Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Yeah I would definitely want to go to space if I ever had the opportunity. I think that almost anyone would. Such trips could be used to help fund the space program. If a cheap reusable vehicle that could get into and out of space without having to drop off big fuel tanks was invented this would be much more feasible. If such a ship were created then the price would plummet and many more people would be able to go, also the cost of the entire space program would fall. Many such ships are under the drawing bored since the current space shuttles are starting to become dated. I think that the space program shouldn’t be limited to just a few people. The more people that get interested in space the faster innovation in space travel and technology will go. It is in NASA’s best interest to try and promote space travel. I doubt that I will ever get to space but my children and grandchildren have a very good chance.
Posted by Scott
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Personally, I feel that most consumers should be able to partake in the excitement of space. I would be a skeptic of the industry without government supported programs, but thats just how I would feel about space travel. I feel that anyone who can afford the trip should be able to take it, but alsot hat the prices should be brought down low enough not to have only the most rich people in the world that can do it. I have a strong feeling however that the comsumer space world should not try to exceed what NASA has already accomplished. I feel that the government should be the first to do anything because they are the least lible in case of accident in comparision to a company that failed at tomsething they did. I would never really want to travel in space, its something that doesn't really interest me all that much, but thats mostly because i don't have huge amounts of money to spend.
Poster by Rob
For those of you interested in this topic, I suggest you head on over to the company's website, www.spaceadventures.com. There are many links to choose from with lots of information, including Dr. Greg Olsen's 2005 trip of traveling over three million miles in space and completing over one hundred orbits of the Earth. What I found to be kind of silly was "Reasons you might enroll in Space Adventures' spaceflight programs." This list included "earn the respect and admiration of your colleagues and home nation," "be one of the first 500 people ever to go into space," and ,"achieve worldwide celebrity-satus." There are also tons of information about different vehicles, destinations, and programs. So far, there have already been two space tourists with Space Adventures. Dennis Tito from the United States became the first space tourist ever in April 2001. In April 2002, Mark Shuttleworth from South Africa became the first South African in space. After Tito's flight he stated, "Space Tourism is the best kept secret in the world," and "Space Adventures made my dream of spaceflight a reality. They can do the same for you." I'm sure they could, if I had 20 million dollars.
Posted by Roger
This does raise an interesting question about space, as the human race continues to expand outside our globe. There really is no right given to the government (United States government) granting the power to deny citizens the right to explore space. Thus far, the only people who have the technology necessary to survive in space for days at a time are governments, because of the extreme costs involved. Given that commercial space travel now is becoming more of a reality, there is really no reason why a person should not be allowed to pay a certain amount of money to take this trip. Waivers and such will take care of the liabilities of spacecraft failure, and Space Adventures seems to be a perfectly legitimate source for making this flight outside the earth's atmosphere. Beyond safety, no popular social or religious conflicts are brought about by this recent social ability, unlike cloning or DNA restructuring that has yet to be declared legal. Beyond individual interests and based on the democracy the United States has today, I believe that it is a person's right in free enterprise to 1. set this commercial business up and 2. choose to pay the money and be granted the trip to space through commercial means.
Posted by Ben
A trip to space would most definitely interest me if I were that wealthy. When you have that much money, you must get to a point where your struggling to find things that you could spend money on. You could have all the cars and clothes you've ever wanted, but where do you go from there? To be able to tell your friends that you've been beyond the reaches of our atmosphere is really something. With the rise of the idea of commercial space travel, one must realize the implications that such a revolution would have. There would be the possibility for greater amounts of spacial discoveries, because immediately there would be more people interested and drawn to the idea that they themselves could explore the worlds beyond our own. Suddenly scientists who have never left the comfort of their laboratories would be able to test theories that they were not able to previously test, because of the simplicity of the zero gravity environment that exists in space. The possibilities for the future are astounding and many in number, so I only hope that I am alive long enough to experience some of them.
Posted by Mike
Friday, April 23, 2004
Space Adventures is a company that has begun selling tickets for a commercial trip to space. The trips are tentatively planned to begin in 2005 and will cost an individual twenty million dollars. They are selling two seats for this 2005 mission but already have a dozen or so interested customers. Space Adventures has made a deal with the Russian Aviation and Space Industry for this ten day trip to the International Space Station. The first civilian this company took to space was American millionaire Dennis Tito, which actually took place over two years ago. Tito described the trip as "... just one euphoric experience that exceeds all the pleasures you can think of times 10." Commercial space flight appears to be a growing idea. Currently, the prices are incredibly high limiting the trip to the world's most wealthy. If the industry grows and there is enough competition, prices could possibly drop to where many more people could afford this. Is this something you would have a desire to do? Should private companies go to space or should only government sponsored missions be allowed to?
Posted by Steven
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
It is a very good possibility that life does exist beyond the reaches of our atmosphere, however has extraterrestrial life ever ventured into our world? Many people claim to have had such encounters, but these people are often dismissed as crazy, because none of us have seen what they have and they are largely in the minority. The media is what makes places like Area 51 so popular to either those who believe or those who are skeptical about the possibility of an alien landing on the earth. In shows like The X-Files Area 51 is portrayed as a dark, secret place where the U.S. government is keeping alien existence and alien technology from the public. It is because of shows like this that we become skeptical. It is human nature to make a judgment based on the information we are afforded. Even if we don't publicly announce our opinion, there is always one present in our minds. We derive our opinion from the information we see, which is often biased and incomplete. This is why the media can often control what people will and will not believe.
Posted by Mike
Monday, April 19, 2004
Yes, I think that there is definitely life outside of earth. If the universe is infinite like they say it is they it’s mathematically impossible for us to be the only life in the universes. If the universe really does go on forever then there are an infinite number of other life forms, it’s just a matter of how far you go. Another way of thinking about it is if you take the probability of everything going right on earth and life starting it’s a pretty small number. However when you multiply even the smallest number by infinity the product is simply infinity. There are obviously going to be lots of planets that happen to be just the right distance from a star to support life and of those planets some percentage will develop life. The question is not are there others out there it’s can we ever find them in the infinite expanse of the universe. With our current understanding of the universe and the laws that control it I would say no. According to Einstein once an object reaches the speed of light it then become light. This being the case, if we actually made a ship that could go the speed of light then there’d be no stopping once you got up to speed. However it is not known if you could go beyond the speed of light. This perhaps could be an answer. Also wormholes might be of some use. There is a theory that perhaps one day a ship could be made that would be able to make its own temporary wormhole and jump around the universe. If this were possible then space travel would be a piece of cake.
Posted by Scott
I think that there is life outside of the earth. I'm not saying that they are carbon based, or breathe oxygen, or even that they have the same level of intelligence that we do. Of the billions and billions of possibilities in the universe, there has to be an instance of more than 1 planet with life. I think the government cover-ups might be them just covering up their own special test aircraft. However, if there really were aliens, movies like Independence Day bring out the "truth" about what happened. Also, if aliens did come to earth, when will they come back? What do they want? Can we get along with their race? These are all questions that we would need answered if we found out that aliens on earth was a real thing.
Posted by Rob
Although I think it would be interesting to know that there is life out there beyond Earth, it is extremely difficult to believe this after taking my EAS class. In one of our discussions, we talked about the probability of having life form into an intelligent form from using logic. Our planet has been around for 4.5 billion years. There has been life on Earth for 2 billion years, but humans (what we consider to be intelligent) have only been around for about ten thousand years. Out of these ten thousand years, how long has it been since we have had radio communication? Maybe about half a century. What makes us think that we will get signals from outer space if we have only had this form of communication for such a little time compared to the time span of our species? If there is life out there, it is probably in a completely different solar system. In our system, only Venus, Earth, and Mars exist in the habitable zone, and we are pretty certain there is no intelligent form of life on Venus and Mars, unless they have some sort of technology to hide themselves. In other solar systems, the logically conclusion is that life would be on planets similar to Earth, but what are the chances of becoming intelligent enough to contact us? This would have to mean no extinctions for quite a long time, especially longer than how long we have been around. Still, we can only base our conclusions on what we know, not what we don't know. Sure, there may be forms of life out there that live on completely different conditions than we do, but we can only remain ignorant (or arrogant), until we're proven wrong.
Posted by Roger
Sunday, April 18, 2004
I really do not have a good guess at whether there are UFO cover-ups in Roswell or Area 51. Although I do not have an opinion, the topic greatly interests me. In fact, any sort of secret places have always interested me. For example, I did watch a good percentage of "The X-Files Series." While the plot of this series is more or less impossible to explain, the main idea was a huge conspiracy/cover-up of aliens. Many episodes of this series took place in very secret and high level access locations such as Area 51, the Pentagon basement, and so forth. There was one character in the show known as "The Cigarette Smoking Man" who was the leader of the conspiracy and had access to pretty much anywhere he wanted. That is just a television show and is probably not a good indicator of what truly exists in these secret locations. I honestly doubt we will ever find out for sure what happens at Area 51.
Posted by Steven
Area 51, also known as Groom Lake, is a secret military facility about 90 miles north of Las Vegas. The number refers to a 6-by-10-mile block of land, at the center of which is a large air base the government will not discuss. The site was selected in the mid-1950s for testing of the U-2 spy plane, due to its remoteness, proximity to existing facilities and presence of a dry lakebed for landings. Groom Lake is America's traditional testing ground for "black budget" aircraft before they are publicly acknowledged. The facility and surrounding areas are also associated -- with varying levels of credibility -- with UFO and conspiracy stories. In 1989, Bob Lazar claimed on a Las Vegas television station that he had worked with alien spacecraft at Papoose Lake, south of Area 51. Since then, "Area 51" has become a popular symbol for the alleged U.S. Government UFO cover-up.
Area 51 and the Roswell Incident are two examples of possible plots by the government to cover up the existence of extraterrestrial life. Do you think the government tried to cover these alleged instances? If so, why? Is there life outside the Earth? Personally, I would think it would be rather elitist to think that humans are the only intelligent life in the entire universe. I think movies like the Star Wars trilogy and Star Trek help to open the minds of individuals, even though what actually happens in the films and on television (example, light sabers) is largely impossible if our laws of science are correct.
Posted by Ben
Fifty years ago when space travel was just a myth, the average Earth resident had little knowledge of what would be possible in the future. Nowadays, everyone is speculating about what we can accomplish by aiming for the outer reaches of space. It's nearly impossible to turn on the news without hearing of the current mission to Mars, or plans for future missions. Today's society is a space and technology oriented one, such that the average human is much more interested/knowledgeable about what goes on in the everyday scientific world. Instead of dismissing what will be future innovations as impossible now, we merely speculate as to how much time it will take to accomplish certain scientific feats. It is incredible to think that its only been 43 years since the first manned space travel, and today we're making plans to send humans to Mars. What's next I wonder?
Posted by Mike
I am currently taking EAS 1601 this semester and we have talked about this. Some of our discussions have been quite interesting. Venus, Earth, and Mars all started with about the same composition. The three of these planets are the only ones within the solar system's "habitable zone." Because of too much CO2 in the Venusian atmosphere, the surface temperature because too hot on the planet. This caused a run away greenhouse effect to occur. I don't feel like explaining the greenhouse effect to those who don't know, but if you want to find out, I suggest you take EAS. Mars at one time had a fairly strong Greenhouse Effect that made it possible for liquid water to have existed on the surface, but because of a dissipating greenhouse effect, temperatures became so low that atmospheric water and CO2 began to freeze out of the atmosphere. Again, if you're wondering what the dissipating greenhouse effect specifically does, take that class. I guess this post doesn't really answer the original post, but I found this topic to be interesting, especially since it ties in with this group project's topic. Oh well, I guess I never really had a point, although I'm not saying a point could not have been made, for it easily could have... I'm just too tired to think about it.
Posted by Roger
Saturday, April 17, 2004
The mission to mars may not be worth it at this point in time, as Rob pointed out; we would need some sort of system in place in order to maintain the health that gravity allows us to keep in normal lifestyle here on Earth. As a product of our environment, humans are adapted to the Earth and the gravity that exists here. So really to be able to inhabit another planet would require some sort of unnatural adaptation, because natural adaptation takes generations and thousands of years to accomplish. It's sort of like living in a different country or culture, where you are just not capable of doing some of things necessary to survive like we do here in the U.S. Like if we were to instantly live in a third world country, or traditional culture, where advances in technology and lifestyle come second to keeping with traditional ways of living. Not many of us today really know how survive without the market and machines we use all the time to provide the essentials for life that we need. I haven't even picked a vegetable or fruit directly from the ground or a tree in nearly a year. Mars is a step further, as we would not only lack the skills necessary to survive, but even with those skills, our bodies would fail on us.
Posted by Ben
Friday, April 16, 2004
From what I understand, having a manned mission to Mars is an idea that could become a reality in the near future. After Mars, there really are no other good places in the solar system that we could visit. Out space travel is limited for many reasons. The planets past Mars (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) are all gaseous planets. One would not actually be able to step foot on to one of these bodies. The temperatures at these locations are also extremely cold. On the other hand, the planets closer to the Sun (Venus and Mercury) have temperature so high that there is no possibility of human survival. Although there is some talk that visiting the moons of planets such as Jupiter and Saturn could one day be possible, this is currently about as good as science fiction. If I understand correctly, with the speeds that we are currently capable of traveling in space, it would take years to reach these destinations. With our current knowledge, experience, and technology, there are probably nearly limitless other logistic problems with venturing out this far in space.
Posted by Steven
Thursday, April 15, 2004
I think that a mission to Mars is a great idea. However, as of right now, we do not have the technology to achieve it. If people went to Mars and only weighed 90 pounds when they got there, they could not do any physical labor on Mars. I think that if we could somehow get them not to lose the body mass while in no gravity, or even generate gravity while in the ship, this would be much more feasible. You could put the astronauts on the strict workout plan while on the ship and help them retain their strength. Does anyone have any other ideas about how this can be accomplished?
Posted by Rob
Since my uncle is highly involved in NASA I have become very interested in it. He gives a lot of presentations of the future of NASA and what they are planning. The last time I saw him was right before one such talk he was going to give in Atlanta. He showed me his power point and gave me the run down. Basically NASA is heading to mars with a manned spacecraft, it’s been decided. Since he’s a Doctor he was talking about all the problems the trip will have. First the human body is a big fan of gravity. Without it for long periods of time the body has to do like 10% of the work it normally has to do to function. The Russian cosmonauts that were in MIR for 4 months left being fit at 175 lbs and came back feeble at 90lbs unable to walk with smaller hearts. The lack of gravity is the fundamental problem of going to mars. So NASA has come up with all these crazy exercise machines that keep them in shape…supposedly. After the 6 month flight to mars the astronauts will have to do a great deal of labor on mars. If they arrive there weighing 90lbs they won’t be able to stand up, let alone walk around and pick up rock and what not. Then after staying there they have to come another 6 months back. Sound like fun? Hell yeah, I’d do it in a second. Would you? So we get to mars and come back, then what? What’s next, what are we striving for. If it’s colonies, setting them up on the moon would certainly be easier. What’s the next step after a mission to mars?
Posted by Scott
This incident actually hit very close to home for me and my family. My uncle is the head medical doctor and NASA. He is the person all the astronauts must go to and me cleared by in order for them to go into space. He spent lots of time with and was very close to all of the astronauts in the space program. He was on the landing strip waiting for them to land when the shuttle disintegrated. Such thinks are tragic beyond expression. But what would be more tragic is if these people died for no reason. The space program is essential for the future. Whether your want to accept it or not, there are soon going to be to many people for earth to support. At the current rate we are going to deplete our resources and mess up the environment beyond fixing. When this happens we need to have alternative options. If we keep funding the space program we are giving ourselves the opportunity to develop the ideas and technology needed to one day explore past our world and into the realm of space. The people who have died in the space program realized how important their work was and wouldn’t want NASA to shut down because of the danger associated with it.
Posted by Scott
Monday, April 12, 2004
I am in the Navy ROTC unit here at Georgia Tech and a member of the unit drill team. On the morning of the Columbia disaster, I was at a drill competition doing a military inspection. A large part of our score in a drill competition is the inspection, in which the midshipmen/cadets will line up and be asked a series of questions while their uniforms are also being checked for neatness. I remember the event distinctly, because a Marine gunnery sergeant stepped in front of me and said "Son, did you hear about the space shuttle?" I had been doing drill related activities all morning and had heard nothing regarding a space shuttle, until that gunny asked me that question. Following my reply, he began to explain what had happened and I was stunned. For some reason, in that situation at that time, the disaster seemed to have a large impact on my ability to focus. I struggled my way through the rest of the inspection and then had to take a minute to recollect. The event had such a large impact on me, because of the source that I received it from. Instead of hearing about the disaster on the news, I was connected to it, because many of the men and women on the flight were soldiers at one time. The media often dilutes the impact of something of that scale, due to the fact that we hear about it from so many different sources.
Posted by Mike
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Space travel is a dangerous activity. Very few do it and those that get the opportunity are very honored to do so. They all know the risks involved in what they are doing. I agree with the quote that Roger posted and I think that those who died would have wanted us to continue the work they were doing. What if after Apollo 1 we stopped trying for the moon? Where would we be now? If Columbus had come to the Americas, and no one followed him, would there still be a United States of America? Sorry to pull from the Apollo 13 movie a little, but with all this space talk I had to. Overall, I think that continuing the space program needs to be done, and if there ever comes a point where no one is willing to risk his or her life for what we are doing, that is where our space program will stop.
Posted by Rob
Certain things have been, and always will be worth losing lives for. One example is exploration, whether it be Lewis and Clark on their venture across present-day United States or the Mars Mission to expand our world beyond the Solar System. In order for the world to extend and progress, we will need to explore the new horizons beyond the Earth. Just as those who ventured out to look for land outside Europe and Asia (which by the way, is why we are living here today), astronauts and space technology development will be the path to future civilizations and humanity on multiple planets.
Catastrophes are bound to happen with new and unexplored spaces. Although it is possible to minimize them to an extent, part of exploring is finding what you didn't know existed, and discoveries can sometimes be dangerous. In every space collision, explosion, or other catastrophe, the public initially may see the loss as a reason to stop NASA operations, but clearly NASA is still in full operation today.
Posted by Ben
What's really cool is that I was on NASA's website and came across an article on this exact topic. It contained a very interesting interview from the STS-114 Shuttle crewmembers. Commander Eileen Collins said, "Our country's relying on us to do these tasks... [We] see ourselves as servants to the American people and the international community." Pilot James Kelly stated, "I think if you look through history, you see that the explorers and the countries that were doing the exploring were really the ones that were making mankind better and the world a better place to live in." Later in his passage he says, "Human space flight is something that's written in the character of our country." Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence said, "I personally want to make sure that for the families' sake, we continue the commitment that their loved ones so strongly believed in, and that's flying in space and the benefits we reap from that." I think it is quite evident with these statements from our own country's astronauts that it is important to keep exploring space and what is out there. There is always a risk in any action taken. Don't make your kids wear diapers when they don't need them anymore, even though they may end up pooping their pants. Well, that was a horrible example, but you get the picture.
Posted by Roger
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
On the morning of Saturday February 01, 2003, I turned on the television and started flipping through the channels. When I came to one of the news channels, there was a live report saying that the space shuttle Columbia was off schedule for its landing and that there had not been any contact with it for some time. Most people were hoping that the situation was all right. After a half-hour or so, everybody came to their senses and realized that something catastrophic had happened. During re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, Columbia had disintegrated killing the seven astronauts on board. Debris from the accident was spread throughout the Texas area shortly after. This was the worst accident that NASA had suffered since the Challenger exploded many years earlier. It was really hard on many throughout the country. This event was very closely followed by the media from the original event all of the way through the investigations. How have events such as Columbia, Challenger, Apollo 1, and Apollo 13 affected the general public’s attitude toward future space travel? Is space exploration worth losing these lives?
Posted by Steven
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
I do believe people are intrigued by the possibility of aliens existing somewhere in the universe; this is probably the reason that so many of these alien movies are continuing to be made. The movies mentioned in the previous entries are just naming a few of the dozens that exist. In addition to these fictional movies, there are countless television shows that focus on aliens. I have seen dozens of different “UFOs Caught on Tape” types of shows as well as have seen parts of the infamous “Alien Autopsy.” There are also specials with interviews from people claiming to have been present during the Roswell, New Mexico incident. These types of shows may actually be more entertaining to viewers than the movies because they show actual video footage that is said to be true, whether it is or not. Nobody knows the answer for sure of whether aliens exist, but many people probably have their own opinions.
Posted by Steven
I agree that there are aliens somewhere in the universe. Out of all of the stars with solar systems, which are billions and billions just in the Milky Way, there has to be one with a setup much like our own, or even something different with a completely different type of creature. The universe is said to be constantly expanding, and as for reason why nothing has really happened on earth as of yet, well maybe they went to other way first. However, in time we will find something or someone, and I believe that is complete truth.
Posted by Rob
Rogers post made me think of something I saw on TV not to long ago. The “clocking field” Roger refers to in the movie Predator is quite interesting. The way it works is that on all sides of the suit there are tiny camera that read the light and colors that are hitting the suit on all sides. The image that it reads it then projects on the point perpendicular to it on the opposite side of the suit. The result is that the person in the suit “disappears” into their surroundings. Pretty far fetched back in the 1980’s when the film was made. However, the army liked what they saw. The suit is now currently in the design process and optimistically projected to come out, along with a slew of other crazy war oriented things for the army’s “future warrior” of 2025. The technology can be used in many other aspects of camouflage. Once perfected the technology could be placed on cars, helicopters, buildings or whatever you can think of to make them invisible. The implications are endless.
Posted By Scott
Sunday, April 04, 2004
There have been lots of films like Predator and Signs where aliens come from outer space with some vengeful purpose. One of my favorites is Independence Day, where the aliens have one plot, and that is to destroy and consume the planet Earth. Granted, this sort of action is a little beyond what we would expect to ever see in the future, science fiction in general is a great way to incite new ideas for space and technology in space. Even thinking back to the days of E.T.: the Extra Terrestrial, there are lots of thoughts and ideas about what sort of technology aliens will have if our planet ever gets a visit from some.
Posted by Ben
WE'RE NOT ALONE. Roger's post, although quite comical, has a realistic point; maybe there is life out there. There are more stars in space then there are grains of sand on the earth's beaches, many of them with planets of their own. Knowing this it would be quite arrogant to think that we're the only ones here. I can only hope that I would live long enough to find out.
Posted by Mike
Thursday, April 01, 2004
I guess I'll go ahead and write about something fun: alien technology in film. For starters, I will use Arnold Schwarzenegger's classic, Predator (1987). I saw this movie when I was way too young. I was about five when I first watched it all the way through, and today, it still remains one of my all time favorites. It is about a team of commandos led by Arnold, on a mission in a Central American jungle, who find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior. This warrior, Predator, had super high tech equipment, including a cloaking field generator, making it nearly invisible, a hunting mask, which it uses for thermal vision, and a high-tech med-kit that heals all sorts of wounds. For its weapons, it uses a plasma gun attached to its wrist, a disc, shown in Predator 2 to be able to go through five other bodies to reach its primary target and also act like a home-in device, and the most infamous weapon of them all, the laser cannon attached to the alien's shoulder. The species of predators, who would probably enslave those sissy aliens from Signs is one bad ass species that not many around the universe would want to mess with. It would be a pretty scary situation for all of us if we were to be invaded by a world of these dudes. I would offer them a beer.
Posted by Roger