Author Topic: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget - Feasible but Ludicrously Expensive Missions  (Read 5851 times)

Offline MarsDude

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I'm going to post a series of mission plans that are possible with and use current/in development technology and hardware, but would be prohibitively expensive to fly. Thus the title "If NASA Had An Infinite Budget".

This post will be edited from time to time when new missions are thought up/figured out.

Missions I'm Working On Figuring Out:

-Titan Sample Return

-Pluto Orbiter

-Europa Submarine

---

Missions Posted:

-None yet

---
Yeah, if only...
« Last Edit: 02/16/2017 05:19 PM by MarsDude »
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Offline speedevil

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #1 on: 02/13/2017 07:12 PM »
At some point, this is meaningless - once you get to requiring a large fraction of earths resources expended on one thing, ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fission-fragment_rocket#Dusty_Plasma - would in principle be relevant to this - there is limited new physics to be developed for this, compared to fusion.

It can in principle enable things like a pluto rendevous in about a year from launch.

Even if you can spend infinite money on NASA, the efficiency of what you get may be terrible.


Offline IanThePineapple

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #2 on: 02/13/2017 07:27 PM »
Mars, Mercury, Martian moons, Ceres, Io, Europa, Enceladus and [possibly] Venus sample returns would all be possible with Atlas V 551, Falcon Heavy Delta IV Heavy and eventually SLS
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Offline brickmack

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #3 on: 02/13/2017 11:22 PM »
Mars, Mercury, Martian moons, Ceres, Io, Europa, Enceladus and [possibly] Venus sample returns would all be possible with Atlas V 551, Falcon Heavy Delta IV Heavy and eventually SLS

Martian moons maybe. Unless you're doing some orbital assembly thing and electric propulsion transfer vehicles and a ton of gravity assists, I don't see how (and at that point the statement is meaningless, the same is technically true of any orbital rocket if you're willing to launch half a million of them). Even SLS can just barely get a lander to Europa, nevermind a round trip with an Atlas V

Offline alexterrell

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #4 on: 02/13/2017 11:36 PM »
A permanent manned base on the Martian moons as soon as possible.

Whilst the base is being expanded and developed, NASA could also develop the Mars landers and surface equipment.

This isn't really an "infinite budget" approach, because it could actually work out more cost effective than Mars direct.

In terms of "infinite budget", I recall reading Arthur C Clarke's "Rescue Party" and thinking, if we had 100 years warning that the sun was going Nova, and all defence budgets were reallocated to Space development, what would be done?

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #5 on: 02/14/2017 12:05 AM »
Mars would still be twenty years away...
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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #6 on: 02/14/2017 12:24 AM »
I'm going to post a series of mission plans that are possible with and use current/in development technology and hardware, but would be prohibitively expensive to fly. Thus the title "If NASA Had An Infinite Budget".

NASA already has a near infinite budget - the U.S. Treasury.  There are no constitutional limits on how much money Congress can allocate to any department or agency.

The real question is "What activities in space are of interest to the U.S. Government, and how much of a priority are they?"

Robotic missions to destinations within our solar system?  Sure they are of interest, but the real question is what century we need to have the answers we seek?  Because while the budget is potentially unlimited, there are lots of priorities we have here on Earth that take precedent.

As to anything regarding sending humans beyond Earth's orbit, we have yet to see a strong interest from those that hold the purse strings in sending government employees to other places in our solar system.  Why?  A distinct lack of a measurable ROI for the U.S. Government, besides "science".
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Hobbes-22

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #7 on: 02/14/2017 09:53 AM »
A manned Grand Tour of the solar system seems mostly possible (maybe except the Venus landing).
(example: http://www.space.com/1135-dvd-review-voyage-planets.html)

Offline MarsDude

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #8 on: 02/14/2017 01:52 PM »
I thought it would be fun to design ridiculous but possible missions ;)

The Titan Sample Return mission so far involves modified Space Shuttle External Tanks, Centaur engines used in ways they were never meant to be, and enough Plutonium in RTGs to make a nuclear bomb.

This is approaching Kerbal Space Program levels of insanity.
« Last Edit: 02/14/2017 01:56 PM by MarsDude »
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Offline MarsDude

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #9 on: 02/14/2017 05:45 PM »
According to NASA's Trajectory Browser, a round-trip rendezvous mission to Saturn (Selected Launch Date: 2020-2030, Max Duration and Max Delta-V set to their maximums, Minimize Delta-V) with the optimal trajectory will take 7.08 km/s of Delta-V to and from Saturn orbit (not including the Titan mission).

Delta-V Breakdown:
-Earth Departure: 4.51 km/s
-Course Correction #1: 1.06 km/s
-Course Correction #2 (during Earth gravity assist): 656 m/s
-Saturn Orbital Insertion: 451 m/s
-Saturn Departure: 411 m/s

Earth Reentry Velocity: 16.39 km/s (VERY FAST)

Let's split the mission into two spacecraft:
-Spacecraft #1: Lands on Titan and collects samples; performs rendezvous with Spacecraft #2 in Titan orbit
-Spacecraft #2: Performs the Saturn Departure burn and acts as a communications relay for Spacecraft #1; the detachable reentry capsule is located on this craft
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Offline MarsDude

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #10 on: 02/14/2017 05:47 PM »
I'm going to post a series of mission plans that are possible with and use current/in development technology and hardware, but would be prohibitively expensive to fly. Thus the title "If NASA Had An Infinite Budget".

NASA already has a near infinite budget - the U.S. Treasury.  There are no constitutional limits on how much money Congress can allocate to any department or agency.

The real question is "What activities in space are of interest to the U.S. Government, and how much of a priority are they?"

Robotic missions to destinations within our solar system?  Sure they are of interest, but the real question is what century we need to have the answers we seek?  Because while the budget is potentially unlimited, there are lots of priorities we have here on Earth that take precedent.

As to anything regarding sending humans beyond Earth's orbit, we have yet to see a strong interest from those that hold the purse strings in sending government employees to other places in our solar system.  Why?  A distinct lack of a measurable ROI for the U.S. Government, besides "science".


You know what I mean
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Offline Mr. Scott

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #11 on: 02/15/2017 03:59 AM »
Absolutely terraform the moon. 
Need to modify the moon's rotation and the lack of magnetic field. Just connect the Earth and Moon with a cable to transfer power/supplies/cargo.



« Last Edit: 02/22/2017 03:45 AM by Mr. Scott »

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #12 on: 02/15/2017 04:37 AM »
....then it's name would not be "NASA".  ;)
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Offline scienceguy

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #13 on: 02/15/2017 04:49 AM »
If NASA had an infinite budget, then why not build a rotating colony ship with fission drives and send people to Proxima Centauri b? You could launch the presumably 10^7 tonne ship by assembling it piece by piece in orbit!
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #14 on: 02/15/2017 05:15 AM »
Sorry; money alone wont achieve all that.
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Offline kch

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #15 on: 02/15/2017 05:19 AM »

In terms of "infinite budget", I recall reading Arthur C Clarke's "Rescue Party" and thinking, if we had 100 years warning that the sun was going Nova, and all defence budgets were reallocated to Space development, what would be done?

Probably not much.  Don't feel bad, though -- we come by it honestly enough ...

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #16 on: 02/15/2017 09:04 AM »
They would build the Orion nuclear pulse ship. And to haul its colossal mass in orbit, they would fund ROMBUS and Sea Dragon.  8)
Also, they would buy USS Enterprise nuclear carrier and use it as a launch platform - its nuclear machinery and reactors would split LH2 and LOX out of sea water.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #17 on: 02/15/2017 09:53 AM »
What I want and what we would get are two entirely different things. However, it's a matter of degree in what could be achieved with a mixture of old and new ways of doing things - NASA itself may eventually change drastically - or even be disbanded in the decades to come. And if Elon's Interplanetary Transportation System gets up and running reliably - then most bets are off. However; if it is badly delayed, cancelled or fails, then something approximating the following in the broadest terms may happen:

Go hard-out on developing Propellant Depots, Solar Electric and then eventually; Nuclear Electric propulsion. Also Space Nuclear power systems for planetary In-Situ Resource Utilization. SLS optimized with 'flyback', reusable LOX/Kerosene boosters - though this whole launcher would be replaced with a reusable Commercial Space options when they became available. 3x Pad 39's (B & C; as 39A is apparently going to be used by Elon). Pad's 39B & C for SLS operations allowing between 6 and 8 flights per year. Development of 'Mars Direct' similar architecture - 1x SLS Block 2B sends the Direct spacecraft and it's Earth Departure Stage into orbit; near the Propellant Depot. The EDS is refueled and sends the big Direct Spacecraft on Trans-Mars Injection. A subset of this architecture builds a series of Lunar Ouposts - a Radio and Optical array station on the Farside and three Ouposts on the Nearside: the biggest base at the Lunar South Pole and two at other locations in the Highlands and a Maria.

SEP cargo tugs do round trips to Mars and Venusian orbit. Cargo spacecraft do direct entry to a series of Martian Ouposts set up by the Mars Direct transport architecture - the SEP tugs drop them off near Mars and continue around the Sun in a manner very similar to Buzz Aldrin's 'Mars Cycler'. I would advocate a manned Venusian space station floating high in the atmosphere at a moderately temperate altitude. Powerful and capable unmanned Rovers explore the surface of planet Mercury. The Moons of Mars have crewed Outposts. Nuclear Electric/chemical propelled crewed exploration craft with reliable artificial gravity for crews explore the Asteroid belt. Outposts are established on Ceres and Vesta. The two largest outer Moons of Jupiter are eventually manned by large scientific Outposts, while advanced Rovers explore and drill into Europa and Io.

Mankind reaches Titan and establishes a large Outpost there. Other Outposts on at least one moon each of Uranus and Neptune follow in the decades after that - and probably Pluto, too. Fusion powered manned craft visit Kuiper Belt objects over time - though super advanced probes would likely do that first with orbiters and landers both. And in the centuries after that; would humans take a decades-long flight to the very deep space 'Planet 9'? If it exists...?
« Last Edit: 02/15/2017 09:05 PM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline Mr. Scott

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #18 on: 02/16/2017 03:12 AM »
Build a time machine, send twenty bucks back to 1965.  Inflation will accrue the value of the money.  Then stick the new balance back into the time machine again to send it back to 1965.  Rinse, lather, repeat.

At some point in this cycle, there will be a near infinite amount of money.... until the project is cancelled.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #19 on: 02/16/2017 03:17 AM »
Why only $20 bucks? I'd make it a thousand or more, invest in things we know succeeded, then build a Private Space Company to join forces with Elon or Bezos... Then get some sh1t done!!
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Offline gospacex

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #20 on: 02/16/2017 12:47 PM »
I'm going to post a series of mission plans that are possible with and use current/in development technology and hardware, but would be prohibitively expensive to fly. Thus the title "If NASA Had An Infinite Budget".

This post will be edited from time to time when new missions are thought up/figured out.

Missions I'm Working On Figuring Out:

-Titan Sample Return

-Pluto Orbiter

-Europa Submarine

These would "only" advance planetary science. Which is valuable, but by itself it's not very useful until we actually need that knowledge for some practical use.

And NASA is reasonably efficient at advancing planetary science already.

What it is awful at is manned space program. 40 years since Apollo and the progress is so glacial that we still discuss colonization and Moon/Mars bases as completely theoretical activities - no substantial actual R&D is spent on that, it's almost entirely PowerPoint.

I would direct "infinite" budget, first and foremost, into building both Moon and Mars bases. There are A LOT of research to be done just to make the very first base possible.
« Last Edit: 02/16/2017 12:48 PM by gospacex »

Offline MarsDude

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #21 on: 02/16/2017 02:35 PM »
I'm going to post a series of mission plans that are possible with and use current/in development technology and hardware, but would be prohibitively expensive to fly. Thus the title "If NASA Had An Infinite Budget".

This post will be edited from time to time when new missions are thought up/figured out.

Missions I'm Working On Figuring Out:

-Titan Sample Return

-Pluto Orbiter

-Europa Submarine

These would "only" advance planetary science. Which is valuable, but by itself it's not very useful until we actually need that knowledge for some practical use.

And NASA is reasonably efficient at advancing planetary science already.

What it is awful at is manned space program. 40 years since Apollo and the progress is so glacial that we still discuss colonization and Moon/Mars bases as completely theoretical activities - no substantial actual R&D is spent on that, it's almost entirely PowerPoint.

I would direct "infinite" budget, first and foremost, into building both Moon and Mars bases. There are A LOT of research to be done just to make the very first base possible.


Well, I'd say that if the Europa sub finds life, it would be the most important discovery in the history of mankind :)

But, yeah, I see where you're coming from. Manned mission concepts I have will be posted after these.
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Offline MarsDude

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #22 on: 02/16/2017 05:18 PM »
Does anyone have an idea of how to stop the cryogenic tanks from boiling off during the interplanetary cruise?

A cryogenic rocket engine performs both the TSI (Trans-Saturn Injection) and Saturn orbit insertion burns, and I'd like to avoid the fuel being gone upon arrival.
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Offline gospacex

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Online shooter6947

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #24 on: 02/16/2017 10:44 PM »
Does anyone have an idea of how to stop the cryogenic tanks from boiling off during the interplanetary cruise?
Active refrigerator system hooked into big-ass radiators

Offline scienceguy

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Does anyone have an idea of how to stop the cryogenic tanks from boiling off during the interplanetary cruise?


Bussard ramjet. Pick up the fuel as you go.
e^(pi)i = -1

Offline AS_501

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Following up Scienceguy's suggestion, a colony ship along the lines of Arthur C. Clarke's cylindrical vessel "Rama", though maybe not quite as large as Clarke's.  Admittedly this is outside the scope of a NASA-only project.  Same can be said for a 2001-style rotating space station which, by the way, would mitigate the harmful microgravity medical effects being discovered on the ISS.

On a more realistic note, a manned base on Callisto with (obviously) ample radiation shielding for habitats, pressure suits, etc.  Is there any hope for manned missions near Jupiter?

Offline MATTBLAK

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Callisto, Ganymede and Titan would make wonderful destination goals for late in the 21st Century. The subsurface oceans of Callisto and Ganymede might be easier to reach than Europa's and the local surface environment far less flooded by Jupiter's radiation. And of course; Ceres could be an excellent place to explore and drill into. I really hope someone gets a Rover out there one day soonish.
« Last Edit: 02/17/2017 02:05 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline brickmack

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #28 on: 02/17/2017 02:43 AM »
Does anyone have an idea of how to stop the cryogenic tanks from boiling off during the interplanetary cruise?

A cryogenic rocket engine performs both the TSI (Trans-Saturn Injection) and Saturn orbit insertion burns, and I'd like to avoid the fuel being gone upon arrival.

ULA says ACES tech should be scalable to any size (and thermodynamically I'd expect it to be rather more effective with larger fuel volumes). Losses would just be from power generation and attitude control (not seen hard numbers on propellant consumption for these, but its supposed to be very small)

Offline Mr. Scott

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Well, if there was a technology to demonstrate asteroid redirection... then use the infinite quantities of funding to scale the technology up.  Then redirect the entire solar system to one location.  Lets have the reunification of the solar system to a single location as a single object, and for goodness sake call it a planet!

 Then there can be a single mission to a single location with a single spacecraft.

Make the space program great again.
« Last Edit: 02/18/2017 04:10 AM by Mr. Scott »

Offline MarsDude

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #30 on: 02/17/2017 01:03 PM »
Does anyone have an idea of how to stop the cryogenic tanks from boiling off during the interplanetary cruise?

A cryogenic rocket engine performs both the TSI (Trans-Saturn Injection) and Saturn orbit insertion burns, and I'd like to avoid the fuel being gone upon arrival.

ULA says ACES tech should be scalable to any size (and thermodynamically I'd expect it to be rather more effective with larger fuel volumes). Losses would just be from power generation and attitude control (not seen hard numbers on propellant consumption for these, but its supposed to be very small)


I've got power generation figured out: enough RTGs to make a nuclear bomb with their plutonium. Overkill, but it works. As for attitude control: Reaction wheels won't expend any fuel, RCS will.
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Offline MarsDude

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Earth departure, course correction, and gravity assist will take 6.219 km/s of Delta-V. My current plan for this is to have three heavily modified Shuttle External Tanks hold the fuel, and a cluster of three Centaur engines perform the maneuvers.

The tanks will be laid out side-by-side, two side tanks attached to the the middle tank. The side tanks are drained first, and jettisoned when they are empty. The Centaur engines are only on the middle tank.

Each tank is launched separately and empty by an SLS, and are docked together in orbit. Several refueling missions (consisting of an SLS payload that is a control unit, RCS, small solar panels, an antenna, and whatever payload capacity is left holds fuel) will fuel it up. Finally, the payload spacecraft is launched and docked to the front.
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Offline Jim

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I've got power generation figured out: enough RTGs to make a nuclear bomb with their plutonium. Overkill, but it works. As for attitude control: Reaction wheels won't expend any fuel, RCS will.

Still need RCS with Reaction wheels

Offline Jim

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have three heavily modified Shuttle External Tanks hold the fuel,


No amount of money is going to make that happen.  Also, they are just wrong for the job
« Last Edit: 02/17/2017 01:42 PM by Jim »

Offline MarsDude

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have three heavily modified Shuttle External Tanks hold the fuel,


No amount of money is going to make that happen.  Also, they are just wrong for the job

 
Misspoke, I meant something about that size.
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Offline Hobbes-22

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #35 on: 02/17/2017 03:35 PM »

I've got power generation figured out: enough RTGs to make a nuclear bomb with their plutonium. Overkill, but it works. As for attitude control: Reaction wheels won't expend any fuel, RCS will.

The Plutonium isotope used in RTGs is useless for nuclear bombs. It won't fission. A GPHS-RTG contains a little under 8 kg of Pu-238, critical mass of Pu-239 is 11 kg. 11 kg of Pu-238 isn't a very large RTG.

Offline MarsDude

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #36 on: 02/17/2017 03:41 PM »

I've got power generation figured out: enough RTGs to make a nuclear bomb with their plutonium. Overkill, but it works. As for attitude control: Reaction wheels won't expend any fuel, RCS will.

The Plutonium isotope used in RTGs is useless for nuclear bombs. It won't fission. A GPHS-RTG contains a little under 8 kg of Pu-238, critical mass of Pu-239 is 11 kg. 11 kg of Pu-238 isn't a very large RTG.


I meant if it was Pu-239, it would probably be several megatons.
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Offline kch

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #37 on: 02/17/2017 04:02 PM »

I've got power generation figured out: enough RTGs to make a nuclear bomb with their plutonium. Overkill, but it works. As for attitude control: Reaction wheels won't expend any fuel, RCS will.

The Plutonium isotope used in RTGs is useless for nuclear bombs. It won't fission. A GPHS-RTG contains a little under 8 kg of Pu-238, critical mass of Pu-239 is 11 kg. 11 kg of Pu-238 isn't a very large RTG.


I meant if it was Pu-239, it would probably be several megatons.

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Offline Jim

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I don't think that is asking too much. A bit more funding and I can see these missions coming every 10 years or so.

It is asking for too much.  Those missions would be like JWST and worse.
« Last Edit: 02/17/2017 06:59 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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A Europa sub just needs the right fissure--perhaps found by earlier missions. You are right about Webb.
ATLAST is a simpler design.

ATLAST would be worse than JWST.  The folding telescope was not the cost driver for JWST.

Offline MATTBLAK

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have three heavily modified Shuttle External Tanks hold the fuel,


No amount of money is going to make that happen.  Also, they are just wrong for the job
Yes - there aren't 3x External Tanks left in existence and no manufacturing infrastructure to make more. And how would you launch them, anyway? They had a synergy with the Shuttle that would make them nearly impossible to adapt for anything else, other than a Shuttle Derived Sidemount launcher - and that ship has sailed, so to speak. Possibly you could adapt your idea to tooling used to make smaller diameter rocket stages like the 5 meter Deltas - or just clean-sheet design your ideas to the specs you want or need.
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Offline MarsDude

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have three heavily modified Shuttle External Tanks hold the fuel,


No amount of money is going to make that happen.  Also, they are just wrong for the job
Yes - there aren't 3x External Tanks left in existence and no manufacturing infrastructure to make more. And how would you launch them, anyway? They had a synergy with the Shuttle that would make them nearly impossible to adapt for anything else, other than a Shuttle Derived Sidemount launcher - and that ship has sailed, so to speak. Possibly you could adapt your idea to tooling used to make smaller diameter rocket stages like the 5 meter Deltas - or just clean-sheet design your ideas to the specs you want or need.

Sorry, I misspoke. I meant the same size as heavily modified ETs.
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Offline tea monster

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What would probably a more interesting thread would be "What if NASA were funded at relative 1960's levels", or "What if NASA's budget were quadrupled."

Infinite money basically says that anything is possible. You could give Mr. Zubrin a nice birthday present and develop a nuclear salt water rocket and pay off all the hippies to look the other way. You could even set up a dummy corporation in a neutral state and develop an Orion (the Orion that should have flown first) ship to cruise the solar system in style.

With the budget indicated by an 8 on it's side, lunar bases, Mars colonies and all that jazz are just part of the coffee budget.

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What would probably a more interesting thread would be "What if NASA were funded at relative 1960's levels", or "What if NASA's budget were quadrupled."

Infinite money basically says that anything is possible.
If you add up a time constrain (like Kennedy did), there are several limitations, even with unlimited resources.
At some point, throwing in more people and money does not accelerate or improve the process.

Offline MarsDude

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"Infinite budget" just means, in this case, "Budget so big that ludicrously expensive and insane missions [like these] get approved instantly." Don't read too much into the title.
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Offline TakeOff

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NASA would, yet again, spend many decades on building a ludicrously infinitely expensive 1960s style launcher. I bet that really clever rocket scientists and their bureaucrats could easily spend many trillions while choosing between making the Shuttle expendable or building a reusable copy of the Saturn V. SLS/Orion is middle of the road. More money cannot cure the disease that plagues NASA's sever malpriorities and chronical failure. The more they take the more they waste.

Offline Robotbeat

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After landing on every planet, dwarf planet, and Moon in our solar system out to 50AU with a hard surface:


Build ITS:



...I would terraform Mars and build a giant space beamed propulsion thing for crewed interstellar travel to Alpha Centauri. If we got fusion working, maybe mine Uranus (with a NTR RLV to get out of its gravity well) for helium3 and deuterium for the interstellar journey.

For small uncrewed probes, something like this but bigger and with the propelling laser in orbit:


...and telescopes placed at the sun's gravity focus. Telescopes 10km wide, big enough to image exoplanet features.

And fly on Titan and build rotating cylinders:


*including Venus... It could be done! Insulated capsule and hard suit cooled with liquid nitrogen, with a metallic-then-Teflon staged balloons to bring the flag-planter back up to a cooler altitude to rejoin the cloud colony (watch until after the credits):

(Or perhaps more ambitiously, an actual large surface habitat well insulated and cooled with a high-temperature nuclear reactor driving a refrigeration stage)

You said "unlimited"!

Or heck, while we're at it, build a 100 Petawatt laser and sun harvester to propel a ship of this size and make enough antimatter for it (well, probably don't need antimatter if you brake against the interstellar plasma, but still):
« Last Edit: 03/13/2017 01:31 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Robotbeat

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Y'all really aren't taking the title of this thread seriously. 😂
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

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Offline MarsDude

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Woah! Titan's atmosphere is so thick that it takes ~7.6 km/s to reach orbit, while similarly-sized Mercury takes ~3.06 km/s for orbit!

Let's put a big balloon on the lander. We float to the top of the atmosphere, and fire the rockets as soon as the balloon pops. That way, we reduce the time the rockets are in the atmosphere, reducing Delta-V requirements.
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Offline p51

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #50 on: 03/13/2017 08:16 PM »
SLS launches like the heyday of the Apollo program, to manned bases on the Moon (hardened against meteorite impacts, of course) and Mars. And there’d be at least one large space station that isn’t nearly as frail as the ISS currently is. I’m talking almost like the one Arthur Clark dreamt up for “2001”.
A manned Grand Tour of the solar system seems mostly possible (maybe except the Venus landing).
(example: http://www.space.com/1135-dvd-review-voyage-planets.html)
That reminds me a lot of the unrated TV series, “Defying Gravity,” which I so badly wish had lasted more than a single season (mostly due to NBC’s horrible marketing of the show): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defying_Gravity_(TV_series)
While there was a ‘soap opera’ like element to the show, I really liked it and I wonder how many space fans watched it or even heard of it at the time it was on the air.
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Offline Ronpur50

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I never even knew about the series while it was on the air.  But loved it when I got the DVD set.  I was very sad that they did not finish the tour. 


Offline vapour_nudge

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I haven't read the whole thread. If I had a say in where a massive budget went it'd be a Neptune and a Uranus orbiter both at the same time. I'd also like to see moon rover for the far side and a Titan lander and orbiter both with ASRG or something like that to extend their stay. Finally a doubling in the number of DSN antennae to help with the download of data

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: If NASA Had An Infinite Budget
« Reply #53 on: 03/13/2017 10:10 PM »
SLS launches like the heyday of the Apollo program, to manned bases on the Moon (hardened against meteorite impacts, of course) and Mars. And there’d be at least one large space station that isn’t nearly as frail as the ISS currently is. I’m talking almost like the one Arthur Clark dreamt up for “2001”.
A manned Grand Tour of the solar system seems mostly possible (maybe except the Venus landing).
(example: http://www.space.com/1135-dvd-review-voyage-planets.html)
That reminds me a lot of the unrated TV series, “Defying Gravity,” which I so badly wish had lasted more than a single season (mostly due to NBC’s horrible marketing of the show): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defying_Gravity_(TV_series)
While there was a ‘soap opera’ like element to the show, I really liked it and I wonder how many space fans watched it or even heard of it at the time it was on the air.
I watched it and the "The Cape", it disappeared for probably another "cops and robbers" show... :(
« Last Edit: 03/14/2017 12:16 AM by Rocket Science »
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Offline savuporo

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How about "what if NASA was allowed to spend it's entire currently allocated budget on designing and building just one thing". So, with $18B a year, and real world number of launchers, spaceports and launch pads, what mission could one pull off ?
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline Landfound

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Alright I'm using a fixed number just for my own magic.

Let's assume that the budget is 1 trillion per year as a combined effort of the OECD.


100 billion per years goes to a mars effort

100 billion to a lunar base

100 billion to asteroid mining

100 billion into some form of ion tug

100 billion into a sky hook system for mars

100 billion dedicated to creating a private space hotel in leo.

100 billion into a manned mission to jupiter/venus

100 billion into automated probes

100 billion for a mega telescope to be built on the dark side of the moon

100 billion into rotating colony in geo

Atleast 25 percent of each budget must go towards private launch companies.

Atleast 25 percent most goto private developers.


Offline MarsDude

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Guys, you're missing the point ;)

The title is merely metaphorical - I wanted to share some ideas I have for missions that are theoretically and practically possible, but prohibitively expensive.
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Offline whitelancer64

Guys, you're missing the point ;)

The title is merely metaphorical - I wanted to share some ideas I have for missions that are theoretically and practically possible, but prohibitively expensive.

Ideas that are "theoretically and practically possible, but prohibitively expensive" is true of virtually every major space-related project that never got past the drawing board.

Like the Nexus rocket - fully reusable SSTO booster. 2,000 tons to LEO.
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Offline MarsDude

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Guys, you're missing the point ;)

The title is merely metaphorical - I wanted to share some ideas I have for missions that are theoretically and practically possible, but prohibitively expensive.

Ideas that are "theoretically and practically possible, but prohibitively expensive" is true of virtually every major space-related project that never got past the drawing board.

Like the Nexus rocket - fully reusable SSTO booster. 2,000 tons to LEO.


EXACTLY! We need more Nexuses and Sea Dragons, ideas so crazy, yet plausible, that they are an inspiration.
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HAVOC is just amazing. A manned Zeppelin flying atop Venus cloud layer. This is so steampunk   8)

Terrestrial Planet Finder - or even better, Antoine Labeyrie hypertelescope.
« Last Edit: 03/16/2017 08:24 AM by Archibald »

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