Skip to comments.From Astronaut-Hero To Space-Trucker: The Human Spin on Space Commercialization
Posted on 05/17/2012 6:11:59 PM PDT by KevinDavis
The cast of Alien, in Ridley Scotts 1979 sci-fi blockbuster, may actually be more akin to future space-farers than our citizen heroes from NASAs Apollo era. After all, the film presents a view of space travel that is based as much on economics as wanderlust and this is arguably as it should be.
How can anyone forget the hangdog eyes of Harry Dean Stanton, who so clearly is out that far in space solely for the cash? The crew of the Nostromo, the films ore-carrying cargo vessel under threat from a ravenous extraterrestrial, inherently understands that sometimes great profit only comes with great risk.
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
Watching the Top Gear rerun of the episode where James May drove the moon buggy that will never go to the moon. He sounded about as sad about the whole affair as you or I am.
I suspect most freighters will be mostly autonomous.
Interstellar travel is an impossible fantasy.
It is damned sad what has become of our space (er muslim outreach & feelgood) program.
It will be private enterprise that will get people back in space. How much gov-co will fight and regulate them is a big x factor, I would bet on heavily.
If they go too far they’ll fall of the edge of the solar system.
THe Laws of physics says we will never leave here.
Good point here.
BTW: There were some things I didn’t get about that movie. Why did the computer look like something out of 1975 and there was a futuristic android too?? Was the vessel so old that it by far predates the androids?
I don’t see anything in physics that won’t allow interstellar trips. The time scales are another matter if you’re talking about sending people.
The Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) is technically feasible and has worked in small scale testing both here on earth and on the space station. Its believed that an interstellar trip to Alpha Centauri could be made in around 50 years.
I have seen several shows with James May discussing an American technological achievement; the man gets a lump in his throat. When he speaks of the Apollo Program, he borders on the emotional.
Since we have a probe in interstellar space (past the heliosphere) right now, I'd say that your statement might be bound by the facts, and a limited understanding of the current acceleration of technology.
No one is going to jump on an interstellar liner next year, but to say that it is an impossible fantasy is akin to:
"To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth--all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances."
-- Lee deForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1957
lets be ridiculous and pretend it is possible to go faster than the speed of light. Any man made craft going at that speed hitting something as small as a grain of rice would explode like a nuclear bomb.
Never say never... Luddites like you have always been proven wrong.
-- Albert Einstein, German-born American physicist, 1932
It's always dangerous to say something is impossible.
To a layman what this means Energy (E) = Mass(M) X Speed of Light squared, so it would an infinite amount of energy to get anything with any mass at all (meaning everything that exists from space ships to mole crap) going anywhere near the speed of light. Get it? INFINITE Energy (there is no such thing, never will or can be such a thing).
Luddites like me have actually studied physics and got an A.
With the growing interest in private space, I suspect the speed of technological advancement will increase exponentially.
Besides, 1/10th light-speed gets us to the nearest star in 50 years or so, and pushing a star-wisp type probe to those speeds should be within reach even now.
And you are already wrong, because we have hardware out past the heliosphere, in interstellar space.
The faster technology goes, the faster it can go, sorta like a jet engine. I expect to see more amazing things in my lifetime.
Just a few years ago, we weren't sure if there were exoplanets, and today, the count of them rises faster than I can keep track of.
Look I like a good science fiction novel too, but is is pure escapism.
691 confirmed exoplanets with another 2321 current candidate planets.
That assumes that the craft itself is moving. The most probable methods of FTL involve the craft staying still, inside a bubble of warped space-time. And the BUBBLE is moved. . . but the craft never changes velocity. Hence, relativistic collisions would not be a problem.
OF course, the specific method of creating and deflating that bubble, and changing the position of the bubble, is the trifling technical details we have yet to solve. . . .
I prefer to believe that we have much to learn about physics that may entirely change the way we look at problems.
That space probe would take 80K years to get to the nearest star and it was launched in the '70s. 54 years for a probe launched in 2020 would be a heck of a log-log curve.
You suffer from limited vision, and a fixation on current methods for solving problems.
There are companies writing software for computers that haven't been built yet, because the statistical probability of the computer being available when the software is finished is so high, and so well recognized (Moore's Law).
The human genome program was started well before there was any possibility of it being finished in a human lifetime.
You can read how that worked out with modern DNA sequencing.
Progress is made by dreamers, not the ones that say it can't be done.
Basically, length contracts and mass goes up as you approach light-speed, with mass approaching infinite as you approach the speed of light. Most of these effects aren't really noticeable until you're at ~99% or above of lightspeed. But as mass goes up, the energy required to accelerate it to even higher speed goes up exponentially. . .
I did catch some info about how we're not just finding hot Jupiters now, and actually finding planets closer to the size of Terra.
Not just in my lifetime, but just in the last decade has humanity's view of the universe changed so much.
Lots of data to plug into Drake's equation.
In this case no one is even talking about FTL travel. Just fast. Around 12% the speed of light is what we’re currently technologically capable of and that’s damn fast.
One of the interesting forward shielding ideas I’ve seen is pushing a large cloud of tiny aerogel spheres ahead of the craft to snag those little particles that would kill a craft. The big ones would be easy enough to steer around.
We get the impression of asteroid fields being these rocky minefields that you would have to carefully thread your way through. The reality is that the average distance between asteroids in our asteroid belt is more than a million miles.
I think project Deadelus is the correct route to take. I believe the Bussard ram jet was one of preferred propulsion systems after VASIMIR.
Like so many of these things, bigger really is better as long as you don’t have to heft it off the surface of the earth.
Cheap, for some values of cheap, and lots of redundancy.
And it gives us about 50 years to work out the tech to hear them when they get there.
Boy, I found this rather visionary site with a discussion from 2008 on VASIMR and the Nuclear Question. Even there an optimistic time is given as 4000 years, and optimistic speeds are given of 1/300 c.
We went from no space program to putting a man on the moon in 9 years. If more people actually believed we could reach a good percentage of the speed of light, and actually thought outside the box about propulsion, maybe we could start working on stasis pods for long hauls to other solar systems.
Instead of saying outright that it can’t be done.
Yeah, and that whole thing about things becoming heavier the faster they go? Well, we’re weightless in space, and I’m sure spaceships are weightless in space, so that whole thing about becoming heavier in space, where there’s no gravity or drag acting upon you...
Which is why we use a Brussard ramjet.
If you’re not near any celestial body, then there’s no mass for anything. Sure, things have a measurable mass when they’re on the surface of our planet, but what happens to humans and things when they’re out in space? They float around because *!* there’s no gravity to hold them to any surface.
I didn’t take physics, but that seems pretty reasonable to me.
Now, instead of saying it will never be done in the whole history of humankind, how about we figure out a way for our children’s children’s children to visit about star, now? Then when the technology is available, they could leave this planet and solar system, and go to another one.
Orion concept of a really really thick metal containment wall for the ram scoop?
Obviously physics isn't your strong suit. Weightless doesn't mean massless.
Weight and mass are different.
And all of this talk about interstellar space travel completely neglects space travel in our own solar system! Trips to Mars and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn; trips to exoplanets to mine them for minerals; trips to inner planets even, provided an adequate heat and radiation shield could be developed; they’re all possible with current technologies, and the farther we go, the greater the likelihood that terrestrial development of better technologies increases.
Think about a permanent settlement on the moon to mine 3He. Thousands of jobs would be created in engineering and construction alone. Math and science studies would become obligatory in every school in every country, and generations of kids would grow up to develop technologies that none of could ever imagine.
Think about exploration of Mars. It’s possible we could terraform in very small areas. The use of methanogenes has widely shown to be possible in the Martian atmosphere and could create oxygen in a biosphere. The Martian regolith is so rich in iron that we could develop new technologies and processes to create steel right there on the planet. And none of us can conceive what’s under the surface. There could be enormous veins of copper, iron, coal, and even gold.
Commercial exploration and development of space NEEDS to happen and it needs to happen now. As soon as a commercial venture discovers something of immeasurable value to terrestrial humans, the money will flow like a river and space will colonize.
Yes, it’s all conjecture at this point, but I feel it in my soul that I will see man on the moon and Mars before I’m gone.
I didnt take physics, but that seems pretty reasonable to me.
Sorry, what's "reasonable to you" has no connection to objective reality. Objects ALWAYS retain mass, and thus, inertia. It still requires force to change the motion of any object in microgravity. You're confusing MASS with WEIGHT, which is the force on a mass caused by a gravitational field.
And I'm NOT saying that it can't be done, merely that it will require some rather high-end physics, a lot of which we don't have a good handle on. . . . yet. Recognizing the scope of a problem does not mean you're saying it cannot be done, but merely that you know what has to be learned and done before you can accomplish it. . . .
We don’t even need to put colonies on Mars or the Moon: stick ‘em in orbit, we’ve got tons of room up there. O’Neill cylinders placed at LaGrange points would give us all the elbow room we need.
Since you brought it up. . .
Oh, give me a locus where the gravitons focus
Where the three-body problem is solved,
Where the microwaves play down at three degrees K,
And the cold virus never evolved. (chorus)
We eat algea pie, our vacuum is high,
Our ball bearings are perfectly round.
Our horizon is curved, our warheads are MIRVed,
And a kilogram weighs half a pound. (chorus)
If we run out of space for our burgeoning race
No more Lebensraum left for the Mensch
When we’re ready to start, we can take Mars apart,
If we just find a big enough wrench. (chorus)
I’m sick of this place, it’s just McDonald’s in space,
And living up here is a bore.
Tell the shiggies, “Don’t cry,” they can kiss me goodbye
‘Cause I’m moving next week to L4! (chorus)
CHORUS: Home, home on LaGrange,
Where the space debris always collects,
We possess, so it seems, two of Man’s greatest dreams:
Solar power and zero-gee sex
—Home on Lagrange (The L5 Song)
© 1978 by William S. Higgins and Barry D. Gehm
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