddenly become weak to the point of breaking at the faintest impact. Doctor's orders were to drink lots of milk and other high-calcium foodstuffs, and it apparently went away to a degree that she was declared "cured". If (the lack of) gravity was the sole cause, we would not see this on Earth.

Re:Gravity? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523425)

"The damage is also not "irreparable", though bone mass is not fully recovered."

The mental process of the Space Nutter, ladies and gentlemen.

Re:Gravity? (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43523501)

I can repair a china cup. But it isn't fully recovered. As grandma will clearly notice.

wow, talk about overstretching a metaphor... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#43525071)

not if grandma likes to drink bourbon from the cup while watching Honey Booboo. Then you can sell the rest of her china on ebay to finance you space program.

Re:Gravity? (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#43524403)

repairable doesnt mean 100% recovery. ever had a scar that never fully healed, leaving a small pock mark? It's repaired...but not 100% as some of the tissue is still missing compared to before. same concept.

Re:Gravity? (2)

Skythe (921438) | about a year ago | (#43523705)

Here is the "official" Mars One answer to bone issues (site seems to be down now so copy and paste from Google Cache):
Prolonged weightlessness causes osteoporosis, which can be reduced by exercise and medicine. Research onboard the International Space Station has led to even better and more effective training programs being drawn up, and new machines being made specifically for astronauts. Conjointly, there have been major leaps forward in medications capable of partially preventing declining calcium levels.

Recent study about 14 ISS astronauts, who were 4-6 month in space, showed a maximum bone loss of 1.5% / month in the most vulnerable (from bone loss point of view) region - the hip. Therefore the bone loss after arriving on Mars, after a 7 month flight, would be in the worst case scenario 10.5%.

When they arrive on a planet with 62% less gravity, they would have 100% more bone density compared to humans under earth gravity.

Google Cache link: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:YS4BxMBdYy4J:mars-one.com/en/faq-en/19-faq-health/193-will-the-astronauts-develop-osteoporosis+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au [googleusercontent.com]

Re:Gravity? (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43523959)

Yeah, I wouldn't put too much faith into that organisation, seems to be much more of a hoax than an actual genuine attempt at a mission. a link that's not down [etcjournal.com]

The Mars One project has received quite a bit of press lately. This project plans to establish a human colony on Mars in 2023 with four people. The project is the brainchild of Bas Lansdorp, a Dutch businessman. You must give him credit for creativeness. Much of the financing will come from a 24-hour television reality show that will follow every step of the project, including watching the new “Martians” as they adapt to the harsh Mars environment.

They conclude that because the colonists will be on Mars, they will have more density [wikipedia.org] . This is outright wrong, density is defined as p=m/V, on Mars neither your volume nor your mass [wikipedia.org] is going to change, your weight (W=m*g) will but that is not the term "m" in the equation.
I can understand why they wouldn't care, since they don't plan on bringing their colonists back. However, that does not solve the problem OP pointed out. Nor does it address the fact that we don't fully know what is causing the bone loss in the first place. Lack of gravity is thought to be the main culprit, but it is not known for certain.

Re:Gravity? (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a year ago | (#43525577)

How does the fact that it happens on Earth prove that microgravity isn't the only reason it happens to astronauts in space? Sure, maybe microgravity accelerates the natural process which also happens on Earth. I hope so because that would imply that research on preventing one might prevent both! But.. why couldn't it also be a totally unique mechanism that just has the same effect.

Re:Gravity? (2, Interesting)

Urban Garlic (447282) | about a year ago | (#43523555)

Robert Zubrin, the "case for Mars" guy who seems to have thought a lot about months-long space journeys, believes that low-gravity bone loss can be mitigated by exercise. His data point is Shannon Lucid, who spent 179 days on the Mir space station, rigorously followed the prescribed exercise regime, and came back in significantly better physical condition than other members of her crew, who weren't as disciplined with their exercise regimes.

Even if he's wrong, this is a problem to be solved, rather than a reason not to try.

Re:Gravity? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year ago | (#43523815)

Even if he's wrong, this is a problem to be solved, rather than a reason not to try.

100% agree, and as another poster commented, the reason for de-calcification and atrophy is not 100% understood, so the spinning habitat may not be the solution.

Shielding against the radiation, recycling of water (closed loop) and growing of suitable flora (mushrooms) for food etc have already got numerous ideas for how to overcome them, the gravity differential, though, seems to me to be the big hurdle to keeping a person healthy on the moon, if it's the gravity that's the cause of the bone problem.

She may have some back in significantly better shape, but Shannon Lucid did not come back unaffected. One may hope that 1/6th gravity + rigorous exercise is enough to prevent any and all degradation.

Re:Gravity? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#43524597)

growing of suitable flora (mushrooms) for food

Honest question: How well does that turn out? We eat the fruiting body of most edible fungi (the mushroom). Do mushrooms sprout towards the light? Or do they rely on gravity to know which way is 'up'? Or is it simply that the cells nearest to the surface react with the increased oxygen and grow in 'that direction'?

How do you keep the spores controlled? On a short term timescale, I could see working in a mostly sealed area, but those spores are very (not volatile) but mobile and easily float free in the air. I don't want to be one of those guys who tries to point out 'obvious' issues that have already been considered, I'm honestly curious about how mushrooms grow in space.

Re:Gravity? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year ago | (#43525229)

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2008/11/mushrooms-in-sp/ [go.com]
(accidental mushrooms)

http://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/2139421 [shroomery.org]
(deliberately grown mushrooms)

Sorry for my poor google-fu, but the information is somewhat scant on the topic. The original PDF appears to be gone (someone with better skills than me might find it) but they did grow Mushrooms on the SpaceLab D2, and they grew fine.

Re:Gravity? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#43525415)

Smuggle up a little Psilocybe cubensis and we can have Matango in space! But only if Guillermo del Toro directs, that would ROCK .

Re:Gravity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524569)

Is the gravity on the moon sufficient to prevent the bone de-calcification and muscle atrophy in humans there for a prolonged period of time?

Put simply, we don't know. We have two data points, 1g (Earth) and micro-g (Mir & ISS). That's it. Apollo stays weren't long enough to provide data either way. And in the fifty years since - fifty years - we haven't done a single study, not even an animal study, to provide a single data point in between 0 and 1. But, you know, we're for sure definitely totally serious about space travel. [sigh]

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523307)

When I see comments like these I tend to shift closer to the opinion that the world has gone crazy.....

Real Estate (1)

puddingebola (2036796) | about a year ago | (#43523473)

Who owns the land on the moon where the base will be built?

Re:Real Estate (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43523507)

Whoever can get there and defend it from invaders.

Re:Real Estate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523579)

Getting there isn't necessary if you have a big enough laser [xkcd.com] .

Why Settle For Eventual Extinction? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#43523603)

How exactly are we to continue to grow as a species if we confine ourselves to this life of luxurious ease, squandering the finite resources of our home planet? We are on the cusp of the technology necessary for off-planet adventure, settlements, and discovery. Generations of men/women before us have sacrificed personal comforts to better our understanding of science, the World, the Solar System, etc. We are approaching understanding of the origin of the Universe and, indeed, life itself. Get up and do something, even if the support of future endeavors is all you have in you. Sitters are quitters.

Re:Why Settle For Eventual Extinction? (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#43523759)

It will be several orders of magnitude easier to save this planet, and survive almost any conceivable disaster, than it will ever be to colonize any other body in this solar system (or likely any other system within any possible reach).

Re:Why Settle For Eventual Extinction? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#43523993)

Memo from the Dept Of Redundancy: a backup plan that you may never use is not necessarily a waste of time or resources.

First rule of flight club (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524641)

IT guy says: Always keep a back up your important data at a second site. Ideally more than one.

EMS guy says: Never centralise your emergency/disaster response units.

Manager says: But look how much money we saved!

Hands off! (1)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | about a year ago | (#43523707)

If you do go to the moon, please stay away from the original moon landing sites. You may take pictures and live video of them (to shut up the nutters), but please don't trample those footprints. I may want to gaze on them myself some day.

Re:Hands off! (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#43523771)

please don't trample those footprints. I may want to gaze on them myself some day.

I doubt you need to worry about either possibility.

Re:Hands off! (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#43524735)

but please don't trample those footprints. I may want to gaze on them myself some day.

Thermal cycling in the top two inches of regolith means that the footprints are likely already softened to mere depressions, and by the time you get there, they won't be recognisable. Sorry. But the hardware should be good for a few thousand years, decals will be bleached white or irradiated black, but it'll take a long time for micro-meteorites to erode the big pieces down to something unrecognisable to even an amateur visitor. Of course, we'll need to return the ascent modules first or the tourists will be inevitably disappointed. At that point, they'll probably also be "maintaining" the footprints every decade or so, so you may get your wish.

A space plan was already done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43523789)

http://www.metafilter.com/119922/The-Rockwell-International-Integrated-Space-Plan
http://blog.makezine.com/2012/09/13/the-rockwell-international-integrated-space-plan/

WARNING : virus! 8-p (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524869)

crashed my browser.

Deuce Bigalow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524053)

Male Gigolo, LIKE THE MOVIE?

Space Act Agreement---In kind services (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524149)

Space Act Agreements may be negotiated without money exchange, but still cost NASA some money to support. Frequently in SAAs NASA assigns folks to monitor the work and provide technical support, and they may also provide access to expert advice or facilities.

I'm pretty sure (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about a year ago | (#43525169)

the moon isn't a good place to grow tea. Maybe they're hoping to get some cheese to put on the crackers that people will eat with tea.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (2, Insightful)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43525395)

And I don't want a bunch of whacko libertarian might-is-right corporate yahoos in control of it.

Moon Basing - Need Reason to be there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525401)

I am a Manned Spaceflight supporter. Moon is close by place to visit, but thing about is..Why go? Commerical Space needs a leg up, hopefully Bigelow can get other parties interested in his Moon Base plan. Problem is that, moon is poor with resources. It has some, but not enough to draw enough attention from Corps who would have the capital to go there and have people work there. Likely it would end up being automated operation. Unless you have crazy colonist who are sick of Earth and way things are going down here, your not going get many people up there unless there darn good reason. Relying on world governments will be just unstable arrangements, since the organizations vulernable to political interferrence and politically motivated budget shifts.

Like the idea, but i think you need commerical means to go up there. Good Luck Bigelow.

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