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The Space / NASA thread
#36
ACool Bucho. Is this for a new career?
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#37
APretty much Blue. I've been building houses for more than two decades and for all its charms that game takes its toll on a chap's body. You don't see too many retiring chippies who aren't physically beat up in some way so hanging out in libraries and labs and looking at stars and atoms and stuff will do me for the next wee while.
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#38
AGood luck to you. Very unusual change! Which job are you aiming for?
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#39
AI don't have a specific idea in mind just now Blue, in fact for now I'm just trying to survive really. I did my stage 1/ freshman year in the late 90s and passed everything fairly easily but then hit the wall at stage 2/ sophomore, spending too much time playing guitar and video games and generally fucking around and failing a bunch and dropping out, and this year rather than ramp up with some stage 1 papers I've gone straight back in at stage 2, which, after more than a decade and a half not seriously studying physics and maths, has meant jumping in at the deep end and just trying to stay afloat/sane at times.

But I got decent grades in the first semester (even got an A for applied maths \o/) so while it's been a fight and has had many kind of terrifying moments it's been super gratifying overall so far. Some of the kinds of things Olmos has been talking about are some of the kinds of things I've been eyeing, but I still have a ways to go yet before any of that's even an option, so for now I'm just trying to learn a bunch and get good numbers.

The point is though, especially for Fraid, that if you really want it there are ways to go about getting it. Sure being 35+ and going back to school is a challenge and a half, but who wants to do easy? Like that line from Tuck Everlasting says: "Don't be Fraid uh death. Be Fraid uh the unlived life."
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#40
AGood on you mate. To be honest my life has been a bit if a clusterfuck for the last 20 years so I admire those who sort their shit out and make the leap.
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#41

Uh oh, Forbes pours some ice in our panties:



Quote:
On the one hand, it could, of course, simply be aliens. But there are plenty of astrophysical explanations that could explain these light curves:


- This could be a young star with a protoplanetary disk still around it, full of dust and debris, that blocks the light at intermittent levels depending on the orientation of the disk and the star relative to our line-of-sight.


- There could be a series of giant planets with tremendous “ring” structures that prevent a significant portion of the light from reaching our eyes when they pass across their star’s disk.


- This could be a star that’s undergone a significant mass-ejection event, and when a dense portion of that gas passes between our eyes and the star, a significant fraction of the light gets blocked.


- This could be an older, but violent Solar System, where planets crash together and leave large amounts of debris around their star.


- Or it could be a result of a large number of comet-like objects swarming around the star, blocking large amounts of light at regular and/or irregular intervals.


It’s one of these last two explanations, according to the authors, that appears to be the most likely.



But even if there were aliens who build complex megastructures around their sun, they'd still be 1480 light years away. SETI and others like them are doing fascinating work and IMO there's a 500% certainty of intelligent life in space (how's that for applied math?), but the enormous distances make proving this pretty reduntant. And what's the probability for two intelligent civilizations (one being us) having their technological developments overlap in such a way that one would manage to receive the other's radio transmissions across a distance of hundreds/thousands light years?

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#42
ASo Anal Olmos, ''Project Blue Beam',hmmmm?? Come clean. NASA wants to fake the second coming of Christ, right?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnew...China.html
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#43
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bucho View Post


Bollocks dude, I'm 41 and halfway through a BSc in Physics right now (about halfway through stage 2 astrophysics too funnily enough). Sure it's knackering sometimes, but it's also a buzz to have your abilities challenged and your mind blown by the actual magic of The Universe, so you ride that energy through it.

I agree with you dude, but I also agree with Fraid. However, saying that, I went to college and got my 2 degree's and do not want to go back ever. However, I have changed my career direction more than a couple of times. Still don't enjoy what I do, well scratch that, I don't enjoy what I do with the people I'm doing it with. That's more accurate.

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#44
A[quote name="Bucho" url="/community/t/154426/the-space-nasa-thread/30#post_3957271"]
Bollocks dude, I'm 41 and halfway through a BSc in Physics right now (about halfway through stage 2 astrophysics too funnily enough). Sure it's knackering sometimes, but it's also a buzz to have your abilities challenged and your mind blown by the actual magic of The Universe, so you ride that energy through it.[/quote]
Yeah you're right. I swear though, that my attention span has gotten WORSE the older I get. The last time I took any college classes for anything I found it particularly difficult. But like you said...who wants to just do easy? That's more motivating than you probably thought it was. I used to be a river lol but now I'm a stagnant pool. It would be nice to get moving again. I really need to figure out EXACTLY what it is that I'd truly like to do. I tend to paint too broadly when it comes to stuff like this, if that makes any sense.

But good luck Bucho! You really sound like you're making it happen and I wish you the best..
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#45
ASo, this could be interesting...


http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/...lar-system
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#46
AAmazon's Blue Origin beat DpaceX to a reusable rocket. Well one test flight:

Take a look at @TheEconomist's Tweet: https://twitter.com/TheEconomist/status/...19488?s=09
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#47

<yells> BILLIONAIRE FIGHT!!


Blue Origin Milestone: Rocket Lands Safely After Trip to Space


Quote:

Bezos himself took to Twitter to announce the success, and made a subtle dig at Elon Musk and SpaceX at the same time:
 

Jeff Bezos✔ @JeffBezos

The rarest of beasts - a used rocket. Controlled landing not easy, but done right, can look easy. Check out video:
http://bit.ly/1OpyW5N




I smiled, but I have to point out that, as great a technical achievement as this was, what Bezos has accomplished here is quite different than what Musk has been attempting.
The Blue Origin New Shepard is a suborbital rocket, designed to go straight up into space and back down again. The SpaceX Falcon 9 is an orbital rocket, which takes vastly more energy (in other words, much higher speed) to achieve its goal.



Musk responded on Twitter pointing this out:


Elon Musk✔ @elonmusk

It is, however, important to clear up the difference between "space" and "orbit", as described well by
https://what-if.xkcd.com/58/
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#48
AIs the Mars plan about to be altered to include a Moon stop first? The NRC and Chris Hadfield think it should be:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/a...-Mars.html
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#49
AAlien Megastructures?

http://www.avclub.com/article/judge-over...:1:Default
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#50
A[quote name="Bluelouboyle" url="/community/t/154426/the-space-nasa-thread/30#post_4000654"]Is the Mars plan about to be altered to include a Moon stop first? The NRC and Chris Hadfield think it should be:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/a...-Mars.html[/quote]

The current plan (which could get seriously borked with no matter who gets in office in November) calls for a considerable amount of time to be spent in cis-lunar space, including lunar orbit. One of the things I work on is Orion occupant protection and dynamic loads, and the vehicle is specifically being designed to dock with what we're calling the proving ground vehicle. Think a smaller model ISS that could serve as the habitable module for a trip to Mars.

Unlike the ISS, it's going to have to be almost fully automated, which you'd think would be the case already for ISS but nope. We perform hundreds of ground commanding actions a day, from adjusting the life support systems (ECLSS) and water reclamation to pointing for the solar arrays and ventilation. We actually TURN THE STATION AROUND when we detect increased solar radiation from a CME or other solar particle event (SPE) using the on-board gyros in order to put as much metal as possible between the crew and incoming high energy particles, and perform periodic boosts to keep it in the proper orbit. We do all this from the ground, without the crew needing to take any action.

For Mars, ground commanding is on an up to 44-min round trip delay, so anything critical has to be manageable by the crew and automated control systems. To test this out before sticking folks up to a year away from rescue, we're developing a proving ground vehicle that we'll stick in lunar orbit and do sorties to during the mid-2020s.

The official plan is then to continue on to Mars, however those like me who think we should be focusing on the Moon see the proving ground vehicle as win-win. My hope is that plans get tweaked and instead of spending our whole budget getting a single mission to Mars, we instead fund the development of a reusable lunar lander and habitable modules for the lunar surface. Fraction of the cost, and would allow us to continue a permanent human presence in space after we decommission the ISS around 2028.

[quote name="Bluelouboyle" url="/community/t/154426/the-space-nasa-thread/30#post_4118926"]Alien Megastructures?

http://www.avclub.com/article/judge-over...:1:Default[/quote]

Think you're link's a bit off, blue Wink
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#51
AOh, I found out I'm going to be the flight surgeon working Hawthorne mission control (MCC-X) for the first crewed Space-X flight next year (if schedule holds), so keep an eye out... Anytime they show video of MCC look for the young guy, er scratch that cuz they're all young enough that I'M the old guy there. Anyway, look for the Surgeon console and I'll be there, a horrible shade of pale, trying to remember to breathe while we put people on this thing for the first time.
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#52
A[quote name="Analog Olmos" url="/community/t/154426/the-space-nasa-thread/50#post_4119056"]Oh, I found out I'm going to be the flight surgeon working Hawthorne mission control (MCC-X) for the first crewed Space-X flight next year (if schedule holds), so keep an eye out... Anytime they show video of MCC look for the young guy, er scratch that cuz they're all young enough that I'M the old guy there. Anyway, look for the Surgeon console and I'll be there, a horrible shade of pale, trying to remember to breathe while we put people on this thing for the first time.[/quote]

That. Is. Awesome.
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#53
A[quote name="Bucho" url="/community/t/154426/the-space-nasa-thread/30#post_4119167"]
That. Is. Awesome.[/quote]

Thanks, like I said I'm a bit nervous, think we all are. I've been working with them for the last year and it's a weird working relationship. Everyone wants to fly so there's pressure to get the testing done and meet deadlines, but that's always balanced against the need to Get It Right and keep our folks safe. As Kirk would say, Risk is our business, so we all realize at the end of the day we're placing people on rockets to ride controlled explosions at thousands of miles an hour, so there is such a thing as acceptable risk. As a doc it's finding that sweet spot where you've done what you can to keep them safe, and now you send them off and hope for the best. I'm being a little vague due to NDAs but this process is quite different from how we certified the shuttle to fly (and we lost 2 of those) so I'm going to be sweating the small stuff until we've got a solid dozen or so flights under our belt.

EDIT because on re-read I put stuff in I probably shouldn't have.
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#54
ASo. Today was a shit day.
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#55
AIs that about the SpaceX blowup? I admit I got a little schadenfreude out of the fact that the payload was part of Mark Zuckerberg's scheme to take over the Internet in developing nations, but I bet it was a bummer for everybody else all the same. I heard nobody was injured, at least?
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#56
A[quote name="commodorejohn" url="/community/t/154426/the-space-nasa-thread/30#post_4130085"]Is that about the SpaceX blowup? I admit I got a little schadenfreude out of the fact that the payload was part of Mark Zuckerberg's scheme to take over the Internet in developing nations, but I bet it was a bummer for everybody else all the same. I heard nobody was injured, at least?[/quote]

Yeah. Agreed we're all happy no one was hurt or worse, but beyond that this is a problem on a bunch of levels. Last time we lost one of their rockets was June 2015 and it took until April 2016 to launch again.

In this case, the launch facility itself was damaged so the recertification process for the pad is another hurdle. There'll be an investigation, and at this point it's unclear what the engineering impacts for SpX will be to get good to fly again.

Immediate impacts are SpX 10 isn't going to fly, which was an ISS resupply vehicle we were counting on for my mission which launches in November. Now all that upmass will have to be absorbed by other vehicles or pulled. Science impacts are huge, with multiple studies that require their hardware for component delivery now getting extended likely a year or more. On the commercial crew side, we were all working towards a goal of flying the initial demo from KSC before 2017 was out. Now that timeline is up in the air as well.

Lastly, they've now lost 2 rockets in 14 months. Think about that batting average and tell me if you want to ride on the next 10 rockets.
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#57
AOof, that is rough.
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#58

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#59
Quote:

Originally Posted by Analog Olmos View Post


Lastly, they've now lost 2 rockets in 14 months. Think about that batting average and tell me if you want to ride on the next 10 rockets.


Yikes. One of the space elevator concepts needs to get going ASAP.

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#60

Or firing things into space using giant sling shots or a rail gun system or something. You can't make riding a giant tube filled with highly volatile explosive material 100% safe no matter how hard you try. The quicker we get working on anti gravity devices the better.

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#61
A[quote name="Jonathan Parker" url="/community/t/154426/the-space-nasa-thread/30#post_4130243"]Or firing things into space using giant sling shots or a rail gun system or something. You can't make riding a giant tube filled with highly volatile explosive material 100% safe no matter how hard you try. The quicker we get working on anti gravity devices the better.
[/quote]

Nothing is risk free but being simple(ish) devices there's no reason rockets can't be highly reliable. One of the biggest missed opportunities of the last 50 years (IMO only here) was in not using a new branch of NASA as a publically (well) funded breakthrough propulsion research endeavor.

We briefly had something called the breakthrough propulsion lab but it only ran for a short while, was funded with pocket change from my couch and could never investigate new ideas at the energy or physical scales needed to actually stick a fork in bad ideas or test some wild new ones. Which means it's up to SpaceX, Lockheed and Boeing to investigate stuff like Antigravity, because without a theoretical underpinning (which we don't have) it's up to tinkerers and dumb trial and error engineering by whoever wants to pay for it with zero hope of profit in sight.

Antigravity and FTL (I'll throw in the very-workable family of plasma propulsion drives in here as well since they're criminally underfunded but ACTUALLY EXIST AND WORK) are like the poster children for projects that should receive public funding, because the're high investment minimal return endeavors, but the payoff to society of a breakthrough are incalculable.
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#62

I'm just surprised there hasn't been more momentum towards a space elevator, hook or launch loop, just because of the massive financial savings they could represent in the long term. The huge boon to space exploration and study would be a nice bonus.

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#63
Quote:

Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
 

I'm just surprised there hasn't been more momentum towards a space elevator, hook or launch loop, just because of the massive financial savings they could represent in the long term. The huge boon to space exploration and study would be a nice bonus.



The reason why is that It's complicated as hell



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator

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#64

This is making me curious about our current knowledge of propulsion in the vacuum of space. I googled up some airspeed and space speed records, which were interesting.



http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news...spacecraft



Now I'm reading about the Dawn spacecraft's ion engines, and possibly thinking about trying to comprehend how any of it works. C'mon brain, you can do it...

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#65
A[quote name="Kyle Reese" url="/community/t/154426/the-space-nasa-thread/60#post_4130609"]This is making me curious about our current knowledge of propulsion in the vacuum of space. I googled up some airspeed and space speed records, which were interesting.

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news...spacecraft

Now I'm reading about the Dawn spacecraft's ion engines, and possibly thinking about trying to comprehend how any of it works. C'mon brain, you can do it...
[/quote]

Ion/plasma drives/Hall effect thrusters are THE technology that opens up the solar system.

If it helps, just think of them as the photo-negative of chemical rockets:

Chemical rockets burn a HIGH MASS fuel, accelerated to (relativistically) slow speeds, over a SHORT period of time (on the order of minutes to burn through all the fuel for a given stage). This provides a LARGE Force that can do work like lifting thousands of tons out of a gravity well. You burn everything you've got, ramp up to speed, and then you coast to your destination at a steady speed because you're out of fuel. This is what we've been doing for the last 70 years.

Hall effect or similar ion/plasma drives do literally all of that in the opposite. These drives use an ionized gas for fuel and accelerates the ions (LOW mass) to incredibly HIGH speeds (approaching a significant fraction of light speed) using electric or magnetic fields. What this means is that it provides very SMALL Force.... But can do it over a very, VERY LONG period of time (because the fuel is low mass and you can carry a ton of it as a result).

So instead of a Burn-and-Coast that gets you up to speed quickly but then you're at a speed plateau, ion drives burn continuously, 24/7... And in a space faring version of the tortoise and the hare, by delivering a small amount of Force over a much longer period of time, these drives can get us anywhere in the Solar System in a reasonable amount of time.

In theory, we're talking less than 2 months to Mars, less than 6 months to Jupiter and all of her moons, less than a year to Neptune. Utterly and completely game changing if we can mature the technology. The most promising thing of all is that nearly every design is SCALABLE, with the limiting factor being how much electricity you can provide to run the thing.
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#66
ASo Musk wants to send people to Mars in SIX YEARS. For the bargain price of 10 billion bucks per person. I applaud his ambition, but how will he pay for it??

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2...ars-colony
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#67
AHe's from Silicon Valley. Money just happens for those people, apparently.
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#68
AAnybody want to emigrate to Asgardia??

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/...ic-shield/
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#69
AKey imports: fucking everything.
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#70
ABringing this over from the politics thread:


[quote name="Analog Olmos" url="/community/t/149965/2016-never-too-soon/16530#post_4150336"]
I'm headed back to Russia the first week of November for the 49S launch.   Given the trajectory of US-Russia relations, the only reason I may have a job in a year is because Russia still needs our $80 million per Soyuz seat.  

Also, think about that:  These guys are hacking us left and right and trying to influence the election of our next President in the most obvious, transparent, and hamfisted way possible... and we're about to pay them $160 million over the next 2 months for the 48S and 49S launches.   What a crazy world, on the one hand.  On the other, it's amazing to me no one in the media is talking about that.  To take the optimistic view, it's a poster child demonstration of economic interdependence being a safeguard against armed conflict.  
[/quote]
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