The Russians want to Go to the Moon

But I don’t, which is why I didn’t. I don’t mind your going to the moon. But why do I owe you anything for it?

An apt user name, to be sure. Almost every post in this thread has been political in nature — from the “The Decider” reference in the OP to Sam Stone’s knock against the Department of Education. The only hijack has been your post which had completely zero to do with the topic.

Christ, you really only see what you want to see, don’t you?

Fuck it. I am not going to participate any further in this hijack, even if it means letting you get the last word in. If, despite the scores of people pointing it out to you, you still haven’t figured out what’s wrong with your posting style, then you are truly unteachable.

Don’t leave yet, you may convince me of something. How is the moon a better test bed save that upon screwing up in an Antarctic dome you can be rescued, and on the Moon you will die?

Because conditions on the moon better approximate Martian conditions.
Seriously, field-testing equipment on the moon to be taken to Mars is not the best reason to be there. Any manned mission to Mars will likely be launched from the moon because the moon’s light gravity will allow the spacecraft to have a much more favorable thrust-to-weight ratio. Think of it as a launching pad.

Whatever launches from the moon comes from Earth. Taking a mass out of the Earth’s gravity well, putting it into the Moon’s, taking it out of the Moon’s and sending it to Mars seems like a waste of fuel to me.

Low gravity, dust, radiation, heat exchange without benefit of an atmosphere, to name some.

Is Mars gravity more like the moon than the Earth? The last three do sound like a good way to test your equipment, however.

Not necessarily. Things can be built/manufactured on the Moon, from Lunar regolith.

Well, I would currently weigh 26.5 lbs on the moon, and 60.3 lbs on Mars. I’ll let you figure out what that means on earth. :wink:

But both those places are low gravity, which I don’t think we know much about. We have learned quite a bit about microgravity, a la the ISS, etc, but it could be useful to know what long term exposure to low gravity does to a person.

Assuming it’s worth it to make something out of Moon Mantle, then shoot it out of the well and rendezvous with the ship rather than taking the ship down and back up.

Oddly enough, ditto.

I strongly suspect that Sam’s vision and my vision of humanity’s future in space has some differences. Nevertheless, ditto.

There are in space vast and unknown resources; vast and unknown opportunities; vast and unknown adventures. It could be raining soup out there; let’s grab a bucket and go find out.

First - who builds the ‘well’ without touching down? Second, why don’t we fly tankers over Saudi Arabia or Texas to catch the oil shooting out?

Isn’t there a mineral on the Moon that can be used in a nuclear fusion technology?

This might explain a lot.

If only I saw what you want me to see, I’d be right. Damn fate.

Oh, go ahead and participate. After all, you started it.

That’d make you insane, wouldn’t it?

I don’t understand. I am refering to the gravity well; the energy required to get a ship off the Moon. My other proposal was to launch a tanker of fuel or whatever is worth making on the Moon and meet the Mars mission on the way.

Perhaps its me that doesn’t understand. I thought that you were proposing that ejecta from the Moon be captured by passing ships. I may have missed something.

Sure. Helium-3. But so what? Nobody has managed to achieve controlled nuclear fusion.

I am a mere engineer and I’m sure a physicist will come along soon, but the best plan I’ve heard of is using mirrors to melt ice (assuming we find it) and using photocells to generate electricity to separate the hydrogen and oxygen. There is no air resistance, and the LEM wasn’t particularly streamlined, so I imagine you would be able to land LEM like spherical tanks, fill them with hydrogen or oxygen and launch them to rendezvous with the mission.

I would think both China and Russia have more pressing needs at home which could be addressed with the hundreds of billions they would spend on a moon mission…but hey, it’s not my country.

Yeah, but there are always ‘pressing domestic needs’. Does that stop you from exploring? Should we all just turn inwards now, spend all our resources making each other comfortable, and just exist? Or are we going to continue exploring, pushing the boundaries of humanity, and expanding our knowledge?

Great expeditions have always been a signifant portion of a country’s treasure. Spain and Britain explored in the face of the same arguments being made here - that with no immediate tangible benefit, it’s better to spend the money at home making the people’s lives more comfortable. They chose to explore.

I happen to believe that nations survive and thrive when they have frontiers. Sometimes these are attained by conquest, and sometimes through exploration. Personally, I’d rather explore. When nations stop looking outwards and begin looking inwards at their navels, they start to decline. We lose our tolerance for risk. We stop understanding that risk is an acceptable part of exploration.

Our children read about the great adventures and it gave them something to hope for, something to attain, something to study for.

When I was a kid, we all wanted to be astronauts. It was during the heyday of Apollo. And the generation before me had the start of the space age and the promise of grand explorations to motivate them. And we produced generations of great engineers. These were kids who, in their spare time built Meccano sets, studied amateur radio and rocketry, and read science fiction books and dreamed of the stars.

Today, we talk about manned exploration of space as a foible. Kids don’t know who the current astronauts are, and don’t care. Our engineerng schools are falling behind. Educational standards are slipping.

Not all of it is related, of course. But to a child, the promise of a good salary and a clean working environment is a poor substitute for the promise of adventure if you just study hard enough.

I believe manned space exploration has another benefit as well - it inspires not just children, but everyone. How many times have you heard, “We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t make a (fill in the blank)”. Implicit in that common complaint is the acceptance that we are the kind of people who can land men on the moon. The criticism itself is a statement that we don’t live up to our own high standard. But at least a standard has been set. We know what we’re capable of, and it makes lesser tasks seem…easier. It makes us confident as a culture.

I’m not seeing a lot of cultural confidence lately. Instead, I see a lot of handwringing and guilt. Put a man on the moon? Hah! Maybe our parents could, but we can’t. Better to spend our money making fluffier pillows for people to rest on until they die.

When a culture loses its confidence, it’s in for a hell of a battle against other cultures emergent. I’d rather we kept ours, and showed the rest of the world what we can do, in a peaceful way that makes them respect us and like us, rather than through fear and military strength alone. So space exploration is also good for geopolitical relations. I think to this day the U.S. gets a lot of good will around the world from having put a man on the moon. Probably some ill will as well, but by and large it’s been good for the United States to have been the country that did it. How many of the best and brightest from other countries emigrated to the U.S. to be part of that? For starters, you could ask the former engineers of the Avro Aircraft Company in Canada, the bulk of whom went to the United States to work in the space program.

When Apollo was proposed, I imagine the same conversation we’re having now was being had all over the country. Spend that much money on a bunch of rocks and a few pictures? What’s the point? Why not spend it at home helping the people? But do you think there’s anyone today who wishes that Apollo hadn’t happened? That it was folly? A thousand years from now, what will been seen as one of the transformative events of mankind’s history? Apollo.

What good is being wealthy if you can’t use your wealth to undertake great things?

By the way, those of you who argue against manned spaceflight by claiming that unmanned space flight is a better form of exploration, do you realize that the same argument you use against manned spaceflight supporters is useed against you? A Hubble space telescope? How many billions did you spend for some pretty pictures? Do you know how many starving kids that money would have fed?