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raybond
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NEW DELHI—On Tuesday, India's space agency will launch a spacecraft designed to boldly go where no Asian nation has gone before

Soldiers stood guard in Sriharikota last week next to the launch vehicle to be used Tuesday when India aims to send its first spacecraft to Mars. Associated Press

The mission, if successful, would be a technological leap that would propel India ahead of space rivals China and Japan in the field of interplanetary exploration.

It will take more than 10 months for India's Mars satellite, equipped with instruments that can examine the surface of the Red Planet from above, to reach Martian orbit and begin beaming information back to Earth.

"This is a major turning point in our space program--towards exploration," said Koppillil Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, the country's civilian space agency. It will bring "technological advantage for the country."

Decades after the U.S. and Soviet Union battled for supremacy in space during the Cold War, Asian powers have embarked on their own space race—a contest with political, military and technical ramifications here on Earth.

In recent years, Japan, China and India—in cooperation with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration—have put satellites into lunar orbit. China has also put astronauts into Earth orbit and conducted spacewalks.

India spends 68 billion rupees ($1.1 billion) a year on its space program and has 20 satellites in orbit for communication and remote sensing.

Critics argue that a country where more than 350 million people live on less than $1.25 a day and where a third of the population lacks access to electricity should be focused more on terrestrial problems.

"The bread or gun argument" is real for India, said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, a space-security expert at the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi think tank. "But India doesn't live in a benign neighborhood."

Ms. Rajagopalan said that while India is focused on peaceful use of outer space, "this is the background against which the Mars mission is taking place. There is a sort of arms race," especially since China in 2007 successfully tested an antisatellite missile.

In August, India launched its first dedicated military satellite for naval intelligence gathering, amid mounting concerns about the Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

Boosters also point to the civilian benefits of the space program, such as improved meteorological forecasting, which prompted the government to evacuate 1 million people from areas along the southeast coast before a major cyclone last month—a move credited with saving thousands of lives.

India's Mars satellite, dubbed Mangalyaan, or Mars craft in Hindi, is scheduled to reach Martian orbit on Sept. 24 after a journey of 422 million miles. If it makes it, it will join two rovers and two orbiters belonging to NASA and a European satellite already exploring Mars.

China's 2011 attempt with Russia to send the Yinghuo-1 satellite to Mars failed after the Russian rocket carrying it was unable to leave Earth orbit. A Japanese 2003 mission to Mars was unable to place a satellite into Martian orbit.

China's National Space Science Center has been quoted in Chinese media as saying that it won't attempt another voyage to Mars until at least 2016.

India's Mars mission, with a budget of $73 million, is far cheaper than comparable missions including NASA's $671 million Maven satellite that is expected to set off for Mars later in November. The program was approved by the government in 2012.

"Our previous experience has helped a lot," said Deviprasad Karnik, spokesman for the Indian Space Research Organisation. "We had an indigenous space craft bus already available from our moon mission and the design [for the satellite] was already available so we could do it quickly."

Ram Jakhu, a professor at the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University in Canada, said the space contest among India, China and Japan was different from the U.S.-Soviet race, because "to some extent it's about a rush for natural resources." He said India's Mars mission "is a signal to the world about equality and efforts and capabilities to look for resources."

If India were to land upon a major deposit of titanium, for instance, during future missions, it would be a boost to the economy, he said. "India and China want to be major world players and feed their huge populations so they need natural resources."

Write to Joanna Sugden at joanna.sugden@wsj.com


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NR
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I'm very excited about all the interest in Mars as of late. I am pleased that other nations besides the US have taken up the gauntlet when it comes to space exploration. The potential future survival of the human race resting on the political whims of one or maybe two countries makes me nervous.

Have you read anything about the "Inspiration Mars project "?

http://www.space.com/23678-inspiration-mars-manned-mission-deadline.html

Over 20,000 people have signed for a chance at a one way ticket to Mars. I'd sign up but my wife and child wouldn't be coming with me, so I have reason enough to stay here on good(?) ole Earth.

In much the same way that Europeans left for the new world to be free of political and religious oppression, I suspect that one day Earth will see the same kind of exodus, once it's proven feasible for mankind to live elsewhere. The good news is, it looks like the worst "heathens" we may have to destroy to in order to do so will be of the microbe variety.

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glassman
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humans are not going to be living outside the magnetosphere in the forseeable future.

it's one of the basic question we haven't answered yet.

Mars has no magnetosphere so even if we can live long enough outside earths magnetospher to get there? we won't survive there for very long...

the sun puts out so much radiation that we have no simple answer to the problem and no solution is in publication or close to publication yet...


here's an artists rendering of the issue:

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NR
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It's not an impossible problem to overcome Glass... Just a matter of shielding really. This could be done with thick metals, or metals known to shield against radiation, magnets, or by moving the habitable areas underground. IMO, the last of the three options is the most realistic and will be utilized first.

http://www.universetoday.com/12593/scientists-design-ion-shield-to-protect-astro nauts-from-solar-wind-radiation/

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2012/12/ancient-cavern-systems-of-mars-pote ntial-exobiological-habitats.html

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NR
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In fact, according to the latest measurements coming back from Curiosity, scientists consider the amount of radiation astronauts would receive on Mars is manageable. Of course, this isn't referring to long term residents or during extreme solar storms.

http://news.discovery.com/space/mars-radiation-risk-manageable-for-human-mission s-131209.htm

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glassman
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no solar storms is a hard one to actaully get tho.

mars has some CO2 atmo and that helps too..
solar activity and a lack of magnetosphere is the prevailing theroy on what ablated mars' water and atmo...
we've also learned that solar flares are preceded 36 hours by some unexplained phenomana that slow down radioactive decay, this discovery could help us predict deadly solar flares;

http://io9.com/5619954/the-sun-is-changing-the-rate-of-radioactive-decay-and-bre aking-the-rules-of-chemistry

the last figures i saw was that 3 to 7 inches of aluminum plate will be required to be safe duirng solar flares depending on their duration and intensity. they happen alot, but they don't happen alot in a direction that affects us....

what we despeartely need is not metal plate armour, but some sort of lightweight portable magnetic feild geneartor that we can move around with us, and better yet, have in our suits...
the problem is not insurmountable.

the intl space station is in the magnetosphere, and until we actually spend the twenty months minimums "out there" we can't predict the actual damages .

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glassman
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check out this topo of Mars. they used blues to show lower altitutdes. note how the low altitudes do not seem to have as amny "metoer craters" (or hardly any)
they say the water was prolly gone about 3.5 billion yrs ago, but if so, whyis it that htere's no metoer craters wher the oceans would have been...
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BTW? i do realise this all very specualtive, and that we have proven nothing yet... is ee problems as opportunities, not blockades

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NR
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Yeah, the problem with metal plating is the weight, which is always a huge issue when it comes to space travel. Magnetic fields could be generated but would require large amounts of energy to create. This is why I believe that natural caves on Mars are the answer. A few meters of cover would probably be sufficient, so something along the lines of an underground "safe-room" would work for times when radiation was at it's highest.

One idea I have tossed around before with a few other friends who are space nerds is the use of superconductors for generation of magnetic fields. Normally on Earth these are not practical because they need to be cooled to extremely low temperatures to work. In space, the moon, and near the poles of Mars, normal night time temperatures are well within the range of most common superconductors, and could possibly be used to generate magnetic fields to protect from radiation without using much energy.

I've also wondered if it were possible to somehow use the extreme temperature differences between night and day temperatures to generate power. It probably wouldn't work so well on Mars, but seems practical on the moon where "daytime" temps can reach 253F and "nightime" temps drop as low as -243F.

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glassman
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i see that the article you linked about the Mars caverns indicates msome scitneists believe water may have been there more recently than the 3.5 billion i have read baout, 2 billion years.... LOL what's a billion years?

i want to hear that it's still there, that will get people more motivated to do the work to go there even sooner....

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glassman
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quote:
Originally posted by NR:
Yeah, the problem with metal plating is the weight, which is always a huge issue when it comes to space travel. Magnetic fields could be generated but would require large amounts of energy to create. This is why I believe that natural caves on Mars are the answer. A few meters of cover would probably be sufficient, so something along the lines of an underground "safe-room" would work for times when radiation was at it's highest.

One idea I have tossed around before with a few other friends who are space nerds is the use of superconductors for generation of magnetic fields. Normally on Earth these are not practical because they need to be cooled to extremely low temperatures to work. In space, the moon, and near the poles of Mars, normal night time temperatures are well within the range of most common superconductors, and could possibly be used to generate magnetic fields to protect from radiation without using much energy.

I've also wondered if it were possible to somehow use the extreme temperature differences between night and day temperatures to generate power. It probably wouldn't work so well on Mars, but seems practical on the moon where "daytime" temps can reach 253F and "nightime" temps drop as low as -243F.

those high gradients do offer good possibilities.

we alrady have "chips" that work of temp gradients they work better as the temp differnce form one side to teh other increases...

i was hoping to be able put thm on my kilns and melt furncae to cool the room AND recoup waste radiant heat as electricty, but as usual, they arenot available as cost effective product YET...

i dunno how they'll work in space, but there's only one way to find out right?


http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1005823715/micropower-chips-energy-savings-a nd-energy-efficie

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NR
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quote:
Originally posted by glassman:
check out this topo of Mars. they used blues to show lower altitutdes. note how the low altitudes do not seem to have as amny "metoer craters" (or hardly any)
they say the water was prolly gone about 3.5 billion yrs ago, but if so, whyis it that htere's no metoer craters wher the oceans would have been...
 -

BTW? i do realise this all very specualtive, and that we have proven nothing yet... is ee problems as opportunities, not blockades

I've been staring at maps of Mars since I got my first "Planetary Geology" book, Christmas of 1992 and there are a few things that have always stood out to me. First, is that the southern half of Mars is raised and almost completely cratered, at the center of which is an enormous crater. Second, directly opposite of said crater, (if you were to travel through the center of Mars's core, is Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system and a few other nearby volcanoes. Directly next to that is Valis Marineris, the largest canyon in the solar system. The "head" of the canyon lies near the foot of the volcanoes and the outlet is at the flat area that dominates most of the northern hemisphere.

In my mind, Mars has gone through two distinct periods where it was "wet" and capable of forming life. The first would have been early on in it's formation, following a similar path as Earth, but then growing cold and becoming frozen because it was too far from the sun.

The second, (and this is based purely on speculation and imagination of my own part), was when Mars was hit by the object that created the large crater in the southern portion. The collision caused a volcanic outbreak, which then melted the frozen surface of Mars, creating Valis Marineris, and creating the liquid water needed to create Mars's oceans. The volcanic gasses would have also thickened the atmosphere, creating further warming...

Of course I have no way to prove this, and I am no NASA scientist so I could be missing something obvious, but in my mind, it always seem like it would work.

This could explain why scientists are getting such different numbers as far as when there was actually liquid water on Mars. It would have also provided a chance to erase any craters that were formed after the first wet period.

(BTW, I believe there is still liquid water on Mars, but we will have to drill/go underground to get it.)

[ December 13, 2013, 00:23: Message edited by: NR ]

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NR
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quote:
Originally posted by glassman:
quote:
Originally posted by NR:
Yeah, the problem with metal plating is the weight, which is always a huge issue when it comes to space travel. Magnetic fields could be generated but would require large amounts of energy to create. This is why I believe that natural caves on Mars are the answer. A few meters of cover would probably be sufficient, so something along the lines of an underground "safe-room" would work for times when radiation was at it's highest.

One idea I have tossed around before with a few other friends who are space nerds is the use of superconductors for generation of magnetic fields. Normally on Earth these are not practical because they need to be cooled to extremely low temperatures to work. In space, the moon, and near the poles of Mars, normal night time temperatures are well within the range of most common superconductors, and could possibly be used to generate magnetic fields to protect from radiation without using much energy.

I've also wondered if it were possible to somehow use the extreme temperature differences between night and day temperatures to generate power. It probably wouldn't work so well on Mars, but seems practical on the moon where "daytime" temps can reach 253F and "nightime" temps drop as low as -243F.

those high gradients do offer good possibilities.

we alrady have "chips" that work of temp gradients they work better as the temp differnce form one side to teh other increases...

i was hoping to be able put thm on my kilns and melt furncae to cool the room AND recoup waste radiant heat as electricty, but as usual, they arenot available as cost effective product YET...

i dunno how they'll work in space, but there's only one way to find out right?


http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1005823715/micropower-chips-energy-savings-a nd-energy-efficie

Amazing. One thing is for sure, any colony on Mars will have to be incredibly efficient and pretty much recycle/reuse anything and everything. Those chips are definitely all about efficiency. I think as space becomes more and more accessible through private enterprise, (space-x), there will be lots of opportunities to put new technologies to the test, without requiring any political input.

Regarding power generation:

The best thing about the temperature gradient on the moon is that the hot, daytime temperature is above the boiling point of water, so in theory you could just use a high tech steam engine. The hardest part would be getting the water to power the system, but there is frozen water on the moon near the poles, so it's not impossible.

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glassman
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i think private enterprise has a place in space. but as you pointed out in another thread? private enterpise is full of pinkhseets and OTC too... we've even seen how the "blue chips" can behave in the same way... they did have to ban naked shorting on the NYSE during the last crisis and one of the most interesting human aspects i watched in the argument over the banning of naked shorting was how the big hedge people dispensed with the term naked.


what i saw was the big players being honest and calling the ban on naked shorting a ban on all shorting becuase it was. nobody actaull locates stock to borrow... and they may never have. your broker may charge itnerest to borrow the stock, but they are not actually borrowing & loaning shares properly... that's one of the problems the markets have, and it is no differnt than printing too much cash... or lending more moeny to someone than you actaully have to lend... how they did that still has me scratching my head.. Bernanke said he thought they were smarter than that....


in other words? i don't see private enterpise as a cure to the basic human problem. nor do i see the govt. at the answer. in the Alien movies? the big corporation was the one who wanted the alien critters- i think profits are good. but in genreal profits should come from doing good work and not be the only product...

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NR
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I agree, private enterprise isn't the only answer when it comes to space exploration, but I do think it will be more efficient than the government. My main point was just that adding private enterprise to the equation adds diversity, and gives more options, so that our future doesn't rest in the hands of just a few.

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The findings were being published Monday online by the journal Science and were discussed in San Francisco at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Scientists had announced this year that they’d found signs of an ancient, fresh-water lake within Gale Crater, but the new reports provide a much more detailed analysis, including the first scientific measurements of the age of rocks on another planet. The research suggests that Martian winds are sand-blasting rock outcroppings and creating inviting places to dig into rocks that may retain the kind of organic molecules associated with ancient microbes.

Gale Crater is in an area with rocks about 4.2 billion years old. The lake, which scientists think existed a little more than 3.5 billion years ago, was roughly the size and shape of one of New York’s Finger Lakes. The freshwater lake may have come and gone, and sometimes been iced over, but the new research shows that the lake was not some momentary feature, but rather was part of a long-lasting habitable environment that included rivers and groundwater.

Previous discoveries by Mars rovers had suggested that the Red Planet once had surface and groundwater with the quality of battery acid, but the water in this lake looks much more benign.

“If we put microbes from Earth and put them in this lake on Mars, would they survive? Would they survive and thrive? And the answer is yes,” said John Grotzinger, a Caltech planetary geologist who is the chief scientist of the Curiosity rover mission. He is the lead author of a paper titled “A Habitable Fluvio-Lacustrine Environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars.”

“In March, we did know that we had a lake, but what we weren’t sure of was how big it was and how long it lasted, and also we were not sure about the broader geological context that supports the presence of lakes coming and going for a very long time,” Grotzinger said in an interview.

“This is really similar to an Earth environment,” he said at the AGU news conference.

The duration of this environment matters when it comes to habitability, said Jennifer Eigenbrode, a geochemist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and a co-author of three of the new papers.

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Upside
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So much for my muskie fishing trip to Gale Crater Lake. Guess I'll just have to be satisfied with ice fishing on Europa again.
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glassman
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what's the best bait there?

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 -

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Upside
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quote:
Originally posted by glassman:
what's the best bait there?

I've always had good luck with cut up pieces of fresh Trill Symbiont. That or a deep diving Rapala.
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glassman
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Rapala's work everywhere..... [Big Grin]

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Does Japan do much when it comes to space exploration? I never hear about them with this subject, but I would think they would be great at tech stuff up there.

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Japan plans two more moon missions


The one-year lunar mission Japan launched on September 14 is the most extensive since the US Apollo programme put the first -- and the last -- astronaut on the moon.
by Staff Writers
Hyderabad, India (AFP) Sept 27, 2007
Japan plans to carry out two more missions to the moon and then collaborate internationally to put a man on the lunar surface, a Japanese space scientist said Thursday.
Asia's biggest economy this month successfully launched Kaguya (or Selene), its first lunar orbiter, stealing a march over China and India which are planning unmanned missions of their own to the moon.

Japan's next mission in 2012 will aim at landing a robot on the moon's surface, followed by one in 2018 that will seek to return successfully to earth, said Manabu Kato, chief scientist overseeing the Kaguya project.

"We are also discussing human exploration but we expect international collaboration" in a manned mission, Kato told reporters on the sidelines of a global space conference in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.

Human exploration could be followed by human colonies on the moon, he said.

Cooperation between nations for lunar exploration should be modelled on the international space station, he said.

The space station is a research laboratory being assembled in orbit by the US, Canada, Russia, Japan and Europe.

The world's space agencies are discussing missions to the moon and even to Mars at a five-day conference in Hyderabad ending Friday, amid a renewed surge of interest in space exploration.

China plans to launch a moon orbiter before the end of this year and India in March or April 2008.

Both also plan human exploration of the moon to exploit lunar resources such as Helium 3, a gas seen by some experts as a solution to the earth's energy shortages.

China said Wednesday that it aims to send people to "stay and live long term" on the moon after 2020.

Japanese scientist Kato said a window of opportunity for a manned moon mission may not open for Japan until after 2020 given the US is expected to return to the lunar surface around 2018 for the first time since the 1970s.

"Maybe we can cooperate with China and India but we need to discuss much more," Kato said, cautioning against excessive expectations that the moon contains ample resources for exploitation.

Even if resources are available, there may be no way to access or exploit them, he said.

The one-year lunar mission Japan launched on September 14 is the most extensive since the US Apollo programme put the first -- and the last -- astronaut on the moon.

The explorer is named "Kaguya" after a beautiful princess who charms many men before ascending to her home, the moon, in a popular Japanese folk tale.

It will beam high-definition television images of the moon for the first time, Kato said.

The 55-billion-yen (478-million-dollar) probe consisted of a main unit, which will orbit 100 kilometres (60 miles) above the moon, and two small satellites.

It will gather data on the distribution of chemical elements and minerals.

The probe aims to study moon's gravity and environment while searching for hydrogen, which is required to make water.

"We just finished the first check-out of science systems to confirm their health," Kato said of the device.

Japan also plans to send probes to Mercury, Venus and Jupiter and cooperate with the European Space Agency in a Mars mission.

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