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Isn't it sad that

  1. Jan 29, 2010 #1

    ideasrule

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    One of the most frequently depicted characters in children's TV programs is an astronaut. Probably tens of millions of children in the U.S., along with a large portion of adults, dream about visiting other worlds. However, at the rate that human spaceflight is advancing, nobody alive today will get to feel the wonder of walking on an alien planet. Very few will even go into space. Becoming an astronaut, just like meeting Santa Claus or winning the lottery, is a dream that has to be shattered at a young age.

    This is quite depressing. People in the 1970's would surely have expected us to have a base on Mars by now, but the first explorers of Mars have yet to be born. The generation of engineers who designed the Apollo program are now nearing retirement age, many of whom once looked to the future of spaceflight with optimism and were waiting to see humans travel faster and farther than anybody expected.

    I know that going into space is not a priority, that there's a lot of places for the government to use money, etc etc. I'm not saying that the government is poorly managing its budget, just that the present state of human spaceflight is sad to reflect upon.
     
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  3. Jan 29, 2010 #2

    Evo

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    I grew up in Clear Lake, TX, just a mile or 2 from NASA. I hung out with astronauts, well the ones that went to bars, knew all of the engineers and dated a guy that trained the astronauts.

    My father-N-Law helped saved Apollo 13 and has a Presidential Plaque congratulating him for rescuing them. My first husband worked for a contractor for NASA and ended up in Naval Intelligence in Washington, DC during the VietNam war.

    Your kid should look into working for a contractor.
     
  4. Jan 29, 2010 #3

    lisab

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    Well maybe so, but people expected flying cars by now, too.
     
  5. Jan 29, 2010 #4
    Too many things we can be sad about ....
     
  6. Jan 29, 2010 #5

    fluidistic

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    I agree with what has been said yet. I may add that the richest contries+china should cooperate for missions to reach the Moon once again. And later to go to Mars.
    When I was young (6) my father told me I would see the man landing on Mars, but not him. I think he was optimistic, I've no doubt it won't happen. I'm 22.
     
  7. Jan 29, 2010 #6

    Astronuc

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    Apparently it's up to private industry and entrepreneurs to return to the Moon and perhaps go to Mars.

    Rocket may not find space in budget
    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/01/29/pm-ares/ [Broken]

    NASA To Get More Money, But Must Scratch Moon Plan
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123083880 [Broken]


    And yes - the government is mismanaging the budget - so what's new?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Jan 29, 2010 #7

    russ_watters

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    I'm watching the Fantastic Four right now and feeling exactly the same thing. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm......Jessica Alba!
     
  9. Jan 29, 2010 #8

    ideasrule

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    I guess you figured out that I had a specific kid in mind when typing my message. Well, it wasn't my son/daughter who watched those children's shows and dreamed about space travel; it was me, barely 6 years ago. I was 10 back then, and was still naive enough to believe I had a chance of going into space. I'm several years younger than fluidistic now, but also don't think I'll live to see a manned Mars landing.

    You're very lucky in knowing so many NASA personnel. Maybe you can share some information about them. What did they think about exploring space, working for NASA, NASA's goals, etc?
     
  10. Jan 29, 2010 #9
    What I find sad is that they continue their futile attempts to piss away all their money on conventional chemical rockets.

    They're just wasting time and money. I'd rather them stop what theyre doing for a few decades, use the money to come up with something revolutionary and THEN attempt to go to the stars.
     
  11. Jan 29, 2010 #10
    The theme of all sci-fi that inspires us is that humans are exploring space. But in reality human bodies are extremely frail, and it's just not so economically viable to strap a human habitat on a spaceship.

    In the future we may see a major paradigm shift. Robotic avatars, AI, or bio-engineered life will do the exploring for us.

    It may turn out that humans will never leave this earth, but rather an engineered life that can withstand the harshness of space will go for the stars. And that will be the final step of our evolution.
     
  12. Jan 30, 2010 #11

    Astronuc

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    Chemical rockets are pretty much the rule for surface-to-orbit. Back in the 1950's-1960's, there was research on nuclear thermal rockets (NTR), e.g. NERVA and ROVER. The motivation for this was not manned space travel, but the capability to launch thermonuclear weapons to ranges of 6000 - 10000 miles. But then people started to miniturize electronics and systems. The chemical based Atlas or Titan was then sufficient to boost the smaller warheads.

    See James Dewar's excellent history of nuclear rockets - To The End of the Solar System
    https://www.amazon.com/End-Solar-System-Nuclear-Rocket/dp/189495968X

    The hydrogen pump of the Shuttle's SSME has its roots in the technology of the NTR.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  13. Jan 30, 2010 #12
    Nah, just one more step among many. Don't dispair, even if no human ever travels to another planet there will still be astronauts.
     
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