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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Mercury and Venus thread (Anything about the Solar system's innermost planets)
Mercury and Venus thread
HarbingerDawnDate: Monday, 03.12.2012, 14:34 | Message # 31
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Quote (SpaceEngineer)
We should also recall that it's more than 40 years since humans walked on the moon. Few would have guessed back then that we haven't returned by now and wont in the near future. It's not because technology hasn't advanced. It's still just too expensive, and technology doesn't always advance in the areas that we envision.

We went to the Moon for political and military reasons, and spend a lot of money to do it (at its peak, NASA had nearly 5% of the USA federal government budget, or 10 times what it has now). Then we wasted a lot of time and money on the space shuttle that should have been used for exploration and technology development. It has been shown time and again by people like Elon Musk, Robert Zubrin, and many others that we could easily afford to send humans to Mars with only a small increase in budgets, and with current technology.

As I have said before, there will obviously be costs to starting up the exploration and settlement of another world, but it is not so high of a cost that it cannot be afforded. The entire cost of scouting and preparing for settlement of Mars, then actually moving people there and building and establishing a colony, the entire cost of that over the 50+ years that would take is probably no more than what the US military currently spends in 1 year.

Quote (SpaceEngineer)
It's not so expensive, something like 1% of USA military budget. And as SpaceX shows, removing the huge ladder of bureaucracy makes rockets 10-100 times cheaper. Going to the Moon is certainly possible to a single company like Google or Intel. I hope SpaceX and other space companies will do that one day in the near future.

Yes! The efficiency, innovation, and money-generating powers of the private sector, combined with government endeavors and joint funding including technology sharing (we are already seeing this relationship between companies and government space agencies) can make moving to Mars and dramatically increasing our off-world operations a very practical option. This is already being proven today, it is not fantasy.





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midtskogenDate: Monday, 03.12.2012, 15:27 | Message # 32
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Cost also depends on the amount of risk you're willing to take. The programs up to Apollo were high risk. More astronauts could easily have died. Today perhaps the Americans are a bit too safety and security obsessed, and the cost will be high even if the technology is available.

To get costs down, I think we first need to figure out how to get big things to space more efficiently. Currently, only a tiny fraction of the fuel is spent to get the payload out. The rest is simply to lift the fuel. It's a bit ridiculous, really. We can either rush to Mars or wherever with current technology which will work but we will only afford it a few times, or we can be patient and find cheaper ways which will lead to repeatable missions.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Monday, 03.12.2012, 16:07 | Message # 33
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Quote (midtskogen)
Currently, only a tiny fraction of the fuel is spent to get the payload out. The rest is simply to lift the fuel. It's a bit ridiculous, really.

That much is not likely to change anytime soon, it is an inevitable consequence of physics. To circumvent traditional rocket vehicles would require technology much more advanced than we will have anytime soon. The best thing we can do now is to have a fully reusable vehicle. That is where most of the cost comes from, which is building a huge complex rocket that only flies once and is destroyed. The cost of fuel is negligible compared to the cost of the rocket; for example, a SpaceX Falcon 9 - one of the most cost-effective vehicles flying today - costs nearly $60,000,000 to build, but uses only $200,000 in fuel, barely more than one-third of one percent of the cost of the rocket. If you can build a reusable rocket (like SpaceX is already developing) it becomes 100 times cheaper to fly to space, and going to Mars becomes very affordable.

Quote (midtskogen)
Cost also depends on the amount of risk you're willing to take.

Not really. Safe vehicle designs are not all that expensive. The space shuttle was one of the most dangerous space vehicles ever built, and it was more expensive than other safer craft. And the safety aspects of interplanetary flight can be dealt with without excessive cost (most of the money required to research that has already been spent, I would say). A mission with a high safety factor might cost at most 20% more than one with a very low safety factor, so the cost for safety is relatively cheap.





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smjjamesDate: Sunday, 09.12.2012, 23:55 | Message # 34
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Venus might not be as volcanically 'dead'* as we think it is.

http://www.space.com/18807-venus-volcanoes-sulfur-dioxide.html

*by 'dead' I mean one theory that I've heard of that Venus periodically goes into massive and global volcanic episodes and then goes quiet for a while.





 
neutronium76Date: Sunday, 09.12.2012, 23:55 | Message # 35
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[Merged from another thread]

Check this from the ESA site: http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMILCERI7H_index_0.html
We Europeans have finally managed to discover something in the space science field biggrin .





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Edited by neutronium76 - Tuesday, 02.10.2012, 10:54
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 09.12.2012, 23:55 | Message # 36
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Quote (neutronium76)
We Europeans have finally managed to discover something in the space science field

What do you mean "finally"? Europe has pretty much been leading the world in observational astronomy in recent years. Though for a European space probe - rather than a telescope - to make a great discovery is certainly less common.

Many of NASA's great endeavors are done in collaboration with ESA these days anyway, so many of the great discoveries NASA makes, especially with space telescopes, ESA shares credit for as well.





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apenpaapDate: Sunday, 09.12.2012, 23:56 | Message # 37
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Quote (neutronium76)
We Europeans have finally managed to discover something in the space science field biggrin .


Unlike the discoveries of Uranus and Neptune, Saturn's rings, as good as every major moon, 51 Pegasi b and a whole bunch of other exoplanets, loads of things found with the VLT, gravity, relativity, the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud, Mars Express' loads of discoveries, and many other things I forget, you mean? tongue

Anyway, it's a pretty amazing discovery; who would've thought Venus could get so cold?





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WatsisnameDate: Sunday, 09.12.2012, 23:56 | Message # 38
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Not to diminish how interesting this discovery is, but its been known for a while that Venus' upper atmosphere gets extremely cold. My Planetary Science textbook has a plot of its temperature profile (from Seiff, 1983), which shows the 125km night-side temperature as 100-130 Kelvins (-143 to -173°C). The Venus Express measurements show this region gets even colder than previously thought, and not just at the night-side of the planet but also over the terminator.

It's pretty amazing to see the effects of such a strong greenhouse atmosphere at different altitudes -- scorchingly hot at the surface, yet at the upper atmosphere more frigid than anywhere on Earth, despite being closer to the sun. smile





 
apenpaapDate: Thursday, 07.02.2013, 22:43 | Message # 39
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I'm happy to announce I finally saw Mercury this evening. I decided the narrow conjunction between it and Mars was too cool a thing to pass up, so I eagerly awaited Sunset and was glad my apartment's window is on the west. Unfortunately there was a swath of clouds on the western horizon, but there were some holes in there, and about half an hour after dusk I combed through these holes with the naked eye, my telescope's seeker, and my telescope looking for the two planets.

Finally, just as I was about to give up I saw a tiny, but very bright, little planet peeping through the clouds very near the bright horizon. I had little time to look at it, and didn't see Mars at all (it's ten times dimmer at the moment, after all, making it very hard to see with all the clouds on the bright horizon) but it was very cool to see quickly, and I'll certainly try to see it again in more favourable circumstances the next few weeks.

That leaves only Neptune left to see for me.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Thursday, 07.02.2013, 23:26 | Message # 40
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Quote (apenpaap)
That leaves only Neptune left to see for me.

Neptune is also the only planet I have not observed smile





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SpyroDate: Saturday, 02.03.2013, 23:24 | Message # 41
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I've seen Jupiter when it came close to the moon, I haven't brung out the telescope in years, plus a part (A very vital one, the eyepeice!) has fallen out and broke. sad




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HarbingerDawnDate: Friday, 07.06.2013, 19:37 | Message # 42
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Cool animation of Venus Express imagery by Björn Jónsson






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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Mercury and Venus thread (Anything about the Solar system's innermost planets)
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