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Space Science

Brazilian Rocket Explodes on Launch Pad 546

steman writes "BBC News Online says that 16 people have been killed and a Brazillian space rocket was destroyed in an explosion in Brazil. It seems that the space race is heating up again, with many countries getting involved such as China, Europe and Japan to name just three. Will the future of space exploration be dominated by names other than Russia and the USA?"
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Brazilian Rocket Explodes on Launch Pad

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  • Since when... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArchAngelQ ( 35053 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:23AM (#6771670) Homepage Journal
    is Europe just one contry? I'm all for conciceness, and yes, Europe is becoming peaceful and in many ways a single, strong political force, but the contries in Europe are far from being a single contry.
    • Furthermore (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hhnerkopfabbeisser ( 645832 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:30AM (#6771687)
      Since European carrier rockets are in their fifth generation now, I wouldn't consider them "news".

      Europe has sent things up into space for quite a while now...
      • Since European carrier rockets are in their fifth generation now, I wouldn't consider them "news".

        This so called 5th generation of the Ariane carrier rocket is as much a 5th generation as windows 95 is the 95th version. /. has linked to that: Uprated "10-ton" Ariane 5 Fails [slashdot.org]
    • Re:Since when... (Score:3, Informative)

      by j7953 ( 457666 )

      But as far as I know none of the countries has its own space program, they cooperate in the European Space Agency [esa.int].

      • Re:Since when... (Score:5, Informative)

        by nusuth ( 520833 ) <oooo_0000usNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @07:02AM (#6772137) Homepage
        ESA is not an EU agency. In fact the information is just one click away from your link:

        Who belongs to ESA? ESA's 15 Member States are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Canada has special status and participates in some projects under a cooperation agreement. As can be seen from this list, not all member countries of the European Union are members of ESA and not all ESA Member States are members of the EU. ESA is an entirely independent organisation although it maintains close ties with the EU with whom it shares a joint space strategy.

    • Re:Since when... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:42AM (#6771750)
      Well, most of the effort from European Union countries comes through the European Space Agency [esa.int]. This is why it's probably okay to classify them as "the europeans". They've not done any solo manned stuff yet, but have done a lot with space probes and unmanned missions.

      Although they don't have manned launch vehicles of their own, they work with the Soviets and with NASA. Their highest profile manned project is their work on the International Space Station [esa.int] - both in terms of supplying space hardware and astronauts. Their most notable unmanned project is the groundbreaking joint-NASA SOHO [estec.esa.nl] sun observation probe.

      Upcoming projects of note: a manned Mars [esa.int] mission is in the (very) early planning stages.

      It seems as though international cooperation should be the *only* way to go when it comes to grand plans such as reaching Mars. If NASA, ESA, China, India and the Soviets all put their differences aside and pulled together - humanity could become a truly spacefaring species within our lifetimes (graduating from a "type 0" to a "type 1" species that has mastered interplanetary travel [where type 2,3 = extra-solar and galactic travel).
      • Re:Since when... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Kryptoff ( 611007 )

        Apart from the fact that European Union != Europe, I would like to stress the fact that there are a lot more countries that have space programs and astronauts.

        Shameless plug for my country: Here [spacefacts.de] you can read about a Romanian astronaut. :-)

    • Re:Since when... (Score:2, Informative)

      by wheezl ( 63394 )
      Whoever modded this as flamebait is an idiot. While the EU is an economic entity.. to call Europe a country is just plain silly.

    • by AntiOrganic ( 650691 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @05:46AM (#6771935) Homepage
      Europe is a country like Canada is the 51st state.

      Because, yes, Slashdot is too American-centric.
    • Re:Since when... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by presroi ( 657709 ) <neubau@presroi.de> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @06:11AM (#6771994) Homepage
      I'm living in Frankfurt/Germany. Last month I was at a study session in Strasbourg/France. I could have left my passport or my ID card at home. As long as your skin is white enough, borders within the Schengen countries [auswaertiges-amt.de] do not apply to you. You enter the train in - let's say Karlsruhe - and you leave it in Strasbourg without having noticed a thing called "border".

      If I were a German of turkish origin, my experience would be totally different. German or French border police would have picked me up, would have checked my passport and maybe my pockets.

      Under these circumstances, it might be arrogant to say ist but for me as some kind of WASP, Europe has become one country.

      If you take it from a legal perspective, there is more evidence. About 50 per cent of the new laws in 'the German part of Europe' are more or less ratifications from European ones.

      Well, and nobody can take away my optimism that this European Constitution [eu.int] will come into effect soon. (Actually, this is not the first European Constitution but this is the first time they call it that way).
      • Re:Since when... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nusuth ( 520833 ) <oooo_0000usNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @07:13AM (#6772158) Homepage
        I'm a Turkish citizen with Turkic origin. I never had to show my passport during my travels inside Schengen countries since, I guess, 1995. And I didn't try not showing it either. You attribute too much racism to EU. Germany, in my experience, is by far the most racist of the bunch and you now it is not really that much.

        The visa process is another matter though. I hate to have to prove my EU-entry-worthiness each and every time I want to travel there. A visa from Germany is the hardest to get but I think that has more to do with number of turkish immigrants there than racist policies.

  • by brrrrrrt ( 628665 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:27AM (#6771679)
    Can someone please change the insinuation in the text that Europe is a country? For heavens' sake, I thought it was just braindead American tourists that visit our "country" who thought this, not Slashdot editors.
    • Last time I checked steman wasn't a /. editor
    • Wrong place for this...
      But I make the argument that the EU is quickly approaching being a country made up of seperate states in the same way that the US is.

      So by that logic you could say that Europe is a country, or possibly soon to be one.

      Yes I know I am bending the logic a bit. But give me 20 years. It is coming.
      • Sure it's coming, but the article was not written in 20 years, was it? It should stick to the facts as they are now.
    • Okay, the writing is a little sloppy.

      However, the slip was understandable in this case given that for the purposes of space exploration and research Europe acts as if it were a single country through the ESA.

      Also, calling Europe a country is really just extrapolating based upon current trends. EU member states have given a surprising amount of sovereignty away to the union as a whole, and the current setup looks like it invites a gradual erosion of national sovereignty in favor of centralized power.

      Of c
      • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @05:11AM (#6771835) Homepage
        And extrapolating current trends, you don't object to calling the US, Mexico and Canada one country either?

        There are a lot of resistence towards too much integration in Europe; not surprising, what with the large cultural, political and linguistic differences. If Europe ever coalesces into one state, it will take quite a lot more than one or two generations. More likely, this will never fully happen.
    • That's funny, because I don't know any American that thinks Europe is a "country." But I know plenty of Europeans that seem to think so.

    • Europe is a peninsula of Asia.

      The whole "Europe is a continent" thing is just an old wives tale of its formerly ignorant and barbaric natives ( whose own Asian ancestors had walked across the Asian continent to get there in the first place) that simply refuses to die.

      Europe is simply a manmade socio-political region.

      • by DunbarTheInept ( 764 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @06:24AM (#6772030) Homepage
        What is the definition of "continent"? If is is merely that you can walk across it on land, then Africa is also part of the same continent (or was before the Suez Canal was built), and so too were North and South America (before the Panama canal was built). It is merely that it's an island? How big of one? Why is Australia a continent, but Greenland is just an island of North America? Where is the official cutoff mark in terms of land area, or how narrow an isthmus has to be (such as Panama or the connection between Egypt and Asia) to consider landmasses to be separate? Is there one? No. My point is that *all* designations of continents are arbitrary made-up terms, not just the strange decision to split Europe from Asia. There is no such thing as the concrete definition of what is a continent. It's all arbitrary.
  • Like, WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tietokone-olmi ( 26595 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:29AM (#6771682)
    So. About a year ago, give or take a little, a NASA shuttle breaks apart and goes kaboom on re-entry. A couple of fucking big articles appear on slarshdot, it's like a national day of mourning is declared and shit. That's OK -- after all, people died and the US warmongering neo-conservative bureaucrat assholes got yet another reason to cut funding to space exploration and related technologies.

    But now, a Brazilian launch vehicle explodes, on the pad no less (think Challenger, only a bit sooner) and all those 16 dead people merit are one measly link, a couple of phrases in a slashdot heading (half of which is speculation about the future of missions to space from an unbelievably US-centric viewpoint) and not much else. Like, what the fuck?
    • Calm down. This is just the first story. We're just waiting for the conspiracy theories, and the usual terrorist organizations (Al-Queda, Hamas, USPO) claiming responsibility.
    • Re:Like, WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lshmael ( 603746 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:41AM (#6771744) Homepage
      You claim Slashdot is Americentric (which it is, to an extent), but you fall into that trap yourself.
      A couple of fucking big articles appear on slarshdot, it's like a national day of mourning is declared and shit.

      Aren't national days of mourning (by their definition) national? And this is completely different from Challenger. Challenger was a shuttle meant to carry people into space. This is a rocket that carries satellites. Sure, it's horrible that people die, but there were technicans, not astronauts (no sex, no story...).

      Furthermore, I fail to see how the speculation in the original post is "US-centric." The very idea is that other countries (China, India, Brazil) are going into space. The US had a nice space program in the past. See the connection.

      Lastly, your "one measly link" comment. What links do you have that show extra information not covered in the BBC article?
      • Sure, it's horrible that people die, but they were(sic) were technicans, not astronauts

        I think the point that you're missing is that people died . It doesn't matter that they were merely technicians. The original post seemed a tad insensitive to this fact. They could have been janitors that were cleaning up around the place at night, and they still would have deserved a little more respect.
        • Re:Like, WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TomV ( 138637 )
          I think the point that you're missing is that people died

          It seems to me that the next 22 characters, completing the sentence you part-quoted: " (no sex, no story...)" suggests rather strongly that Lshmael, far from missing the point, hit a very clean bullseye.

          Here in the UK, we regularly get news along the lines of "something trivial happened in Lancashire, something fairly dull happened in Kent, some minor stuff went down in Dyfed, and in other news, 12,000 people died in a disaster on another continen
        • Re:Like, WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TGK ( 262438 )
          Millions die every year from cureable diseases because they can't afford the price the Western Nations set on the medications.

          Millions more die from starvation around the world because they live in countries where the equitable distribution of food isn't a concern to those in power.

          Yes, it's tragic that these people died in an accident in Brazil. I feel a great sence of sorrow for them and their families. Yet, lets not forget that these individuals who we're making such a big deal over are but a drop in
    • Re:Like, WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by orbbro ( 467373 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:42AM (#6771747) Homepage
      Yes, it has to be said: This submission was incredibly insensitive.

      Interestingly, about as many people (~20) died in this Brazilian accident as died in the history of NASA events (17), according to this article [foxnews.com].

      So, stemen is saying, in effect, Brazil just lost as many people as (or more than) NASA ever did, but let's ignore that and ridiculously speculate about the USA's future potential for space dominance.

      • Re:Like, WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by freeweed ( 309734 )
        Interestingly, about as many people (~20) died in this Brazilian accident as died in the history of NASA events (17)

        I think this shows just why no other country has gotten as far along in its space program as the USA, and no, it's not just blind luck.

        All the usual "hey, let's bash an entire nation of 300 million just because one guy made a silly submission to some geek website" bashing cannot replace the fact that the US did (most of) it first, and did all of it best.

        And no, I'm not an American.
    • Re:Like, WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wheezl ( 63394 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:45AM (#6771760)
      I think this illustrates how nationalistic space excursions are even to this day. Which futher illustrates how best to sell such space programs to the rest of the US. My first reaction was that 16 (update 20) technicians had died. They work on cool, sexy, and dangerous rockets. I work with UNIX, video, and industrial robots. My first reaction was "20 people a lot like me died today". Brazilian, Chinese, Indian, North American, Whomever......

      They probably didn't read Slashdot.. but those were our peeps that went down.

      That's the way to think about it.

      p.s. and no there will be no 8 hour special on any channel about what happened or who died. For one it happened in Brazil..... for another, the news media (and the general populace) doesn't give a rat's ass about the technicians.
      • Re:Like, WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pharmboy ( 216950 )
        p.s. and no there will be no 8 hour special on any channel about what happened or who died

        There probably will be an 8 hour special, in Brazil. There was probably not an 8 hour special in Brazil about the loss of our shuttle. That is to be expected, not trashed. Its not unusual for a country to spend more time focusing on the loss of their own citizens. Because the US and Russia have the most experience in space, and pull off more missions, its not THAT unusual if they get more press, fair or not, its
    • US warmongering neo-conservative bureaucrat assholes got yet another reason to cut funding to space exploration and related technologies.

      Ah. Of course you know that the US civil service is comprised of liberal career government workers for the most part, and that the neo-conservative warmongering assholes in this administration have boosted funding for next generation space exploration technology, like nuclear electric rocketry. And Americans are supposed to be ignorant. You can't even get your digs co
    • If you wait several days and still no new articles about it show up, then you have the right to make the bitch about it you did. Until then, you don't Your complaint is premature. Slashdot is slow to get news articles out. Always has been - is even more so now that you need a subscription to see them as they are first posted.

  • I guess we might not get to see the remake of Amazon Women on The Moon too soon.
    • To the relatives of the ones who died sincere appologies and heart felt sympathy. I am sure most slash dotters would say this also. We grieve your loss and hope there will be peace for your loved ones.
  • Space=Power (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fredistheking ( 464407 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:32AM (#6771697)
    It seems that most governments are realizing how important control of there own satellite based telecommunications/spying/surveilence, etc., has become.

  • columbia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) * on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:33AM (#6771703) Homepage
    The day columbia came down, I was talking to a friend of mine and for some reason it occurred to me (trying to cheer her up) to say "at least they pulled off a sucessful mission up to that point". It was just my way of trying to see the silver lining (and I still feel that way), but she glared at me like I was the most callous prick in the world.

    Sorry, but mankind will never achieve anything in space if we're not willing to sacrifice lives and money to get there. I salute the brave men and women with the courage and the talent to go, especially these Brazilians who have the balls to keep trying these dangerous satellite launches under a new space program.
  • Sympathies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ndogg ( 158021 ) <<the.rhorn> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:35AM (#6771712) Homepage Journal
    My sympathies to the families.

    These things are essentially big bombs. No matter how many tests people do, there is always the slight possibility that something like this can happen. Hopefully they'll be able to find the cause and work on that for their next launch.

    Competition is a good motivator, and hopefully this will motivate other countries to go up into space.
    • Not to minimize the tragic loss of life, but how does building a very expensive bomb, having it explode and kill some of your best talent motivate a country to enter into the space race?

      Making Big Bucks? Don't think so. Boeing, Lockhhed-Martin, Iridium and any other commercial space venture you care to name are losing money in a big way.

      Perhaps nationalism would be a better motivator.
  • Sympathy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stonent1 ( 594886 ) <stonent@sto[ ]t. ... t ['nen' in gap]> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:37AM (#6771718) Journal
    Just wanted to express my sympathies to the family and friends of those who lost their lives. To quote President Reagan when he spoke to the nation about the Challenger shuttle explosion, "The future doesn't belong to the faint-hearted; it belongs to the brave."
  • What Space Race? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PingXao ( 153057 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:37AM (#6771720)
    The space race is hardly heating up in the commercial arena. Boeing recently canceled their Delta IV program due to a lack of customers [spaceflightnow.com] in the commercial satellite business. They wrote off almost a billion dollars. To wit:

    However, over the last several years demand for commercial launches eroded while global launch capacity increased. In light of the continuing severe downturn in the commercial launch market, the company has determined that a meaningful recovery of demand and pricing is unlikely for the foreseeable future.

    I'm hoping the Chinese have some serious success in their announced manned space program. Perhaps that will incentivize the U.S. to get off their butts and start doing some serious exploration.
    • Grr.... (Score:2, Funny)

      by tuxedobob ( 582913 )
      You know, I was all ready to harp on you for saying "incentivize", but dictionary.com says it's a word. Stupid American Heritage Dictionary. Sheesh, next thing you know, "veep" will be a word....

      (Look it up.)
    • Perhaps the incentive should be economics.

      We've seen satellite failures, such as Iridium, and few economic sucesses. Delta, while benefitting as a government-subsidized military platform, is also uneconomical.

      There is little comparison to manned space flight -- a publicly-funded, nationalist agenda -- to commercial space. If the Chinese achieve success in manned space flight, we'll never know how much it cost the public (communism has a poor track record for economics and accounting).
    • Re:What Space Race? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by evilWurst ( 96042 )
      Your points are all good, but don't tie in to each other. The Chinese and Indian programs will heat up the political space race, but not the economic one. The lack of business Boeing complained about was commercial/civilian satellites - mergers have cut back on television satellites, and major failures like Iridium have cut down on demand for communications satellites.

      With China, India, and Brazil able to launch satellites, that's even more suppliers, and therefore potentially less business for Boeing. Tho
  • by cryms0n ( 52620 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:37AM (#6771722)
    Will the future of space exploration be dominated by names other than Russia and the USA?

    Not with exploding rockets they won't.
  • There is nothing wrong with other nations developing their space technology. Sure, the naysayers will frown upon this and say that this will be used in ICBMs but we cant be elitist anymore.

    In the long run, the US and Russia alone cannot run the International Space Station....they just cant afford it. This will give other nations a change to chip in.

    Ofcourse this being /., there will be a barrage of posts saying that China, Brazil, India, etc. should concentrate on feeding their people and improving huma

    • The USA can afford to build and run the International Space Station, it just lacks the political will to provide adequate funding. Farm subsidies receive more money than NASA.
      • Re:Space Station (Score:2, Insightful)

        by delong ( 125205 )
        Really ducks the whole point. Which part of International Space Station means "United States has to bear the brunt of the cost."

        The United States has contributed an inordinate amount of time and treasure for that White Elephant, as is the usual case with anything International.

  • The cause! (Score:4, Funny)

    by cryms0n ( 52620 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:42AM (#6771749)
    Perhaps a maintenance crewman answered his cellphone
    while filling up the tank?
  • Yes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Smartcowboy ( 679871 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:44AM (#6771758)
    Will the future of space exploration be dominated by names other than Russia and the USA?"

    In a word: yes.

    We see more and more countries involved in space exploration. USA and Russia are not the only players anymore.

    Russia is out of money so they can't have ambitious project.

    USA are founding the NASA less and less. This is a pity. Maybe this will change in the future. If it happen, USA will make a comeback in space exploration

    Now many countries want to do space exploration and are willing to trow money in it. This is a good thing because this will speed up the space exploration race. But USA will now have competition not only from russia but from many country.

    What will be real great is when there will be private corporation involved in space exploration. Anyone could think of a business model involving space exploration?
    • Huh?

      Boeing is losing money on Delta IV, to the tune of $1.1 billion in second quarter, 2003 charges. And they are pulling it from the commercial market. This project is subsidized by the US government for military launches.


      And commercial projects (privately or governmentally-funded) will compete how?
  • 21 Dead (Score:2, Informative)

    by zzztkf ( 574953 )
    By Nihon Keizai Shinun, the number of death has reached 21. Other 20 persons are heavily wounded. It's tragedy for everyone.
  • progress (Score:2, Interesting)

    by milliyear ( 132102 )
    I predict that someday, one of these 'newcomers' to the space race will invent some radical new concept in the design/manufacture/launching of rockets, that will eventually be adopted by the USA and others. But they, too, will suffer their share of failures along the way.

    Condolences to the people killed/injured and their families, and hoping they did not die in vain and the Brazilian Space Program and all others will continue.
  • Cause (Score:2, Funny)

    Maybe it's the no-brand batteries they got from the flea market?
  • A good sign (Score:2, Insightful)

    by qorkfiend ( 550713 )
    The more countries that sign on, the better. Space exploration, limited to one or two countries, or those who control the ballot, is doomed to die. Will we succumb to Space: the Highest Bidder? or will it be: Space Whoever Gets There First?

    I personally bet on Who Gets There First.
  • I could not think of a better incentive for a Space Race than other countries competing. We have "Made it to the Moon" (depending on who you ask)...there are many many other countries out there who have yet to get off this planet. Technology is expanding beyond this planet - 25, 50 years. I'll still be alive. Let's see what happens.
  • by nniillss ( 577580 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @05:18AM (#6771858)
    Europe is not one of many countries getting involved. It is a continent and union of countries with a very successfull commercial space program: ESA. Ariane 1 started in 1979; Ariane 4 was just discontinued after 113 (out of 116) successfull launches with payloads up to 4700 kg. 19 percent of customers for Ariane 4 were from the US. Brazil is trying to get into a business (satellite launches) in which the US, Russia, and Europe are for decades.

    History of Ariane 4 [esa.int]

  • Competition promotes rivals. Without the Space Race, we will not colonize, and there is only One Space left for colonists. Space is truly the next generation - we are hopeless, and hopeful, when we try to control the next generation of human expansion. What happened last time? The United States broke off from England. My prediction is that we will see a new rash of nationalism, supported by those countries that suppport Imperialism. Vote Dean, 2004. No, this is not a political message. Read the message. Thi
  • I congratulate them on daring to step beyond this little world and dare something new. It failed, but that is no reason to give up. They have an equatorial launch site, enough money and trained technicians to do more.

    Humanity will never reach space unless it is attempted by multiple nations. Their technicians should be on the roll call of heroes who died to give us Space. I envy them what they did with their lives.
  • by Aardpig ( 622459 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @05:37AM (#6771912)
    Will the future of space exploration be dominated by names other than Russia and the USA?

    This question implies that space exploration in the past was dominated by the two superpowers. From a manned spaceflight perspective, this implication is quite correct; but from an unmanned perspective, it is rather inaccurate. Over the last three decades, a large proportion of the activity in unmanned space exploration has been undertaken by countries other than two superpowers. And let's not forget that, unlike most unmanned misisons, the moon race was about politics, not science.

    Looking towards the future, quite a bit of the exploration of our solar system involves both USA/Russia and other countries, either in collaboration or in competition. Particular missions to keep an eye on include:

    • Beagle 2 [beagle2.com], the probe onboard the European Space Agency's [esa.int] Mars Express [esa.int] mission. Beagle 2 is scheduled to touch down on Mars this December, and amongst its tasks it will be searching for life, using techniques far more accurate than the previous tests by the Viking Lander [nasa.gov] probes. Mars Express, the spacecraft carring Beagle 2, blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome on a Russian-built rocket earlier this year; movies of the launch can be found here [capcave.com]
    • Two Mars Exploration Rovers [nasa.gov], which are robots based on NASA's [nasa.gov] very successful 1997 Pathfinder [nasa.gov] mission. The two rovers are due for touchdown in January 2004; they are targeted at analysing the geology of Mars.
    • Cassini [nasa.gov], a NASA probe destined for Saturn. Apart from flybys by deep-space probes, we've never had a decent look at Saturn and its satellites. On-board Cassini is the Huygens probe, which will be dropped through the thick hydrocarbon atmosphere of Titan. Titan is the largest of Saturn's moons, and the only satellite in the solar system to have an atmosphere.
    • MESSENGER [jhuapl.edu], a NASA mission to Mercury due for launch next year, which will arrive in orbit around the innermost planet in 2009. Amongst other things, MESSENGER will ascertain whether Mercury has deposits of water ice deep within high-walled impact craters near its poles.
    • Venus Express [esa.int], the European Space Agency's sister misison to Mars Express, will depart for Venus in December 2005, arriving at the planet the following summer. It will analyse the atmosphere and the surface of the planet, and hopefully explain the anomalous chemical compositions within the atmosphere, which some have suggested are due to microbial life.

    So, we can see that there is a lot going on at the moment in the field of space exploration. Over the past few days, I've been watching HBO's "From the Earth to the Moon", and its made me regret that I wasn't alive during the space race. But, on reflection, there is plenty going on right now to get excited about!

    • We have already colonized this planet. There are those who do not believe, or who those who share differing beliefs, but this does not make their beliefs any less valid. We have no proof.

      Give me the New Age of Imperialism. Imperialism will lead to WWIII, as we try to take more than "our fair share".

  • "Will the future of space exploration be dominated by names other than Russia and the USA?"

    Why would the addition of new spacefaring nations exclude others? There is plenty of room in space. It is not a zero-sum game - successes do not have to come at the expense of others. Let all who have the desire to reach for the stars do so.
    • Alas, everything is not and cut-and-dried as you believe. Though it is not the path I would choose , only those with enough money will reach the Stars. And only those with the Drive to reach beyond the Stars will truly reach beyond the Stars. All Space is finite - Space is an Almost-Zero-Sum game - we can colonize, we can dominate, as long as Earth recognizes us as the dominant power. What happens in the New Age of Imperialism? I truly hope that I am not alive to find out.

      I also hope that those who are fre
      • Barring competing alien life and/or faster-than-light travel, the speed of light and the expanding universe make space effectively infinite. The bounds are moving away from us faster than we will ever be able to advance.

        Matter is finite, but even the quantity in our solar system dwarfs that of the Earth. Plenty of room in this system for the near term - and I measure the near term on the scale of a thousand years - and there's a whole galaxy beyond that.
  • i think that the other countries are discovering that there is a learning curve. i remember reading that china, india, brazil, etc were planning this and that. we (america) did a serveral missions that just put someone in space or in orbit before we went to the moon. if i remember correctly we sent animals up before that. it seems that a lot of people are trying to run before they learned to walk or even crawl.

    if you look at the history of the russian space program there are examples where they we
    • i think that the other countries are discovering that there is a learning curve. i remember reading that china, india, brazil, etc were planning this and that. we (america) did a serveral missions that just put someone in space or in orbit before we went to the moon. if i remember correctly we sent animals up before that. it seems that a lot of people are trying to run before they learned to walk or even crawl.

      I don't understand your post at all. What they are trying to do is to put satellites in orbit.

  • it's a shame... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dangil ( 167785 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @06:07AM (#6771983)
    ... but none will remember the names of those brave 20 Brazillian rocket scientists who died today... and they had to work on much worst conditions than every other american / european / japanese scientist... Brazil does not expends tons of cash on space exploration like those other countries does... so they deserv much more respect.... they had to love their job... really...

    everyone remembers the name of those "brave american explorers", but everybody forgets those "poor bastars down there".....

    and yes, I live in Brasil.. BRASIL ... not Brazil... BRASIL...

    - Orgulho de ser Brasileiro!!! - Ouviram do Ipiranga as margens placida de um povo heroico um brado retumbante...
  • Disgusting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seldolivaw ( 179178 ) * <me.seldo@com> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @06:26AM (#6772037) Homepage
    The callousness of this headline. Compare and constrast:

    Shuttle Columbia breaks up [slashdot.org], killing 7. Several Slashdot articles, tons of coverage. Department: "we grieve".

    Brazillian rocket explodes [guardian.co.uk], killing 21. A single slashdot article, small articles in the world press. Department: "try, try again"??

    Have some respect, FFS.

  • by Koyaanisqatsi ( 581196 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @07:10AM (#6772150)
    Just to clear one point, the rocket that exploded is not intended for space exploration; it is the third generation of the "VLS - Veiculo Lancador de Satelites", or Satellite Launch Vehicle.

    It is a rocket to boost satellites to orbit, a scientific and commercial endeavor, since being close to the Equator make the Alcantara base in Brazil a good launch site.

    More on english:
    http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200308/23/eng200 30823_122894.shtml [peopledaily.com.cn]

    More on Google News:
    http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe= utf-8&q=brazil+vls&sa=N&tab=wn [google.com]

    a Brazilian.
  • by protomala ( 551662 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @07:26AM (#6772183) Homepage
    There isn't much news about the explosion or victims names because the base is military and they want to check everthing (because body reconizition is now impossible, not much left unhappily) before going to media (i quite understand in this case). Most workers where from Sao Bernardo dos Campos, a city from the Sao Paulo state and where changed to Alcantara base for the launch. The explosion (even the fire) could be seen from many kilometers. The Alcantara base is just probally the best rocket launch base in the world. It's just very near to equator line and have a excelent climate, so you can launch things all year. USA tryied to use this base, but they tryied to make a deal where their containers could not be checked when entering Brazil or their personal could not talk to anyone. So it was going to be a american base in Brazil as in many europeans and gulf countries... well here we don't like this kind of thing (Brazil only looses to Jordania as the country that most dislike americans) and have a history of not allowing this kind of thing, so the deal was cancelled. Now we are trying to reach a deal with Ucrania that would make both countries change technology and bases use. In the end I think the important thing is that as the UN bombing, most people is going to keep working in memory of their dead friends. Explosions happens, it happened a lot for USA, Russia, etc, even that they where masked by cold-war. My toughts for the families. And my wish to keep trying to explore space (yes, I like star trek).
  • by repetty ( 260322 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @01:47PM (#6773539) Homepage
    Well, at just $6.5-million dollars for the rocket, essentially they come free.

    That's the coffee tab for NASA for a month.

    Can anyone enlighten us on how it's possible to have a credible space program based on rockets that cost 6.5-million dollars?

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas