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Old September 14 2012, 10:40 PM   #121
Deckerd
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

I've noticed that Mars completely ignores all the really hard questions and only goes for the really easy ones.
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Old September 14 2012, 11:01 PM   #122
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Maybe we should ask him about the "giant pyramid to space" thing.
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Old September 14 2012, 11:29 PM   #123
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
"Big" isn't sustainable in space flight for any amount of time, unless you have an infinite supply of either capital or political will. More spam, still no point.
An opinion that you don't share isn't 'spam--its an opinion.

Big is sustainable, as we saw with 100= shuttle flights with not all that interest--because the STS was a LEO only system--but it was a defacto HLV in terms of mass to orbit--that that proves me correct.

In terms of future tech--al we need do is look to the past--and support such systems as opposed to sniping at them from the interwebs

Some projects to look at
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/20...t-hyreus-1993/

Now in terms of depots: Lee P. Scherer told Culbertson that the LOSS might not be needed, and that his office viewed neither the Nuclear Shuttle nor the LOSS propellant depot “as clear requirements.”

This is what the illusion of cost-saving reusability destroyed--a quote:

It is one of the most damning indictments of numerous short-sighted administrations, whether Democrat or Republican and whether influenced by external influences or not, to have effectively cut us off from deep-space exploration for half a century and eliminated dreams of the Moon and Mars for two generations of children.

http://www.americaspace.org/?p=25013

What SLS does is to reverse this:

http://www.americaspace.org/?p=25146
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2154/1

Not thinking big as we used to is the problem.

Here is the problem with commercial space that folks seem to worship here. Real experts understand the need for heavy lift. Now if you want to keep selling NASA lots of smaller rockets--you argue for leaky depots.

Another quote to prove my point:

The twist with “commercial space” as it has taken shape is that the companies involved are saying that they must have government money in advance of performance to develop their product, while yet maintaining their right to conduct that product development according to their own concepts and standards. Nonetheless, the government must buy their product when it is available, and – oh by the way – is not allowed to develop its own product, because it will compete unfairly with “commercial” offerings.

It is this posture that I find so offensive. If I pay you to do something for me, I want you to do what I want done, not what you want to do. I further want you to do it in the manner in which I want it done, not as you may happen to want it done. That is what I expect for the money I provide – just as I would if, say, I engage your company to build a custom home for me. If you do not choose to do what I ask, as I ask it to be done, that is okay. In that circumstance, however, I am not required to buy your product. I can seek another provider who will agree to do as I ask.

But this quid pro quo, which would apply exactly in the case of a commercial contract for a custom home, apparently does not apply to a commercial contract for a custom spacecraft. NASA is forced to provide development money for a product whose design it cannot influence, and then to buy the product when it is finished, regardless of what responsible agency engineers might deem to be appropriate. The only outcome of such behavior that can possibly occur is that a technical, operational, or business failure will occur – and NASA will be held accountable for the failure, because public money was expended.

So, the U.S. government is the 80% majority investor in SpaceX – and this is prior to the $400+ million CCICap award. But, the government does not own the design or the product when it is complete; it does not own even 80% of it. What NASA “owns” is the right to buy a seat at market price. The only real change from the classic “prime contract” seems to be that a largely different set of contractors is performing the work, which is done primarily with public funds but without government supervision. The working definition of “commercial” seems to be “not built by an established contractor working to government specifications”. I have only one question: can I get that deal?

Some questions

So even as Obama’s campaign releases a press statement extolling the virtues of Orion and SLS, his folks at NASA are still trying to kill these programs. As to his comments about SpaceX, I guess Griffin feels strongly about its poor track record because he was the one who led NASA when SpaceX won its COTS contract. Griffin was the one who cut SpaceX it’s first big check of $277.8M. With both SpaceX and Orbital Sciences years behind schedule and each over $118M over budget, I can see why he’s upset. Worse, unlike Constellation, which had an excuse in that it was short-changed for years, not once did not SpaceX or OSC receive their promised funding on time. So one is left wondering what their excuse is. Maybe someone from the NewSpace community could answer that question?


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What is indisputable is that an HLV mission architecture is much better understood in terms of risk, technique, and planning, thanks to Apollo, than any other. And that means while a HLV mission guesstimate will be off in cost and time, it will not be nearly so much as for similar guesstimates of other architectures deeply studied but never tried. For example, lunar landing studies conducted in the late 50′s pegged the cost at between $1.5-2B. Apollo came in on-budget only because Webb added an arbitrary 40% to NASA’s best-guess estimate for Apollo.
An HLV architecture certainly doesn’t exclude using ISS or SEP. But it does mean that lunar missions can be conducted absent the use of ISS, SEP, or anything else. that flexibility seems attractive.
Its obvious that you feel the non-HLV architecture is the best way forward in BEO human spaceflight. And your unhappiness with Griffin’s decision 8 years ago comes through.
For my part, since HLV-based architectures are better understood and we currently have an HLV in development, my inclination is to keep working on what we have. I’m not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the possible and oppose something currently underway.
So, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Last edited by publiusr; September 14 2012 at 11:41 PM.
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Old September 14 2012, 11:45 PM   #124
Deckerd
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

I really don't want to nitpick but anything within our solar system is not deep space. The Voyagers are beginning to brush deep space.
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Old September 15 2012, 12:53 AM   #125
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

publiusr wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
"Big" isn't sustainable in space flight for any amount of time, unless you have an infinite supply of either capital or political will. More spam, still no point.
An opinion that you don't share isn't 'spam--its an opinion.

Big is sustainable, as we saw with 100= shuttle flights with not all that interest--because the STS was a LEO only system--but it was a defacto HLV in terms of mass to orbit--that that proves me correct.

In terms of future tech--al we need do is look to the past--and support such systems as opposed to sniping at them from the interwebs
The Shuttle was barely sustainable, and only by sucking up most of NASA's budget. It should've been retired by the late 1980's, but they couldn't afford to replace a system that was working, and due to the very low flight rates none of the Shuttles were near the end of their operational lives, which was supposed to be pretty short.

One problem with SLS is that it's the same as a host of mid-1970's Shuttle-derived cargo designs. It's not reusable and the architecture doesn't offer any way to make it reusable, so the same people who built external tanks for the Shuttle will be building modified external tanks that will be thrown away, along with the either RS-25E or RS-68 engines, which are very expensive.

It's an example of NASA not innovating, nor driving the technology in new directions, like coming up with cheap expendable liquid engines, or liquid strap-ons with propellant cross-feed, or reusable first stages that land vertically, or any of the other approaches private firms are pursuing. The projected flight rate of the SLS is going to be less than the Shuttle, depending on whether they design a payload for it.
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Old September 15 2012, 02:06 AM   #126
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Mars wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Ironically, you're correct this time, if only because the trillion dollar AI is the least impractical thing in that paragraph.
An atomic fission powered ion drive is feasible, an antimatter engine less so, warp drive is fantasy, so the only starships we will build will be slow one that take thousands of years to arrive at their destination, I think one could be built this century, we need to develop artificial wombs and AI technology to make this happen. I think it would be easier than developing reliable suspended animation, it is easier to preserve single fertilized egg cells invitro than a whole human body. egg cells are stored that way now
But none of these are PRACTICAL, not on the timescales you're talking about, or for the applications you're describing. In essence the sentient AI is the least impractical thing on the ship mainly because it actually serves a (somewhat) well-defined purpose at the destination. That same AI would be entirely unnecessary for a voyage that lasts five thousand years, however.
So tell me why can't you run a nuclear reactor for 5000 years? I hear nuclear fuel isn't that bulky, so I'm sure a 5000 year supply of Uranium could be stored aboard the ship, the ion drive would be needed only to bring the ship up to crusing speed, crusing speed would be about 0.1% of the speed of light to get to Alpha Centauri in 5000 years, that is 300 km/sec. If the starship accelerates at 1 mm per second squared, it would take 9.51 years to reach 300 km/sec, and another 9.51 years to slow down from it leaving about 4980 years of cruising, all the nuclear reactor would be used for then is sustaining the L5 habitat for all the plants and animals to be brought on the trip. There would be many generations of plants and animals in the interior hab, such that their would be an ancient forest growing in it by the time the ship arrived at its destination. The AI's job would be to sustain that ecosystem for the entire length of the voyage.
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Old September 15 2012, 02:13 AM   #127
Mars
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
gturner wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
No kidding. I thought this thread was about how human civilization and the world around us might be affected by technology at the turn of the next century, not a bunch of blue sky speculation about artificially intelligent interstellar super colony ships. I mean, what the fuck?
But unlike a computer with the power of a pocket calculator, which could successfully fly a colony ship (even if we wire-wrap it with discrete TTL and magnetic rope memory), a trillion dollar AI could appreciate the coolness of being a space ship - in space!

It could not only beat the astronauts at chess, it could then laugh and tell them they were actually playing Sargon I on a TRS-80 emulator! "Ha, you ignorant monkey test pilot!"
I'll again refer you to the Halo series, in which the AI construct 343 Guilty spark is left to tend to Installation 05, in which time he has no one to talk to and nothing to do but routine maintenance for 100,000 years. He eventually decays into a brooding neurotic with homicidal tendencies, which -- let's face it -- is a pretty impressive outcome for 100,000 years of absolute boredom.
The AI can slow down his consciousness so he won't get bored, if he experiences time at a rate of 100 seconds to his 1 second, then the voyage duration will seem to last only 50 years to him. He'll watch the animals zip across the meadows and through the forest at incredible speed, each day will pass every 14.4 minutes, he can watch the trees and the grass grow, watch the programmed seasonal cycles, for every 1 of his years, 100 years will pass on the ship, and if there is any trouble or maintenance problems, he will speed up his consciousness to deal with it.
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Old September 15 2012, 02:35 AM   #128
Mars
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Mars wrote: View Post
The only thing that requires much development are the AIs and artificial womb technology.
And nuclear fission reactors in space. And the technology to freeze an embryo that will remain viable for thousands of years. And the techniques to build and maintain an O'Neil colony, let alone the infrastructure needed to begin construction in the first place. And -- most importantly -- a DESTINATION.

As for the purpose of an interstellar colony of humans, I would think that would be obvious, as an insurance policy for the survival of the human race.
Which, much like a laptop computer half a mile wide, is a highly impractical way of achieving that or any other goal. Simply removing the step of sending your space ark to another solar system would increase its feasibility by an order of magnitude; taking it out of orbit, unrolling it and parking it on the moon removes the need for artificial wombs, cryonics or sentient AIs at all.
The problem is that it may not be left alone by the billions of other humans and sentient AIs that are also inhabiting the system, and if something were to destroy humanity, the ship might get caught up in it. There would be insufficient isolation if it stayed in the Solar System, if it is lost in the depths of interstellar space, it might be forgotten about. I figure if you give the human race another 5000 years and it does not do itself in, then the human race should be fairly safe, and their might even be a welcoming committee waiting their arrival at Alpha Centauri, but insurance policies are in case the worst happens, if the worst doesn't happen then there should be humans awaiting their arrival at Alpha Centauri.

That's what people mean when they say "practical." We have, for example, directed energy weapons like the THEL or the ABL that can destroy targets with laser beams; they are not, however PRACTICAL battlefield weapons, because the amount of infrastructure and hardware needed to make them work far outweighs any possible benefit to the technology.

All this change wrought by AI technology may threaten the survival of the human race...
So your solution to the worrying tends of AI development is to place humanity's insurance policy under the direct control of... an AI?
Because the AI itself doing the tending won't itself evolve, it will experience time at a 100:1 ratio for most of the voyage, so the trip will seem to take 50 years for it, there won't be any competing more sophisticated AIs for it to worry about, as it will be just as isolated as the humans will be when they arrive. The Ai will miss about 1000 generations of subsequent AI programs if civilization lasts that long and if not, it will represent the hope for the continued human future.

Do you think insurance policies are a bad investment.
Only if you pay more than you should, to ensure against things that will never happen, which would pay off in a form you can never spend. It's like buying volcano insurance with a $700/month premium that automatically names your great grandson as the beneficiary of an '89 Ford Pinto.
How can you know that the human race will survive for the next 5000 years? I think the greatest danger is that of self destruction, not as asteroid strike or a supernova, to survive whatever calamity wipes out the human race, a part of it will have to be very far away, so the rest of humanity trying to destroy itself will not concern itself with that. You know what nuclear war is right, or runaway nanotech or AIs taking over, or humans uploading into machines and then something happening to those machines so they no longer function, or some kind of fantastic war being fought. Use your imagination, its best to be far away from whatever may occur in order to be safe.

Let's be specific here. Almost anything you can think of to "insure" against the extinction of the human race would be mitigated far more effectively by targeting the thing itself. If rampant AIs are the potential problem, the simplest solution is to STOP BUILDING THEM.
Well an isolated starship is not going to be building much of anything, probably be doing self maintenance and that is it, its harder to get billions of human beings and control them all so they don't build AIs, because for each one it may prove advantageous to build one, but taken together they may threaten humanity by their existance. Humans may become too technology dependent and atrophy to nothingness. the humans arriving at the system will efffectively be late 21st century humans with late 21st century technology, so they start as square one.

Get everyone to ban AI research and sign treaties that isolate countries that don't.
Its not going to work, because the one who violates the treaty will always be at an immediate advantage.

If the problem is pandemics, asteroid impacts, nuclear war, alien invasion, Lady Gaga, the second coming of Jesus... all of those have very specific solutions, and the combination of all of them would be less expensive and more effective than developing a generation ship.
A lot more can go wrong with a community of billions of humans than with an isolated starship with frozen embryos traveling the void between the stars, very little is likely to happen during that almost 5000 year dormant cruise. Back on Earth and the solar System, billions of humans and AIs will be inventing dangerous new technologies we can't even anticipate, the isolated starship won't be a part of that, and the Solar System won't concern itself with them.
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Old September 15 2012, 02:43 AM   #129
gturner
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Mars wrote: View Post
A lot more can go wrong with a community of billions of humans than with an isolated starship with frozen embryos traveling the void between the stars, very little is likely to happen during that almost 5000 year dormant cruise.
Ahem. You're saying that on a Trek board.

1) The ship could be struck by a piece of interstellar debris
2) The AI could get bored and start playing with the stored DNA, combining it with spider DNA to create mutant monsters.
3) The ship could be colonized by space spiders, who mate with the mutant human/spider people
4) The ship could be boarded by a Ferengi raiding party, who get eaten by the hybrid spiders
....
3187) The ship could travel through a wormhole and end up back at Earth, dumping human-Ferengi-Romulan-Horta mutant space spiders with Borg implants and telekinetic power back on Earth.
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Old September 15 2012, 02:49 AM   #130
Mars
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

gturner wrote: View Post
Mars wrote: View Post
A lot more can go wrong with a community of billions of humans than with an isolated starship with frozen embryos traveling the void between the stars, very little is likely to happen during that almost 5000 year dormant cruise.
Ahem. You're saying that on a Trek board.

1) The ship could be struck by a piece of interstellar debris
2) The AI could get bored and start playing with the stored DNA, combining it with spider DNA to create mutant monsters.
3) The ship could be colonized by space spiders, who mate with the mutant human/spider people
4) The ship could be boarded by a Ferengi raiding party, who get eaten by the hybrid spiders
....
3187) The ship could travel through a wormhole and end up back at Earth, dumping human-Ferengi-Romulan-Horta mutant space spiders with Borg implants and telekinetic power back on Earth.
But we're talking real world starship not Star Trek. The most likely thing to happen is getting struck by space debris, and with thick shielding and a relative velocity of 300 km/sec, the ship will likely survive and repair the damage. The Ai basically goes to sleep, so it won't get board, that is the thing about computers, is they can turn themselves off and a timer can wake them again, they don't have to experience time second by second like we do. The ship will be traveling forward in time about as much as it travels in space, getting across those 5000 years of time will be its main purpose, Alpha Centauri is just a destination to separate themselves from the rest of humanity and whatever may go wrong there.
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Old September 15 2012, 03:41 AM   #131
gturner
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Well, the one snag in your plan is that the AI isn't actually needed for anything. Running a fission reactor doesn't need an AI, and doesn't even need a computer. An analog circuit, even a mechanical mechanism, can do it. Waking people up would just take a clock. Dodging debris just takes a vintage radar system and steering control running like the inverse of a missile seeker head (the original Sidewinder used only seven vacuum tubes to track, intercept, and kill). If you can freeze human embryos, then you can freeze anything else, so you don't need to maintain any type of ecosystem. It's a cargo barge with a star tracker, a radar, and an engine, and that doens't take much more sophistication to run than our Voyager probes from the 1970's.

I also forgot to mention threat #1615: Space pirates from Earth who board the ship, kill off all the male embryos, and set their cryochambers to wake them up on the planet when all the female embryos are turning 18 so they can live on a planet of women.
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Old September 15 2012, 03:43 AM   #132
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

sojourner wrote: View Post
^Just to play devil's advocate on that last part, how do you prevent the Yellowstone supervolcano from erupting?
Assuming that theory has any validity, the simplest solution is to move the fuck out of yellowstone.
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Old September 15 2012, 03:54 AM   #133
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

^ But if you are in Yellowstone, make sure your webcam is streaming online video of screaming crowds before you take off futily running for your life.
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Old September 15 2012, 04:50 AM   #134
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

publiusr wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
"Big" isn't sustainable in space flight for any amount of time, unless you have an infinite supply of either capital or political will. More spam, still no point.
An opinion that you don't share isn't 'spam--its an opinion.
A mountain of hyperlinks to forum posts on other websites that have almost nothing to do with what we're talking about isn't an opinion, it's spam.

Big is sustainable, as we saw with 100= shuttle flights with not all that interest--because the STS was a LEO only system--but it was a defacto HLV in terms of mass to orbit--that that proves me correct.
Does it? Because, last time I checked, the STS is no longer operational and its replacement won't be ready before the end of the decade.

Not thinking big as we used to is the problem.
Actually, we DO think big the way we used to, which is exactly the problem. It was THINKING BIG that gave us the shuttle program, and thinking even bigger that cut the shuttle's capabilities in half. It was the marathon of Big Thoughts in the 70s that led to optimistic projections about the shuttle's launch costs, about the kinds of missions it would carry out, about the new era of space exploration it would open up by carrying huge payloads into space and directly servicing them with qualified crews and later ferrying truckloads of passengers into orbital factories and space labs.

And what was the result? Big thinking effectively cost us our first and orbiting launch platform when the shuttle mission failed to replace Apollo in a timely fashion. Big thinking resulted in a transport system that flew half as often as planned for ten times the cost, and later on filling only one in ten of its original mission roles for safety and political reasons. And when the shuttle program came to an end, history repeated itself: NASA has spent so many years trying to develop the Next Big Thing that they currently lack even the rudimentary spaceflight capabilities of early '60s. They cannot even put a crew into orbit, let alone service and maintain the space station. The next ten American spacecraft to fly anywhere at all will be built and operated by private operators with their pathetic "small change" operations.

Any prudent business manager knows that "Thinking Big" is not something you do when you're just starting out, when you've got nothing to fall back on and no way to take up the slack if your Big Idea turns into a crapshoot. The Senate Launch System, in that regard, isn't a future launch system, it's a technological gambit, betting on the ability of a group of aerospace contractors to resurrect a 1960s rocket engine, a 1970s mission profile and combine all of those with a 1980s launch system which they now have to completely refurbish to achieve just over twice the original performance with half the budget they had when these things were originally developed. It would be a pretty sweet payoff if the SLS actually flies on time and on schedule... but what exactly does NASA plan to do if it blows up on the launch pad?

Here is the problem with commercial space that folks seem to worship here. Real experts understand the need for heavy lift.
If you were in any way concerned about the opinions of real experts you wouldn't be spamming unsourced essays from the nasaspaceflight.com forum.
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Old September 15 2012, 04:53 AM   #135
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
^Just to play devil's advocate on that last part, how do you prevent the Yellowstone supervolcano from erupting?
Assuming that theory has any validity, the simplest solution is to move the fuck out of yellowstone.
You do realize that if it blows you'd have to move out to the fucking moon to avoid the catastrophe it would cause. It's an ELE.
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