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NASA Has Plans for 2nd Space Station at L1

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the lead-lined-underwear dept.

Space 439

Keith Gabryelski writes "New Scientist has an article on NASA's unveiling of a "blueprint for the future" of space exploration. It entails a Space Station 5/6ths of the way to the moon. In other news, radiation sheilding on the space station isn't so good."

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fp? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518115)

frost post? mb?

Re:fp? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518130)

booyah! i got it neener

YOUR FP HAS BEEN CLAIMED FOR CLiT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518227)

eff pee (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518119)

this first post is for jaimeeeeeeee!

Re:eff pee (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518143)

no, i believe you should take a look at this [slashdot.org] . i got it. you didn't.

summmer home (0, Funny)

dkarney (243740) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518121)

I've been looking for a summer home

5/6 is stopping short (2, Interesting)

WestieDog (592175) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518147)

Why not just build on the moon? Why stop at 5/6 the way to the moon?

Re:5/6 is stopping short (5, Informative)

Justin Cave (945) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518180)

From a physics standpoint, getting men and material to and from the Lagrangian points would be vastly cheaper than getting them to and from the moon. Until we could utilize the raw materials of the moon to produce things, it isn't going to be cost-effective to have a moon presence.

Re:5/6 is stopping short (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518184)

the reason to put it at 5/6 of the way to the moon (or so) is that that is the location of a LaGrange point, a point in outer space where the gravity between the earth and the moon cancel each other out perfectly, so a space station at a LaGrange point (in this case L1) wouldn't have to use thrusters to maintain a stable orbit and would never leave it's stable orbit around the earth. if you put it on the moon, you'd have to overcome lunar gravity to leave, costing both fuel and money.

Re:5/6 is stopping short (5, Informative)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518258)

a space station at a LaGrange point (in this case L1) wouldn't have to use thrusters to maintain a stable orbit and would never leave it's stable orbit around the earth

That's not true. L1, L2, and L3 are all gravitationally unstable points. A space station at L1, if nudged out of position even slightly, will tend to spiral inward toward Earth or outward toward the moon. The L4 and L5 points are the only stable Lagrangian points in a two-body system.

Moon surfing? (2, Interesting)

.sig (180877) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518372)

uh, I don't mean to point out the obvious, but you don't need thrusters to stay in a stable 'orbit' on the surface of the moon. If they built a station on the moon, I really doubt it'd go very far on it's own.

Of course, it'd be easier to leave from L1, as they would have to fight the gravity of the moon to get back into space. I hope that's what you meant...

Re:5/6 is stopping short (2, Informative)

douglips (513461) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518188)

Because on the moon means you still have launch costs. Lagrange points give you access to low-energy pathways throughout the solar system.

For example:
New Planet Freeway... [cnn.com]

Re:5/6 is stopping short (5, Insightful)

blincoln (592401) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518205)

Why not just build on the moon?

Apples and oranges. Having a station in zero gravity is really useful for launching probes and ships from, and as a gateway between the Earth and the rest of the solar system. Having a moonbase gives you mining capabilities and so forth.

They're both very important aspects of stepping into space, for different reasons.

Re:5/6 is stopping short (1)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518225)

If the station was built on the moon we wouldn't be able to take advantage of the L1 point.

(Btw the L1 point is the point at which the force of the earth's gravity equals the force of the moon's)

Every cargo shuttle and transport going to the station would have to expend extra energy to over come the moons gravity on the return trip. Therefore it would also have to carry more fuel throughout the entire trip. Making the costs of the whole thing go up and the efficiency go down.

By building at the L1 point the return trip would be fully aided by the gravity of earth requiring almost no additional energy.

Re:5/6 is stopping short (5, Informative)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518244)

Why not just build on the moon? Why stop at 5/6 the way to the moon?

Because the whole point of staging at L1 is that it allows low-energy transfers to other points in the solar system. Launching a trip to Mars, for example, from L1 would require much less energy than from either the surface of the Earth, or low Earth orbit, or the surface of the moon.

Of course, this ignores the biggest problem with the L1 point: it's unstable. A body placed at L1 will tend to either fall inward toward the Earth or outward toward the moon at the slightest push. Any space station at L1 will have to correct its position regularly, probably using simple chemical rockets. These rockets will have to be refueled periodically and so on, making for a nontrivial amount of effort to keep an L1 space station in position.

The L4 and L5 points, on the other hand, are gravitationally stable. If a body at L4 or L5 starts to drift out of position-- due to a collision or outgassing or whatever-- the Earth-moon system will tend to pull it back to the point of stability again. But since L4 and L5 are farther from Earth than L1 is, it takes more time and energy to get there from LEO.

Can someone explain this? (3, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518435)

I don't get your last paragraph... Why isn't everything in Earth orbit being gradually drawn towards L4 and L5? Why isn't there some large body captured there already?

Re:5/6 is stopping short (3, Informative)

Yorrike (322502) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518444)

Launching a trip to Mars, for example, from L1 would require much less energy than from either the surface of the Earth, or low Earth orbit, or the surface of the moon.

That's all well and good, but you have to get TO L1 FROM the Earth or low Earth Orbit, or the Moon before you can enjoy the benefits of a low energy launch.

Wouldn't getting your launch ship there in the first place, nullify any benefits of relaunching from there?

Re: What's L4,5? (1)

jswitte (216975) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518458)

What are the Lagrange L4 and L5 points? The only one I've ever heard of was L2 (I think) where the Triana camera was going to have been put. I known I know, I'll find it it 5 minutes on Yahoo, but I'll post the question here anyway, for general public erudition (if it ever gets read..)

Jim

yeah but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518149)

radiation sheilding on the space station isn't so good.

but my tan is great!

Re:yeah but... (2)

G-funk (22712) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518462)

first, IANARS (rocket scientist) by any means...

But instead of using thick/heavy material to absorb radiation as we do now, perhaps we could devise something that would simply reflect it, instead of absorbing it?

Sure, THAT'LL happen (5, Interesting)

thetzar (30126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518151)

With the insane ammounts of cost overruns and mismanagement in the ISS project, who thinks that a jaded congress is going to vote a new space station [no matter how much MORE useful than the ISS it may be] any funds whatsoever?

Replacement for ISS? (2, Interesting)

siskbc (598067) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518208)

This may be almost a replacement for ISS. It's become fairly obvious that certain nations (*ahem Russia*) are intent on using the ISS as SpaceDisney, letting any jackass with $20M up there. So NASA might be trying to get their own space station back. ISS was really a political animal anyway (Congress loved the idea of unity or some similar crap).

Building Infrastructure for the Future (5, Insightful)

GreenPhreak (60944) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518370)

Yes, it is true that the International Space Station has taken a horrendous amount of money that could've been spent on real science. I admit that I'd like to see more money spent on real science missions like probes to Pluto or Europa or on more Space-based telescopes, but unfortunately as these devices increase in size (satellites, space telescopes, probes, etc.) it becomes infeasible to launch them in a confined shuttle (I believe Chandra X-ray telescope reached the volume limits on what could be launched in one piece).

That said, we need to be building an infrastructure for launching larger and more complex devices into space. This requires places where things can be assembled once in orbit, places such as the ISS or another station at a Lagrangian point. In and of themselves, these stations aren't spectacular, they don't produce good science and they are very expensive, but they need to be created to assist other scientific endeavors as our technology continues to develop. As an example, routers, fiber, and transcontinental backbones are expensive and to the layman, they produce no real science or pretty pictures, but they are necessary as an infrastructure over which people can do some really cool things.

Anyway, I think that even if this doesn't get passed by congress or the things run behind schedule, it is good that we are at least PLANNING to do some really cool stuff like this.

Space tourims (3, Funny)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518154)

How much for a trip to this baby?

And where can I pre-order a ticket?

Re:Space tourims (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518449)

Sorry, only Boy Bands and aging millionaires can get tickets to this destination.

cant even afford current station (5, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518166)

There is only room for three people for extended stays, due to Congressional budget cuts in the habitation module and escape vehicle. The original intention is seven people. That means the crew of three must spend 75% of their time in maintenance with only a small amount for experiments and other innovation. Unlikely the current administration will increase funding. Many republicans hate NASA because of its environmental monitoring programs. And the previous scientific leader of NASA has been replaced by an accountant (cut and slash).

The new IMAX movie about the first three years of space station construction is fascinating.

Re:cant even afford current station (5, Funny)

shut_up_man (450725) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518249)

I agree about the Imax movie, it's excellent. Even Tom Cruise's hugely overdone voiceover doesn't ruin it: "And the VIEW HERE is... AWESOME. Just... AWESOME. No really, it's TOTALLY... AWESOME." Kinda like a cross between Keanu Reeves and William Shatner, with liberal snorts of cocaine.

Re:cant even afford current station (2)

Syncdata (596941) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518389)

Indeed, I think that NASA needs to spend the time being focused on smaller projects, and most importantly, they need to get the cost of a launch down. Way down. Stick with the ISS for a while. Learn how to maintain a space station for longer than a little bit (I'm looking at you Skylab).
I see little to no reason why a second space station would be preferable to, say, more Chandras or Hubbles or Voyagers, or god help us all, a space shuttle without 5 hojillian individual thermal tiles.

A more useful approach (1)

Drunken Coward (574991) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518167)

A more useful approach, instead of building the station 5/6 of the way, would be to simply build it on the surface of the moon (not the dark side). If you're going to bother with a multi-billion dollar project, you might as well put it somewhere useful. Besides, where better to have an international space station than an international planet?

They won't have to worry so much about radiation, either.

Re:A more useful approach (3, Informative)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518278)

Useful in what sense? There's nothing on the moon that we need or want, at least not with current technologies at hand. If you put some kind of space station in a gravitationally unstable point, like L1, then you can use it to launch trips to points elsewhere very inexpensively. (Assuming the cost of maintaining the orbit of the L1 station turns out to be manageable.) Once you're at L1, you've basically spent all the energy you need to spend to get out of the Earth-moon system. Refueling or restaging at L1 for longer trips to Mars and elsewhere makes a lot of sense.

Science fiction from the late 1900's aside, moon bases just don't make that much sense right now.

Re:A more useful approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518426)

would be to simply build it on the surface of the moon (not the dark side)

The moon doesn't have a permanent "dark side".

Re:A more useful approach (2)

NewtonsLaw (409638) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518476)

A more useful approach, instead of building the station 5/6 of the way, would be to simply build it on the surface of the moon

Hell no! Didn't you ever watch that TV series Space 1999

Do you want to blow the moon out of orbit? :-)

Plan ahead. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518170)

"If you sent two people to Mars, one of them would die," says Marco Durante of the Federico II University in Naples

I think the key to preventing this is to pack enough food that the astronauts are not forced to resort to cannabalism.

Re:Plan ahead. (5, Funny)

muertos (570792) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518306)

Or send somebody else instead of the guy who'll die.

Re:Plan ahead. (1)

Hays (409837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518391)

I attended a talk by Dr. Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society last year. He said that deep space radiation increases your cancer risk at roughly the same rate as smoking (this article seems to place it higher). Anyway his suggestion was to only recruit only chain smokers for missions to Mars, and make them quit smoking. He was a bit worried about the ability of the astronauts to perform well, though.

Re:Plan ahead. (3, Funny)

Spunk (83964) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518414)

No no, not cannabalism [sic], but half-lives. We know that the half-life of an astronaut is equal to the round trip of a mars expedition. It's something that NASA has been hiding for years, also known as the Terrible [somethingawful.com] Secret [mp3s.com] of Space [jonathonrobinson.com] .

Mixed emotions... (5, Insightful)

Orne (144925) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518171)

The explorer part of me is saying, "Yay! It's about time we started building more structures in space. The Lagrange point would make a good neutral spot halfway to the moon." But then the realist in me says, "Given that NASA has proven that it can't stick to a budget, how much is this overrun going to cost?" And the article agrees with me.

Government is not the answer to promoting outer space as a new resource -- market forces have shown to be the driving force in all new ventures. We need competition in getting things into orbit, tourism to build hotels, industry to build fab plants, mining on the moon...

Re:Mixed emotions... (2, Interesting)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518220)

The question is not if NASA can keep a budget, but rather if the politican will accept it if NASA gave them an acurate budget.

As it is now, I put my $.02 on the idea that NASA is under-budgeting in order to gte the crooks^H^H^H^H^H^Hpoliticans to accept the project.

Nobody is going to tell me that NASA is not smart enough to put out a price that looks good, get the funding and then slowly, but steadily increase the cost.

Re:Mixed emotions... (0)

the_Upsetter (257937) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518236)

...market forces have shown to be the driving force in all new ventures.

What were the market forces behind the underappreciated and pioneering MIR [cosmicimages.com] ?

Re:Mixed emotions... (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518316)

market forces have shown to be the driving force in all new ventures
[sigh] I am getting really sick of hearing this bit of ideology repeated as though it were an established fact. Some things happen as a result of market forces, some as a result of government forces, and some (actually most) as a result of the combination of the two. Just because a generally capitalist economic system is healthier and more innovative than a generally socialist economic system (which is true) does not mean that "the market will take care of" everything, all the time.

If the Internet depended on "market forces," it wouldn't exist -- we'd be living in a world of multiple incompatible networks with users of any one network unable to communicate with those of others. If the highway system depended on "market forces," there would be no way in hell you could drive from one coast to the other. If education depended on "market forces," only the children of the rich would ever get an education. Etc. And if space exploration depends on "market forces," then you can kiss any chance you or your great-grandchildren have of ever getting off this planet goodbye.

Re:Mixed emotions... (4, Informative)

the_Upsetter (257937) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518388)

the Interstate Highway System, the TVA, rural electrification, the Public Library system (just off the top of my head)... none of these were driven by these elusive "market forces" the original poster refers to.

(which is not to say that they didn't precipitate in quite a little jolt for this nation's capitalists)...

Clearly there's a bit of saliency to the argument that a little "push" by the govt. can jump-start some of these "market forces."

Re:Mixed emotions... (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518390)

*Cough* Bullsh*t!

Market forces are best at exploiting new discoveries, not creating them.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518172)

the space station plans NASA!

:tcejbus (3, Interesting)

sstory (538486) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518187)

space is a harsh place. Radiation, temperature extremes, enormous distances of nothingness. It'll be nice when it isn't almost senselessly prohibitive to go.

Re::tcejbus (0, Offtopic)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518380)

im really hoping that anyone that actually mods stuff like this as trolling has moderated for the last time. he is simply making an, admittedly flawed, point. i dont see how this is trolling. does the moderator even know what trolling is?

Radiation is a solved problem (2, Funny)

drhairston (611491) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518190)

I don't understand why NASA does not employ lead shielding [thomasregister.com] to protect its astronauts. This time-tested solution is proven and effective.

Re:Radiation is a solved problem (2, Insightful)

El Pollo Loco (562236) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518206)

From my expiernce in setting up really big tents, lead is heavy. Really heavy. The cost to orbit would be really high. At least, that's what I think.

Re:Radiation is a solved problem (2, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518300)

The cost to orbit would be really high.

But NASA would have finally achieved the alchemists' dream of converting lead to gold. (Or at least making it many times more expensive than gold.)

Re:Radiation is a solved problem (4, Funny)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518207)

Lead is really heavy... Maybe? Do you know how many N*Sync members you could get in space instead of a couple of sheets of lead?

Re:Radiation is a solved problem (4, Informative)

ShavenYak (252902) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518211)

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that lead is heavy, and heavy things cost more to get into space?

Re:Radiation is a solved problem (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518354)

Jesus. This guy eats trolls for lunch.

Re:Radiation is a solved problem (2, Funny)

visgoth (613861) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518441)

Then why not work on reducing the cost of putting stuff like lead into space? A big railgun could launch raw materials into orbit, where processing plants could actually build the heavy parts of a space station / vessel. The initial cost of a railgun would be more than a single rocket, but it would rapidly pay itself off in savings. Also, you could send stuff up in worse weather than needed for shuttle launches. A shuttle of some sort would still be needed to transport squishy / breakable things like humans and electronics.

Re:Radiation is a solved problem (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518460)

Mostly incorrect, if you had read the article about radiation, you would understand the fundamental problem with lead is because of its weight, but not the way you are thinking. The problem is that the large nuclei (the middle of the lead atoms). These are struck by the cosmic ray, releasing more deadly radiation to the crew inside, so your precious lead sheilding would kill them all. Which is why the shielding described in the article (copied below) is a light plastic.

Radiation inside the ISS, and the now defunct Mir, is caused when the fast, heavy ions that make up cosmic rays collide with the aluminium hull, releasing a shower of secondary particles into the living quarters.

To mitigate this effect, the ISS has been fitted with additional polyethylene shielding that contains lighter atomic nuclei, which are less likely to throw out neutrons when hit by cosmic rays.

Lead -> heavy -> expensive (2)

egerlach (193811) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518242)

Do you know how much it would cost to lift the amount of lead you'd need into space? The earth's magnetic field deflects something on the order of 95% of cosmic rays. To acheive that in space you'd need tonnes of lead (educated guess... no figures to back this up).

Re:Radiation is a solved problem (2, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518309)

Gee, Doc, have you done any payload arithmetic lately? Lofting lead is possibly the dumbest idea ever-- no offense intended.

In terms of pounds of mass per gray-- meaning the amount of radiation that can be absorbed in a given unit of mass-- water is a better radiation shield than lead. Dual-purpose, too.

Mod parent up (2)

ArcSecond (534786) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518349)

Water is indeed a better shielding material, plus you can mine it on the moon (or from comets and asteroids, too) and avoid the gravity penalty of bringing up Terran water. Plus, you can use it for all sorts of other things, like growing food, storing power, and drinking. Try doing that with lead.

Re:Mod parent up (2)

G-funk (22712) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518447)

Plus, you can use it for all sorts of other things, like growing food, storing power, and drinking.

Although lead shielding is indeed a stupid idea, I don't see radioactive water being all that much healthier for consumption than lead.

Re:Radiation is a solved problem (1)

trevinofunk (576660) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518378)

there really is a simple reason for that: LEAD = DAMN HEAVY

radiation (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518191)

would it be at all possible too recreate the earths field around the space station ,like give them a field generator or something. i dunno. how much power would it need to be effective at repelling the charged particles?.

I am building a space station inside of a hole (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518196)

It's a gaping hole. I'm building it five-sixths of the way into the hole. You can find out more information at this site [sporks-r-us.com] and see a picture of the hole here [goatse.cx] .

Quick! (5, Funny)

NASAKnight (588155) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518200)

Someone file a patent on flying to the moon! I can see NASA paying some major royalties.

Re:Quick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518302)

Quick! Someone think of something that isn't stupid to saybefore... Ooops, too late, oh well, might as well mod it up to +5 funny +5Insightful then...

third brightest object in the sky (5, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518215)

After the Sun and Moon. Its been fascinating to watch it get brighter as they add more cylinders and panels every year.

The station is visible in the evenings about one week a month and mornings one week a month, so the orbit can wobble over the US, Russia, Europe, and Japan. Sky & Telescope [skyandtelescope.com] (set zip code, click on almanac) shows pass times & locations, as do other websites.

Re:third brightest object in the sky (1)

phriedom (561200) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518406)

It is especially bright when the shuttle is docked. If you have never seen it, it is really worth the effort.

Inflatable?! (1)

Richard5mith (209559) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518230)

Inflatable space station?

Are we sure this is real? :)

This is great! (2)

abhinavnath (157483) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518231)

Long range, imaginative plans... A next generation telescope at L2, shielded from the Earth's EM output by the moon... This is really exciting. Good luck NASA. I hope we get this done eventually, regardless of how much it winds up costing.

EM Blocked at L2? (2)

MyHair (589485) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518453)

But how do we get the images back or control it? Wouldn't we have to have a repeater station on the moon or at L4 or L5?

New scientists. (5, Interesting)

Docrates (148350) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518234)

If i'm to be modded down for offtopicness, well, I deserve it, but I need to get this off my chest:

I simply can't read new scientist anymore. When the site actually loads (regardless of slashdotting), every single article they publish seems to be the scientific equivalent of the paparazzi.

I mean, really, one thing is to have a non-peer-reviewed magazine, and an entirely different thing is to intentionally publish exagerated, ridiculous, absolutely un-proved (and almost always un-provable) "facts". Even the simplest of stories is spinned beyond recognition. If a story comes up of some scientists spotting a .00001% deviation from expected results researching *.*, right after they make clear that most likely it's due to faulty measurement equipment, New Scientist will publish that they found aliens, that they have a draft of the alien invasion plan, that Einstains's GToR is therefore void, and that in fact he himself WAS an alien trying to distract us from the truth. And then they _really_ start speculating and tell you that they infer from the inforamtion that Einstein was a shape shifter and that he was also the first husband of Melinda Gates.

Now, I haven't read this article (not that I could even if I wanted to, NS' site goes DoS when they're linked from my cousin's non-porn website), but I'm sure I'll get more substance out of /.er's comments than NS (if you can believe that!)

Re:New scientists. (1)

bbc22405 (576022) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518286)

[New Scientist is] the scientific equivalent of the paparazzi.

Yeah, I have to agree with that sentiment. They're, uh, the Omni of the 21st Century. Or something like that.

Why get upset? (4, Funny)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518401)

The New Scientist is to Nature what the National Enquirer is to the New York Times. But, hey, lots of people read the National Enquirer for fun as well. Only that when people start taking it seriously that people get hurt.

radiation shielding (2, Interesting)

bbc22405 (576022) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518237)


In other news, radiation sheilding on the space station isn't so good.

Lead and tungsten are your friends.
(I suppose that this might be a good time to come out in favor of developing a cheap, non-man-rated left vehicle, suitable for lofting dense, space-station-module-sized things into LEO...?)

Re:radiation shielding (1)

bbc22405 (576022) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518252)

Er, lift vehicle, though I would also be interested in seeing just what a left vehicle would look like. (Good thing I didn't rag on anyone about spelling "shielding" correctly.)

wonderful (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518238)

Fantastic. NASA can continue to piss away money on boring projects as the government drives real innovators like Rotary Rocket out of business.

Mod parent up to "Hilarious"! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518270)

Wahahahaha! OMG! That was so funny!!!!!! I haven't had that great of a laugh in a long time... thanks. :)

Re:Mod parent up to "Hilarious"! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518338)

are you being sarcastic?

watch out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518248)

are there any plans [ravenblack.net] to have nasa involved commercially anytime soon?

It's time to leave LEO (5, Interesting)

Hays (409837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518257)

The time between when Columbus "discovered" the new world and Magellen circumnavigated the globe was 30 years. It has now been 30 years since Apollo 17, the last time man visited the moon, the last time man left low earth orbit. I think it's a great failure of our race that we've dragged our feet such.

To think that technological advance is blazingly fast in this day in age is misleading. We're not doing too well at hitting the important targets. NASA might just now be waking up to this, but it's yet to be seen if their budget wakes up to it. (Nasa funding was 4% of the national budget at the height of the Apollo program, it's less than 1% now)

So I applaud their very recent efforts to finally mention some vague goals away from Low Earth Orbit. L1 is a fine stepping stone, but Mars is where the public eye is. Nasa administrator Daniel Goldin had some brave words about the possibility of sending men to Mars in this decade or the next, but Bush put a bean counter in charge of Nasa pretty quickly to throttle cost overruns from the ISS.

What we really need is a president giving NASA a kick in the pants, and the funding to follow, as Kennedy did. Either that or wait around for private space exploration to become worthwhile, and we're going to be waiting quite a while in that case. Another space race? maybe China? I hope so. Because the current NASA schedule is anything but ambitious.

Radiation + Lance Bass = (0, Offtopic)

molrak (541582) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518260)

Teenage mutant N(inja)'Sync!

NASA couldn't even go to the moon now (4, Interesting)

pbranes (565105) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518269)

After the Apollo missions, there was no budget to keep up the plans for the Apollo V spacecraft. If NASA wanted to land men on the moon again, they would have to reinvent the great rocket science of Wernher von Braun. NASA should just shoot for going to the moon now and establishing a science based set of missions.

Apollo was not built around science. It was built as another battlefield of the Cold War. The space program wasn't even important until the Soviet Union beat America into space. When NASA can make routine, scientific trips to the moon, then they can concentrate on building a space station at L1 and worry about getting to Mars.

The Space Shuttle is routine now, and usually stays within budget. NASA should build on this technology, slowly and gradually. We will learn so much more this way rather than putting a thermometer and a seismometer on the moon as quickly as possible.

Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518275)

Why get just one, when you can get two for twice the price?

Home on Lagrange (5, Funny)

whovian (107062) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518277)

To the tune of "Home on the Range"

Home on Lagrange

Oh, give me a locus
Where the gravitons focus
Where the three-body problem is solved
Where the microwaves play
Down at 3 degrees K
And the cold virus never evolved.

radiation shielding not so good (2)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518323)

Did any of the astronauts who went to the moon come down
with cancer? They got beyond the earth's magnetic field and
the shielding on the apollo spacecraft might not have been
good enough either. (guess we need the deflector array off
the USS Enterprise?)

Re:radiation shielding not so good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518328)

Uncle Al says the ISS crew gets cataracts.

Re:radiation shielding not so good (1)

KieranElby (315360) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518396)

> Did any of the astronauts who went to the moon come down with cancer?

Given that the moon has no magnetic field and that a spacesuit is necessarily of pretty low density and thickness, I've never quite understood how it was safe for astronauts to walk around on the lunar surface for extended periods of time - surely the radiation from a solar flare or similar could have amounted to a near lethal dose?

Re:radiation shielding not so good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518403)

Average trip to the moon and back: less than a month.

Average stay on the ISS: Far more than a month.

Average stay on a station that's even further from Earth and less likely to be visited often: Take a wild guess.

Re:radiation shielding not so good (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518488)

Yes. Jack Swigert, CM pilot for Apollo 13, died in 1982 of bone cancer.

front-page summary (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518324)

And now your second Slashdot front-page summary of the day.

Anoto-based Pens From Logitech: I can't believe it. Reading and writing actually paid off.

Science: Humans Use 83 Percent of Earth's Surface: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true.

U.S. Ranks 17th in Freedom of the Press: You must love this country more than I love a cold beer on a hot Christmas morning.

WINE: A New Place for KLEZ to Play?: Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand.

Ask Slashdot: Could CDRW Disks Replace Videotapes?: Let us all bask in television's warm glowing warming glow.

Your Rights Online: San Diego Company Owns E-Commerce: This kid's a wonder! He organized all the law suits against me into one class action suit.

Flat Screen Monitors Sales to Reign This Year: Boy, everyone is stupid except me.

And finally,

Science: NASA Has Plans for 2nd Space Station at L1: Ha ha! Look at this country! You are gay!? Ha ha!

One of them would die (1, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518337)

"If you sent two people to Mars, one of them would die," says Marco Durante of the Federico II University in Naples

I have only one thing to say:

TWO MEN ENTER! ONE MAN LEAVES!

two men enter, one man leaves (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518382)

the other man will eventually emerge pregnant with child.

Ice for shielding? (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518339)

Wouldn't water ice provide decent radiation shielding?
Or even just liquid water, if it melts in the sun.

It'd also provide decent ablative armor against laser weapons... not that any one would be *shooting* at it of course.

Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518392)



I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

In honor of the announcement... (2, Redundant)

algernon7 (552572) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518395)

I have composed a cheesy song:

/me clears throat

Home, Home on Lagrange
Where the Moon and the Earth fight for sway
If these comets don't stop
my space station might pop
and I glow just a bit more each day

I'm working on a version of 'Ice, Ice, Baby' in honor of Mars.

I thought an L space colony would look like.. (5, Interesting)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518415)

This! [l5news.org]

heh... simple solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518428)

why not replicate the earth's properties which block these things around the ISS?

thrusters (1)

hpavc (129350) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518429)

doest the new 5/6th to the moon space station still need thrusters? every vistor to and from it is going to knock it back and forth.

or is the 5/6th position autocorrecting as well?

New Scientist (-1)

Lefty Right (204626) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518438)

If i'm to be modded down to flames for offtopic-ness, well, I deserve it, but I need to get this off my chest:

I simply cannot read New Scientist anymore. When the site actually loads (regardless of slashdotting), every single article they publish seems to be the scientific equivalent of the paparazzi.

I mean, really, one thing is to have a non-peer-reviewed magazine, and an entirely different thing is to intentionally publish exagerated, ridiculous, absolutely un-proved (and almost always un-provable) "facts". Even the simplest of stories is spinned beyond recognition. If a story comes up of some scientists spotting a .00001% deviation from expected results researching *.*, right after they make clear that most likely it's due to faulty measurement equipment, New Scientist will publish that they found aliens, that they have a draft of the alien invasion plan, that Einstains's GToR is therefore void, and that in fact he himself WAS an alien trying to distract us from the truth. And then they _really_ start speculating and tell you that they infer from the inforamtion that Einstein was a shape shifter and that he was also the first husband of Melinda Gates.

Now, I haven't read this article (not that I could even if I wanted to, NS' site goes DoS when they're linked from my cousin's non-porn website), but I'm sure I'll get more substance out of /.er's comments than NS (if you can believe that!)

what a waste of money (4, Insightful)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518455)

Which would you rather have? Landings on all the major planets, together with exploratory rovers, chemical analyses, and photography, and space telescopes looking for planets around nearby stars? Or a handful of aging space cowboys spending a lot of their time cleaning toilets and keeping in shape at the Lagrange point? I know which one I would rather have.

Sure, it would be fun to go into space in person. But that's entertainment and tourism, and the best way to finance that is through private funding. It's the science, the big questions, that require government funding, and there we should concentrate on what gives the biggest payoff--and that is unmanned space flight with robotic probes.

What about that newly discovered asteroid? (4, Interesting)

AaronPSU79 (536655) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518456)

IANARS (rocket scientist) but what are the possibilities of utilizing the asteroid just discovered that shares the earths orbit for some form of station. A snippet from this article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2347663. stm

"Although only about 100 metres across 2002 AA29 may play a role in the manned exploration of space out of all proportion to its size.

Already researchers are speculating that it could be visited by an unmanned spaceprobe or even become the first object after the Moon to be stepped on by astronauts.

The object could tell us a lot about the composition of asteroids.

Some have speculated that it could be nudged into a permanent Earth orbit where it could be studied at greater length."

If you could nudge this thing into the right orbit wouldn't it make a wonderful station? Lots of room, some raw materials, and you could burrow into to escape the radiation. I understand that some asteroids are nothing more than loose collections of rocks and dust. But it's an intriguing, and plausible idea.

Universal Century here we come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4518480)

Now, where are the mobile suits...

In yet another news... (1)

kfishy (534087) | more than 11 years ago | (#4518487)

Due to extensive radiation exposure, the astronauts on the ISS have turned into mutants and are preparing to take over the Earth.
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