[FPSPACE] Habitable for microbes, Larry

David Portree dsfportree at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 8 09:36:24 EDT 2009


Ed:

 

I've just posted an entertaining retro space article on my Robot Explorers blog (URL below) - it's about Project Icarus, the classic MIT plan to deflect a rampaging NEO.

 

Yes, it's obsolete, I know, but it's still cool.

 

Space isn't the first thing most people think of when they think of stimulating the economy. Rightly or wrongly, they mostly think of roads, building trades, and manufacturing. There's still a sizable majority that thinks NASA takes money into space and dumps it there. Many people think NASA is the biggest chunk of the Federal budget. And then there's those who think we never went to the moon - another sizable group - and those who can't find their asteroid with both hands.

 

Most any kind of scientific investment without an immediate connection with current problems is going to seem like a boondoggle. Space investment probably isn't the best way to stimulate the US tech base, if only because people don't see the connection. 

 

Space is not a current problem for most people. The asteroid threat isn't a current problem for most people. Building a new rocket isn't a current problem for most people. Whether China does in space what we did forty years ago is not a current problem for most people. Whether there's life on Mars is not a current problem for most people.

 

This has been the case for decades. The current economic situation merely exacerbates it. 

 

We can make progress, but it has to to be incremental. Never mind Mars missions or a moon base; touting those is destructive. My fond hope is that we will never again see another big Kennedyesque space announcement from a President. When they mean anything at all they merely make NASA a target while encouraging NASA people to get grandiose.

 

The inaugural parade thing with the massive rover and the astronaut with the flag just looked out of touch - silly. 

 

Let's get a basic human transportation system in place and lay some necessary groundwork. If we don't want to do this then we might as well quit now. We might be allowed to do this if we don't mess up too badly and keep the cost reasonable - in other words, if we can stay below the radar. 


David S. F. Portree

dsfportree at hotmail.com
dportree at usgs.gov
 
http://robotexplorers.blogspot.com/
http://beyondapollo.blogspot.com/
http://portreeland.blogspot.com/
 
http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/About/People/DavidPortree/
 



 


From: epgrondine at hotmail.com
To: dsfportree at hotmail.com; fpspace at friends-partners.org
Subject: RE: [FPSPACE] Habitable for microbes, Larry
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2009 12:53:33 -0500



Hello David, Larry - 

While it is true that Manned Mars flight is simply moot right now, you're overgeneralizing, David.

The impact hazard is not dependent in any way on the 
"economic situation" - in other words, the shape W et al.'s economic policies have left world markets in. I'm talking here, war debts, speculative financial instruments, lack of energy policy, hollowed out manufacturing base. 

And despite the efforts of many at denial, the impact hazard is not "moot", and it never will be.

It was clear from the start of Ares 1 that the US did not need another heavy medium launcher, as the US already had two, unless there was a pressing need for launch on demand solids. If that was the case, then DoD should have been the funding center, not NASA.

Given the economic situation, it strikes me that the best way of preserving jobs (in other words that US skilled technology base) is with the Jupiter launcher. But CAPS can be done with the heavy versions of the EELVs, if funding for that technology base is not provided for from other parts of the US.

As for dealing with the impact hazard, Larry overstates the requirements of CAPS to include the manned Mars enthusiasts favorite technologies of self sustainment, etc. The usual mission creep with the usual twist. 

The CAPS detectors themselves are all that are essential. 

The question becomes how to build them at the lowest cost, and given the nature of the hazard and the cost that is likely to be on an international basis: 

http://www.geocities.com/epgrondine

This was my analysis from over 10 years ago, though the launchers have changed now, and there are other nations active in space. As a matter of fact, if the US does not lead in dealing with this hazard, other nations will.

While I hope this clears things up for you, I doubt if it will.

E.P. Grondine
Man and Impact in the Americas
(The other 13,000 years of North American history, 
including more than a few devastating impacts)
 










From: dsfportree at hotmail.com
To: epgrondine at hotmail.com; fpspace at friends-partners.org
Subject: RE: [FPSPACE] Habitable for microbes, Larry
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2009 19:03:30 -0600



It's all moot, given the economic situation. 

David S. F. Portree

dsfportree at hotmail.com
dportree at usgs.gov
 
http://robotexplorers.blogspot.com/
http://beyondapollo.blogspot.com/
http://portreeland.blogspot.com/
 
http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/About/People/DavidPortree/
 



 


From: epgrondine at hotmail.com
To: fpspace at friends-partners.org
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2009 09:53:45 -0500
Subject: [FPSPACE] Habitable for microbes, Larry



Hi David, Larry - 

Various probes have been run: 

1) Trying to find life, as though that would justify manned flight
2) Trying to clear the back contamination problem on the cheap

In my opinion, clearing back contamination as a hazard is going to require the use of long range rovers. 

In my opinion, the decision makers who will need to be convinced no hazard exists will not be the usual manned Mars enthusiasts, nor even the population of the US, but the world's population. 

In my opinion, there most certainly will be no "colony" nor even a manned research outpost until this problem is
cleared.

Once again, the utilization of the Moon is not dependent on Mars use, and the Moon has one immediate pressing use: CAPS.

Finally, despite Thiokol's publicity campaign, getting rid of Ares 1 does not mean the end of the manned Moon effort. There's little point in repeating their propaganda.

E.P. Grondine
Man and Impact in the Americas 




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