Sights are off the moon, and maybe put away for good.

  • News
  • Thread starter MotoH
  • Start date
  • #1
19
1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Obama aims to ax moon mission

NASA's plans to return astronauts to the moon are dead. So are the rockets being designed to take them there — that is, if President Barack Obama gets his way.

When the White House releases his budget proposal Monday, there will be no money for the Constellation program that was supposed to return humans to the moon by 2020. The troubled and expensive Ares I rocket that was to replace the space shuttle to ferry humans to space will be gone, along with money for its bigger brother, the Ares V cargo rocket that was to launch the fuel and supplies needed to take humans back to the moon.



More: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/...,2770904.story [Broken]


Comments?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
7,774
12
Couldn't he have just announced ambitious plans to visit the places but not funded them - then he is both a visionary and fiscally sound?
 
  • #3
373
0
There's another great move by our wonderful president.:mad:
 
  • #4
turbo
Gold Member
3,077
45
Couldn't he have just announced ambitious plans to visit the places but not funded them - then he is both a visionary and fiscally sound?
Hmm... Sounds like a recent president who said that the US should fund trips to Mars, and promptly cancelled the NASA Breakthrough Propulsion project that might possibly have made interplanetary human travel possible.
 
  • #6
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,213
176
We have had this discussion here many times before: Robotic exploration of the solar system by far makes the most sense. As for the moon, or Mars for that matter, what's the point in sending people? We can barely operate a low-orbit space station. Are we going to send people to live on the moon?
 
  • #7
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,858
2,334
We have had this discussion here many times before: Robotic exploration of the solar system by far makes the most sense. As for the moon, or Mars for that matter, what's the point in sending people? We can barely operate a low-orbit space station. Are we going to send people to live on the moon?
Let me turn your question on its head.

Are we going to spend the rest of our existence in the solar system doing nothing but testing soil samples?
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,213
176
Let me turn your question on its head.

Are we going to spend the rest of our existence in the solar system doing nothing but testing soil samples?
What would you like to do, and why? What can a person do that a robot can't?
http://robonaut.jsc.nasa.gov/

Why inhibit legitimate research by overspending on unnecessary human cargo?
 
  • #9
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,858
2,334
What would you like to do, and why? What can a person do that a robot can't?
Develop technology.
Experiment with habitation.

I'll generalize it: robots may be good for pure science research, but not so good for tech development and engineering.
 
  • #10
19
1
Sure you can send a robot anywhere. But what about that human element of being there. Besides rovers get stuck (just like the one that has been declared stuck for good on mars) Humans have the ingenuity to think on the spot and be able to analyze the situation.

Why shouldn't humans go to the moon and to mars? Why should we leave that experience to the robots. Wouldn't you like to go to the moon or mars and stay for a month or two in a moon hotel? I for sure know I would.
 
  • #11
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,213
176
Develop technology.
Why does this depend on a moon mission?

Experiment with habitation.
Same question.

I'll generalize it: robots may be good for pure science research, but not so good for tech development and engineering.
The robots relay information to scientists and engineers here on earth. Again, I don't see where this depends on putting people at extreme risk for an exotically expensive venture [esp Mars] that yields little to no practical benefits.

How we do justify taking money away from legitimate research? It's not like saying the space program has no value, it is a statement about what sort of space program has the greatest value.

Spinoff technologies: technology related to highly advanced robots. Low-cost propulsion systems, like the ion drive.
 
Last edited:
  • #12
19
1
How do you know a Human trip to Mars wouldn't have massive amounts of technology flowing into the civilian sector? What about the first manned mission to the moon, we sure as heck got a lot from that which we didn't expect. You will never know until you try.
 
  • #13
1,482
3
As for the moon, or Mars for that matter, what's the point in sending people? We can barely operate a low-orbit space station. Are we going to send people to live on the moon?
I agree. The benefit to cost ratio is way too small to justify any space exploration yet. I'd much prefer hundreds of billions more be channeled into R&D than having astronauts riding chemical propulsion rockets. We need cheaper ways to launch things into orbit, develop new propulsion drives like the VASIMIR, better energy storage, and some kind of nuclear reactor in space.
 
  • #14
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,213
176
How do you know a Human trip to Mars wouldn't have massive amounts of technology flowing into the civilian sector?
The same would be true of money spent on a massive energy program intended to end our reliance on imported oil. And not only would we get the spinoff technologies, we would also reduce our trade deficit by nearly half a trillion dollars a year.

What about the first manned mission to the moon, we sure as heck got a lot from that which we didn't expect. You will never know until you try.
The fallacy is that there is some kind of magic related to space exploration. If the government spends mass quantities of money on credible research of many kinds, we will reap the benefits. And again, we can always spend more on the development of engines that make interplanetary travel much cheaper, and practical. But we don't have to go to Mars in order to start - a classic problem of having cart but no good horse.
 
  • #15
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,858
2,334
Why does this depend on a moon mission?



Same question.
I'm not talking about rocket technology, I'm talking about developing Moon technology. i.e in prep for setting up a base - for mining, manufacturing, manned habitation, etc.

We've got to leave Earth some time.


The robots relay information to scientists and engineers here on earth. Again, I don't see where this depends on putting people at extreme risk for an exotically expensive venture [esp Mars] that yields little to no practical benefits.
How we do justify taking money away from legitimate research?[/QUOTE]
But you are thinking only in terms of research. You are not considering expanding humankind's turf.
 
  • #16
D H
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Insights Author
15,393
683
Yes, we've had this discussion many times before. Scientists can be dense.
 
  • #17
234
0
I've heard the main reason (financial) for the new moon missions is helium-3 mining or other high value exotic materials.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-3

Personally I think we've done a poor job stewarding the energy and resources of Earth so far. If we were my children and I was God/Creator, I would not allow us to inhabit a new planet until we learn to care for the one given to us as a gift! Translation: solve real problems on Earth before engaging the fantasy of fixing problems by populating the heavens.
 
  • #18
19
1
See this is the thing. Once we get to the moon and build a credible base there that is able to launch spacecraft, the amount of rocket fuel needed will go down drastically. You don't need to travel through an atmosphere and beat gravity on the moon. That is where all that rocket fuel goes. As soon as we get to the moon everything will become far easier because of that pesky thing known as atmosphere.

We can't stay on earth forever, no matter how well we protect her. There will soon be overpopulation (there really already is) and the earth just won't hold everyone. We can't just start killing people off, so we have to expand. Why not start now?

Why should space exploration cost money? Why should money even matter? Shouldn't we put everything into this and go for the gold?
 
  • #19
turbo
Gold Member
3,077
45
See this is the thing. Once we get to the moon and build a credible base there that is able to launch spacecraft, the amount of rocket fuel needed will go down drastically. You don't need to travel through an atmosphere and beat gravity on the moon. That is where all that rocket fuel goes. As soon as we get to the moon everything will become far easier because of that pesky thing known as atmosphere.

We can't stay on earth forever, no matter how well we protect her. There will soon be overpopulation (there really already is) and the earth just won't hold everyone. We can't just start killing people off, so we have to expand. Why not start now?

Why should space exploration cost money? Why should money even matter? Shouldn't we put everything into this and go for the gold?
Once we get to the moon... What makes you think that if we put more more personnel on the moon, we would gain any advantage over the laws of physics?

Please catch a clue.
 
  • #20
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,858
2,334
Why should space exploration cost money? Why should money even matter? Shouldn't we put everything into this and go for the gold?
Well, the downside is that it is a purely altruistic goal. Not just for us, but for our children and grandchildren. No one who is born before the middle of the 21st century will be going off-planet for any length of time except as part of a research mission.

So, we do have to mete out how much money we put toward the future that has no benefit in the present.
 
  • #21
585
2
As for the moon, or Mars for that matter, what's the point in sending people?

It's freakin sweet.
 
  • #22
19
1
Once we get to the moon... What makes you think that if we put more more personnel on the moon, we would gain any advantage over the laws of physics?

Please catch a clue.
So you are saying that there is no difference between launching a space ship from the moon, and one from earth? Seems like we would save a lot of fuel if we were to travel to phobos from the moon (the next logical step)

What does a shuttle have to overcome to leave earth? Gravity, the last time I checked the moon has a lot less gravity than earth. I am surely not an expert on this, but it makes sense.
 
  • #23
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,858
2,334
So you are saying that there is no difference between launching a space ship from the moon, and one from earth? Seems like we would save a lot of fuel if we were to travel to phobos from the moon (the next logical step)

What does a shuttle have to overcome to leave earth? Gravity, the last time I checked the moon has a lot less gravity than earth. I am surely not an expert on this, but it makes sense.
OK, we've got to put some context around this.

It is WAY less energy-expensive to lift a shuttle from Earth than it is to first lift an entire moonbase to the Moon, man it, and then launch a shuttle from there. Remember, pretty much everything of interest (materials, personnel and supplies) all must come from Earth anyway).

Launching from the Moon will only become cost-effective when we need to be launching them all the time.
 
  • #24
russ_watters
Mentor
19,705
6,047
How do you know a Human trip to Mars wouldn't have massive amounts of technology flowing into the civilian sector? What about the first manned mission to the moon, we sure as heck got a lot from that which we didn't expect. You will never know until you try.
Oh, it absolutely would, just like Apollo and Star Wars did. But the cost-benefit ratio just isn't there. These programs are hugely expensive and can't be justified based soley on spin-off technologies. The goal of the program has to be free-standing.
Sure you can send a robot anywhere. But what about that human element of being there.
What human element?
Besides rovers get stuck (just like the one that has been declared stuck for good on mars) Humans have the ingenuity to think on the spot and be able to analyze the situation.
The rover getting stuck isn't a human inginuity problem, as the rovers are controlled from earth. In any case, you picked a really bad example as the Mars rovers were perhaps the most successful mission NASA has ever put together, in terms of what we learned for the cost.

For one thing, the rover (one of them....) got stuck three years into a three month mission, so what you are listing as a failure is actually just the end of a rediculously successful mission. But more to the point, you could send thousands of those rovers to Mars for the price of a single manned mission. Regardless of this nebulous "human ingenuity" factor, a person can't be in a thousand places at once.
Why shouldn't humans go to the moon and to mars?
Simple question, already answered: it is too expensive for too little benefit.
Why should we leave that experience to the robots.
Wouldn't you like to go to the moon or mars and stay for a month or two in a moon hotel? I for sure know I would.
Hell yeah, I'd like to go!, but that's just a fantasy of mine. The government shouldn't be spending a trillion dollars to satisfy your or my or anyone else's fantasy.

....Or do you think the government should buy us all tickets on Branson's SpaceShipTwo?

[edit] The government should also buy me Megan Fox, but that's a different issue entirely.
 
Last edited:
  • #25
russ_watters
Mentor
19,705
6,047
I'm not talking about rocket technology, I'm talking about developing Moon technology. i.e in prep for setting up a base - for mining, manufacturing, manned habitation, etc.

We've got to leave Earth some time.
No we don't. I don't know exactly what you are thinking there - why you think we have to leave earth (I've heard it before), but there is no reason for *you* or *me* or even our grandchildren to "got to leave earth".
But you are thinking only in terms of research. You are not considering expanding humankind's turf.
Like above: what is the actual benefit/need to/for "expanding humankind's turf"?

This is real life, Dave, not a Star Trek fantasy, boring as it may be.
 

Related Threads on Sights are off the moon, and maybe put away for good.

  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
3K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
28
Views
3K
Replies
75
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
1K
Replies
6
Views
662
  • Last Post
2
Replies
41
Views
7K
Replies
12
Views
20K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
2K
Top