Do you have adblock enabled?
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Yahoo)   So, we can build fusion-powered rockets and send men to Mars in 90 days. So why haven't we already?   (ca.news.yahoo.com) divider line 74
    More: Interesting, nuclear fusions, NIAC, rockets, Space Launch System, propulsion systems, concept design, Red Planet, humans on Mars  
•       •       •

3529 clicks; posted to Geek » on 09 Oct 2013 at 8:38 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



74 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all
 
2013-10-09 06:02:44 AM  
Someone should make a Kickstarter for this.

Crowd-sourced space exploration!
 
jbc [TotalFark]
2013-10-09 06:09:34 AM  
Because NASA is closed, Subby. Duh.
 
2013-10-09 07:06:40 AM  
We've had the technical capability to do this since the 1960's, using nuclear pulse propulsion.  But that was banned when all nuclear explosions in space were banned by international treaty.
 
2013-10-09 07:18:32 AM  
There was that depressing statistic about radiation exposure during a Mars flight recently..

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/30/us/mars-radiation/index.html
 
2013-10-09 07:42:21 AM  

DO NOT WANT Poster Girl: There was that depressing statistic about radiation exposure during a Mars flight recently..

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/30/us/mars-radiation/index.html


In flight radiation can be delt with in time, nasa has been working on a magnetic bubble to divert cosmic rays.

Also surface radiation on mars turns out to be much less then we had expected. IF I recall correctly it was likened to being about the same is being on the ISS.  Which is signifigantly less then we had expected.
 
2013-10-09 07:43:35 AM  

Heliovdrake: DO NOT WANT Poster Girl: There was that depressing statistic about radiation exposure during a Mars flight recently..

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/30/us/mars-radiation/index.html

In flight radiation can be delt with in time, nasa has been working on a magnetic bubble to divert cosmic rays.

Also surface radiation on mars turns out to be much less then we had expected. IF I recall correctly it was likened to being about the same is being on the ISS.  Which is signifigantly less then we had expected.


It would be less, inverse square law and all that, for radiation coming from the Sun.
 
2013-10-09 08:42:38 AM  
Um, because radiation would kill anyone who made that trip, and we're still debating the ethics of even asking for volunteers for that sort of publicly funded program?
 
2013-10-09 08:42:44 AM  

DO NOT WANT Poster Girl: There was that depressing statistic about radiation exposure during a Mars flight recently..

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/30/us/mars-radiation/index.html


To be fair, reducing the transit time would reduce overall radiation exposure. That can change if you are sitting on a reactor, however.
 
2013-10-09 08:44:32 AM  
Because of "Intelligent Design". Duh!
 
2013-10-09 08:46:30 AM  
Submitter: So why haven't we already?

Very simple. We're a species of phenomenal idiots who, as a whole, refuse to do anything remotely useful unless you can manage to get our collective overly-fragile egos invested in it. Absent that, we'd far rather sit on our asses and argue about worthless celebrities and which group of scumbag politicians is screwing us over the worst.
 
2013-10-09 08:48:08 AM  

deadsanta: Um, because radiation would kill anyone who made that trip, and we're still debating the ethics of even asking for volunteers for that sort of publicly funded program?


That's sort of vaguely related to the actual reason:

The shielding against radiation required to ship living biomass through interplanetary space safely is very expensive, mainly because it's heavy and getting mass out of the gravity well is a big, expensive deal.

Meanwhile, semi-automated probes and such can do basically what an astronaut would do, but can be shipped to Mars with almost no radiation shielding at all (and not life support, also heavy and thus expensive, as well as somewhat delicate to load on a great bloody rocket and fling forcefully out of the gravity well), i.e. at a fraction of the cost.
 
2013-10-09 08:48:50 AM  
Explosions?
 
2013-10-09 08:52:02 AM  
Because we need more F-35s, duh.
 
2013-10-09 08:55:31 AM  
If they have fusion in a small device already working, shouldn't they tell the NIF that they can give up on the idea of a huge bank of lasers in a massive building that have only just managed to create a net energy positive fusion reaction (even then only if ignoring the inefficiencies of actually getting all the energy required into the fusion ignition target area).
 
2013-10-09 09:00:43 AM  

Jim_Callahan: The shielding against radiation required to ship living biomass through interplanetary space safely is very expensive, mainly because it's heavy and getting mass out of the gravity well is a big, expensive deal.


So, the trick is to not bring all the mass required up from the surface of the Earth.  That significantly eases the energy costs.
 
2013-10-09 09:03:15 AM  

DO NOT WANT Poster Girl: There was that depressing statistic about radiation exposure during a Mars flight recently..

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/30/us/mars-radiation/index.html


Yea, basically, meatbags become Hot Pockets left too long in the microwave.
 
2013-10-09 09:08:01 AM  
do we really need to infest another planet?
 
2013-10-09 09:08:33 AM  

xria: If they have fusion in a small device already working, shouldn't they tell the NIF that they can give up on the idea of a huge bank of lasers in a massive building that have only just managed to create a net energy positive fusion reaction (even then only if ignoring the inefficiencies of actually getting all the energy required into the fusion ignition target area).



They already fit the NIF's lasers and ignition chamber into a spceship. Of course, the Enterprise is a fairly large ship.
 
2013-10-09 09:09:01 AM  
They say they are a year away from fusion in the lab so that means 257 years before practical application.
 
2013-10-09 09:10:18 AM  

DarnoKonrad: do we really need to infest another planet?


Why wouldn't we?
 
2013-10-09 09:10:26 AM  

MuonNeutrino: We're a species of phenomenal idiots who, as a whole, refuse to do anything remotely useful unless you can manage to get our collective overly-fragile egos invested in it.


It's more of an issue of practicality. The benefits of manned space exploration are:

* Humans are arguably better for science than robotic probes
* Protection against extinction events
* Resources
* Pioneering spirit and other feel-good sentiments

The problem is that while humans may be better for doing science, they're significantly more expensive.  They're needy little bastards which demand things like "air" and "food" and "water". You can't send humans to space- you have to send ecosystems to space, and then let the humans stay in the ecosystem. It's expensive. And honestly, it's not like cutting edge research on Earth isn't highly automated and mostly done by machines. We need humans to design the experiments, analyze the data, and apply what we've learned, but we have machines to execute huge segments of the experiment.

Extinction events are serious, but they're also very rare. The odds of an extinction event occurring in our lifetimes is vanishingly small. Even if we expand out to 1,000 years, it's exceedingly unlikely.

When it comes to harvesting resources, there's very little out there that we don't have  here, and it's far cheaper to mine/manufacture what we need here than it is to fetch it from space. You could park an asteroid made of platinum in LEO and it'd still be cheaper to mine platinum. While we can expect advances in lifting technologies, there are limits to how motivated we can be about advancing them when we don't really have much to  do with them, aside from launch more satellites.
 
2013-10-09 09:12:04 AM  
We haven't because while it is perfectly sane and healthy to practice caution around all things nuclear, that fear can be taken to irrational levels, and this is exactly what popular opinion has done.
 
2013-10-09 09:16:02 AM  
This system could get you to Mars and back to Earth, but they don't have a feasible system to get you down the gravity well and back.  You'd be limited to a fly-by or exploration of Phobos and Deimos.

This doesn't buy votes except in districts with NASA facilities and contractors and as someone already said, weapons contracts pay better.  Bottom line:  Science needs better lobbyists.
 
2013-10-09 09:16:04 AM  

xria: If they have fusion in a small device already working, shouldn't they tell the NIF that they can give up on the idea of a huge bank of lasers in a massive building that have only just managed to create a net energy positive fusion reaction (even then only if ignoring the inefficiencies of actually getting all the energy required into the fusion ignition target area).


There have been working "fusion devices" for decades.  It is just that the useful ones make really big KABOOMS and the ones that have a sustainable contained reaction take more energy to run then they spit out, and are thus, useless.  Except as science fair projects.
 
2013-10-09 09:16:08 AM  

dittybopper: Jim_Callahan: The shielding against radiation required to ship living biomass through interplanetary space safely is very expensive, mainly because it's heavy and getting mass out of the gravity well is a big, expensive deal.

So, the trick is to not bring all the mass required up from the surface of the Earth.  That significantly eases the energy costs.


The problem there is that the alternative is dropping the materials to  make the stuff you need into orbit, onto the moon, etc.  So you're still shoving an assload of mass up there, which frequently only nets you saved money/energy if you're running off hundreds and hundreds of units.

We build rockets and spacecraft in lots of like, ten.  Max.

This is why the only things that we've really considered recovering and applying in space are things that are essentially immediately usable in their raw form, like water/ice, which a lot of people have proposed using as a propellant once we're jetting around in the asteroid belt since it's all over the place there, or catching a couple comets and floating them around the Earth.

//Water doesn't noticeably shield you from gamma rays, though, and there's not realyl a good source or way to refine lead in space.
//Albeit, something that's becoming increasingly viable is salvaging parts from all the junk we've left in orbit.
 
2013-10-09 09:27:10 AM  
What would people do when they got there? I've heard that worthless rock doesn't even have the Van Allen belts to prevent the people there from being cooked.
 
2013-10-09 09:31:27 AM  

Jim_Callahan: //Water doesn't noticeably shield you from gamma rays, though, and there's not realyl a good source or way to refine lead in space.



Lead is only 20% to 30% better gamma shielding than the same mass of water or dirt.
 
2013-10-09 09:40:02 AM  

Nurglitch: What would people do when they got there? I've heard that worthless rock doesn't even have the Van Allen belts to prevent the people there from being cooked.


Mutate.
Prove evolution.
Finally get the Cdesign Proponentsists to STFU.

/Not really. they'll never STFU.
 
2013-10-09 09:48:12 AM  
Duh!

www.bionicdisco.com
 
2013-10-09 09:50:21 AM  
Because we can't? Who said we "can"?
 
2013-10-09 09:50:34 AM  

real_headhoncho: Someone should make a Kickstarter for this.

Crowd-sourced space exploration!


that'll end well.
 
2013-10-09 09:50:47 AM  

t3knomanser: The problem is that while humans may be better for doing science, they're significantly more expensive. They're needy little bastards which demand things like "air" and "food" and "water".



The solution is simple.
We need tardigrade astronauts.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/12855775
 
2013-10-09 09:51:11 AM  
there is absolutely no reason to send human beings to Mars, other than just to say we did it.

We are beyond that bullshiat.  Think about it.  We sent men to the moon in the 60's.  We haven't been back.  Why?  NO farkING POINT.

Until we find some sort of habitabal planet out there or just life in general, manned space exploration is far too dangerous and honestly pointless.

Send the probes.

Saw Europa Report recently.  The film, while sci-fi, is a fairly realistic look at long term space travel, and in the end, they all die due to technical mishaps.

Until we develop FTL travel on starships like the Enterprise or cryo like on the Sulaco, we are basically going nowhere because honestly, there is no farking where to go.
 
2013-10-09 09:51:28 AM  
A really fun book for anyone interested in how to keep us meatbags alive in space.


www.stabenow.com
 
2013-10-09 09:56:00 AM  

StopLurkListen: A really fun book for anyone interested in how to keep us meatbags alive in space.


[www.stabenow.com image 850x1283]


what the hell does a woman know about space?

/heh
//welcome to fark
 
2013-10-09 10:15:57 AM  

dittybopper: So, the trick is to not bring all the mass required up from the surface of the Earth. That significantly eases the energy costs.


Bob Zubrin laid out plans back in 1990 for a Mars mission that essentially sent up "factories" ahead of the Astronauts.
You can make methane and oxygen on the surface. You just need to bring your own hydrogen.

He even built prototypes from off the shelf parts that cost next to nothing.
His book "The Case for Mars" is still a pretty good read.
 
2013-10-09 10:18:30 AM  
Because of misplaced priorities.
We waste alot of money, even money earmarked for space, because the space race is about political grandstanding and government payouts rather than long term missions and meaningful accomplishments.

I think the solution is competition. But short of starting a new war (and the associated penis/rocket comparisons that happen between superpowers) we can't seem to find a willing antagonist to make government do anything worthwhile.

Actually, I would go with crowd sourcing too.

Gather money and have a private entity go to mars with people, maybe even colonize.
Its long past time for government to realize its becoming irrelevant tomankind's future.

/Maybe if it truly fears that, it will force itself to be relevant and sponsor more science.
/Or maybe it will destroy the launch facility...
 
2013-10-09 10:24:55 AM  

way south: Because of misplaced priorities.
We waste alot of money, even money earmarked for space, because the space race is about political grandstanding and government payouts rather than long term missions and meaningful accomplishments.

I think the solution is competition. But short of starting a new war (and the associated penis/rocket comparisons that happen between superpowers) we can't seem to find a willing antagonist to make government do anything worthwhile.

Actually, I would go with crowd sourcing too.

Gather money and have a private entity go to mars with people, maybe even colonize.
Its long past time for government to realize its becoming irrelevant tomankind's future.

/Maybe if it truly fears that, it will force itself to be relevant and sponsor more science.
/Or maybe it will destroy the launch facility...


More likely it will just be regulated into oblivion.

Maybe the Chinese can get it done.
 
2013-10-09 10:25:51 AM  
Look, I love the idea of humans on Mars as much as the next guy, but...

It's not worth the trouble. There's not much to learn.

Yes, colonizing other planets is a great idea. But we *do not have the technology* to do it. And sending humans to Mars with current technology isn't going to help with that.
 
2013-10-09 10:27:27 AM  
www.thebeerdrifter.com
C'mon, you want a guy growing out of your stomach? Even if he does have precognitive abilities?
 
2013-10-09 10:30:49 AM  
The fact it would cost a trillion dollars or so is one not-so-small issue.
 
2013-10-09 10:36:24 AM  

Geotpf: The fact it would cost a trillion dollars or so is one not-so-small issue.


A year's spending by the current DoD.
 
2013-10-09 10:37:03 AM  

DarnoKonrad: do we really need to infest another planet?


Yes. Many, many of them.
We have brains, we'll figure out the engineering as we go.

Scientist argument: stuff to see and learn! Imagine the glory to be found!
Engineering argument: stuff to build and problems to solve! Imagine the glory to me made!
Economist argument: more stuff out there to exploit than in the entire planet here. Imagine the riches!
Nutjob argument: only way to get away from all the government! Ye can be free out there (other than having to build communities that have mutual survival as a goal).
Fundamentalist argument: Genesis tells you to go out and populate the physical universe! By not going out, you are refusing one of the original commandments to humanity!
Survival argument: don't you want to make sure that we don't go extinct? Go, settle, do stuff! Survive!
Wine argument: imagine what the wine will taste like from the different soils! Might be able to get a superior product, with other types of soil, bacteria, etc!

...just... ah... don't go all Jamestown. Ignore the gold argument.
 
2013-10-09 10:45:07 AM  

t3knomanser: When it comes to harvesting resources, there's very little out there that we don't have here, and it's far cheaper to mine/manufacture what we need here than it is to fetch it from space. You could park an asteroid made of platinum in LEO and it'd still be cheaper to mine platinum.


Until the developing world reaches developed levels of consumption, and we run out of tungsten, gold, iridium and other rare materials. Most of the sidereophile elements are locked in the Earth's core, and it's a sight easier to get them from asteroids than from there.
 
2013-10-09 10:47:37 AM  

Quantum Apostrophe: Because we can't? Who said we "can"?




Phallic minded?
 
2013-10-09 10:51:50 AM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: dittybopper: So, the trick is to not bring all the mass required up from the surface of the Earth. That significantly eases the energy costs.

Bob Zubrin laid out plans back in 1990 for a Mars mission that essentially sent up "factories" ahead of the Astronauts.
You can make methane and oxygen on the surface. You just need to bring your own hydrogen.

He even built prototypes from off the shelf parts that cost next to nothing.
His book "The Case for Mars" is still a pretty good read.


Yep.

I was thinking more along the lines of sending out unmanned mining probes to nearby asteroids to gather up materials, or perhaps sending vehicles to gather up lunar material for shielding.

Another thing is ballast:  Every single launch that isn't at maximum capacity carries some ballast.  Require it to be lead, and come up with some mechanism to collect it from those launches that are within some reasonable altitude and inclination from the one where you are building your ship.

Lead has a low melting point, so you can melt the ballast you've collected and inject the liquid lead into voids in the spacecraft specifically set up for that sort of thing.

Or, alternatively, if you are impatient, just send up a single launch with all the lead you need.

The other thing to consider is that you don't have to shield the entire spacecraft, or even the entire habitable volume.  If you shield the sleeping area only, you cut total exposure by a third, which is significant, and you can use that as a shelter in case of a solar storm.  If you shield just the sleeping and eating/recreation area, you probably cut the exposure in half.
 
2013-10-09 11:13:24 AM  

frepnog: Saw Europa Report recently.  The film, while sci-fi, is a fairly realistic look at long term space travel, and in the end, they all die due to technical mishaps.


Well ThankYouSoVERYMuch, Good Sir, for the Spoiler Alert..

..I had that bookmarked to watch on my upcoming 'weekend' off, due to positive comments in another FARK thread..

So much fer that..

/grumble
 
2013-10-09 11:15:59 AM  

give me doughnuts: Jim_Callahan: //Water doesn't noticeably shield you from gamma rays, though, and there's not realyl a good source or way to refine lead in space.


Lead is only 20% to 30% better gamma shielding than the same mass of water or dirt.


Yeah, but lead has a specific gravity of like 11 to 12.  Ice is like 0.9 and dirt sorta hovers around 1 as well depending what's in the complex.

So "the same mass" to an easily-machined and -fitted plate of lead is a huge thick block of dirt or ice.  Since shielding's about mass per area you're talking a layer that's 15 to 20 times as thick for the same effect, which is problematic from an engineering standpoint.

Admittedly the "big block of ice" idea is still appealing since your shield can also be your reaction mass to an extent, but you'll also need minimum shielding that's realistically machinable.

It still comes down to the old cost/benefit tradeoff either way, and "ship machines instead of people so you don't have to shield at all" is still winning given the almost nonexistent increase in productivity you'd get from sending a man instead of a machine.

//Once we're talking about outright colonies, we  will be pounding out craft and parts in lots of 1000 or more, making some of the stuff discussed earlier more viable.  But that's a ways off since the only motivation for colonization is outright population pressure and we don't have that (intercontinental colonization had a profit motive, but setting up on Mars makes sending anything back run into the gravity well issue again).
 
2013-10-09 11:16:21 AM  

CAT-LIKE TYPING DETECTED: frepnog: Saw Europa Report recently.  The film, while sci-fi, is a fairly realistic look at long term space travel, and in the end, they all die due to technical mishaps.

Well ThankYouSoVERYMuch, Good Sir, for the Spoiler Alert..

..I had that bookmarked to watch on my upcoming 'weekend' off, due to positive comments in another FARK thread..

So much fer that..

/grumble


it's a farking found footage horror movie.  what did you think was going to happen?

/"that they all die" is no spoiler.  The movie is well worth the watch, and in the first few minutes you know that they all die.
 
2013-10-09 11:17:23 AM  

dittybopper: Lead


So this is why the Chinese put lead in everything!  They're trying to breed their people so they're resistant to lead, so they can just eat the stuff and be immune to radiation.  Clever move China, clever move.
 
Displayed 50 of 74 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
Advertisement
On Twitter





In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report