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Japan Considering Moon Base, Shuttle Projects 338

ScentCone writes "A brief article at Newsday mentions a Monday report that JAXA, Japan's counterpart to NASA, is looking at robotic probes on the moon by 2015, and construction on a solar-powered manned research base starting there by 2025. The (very) big bump in the agency's budget will also get spent on tsunami warning technology and other terrestrial communications technology development."
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Japan Considering Moon Base, Shuttle Projects

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Prophetic_Truth ( 822032 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:11PM (#11807784)
    The more the merrier. Man Spaceflight is sorta like Chess, its no fun playing by yourself. This will foster competition and everyone wins!
    • Re:Good (Score:2, Funny)

      by sydres ( 656690 )
      actualy its more like masturbation its fun by yourself till someone comes along to help you
    • Re:Good (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Eberlin ( 570874 )
      Competition for the moon is a good thing? At first, yes, this will be a great thing since "competition encourages innovation" but in the end we're talking about a land-mass here. We all KNOW what competing over a land-mass has done to the human race throughout history.
      • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hentai ( 165906 )
        It'll be interesting to see how wars are conducted when both populations exist in an inhospitable wasteland that can't support their existance for more than 30 seconds without critical and easily-targeted infrastructure.
        • Re:Good (Score:3, Funny)

          by justins ( 80659 )
          It'll be interesting to see how wars are conducted when both populations exist in an inhospitable wasteland that can't support their existance for more than 30 seconds without critical and easily-targeted infrastructure.

      • We all KNOW what competing over a land-mass has done to the human race throughout history.

        Yep, it's grown as a result. Umm lessee, says His Holiness. This half of the moon belongs to Spain, this half to Portugal...

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:27PM (#11807943) Homepage
      57 billion is no small sum... but 57 billion every how often? I'm guessing that's a one-time increase to be phased in over the next 15 years or so.

      I'm most interested in the new craft, because we need to get costs down, Before people start bashing the notion of a "shuttle-like craft", please remember that the shuttle wasn't supposed to be this way. The original shuttle would have been a titanium frame design without external boosters; however, most of the way through the design process, its budget was almost halved without a decrease in its capability requirements. A titanium frame, while more expensive up front, gives a significant payload boost (I've seen numbers at around 30-40%) and decreases maintainence costs (you need a much simpler TPS, and it doesn't fatigue like aluminum). And, of course, we know the problems that they've had with the boosters.

      When it comes down to it, fuel is incredibly cheap. If a low-maintainence reusable is developed, it will clean the market up. The problem is maintainence. Some people argue instead for mass-produced disposables, but just the amount of raw materials needed and the difficulty in producing engines seems to make it unlikely that mass production costs (if you could convince governments/companies to mass produce rockets when there's not a market) could, in the long run, compete with reusable launch costs. If your costs end up being little more than your fuel costs, space travel will be incredibly cheap.

      The shuttle has really been a research project (one that was forced to take an essential role, unfortunately). Many people don't realize that the cost for operating the shuttle is calculated by looking at its annualized operating costs and dividing by the number of launches; however, the operating costs of the shuttle not only include administrative overhead, but a lot of research on ways to improve reusable craft. Whoever designs the next generation will not only have the benefit of hindsight, they'll also be standing on the shoulders of giants, technologically.

      Besides... if some of the new titanium manufacturing costs come online, not only will titanium be much cheaper than it is now (which is cheaper than it was in the 60s/70s), but could approach aluminum in costs. One interesting one is that they've discovered that they can do direct electrolysis on titanium oxide without having to dissolve it in a solution first.
      • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

        by forkazoo ( 138186 ) <wrosecrans@gSTRAWmail.com minus berry> on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:57PM (#11808200) Homepage
        Zubrin (Guy who wrote case for Mars), who is a bit of a nut, but knows a lot about rocket engines, has suggested that while a reusable system is a good idea, the shuttle is basically built backwards. What we need is a system that has a disposable top, TPS if applicable, etc. But, a reusable first stage booster assembly. The first stage won't be subjected to the same level of thermal stress as the last stage, and so needs much less in the way of protection to be made reusable.

        In many cases, there may not even be a reason to bring the last stage back, such as satellite deployment, etc, and the last stage mission requirements will vary so widely that it may not make sense to reuse it even if it is free.
      • Titanium sounds like a super-metal.... until you try to work it.

        It has it's own set of stress-fractures, although these are brought out mostly by impurities. It reacts to all kinds of stuff that Aluminum doesn't, and, even better loses structural integrity after being splashed by a variety of useful chemicals.

        We've come a long way, but it's still a pain. For the same quality of weld, you are going to spend a lot more time welding.

        So, yeah, we could have built a much lighter shuttle with Titanium. But
        • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

          by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @08:16PM (#11808378) Homepage
          Yes, titanium sponge is a lot harder to work with than aluminum. It pushes the difficulty to the initial costs. You still get the lower maintainence and greater payload, however. Plus, the new method of direct electrolysis can easily produce titanium metal powder for powder metallurgy.

          Good quality titanium welds are doable; you just need people properly trained and with proper equipment - you need to weld in very pure argon (applied both front and back), you need to clean the area with good solvents beforehand, you need to keep the argon flowing until the metal is relatively cool, etc. Plus, at all times, you want to use gloves when handling the titanium to be worked (to prevent chlorine corrosion from perspiration) and avoid contamininating it by using aluminum tool surfaces (frictional heat from working with tools can cause localized alloying). In short, you need to use clean conditions and use good tools - something NASA excells at.

          Also, a nice thing about titanium is that impurities produced marked discolorations, making a poor weld or corrosion easy to spot. This is a whole lot better than aluminum fatigue, which you need specialized equipment to determine.

        • A lot of the cost problems can be reduced. Fly back Liquid fueled boosters are a good start. The thermal protection system that was developed for the X-33 would also be a step in the right direction. Replace the RCS propellants with alcohol and lox. Finally replacing the APUs with an all electric system.
          I would also build unmanned versions of the next shuttle as well as manned. All of these could be ready very soon with very little effort.
    • The plans also include...alerts to cell phones in the event of major emergencies like a tsunami

      Having just read the previous story, now I can't help but wonder 'what ringtone would best signify the impending doom of a tsunami?'
      • "Wave of Destruction" by Ann Beretta? "Tsunami" by Prozzak? "Flood" by Tool (or by Jars of Clay, or a couple other groups)? "Tidal Wave" by (John Dillon&Steve Cash, Fly, Skye Sweetnam, or others)? Anything by the band "Wave" or "Tsunami Bomb"?

        Lots of good options :) If you wanted to be mean, you could have it be something like "It's the end of the world as we know it" or "Komm, Susser Todd" (sp?).
    • by UnrefinedLayman ( 185512 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @08:16PM (#11808375)
      You've been paying too much attention in school. Despite what the prophets of capitalism will say, competition does not mean everyone wins. In fact, by definition, competition means that someone will win and someone will lose.

      While there may be tangible benefits from competition by nations in space exploration, there are certainly benefits from cooperation as some recent explorations have shown, particularly Cassini/Huygens. Two nations with $10 billion each can do projects together that are impossible alone.

      Part of the problem with your thinking is that you seem to think that nations aren't driven to innovate in the field of space research. The main problem right now is that there isn't enough money to do what they imagine they can do; we're not short on ideas by any means, but we're short on means to be sure.

      My belief is that we're not going to see significant care shown to the space programs here in America any time soon, as most politicians are too busy solidifying their power bases by exploiting whatever hot-ticket item they can. Space exploration isn't going to win over Nascar dads, but being pro-life and imprisoning American citizens without hearings because they are suspected of terror ties that cannot be proven seems to work.
  • At last! (Score:2, Funny)

    by GMFTatsujin ( 239569 )
    Now there will be an agency who can take up the awesome reposinibility of communicating to us the dangers of tsunamis from the moon!

    Moon tsunami, I fear you no longer!
  • Me too (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:13PM (#11807800)
    I am also considering a moonbase, but I don't get a front page story.
  • Now that Japan is trying to do stuff on the moon, I am sure that old GW will stop at nothing to claim the entire moon in the name of USA and freedom fries.
    • Well, if the Japanese find oil up there, we may be forced to liberate the moon in the name of freedom.

      • Technically, the Moon-Japanese would have to find oil, then establish a dictatorship, kill off a bunch of their own moon-people, invade a neighboring moon-country, and possibly conduct activities rumored to be leading up to moon-nukes that could be dropped on the Earth at some later date (after they were actually developed). Presenting themselves as the lesser of two evils in a regional conflict with the Moon-Koreans might postpone the U.S. invasion by a few years, but that's about it.

        Other than that, yea
    • The USA is in the hole for nearly $8 trillion. WTF will the USA find the cash to buy some skyrockets for 4 July, let alone fund a moon program? "My parents' generation went to the moon and all I got was this lousy federal debt."
  • by turboflux ( 781551 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:14PM (#11807818)
    "Gentlemen, allow me to demonstrate the awesome lethality of the Alan Parsons Project. Fire the laser!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:15PM (#11807821)
    They can 'consider' it all they want. Money/resources and willpower to make it happen are something completely different.
  • Honestly, I can see it now..

    Here come the star wars quotes, followed by the Anime crowd, then followed by SkyNet.

    • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:27PM (#11807946)
      > Here come the star wars quotes, followed by the Anime crowd, then followed by SkyNet.

      Now witness the power of this fully armed and operational tentacle station upon the quivering form of a miniskirt-wearing Sarah Connor!

      Never underestimate the power of the otaku side.

  • Launch explosion? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by randyest ( 589159 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:17PM (#11807843) Homepage
    Asia's leading spacefaring nation, Japan has been struggling to get out from under the shadow of China, which put its first astronaut into orbit in October 2003. Beijing has since announced it is aiming for the moon.

    One month after China's breakthrough, a Japanese H-2A rocket carrying two spy satellites malfunctioned after liftoff, forcing controllers to end its mission in a spectacular fireball.

    Well first, go Japan. This should make things interesting (competition spurring innvovation and all that.)

    Second, did anyone else miss the story about the failed Japanese launch? I'd imagine the video clips must be pretty spectacular -- anyone see them or know where one might find a link? Torrent? :)
    • Re:Launch explosion? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tokyopimpdaddy ( 586432 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:53PM (#11808164) Homepage
      I'm a Tokyo resident, and yes, have been watching the JAXA programmes for a while, as well as some of the national pride (and nationalism) which surrounds them. Infamous Tokyo mayor, Shintaro Ishihara mocked the Chinese for using old technology just days before the Japanese rocket exploded. Hmm. I guess old is OK as long as it works right? (The nicer irony was that that rocket was due to launch 2 spy satellites over North Korea).

      I wish JAXA all the best, but I don't think it takes a lot to figure out that this is more symbolic than anything else, and certainly isn't business driven which is a shame, because the X Prize etc., seems to have made more people get interested in space again, on a commercial, private level. Japan is feeling the Fear with a rising China right now, and is desperately trying to flex itself again, but you only have to look at stories like the Livedoor vs. Fuji TV to see the internal conflict Japan's industry has.

      Also, the word 'tsunami' seems to get bolted onto everything now in an attempt to get funding. I just hope some of it gets spend on the tsunami victims.
  • by erikharrison ( 633719 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:18PM (#11807853)
    Is there an "official" body for sectioning off the moon? How does all that work?

    Sure, any country with enough balls and explosives can stick a flag there, but, unlike terrestrial land, I doubt that other countries take that as a solid stake of ownership.

    If there isn't an official body, what happens when, say, Japan decides to plant themselves in some choice piece of real estate, like the lunar equator, or wherever in lunar geography is best for launching rockets for Earth? That's a pretty easy to imagine situation, and it would put the Japanese (or the Russians, or the US, or whoever) in a pretty solid dominating position.

    This not been thought of before?
    • the moon treaty (Score:5, Informative)

      by wfmcwalter ( 124904 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:23PM (#11807907) Homepage
      There's the 1979 Moon Treaty - see wikipedia [wikipedia.org].
    • by greyhoundpoe ( 802148 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:32PM (#11807994)
      The property status of the moon is determined by whomever puts military bases in place first.

      It's not a new phenomenon--at the start of the last century, the border between the United States and Canada was very vaguely defined in the area of the valuable seaports in Southeast Alaska and British Columbia. How was the situation resolved? The United States Army built Fort William H. Seward in the disputed territory and trained its guns on the narrow waterways. Now, 105 years later, the US controls all the port cities in Southeast Alaska and the Canadian border is 40 miles away from the ocean most of the way down.

      See? No politics required. It's called "staking a claim".
    • by twostar ( 675002 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:35PM (#11808017) Journal
      According to international treaties, no country can claim land outside of the Earth. But who's going to stop them? Basically it's going to come down to who can get there and put people there.

      IIRC they can put research facilites and whatnot there, and they own the facilities but not the ground they're on.

      The other side is that international law makes no mention of nongovernment agencies (ie Corporations) claiming parts.

      Basically it's going to all come down to ability to claim and hold an area. We've got crazy people all over the earth who "buy" plots of land from compainies who purport that they can claim parts of the moon even though they've sent no one there and have no intentions to.

      Mining resources is also going to bring up interesting implications, since countries can't claim the land and minerals, how can one make money from the sale of it?

      This whole thing has been the subject of countless SciFi books and will probably come to the fore front soon as we approach the capabilities to actually use extra-planetary sites.
    • This has happened a lot throughout history. Usually, it gets settled through war.
    • Is there an "official" body for sectioning off the moon? How does all that work? There's the Moon Treaty [mcgill.ca], which reads in part:

      Neither the surface nor the subsurface of the moon, nor any part thereof or natural resources in place, shall become property of any State, international intergovernmental or non-governmental organization, national organization or non-governmental entity or of any natural person. The placement of personnel, space vehicles, equipment, facilities, stations and installations on or

      • Like anybody will really take the Moon treaty seriously when major natural resources are in production for extraction from the Moon's surface.

        Read the section on withdrawl from the treaty, and you will see just how much weight current space law really has from the 1960's idealism. Basically, not much. These treaties are just a speed bump to a full militarization and nationalization of space. Sorry to be pessimistic.
  • by gmajor ( 514414 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:19PM (#11807855) Journal
    Israel and India also have a pact to reach the moon by 2008 with an unmanned probe (and for a mere $83 million US dollars!) . Maybe reaching the moon is becoming the new "it" thing to do for goverments, much like becoming a nuclear power once was (or is)?
    • by philkerr ( 180450 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:47PM (#11808120) Homepage
      To an extent a moon shot is an extension of a ballistic missile programme. The space race of the 50's and 60's between the USSR and USA was partly a PR excersice to cover the massive developments needed for intercontinental missle technologies needed to maintain the status in the arms race.

      It would be great if all this interest was purely for scientific and discovery purposes, but under the surface of any programme will be a significant component for the development of millitary technology.
  • They do know that the "light" side of the moon spends 14 days out of 28 in darkness, right?
  • In other news, the JAXA robotic space probe seems to have taken great interest in the American flag on the moon. Aparently the Japanese have figured out how to use spray paint effectivly in space...
  • by sizzzzlerz ( 714878 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:26PM (#11807934)
    The moon belongs to America, and anxiously awaits the arrival of our astro-men. Will you be among them?

    OK, maybe I do watch The Simpsons way too often.

  • This can mean only one thing. Japan wants to use the moon to control the tides.
  • Nerd Point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stanistani ( 808333 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:28PM (#11807951) Homepage Journal
    Pierre Boulle, the chap who wrote "Planet of The Apes," wrote a novel called "The Garden On The Moon," in which the Japanese competed against the other "powers" to land on the moon.

    It was a poignant read.
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:29PM (#11807969)
    We know NASA wont, whose p*ss*ng half its funds into a $100 billion dollar space station that has trouble keeping two astronauts alive.
  • They require far less raw materials to create their miniature structures.

    Anyone who thinks I'm kidding has never been to Japan, or is not tall enough to notice.
  • by ninjagin ( 631183 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:32PM (#11807987)
    I think it's a marvelous thing. Given the wild and futuristic Japanese design aesthetic, I can't wait to see what it will look like.

    My only question, and it's a question that crops up every time I hear about nations/people hollering for moon missions, is "What do you do once you get there?"

    I've heard about mining and spaceship fabrication, but both of those have very high transportation costs involved. Just getting a habitable structure for the lunies (or is it "loonies"?) to stay in for weeks/months at a time is going to be a fantastic challenge -- do you use inflatables? -- do you burrow bug tunnels into the moon?

    Back when I had an interest in tokamaks (those plasma-fusion-toroid-shaped doohickeys), I'd heard that the moon has a fairly rich quantity of Helium-3, a good fuel for tokamak-style fusion reactors. One shuttle bay full of moondust could power the whole earth for a year, supposedly. How much would it cost to get a shuttle to the moon, fill it with dirt and send it back? It must be a lot of moolah. Would it be worth it? I dunno.

    Somehow, though, I'll bet the Chinese and the Japanese could work it out.

    Still, my inner skeptic holds sway -- I don't believe it when the President says it, and I have a feeling that China and Japan will reconsider when the costs of such far-flung plans become real.

  • if japan allocates nearly 4x what the us spends on nasa to build a shuttle and a moon base, and we combine the threat to our national prestige with what china is up to, we've got ourselves another space race on our hands. that can only be good for us space geeks.

    ........ kris
    • But it'll only be a race between China and Japan (and maybe India). If we're lucky, the EU will finally decide to get serious about space too.

      The US can't afford a race like this. We're too busy spending all our money on preemptive wars to do anything productive with it.
      • America is a very competitive country, and one of the problems about the "race for the moon" in the 1960's was that Russia wimped out. Russia didn't follow on to the moon dispite having a lunar lander and cosmonauts that could have duplicated the American effort.

        This time there is more than merely two different nations going into space. I would count on China, Japan, India, and possibly Iran and Brazil as a couple of dark horse candidates. If the EU gets involved, somehow I think it will be more of a pr
  • . . . I'm ready to look up at the moon and see a man made object.
  • by archen ( 447353 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:34PM (#11808011)
    So we set up a colony on the moon, then we set up one on mars. Then the moon decides they want to be independent, so there is a bloody war that is swept under the rugs and the survivors from the moon escape past Jupiter where they find an alien weapons factory, and later attack us using giant robots.

    Leave it to Japan to start something like this =)
  • by eagl ( 86459 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:35PM (#11808019) Journal
    The coolest part is that their rocket ship will be nuclear powered and turns into a really big robot when attacked or befriended by a child.
  • by swid ( 209109 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:36PM (#11808028)
    Hey, maybe this is what NASA needs to convince the gov't we need another moon mission.
    • is just a big admin operation. They will get to the moon by stacking paper up in a big mountain until you can touch the moon.

      Following in corporate footsteps, they'd probably outsource a program to India.

  • Well, it's probably a better use of $57 billion a year than the standard Japanese economy-boosting habit of building enormous public works; seven billion 1988-dollars for the Honshu to Hokkaido undersea tunnel (longer than the Chunnel), for example.

    With all the current focus on China, people forget that Japan has (in dollar terms; the CIA World Factbook figures use slightly dubious purchasing-power-adjusted figures) the second largest economy in the world. It's an economy in a deep recession, but huge gove
  • by MonkeyCookie ( 657433 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:48PM (#11808139)
    I remember that back in the 1980's it was said that the United States was planning to have a moon base by the year 2000.

    Look where that ended up.

    So, as for the Japan's plan for a moon base, I'll have to see the thing actually under construction before I believe it. I find the robotic probe plan to be much more realistic. I think they have a pretty good chance of succeeding there.
  • Oh dear (Score:4, Funny)

    by Platinum Dragon ( 34829 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:55PM (#11808182) Journal
    In other news, the Japanese government has proposed to raise the sunken WWII-era battleship Yamato...
  • ob. heinlein (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kris Magnusson ( 115926 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @08:07PM (#11808278) Homepage
    i remember in his "expanded universe" that he wrote if the u.s. didn't get off its ass and develop a real space program, japan would, and we would end up having our visas stamped by japanese customs officers when we space tourists arrived at the moon.

    seems to me the real space race has started.

    ..... kris
  • Yay Japan (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @08:14PM (#11808355) Homepage
    As an American, all I have to say is, "leave it to the Japanese to take massive steps towards furthering the human race while the rest of us are stuck here fighting amongst ourselves."

    • Re:Yay Japan (Score:4, Informative)

      by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @09:15PM (#11808783)
      As an American, all I have to say is, "leave it to the Japanese to take massive steps towards furthering the human race while the rest of us are stuck here fighting amongst ourselves."

      Please be sure to pass that along to the Japanese troops that are in Iraq right now. Because they, like us, know that things like space exploration, and liberating places like Iraq from corrupt regimes are not mutually exclusive. Read the damn news, why don't you? The Japanese are still embarassed by the last war they started, but they understand the need to get involved the "fighting amongst ourselves" so that it can be stopped. Doing so, just as ending the Soviet rule of Eastern Europe, brings huge peace dividends: which we can spend in space (I hope!). Less turmoil, and fewer crazy tyrants with pet oilfields in the world is crucial if we want to really focus on things like space. But we can work on both at the same time.
      • by justins ( 80659 )

        The Japanese are still embarassed by the last war they started, but they understand the need to get involved the "fighting amongst ourselves" so that it can be stopped.

        I can't speak to the embarassment part, but until our fearless leader convinced them to send troops to Iraq postwar Japan was content to be a very pacifist nation with a self-defense military. I predict that will have some entertaining side-effects in the decades to come, although I can't judge its future ranking on the "Dubya, Gosh THAT Wa

      • Re:Yay Japan (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Idou ( 572394 ) *
        "liberating places like Iraq from corrupt regimes" How does it feel to be winning abroad but losing at home? "The Japanese are still embarassed by the last war they started" And you, being the enlightened American, are not embarrassed by the firebombing of innocent civilians in Tokyo or the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Or by the fact that the U.S. has waged many wars since . . . oh, all in the "name of freedom," of course? "they understand the need to get involved" Btw, the Japanese are there to r
        • Re:Yay Japan (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ScentCone ( 795499 )
          How does it feel to be winning abroad but losing at home?

          Hmmm. Can't imagine what you mean. Losing to whom, by what standard?

          And you, being the enlightened American, are not embarrassed by the firebombing of innocent civilians in Tokyo or the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

          Actually, no, I'm not. Because we didn't start the conflict, and because even as they knew their abject aggression throughout the Pacific was a lost cause, the Japanese refused to cease hostilities. The bombing of Hiroshima and
  • I guess if I intended not to do what the subject says i wouldn't post this. None the less I suppose it has to be mentioned.

    The UN has estimated that for 81 billion dollars a year everyone on Earth could be fed. .. ...

    Now nevermind the US military budget ..

    Err.. space travel is cool. but someone has to say it. Priorities?

    I guess the real point is that we could have space travel and no world hunger (and hense no terrorists and far less wars) but..

    err.. interested to see if anyone has any thoughts (always
    • For 81 billion dollars a year, you could feed everyone? What would it cost to make it so they could feed themselves? Anyway no hunger does not equal no terrorism. Most terrorism is not related to starvation, except of the mind.
      • Osama Bin Laden listed the starvation of the Iraqi children under US sanctions as one of the top 5 motivations for persuing terrorism. I agree some violence is beyond a question of subsistence. Yes many terrorists come from wealthy backgrounds too I guess. The only point I'm trying make on this note is that frequently if life doesn't seem like its an expendable commodity then its a lot harder to convince someone to perhaps give that up through any number of ways. Please read the next thread as I don't wan
    • by Game_Ender ( 815505 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @08:36PM (#11808517)
      I hate when people bring up this kind of moral argument. By this logic instead of paying for the internet connection you are using, shouldn't you just feed the poor around you? Or give it to the local homeless shelter?

      Why you're at you should probally just take every cent you don't spend on rent on food and send it to the UN. After all that last food program they had worked out real well didn't it...
    • The issues of world hunger are primarily divided into two issues: Logistics (distributing the food) and Politics.

      Logistical issues are indeed huge, and trying to get food from where it is abundant to where it is needed can often be a huge problem. In many of the "traditional" areas of the world that seem to have a perpetual food shortage, it is also where you find the transportation infrastructure almost non-existant. That is no reliable paved highways, railroads, or seaports. In order to be able to fe
    • A balance has to be struck between aid and investment. You can't just spend all your available money on aid, for the simple reason that your money sources will stay constant while the need for aid will grow. Japan, until it hit economic troubles in the 1990s, was the single biggest donor of aid in the entire world. It's still the second biggest. To the extent that this sort of investment can help Japan's economy on the future, it's ultimately better for those who need aid that Japan strikes this balance.
    • The UN has estimated that for 81 billion dollars a year everyone on Earth could be fed. .. ...

      And how much would it cost the year after that? How about a decade later?
  • So how long before we can expect to see bi-pedal Gundam-like mechs on this moonbase?
  • In Korea, only old people want moonbases.
  • Implications (Score:2, Interesting)

    I can easily imagine that Japan may be able to seriously leverage the commercial use of space the way the current corrupt leadership in the US cannot. What mean if the Japanese seriously started space based businesses while the US did not?
    • current corrupt leadership in the US

      somebody please just mod this idiot out of his misery
  • to be my second wife. Come on, we can "consider" all kinds of shit. Guess what, nobody cares what you "consider" until you actually make it.

    If they put their base on the moon, that will be news. Their "considering" is not news.

"It's my cookie file and if I come up with something that's lame and I like it, it goes in." -- karl (Karl Lehenbauer)