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      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2009
    Eddie Izzard has a great bit about the English Space Program.

    Two men and a ladder. Not a very tall ladder, either ...
  1.  (5884.2)
    There was actually a real Ministry Of Space at one time.
    • CommentAuthorlooneynerd
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2009
    Well... with respect... what the hell happened to it?
    • CommentAuthorENGINE
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2009 edited
    The pub down the road declared happy hour.

    EDIT: I kid, I kid. It's a good question, I've never heard of this Ministry of Space (is that what inspired the book of the same name?) but I'd sure like to know more. I'm at work, so I ride the information superhighway surreptitiously, but wikipedia keeps returning your book as the only entry under Ministry of Space!
  2.  (5884.5)
    I resent the implication that all Brit's are alchoholicccssssshhh....
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2009
    It's been said that the whole United Kingdom was built around a river of liquor...

    Anyway--NASA. I'm no where near smart enough to really get into the nitty-gritty of why we haven't got a moon base yet, but from what I've read, it seems like NASA suffers from what basically every agency inside the federal government has--it's too big and bloated for it's own good. While beaucracy is neccesary to make big stuff happen, stuff like keeping an obselete design like the space shuttle for a few decades while seemingly abandoning the International Space Station (whatever happened to that, anyway?), there does seem to be a lot of odd stuff going on, and I don't think it's because the nerds who know this shit (and I'm totally envious over) haven't thought of new ways of throwing shit into space.
  3.  (5884.7)
    For a sense of how screwed up NASA culture has been in recent times, I'd recommend the book DRAGONFLY by Bryan Burrough.
    • CommentAuthorlooneynerd
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2009

    The ISS is still there. It has a crew on board and everything....
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2009
    ...Oh. Huh. And I thought I heard something about a station being incomplete up there on this thread. Was that something different?
    • CommentAuthorlooneynerd
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2009
    It is incomplete. It's big... really big. Each small section has to be delivered by an individual shuttle and installed, so it takes a while to build
  4.  (5884.11)
    I would be entirely unsuprised if NASA just left them there. Well, maybe slightly suprised.

    I just feel a little cheated. It's unlikely that my generation will ever experience anything other than broadcasts about disasters, space-wise.
  5.  (5884.12)
    Could we mine other dimensions? (Waiting for some quantum-thermodynamics guy tell me the cost in energy of travelling matter through dimensions would make it unprofitable.)
  6.  (5884.13)
    I'm no "quantum-thermodynamics guy", but dimensional mining depends on a couple of things;

    The scientific community universally acknowledging the existence of other dimensions is a biggie. Then there's the technology to break into an adjacent dimension. Then there's sustaining the tear and hoping we don't have the other one spilling over into ours or vice versa. Then there's the maths involved in breaking in in a location worthy of sustainable mining. Then there's the hope that the inhabitants of the other dimension let us do it.

    The technology and research involved in all this would make the entire operation unprofitable, as it's likely we'd just be mining back the stuff we used to get to the other dimension.
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2009
    I've got to second our landlord's recommendation of DRAGONFLY - it is worth it just to read about sleep deprived cosmonauts trying to joystick a hurtling supply module into the the Mir without being able to see either it or the Mir. Plus Astronaut Mark Foale freaking out after the blazing, hissing aftermath of that exercise. That book is an unrivaled peek into the madness of both major space programs. It will teach you to admire the Russians, that's for sure.
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2009
    On people in space, did the Russian long term cosmonaut recover his bone density after getting home?

    "Me" is my friend Keith who gave me goodies from the SpaceShip One guys

    We can do it.
    • CommentAuthorlooneynerd
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2009
    OH my god jealous!
  7.  (5884.17)
    And if putting even more people in space and sending them off to exotic locales is beyond NASA's capabilities, it's certainly beyond those of any existing corporation. Unless any megalomaniac but public-spirited billionaires want to step forward, it's not gonna happen soon.

    Isn't this what Elon Musk is up to? There was a feature on him in the first issue of Wired UK and it sounds like his purpose with SpaceX is to acheive these Big Goals and develop actual spacefaring tech. He said something along the lines of "curing cancer will raise the average mortality by a small percentage, being able to leave the planet will raise the life expectancy of the species by thousands of years". idk, I've not got it to hand, but he's the public-spirited megalomaniac you want.
    • CommentAuthorhank
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2009
    @oddbill if it had only been a joystick. I think the book likened it to some unholy bicycle like contraption.
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2009
    "lonneynerd What happened to The Ministry of Space:
    It was disbanded after Britain built a successful launcher for 100kg payloads in the seventies - it was the most advanced at the time but the people in charge (the sort of people who think it's funnier to spend the money on porn). Didn't see it as a worthwhile technology. Now the 100kg launcher market is massive (for telecomms) and France are the world leaders. FRANCE.
    • CommentAuthorlooneynerd
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2009
    I'm watching the live in-orbit press conference from STS 125 online right now. When John Grunsfeld was asked what he would tell the President if asked for his opinion on NASA's future, the key point of his response was something along the lines of "We need to get out of Low Earth Orbit and go out there and explore. There's a lot of near earth objects to explore and we need to get on it". during which all 7 members nodded their heads in agreement...