DailyDirt: Life's Little Problems In Space

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Space travel isn't easy. It's risky and involves quite a bit of preparation if the trip is going to last more than a few minutes or hours. But if humanity is really going to commit to space exploration, there are a few problems to solve. Life support systems are obviously going to need to protect our fragile bodies from radiation and the vacuum of space. On top of that, we also need to counteract the negative effects of microgravity on our health. Some people are thinking about these problems, but it's likely that we won't have solutions until at least 2030. After you've finished checking out those links, if you have some spare change (or more) and would like to support Techdirt, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

Filed Under: apollo, astronauts, life support, mars, mars one, space, space exploration
Companies: nasa


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  • identicon
    Dan G Difino, 9 Apr 2015 @ 5:55pm

    Humans are such morons

    To think humans should even be contemplating inhabitation of other planets even though it is moronic and pointless all the while humans are languishing in disasterous conditions on a perfectly inhabitable planet (earth) already is the biggest fricking joke of all. It should be unlawful and illegal to take resources from this planet for such idiotic endeavors. How about solving some major problems (energy, food, water, war) here on earth NASA before you go off on these ridiculously extravagent & costly missions that yield little if any meaningful and useful results that help mankind. Take a leap for mankind that actually helps mankind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 9 Apr 2015 @ 11:36pm

      Re: Humans are such morons

      That was the argument in the mid-1960s, when NASA's budget was slashed and capped Saturn V production even before the first moon landing. Apollo coasted through the moon landings with what hardware was already in the pipeline.

      It's been 50 years. Are those earthly problems all solved yet? Do you need another five years?

      America's human space flight programs cost around $7 billion a year. Americans spend more than $154 billion a year on alcohol. They spend a similar amount on sugar water that's bad for them. And again on watching millionaires they'll never meet play organized sports.

      But hey, target the $7 billion instead. An investment that's already had a wonderful payback. And tell us more about what's "moronic and pointless."

      You want to "take a leap for mankind that actually helps mankind?" As a programmer, I believe in making backups. The same concept applies to humanity: Establishing a self-sustaining colony on another planet is a Very Good Idea.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 10 Apr 2015 @ 12:30am

        Re: Re: Humans are such morons

        Eventually, we'll need much more than simply other planets in the solar system, we'll need homes outside, and the further spread the better. One gamma ray burst to close to home and there's no more life in the entire system. Intelligent life is a race of science against cosmic catastrophe. Extinction level events are fairly common in the long run, so getting out of the system and settling far and wide is the only long term goal that doesn't result in the end of humanity.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 5:10am

      Re: Humans are such morons

      Must be sarcasm ... there are too many inconsistencies and stupid statements to be real.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Lapsed Pastafarian (profile), 9 Apr 2015 @ 6:01pm

    I agree with Heinlein

    The earth is too fragile a basket to keep all our eggs in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2015 @ 6:28pm

    Yeah, just "a few problems to solve".

    And if dig into them, you'll find
    likely insoluble. The laws of physics
    are not optional. We can't simply scale
    up or expect miracle tech. The past or
    that mythical patent office bureaucrat
    being wrong cannot overcome the known
    problems. There's nothing in sight
    which gives hope of people even getting
    to Mars alive, let alone returning.

    And I for one find it pleasing that
    humans won't be infesting the universe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 9 Apr 2015 @ 11:20pm

      Re: Yeah, just "a few problems to solve".

      The big "insoluble law of physics" is the speed of light. It means that we won't be colonizing other star systems any time soon. (But given time, it's not a show stopper.)

      There are no "insoluble laws of physics" stopping us from colonizing the solar system. There's still a few engineering problems, but no "miracle tech" is needed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 10 Apr 2015 @ 6:55am

      Re: Yeah, just "a few problems to solve".

      We can't simply scale up or expect miracle tech.

      ...says the guy on the Internet.

      Look around you and see how many commonplace things in your day-to-day life, including your modern clothing and diet, would have been considered miraculous just 200 years ago.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 8:11am

    With all the mutations from cosmic rays we shouldn't need as many people to keep our gene pool diverse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JimG, 10 Apr 2015 @ 10:24am

    Getting to the moon is trivial compared to creating a space colony in a different solar system with 10,000+ people. For an excellent discussion see:

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/10/why-not-space/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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