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Exploring the Universe
Physics Today Online ^ | April 2, 2005 | Roger Blandford

Posted on 04/02/2005 2:45:44 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife

In mid–February, I participated in a NASA Science Update press briefing that presented gamma–ray and radio observations of a flaring neutron star. A neutron star is a solar–mass worth of mundane and exotic nuclei and fundamental particles trapped by gravity at supranuclear densities, exhibiting superfluidity and superconductivity. The star is encased within a solid crust, a liquid ocean, a gaseous atmosphere, and a relativistic plasma magnetosphere capable of inducing zettavolt electromotive forces and radiating intense, coherent emission. Neutron stars are used to test general relativity and to search for gravitational radiation. The neutron star in question is also a “magnetar,” which gives it one further remarkable feature. The magnetic field strength is around a petagauss, a billion times larger than can be sustained on Earth and well over the quantum electrodynamic critical field. A magnetar is a star designed by a committee of physicists, each trying to outdo the other. On this occasion, it appears that a stellar flare occurred, released 13 orders of magnitude more magnetic energy than the greatest solar flare, and created a burst of gamma rays intense enough to reach across the galaxy and rattle our atmosphere.

The public reaction to this announcement, naturally, emphasized the apocalyptic. Of course, we have statistically larger threats to worry about, but the magnetar explosion does serve as a dramatic reminder that the human race is living in rented accommodations. By contrast, the astrophysicist’s response is to try to explain the details (and modesty plus lack of space preclude my telling you the true explanation). However, there is a third response that is germane at this time. The discovery of a magnetar explosion, for all its impressive credentials, is actually commonplace. It exemplifies the strange new worlds we usually find every time we develop a new observing capability. No one has called astrophysics “normal science” recently.

Vision for Space Exploration

In January 2004, President Bush announced his Vision for Space Exploration, in which he committed the nation to exploring the “solar system and beyond,” returning humans to the Moon before 2020, and ultimately sending them to “Mars and beyond.” NASA then began a radical transformation directed towards achieving the president’s ambitious goals. At the same time, and somewhat ironically, the funding for the wildly successful Explorer program was halved. It was Swift, the latest Explorer, that produced the most detailed observations of the exploding magnetar just one month after launch.

Most astronomers and physicists have reacted to the president’s announcement and NASA’s response with suspicion. I do not think their response is because of hostility to the manned space program. Although some of us embrace it enthusiastically, others have a position similar to mine on football. I do not care much for football, but most Americans, including the rest of my family, do. So when the Superbowl comes around, I am happy for them and do not storm around the house trying to turn off the TV. We astronomers and physicists fear that the Vision for Space Exploration is being implemented too hastily, with a daunting schedule, whose technical realism has not been validated, and whose likely total cost is not being addressed. I recall the admonishment of Richard Feynman in a similar context: “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.” The manned space program does not seem to be following the “go as you pay” strategy advocated in 1990 by the Augustine Commission and echoed by subsequent National Research Council studies. Instead, there appears to be a headlong rush to commit precious resources in a manner that could lead to disappointment and waste.

In addition, we worry about the impact of the president’s vision on US space science missions. These take a long while, sometimes decades, to complete. The careers of some of the most capable and creative engineers and scientists in the US are invested in space science. Accordingly, there is a careful and painful process—involving comprehensive and inclusive decadal surveys—that transforms a wish list, whose execution would exhaust the gross national product of the Milky Way into a prioritized, realizable, and updatable program, which NASA, to its credit, has largely adopted. The process is not perfect, but it works, and the results are there for all to see.

Now the fine print of the vision and subsequent implementing documents, together with the president’s 2006 budget, leaves room for a robust space science program. However, NASA is taking on an expanding portfolio of new responsibilities with large and unknown costs. The Moon–Mars program has top priority, and its integrated cost, not yet estimated, has been guessed to be many hundred billion dollars. The immediate bill for returning the space shuttle to flight has been far greater than anticipated. The long–term commitment to the International Space Station, whose purpose has not yet been clearly articulated, is as strong as ever despite NASA’s estimated pricetag, including the shuttle, of a further $44 billion. In addition, the far–sighted Prometheus nuclear reactor program, which was to have supplied the propulsion for the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, has had its liver pecked out by the federal eagle. JIMO has been put on hold in the current budget, three months after a $400 million contract was awarded. However, like its namesake, Prometheus will live on as a very expensive program. To put it bluntly, the overall NASA budget is hardly likely to grow in the present climate, and so, given the huge commitments, space scientists fear serious triage in future budgets.

The Hubble Space Telescope dilemma illustrates the impending crisis perfectly. Astronomers were expecting the space shuttle to mount a fourth servicing mission to keep the HST operating and to install a new camera and a spectrograph, to allow it to continue its remarkable program of discovery, for an advertised cost of roughly $350 million. Following the Columbia tragedy, NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe decided to cancel the mission on safety grounds. It was then proposed to service the HST robotically, and a $150 million contract was awarded. A month later, that option was terminated on the grounds that the final cost would be much greater than $350 million and too high to justify. The future of the HST will likely be decided in the political arena, and astronomers nervously wait to learn its fate.

I think there is another element to our reaction to the vision, and this is where magnetars come in. Astronomers are proud of what they have collectively accomplished, and they are suffering from wounded pride. In recent years, a standard model of a flat, accelerating, underweight universe has been established that has thrown theoretical physics into turmoil. The discovery of extrasolar planets, 150 and counting, demonstrates that our solar system is unrepresentative with immediate consequences for the quest for extraterrestrial life. Black holes of all sizes have been found in abundance and seem to power many of the most dramatic cosmic phenomena we observe. Going beyond astronomy, the impressive evidence for water from the Martian rovers, the daily solar weather reports that enable us to predict the “particlefall” on Earth, and the breathtaking images from Cassini–Huygens show NASA at its can–do best. The remarkable success rate of NASA’s space science missions is a miracle to anyone who has been involved in one in the months prior to a launch! Just as on any opening night—although with launches there are no successive nights—all that hard work and experience, the collaboration between scientists and engineers, and that between NASA, universities, and industry, really do come together.

These enduring space science discoveries have both used and stimulated other disciplines—physics, of course, but now also planetary science, engineering, chemistry, biology, and computer science. Even more important, space scientists have embraced their responsibility to engage and inform the public, especially schoolchildren. We have an easy job. Sit next to someone on a plane. If you want to talk to them, tell them you are an astronomer; if you don’t, try rocket scientist! The public appears to understand that we are all truly fortunate to live in one of the great epochs of discovery and takes a vicarious interest in what we are doing. I assert that the great success of space astronomy has carried NASA through some rough times.

Future program

The planned astronomy projects (and the prospects in other areas of space science are as exciting) include:

The James Webb Space Telescope will observe the youngest and most distant galaxies in the infrared and show us how they really formed.

The Space Interferometry Mission will observe stars with microarcsecond positional accuracy so as to find new planets.

The Constellation–X Observatory will observe gas just before it crosses a black hole event horizon and test general relativity.

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna will open up the gravitational radiation spectrum and also test general relativity by observing the merging of distant black holes.

The Joint Dark Energy Mission is designed to study the details of the universe’s acceleration. The Inflation Probe should measure the polarized microwave radiation that, it is conjectured, comes from the epoch of inflation. The Black Hole Finder Probe will transform very hard x–ray astronomy, largely ignored for 30 years, and enable astronomers to see into the heart of gas–enshrouded quasars.

The Terrestrial Planet Finder will seek oxygen– and water–bearing Earth–like planets around nearby stars.

These are all wonderful projects, but they are very expensive, and priorities will have to be set. Many astronomers are concerned that future choices will be based less on the proven criteria of scientific timeliness, technical readiness, and fiscal credibility and more on resonance with a narrow interpretation of the president’s vision. In particular, they worry that programs with a connection to life will be favored over fundamental investigations in the inanimate, physical sciences. The uncertainty is taking its toll on the talented younger scientists and university students who have started working on these projects. They do not understand why their voyages of exploration are being interrupted and some of the ships recalled to port.

What is to be done?

First we have to adapt, not because we have somehow failed, but because the rules have been changed and there is no going back. We have to make the case anew for space science, using a different vocabulary. We have to explain why all science is exploration, whereas not all exploration is science. In particular, we must not allow science—the systematic and fundamental understanding of the world around us—to be redefined. We should be careful not to disparage the larger part of the vision, which may be unconcerned with science but which is a valid activity for NASA to undertake if it has a popular mandate to do so. We must now explain why NASA’s contributions to astrophysics and cosmology will “improve life here” and are as interesting and important as the wish “to extend life to there” and “to find life beyond,” to quote the new NASA vision statement.

We must also exercise our democratic rights, contact members of Congress (and, indeed, buttonhole anyone we meet), and not be reticent about explaining the issues and asking for what we think is best. Congress is getting plenty of help from other sources! Perhaps no community is more important in this regard than our physics students. After all, the vision is so ambitious that they will be in the middle of their careers before it is completed! Those students will provide the core of the technically sophisticated workforce needed in the future. Are they inspired by the opportunities in space science the same way that my generation was aroused by the response to Sputnik? How important is it to them to understand dark energy, how galaxies are born, what happens around black holes, what other planetary systems look like, and so on? If it is important, then maybe they will send an e–mail to their representatives and senators expressing their views.

The coming year will be pivotal for NASA. On paper, its commitment to space science is as strong as ever, but it is taking on some formidable challenges that will put pressure on its ability to continue with its broadly based science program. Moreover, NASA will need to sustain public interest and political support over the coming decade, and wonderful discoveries like the magnetar explosion should surely help. I hope that NASA’s leadership will continue to engage the astronomy and physics communities in planning how best to explore the universe.

Roger Blandford is the director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University.


TOPICS: Extended News; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cosmology; exploration; nasa; science; space; thevision; xplanets
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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What is to be done?

Support the Vision. The getting and being on the Moon presents a multitude of scientific and technological opportunities.

Fight the Vision and the situation will remain the same, a dwindling NASA and a dwindling pool of engineers and scientists.

Manned flight - human expansion - creates capability and enables science and technology.

The President's Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy - A Journey to Inspire, Innovate, and Discover

1 posted on 04/02/2005 2:45:45 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: KevinDavis

ping!!


2 posted on 04/02/2005 2:51:06 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I absolutely support the exploration and development of space, and in particular the administration's moves to recruit private enterprise into the endeavor. That's been long overdue, and even now far from adequate. In fact, I think the best route would be to subsidize commercial activities in space until they could take off on their own. Joint public/private ventures is the way to go (for now).


3 posted on 04/02/2005 2:57:46 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv
It's going to take all our public and private initiative to succeed. But that's the American way! If we don't proceed at a fairly good clip, there are other countries working now toward settling the Moon.

Scientists arguing that they and they're projects are in jeopardy, is really over the top. They have many robotic missions and have enjoyed running the agency for years. They will be well fed, as robotics plays a large part in Bush's Vision.
4 posted on 04/02/2005 3:05:42 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Also, I find it alarming that other nations are contemplating putting bases on the moon or ventures to Mars during the next 30 years, and we don't seem to be seriously looking into that. Shocking as it may seem to both the idealists and the luddites among us, the day will come when boundaries will be negotiated - quite possibly by force of arms, I would say inevitably in the long run - and it's imperative that we be the first in line.


5 posted on 04/02/2005 3:07:11 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

"But that's the American way! If we don't proceed at a fairly good clip, there are other countries working now toward settling the Moon."

Settling the Moon? You're kidding, yes? Who would want to raise their kids on the moon?


6 posted on 04/02/2005 3:08:13 AM PST by gobucks (http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/classics/students/Ribeiro/laocoon.htm)
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To: gobucks

In 1500 I'm sure someone asked: Who would want to raise their kids in the wilderness amongst the savages?


7 posted on 04/02/2005 3:11:45 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv

Yes. The emotional and physical fact that our culture settles the Moon first, makes an important and lasting statement.

Unfortunately, may scientists/academics don't see anything wrong with say, China getting to the Moon first. But then, the large majority of scientists/academics are LIBERALS and most of them have never lived and worked in the real world.


8 posted on 04/02/2005 3:14:30 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: gobucks
A lot of people would.

But, of course, there are those who wouldn't have migrated to the New World.

Establishing an Earth-Moon system, is the construction phase - to create capability - to move into the universe, strengthen our national defense, and push science and technology.
9 posted on 04/02/2005 3:18:36 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Ping-a-ling


10 posted on 04/02/2005 3:20:52 AM PST by scfirewall
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

If we don't eventually colonize other planets in other solar systems and galaxies, the human race is doomed. Plain and simple. Sooner or later, all life on Earth will be extinguished and likely some catastrophic event will occur well before our sun goes into supernova. We do not yet know how much time we have to establish a presense elsewhere. We might have 10,000 years or we might have a million years. Or we might much less time than that. But we ought to be working on it now.


11 posted on 04/02/2005 3:22:07 AM PST by SamAdams76 (Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand?)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The single most effective thing that would catapult mankind towards the stars and beyond is a pill that makes kids think of mathematics as a form of recreation.


12 posted on 04/02/2005 3:27:08 AM PST by SpaceBar
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To: SamAdams76

You're exactly right but that notion is almost impossible to convey.

It's as plain as the nose on their face but they don't want to think about it.


13 posted on 04/02/2005 3:27:34 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: SamAdams76

Our sun will not go supernova; it will become a red giant and then collapse into a white dwarf. However, the earth will be incinerated just the same (unless it's moved).


14 posted on 04/02/2005 3:28:19 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: SpaceBar
Come at it from the another angle.

If they know they can get into space, they'll study like crazy to go.

15 posted on 04/02/2005 3:29:04 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: SamAdams76

PS. It's worth noting though that the burst of gamma rays from a supernova in our immediate stellar neighborhood would probably kill most life on earth.


16 posted on 04/02/2005 3:36:23 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

" But, of course, there are those who wouldn't have migrated to the New World."

The new world has food and water. I'm sorry, I guess I am being terribly dense here.

The moon has nothing but a great view of earth. There is no beach, no mountain streams, and you would have to live and die trusting the expertise of engineers to make life worthwhile. Why would someone do that? At least in the new world you had a plot of land has your starting point.


17 posted on 04/02/2005 3:42:51 AM PST by gobucks (http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/classics/students/Ribeiro/laocoon.htm)
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To: SamAdams76
To be exact, a supernova within 26 light years of earth would strip away the ozone layer and then the ultraviolet rays from the sun would fry us. That should happen within a billion years on average. The sun will become a red giant in about 4 billion years or so, but even before then the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will drop to levels inadequate to support photosynthesis. That could happen in as little as a half a billion years.

We should worry about supervolcanos and planet-killer asteroids for the time being! Pandemics too .. and grey goo!!

18 posted on 04/02/2005 3:45:13 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv
However, the earth will be incinerated just the same (unless it's moved).

There was an article posted on FR a while back about how the Earth could be moved using something like the gravitational slingshot technique. Start with an asteroid or comet and perturb its orbit to give the Earth a small boost when it passes by. Such a technique would require vast amounts of time and planning, and there are many different combinations in the way it could be done.

19 posted on 04/02/2005 3:45:52 AM PST by Moonman62 (Federal creed: If it moves tax it. If it keeps moving regulate it. If it stops moving subsidize it)
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To: gobucks

In a thousand years you're going to be kicking yourself for not jumping on lunar realestate while the going was good.


20 posted on 04/02/2005 3:48:19 AM PST by SpaceBar
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To: gobucks
Life in Space: Developing Communities & Industry in Space
Life in Space: The Moon and Planets
Life in Space: Colonies, Habitats, Space Industry, etc
21 posted on 04/02/2005 3:49:39 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: gobucks
There are many reasons to go to the Moon beyond the great views.

resources/mining
economic expansion
space faring capability
national defense
Science and engineering
human expansion into the universe
22 posted on 04/02/2005 4:02:32 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: AntiGuv

Thanks for the LINKS.


23 posted on 04/02/2005 4:03:26 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Moonman62
If we can move the earth out and put it in orbit around Jupiter and then Saturn as the sun goes to red giant stage and then move it back inward to about Mercury's old orbit after it collapses to white dwarf, civilization would be viable in this solar system for around 30 billion years. No practical reason for the Saturn orbit, by the way, I just love the view:


24 posted on 04/02/2005 4:03:45 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: gobucks
There is no beach, no mountain streams, and you would have to live and die trusting the expertise of engineers to make life worthwhile.

Take your modern city, one not on a river; if you stopped the engineered systems of getting water, food and energy into it, it would die just as quickly as a city on the moon. The only extra effort on the moon I can think of is a supply of air.

25 posted on 04/02/2005 4:07:18 AM PST by Joe Miner
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To: Joe Miner
.... The only extra effort on the moon I can think of is a supply of air.

And that will come from the regolith (dirt) and ice deposted at the polls.

26 posted on 04/02/2005 4:08:48 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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deposted = deposited


27 posted on 04/02/2005 4:09:11 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Moonman62

PS. Or, to be exact, it would be viable for 30 billion years assuming other planetary threats were dealt with, aside from the life cycle of the sun.


28 posted on 04/02/2005 4:13:35 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
And that will come from the regolith (dirt) and ice deposted at the polls.

Yep! It really is shocking to me, growing up as a kid and watching the moon landings and almost 40 years later all we have is a motel 6 in near earth orbit and a very expensive way of getting to it. Have they accomplished anything but keeping it running?

If I recall doesn't your hubby work in the space field?

Its been like since the election since I've seen one of your posts, have you been gone or have I not been reading FR as much since the election?

Good to see you cw.

29 posted on 04/02/2005 4:19:07 AM PST by Joe Miner
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To: All
.....The uncertainty is taking its toll on the talented younger scientists and university students who have started working on these projects. They do not understand why their voyages of exploration are being interrupted and some of the ships recalled to port. .....

They need to adapt. If their science supports the Vision, they find funding (it's a very broad vision that embraces the private as well as the public sector). If they can't justify their work, they might need to think about it a bit more and consider the possibility that they're not a talented researcher and/or they're working in a field that is very obscure.

30 posted on 04/02/2005 4:20:42 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

If I could have gone to Mars I would've studied like crazy to go..


31 posted on 04/02/2005 4:25:14 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Joe Miner

Hi Joe.

Sagan really did a number on NASA with his "search for life" screed. Golden bought it hook, line and sinker. O'Keefe started the process but it will take a continued effort (the Vision) to get NASA back into the business of exploration (with men and robots) to put things in order.

I wish Michael Griffin the best toward this effort.


32 posted on 04/02/2005 4:26:00 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

PS. And btw, I dunno why more thought isn't put into the concept of terraforming Venus.


33 posted on 04/02/2005 4:26:20 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv

Now you're being cute.


34 posted on 04/02/2005 4:26:52 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"The magnetar explosion does serve as a dramatic reminder that the human race is living in rented accommodations."

All is impermanence.

All is illusion.

Gate. Gate. Paragate. Parasamgate.

35 posted on 04/02/2005 4:37:29 AM PST by Savage Beast (There is nothing liberal about the Left!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Mars & Venus, circa 3000 AD.


36 posted on 04/02/2005 4:40:19 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv

Ha ha ha....


37 posted on 04/02/2005 4:48:23 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
All we need to do is dump 4×1019kg of hydrogen on Venus and, voila!, we'd have a cool planet with oceans. ;^)
38 posted on 04/02/2005 4:49:16 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Savage Beast

Perhaps, but we're burning daylight when we should be burning the midnight oil.


39 posted on 04/02/2005 4:49:44 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: AntiGuv

Gee....that's all?


40 posted on 04/02/2005 4:50:21 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Lots of hydrogen on Jupiter..


41 posted on 04/02/2005 4:54:30 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"So when the Superbowl comes around, I am happy for them and do not storm around the house trying to turn off the TV."
There's a lot of wisdom in this.

I feel the same way--about football and most everything else. There's a lot to be happy for everybody about and plenty of opportunities not to try to turn off the TV.

"...a wish list, whose execution would exhaust the gross national product of the Milky Way"
This guy's clever. He could be describing Congress.
"...the far–sighted Prometheus nuclear reactor program...has had its liver pecked out by the federal eagle... However, like its namesake, Prometheus will live on as a very expensive program"
Hahahahahahahahahahaha! I guess he was! Hahahahaha! How does Blandford come up with this stuff!?!!

Yes. It's like most very expensive programs. They keep coming back to life. Congress loves 'em. They keep getting them elected.

42 posted on 04/02/2005 5:03:48 AM PST by Savage Beast (There is nothing liberal about the Left!)
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To: SamAdams76
"If we don't eventually colonize other planets in other solar systems and galaxies, the human race is doomed."

Maybe that's the subconscious motivation for all this exploration.

43 posted on 04/02/2005 5:14:00 AM PST by Savage Beast (There is nothing liberal about the Left!)
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To: AntiGuv
"unless it's moved"

Now that's an imaginative human being--the kind that brought us this far into discovery!

Maybe by the time the sun threatens to incinerate us by becoming a red giant, we will have learned to harness the energy of a somethingorother and will zoom the earth across the Milky Way--or into some other galaxy. We still have enough time, but none to waste.

44 posted on 04/02/2005 5:19:48 AM PST by Savage Beast (There is nothing liberal about the Left!)
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To: AntiGuv
....alarming that other nations are contemplating putting bases on the moon or ventures to Mars during the next 30 years, and we don't seem to be seriously looking into that..boundaries will be negotiated - quite possibly by force of arms ...it's imperative that we be the first in line..

I'll suggest something, just an idea..
Maybe we're waiting for those "other nations" to acheive the capability to do just that.. establish their own off-world bases..
Maybe the U.S. has some sort of unspoken agreement to put it's space programs on hold until there is some competition..

You suggest that force will be used on the moon and mars to establish boundaries..
More frightening to me is the possibility of the paranoia our monopoly in space could generate, a paranoia that could be acted out right here on earth..

I'm sure you've seen enough of the movies, read enough conspiracy theories, to know that many already believe that the U.S. and Russia have nuclear (nukular) weapons in orbit above the planet..
Such beliefs, whether true or not, could start a war right here on earth..

By waiting until other nations have caught up, technologically, and allaying the belief that we have the "upper hand" in space, we also reduce the possibility of conflict breaking out over who "controls" the territory of our solar system..

The politics of power is a dangerous game, and must be played carefully.
Control of space is a massive power play..
One that people, and nations will kill for..go to war over..

45 posted on 04/02/2005 7:25:51 AM PST by Drammach (Freedom; not just a job, it's an adventure..)
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To: Drammach

oops.. /i... (darn it..)


46 posted on 04/02/2005 7:27:04 AM PST by Drammach (Freedom; not just a job, it's an adventure..)
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To: KevinDavis

Science Ping?


47 posted on 04/02/2005 7:30:01 AM PST by Drammach (Freedom; not just a job, it's an adventure..)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

They have voting places on the moon?


48 posted on 04/02/2005 7:41:39 AM PST by ASA Vet (What if tag lines were no longer optional?)
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To: gobucks

Why go to the moon? There are no people there to conquer and make slaves of. No one to TAX either. It's a costly and losing situation.


49 posted on 04/02/2005 8:24:46 AM PST by fish hawk (I am only one, but I am not the only one.)
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To: AntiGuv

Love the view of Saturn rising/setting there. I have Carl Sagan's Cosmos and I like the one picture depicting the Milky May rising over the ocean of a very distant world, now that would also be awesome


50 posted on 04/02/2005 8:31:45 AM PST by Nowhere Man (I heard Satan laughing with delight, the day Terri died. B-( (with apologies to Don McLean))
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