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How To Get Back To the Moon In 4 Years -- This Time To Stay ( 355

Scientific American describes "a way to get to the Moon and to stay there begin this process immediately and to achieve moon landings in less than four years." It starts by abandoning NASA's expensive Space Launch System and Orion capsule, and spending the money saved on private-industry efforts like Elon Musk's SpaceX and Robert Bigelow's Bigelow Aerospace. schwit1 quotes their report: Musk's rockets -- the Falcon and the soon-to-be-launched Falcon Heavy -- are built to take off and land. So far their landing capabilities have been used to ease them down on earth. But the same technology, with a few tweaks, gives them the ability to land payloads on the surface of the Moon. Including humans. What's more, SpaceX's upcoming seven-passenger Dragon 2 capsule has already demonstrated its ability to gentle itself down to earth's surface. In other words, with a few modifications and equipment additions, Falcon rockets and Dragon capsules could be made Moon-ready...

Major segments of the space community want every future landing to add to a permanent infrastructure in the sky. And that's within our grasp thanks to Robert Bigelow... Since the spring of 2016, Bigelow, a real estate developer and founder of the Budget Suites of America hotel chain, has had an inflatable habitat acting as a spare room at the International Space Station 220 miles above your head and mine. And Bigelow's been developing something far more ambitious -- an inflatable Moon Base, that would use three of his 330-cubic-meter B330 modules.

The article calls Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin rockets "a wild car" which could also land passengers and cargo on the moon and suggests NASA would be better off funding things like lunar-surface refueling stations, lunar construction equipment, and "devices to turn lunar ice into rocket fuel, drinkable water, and breathable oxygen."

Comment Re:Another piece of software to uninstall (Score 1) 275

Still this is useful for lazy users who are slow to switch clients. It's easier turn off ads and tackle malicious stuff as it comes than it is to go out and actually do research on what alternatives are available and trying them out before deciding on which one to keep. Or for that matter, even if you are a proactive yet cautious user, it makes more sense to work to minimize the damage being done by the devil you know while you decide on a new devil.

Comment Re:Going my own way (Score 3, Informative) 196

That's the thing. This definition includes Pluto but it also includes Ceres, the largest asteroid. It also includes Eris (of course since Eris is even larger than Pluto, any definition of a planet that includes Pluto must also include Eris). And it includes at least six to eight Kuiper Belt objects like Quaoar (the scrabble world whose name I've almost certainly misspelled). Plus a couple of scattered disk objects like Sedna which seem to just be out there in weir, random-looking orbits would also have to be included.

And this list would only grow as better telescopes and better survey techniques are developed. Here I think is the real reason that Pluto was demoted. Because it's easier to take it off of the list of planets than to include dozens of small, icy worlds.

Comment Re:My review (Score 2) 148

Except for the part about having too much gore, I completely disagree with you. It does falter a bit when it tries to switch between comedy and action modes as the plot to kill Kim Jong Un unravels. But it still works well as a satire of our celebrity obsessed media culture.

James Franco plays his character perfectly. (Granted his character is the sort of smug, smarmy asshole which is not a huge stretch from Franco's current media image.) Kim is more than just a caricature here. He is portrayed as a charismatic master manipulator with breathtaking daddy issues. A lot of the movie looks cheap and fake but even that very fakeness starts to make sense when you see just how far Kim is willing to go to make his "worker's paradise" seem real.

So while this movie may not work for film aficionados who only like the kind cinematic masterpieces put out the Herzogs, Kurosawas, and Michael Bays of this world it is funny and watchable. Obviously if Seth Rogan and James Franco give you a huge hate boner, this is not the film for you. But if you usually like their work, you'll enjoy this movie too.

Comment Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (Score 1) 186

These people are already part of the workforce and are already competing for low wage jobs (in some sectors like agriculture, they are only competing against each other because American citizens don't do those jobs). If anything this change in immigration law takes away some of the leverage that employers could traditionally use against these people.

Comment Re:Not worth it ? (Score 1) 594

Except that it's not a rich dude blowing $100k of his own money, at least not yet. It's two "ordinary" people risking their lives so rich people won’t have to. It's a little like crashing a luxury car with real, living human beings instead of crash test dummies. I'm exaggerating for effect here because that was basically TFA's argument, that this is going to be a thrill ride for the rich and not a way to explore space so why are people dying?

But as TFA also points out, a lot of worthwhile endeavors start out with less than laudable goals. The Apollo program started as a way to win a pissing contest with the Russians. It's possible that a space tourism industry might turn out to be a training ground where the astronauts who will explore Mars develop and hone their skills.

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"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_