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Apollo on tranquilizers

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gruff5
954825.  Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:11 am Reply with quote

Whilst I seem to be failing to get my point across miserably and so am giving up on this "debate", I would draw the attention of those on this thread to a company that is already proposing "Apollo on tranquillizers" with a 2 person (I think any fatties will not be allowed on the craft) craft to the Moon.

http://www.channel4.com/news/fly-me-to-the-moon-thatll-be-1-6bn

 
dr.bob
955214.  Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:01 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
The Americans (at least) certainly had spy satellites observing what the Soviets were up to in the 70s, and they undoubtedly had people inside the Kremlin as well.


PDR has pointed out the shortcomings of spy satellites in the 70s. Foreign governments undoubtedly knew about all the twists and turns of the Soviet space programme, but that was primarily thanks to their spies on the ground.

That presents a problem. I'm sure the US government would've loved to have told the world about how useless some of the Soviet launches were, but to do so would've been to admit that they had spies in certain places, which would've been rather counter-productive.

These days, it's much easier to produce some reasonably high quality satellite images to demonstrate what's going on, as we've seen in the past with allegations about Iran building nuclear power stations. That way they don't need to mention the fact that they only knew where to point the satellites thanks to their spies in certain places.

 
'yorz
955219.  Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:32 am Reply with quote

gruff5 wrote:
Whilst I seem to be failing to get my point across miserably and so am giving up on this "debate" [....]

Don't give up yet, gruff. I too am sometimes struggling to convey my message/question. I am curious now as to what it is you're aiming at.

 
gruff5
955221.  Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:40 am Reply with quote

thanks 'yorz, it's a relief to know that at least one correspondent on this thread ain't deaf!

My point was quite simple really; that the USA govt's last announcement (of many) of the next phase of manned space flight included a reference "Apollo on steroids" and a design that looked like it was just a repeat of 1969 but with even heavier hardware.

My suggestion was that this was unnecessary and that existing rockets might well be enough to get men/women in a lightweight craft to the Moon.

That recently appeared Channel 4 article I linked to rather supported my view.

 
dr.bob
955233.  Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:31 am Reply with quote

gruff5 wrote:
My suggestion was that this was unnecessary and that existing rockets might well be enough to get men/women in a lightweight craft to the Moon.


That was your point?!

So why introduce that stuff about putting "two below-average sized Filipinas aboard" to reduce the payload, which simply lead to the pointing out that the mass of the astronauts doesn't really have much to do with the mass of the payload.

As for lightweight craft, it'll be interesting to know how much lighter something like the Apollo LEM could be built with today's technology (or, rather, yesterday's-but-still-newer-than-Apollo technology, since you'd need stuff to be properly space tested). I guess you could use new, composite materials, but then you have a massive overhead of designing and testing a completely new craft.

Certainly space telescopes have been getting lighter over the years, which implies that weight savings are possible. The problem with sending people, though, is that you'll need to send up a bunch of food, water, and oxygen to keep them alive, and that's the kind of thing that you can't really make any lighter.

As for the Ch4 link you provided, here's the detailed plan for how "Golden Spike" is planning to get people to the moon with existing rocket technology:

http://www.space.com/18805-golden-spike-private-moon-landing-graphic.html

Bear in mind that, at the moment, this plan seems to be at the "we've thought of a cool idea, will someone give us some money to do it" stage. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see their initial estimate of cost increase massively once they actually have to figure out how they're going to do this in a practical way.

The devil, as they say, is in the detail.

 
PDR
955280.  Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:21 am Reply with quote

The problem with a Mars voyage is that it essentially *has* to be multiples of about 14 months long (I've forgotten the exact number, but remember it as being more than a year) because the space voyage (both ways) has to accomodate the closest point of approach between Mars and Earth which has a fixed periodicity. Do the journey at any other place in the orbit and it takes longer.

So now we're not taking a spacecraft with food, water and air for a week or so - we're trying to send a life-support system to sustain a crew of at least three for over a year - probably some kind of recycling machine that has the minimum of consumables so that it can run on energy rather than matter. This is not a trivial undertaking, and whatever it involves will probably have a mass equivilent to more than a dozen people, so the point is moot.

Then there is a big ethical question over whether we should allow ourselves to take a nuclear power plant to Mars at all, and whether we're allowed to leave it there. The international community has yet to agree an answer on that one.

PDR

 
gruff5
955954.  Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:48 pm Reply with quote

Okay, okay, I'll make this really easy.

Folks (Dr Bob, actually) would it or would it not, take a really pretty small space craft and consequently a pretty small launch rocket to send two mice to the Moon?

If your answer is in the affirmative, I think my job on this thread is done.

 
dr.bob
956044.  Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:20 am Reply with quote

It depends what you mean by "a pretty small launch rocket".

Here is the Delta II rocket in its maximum power configuration. This was the launch vehicle used to send NASA's GRAIL mission up to the moon last year. This mission consisted of only two small craft that together had a total mass of 335kg. Even then, this launch rocket could only just get the craft to the moon thanks to sending them via a very low energy orbital path that went via the Lagrange point L1 and took 3-and-a-half months. To get a mission time more akin to the 8 day Apollo missions would require a significantly larger rocket.

How much larger? I'm afraid I don't know. I'm not aware of too many feasibility studies on how to send mice to the moon.

 
PDR
956091.  Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:11 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:

How much larger? I'm afraid I don't know. I'm not aware of too many feasibility studies on how to send mice to the moon.


As I understand it these studdies were started (by the mice) but abandonned when they definitively determined that the moon is NOT made of cheese.

PDR

 
gruff5
956206.  Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:32 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
dr.bob wrote:

How much larger? I'm afraid I don't know. I'm not aware of too many feasibility studies on how to send mice to the moon.


As I understand it these studdies were started (by the mice) but abandonned when they definitively determined that the moon is NOT made of cheese.

PDR


Thanks for the dose of sanity PDR! ;-)

 
PDR
956495.  Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:13 am Reply with quote

Well it was either that or some remark about handbags & soft furnishings, and the Doc has already reached his quota of "Hurumphs" for december.

PDR

 
gruff5
957581.  Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:34 am Reply with quote

PDR,

check out the thread "viruses can get viruses??"

http://old.qi.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=26631

if you want to see me give the Doc a good "seeing to" ;-)

 
PDR
957635.  Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:54 am Reply with quote

gruff5 wrote:
PDR,

check out the thread "viruses can get viruses??"

http://old.qi.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=26631

if you want to see me give the Doc a good "seeing to" ;-)


Are you sure you linked to the right thread? That link only appears to show you making a bit of a prat of yourself.

PDR

 
gruff5
957882.  Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:25 pm Reply with quote

oh, dear, PDR you just joined the prats' club with that post.

That's it, I'm off to find Davini and see where he usefully spends his time these days.

Farewell to all QI'ers and thanks for all the fish ....

Over and out.

 
PDR
957946.  Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:21 am Reply with quote

Oooh - a flounce! Haven't seen one of those for a while.

Gruff - I haven't joined any club, and you will find that I'm more likely to be on the opposite side of a debate with the Doc than not.

I don't choose a "side"; I comment on the specific issues under discussion.

A spacecraft designed to take two mice to the moon and return them safely to earth would still require life-support, navigation, propulsion, communications and self-diagnosis/rectification functions. Of these only the life-support functions would be smaller in scope (less food/water, less oxygen, less waste disposal, smaller cabin and less in-flight entertainment). But most of the space/mass on the craft is consumed by the other functions anyway so the gain would be smaller than you might think.

If we designed a spacecraft to go to the moon today it would indeed be smaller than the one designed in the 60s, mainly because the size and mass of the electronic systems have reduced dramatically and their reliability has increased (requiring lower levels of redundancy). The Constellation programme (america's next space programme) has gone for a two-rocket approach rather than a space-shuttle for reasons that are interesting (but that's another thread) but the actual rockets are of a similar size to previous ones.

But the point is that the gains from reductions in crew size/mass are insignificant in comparison to the technological gains (which amount to several tons for a moon-shot vehicle) and the crew size doesn't influence as much of the vehicle design as you feel it might.

PDR

 

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