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Thread: London Times Report: Nasa wants to build telescope on Moon.

  1. #1 London Times Report: Nasa wants to build telescope on Moon. 
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    I guess I didn't really believe it until this morning. Nasa's plans for going to the moon in 2018 seem to be firm enough for them to have planned a substantial construction project when they get there.

    The most powerful radiotelescope yet devised is to be built on the mon, under plans being put together by Nasa for its 2018 lunar mission.

    Mike Griffin, the head of the US space agency, said the construction of a telescope is being "factored into" the mission.

    ...

    British astronauts could join the lunar missions in a partnership with Nasa, the department of Trade and Industry revealed yesterday.

    The move would be a departure from current policy in which Britain concentrates on space exploration by machine rather than manned missions.

    ...

    An agreement to hold joint missions to the Moon would end the requirement for Britons who join Nasa as astronauts to take US nationality.
    Like nearly every space story you read, the more you read the more it sounds like a pipe dream. Can it really happen?

    On the same page of the paper is a report about only the fourth Briton to go into space, which will be on next week's ISS mission. And buried in the report was this mindboggling little factoid:

    [S]cheduling pressures ... include the need to get Discovery back before midnight on New Year's Eve, because its computers are thrown into confusion by changes in the calendar year...
    It just isn't the kind of thing you want to read about in a report in the most complex advanced technological achievement in history.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...9-2480764.html

    (Click "Briton to rewire space station" at bottom of page for second story)


    "It is comparatively easy to make clever guesses; indeed there are theorems, like 'Goldbach's Theorem' which have never been proved and which any fool could have guessed." G.H. Hardy, Fourier Series, 1943
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    It's perfectly plausible. NASA could do it right now, the US just never gives them enough funding. NASA is really the best organization on the planet, other countries space centers are pretty much political jokes compared to NASA. Hell, a lot of them are just wasting funding. NASA has thus far made it very evident that it's out for the good of the world, not just for the US or itself.
    Whereas, by contrast, other countries that have set up space exploration centers (or whatever else) tend to do it just for their countries ego. "Look at us! We have a space exploration team! Nevermind that it is a few hundred years behind an already advanced program and we're just wasting money!"

    Sufficed to say, if the rest of the world would stop being so "selfish," NASA would probably have already made that telescope. Funding. That's what it needs. Is it getting it? No.


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    Wow. I thought there wasn't a bigger fan of Nasa than me, but even I wouldn't look at the organisation through such rose-tinted spectacles!! Having never sold the US the real dangers of space travel (and the fact that it's worthwhile despite the danger), when there is a disaster a) more than two years manned exploration is lost, and b) each time, the disaster is down to management (and occasionally engineering) complacency.

    Of course Nasa could do it if you gave them enough funding. British Aerospace could do it if you gave them enough funding! It's already been proved that it can be done. But when I say "are they really going to have a manned moon mission in only 12 years", I actually mean is the political will there to do it this time?

    (Doubly bizarre this praise for Nasa coming directly after a post which pointed out that, let alone Y2K, the shuttle's computers apparently suffer from a Jan1 bug!! Something most of us fixed when writing Basic on a Commodore 64, VIC-20 or BBC Micro)
    "It is comparatively easy to make clever guesses; indeed there are theorems, like 'Goldbach's Theorem' which have never been proved and which any fool could have guessed." G.H. Hardy, Fourier Series, 1943
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    NASA is a US government agency. all such departments are required to submit plans well into the future. i think this is an annual report and nov/dec would be logical. they also report to the congress.

    i see no reason, as suggested, that this project could not be done today and also suggested funding is the issue. keep in mind NASA currently also has a Hubble update, scheduled for next year and a newer version of Hubble, scheduled for 2013. things will certainly change by 2018 and my personal hope is they will concentrate on launching of probes and missions from the moon. also the idea of repairs or updating of space telescopes from the space station have been suggested.

    my guess is private industry will take on some of NASA's projects well ahead of their planning. its very hard to get an experiment placed on there schedule and private projects could be near cost efficient if not profitable. since funding has been mentioned; keep in mind to get a few of something produced or built cost a great deal and there is no return on the expenses. i once carried 200 pounds in a very large tractor/trailer cross country because it was high value (nothing else allowed). these were seals and valued in the millions of dollars and the cost to transport was many times the regular truck load freight.
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    As a radiotelescope buff, I can tell you the reason for NASA's project, there is so much radio pollution on earth that the sensitive recievers are fast becoming unable to capture radio images from all the 'noise' - their plan is to build the telescope on the far side of the moon where it will be shielded from all earth noise.

    The draft proposal includes lunar relay satellites to transmit data and control communications to/from earth. - an earlier proposal was a sort of second 'hubble', however radio telescopes are much larger than their optical cousins thus the moon was chosen. It does not matter where on the moon other than the reduction of noise - the site has already been provisionally chosen.

    The idea itself is over 20 years old.


    Silas, IF you go on the nasa website you can watch live NASA TV on the PC - there is an upcoming mission (scheduled Dec 6/7 launch) to take another truss to the Station and assemble it - all the spacewalks will again be covered - though they will be moving K-band antennas which will mean some live downlinks will be lost.
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    This is AWESOME! I totally agree with you Jeremyhfht, NASA does not get enough funding.

    The problem is that most people dont like the space program. They see it as a waste and that is very sad

    What is needed is a unified vision regarding the importance of space exploration. I hope that comes soon. There is so much out there to be explored and used to benefit mankind.
    In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe. - Carl Sagan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kosta
    This is AWESOME! I totally agree with you Jeremyhfht, NASA does not get enough funding.

    The problem is that most people dont like the space program. They see it as a waste and that is very sad

    What is needed is a unified vision regarding the importance of space exploration. I hope that comes soon. There is so much out there to be explored and used to benefit mankind.
    People like the space program when :
    - it made them dream
    - it foster patriotism
    add these two factors, and you understand why the moon program get such a huge support
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    I think there's a certain amount of nostalgia in the good old days JFK and all that, the thing to remember here is that it will take a succession of agreeable presidents and congress's to achieve it, any break in the chain and it's back to square one, that's why although Mars in 2040 is planned it may not happen as for that you will need about 8 successive willing presidential terms...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerdoc
    Quote Originally Posted by Kosta
    This is AWESOME! I totally agree with you Jeremyhfht, NASA does not get enough funding.

    The problem is that most people dont like the space program. They see it as a waste and that is very sad

    What is needed is a unified vision regarding the importance of space exploration. I hope that comes soon. There is so much out there to be explored and used to benefit mankind.
    People like the space program when :
    - it made them dream
    - it foster patriotism
    add these two factors, and you understand why the moon program get such a huge support
    I believe that the push by JFK to go to the moon was so strongly supported because it was in direct competition with the Soviet Union. This competition fostered patriotism. So I think you are right in that respect.

    If we could only make enough people interested and excited about the prospects of space exploration (to dream), then we would have something. However, many people are too engaged and occuppied with their "down to earth" lives that they dont care. That is what I get in my experiences- from asking the opinion of basically everyone I meet
    In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe. - Carl Sagan
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    in mid-1958, President Eisenhower signed the NASA act and the space agency was born. the initial purpose was to stimulate our effort to equal the USSR advantage in this technology and was subsidized in part from the annual budge as NASA and the military. this is true today. in general the total budget runs about 1 % of total US expenses or its budget, except the 62 to 68 period when it peaked at a little less than 6%. since 74 its held at about the one percent. todays expenses are higher than that peak in dollars, not buying power.

    President Kennedy made his famous speech to a different audience then President Bush's recent effort. in the early sixties WW II, the Korean war
    and the cold war (hiding under desk A-bomb test) were an every day thing to the population. the VN war, end of the cold war and some other factors changed the general outlook for space exploration. also the major changes made to welfare programs greatly increased and expendable funds became non-existent. in short Bush's thoughts were accepted w/o any sense of urgency. as much as I'd like to see the program tripled i fear the NASA team would simply add hundreds of jobs and nothing more would happen than planned. this is my primary thought for private industry. its also the reason some are getting involved, not associated with NASA.
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    Course, what we really need is for the chinese to announce a mission to Mars to spur things along, somehow though I think a trip to Mars should be a world effort, so any single government pulling out might not destroy the project.
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  13. #12  
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    Good Idea.
    In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe. - Carl Sagan
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    I dont know, I doubt the logistics of building a meaningfull depth of field telescope on the moon. I find the Square Kilometre array project (http://www.skatelescope.org/pages/page_genpub.htm) to be a much more exciting proposition, but Im not sure how much the latter will be hampered by the atmosphere.
    "A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeeded be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." Albert Einstein
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    Would be nice if the SKA comes to my home country - well for selfish reasons anyway

    The james webb telescope also looks quite interesting - http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/
    As is often the case with technical subjects we are presented with an unfortunate choice: an explanation that is accurate but incomprehensible, or comprehensible but wrong.
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