claim: space exploration tech is regressive.

Greylandra

Member
Hey just wondering if this can be debunked? This YT video is claiming that space exploration technology is regressive due to the fact that in the 1960's: the radiation from the van allen belts, the extreme temperatures on the moon, and the lunar dust were all delt with during the Apollo missions but are , today, a big problem for NASA'S current technology to deal with.
 

huwp

Member
In regards to radiation exposure and the Van Allen belts for the Apollo missions; the missions were relatively short (up to 10 days for the moon landings as compared to years for a mars mission), they took trajectories that would avoid the most intense exposure, they accepted risks that would not be acceptable today, and to a large extent they only found out what the radiation environment was like up there by going.

Here is a pretty good read that I'm not even going to attempt to summarise (apologies to the no click rule):
http://www.braeunig.us/apollo/VABraddose.htm

For Lunar dust - again, the missions were relatively short, and equipment was designed to withstand a certain amount of wear, but even so you can see heavy wear and dirt on the suits and gloves used in the missions. Wear that is acceptable during a 10-day mission becomes a big problem for longer missions.
 

Greylandra

Member
In regards to radiation exposure and the Van Allen belts for the Apollo missions; the missions were relatively short (up to 10 days for the moon landings as compared to years for a mars mission), they took trajectories that would avoid the most intense exposure, they accepted risks that would not be acceptable today, and to a large extent they only found out what the radiation environment was like up there by going.

Here is a pretty good read that I'm not even going to attempt to summarise (apologies to the no click rule):
http://www.braeunig.us/apollo/VABraddose.htm

For Lunar dust - again, the missions were relatively short, and equipment was designed to withstand a certain amount of wear, but even so you can see heavy wear and dirt on the suits and gloves used in the missions. Wear that is acceptable during a 10-day mission becomes a big problem for longer missions.
good stuff... and the 250 degree temperature swings?
 

huwp

Member
good stuff... and the 250 degree temperature swings?
Basically the same argument, that they planned to take advantage of the short mission time. All the Apollo missions landed close to the dark/light terminator after lunar dawn to minimise thermal exposure, and were only a few (earth) days so the exposure didn't change much in that time (the moon day is 28 earth days long). Longer missions would have to deal with greater challenges.

And with all of this is the fact that NASA today works on a tiny tiny fraction of the budget that Apollo had. We could easily repeat Apollo and more today if there was political appetite to grant the necessary money.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think the key point here is that these are all still problems. So you have to deal with them one way or another. How you deal with them depends on your budget, your overall goals, and on the technology available.

Consider as an analogy the problems of quickly crossing the Atlantic in a boat. There are problems of navigation, of withstanding storms, of having sufficient fuel, of having sufficient food and water, and of cost. These were all "solved" with packet ships in the 1800s, then again with Paddle ships, then steam ships of increasingly large size (in the goal was transporting passengers and freight).

For decades the speed record was hold by these large steam ships, culminating with the 990 foot long SS United States which in 1952 crossed the Atlantic westbound in 3 days, 10 hours, 40 minutes Then in 1986 Richard Branson solved all the problems in a different way with a 72 foot boat (Virgin Atlantic Challenger II), shaving two hours off that time.

The SS United States "Solved" the Van Allen belt of the seas (floating debris) by having a thick strong hull. The challenger had a thin hull and "solved" it by attempting to detect the debris and steer around it - and also by accepting considerably more risk than than a passenger boat would.

So solving a problem means solving it in one set of goals and circumstances. It does not solve it for all goals and circumstances.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member
Look what has happened since Apollo: permanently manned space stations, probes leaving the solar system, landers (and robot rovers) on Mars and the moons of the outer planets and comets, orbiting and fly past probes to all of the major planets and lot of minor ones... All using technology that surpasses that on the moon project.

The goals have changed, in the 60's it was about NASA beating the Soviets to the moon. Since then priorities, both politically and scientifically have changed. So the moonshot tech is a bit outdated these days and lagging behind in development, but could that same 60's tech have sent New Horizons to Pluto or landed Huygens on Titan?

As mentioned above, there is a culture of less risk taking as well now. The shuttle disasters proved that dead spacemen do not make for good publicity, so until better tech for dealing with radiation levels and temperature extremes over prolonged periods, we are not going to see any more manned moon missions in the near future, unless the Chinese or Indians do one in the cause of a bit of nationalistic show-boating.

Also consider that manned moon missions these days are going to be very expensive, and robots and orbiters come in cheaper and don't run the dead space-man risk.

I do think that a return to the moon will happen at some-point, but it will be in the long term rather than in the next few years.
 
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mm1145

Member
Also consider that manned moon missions these days are going to be very expensive, and robots and orbiters come in cheaper and don't run the dead space-man risk.
there is a terry pratchett quote from strata "sending a man into space is expensive it is cheaper if you do not arrange for him to come back"

what makes manned space exploration so expensive is you have to bring them back to earth probes we can fire off and abandon them. reduces the cost considerable.
 
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