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Space Science

Last Day of Terrestrial Humans 183

A reader writes: "According to Christian Science Monitor, tomorrow humans will begin their permanent lives off of earth. Starting with the Expedition 1 launch in Kazakhstan at 7:53 GMT, Oct. 31, NASA plans to always have a human on the ISS, which has a projected mission life of 10 to 25 years. So, it is quite possible, that for the rest of history, there will always be humans who are not living on earth. See this ISS Homepage for more information on the mission."
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Last Day of Terrestrial Humans

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  • Hope they got their wireless lan going, I couldn't survive in space without getting my Quake on...
  • If Mir had been manned just a little longer, then it would have been years ago.
  • Quite frankly it is getting a bit crowded here. ;p

    We really need to keep people off planet, especially if we plan on ever creating any form of long range travel, or permanent bases/stations on other stellar bodies.

    We really still do not fully grasp the adverse effects prolonged exposure to a lowered gravity environment poses on the human body.

    I also would think it just means that I'm just one step closer to being able to go in the garage, hop into my little shuttle and take off to catch lunch on Mars.
  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:52AM (#660061) Homepage

    Dude, passage of laws like the DMCA indicate that there is already a measurable segment of humanity who aren't living on this planet.


  • Whoo. So there will always be one person out in space at all times. Now, find a way to keep one person in space through the entire ISS's lifespan (with an occasional visit to earth of course, but living the majority of their time in space) and you've got something neat.

    Keep them in space the full 25 years without returning until the span is over and plant video cameras everywhere to record the decaying of their skeletal and muscular structures and put them on the web and television in a Big-Brother-esque series so we can watch them slip into dementia and you've got something most intriquing.

    Throw in hot space-space chicks and you can sell pay-per-view on the Spice channel... Then you've most certainly got something...

  • Wouldn't it make a lot more sense for the headline to read "First day for non-earthbound humans" or something to that effect?

    The last time I looked around, there were still plenty of people here on Earth. But then again, it is unreasonable to expect any kind of news medium to put forth sensible headlines. After all, they just want attention.

  • tomorrow humans will begin their permanent lives off of earth

    Yeah, ok. Let me understand this... so, people living on MIR and spacelab don't count, right? I think I missed the memo.

    So what! There have been a few days over time when we haven't had people living in space. No big deal. It's not like this whole "living in space" concept is a sort of revelation! We're pretty much used to humans living in space... it's not like I'll ever live there. So, what does tomorrow really mean to me?


  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:53AM (#660065) Homepage Journal
    This isn't terribly likely. Life in space is entirely based on life on Earth. Hence, space living, though outside the atmosphere, is subject to whatever political and financial winds are blowing.

    Whether it is because of a technical failure that causes evacuation, funding crisis that leaves it unmanned for a time, or political upheaval that removes support, the odds are highly in favor of there being a time with no humans in space within the next 20 years.

    What will change this is when life in space is self-sustaining. Then it will no longer be subject to terrestrial issues.
  • ..would be humans who live their lives having never been on earth.
  • This is some info about what the crew is doing right now. I have found this mailing list to be low enough traffic to bear, yet chock full of good info about our space travellers. It does have some weird characters which were eaten by my mail software, or slash will eat.

    (reprinted without permission from the mailing list. subscription and other info at bottom.)

    2000 Report # 44 Tuesday, October 31, 2000 ^Ö Noon CST Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

    The Expedition 1 crew, secure in its Soyuz spacecraft, continues on course for a rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station, inaugurating a new era in human space flight.

    Following their launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 1:53 a.m. CST today, Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko, Expedition 1 Commander Bill Shepherd and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev successfully deployed docking probes on the Soyuz and checked out the spacecraft^Òs motion control systems. On two consecutive orbits, daily orbits 3 and 4, phasing burns were completed to keep the Soyuz on course for its rendezvous with the International Space Station. A third rendezvous burn is scheduled just before 3 a.m. tomorrow to slightly raise the Soyuz orbit and slow the rate at which it is approaching the space station.

    During communications passes over Russian ground stations this morning, the crew talked with flight controllers, providing updated information on the performance of the Soyuz spacecraft and the crew^Òs activities. During their final communications pass of the day, the trio confirmed a successful test of the external camera that provides cues during rendezvous and docking, and reported all crew members were feeling well. Shepherd, Gidzenko and Krikalev went to sleep about 9 a.m. CST today and will awaken about 6:30 p.m. CST to begin the second day of what^Òs planned to be a four-month stay in space.

    Flight control teams in Houston have activated life support systems and air purification units on board the space station, readying the outpost for the arrival of its first residents early Thursday morning. In addition, the flight controllers will support tonight^Òs undocking of the Progress resupply vehicle, currently docked to the same port on the Zvezda module of the station to which the Expedition 1 crew will dock Thursday. The Progress will undock at 10:02 p.m. CST today, and shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday will be commanded into a trajectory that will cause it to burn up in the Earth^Òs atmosphere.

    Coverage of the Expedition One crew^Òs voyage to the International Space Station will continue on NASA TV and through live video streaming on the internet at spaceflight.nasa.gov. The next status report will be issued about 8 p.m. today or sooner if events warrant.

    NASA Johnson Space Center Shuttle Mission/Space Station Status Reports and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to majordomo@listserver.jsc.nasa.gov. In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type "subscribe hsfnews" (no quotes). This will add the email address that sent the subscribe message to the news release distribution list. The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. Once you have subscribed you will receive future news releases via e-mail.

    -------------------------------------------------- --------------------------
    To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe hsfnews" in the body of a message (without the quotes) to majordomo@listserver.jsc.nasa.gov

  • ...it is quite possible, that for the rest of history, there will always be humans who are not living on earth...

    For further proof, Slashdot has kindly presented the story on Nader further down the main page...
  • Remember what happened to Mir and the Space Fungus?

    I wonder if they will post a doctor on ISS. It would be a bummer to get a heartattack 20 miles above the closest hospital...

  • Now that there is habitants of outspace, who is the governing body for space?
  • There have clearly been humans not living on earth for some time now. The most salient example is George W. Bush, who was captured by an alien civilization and replaced here on earth by a frighteningly informed, composed, capable Presidential candidate clone. How else to explain his broad-based appeal to independents and centrists?

    If the real GWB was still here running for President, this race would be a cakewalk--Gore would have had it wrapped up months ago.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hahaha! To quote BBC:

    Life on board the International Space Station will be cramped. Two of the crew will occupy bedrooms the size of a broom closet; the other will have to sleep where he can find space.

  • But shouldn't that read:

    "tomorrow humans will begin their permanent lives off of earth."?
  • recent article in Maxim magazin about "how to" do the nasty in space.

    seemed relevant.....it may happen!

  • But shouldn't that read:

    "today humans will begin their permanent lives off of earth."?

    I did it too. :)

  • I agree. How can you say that there will be someone living outside of earth when they will constantly need supplies from earth? Its "living with a dependency". If an asteroid hits the earth and kills everything living, it won't take long for our ISS survivors to kick the bucket.

    -- Don't you hate it when people comment on other people's .sigs??
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:02AM (#660077)
    Who I'd like to see live off of earth.

    Well, we'd probably have a permanent station on Mars in a year if Al Sharpton would volunteer to go and not come back.

    Seriously, this really could be the dawn of a new era. I've always considered the most noticable thing about humanity is our pure, unadulterated wanderlust.

    We were hardly up on our hind feet before we started spreading all over the globe. Long before history began we had spread to the far corners of the globe.

    Think about that. Not modern man, but man three feet tall with only the tools that he could fashion with his bare hands simply wandered into nearly every corner of globe. Just when, and HOW, did man first reach Australia?

    We travel. Tourism is a major activity. We build bypasses so people at point A can get to point B, and vice versa, for no real reason. We go places for no more reason than " we havn't been THERE before."

    When a cat gets bored it takes a nap. When a person gets bored * it paces. * It goes for a walk, it * goes SOMEWHERE.*

    UP is the only place left to go, and it's about time we got down to it. Not for science, not for population pressure relief, not to 'save the whales', not for financial gain, but because we are human, and that's what humans DO!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Living permanantly off planet is cool, sort of like leaving home after high school. But when will we learn to live on our planet. And not in the fuzzy tree-huggy way. For example, are there any permanant human settlement yet under water (in the oceans)? What about in the atmosphere? Colonization of space is much less important than learning to live in extreme environments on Earth.
  • We really still do not fully grasp the adverse effects prolonged exposure to a lowered gravity environment poses on the human body.
    • Weaker muscles unless efficiently trained.
    • Funny effects on digestional system
    • The prospective of terrific sex

  • But accepting your caveats, requires an outside sphere...i.e. Mars or Luna.

    (Hoping to be the first cat on Mars...)
  • would be humans who live their lives never having to deal with other humans...(thoughts of joy loft through the mind)
  • by andyh1978 ( 173377 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:07AM (#660082) Homepage
    So far, and correct me if I'm wrong, nobody's died in space yet. Challenger hadn't left the atmosphere before it blew up, and Apollo 13 got back safely (although by the skin of their teeth).

    With the number of missions needed to put the station together, and the unprecedented EVA time needed, it's just a matter of time before there's a serious accident up there.

    With all the trips, the odds of breaking a seal and suffocating, or a pressurised tank exploding, or some other major system failure.

    And once it's all running, there's always the chance of sudden illness popping up amongst the station's crew (despite the medical checks, there's always the one-in-a-million chance), and it becoming fatal before medical help can be reached.

    I thought I'd seen an article on the risks somewhere before... Google popped this one [exn.ca] up, which seems similar enough to what I remember. According to a study, the odds are at least one astronaut will die in the next 15 years.
  • when I first read the story I thought it was anouther wacko perdicting Jesus is coming.

    Fortunatly I realized in time so that I'm not the one doing the obligatory "This is not news for nerds" post.

  • I thought it was because we were always looking for some hot chicks! Well, maybe I'm wrong...

  • Shouldn't that headline be:
    "Last Day of Exclusively Terrestrial Humans"?

    Or is there a big asteroid I just don't know about?

  • A more interesting question is, when will we have the first dead human in outer space? It almost happened with that Apollo mission, and people have gotten fried trying to get up into space or coming down, but to my knowledge there has never been a person to actually die in outer space. Am I wrong?
  • I think the point is that there were periods where MIR was empty.

    Though that, in itself, should be a cautionary tale as I'm sure the Soviets thought exactly the same thing when they launched it.

    But really, these guys aren't "living" in space any more than Scott, Amudson and co. were "living" in Antarctica. Living somewhere implies that the place is your home, not just someplace you are visiting for a while. Lots of people will visit space in the ISS but no one will live there. In other words, until someone brings the spouse and kids, it ain't news.
  • I had heard of a guy who was buliding an under the sea settlement towards the end of last year. I was following it as closely as I could as I am an avid fan of under sea exploration and colonization. It is amazing to hear about people wondering how to discover life off of earth when there are portions of our own planet (if we don't own it, we alteast live here) man has never seen and creatures no one has even imagined. Back to that guy though, although I liked his work, he was doing it for a Y2K type bunker situation and I had a great deal of hardship reading past the Y2K disaster crap to get to the meat (often lacking in stories geared towards Chicken Little).

    And one question for you, colonization of the atmosphere - aren't we living amongst the atmosphere right now? I think you were implying upper atmosphere or atleast the very high mountain type living - and although admirable to attain life there, wouldn't it be easier to sink than to float?
  • You! Off my planet!!!

  • I'm sorry. This is still nothing more than extended vacations. In my mind there are two potential conditions for considering the humans in space to actually be living there:

    1) A person goes into space with no plans to return to Earth. In other words, they have moved.

    2) A person is born in space and stays there.

    Until one of these things happen we're just fooling ourselves. Next year we will be bombarded with constant reruns of 2001. I view this as a sad thing. We are not much closer to hopes of that existence than we were when the movie was made.

  • Quite frankly it is getting a bit crowded here.

    the "crowdedness" of Earth has nothing to do with space travel. Sorry. The shuttle costs about $10000 per pound to life something to orbit. Slash that by 10^4.... and you get $1. Such a capability is entirely beyond our means now, but assuming we can do it... if the average person weighs 100 lbs, that's a $100 person. How many people would we need to ship off someplace to reduce the overcrowding of earth? Each million people would cost 100 million dollars. How many millions would have to go?

    All the math is the long way of saying that shipping people off planet will never be the solution to Eath's overcrowding...

  • Well, since we (as a species) don't seem to have any persuasion to stop breeding like lemmings, It may be about time that we take to our own proverbial 'sea'. Just as lemings will eventually swarm towards the ocean (or other body of water) when there is no more land to sustain them, we should consider the benefits that colonization of other planets could have.

    Some of the great things we could might include: Colonizing Mars and terraforming it, then building a dome of sorts on the moons of Mars and sending convicts there. Colonizing the moon and making it a staging area for deep-space manned missions and scientific research. Experimenting with mining of such planets as Jupiter for fuel (yeah it's far fetched due to all that physics stuff like gravity, but a man can dream can he?)

    Anyway, We should seriously consider moving away from our eden in search of new ones to ravage and the like. plbth.

  • Space has been agreed to be 'international territory' under the 'Treaty on Principles Covering the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies', a United Nations treaty.
  • I know plenty of people who are already living on some other planet.
  • Yes and then the colonies can send Gundams to Earth to over-throw the evil political powers. Woohoo! We're on our way!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    World Population:
    Earth: 6,106,142,623
    Space: 3
  • by 8bit ( 127134 )
    but we're still terrestrial in the sense that we were conceved, born and raised on Earth. If only we still had the same economy like we did during the industrial revolution you can be sure that Carnegie Space will already have put us into space so we can live in our Rockefeller boarding houses to mine the vast ammounts of iron in the martian soil. But seriously, it only takes time and money to put us out there, we already have the technology.

    Roy Miller
    :wq! DOH!
  • I am.
  • This would make for some great Sci-Fi! Imaging what it would be like to witness the end of the earth from the cheap seats of the ISS. Would the occupants take their lives? Pretty good material...

  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:23AM (#660100)
    If I spend a year on the ISS...do I have to pay taxes for my income that year?
  • people have died in space.

    Russian cosmonauts have died from surreptitious depressurisation of their capsule. I also think, but I'm not sure, that another cosmonaut died after his re-entry burn failed, and was unable to reenter the atmosphere, and so, stayed up until oxygen/food/power/heat ran out. Then the capsule burned up on reentry. (can't find a link for that one. . .)

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/science/Daily News/leonov990218.html
  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:24AM (#660102)
    A nice touch would be if we did to our lawyers what Douglas Adams reccomends to do with them.
  • Since they are already up there above our heads, would that not make today the first day?
  • Let alone the same dimension. WTF was congress thinking? a quote from a paper that was on COTSE about a year ago "Fuck you Mr.Valenti, Fuck you..."
  • But they were communists and not real Christians, so the Christian Science Monitor was not really monitoring them.
  • The prospective of terrific sex

    Actually, there have been some "experiments" into this (unofficially, of course). There are some rumours about extracurricular activities aboard certain Russian space flights, as well as afterdark in some NASA facilities used to train astronauts for weightlessness.

    Among the realizations is that sex in space is difficult. On Earth, you have gravity to keep you anchored - not so in microgravity. Given the types of movements, sex is difficult primarily because you're trying to move and hang on to your partner. One conclusion that has been drawn is that good sex in space requires three people - two people to do the wild thang, and one to help keep the other two together. It's been dubbed the Three Dolphin Method, because dolphins use the same method for procreation in the (relatively) weightless ocean.

  • ...they just won't stop bouncing!!!!!

  • by BDew ( 202321 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:27AM (#660108)

    Aside from the obvious and redundant cracks about various political figures (and I'm surprised no one has mentioned Gates yet), there seems to be one overriding theme to the responses... So what?

    NASA should take some pride in this response. Those astronauts are undertaking a voyage as deadly as any in history, but the unmitigated success of the US Space Program has reduced public reaction to little more than a yawn.

    This will probably be the prevailing opinion for a long time. "We are living on the Moon? So what? We got there a long time ago. We are living on Mars? Great, we should send George W. Bush III out there! But seriously, so what? We are already living on the moon!"

    It certainly is fun to be a cynic, deriding everyone else's achievements and laughing at how witty and smart we are. Just try and remember the date when you grandchildren ask when people first started to live in space...


  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:28AM (#660109) Homepage
    The first item is correct, the first crew returning from Salyut 6 died because a valve opened and drained their air before they re-entered.

    The second one did not happen.
  • There has been speculation that the russians have left some of their guys out there by accident in the early stages of their manned space program, but haven't seen fit to tell the world. Maybe we'll start finding some meatsicles in the near future. -17028
  • Actually, I think it would be funnier to watch them after they got back.

    Imagine them stepping off the shuttle and being crushed by their own weight. Their bones so fragile and weakened. Heh heh heh

  • to my knowledge there has never been a person to actually die in outer space. Am I wrong?

    I'm afraid so -- the crew of Soyuz 11 were kil led when their craft decompressed [nasa.gov] after a valve came open after un-docking from the Salyut 1 station in 1971.

  • Actually, that's wrong. Sorry.

    Life in space will actually be a lot better once people rid themselves of their understandable attraction to planets. The sheer efficiency of life in space, unencumbered by the demands of a grounded existance, will ultimately make it the preferred lifestyle. That's a long way off, but to say that life requires a "sphere" is simply incorrect.
  • that for the rest of history, there will always be humans who are not living on earth.
    ah, thats old news. Haven't you even been in a UFO?!
  • It would be meaningful only if ISS would be self-supporting and would not require any shipments from Earth to sustain its crew. As we all know this is not the case - in fact ISS isn't that different from MIR or Skylab - it is just bigger. In fact its significance is not as big as one could judge from all the media attention it gets.

    Read Zubrin's book about his project of Mars exploration [nw.net] - that's just one example of something that would be really innovative and meaningful. There were other ideas of this kind, but none was implemented so far.

  • Um, actually no. Off and of are both prepositions. So it would be (off (of earth) ...) with no object in the prepositional phrase started with off... Least that's what I learned. =)

    I'm a 21st century digital boy.
    I don't know how to read, but I got a lot of toys.
  • Um, my copy of the article said "workmanlike," not "womanlike." Perhaps you should be less preoccupied with conspiricy and take time to realize how cool this all is!

  • . . . and then there were numerous other rumored deaths. . .

    http://www.mcs.net/~rusaerog/dead_cosmonauts.htm l

    Cosmonaut Ledovsky was killed in 1957 on a suborbital space hop from the Kapustin Yar rocket base on the Volga River. [Page
    Cosmonaut Shiborin died the following year the same way.
    Cosmonaut Mitkov lost his life on a third attempt in 1959.
    An unnamed cosmonaut was trapped in space in May 1960, when his orbiting space capsule headed in the wrong direction.
    In late September 1960, while Khrushchev pounded his shoe at the United Nations, another cosmonaut (sometimes identified as Pyotr
    Dolgov) was killed when his rocket blew up on the launchpad.
    On February 4, 1961, a mystery Soviet satellite was heard to be transmitting heartbeats, which soon stopped (some reports even
    described it as a two-man capsule, and several "missing cosmonauts" were listed as Belokonev, Kachur, and Grachev).
    Early in April 1961 Russian pilot Vladimir Ilyushin circled the earth three times but was badly injured on his return.
    In mid-May 1961 weak calls for help were picked up in Europe, evidently from an orbiting spacecraft with two cosmonauts aboard.
    On October 14, 1961, a multiman Soviet spacecraft was knocked off course by a solar flare and vanished into deep space .
    Radio trackers in Italy detected a fatal space mission in November 1962, and some believe that a cosmonaut named Belokonev died at
    that time.
    An attempt to launch a second woman into space ended tragically on November 19, 1963.
    One or more cosmonauts were killed during an unsuccessful space mission in April 1964, according to radio intercepts by Italian
    shortwave listeners.
    Following the Apollo 1 fire in 1967 which killed three American astronauts, U.S. intelligence sources reportedly described five fatal
    Soviet spaceflights and six fatal ground accidents .
  • by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:43AM (#660127) Journal
    Here is a related but pessimistic prediction: before I die, there will be no living person who has walked on the moon. This seems incredibly sad to me.
  • I believe that it will still be quite soem time before we can say that a human or a group of humans will actually LIVE (not just take up residence) in space.

    What I am referring to in this is that until we have a good way to create artificial gravity, it is NOT in ANY human's best interest to attempt to live in space for any long periods of time.

    The reason? The human structure adapts -- if a human stays a prolonged amount of time in 0G then their system will adapt to 0G as the norm: possibly making it impossible for them to return to Earth. While this is quasi-true for adults living in space for a prolonged time, I wonder what would happen for a child who was born and raised in 0G. One would think that it would be impossible and deadly to attempt to return to the high gravity of Earth.

    Now that thats out of the way, who wants to volunteer to build an artificial gravity machine?
  • I never realized that all of the history in Gundam Wing twisted off from the establishment of UCITA, DMCA and other such garbage... makes sense though.

    Wouldn't it be easier to just repeal the laws? (of course it WOULD lack those cool space battles)

  • Not with the muscular distrophy problems and deformed embryos, etc.

    Those are effects of lack of g, not of lack of planet Earth. For those who haven't taken high school physics, g is a constant acceleration of 9.8 m/s^2 or thereabouts, which is felt by the human body as "down." It's easily to simulate g in space; simply rotate a cylindrical structure (ringworld, ds9, etc). This takes away most of the MD and [birth difference] [everything2.com] problems.

  • Well... you might not owe rent, but what if they started changing Room and Board? :)
  • I may be mistaken, but I remember hearing that the U.S. never actually signed some (all?) of those treaties.
  • Well, I give you a congratulations for showing us just how gullible they are. Venn sysnopsis and psudo sychronisity fallout are very professional sounding. Just between you and me, do these moderators know who you are, and what your goal is, or are they just really dumb?
  • Just read the article last week about what humans going to Mars are going to have to do to survive, and you get a pretty quick impression that life in space isn't going to be that yummy.

    Seriously, though. I understand the fascination with space and the "final frontier" but there is NO WAY you're ever going to see those massive sci-fi dreams realized. First off, humans don't colonize worthless tracts of land. There are places in the world today almost as hospitable as Mars - deserts/Ice caps/South Pole/ that are barren of people. Why? No reason to go, and no resources to exploit when they do arrive. Why did men go to Nevada? Silver - Why did they leave - Silver is gone. They had to start casinos and tourism, otherwise the whole state would be a ghost town.

    Without a resource to exploit in space, and a MASSIVE energy source capable of reproducing some of life's amenities and making interplanetary travel a bit more liveable, there's no point, no profit, and no way mankind is going to spread to Mars or space stations or any other place. The one thing they might have going for them is Zero G manufacturing, and we'll have to wait and see on that.

    And god help us if we ever find a planet with anything resembling a life form. Historically, Humans react VERY BADLY to foreign organisms they've never been exposed to before. (ask the Amazonian tribes, Native Americans, Europeans ) - it'll be the Andromeda strain all over again.

    Not a pessimist, just a realist. People don't colonize inhospitable environments cause they want to, they plan to get something out of it. Find a valuable mineral or resource on Mars or in space, and I promise you, private corporations will beat NASA there - but without incentives, it's almost a waste of time. Go to the Sahara or the South Pole if you want to explore.
  • by jms ( 11418 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:01AM (#660145)
    Finally, the human race will have an off-site backup facility.
  • by NightHwk ( 111982 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:01AM (#660146)
    under conventional conditions, a human fetus cannot develope in zero gravity. You'd end up with a blob of a human that would not survive long.

    So until we develope a working form of artificial gravity (and a more advanced diaper) there will be no children in space (hey, maybe space really does have potential as a 'vacation destination' !)


    Tyranny =Gov. choosing how much power to give the People.

  • by Accipiter ( 8228 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:03AM (#660148)
    "Please state the nature of the medical emergency."

    Space Fungus!

    "Ah! 30 CCs of Tolnaftate."

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • There's already a First Bank of Space [firstbankofspace.com] waiting for you to open your account.

  • The point of the article is that while Mir may have been occupied for most of its life, there are times (such as right now) where it's not occupied.

    As long as we can get a second station in space (orbiting, on moon/mars/other) before the ISS tanks, the point of the article is that from now on, there'll always be 1 or more human off earth.

    This is a good thing. Space is vast, unoccupied, and there's nothing out there that'll care if we strip mine the asteroid belts, or dump some toxic waste into a lunar crater or the sun. Plus, it gets us out of this "all our eggs in one basket," err, in one planet, problem. It'd still be a tragedy to see global thermonuclear war, but if enough humanity is living elsewhere, life can go on.

    Nathan Mates
  • There are lots of exploitable resources in space. Solar power, for instance. The old L-5 project from the '70s is still as feasible as it ever was, and probably more so now that we've used another 25 years worth of petroleum.

    The biggest thing standing in the way of cheap space exploitation is NASA. NASA needs to get out of near-Earth space. Instead they should guarantee that all future unmanned launches will be done using commercial boosters, with manned launches to follow as soon as someone builds a man-rated launch vehicle. There are at least 19 outfits [xprize.org] that would love to be in that business, but they have a hard time competing with NASA's tax-supported monopoly.

  • Yes, God knows I certainly didn't leave my home town until I had explored every inch of it.
  • The body doesn't really adapt, it just atrophies. The same thing happens to people who are bedridden for long periods of time... their muscles and bone begin to decay through lack of use.
  • Artificial gravity is an extremely difficult problem, you're right. I read of a theoretical method, but it requires a long object and some spin, both of which are at least fifty years off if not more. No hope there.
  • Resources: the ores of previously untouched planets, moons, and especially asteroids.

    Massive energy source: It's probably day out where you are. If it's not, wait a few hours. Then go outside and find the big bright spot in the sky. Don't stare at it, though.
  • The U.S. political will to build ISS is tenuous at best. Each year there are battles and skirmishes in Washington to keep its funding on track. Once the thing is fully built it will be hard to shut it down considering the investment.

    However, it's not realistic to think there will *always* now be one or more humans in orbit (or elsewhere in outer space). Maybe for the life of ISS (which may be 100 years with upgrades, etc.) but there is just no clear mandate from the public to explore space. I think it is a good thing and there are many valid reasons for doing so. I have noticed there are a *lot* of people who do not share my enthusiasm for space exploration.

    If we are able to develop inexpensive launch capability to orbit before ISS' days are over then there might be some hope that man's presence in space is now permanent. Before the first flight of Columbia there was a 6-year period where no Americans had been in orbit. I know the USSR had people going up all the time, but their political situation has changed a bit since then and the resources they are able to devote to space exploration aren't what they used to be. During that 6 year drought the only people who even thought it mattered were those working on the upcoming Space Shuttle program, NASA employees or space enthusiasts. There weren't many.
  • Why did men go to Nevada? Silver - Why did they leave - Silver is gone.

    Silver gone, but look at Nevada now. Not exactly dead. Yes, you say, that is because the allowed gambling. Exactly, they capitalized on the only thing they had, being remote and inhospitable, and therefore away of ordinary social norms. Sounds like Mars to me :-)

    I bet one of the first off-terra businesses will be wither a bank or some sort of service provider. If the porn industry don't get there first...

  • I read of a theoretical method, but it requires a long object and some spin, both of which are at least fifty years off if not more.

    If you're being sarcastic, you're remarkably subtle for Slashdot. Last I checked, ropes and a rocket to start the spin were pretty much known technologies . . .

  • lol there is no source that has more credibility than the CSM. Get a clue because you are looking really foolish now
  • You forgot to mention virtually unlimited quantities of hydrocarbons from the gas giants. And perhaps an equal mass in the Oort cloud farther out. The asteroid belt also containts plenty of hydrocarbons, in carbonaceous chondrites. And plenty of metals (including currently expensive noble metals) in their reduced form since there's no oxidation in a vacuum.

    Peter F Hamilton suggests in his Night's Dawn series of SF novels that Tritium mining from the gas giants would be a major driver once we have fusion technology working.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • Isn't this a little like saying "We should wage war, because we are human, that's what humans do!" or "We should be bigoted against each other, because that's what humans do!"

    Humans do a lot of things they shouldn't necessarily do. No, space exploration is not something comparable to war and bigotry, but we have to consider the implications of space exploration, and what its benefits and drawbacks are. We are evolved enough not to use the general behaviour of our species as an excuse.

    In my mind, space exploration would serve little practical benefit. There are still so many issues we have to resolve here on earth--starvation, disease, overpopulation, pollution, war, oppression, hatred, etc--that space exploration is negative, not just because of the money and effort that could be spent elsewhere but because many people view it as a way to "escape" our problems. Leaving earth is not a way to escape our problems; they will only come back to haunt us later.

    As a software engineer, I have a natural drive to want to refine systems and make them clean and efficient. So I think the idea of an Earth with a constant population of, say, 4 billion, very little disease, very little violence, no pollution, and running on 100% sustainable resources, is very compelling. It's more compelling to me to perfect what we do here on earth than to spread our very problematic and messy behaviours elsewhere.

    Yes, space travel is intriguing, because we do all have an instinct to explore and expand. But many people also have instincts to kill, maim, and rape--just because they are instincts doesn't mean they are good.

  • by Chester K ( 145560 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @01:23PM (#660188) Homepage
    Let's see here, the IIS has a projected lifespan to 10 to 25 years.

    That's just what Microsoft wants you to think.
  • You'll get some really weird effects if you do this on too small a scale though.
    Running anti-spinward will cause you to lose weight and running spinward will cause you to gain weight.
    Coriolis forces will cause everything to want to spin in the diredtion of the ships rotation (I think).
    Things will fall in curves, etc...
  • by wik ( 10258 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @01:50PM (#660192) Homepage Journal
    Therefore, by your logic, you have been dead for 30 years. I assure you that the people who walked on the moon before were alive. No sense in NASA sending four corpses to bounce on the moon!
  • Yeah, but think of the really neato sports games that could be done inside a spinning cylnder habitat. Imagine trying to toss a ball back and forth with curvy coriolis-induced arcs. It could make for a wicked game of Ping Pong or racketball.
  • Considering the source, they're just hedging their bets on the Rapture occuring in the next decade.
  • Exactly. Whats the big deal? If one week goes by without anyone living in the ISS will something terrible happen? Will the Guinness Book of records go out of business?

    I'm much more excited and supportive for a permanent colony on the moon instead of mars missions or silly strech records.

  • The traditional way of carving up territory is, of course, war.

    I doubt space will be any different in the long run.
  • many people also have instincts to kill, maim, and rape--just because they are instincts doesn't mean they are good.

    That they are instincts means precisely that they are good, as tested by the evolutionary process.

    We have those instincts because we are the descendants of the most brutally successful killers and rapists. In hard times, they are often the difference between the end or continuation of a bloodline.

    So I think the idea of an Earth with a constant population of, say, 4 billion, very little disease, very little violence, no pollution, and running on 100% sustainable resources, is very compelling.

    The thought disgusts me. No disease, no pollution, I can live with. Those are realistic, and basically inevitable with continual technological development. But driving down the population while dramatically reducing violence could only be achieved by central mind-control, oppression beyond imagining.

    You recommend a state of total stagnation, living death. You advocate turning away from growth and freedom in favour of comfort, like a child refusing to leave the nursery. Many would agree with you, and I couldn't be more appalled.

  • if YOU were starving in Africa, about to die, I think you'd rather have money spent on feeding you than on internet access for some guy who calls himself karzan. Or on his computer, or his car, or any of his luxuries, or for that matter, his necessities.

    Do you weigh every spending decision based on how many lives your dollars could save? Remember, you're killing someone every time you buy a snack. You're wiping out a village when you get a new car. So fucking what?

    Do you think the poor starving guy in Africa would give a rat's ass about you if the situation was reversed? Sure, he might give lip service to the idea, like you do, but he wouldn't actually weigh your life as meaningful against his comforts or his dreams.

    Don't ask what we can do for the starving people. Ask what they can do for us. If we were exploiting them, making profit from their labor, we would have a vested interest in their well-being, and they would have some leverage to make us send them the food they need. Your pity won't save them, but your greed could.

  • I think it's possible to build a world with a lower population through the willful participation of its members.

    Yes, eliminate disease, lengthen lifespans, ensure that no child starves, let people have as many children as they wish, and population will go down. That makes perfect sense.

    We do grow by growing the population, but that wasn't what I was talking about. Growth is moving beyond old boundaries, like Earth's gravity well, facing new challenges, like how to make a portable world of millions of people we can move to another star. Above all, true growth is natural. It arises from natural processes of competition and true challenges, not from a vague belief of penned cattle that something called "growth" is good.

    Freedom means giving people room to develop their own culture, full of strange customs and irrational intolerances, not letting them choose between Coke and Pepsi, or Democrat and Republican. Law is culture, bias is culture. Freedom is being able to choose to have 12 children, drown the unfit ones, and beat the disobediant ones, regardless of what the Mer'cans think is the proper way to raise a child.

    The resources out there have no purpose but those uses to which we put them. Besides, every expenditure of the resources we now have access to puts more resources within our reach, especially for space travel. If we meet other intelligent life, it might change the situation somewhat, but until then, reaching out for more resources is pure benefit, harming no one.

    As for suffering, well, suffering is, was, and ever shall be. One must suffer to grow. Nothing worthwhile comes without pain.

  • The fastest way for them to acheive a moderately comfortable lifestyle (by our standards) is for us to take over their lives, but that's basically what we did to (er, ehm, I mean "for", right?) the natives of North America and Australia, and I don't hear them thanking us.

    In the long run, they're better off if we just leave them alone. But we won't do that, because if they develop into powerful nations that stand on their own feet, they might offer a military challenge. Manipulators such as the CIA have been knocking the little guys back on their asses for ages.

  • Sorry but the post is a bit ingenuous. Soviet Union started the permanent expeditions with Salyut 7. And Mir was only unnocupied for some monthes when people started procedures to down it. For nearly ten years there were humans always on space. One cosmonaut took even one year on Mir. It was the first timetraveller on Earth... It left when Soviet existed and returned into Russia :)

    Yes probably it is a point to say that ISS may be "more permanent" than Salyut & Mir. Maybe this time humans will never ever leave Cosmos. But it is a point of ingenuity to consider that the "big construction kit" will be a guarantee of permanence.

    People say it will live for 10-15 years. I will risk 25-40 from what we saw with Mir and all these MirII, station Freedom & Co. In the next 10 years politicians will try to forget about Cosmos and get into a more mundane world. So this will well push he living span of the station.

    However there is a problem. Time will go and politicians may forget Cosmos AT ALL. Like Moon exploration... Where are the Moon stations, expeditions to Mars? So it is probable that this permanent presence may last only 50 years. By then we will be all on Earth, eat BigMacs, drink Coke, speak bad english (worser than mine :) ), see Internet Holywood 24h/d from Redmond... and think if some jerks did really landed on the Moon in 1969. Proabably it was another Holywood blockbuster.
  • When Mir was launched, the Russians said space
    would be permenantly inhabited. Was for many

  • And god help us if we ever find a planet with anything resembling a life form. Historically, Humans react VERY BADLY to foreign organisms they've never been exposed to before. (ask the Amazonian tribes, Native Americans, Europeans ) - it'll be the Andromeda strain all over again.

    Nonsense. Perhaps you haven't noticed that Amazonians, Native Americans and Europeans are very, very similar biologically. That's why viruses and other pathogens can move from one to another. And yes, when that happens it's very bad if the person hasn't been exposed to it before.

    Viruses can't even move between terrestrial biological kingdoms. Animal viruses can't infect plants. Plant viruses can't infect animals. Bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) can't infect plants or animals. Most viruses are even more restricted than that as far as what they can infect.

    Anything which evolved independently of life on earth will be far more different from earth organisms than plants are from animals. Asking whether a virus from Alpha Ceti VI can infect humans is like asking whether a computer virus can infect humans.

  • I wonder if they will post a doctor on ISS. It would be a bummer to get a heartattack 20 miles above the closest hospital...

    That's one of the reasons for the development of the Crew Return Vehicle (CRV), AKA "SSI lifeboat" or X-38 [friends-partners.org]. Until the CRV is operationally deployed (2003, last I heard -- but it may have slipped again), they'll use a couple of Soyuz spacecraft as lifeboats (but since they have to be refurbed after six months or so on orbit, it really makes NASA nervous -- that means a lot of Russian launches and operational expenses, and if there aren't functional, in-date lifeboats on station, the crew can't stay...).


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