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Accelerated Evolution

Space/ Astronomy thread


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So I have recently in the past year gained a huge interest in astronomy and space in general. I find it fascinating how minuscule we are in the grand scheme of things. I am also saddened that I was born to early to see space colonizing.

So basically post anything about space/ astronomy you find interesting. Post links you think are awesome, epic pictures, stargazing tips etc.

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darkshadows_cassini_big.jpg Explanation: What's creating those dark bands on Saturn? Sometimes it takes a little sleuthing to figure out the how and why of a picture taken by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft. Let's see. That large orb on the left must be Saturn itself. Those arcs on the right are surely the rings. The dark band running diagonally must be the shadow of Saturn on the rings. That leaves the unusual dark bands superposed on Saturn's disk -- are they the shadows of the rings? A punctilious detective would conclude that they are not. If one looks carefully, the rings arc from behind the planet on the lower left, around to the right, and therefore must pass on the camera side of the planet on the upper left. So the rings themselves cause the dark streaks on Saturn. These rings segments appear dark because they are in the shadow of Saturn. The night part of Saturn shows a faint glow because of sunlight reflected from other parts of the rings. Got it? Unfortunately, if it weren't for the tile floor, tomorrow's picture would be even harder to understand.
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i had a huge nerdgasm when I got the NASA app on my iphone :mario:

Space is soooo fucking cool!

I love camping, but my favorite part by far is stargazing. I like living in the city but there's so much light pollution you can never see any stars! And it's cloudy a lot in the NW, haha... But when you go out camping and it gets legitimately dark, there's nothing better than seeing all the thousands of stars in the sky. It's really a trip.

I'm, of course, a lifelong scifi fan so I know what you mean about space colonization, haha. But, take solace in the fact that we actually live in a society advanced enough to actually send humans into space! At least modern astronomy lets us know about all the awesome shit going on in space, even if we can't go there or directly experience it, haha.

When I was like 12 and on a road trip in Alberta (waaaay north in Alberta) I saw the Northern Lights! Shit was so cash! I mean it's not really astronomy but it's related!

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When I was like 12 and on a road trip in Alberta (waaaay north in Alberta) I saw the Northern Lights! Shit was so cash! I mean it's not really astronomy but it's related!

you were probably around where i live now. I live in Fort Mcmurray which is pretty far north in Alberta. I havent been here for a full winter yet, but i hear in the winter there are all sorts of Northern Lights . Red Green Purple. Actually just last night there was some green ones but they were very faint.

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you were probably around where i live now. I live in Fort Mcmurray which is pretty far north in Alberta. I havent been here for a full winter yet, but i hear in the winter there are all sorts of Northern Lights . Red Green Purple. Actually just last night there was some green ones but they were very faint.

Holy shit man you're way the hell up there! What brought you so far north, that's kinda awesome. I'd love to go that far north again sometime. It's really awesome. Like, north America is such a ridiculously huge continent. Canada is the second biggest country in the world! And most of it is epic. fucking. forests and mountains. Truly we live on the finest continent.

That was all off topic. On topic: is anyone else sad/mad they're ending the space shuttle program?

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yeah, Im sorta bummed about it, regardless of how old and outdated the shuttles are at this point. They were the spaceship of my childhood, it's sad to see them go.

But, I mean, they were designed to run for longer? It just seems silly. I wish NASA got more federal funding... it's one of the only parts of the federal budget I'm in favor of increasing.

I'm also a bit miffed that we're relying on THE RUSSIANS to carry us into space, but like the cold war is over and yay international cooperation or whatever. I'm just sayin.

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But, I mean, they were designed to run for longer? It just seems silly. I wish NASA got more federal funding... it's one of the only parts of the federal budget I'm in favor of increasing.

I'm also a bit miffed that we're relying on THE RUSSIANS to carry us into space, but like the cold war is over and yay international cooperation or whatever. I'm just sayin.

The Soyuz capsule was (is) such a piece of crap, thats why Im upset about it. The shuttle outclasses it in pretty much every way (except payload weight when it comes to the cargo-only Soyuz capsule).

While they may have been designed to run longer than they have, they are SEVERELY out of date at this point, and refitting them to be up to current day specs would be a design nightmare. The entire shuttle would have to be gutted and rebuilt from the ground up. They already did that to build Endeavour, and after the Columbia disaster the design of the heat shield has been scrutinized both by NASA and the general public. NASA wants something far more advanced, bigger and tougher than the shuttle. sadly they only get sub-1% of the US budget since the 90s :/

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Yeah, it's like people need there to be a space race to care about it. The space race was bullshit, I mean I'm glad it galvanized people into going into space. But still... it's not about nationalist posturing. It's about exploring the final frontier!

Seriously. The man who put it best is this man here:

More people need to watch Cosmos and listen to what Sagan has said. Dude really was a genius and the man.

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The Soyuz capsule was (is) such a piece of crap, thats why Im upset about it. The shuttle outclasses it in pretty much every way (except payload weight when it comes to the cargo-only Soyuz capsule).

And launch cost. The simple fact is when you break it down Soyuz crafts are capable of more dollar to dollar. A hell of a lot more. On a total functional level the design was behind the shuttle concept, but from a sustainability stand point its so far ahead it's not even funny. If NASA had been using a similar launch system and craft for the last thirty years they could have quadrupled launches and still come in substantially under budget.

The shuttle was too grandiose. Its design was not scrutinized thoroughly enough against the long term goals of the agency. Had anyone stopped to think "What if we fall behind on the X33 and/or Constellation projects? What if they get cancelled?" you would have seen something very different from the Shuttle.

It's worth noting that the Orion spacecraft actually bears a number of strong similarities to the Soyuz program.

While they may have been designed to run longer than they have

The shuttle was meant to be replaced around this year, but both projects meant to offer up its replacement were cancelled. The X33 in 2001, and any technologies related to the Constellation program this year.

sadly they only get sub-1% of the US budget since the 90s :/

Part of that's due to public disinterest and part of it's due to the fact that the technology NASA is developing has simply moved past practical Earth-based applications. in the 50's and 60's Nasa pumped out technology on pretty much a weekly basis that revolutionized American goods, services, and production capabilities.

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And launch cost. The simple fact is when you break it down Soyuz crafts are capable of more dollar to dollar. A hell of a lot more. On a total functional level the design was behind the shuttle concept, but from a sustainability stand point its so far ahead it's not even funny. If NASA had been using a similar launch system and craft for the last thirty years they could have quadrupled launches and still come in substantially under budget.

The shuttle was too grandiose. Its design was not scrutinized thoroughly enough against the long term goals of the agency. Had anyone stopped to think "What if we fall behind on the X33 and/or Constellation projects? What if they get cancelled?" you would have seen something very different from the Shuttle.

It's worth noting that the Orion spacecraft actually bears a number of strong similarities to the Soyuz program.

I know this. Yes it is cheaper, but nowhere near as well designed as the shuttle is, nor is it anywhere near as flexible on the fly. Also it can't dock half the time. That's a problem.

The shuttle was meant to be replaced around this year, but both projects meant to offer up its replacement were cancelled. The X33 in 2001, and any technologies related to the Constellation program this year.

Sadly. There are a few other spacecraft that NASA and partners have designed and are testing. The Orion (originally part of constellation), Dream Chaser, SpaceX Dragon and the Delta IV Heavy. It's not like all work on spaceflight have ceased completely from NASA.

Part of that's due to public disinterest and part of it's due to the fact that the technology NASA is developing has simply moved past practical Earth-based applications. in the 50's and 60's Nasa pumped out technology on pretty much a weekly basis that revolutionized American goods, services, and production capabilities.

Sadly yes, regardless of the type of technology they produce it all has its applications somewhere on earth for some purpose. There's a difference between whether it's applicable now, or down the road in the future. Regardless, that doesn't change that fact that they get <1% of the US budget when...say...the DoD gets 18.74%.

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I actually wrote a pretty big post on my tumblr awhile back about space. But since I don't use tumblr I'm just gonna repost it here so you all might read it.

spoilered so the people who hate me for my freedom won't get crabby about having to scroll past it.

The Space Race

I’ve been thinking lately about the history of the space race. To my mind, it was really the main positive benefit of the Cold War (though, if both sides hadn’t been investing so much money into defense, I believe space exploration could have started sooner).

I think the most interesting part about the space race is that after all the drama to rush to the moon in 1969, we (by which I mean, no humans, or even human-designed robots) haven’t been back there since 1976.

Now, I’ve read science fiction from a very young age. I’ve always enjoyed the thought that humans could fly between the stars. When I was a kid I idolized various famous explorers of history, (though in later years I’d find out how racist they were). But, to me, the exploration of space has always been a supremely appealing idea. I remember when I was young I would get really mad that I had to live in what I thought of as a transitional period — we could go to space, but we weren’t, at least not en masse. And I was aware from a young age that I was not exactly astronaut material. Basically, I was pissed that my descendants would get to go into space but I wasn’t.

What I’ve found to be the case, upon becoming an adult, is that most adults don’t really give a crap about space. Which is pretty disappointing. I suppose this is what people mean by “growing old and getting your dreams crushed,” “I’ve been safariin’ since before you were born,” and other such platitudes. But, as I mentioned, I never really thought I would get to go to space. So while my dreams were crushed, my expectations were essentially met.

And that’s something I’ve found to be true of most genres of science fiction — interesting, fun, but ultimately unrealistic. But then when I got to high school and discovered cyberpunk, I suddenly realized: here was a brand of literature that talked to me! It wasn’t one based on the dreams of some scientist; rather, it was based on the fears of the late 80’s/early 90’s counterculture. They envisioned a bleak future where life was dominated by corporations, who through technological and legal developments had come to control even the minutiae of the average citizen’s life. They were afraid of the erosion of civil liberties, and the disappearance of privacy in the face of advanced surveillance technology. And they were worried that in the near future we’d “only” be building colonies on the moon and in space stations.

Well, to me it seems life, now, is even more bleak than that. We’ve got the surveillance, but none of the fun, 90’s hacker movie ways of getting around it. We’ve got the corporations, but none of the anarchist spirit that resisted them. When I was first introduced to cyberpunk was right around the signing of the Patriot Act, and at that young age I was sufficiently politicized to understand it. I was scared for my future.

But, most tragically, we haven’t built anything on the moon. Our society, as one, walked to the brink of space, looked out into the vastnesses of the cosmos, and for a little while happily embraced the desire to be part of something more. But then we went back inside and turned the TV back on.

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