Commander
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 375
# 21
06-30-2013, 11:29 PM
elevator? what the? who's writing this? your tellin me this is the best, our smartest, brightest guys in NASA only idea is a frikn space elevator? Its gonna be a rather large space station in stationary orbit over the same spot lowering a large tether about 20-25 feet in diameter that runs a platform up and down it. flexibility will be absoloutley critical in this effort. Asteroid belt should provide enough resources to make Dyson sphering a small star a reality, regardless if we break the speed of light barrier. Tell you the truth it's RIGHT NOW boys..
Lyndon Brewer: 20% chance to capture enemy ship for 60 seconds on successful use of boarding party.

cause sometimes its party time!
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 4,754
# 22
07-01-2013, 12:23 AM
Consider that it costs over $5000 per pound to launch something into orbit, then there needs to be huge breakthroughs to get the costs to be more reasonable. The space elevator even with alll its problems seems to be the best current method for space colonization. I doubt it is the only idea being considered, but NASA seems to take it seriously enough with offering prizes for obtaining certain achievements based on achieving certain a tensile strength for the cable and getting an elevator car to a certain height by using lasers to send energy to the car. If we can go from horse and buggy to landing on the moon in about 70 years, then another 70 years could make traveling to the moon as easy as traveling to the other side of the world now. It does not matter what method is used, but there are better methods than what we have right now.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,389
# 23
07-01-2013, 01:24 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by starkaos View Post
Consider that it costs over $5000 per pound to launch something into orbit, then there needs to be huge breakthroughs to get the costs to be more reasonable. The space elevator even with alll its problems seems to be the best current method for space colonization. I doubt it is the only idea being considered, but NASA seems to take it seriously enough with offering prizes for obtaining certain achievements based on achieving certain a tensile strength for the cable and getting an elevator car to a certain height by using lasers to send energy to the car. If we can go from horse and buggy to landing on the moon in about 70 years, then another 70 years could make traveling to the moon as easy as traveling to the other side of the world now. It does not matter what method is used, but there are better methods than what we have right now.
an elevator's got some killer applications beyond just hoisting loads into orbit, one of the experiments they ran with the shuttle back when it was a going concern, was extending a tether-one of the results of that was a static discharge that fried several systems.

Consider the atmospheric friction and magnetosphere influence on a surface-to-orbit Tether laced with conductors in the right frequency ranges-it could be a huge power-plant by itself, never mind that to keep it stable you would need a counterweight sufficient to hold it against gravity, and hold the loads up, and based on other tether experiments, it might even have a kind of 'native' gravitation at the extreme end-so that someone standing on the deck looking "UP" would be looking DOWN at the Earth. More important than that, is that you can put some serious solar power cells on something that size, maybe even enough to supply power down on the other end, while running electric-ion thrusters to help handle the forces exerted by lifting loads, and running the 'tuning' to handle shifting atmospheric loading from weather.
"when you're out of Birds of Prey, you're out of ships."
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,049
# 24
07-01-2013, 01:43 AM
While budget is a very big concern, there is another large concern - the willingness to accept casualties in space exploration. It is the elephant in the room.

The sad fact of the matter is that for any meaningful exploration to occur, people are going to die. Hundreds of thousands. The alternative is to stop, microanalyze every little detail of every aspect of the spacecraft whenever anything goes wrong, stop all action for years, and then start timidly sending people up 6 at a time again. Happened with Challenger, happened with Columbia (albeit for a shorter period of time), and it will continue to do so.

Q said it best - although I forget the quote, it was when Q introduced Starfleet to the Borg, wherein he stated that we were whining because we got a bloody nose. He also said the wonders of the universe were both subtle and gross, but it is not for the timid. He was right, and we, as a society, are the timid. The people in these programs are VERY aware of the risks. Some of the smartest, most driven people on the planet fight tooth and nail against each other for the chance to be strapped to a hundred thousand gallons of explosive and launched hundreds of miles into the sky, and then come back down again. When Challenger exploded - and note the subtle curse that name carries, I've seen far more ships in STO named after every shuttle BUT Challenger - it was at least one family calling for an end to space exploration. But I will bet you that if you asked the astronauts their opinions they would not want anything stopped. There are already thousands of people who want a place in being sent on a one-way trip to Mars, and while these are not astronauts, they show the mentality of would-be space explorers.

While I am not saying that engineering should ignore everything - far from it - the simple fact of the matter is that people are almost completely unwilling to stomach casualties for space exploration. As long as this is the state of affairs, we will continue to send out robots. And as long as we send out just robots, we are not going to be spending what is deemed to be much on those robots, especially when they do little of practical use. The chemical composition of Pluto is unlikely to revolutionize computer manufacturing techniques for the next 20 years, for instance. Instead, it is going to get a bunch of Ph.D students new fodder for dissertations, go in some books, and that's about it.

Worse yet, nobody in engineering is willing to accept the fact that the escape systems, as currently designed, are essentially useless. With most of the escape equipment they've got, there is little to no realistic hope of anyone surviving with it. They knew this putting into the shuttle. They quietly acknowledge it. In fact, as I recall, during early space shuttle training, they simply stopped talking about contingencies at a certain point, and the elephant in the room was that the ship and crew were completely forfeit at that point. And we spend many millions of dollars on these systems that are useless, which take more fuel to put in the air as well. Even the original ejection seats would have only been usable for a few seconds into the flight.

Note that I am not saying we should stop exploration. We should do it more. But we must be ready, willing and able to accept casualties, and possibly a whole lot of them, to get it done. And while you may not agree with my points here, I would strongly suggest that you consider them, cold-blooded as they may sound.
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 800
# 25
07-01-2013, 01:55 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by starkaos View Post
And the current method is a waste. Build a rocket to throw it into space when we are done with it is too wasteful. There is also the amount of chemicals used up with a launch. A space elevator would only require electricity to run and we won't have to worry about getting a ton of equipment into orbit. Of course, there is always the possibility of some breakthrough like shielding a spacecraft from gravity so the Earth would move away from the spacecraft rather than the spacecraft moving away from the Earth, but a space elevator is more likely.
And this is were you just figuratively screwed yourself. no offence.

A space elevator capable of any meaningful cargo capacity would require an enormous amount of materials to construct, and a massive amount of energy to operate. This isn't even factoring in the various structural challenges and risk involved in this technology.

The private sector has been rigorously researching, developing, and testing cleaner more efficient and more cost effective fuels and launch procedures. much of the future Earth-moon travel would be using such methods. once self sustaining facilities are in place on the moon and beyond there is no need for cargo transports from Earth so the launches would be primarily passenger in nature. This method is much less wasteful and cost effective than devoting huge amounts of earth materials into a space elevator that in the end would yield little to no benefit.

There's also no data (theoretical or practical that I'm aware of) on the effects of electrical currents interacting with the atmosphere. Not only would there be potential risk from the electrical systems powering the elevator, but also the risk of a lightning strike travelling along the elevator super structure.
Republic Veteran
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,563
# 26
07-01-2013, 02:10 AM
Astronomy and Space Science is booming. Herschel finished just a few weeks ago and the amount of data collected is enormous.

Sadly manned exploration is in a bit of a trough right now, because of both financial and technical restrictions.
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Captain
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,349
# 27
07-01-2013, 02:35 AM
As interesting as space exploration is, i believe the real challenge is to explore Earth itself.
Lieutenant
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 90
# 28
07-01-2013, 03:02 AM
I noticed that people mentioned Challenger but nobody mentioned Columbia which was equally as tragic. After 28 Missions in 2003, Columbia was destroyed after a successful mission to the International Space Station upon re-entry.

I fail to see why Challenger was responsible for the dismantling of the Space Shuttle Program when Columbia was effectively the "last nail in the coffin".

I was more angry that people (Including ignorant Christians) used this disaster as a way to derail the space program. Fear and ignorance never generate anything and the loss of those 14 (7 from Challenger and 7 from Columbia) people essentially mean nothing.

Yes, disasters are awful things but that doesn't mean that Humanity should stop trying, does that mean that because the Titanic sank, nobody should go on a cruise liner?

I think the main reason is that space exploration is not profitable and that's really all the Americans are concerned about "profit, profit, profit". If you cannot make money out of something, then its not worth doing.

I think what is worse is that Virgin are now trying to commercialize space. If there are aliens out there then I'm not surprised they haven't wanted to come here. Humanity is must look pretty pathetic in their eyes with their obsession with material wealth.

This is exactly the reason why the United States should not lead the way in space exploration and development because I fear that once capitalism has destroyed this world, it will just move on to the next. It should be a United Nations thing, for the benefit of all humanity.

Last edited by yomatofan; 07-01-2013 at 03:13 AM.
Commander
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 375
# 29
07-01-2013, 04:59 AM
I did not witness a wink of the pre-dawn sun from a comm satellite passing overheard, making it look like it went to warp, to sit here and hear from my brothers IT CANT BE DONE!
Lyndon Brewer: 20% chance to capture enemy ship for 60 seconds on successful use of boarding party.

cause sometimes its party time!
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,049
# 30
07-01-2013, 07:05 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by lykum View Post
I did not witness a wink of the pre-dawn sun from a comm satellite passing overheard, making it look like it went to warp, to sit here and hear from my brothers IT CANT BE DONE!
I didn't say it can't be done. Although I have some skepticism that I won't go into right now regarding the physics thereof (not including FTL, that's a whole separate kettle of fish), I am more concerned that public opinion will prevent it from being done, as per my first post. The media thrives off of dead astronauts when available, the public wilts in the face of media coverage of dead astronauts, and Congress backs off in the face of wilted voters.
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