Tattood Mars

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by American Horse, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    Tattooed Mars
    This high-resolution picture from the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows twisting dark trails criss-crossing light-colored terrain on the Martian surface. Newly formed trails like these had presented researchers with a tantalizing mystery but are now known to be the work of miniature wind vortices known to occur on the red planet, in other words Martian dust devils. Such spinning columns of rising air heated by the warm surface are also common in dry and desert areas on planet Earth. Typically lasting only a few minutes, dust devils become visible as they pick up loose red-colored dust leaving the darker and heavier sand beneath intact. Ironically, dust devils have been credited with unexpectedly cleaning the solar panels of the Mars rovers.


    2560x1920 Image of Tattooed Mars (too large to image here)



    Image Credit: NASA, HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona)

    Click thumbnail and click again for 800x600 sized image
     

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  2. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Mars is definately a fascinating place. The very first science fiction book I ever read was one of Borroughs Barsoom stories. For the first time, I saw the planets and stars as something other than lights in the sky.

    Wish we would bite the bullet and put out the money for a manned mission to Mars. There was a cowboy philosopher from the high desert country of Lake County, Oregon, Rueb Long that said it best. "Research is always a bargain, even when it costs too much". The things that we have learned and applied in our space program has paid the investments there many time over, many orders of magnitudes of times over.
     
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  3. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Why spend a dime's worth of research on Mar's to reap a penny's worth of knowledge that can be used on Earth ? Don't tell me that if the money spent on going to the moon couldn't have been better spent by directly investing it into resolving known Earth problems.
     
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  4. Mr. H.
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  5. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    Maybe so Dillo; if we'd known in advance what to spend it on, we might have been able to command the solutions to so many problems we had not previously thought about. Exploration, and it's processes reveal new directions and demand new solutions to new problems.

    Lately, although I've always been proud of and loved its beauty, I've grown to doubt the efficacy of the space shuttle. There, behind us is a command decision for science with a huge expenditure of treasure, but in fact we, as the astronauts so succinctly put it, have been but drilling holes in space.

    If instead, we through our goverment, had done all we could to promote private enterprise (the name of the first shuttle as you will recall; the Enterprise) with grand awards of prizes for advancements in space technological applications, provided the infrastructure, and gotten out of the way, how different things might have been?

    "Bigelow Aerospace is reportedly on the verge of offering a $50 million American Space Prize to any private American company that can develop a reliable orbital vehicle. There's a good reason for that. Bigelow has been working on orbiting space habitats - and needs an orbital rocket for people to get to them."

    "THE OFFERING OF PRIZE MONEY for flight achievements represents a return to a practice that has produced at least one great historical success.

    Raymond Orteig emigrated to New York from France in 1912. He worked as a bus boy and café manager and eventually acquired two New York Hotels which were popular with French airmen assigned to duty in the United States during the Great War In 1919 Raymond Orteig offered a prize of $25,000 for the first nonstop aircraft flight between New York and Paris. By the mid 1920’s, airplanes had finally developed enough to make such a flight possible.

    The Orteig Prize stimulated not one, but nine separate attempts to cross the Atlantic. To initiate the flights, competitors raised and spent some $400,000, or 16 times the amount of the prize. As a result of these early aviation prizes, the world’s $250 Billion aviation industry was created."

    The mere fact that the manned space effort was solely a government one has put shackles on it in more ways than one. The loss of life of our astronauts is of far greater consequence than we are used to seeing in commercial projects in which it used to be, at least for a while that any large commerical project involved the loss of a human life for about every million spent.
     
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  6. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Horse, don't know your tastes in music, but scroll down on this site to "Riding fire into the Sky".

    The Virtual Filksing
     
  7. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    We knew full well that getting to the moon wasn't any giant step for mankind or. It was a full blown propaganda war to show that democracy was better than communism.
     
  8. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Be that as it may, what we are posting on was one of the fruits of that effort.
     
  9. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Be still my heart
     
  10. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    Good stuff. I listened to that one and a couple of others

    It's about as if Columbus had sailed to America, and then Spain and the rest of the seagoing nations of Europe hadn't followed up to exploit the possiblilties of the new world. If "they" hadn't done it... some one else would've. Then the world would've been totally different from what it is now.

    China, Japan, and India have announced soft dates for returning to and with plans for permanent bases on the moon.

    They are considering mining explotation, touristic development and space industrial engineering as ways to justify permanent outposts there. After all, there should be an interest to justify this very expensive human exploration, and I think that the most important is "money".


    "John Logsdon
    Director of Space Policy Institute, George Washington University

    The main goal is sending people beyond earth's orbit starting with the moon, eventually getting to Mars, and perhaps beyond. The moon is the first step. We don't know how to go to Mars yet. The moon is a destination of value in its own right, because there is lots we can do there that will help us learn how to go to Mars.

    This is not primarily about science, and therefore not primarily about the discovery of fundamental new knowledge. It is to test the belief that humans are destined to live in other places in addition to earth. In order to do that, they have to be able to live off the land and do something worthwhile. Exploration lets us find out whether both of these are possible.

    We can learn whether there are valuable resources that can extend the sphere of earth's economic activity out into the solar system. We want to be doing lots of things between the earth and the moon that will require rocket fuel. It may be cheaper and easier to extract the oxygen needed for rocket propulsion from the lunar soil than it is to lift it away from the earth's gravity.

    Another idea is the moon's surface is full of an isotope of helium called helium-3, which at some point in the future can be the ideal fuel of a fusion reactor cycle and provide almost unlimited non-fossil fuel and non-radioactive fuel to produce energy on earth. We know it's there. The question is, could it be extracted in large enough quantities, and at what point in the future will we develop a fusion reactor to use it? There are also people who believe we can capture the sun's energy and convert it into laser or microwave energy and beam it down to earth. You can build a lot of that system using lunar material. All of this is verging on a centuries-long perspective of why we do this. It's not for some immediate gratification. It's not to go and plant a flag and come back.

    I am a supporter of the notion that there is value to human exploration. I believe that 50 years from now there will be permanently occupied outposts on the moon. Whether they are Antarctica-like scientific stations or a thriving industrial community remains to be seen."
     
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