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Thread: Great launch of the Discovery today......

  1. #1 Great launch of the Discovery today...... 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Beautiful, simply beautiful!


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    Forum Sophomore 8873tom's Avatar
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    Sure was:

    Discovery blasts off from Florida

    Check out the video, some great shots were taken with the camera on the external fuel tank.


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    Good deal.
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    Awsome stuff.
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    Apparently it docks with the ISS tomorrow. This had me amusedly wondering whether there were people up there who had been waiting for a lift home for two and a quarter years!!
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    Forum Sophomore 8873tom's Avatar
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    I’m surprised that people have little to say on this topic. This mission is critical for NASA; it must demonstrate that they have restored their ability to put humans in orbit – an important step in pushing space exploration further. If this goes wrong again, I doubt we will be seeing any space shuttles going up in this decade considering how long it has taken to get Discovery up after Columbia.

    Quite a worrying article…

    Astronauts examine shuttle tiles

    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Apparently it docks with the ISS tomorrow. This had me amusedly wondering whether there were people up there who had been waiting for a lift home for two and a quarter years!!
    Heh I wonder if you would get bored being in space?
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Anyone could get bored anywhere if they have little to do.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Sophomore 8873tom's Avatar
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    True, but your in space! I think it would take a long time for me to get bored
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8873tom
    I’m surprised that people have little to say on this topic.
    The shuttle is an antiquated, poorly engineered, ill-conceived, safety deficient, over-priced, misguided abortion. It is required to complete the fabrication of a pointless, science poor, resource starved, politically compromised, expensive white elephant - the ISS.
    Would you like me to say more?
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  11. #10  
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    Nah we get the idea mate. Thanks for the input :?
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    Actually, I nearly posted the same as Ophiolite (maybe in less inflammatory terms), and he's no more anti-science than I am.

    The concept of the Space Shuttle was for a re-usable spacecraft that would be making journeys something like twice a week. Even during development it became more than obvious that this would in fact be an optimistic estimate, until eventually, several years late, the Shuttle program actually got started with one launch every few months or so. Those launches have performed the occasional satellite launch (which could be done by unmanned rocket, as has been done for decades) and zero G experiments. Richard Feynman, who was on the Challenger Disaster Investigative Committee, noted that prior to the disaster he kept hearing about scientific experiments being carried out on the Shuttle, but he never saw any references to them in actual scientific journals.

    About the only useful thing the Shuttle has ever really done was the original launch and subsequent repairs of the Hubble Space Telescope. So that makes it worth it, right?

    Well, no. When it became obvious that the problems involved in building a craft that was supposed to regularly undergo the largest engineering stresses known to man - rocket take-off to orbit, and earth atmosphere re-entry - could not be remotely squared with the requirements of safety, the whole idea should have been scrapped. Or they ought at least to have ditched the horizontal land runway landing capability, whilst retaining some reusability.

    If we need a large spacecraft to do work in orbit, like satellite repair, we have to have it up there in orbit - permanently. A large, complex spaceship shouldn't need the additional complication of having to handle takeoff and landing. On Earth we're cursed with the highest damn gravity and the thickest damn atmosphere of any solid body in the solar system. We surely now can create sturdier, cheaper, straight up/fall down rockets, with Apollo-style re-entry pods for coming home in. And the large work spacecraft needs to be parked at a space station that is built for the purpose of servicing such spacecraft, not the tiny thing they've got whose sole purpose appears to be the ability to have human beings in orbit.

    Story Musgrave once said that he was an astronaut, so in order to do his job and actually fly in space, he had to go in the Shuttle. But he'd far rather have flown Saturn/Apollo which was demonstrably ten times as safe and reliable.

    Quote Originally Posted by 8873tom
    If this goes wrong again, I doubt we will be seeing any space shuttles going up in this decade considering how long it has taken to get Discovery up after Columbia.
    It really makes no difference if it does go wrong or not (future flights have been cancelled again, btw). The whole concept of a vehicle of any kind where because there was a fatal accident, the entire fleet is grounded for years only highlights the fact that the Shuttle's time has gone. They should have been working on its replacement for the last ten years at least, but they weren't. If the result is no spaceflight (from the United States at least - Russia, ESA and China are still going to be sending people up) then so be it. It's up to America to decide what it wants to do. But that ISS is not going to be completed by 2010 if they are relying on the aging fleet of orbiters they've got, which means it's not going to be completed using the Shuttle. They need to go right back to the drawing board.
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    Silas,

    I agree that the shuttle is an ill-conceived and inefficient, outmoded means of travel that should be put in the scrapheap of history where all the lemons end up.

    But. To use the two years time off between the last accident and this flight is just plain ill-informed. In my thread on Voyager, you tried saying the same and I showed you that after the Apollo disaster, their were no manned flights for almost two years. So. The amount of time that the shuttles have been grounded is irrelevant unless you want to use that same argument against the modes of travel which you are deeming safe.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Here's the new design that they are going to use ....


    http://www.popularmechanics.com/scie...e/1534782.html
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    Thank God they've abandoned that Vertical Rocket Landing idea.....

    The two year hold up of Apollo is not really comparable, Nexus. At that time there was only one mission, and all Nasa manned spacecraft of that era were designed primarily to accomplish that one mission, the Saturn V booster, the Gemini and Apollo spacecraft, and all the ground facilities that were built. Taking two years to sort out the problems after the Fire was a reasonable thing to do, since there wasn't any other space priority, and a return to space was all but certain.

    But now we're talking about a multipurpose vehicle. I'm saying that the reliance on one spaceship for all missions means that all manned spaceflight comes a serious cropper when the only vehicle you have is grounded for two years. Like I said on the other thread - that's two years of actual spaceflight experience which is denied to every member of the astronaut corps, or 15-20% of their entire career as an astronaut. The problems encountered by Discovery both prior to and since take-off highlight another problem with that two year hiatus - the fact that the orbiters are getting old. When Columbia exploded it was the oldest Shuttle, at 22. Now that position is held by Discovery at 21.
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    I think NASA is planning to scrap the space shuttles when the ISS in completed (if that ever happens), in 2010.
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    Great, now what the hell are they doing up there?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8873tom
    Nah we get the idea mate. Thanks for the input :?
    You probably got the wrong idea. Silas gave a slightly expanded version of what I was saying. It is precisely because I am pro-science that I am so incensed and depressed by the whole lamentable affair.
    When I was growing up one of the most inspiring things I heard was Kennedy's speech announcing the plan to land on the moon. I spent the rest of the sixties following every twist and turn in the race. There was a time when I could have recited name, rank and personal history for every one of the then fifty strong astronaut core.
    Then the public and politicians lost interest, and the dream died. For a time, when the shuttle was announced, it seemed to promise a re-birth of that dream, but the promises were not just misjudgements, but lies.
    Because we lost the drive, because we discarded the vision, because we adopted a parochial stance, I shall likely be dead before a human sets foot on Mars. I think that entitles me to make the concise judgement I rendered in my earlier post.
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    Yeah, I sort of did get the wrong idea, all corrected now however :P

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I shall likely be dead before a human sets foot on Mars.
    Personally, I can’t see us getting to Mars in my life time either – I’m 18. The next man on the moon is scheduled for 2008 I believe, we should both be around for that
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat
    Great, now what the hell are they doing up there?
    You mean what’s being done inside the ISS? Lots and lots of research. Taken from International Space Station Overview:

    Research in the station's six laboratories will lead to discoveries in medicine, materials and fundamental science that will benefit people all over the world. Through its research and technology, the station also will serve as an indispensable step in preparation for future human space exploration.

    Scientific research outside Earth’s atmosphere enable yields better results. For example, purer protein crystals can be grown in space and living cells can be grown which are not distorted by gravity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8873tom
    The next man on the moon is scheduled for 2008 I believe, we should both be around for that
    No. Way.
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    That’s what I’ve heard. An un-manned probe to be sent in 2005 and a manned mission in 2008. Can’t remember where I heard it, but I know I did.
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    Come on, that just is not happening! It took the better part of a decade to get all the systems designed and ready last time, and they have to start from scratch all over again.
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  24. #23  
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    THe push is for man on the moon by 2020 and man on Mars by 2030 at the earliest.

    2008?
    That's completely impossible.
    Unless, of course, we just used the old Apollo technology to do it. But that would be pointless.
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    Ah my bad:

    “NASA will begin robotic missions to the Moon by no later than 2008. The first long-term human mission to the Moon will launch by 2015, but no later than 2020.”

    I got the 2008 bit right.

    Be the Explorer to the Moon, Mars and Beyond.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8873tom
    Ah my bad:

    “NASA will begin robotic missions to the Moon by no later than 2008. The first long-term human mission to the Moon will launch by 2015, but no later than 2020.”

    I got the 2008 bit right.

    Be the Explorer to the Moon, Mars and Beyond.
    I think the robots are cool enough. Who needs a person walking around with limited range when you can put a bot up there that can camp in place. The moon however is very very dusty, so I'm not sure how long the solar panels will hold out. They need to include some kind of cleaning system. Perhaps even a tilt and dump off the dust mechanism.
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    I disagree. Surely the first step towards man visiting other planets is colonising the Moon. I see it as a must. Think how better gravity could be understood on the Moon.
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    Strange way to put it, tom! Of course we must get a permanent foothold on the Moon, and we need to make flying to the moon and landing on it a matter of routine. Then we can go to Mars.

    Here is what we have to do to go to Mars. If NASA is thinking of sending ten or fewer astronauts in one ship, they are dreaming. There have to be a minimum of three ships for such a long trek, and there have to be a lot of people, maybe a hundred or two. (I'm not denying that I might be influenced by Kim Stanley Robinson here!) But we must not go there just to put a footprint. It may be necessary to send robots in advance who can find and mine resources for use by Humans later. The tragedy is that our two closest usable neighbours, the Moon and Mars, are both deficient in metals. But Mars is the gateway to the Asteroid belt, and to the resources available in the moons and rings of Jupiter and Saturn.

    The Moon and Mars are likely to be little more than stepping stones - but those stepping stones are quite essential if we are to stop playing on our bank and cross the ocean of Space.
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    As to a landing spot for mars...



    That looks like a good spot to set up camp... Hopefully other resources than water will be available nearby.
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    I'm sorry, I don't keep up with latest developments (too busy writing crap on forums, I guess.)


    So, I have to ask....... what the hell is that!?!?
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  31. #30  
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    Ah. Sorry. It was from a post by Avatar at the other place. Figured everyone would have seen it by now.

    A giant patch of frozen water has been pictured nestled within an unnamed impact crater on Mars.

    The photographs were taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board Mars Express, the European Space Agency probe which is exploring the planet.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4727847.stm

    http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Ex...GKA808BE_0.html


    It's a lake.
    The first lake discovered on Mars to my knowledge.

    Of course. It's not so... mandatory to find such things on Mars as there are huge ice caps and everything. But, this does lead one to believe that water will not be too scarce a commodity.
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  32. #31  
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    That is the most incredible image of a solar system object since Voyager first returned pictures of the clouds of Jupiter and the surfaces of Io and Europa.

    I am absolutely staggered.
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    Silas:
    How comes that’s strange?

    Your right; the greater number of ships, the greater our chances of getting there and landing successfully. And for sure, we have to stay there a good amount of time. Now that I think of it, it would be cost effective to find people who were willing to die on Mars and not come back! I also agree with sending robots first. In my mind, robots should be sent years before we start the journey so that everything is ready for us when we get there. Same with the Moon. Metals will be a problem.
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  34. #33  
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    How the hell did I miss this.
    From BBC news:

    The highly visible ice lake is sitting in a crater which is 35 km (23 miles) wide, with a maximum depth of about two km (1.2 miles).

    That’s a perfect place to set up camp. :-D

    I’ve already posted this in: http://www.thescienceforum.com/viewt...r=asc&start=15,
    but the location of Crater Ice can be found at:

    esa: Mars Express

    It’s the northern most yellow dot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8873tom
    Silas:
    How comes that’s strange?
    Well, now, let me see.....

    It's a LAKE....






    On MARS!!!




    But really, I'm not saying it's a strange thing to find (though it is, after centuries of Mars observation), I'm saying it's an amazing image. It looks like an ice desert island in a red sand sea.
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  36. #35  
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    Silas:

    No, I mean why was this a ’Strange way to put it'?

    Quote Originally Posted by 8873tom
    I disagree. Surely the first step towards man visiting other planets is colonising the Moon. I see it as a must. Think how better gravity could be understood on the Moon.
    Just curious.
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    Well, what's that stuff about "understanding gravity better on the moon"? For the purposes of space travel, you'd better believe we understand gravity plenty well enough. Chris Kraft likened undertaking the relatively straightforward task of orbital rendezvous to two guys in adjoining yards each throwing a ball to the other yard and having the two balls collide - every time. The precision involved in firing the rocket to get to the moon is astonishing, and in reverse, to fire from lunar orbit and end up approaching the earth within that thickness-of-a-sheet-of-paper re-entry corridor is nothing less than extraordinary. But it was done, forty and more years ago, and done with the aid of computers that would find running your mobile phone utterly beyond their capability.

    What we can do better on the moon is withstand gravity better, overcome it easier. The Moon Hoax people with no understanding of physics frequently cite the dramatic difference between the thirty-storey Saturn V rocket required to lift the whole Moon exploration package off the Earth with the tiny Lunar Excursion Module Ascent Stage which almost effortlessly made the blast-off from the Moon.

    Our moon is a total anomaly (down, btimsah! ) - it is proportionately the largest satellite in comparison with its major body, and it's in a stable, near-circular orbit. We're very fortunate to have it. That's a whole load of real estate we can make use of, and sufficient gravity to work efficiently in, which would not have been the case if we'd been stuck with Phobos and Deimos, like Mars (or worse, like Venus, having no moon at all).
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    I'd still think that a large space platform, larger than the ISS which is currently in orbit would be the way to travel to the planets. It would be large enough to hold provisions for 6 to 8 humans as well as spare parts in case of emergency. They could take this platform and put it in a parking orbit around Mars then take smaller ships down to the surface to explore. The platform would be above any problems that may happen on the surface and could send a rescue party if there were problems with the away team.
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  39. #38  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Our moon is a total anomaly (down, btimsah! ) - it is proportionately the largest satellite in comparison with its major body, .
    Ophiolite engages large blue lever, labelled Nitpicking Mode.
    Ophiolite types the words google Pluto Charon.
    Ophiolite engages large red lever, labelled argumentative mode
    Ophiolite types the words Yes, but nobody would seriously consider Pluto a planet, especially after the recent discoveries.
    Ophiolite smiles at the nice men in white coats.
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    Ophiolite, tee-hee!

    I only discovered by watching Stephen Fry's QI brainy quiz programme that Pluto is no longer considered a planet by the cognoscenti. I suppose it was the discovery that Pluto was not a body large enough to encompass the whole orbital width of the Pluto/Charon system but simply two miniscule rocks in such a system that prompted its demotion.

    So the "Tenth Planet Discovered" thread should be the "Ninth Planet Discovered" thread....
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    This is really going to play hell with all those kids that made their working planet models. Did you see the orbit of the 10th (err 9th) planet. I would hate to try and make that one out of coat hangers
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    Plus having to account for Cruithne.....
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