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February 14, 2010

Constellation: Death of an Illusion


"The demise of Constellation is not the death of a dream. It's just the end of an illusion."

The brilliant plan behind Constellation was that we'd go to Mars, but that we'd go to the moon first, logically. We'd establish a permanent lunar base there...and then go on to mars...yeah...that's the ticket.

It never made one bit of sense to me. If we want to go to Mars, then go to Mars. The moon was nothing but a diversion. And a very expensive one at that. What most people don't know is that the original Apollo program had planned many more trips to the moon, and they were scrapped because they were too expensive, returned too little information, and were generally perceived as a distraction by the people of Earth. As in "It's just a dead rock...why do we keep going there?" and that was the end of Apollo.

Fast forward 40 years, and the song remains the same.

"Focusing on a lunar return could imperil plans to reach more interesting destinations. I worry that the current emphasis of returning to the moon will cause us to become ensnared in a technological briar patch, needlessly delaying for decades the exploration of Mars, a much more worthwhile destination." - Michael Collins - 20 July 2009

If it's my money...and last time I checked, it was...I say "stop blowing my cash to send people on limousine trips to outer space." If people want to go into outer space, they can pay private companies for their joy ride. If the scientists want to check it out, then they can have a freaking bake-sale and see how much cash they can drum up. But to have a bunch of government bureaucrats trying to design lunar capsules for left-handed female astronauts? Give me a freakin' break.

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 14, 2010 at 9:41 AM


You really should do more reading about the moon and the potential benefits of establishing a permanent moon base. Much better than these disposable space stations. It makes a lot more sense to establish a base on the moon than on Mars. Mars is likely far too difficult and requires a lot of undeveloped technology i.e. "a technological briar patch". Mars is beyond us. Helium-3 maybe the best reason we have for going back to the moon. But before we book any lunar or martian excursions on this cosmic cruise we need to eliminate the debt & deficit.

Posted by: Andy on September 11, 2010 at 6:05 AM

Yeah, this is one of my biggest problems with the whole space exploration thing. It's also the reason they canceled the rest of the Apollo missions back in the 1970's. We had a lot of other problems to deal with aside from playing around on the moon. Of course, thanks to that idiot Obama being in office, the U.S. is completely insolvent. So, no, we certainly can't talk about going to the moon at this point. We'll never make it back to the moon until we get someone in the Oval Office that realizes rich people are creating wealth, not stealing it from the poor.

Posted by: Rob Kiser Author Profile Page on September 11, 2010 at 9:46 PM


( via http://www.jerrypournelle.com/mail/2010/Q1/mail606.html -->
http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=5137 )

Project Orion was one of the most ambitious -- and radical --
spacecraft concepts ever developed. Central to the concept was
substituting conventional chemical rockets with a string of low-yield
nuclear bombs "spit" out the rear to create a series of powerful blast
waves that would accelerate the spacecraft to high velocities.

The "piece de resistance" of the Orion development project was the
Orion Battleship, a 10-story-tall spaceborne "doomsday" weapon that
would carry more nuclear firepower than a nuclear submarine. Its
proposed armaments included 500 20-megaton thermonuclear missiles, 3
naval Mk 5-inch gun turrets, at least six Casaba Howitzer nuclear
directed-energy weapons systems and numerous 20-mm close-in weapons.
Propulsion would consist of several thousand 5-kiloton nuclear pulse
weapons (that would also serve as powerful EMP weapons if detonated in
the upper atmosphere). Six "landing boats" were on board for use in
crew transfer, resupply, emergency escape, etc.

When the Battleship concept (including a scale model) was shown to
President Kennedy in 1963, JFK was reportedly so freaked out that he
immediately cancelled the project altogether.

Concept Spacecraft
1900-1930 1940s 1950s 1960s
1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s

Posted by: Astrononymous on September 12, 2010 at 9:39 PM

See also

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805059857/ "Project Orion: The True Story Of The Atomic Spaceship" 2002

http://www.tcsdaily.com/Article.aspx?id=091102C "The Road Not Taken (Yet)" by Glenn Reynolds. Sept. 11 2002

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=091802B "The New Space Race" by Glenn Reynolds. Sept. 18 2002

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1vKMTYa40A "Project Orion: A Re-Imagining" 2 minutes 36 seconds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3Lxx2VAYi8 excerpt from "To Mars By A-Bomb" (BBC, 2003) 3 minutes 36 seconds

What could have been:

http://manconquersspace.com "Man Conquers Space"

The film Man Conquers Space looks like a documentary made today,
and is peppered with archival footage from the dawn of the space age
during WWII, through to today, narrated by the people who were there -
the engineers, the astronauts, the scientists, the visionaries,
the politicians.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozkl1OvNvEc "Man Conquers Space" Teaser III 2 minutes 07 seconds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sVBm86S5_E "Man Conquers Space" Cinema Sequence 4 minutes 10 seconds

And speaking of space battleships:

http://billllsidlemind.blogspot.com/2010/01/space-battleships.html "Space Battleship Yamato" trailer 0 minutes 32 seconds

Posted by: Astrononymous on September 12, 2010 at 9:41 PM

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