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Obama expects to be around to see man walk on Mars

The U.S. manned space flight programs were dealt a serious blow when Obama announced plans to go back to the moon were being shelved due to budget cuts and cost overruns. The budget cuts meant that the Constellation program would be cancelled.

The outcry against the President's plan was swift from space program supporters and NASA. Obama quickly began to take steps to alter his plans and called for the Orion crew module originally planned as the shuttle replacement to be scaled back and used as a lifeboat for the ISS. Obama had announced that he would talk about his plans for NASA and the space program in Florida earlier this week.

Obama has now aired his plans, clarifying some points and helping to dress wounds caused when he originally announced his plans for NASA. Obama's plan still calls for a scaled back Constellation program that would see the program continue, but only as a shadow of its former self. The changes still mean thousands in the space industry will be left jobless.

The shuttle fleet is set to retire this year with only three more scheduled flights remaining for the fleet with the last scheduled for September. Obama has promised additional funds to allow NASA padding if a launch has to be rescheduled due to weather. Some hope that the extra funds can instead be used to fund an extra mission.

Once the shuttle fleet is retired, getting astronauts to and from the ISS will be left to the Russian Soyuz spacecraft at a cost of about $50 million per round trip.

Obama sees the future of U.S. space flight in the hands of private companies. Obama wants a new industry that will see private companies offering transportation services to NASA rather than the vehicles themselves.

Obama said, "The new plan is to harness our nation's unparalleled system of free enterprise (as we have done in all other modes of transport), to create far more reliable and affordable rockets."

The 
San Francisco Chronicle reports that Obama foresees manned missions to near Earth asteroids and perhaps even Mars in his lifetime.

Obama said, "[By 2025 the U.S. will have a new spacecraft] designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the moon into deep space." He continued saying, "We'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history," he said. "By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow. And I expect to be around to see it."

Obama said of a return trip to the moon, "We've been there before." Obama's plans for the space program still need the approval of Congress. Many lawmakers still plan to fight to keep the jobs that Obama's new budget will cut in their home districts. Obama's plans would see 2,500 jobs added in the Florida "Space Coast" by 2012. Thousands will still be unemployed due to the budget cuts.



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RE: Lost all faith
By randomly on 4/16/2010 11:27:45 PM , Rating: 0
And you would be the guy that thought:

Thermal neutrons were relevant in nuclear weapons.
That Pu240 thermal capture cross sections were import in nuclear weapons.
That there was some kind of energy budget relevant in nuclear weapons.
That somehow increasing the neutron flux to address this imaginary problem was a cause of premature fission.
That building a Pu239 device was trivial but more than trace amounts of Pu240 made it impossible.
That a 1 Kiloton fizzle yield was just a pop (you were unable to figure out it was equal to 2 million pounds of TNT).
That plutonium was used in gun type assembly weapons.
That fizzle yield was just some vague term and not the minimum yield energy due to early neutron initiation at the moment of criticality.
That Pu240 neutron flux would make reactor grade material millions of times easier to detect than weapons grade material.
That it would require several times the critical mass.
That it would be much harder to build and impossible to deliver.
That 2 Million pound TNT equivalent warheads are too small to worry anyone.
That fizzle yields have to be less than 1 kt or you couldn't build smaller yield weapons.
and on and on.

I find it fascinating that you triumphantly hold up a single confusion between fissile and fissionable that someone else makes while you yourself are blithely unaware that you are drowning in mistakes and misconceptions.
People living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

As to your ignorant comments on Phobos...

The shallow gravity well is extremely helpful as you can land your entire Mars Transfer Vehicle. Yes you want to land. Any ISRU generated propellant and oxygen requires little energy to get out of the gravity well. Landing gives you access to the science, resources, and shielding available there. Phobos will have Mars meteor impact debris from the entire history of Mars that is unweathered. The science, composition, and origins of Phobos are also a mystery.

Radiation shielding is very much a goal since it remains one of the most difficult problems to address and unmitigated would kill any astronauts before they could return to earth. Orbiting would only give you a fraction of the shielding compared to being at the bottom of a Mars facing crater. Also a Retrograde orbit is not possible since parts of it would be inside Phobos and you are trying to hide from the GCR anyway not the sun.

Though you are unable to see the reasons why a Phobos mission is so useful is not surprising but fortunately it's clear to NASA and most of the people interested in Mars exploration. I can see you would rather throw tantrums that try to absorb new knowledge that might contradict your preconceived notions. An actual Mars mission is not so simplistic as you seem to think it is, nor are the technological or economic constraints so minor. VASIMR is still unproven and undeveloped though promising but it's not going anywhere without a very high power mass efficient power source of which there is currently none. Instead of whining about not getting what you want I would rather aim for something that is actually achievable in the next few decades.

I doubt your ego will ever let you admit any errors but for those other readers I'll post a couple links that may help elucidate the problems and clarify things.

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/373665main_NASA-SP-2009-56...

and a video summary of the NASA plan
http://www.nasa.gov/mp4/444959main_solarsystem-pan...


RE: Lost all faith
By porkpie on 4/17/2010 1:15:20 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I don't know I'm explaining to someone who said plutonium isn't fissionable, or (even worse, if you really believed that) that you could still build a fission weapon out of a non-fissionable substance like Pu-240.

But since you've managed to mangle half my statements, we'll take your list one by one.

- That plutonium was used in gun type assembly weapons.

Mangled. What I said was that, though its never been done, its not impossible.

- That there was some kind of energy budget relevant in nuclear weapons.

Yep. The basic form of the equation is = (epsilon)(rho_0)(RF)(TF)(Lamba_sub1)(Lambda_sub2)

The first four are usually calculated as a constant for a specific geometry, and in nuclear reactor design, we call them the four-factor equation. Together with your escape probabilities, we call it the neutron multiplication factor...the nuke designer call it their "budget". They like cutesy little terms like that.

- That building a Pu239 device was trivial but more than trace amounts of Pu240 made it impossible.

Mangled. Its trivial w/ supergrade Pu. It's tough with reactor grade. It's utterly impossible with a 35% 240Pu sample.

- That Pu240 would require several times the critical mass.

You got that one right. Calculate the bare sphere size of a prompt critical 240Pu sample, versus one of 239Pu. Using a perturbation method, you get about 5X the mass.

- Thermal neutrons were relevant in nuclear weapons.

They're not irrelevant. (Though we thought so till we could run sims in the 1970s.) I'll give you a hint why, K? The urchin is beryllium, right? Now, remember your basic physics on kinetic energy and conservation of p. A neutron hitting a massy nucleus like U-235 loses little energy....a neutron hitting a light nucleus loses much more per collision. Take it from there.

Of course we don't use urchins any more, but a proliferating state will...or something very similar .

- That somehow increasing the neutron flux to address this imaginary problem was a cause of premature fission.

This one is so mangled I can't even tell what you pulled it from. A higher neutron flux will solve your k factor problems. It has nothing to do with spontaneous fission.

- That a 1 Kiloton fizzle yield was just a pop

It is. To a weapon designer, at least.

That fizzle yield was just some vague term and not the minimum yield energy

I already explained quite clearly why there is no theoretical minimum yield. Look up the history of radiological accidents. Our smallest "fizzle" on record was measured in watts , not kilotons. Want to hear about it?

(ok, watt-hours to be precise...but the watts sounded better)


RE: Lost all faith
By sigilscience on 4/17/2010 2:32:02 AM , Rating: 2
It scares me to think random internet geeks know this much about nuclear weapons.


RE: Lost all faith
By tookablighty on 4/17/2010 3:02:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The urchin is beryllium, right? Now, remember your basic physics on kinetic energy and conservation of p
What the heck is an urchin, mate?


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