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Thread: What's NASA Up To And Other Space Stuff

  1. #361
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Does that matter? I though the purpose was to disguise where you came from, not the fact that your craft is artificial in nature?
    If you can see it when it's just setting out, you know where it's come from. You can dump it in interstellar space and let it float aimless for a while to disguise it better, but then we're back to the big timescales problem.

    Furthermore, what even gave us the idea that Oumuamua might be artificial? First, it has an unusual shape. Second, there was the unexplained acceleration as it left the solar system. If your goal was to be stealthy, you'd look like a rock and not accelerate until you're well into intersteller space.
    The acceleration we saw was pretty small, and only detectable at (relatively) close range. Maybe this was an acceptable risk for them, or maybe the local detectability is by design.

    It's more a case of "Nothing about this points to aliens having done it". "It wasn't aliens" is the default position here.
    I never said it was. I don't think EyeKhan is saying that either. We're both just saying you can't rule it out yet.

  2. #362
    The most intriguing part about that extremely speculative article was the characterization of Oumuamua as an interstellar buoy that our solar system passed near. The sun's moving around the galaxy more than ten times as fast as the Voyager probes
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  3. #363
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    Virtually everything winds up being in a Gaussian distribution.
    But this is not the case. It is more appropriate to say that various aspects of most complex phenomena will tend to show more-or-less bell-shaped distributions. Gaussian or normal distribution can frequently approximate those distributions to a high degree of accuracy, but not always. For phenomena that involve the summation of many independent similarly influential variables that show random variance, you can safely apply the central limit theorem and expect to see approximately normal distributions. However, it's not at all certain that the detection of Oumuamua and other similar interstellar objects are good examples of such phenomena. Whether or not a natural object is launched on an interstellar journey, whether or not it survives that journey from its origin to--and through--our system, and whether or not it's detected, are all non-random and skewed towards objects within a certain range of size and mass, making it more difficult to infer the properties of the overall population of interstellar objects, and the likelihood of us detecting them.

    I'd have an easier time believing the alien probe hypothesis, or the lottery jackpot one. And if it's not in a Gaussian distribution, that would mean that our models are wrong, because they're all Gaussian, all the way down.
    Many Gaussian models are probably wrong, but they are nevertheless very good approximations. Not all models rely on typical bell-shaped distributions.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  4. #364
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    If you can see it when it's just setting out, you know where it's come from.
    Yeah, the dinosaurs would have been on to them right away.

    Except the dinosaurs were all....

    OH SHIT
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  5. #365
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Yeah, the dinosaurs would have been on to them right away.

    Except the dinosaurs were all....

    OH SHIT
    Why do you think the acceleration is easily explainable as a natural phenomenon?

    And dinosaurs? I had one for dinner the other night - tastes like chicken. Or turkey.

    EDIT: Also, Congrats to NASA on the Insight landing! Woo!
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  6. #366
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    Why do you think the acceleration is easily explainable as a natural phenomenon?
    It was probably just out-gassing. Sure, we didn't see any evidence for said out-gassing, but which is more likely - that we didn't see it for whatever reason, or aliens?
    Truth serves them
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    Part flattery, part threats
    "For those who cling to this domination will partake in its fall"


  7. #367
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    It was probably just out-gassing. Sure, we didn't see any evidence for said out-gassing, but which is more likely - that we didn't see it for whatever reason, or aliens?
    There's also the smooth, constant acceleration over a long period -- cometary out-gassing is sudden and short-lived. So to sum it up, it doesn't physically look like cometary out-gassing and it doesn't accelerate the way cometary out-gassing does, but it must be that because it's the only natural phenomenon ever observed to cause acceleration. You really think of that as "easily explainable?" Sure, it's less un-reasonable than "it's a space ship," but come on. The reasonable thinking has to be: "based on observation, that's not a comet, so what else could be causing that acceleration? Yeah, it looks a lot like how a solar sail accelerates, but that's an unreasonably extraordinary conclusion, so what else could it be?"

    Somebody really needs to send a spacecraft out there for a close flyby. Because the answer to the question either offers knowledge of a new class of naturally occurring, interstellar, object, potentially changing our understanding of the rest of the galaxy/ universe, or is the most important discovery in human history.

    Should I write my congressman? Is it even possible to get a spacecraft out there in the time available?
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  8. #368
    Subsequent analysis of the acceleration was found to be consistent with outgassing. It's not a matter of simply assuming it's outgassing because we can't imagine it being aliens.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  9. #369
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Subsequent analysis of the acceleration was found to be consistent with outgassing. It's not a matter of simply assuming it's outgassing because we can't imagine it being aliens.
    Oh. I didn't know about that.
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  10. #370
    OSIRIS-REx, the coolest named NASA probe to date, arrives at tiny Bennu on Dec 21, and in a year or so will grab some of it for return to Earth. Woo.



    Asteroid-sampling Mission Zeroes in on Tiny Space Rock


    U.S. spacecraft aims to return the largest trove of space dirt to Earth since NASA’s final Apollo mission in the 1970s
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...ny-space-rock/
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  11. #371
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  12. #372
    SpaceX just successfully launched and landed a booster for the third time.
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  13. #373
    NASA is after private space activity.
    Until now customers of aerospace industry have been governments and to a lesser degree some companies with specific needs.
    The problem of goverment as customer is that politics can stop space age.
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  14. #374
    Quote Originally Posted by ar81 View Post
    NASA is after private space activity.
    Until now customers of aerospace industry have been governments and to a lesser degree some companies with specific needs.
    The problem of goverment as customer is that politics can stop space age.
    The exact opposite is true of NASA. The agency is focused on science while they assist private companies in developing a viable commercial space launch capability.
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  15. #375
    November 29, 2018 01:28pm ET
    Advisory Committee Seeks to Enhance Commercial Space Activities
    A new advisory committee has proposed a set of recommendations to NASA in areas ranging from export control to advertising to enhance commercial activities in space.
    The Regulatory and Policy Committee of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) met for the first time Nov. 16 at NASA Headquarters here.
    After ISS is abandoned, it seems that companies may use it for business. Even empty rocket stages may become mini-space stations. Private space business is still open to innovation and ideas.
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  16. #376
    Quote Originally Posted by ar81 View Post
    November 29, 2018 01:28pm ET
    Advisory Committee Seeks to Enhance Commercial Space Activities


    After ISS is abandoned, it seems that companies may use it for business. Even empty rocket stages may become mini-space stations. Private space business is still open to innovation and ideas.
    Yep.
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  17. #377
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    Yep.
    You may not believe me. Truth does not care about what you believe.
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  18. #378
    AR81, when you said "NASA is after private space activity." did you mean that they're courting private space activity? That they're trying to get more of it? If so, that's what EyeKhan means too.

  19. #379
    I suspect you are right DW.

    I remember when NASA started the commercial partnership when they announced the end of the Shuttle program and at the time I was not pleased. But even though the US still can't put an astronaut in orbit, the success of SpaceX in particular is nevertheless exciting, especially in a time when hardly anyone gives a fuck about space anymore.
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  20. #380
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    AR81, when you said "NASA is after private space activity." did you mean that they're courting private space activity? That they're trying to get more of it? If so, that's what EyeKhan means too.
    No. NASA as promoter of private entrepreneurship. However there are ways in which NASA could generate revenue with private activity too. Nowadays there are NASA buildings at Cape Canaveral that are leased to Boeing SLS. In the end what matters is to find ways to generate revenue. NASA does not need to be a private company to be part of a private space era. ISS is likely to be leased too. NASA may also offer services and generate revenue. There are ways to do that.

    If you want to stay in touch with some hardcore private activity, you may track Nanoracks. Nanoracks is a pioneer small company. Usuall, space activity requires high CAPEX, which small companies do not have. Nanoracks aimed at services. You may say they are a "box" company. They take your cargo and box it inside the truck and deliver it to its destination. Customer does not need to understand all the bureaucracy and complexities of a launch and verifications. Only the basic requirements are given to customer and the rest goes through Nanoracks. Very clever business model. Today, Nanoracks, is quite a legend as a pioneer in private space activity.

    There are other small companies involved in space.
    Freedom - When people learn to embrace criticism about politicians, since politicians are just employees like you and me.

  21. #381
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    I suspect you are right DW.

    I remember when NASA started the commercial partnership when they announced the end of the Shuttle program and at the time I was not pleased. But even though the US still can't put an astronaut in orbit, the success of SpaceX in particular is nevertheless exciting, especially in a time when hardly anyone gives a fuck about space anymore.
    Private space era is quite important to keep space exploration alive. During cold war, only governments were customers of aerospace. It makes space activity too dependent on politics, and you saw what happened after Apollo. After inflation adjustments, NASA budget went to 25% of Apollo era. If it was about political support, ISS will die between 2020 and 2023. But private companies see a chance to make commercial use of it.

    You may think that in space, everything is already researched, but no. There are 3 key areas that still have gaps. You can make a difference if you have a startup.

    * SMS: Space and microgravity science. Research challenges that microgravity pose. Normally microgravity is seen as a problem, but you may find creative ways to tur it into an advantage.
    * HSE: Human space exploration. To shape the future of human trips to other planets. The final frontier is not about rockets, but how to keep humans alive. When you are able to simulate a human body during 40 years in space or other planets, then you have all the information needed for deep space exploration. Notice it involves not only understanding human body changes and countermeasures, but also to design the necessary infrastructure and processes to keep humans alive.
    * CSA: Commercial space activities. To shape the future of the private space era. The key is to find creative ways to have revenue.

    You can make a difference, as you do not need to be a rocket engineer. You may need to be more like Andy Weir, author of The Martian, to figure out solutions to problems.

    Without private activity, taxpayer funded space activity only remains withing 3 areas:
    * Science (gather data and remain expectator, not going places, taxpayer paid CAPEX)
    * Military (defense purposes only, taxpayer paid CAPEX)
    * Commercial satellites (paid by companies, requires high company CAPEX)

    As space activity depends on politics, a political tide could end space activity forever. We should be landing on Mars routinely, but politics stalled it for 40 years. Russia kept space alive, but stopped innovating, in such a way that they rejected Elon Musk 3 times, who wanted to buy an ICBM to send a small greenhouse to Mars at the beginning of the century. Musk came with cheap reusable rockets, and Merlin engines now compete with Russian RD-180 engines.

    What we may expect is more Russian rockets exploding due to modifications and research to remain up to date. In aerospace, innovation often means more rockets exploding while bugs are solved.
    Last edited by ar81; 12-05-2018 at 02:43 PM.
    Freedom - When people learn to embrace criticism about politicians, since politicians are just employees like you and me.

  22. #382
    The good thing about space exploration is that GPU development and AI help to have less rockets exploding during innovation and R&D processes.

    Freedom - When people learn to embrace criticism about politicians, since politicians are just employees like you and me.

  23. #383
    Antares rocket could have been a hit. A company bought those excellent cold war Russian N1 engines. After spending lots of money trying to reverse engineer these engines without success, finally they tried to grab some cash by actually using those old N1 engines. Unfortunately, having very old and rusty engines, did not work and the rocket exploded and the private endeavor came to an end. Rust would alter the structural strength of the pipes of rockets. Rocket engine design is about having a good handling of turbulence and a system that can contain it inside with structural strength in key areas. Small changes lead to a redistribution of pressures and turbulences, which lead to the need to reinforce different parts of the structure.

    This N1 engine revival would have been a good idea if they had the cold war engineers who participated in the making of it. Here some info on the N1 engines.

    Freedom - When people learn to embrace criticism about politicians, since politicians are just employees like you and me.

  24. #384
    NASA is putting Boeing and SpaceX to compete. If SpaceX does not make it, Boeing will.

    Rachelle Ornan from Boeing has been in charge of the team that designs the CST-100 Starliner. Boeing has its capsule in very capable and experienced hands. Ornan has been in charge of many projects of Boeing for years. You may see her in some videos. The capsule not only will be functional, but also a very nice place to be. Quite an experience.

    The only downside could be if Boeing bureaucracy delays or obstructs R&D. Boeing is too big a company, and it means bureaucracy is a problem. Columbia disaster was a disaster caused by NASA managers behaving as bureaucrats. Companies can have similar problems when they are big. Competition between dependencies of a company are also a problem. Departments compete instead of collaborate, because companies have performance bonuses, so managers do not help each other. All these problems happen in big companies.

    SpaceX has less experienced people which leads to unforseen problems, but also it is smaller and less prompt to have the problems of culture of corporate bureaucracy and internal rivalry between directors.





    If it was for Ornan only, I would say Boeing would win the competition, however, Boeing have had many internal problems elsewhere, that makes me have doubts. Boeing has its scandals. Will Boeing be able to deliver?



    Last edited by ar81; 12-05-2018 at 03:20 PM.
    Freedom - When people learn to embrace criticism about politicians, since politicians are just employees like you and me.

  25. #385
    Freedom - When people learn to embrace criticism about politicians, since politicians are just employees like you and me.

  26. #386
    There are small space companies that are really innovative. They may not make rockets, and yet what they do is quite useful. Do you remember I said that microgravity still needs some studying and research? SpacePharma (http://space4p.com/#/) is a small company from Israel that developed a small satellite that is a lab to test things under microgravity. It conducts experiments, has some tools and sends the data. Many labs have already been used by many customers in the ISS. It s a remote controlled microgravity lab that is light enough to be sent to space without the burden of heavy equipment.
    Freedom - When people learn to embrace criticism about politicians, since politicians are just employees like you and me.

  27. #387
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    SpaceX just successfully launched and landed a booster for the third time.
    Were you watching the CRS16 mission? That was a pretty spectacular splashdown.

  28. #388
    Quote Originally Posted by Enoch the Red View Post
    Were you watching the CRS16 mission? That was a pretty spectacular splashdown.
    I saw video of the booster take a bath, lol. That was a brand new booster, too. Musk said a hydraulic pump operating the guidance fin failed and there are no backups (for now). Oops.

    It's cool to be able to literally watch the learning curve progress.
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  29. #389
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    I saw video of the booster take a bath, lol. That was a brand new booster, too. Musk said a hydraulic pump operating the guidance fin failed and there are no backups (for now). Oops.

    It's cool to be able to literally watch the learning curve progress.
    Backup means more weight and less payload.
    In the other hand, lack of backup means a loss of $60 million booster.
    The price of innovation in aerospace usually is loss of hardware due to unforseen bugs.
    Freedom - When people learn to embrace criticism about politicians, since politicians are just employees like you and me.

  30. #390
    Quote Originally Posted by ar81 View Post
    Backup means more weight and less payload.
    In the other hand, lack of backup means a loss of $60 million booster.
    The price of innovation in aerospace usually is loss of hardware due to unforseen bugs.
    There might also be some fix to make in the pump design/ manufacturing process to increase it's reliability. Then they don't sacrifice payload capacity and still reduce the chance of crashing a booster.
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