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Why I believe in flags and footprints NOW.



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 6th 20, 08:08 PM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,623
Default Why I believe in flags and footprints NOW.

I have some time on my hands, so let's stir the soup[1].

Based on this premise from a previous post:
That's why it will be up to private enterprise to open the space frontier if it ever is. They key to that, is making a buck, as in the saying "No bucks, no Buck Rodgers". If it can't economically sustain itself it won't matter much how or when we got there. We won't be able to stay. I suggest there are plenty of abandoned mining towns in the US West that proves that out.


Now private enterprise doesn't a-priori *need* the government to assist
other than if they have existing contracts that enable their space
technology, as long as it's on a non-exclusionary basis, all is well. As
it turns out I think you can make a compelling argument that without
COTS now evolved into Commercial Crew, SpaceX would not exist. Maybe
companies like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin and even Electron Rocket
would but they obviously aren't as far along as SpaceX has gotten with
government help.

Now given that, HERE is my argument for why SpaceX (or possibly Blue
Origin) should mount a flags and footprint mission to the Mars ASAP.
Every dollar wasted on SLS, albeit a drop in the bucket as far as the
federal budget is concerned, were that money diverted to developing or
subcontracting private enterprise to develop actual USEFUL technology
for Mars habitation, such as growing food, nuclear power, habitat
creation, sustainable life support, studies of human physiology in low
gravity, etc. etc. All of that would be a HUGE BOON to human space
exploration and expansion. As opposed to wasting billions on a rocket
and launch system that has actually NOTHING to do with Mars and can
barely get us back to the moon, at a tremendous expense and in a way
known to be unsustainable, i.e. unable to self-sustain.

A mission to Mars with a short stay duration and return would kill SLS.
Once a fait accompli, there is no point to it. Then and perhaps only
then will the money be reassigned into more productive means. Of course
there is always a risk it would NOT be assigned to space. That is a
risk. Companies like SpaceX obviously must plan to go it alone in any
case. However, if it enables the former it is well worth the risk.

A flags and footprints mission to the Moon by private enterprise *might*
accomplish the same goal. That could certainly be mounted even sooner
and at far less expense and I'd be willing to try it followed by a wait
and see to see if that would be enough to kill off SLS. I fear not.

The REAL billion dollar question is how to re-organize the government
space program to outlast the administrations that administer it. Maybe
the only way to do that is via an international consortium. I can't see
that being very successful either unless it was non-governmental. On the
other hand, if it's an NGO I'm convinced there won't be enough money
involved to make a difference.

Dave

[1] or substitute your preferred substance...
Ads
  #2  
Old March 7th 20, 08:45 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Alain Fournier[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 425
Default Why I believe in flags and footprints NOW.

On Mar/6/2020 at 15:08, David Spain wrote :
I have some time on my hands, so let's stir the soup[1].

Based on this premise from a previous post:
That's why it will be up to private enterprise to open the space
frontier if it ever is. They key to that, is making a buck, as in the
saying "No bucks, no Buck Rodgers". If it can't economically sustain
itself it won't matter much how or when we got there. We won't be able
to stay. I suggest there are plenty of abandoned mining towns in the
US West that proves that out.


Now private enterprise doesn't a-priori *need* the government to assist
other than if they have existing contracts that enable their space
technology, as long as it's on a non-exclusionary basis, all is well. As
it turns out I think you can make a compelling argument that without
COTS now evolved into Commercial Crew, SpaceX would not exist. Maybe
companies like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin and even Electron Rocket
would but they obviously aren't as far along as SpaceX has gotten with
government help.

Now given that, HERE is my argument for why SpaceX (or possibly Blue
Origin) should mount a flags and footprint mission to the Mars ASAP.
Every dollar wasted on SLS, albeit a drop in the bucket as far as the
federal budget is concerned, were that money diverted to developing or
subcontracting private enterprise to develop actual USEFUL technology
for Mars habitation, such as growing food, nuclear power, habitat
creation, sustainable life support, studies of human physiology in low
gravity, etc. etc. All of that would be a HUGE BOON to human space
exploration and expansion. As opposed to wasting billions on a rocket
and launch system that has actually NOTHING to do with Mars and can
barely get us back to the moon, at a tremendous expense and in a way
known to be unsustainable, i.e. unable to self-sustain.

A mission to Mars with a short stay duration and return would kill SLS.
Once a fait accompli, there is no point to it. Then and perhaps only
then will the money be reassigned into more productive means. Of course
there is always a risk it would NOT be assigned to space. That is a
risk. Companies like SpaceX obviously must plan to go it alone in any
case. However, if it enables the former it is well worth the risk.

A flags and footprints mission to the Moon by private enterprise *might*
accomplish the same goal. That could certainly be mounted even sooner
and at far less expense and I'd be willing to try it followed by a wait
and see to see if that would be enough to kill off SLS. I fear not.

The REAL billion dollar question is how to re-organize the government
space program to outlast the administrations that administer it. Maybe
the only way to do that is via an international consortium. I can't see
that being very successful either unless it was non-governmental. On the
other hand, if it's an NGO I'm convinced there won't be enough money
involved to make a difference.



A Flags and footprints mission by SpaceX (Or Blue Origin or if someone
else wants to step to the plate it's fine with me.) would also make
SpaceXs plans to colonise Mars look much more real. That would probably
help convince others like for instance
https://cropbox.co
that they could make a buck by adapting their technology for a Mars
mission. I think that SpaceX will likely soon have rocket technology
sufficient to colonise Mars. But there is much more to colonisation than
to build the transport vehicle.


Alain Fournier
  #3  
Old March 8th 20, 02:51 PM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,623
Default Why I believe in flags and footprints NOW.

On 2020-03-06 3:08 PM, David Spain wrote:
...
Now private enterprise doesn't a-priori *need* the government to assist
other than if they have existing contracts that enable their space
technology, as long as it's on a non-exclusionary basis, all is well. As
it turns out I think you can make a compelling argument that without
COTS now evolved into Commercial Crew, SpaceX would not exist. Maybe
companies like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin and even Electron Rocket
would but they obviously aren't as far along as SpaceX has gotten with
government help.


And that's a key point I need to re-emphasize. Given where SpaceX is
relative to other private space companies, just imagine where we would
be at should the money being spent on SLS become available not just to
old space companies, but the handful of so-called new space companies.

What if the government STOP letting contracts on cost-plus basis?
How would that effect the space economy?

If a flags and footprint mission were to be launched to either Moon or
Mars, should the target landing location be selected such that with some
simple exploration resources might be discovered that would enable a
long term colony be established that might eventually be
self-sustaining? So are we talking somewhat more risky landing spots?
Like areas where lunar caves and or water exist? Similar for Mars?

Dave
  #4  
Old March 8th 20, 03:01 PM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,623
Default Why I believe in flags and footprints NOW.

On 2020-03-07 3:45 PM, Alain Fournier wrote:
A Flags and footprints mission by SpaceX (Or Blue Origin or if someone
else wants to step to the plate it's fine with me.) would also make
SpaceXs plans to colonise Mars look much more real. That would probably
help convince others like for instance
https://cropbox.co
that they could make a buck by adapting their technology for a Mars
mission. I think that SpaceX will likely soon have rocket technology
sufficient to colonise Mars. But there is much more to colonisation than
to build the transport vehicle.


Agreed. And the US government could be assisting these efforts instead
of building a useless rocket.

Imagine a world where the government is providing funding to explore
having companies such as CropBox build food production technology for
long term space missions.

It's not the way we do it with today's NASA, esp. the way Congress
treats it. The way NASA is assigned priorities must change or it will
lose all relevance when it comes to human space flight, exploration and
expansion. To some degree this will be natural and inevitable. NIST for
example doesn't spend almost all of its budget and time on research and
development of laboratory steam engines and steam powered locomotives
these days. I'd just like to try to keep NASA relevant in the 21st century.

Dave
  #5  
Old March 8th 20, 04:08 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,083
Default Why I believe in flags and footprints NOW.

In article , says...

On 2020-03-07 3:45 PM, Alain Fournier wrote:
A Flags and footprints mission by SpaceX (Or Blue Origin or if someone
else wants to step to the plate it's fine with me.) would also make
SpaceXs plans to colonise Mars look much more real. That would probably
help convince others like for instance
https://cropbox.co
that they could make a buck by adapting their technology for a Mars
mission. I think that SpaceX will likely soon have rocket technology
sufficient to colonise Mars. But there is much more to colonisation than
to build the transport vehicle.


Agreed. And the US government could be assisting these efforts instead
of building a useless rocket.

Imagine a world where the government is providing funding to explore
having companies such as CropBox build food production technology for
long term space missions.

It's not the way we do it with today's NASA, esp. the way Congress
treats it. The way NASA is assigned priorities must change or it will
lose all relevance when it comes to human space flight, exploration and
expansion. To some degree this will be natural and inevitable. NIST for
example doesn't spend almost all of its budget and time on research and
development of laboratory steam engines and steam powered locomotives
these days. I'd just like to try to keep NASA relevant in the 21st century.


I agree completely. And I think you're right that Congress won't cut of
the pork funding to SLS until SpaceX and/or Blue Origin demonstrates
that they have a superior launch vehicle that can actually send humans
someplace useful. Until then, SLS supporters will just keep telling the
same lie that SLS is the "only" vehicle that can launch humans beyond
LEO.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
  #6  
Old March 8th 20, 04:10 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Alain Fournier[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 425
Default Why I believe in flags and footprints NOW.

On Mar/8/2020 at 11:01, David Spain wrote :
On 2020-03-07 3:45 PM, Alain Fournier wrote:
A Flags and footprints mission by SpaceX (Or Blue Origin or if someone
else wants to step to the plate it's fine with me.) would also make
SpaceXs plans to colonise Mars look much more real. That would
probably help convince others like for instance
https://cropbox.co
that they could make a buck by adapting their technology for a Mars
mission. I think that SpaceX will likely soon have rocket technology
sufficient to colonise Mars. But there is much more to colonisation
than to build the transport vehicle.


Agreed. And the US government could be assisting these efforts instead
of building a useless rocket.

Imagine a world where the government is providing funding to explore
having companies such as CropBox build food production technology for
long term space missions.

It's not the way we do it with today's NASA, esp. the way Congress
treats it. The way NASA is assigned priorities must change or it will
lose all relevance when it comes to human space flight, exploration and
expansion. To some degree this will be natural and inevitable. NIST for
example doesn't spend almost all of its budget and time on research and
development of laboratory steam engines and steam powered locomotives
these days. I'd just like to try to keep NASA relevant in the 21st century.


They aren't spending all their budget on steam powered locomotives? Well
that explains why we no longer see those locomotives tooting by :-)

I think that we both see things the same way here. But I'd like to
emphasise that CropBox I mentioned above is only an example that came up
to me without really thinking about it. I'm not sure if they are the
best for the task of growing food on Mars. There are others that build
similar containerised food growing greenhouses which might or might not
be better than CropBox. But more importantly, there are numerous other
things on which work should be going on *now*. Not wait years until
SpaceX or whoever lands someone on Mars to start working on those
things. A few things that come to mind for which we need to think about
how to do it in a martian context: mining, pharmaceuticals (at first you
can't have every kind of medication available, you probably should be
ready to make locally some), air processing, micrometeorite damage
repair, radiation protection, energy generation ...

You can start a colony even if not everything is well adapted for Mars.
But if too many things aren't ready, you will get into trouble more
often. And if you get into trouble too often the colony will fail. If
one person dies because you don't have the medication to treat his rare
condition the colony can go on, but if every other day someone dies
because the spacesuits aren't well adapted, and the mining technology
isn't well adapted and ... You're in trouble.

Alain Fournier
  #7  
Old March 8th 20, 05:34 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Alain Fournier[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 425
Default Why I believe in flags and footprints NOW.

On Mar/8/2020 at 12:10, Alain Fournier wrote :
On Mar/8/2020 at 11:01, David Spain wrote :
On 2020-03-07 3:45 PM, Alain Fournier wrote:
A Flags and footprints mission by SpaceX (Or Blue Origin or if
someone else wants to step to the plate it's fine with me.) would
also make SpaceXs plans to colonise Mars look much more real. That
would probably help convince others like for instance
https://cropbox.co
that they could make a buck by adapting their technology for a Mars
mission. I think that SpaceX will likely soon have rocket technology
sufficient to colonise Mars. But there is much more to colonisation
than to build the transport vehicle.


Agreed. And the US government could be assisting these efforts instead
of building a useless rocket.

Imagine a world where the government is providing funding to explore
having companies such as CropBox build food production technology for
long term space missions.

It's not the way we do it with today's NASA, esp. the way Congress
treats it. The way NASA is assigned priorities must change or it will
lose all relevance when it comes to human space flight, exploration
and expansion. To some degree this will be natural and inevitable.
NIST for example doesn't spend almost all of its budget and time on
research and development of laboratory steam engines and steam powered
locomotives these days. I'd just like to try to keep NASA relevant in
the 21st century.


They aren't spending all their budget on steam powered locomotives? Well
that explains why we no longer see those locomotives tooting by :-)

I think that we both see things the same way here. But I'd like to
emphasise that CropBox I mentioned above is only an example that came up
to me without really thinking about it. I'm not sure if they are the
best for the task of growing food on Mars. There are others that build
similar containerised food growing greenhouses which might or might not
be better than CropBox. But more importantly, there are numerous other
things on which work should be going on *now*. Not wait years until
SpaceX or whoever lands someone on Mars to start working on those
things. A few things that come to mind for which we need to think about
how to do it in a martian context: mining, pharmaceuticals (at first you
can't have every kind of medication available, you probably should be
ready to make locally some), air processing, micrometeorite damage
repair, radiation protection, energy generation ...

You can start a colony even if not everything is well adapted for Mars.
But if too many things aren't ready, you will get into trouble more
often. And if you get into trouble too often the colony will fail. If
one person dies because you don't have the medication to treat his rare
condition the colony can go on, but if every other day someone dies
because the spacesuits aren't well adapted, and the mining technology
isn't well adapted and ... You're in trouble.


What a conincidence, I just stumled on this while reading some totally
unrelated stuff:
https://squarerootsgrow.com
Square Roots is an urban indoor farming company that was started by a
guy named Kimbal Musk. You might have heard about his brother Elon :-)


Alain Fournier
  #8  
Old March 8th 20, 09:49 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,083
Default Why I believe in flags and footprints NOW.

In article , says...
What a conincidence, I just stumled on this while reading some totally
unrelated stuff:
https://squarerootsgrow.com
Square Roots is an urban indoor farming company that was started by a
guy named Kimbal Musk. You might have heard about his brother Elon :-)



I thought everyone knew this? ;-)

Yeah, his brother has been promoting this tech for quite a few years
now. Paired with renewable energy, this technique allows you to grow
fresh produce using a minimal amount of land, water, and power. Perfect
for an urban setting and likely easily adapted for use on Mars.

Even though lots of artists renderings show transparent greenhouses on
Mars, it's likely more efficient to just put the "greenhouse" in a
regular, opaque, pressure vessel (could be rigid or an inflatable) and
use LED lighting. The LED lighting is easier to control the intensity,
wavelengths, and etc. than relying on outside light from a sun that's
further away and might be obscured by dust storms.

But to certain members of our society, growning certain plants indoors
using efficient LED grow lights isn't anything new. ;-)

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
  #9  
Old March 11th 20, 12:57 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Alain Fournier[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 425
Default Why I believe in flags and footprints NOW.

On Mar/8/2020 at 17:49, Jeff Findley wrote :
In article , says...
What a conincidence, I just stumled on this while reading some totally
unrelated stuff:
https://squarerootsgrow.com
Square Roots is an urban indoor farming company that was started by a
guy named Kimbal Musk. You might have heard about his brother Elon :-)



I thought everyone knew this? ;-)


Oh! Maybe just about everyone knew except for a few ignorants ;-)

Yeah, his brother has been promoting this tech for quite a few years
now. Paired with renewable energy, this technique allows you to grow
fresh produce using a minimal amount of land, water, and power. Perfect
for an urban setting and likely easily adapted for use on Mars.

Even though lots of artists renderings show transparent greenhouses on
Mars, it's likely more efficient to just put the "greenhouse" in a
regular, opaque, pressure vessel (could be rigid or an inflatable) and
use LED lighting. The LED lighting is easier to control the intensity,
wavelengths, and etc. than relying on outside light from a sun that's
further away and might be obscured by dust storms.


I don't think dust storms are much of a problem in this respect. Unless
what you meant is dust depositing on the window panels. Plants on Earth
can grow just fine even if some days are cloudy. Shielding against
cosmic rays might be an important issue and an opaque vessel can help in
that regard. Another point where using natural light might cause
problems on Mars is thermal control but I'm not sure about that, because
the atmosphere is so tenuous, it probably isn't all that hard to heat
the greenhouse.

But to certain members of our society, growning certain plants indoors
using efficient LED grow lights isn't anything new. ;-)


I remember seeing an add in a magazine many years ago, it was from some
company selling kits to grow plants indoor. Of course they couldn't
openly promote doing illegal things. But in the add they said that you
could recover your $8000 investment in a few months if you used it grow
"valuable plants". They didn't specify what kind of plants were so valuable.


Alain Fournier
  #10  
Old March 13th 20, 12:33 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,083
Default Why I believe in flags and footprints NOW.

In article , says...
But to certain members of our society, growning certain plants indoors
using efficient LED grow lights isn't anything new. ;-)


I remember seeing an add in a magazine many years ago, it was from some
company selling kits to grow plants indoor. Of course they couldn't
openly promote doing illegal things. But in the add they said that you
could recover your $8000 investment in a few months if you used it grow
"valuable plants". They didn't specify what kind of plants were so valuable.


Yeah, I don't engage in that sort of activity, but I do have a couple of
4' long fluorescent fixtures on a timer in my basement to keep some
plants alive during the winter and to start seeds in the spring (getting
close to that time of year). It's not *that* hard to grow plants
indoors. If I can do it, anyone can.

Also, Epcot in Orlando is mostly cheesy, but I have always liked "The
Land" because it has a boat tour of a greenhouse where everything grown
is done using hydroponics. Combine hydroponics with modern LED
lighting, and you've essentially got what Kimbal Musk is doing in
shipping containers.

The future is now.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
 




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