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Mars a giant step, but 'doable'


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http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/ind....xml&coll=1

Mars a giant step, but 'doable' Apollo 11 commander recalls moon mission, space race with Soviets

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

By WAYNE SMITHTimes Business Editor Wayne.smith@htimes.com

NASA pioneer tells Intergraph users of opportunities

NASHVILLE - The first man to walk on the moon told an audience of nearly 3,000 Intergraph customers and employees Tuesday that although a mission to Mars would be difficult, it can be done.

Neil Armstrong, the commander of Apollo 11, spoke for nearly an hour on stage at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center, reflecting on the space age that began 50 years ago.

Armstrong told the Huntsville company's annual users' conference that NASA's plan for returning to the moon, Mars and beyond is important for a number of reasons, including finding ways to help solve energy problems on Earth.

"The risk of doing it is real and substantial," Armstrong said. "But turning unknowns into knowns is the essence of exploration.

"It won't be a walk in the park, but I do believe it's doable."

He called the space age of the past 50 years the most productive period ever in understanding the universe, "yet we've just scratched the surface."

Armstrong, who will turn 77 in August, also reflected on the space race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that resulted in his being the first man on the moon.

"The Soviets and the Americans were both obsessed with getting a human into space," Armstrong said. "But neither knew what kind of person they could get to go into space. Prisoners were suggested; soldiers could be ordered to go; doctors were mentioned.

"But pilots were picked because we were used to being in cramped spaces and seemed to like to leave the surface of the Earth."

Armstrong said scientists had determined that the distance between the Earth and the moon could be measured by the reflection of a laser beam from a mirror on the moon.

"It was my job to install the mirrors," Armstrong said, drawing laughter. "We also needed some way to confirm the distance for our expense account."

Intergraph President Halsey Wise said earlier in the day that the company, then known as Interactive Graphics, was responsible for sending some of the first images back to Earth from the lunar surface.

Noting today's record gas prices, Armstrong said further space exploration could provide additional energy resources. He said helium 3 is needed to fuel fusion reactors for nuclear plants.

Astronomers believe there are large quantities of the gas in the atmospheres of larger planets, he said, and there are millions of tons on the lunar surface - enough to provide power on the Earth for 100 centuries.

"It would help solve the energy problems on Earth."

http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/ind....xml&coll=1

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http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/ind....xml&coll=1

<snip>

"But pilots were picked because we were used to being in cramped spaces and seemed to like to leave the surface of the Earth."

Armstrong said scientists had determined that the distance between the Earth and the moon could be measured by the reflection of a laser beam from a mirror on the moon.

"It was my job to install the mirrors," Armstrong said, drawing laughter. "We also needed some way to confirm the distance for our expense account."

http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/ind....xml&coll=1

So much for Armstrong being a recluse who refuses to talk about his Apollo experience becasue he's humiliated about being forced to participate in a lie.

I hope he lives long enough to see a man or woman on Mars. Heck, I hope I live long enough! :huh:

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  • 1 month later...
And just a reminder that it was 38 years ago today that Buzz and Neil first set foot upon the lunar surface.

Kim Stanley Robinson, Novelist, wrote a series of Science Fiction novels about colonizing Mars. Robinson, writing in the Science Fiction Genre was also a brilliant engineer who invented a number of hypothetical engineering wonders in his books, cost efficient methods of harvesting extra-terrestrial energy sources form Mars. Robinson's hypotheticals were all based upon the premise that overcoming the gravity well of both Earth and Mars would make the harvesting of Hydrogen and Helium form Mars non-cost-effective, unless we invented inexpensive travel methods to/from orbiting satellite stations.

One idea was a placing an asteroid in geosynchronous orbit, and attaching it to the Martian surface with giant carbon fiber cables. There are apparently asteroids composed of high grade carbon, which would be perfrect troves of the material to manufature the cable systems. He esposes nanotechnology in the manufacturing process and the use of Von Neumann machines, machines which reproduce themselves until a sufficient population exists to perform whatever project they are programmed to accomplish. In this case to weave giant carbon fiber cables. Once the cable was socketed on the Martian surface and the asteroid, it would be 'reeled' in slightly to create a constant tension, then huge elevators would traffic the materials to the asteroid, just outside of the toughest portion of the gravity well.

Very good books for any engineers out there who also like Sci Fi.

Edited by Peter McKenna
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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO THE APOLLO HOAX !!

If an astronaut trotted past a flag in the vacuum of space on the moon , would it sway in the breeze as he zipped past it ? ... NOPE .

If an astro-NOT trotted past a flag on a moonset in the environment of Earth , would it sway in the breeze as he zipped past it ? ... YEP .

Click here to watch nasa's fraud of the century ... A bogus Apollo 15 video , allegedly taken on the moon , but obviously taken on a moonset .

Moon Hoax- Svectors Lunar Legacy 2 Busted !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIf0MhbATUE...ted&search=

Edited by Duane Daman
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It's evening where I am Evan ... So good evening ...Trotting out the same old insults I see .

Actually it's a brand new discovery , compliments of nasa and my good buddy greenmagoos , whom I make Apollo hoax videos with .

And there's plenty more where that one came from ... Happy Anniversary indeed ! .. LOL

Edited by Duane Daman
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I presume that the "discovery" is that the flag moves when he brushes past it, after the salute photos?

How startling.

The ALSJ noted this long ago:

[Note the slight motion of the lower righthand corner of the flag after Dave passes. Journal Contributors have suggested a number of possible causes: (1) Dave could have brushed against the flag with his left arm as he went by; (2) he could have kicked some dirt with his boot that hit the bottom of the flag; (3) he could have pushed a mound of soil sideways with his boot that pushed against the flagstaff ; (4) the impact of his boots on the ground as he ran past could have shaken the flagstaff; (5) he might have been carrying a static charge which attracted the flag material; (6) the flag could have been disturbed by emissions from the backpack.]

[in thinking about these possibilities, numbers 5 and 6 are very unlikely, since there is no evidence of similar flag motions during the Apollo 14, 16, and 17 deployments for which we have good video or - in the case of Apollo 14 - film coverage. With regard to foot impacts, we can certainly see the ground move when flagstaffs and cores are hammered into the ground, but the motions extend only a few centimeters outward and, because the Apollo 14 flag points at the LRV TV camera, Dave problably doesn't get close enough to the flagstaff for his footfalls to have any noticeable effect. Similarly, it doesn't seem likely that he got close enough to the flagstaff to have moved it with a displaced mound of dirt.]

[The possibility that Dave kicked some dirt high enough to hit the bottom of the flag is not out of the realm of possibility, although in the many cases were we have goot TV coverage of sprays of dirt flying out ahead of running astronauts, most of the particles have relatively flat trajectories and land after traveling a meter or so. Indeed, Buzz Aldrin did some purposeful test kicks to see what happened and how the sprays looked under various lighting conditions. This is discussed after 110:18:31. Buzz comments, "Houston, it's very interesting to note that when I kick my foot (garbled) material, with no atmosphere here, and this gravity (garbled) they seem to leave, and most of them have about the same angle of departure and velocity. From where I stand, a large portion of them will impact at a certain distance out. Several (garbled) percentage is, of course, that will impact (garbled) different regions out (garbled) it's highly dependent upon (garbled) the initial trajectory upwards (garbled) determine where the majority of the particles come down, (garbled) terrain."]

[My impression is that few, if any, particles go above knee height.]

[A likely explanation is that Dave brushed the flag with his arm as he went running past. As can be seen in the TV, he is carrying the Hasselblad camera that he just got from Jim and it looks as though, if he brushed the flag at all, he did so with his left elbow. To check this possibility, I have compared three views of the scene: (1) Jim's fourth tourist picture of Dave, AS15-92-12451; (2) the TV view of Dave while Jim was taking that picture; and (3) the TV view of Dave as he went past the flag after the picture taking was complete. The results are summarized in a labeled detail from 12451.]

[because the TV camera is not visible in 12451, I have estimated its location from Dave's fourth photo of Jim, AS15-92-12447. Using that estimated camera location, the four green lines show the relative vertical locations of the top of the flag where is is tied to the flagstaff, the top of the main body of Dave's PLSS, the bottom of the flag where it is attached to the flagstaff, and the bottom of Dave's PLSS. Relative vertical locations can be measured as the intersections of the lines with any vertical plane such as the left edge of the image.]

[Although Fendell moves his aim to the right and then up by small amounts between the time Jim takes 12451 and the time Dave crosses between the camera and the flag, the relative locations and spacing of the top and bottom of the flag do not change and, conseuqently, these can be used to place the top and bottom of Dave's PLSS as seen in the TV image onto 12451. Because DAve stood with his PLSS erect while Jim was then taking his picture but then assumed a more normal posture by leaning forward about 10 degrees while he was running, I have adjusted the apparent locations of the top and bottom of the PLSS (red lines) so show where the PLSS would have been had it been perfectly vertical.]

Finally, I placed the PLSS (red rectangle) where it would have been in 12451 had Jim taken the picture at the moment Dave was running past the flag. There are two ways the PLSS can be placed. In the first, I measured the apparent height of Dave's PLSS as seen in 12451 and found the place the top and bottom red lines are that far apart. This marked the location of the side of the PLSS nearest to the TV camera. The rest of the PLSS outline was then drawn to scale. Alternatively, we note that, in the TV record, the apparent long dimension of Dave's PLSS - measured along a line titled 10 degrees to vertical - when he ran past the flag was 2.4 times the apparent long dimension of his PLSS when JIm was taking 12451. This means that the near face of the PLSS at the former time is 2.4 times as far from the TV as it was at the latter time. This would put the PLSS a bit closer to the TV camera than I have placed it in the labeled detail.]

[The result is not clear-cut. The estimated PLSS locations makes it possible that Dave's elbow could have touched the flag; but just barely, if at all. This may be consistent with the low amplitude of the observed motion, in that the low amplitude suggests only a slight perturbation, as might have happen if Dave barely brushed the flag with his elbow.]

Edited by Evan Burton
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Getting back to the thread topic, I was surprised to read the projected cost of the "Mars Direct" programme developed by Robert Zubrin and David Baker. According to this Wiki article, the initial cost estimate was $55 billion dollars spread over 10 years (The most recent figures I've seen for Mars Direct are $20-30 billion dollars). This compares very favourably with the cost of Apollo, approx $135 billion in adjusted dollars. It compares even more favourably with an initial 90 report prepared for the president in 1990 that put the cost of a manned mission to Mars at around $400 billion.

Source

The plan involves launching an unmanned Earth Return Vehicle (ERV) directly from Earth's surface to Mars using a heavy-lift booster (no bigger than the Saturn V used for the Apollo missions), containing a supply of hydrogen, a chemical plant and a small nuclear reactor.

The ERV would take some eight months to reach Mars. Once there, a relatively simple set of chemical reactions (the Sabatier reaction coupled with electrolysis) would combine a small amount of hydrogen carried by the ERV with the carbon dioxide of the Martian atmosphere to create up to 112 tonnes of methane and oxygen propellants, 96 tonnes of which would be needed to return the ERV to Earth at the end of the mission. This process would take approximately ten months to complete.

Some 26 months after the ERV was originally launched from Earth, a second vehicle, the Mars Habitat Unit, would be launched on a high-energy transfer to Mars carrying a crew of four. This vehicle would take some six months to reach Mars. During the trip, artificial gravity would be generated by tying the spent upper stage of the booster to the Habitat Unit, and setting them both rotating about a common axis.

On reaching Mars, the useless spent upper stage would be jettisoned, with the Habitat Unit aerobraking into Mars orbit before soft-landing in proximity to the ERV.

Once on Mars, the crew would spend 18 months on the surface, carrying out a range of scientific research, aided by a small rover vehicle carried aboard their Habitat Unit, and powered by excess methane produced by the ERV.

To return, they would use the ERV, leaving the habitat for the possible use of subsequent explorers. The propulsion stage of the ERV would be used as a counterweight to generate artificial gravity for the trip back.

The initial cost estimate for Mars Direct was put at $55 billion, to be paid over ten years.

Mars for $55 billion dollars over ten years anyone? Assuming 200,000,000 US taxpayers, that equates to about 50 cents in taxation per person per week over 10 years. Far be it from me to spend another countries taxes, but it gets my vote! :news Even cheaper if the mission is developed as a joint project along with ESA, and the Russian, Chinese, and Japanese space agencies. Even if the projected cost rises above the projected figure, it sounds like good value for money to me. Heck, they could even part-fund it with a global lottery.

Pipe dream or scientific reality given the political will?

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Hmm - how many projects actually come in under budget?

If this one did I think it would be a first! But it's got to be a decent starting point, especially if a lot of existing technology can be utilised to do the lifting into earth orbit.

I would expect any project to run over-budget anyway, so it helps if the estimates are low to begin with.

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Sorry Evan , but that astronot never got anywhere near that flag ... What you posted is just the best lame excuse that the pro Apollo camp can come up with to try to explain away the fact that enough breeze was kicked up by the astro-actor zipping past the flag to cause it to move .

And speaking of aniversaries , since you were silly enough to drag up this old thread and bring up the moon landing myth again , here is a part of a little speech given by the original moonfaker himself , Neil Armstrong , as he tries to hold back tears of regret for his deceprtion ,now 38 years ago.

Neil Armstrong on 25th Anniversary of Lunar "Landing"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w-SDs_Skb0...ted&search=

Sad isn't it ?

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Sorry Evan , but that astronot never got anywhere near that flag ... What you posted is just the best lame excuse that the pro Apollo camp can come up with to try to explain away the fact that enough breeze was kicked up by the astro-actor zipping past the flag to cause it to move .

The Apollo 15 footage with the moving flag is certainly an interesting one, and unlike most other alleged photo and video anomalies, I can understand why this is being interpreted as not being filmed in a vacuum. Out of all the proposed theories explaining what we see here, I don't find any of them wholly satisfying. IMO it's most likely the astronaut brushing the flag with his arm, but superficial inspection seems to show him nearer the TV camera than you'd expect. It could be caused by a build up of static on the nylon flag, but I would then expect to see this happen more often. If it was filmed on a soundstage (i.e. not in a vacuum), then I would expect the movement of the flag to be dampened a lot sooner than it is. (If this is a proposed explanation, then it doesn't fit with the proposed theory that footage was shot in a large vacuum chamber). I don't see any evidence for other proposed explanations such as lunar dust being kicked up.

So, taking this footage on its own merits, each plausible explanation I've heard seems to have a counter-argument. Given that I believe the mountain of evidence already supports Apollo, that's why I tend to believe that brushing his elbow against the flag is the most likely explanation - though it would take more time than I'm prepared to put in to demonstrate this empirically. I can see why someone such as Duane who believes Apollo was faked would think this is proof that it was filmed on a soundstage (although this seems at odds with his claim that footage was filmed in a large vacuum chamber).

One aspect I had a very brief look at a while ago was the relative heights of the 2 astronauts involved (Scott and Irwin). IIRC there is a 4 inch height difference between the 2, which could increase the effect of Scott appearing closer to the camera than the flag later in the footage. Again, something that needs to be taken into consideration when objectively examining all the evidence, along with things like the distance from the TV camera etc.

The problem faced by anyone trying to show that the flag was definitely touched, is that we can see by the very slight motion of the flag, if indeed it was touched then it was only very lightly brushed. Given the errors involved in making accurate measurements it would be nigh on impossible to empirically prove that his elbow touched the flag. I think a more satisfactory approach would be for someone to prove empirically that it would have been impossible for Scott's elbow to lightly brush the flag, taking all factors into consideration (something of a mammoth exercise). If anyone can rise to that challenge I'll gladly examine their findings: in the meantime this one remains nothing more than an interesting "space oddity"for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIf0MhbATUE

Edited by Dave Greer
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Hmm - how many projects actually come in under budget?

If this one did I think it would be a first! But it's got to be a decent starting point, especially if a lot of existing technology can be utilised to do the lifting into earth orbit.

I would expect any project to run over-budget anyway, so it helps if the estimates are low to begin with.

It's funny. For government work at least, it would seem that a quote is given and everyone knows that it will be over budget. Why not simply give your best estimate of costs, allowing for over-runs? I'm sure that there is a formula used somewhere (e.g. quoted price +10%, etc).

Still, I agree - it should be done. I think it is one of these stages which are needed to advance the technology. Get real experience in long-duration spaceflight (not just LEO microgravity, although that was a step on the way). Learn to survive away from our Earth for really extended periods. Learn to leave the nest, not just fly above it for a while.

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