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mark211Will recent high profile disasters create setbacks for space travel? Thoughts?2014-11-09 08:17:00
mark211Do you think the independent rocket business will be slowed down by the recent tragedy of the Virgin Galactic crash [http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/nov/07/virgin-galactic-tragedy-revealed-spaceshiptwo-disaster] and the failure of the unmanned ISS supply rockets [http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/oct/28/antares-rocket-explodes-nasa-launch-pad-orbital-science]? Should the market for recreational space travel be given more time before we shoot movie stars (and others) into space?2014-11-09 08:19:27
r.tornello when you're sitting on top of a can of rocket fuel (solid or liquid or whatever it may be) these things happen. If it not engines, it's SW, if not that pilot error, if not that our alien masters. So to answer your question, set back for VG for a while. Overall, we've been set back for years by the nincompoops in power diverting $$$ for useless wars internal and external, starting with Viet Nam, all the way through Iraq under Bush II. The moon could have been mined and Mars quite possibly too. We have the nuclear propulsion systems (late 1960s as well as the Saturn V) that could have been assembled in orbit and harnessed to a heavy shielded body for safe travel. What a waste of money and human life, monkeys killing monkeys, for what? Who is pulling the puppet strings? 2014-11-09 13:31:25
WessonAs long as the ambition stays alive, space travel will rise again for sure, just a matter of trial and error. And if we're going to bring cash into the equation, I agree we are wasting money. I think it's a shame that the Obama stimulus package in 2008 will exceed the entire cost of the Iraq war (2003 - 2008) by 100 billion (15%) according to the CBO. It's also a shame that from 2003-2008, spending on education exceeded spending on the Iraq war during that same period ($574 billion versus $554 billion). But at least we have something to show for it all, right?2014-11-09 15:32:06
RobertEndersThousands of fatal car wrecks every year don't set back the automobile. Astronauts know the risks and there is no shortage of people who want to get involved in the space program. But for space travel to become safer and more affordable, a space elevator will have to be built. 2014-11-10 03:01:14
micheledGreat question, great comments. As much as the Hindenburg ended blimps, as much as the Titanic almost ended steamships crossing the Atlantic, I'm hoping these disasters will slow down movie stars from being shot into oblivion. Rich people with more money than god? - yeah, shoot them into space, I'm good with it. Like R.Tornello said, when you're sitting on a can of rocket fuel - these things happen. Astronauts and professional pilots know and accept the risks - so they alone should be the ones headed up there - at least for another decade. It sounds glamorous, but blowing up in a burst of fire is too dangerous for the average Joe or Jane. And RobertEnders - I still love the idea of a space elevator - much better idea! 2014-11-10 08:41:15
r.tornelloThis may not but our (the country maybe, not the businesses unless the idiots in Congress gets in the way, swayed by their big $$ backers-see $$ allocted to Space X vs Boeing, or on the ground the political $$ being thrown against TESLA) financial and political situation may. I'm thinking about Imperial Spain and the many examples of ancient China especially the expeditions of Zhong He. Smaller more organized, less bloated nations jumped into the political vacuum. Maybe these start up companies could be considered new "business nations" fulfilling that same historical niche. Just an early morning idea/memory from a paper I was going to write long ago.2014-11-11 04:22:00
mark211"But for space travel to become safer and more affordable, a space elevator will have to be built." I can highly recommend Michele's story "A Pocket filled of Posies", which features an elevator of just this kind - you can find it here on QM. It's excellent, seriously.2014-11-11 14:14:18
mark211I think Michele makes a really good point with the Hindenburg because as far as I know that really did bring a sharp end to the Zeppelin business (at least on a significant scale), with commercial airline travel by plan coming (I think) quite a bit later. I say that because my immediate reaction to the question 'Surely, people will still invest?' But maybe not ... a lot of the fabulous wealth lying around these days is essentially fictional, value that's been magicked into being through not much more than a demand for a supply of ... well not very much as far as I can gather. It's the greater soap bubble of wealth about which all the very much smaller ones (1973, 2007 etc.) keep popping. When the big one goes ... plenty of people will be glad to have something to get the hell off this rock with.2014-11-11 14:19:07
mark211Deep, deep space flight fascinates me because it seems that our own biology and the facts of physics seem to conspire against us ever reaching a Goldilocks planet. Even so, I'm dying to see that Interstellar movie (not *spoilers* please, if anyone has seen it)2014-11-11 14:22:22
r.tornelloSorry about the rambling note previously.

If we keep wasting our $$ on unnecessary wars (externally and against our own people), have a congress that has little to no technical knowledge (mostly lawyers funded by lobbyists bereft of national civic minded goals), a country bifurcated socially, economically and politically, do you really expect a concentrated effort in this or any other important field?

Long term (goldilocks) flight=s a new biology, evolution of a new species, or some fantastic breakthrough in matter/mass transportation. RT

2014-11-12 06:51:05
micheledutcherWhat's interesting to me is that there are so many potential dangers in space that we don't even know the questions yet. For instance: The ESA put a lander on a comet after 10 years, but now it's going to die in 2 days because it landed in a shadow. What bad luck! - but in space, something silly and unforeseen can totally wreck all the work and $$$ of the smartest humans on Earth. Who would have thought it! 2014-11-14 07:44:30
r.tornelloNo one can hear you scream in space.

How about the screwed up math code on the 1st Mars Landers

Humans can't live with them and you just can't...(fill in the blanks).

2014-11-14 07:55:47

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