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If NASA had more funding...

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Why would you want to waste actual payload weight by carrying wings all the way to other moons or planets?


- They are damn expensive to build.

- They are damn expensive to maintain.

- They would have nothing to do.

I know. That's why I don't support it.

We need to build a vessel that is built in space, and is supposed to STAY in space. Not more capsules and spaceplanes.

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I'd want NASA to strengthen it's planetary science missions by putting orbiters around a few of the most interesting outer-planetary moons: Titan, Europa, Io, Enceladus, Ganymede, Oberon and Triton.

I'd like to see a rover on Venus, the Moon, and Io, and a rover or plane on Titan.

I'd like to see newer, tougher atmospheric probes dropped into all 4 gas giants.

I'd also like to see them massively increase the data throughput of their deep space network to the point where we can have multiple high-definition color video streams coming from landers and orbiters around the solar system.

Edited by nhnifong
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Venus lander is pretty well impossible since even if you could make the physical structure of it able to survive the pressure and heat getting the electronics to do the same isn't happening. Best we can do with currently understood technology is land something there and have it beam back stuff for a few minutes before it fries.

I would like more things around the 'interesting' things in the solar system too, but I'm not sure how the radiation belt would agree with hte idea of stuff in orbit around Jupiter. Someone that actually knows such things able to help out here?


Focus on figuring out how to deal with long term habitability in space (using centrafuges/rotational based fake gravity, hydroponic grown foods, etc)

Go to Mars (because it has a ton of water locked away and c'mon we've been wanting to go since before nasa existed.)

Get a bigger better space station made using inflatable materials (Those are viable aren't they?) That'd give you more space and segments don't have to be metal tubes.

Lunar Observatory at the south pole. Manned, unmanned Doesn't matter. Even if it's unmanned but has the facilities for humans to go there 'just in case we need to make repairs' or as a space tourism package would be nice. Plus I'm sure construction, dialing everything in, and all will take awhile. It'd be easier to send four or five guys up there then just send stuff on auto pilot right?

Have we done a cost analysis of mining asteroids? IE take those near earth 'doomsday' rocks, nudge them a bit so they're in orbit, and pick them clean of useable resources.

Speaking of. Increase the 'find bigass rocks that will kill us' budget.

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I say we build a rocket factory on the moon, if we can turn moon rocks into rockets and rocket fuel, the only thing Nasa will need a budget for is Earth-work.

Then, once we have our moon base, we go to Titan, and build our colony there.

And then, after that, from our Titan base, we perform Randall Munroe's Oberth Kuiper Maneuver!



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If NASA had more funding, I would be very happy. They should send men (and women) to Mars and back, make a permanent base on the Moon, and create a 100% reusable spacecraft. That would make me very happy. Oh, and I plan to be in Mission Control when this happens. :D

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First I say nix NASA altogether and create a world space agency where the entire worlds countries cooperate in space exploration, then build some sort of space construction yard. With the yard in orbit we no longer have to worry about how big or massive the craft is except for thrust, fuel, and life support concerns. We would only need to transport pieces and fuel into orbit. In the long run it would probably be cheaper because we could take our time constructing spacecraft, we wouldn't need to throw gobs of money at it all at once, it wont be going anywhere soon, so why hurry. It would also create jobs, probably dangerous ones, but jobs none the less. Only big concern I can see here is materials, we would probably have to find ways to mine other bodies in the system so we wouldn't exhaust our own planets resources too quickly.

On a side note, I thought the Alcubierre Drive theory was proven to be viable, we just don't have the tech to create the "Warp bubble" as they call it. That does not make it impossible just untestable at this time, in other words it can't be proven to be impossible or possible yet until we create the tech to test it. So far its been the best theory iv seen for a faster than light travel system, everybody else just sits around saying FTL is impossible don't even try. If we thought that way in the early days of rocketry we would never have gotten to space.

"Anything with mass can NOT reach the speed of light." This is an untested theory by the way, a very good one, but still untested. Just like the Alcubierre drive theory. Humans need to stop saying impossible unless they are trying to create a challenge to defeat or circumvent that impossibility. History is full of defeated impossibilities, you’d think we would learn.

Edited by Savage117
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In my opinion NASA's problem is not funding, it is unfortunately something more fundamental: American political culture. In the early years the space program was a soft-power spin-off of the billions being poured into ICBM development, which during the cold war was far more critical to the nation's national security (for both the USSR and the USA). Most politicians pragmatically saw the space program as a platform for nationalistic prestige, by counting coup against the superpower foe, rather than the more humanistic causes such as science and progress. The modern manned space program is mostly a vestigial hold over from that earlier age. The hardware and the infrastructure still exists but the earlier driving force has mostly evaporated, and I suspect that by the time China starts to seriously threaten the US's lead, the country will not be capable of competing in the way it did during the cold war space race. While there are obviously some politicians who are on the level, and have a genuine interest in space for its own sake (Presidents Reagan, G. H. W. Bush, and Obama all spring to mind) but the executive branch institutionally still tends to see the manned space program as a vehicle for national pride, and for international cooperation, whereas the legislative branch tends to see it as just a source of federal spending in their districts. It doesn't take much analysis of voting patterns in the US Congress to see that the legislative supporters of the space program are for the most part the same as those who have big NASA, or corporate aerospace interests in their districts.

In an idealized would where NASA is left to it's own devices I think that they would find some incremental path towards their long term goals. This seems to me to be a thread in much of their space planning: in the late 60's they were clearly optimistic that the space shuttle, for instance, would be the tool to build a more permanent and sustainable space infrastructure than was possible with the Apollo modality (ironically, we would probably be doing better today had we just continued to incrementally evolve the Saturn architecture, rather than trying to build a rapidly reusable space plane using 1970's technology).

SLS hypothetically will have matchless capability, but that all seems wasted if NASA can only afford to fly one every other year, let alone develop any interesting payloads that even require an HLV of that terrific magnitude. SLS is largely a rocket without a specific mission, and the reason Congress is pushing it is precisely because it is big and expensive to develop. It is also the reason why Congress has fought more sensible, incremental and inexpensive alternatives (from their point of view those thing would be missing the point).

I would prefer to see a long term space strategy based on steady, incremental progress, with an emphasis given to technology development such as:

  • Closed-loop life support systems
  • Light-weight and robust EVA systems
  • Mitigation of radiation and micro-gravity problems related to long term human health in space
  • Robotic precursors, and ISRU propellants
  • High specific power solar systems or space rated nuclear electric reactors of a standardized design
  • Nuclear Thermal Rockets
  • Low cryogenic boil-off and in-space propellant transfer technologies needed for propellant depots
  • Advanced aeroshells (inflatable or otherwise), ballutes and supersonic-retro-propulsion for aerocapture, reentry and landing.
  • Inflatable habitats
  • Automated rendezvous and docking for robotic spacetugs (for instance for large scale clean up of orbital debris)

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I'd say they should build a space elevator (or two). Launch a spacecraft tethered to the earth up to geostationary orbit, and secure it with scaffolding. apparently it would only cost about $14,000,000,000 to make one, and the cost of sending stuff to space would become $5 a pound or something like that.

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I would like them - or anyone else, reallly - to focus on cheaper, more accessible launches to LEO. Once we have infrastructure in place to send objects and people into orbit at a fraction of the current cost, private companies will start popping up doing all sorts of interesting things. But at the moment, it's just too expensive to send anything other than probes, satellites, Soyuz capsules, and the occasional interplanetary rover. In my opinion this should be the first step towards making space a part of everyone's daily life, which is important to promote a sense of modernity and progress and making space exploration relevant again other than as the object of nationalistic pride it currently appears to be.

But what do I know :P

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I think that nasa should try harder to find more advanced radiation shielding, as current radiation protection is not very good at coping with the high energy radiation in space; cosmic rays and such. Im pretty sure people are already working on that, but it is really an important step in the road to manned interplanetary missions. It doesn't matter if we can build rockets big enough to get men to and from another planet, if they will all die from some radiation induced illness, ie radiation poisoning, or cancer or whatnot. And this technology wouldn't only be useful in space, it would be useful everywhere.

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Wouldn't carbon nano-tubes do the trick?

hard radiation doesn't get slowed down by carbon at all, it doesn't even notice it's there.

It'll stop alpha particles, but so will the jumpsuits the crews will be wearing, and the thermal insulation of the spacecraft.

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All I know is that my teacher is letting me watch the MAVEN launch in class Monday. Godspeed MAVEN.

Also I think that with the FalconX Heavy due to be available soon, that the task of LEO missions will fall into the hands of companies like SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic.

Most launches have contracted to private operators for decades. There is no fundamental difference between SpaceX and ULA.

And Virgin isn't going to LEO anytime soon.

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How about a sundive? I'm sure we might learn a bit more about what the Sun is made of. Or perhaps they could afford to contract Squad to make a version of KSP with even more realistic physics, parts, and control compatability, so that they could run it on their supercomputers, and the pilots who are "test flying" vessels there could brag about their KSP rig.

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Perhaps put money into a SSTO vehicle.

SSTO is pointless.

What's important is the operational requirements, not the number of stages. You probably mean a reusable vehicle, but a reusable multi-stage vehicle has a much better payload fraction, and is easier to achieve, than a single-stage to orbit.

And don't even get me started on the stupidity of carrying wings all the way to orbit and back.

However, reusable is only economical if you have a high launch rate. A high launch rate requires a viable commercial business model and there isn't one yet because we haven't yet done the exploration and science to find out if there is a viable commercial business model.

A reusable will always be more expensive to build than a cheap disposable vehicle. But if you want an expensive vehicle, you won't have the money to develop payloads for the vehicle in parallel, so you end up with a Space Shuttle that has nowhere to go and no money to build a Space Station. Been there, done that, and going the same route with SLS.

Edited by Nibb31
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If NASA got more funding it should spend it on the search for ET / the search for habitable locations. This will be the next big leap that humankind has to make, the realisation that we are not alone. That we are not special.

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If NASA got more funding it should spend it on the search for ET / the search for habitable locations. This will be the next big leap that humankind has to make, the realisation that we are not alone. That we are not special.

Out of the scope of NASA. Their job is to do practical spaceflight R&D and exploration, not science fiction. There are no habitable locations in this solar system, and nobody is going interstellar within this century, so it's better to concentrate on achievable goals.

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What I would do?

Bring back the g'ol Ares I (And modify it with liquid bioosters), and replace the Ares V with the SLS Blocks. Slow down funding to Earth science, and vastly increase funding for planetary science and Commerical Crew. Utilize the last stage of the SLS as a wet-workshop, and dock three of these "SLS Skylabs" at EML2, a plan that has been already suggested. One will serve as a labatory/workshop, the other will serve as living quarters, the other as a hangar for the Orion MPCV, which will now dock by being towed into the hangar by a Canadarm arm that goes through after the hangar opens it's airlock. After being towed into the hangar, the craft will be tethered to the sides of the hanger, the solar panels will fold up, and it will sit there, waiting to refuel, as the airlock closes and presurrizes, and the astronauts can now once again check their vehicle in a shirt-sleeves enviroment.

Use the Ares I for LEO operations, and once again use the Orion MPCV as a craft going to the ISS, and later, as a "booster" that will take Orion to orbit where it will dock with the other mission components (As in Project Constellation). Announce the goal of a Mars landing before 2033, and a base before 2035, and then proceed to dump money into a two part expedition (Part one is landed in a area deemed suitable for a base, part two lands in the same area and sets up shop). Carry on with the Asteroid Redirect Mission..

Here's a timeline, just so you know.

2014- Orion Flight Test

2015- Manned Orion flight on Ares I. Orion then used on orbital ISS mission.

2016- SLS completed and sent on test launch. In order to fund a program to purchase more SLS, Orbital missions to the ISS are halted for a brief period.

2017- The first SLS wet workshop arrives at EML2. The outpost is fully constructed by 2018.

2018- EML-2 outpost built. First manned Orion Mission arrives here.

2019-2021- Orion lunar flyby missions, along with the ARM mission.

2025-2033- Mars landing

2030-2035- Mars base

Edited by NASAFanboy
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