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Space Science

Moon Mission Anniversary 78

SEWilco writes: "As NASA points out, Friday May 25 2001 is the 40th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's speech which set the goal to place men on the Moon within 10 years. Of course, we did land on the Moon in a few places. Although the small spacecraft could only carry two people to the surface, there is a group picture (from this silly page). Few people considered that we might abandon it once we got there." mikeraz points out that the picture of the day is a Saturn V rocket, with plenty of other links too.
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Moon Mission Anniversary

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  • This is akin to saying "someone famous, powerful or beautiful needs to outline the benefits of doing _______ before I make it a fundamental part of my life, and promote it's acceptance among my peers".

    You sure you want to be in that sort of frame of mind for the rest of your life?

    Space Activism is something we can *all* do. Space belongs to those who take it.
  • This is a similar speech JFK gave in 1962, but I've heard more references to it than to the original one this story refers to.


  • And that isn't just any old Saturn V for the astropix of the day... that is Apollo 13 waiting to go up. And which cliche should I append... what goes up must come down... or Houston... we have a problem.
  • We will *never* work out our problems on this rock. We can try, but the solution will follow an asymptotic curve. Therefore, your philosophy would forever keep us in "high school", insisting that we pass our SAT exam without a single error before we would be allowed admittance to the university of the universe.

    I'm sorry, but there's two problems with this: First, knowlege is expanded through firsthand exploration of our environment, not through learning by rote under the tutelage of a severe and overdemanding schoolmistress. Second, space exploration pays dividends far above their cost. Expansion of knowlege helps every person, and that bends our trajectory towards that axis of perfection much faster than a self-imposed sequestering of humanity within the monestary we call Earth.

  • Your reply is logically unsound, because it is a strawman. I was not considering personal problems. I was considering health and life threatening problems, such as war, famine, disease, desposism, crime, injustice, racism, and death.

  • And then there are people like me that think we should work out our problems on this rock before we send them elsewhere.

    Then we are never going to get off this rock, ever. Sorry to burst your bubble but this rock will always have its problems. Don't get me wrong, I think we should continue to do our best to work out those problems and resolve them but I also believe we should explore our world around us.

    Besides, don't you want to figure out what the heck all those monoliths were doing?

  • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @04:06PM (#197812)
    This Sunday on FOX, immediately following "Malcolm in the Middle," FOX will air its new, shockingly revealing investigative report, "Did John F. Kennedy Really Think We Have A Moon, Did He Ever Give A Speech That Mentioned The Moon, And Do We Really Have A Moon Or Is It Just Another NASA Hoax?"

    Notable guests providing testimony wil be some invetigative reporter somewhere, a man who used to pull weeds outside the Oval Office, and some guy that made a camera purchased by JFK.

    SEE: The evidence NASA doesn't want you to see!
    SEE: Our gardener provide observations that THE MOON IS NOT ALWAYS THERE AT NIGHT!

    Only on FOX!

  • As Kennedy said in his original speech, the Moon is the key to our further development of space. Whether we're going to Mars, to orbital habitats in L5, to the asteroids, or just trying to manufacture and service satellites, solar power stations, or space stations in Low or Geo-synchronous Earth Orbit, lunar resources can bring costs down immensely. And as others here have mentioned, there's amazing science to be done from the lunar farside. And the view of Earth is pretty amazing too...

    Convinced we have to do it? Wondering why NASA has been ignoring the Moon most of the last 30 years? The Moon Society at [] was started this past year to provide a central grass-roots organization to advocate for lunar science and development, public or private. There's still a great need there for volunteer help - come join us and help make this happen, before another decade is out!
  • Tritium we don't have plenty of -- we might mine the Moon to bring that back to Earth.

    Other stuff we'd mine from the Moon because for use in space because it's much easier to get things to space from the Moon than from Earth. There's plenty of aluminum and titanium, both of which we already use in space. And there are a lot of oxides.

    Clementine data [] shows where there are iron deposits, of up to 20% iron oxide. That's a low-grade taconite, although the processing techniques used on Earth would probably have to be modified for lunar gravity. Northern Minnesota has been mining taconite for a while. I don't know how hard it will be to find all the ingredients for steel on the Moon.

    New Lunar Prospector studies [] suggest that the Clementine data is correct in location, but might be overestimating the abundance. Well, if we want to mine we'll be doing more prospecting -- at least we have LP maps [] and Clementine maps [].

  • It wasn't only carbon that I was concerned about. There's also not much calcium, which is part of the blast furnace formula.

    The simplest solution is probably the same one used on Earth: use biological processes to concentrate them. Get some plants growing in a mix which includes lunar material and they'll remove trace amounts of minerals from it, including carbon and calcium. It will take a lot of growing to get significant amounts of minerals extracted. Good thing that aluminum and titanium can be used in many low-gravity applications. Making that first canyon-spanning six-lane moon-buggy freeway bridge may take a while.

  • Hence in a very distant future, Earth will have permanent dark and light sides.

    Well, it would if it weren't for the compensating tidal effect of the moon pulling on the earth as it orbits. Given that the effect of the moon is stronger, my guess is that we'd end up with one side of the earth following the moon first... then the two would slow down until the earth had one side following the moon.

    Hmm... then the two would slow down as a lockstep pair, until the moon fell into the earth....

    This, of course, presumes that the ocean doesn't evaporate first.

  • As far as spectators at the launch pad, I never claimed that NASA didn't shoot someone into space. It is the moon landing that is of interest here, not the launching of rockets, and there is still no proof other than a lot of hearsay, most of it (funnily enough) originating from NASA itself.

    It would be easy enough to determine this for once and for all..... look at the (purported) videos of the astronauts on the moon. Sometimes they kick up dirt as they jump around. Calculate what the path of that dust would be.. It's supposedly in a vaccum, so it should follow a very newtonian curve --- but much more shallow than on the earth.

    I think that later flights had two cameras (one video and one film) so you might even be able to use the stereo effect to pinpoint moving objects very accurately).

    This is actually verifiable physics. They might be able to fake a moon parabolic curve for something like the golf ball (one astronaut supposedly took a golf ball to the moon and holds the record for the longest shot because of the lighter gravity), but the computation power didn't exist back then to do it to the moving pictures of dust that the astronauts kicked up. One way or the other, THAT should prove which sphere those astronauts were on.

  • Calmer heads have prevailed. The moon shots were a source of national pride during the cold war--"Look at what we can do!". They didn't actually make economic sense.

    When we come up with a lift technology that costs less than the payback, it will happen rapidly and in a big way.
  • Forget the moon bases, I anxiously await computers that can converse.

    OTOH, I never wanted a videophone, and still don't.
  • It's not coincidence, it's resonance. The earth's gravity pulling on the moon as it orbits will slow it down over time, until it eventually reaches a stable resonance point (in this case 1:1). I think most of Jupiter's moons exhibit the same ratio, and Mercury gets a similat effect from the sun (I think it's 3:2 but that's off the top of my head).

    It works in reverse, too, the earth's rotation has been slowing down over time, so the day is longer now than it was, say, during the Triassic or Permian or .

  • by tcyun ( 80828 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @01:29PM (#197821) Journal

    It has been posted here before, but the site Bad Astronomy [] has some great information on combatting the people who believe that the landings were faked. Most of the information is laid out in a good manner that is easy to understand, partic for third parties you point to the site.

  • by rash ( 83406 )
    Does michael mean we as in the people of the USA or the entire humanity?
    I see this verry often here at slashdot that you cannot express then difference between the two in a correct and informative way.

    As I am not apart of the population that makes up the USA I tend to get a sickening fealing in my stomach everytime I am refered to as an american.
  • Yes, I'm one of those kooks, but it's not what you think.

    You see, we had been on the moon even before JFK made that speech, but I'll tell you, the moon isn't what you think it is. I can't tell you what its actually like because well, because!

    Anyway, Richard Nixon got involved and they faked it so that the masses would be satified, and yet no one would no the horrible secret. Only Hello Kitty protects us from what really lies on the moon.
  • I loved the 'silly picture' - a composite of all the astronauts on the moon. But I really felt quite upset about it. Couldn't work out why.

    Then it struck me, I was disconcerted by the realistic-looking image of many astronauts on the moon's surface together like that, as if they were really there. Made me realise how sad it was - I am so used to seeing photos of isolated individuals on the moon lost in the great landscape, I am just not used the concept of a dozen astronauts on the moon at once. How sad is this? 30 years later and the dreams of gradually inhabiting the moon have come to nothing, we can't conceptualise the idea of a dozen people on the moon at once. It's just beyond practicality. I am sure the guys who worked on the Apollo missions must be bitterly disappointed all their work ended up just being an expensive Cold War stunt.
  • Well, if we say never, it'll never happen. It's a self-fullfilling prophecy. It just shows you're not doing your part, and want to transfer that to everyone else. So you can be released from guilt in collective crime. You'd like those (few) people that really works for a better earth and helps others, to stop, or become invisible so you don't have to think about them. Not that I'm any better than that either, I'm just saying what I think is the problem.

    You can have as many scientific and technological breakthroughs as you'd like, but we'd still have the same lack of morals, ethics and willingess to work for the collective. We're egoistic, all we think about is ourselves. Even when we care for family and colleagues. If you just stop once in a while in your day-to-day life, and notice who you're really thinking about, you'll see too.

    This doesn't work. In order to have a well-directed and healthy society, it's habitants MUST care for it. There's nothing out there in space that can do it for us. However, that care needs energy, and cannot really sustain by itself over time (due to friction). That is where I believe spirituality (breath-excersises, yoga, meditation, etc) comes into play. But negativity is what keeps people from breaking out of their circle, until they're fed up.

    - Steeltoe
  • Would it be possible to point a powerful telescope at the moon and see the lunar footprints of the Apollo crew?

    I don't believe so. I think you run into fundamental problems related to the wavelength of light when you try to go for that kind of magnification. Some sort of distributed adaptive optical system might be able to pull it off, but it would cost more than shipping all the skeptics up there to see for themselves.
  • See my reply [] to the other reply to my article. It applies to you too.
  • That is soooooo not true. The only reason why most people think that it is true is that they consider their personal problems bigger problems than the problems that are really problems.... You follow?

    Let's just say that it's an appearance-versus-reality thing, and most people consider appearance extremely important. It's called superficiality. Take, for example, lawn-mowing. We cut back on our oxygen-producing grass because it looks better. Period. But are "ugly" yards a real problem?

  • by crashnbur ( 127738 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @01:27PM (#197829)
    And then there are the conspiracy theorists that do not believe that we ever landed on the moon. And then there are the Apollites that wish we were still sending people to the moon. And then there are people like me that think we should work out our problems on this rock before we send them elsewhere.

    Maybe Agent Smith was right... Maybe we are a virus.

  • With all the talk of Mars missions. When will NASA get a clue and start using the moon for the natural resources?
  • There is proof. Go up there. There's a flag up there and some footprints around it.
  • Youd don't exist. Go away.
  • If my ancestors had said "No reason to migrate to North America until we have all the problems of the old country solved" I probably wouldn't be living, much less living in the US. Ditto for lots of people in lots of countries.

    No question that economics drives most migration and colonization. But someone still must go exploring first in order to discover the new lands.

    Sometimes those explorers are driven by crass and antastic dreams of wealth, sometimes by idealistic visions. In either category, the human race seems to be following short. The 20th Century has a lot to answer for in terms of lives sacrificed in wars spawned by hate and malice, but we also have a lot to answer for because of our collective small-minded loss of nerve.

  • As cool as it is, the theory that oil is inorganic and of possibly extraterrestrial origin has yet to really be proved. Natural gas and coal, on the other hand, are of biological origin.

    It would be a fantastic scientific discovery if oil were found on the moon... one of those few and far between "this changes everything" moments. We have evidence of fairly complex hydrocarbons in space, but oil would be another matter entirely. I'm sincerely dubious, but I won't dismiss the idea until someone digs a deep enough hole on the moon.

  • The reason is economic. The space launch costs from the Russian block are tiny. Provided they don't go bankrupt they can kick off a decent tourism program. That will raise demand and in the long run cut costs.

    Space isn't much more expensive than air travel in fact- it just looks it right now because we don't go there much- everything has to be hand made and most programs are run by governments; who aren't noted for their efficiency.

    Raise the launch rate (and its growing 15% a year, year on year and has done for a decade or so) and the costs come down very nicely. The minimum costs are probably fuel. But we are currently nowhere near fuel costs dominating. If they did then a trip to space would only cost a few thousand per person...

    The next people to go to the moon in any number will be tourism related I think. As an example of something cool to do there; imagine human powered flight (Gossamer Albatross can fly under 1g at atmospheric pressure, imagine 1/6g at atmospheric pressure -in a dome...)
  • Ok a few points:

    a) You're assuming you want to send the materials back to the earth. For a Mars mission you wouldn't want to do this.

    b) the crust certainly isn't lacking metals- there's plenty of iron, aluminium, titanium etc; see Permanents list of minerals on the moon []. And they are already oxides. For several reasons they are probably easier to separate in space (some techniques like fractional distillation of the oxides[!] are easier there due to ready availability of solar energy and the micro gravity.)

    c) the moon is short of volatiles (especially hydrogen and carbon) however; there does seem to be a supply of hydrogen in some form at the poles, and there is speculation that it might contain carbon too.

    d) Imagine it was back in the 15 century: "why would we want to go to the west indies? There's nothing there we haven't got plenty of...". In point of fact there's more stuff in space than down here on earth (particularly solar energy.)

  • No offense, but I hope you failed your assignment.

    Check out space and tech launch data []. Soyuz has a 30:1 launch mass:payload ratio. most of which is going to be fuel; and that's an old multistager and not at all cutting edge.

    Besides, fuel is cheap (government tax notwithstanding.) Fuel costs are much less than 1% of rocketry costs right now. The rest goes into the armies of people needed to launch these things. Thing is, the armies don't get much bigger when you launch much more often - they are fixed costs and the unit costs are very much lower.

  • I like the Space Shuttle. The space shuttle is the most capable launch vehicle ever invented. It is a triumph of engineering. It is also the most expensive launch vehicle ever invented per pound of payload.

    Do you have a citation for your statement that most of the space shuttle costs are fuel? I'm sorry but I suggest you check that out. The highest expense is the wages of the people that were needed to design and build the orbiters by a very, very long way.

    p.s. a space shuttle launch actually is more like 100 million per launch. The figure of a 1 to 1.5 billion allows for the very high costs incurred during its development; they've been divided over the expected number of launches; and they don't expect to launch often enough to make it cheaper.

    To pick a number at the other end of the spectrum, the Russian Proton V rocket costs them more like $5m per launch, but they charge $80m to help pay for their space program. Its not nearly as good as the Space Shuttle, but it has similarish payload.

    If you do the maths as I have you find that the space shuttle is almost an order of magnitude more expensive per pound.

  • Carbon is needed for making steel and there ain't very much of it on the moon (ppm type abundancies).

    Tritium isn't much use currently. Its supposed to be useful for nuclear fusion. But nobody knows how to make controlled nuclear fusion work, and personally I'm quite skeptical it will ever work economically. Still, you never know. Tokomaks might fly.

  • Actually, theoretically, the carbon doesn't get used up in the blast furnace; so you could import it to get started (Theoretically; in practice I suspect that carbides will form.)

    But it does turn into carbon dioxide. It should be possible to use plants to turn the carbon dioxide back into carbon again; although that becomes a rate limiting step in the blast furnace.

    So you only need enough carbon to top up the losses, with luck the plants might liberate enough for that as well, or it might need special processing like fractional distillation of the rock to extract that carbonates.

    I haven't investigated the Calcium bit, perhaps that could be recycled somehow as well?
  • What really freaks me out is, why does Earth have exactly one moon? Some planets have none, some have several, but there is something magical about one because it gives the 'dipole' of Sun & Moon - day & night. (Even though the moon can often be seen during daytime.)

    I hit the karma cap, now do I gain enlightenment?
  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @03:03PM (#197842) Homepage Journal
    The earth's gravity pulling on the moon as it orbits will slow it down over time, until it eventually reaches a stable resonance point (in this case 1:1)

    In fact, gravity simply pulling on Moon would have no effect, if there were no complications from tidal forces. This is easier to understand in the case of Earth:

    The gravitational attraction of Sun on Earth is stronger on the side closer to Sun. Therefore, the oceans bulge towards Sun. (The same thing happens due to Moon even more notably.) Because Earth rotates at a rate different from its orbiting around Sun, the bulge moves relative to Earth. But there are dissipative forces, i.e. viscosity of the water, which gradually slows down this relative motion. Hence in a very distant future, Earth will have permanent dark and light sides.

    The same effect can occur even when there is no ocean (there may have been some on Moon), because planets are not made of infinitely rigid/elastic material. (Elastic meaning that there are no viscous, dissipative forces.) It is generally believed that this process has slowed down the rotation of Moon to match its orbiting around Earth.

    I hit the karma cap, now do I gain enlightenment?

  • why there are no StarBucks or McDonalds on the moon.

  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @01:49PM (#197844) Journal
    Here [] is a page that gives many (not all) of the key documents involved in the history of the space program from the 1950s to the present.

    Wonderful stuff to pick through.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • When I was young I told my mum
    I'm going to walk on the Moon someday
    Armstrong and Aldrin spoke to me
    From Houston and Cape Kennedy

    And I watched the Eagle landing
    On a night when the Moon was full
    And as it tugged at the tides, I knew deep inside
    I too could feel its pull

    I lay in my bed and dreamed I walked
    On the Sea of Tranquillity
    I knew that someday soon we'd all sail to the moon
    On the high tide of technology

    But the dreams have all been taken
    And the window seats taken too
    And 2001 has almost come and gone
    What am I supposed to do?

    Now that the space race is over
    It's been and it's gone and
    I'll never get to the moon
    Because the space race is over
    And I can't help but feel
    We've all grown up too soon

    Now my dreams have all been shattered
    And my wings are tattered too
    And I can still fly but not half as high
    As once I wanted to

    Now that the space race is over
    It's been and it's gone and
    I'll never get to the moon
    Because the space race is over
    And I can't help but feel
    We've all grown up too soon

    My son and I stand beneath the great night sky
    And gaze up in wonder
    I tell him the tale of Apollo And he says
    "Why did they ever go?"

    It may look like some empty gesture
    To go all that way just to come back
    But don't offer me a place out in cyberspace
    Cos where in the hell's that at?

    Now that the space race is over
    It's been and it's gone and
    I'll never get out of my room

    Because the space race is over
    And I can't help but feel
    We're all just going nowhere...

    -- The Space Race is Over, from William Bloke, 1996
  • If the number one freaks you out, you've got problems.
  • Why the hell do you think Kennedy was responsible for the Cuban missle crisis? And if the US and USSR were stupid enough to risk M.A.D. in the first place, why would they suddenly stop?
  • We can begin the revisionism... Repeat after me:


    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • Tens of thousands of bean counters checked that all that money was being spent properly (especially on bean counters).

    The truth is: The money was all spent on a toilet seat and a quarter roll of toilet paper.

    Go see The Dish a great, awesome movie. I'll be getting this one on DVD when it comes out! (and, no, you can't borrow it!)

    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • Wrong department. It won't be NASA exploiting the moon for natural resources, it'll be friends-of-the-President. Were there oil on the moon, you'd already see space barges moving it back to earth. (Now there's a thought for a sci-fi story, eh?)

    Most likely any minerals to gain from the moon are already on earth in sufficient and far less expensice quantities. Same for Mars.

    Thank you for visiting Mars Please empty your shoes of sand before departing.

    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • An interesting perspective. With JFK dead, after such a noble and galvanizing speech, it would be much more difficult to reverse the engines on the project. Although, there was quite a bit of fear, and competition with the russians to fuel it for a while.

    Logic: The superior political system will land the first man on the moon.

    Gotta love them 60's.

    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • The Moon's crust is lacking in heavy metals in comparison to the Earth. Tectonic action, on the Earth, brought valuable minerals near the surface; not so on the Moon. The crust of the Moon consists mostly of silicates of lighter metals, and silicate minerals are difficult to use as ores (most good ore minerals are either sulfides and arsenides, like chalcopyrite or skutterudite, or oxides, like bauxite or hematite.) In short, there's nothing there to mine that we haven't got plenty of.

  • Many people have heard of the Mars Society and know of their efforts to create human habitats on Mars. What you may not know is that a significant group of people are also working on getting back to the moon - this time to stay! Relevant URLs: The Moon Society [] and The Artemis Project []
  • I tend to get a sickening fealing in my stomach everytime I am refered to as an american.

    So do we.

  • In hindsight the moon landing resulted in ... nothing. Oh and do not even start me about the Teflon Pan

    An understanding of where the moon came from, its age, its composition, is not "nothing." The value of exploration, scientific discovery, and man's understanding of his place in the universe is not measured in Teflon pans.

    By your standards Galileo, Copernicus, Stephen Hawking, Sir Isaac Newton, and countless others contributed "nothing" because their work did not result in consumer products. It must be a very sad world in which you live.

  • There is no convincing proof. Really.

    The Russians monitored the radio signals (do you think that they were in on the "hoax"?). Ham radio operators monitored these same signals. Sailors on aircraft carriers watched the capsule plummet into the ocean. Amateur astronomers watched the progress of Apollo through their telescopes. Many people went to Cape Canaveral to watch the launch. If this was a conspiracy or hoax, it was the largest one that ever existed, enjoying the cooperation of millions of people throughout the world.

    Testimonials: Really? Do you know "thousands of people involed in the lunar missions"?

    Yes. I know all of them. I have subjected each and every one of them to polygraphs and injected them with "truth serum" to verify their stories. I have checked their DNA samples against the people that they claimed were their parents. I have gone through birth and death records to verify their identities.

    But seriously, that's an absurd question. I don't have to personally know thousands of people to believe that they are telling the truth in interviews.

    What would it take to convince you of the authenticity of the landings? Would NASA have to fly you to the moon and point at the footprints? You act like anything that can be faked must be assumed to be fake. That's absurd and it's not how science works.

  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @01:24PM (#197857) Homepage Journal
    If only we had continued our space program... When 2001: A Space Odyssey was released, the space travel, moon colonization, and missions throughout the solar system seemed only reasonable assumptions given the progress we had made. We have yet to land a man on any extraterrestrial body other than the moon and even that has not been done in almost 30 years.
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @01:54PM (#197858) Homepage Journal
    If we had actually landed on the moon. Even with all the coverups and "debunkings" that have come out to prove that we in fact went to the moon, there is little solid evidence to support such a preposterous notion.

    You are a moron. There are thousands of photos, 382kg of lunar samples, testimony from thousands of people involved in the lunar missions, from astronauts to engineers at private firms that built the spacecraft. If that's not enough, have someone read to you from this link: Bad Astronomy []

    If you are still unconvinced, please get a vasectomy or your tubes tied (your doctor can tell you which procedure is appropriate for you).

  • >>currently nowhere near fuel costs dominating What the hell are you talking about??? A space shuttle launch costs over a billion dollars, and by far the highest expense is fuel
  • Does anyone actually believe that man has been on the moon? Yes. A reasonably good amateur telescope could watch the spacecraft all the way there and back. Ham operators could pick up the radio signals -- and anyone with a dish could check the direction it came from. That certainly includes the Soviets, who would have loved to have caught us faking it. Thousands of men worked on the rockets. Tens of thousands of bean counters checked that all that money was being spent properly (especially on bean counters). No way could that many Americans keep a secret! What it all comes down to is, to fake a moon landing successfully, they would have had to build rockets capable of a moon landing and return, trained astronauts for the job, then at the last minute put 3 robots from Walt Disney studios inside the space suits to be loaded into the capsule in view of the press, and sent them off to the moon and back. They would have had to pre-tape everything that would happen in space, and have the spacecraft beam that back for TV -- including tape of where they actually landed, which wasn't exactly where they expected to land. It would be easier to actually do it than to fake it.
  • Because we know of how high quality FOX specials are. Next on FOX- "When Moon Missions Attack!"
  • And don't even get me started on the dangers of orbital debris....

    Calling Captain Quark!

    "And Ficus Pederata, and Gene/Jean, and, oh yes, the Two Bettys..."

    P.S. The pretty one is the clone. []
  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @02:07PM (#197863) Journal
    No history of the USA space program is complete without acknowledging the brave and selfless contribution of our porcine fellow travellers [].

  • That is, of course, a problem if you're a government. However, according to all the literature from peopl selling moon property, it doesn't apply to individuals. Private parties would mine the moon better anyway (notice Ukraine's government run coal enterprises, which despite vast coal resources, still can't make a profit).
  • Although many people I know hate the Tasmin Archer song, 'Sleeping Satellite', because they think it's against space travel. I think it sums up where we went wrong, by abandoning the moon.

    For a really great read, albeit a fictional one, I really enjoyed Dan Simmons, 'Phases of Gravity'. It's the story of what happened to a fictional crew of three in the Apollo program, years after they returned to Earth. Kind of like the 'American Beauty' of the Space Race.

    Sleeping Satellite
    Tasmin Archer

    I blame you for the moonlit sky
    and the dream that died
    with the eagles flight
    I blame you for the moonlit nights
    when I wonder why
    are the seas still dry?
    don't blame this sleeping satellite

    Did we fly to the moon too soon?
    did we squander the chance?
    in the rush of the race
    the reason we chase is lost romance
    and still we try
    to justify the waste
    for a taste of mans greatest adventure

    I blame you for the moonlit sky
    and the dream that died
    with the eagles flight
    I blame you for the moonlit nights
    when I wonder why
    are the seas still dry?
    don't blame this sleeping satellite

    Have we got what it takes to advance?
    did we peak too soon
    if the world is so green
    then why does it scream under a blue moon?
    we wonder why
    the earth's sacrificed
    for the price of its greatest treasure

    I blame you for the moonlit sky
    and the dream that died
    with the eagles flight
    I blame you for the moonlit nights
    when I wonder why
    are the seas still dry?
    don't blame this sleeping satellite

    And when we shoot for the stars
    what a giant step
    have we got what it takes
    to carry the weight of this concept?
    Or pass it by
    like a shot in the dark
    miss the mark with a sense of adventure

    I blame you for the moonlit sky
    and the dream that died
    with the eagles flight
    I blame you for the moonlit nights
    when I wonder why
    are the seas still dry?
    don't blame this sleeping satellite

    -Dr. Wu
  • by McSpew ( 316871 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @02:22PM (#197866)

    I'm a huge proponent of the US space program, but let's face it. The enormous cost of sending a man to the moon should be enough to show us that the US would not have bothered if there had not been the intense competition for propaganda rights with the Soviet Union. If the Soviet Union had not existed in the '50s and '60s, there would not have been a US lunar program then.

    Why am I saying this? Because it's true. Today, the cost to put anything into low Earth orbit is about $10,000 per pound. Until that cost falls by a factor of 10 or more, NASA will continue to scratch for the money to conduct any sort of space exploration and the moon and Mars will be out of reach for manned missions.

    Kubrick [] and Clarke [] looked at the rate of progress of space exploration in the '50s and '60s and extrapolated that by now, we'd have giant orbiting space stations that rotated to produce artificial gravity. They imagined we'd have the wherewithal to send an enormous manned spacecraft to Jupiter (Saturn in the book).

    So, why don't we have any of those things? Ironically, it has less to do with current launch costs than with the economics of demand for commercial space launch and what's known as a "demand plateau." A recent study [] showed that demand for space launch capability is in a plateau region where reducing costs will not significantly increase demand until costs fall by a factor of 20 or more. In other words, there's a disincentive for commercial launch companies to reduce launch costs unless they can radically slash launch costs.

    And don't even get me started on the dangers of orbital debris []....

  • What really freaks me out is, why does Earth have exactly one moon?

    That's easily explained by the anthropic principle. It's much more likely to get land-based life forms on a planet with large tidal activity (when the tide recedes, fish need to evolve lungs).

    Large tides need large lunar mass. But multiple large moons would likely form unstable orbits that interfere with each other. Therefore, one large moon.


  • A reasonably good amateur telescope could watch the spacecraft all the way there and back.

    There is no proof that amateur telescopes exist.

    Ham operators could pick up the radio signals -- and anyone with a dish could check the direction it came from.

    There is no evidence that ham operators exist. There is no proof that a dish can monitor anything

    That certainly includes the Soviets, who would have loved to have caught us faking it.

    There is zero evidence that there was a "cold war", or that the SOVIETS UNION EVEN EXISTED.

    Thousands of men worked on the rockets. Tens of thousands of bean counters checked that all that money was being spent properly (especially on bean counters).


    No way could that many Americans keep a secret!


    (Actually, my sig is relevant to this topic if you think about it)

  • We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win ...

    I have this quote on my wall. Helps with those days when the studies get tough.

    If you've seen From the Earth to the Moon, the footage of that quote is at the beginning of each episode.

  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @03:37PM (#197870) Journal

    these days no politician would dare make a speech like JFK did.

    Already done. President Bush (the senior) challenged the nation to land a man on Mars by 2015. Neil Armstrong issued a similar challenge a year ago on the 30th anniversary of the lunar landings.

    Unfortunately, that's not enough. In 1961 there was an unusual combination of a charismatic leader (Kennedy), a clear goal (the moon), and a hated arch-rival (the USSR) to generate the required political will.

    If single stage to orbit technologies become a reality, thereby dramatically reducing launch costs, my opinion is that we will see privately funded expeditions to the moon within our lifetimes, much like we see privately funded expeditions to Everest, the south pole, and elsewhere today. NASA be damned.

  • I mean, look at it. A bunch of guys doing two dozen different things. Am I the only one reminded of Lemmings? Or perhaps WarCraft?
  • That will be kinda tough to do. How can you mine minerals that you don't own? How can you own minerals when you can't claim the land they're in? How can you claim land when there's a pesky little UN treaty in the way?
  • Then who's laws would be enforced? If one miner murdered another, what court would they stand trial in? If the company short-changed an employee in one way or another, what could they do about it?

    Even more interesting is how this private company would be able to sell their stuff back on Earth. If your cargo ship landed in, say, Canada, what would prevent the Canadian government from immediately claiming that the ship and all its cargo belongs to them?

  • We found out it wasn't made of cheese.

    No, no, no. The reason is even more simple. We found out it is made of cheese!


    What could be more off-putting than an enormous globe of rotten milk hanging over our heads? gack gack gack.

  • It's only a silly myth that oil, coal, and natural gas are formed by ancient animal / vegetable matter. If this were true then Jupitor, Saturn, and many other planetary bodies in our solar system would not have methane atmospheres. You'd just have to dig for it very deep, perhaps 50 miles or so. But it is probably there.
  • I know now one will ever read this but... Methane is natural gas, and is found on Jupitor and Saturn, as well as other planetary bodies. Oil can be made from natural gas, and coal probably can too. All it takes is heat and pressure.
  • > Most likely any minerals to gain from the moon
    >are already on earth in sufficient and far less expensice quantities

    Not true. Helium-3 is a typical example [].

  • I don't why there's still this belief that there was an actual trip to the moon with people going back and forth with 30+ years old technology.
    Ok, first off I have to say TROLL...
    That said...
    Why has not the US set up a permanent station in the moon. After all, today's technology is much better than 30 years ago.
    Simple... we went to the moon for political reasons, to say we did so, to top the commies, etc. It would also be insanely expensive to maintain, as food would have to be shipped there. It would take probably two orders of magnitude more money than we are currently spending on the space program JUST to support such a station. the money would be better spent elsewhere.
    Why stopping the "moon trips" altogether?
    Basically the same reasons as I just mentioned.
    Why even with all the powerful telescopes we have today, there's not even a single (NOT ONE) good shot of artifacts left in the moon from the trip 30 years ago? And yet, they have great shots of Neptune, Saturn, etc.
    There is a very large difference between a great shot of neptune and a shot of the moon with details. Neptune, a pixel could be a square mile and it would look very very good, but a square foot pixel wouldn't give a good shot of artifacts on the moon.
    That said, there is a nice tangible observable thing left on the moon that can be observed... a mirror. I remember reading somewhere about a laser being shined at this mirror and reflected into an observatory. (anyone have links?)

    In any case, I think the most convincing piece of proof that we did go there was the parabolic arcs [] of the dust. There is no real possible way to do this without revolutionary new (but 30 years old) classified technology, and if you allow for that, you can't refute anything.
  • by spacefem ( 443435 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @01:27PM (#197879) Homepage
    This was back when people seemed to like government and whatever goals it set, there's such a debate about space exploration these days no politician would dare make a speech like JFK did.

    Someone famous, powerful, or beautiful needs to outline the benefits of doing space things, outside of the fact that the pictures are pretty, am I right? I don't fit the above mentioned criteria, otherwise I'd make known the technological advances NASA has brought about trying to improve our space-lives. America has lost it's idealism, that's no surprise, it's just nice to look back and know that the time period we had it in is still admired.

    Until then, my generation has to wait for something like this [] to capture our imagination again.

  • What we really need to do is build a radio astronomy station on the dark side of the moon, shielded from all the nasty RF noise we pump out constantly here on earth. Is anybody as freaked out as me about the moon having EXACTLY one revolution per rotation... No deviation at all. Coincidence???
  • No, no, no.

    The reason we've decided that going to the moon isn't worth the time and effort anymore is rather simple.

    We found out it wasn't made of cheese.

  • Then we'd better get started on it, haven't you noticed the amount of attention that our current prez pays to treaties? If it's good for campaign contributors, why let a little thing like a treaty stand in the way?
  • thanks for the web-site, I hope we will see private space flights within five years!

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.