Author Topic: Space. The Final Frontier.  (Read 15611 times)

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Offline tomterp

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #450: April 17, 2013, 05:35:16 PM »
At 5PM today NASA and Orbital Sciences will launch a rocket from Wallops Island MD,

 :roll:



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Offline nats2playoffs

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #452: April 17, 2013, 06:09:26 PM »
never mind, they scrubbed the launch for 48 hours due to "premature umbilical separation in the 2nd stage"
#antares is the twitter hashtag for the launch.

They should have had Big Jim Slade on Standby Alert:

Big Jim Slade!

Offline HalfSmokes

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #453: May 01, 2013, 09:44:01 AM »

since there is no science thread

A Boy And His Atom: The World's Smallest Movie




this may be the coolest thing I've ever seen

Offline Coladar

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #454: May 24, 2013, 04:55:28 PM »
I keep writing and rewriting a post for this thread about my fervent desire to investigate Titan, and methane based life, as well as why we should. But until I come up with a succinct enough summary, I found this distressing -

http://news.discovery.com/space/private-spaceflight/bigelow-aerospace-moon-habitat-130524.htm

Namely, this:

Quote

For example, after the International Space Station is removed from orbit, NASA could be a tenant aboard a Bigelow Aerospace-owned habitat for any microgravity research or technology development it wants to do.

“We think station can fly to 2028,” Gerstenmaier said. Coladar says, "Bullcrap. The ISS is only funded until 2020. Good luck with the extension in this political climate, hi Sequester. Also, it's an international endeavor. Russia has already made plans to detach their modules and utilize them for a Mir v2.0. Good luck keeping the ISS in the sky when the Russians start ripping it apart in a few years."

After that, “we won’t be in the business of maintaining and operating a facility in low-Earth orbit. We believe that there will be a service available for us and the private sector,” he said.


Great. I thought I had read something about a NASA Skylab 2 after the ISS, guess not. I was pissed enough it seemed like the end was being signaled for the international space cooperative - we should be building on the ISS, combining efforts, resources and cash to explore space, manned and unmanned. Hell, if everybody was devoting a fraction of military spending on space it wouldn't matter. When we can't even leave the Earth anymore, when there is one nation with manned spaceflight capabilities, while Titan, Europa, exoplanetary searches, space interferometry telescopes, lunar exploraition and colonization, manned spaceflight all wither and die... Maybe you pool resources, rather than have China invest billions reinventing the wheel of putting a man into space and a rudimentary, useless space station that pales in comparison to the ISS.

Then again, we're the jackasses who've kept China out of the ISS in all ways, shapes and forms despite China wanting to contribute and join. With any luck, the rest of the world gets fed up with NASA making ridiculous demands, excluding nations, and wasting other agencies time and money going in as a partner on projects then backing out at the last minute and leaving them hanging (See recent ESA/NASA Mars mission.) Maybe the world won't abandon space, but will move on without NASA and the US. So long as humanity is in space, and exploring space, I don't care who does it.

Anyways, brilliant plan, that. Because inflatable space hotels are the perfect place to conduct sensitive, billion dollar research. Because those space hotels are so certain to even ever be made and launched anytime soon. Looks like everybody else will be going it alone with space stations once more - everybody but NASA.

NASA is dead. They just don't know it yet. What a fricking joke. No launch capabilities, now not even a LEO station to be our launching point into the cosmos. Pathetic.

Online Nathan

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #455: May 24, 2013, 05:04:31 PM »
Going to the moon 44 years ago and never going any further is pretty pathetic too IMO.

Offline Coladar

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #456: May 24, 2013, 05:44:13 PM »
Going to the moon 44 years ago and never going any further is pretty pathetic too IMO.

Oh, absodamnlutely. I could write a dozen novel length rants on this subject.

What's more pathetic though - that we abandoned it, or the reason we went at all? Space should be where we freaking come together as a species. Where we put divisions behind us, and work as one to reach for the stars. Kids look back at 1969, and it isn't so much "The Americans went to the moon." as it is "Mankind set foot on the moon." But the only reason we did put boots down on lunar ground? Petty conflict. No cold war, we'd still never have stepped on an alien world. I think it says something vile about our species that we can only do such a thing motivated by conflict - without that conflict, nothing.

Apple has like $150 billion in cash laying around, we spend how many trillions on war? And a probe to Titan to find alien life requires all of $400 million, and it won't happen in my lifetime.

Kepler? Kepler just died, the mission to find exoplanets. The followup? One probe, earliest launch 2017. We have the means, now, to launch a fleet that could do spectroscopic analysis of alien worlds' atmospheres. In other words, if they have life like Earth's plants/oxygenation, we could detect it. Life. We could answer the greatest question of all, are we alone? with relatively very little money.

Crap, NASA got gifted two 'super Hubble lenses' that cost hundreds of millions to make. A spy agency wasted that money, never used them. NASA is freely given them, and we won't ever launch both of them. The one we will launch? Won't launch until the 2020s. Why? Lack of funding. When they were given the most expensive part freely, one wasted by militaristic purposes. But for our betterment as a species, we can't find a fraction of their cost to launch them.

By the by, if we do launch that one? Guess where it's going...? Not to investigate dark matter. Not to look for exoplanets. Not to peer into the stars as a bonus Hubble. We're going to launch the goddamn thing to Mars to stare at the ground of a dead world we've already learned just about as much as we possibly can without going there ourselves or spending trillions on unmanned probes. The few space missions we do find resources for, and it's to pointless ends - pointless when Titan sits waiting for us, unexplored, with life likely there in some form.

Online Nathan

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #457: June 07, 2013, 02:57:29 AM »
Nothing to even say...

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D

Offline Coladar

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #458: June 22, 2013, 11:52:44 AM »
Yes, pointing out the press/media are full of idiots with gross hyperbolic BS is like saying the sky is blue. But this...? Reading this, I couldn't refrain from posting this about the "Super Moon of Doom!"

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/06/130622-supermoon-solstice-biggest-science-space-2013-june/

Quote
Two years ago, the so-called supermoon was the closest it's been in two decades - only 356,575 kilometers from Earth.

For this weekend's perigee, the moon will be a tad farther from us at 356,991 kilometers. That's a bit closer than the typical 364,000 kilometers distance, and is set to occur on June 23 at 7:09 a.m. EDT. (The official full moon phase occurs at 7:32 a.m. EDT.)

"The exact moment when the moon is at perigee, it will be overhead in the southern Pacific Ocean," said Anthony Cook, an astronomical observer at Los Angeles's Griffith Observatory. "The western portion of the Americas will see this at sunrise/moonset, while the eastern portion of Asia/Australia will see it at sunset/moonrise."

Super-Effects?

While some are calling it a supermoon, the astronomical community prefers to use the term "perigee full moon."

But next year's show on August 10, 2014, might be more specular than this one. That's because it's expected to be even closer—clocking in at just 356,896 kilometers from Earth, said Hammergren.


Now I'll keep this incredibly short for me. Let's put those "Super Moon distances" they hype up and separate by paragraphs together now.

2011 (Super Moon of Doom, Doom, Doom.): 356,575
2013 (Super Moon of Doom.): 356,991
2014 (Super Moon of Doom, Doom.): 356,896

So... uhh... The moon? It's pretty big. And pretty far away. Someone want to double check my math here, but I get... 2011 was 321km closer than 2014 will be, which is 95km closer than this year.

I also get the moon to have a radius of 1373km. So diameter of 2746km. And... Next year will be "even more spectacular than this year" because of... 95 kilometers. Like the distance from here to freaking Baltimore? With an object the size of... well, the freaking moon...?

Yay crack journalistic reporting integrity and accuracy for the win! With crap like this, no wonder our space program is in such disarray. If this is the kind of information Joe Blow gets, and gets told that astronomers think a moon 95km closer from year to year is a spectacularly huge deal...

Oh, wait... I'm sorry. It's not just spectacular, but actually: 'Might be more specular than this one.' Specular. Good lord. And this is National GDamn Geographic. Whither the English language.

This is the astronomical story they report this week, over NASA getting $1bn cut in the House, Obama's asteroid capture program likely eradicated. All well and good, except that was what replaced our Mars goal after it got cut. Now no Mars, no Asteroids. Guess it doesn't matter, since we don't even have a manned space program to begin with. Hope those eight new astronaut cadets recruited this week have fun watching millionaires in space while their asses are on the ground.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #459: June 22, 2013, 11:58:14 AM »
Collie - That rant is fantastic.  Werth reading.

Offline Coladar

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #460: June 22, 2013, 12:07:48 PM »
Collie - That rant is fantastic.  Werth reading.

The agony of being an Astrogeek in 2010s America. I guess when we can't even get ourselves to space anymore, 95km of distance in space really is pretty specular.

Here's the question of the day: In the same vein as if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it?

Those eight astronauts in training announced this week? Impossible people with engineering degrees on top of being medical doctors on top of being combat jet fighter pilots (for real) on top of being the Pope (Seems the only thing they're missing.)

If an astronaut never goes to space, are they really an astronaut?

Me? I'll find it funny when some reality tv show rejects touch down on Mars while these Pope Their Majesties Dr. Jet Fighter MD, Ph.D, Esq., JD of the Earth Empire, Defender of the Faith and Mother of Dragons are looking at Mars through a telescope.

I can just see it now when the reality show to Mars actually ends up happening, and we have our next Armstrong moment -

That's one step backward for mankind, one giant partay for this Snooki!

Offline Coladar

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #461: June 23, 2013, 01:45:04 AM »
I think I've already used up my allocated monthly astronomy rant space today, but something I remembered reading last week popped into my head just now. A quick Google for some legitimacy if any doubt the numbers below:

http://www.space.com/18145-how-far-is-the-moon.html

I was looking up the old Barnum and Bailey circus circa 1890s a while back. They spent several years at the turn of the century in Europe, never doing any US shows the entire time. Why? It took a month, even in 1900, to get across the Atlantic with cargo ships.

The moon? Not having been alive during Apollo, I never can keep in mind the fact it was only a three day trip for Armstrong, Aldrin and crew. But the staggering thing is the Pluto probe, New Horizons. How long did it take to go from Earth to the Moon a few years ago? Days? Try 8 hours and 35 minutes. 

Admittedly that doesn't factor in deceleration or the orbital insertion necessary if the Moon is your ultimate destination, but still... 8 hours to the moon. That article I posted made 95 km sound specularly closer to the Earth, but what's easy to forget is the moon just ain't that far relatively speaking.

My point? Think about Columbus and his ilk. Our ancestors boarding wooden boats rife with disease and death, starvation or dehydration. In the 1600s, with perfect weather, it was at best a 65 day trip. Mayflower, 66 days. Crazier still? The record for fastest transatlantic crossing ever by a transatlantic liner was set in the 1950s: 3 days, 10 hours. We got to the moon quicker in 1969 than going from NY to London by ship today.

It seems ridiculous that any one of us could set foot on the moon with today's technology in a matter of hours, little different time-wise than crossing an ocean by plane, but that's the case. And yet we haven't been back there for 40 years. Compare the moon to colonial America, and heaven help us all if the world had the same sheepish attitude then that it has now. Both the length of the trip and the odds you die during it are several times higher for 1600s Europe-America versus 2013 Earth-Moon.

Obviously the cost of boarding a wooden boat versus a space ship, never mind insanely expensive fuel versus wind and oars, is vastly different. Unfortunately Google is failing me here, but c'est la vie - I can't find estimates of the cost for building the 13 colonies, but it had to have been obscene. I would imagine pretty damn close to the cost of setting up a small permanent lunar outpost, if not more. /mindfact

Definitely far, far, far greater in terms of the human cost/effort than a lunar base would take. Seems unbelievable that none of us might ever see human boots on the moon in our lifetimes regardless, but it's downright unfathomable when you consider that it's only a few hour voyage away. I guess that's why we've got to hype up the Super Moon of Doom² and it being a specular 95 km closer to us, since that's as close as any of us will ever get to it.

/End Collie Rant for the Week/Month

Offline mimontero88

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #462: June 23, 2013, 05:12:36 AM »
I've long wondered why we all don't stop going to war with each other and start working on figuring out how to get off this planet.  Seriously, we should be pouring money into this.  Gamma ray bursts, asteroids, wandering black holes/neutron stars/planets, a runaway greenhouse effect from global warming, or the eventual death of the Sun or collision of the Milky Way galaxy with the Andromeda galaxy will force us to get off the planet eventually.  We don't know when Earth will be dealt a catastrophic blow but we know that's in our future and we know there are scenarios where that could be sooner than later.  Now, obviously the odds of it happening any time soon are slim to none.  However, when the consequence is extinction of the human race I feel like having a plan and doing the work to make sure we have the capability to move if we have to should be the top priority of our species.

Yet there are enough people working on the possibility of an asteroid colliding with Earth (among the most likely mass extinction type events) to staff one shift at a McDonald's.  Where is the disconnect?  If you think about the worst possible things that could happen ever, this would be pretty much it.  Just ask the dinosaurs.  Oh wait, you can't.  They're extinct.

I would like to cut the defense budget in half (God forbid we only spend 5x as much as the next highest spender) and put that all into research for intergalactic space travel.  We're obviously a very long way away from it but the point is it's never too soon to start working on it.  The survival of the human race could very well come down to how much work we have put into our space travel capabilities.  Here's hoping we're not too late when that day comes.

Offline mimontero88

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #463: June 23, 2013, 05:18:52 AM »
BTW for those who are seriously interested in possible space catastrophes the human race could face this is one of my favorite documentaries (I'm a space documentary nut).  It's about an hour and a half long.  The premise is that there is a runaway neutron star headed for our solar system, which in 75 years will destroy the entire solar system.  It's a look at the possible scenario of humans escaping the planet before then on that timetable and how we could possibly do it. It's pretty fascinating.  Spoiler:  Nuclear bombs could actually save the human race but not in the way you might think.

Evacuate Earth - National Geographic Documentary

Offline Slateman

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #464: July 08, 2013, 08:42:26 AM »
http://imgur.com/a/6MqlY

Young man wrote NASA a letter and got something in return. Pretty cool. I'm willing to overlook the blatant mis-use of my tax dollars for the feels.

Offline cmdterps44

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #465: July 08, 2013, 09:33:38 AM »
http://imgur.com/a/6MqlY

Young man wrote NASA a letter and got something in return. Pretty cool. I'm willing to overlook the blatant mis-use of my tax dollars for the feels.


:clap:

Offline Dixon Ward

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #466: July 08, 2013, 12:04:20 PM »
http://imgur.com/a/6MqlY

Young man wrote NASA a letter and got something in return. Pretty cool. I'm willing to overlook the blatant mis-use of my tax dollars for the feels.


 :lmao:

Offline Coladar

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #467: July 12, 2013, 05:14:05 PM »
Was catching up on the news and saw an update on Lake Vostok, the Antarctic lake cut off and isolated for millions and millions of years. Figured I'd pop my head back to bump up this thread with various bits and pieces.

http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23230864

This is the amazing one - Vostok. The Russians have been melting for years to reach it, searching for signs life might exist beneath about 3 MILES!! of ice. The parallel here, of course, is Europa or other far flung worlds covered in ice with oceans of liquid water below. If life can survive in total darkness, totally cut off from the world for millions of years, odds are life might endure elsewhere in the universe in similar locales.

And so today they announce there might, might, be actual freaking fish down there. Not bacteria and microbes, but fish. Amazing, although the Russian's search has been filled with incompetence and errors, so it could be contamination or just plain stupidity. Until they disprove the Russian's discovery though, I'll believe it's legit.

http://www.space.com/21928-alien-planet-blue-color-revealed.html

I think this is some of the most amazing news in quite a long time - we've imaged an extrasolar planet's color for the first time! And from a two decades old relic, Hubble. Even more amazing, the combination of data - x-rays showed the star putting out four times as much radiation as normal, and we follow that up with this. The synchronization of our astronomical research astounds.

A world where it rains liquid glass? Winds unlike any we can conceive? The only bummer here - the note that we won't get more like this anytime soon. Hubble dies, its successor being James Webb that sees only infrared, not visible light. It's ridiculous we advance in astronomy by taking steps backward. We should have infrared, radio interferometers on the lunar surface, visible light, x-ray, gamma rays... the whole gamut.

http://www.space.com/21931-pluto-moon-charon-nasa-photo.html

I know I've had to have posted about New Horizons before - our Pluto probe, the last gasp of our solar system survey harkening back to Voyager. A probe canceled, before petitions got it reinstated by Congress. It'll be amazing to *finally* have direct, clear images of Pluto. Just imagine, Hubble can barely make out a hazy orb - in a couple years, we'll see what no one has ever seen. The last planet (Sorry, Pluto's still a planet despite IAU bullcrap.)

Just think, NH is still years away, 550 million miles away, and now it's imaged Pluto and its largest moon separately for the first time. That's just about as good as we've seen with our most powerful scopes, and it has 550 million miles to go! New Horizons is the last NASA probe in my lifetime I'll probably be excited about. I was nuts for Huygens landing on Titan too, but those days are gone. Hell, now we spend every dollar on a desert world - Mars. Our tip top research there? In 2020, we're going to send spare parts of Curiosity, which at that point'll be a decade old technology, as our cutting edge. New Horizons is the final gasp of the old, exciting exploratory NASA.


http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-07/08/mysterious-galactic-radio-signals
 
Apparently there are new immensely powerful bursts of radiation coming from billions of light years away. So powerful that we have no clue what they might be, unlike anything we've seen before. They're frequent, too, lasting only a short time but almost continuous when they were pointing the telescope arrays in that direction.

Whatever it is, we know it's a brand new class of something incredibly powerful. Colliding magnetars, neutron stars and black holes, who knows. I personally wonder if this might be some long sought evidence of matter-antimatter annihilation. I'd like to think anti-matter has antigravitational properties, explaining baryogenesis, which we can't disprove until we create enough anti-hydrogen for long enough to observe. These explosions might well be evidence of the straggling amounts of intergalactic matter/antimatter coming in contact. No matter what they turn out to be, we know for certain they're some of the most powerful 'whatevers' in the entire universe. Awesome.

http://m.computerworld.com/s/article/9240630/NASA_preps_long_distance_rescue_plan_for_crippled_Kepler_telescope

I posted my depression over Kepler's demise a couple months back. Turns out they've got a plan to try and repair the wheels remotely, which would be a miracle. The discoveries Kepler could still make can't be understated, and although we've got enough data already that it'll take years to get through, let's hope Kepler gets back in action.

http://m.cnet.com/photos/mars-rover-on-the-road-again-pictures/10017447

Curiosity is still roving around Mars. Just started its long journey to Mount Sharp, with plenty of amazing discoveries on the way. There's also an amazing video of moonrise on Mars as Deimos appears in the sky - http://www.space.com/21826-mars-rover-curiosity-phobos-moonrise-video.html

http://www.space.com/21913-solar-system-tail-first-photos-unveiled.html

Solar system's scope revealed for the first time.

Offline Coladar

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #468: July 12, 2013, 05:24:26 PM »
http://imgur.com/a/6MqlY

Young man wrote NASA a letter and got something in return. Pretty cool. I'm willing to overlook the blatant mis-use of my tax dollars for the feels.


I saw this on another site, and maybe this is what makes me so polarizing, but I don't get it. I don't get it for two reasons.

First, NASA sends a form letter - literally, just a generic response they send out. Then a couple color photos and stickers.

But, I dunno, I'm not a fan of this inflating of kids egos. Seven years old and sending a letter like that? Me 7, me want go Mars, me can't go, me 7. Here picture me on Mars, see, it has me name above me! Me Dexter!!!

Yeah, maybe this is why I'll never have kids. When I was seven, I was fighting with my first grade teacher who emphatically denied that Neptune and Pluto ever switched positions as 8th and 9th planets. Despite showing evidence, the teacher still denied it until I wrote to NASA asking them to explain it to him for me.

This kids parents post their kid got a form letter because he sent a letter to NASA and gets praised for it? More, the letter wasn't even like 'I think Curiosity rocks! That landing was insane! You guys are awesome! When I grow up, I want to be an astrobiologist!" No, it was, 'Mememe! I want to go to Mars. Send me to Mars! If not, I'll take free schwag!' Whither the world.

Okely dokily, there's July's Collirant. Ripping seven year olds to pieces, I feel so proud of myself. Or not.

Online Nathan

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #469: July 12, 2013, 05:26:56 PM »
I've been watching Star Trek Voyager the last few weeks, and it's about over.  It's kind of depressing that with the way we seem to be going, we'll never have anything like an interstellar starship.  We can't even get people to Mars even though we got people to the moon 44 years ago :?

Offline Coladar

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #470: July 12, 2013, 05:54:45 PM »
I've beenhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion) watching Star Trek Voyager the last few weeks, and it's about over.  It's kind of depressing that with the way we seem to be going, we'll never have anything like an interstellar starship.  We can't even get people to Mars even though we got people to the moon 44 years ago :?


It's beyond depressing. Goddamn, if you want depressing, read this Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)

Basically, we had the tech in the 60s to explore the solar system and the galaxy. Yeah, nukes are bad, nukes in space during the Cold War even worse. But this is the only realisitic hope we have, while billions get spent on solar sails that take decades to go to Jupiter?

The state of our space program is embarrassing. I'll bet good, good money life exists either on Europa or Titan. My money is on Titan.

But do we explore? Hell no. The cost of a cheap mission to Titan to confirm or disprove life? $320 million. That's it.

Europa has a global freaking ocean miles deep. An ocean of water!!! After that Vostok article I posted, we should focus like crazy on Europa, Enceladus and Titan. But we won't return in my lifetime.

Hubble dies, nothing replaces it. Kepler dies, just as we are at the dawn of discovering extrasolar planets, just starting out. Something where we could rule out once and for all how prevalent life in the universe is through examining atmospheres with todays technology. And a successor to Kepler is more than a decade away. We won't have another space probe focused on exoplanets for a decade, at least, if ever.

Meanwhile the spy agencies give NASA two 'super-Hubble lenses' that they spent hundreds of millions on and never used, and NASA won't launch e]ther of them lacking just the simple funds to retrofit and launch.

Hell, we can't put a man in space anymore. Any country that loses the capability the way we have and casually accepts it without much protest is doomed. That says all we need to know about our future in space in my estimation. Whee, billionaires will go to LEO instead. That's an upgrade.

Look no further than that Russian meteor in Feb. Something that threatens our entire planet, threatens extinction. We get another wakeup call similar to Tunguska in 1908, and what comes of it? We can't spend a few hundred million globally, as a united effort for all our safety, to narrow down, track, and have a plan if we find a threatening asteroid. We can't even bother to look for them though, apparently preferring to wake up one morning, see a sky of fire and die seconds later. If we can't do that much, we won't do anything anytime soon.

Hell, the US are the ones who've kept China out of the ISS - all the money and resources they can bring, they want to bring, and we exclude them over petty rivalries while we give Russia all our money to put our boots in space? Where's the logic there? As long as we get stuck in old conflicts, refuse cooperation, and care more about short term stupidity and spend money on selfish pork barrel projects or trillions on death and war while space beckons and waits, depressing doesn't begin to cover it.

To imagine the entire universe sits there and we don't explore it when we can... One thing I've never been able to figure is why, if nothing else, the devoutly religious aren't the first to clamor for all things space - you consider God created the entire universe, exploring and understanding it = exploring and understanding God. I don't bring that up to devolve or get mired in thetheological, just that I cannot fathom our widespread and continuing apathy towards all things space. Wonder, excitement, survival, answers, God's creation... We spend so much on so much else, and space withers when it should be near the top of our focus in today's world.

Offline mimontero88

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #471: July 14, 2013, 05:21:17 AM »
I was watching a documentary on Einstein and learned that General Relativity never won a Nobel Prize.  I recently chose to go back to school for astronomy but now I'm feeling like if the greatest scientific discovery in history never won a Nobel Prize, what chance to I have?

Offline Mathguy

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #472: July 14, 2013, 02:04:45 PM »
Just don't blame your chances on Einstein

I was watching a documentary on Einstein and learned that General Relativity never won a Nobel Prize.  I recently chose to go back to school for astronomy but now I'm feeling like if the greatest scientific discovery in history never won a Nobel Prize, what chance to I have?

Offline Coladar

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #473: July 16, 2013, 06:03:07 AM »
I was watching a documentary on Einstein and learned that General Relativity never won a Nobel Prize.  I recently chose to go back to school for astronomy but now I'm feeling like if the greatest scientific discovery in history never won a Nobel Prize, what chance to I have?

Interesting, I'm actually considering the same thing. More as a hobby and way of standing behind the one thing I'm so passionate about, because $$ and astronomy, or even realistic careers and astronomy, don't exactly go hand in hand. I simply find it so infuriating that life almost certainly exists on either Europa or Titan, the latter requiring only $300 million to explore, and we don't do it. Geez, these Hollywood movies coming out every damn week now cost almost as much as a mission to answer are we alone?

Bill Gates sends how many billions to Africa, most certainly a noble cause, but doesn't support our ascension as a species and planet. Unmanned probes that could answer the most fundamental questions of the universe wouldn't dent his bank account, he's a fellow geek/nerd/sciency guy, and yet where's his passion for science in astronomy? It seems the rich folk pushing astronomy aren't the intellectual inquisitives, but the adventurous glory hounds like Branson.

Long as I live, I will never understand why astronomy isn't only of no interest to people, but often viewed with derision - 'What we be sending alls our moneys up into them thar space for? We needs that moneys here, I wants my moneys!'

Then again, look no further than the current golden boy of public astronomy. He's actually the reason I popped in here again, watching the Europa Report just now On demand and saw a clip of him that was appalling. From Carl Sagan to Neil Tyson explains a lot. Sagan was a genius who related difficult concepts to average folks with ease and wit. Tyson? I'm sorry, the more I see the more I think he's an absolute idiot who only harms the astronomy cause. Case in point, that Europa Report clip that was taken from statements he made years prior totally unrelated to the film? Something about, "I want to go ice fishing on Europa, take one of the fish and kiss it on its lips."

Holy God. Making idiot comments like 'Going ice fishing on Europa' doesn't aid astronomy or make it more relatable to the average joe. It does, however, bring astronomy down to the idiot buffoon's level, rather than attempting to raise the masses up to fathom and get excited about space like Sagan did. You know what you say about Europa to get the public's attention and stoke demand for a mission there? One thing - just one simple thing, and it ain't ice fishing and kissing Europan fish on the lips. It's "Europa has a global ocean of liquid water mile deep. Every single planet we have explored with liquid water has life. As such, Europa is guaranteed to harbor complex life based on available evidence, until we know that it doesn't." Boom goes the dynamite. It's sensationalist enough, appealling to Joe Public, while remaining completely true and conveying the same idea behind Tyson's dumb quote.

 Hell, Tyson is a proud advocate for demoting Pluto, a ridiculous and pathetic action which did more to harm astronony's reputation among the masses than anything else in modern history. It was ridiculed, the scientific community was ridiculed for it, the infighting harmed the reputation of astronomers, and it turned off many a person who learned in school of nine planets - all for no logical reason other than they could do it, so they did do it.

Tyson's comments in the aftermath, "It happened, get over it. I hear there are Pluto counselors out there for you." Tyson is the George Bush of astronomy, charismatic and affable, plenty of quips and quotes, but brings things down instead of raising others up, and equally arrogant as W. So in a sense Tyson is the perfect mouthpiece for the state of modern space exploration, shambles that it's in. Astronomy's present and future are depressing enough alone. To imagine that Mr. Ice Fishing on Europa and 'Cry-baby Plutoids' is the heir to a line which began with Einstein and continued with Sagan is enough to make a space geek suicidal.

In regards to relativity and the Nobel, it's not quite as bad as you say/think. First, relativity was somewhat up in the air. The committee specifically stated something about waiting for future confirmation. Relativity was also quite a difficult concept a the time - it still is - and only truly became what we know it is today as a result of the atomic bomb. Also add in Einstein's uncertainty, eventually calling the cosmological constant his biggest blunder, which actually turned out to be correct? There are legitimate reasons beyond being snubbed, whether on principle or due to antisemitism at the time. He was awarded a Nobel prize for his work explaining the concept of the photoelectric effect/photons, which I believe is arguably more fundamental to physics than general relativity, especially at the time when relativity wasn't what it is today.

Relativity is amazing in so many ways, but the photoelectric effect is more basic with more real-world implications. In that sense relativity was ahead of its time, whereas the photoelectric effect was right on cue. He should have received two Nobels, but if he was to receive only one considering all the variables at play, I strongly believe he received it for the right work. I'm sorry, I appreciate relativity for what it is, but conceiving of photons as the carrier of the electromagnetic force... that's just so incredibly basic, so vital to physics... never mind relativity building on precisely that. No photons, no Einstein coming up with General Relativity. We all herald Einstein and his work with relativity, but then think about everything you learned about photons, how fundamental they are to physics and the dynamics of the universe, I think one would have a hard time saying Einstein should have won for relativity over photons as the carriers of the electromagnetic force.

Now maybe you can make right a wrong - tie general relativity with quantum theory, the 'theory of everything', and I'll bet the farm you can win a Nobel for concepts grounded in relativity. So take heart, and get to work already!

Offline mimontero88

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Re: Space. The Final Frontier.
« Reply #474: July 16, 2013, 08:06:26 AM »
I would disagree that Dr. Tyson is a mouthpiece for the current state of astronomy.  This is a great speech on exactly how awful it is that we don't fund NASA.

Neil to Earth - Reality Check - Best Neil DeGrasse Tyson speech - Space as Culture


As for the general relativity issue, yes it was definitely controversial at the time and yes, his work on the photoelectric effect absolutely deserved a Nobel as well.  But once relativity was proven, I think the Nobel committee should have awarded him the Prize.  After all, he didn't receive the Nobel for the photoelectric effect until 1921, 16 years after he published his paper on the photoelectric effect.  Sir Arthur Eddington didn't offer the first conclusive proof about relativity until 1919 and it wasn't a generally accepted theory until several years later when an expedition in Australia to observe a solar eclipse by an American astronomer who had previously measured that the bending effect of light was not accurate to Einstein's predictions in relativity did new measurements that confirmed the predictions were accurate.  At that time, the Nobel committee should have awarded Einstein his second Nobel because relativity was a complete game-changer in the world of physics.

Previously we had believed that gravity was a force that attracted massive objects.  For instance, this would mean that when you jump you fall back to the ground because the Earth's gravity pulls you back down.  What Einstein discovered was that no, in fact, space pushes you back down.  And the planets don't orbit the Sun because the Sun is big and attracts them to it but because the Sun actually bends spacetime (another amazing revelation of relativity) causing the planets to revolve through curved space. 

Then there's spacetime itself.  The fact that space and time is a single interwoven fabric has had massive implications on human existence.  Without the discovery of time dilation our GPS satellites wouldn't work.  GPS satellites have to account for the difference in the speed that time runs at in orbit versus here on the ground.  If we hadn't made those adjustments, GPS would not be able to accurately measure where we were on Earth.  Additionally, this discovery of time dilation suggests the possibility of human exploration into deep space as a vessel that could travel close to light speed would cause the humans on board to live for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Earth years as they travel out into the cosmos.  Obviously, we would like to find a better way to accomplish this exploration but the mere fact that it's a possibility is exciting.

Based on all of that and tons of other implications I won't even mention I feel like General Relativity should be a shoo in for a Nobel Prize.

Also on the Pluto thing, I had actually been saying for years prior to the decision that Pluto wasn't a planet.  The fact is that we had begun discovering many similar (one even bigger) icy Kuiper Belt objects that were similar to Pluto.  The issue this presents is simple.  We either would have had to have classified all of these new Kuiper Belt objects as planets or taken the new knowledge into account and corrected that Pluto wasn't actually a planet.  Additionally, Pluto orbits on a different plane from the eight planets and is much more eccentric than the orbits of the planets suggesting that it was not created in the same ilk as the planets.  It is likely a leftover building block of the early Solar System, much like the Asteroid Belt that Jupiter's gravity kept from forming into a planet.  There is a lot of research to suggest that Neptune has a similar effect on the Kuiper Belt objects.  Rocky planets likely cannot form in the presence of the massive gravitational fields produced by gas giants.