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Old December 14 2012, 04:59 AM   #34
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Spacex CEO wants to co-build and fund huge Mars colony effort

publiusr wrote: View Post
I'm hoping for a circumlunar flight earlier. What I try to keep telling snowjourner is that it isn't just about costs. Curiosity at over two billion cost more than a smaller Discovery class mission atop a block I sent to Europa--and cost more than an LV many times its size.

Some DoD missions atop a Titan IV rivaled a Saturn moon shot with its payload. You could have had a lot of small, Delta II launched MER type rovers for one Curiosity--but they didn't do that because of the greater capability. At the top level, size is almost irrelevant.
That's a false equivalence considering that 1) payloads are not launch vehicles and 2) any payload large enough to justify an SLS launch is ALSO going to cost a couple billion dollars.

To go beyond LEO it will cost billions.
Depends on how you do it. An engineer friend of the family once told me of NASA "You can do it quickly, you can do it safely, and you can do it cheaply, but you can only do two out of the three at the same time." IOW, it doesn't have to cost billions of dollars if you take your time and build up that capability quickly, or if you use a technique that doesn't require an enormous Earth Departure Stage (say, ion thrusters or VASIMRs) you can do it cheaply and relatively safely.

I think the well has been poisoned to the point that space professionals--due to all the sniping back and forth--have lost the respect of the public.
The general public hasn't been paying any attention to them at all; to the extent that they had any respect to begin with, it's undoubtedly still intact.

Personally I also think that if Man returns to the moon, it will be with SLS...or not at all.
I doubt that very much. The Chinese space program is considerably more patient and considerably less sensitive to the kinds of political mood swings that have defined the American legislature for the past ten years. The SLS will probably begin to play around with Trans-Lunar capability right around the time the Chinese launch their first manned missionm (late 2020s or 2030s).
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