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Comment Re: Waste of space (Score 1) 51

The problem is, it's *NOT* "more screen", because they're the same size and resolution as similar phones that *have* dedicated buttons. It's a pure anti-feature that companies have somehow managed to spin into a selling point. :-(

Case in point: Nexus 6P vs Galaxy Note 4. Literally identical displays, but the 6P technically doesn't even get detected as 'widescreen' (for layout alternate resource purposes) because Android subtracts the height of the softkey area from the vertical resolution, and the resulting ratio ends up being .00000001% below the threshold for 'widescreen'.

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 317

I'm more inclined to agree with Tyson: while the rover(s) were great news and certainly generated exitment, if a manned landing had been done at the same time, *no-one* of the large public would have even noticed. That is to say: manned missions will *always* generate more excitement than robotic missions.

But, don't get me wrong, I'm all for going to Mars too, and I think purely as a PR stunt (though gathering enthusiasm of/from the public is worthwhile) it's not worth its money, unless you open it up to the private sector and get the economical factor playing. But I just wanted to say that the public, politics, economics, etc. and, indeed, science, all play a part in any decision NASA takes.

It's never going to be one sole thing. Some people - scientists included - will think one thing is a pity, while others think another things is wasted money. For instance, as one can see, some scientists are against manned spacetravel, because it cuts in the available budget and thus it means less science for them. Purely from the premise and viewpoint that NASA is there for them to get scientific data, I can understand their complaints. But I think they're mistaken, when taking a more global approach. I think taking steps to actually colonize other planets and become a multi-planetary species is important too. But everyone has his opinion on it, I guess. Politicians see NASA as a means to have and keep jobs and employment in their region, for instance. That's not a worthwhile or useful goal in my book, but I guess politicians see it differently. Etc.

Anyway, I wish they wrote into the constitution that NASA gets a minimum of 1% of the GNP. :-) That way, things would become less cut-throat, and NASA would be assured of stable finances, allowing to plan long-term.

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 317

I'm not a real proponent to waste much time and money on a moonbase, certainly not if it's to be intended as complete moon-infrastructure to make and refuel rockets for Mars. I could mayhaps see some use if it's a kept as a testbed for a colony to Mars. But I don't think it's really necessary.

However, I was making a general point. NASA, and it's goals, have never been, and will never be, solely and purely about science and scientific return. It could be as simple as PR; making the public at large interested in spacetravel again, for instance (public = politics). That succeeds better with manned flights than unmanned, and rather with moonlandings then with a station in LEO.

Of course, Mars would achive that too, but not in the same timeframe and with the same cost. It's still more cheaper and less far off to have a moonbase, then a Mars-base.

And, let's face it, it's been such a huge-ass time... if they were going to land on the moon again, I would take leave from my work and watch it live if I had too. ;-) 'Done before' (40 years ago) or not.

Though, personally, if it's that or a Mars-landing during my life-time, I'd rather have the latter.

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 317

True. However, as said, NASA *never* had as sole and ultimate goal only science and scientific return. So it really is strange to take the premise as if it was and is. I understand that (most) scientists would *want* that, because that's their bred and butter, and what they like most, but that doesn't make it correct. The public support - and thus political support - is far easier and better gained by manned spaceflight, than robotic flight, for instance. Colonization is, ultimately, a manned endeavor - colonizing with robotic landings doesn't make the human race multi-planetary.

That's not to say the science isn't interesting: it certainly is. But it was never NASA's sole purpose to begin with. It would be like scientists saying: if they would put all the money they waste on wars and the military, into science, we could achieve far more!

Certainly. No doubt. But that's not the point nor the goal of the military.

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 317

Let's take this one step further. I'd rather they spend all that money on me, so I could have a luxurious life without any financial worries.

There.

It all depends on ones' priorities. NASA's priorities is not ONLY scientific return. NASA conducts its work in four principal organizations, called mission directorates:

Aeronautics: manages research focused on meeting global demand for air mobility in ways that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable, while also embracing revolutionary technology from outside aviation.
Human Exploration and Operations: focuses on International Space Station operations, development of commercial spaceflight capabilities and human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.
Science: explores the Earth, solar system and universe beyond; charts the best route of discovery; and reaps the benefits of Earth and space exploration for society.
Space Technology: rapidly develops, innovates, demonstrates, and infuses revolutionary, high-payoff technologies that enable NASA's future missions while providing economic benefit to the nation.

Note that scientific return is not the only goal for NASA, nor was it ever meant to be. You're starting from a wrong premise, thus. It's the fault of those scientists that they think NASA only exists to serve their purposes. It doesn't.

Comment Re:Another new headphone connector! (Score 1) 212

Trust Apple not to implement that. Of course it requires an audio amplifier, probably a chip so small it's difficult to see. There's also some extra logic around the USB chip, because that's a relatively high-current low-impedance task. But Apple has already driven its users to a different solution, and has no reason to admit that analog headphones are just fine, and that it can support them.

Comment Re: Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 317

" it can be easier to get payloads to Mars from Venus than from Earth "

Let's not go there. You just made an excellent rebuttal to UnknowingFool why it doesn't make sense to make a base on the moon to then send rockets to Mars, and now you're arguing the same...

By the time Venus would (if, ever) be 'colonized' by myriads of cloudcities large and complex enough to make a floating infrastructure possible to send rockets cheaper to Mars, it would take less long and would be far cheaper by that time to have colonized Mars directly.

Unless you're talking about a really, really far away future, where there is trade between planets... but by that time, Earth may have a space-elevator anyhow.

Comment Re: Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 317

I don't see the advantages for colonizing another planet to go for Venus instead of Mars. It IS pretty corrosive, even without the hype, you'd need to build frickle 'cloudcities' - and hope you never fall off, and there is an almost total lack of any water.

Compared to that, Mars is a relatively benign planet to colonize. Pragmatically speaking, it would be foolish to go for Venus. I mean, yes, I get it: I saw the nasa retro-art too: a cloudcity on Venus looks cool. But with that, all is said. I'm for more exploration of the inner planets (Mercury hasn't gotten much love neither), and our scientific knowledge would gain greatly by it, but if you're talking in the context of colonizing and making humans multi-planetary, it's *definitely* a better idea to go for Mars. Idem with a context of finding life in the solarsystem (though some moons like Europa are also good candidates in that case). Point is, whether we like it or not, there is a reason why there is more attention for Mars than for Venus.

Though I would agree with you it's a bit disappointing they send so little probes to the inner most planets. Then again, budgets are - certainly of NASA these days - limited, so if the money for one is to the expense of the other - in that case, I do think they should focus on Mars and/or Europa, as far as planetary exploration goes. If NASA was guaranteed 1% of GNP, much more leeway would be possible, but it is what it is.

Comment Re: Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 317

I think you're basically wrong in this.

However you turn it, it needs a huge sunken cost before you'd ever be able to get any advantages out of it. So it's only good for long term planning, where you have a concerted effort to get humans to other planets for hundreds of years. Building the infrastructure on the moon big enough to be worthwhile to be cheaper to go to Mars thereafter, would take at least 150 years. Quite incompatible with the current plans to send people to Mas between 2030-2050.

There can be NO doubt that in the short term, creating a moonbase to then go to Mars is nonsensical. First of, it would cost even *more* fuel to get to the moon then it would cost to go to LEO. Secondly, you'd need far more hardware (and thus weight) to actually build the infrastructure on the moon. And then you'd have to create the fuel (and rockets?) and transport them to a lunar orbit.

The only part that is cheaper is the last part: getting your fuel out of the gravity well of the moon, compared to the same from Earth. But by that time, you've poured 1000 times as much money (and time) in it then it would have cost you if you had launched directly from Earth. For a launch of about 5-10 rockets to get the Mars-vehicle ready in orbit, it really isn't worth it. So for a short term (aka, a couple of decades at most) and for few launches to Mars, it makes little sense.

Only in a long-term future, where dozens upon dozens of rockets need to go to Mars for centuries to come, would it make sense to invest so heavily in a moon-infrastructure.

So the other poster was right in this respect. That said, creating a moonbase (not a huge infrastructure to launch rockets) could still be worthwhile as a testbed for a Martian colony. Not really necessary, but... at least it would make some more sense, then.

Comment Re: Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 317

I think you're basically right in this.

However you turn it, it needs a huge sunken cost before you'd ever be able to get any advantages out of it. So it's only good for long term planning, where you have a concerted effort to get humans to other planets for hundreds of years. Building the infrastructure on the moon big enough to be worthwhile to be cheaper to go to Mars thereafter, would take at least 150 years. Quite incompatible with the current plans to send people to Mas between 2030-2050.

There can be NO doubt that in the short term, creating a moonbase to then go to Mars is nonsensical. First of, it would cost even *more* fuel to get to the moon then it would cost to go to LEO. Secondly, you'd need far more hardware (and thus weight) to actually build the infrastructure on the moon. And then you'd have to create the fuel (and rockets?) and transport them to a lunar orbit.

The only part that is cheaper is the last part: getting your fuel out of the gravity well of the moon. but by that time, you've poured 1000 times as much money (and time) in it then it would have cost you if you had launched directly from Earth. For a launch of about 5-10 rockets to get the Mars-vehicle ready in orbit, it really isn't worth it. So for a short term (aka, a couple of decades at most) and for few launches to Mars, it makes little sense.

Only in a long-term future, where dozens upon dozens of rockets need to go to Mars, would it make sense to invest so heavily in a moon-infrastructure.

So the other poster was wrong. That said, creating a moonbase (not a huge infrastructure to launch rockets) could still be worthwhile as a testbed for a Martian colony. Not really necessary, but... at least it would make some more sense, then.

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