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Last post Author Topic: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon  (Read 6941 times)

IainB

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NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« on: January 05, 2013, 03:37:47 AM »
And it is not April 1st: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon

What could possibly go wrong?    :tellme:

Renegade

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 04:05:26 AM »
What could possibly go wrong?    :tellme:

MadScientistbenturrin460.jpg
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Krishean

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013, 07:10:33 AM »
And then they can put an even smaller asteroid into orbit around that one! http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Matryoshka_doll
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IainB

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2013, 07:42:05 AM »
In the 2002 remake of HG Wells; The Time Machine, there was a point when Hartdegen (the inventor-scientist-hero of the story) materialises for a short while in a future time, at nightime in a city, where the moon is seen to hang ominously close and broken into large pieces. Something must have gone horribly wrong for that to happen...

I am quite happy for Nasa to carry on blowing up astronauts or wasting billions of dollars in Mars exploration - e.g., including slamming explorer modules into the surface of Mars due to conversion errors in units of measurement, or whatever, and even missing Mars by thousands of kilometres.
However, I do not want any idiots scientists mucking about with geoengineering of either this planet - e.g., changing its albedo by dispersing toxic chemicals into the upper atmosphere to cool an imaginary AGW - or its satellite (the moon) whilst I am using them.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2013, 01:17:36 PM »
Heh yeah, or if they miscalculate the math, it could go slamming into the earth and wipe us out! Weren't they sometimes saying it was an asteroid that killed the dinos? I know! Let's find one and make it approach earth 267 times per year! Oh wait - so THAT's what the Mayans meant on why the world ended!  :D

wraith808

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2013, 02:22:52 PM »
Considering they're talking about an asteroid 7m in diameter, I think the concerns are a bit overstated.  Definitely an easier way to study the asteroid... but not sure what we're supposed to be getting from the asteroid in the first place for the monies.

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2013, 05:26:57 PM »
Yeah, an asteroid only 7m in diameter would do less damage than one of our own rockets falling out of orbit. After all asteroids are mostly inert metallic components, while our ships frequently contain quantities of rocket fuel, nuclear materials, and battery chemicals.

The change in tidal forces such an asteroid would produce would be nigh insignificant, and if anything goes wrong our descendants in the distant future can just launch a giant ball of garbage to deflect any errant moons or asteroids safely away from the earth.

Tinman57

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2013, 06:23:51 PM »
  I have a much better idea, let's spend that $2.6 billion on our own economy.  I'm not anti-NASA or anything, but this is somewhat extreme even for NASA, especially for that amount of money that could be better spent elsewhere....

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2013, 06:28:16 PM »
 I have a much better idea, let's spend that $2.6 billion on our own economy.  I'm not anti-NASA or anything, but this is somewhat extreme even for NASA, especially for that amount of money that could be better spent elsewhere....

I have a feeling that this is just a hypothetical. They are looking at okay what would it take to do this, they're not going to actually do it.

Cause it doesn't really fit the pattern for what NASA would normally be doing.

Although building the rockets required to make this happen would most certainly be an economic stimulis. This is where people get the space program wrong.

Those billions of dollars spent on each flight?

It's not wasted. That money went into the hands of the engineers and scientists that made it possible, and the factory workers making the hardware. Billions of dollars into the US economy, and indeed the global economy for each rocket built regardless of if it succeeds in its mission or not.

A fair portion of that comes back as income taxes, and it also kicks up revenue from other sources as other industries move in to profit from the technology developed by the space program. Ultimately it could be a very profitable business even if only 1 out of every 2 rockets leaves the ground without exploding, although scientific success is far better than a high failure rate.

And I'd much rather see that kind of money spent paying people to build rockets as government employees or their subcontractors rather than being given away as handouts through Social Services because there aren't enough jobs.

Building rockets is a bigtime industry with a lot of work to be done.

wraith808

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2013, 06:52:17 PM »
  I have a much better idea, let's spend that $2.6 billion on our own economy.  I'm not anti-NASA or anything, but this is somewhat extreme even for NASA, especially for that amount of money that could be better spent elsewhere....

I have a feeling that this is just a hypothetical. They are looking at okay what would it take to do this, they're not going to actually do it.

Cause it doesn't really fit the pattern for what NASA would normally be doing.

Although building the rockets required to make this happen would most certainly be an economic stimulis. This is where people get the space program wrong.

Those billions of dollars spent on each flight?

It's not wasted. That money went into the hands of the engineers and scientists that made it possible, and the factory workers making the hardware. Billions of dollars into the US economy, and indeed the global economy for each rocket built regardless of if it succeeds in its mission or not.

A fair portion of that comes back as income taxes, and it also kicks up revenue from other sources as other industries move in to profit from the technology developed by the space program. Ultimately it could be a very profitable business even if only 1 out of every 2 rockets leaves the ground without exploding, although scientific success is far better than a high failure rate.

And I'd much rather see that kind of money spent paying people to build rockets as government employees or their subcontractors rather than being given away as handouts through Social Services because there aren't enough jobs.

Building rockets is a bigtime industry with a lot of work to be done.

This.  Thanks for posting it so eloquently.  And there is a lot to be learned, and a lot comes to us also in the way of advances from the discoveries of the vast expanse that exists beyond our atmosphere.

Renegade

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 07:17:50 PM »
  I have a much better idea, let's spend that $2.6 billion on our own economy.  I'm not anti-NASA or anything, but this is somewhat extreme even for NASA, especially for that amount of money that could be better spent elsewhere....

and

And I'd much rather see that kind of money spent paying people to build rockets as government employees or their subcontractors rather than being given away as handouts through Social Services because there aren't enough jobs.

and

And there is a lot to be learned, and a lot comes to us also in the way of advances from the discoveries of the vast expanse that exists beyond our atmosphere.

While there is a lot of scientific value in space exploration and experimentation, and it does create jobs, it still seems to me that $2.6 billion could be better spent somehow to create jobs that get people off the dole.

As with Tinman, I'm not anti-NASA, but I do with they'd stop covering up the alien invasion and that Obama has been replaced with a look-alike alien clone with mind control powers, and that they'd finally admit that the moon is an artificial hollowed out satellite with alien races on the inside, all vying for power & domination over the human race in their eternal conflict with the alien races living inside the hollow earth! This asteroid business is obviously a ploy by the Venusians to destabilize the moon, crash it into Earth, and once again regain their hegemonic power in the solar system as the dominant species so that they can launch their long awaited invasion of Saturn without fear of reprisal! (Everyone knows the Jupiterians are cowards, the Plutonians don't even come from a real planet, and the Uranusians just plain stink!) :P ;D

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Tinman57

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2013, 08:55:21 PM »
  Oh I'm perfectly aware of the benefits that NASA provides.  I mean, if it wasn't for NASA we wouldn't have velcro,  just as an example.  But as much as it provides for jobs and such, it's normally jobs related specifically to the aerospace and chemical industries.  Those BILLIONS still come out of our taxes.  Surely NASA can put their heads together to better things than mounting rockets to asteroids.  That's all I'm sayin'.....

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2013, 09:27:58 PM »
  Oh I'm perfectly aware of the benefits that NASA provides.  I mean, if it wasn't for NASA we wouldn't have velcro,  just as an example.  But as much as it provides for jobs and such, it's normally jobs related specifically to the aerospace and chemical industries.  Those BILLIONS still come out of our taxes.  Surely NASA can put their heads together to better things than mounting rockets to asteroids.  That's all I'm sayin'.....

On productive use of $2.6 b and hot dogs
I think a good way to measure the benefit is to ask how many tables did it put food on? How many households did that $2.6 billion support (not by way of hand outs, but by way of creating actual productive employment, e.g. not government jobs)? etc.

I don't know the numbers there, but it seems to me that putting an asteroid in orbit around the moon probably wouldn't support as many households as something like having an economy that actually supports manufacturing jobs rather than eliminating them.

As for NASA doing something more productive, well, I think it's pretty hard for them to be very productive as they're really more of a research & exploration operation. I suppose the question is whether they can create productive employment from that research. Seems tough though. I don't think licensing logos really is much of a productive business. Would you pay $0.50 more for "NASA Lettuce" at the grocery store for zero benefit? Then again, that might be a better way for them to fund themselves rather than getting tax payers to pay for their work/antics. :P If people really believed in space exploration all that much, they'd be free to fund it. Get yer NASA hot dogs! $15 each! :P :D You'd only need to sell about 217 million hot dogs at that rate, assuming around $12 of it goes to NASA. Call 'em space dogs! Or moon dogs! Of course at $15 per hot dog, that makes them pretty much unaffordable for the roughly 25% or so of the world's population that needs that $15 to last 1 or 2 weeks. I don't think they'd be all that interested.

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wraith808

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2013, 09:46:27 PM »
While there is a lot of scientific value in space exploration and experimentation, and it does create jobs, it still seems to me that $2.6 billion could be better spent somehow to create jobs that get people off the dole.

Really?  Look at the last time we spent money to get people in better positions.  How did that work out?  Despite the article I linked, we really don't know with all of the politicking, and I don't think we ever will.

Sorry...that's my cynicism showing through...  :-[

wraith808

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2013, 09:49:07 PM »
I don't know the numbers there, but it seems to me that putting an asteroid in orbit around the moon probably wouldn't support as many households as something like having an economy that actually supports manufacturing jobs rather than eliminating them.

To do that, Americans would have to be willing to pay more for good produced.  And there are ways to make that more than a feel-good type of thing, by making gains on quality, time to market, and service.  But we're only willing to look at the short term bottom line.  And I suppose, to be fair, it's hard to look past that when you're already living from paycheck to paycheck, and someone is looking at raising prices for no immediately tangible benefit.

Renegade

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2013, 10:06:13 PM »
@Wraith - I hear ya. Don't think I don't. I just didn't want to say anything too specific there because it starts to go down *that* road to the Basement. I figured I'd just leave it vague and to your imagination. For those living paycheck-to-paycheck, perhaps you can imagine it as tax cuts, putting $2.6 back into their pockets, making life just a little bit easier. Tonnes of ways there. FWIW - I think that organic ways of economic stimulation are likely better than artificial ways, as you pointed out an example there.

I'm all for cool stuff like space exploration, but, I find it kind of hard to justify the cost when there are much more pressing matters. But, that's just a matter of priorities and what people personally value. I'll leave it to people's imaginations about things that might be more important that putting an asteroid in orbit around the moon.
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wraith808

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2013, 10:15:12 PM »
I totally agree- to a point.  I think it's really important that we start looking outward, and if we wait until we need to, there's just not going to be enough time.

IainB

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2013, 01:53:27 AM »
Oh I'm perfectly aware of the benefits that NASA provides.  I mean, if it wasn't for NASA we wouldn't have velcro,  just as an example.
Very droll.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2013, 02:26:45 AM »
The tough part is that stuff like asteroids are such a "long game". The US is busy being wrapped up in artificially made budget crises as a political game, as shrill as anything ever created because they're literally attempting to hold the entire country hostage in a game of budgetary chicken.

While in Congress it's called "Pork", sometimes smaller groups really don't need all that much of a grant to produce lower-level benefits. Unfortunately all the money being sunk into hyped up Security junk is a big cause of why we can't look forward into the future. I would bet you that if we have this much trouble with security in "easy peasy ol' Earth" I can't imagine the security processes needed for a MoonBase!

Renegade

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2013, 02:56:11 AM »
I think it's really important that we start looking outward, and if we wait until we need to, there's just not going to be enough time.

+

I would bet you that if we have this much trouble with security in "easy peasy ol' Earth" I can't imagine the security processes needed for a MoonBase!


Kind of makes it sound like we should be preparing for a massive alien invasion! :D

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Tinman57

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2013, 07:00:33 PM »
While there is a lot of scientific value in space exploration and experimentation, and it does create jobs, it still seems to me that $2.6 billion could be better spent somehow to create jobs that get people off the dole.

Really?  Look at the last time we spent money to get people in better positions.  How did that work out?  Despite the article I linked, we really don't know with all of the politicking, and I don't think we ever will.

Sorry...that's my cynicism showing through...  :-[

  Yeah, but look how that money was distributed.  In the end, it all went into the pockets of the ultra-rich, without so much as an oversight on millions upon millions of it.  Right now there is a half-hearted attempt by congress to find out where it all went and what the return was supposed to have been.   There have been a few companies that got caught red handed pocketing the money, but the mega-corporations are so much better at hiding things, and have lawyers by the dozens to help get away with it.

  What I'm trying to say is, put the money to ACTUAL GOOD USE, and not into the pockets of the large corporations.

wraith808

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2013, 01:56:22 AM »
What I'm trying to say is, put the money to ACTUAL GOOD USE, and not into the pockets of the large corporations.

Good use?  Government?  Isn't that an oxymoron?  ;D

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2013, 06:19:08 AM »
Good use?  Government?  Isn't that an oxymoron?  ;D

Y'know... I really, really wanted to come up with some kind of smartass joke to kind of carry on there, so I tried to think of something that the government does well in hopes of figuring out something funny. Well, that was an exercise in futility. So, bomb on that track.

However, I think this may very well just echo what you've got there and give a few people a laugh or two:


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wraith808

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2013, 09:23:59 AM »
You, sir... win this thread. :)

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Re: NASA Considers Putting an Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2013, 11:01:38 AM »
Although building the rockets required to make this happen would most certainly be an economic stimulis.

Renegade is actually on the right track. This would not be a stimulus, because spending the money on this means that you can't spend it on something else. It's the point of Bastiat's famous Parable of the Broken Window, which should be required reading for anybody advocating the idea that forcing people to put money into something they didn't want in the first place might be a good thing.

Beyond that, I'm of very mixed emotions about this idea.

When I was a kid (I was born in '67, so I was 2 when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon), we used to have grand dreams. Science fiction novels were about wondrous galaxy-spanning civilizations, and the limits to what we'd eventually accomplish were dictated only by what we could dream. But somewhere along the way, we ran into a wall. We stopped dreaming grandly. The galactic civilizations were replaced by dystopian cyberpunk stories, in which we're trapped in a cesspool, with a dark future only as long as we can avoid our own self-destruction. I really appreciate what might be a return swing of the pendulum, replaced by big ideas again.

That said, I completely don't trust NASA to do this. The overall structure of NASA (some specific success stories like the Mars Spirit rover not withstanding) is entrenched in the top-down risk-averse structure that's dedicated primarily to ensuring its own continued existence. I'd be much happier to see it being attempted by an organization like Space X, or Planetary Resources.