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#1 2004-05-05 10:35:58

railman99
Member
From: Maryland
Registered: 2004-05-05
Posts: 1

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid2]The editorial by Bob Zubrin in a recent April 2004 issue of Space News was on the money.  Using the analogy of "pulling a 10 m rope tight" for a targeted Mard mission, as opposed to making the rope longer than neccessary, i.e. much more expensive Mars mssion is what NASA, Bush administration, and Congress need to hear.  Most non-engineers do tend to throw money at a problem, instead of using the right tool for the right job.  Zubrin pronounced the Nuclear Rocket as not neccessary and under-powered to accomplish the job.  The radiation risk to a crew of a Mars round trip is managable, especially if appropriate shielding is provided.  If direct lift is used for the Mars mission, do we need a new launch pad and booster?  Can we use an SDV instead or rebuilding the Saturn class boosters?  Zubrin thinks so, and I tend to agree.  We need to focus the vision of those politicians in charge of funding such endeavors.[/color:post_uid2]

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#2 2004-05-05 10:51:43

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid0]You wouldn't happen to have a link would you?[/color:post_uid0]

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#3 2004-05-05 11:26:54

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Here's the entire story (as in the Mars Society newsletter):

Tighten the Exploration Initiative
Robert Zubrin
Space News op-ed
April 26, 2004 issue

Question: How much rope does it take to connect two posts separated
by a distance of ten meters? The answer varies. If you let the rope
be slack or diverted along detours, any amount can be used. But if
the rope is pulled straight and tight, the job can be done with about
ten meters. The choice of which approach is preferable depends upon
whether your goal is to connect the two posts — or if you're
trying to sell rope.

The same is true of President Bush's new space exploration
initiative. How much will it cost to get humans to Mars? Opponents
claim that it could cost a politically fatal half-trillion or more,
and while it need not, it could, unless the rope is pulled tight.
Unfortunately, what we are seeing is a binge of rope-selling that
threatens to repeat the death-by-sticker-shock that killed a similar
initiative by the President's father a decade and a half ago.

Three major examples of current large-scale rope sales include the
emphasis on the International Space Station, the plans for creating
a "Lunar Cape Canaveral," and the push for high-powered
nuclear electric propulsion. Each of these is a distraction, wasting
time and money.

Let's start at the beginning. What is, or should be, the goal of
the new manned spaceflight initiative? The answer can only be to send
human explorers to Mars. The recent findings of the Mars rovers have
shown with certainty that the Martian surface once hosted standing
bodies of liquid water — habitats that could have hosted the
development of life. Also, in recent weeks, three different groups of
investigators using four different instruments have announced the
detection of methane in the Martian atmosphere at levels far above
what would make sense if the planet were lifeless. These methane
traces must be seen as a probable signature of subsurface microbial
life. If human explorers could go to Mars and set up drilling rigs
capable of reaching the underground refuges of these microbes, we
could sample them, culture them, image them, and subject them to a
battery of biochemical tests that would reveal whether Martian life
is created in accord with the same plan that underlies all Earth
life, or whether it is constructed in another way entirely. Put
another way, by going to Mars we have a chance to find out whether
life as we know it on Earth is the pattern for all life everywhere,
or whether we are just one particular example of a much vaster and
more interesting tapestry. This is fundamental science that bears on
the nature of life itself, and it can only be done by human explorers
on the surface of Mars. It is a rational, program, a search for truth
that is worth the billions of dollars of expenditure and the risk of
human life necessary to implement it.

So, having chosen the right goal, the question then becomes: What do
we need to do to pull it off?

The International Space Station doesn't help reach that goal.
While the ISS provides some useful data for Mars mission designers,
no one with a budget of $50 billion and the task of getting humans to
Mars would choose to spend $30 billion conducting zero-gravity
experiments on human subjects in a station orbiting Earth. Not only
is it a disproportionate share of the program budget, but the
negative effects of zero gravity can be avoided by rotating the Mars-
bound spacecraft to provide artificial gravity.

President Bush's planned lunar base could also be a detour from
the main goal. The limited research that can be done on the Moon —
dating impact craters and other geological work aimed at resolving
questions of the Moon's origin — is much less important than
the
investigation of the nature of life that can be done on Mars. Lunar
science is historical, while Martian science is fundamental. The
lunar base must therefore seek justification in what it can do to
further the enterprise of exploring Mars.

Thus, we now hear proposals for the creation of a "Lunar Cape
Canaveral." According to the advocates of this concept, a Moon
base will enable Mars exploration because launching from the Moon is
much easier than launching from Earth. While it is true that it
should be possible to generate liquid oxygen, the majority component
of chemical rocket propellant, on the surface of the Moon, and the
low lunar gravity certainly makes Moon launch much easier than Earth
launch, the fact remains that before the Marsbound spacecraft
launches from the Moon it needs to reach the Moon, which means it
must be launched from Earth in any case. Furthermore, because the
Moon has no atmosphere to enable aerobraking or parachute assisted
descent, the amount of rocket propulsion needed to go from low Earth
orbit to the surface of the Moon is substantially greater than that
needed to go from low Earth orbit to the surface of Mars.  What this
means is that even if a Moon base existed right now, and had large
reservoirs not only of liquid oxygen but also of fuel to burn with
it, sitting in propellant tanks and available for free, it would make
no sense to use it to support Mars expeditions, because it would cost
more to get there than it would to go directly to Mars.

A lunar base could serve as a training ground for Mars missions, but
that same objective could be accomplished at a thousandth of the cost
by establishing prototype Mars stations in the Arctic. Far from
making a Mars mission easier, the Moon base would just be a gold-
plated lunar tollbooth, wasting tens of billions to build and adding
massively to the expense of every Mars mission forced to use it.

Another oft-mentioned diversion from the main goal is high-powered
nuclear electric propulsion (NEP). According to the high-power NEP
rope-sellers, manned Mars exploration won't be possible using
today's rocket technology, because the six-month transit to Mars
would expose the crews to lethal doses of radiation. Accordingly,
they claim, enormous hundred-megawatt class nuclear electric
propulsion systems will be needed, since these would allow the ship
to reach Mars in two months.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In order to enable
a two month transit from Earth to Mars, the NEP system would need to
achieve a power density of  3000 W/kg. In contrast, the actual NEP
systems now on NASA's drawing board for the Jupiter Icy Moon
Orbiter (JIMO) mission will have a power density of 16 W/kg. If the
JIMO spacecraft were sent from Earth to Mars, it would require 48
months to do the trip, each way. In reality, there is no prospect of
being able to develop NEP systems with one-third the trip time of
current chemical systems, or the same time, or three times the time
for that matter.

Fortunately, however, such faster trips are not necessary. The
radiation dose received over a 2.5 year period on a roundtrip Mars
mission involving two six month transits and an 18 month stay would
have no visible effects, and be expected to increase each crew
member's lifetime risk of cancer by about one percent (in
contrast, the average American smoker increases his cancer risk by
twenty percent). Of the half dozen astronauts and cosmonauts who have
already received cosmic ray doses comparable to those that would be
experienced on a Mars mission, none has experienced any radiation-
induced health effects.

It may also be noted that the NEP megasystems described above utilize
xenon as propellant, and have no use for the liquid oxygen that might
be manufactured at the Lunar Cape Canaveral. So, while each of these
two boondoggle projects lacks merit on its own terms, taken together,
they are doubly nonsensical, as neither fits together with the other.

We need to break with this kind of thinking. Unless the rope is
pulled tight to define a critical path program, we will be left with
a tangled mess of incoherent and useless projects which will never
lead to Mars and which ultimately will fail even in their desired
objective of rope-selling as their pointlessness becomes apparent.

The missing ingredient is leadership. NASA's average Apollo-era
(1961-73) budget, adjusted for inflation, was about $17 billion/year
in today's dollars, only six percent more than the agency's
current budget. Yet the NASA of the sixties accomplished a hundred
times more because it had a mission with a deadline, and was forced
to develop an efficient plan to achieve that mission, and then
constrained to build a coherent set of hardware elements to achieve
that plan.

If the new space exploration program is to succeed, it must proceed
in the same way today. To be defensible, it must be rational, which
means it must actually commit itself to its true goal, and define a
minimum cost, minimum schedule, plan to reach that goal. In the
absence of rigorous leadership from NASA headquarters, Congress
should take the initiative and instruct the space agency to report
back in one year on its options for humans to Mars by 2016, with a
total program budget of $50 billion or less.

The rope must be pulled tight.

Dr. Robert Zubrin, an astronautical engineer, is president of the
Mars Society (www.marssociety.org) and the author of The Case for
Mars (1996), Entering Space (1999), and Mars on Earth (2003).[/color:post_uid0]


Editor of New Mars

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#4 2004-05-05 11:53:00

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I applaud this effort. It is surprisingly absent of the "shrill" blather that Zubrin has been resorting to in the press.

Yet there are some fundamental assumptions within his argument that don't pan out. The main sticking point is simply, "why should anyone care about going to Mars right now."

Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see it, but try and take a step back and look through the eyes of one who sees a barren red rock in a sea of stars. These are the people that must be convinced. The ones who are blind must be made to see the rainbow.

Life on Mars, and it's origins is a fundamental question, but is it a question that needs to be answered right now, at great expense, and at great risk? Why must we forgo "historical" research, and a plethora of other opportunities on the Moon, and in near space to the sole exclusion of answering a single question about the history of Mars? Does a human mission to Mars, now, pave the way for greater exploits in the future, or might it hinder it? It seems that the Moon might not make a great launching point for a Manned Mission to Mars. This point I will not contend (yet others, some very bright people, seem to think otherwise). However, let's take a step back, instead of gazing at the lone red star in the sky, and remember that our solar system, and our galaxy is filled with a myriad of stars, and planets, and possibilities. I do sincerely believe that the Moon will provide a better spring board for solar system wide exploration by humanity. This is the fundamental premise behind the plan as outlined by Bush. It's not about a particular destination, but about the journey itself. The sensible program is not to rush here and there over this or that, but to build our capabilities to go here and there to do this and that.

Shall we rush to Mars, as we did to the Moon some 30+ years ago? Shall we make our space program about a destination, instead of about the journey? We have seen the historical results. The results are a race to the finish line, then we pack up, go home, and wait until there is another clarion call to head towards the next destination, the next dream. We have had to wait 30 years in LEO for this. Dare we invite another decades long wait for the stars to align once more so we can once again push the boundaries?

That path has been traveled, it has been done, and we have lived with the results ever since. Do not make space exploration about a destination, space is infinite- it is the journey that never ends.

Let us go to the Moon to prepare the way for us to go further. Not to just Mars, but to all planets. Not just to the asteroids, but to the edge of our solar system. Not just this solar system, but the entire galaxy.

Just enjoy the ride.  smile[/color:post_uid0]

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#5 2004-05-05 11:54:37

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#8D38C9:post_uid7]*Excellent article. 

I'm especially glad to see -his- comments pertaining to the Moon in conjunction with all this.

I think it's all very well reasoned out, straightforward, etc.

--Cindy

::EDIT::  One of my fellow New Mars members seems to enjoy asking the same questions and trying to raise the same points of debate -repeatedly-, over and over...haven't we "been there, done that" already?  More than once?  Not all of us suffer from short-term memory.  :laugh:  Whatever.   roll[/color:post_uid7]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#6 2004-05-05 12:02:41

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Thank you Cindy. You're just lovely.[/color:post_uid0]

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#7 2004-05-05 12:05:51

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid2]Thank you Cindy. You're just lovely.[/color:post_uid2][/quote:post_uid2]
[color=#8D38C9:post_uid2]*Why thank you, Clark.  It's always nice getting a compliment from one of Dr. Zubrin's astronautical engineering colleagues like yourself.

--Cindy  smile[/color:post_uid2]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#8 2004-05-05 12:07:05

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I'm glad I can give you what you need.[/color:post_uid0]

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#9 2004-12-19 05:54:52

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

Why must we forgo "historical" research, and a plethora of other opportunities on the Moon, and in near space to the sole exclusion of answering a single question about the history of Mars?[/quote:post_uid0]

It is not science that motivates soon as possible trip to Mars, but prestiege.
If others arrived before US, it would be a clear sign of the US decline.

Moonbase may be the logical choice for long term space expansion,
but the thrill is in the competition to implant the first bootprint.[/color:post_uid0]

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#10 2004-12-20 23:26:46

John Creighton
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 2,401
Website

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I found Zubrins arguments were pretty much taken straight out of the case for mars with a little bit of current context speckled in. He was civil and spoke eloquent but he deliberately tries to value all of NASA’s other activities in the context of a single objective. This is foolish. Research progresses the fastest by pressuring a wide range of ideas and avenues. JIMO is a very exciting project whether or whether not it is of any use to a mars mission. Same thing with a lunar base and we all know you don’t bring the rocket to the fuel you bring the fuel to the rocket. And you don’t push people with nuclear electric you push cargo. Zubrin is in a rush. If we want to stay on mars we have to reduce the long term costs not the short term costs. A brilliant but blind man. Zubrin suffers from too much cosmic radiation damage to the retina.[/color:post_uid0]

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#11 2004-12-21 07:13:10

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid4]John:-

Zubrin is in a rush.[/quote:post_uid4]
    Me too!

A brilliant but blind man.[/quote:post_uid4]
    A blind visionary!   :laugh:

    Sorry, John. It just struck me as funny, that's all.  smile

    I don't know that Zubrin wants to cancel everything except the Mars thing. Back in the sixties, NASA managed all sorts of space research while methodically progressing through 'Mercury', 'Gemini', and 'Apollo' to get men to the Moon.
    We could have Mars Direct up and running for about $4 billion a year over 10 or 12 years, so I'm told. There's still plenty of cash left over for the unmanned stuff, isn't there?
    I suppose it all depends again on whether we're connecting two posts economically or just selling rope.
                                          ???[/color:post_uid4]


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#12 2004-12-21 07:43:20

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid6]Back in the sixties, NASA managed all sorts of space research while methodically progressing through 'Mercury', 'Gemini', and 'Apollo' to get men to the Moon.
    We could have Mars Direct up and running for about $4 billion a year over 10 or 12 years, so I'm told. There's still plenty of cash left over for the unmanned stuff, isn't there?[/color:post_uid6][/quote:post_uid6]
[color=#810541:post_uid6]*Oh for the good old days of the [b:post_uid6]work ethic[/b:post_uid6].

Yep, NASA was in its glory days in the 1960s. 

And I should think there'd be $ left over for the unmanned stuff.

Where there's a will, there's a way.  Has NASA lost its will? 

--Cindy[/color:post_uid6]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#13 2004-12-21 07:59:41

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=000066:post_uid0]

Where there's a will, there's a way.  Has NASA lost its will? 
[/quote:post_uid0]

It's much worse than that. NASA answers to Congress, Congress answers to the largest voting block within their constituencies.

If anyone has lost their will it's [i:post_uid0]us[/i:post_uid0], the American people. NASA will do whatever they're told and funded to do. It is the American people that need to be motivated and "re-willed" if NASA is to get to Mars.

Which comes back to [i:post_uid0]why do we want to go to Mars[/i:post_uid0] to determine the best way to reach that goal. If we just want to beat the Chinese, Mars Direct is ideal. If we want colonization something more robust is needed.

ADP* I'd say both, get there [i:post_uid0]firstest with the mostest[/i:post_uid0], but when you actually have to [i:post_uid0]convince[/i:post_uid0] voters on a regular basis it gets harder and you have to settle on one easily packaged vision.


*Assuming Dictatorial Powers.[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#14 2004-12-21 08:24:02

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#810541:post_uid12]

Where there's a will, there's a way.  Has NASA lost its will? 
[/quote:post_uid12]

It's much worse than that. NASA answers to Congress, Congress answers to the largest voting block within their constituencies.

If anyone has lost their will it's [i:post_uid12]us[/i:post_uid12], the American people.[/quote:post_uid12]
*Yes, I know.  (sad smile) 

Don't want to beat a dead horse, but NASA could do more (in the "speaking up" department).

<SNIP> a bunch of stuff I've already said previously, elsewhere.  Blah, blah, blah...don't want to be redundant.  :-\

--Cindy[/color:post_uid12]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#15 2005-04-29 01:25:17

Visionary Explorer
Member
From: Ohio
Registered: 2005-04-19
Posts: 31

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Being new here, I'll take my time and be as concise and humble as possible - plus I'm about 4 months behind but I've seen some disingenious arguments here.  I've read this version of this article twice very carefully before seeing this discussion, and am reading it again as I write in it's more updated form (from April 21st, 2005).

This later version is the one I'll address as far as robotic missions.

I'm not sure where Zubrin advocates two things I've read here: a). focusing on piloted Mars missions exclusive of other destinations (excluding the Moon) or b). "racing" to Mars.

I'd also like to quickly comment on the money issue.  The public loves space exploration.  That's no problem, as long as no one scares them with numbers like $100 billion or $40 billion (not mentioning that's over 10, 20, or even 30 years).  That's been pretty well established before elsewhere.

Back to what I was saying - I'm no big fan of Zubrin's (might be if he would have replied to my questions - assuming they were received), but he's often shown insight into the issue of NASA and it's management that most of us should have realised on our own - and I appreciate that.  He's not as smart as he thinks he is, but he's no slouch either.

In the most recent version of this article Zubrin makes mention of two robotic missions - Hubble and JIMO.  His points on both are spot-on.  What is the need for a 150-100 kw reactor for JIMO - not to mention it taking 9 years to get there - when 20 kw would do and getting there earlier would lessen the possibility of failure?

Why ditch Hubble (although the proposed Hubble II is interesting - assuming it gets built in an era where $4.6 million/year for Voyager is stretching things) for supposed "safety reasons"?

Zubrin correctly points out that over 40 interplanetary missions were launched during the 60's/70's while during the last decade only a half-dozen have been launched (not all successfully mind you).  Being Mars-centric is a false objection to Zubrin's points.

Zubrin's assertions about the goal/destination driven focus versus the technology-first focus are also dead-on when you consider other things he says - including the use of the technology for Mars [i:post_uid0]also[/i:post_uid0] being useful for Lunar or NEO missions.

He specifically makes it clear in the article that exploring many avenues for reaching the destination are the point of his contention - except that making it time-definite will also force NASA to choose the best, most cost-efficient method of reaching all the goals.

On the other hand we have what we have now.  The shuttle, the space station, and some MLV's.  What was/is the Shuttle good for?  What was/is the ISS good for?  What will the Moon offer that will be of use for a Mars mission (much less missions to NEO's - other destinations being uncertain - we aren't talking about outer solar system or interstellar flights here)?

Besides a training/testing ground that requires the same technology to acheive as a Mars mission (another valid point by Zubrin) - I would very much like to know.

The Moon may have water (or hydrogen deposits) but only at one or both poles.  Yes, there is O2 to be found in the rocks, but you still have to do some heavy processing to extract either - and a polar mission is highly unlikely considering the safe-mode NASA talks about but rarely follows when inconvient.

Why develop a secondary technology to pursue the Moon, and potentially sacrifice Mars exploration which will need another technology-base (thanks to spending billions on the Moon alone) when developing a cohesive technology within a set period of time [i:post_uid0]around the primary goal[/i:post_uid0] that can also be useful for other destinations will save time, money, and as important - the experience of the people who work at the various NASA centers?

I believe Zubrin's insights in both versions of this article are all valid - including his assertions on the reasons for this lengthy planning (to satisfy the aerospace industry interests among other things).

I hope the new Admin. Griffin sees that as well so we can move boldly into the future rather than continue running around in circles in LEO - talking about grand adventures once again - and doing nothing more that we have for the past 25 years.[/color:post_uid0]

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#16 2005-04-29 05:51:01

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid0]After terrorism, high oil costs, and Mexican immigration, Space is low priority. 
Just like an amusement park, try a lot of rides without spending a lot.

The shuttle allowed large number of people into space. Hubble allowed everyone to see far. Robotic missions allowed all of us to explore. And the Moon will allow several nations to have bases close to Earth.

Zurbin is a good faciliator and promoter, and we should appreciate him for the effort.

Kennedy wanted man on the Moon because it was hard.
Nowdays, people want it to be fun and easy.[/color:post_uid0]

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#17 2005-04-29 11:44:23

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,409

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Oposing side to space as seen from these two different articles.

Space centre sparks protest

An Australian space centre could be linked to Star Wars-like battles if NASA and the US Airforce Space Command begin fighting wars in space, activist groups say.

A demonstration to protest against the militarisation and nuclearisation of space has been held in Canberra.[/quote:post_uid0]
Not sure where this is but I think this has more to do with kistler but no company is mentioned.

While this next one lodes its coming.
Tech gets grant for space science center

The center will study "dusty plasma," collections of tiny particles that are suspended in gases hundreds of miles above the Earth.[/quote:post_uid0][/color:post_uid0]

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#18 2005-04-30 12:12:04

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: Pulling the 10m Rope Tight - Space News Editorial by Zubrin

[color=#000000:post_uid0]National intrests will be the motivation for occupying near space and bases on the Moon. Neither Russians, Chinese, or USA will ceede control of space, the ultimate military high ground. As was pointed out, a very large rocket was needed to go to the Moon, but only a small one to get back to Earth.

Mars will not be militarily significiant for a long time. However, it will become offordable because of near Earth competition.[/color:post_uid0]

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