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NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew 394

Posted by timothy
from the couple-of-jockeys-too dept.
globaljustin writes "Alan Drysdale, a systems analyst in advanced life support and a contractor with NASA concluded, "Small women haven't been demonstrated to be appreciably dumber than big women or big men, so there's no reason to choose larger people for a flight crew when it's brain power you want," says Drysdale. "The logical thing to do is to fly small women." Kate Greene, who wrote the linked article, took part in the first HI-SEAS experiment in Martian-style living, and has some compelling reasons for an all-women crew, energy efficiency chief among them: Week in and week out, the three female crew members expended less than half the calories of the three male crew members. Less than half! We were all exercising roughly the same amount—at least 45 minutes a day for five consecutive days a week—but our metabolic furnaces were calibrated in radically different ways. During one week, the most metabolically active male burned an average of 3,450 calories per day, while the least metabolically active female expended 1,475 calories per day. It was rare for a woman on crew to burn 2,000 calories in a day and common for male crew members to exceed 3,000. ... The calorie requirements of an astronaut matter significantly when planning a mission. The more food a person needs to maintain her weight on a long space journey, the more food should launch with her. The more food launched, the heavier the payload. The heavier the payload, the more fuel required to blast it into orbit and beyond. The more fuel required, the heavier the rocket becomes, which it in turn requires more fuel to launch.

Comment: Re:Satellites were Once Considered Crazy (Score 1) 351

Elon Musk is in many ways like Werner Von Braun

You mean he's a mass murderer who used technology to rain down death onto the allies? Wow.

Von Braun risked his life to even think about using his rockets for space travel while working under the nazis. He almost single-handedly dragged the Americans into the space age. He is not perfect. But he did change our world in a positive way.

Comment: Satellites were Once Considered Crazy (Score 2) 351

This article argues that Elon Musk is in many ways like Werner Von Braun or the Soviet scientist Sergei Korolev (who pushed the Soviets into space). One thing I got from this article was that the original and primary motivation for building rockets was to make weapons. Von Braun and Kovolev almost singlehandedly pushed their own countries into building rockets to put people into space. Without them, we might not have had satellites as quickly or at all. Placing satellites into orbit and putting humans into orbit was once considered crazy. American government officials considered Von Braun to be eccentric, but they didn't care as long as he gave them better ICBM's. Now our entire civilization is built around satellite technology, and our moon shots have brought us technology advances such as the microchip.

When we talk about putting more humans it can sound a little crazy. However I don't think it is any more crazy than having people climb Mt. Everest, having bases in Antarctica, or sending three small ships westward into the unknown ocean to find a new world. We humans have an inbuilt desire to explore. To ignore that is to go against our fundamental nature.

Comment: Re:Other things they said couldn't be done... (Score 1) 566

by catchblue22 (#48150379) Attached to: Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

At any rate, when I become annoyed enough, I respond with evidence oriented responses. I find references to uphold my position, and include quotes and links. Now someone may disagree with me, but at least I am not making assertions based solely on my individual position. I am generally disappointed because very few people respond with their own external references.

Agreed. Thus my signature. Sometimes I feel like slashdot is like this:

O: Yes it is!

M: No it isn't!


M: It's just contradiction!

O: No it isn't!

M: It IS!

O: It is NOT!

M: You just contradicted me!

O: No I didn't!

M: You DID!

O: No no no!

M: You did just then!

O: Nonsense!

M: (exasperated) Oh, this is futile!!


O: No it isn't!

M: Yes it is!


M: I came here for a good argument!

O: AH, no you didn't, you came here for an argument!

M: An argument isn't just contradiction.

O: Well! it CAN be!

M: No it can't!

M: An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.

O: No it isn't!

M: Yes it is! 'tisn't just contradiction.

O: Look, if I *argue* with you, I must take up a contrary position!

M: Yes but it isn't just saying 'no it isn't'.

O: Yes it is!

M: No it isn't!

O: Yes it is!

M: No it isn't!

O: Yes it is!

M: No it ISN'T! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

O: It is NOT!

M: It is!

O: Not at all!

M: It is!

Comment: Re:Sounded real promising right up to.... (Score 4, Insightful) 566

by catchblue22 (#48149461) Attached to: Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

Sounds real promising right up to "operational within a decade" that's code for we have an idea that on paper sounds like it might possibly work. Please give us lots of money.

Oh puleeaze. This is Skunkworks. Thomas McGuire did his PhD thesis on fusors at MIT. This isn't just some investment scam. Do some research.

Comment: Re:Other things they said couldn't be done... (Score 1) 566

by catchblue22 (#48149439) Attached to: Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

Yeah. I'm somewhat disappointed that shallow dismissive/mocking comments seem to outnumber more engaged comments by three to one. We are supposed to be geeks. How many of us have heard about this reactor? It was announced many months ago. How many of us have searched the term "high beta reactor"? This development is potentially world-changing. It would solve the world's energy problems. It would make human deep space travel feasible. And the announcement is coming from a credible scientist from a credible laboratory.

I am beginning to suspect that slashdot is getting spammed by agenda driven posters.

Comment: Re:Amazing if it works (Score 4, Interesting) 566

by catchblue22 (#48149339) Attached to: Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

But plenty of fusion reactor designs have worked in theory; making them work in practice, though...

Yes, but this is Lockheed Martin. And we live in the age of computer aided design, where we can simulate much of an object before building this. In addition, I'm fairly sure that they have built smaller versions of this as proofs of concept. And now they have Thomas McGuire making the announcements, who is the lead scientist on the project, instead of the project manager doing presentations. He wrote his PhD thesis at MIT on fusors.

I am inclined to believe that this is the real thing. My main question is this: They use radio frequency radiation to heat the plasma; how have they overcome the rf shielding effect caused by hot plasma?


Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project 566

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-don't-have-long-to-invent-Mr.-Fusion dept.
Lockheed Martin claims it has made a significant breakthrough in the creation of nuclear fusion reactors. The company says it has proved the feasibility of building a 100MW reactor measuring only 7 feet by 10 feet. They say the design can be built and tested within a year, and they expect an operational reactor within a decade. The project is coming out of stealth mode now to seek partners within academia, government, and industry. "Lockheed sees the project as part of a comprehensive approach to solving global energy and climate change problems. Compact nuclear fusion would also produce far less waste than coal-powered plants, and future reactors could eliminate radioactive waste completely, the company said."

Comment: Limitations of D-Wave's Computer (Score 2) 39

by catchblue22 (#48126949) Attached to: Microsoft's Quantum Mechanics

I thought the article had a fairly succinct criticism of D-Wave's computer:

Since 2009, Google has been testing a machine marketed by the startup D-Wave Systems as the world’s first commercial quantum computer, and in 2013 it bought a version of the machine that has 512 qubits. But those qubits are hard-wired into a circuit for a particular algorithm, limiting the range of problems they can work on. If successful, this approach would create the quantum-computing equivalent of a pair of pliers—a useful tool suited to only some tasks. The conventional approach being pursued by Microsoft offers a fully programmable computer—the equivalent of a full toolbox. And besides, independent researchers have been unable to confirm that D-Wave’s machine truly functions as a quantum computer. Google recently started its own hardware lab to try to create a version of the technology that delivers.

+ - Microsoft's Quantum Mechanics

Submitted by catchblue22
catchblue22 (1004569) writes "MIT Technology Review has an excellent article summarizing the current state of quantum computing. It focuses on the efforts of Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs to build stable qubits over the past few years.

In 2012, physicists in the Netherlands announced a discovery in particle physics that started chatter about a Nobel Prize. Inside a tiny rod of semiconductor crystal chilled cooler than outer space, they had caught the first glimpse of a strange particle called the Majorana fermion, finally confirming a prediction made in 1937. It was an advance seemingly unrelated to the challenges of selling office productivity software or competing with Amazon in cloud computing, but Craig Mundie, then heading Microsoft’s technology and research strategy, was delighted. The abstruse discovery—partly underwritten by Microsoft—was crucial to a project at the company aimed at making it possible to build immensely powerful computers that crunch data using quantum physics. “It was a pivotal moment,” says Mundie. “This research was guiding us toward a way of realizing one of these systems.”


Comment: Re:Creating a Mars magnetosphere (Score 1) 549

by catchblue22 (#48042491) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Yeah, just inject lots of thorium and/or uranium into the core until it starts heating up...

I will assume you are being sarcastic here. Warming the core is pure science fiction IMHO.

By comparison, warming Mars would be relatively easy. Just manufacture large amounts of CFC's and emit them into the atmosphere. They are very strong greenhouse gasses and are relatively persistent, though they won't last forever. Emit enough of these and you may warm Mars up enough to release the frozen CO2 in the ground, which will lead to even more warming. Eventually you may be able to melt the frozen water, which will make life possible.

That isn't to say that this would be easy. You would have to mine fluorine and chlorine and then use a factory to make the gas. But it isn't that difficult. And even with Mars' lack of magnetic field, any atmospheric densification will likely last for millions of years. The MAVEN satellite will give us more reliable information on this.

Comment: Re:Maybe 40k (Score 5, Informative) 393

by catchblue22 (#47932225) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

Except that these cars ARE CO2-emitting cars, unless you have arranged to get the power for your charger from renewable sources (difficult and expensive in most parts of the country). Here in Texas, these actually become a combination of coal, natural gas and nuclear burning cars.

I addessed this issue in this post. Short answer: even if the electricity is produced by coal, the large efficiency of electric motors, thermal power plants, and the electricity transmission system will ensure less emissions caused by an electric car than from a gasoline powered car. And my calculations didn't even take into account the emissions from processing oil into gasoline, which are especially high if the source is from tar sands. My calculations are referenced and I believe them to be reasonable.

Comment: Re:Decisions, Decisions... (Score 4, Interesting) 123

by catchblue22 (#47876237) Attached to: SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

As an astronaut, I wonder which would appeal to me more? The "Exciting Choice" or the "Safe Choice?" On one hand, I'll be strapped to it as it launches it (and me) into space. On the other hand...I'm an astronaut! My choice of car is probably NOT a fucking Volvo.

How about the tested choice. Space X has a built capsule, whose first version has returned from the space station several times. They are quite close to flying...they just need to test the launch abort system and the capsule will be almost ready to fly. From what I understand, Boeing hasn't built a capsule yet. They only have a paper/electronic design and a few "mock ups". Given the capsules are supposed to fly in 2016, I think the capsule that has actually been tested is the "safe choice". The article seems to me to be Boeing propaganda.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky