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Old 2012-12-27, 02:28   #1
Uncwilly
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Default What "weed need" is a space mission!

For all of you space buffs and fans, it is time to vent!

What is the most overlooked mission that you think should happen now?
What is a mission that you think should be given priority?
What mission would fill in some vital piece of knowledge or provide a new window of insight or explore new territory?

The rules:
  • It must be an unmanned mission.
  • It must not be directly overlap any current or currently planned mission. This includes ESA (and all other European space agencies), NASA, RSA, B612, JAXA, and all other national agencies.
  • You have ~$1billion to work with.
  • No breakthrough tech allowed.
  • Must launch within 7 years and flight time to destination must be under 10 years. Primary Mission time is open, but must be covered by the funding.
  • Launch vehicles must be near term available (no SLS, but Falcon Heavy is ok), max of 2 launches, and the cost of the launches are part of the $1B. (Assume that the launched craft can auto-dock if needed).
  • A nominal amount of Deep Space Network support is available for a token charge.

Surprise us. Be creative.
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Old 2012-12-27, 02:58   #2
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I suppose it would be out of line to suggest that NASA should send a craft to the nearest star: Sol.

We waste a great deal of time and energy studying boring lumps of rock like the moon. It is time for that [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JdWlSF195Y"]mass of incandescent gas[/URL] miasma of incandescent plasma to be studied.

And since cost is an issue we could save money on heat shielding by going at night.

Sorry, I actually think this is a great thread. Though I'm for putting that Billion toward the space elevator.

Last fiddled with by chappy on 2012-12-27 at 02:59 Reason: space elevator FTW!
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Old 2012-12-27, 03:25   #3
chalsall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
Surprise us. Be creative.
Let us assume there is a non-zero probability that a relatively massive asteroid might impact Earth within the next 100 years.

Somewhat minor private funding (only a few hundred million dollars or so) would be able to detect this, using spacecraft located at Lagrangian points.

Might be a bit better than NASA funded scientists noting after the fact "oh, look, that asteroid just missed us yesterday"....
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Old 2012-12-27, 03:29   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalsall View Post
Somewhat minor private funding (only a few hundred million dollars or so) would be able to detect this, using spacecraft located at Lagrangian points.
Please see the following:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
[LIST][*]It must not be directly overlap any current or currently planned mission. This includes B612
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Old 2012-12-27, 05:01   #5
LaurV
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Landing on Mercury. I mean, manned mission. I still believe Mercury will be the next celestial body the mankind will walk on (this means, after the already trodden Moon, and before March, Venus, other things). Colonize may be not, but walk on, for sure! That is first because of the lower gravity (easier to come back) and then because of the temperature (contrary to popular beliefs that Mercury is very hot, because is close to the Sun, its polar caps are frozen, due to its orbital tilt, some area is never reached by the Sun, there is even ice there - i.e. solid, frozen water). As its equator is very hot, there is a "convenient" area somewhere in the middle, the "dew point", where the humans could live with only an oxygen mask for a while, dig some holes, take some stones, boo hoo, come back, happy ending...

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2012-12-27 at 05:03
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Old 2012-12-27, 05:07   #6
Dubslow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurV View Post
where the humans could live with only an oxygen mask for a while, dig some holes, take some stones, boo hoo, come back, happy ending...
No, you'd still need a full-fledged suit. Humans can't survive in a (near) vacuum, even with an oxygen mask.
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Old 2012-12-27, 05:27   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurV View Post
Landing on Mercury. I mean, manned mission.
To costly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
The rules:
  • It must be an unmanned mission.
Beside that, it takes a lot of energy to get to Mercury and if you want to get back, it takes a lot of energy to get back to earth.
"A trip to Mercury requires more rocket fuel than that required to escape the Solar System completely." - wikipedia And a manned mission is much heavier that an unmanned mission.
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Old 2012-12-27, 05:34   #8
LaurV
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whoops...

you are destroying my dreams


I know everybody is terrified by descending into this "solar well", the ship gets faster and faster, and if it does not do something (like active changing velocity) then it will pass Mercury fast... Think about a parachute, in the Earth's atmosphere. It does not get faster as it descends.
Now think that the parachute is a big solar sail and the Earth's atmosphere is the solar wind... This can be quite interesting (and cheap, close to free) when it comes back. With a little planning, it may lift the mercurial module without (much) other fuel...

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2012-12-27 at 05:44
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Old 2012-12-27, 05:35   #9
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My current personal preference is to plant some (2 or 3) radio telescopes on the moon. This would be for Extremely Long Baseline Interferometry. Ideally they would be about 10 meters in diameter once unfolded and contain an atomic clock, a generous amount of solar cells, and an RTG to provide a bit of power and some heat for the long nights.
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Old 2012-12-27, 07:12   #10
ixfd64
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Not a "space mission" per se, but I'd really like to see a working Heim drive.
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Old 2012-12-27, 07:13   #11
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Quote:
you are destroying my dreams
Not exactly relevant, but a good movie:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0448134/

Edit: An excellent song on the soundtrack as well:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ad...er/id579343029
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