APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

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APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by APOD Robot » Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:05 am

Image Atlantis Reflection

Explanation: Space shuttle orbiter Atlantis left planet Earth on Friday, July 8, embarking on the STS-135 mission to the International Space Station. The momentous launch was the final one in NASA's 30 year space shuttle program that began with the launch of the first reusable spacecraft on April 12, 1981. In this reflective prelaunch image from July 7, Atlantis stands in a familiar spot on the Kennedy Space Center's pad 39A, after an early evening roll back of the pad's Rotating Service Structure. The historic orbital voyages of Atlantis have included a Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, deployment of Magellan, Galileo, and the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory, and seven trips to the Russian space station Mir. Scheduled to dock once again with the International Space Station on Sunday, Atlantis has now made its 33rd and final trip to orbit.

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by nstahl » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:15 am

It's been a majestic program, started when both major parties agreed we need to know more about the universe, not less. Let's hope we can get the will to go on to the asteroids and Mars and beyond as well as keeping up the observational program we could afford if more people were willing to pull their weight.

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by djak. » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:45 am

I kept wondering about the rescue shuttles that needed to be ready with all the talk of "last" flights recently - it turns out that if Atlantis is too damaged for re-entry, there really won't be a rescue shuttle, the crew will instead eventually return from the ISS via Soyuz craft. Doug Hurley would get to stay almost a year on the ISS if that was the case - not a bad trade-off for losing the opportunity to help land the very last shuttle.

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by neufer » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:22 am

Image
The Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7,
carrying astronaut John Glenn,
was launched on an Atlas rocket.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantis wrote:
<<Atlantis (in Greek, Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος, "island of Atlas") is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias. Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune".>>
Last edited by neufer on Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by orin stepanek » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:32 am

Last lift off for Atlantis! 8-)
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Orin

Smile today; tomorrow's another day!

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by mugsy » Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:02 pm

Just wended my way through the obstacle course to become a poster so now I will just ask a simple question to whoever wants to reply. My thought concerns the ending of this era in space travel. Atlantis is making its final flight to the space station and when it returns it will likely become another relic that sits in a field somewhere that the public can vist for a fee. This whole era of reusable transport vehicles was a great concept although I wonder if in the end it was cost effective. My real question is thus. Why was Atlantis, and perhaps the other vehicles as well, not prepared or can not be retrofitted, even after its return to dock permanently to the space station. Surely they could have encorporated an inner capsule and a second attached docking port into that large cargo area and used this multi multi million piece of equipment as part of the space station. Think of the extra lounge space the astonauts could enjoy if they had that whole cargo bay furnished and redecorated (being facetious).Seriously,what are your thoughts on this concept? Should someone get an answer from NASA on why this was not done?

mugs

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by neufer » Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:08 pm

The lasting legacy of the 'Star Wars' & Space Shuttle programs:
The collapse of the U.S.S.R.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buran_%28spacecraft%29 wrote:
Image
Defence minister Ustinov reacting to a report
that the Space Shuttle could be used to deploy
nuclear bombs over Russian territory.
Image
Buran on launch pad 110/37
<<The Buran spacecraft (Russian: Бура́н, IPA: Snowstorm or Blizzard), GRAU index 11F35 K1 is a Russian (Soviet) orbital vehicle (in Russian terminology: "орбитальный самолет", "orbital airplane") analogous in function and design to the US Space Shuttle and developed by Chief Designer Gleb Lozino-Lozinskiy of Energia rocket corporation. To this day, Buran remains the only space shuttle vehicle from the Soviet Buran program that was launched into space before the program closure. The Buran completed one unmanned spaceflight in 1988 before the cancellation of the program in 1993 and was later stored in a hangar at the Baikonur cosmodrome. On 12 May 2002, a hangar housing Buran in Kazakhstan collapsed, due to poor maintenance. The collapse killed eight workers and destroyed the orbiter as well as a mock-up of an Energia carrier rocket.

The Buran orbital vehicle program was developed in response to the U.S. Space Shuttle program, which in the 1980s raised considerable concerns among the Russian military and especially minister Dmitriy Ustinov. An authoritative biographer of the Russian space program, academic Boris Chertok recounts how the program came into being. According to Chertok, after the U.S. developed its Space Shuttle program, the Russian military became suspicious that it could be used for military purposes, due to its enormous payload, several times that of previous U.S. spaceships. The Soviet government asked the Russian CNIIMASH (ЦНИИМАШ, Central Institute of Machine-building, a major player in defense analysis) for an expert opinion. Institute director, Yuri Mozzhorin, recalls that for a long time the institute could not envisage a civilian payload large enough to require a vehicle of that capacity. Based on this, as well as on US profitability analyses of that time, which showed that the Space Shuttle would be economically efficient only with a large number of launches (one every week or so), Mozzhorin concluded that the vehicle had a military purpose, although he was unable to say exactly what. The Soviet program was further boosted after defence minister Ustinov received a report from analysts showing that, at least in theory, the Space Shuttle could be used to deploy nuclear bombs over Russian territory. Chertok recounts that Ustinov was so worried by the possibility that he made the Soviet response program a top priority.

Officially, the Buran spacecraft was designed for the delivery to orbit and return to Earth of spacecraft, cosmonauts, and supplies. Both Chertok and Gleb Lozino-Lozinskiy suggest that from the beginning, the program was military in nature; however, the exact military capabilities, or intended capabilities, of the Buran program remain classified. Like its American counterpart, the Buran, when in transit from its landing sites back to the launch complex, was transported on the back of a large jet aeroplane - the Antonov An-225 Mriya transport aircraft, which was designed in part for this task and remains the largest aircraft in the world to fly multiple times.

The only orbital launch of Buran occurred at 3:00 UTC on 15 November 1988 from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 110/37. It was lifted into orbit unmanned by the specially designed Energia rocket, which to this day remains the heaviest rocket running on liquid fuel. Unlike the Space Shuttle, which is propelled by a combination of solid boosters and the Shuttle's own liquid-fuel engines sourcing fuel from a large fuel tank, the Energia-Buran system used only thrust from the rocket's four RD liquid-fuel engines developed by Valentin Glushko. From the very beginning Buran was intended to be used in both fully automatic and manual mode. Although the program accumulated a several-years delay, Buran remained the only space shuttle to ever perform an unmanned flight in fully automatic mode until 22 April 2010 when the US Air Force launched its Boeing X-37 spaceplane. The automated launch sequence performed as specified, and the Energia rocket lifted the vehicle into a temporary orbit before the orbiter separated as programmed. After boosting itself to a higher orbit and completing two revolutions around the Earth, ODU (engine control system) engines fired automatically to begin the descent into the atmosphere. Exactly 206 minutes into the mission, the Buran orbiter landed, having lost only five of its 38,000 thermal tiles over the course of the flight. The automated landing took place on a runway at Baikonur Cosmodrome where, despite a lateral wind speed of 61.2 kilometres per hour (38.0 mph), it landed only 3 metres (9.8 ft) laterally and 10 metres (33 ft) longitudinally from the target mark. The unmanned flight was the first time that a spacecraft of this size and complexity had been launched, completed maneuvers in orbit, re-entered the atmosphere, and landed under automatic guidance.

The Buran program was officially closed in 1993, but Mikhail Gorbachev's negative attitude towards the program left little doubt that its first launch would be the last as well, according to the memoirs of acad. Chertok. Gorbachev did not attend the launch himself and sent a formulaic congratulation from a distance, being on a visit to the Saratov district. Former aerospace and defense workers recall that he often used the word "minarets" to refer to rockets.

In 1989, it was projected that Buran would have an unmanned second flight in 1993, with a duration of 15–20 days. Due to the cancellation of the project after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, this never took place. Several scientists looked into trying to revive the Buran program, especially after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. More recently, the director of Moscow's Central Machine Building Institute has said the Buran project will be reviewed in the hopes of restarting a similar manned spacecraft design, with rocket test launches as soon as 2015. Russia also continues work on the PPTS but has abandoned the Kliper program, due to differences in vision with its European partners.>>
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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by neufer » Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:19 pm

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
mugsy wrote:
Why was Atlantis, and perhaps the other vehicles as well, not prepared or can not be retrofitted, even after its return to dock permanently to the space station. Surely they could have encorporated an inner capsule and a second attached docking port into that large cargo area and used this multi multi million piece of equipment as part of the space station. Think of the extra lounge space the astonauts could enjoy if they had that whole cargo bay furnished and redecorated (being facetious).Seriously,what are your thoughts on this concept? Should someone get an answer from NASA on why this was not done?
We have yet to answer the pressing question:
What is the effect of weightlessness on elephants?
A shuttle docked to the ISS
would be ideal for such an experiment :!:
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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by biddie67 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:47 pm

Neufer - thanks for posting the article above!

P.S. not the Dumbo one - the one above it ((grin))

P.P.S. altho' the Dumbo one is pretty good.

P.P.P.S. elephants don't like weightlessness - they are intrinsically weighty, dependent upon their "weightness" and would not be elephants without such.

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by NoelC » Sat Jul 09, 2011 2:44 pm

The end of an era. It's had its ups (hundreds of miles up), and downs (a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the pursuit of science). All in all I think we're better for it (if not a bit poorer). It is the culmination of human development so far that we could find ourselves in a society with such advancement of the human condition that we have had the ability to spend billions on pure exploration.

Considering all the things we will no longer be able to do without the Shuttle, the thing I look forward to the least is when the Hubble Space Telescope finally wears itself out and ceases to function, and here we will be with no vehicle with which to service it. Maybe we'll be back to using big dumb boosters by then. Some say huge ground-based telescopes can take over, with their adaptive optics, but somehow I just don't see the atmosphere getting any clearer, or any reduction in light pollution happening any time soon.

Silly idea, but has anyone considered mounting a small plane, optimized just for landing, atop a big dumb booster? Hey, we flew the LEM that way... Something small and light like this, that everyone can climb into when it's time to come back. Re-enter behind a heat shield, then rather than splash down and require an expensive retrieval, separate from the shield and just land it at the airport.
CHP_Ansari.jpg
Pets in space... Novel idea, neufer. I wouldn't look forward to the cleanup, though, of biological creatures that could not be trained to use an apparatus to minimize others' exposure to their waste. Especially that of elephants. It's amazing how much we depend on the gravity and ecosphere of Earth to take care of things for us.

-Noel
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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by NoelC » Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:06 pm

mugsy wrote:Why was Atlantis, and perhaps the other vehicles as well, not prepared or can not be retrofitted, even after its return to dock permanently to the space station.
A fair question. It sounds almost reasonable at the outset. You'd think it could also serve as an emergency re-entry vehicle in a pinch.

BUT...

I suspect, however, that the design of a reusable re-entry vehicle that is built with the goal to spend just a few weeks in space is just SO unsuited to permanent long-term deployment that it would be a logistics nightmare to maintain there... Stuff would freeze, consumables would be consumed, seals would dry out or degrade over time, parts become brittle... Then it becomes impossible to bring it back in a controlled fashion. We've already seen that chunks of a Shuttle doing an uncontrolled re-entry will make it all the way to the ground... Not the best thing if it lands on your house.

In light of that, it seems prudent to bring it back and have it be something for future generations to admire instead.

-Noel

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:46 pm

NoelC wrote:Considering all the things we will no longer be able to do without the Shuttle...
I can't actually think of much.
...the thing I look forward to the least is when the Hubble Space Telescope finally wears itself out and ceases to function, and here we will be with no vehicle with which to service it.
Like all equipment, the HST will wear out beyond the point that it makes sense to repair it. Probably, it has already reached that point... certainly, its life was already extended once beyond its planned demise. The sad thing is, however, that repairing the HST was always a fool's mission. For less than we spent on repair missions, we could have launched several additional space telescopes. The entire HST repair concept was developed back when it was anticipated that shuttle launches would cost a tenth or less of what they ultimately ended up costing.
Maybe we'll be back to using big dumb boosters by then.
Modern one-use boosters are far from dumb. They represent advanced technology, and are generally far better tools for putting things in space than the shuttles.
Some say huge ground-based telescopes can take over, with their adaptive optics, but somehow I just don't see the atmosphere getting any clearer, or any reduction in light pollution happening any time soon.
The real reason we need space-based telescopes isn't because of the resolution limiting aspects of the atmosphere, but because there are too many wavelengths of interest where the atmosphere is opaque. Ground-based telescopes already provide much greater resolution than the HST can manage in visual bands. That's why future space telescopes are largely designed to work outside those bands (mainly IR). But we lost a LOT of utility with the HST putting it in a low Earth orbit, which was purely to support repairs. I don't think we will make that mistake again. Future space telescopes will be far from the Earth, and not practically repairable with any technology we're likely to develop in the near future.
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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by neufer » Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:28 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
NoelC wrote:
Some say huge ground-based telescopes can take over, with their adaptive optics, but somehow I just don't see the atmosphere getting any clearer, or any reduction in light pollution happening any time soon.
The real reason we need space-based telescopes isn't because of the resolution limiting aspects of the atmosphere, but because there are too many wavelengths of interest where the atmosphere is opaque. Ground-based telescopes already provide much greater resolution than the HST can manage in visual bands. That's why future space telescopes are largely designed to work outside those bands (mainly IR).
The skies are also much darker in space (especially in the bluer colors that Ann likes so much)
and unlimited light gathering can be achieved through long exposure times.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_Large_Telescope wrote:
<<The Very Large Telescope (VLT) is made up of four separate optical telescopes organized in an array formation, built and operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) at the Paranal Observatory on Cerro Paranal, a 2,635 m high mountain in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. Each telescope has an 8.2 m aperture. The array is complemented by four movable Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) of 1.8 m aperture. The VLT has several adaptive optics systems, which at infrared wavelengths correct for the effects of the atmospheric turbulence, providing images almost as sharp as if the telescope were in space. In the near-IR, the adaptive optics images of the VLT are up to three times sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope, and the spectroscopic resolution is many times better than Hubble. The VLTs are noted for their high level of observing efficiency and automation. Working together in interferometric mode, the telescopes can achieve an angular resolution of around 1 milliarcsecond.>>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_optical_reflecting_telescopes wrote:
<<Telescopes designed to be used as optical astronomical interferometers such as the Keck I and II used together as the Keck Interferometer can reach very high resolutions, although at a narrower range of observations. The 85-metre separation between the two telescopes gives them the effective angular resolution in one direction of 5 milliarcseconds (mas) at 2.2 µm, and 24 mas at 10 µm. The lack of additional outrigger telescopes makes the Keck Interferometer unsuitable for interferometric imaging, so work has concentrated on nulling interferometry and angular diameter measurements instead.

When the two mirrors are on one mount, the combined mirror spacing of the Large Binocular Telescope (22.8 meters) allows fuller use of the aperture synthesis. In the summer of 2010, the "First Light Adaptive Optics" (FLAO) - an adaptive optics system with a deformable secondary mirror rather than correcting atmospheric distortion further downstream in the optics - was inaugurated. Using one 8.4 m side, it surpassed Hubble sharpness (at certain light wavelengths).

Largest does not always equate to being the best telescopes and overall light gathering power of the optical system can be poor measure of a telescope's performance. Space-based telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, take advantage of being above the Earths atmosphere to reach higher resolution and greater light gathering through longer exposure time. Location in the northern or southern hemisphere of the Earth can also limit what part of the sky an be observed.>>
Chris Peterson wrote:
Future space telescopes will be far from the Earth, and not practically repairable with any technology we're likely to develop in the near future.
Assuming, that is, that there will be future space telescopes:
http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003094/
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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:37 pm

neufer wrote:Assuming, that is, that there will be future space telescopes:
http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003094/
There will be future space telescopes. The Republican Party is not active in the rest of the developed world, which still has a commitment to basic scientific research. If Congress decides to continue pushing the U.S. backwards, scientists here will relocate to Europe, Japan, China, and elsewhere. Humans will engage in space exploration, with or without U.S. participation or leadership.
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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by neufer » Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:09 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
neufer wrote:
Assuming, that is, that there will be future space telescopes:
http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003094/
There will be future space telescopes. The Republican Party is not active in the rest of the developed world, which still has a commitment to basic scientific research. If Congress decides to continue pushing the U.S. backwards, scientists here will relocate to Europe, Japan, China, and elsewhere. Humans will engage in space exploration, with or without U.S. participation or leadership.
So you are optimistic about the world (and the future) in general and it's just the U.S. that you have a problem with.

The Republican Party is probably right, however, about healthy competition being a good thing.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/07/science/07webb.html wrote:
Panel Proposes Killing Webb Space Telescope
By DENNIS OVERBYE, The New York Times
Published: July 6, 2011


<<The House Appropriations Committee proposed Wednesday to kill the James Webb Space Telescope, the crown jewel of NASA’s astronomy plans for the next two decades. The telescope, named after a former administrator of NASA, is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, and it was designed to study the first stars and galaxies that emerged in the first hundred million years or so after the Big Bang. It was supposed to be launched in 2014, but NASA said last year that the project would require at least an additional $1.6 billion and several more years to finish, because of mismanagement. Just last week, NASA announced that it had finished polishing all the segments of the telescope’s mirror, which is 6.5 meters in diameter, but the agency has still not announced a new plan for testing and launching the telescope.

The announcement of the telescope’s potential demise came as part of a draft budget for NASA and other agencies, including the Commerce and Justice Departments. In all, the committee proposed lopping $1.6 billion off NASA’s current budget, which is $18.4 billion for 2011. The Obama administration had originally requested $18.7 billion for NASA.

Astronomers reacted with immediate dismay, fearing that the death of the Webb telescope could have the same dire impact on American astronomy that killing the Superconducting Supercollider, a giant particle accelerator in Texas, did in 1993 for American physics, sending leadership abroad.

Canceling the Webb telescope would “have a profound impact on astrophysics far into the future, threatening U.S. leadership in space science,” said Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which would run the new telescope. “This is particularly disappointing at a time when the nation is struggling to inspire students to take up science and engineering,” he added.

Tod R. Lauer, an astronomer at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, echoed his view. “This would be an unmitigated disaster for cosmology,” he said. “After two decades of pushing the Hubble to its limits, which has revolutionized astronomy, the next step would be to pack up and give up. The Hubble is just good enough to see what we’re missing at the start of time.” The Webb telescope, he said, “would bring it home in full living color.”

The Appropriation Committee’s proposal was the opening act in what is likely to be a long political drama, in which the Senate will eventually have a say. The measure is expected to be approved Thursday by the subcommittee in charge of NASA and the other agencies, according to Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the committee. Next Wednesday the full Appropriations Committee will meet again to consider the final bill.
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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:35 pm

neufer wrote:So you are optimistic about the world (and the future) in general and it's just the U.S. that you have a problem with.
Well, not terribly optimistic. But I definitely think the U.S. is in deeper trouble than the rest of the developed world- possibly irrecoverably deep. If civilization collapses, we obviously won't have more space telescopes for some centuries or millennia. My comment was predicated on the assumption that civilization won't collapse anytime soon. In that case, given the interest and leadership other countries are demonstrating in space exploration, I have every reason to think that space telescopes will continue to be developed, with or without U.S. participation.
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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by owlice » Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:38 pm

My son fully expects to be living overseas as an adult. He thinks the US is openly hostile to learning and intelligence and that there will be no place for him here.

Sometimes when I look at Congressional actions (and almost anything my local public school system does), I'm hard-pressed to counter his impressions.
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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:44 pm

owlice wrote:My son fully expects to be living overseas as an adult. He thinks the US is openly hostile to learning and intelligence and that there will be no place for him here.

Sometimes when I look at Congressional actions (and almost anything my local public school system does), I'm hard-pressed to counter his impressions.
I believe your son has a realistic view of the world. If I were a young scientist just out of college, I'd be seriously looking at positions outside the U.S. My wife is British, and we therefore have a lot of freedom to live elsewhere. Our love of the mountain wilderness keeps us here, and we'd hate to leave that... but knowing we have options is very reassuring.
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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by Ann » Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:50 pm

I was dismayed to hear about the possible demise of the James Webb telescope. As some of you know, I'm not the staunchest fan of infrared astronomy in general, but I, too, understand its immense value when it comes to observing the distant, early universe. I'm shocked at the realization of just how much will be lost if the James Webb telescope is killed.

As a European and a Swede, I probably shouldn't comment too much on US politics. But I want to say this. Those of you who are US citizens have every right to be immensely proud of your country's fantastic achievements when it comes to exploring the universe. I have been an astronomy nerd for most of my life, and when I look back (and when I look at some of the early books on astronomy that I bought way back when) I'm awe-struck at the incredible amount of knowledge that has been amassed about space since I started taking a serious interest back in 1969.

Most of this knowledge has come from American science and American space exploration. Your brilliant American achievements have all been made possible thanks to American taxpayers. As a Swede, I'm incredibly grateful to you Americans for giving me this gift of fantastically expanded knowledge thanks to your national efforts, which were made possible thanks to American taxpayers.

Which is precisely why I find it so depressing to hear Republicans and Tea party activists who seem to want to slash taxes to a bare minimum, probably not a lot more than what it takes to pay for your military forces and perhaps a bit of Medicare and pensions. The idea that tax money will no longer go to science and the quest for knowledge, not if those tax-slashing extremists have their say, is depressing to me.

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by NoelC » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:21 pm

Nothing wrong with slashing taxes, because so much of everyone's income goes to waste, but BOOST spending for education and science.

And, freedom of the press notwithstanding, return to a sense of morals and civic duty when it comes to television and entertainment. We are actively teaching our young folks terrible things via those media now! And it's clear it can be done; it's being done in other countries. When I can I watch the BBC, and I always feel as though a great weight of utter stupidity has been lifted when I do.

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by NoelC » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:24 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
NoelC wrote:Considering all the things we will no longer be able to do without the Shuttle...
I can't actually think of much.
I assume you're thinking about a return to more traditional rocketry, then?

You know of other plans to help service the ISS?

Or is it your opinion that somehow being in space is just useless?

-Noel

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:32 pm

NoelC wrote:I assume you're thinking about a return to more traditional rocketry, then?
I'm not sure what that means. If you mean substantially single-use rockets, typically designed for non-human payloads, than yes. I don't know that I'd use the term "traditional" for this; certainly, what we launch today are not your father's rockets!
You know of other plans to help service the ISS?
AFAIK, most of the launch burden will fall on Russia for at least the next few years. And what's wrong with that? That "I" in the name of the space station shouldn't be overlooked.
Or is it your opinion that somehow being in space is just useless?
In principle, not at all. In practice, nearly so. What I don't see is a realistic purpose for our being in space that is commensurate with the costs involved (both direct and indirect). It's a question of bang for the buck.
Chris

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Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
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dship14

Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by dship14 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:27 pm

I remember Alan Shepherd and the original Mercury 7 astronauts--I was a young boy and they were heroes. I was a senior in high school when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. I also remember watching the very first space shuttle land--a vehicle that had been in outer space and landed without a splashdown and thinking: "This is a new era in space exploration." Now that era is over--I've seen the Voyager and Galileo images of our solar system's planets and moons throughout my adult life. Now, I'm retired after 30 years at at&t and gratefully acknowledging that it's been a GREAT generation to grow up and grow old. 8-)

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by nstahl » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:35 pm

dship14 wrote:it's been a GREAT generation to grow up and grow old.
It really has been. I'm worried, though, about the moral and mental wreckage that's being left for future generations. Superstitions outweighing science and the feeling we don't owe our fellow citizens and fellow humans anything.

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Re: APOD: Atlantis Reflection (2011 Jul 09)

Post by rstevenson » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:14 am

NoelC wrote:Nothing wrong with slashing taxes, because so much of everyone's income goes to waste, but BOOST spending for education and science.
Unfortunately, no one is planning to spend tax dollars more efficiently or sensibly or wisely, they just want to have less to spend as stupidly as they do now.
NoelC wrote:And, freedom of the press notwithstanding, return to a sense of morals and civic duty when it comes to television and entertainment. We are actively teaching our young folks terrible things via those media now! And it's clear it can be done; it's being done in other countries. When I can I watch the BBC, and I always feel as though a great weight of utter stupidity has been lifted when I do.
"[T]he broader culture, especially mass media, represses the genius in our children through its constant onslaught of violence, mediocrity, and repugnant role models." - Thomas Armstrong

And, as I said in a discussion here about 15 months ago, "The Dark Ages didn't go away willingly; they were pushed away by science and education. And they are waiting, drooling and gibbering in the darkness, for an opportunity to return."

Rob