The Next Frontier?

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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14 Responses

  1. Damon says:

    I think the shielding / radiation issues is greater than Musk thinks. But hey, it’s his cash, let him give it a shot.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Damon says:

      His cash, and other peoples’ lives.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Burt Likko says:

        As opposed to NASA, using our cash and other people’s lives?Report

      • Lyle in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Except that all the folks on the ships will be volunteers, and some folks have always wanted to take very hazardous journeys to see what is there. Consider folks who today decided to sail around the world as an example, or the folks on the Lewis and Clarke expedition into what was for white folks an unknown area. As long as the risks are made clear before leaving so the volunteers are able to give informed consent to their participation.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Damon says:

      He’s ignoring the serious risk — the “die horribly” bit — if a solar flare happens in transit. I mean enough water will fix it, but the fact that Musk doesn’t even think about it….

      (I mean on the surface? That’s fine. No domes, bury your habitat under a few feet of soil. There, radiation problems minimized. It’s not like you’re growing plants outdoors anyways.)

      His reusability projections are pretty insane (it’d be like Toyota trying to design a car by starting with “let’s assume we have a battery that can drive a car 3000 miles, is only as big as my fist, and recharges in 30 seconds”. Yes, that’d be AWESOME and you could design some freaking cool cars, but um…..let’s get back to that battery there, because it seems pretty pivotal and also the word ‘massive paradigm shift in batteries” comes to mind and really you can’t count on those happening because you need it for a cool car”)Report

  2. Francis says:

    Shouldn’t we try a mission to the Gobi Desert first?Report

      • J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Please don’t laugh:

        On Saturday I was hearing an NPR piece on a program here in Houston where NASA puts (apparently they’ve done this several times already) five people together in a closed environment in isolation from the outside world for thirty days, to study their social response and the psychological reactions to living together, without being able to get out, in anticipation to long haul flights.

        While I was hearing it all I could think of was that Big Brother has been doing this for close to 20 years, on much longer periods -exceeding 90 days in some cases- and why they don’t just go and study in detail the hundreds of thousands of hours of Big Brother video available, instead of being all giggly about their 30 days programs, where candidates came from all backgrounds, but had to be relatively young, physically fit, and ideally a mix of men and women (that is, exactly like Big Brother contestants)

        I guess Big Brother is popular trash TV, and NASA scientists have been trained towards a much higher plane of intellectual sensibility, and watching Big Brother feeds might cause them (the scientists) some spiritual breakdown or somethingReport

        • J_A in reply to J_A says:

          More seriously, the only difference I heard about between the NASA program and Big Brother, is that NASA participants had daily chores they were supposed to complete as part of the “mission”, whereas in Big Brother, besides the silly comps they have to engage in a couple of times a week, the boredom is the biggest stresser, when they don’t know sometimes if it’s day or night.

          Having said that, if your field of study is the psychology of groups isolated from the outside world stimuli, there’s thousands and thousands of hours of data available, collected in different countries along twenty years, of exactly that. There must be something useful there. It can’t all be trash TVReport

          • Francis in reply to J_A says:

            I thought that BB had an outside space, with a pool and such, while the NASA missions require the participants to suit up to go outdoors.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to J_A says:

          First off, there’d be a lot of confounding variables.

          Starting with the fact that each person is cast specifically to fill a role and lots of those roles are confrontational. People are also aware they are on TV, and acting to suit that. They’re also playing a competitive game that is personality driven.

          I’m not sure you’d get any useful data at all.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to J_A says:

          Big brother guests are interacting a lot with the production crew – for instance the diary room scenes are mostly them answering one leading question after another (when they’re not just given the answers)Report