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Proposed Next-Generation Space Station

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the one-ticket-for-5/6ths-of-the-way-to-the-moon dept.

Space 153

WallytheWalrus writes "This NewScientist.com article discusses the proposed next generation of telescopes and space stations. The concept presented with little fanfare by the NASA Exploration Team (NEXT) consists of placing a space station about 5/6ths of the way to the moon at one of a handful of local Lagrangian Points. This station would act as a springboard for constructing new telescopic mirrors, maintaining the telescopes that use them, and as a haven for future manned exploration missions. If only NEXT's budget was more than $4 million a year...."

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Well... (4, Interesting)

Helter (593482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538136)

Unfortunately you can't take all of NASA's plans at face value. They also have a plan filed to start populating mars in 2018.

Re:Well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538152)

This was posted the other day...can you editors please keep track of what's posted?

Repeat from Wednesday (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538142)

The only website I read is Slashdot and its links, so when I see a visited NewScientist.com link I know that something is wrong [slashdot.org]

Re:Repeat from Wednesday (3, Insightful)

jerde (23294) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538368)

I really wish Slashdot's editors would READ SLASHDOT!

I can understand reposts that are a couple weeks apart.

But these few-days-apart repostings are increasingly common, and it's getting really irritating. Back in the days of five-digit usernumbers, this almost NEVER happened.

Can't the editors of Slashdot be expected to have read all the Slashdot stories for at least the past week, so as to recognize obvious duplicates? I think it would be reasonable to expect them to search for duplicates for the past year, but that's just me.

How long before moderators can act on the stories themselves? Add a "-5 Repost" option... :)

- Peter

Wow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538144)

I mean, geez, talk about seriously retarded. The duplicated post was only *3 days ago*!!!

Ellen Feiss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538145)

We love you!

Re:Ellen Feiss (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538210)

I hear she gives out blowjobs at press events. You just have to know how to approach her.

Re:Ellen Feiss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538271)

Yeah. With your hand extended and palm flat. In your palm, a joint.

duplicate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538147)

duplicate posting from a couple of days ago?

Hmm (-1, Redundant)

delta407 (518868) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538151)

What, another one? [slashdot.org]

Bar Steward! (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538158)

I went and hunted down that very link to find you'd beaten me to it.

meh, I guess I should have checked first!

We need a class (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538185)

Looks like we need to teach some people how to use that new fangled botton in the upper right corner of the screen (the one labled SEARCH).

Another Star Trek TNG post? (0, Offtopic)

Slashdotess (605550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538154)

.... well again, that was dissipointing

Yeah, right... (1)

Eros (6631) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538156)

I'm in as soon as they tell us what the frill the first one is doing of importance.

Re:Yeah, right... (3, Informative)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538547)

This [nasa.gov] seems to be the main news site for the International Space Station.

They seem to have fun messing around with stuff [nasa.gov] . Don't ask me what the heck they're up to on the picture. :-)

Re:Yeah, right... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538581)

Oh, and I guess you can play Find Five Flaws on that picture... The globe look a bit misplaced for example. :-)

Re:Yeah, right... (2)

vsprintf (579676) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538657)

I'm in as soon as they tell us what the frill the first one is doing of importance.

If you could frelling [scifi.com] spell it correctly, maybe we would. :)

Repeat (-1, Redundant)

Dead Chicken (125539) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538157)

Wow.. 3 days late.. and still a repeat... THanks /.

BTW the repeat is here [slashdot.org]

Freshness... (-1, Redundant)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538159)

I love how Slashdot keeps the front page FUNKY FRESH, yo!

Go ISS (0, Redundant)

dgp (11045) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538161)

This article has been posted just 3 days ago. [slashdot.org] .

Although I actually dont mind reading about it again. The ISS is a facinating project. I believe its the mark of a new era of human development. Forever on will we have a permantly occupied 100% human-built living environment in space. Our children will only know of a planet that actually has orbiting space stations, like some of us dreamed about usually while watching star trek.

Space Cowboys (2, Insightful)

frank249 (100528) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538164)

OK this is the same story as a couple days ago but I just remembered that in the movie Space Cowboys, a character wants to take the russian satelite with the nukes to the moon. Somebody says that that is a long way but someone else says that he only has to get half way and then the gravity from the moon will take him the rest of the way. Well now I know thatyou would have to get 5/6s of the distance before the moon's weaker gravity would capture you. Oh well, if you can suspend disbelief long enough to beleive they would send Clint Eastwood and James Gardner into space, I guess you can overlook the physics too.

Re:Space Cowboys (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538187)

Here's some advice. Don't make Eastwood's day. It's not a good idea. Punk.

Re:Space Cowboys (2)

frank249 (100528) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538249)

That was a good line. Hard to believe Dirty Harry [rottentomatoes.com] came out 31 years ago.

Re:Space Cowboys (0, Troll)

diverman (55324) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538721)

What Dirty Harry's gay?? When did he come out exactly?

heheh.
-Alex

Re:Space Cowboys (1)

PyroMosh (287149) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538773)

He just told you. 31 Years ago. Duh.

Not again... (4, Interesting)

CleverNickName (129189) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538166)

WTF is this? The misleading Star Trek topic titles day? [slashdot.org]

You're making me earn my karma today, you bastards.

Okay, on topic: Am I the only person who really wants us to go back to the moon? If this space station gets built, I sure hope that they use it to act as a halfway point between the earth and the moon, and not as just a platform for Orbital Mind Control Lasers. [warehouse23.com]

Re:Not again... (2)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538226)

well... seeing as how you've helped pilot interSTELLAR spacecraft I think the LEAST you could do is give us a hand with our puny "space station" at earth's L1 point. I mean, jeez!

Re:Not again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538279)

damn... what's your .sig from? sounds familiar...

Re:Not again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538327)

n/m... fuck yeah! Mr. Sparkle!

Re:Not again... (3, Interesting)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538257)

they don't need orbital mind control lasers, they already have the HAARP instaltaion [navy.mil]

Re:Not again... (2)

Alsee (515537) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538341)

halfway point between the earth and the moon

Halfway, 5/6ths, whatever. Don't go confusing me with that "new math".

-

Re:Not again... (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538571)

Depends wether you use Metric or Imperial measurements and convert properly

Re:Not again... (2)

Syncdata (596941) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538353)

Am I the only person who really wants us to go back to the moon?
No sir, no you are not. I think that, while the one space station has it's advantages, I'd rather the money that might go towards any US space station v3.0 project, go instead towards research towards putting together a livable habitat for use on the moon.
That way, we can all start a lucrative career as Space Pirates [fantasticfiction.co.uk] .

Re:Not again... (1)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538638)

now the're just taunting us, well i guess that's the life of a trekkie

Re:Not again... (3, Interesting)

blincoln (592401) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538656)

Am I the only person who really wants us to go back to the moon?

Heck no. I won't be satisfied until we have self-sustaining colonies on the moon and Mars, with plans for them in other star systems. Keeping all of our eggs in one basket is probably the scariest thing I can think of.

My granddad actually worked on the Apollo project. A few years before he died we were all having dinner and talking about space exploration, and it was obvious how disappointed he was that we hadn't even gotten people to Mars yet. You'd think we could do better in 30 years.

This looks oddly similar... (-1, Redundant)

flicken (182650) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538169)

...to this recent Slashdot article [slashdot.org] .

Seen it (5, Insightful)

GrouchoMarx (153170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538171)

Hm. Can we moderate stories as Redundant [slashdot.org] ? :-)

Re:Seen it (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538212)

Hm. Can we moderate stories as Redundant? :-)

Can [slashdot.org] we [slashdot.org] moderate [slashdot.org] your [slashdot.org] post [slashdot.org] as [slashdot.org] redundant? [slashdot.org]

A real NASA project (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538172)

NASA should invent a time machine for the sole purpose of preventing slashdot duplications [slashdot.org] .

Raise Taxes (3, Informative)

Istealmymusic (573079) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538186)

If only NEXT's budget was more than $4 million a year

In other words: raise taxes.

---
Bush's Argument: Raise children, not taxes

Re:Raise Taxes (4, Insightful)

Tremblay99 (534187) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538231)

In other words: raise taxes.

No, you can also slash "defense" spending. How many more third world countries are left to invade / bomb?

Re:Raise Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538242)

How many more third world countries are left to invade / bomb?

Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Israel, Africa, Canada

Re:Raise Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538278)

heh, maybe we should start calling it "offense" spending!

Re:Raise Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538246)

I'd rather pay taxes to fund something that I can be proud of than see my taxes pay the salary of bureaucrats that do nothing but make it more difficult, expensive and legally dangerous to conduct business, create economic value and improve my personal welfare and that of the people to whom I provide jobs.

Re:Raise Taxes (3, Interesting)

blincoln (592401) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538676)

I would be happy to pay higher taxes if it would help expand our presence in space.

Re:Raise Taxes (2)

the gnat (153162) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538776)

I would be happier to pay higher taxes if it would solve world hunger and provide universal healthcare. Space exploration is basically just a national ego trip- which is not to say it's a bad thing, but it should be one of our lowest priorities.

If we're going to spend immense amounts of money on new modes of travel, we should figure out a way to make gas-burning automobiles obsolete.

Good choice for name (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538188)

If only NEXT's budget was more than $4 million a year...
Maybe Apple [apple.com] will buy them too :)

i say... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538189)

THis things I believe (close enough)

1. Trolling is awesome
2. Crapflooding is aesthetically pleasing
3. Wide posts force my browser to behave
4. Racism is mind-expanding
5. Racist trolling+crapflooding+page widening = brain explosion
6. Natalie Portman had sex with Stephen King's corpse
7. CowboyKneel sucked my cock once for a 5min perl tutorial. I had no idea who he was.
8. You are likely jewish and/or homosexual, if not black
9. Slashdot is comparable to a shithole wherein people take shits and admire them
10. Cmdr.Taco has a digital penis

lagrangian points (5, Informative)

agurkan (523320) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538190)

These are points where the gravitational pull of two bodies, such as the Earth and the Moon, cancel each other out, providing a stable location to position spacecraft.

I am very surprised The New Scientist makes such a mistake. These points are stable mainly because of rotation. In a nonrotating system, there is only one equilibrium point, and that is unstable.

Re:lagrangian points (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538196)

Yes, and this is the point of the article isn't it?

Re:lagrangian points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538253)

The point where the gravitational pulls of the Earth and the Moon cancel each other out is somewhere inside the Earth crust.

Re:lagrangian points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538358)

Pass the bong.

Re:lagrangian points (5, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538367)

The point where the gravitational pulls of the Earth and the Moon cancel each other out is somewhere inside the Earth crust.

Yep, that's why people on the surface of the earth occationally fall up to the moon, because they are on the moon side of the balancing point.

-

Re:lagrangian points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538349)

Hmm no. Solving 1/x^2 = 0.012300034/(1-x)^2 for 0 < x < 1 gives 0.900166561.

So in a nonrotating system the equilibrium point is 9/10th of the way to the moon, not 5/6th.

Re:lagrangian points (5, Informative)

GileadGreene (539584) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538273)

I am very surprised The New Scientist makes such a mistake. These points are stable mainly because of rotation. In a nonrotating system, there is only one equilibrium point, and that is unstable.

You are correct about the contribution of rotation to teh formation of the libration points. However, these points are not all stable. L4 and L5 (the triangular points) are stable (at least in a linear sense). L1, L2, and L3 are unstable. That said, you can establish periodic orbits around the unstable points, so they aren't completely useless :-)

Re:lagrangian points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538345)

am very surprised The New Scientist makes such a mistake. These points are stable mainly because of rotation. In
a nonrotating system, there is only one equilibrium point, and that is unstable.


That is not all. Lagrangian points are also excellent natural space debris collection points. Not a nice place to station you most expensive equipment.

Progress... (4, Funny)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538192)

If only NEXT's budget was more than $4 million a year...."

Well, at least this year the toilets on the space station will be ready and paid for.

Re:Progress... (2)

vsprintf (579676) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538742)

Well, at least this year the toilets on the space station will be ready and paid for.

Please feel free to build your own space station and to use American Standard toilets. Ewwww. :)

Quote (5, Interesting)

mckayc (307712) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538197)

If only NEXT's budget was more than $4 million a year....

If only NASA could stay within their proposed budgets...

Seriously though, Congress wouldn't be so iffy about giving NASA money if they actually stayed within their budget. Now no matter how little they say a project will cost, everyone will always roll their eyes and assume it'll cost like 10 times that.

Re:Quote (1)

Dark Ramon (93377) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538412)

And NASA's would be more likely to get the money the want if they inflate their budgets to cover all of the unexpected costs?

Re:Quote (1)

stmfreak (230369) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538599)

Seriously though, Congress wouldn't be so iffy about giving NASA money if they actually stayed within their budget.

Can you think of any project, department or plan the U.S. Congress funds that doesn't end up costing more than anticipated?

Re:Quote (2)

zaius (147422) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538601)

NEXT is just a think-tank: they don't need a huge budget. They will pass the project on to another group to implement it, and go on to thinking of other, nifty projects for NASA to pursue.

Proposed: Next-Generation Repeat (2)

skydude_20 (307538) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538199)

For already-moderated-discussion and insight, go here [slashdot.org]

Edge of Chaos (2, Interesting)

Sivar (316343) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538201)

This is offtopic to moderate accordingly, but I wanted to point out that the game "Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos" used Lagrangian extensively as an important part of the game, as well as many other concepts in "real physics" that so many games ignore, either because the developers don't care or don't know. This was a point of respect to the game, but that it is huge, well designed, has a great plot and well-written character development helped too. It is, however, one that requires patience (Very LARGE area to explore.) and Windows (Unfortunately, it does not run in WineX at all.)

So... (0, Offtopic)

failrate (583914) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538203)

I thought Steve Jobs liquidated NEXT and went back to Apple.

Re:So... (2, Funny)

failrate (583914) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538233)

Holy crap, a split second before I posted that bad joke, it had already become redundant!!

i say again... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538224)

*These* things I believe...whew.

1. Trolling is awesome
2. Crapflooding is aesthetically pleasing
3. Wide posts force my browser to behave
4. Racism is mind-expanding
5. Racist trolling+crapflooding+page widening = brain explosion
6. Natalie Portman had sex with Stephen King's corpse
7. CowboyKneel sucked my cock once for a 5min perl tutorial. I had no idea who he was.
8. You are likely jewish and/or homosexual, if not black
9. Slashdot is comparable to a shithole wherein people take shits and admire them
10. Cmdr.Taco has a digital penis

Re:i say again... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538258)

To troll, or not to troll: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous moderation,
Or to take arms against a sea of nerds,
And by opposing end them?

What do you think?

Re:i say again... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538277)

8. You are likely jewish and/or homosexual, if not black.

Poor Timothy (3, Funny)

MyHair (589485) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538225)

Can somebody check to see if Timothy has Alzheimer's?

does Timothy even READ slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538228)

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/10/2 3/210222&mode=thread&tid=160

well, maybe that last article was just a step in the right direction or something

There must be a glitch in the Matrix.... (3, Funny)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538235)

....Deja Vous! [slashdot.org]

Re:There must be a glitch in the Matrix.... (2, Funny)

Foogle (35117) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538288)

Vous, huh? Was that a command? Oh well.

Deja vu all over again (5, Informative)

GileadGreene (539584) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538259)

Didn't we just have this story a few days ago? Oh well - guess we can talk about it again:

While the concept of placing a space station at a libration (or Lagrange) point seems nice on the surface, it's a very tough proposition in reality.

The problem is that the myth of a libration point as simply some kind of nifty stable point in space where gravity balances has been propagated for a while now. I've seen this mistake turn up in countless places, including some otherwise reputable textbooks. The reality is far more complex, and difficult to analyze.

For starters, the L1, L2, and L3 are unstable. That means that anything put there will tend to drift away over time. Not only that, but the L points don't even exist in reality - they are an artifact of a simplified gravitiational model (three bodies only). Once you incorporate the eccentricity of the primaries, and the effects of the other planets, you find that the L points are not so much points as variable regions of space with rather messy dynamical properties that we still don't fully understand. Oh, sure, you can mess around with numerical explorations and experiments, and there are a couple of series approximations that give reasonable first guesses at some particular solutions, but we are still a long way from being able to characterize and predict the full dynamics in one of these regions.

So, placing some thing actually at a libration point is out. But, as it turns out, you can establish periodic or near-periodic orbits around the approximate region of the libration "point" (so-called halo or lissajous orbits). We still don't really undertsand these orbits that well either, but we know enough to be able to have successfully put some unmanned probes out at the Sun-Earth L1 point (e.g. ISEE-3, SOHO, and most recently Genesis). Note that these are all Sun-Earth L1 missions, not Earth-Moon which would add another layer of complexity due to the influence of the Sun's gravity of the Earth-Moon system.

At present, the process of designing a new trajectory for a libration point mission consists of a fair amount of trial and error, and iteration. Techniques have improved some in the last decade (check out the work by Martin Lo at JPL and Kathleen Howell at Purdue on using dynamical systems theory to find transfers to/from halos), but it's still a lot of work to generate a finished trajectory that meets all of the necessary constraints. Trying to do this kind of thing with a manned, maneuvering spacecraft is going to be extremely difficult. In particular, any kind of rendezvous between two or more spacecraft will be difficult, since it's tough to predict where your spacecraft is going to go (very non-linear dynamics). Planning L point trajectories in real time really isn't that feasible until techniques improve a lot more.

This is a very active field of research, but there's still a long way to go before we're likely to be really ready for manned missions that do anything other than hang around on their own at L1 for a while.

Re:Deja vu all over again (2)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538439)

Yep, it's a repeat. [slashdot.org]

Re:Deja vu all over again (2)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538528)

You make some good points, but they don't seem to match with your conclusions. In my opinion the facts you stated support the conclusion that this is a perfect next generation project for a research agency.

Also, I think most people understand that the models are simplified. Eliminating all but the major variables is a useful engineering tool in understanding the problem. In your freshman physics class when you solve the ball dropping off of the building problem you don't include every possible effect acting on the ball, but you still get a very useful answer. And part of the reason we want to put a station there is to study the intricacies of the problem further. Having an object physically there will help us to expand our understanding of all the variables involved.

Timothy should go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538275)

We are ALL aware at this point that timothy is the most-to-blame individual in reposts. Timothy has taken NO ACTION to prevent his errors. Timothy is dragging the site down. C'mon, to catch this one all he had to do was check articles posted in the last couple of _days_. I say its time to take Timothy's ability to post new stories away. It seems like a logical step to make him submit all article proposals to another more responsible editor. That would allow someone to 'check his work', and it obviously needs checking.

Do it for the sake of the site. Do it for your users. We all want continuing improvement on the site. We can make slashdot a better place. ;)

Re:Timothy should go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538291)

Timothy should commit suicide on-line with a Bushmaster rifle and a webcam. He can make it his final story.

Said it before, Will say it again (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538294)

What we need now is a plan to mine asteroids.

Without this process/technology in place everything we do in space is extremely expensive because we have to carry all of our mass into orbit.

If we ARE mining the asteroids, or the moon, or whatever else is handy (and hey, how about not throwing away space shuttle tanks, that would be a start at least) then at the very least we can use the mass for shielding from both radiation and impact, but one hopes that we will also be refining steel in orbit so we can use it for the heavy structure of our various constructions. We all love aluminum and titanium, but steel is more useful, especially when you don't have to worry about building things from it which are strong enough not to collapse under their own weight. We just have to figure out how to make it so we can move them, or make it so we don't have to move them.

Re:Said it before, Will say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538497)

What we really need are more effective propulsion systems. Fission or fusion based.
As far as mining goes, something utilizing nanotechnology is going to be the most cost effective. The hardest part is waiting the 50-100 years for those technologies to become feasible options.

Acceptable Risk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538298)

Many here have spoken of the "insane" "horrendous" "crazy" amounts of money spent on IIS. How many think that this money was spent *mostly* to make sure that no one died?

Was it a good thing to spend that money on? Is the IIS over-engineered in favour of preventing un unfortunate death? (Aside - How many of you, after viewing the interior of an Apollo era craft, would still go into space in one of those?)

Let's look at a little history. If during the 18th century, we had spent an equivalent amount of dough on sailing ships (with the (un)stated goal of preventing deaths (monarchs HATE to look bad)) I think we'd still be looking for our assholes with a mirror. We'd never have left Europe. The economy of the day would not have tolerated it.

My father-in-law was one of the Canadians who helped develop the nuclear power station system called CANDU. His stories are quite telling. His take on risk? - during development of CANDU the engineering studies required would fill a couple of banker's boxes. Today, those studies would fill a small stadium. With a exponential rise in cost. Why? What's the return? A couple of lives? A dozen lives?

My point is - we have tried to reduce the risk to zero and this is not only stupid, but unwise. Stupid because there will always be a risk. How much money are we going to let timid politicians/bureaucrats spend on that last .005% of risk reduction? Unwise, because we lose the ability to pursue our dreams. We're deadlocked.

"Acceptable risk" is a term that has been lost from the West's vocabulary and it is time to bring it back.

budget (2)

nege (263655) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538310)

4 million a year? My company spent more on that just implementing one database last year, which isnt even all that business critical. I think that NASA should do more of those pay for flight things and become more cosumer driven if it wants to succeed. If people want to pay lots of money to go into outer space, then it is worth spending that money to make it happen!

Re:budget (2, Funny)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538509)

4 million a year? My company spent more on that just implementing one database last year, which isnt even all that business critical.

You work for California don't you?

Proposed Next-Generation Workstation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538311)

The NewScientist.com discusses the proposed next generation of networked workstations. The concept presented with massive fanfare by Steve Jobs (NEXT) consists of placing a workstation about 5/6ths of the way to the moon at one of a handful of local Lagrangian Points. This workstation would act as a springboard for constructing new business models, propping up older, failing businesses, and as a tax haven. If only NEXT's stock price was more than $4, fifteen years ago....

Why not just go to the moon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538318)

I thought Lagrange points collected a lot of dust, which would be bad for optics. Its not like you can vacuum that stuff up either. If you are 5/6ths of the way to the moon already, why not just go the rest of the way? A luna's gravity keeps the dust down and provides many other benefits. I expect Luna would also supply SOME building materials, like maybe 10 foot thick rock walls to stop cosmic rays, for example. The lunar gravity would be a disadvantage for launching other missions from there, but perhaps that could be compensated for.

If there are more informed people out there who see what I don't, I'd love to hear it.

We don't need another money pit. (0, Troll)

alchemist68 (550641) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538319)

The U.S., Russia, and other countries can't even complete and maintain the current Space Station on schedule, and it still isn't as functional as was orginally intended with the current time schedule. Though this makes for some cool Gee-whiz science and experience working in low/no gravaity environments, I don't foresee any nobel-prize winning science coming out of the International Space Station. We certainly don't need another one.

If NASA intends on building something useful, it should consider building a large space ship for touring the solar system for conducting long term research with a crew of about 100 people. For propulsion, it could probably use a very large array of solar panels and those non/asymmetrical capacitors that were recently patented by NASA. Heck, with the large electric field generated from the propulsion system, external radiation might not be the serious problem that it is currently on the International Space Station.

Moderators... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538437)

Just so you know, from the parent's comments on propulsion systems it's clear that he is a crackpot.

-A physicist

It's about bloody time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538326)

I've long felt that human progress into space has been on some form of hold since the 1960s. JFK announced that we would goto the moon not many years before we actually did. Then we went back a couple of times. Then not much.

The major achievement of the late 70s was the Space Shuttle. The major achievement of the turn of the century will be the ISS. Obviously these are significant achievements but why we haven't been back to the moon in 40 years is baffling.

I'm very happy to see a station being considered that won't just be in orbit. I hope it is a sign of things to come. I'd really like to see a moon base in my lifetime. I don't know much about space but I'd expect it must be easier to build a big station if you build it on something.

We need to be up there. In large numbers. We need private industry up there. NASA should be focussing on putting human living quarters in space and providing transportation up there. I think there should be some kind of space oriented general contracting agency focussing on getting as many people up there for as long as possible. We need scientists, professors, entrepeneurs, the media...all sorts of people to go up and see what we can make of it.

If space really is the new frontier, it should be accesible. I hope this is a step in the right direction.

Redundant... (0)

natron 2.0 (615149) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538330)

Say wasn't this on Slash...oh forget it...

Home on Lagrange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538333)

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.

reposted article...here is the full story (0, Offtopic)

fat32 (620360) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538340)

Many people have noted that there has been a reaction to the story posted a few days ago about NASA putting a space-station at Lagrange points. This is good, I guess: Congress should consider carefully how the government licenses engineered systems, because it's an important public policy question: it shouldn't be decided by a backroom push from business lobbyists (Microsoft). There are certain things that bother me about this whole story though, and I'm going to try to trace the trajectory of it below.

As far as I can tell, it started with this Newsforge story. The Newsforge story was excerpted and copied by an Australian newspaper, and from there, it was off and spreading. The headline chosen, "SuSE Linux now has the latest Exchange killer, but this time for Exchange Server", is not particularly accurate, but it did a great job at stirring up outrage.

From there it really started making the rounds. It was repeatedly submitted to Slashdot with all sorts of flaming, incorrect commentary - in fact, after reading a dozen different submissions, I didn't think any of them were even close to accurate. I picked one and posted it, trying to do my best to a) provide an accurate headline and b) provide an accurate summary of the issue at stake in a few sentences. To recap again: when something is available both in Quicktime and DivX, the Federal government gets no copyright whatsoever and the work is true public domain. If you want to copy, reproduce, or sell an .mp3 of Dan Burnett's "Sun Rings", based on detection instruments aboard NASA's Voyagers, Galileo, Cassini spacecraft, go right ahead: there is no copyright on it whatsoever. (Actually, the song itself is still under copyright, but Congress' performance of it wouldn't be...)

However, when the Federal government hires some one at MIT to create code or install Openexchange Server, there is no clear rule regarding the copyright status of the work. Sometimes the contractor keeps the copyright and gets to do a drop-in replacement. Sometimes NASA gets it. Note that this is NOT a BSD-vs.-GPL dispute, not by a long shot. The contracts are often designed more to promote current office-holders than to promote governmental affairs.

It's time to leave LEO (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538343)

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.

Why? (0, Redundant)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538344)

Why can't we mod articles as redundant again?

New scientists. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538350)

f 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), m sure I'll get more substrance out of /.er's comments than NS (if you can believe that!)

I know ! (0)

Haiku 4 U (580059) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538354)

We'll call it Deep Space Nine!

okay, third time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4538385)

This, uh, these things I bleive.

1. Trolling is awesome
2. Crapflooding is aesthetically pleasing
3. Wide posts force my browser to behave
4. Racism is mind-expanding
5. Racist trolling+crapflooding+page widening = brain explosion
6. Natalie Portman had sex with Stephen King's corpse
7. CowboyKneel sucked my cock once for a 5min perl tutorial. I had no idea who he was.
8. You are likely jewish and/or homosexual, if not black
9. Slashdot is comparable to a shithole wherein people take shits and admire them
10. Cmdr.Taco has a digital penis

Can we accept that? Yes? Woo-hoo!

This will never happen... (5, Insightful)

sterno (16320) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538562)

In an era where government seems to be doing everything in it's power to render itself meaningless, a project like this will never happen. Our government has has lost any reason to pretend to have an interest in further the future of humanity now that we have no cold war competition. So, NASA will slowly shrivel away into insignificance. Until private companies develop an interest in space, there will be no going forward for us.

The sad thing is that with this development, the short term financial return will be what all space exploration is measured by. A private corporation isn't going to put the risk into a decade or longer effort to develop a space station or any sort of space travel because the risk involved in such a venture isn't worth it.

Anyone remember The Onion article? (2)

marko123 (131635) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538674)

I can't find it anywhere, but there was a story about the construction of a Russian module for the International Space Station that was being made out of wood to cut costs. Their budget was about 4 dollars, but some homeless guy pissed inside it, and they had to resand the floorboards.

"It took ages to get the smell out"

I'm sorry, I have to.... (1)

SkOink (212592) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538701)

So, this'll be like the NEXT Step in space colonization, right?

Does anyone think this looks a little like... (2, Interesting)

Emperor BMA (554363) | more than 11 years ago | (#4538801)

Does anyone think this looks a little like the (early) history of the Gundam series? Sure people only conjecturing about building space stations at the Lagrange points now, but in 43 years, when the Universal Century began in the series (by the building of the first colony), we could definitely be building colonies at the Lagrange points. Also, the plans for the colonies used in the Gundam series were based on plans developed in the 1800s, so the ideas seem sound. In addition, the Earth's population might definitely be at 20 billion like it was when the UC began. If I am is correct, perhaps we could (possibly) be living in space colonies in about half a century (to supplant the earth's population woes). Also if it proves true, it would not be too far of a leap to suggest one of the colonies might demand independence from the Earth. Note: The UN seems an awful lot like an Earth Federation inasmuch as (con)Federation means a league of independent states. If it shows anything, it just goes to show that Anime writers do their homework before writing SciFi! Just my $0.02.
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