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the asinine cretin

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  1. That may be so. Mars sample return is the major goal of the current planetary decadal survey doc and formulating a plan for the 2018 launch opportunity is what this meeting is all about. I think there is a chance. The sample return space shuttle that lands like a harrier jet isn't going to be chosen, that's for sure. It'll be one of the small-scale, low cost missions. And some participation in ExoMars is not completely ruled out. Fingers crossed
  2. Damn. You know, that's what really sucks about these talks so far; a deluge of awesome concepts and partially developed systems, and no certainty that any of them will actually be fulfilled. I'm fairly confident that there will be a Mars sample return mission of some kind in this decade though.
  3. The presentation was made yesterday and it's about a 2018 MER MSR mission, not MSL. Verbatim from the slide: Updated EDL System Enables Precision Landing - Reduces MER landing ellipse from 100 km x 20 km -> 12 km x 10 km. (Within one CRISM image.) - New, larger heat shield fitted with thrusters for guided entry... Basically, this is achieved by the incorporation of four RCS thrusters from MSL heritage. Heat shield redesign similar to Viking in that the heat shield is the component that carries those thrusters. Now I have to say that this is not what the presentation was about. The next few hours of talks are about entry, descent, and landing; the set of talks to which this one belonged were about mission architectures and strategies. I'm sure there will be more detail to come. Here are the session abstracts for the "entry, descent, and landing" presentations which I'll be watching either this evening or tomorrow. http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsconcepts2012/pdf/sess502.pdf All the abstracts for the meeting can be found here. http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsconcepts2012/pdf/program.pdf The abstract for the talk that included the provocative slide is here (although I think you'll have to watch the lectures to see the slide, and it doesn't say much more than what I copied above and the talk itself had more to do with the caching machinery than with the details of the descent and landing).) http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsconcepts2012/pdf/4228.pdf P.S. And yes, I did think the numbers were remarkable. That's why I thought to come here and post in the first place. I am suspending judgement for now as it may be nothing more than a lofty design goal, but it seemed to be a given for this mission since the CRISM footprint seems to establish a requirement. Viking was able to touch down within 30 km of their targets without active guidance and I think a mission that required (or at least very much desired) high precision could be designed to employ beacons. I wouldn't put it past NASA's engineers. Apollo landers were able to come within 200 meters of their target. But I am curious to know the source of the 100 meter CEP. I think Zubrin and many others would not agree. I personally do not know very much about it and remain only curious.
  4. I'm watching the Mars Concepts 2012 presentations and 2.5 hours into session 1 of day 3 there is a slide which says that the current MER landing ellipse is 12 km x 10 km. Apparently the "modern" MER hardware has a much improved heat shield and thrusters for guided entry. Kind of cool. I'm pretty much willing to bet that the MER legacy will be utilized in meeting the MSR goal of the decadal survey. As far as Mars One (a project I can't stand, incidentally), I'm guessing they're assuming SpaceX will meet their goals, including the "Red Dragon" project, and have a craft even more capable of precision landing. Yeah, no thanks. Screw reality shows. That's a show stopper in my opinion - pun intended. I recently read the 2011 update of The Case For Mars and it mentions recent end-to-end testing of a scalable reactor for Martian ISRU. The impression I have is that the TRL is perhaps 6. He says that Pioneer Astronautics has a serious demonstration system, fully automated and able to produce methane and oxygen in any ratio desired, that can run nonstop for days in simulated Martian conditions. I wish I knew more about it. I'll have to take a look at the references. edit:typo
  5. apurvmj, The Solar sail wiki article is pretty good. Edit to add:
  6. Interstellar solar sail/light sail concepts typically involve immense lasers that are basically sci-fi for now. There are currently active projects studying the feasibility of interplanetary solar sails. I assume the solar sail concept is what you're referring to.
  7. You can do that with url mapping. The specifics depend on your web server or application framework.
  8. Thanks D H. This is a tangent, but I think things like FMARS sound like a lot of fun. Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station I suspect that the Desert Rats have even more fun. Look at some of those toys. Desert Research and Technology Studies NASA D-RATS Website
  9. When reading the alleged words of Christ in the NT it seems his worldview had a lot to do with demonic forces, the divine will, prophetic texts and visions, and the centrality of faith. Nothing suggestive of a scientific curiosity or thought process comes to mind. But I'll be the first to say that I'm no scripture scholar.
  10. I actually do agree. There are far more questions than answers. And just asserting that there are no new technology requirements won't make everything fall into place. From the superficial stuff I've read on their website thus far, I'm thinking that even if they managed to launch all of these things to Mars and send four pioneers to Mars, it might end up being a highly publicized disaster for the entire world to watch that would set back human space exploration. I think of the heroic age of antarctic exploration and imagine that someone had the idea to send four people on an expedition deep in the antarctic where they would live out the rest of their lives somehow. It's inhumane. And yet I am encouraged and excited about private space exploration ventures. Perhaps something legitimate will come of this in the end. I think it quite possible that my fears are at least somewhat misplaced. Edit: There's always a f*ckin typo. Maybe I'll learn to proofread someday.
  11. "We do not require development and launch of a nuclear reactor." - Mars One "The Mars One base will be powered by solar panels. This is possible because we do not require the production of fuel for a return journey. Many of the other plans propose the use of a nuclear reactor, which would have to be small enough to be launched all the way to Mars. Such a nuclear reactor does not exist yet and a great deal of time and money will have to be poured into the idea before it will. Moreover, seeking permission to launch a nuclear reactor – even with a great track record for the launcher – can set off political alarm bells. The chances of it being granted are diminutive due to fears of what would happen to those nearby if something were to go wrong." http://mars-one.com/...really-possible "No new developments – Our entire plan revolves around using existing, validated technology." - Mars One I haven't seen anything suggesting that in situ fuel production is part of Mars One. This is a baseless assertion. You don't know what kind of screening they will do and what kind of people they will select. There is nothing about mining in Mars One, and I've not seen anything about refining that we don't know how to do. If SpaceX manages something like their Red Dragon Martian sample return mission in the next few years, and if it is as cheap as they say it will be, I'll consider this wacky Mars One thing to be a real possibility. Sort of a scary thought as I'm very uncomfortable with the finality of it. Even if they ask for it, sending people to live in tiny habitats on Mars with no hope of escape? Not cool. I think the in situ fuel production and a return vehicle are not merely nice-to-haves, but that's just me. Based on the Mars Design Reference 5.0 document we do know how to perform Martian aerocapture. It's been studied extensively via simulations and systems analysis and MDRM5 recommends it for cargo missions ("aerocapture for the crew transfer vehicle was eliminated from consideration due to the physical size of that element"). It's a viable option, not a fantasy, and it's not considered to be particularly risky. Basis: MDRM5 6.4 "Decision 3: Aerocapture vs. Propulsive Mars Orbit Capture of Cargo" I get the feeling that you're overstating the difficulty. I want to come back to this thread in a few years (I'll say less than seven) after SpaceX aerocaptures a Dragon and possibly lands it on Mars with nothing but drag and retro-propulsion thrusters. Mark my words.
  12. Plenty of live webcasts going on for those who can't observe. http://www.ustream.tv/nasaedge I've been experiencing lag on NASA Edge, but not with the following. http://www.exploratorium.edu/venus/
  13. A 2003 Decadal Survey document classified the MSL as a "medium cost mission" and estimated it would require a budget in the $325 - 650 million range. I can't help but chuckle. Edit: And based on the wiki page the official MSL budget was still under 1 billion in 2008. And I think this is why those Mars One people are trying to do everything by partnering directly with private entities like SpaceX, presumably avoiding the vampirish onion skin of middle men and bureaucracy. Yeah, and I don't mean that as a practical suggestion, just a bleak social/cultural commentary. There are so many things that we apparently care a lot about as a species and global civilization. The noblest and most valuable things may be quite low on the list. Perhaps after considerable social evolution our world will be more dominated by the better parts of our humanity.
  14. Haha. Well, actually the sky is pissing me off today. I might be enjoying the event from within Starry Night.
  15. TransformerRobot, I read somewhere that the illegal arms trade sucks up a few hundred billion per year. I think human slavery and sex trafficking takes hundreds of billions as well. If humanity were cooler there would be less slavery, killing, and Snooki, and more science, space exploration, and humanitarianism. We're kinda lame still. (I say 'still' because I'm hopeful that we'll have super awesome descendants in the far future.)
  16. I'm so stoked about this. It should star in a couple hours from my point of view.
  17. D H, Thanks for taking the time to write up that post. Good stuff to think about. I still don't share your cynicism but I do share those concerns. I like that people are dreaming big and taking on the huge challenges. I hope they succeed. And I think the cost of MSL was ludicrous and way over budget, but it need not have been so. And perhaps these people are assuming Elon Musk's third generation space launch system (and relying on other concurrent and independent developments that are currently planned or in the works) when they say 6 billion. I'd like to read the details on Mars One as I've so far only seen the surface. Thanks again for the thoughts.
  18. I don't know if you say the link I posted on your wall, but I've long been fascinated by the kinds of scenarios you've here described. This video is nice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDIo_SpFI60 The analogy of the Austronesian expansion comes to mind. It provides a means of interstellar expansion that does not require relativistic speeds or any of that. The "leap" would be from our Oort cloud to the Oort clouds of our nearest star, which may happen quite seamlessly. I suppose this may lead to a geometric expansion of life in our galaxy. This thought makes me recall the Fermi paradox. Hmm... Edit: removed https from youtube vid so it renders properly.
  19. The sci-fi novel: Amped, by Daniel H. Wilson "As he did in Robopocalypse, Daniel Wilson masterfully envisions a frightening near-future world. In Amped, people are implanted with a device that makes them capable of superhuman feats. The powerful technology has profound consequences for society, and soon a set of laws is passed that restricts the abilities—and rights—of "amplified" humans. On the day that the Supreme Court passes the first of these laws, twenty-nine-year-old Owen Gray joins the ranks of a new persecuted underclass known as "amps." Owen is forced to go on the run, desperate to reach an outpost in Oklahoma where, it is rumored, a group of the most enhanced amps may be about to change the world—or destroy it. . ." A very brief convo wit the author. Why I am posting this? Because I think there is something pretty plausible about the main premise. Thoughts? In particular, how realistic is the idea of a neural auto-focus implant? The amazon page for Amped.
  20. That's pretty interesting. Do you have any peer-reviewed papers that we could look at? Thanks.
  21. I'm not quite that cynical about it, but it does seem like a good recipe for disaster to me. Not a very good way to inaugurate manned exploration of other planets. I'd prefer something based less on romance and more on clear and valuable scientific objectives, and with the ability to abort. I don't think it makes sense to propose permanent colonization as the first step. I thought the old Mars Semi-Direct mission was pretty good. I'm about to start reading Zubrin's updated book The Case for Mars; it should be a good read and I imagine I'll have more opinions about this when I'm done. If you don't mind, feel free to elaborate on your thoughts here. I'd like to know what you're thinking more specifically. Thanks.
  22. My assumption was that the poster who alluded to that passage of Scripture was trying to make some relevant point to the discussion. I understand what the passage is about on the obvious level. It's the specific applicability and particular interpretation that I was inquiring about. Thanks though. P.S. Auto Engineer, I think it may not be important, and my curiosity has since dissolved, but here is the context anyway. First Appolinaria said: Then Villain replied: Here is the passage in question: My question for Villain: To elaborate, I wanted to know how this was being applied concretely to Appolinaria in the context of the discussion up to that time. If Villain's question were simply about the literal meaning of the verse than phrasing it as "perhaps you are capable of understanding" would just be rude condescension. Of course I don't think this was the case. I was just curious enough to request expansion of the idea from Villain. That's a good rule of thumb. There are caveats and tangents, but I don't think this needs to be said. Thanks for the clarificatiom, TAR2. I'm okay with where things are at right now. Going back on this and the original thread doesn't seem worth it at the moment. Thanks again for the additional remarks. Regards. This fundamental distinction was intended in a couple of my posts. Maybe I'm not as clear as I think I am. And it's just a generalization as there are outlier points of view within theism and atheism that don't conform to this neat dichotomy. I mentioned Platonism in its broadest sense in an attempt to be a bit more inclusive. But still, I agree with you. In my experience, theists often assume that the source of meaning and value is extrinsic to humanity or it does not exist. This is purely a tangent so feel free to disregard, but I think it is theoretically possible to have a theistic universe in which meaning and value are intrinsic to humanity and God could be regarded as the "source" in the sense of an efficient cause, at best. In other words, I think an essentially humanistic conception of meaning and values can hold within a theistic universe. It takes more assumptions than just the existence of God to think that without God values and meaning are void. Perhaps what underlies the idea is the attitude that without personal immortality, we might as well be nihilists. If my service to others, my devotion, or whatever it is I live for, is for nothing in an absolute, eternal view of things, then it's worthless and I might as well not bother. It's similar to the old, "if God doesn't exist, why be good?" Theist or not, I think we are good for reasons even more basic than religious world view. Similarly, I think our capacity for meaning and value is more basic than our construction of a supernatural world picture. But I've rambled enough. . . What do you think? Edit: the usual typos
  23. I don't have anything very specific to offer, but I must mention these excellent books as worth checking out: Napoleon's Buttons, and The Disappearing Spoon. The following titles are from one of my wish lists and I'm quite sure I was made aware of one of these through Bryson's book mentioned above. Crucibles: The Story of Chemistry from Ancient Alchemy to Nuclear Fission Creations Of Fire: Chemistry's Lively History From Alchemy To The Atomic Age
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