Author Topic: Fly Me To The Moon  (Read 1809 times)

Offline Starfox

  • Master Keeper
  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • *****
  • Posts: 2467
  • Did anybody see my lenses?
    • The Foxhole
Fly Me To The Moon
« on: October 09, 2014, 02:29:49 PM »
Well, not exactly, but you can start with my name  ;D

All those who know me also know (or they should... really) that I'm a big fan of space exploration; human space exploration. And when I say big I mean BIG. I personally consider that the 40 years we spent since the program Apollo sitting on our collective thumbs was a crime against humanity. What would have happened if Christopher Columbus went back from America and said "Hey that was great but now that it's done, why bother? More trouble than it's worth if you ask me."

We live in weird times. We are at a point that humanity has never known before. We reached 7 billions people and every sign points to a continued increase to at least 9 billions (optimists) or more likely 12 billions (realists) in the 40 next years. Scientists say that the sweet point for Earth population is... or rather was 3 billions... That was a while ago (in the 50s to be correct). As Tsiolkovsky (whom history retains as the spiritual father of the Russian space program) said "Earth is the cradle of humanity but one cannot remain in a cradle forever"... or one dies by suffocation should we add now. We sufficiently wrecked the Earth, it's time to go wreck other planets (just kidding... about the wrecking part I mean... or was I?)

The Space Shuttle was a technical wonder but as most technical wonders it was never meant to get us anywhere fast except low orbit. Now NASA is on the verge to launch the new staple horse of the US space program called "Orion". Orion is a new vehicle based on an old concept (the Apollo vehicle concept). NASA went back to the past simply because... the past was WORKING. And with a Saturn V rocket the Challenger accident (January 1986) would have likely resulted in a simple loss of hardware without loss of lives -- something that NASA understood to late. So now back to the drawing board and to the past. If there is at least one thing to learn from Russia it's that when you have a rocket concept that works, why would you want to change it? One only changes things that never worked or don't work anymore.

Anyway the future of US space exploration is there now and is called MPCV (Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle), nicknamed "Orion" and called behind her back "Apollo on steroids" because that's what she looks like at first sight. She's been designed from scratch to bring a crew from 3 to 6 astronauts to the Moon and to Mars. To go with it, NASA also developed the SLS (Space Launch System) which is a Saturn V of the new age. It's the most powerful rocket ever designed since Saturn V, powerful enough to send manned vehicles beyond the Earth orbit.

But Why am I talking about that anyway? Because Orion first test flight will occur on December 4 this year. It will be an unmanned test flight and the vehicle won't be launched atop a SLS but with a Delta IV Heavy (which is enough as this test flight won't go beyond Earth orbit). It will ensure that Orion performs exactly as it should. There's a whole detailed explanation of what is going to happen in a nice video Orion: Trial by fire.

But to the purpose of this post... NASA had an amusing idea to go along side Orion test flight 1 (and the Orion program in general). You can register your name here to obtain a nice boarding pass. Registration is opened to all citizens of Earth. Once your (printable) boarding pass obtained, you won't be able to fly aboard Orion but your name will, inside a microchip (of course with the name of all other participants -- right now about 400,000 people). After that your name will also fly with any major subsequent Orion flight including the return to the Moon and Mars in the 2030s.

Sure that might seems like a gimmick but to me registration is a show of support. It's just a way of saying (and it doesn't matter if you're American or not) to all the politicians around the world "Pull your f...ing crap together and give humanity the future it is supposed to have" because there's one thing that humanity never stopped to do since the first man learned to walk, one thing that for political reasons we denied ourselves during the past 40 years... Exploration and expansion; humanity always grew and expanded; today, our numbers still grow fast but we don't go anywhere new and that's a problem. Sure we launched probes and robots and all of that is fine but only as a vanguard. Because there's one thing a robot on Mars will never do: it won't stop suddenly, interrupting its trekking to look at a stone that caught the corner of its camera lens and think: "hey! there's an unusual stone. Maybe there's more to it than meet the eye". That's what a human would do. Maybe an AI would do it too but we're at least 20 years away from the nearest one and admiring roses is not the first function that will be implemented in an AI anyway.

And remember, staying in a cradle is the shortest way to suffocation.

So go ahead, register your name. You have until October 31 to have your name on Orion FT1. It's free anyway  :lol:

PS: I remember that NASA pulled a similar thing for the Cassini spacecraft so my name is currently orbiting Saturn... How nice  :hammerhead:
« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 02:39:01 PM by Starfox »


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

Offline Silver Sorrow

  • Forums Keeper
  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • *****
  • Posts: 2947
  • Avatar of Wrongeousness
Re: Fly Me To The Moon
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2014, 03:39:14 PM »
Several times, a certain female relative of mine has griped that we're wasting money on the space program. "We've been to the moon, why bother [messing around] further?" is a close approximation of her typical remark. "Why bother??" I ask, dumbfounded. "There's Mars! The moons of Saturn! Planets raining methane in slow-motion! Other galaxies with cryo-volcanic planets! Super-Earths!" The list goes on and on...but I understand what she means. Take care of the problems here first, etc. etc....but here's the deal, as I point out: we'll always have problems here.

Most of the technological advances we take for granted today were greatly influenced by the space program; isn't it possible that perhaps the key to solving the problems right here might be the result of our efforts to explore and understand what's out there?

Then she makes a rude fart noise, mutters "yeah, right" and the conversation is over.

"A fine counter-argument indeed, mom." I grumble.

So I registered her name. I'm considering hiring a couple of guys in NASA jumpsuits to show up, in order to escort her to her seat on the launch. Wouldn't THAT make her shit her pants. :ss-nono

[NOTE: certain mothers depicted in this post have been exaggerated slightly to make a point. She's actually fascinated by space.]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

  • Forums Keeper
  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • *****
  • Posts: 2947
  • Avatar of Wrongeousness
Re: Fly Me To The Moon
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2014, 11:23:22 PM »
It bugs me. It really does. We, the human race, succeeded in landing a probe on a comet; it sent back a goodly amount of info before its batteries died. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the most talked-about news item is Kim Kardashian's ass.

Essentially, we -- in a general sense -- are saying no thank you! to scientific progress in order to gaze (euphemistically speaking) at a fertility goddess incarnate.


I think at this point we should hope that some advanced alien race will take pity on us and mercy-kill the planet.
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline SlyFoxx

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 89
  • Avatar of slyness
Re: Fly Me To The Moon
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2014, 09:35:47 PM »
Cheer up SS.  The aliens will have most likely survived many similar instances while over coming the mysteries of space travel. 

I'm hoping they are all hot babes who like three way action with married men.

But hey, call me an optimist. 

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3427
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Fly Me To The Moon
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2014, 06:47:45 AM »
The lander did send back some pretty freaking awesome photos though -- I didn't realize the comet or asteroid or whatever it is, was so oddly shaped -- almost parabolic instead of round. Just shows that there's no friction in space to wear off the edges.

Offline Starfox

  • Master Keeper
  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • *****
  • Posts: 2467
  • Did anybody see my lenses?
    • The Foxhole
Re: Fly Me To The Moon
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2014, 11:15:30 AM »
Quote
I think at this point we should hope that some advanced alien race will take pity on us and mercy-kill the planet.

Not if they have the same Prime Directive as Star Trek they won't. Do not interfere with or contact species that did not achieve interstellar travel (and we're very very far from that). But sure, a loose shot from some kind of planet-killer is always possible :lol:

Quote
... the most talked-about news item is Kim Kardashian's ass.

What puzzles me the most is that in some corners of the web (not even necessarily dark ones) there are gazillion of asses on free display and yet humanity focuses on one? What's the point? There are so many fishes in the ocean... As for the "goddess" part I disagree, but that is a matter of taste. I'm not sure about fertility ever (she wouldn't appeal to me for reproduction at any rate).

Quote
But hey, call me an optimist.

Not an optimist if you like eight-legged spider-like babes  :onethumb:

Quote
was so oddly shaped

About 3 months ago after Rosetta sent the first pics from a distance, Mission Control thought about the comet as a donut (remember though that a French donut is not exactly the same in shape as an American one)... But the most amazing discovery was that despite being only roughly 4 kilometers in diameter, the comet was composed of several areas or sectors of different types like if one had Arizona next to Sahara next to Himalaya and so on within what is a very small space. Scientists really didn't expect that.

Unfortunately Philae (the lander) accomplished only about 80% of its mission because it bounced back on the surface after the first contact -- considering the gravity of the comet the 100 Kg of the lander only weight 1 gram -- and ended up in a ditch with very bad solar illumination (originally the lander was programmed to work until March 2015 with an auxiliary battery charged via solar panels but for that one needs the sun light). Now the only hope is that somehow with the comet getting closer to the sun and beginning to emit gazes (like all comets) one of the jets would push back the lander from the surface toward a more illuminated area where the battery could begin to recharge which would give some more observation time.

Meanwhile, we know that a comet -- or at least this particular one -- has an odor (if we could smell it) and it's a blend of rotten eggs and horse shit. We should invent a perfume...  :purplelaugh:

Anyway it will take months before finishing the analysis of the data sent back by the lander not to mention Rosetta that is still orbiting the comet and will follow it around the Sun while its tail is building so there's a lot more to be learned.

And as Silver says, this is a human endeavor, this is us as a species learning what is out there and comets in particular dates back to the formation of the solar system 4.5 billions years ago and unlike the Earth, the Moon or Mars, they remained practically unchanged. Studying them is like studying the formation of the solar system and maybe even where we come from (if the theory postulating that comets already have the necessary basic elements needed for life are correct).

If you want my opinion, what we learn from going out there is worth a gazillion of Kardashian's asses... at the very least.

And having been able to land a functional lander on a comet is a pretty good omen for NASA future mission of landing a crew on an asteroid (in the 2020s).
« Last Edit: November 19, 2014, 11:31:07 AM by Starfox »


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein