Kerbal7

Science or Cool

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1 hour ago, 5thHorseman said:

The ISS gives multiple 1st World countries things to do in space that don't involve killing each other.

No humans involved here.

IS_anti_satellite_weapon.jpg

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17 hours ago, Kerbal7 said:

How has the International Space Station improved the life of the average slobbering sportsball fan? Joe Six-pack? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker?

ISS is excusing the whole human attitude.
If cancel ISS without a replacement, the galactic authorities may decide that the humans have degraded, then sterilize the planet and put it up for sale.

 

17 hours ago, Kerbal7 said:

Joe Six-pack doesn't travel to space so the long-term effects of space are irrelevant to him anyway. 

A six-pack needs crops. ISS helps to understand how raise their harvest.
So, more space = more beer.

***

Also, movies.
Without ISS how can you explain to the public what is Gravity and other space movies about, and why should they pay for tickets?
 

17 hours ago, Terwin said:

Cheap micro-sats deployed from the ISS as well as water quality and disaster monitoring would be harder to manage on earth.

The eye-tracking software that makes Lasic so much safer was developed to support the ISS.

Preventing bone-loss is relevant for osteoporosis patients(common in older men and women).

The robotic arm that was developed by Canada paved the way for surgical arms that can operate on previously inoperable tumors.

I also think many people here on earth benefit from the improved vaccines and breast cancer detection/treatment developed on the ISS.

All these are goods you can sell for money.
This would happen with or without the manned space existence. A billionaire would pay for a robotic arm for his surgeon, then get money selling it to others.

 

13 hours ago, tater said:

1. It was something to use Shuttle for, and Shuttle was the thing that was going to be used.

2. It kept post-Soviet Russians busy with cool space projects that was not teaching rogue states how to make missiles, and in the process created a useful working relationship between the 2 countries.

So, literally made of  "found lying by the side of the road" things.

 

11 hours ago, K^2 said:

Centrifuge habitat would be among these.

And as it is not, the ISS adds probably not very much to the Mir results.

I remember the enthusiastic articles in 1980s magazines about the flowers which successfully had grown and given seeds in space.
30 years later I have read same enthusiastic articles about the same but in ISS.

The same with the quails birth from the eggs in orbit. First in Mir, 30 years later in ISS. 

(One would await for giraffe breeding after 30 years of studies, but no.)

Two giant leaps for mankind...

 

9 hours ago, razark said:

"From" - ...
"When" - ...
"I" - ...
"The" - ...

"No! No! No! Help!!!" - Sandra Bullock.

9 hours ago, razark said:

Some benefits aren't measured with dollar signs.

 

Edited by kerbiloid

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3 hours ago, DDE said:

No humans involved here.

 

While true, the potential to do damage to nonhuman things with other nonhuman things isn't an argument against doing peaceful thing in space with humans of multiple countries.

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I think you're asking the wrong question.  Does the ISS improve the life of the kind of people who get into fights at sports games?  Probably not, but they don't really want their lives improved, do they.  One could definitely argue that dollar for dollar you can do more science in space if you leave humans out of it, and judging purely from that perspective, you'd be right.  I think the ISS will more than pay for itself, not because the US government got a direct return on the billions of dollars spent putting a bunch of station parts in orbit, but because of the inspiration and the almost unattainable goal the ISS and astronaut program provides to young children.  Does this fall under "cool"?  Maybe, but I would say that if a young kid grows up with the dream of becoming an astronaut, and spends their formative years getting the kind of skills and education such a vocation demands, even if they do not go to space, they will contribute greatly to the fields of science and engineering, simply because of the kind of person they will become.  You don't go through that kind of training for that long to become a slobbering sports fan, getting into fights at sportsball games.  I think the better question to ask is "Is the ISS significant to the scientific and technological future of humanity, and would science and technology be better or worse if it never existed?"

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@Thor Wotansen , I don't think many people find ISS inspiring, honestly (kids). My son is a huge rocket fan... he finds SpaceX inspiring, not ISS (even though SpaceX's ISS COTS contract is the reason they got to stay in existence). His POV is not at all atypical, I spend a lot of time with 12 year old boys (and my son's crowd of friends all ended up in "advanced math", they are as geeky as I was at that time in my life). Interestingly, SpaceX has gotten people interested without people being flown at all up to this point. I think the cameras and live footage from the vehicles are a large part of this, as are, quite honestly, the failures (mostly landing failures) they showed live. Another aspect that SpaceX has (this is all addressing the "cool" factor) is the iterative nature of their culture, and the fact that changes can be seen in manageable periods of time. Back in the day, during the Space Race, things happened quickly. In the same span of time that has elapsed since Shuttle was retired, NASA went from Mercury to humans orbiting the Moon. That was a timeline that people could actually hold interest for, and follow. Shuttle/ISS was static feeling for 20 years.

That teaches people that while Shuttle was routine (a good thing), nothing changed in 2 decades. Nothing new and interesting happened for 20 years.

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 @tater i think your kid and many other SpaceX fans like them now for frequent launches and their portrayal of flames, rocket power and the occasional crash, not to mention the promise of a Martian City they can inhabit when they are older. And if that inspires him thats cool and all. But i think soon the rapid pace of development will slow down for them too. (Unless you think they really have BFR anywhere close to flying soon) But i don't think they are the kind of people i was imagining. I had the older crowd in mind that is looking for directions in life and where to take their education. Not necessarily in the tech sector either.

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46 minutes ago, Canopus said:

 @tater i think your kid and many other SpaceX fans like them now for frequent launches and their portrayal of flames, rocket power and the occasional crash, not to mention the promise of a Martian City they can inhabit when they are older. And if that inspires him thats cool and all. But i think soon the rapid pace of development will slow down for them too. (Unless you think they really have BFR anywhere close to flying soon) But i don't think they are the kind of people i was imagining. I had the older crowd in mind that is looking for directions in life and where to take their education. Not necessarily in the tech sector either.

I think both groups like SpaceX, and I think it's certainly linked to the "you are along for the ride with us" type of coverage. We watch ALL rocket launches that happen when we're all home, and the kids are pretty "meh" on all but SpaceX. I don't push one vs the other, I'm excited for launches, period. My son sees the lack of an onboard camera, and says, "Boring." or "That animation doesn't look as good as KSP." When he was a little younger he asked when the Atlas booster we were watching would land. When I said it just crashes into the ocean, also, "Boring."

The landings as pretty motivating.

As for iterative change, and BFR, I fully expect to see it flying  before SLS ever has people on top.

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Building on what other folks have said in this thread, we can invert the topic: SpaceX and ULA are functionally sportsball teams.

Joe Sixpack's needs are served by being entertained. Fortunately he's frequently entertained by whatever he's told is entertaining. Get him to pay attention to the 10,000 m/s sportsballs, and the rest of us might get somewhere.

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^^^ran out of likes today.

Regarding sportsball teams, wait til Blue is flying, then things get interesting.

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10 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

I remember the enthusiastic articles in 1980s magazines about the flowers which successfully had grown and given seeds in space.
30 years later I have read same enthusiastic articles about the same but in ISS.

The same with the quails birth from the eggs in orbit. First in Mir, 30 years later in ISS. 

No joke. The lettuce-growing began on Salyut-6. And this is an unauthorized redeployment of an experimental Mir seed strain.

wx1080.jpg

Same with CELSS studies - the Biosphere was a joke, and it seems that modern experiments are miles behind what BIOS-3 pulled off in a basement in Krasnoyarsk.

And yes, those guys grew potatoes.

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2 hours ago, FleshJeb said:

Building on what other folks have said in this thread, we can invert the topic: SpaceX and ULA are functionally sportsball teams.

Certainly.  And that's what's driving the 'passion' many people have for 'space' - they're fanboys of the spectacle (or more accurately of the personality), not interested in space per se.  They literally don't care what's under the fairing, only that $BILLIONAIRE has DONE IT AGAIN!  Once the launch is over, they're off to fanboy over other things.

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3 minutes ago, DerekL1963 said:

Certainly.  And that's what's driving the 'passion' many people have for 'space' - they're fanboys of the spectacle (or more accurately of the personality), not interested in space per se.  They literally don't care what's under the fairing, only that $BILLIONAIRE has DONE IT AGAIN!  Once the launch is over, they're off to fanboy over other things.

That might be true for a set of such fans (maybe Tesla car people, etc), but I think for anyone with even a little actual interest in space, that's not really fair. My son and his friends love rockets, but they unquestioningly love SpaceX rockets more, mostly because the landings are so very cool, and also for the "ride along to space" footage. Virtually any rocket launch is more interesting when you get to experience the ride to space in real time (what's not to be excited about?). Imagine every Soyuz flight having HD real time of the Korolev Cross instead of canned footage, and crappy animation?

I think part is also innovating in real time. Seeing changes, and not knowing how it will turn out. Being transparent about your sometimes crazy next projects, then actually making them. We're gonna try and land... and they do. BOOM, BANG, almost, not quite, Nailed it! That's incredibly engaging.

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1 minute ago, Kerbal7 said:

Like if Malaysian food tastes better in zero-g. Now that is priceless "science. :lol:

Malaysian Food Sensory Evaluation in Zero-g

 

They're happy to try that one since apparently everything starts tasting really bland in zero-g. Astronauts have told me that they horde hot sauce packets for that reason.

I think that most ISS science that is useful is sort of circular. It's useful to know how to keep humans in space, so that we can keep humans in space. Minus the arbitrary requirement to put humans in space... there's no reason to care.

Again, I like human spaceflight, but it has no real purpose other than the cool factor...

except, and I tend to think that the following is in fact one of the "killer apps" of spaceflight: tourism. This is a tough business to take on, because to be broadly successful it needs to be vastly more affordable, and yet at the same time vastly safer. If those 2 factors can ever happen, then the number of people (and hence infrastructure) "needed" in space can be pretty large. Short of that, even manufacturing would be better done by teleoperated systems.

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17 hours ago, DDE said:

Did it? The flight durations are actually lower, especially with Western crews.

Duration isn't the only factor. The fact that we were, in fact, running crews from all over the world with all kinds of background and training is very valuable in the first place. But also what we were seeing from recovery times after various durations of stay. If we send a crew to Mars, they'll have to get up and work on arrival after 7 months in a tin can. In lower gravity, granted, but it's still going to be a huge hit. Simply going for the record on duration of orbital stay isn't the thing that gets you through it. And not everyone we'll want to send to Mars will have the kind of physical health that makes them capable of breaking any such records.

Mir had its own objectives. And I'd say, data gathered there is probably sufficient for the kind of manned Mars mission USSR would have considered when Mir was conceived. And this data was valuable all around. ISS added the kind of knowledge we wanted to have that's more applicable towards the sort of joint international or commercial Mars missions we're likely to actually see. Something a little bit less do-or-die, with more varied crew, and which requires greater safety margins all around. A lot of it we probably could have inferred from Mir data, but it's one thing to have a good guess on the effects, and another to know them with great certainty. There's a reason both USSR and USA sent animals into (sub)orbital flights before going for manned missions, despite nearly everything we gathered from these was easily predictable.

We needed ISS. We needed it to put certainty on a lot of good guesses. But we've also squandered a lot of opportunities due to endless budget cuts and the death of the Space Shuttle. We could have and should have gotten a lot more out of that station. Unfortunately, it's not something I expect to improve greatly, so what we got out of it will just have to be enough for now.

Edited by K^2

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7 hours ago, DDE said:

And yes, those guys grew potatoes.

Now I believe in the future of Mars.

5 hours ago, tater said:

They're happy to try that one since apparently everything starts tasting really bland in zero-g. Astronauts have told me that they horde hot sauce packets for that reason.

Why not just put them on a normal Mexican or Indian diet. For space it looks the best.

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21 hours ago, tater said:

 I don't think many people find ISS inspiring, honestly (kids).

 

Hardly anyone finds the ISS inspiring. People rarely, if ever, even acknowledge its existence. The ISS is as inspirational as a routine commercial airline flight to Denver. If the true value of human spaceflight is arousal of passions towards science, (and I believe it is) it's a colossal failure. The scientific value of the ISS is extremely dubious upon reflection of the enormous expense.

People living on the Moon or Mars would capture the imagination. Rovers crawling around the moons of Jupiter relaying breathtaking pictures would inspire. Going around in circles for the umpteenth time while growing bean sprouts and discovering mice float in zero-g is flat. And NASA's Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway isn't much better unless it includes occasional landings to the surface with plenty of live action video.

Imagine a real picture like this from a Europa rover. Now that would inspire.

 europa3.jpg

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15 minutes ago, Kerbal7 said:

Hardly anyone finds the ISS inspiring. People rarely, if ever, even acknowledge its existence.

I have to disagree. Somehow the US public support for spaceflight doesn’t seem to have dropped between 2011 and the rise of SpaceX and is broadly positive with regards to the ISS.

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/07/01/chapter-8-attitudes-on-space-issues/

Keep in mind that we’re dealing with utter normies: the same people who probably think that the ISS is around Pluto, that the Soyuz is a shuttle, and that SpaceX is a bigger space porgram than NASA. I’m not joking about the first one especially - very few realize how close LEO is.

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22 minutes ago, DDE said:

I have to disagree. Somehow the US public support for spaceflight doesn’t seem to have dropped between 2011 and the rise of SpaceX and is broadly positive with regards to the ISS.

 

Flights to the ISS and activities there are lucky if they get a mere 30 seconds on TV and buried in the newspaper. John Q. Public is completely tuned out having no idea what takes place there. "Something important." I wouldn't place much value in the survey you linked. You can get the results you want to surveys by how you ask the questions. "The ISS cost 150 billion dollars. Is it worth it when that money could have been used for better schools, feeding the hungry and homeless here at home?" What're the results of your survey going to show now?     

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1 hour ago, Kerbal7 said:

Hardly anyone finds the ISS inspiring. People rarely, if ever, even acknowledge its existence. The ISS is as inspirational as a routine commercial airline flight to Denver. If the true value of human spaceflight is arousal of passions towards science, (and I believe it is) it's a colossal failure. The scientific value of the ISS is extremely dubious upon reflection of the enormous expense.

Yeah, I agree here in principle, but there's also the unfortunate fact that ISS exists because of the nature of national and international politics, and I don't really see a realistic counterfactual where we would have done much of anything differently assuming the mere existence of Shuttle. I agree completely that the major point of human spaceflight is to inspire, however, and I think it's been pretty weak in that regard, though it's better than I imagined (given that PEW data @DDE shared).

 

1 hour ago, Kerbal7 said:

People living on the Moon or Mars would capture the imagination. Rovers crawling around the moons of Jupiter relaying breathtaking pictures would inspire. Going around in circles for the umpteenth time while growing bean sprouts and discovering mice float in zero-g is flat. And NASA's Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway isn't much better unless it includes occasional landings to the surface with plenty of live action video.

There won't be any crewed surface sorties for a long time, sadly. Gateway is a way to slow down getting to the surface, not a way to accelerate it, and SLS is too big for lesser missions, and too small to get anything with people to the Moon and back (meaning the surface).

 

1 hour ago, Kerbal7 said:

Imagine a real picture like this from a Europa rover. Now that would inspire.

I'd love to see that, but I love the Mars rovers, too. I think that robotic science missions should really consider adding more cameras, and/or better PR models (the farther out, the more data is a constraint, however. Hence stills from Jupiter, but video might be a thing from Mars, and certainly could be from the Moon. I think it needs to be live, and ideally video to really grab people. Maybe one of the CLPS landers can stream HD video as it lands.

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12 minutes ago, Kerbal7 said:

"The ISS cost 150 billion dollars. Is it worth it when that money could have been used for better schools, feeding the hungry and homeless here at home?" What're the results of your survey going to show now?     

To set the record absolutely straight, the 150 billion dollars spent on the ISS were simply not a waste. Now, if you ask me if the ISS was the best way for the space program to spend that money, I would say no. But the money is still not wasted. To respond to your comment about why the money couldn’t have been spent on welfare, well, yes, it certainly could have. However, if you give the space program 150 billion dollars to do whatever is they like with, the long term benefits for regular people in the next twenty years will be palpable, so much so, I would say, that is is a better investment than an immediate donation to welfare. Evidently, there is not the same immediate effect as using money for low tech applications like food donations, but if you think long term, and there is a historical trend for this, the space program develops technologies that help myriad people. Consider the significant advances in medical technologies due to the space program. Or  the development of efficient electrical technologies which can help to offset global warming and reduce the number of people killed by natural disasters. The development of habitat technologies for deep space missions can provide materials for cost effective shelter in underdeveloped nations, or the technology for growing crops in hydroponics bays can help towns with infertile soil grow enough food to feed their residents.

Long story short: the ISS was not the best use of the space programs money. However; that does not mean that the space program can and does have great benefits for all humans, and it only takes competent leadership to maximize that benefit.

 

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27 minutes ago, Kerbal7 said:

Flights to the ISS and activities there are lucky if they get a mere 30 seconds on TV and buried in the newspaper. John Q. Public is completely tuned out having no idea what takes place there. "Something important." I wouldn't place much value in the survey you linked. You can get the results you want to surveys by how you ask the questions. "The ISS cost 150 billion dollars. Is it worth it when that money could have been used for better schools, feeding the hungry and homeless here at home?" What're the results of your survey going to show now?     

It's certainly true that you can push polls via questioning. I generally think people assume NASA is doing something important unless shown otherwise. Movies tend to assume that NASA is pushing along (look at The Martian, or National Geo these days with Mars, even if NASA spends almost zero on anything pushing Mars mission TRLs).

 

3 minutes ago, Ozymandias_the_Goat said:

To set the record absolutely straight, the 150 billion dollars spent on the ISS were simply not a waste. Now, if you ask me if the ISS was the best way for the space program to spend that money, I would say no. But the money is still not wasted. To respond to your comment about why the money couldn’t have been spent on welfare, well, yes, it certainly could have. However, if you give the space program 150 billion dollars to do whatever is they like with, the long term benefits for regular people in the next twenty years will be palpable, so much so, I would say, that is is a better investment than an immediate donation to welfare. Evidently, there is not the same immediate effect as using money for low tech applications like food donations, but if you think long term, and there is a historical trend for this, the space program develops technologies that help myriad people. Consider the significant advances in medical technologies due to the space program. Or  the development of efficient electrical technologies which can help to offset global warming and reduce the number of people killed by natural disasters. The development of habitat technologies for deep space missions can provide materials for cost effective shelter in underdeveloped nations, or the technology for growing crops in hydroponics bays can help towns with infertile soil grow enough food to feed their residents.

Long story short: the ISS was not the best use of the space programs money. However; that does not mean that the space program can and does have great benefits for all humans, and it only takes competent leadership to maximize that benefit.

I frankly don't buy the idea that ISS work helps anyone in developed countries via tech changes. ISS hydroponics is nothing at all, there are terrestrial programs moving the ball there, ISS work isn't even noise. Any attempt to push ISS science as a positive RoI is a mistake, IMO, because all anyone needs to do to counter-argue is to either show that it would be done anyway (or is) sans microgravity, or that it could be done better minus the humans (most microgravity experiments are in fact confounded by the people aboard ISS).

I fully agree that there is no alternate history where the money is spent on something else, though. I also agree that it's a better investment, even if it's not as directly impacting on people as suggested.

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On 12/5/2018 at 5:30 AM, kerbiloid said:

All these are goods you can sell for money.
This would happen with or without the manned space existence. A billionaire would pay for a robotic arm for his surgeon, then get money selling it to others.

Sure, any billionaire who knew 30+ years ahead of time that he would be needing brain surgery for an otherwise inoperable tumor, AND that the robotic arm would actually work for that purpose.

Just like Velcro could easily have been invented without space-flight, except it never was...

There was a request for for the benefits provided by the ISS project and I listed some of them.

If you want to move the goal-posts to exclude technologies that could potentially have been backed/invented by a billionaire who has highly accurate information about the success, failure, utility, and need for a technology multiple decades into the future, then sure, compared to a billionaire with a time-machine, the ISS is a commercial failure.

But in the real-world, most of those technologies would not have been invented for decades, if ever.

In any case, the ISS is both a political tool(international cooperation), and an investment in the future.  In hind-sight it is entirely possible that we could have made better investments, but once again, the reality is that those investments would never have been made.

 

Probably 90%+ of the NASA budget is just an excuse for elected officials to throw money and jobs at their districts.  Without NASA the same money would have been thrown at the same districts but without the science benefits that NASA has been able to provide even with all the directives and conditions put onto their funding.

 

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