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  • NASA Announces Centennial Challenges

    Apparently, NASA has decided to follow in the footsteps of the X Prize and the DARPA Grand Challenge and award prize money for those folks whodevelop technologies vital to NASA's exploration initiative. For example, a better astronaut glove might earn its developers $1 million, while the first team to put a privately funded lander on the moon could win $20 million.[/quote]Should be interesting to say the least.

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  • #2
    A lander on the moon? Think small, really small. How about something the size of an X10 camera. You could just about get something up there with the high power model rockets that people are playing with these days. I saw a show on that where one rocket hit something like 1600 mph in only a couple of thousand feet. Made a sonic boom.
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    • #3
      Great,
      Next thing we will have McDonald's wrappers all over the damn moon. [ sigh ]

      John S.
      .

      Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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      • #4
        Great,
        Next thing we will have McDonald's wrappers all over the damn moon. [ sigh ]

        John S.
        .

        Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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        • #5
          No the worse thing is we will find that Taco Bell has been there for 10 years and they stay open all night.

          Jerry

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          • #6
            Well of course Jerry!Taco Hell is almost always next to a Wal-Mart

            Actually I did fire off a nasty letter to Nasa the other day suggestiong that they had better get their arse in gear before we are the only memeber of 27 on the space staion that has no way of getting there.

            Did any of you see the article on the study done to see if the Appollo service module and capsule could be updated to hold more crew and be used as a ferry/lifeboat for the space station?They brought in a team of old heads who used paper,pencils and brains to do the design/cost study in record time.Breath f fresh air for a change.

            It seems as though Nasa is like TV ,they have runout of new ideas.
            I just need one more tool,just one!

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            • #7
              The head of NASA looks sort of sleazy.
              He wants to abandon the Hubble Telescope, All monies to go into The Mars (manned) mission.
              I think the 'scope does valuable work, and will for several years if maintained.
              (His offical statement was "duh, we have no way of getting to it")

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              • #8
                You can blame that on the findings of the folks who wrote the CAIB report. They basically told NASA that if it doesn't dock the shuttle with the ISS, it has to hae a way to inspect the orbitor and fix it while in orbit. The cost estimates for being able to do that, are running about what the Hubble cost to build.

                Frankly, I thik that they should take the risk. The odds of NASA having another fatal accident so soon after the Columbia are pretty slim.

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                • #9
                  Didn't realize that my link got screwed up in the OP. You can find the story here: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4907485/

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                  • #10
                    Tuckerfan,

                    Odds don't work that way. If you flip a coin ten times and get ten heads the odds of flipping heads the next time are still 50/50. The estimated odds of a loss of vehicle (read: crew) event are less than 100 to 1, possibly much less based on experience.

                    As far as our capability we have become completely paralyzed. The P51 Mustang was designed in 90 days. The SR71 went from original idea to flight test in about 500 days. The X15 flew into space (67 miles) repeatedly with a turn around time of a day or two 42 years ago. They could have refueled it and made two flights the same day. Now we have a prize for someone who can make it to 62.5 miles twice in a week. It's already been done, many times, on the cheap. WTF is wrong?
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                    • #11
                      WTF is wrong?I think total and complete lack of leadership in Nasa,that and they are doing to many things reguarding earth sciences and remote sensing.

                      I see letting Hubble go as a monsterous mistake,its practicaly the only thing we have that runs and works,letting it go would make as much sense as trading in a new car for an old one

                      Btw,you do know they have thier own Blackbird to play with?Wish I was so lucky
                      I just need one more tool,just one!

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                      • #12
                        Nasa has two SR71s, a SR71A and the SR71B trainer. Did you know that for reasons unknown the US government (Robert McNamara) ordered all of the SR71 jigs and tooling destroyed? Shades of the Avro Arrow. That is one of the reasons the USAF stood down the SR71. Replacement parts meant making new tooling.
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                        • #13
                          Wierd: EVERY govt agency sooner or later is run by people who are covering their rears. Only when taking risks is rewarded are risks acceptable.NASA seems to have become lost and lacks real goals. NASA had rather be an innovator or "scientist" than a Space Agency going into space.

                          Evan: Odds, in the real world, DO work as Tucker Fan says. The failure of a machine or man is NOT random in the way of a flipped coin. The in the real world, failure rate is the result of the probable failure rates of the individual components. Get rid of a marginal component and your odds may improve. Odds surely change right after an accident- maybe better or worse- probably for the better because marginal items are reason for not flying (it is easier to get forgiveness for inaction immediately after a few deaths than right before). Same thing playing poker- the odds of "getting a winning hand" dealt stay the same with each hand- but your chances of "winning" depend little on the hand dealt- the way the hands are played change as a players money is won or lost determines who pulls in the money. THe odds of comming back to earth depend on much more than the condition of the vehicle. Odds would have changed had the crew members KNOWN of the damage- better or worse? I make no statement there. A back up ship? No ideas of the worth other than as a way to deflect blame.

                          In games such as nasa (and other agencies) play, the men at risk are mostly pawns and men who would not risk a promotion much less their skin and hide tell others to "do it to it" while they (the men who would not take a risk), seek credit- even if (Lord, Forbid) the credit is standing in the same formation with a man who truly wins a medal. The first space explosion was the result of some one being afraid to say delay at risk of career harm. Conversely, the FIRST flights were the result of the same type men having the guts to say "the risks are acceptable (to those going) so the flight is safe enough to go"- promote me!!!!

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                          • #14
                            Wierd,

                            Sorry, but the odds do work as in flipping a coin. That's what they are, the odds or more accurately the probability of something happening. With the space shuttle NASA made the same kind of mistake that many make in calculating probabilities. They simply added them up to find the total probability of failure of the shuttle. That produced an initial estimate of one chance in around 10,000 of losing a shuttle. That was obviously wrong. It doesn't work that way. You need to multiply the odds of each item failing with all the rest. When NASA did this the odds dropped to around 1 in 100. Oops. All the talk about odds isn't really correct anyway as the chance of failure is calculated as MTBF, mean time between failures. MTBF is also badly understood as it is only the mean, not an average and is basically an educated guess since they never actually test the shuttle in flight conditions to failure, until Challenger that is. It also includes failures that happen as soon as the part is used. There is no meaningful way to calculate odds on a defective part since the chance of failure is 100%. Also, the situation is further complicated since you must calculate separately for items that represent a single point failure vs those with redundant backups.

                            [This message has been edited by Evan (edited 05-12-2004).]
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                            • #15
                              Oh BTW,my buddy that works where the tanks are built for the shuttle told me that the trouble with the foam sluffing off began when they changed to a "OZONE FRIENDLY" formula,same thing they did with the field joint sealant,real bright minds there.

                              Doc,yes I agree totally,I have said it before and have witnessed the exact behavior,too many indians and not enough chiefs at Nasa these days.Plus I don't think the media helps any either,we have stayed foucused too long on the accident,we have found the reason for it,but haven't fixed it,we are paralized by fear it seems.

                              I wasn't born yet,but my dad worked for Nasa at the time of the appllo disaster,from what he said they dropped back and punted with a new design and kept moving forward,lack of momentum and direction are the ailments I see.
                              I just need one more tool,just one!

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