Author Topic: May 18 Senate Hearing - Contributions of Space to National Imperatives  (Read 36552 times)

Offline 2552

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http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings&ContentRecord_id=e4be0fb4-01f5-4416-8a85-350ff5b77a43&ContentType_id=14f995b9-dfa5-407a-9d35-56cc7152a7ed&Group_id=b06c39af-e033-4cba-9221-de668ca1978a&MonthDisplay=5&YearDisplay=2011

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced a Science and Space Subcommittee hearing on the contributions of space to national imperatives.

Quote
Witness Panel 1

    Mr. Elliot Holokauahi Pulham
    Chief Executive Officer
    Space Foundation

    Mr. Frank Slazer
    Vice President of Space Systems
    Aerospace Industries Association

    Dr. Christopher F. Chyba
    Professor of Astrophysics and International Affairs
    Director, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
 
   Capt. Frank L. Culbertson Jr. (U.S. Navy, ret.)
    Commander
    International Space Station Expedition 3, Astronaut (ret.)

Being live tweeted by talkingspace now.

Edit: hearing over
« Last Edit: 05/18/2011 04:27 PM by 2552 »

Offline notherspacexfan

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Nelson asked Chyba about the "Rocket to Nowhere" headlines.

Chyba's response:
Apolo vision is not working for nasa.
What is needed
1. LEO ecosystem/infrustructure
-comercial / station as destination
2. HLV capability

Offline edkyle99

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Nelson asked Chyba about the "Rocket to Nowhere" headlines.

Chyba's response:
Apolo vision is not working for nasa.
What is needed
1. LEO ecosystem/infrustructure
-comercial / station as destination
2. HLV capability

Which begs the question - HLV capability for what?

 - Ed Kyle

Offline majormajor42

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Sen KBH was saying things such as "what is taking so long?" when it comes to implementing the current law. I thought these were good statements.

But then it stood in contrast to what she was just saying about the balance with commercial. She said "measured and safe" progress don't rush, when it comes to commercial pursuits.

This is the first time in a while watching one of these hearings. Interesting to see these Senators saying what I've been reading in these forums the last few months/years.

How are these guests picked? Is it Senator Nelson's final choice?
...water is life and it is out there, where we intend to go. I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man or machine on a body such as the Moon and harvest a cup of water for a human to drink or process into fuel for their craft.

Offline majormajor42

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Dr. Chyba getting specific on Flexible Path

1. Before answering where it is going, it needs to be seen if it can be done at all.
2. Suspects Near Earth Asteroid as first destination. Speaking why this is an important mission.
3. Mars is the final goal.

Flexible path kicks the can down the road toward Mars cause some tech is not feasible yet but might be feasible in the future, to get there.

Flex to return to Moon if nation desires.
...water is life and it is out there, where we intend to go. I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man or machine on a body such as the Moon and harvest a cup of water for a human to drink or process into fuel for their craft.

Offline majormajor42

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Nelson asked and Capt. Culbertson discussing the importance international cooperation with Russia/Soviets, in the 70s and more recently.  wonder if this might be leading toward any discussion of China, since US-Chinese cooperation (or lack of) has been a recent story (not that I feel strongly that we should or need to).

No, it seems they might be moving on to discussion of lack of US tech exports (ITAR?)
« Last Edit: 05/18/2011 04:17 PM by majormajor42 »
...water is life and it is out there, where we intend to go. I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man or machine on a body such as the Moon and harvest a cup of water for a human to drink or process into fuel for their craft.

Offline majormajor42

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Dr. Chyba concludes with comments near the very end of the hearing that his most recent brightest aerospace graduate student did not want to work for NASA because that student felt it has become a dinosaur, and that he wanted to work for one of the start-ups instead. Dr. Chyba hopes that that will change again.

...water is life and it is out there, where we intend to go. I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man or machine on a body such as the Moon and harvest a cup of water for a human to drink or process into fuel for their craft.

Offline Proponent

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Listening to the replay.

00:35  GAH!  Sen. Hutchison goes on yet again about AMS (particle spectrometer carried to ISS by STS-134) as research into energy sources; in fact it is fundamental particle astrophysics research, as far removed from practical energy production as anything done at CERN or FermiLab.   She seems determined not to be confused by the facts.

Appendix B of the recent NASA report on commercial crew and cargo, concluding that SpaceX was able to develop Falcon 9 vastly less expensively is brought up by Prof. Chyba about 89:00.  This seems to get quite a bit of play, with everybody except Sen. Hutchison pretty enthusiastic.  Sen. Nelson reiterates that NASA is required to look into this.

Asked to by Sen. Boozeman to justify HLV (essentially), Elliott Pulham of the Space Foundation overs quite an odd reply, in my view.  The only thing he mentions is that Ariane V will launch JWST.  So what?  Ariane V is not what anybody would call an HLV.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2011 04:37 AM by Proponent »

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Listening to the replay.

00:35  GAH!  Sen. Hutchison goes on yet again about AMS (particle spectrometer carried to ISS by STS-134) as research into energy sources; in fact it is fundamental particle astrophysics research, as far removed from practical energy production as anything done at CERN or FermiLab.   She seems determined not to be confused by the facts.



And you seem determined to forget that the purpose of AMS is to identify the existence of and attempt to characterize the UNKNOWN phenomena of Dark Matter and dark Energy; things that have only been largely theorized about to date. Until it is in fact observed and its behavior understood, no one--certainly not you--can predict what it may or may not be able to be "harnessed" to do, if anything. Therefore, as Dr. Ting told a group of Senators six years ago when discussing AMS--a discussion which, by the way led directly to the efforts by Senator Hutchison to ensure AMS would be flown by including language in the 2008 NASA Authorization bill to mandate that mission--efforts without which it would NOT have been manifested and would NOT be on orbit today--the question of what it may discover, and what those discoveries will reveal about what its implications or potential uses may be, can not be predicted at his point. So I suggest you stop foaming at the mouth with the kind of "contempt prior to investigation" that seems to characterize so much of what you have to say.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline Rabidpanda

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Sorry 51D but that seems like a pretty weak argument.  Yes the phenomenon of dark energy and dark matter is unknown but I think most scientists would agree that 'harnessing' it as a source of energy is extremely unlikely to happen.

Offline alexw

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Listening to the replay.
00:35  GAH!  Sen. Hutchison goes on yet again about AMS (particle spectrometer carried to ISS by STS-134) as research into energy sources; in fact it is fundamental particle astrophysics research, as far removed from practical energy production as anything done at CERN or FermiLab.   She seems determined not to be confused by the facts.
And you seem determined to forget that the purpose of AMS is to identify the existence of and attempt to characterize the UNKNOWN phenomena of Dark Matter and dark Energy; things that have only been largely theorized about to date.
     No, AMS is an antimatter experiment re-purposed to search for dark matter, not dark energy. "Dark energy" doesn't have a whole lot to do with dark matter other than the work "dark".

     It would probably be better to understand some of the fundamental physics differences before making the inflammatory accusation of "foaming at the mouth."

    Proponent is on solid technical ground when asserting that AMS is not practical energy research by the conventional public understanding of the term "energy sources".  AMS is no more (and no less) research into "energy sources" than the particle accelerators at Fermilab or Brookhaven or the French-Suiss border. Do you support funding the Tevatron and RHIC and the LHC on the grounds that they are "research into energy sources"? How about Hubble, or JWST, or Chandra space telescopes? How about the telescopes on the mountaintops of Hawaii, Chile, and the Canary Islands?

     -Alex     

Offline Proponent

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I believe AMS is very worthwhile as pure science, and I appreciate Sen. Hutchison's important efforts on its behalf.  If she supported it principally in the belief that it is a promising avenue leading toward better energy sources in the foreseeable future, then, as others have just point out, she supported it for the wrong reasons.  That said, I'm sure that many of the good things that happen happen for the wrong reasons; they're still good things.

So I suggest you stop foaming at the mouth with the kind of "contempt prior to investigation" that seems to characterize so much of what you have to say.

May I suggest that a constructive path would be to explain to Sen. Hutchison or her staff how nebulous AMS's connection to energy production is.  Given your privileged role in the corridors of power, perhaps you or your colleagues would even be in a position to do so.  I'm glad Sen. Hutchison has supported AMS, but her continuing apparent misunderstanding of it serves none of herself, the Committee, the State of Texas nor the country well.

You characterize my behavior as "foaming at the mouth."  My post above certainly reflects frustration, but I think that's hardly an unreasonable reaction when an one of the country's key policy makers in science and technology repeatedly demonstrates a basic misunderstanding of the subject.  I'd also note that to hold public office in a free country is to be subject to criticism.

EDIT:  Grammar.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2011 06:24 AM by Proponent »

Offline Proponent

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Nelson asked Chyba about the "Rocket to Nowhere" headlines.

Chyba's response:
Apolo vision is not working for nasa.
What is needed
1. LEO ecosystem/infrustructure
-comercial / station as destination
2. HLV capability

And he put the two very firmly in that order in his opening statement.  Specifically, at 46:30 he says:

Quote from: Prof. Chyba
We'll want to ensure that funding to maintain this core capability [the government HLV] does not prevent the development of a commercial ecosystem in LEO, that may be our best longer-term hope for a robust human future in space.  If there's one place where new resources should be targeted to mitigate NASA's budget dilemma, it may be here.

In fact, in his opening statement, he does not actually endorse heavy lift at all; he merely notes that the 2010 NASA authorization calls for it.

One other general observation:  if I'm not mistaken, both Committee members and witnesses, Prof. Chyba in particular, say that Congress has selected the Augustine Committee's flexible-path option (though Sen. at first seems to suggest that it was the Augustine Committee that made that choice, but he's corrected by Prof. Chyba).  But Congress clearly has not done so, for that option called for a $3-billion-per-year boost to NASA's budget, which has never even been seriously mooted.

EDIT:  "NASA" -> "NASA's";  added crucial missing "not" in the sentence after the quotation.
« Last Edit: 05/20/2011 06:26 AM by Proponent »

Offline Proponent

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How are these guests picked? Is it Senator Nelson's final choice?

Very good question, for that determines the range of viewpoints that can be aired in the hearing.

Offline QuantumG

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Yes, both the Congress and the White House claim they have chosen the flexible path option of the Augustine report and that the other hasn't.

In reality both and neither have chosen it.  Don't ya love politics?!
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Proponent

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Would not such claims require the party so claiming to have proposed a $3-billion-per-annum plus-up?
« Last Edit: 05/19/2011 08:08 AM by Proponent »

Offline kkattula

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I believe AMS is very worthwhile as pure science, and I appreciate Sen. Hutchison's important efforts on its behalf.  If she supported it principally in the belief that it is a promising avenue leading toward better energy sources in the foreseeable future, then, as others have just point out, she supported it for the wrong reasons.  That said, I'm sure that many of the good things that happen happen for the wrong reasons; they're still good things.

So I suggest you stop foaming at the mouth with the kind of "contempt prior to investigation" that seems to characterize so much of what you have to say.

May I suggest that a constructive path would be to explain to Sen. Hutchison or her staff how nebulous AMS's connection to energy production is.  Given your privileged role in the corridors of power, perhaps you or your colleagues would even be in a position to do so.  I'm glad Sen. Hutchison has supported AMS, but her continuing apparent misunderstanding of it serves none of herself, the Committee, the State of Texas nor the country well.

You characterize my behavior as "foaming at the mouth."  My post above certainly reflects frustration, but I think that's hardly an unreasonable reaction when an one of the country's key policy makers in science and technology repeatedly demonstrates a basic misunderstanding of the subject.  I'd also note that to hold public office in a free country is to be subject to criticism.

EDIT:  Grammar.

She's a politician!  Postulating nebulous connections in order to justify spending huge gobs of money is what they do.

Even when they believe a thing is justified in and of itself,  they still have to spin it to counter arguments from those who don't subscribe to the same world view.

Besides, no Research is truly 'pure'. I doubt Rutherford was thinking of nuclear reactors and solar panels.

Offline JohnFornaro

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00:35  GAH!  Sen. Hutchison goes on yet again about AMS (particle spectrometer carried to ISS by STS-134) as research into energy sources; in fact it is ... as far removed from practical energy production as anything done at CERN or FermiLab.   She seems determined not to be confused by the facts.

KBH has mentioned "energy" several times in the context of AMS.  I haven't heard every last word she has said on the subject, but each time I have heard her, it sounded like she spoke of a source for energy in the sense that coal is a source for energy, rather than in the sense that matter/anti-matter annihilation is a source of energy.

This is why I don't have a problem with Proponent's "GAH!".  Spin to the contrary notwithstanding.

In general, all of these congress critters should become more educated regarding science.  Overlooking all the political insider stuff for the moment, they are not well informed on, or else they do not choose to demonstrate their compentence in, these subjects in general, and therefore their decisions tend to be faulty. 
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline yg1968

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00:35  GAH!  Sen. Hutchison goes on yet again about AMS (particle spectrometer carried to ISS by STS-134) as research into energy sources; in fact it is ... as far removed from practical energy production as anything done at CERN or FermiLab.   She seems determined not to be confused by the facts.

KBH has mentioned "energy" several times in the context of AMS.  I haven't heard every last word she has said on the subject, but each time I have heard her, it sounded like she spoke of a source for energy in the sense that coal is a source for energy, rather than in the sense that matter/anti-matter annihilation is a source of energy.

This is why I don't have a problem with Proponent's "GAH!".  Spin to the contrary notwithstanding.

In general, all of these congress critters should become more educated regarding science.  Overlooking all the political insider stuff for the moment, they are not well informed on, or else they do not choose to demonstrate their compentence in, these subjects in general, and therefore their decisions tend to be faulty. 

AMS2 will lead us to warp drive technology... ;)
« Last Edit: 05/19/2011 02:18 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Proponent

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I believe AMS is very worthwhile as pure science, and I appreciate Sen. Hutchison's important efforts on its behalf.  If she supported it principally in the belief that it is a promising avenue leading toward better energy sources in the foreseeable future, then, as others have just point out, she supported it for the wrong reasons.  That said, I'm sure that many of the good things that happen happen for the wrong reasons; they're still good things.

She's a politician!  Postulating nebulous connections in order to justify spending huge gobs of money is what they do.

I guess I have a more positive view of elected representatives than you do.  I think many have demonstrated adequate grasp of the technical issues that the must handle.  I'm also neither surprised nor appalled that few politicians have much technical knowledge.  I do insist, though, that those representatives who take leadership positions in science or technology should inform themselves about the relevant subjects to at least the level of an interested high-school student.  A party leadership that allows a member to hold such a position with out this minimal knowledge is, in my view, acting carelessly on a very important matter.

Quote
Even when they believe a thing is justified in and of itself, they still have to spin it to counter arguments from those who don't subscribe to the same world view.

It strikes me there's a difference between spinning and just plain being wrong.
« Last Edit: 05/20/2011 06:27 AM by Proponent »

Offline Proponent

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Asked to by Sen. Boozeman to justify HLV (essentially), Elliott Pulham of the Space Foundation overs quite an odd reply, in my view.  The only thing he mentions is that Ariane V will launch JWST.  So what?  Ariane V is not what anybody would call an HLV.

The more I think about this, the weirder it seems.  I suppose that in his question, Sen. Boozeman did not define "heavy lift" (and it may well not have been defined at any point during the hearing).  That left Mr. Pulham free to use his own definition and still provide the answer that Sen. Boozeman probably wanted to hear.  I wonder if Sen. Boozeman later said to himself, "Wait a minute, do the Europeans already have an HLV?"

I'd be interested in anybody else's guesses as to what was going on.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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I'd be interested in anybody else's guesses as to what was going on.

Is 'Heavy Lift' going to suddenly be redefined as 25t+ IMLEO? In that case, America already has one and could easily have three (Delta-IVH, Atlas-VH and Falcon Heavy). ???

I wonder if there have been some crossed wires and they were thinking of the Ariane-5-ECB.
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Offline HappyMartian

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Listening to the replay.

00:35  GAH!  Sen. Hutchison goes on yet again about AMS (particle spectrometer carried to ISS by STS-134) as research into energy sources; in fact it is fundamental particle astrophysics research, as far removed from practical energy production as anything done at CERN or FermiLab.   She seems determined not to be confused by the facts.



And you seem determined to forget that the purpose of AMS is to identify the existence of and attempt to characterize the UNKNOWN phenomena of Dark Matter and dark Energy; things that have only been largely theorized about to date. Until it is in fact observed and its behavior understood, no one--certainly not you--can predict what it may or may not be able to be "harnessed" to do, if anything. Therefore, as Dr. Ting told a group of Senators six years ago when discussing AMS--a discussion which, by the way led directly to the efforts by Senator Hutchison to ensure AMS would be flown by including language in the 2008 NASA Authorization bill to mandate that mission--efforts without which it would NOT have been manifested and would NOT be on orbit today--the question of what it may discover, and what those discoveries will reveal about what its implications or potential uses may be, can not be predicted at his point. So I suggest you stop foaming at the mouth with the kind of "contempt prior to investigation" that seems to characterize so much of what you have to say.


See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13462926

19 May 2011 Last updated at 21:27 GMT

New method 'confirms dark energy'
By Paul Rincon Science reporter, BBC News

19 May 2011

"First results from a major astronomical survey using a cutting-edge technique appear to have confirmed the existence of mysterious dark energy."

And "While dark energy makes up about 74% of the Universe, dark matter - which does not reflect or emit detectable light - accounts for 22%. Ordinary matter - gas, stars, planets and galaxies - makes up just 4% of the cosmos."

Many things seen and unseen to think about...

Cheers! :)
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Offline baldusi

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I'd be interested in anybody else's guesses as to what was going on.

Is 'Heavy Lift' going to suddenly be redefined as 25t+ IMLEO? In that case, America already has one and could easily have three (Delta-IVH, Atlas-VH and Falcon Heavy). ???

I wonder if there have been some crossed wires and they were thinking of the Ariane-5-ECB.
Usually the the definition is IMLEO:
Small                    < 2mT
Medium              2mT to 10mT
Mid-heavy            10mT to 20mt (some define as 25mT)
Heavy                20mT (see above) to 50mT
Super-heavy       >50mT

In fact, the 20mT as threshold for heavy is taken from the Agustine Report. So yes. The Europeans already have a HLV. America has Delta IV, Atlas V (never ordered, but available) and a super heavy in development Falcon Heavy (albeit by the bare minimum). The russians have Proton-K now and two in development (Angara A5 and A7 and Rus-M). Even the Chinese have the LM-5 in development.
Now, going over 100mT should have a special name. Like in ultra heavy or such.

Offline Periander

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See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13462926

19 May 2011 Last updated at 21:27 GMT

New method 'confirms dark energy'
By Paul Rincon Science reporter, BBC News

19 May 2011

"First results from a major astronomical survey using a cutting-edge technique appear to have confirmed the existence of mysterious dark energy."

And "While dark energy makes up about 74% of the Universe, dark matter - which does not reflect or emit detectable light - accounts for 22%. Ordinary matter - gas, stars, planets and galaxies - makes up just 4% of the cosmos."

Many things seen and unseen to think about...

Cheers! :)

An interesting article that has nothing to do with AMS, ISS, HSF or this thread.

Offline HappyMartian

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I believe AMS is very worthwhile as pure science, and I appreciate Sen. Hutchison's important efforts on its behalf.  If she supported it principally in the belief that it is a promising avenue leading toward better energy sources in the foreseeable future, then, as others have just point out, she supported it for the wrong reasons.  That said, I'm sure that many of the good things that happen happen for the wrong reasons; they're still good things.

So I suggest you stop foaming at the mouth with the kind of "contempt prior to investigation" that seems to characterize so much of what you have to say.

May I suggest that a constructive path would be to explain to Sen. Hutchison or her staff how nebulous AMS's connection to energy production is.  Given your privileged role in the corridors of power, perhaps you or your colleagues would even be in a position to do so.  I'm glad Sen. Hutchison has supported AMS, but her continuing apparent misunderstanding of it serves none of herself, the Committee, the State of Texas nor the country well.

You characterize my behavior as "foaming at the mouth."  My post above certainly reflects frustration, but I think that's hardly an unreasonable reaction when an one of the country's key policy makers in science and technology repeatedly demonstrates a basic misunderstanding of the subject.  I'd also note that to hold public office in a free country is to be subject to criticism.

EDIT:  Grammar.

She's a politician!  Postulating nebulous connections in order to justify spending huge gobs of money is what they do.

Even when they believe a thing is justified in and of itself,  they still have to spin it to counter arguments from those who don't subscribe to the same world view.

Besides, no Research is truly 'pure'. I doubt Rutherford was thinking of nuclear reactors and solar panels.


See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13462926

19 May 2011 Last updated at 21:27 GMT

New method 'confirms dark energy'
By Paul Rincon Science reporter, BBC News

19 May 2011

"First results from a major astronomical survey using a cutting-edge technique appear to have confirmed the existence of mysterious dark energy."

And "While dark energy makes up about 74% of the Universe, dark matter - which does not reflect or emit detectable light - accounts for 22%. Ordinary matter - gas, stars, planets and galaxies - makes up just 4% of the cosmos."

Many things seen and unseen to think about...

Cheers! :)

An interesting article that has nothing to do with AMS, ISS, HSF or this thread.

ISS = the National Laboratory to do Space Research and our current main focus for HSF

AMS = Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a very important and expensive experimental tool for the ISS

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Magnetic_Spectrometer   
"The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, also designated AMS-02, is a particle physics experiment module that is mounted on the International Space Station. It is designed to search for various types of unusual matter by measuring cosmic rays. Its experiments will help researchers study the formation of the Universe and search for evidence of dark matter as well as investigate antimatter."

Bold added by me.


antimatter = a possible new source of energy, not today or tommorrow, but down the road a bit... Not everyone may agree with that idea, but HSF supporters should at least be doing some thinking about the possibilities.

Not all the research done at the ISS has to have an immediate use. Pure research often has long-term value.

And on 05/02/2011  Antihydrogen Trapped For 1000 Seconds
At: http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/26709/?p1=Blogs

If the long-term storage of antihydrogen is indeed doable, it is going to be possible to devise antihydrogen powered spacecraft to quickly transport humans to the Moon, Mars, and Ceres. To HSF enthusiasts knowing a lot more about antimatter is important because someday it is likely to be a game changer and a new source of energy for spaceflights that could be included in Contributions of Space to National Imperatives.

See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICAN-II_(spacecraft)

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/ican.htm

Cheers!


Edited.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2011 10:20 AM by HappyMartian »
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Offline madscientist197

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new source of energy

Not a source: a storage mechanism.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2011 08:56 AM by madscientist197 »
John

Offline HappyMartian

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new source of energy

Not a source: a storage mechanism.

Sorry, no. Quite possibly a source. We simply don't know enough about it right now to be sure either way. I would bet a source, but I quit betting in 1968 and I also would be in the grave for a century or two or three before I could collect on the bet anyways.

Cheers!  ;)
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Offline ugordan

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new source of energy

Not a source: a storage mechanism.

Sorry, no. Quite possibly a source.

Until you can point me to an antimatter mine or something in our very neighborhood, madscientist is right.

The only appreciable amounts of antimatter we will have will be produced by ourselves and it takes more energy to produce than is actually released by annihilation.

It's pretty clear Hutchison doesn't have a good grasp on this and these attempts to cover for her are really weak IMO.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2011 11:42 AM by ugordan »

Offline Jim

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Not everyone may agree with that idea, but HSF supporters should at least be doing some thinking about the possibilities.


AMS is not a justification for HSF or ISS research.  AMS and HSF are totally independent.  There is no interaction between AMS and the ISS crew.  The ISS was just a convenient place to put ISS.   AMS would be better served as a freeflyer. 

Offline clongton

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I really, really tire of the intense disrespect shown on so many threads towards the members of Congress in general. While certainly true that none of them are well versed in everything, what they all do well is forge consensus among members of Congress with widely differing views so that legislation can move forward. They each have staff, *highly* intelligent and knowledgeable staff, to advise them on the specifics of the matters before them. To bemoan the fact that the members of the committees that oversee NASA are not personal experts on all things NASA, as if NASA was the only thing they did, displays a profound lack of knowledge on just what the members of Congress actually do. Continuing from there to demean those same members of Congress for that lack of personal expertise only adds insult to injury and further displays an untoward immaturity unbecoming an adult.

Serving our nation and serving our human spaceflight program does not require that each member of Congress involved be an expert in the fields under consideration. It does require that they each personally acknowledge that to themselves, that their staffs are well informed and that they make efficient use of their staffs. I can tell you from personal experience that the members of Congress involved in NASA's affairs all have well informed staff and that they all make very efficient use of their staff. Having said that, it is not surprising that a member may occasionally misuse a technical term, like Senator Huchinson did, because the vast majority of them are not technical people. They are politicians, not engineers. But like good engineers, good politicians defer to those whose knowledge base exceeds their own on any given subject. That is exactly what the members of Congress who oversee NASA do.

By the way, the term "politician" is not a dirty word, as some of you seem to treat it. Political life is an honored profession, and exceedingly more difficult to navigate than most of you can even begin to imagine in your wildest dreams. I dare say that the majority of you would not survive the experience if you tried.

Now, to showing a little respect:

They are *not* "congress critters".
They are "Representative", or "Senator", or "Legislator", or "Mr.", or "Mrs." or "Miss" or "Ms".
They are *not* "congress critters".

Beginning with this post, every time I see anyone refer to a member of Congress as a "congress critter", I will push the "Report to Moderator" button and report the person for using personally insulting language on the forum.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Jim

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congress critter is a socially excepted term

Offline clongton

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Usually the the definition is IMLEO:
Small                    < 2mT
Medium              2mT to 10mT
Mid-heavy            10mT to 20mt (some define as 25mT)
Heavy                20mT (see above) to 50mT
Super-heavy       >50mT

This is an example of becoming so used to substandard performance over time that the substandard becomes the new norm.

Back in the day when we were doing lunar missions with the Saturn, there was only 1 definition of "Heavy Lift" and it was accepted around the world. No matter where one went, in the circles of launch vehicle experts, "heavy lift" was 100 tons or more to orbit. I know, because I was there.

The only variable was just what the orbit was. But regardless of the exact orbit, 100 tons is what was consistently referred to as heavy lift.

BTW, this is not a slam at anyone. I'm just pointing out how much things have changed over the years. But I will remind everyone that as recently as 2005, Administrator Griffin himself referred to heavy lift as a lift performance in excess of 100 tons to orbit.

« Last Edit: 05/21/2011 01:09 PM by clongton »
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
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Offline clongton

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congress critter is a socially excepted term

No it isn't.
It's a socially insulting term.
No member of Congress would appreciate you referring to them as a congress critter.
If you doubt me, then the next time you meet one, try referring to him or her with that term to their face and observe their reaction.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2011 12:50 PM by clongton »
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Integrator

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congress critter is a socially excepted term

That's exactly what clongton is saying - "excepted".
 ;)

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Not everyone may agree with that idea, but HSF supporters should at least be doing some thinking about the possibilities.


AMS is not a justification for HSF or ISS research.  AMS and HSF are totally independent.  There is no interaction between AMS and the ISS crew.  The ISS was just a convenient place to put ISS.   AMS would be better served as a freeflyer. 

Bold added by me. Who was willing to spend the extra money for a "freeflyer" mission? Who pays for any repair mission to fix a loose wire on such an AMS "freeflyer"? Loose wire on the long-term AMS mission at the ISS, not a big problem is it? Ooops! I forgot. You think robots are better than humans. You might be wrong about that Jim. A robot cannot do what you do.  ;)

Cheers!

Edited.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2011 01:01 PM by HappyMartian »
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Offline ugordan

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Who was willing to spend the extra money for a "freeflyer" mission?

And just what makes you think it's the free-flyer that would need extra money when the bottom line is drawn, as opposed to flying it to ISS on a shuttle??

Offline Jim

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1.  Who was willing to spend the extra money for a "freeflyer" mission? 2.Who pays for any repair mission to fix a loose wire on such an AMS "freeflyer"?



1.  The money saved by not flying it on the shuttle

2.  False argument.   AMS is not design for EVA repair.  AMS has no EVA replaceable hardware.   AMS is no different that other spacecraft like GLAST, Swift, SIRTF, Herschel, etc.  There is nothing special about AMS that it needs to be on the ISS.

Martian, just stop posting about topics you don't know about and save us from your nonsensical ramblings.  You are doing your case any help and I am sure SLS proponents agree.

Offline marsavian

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The benefits I see in using the ISS for the AMS is long term usage potential if they decide to keep the ISS up there for another 15-20 years plus MMOD protection. The ISS has been known to duck and dive to avoid big bits and there is the rest of the ISS to hit for small bits.

Offline HIP2BSQRE

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I did not see anyone comment on this:  http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=37124


Offline HappyMartian

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1.  Who was willing to spend the extra money for a "freeflyer" mission? 2.Who pays for any repair mission to fix a loose wire on such an AMS "freeflyer"?



1.  The money saved by not flying it on the shuttle

2.  False argument.   AMS is not design for EVA repair.  AMS has no EVA replaceable hardware.   AMS is no different that other spacecraft like GLAST, Swift, SIRTF, Herschel, etc.  There is nothing special about AMS that it needs to be on the ISS.
....


Whatever Jim, don't argue with me, argue with the article I cited:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Magnetic_Spectrometer#Launch_cancellation_and_restoration

"The power requirements for AMS-02 were thought to be too great for a practical independent spacecraft. So AMS-02 was designed to be installed as an external module on the International Space Station and use power from the ISS."

And, "Although the non-superconducting magnet has a weaker field strength, its on-orbit operational time at ISS is expected to be 10 to 18 years versus only 3 years for the superconducting version."

I added the bold. Whatever you believe, you believe. In your world, things would be done better. But you know, most of us live an imperfect world full of imperfect people who use imperfect words to describe their imperfect reality. That is what we have. And the the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, also designated the AMS-02, looks to be hanging out with the ISS for a long time, even if some perfect folks think it should be elsewhere flying perfectly by its lonesome. With any luck, the AMS-02 will help us to learn some new and valuable things and I suspect that Senator Hutchison should get some real credit for that reality. I also suspect that some of the posters that are attacking her are mainly annoyed about her strong support of the SLS BLEO Orion combination. And maybe that's what really irks you too Jim... So many nonperfect people like me keep messing up your perfect Atlas centered world. Hint: The world isn't really perfect and most of us have learned to live with those imperfections and imperfect people and imperfect situations.  You know, even the lovely Atlas launcher isn't perfect. ;)

Cheers!


Edited.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2011 03:05 PM by HappyMartian »
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Offline JohnFornaro

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... I think many [members of congress] have demonstrated adequate grasp of the technical issues that the must handle.  I'm also neither surprised nor appalled that few politicians have much technical knowledge.  I do insist, though, that those representatives who take leadership positions in science or technology should inform themselves about the relevant subjects to at least the level of an interested high-school student.  A party leadership that allows a member to hold such a position with out this minimal knowledge is, in my view, acting carelessly on a very important matter. ...
It strikes me there's a difference between spinning and just plain being wrong.

Bingo.  As we all know, there's an entire spectrum of legislative problems to be solved by our Congress, and HSF, by the budget, is small in comparison to the total.  I believe, and I'm not alone in this, that the value of HSF per dollar is higher than many, but not all, of the other things our government should do.  I have been watching Congress far more closely over the last two years, than I have in the last forty.  I do not lose perspective over the total work done by this body; the totality of our "American" experience; the state of our economy, budget, diplomatic efforts, and on and on.  Congress is doing a lousy job on nearly every front, and this is the deliberate work of a deliberate body.  If it is argued that "there are a few bad apples", that argument fails, because the majority would have come up with appropriate solutions in every case, and that is simply not happening.  We have a Congress where there are only a few "good" apples, as it turns out.

So yeah, speaking to no one in particular, mine is a puny effort to change this government of ours, starting with NASA.  When I address a member of Congress in written form for the first time, I address with respect, and I write with logic, but it hardly seems worth it.  Others have experienced the futility of their form letters, when there is a response at all; the video of the various hearings largely disappoints as they parade their chosen ignorance for all to see; the resulting legislation tends to be deliberately full of holes as well as unsatisfactory; and on and on.  Perhaps I am not quite as mature as some would have me, but I will praise a member of Congress for their words as I see fit, and I will criticize the same members as appropriate.

I've got a sense for spin, and I do not respect those who spin.  But I digress.  That letter to Mr. Bolden was excellent in several respects:

Quote
NASA has not made sufficient progress ... NASA has not adequately complied with a number of reporting requirements ...

Which is as succintly correct as could be worded.

Quote
As Chairman ... it is our responsibility to make sure that NASA ... is proceeding in accordance with the law.

If NASA is not in accordance with the law, that can only mean that they are breaking the law, and that deliberately.  We need to start enforcing the laws that we have on the books now.  Across the board, for sure, but starting here, for now.

Quote
Both the 2010 Act and the congressional deliberations that preceded the Act's passage made it clear that we are concerned about maintaining our nation's human space flight capability, and that time is of the essence.

We need to keep flying.  Stop working on a human mission to Mars immediately.  All efforts should be concentrated on the cis-lunar space.  Automated docking, prop depots,  L1 station, Moon base, ISRU, and related activities only should be pursued by the agency.  If the current members of the various Mars teams won't do this, then they need to be relieved of their duties.  They can certainly pull a "DIRECT" and work that effort on their own time, if it is thought to be such a pressing matter to them.  But it is not a pressing matter to HSF at this time, and detracts from current efforts because it is a waste of talent.  There is a lot of speculation about "innovation", and some of that speculation may prove fruitful; the future missions to Mars will be vastly different from the current proposals.  The proper time for Mars is after we have demonstrated full capability within the cis-lunar space.  Paraphrasing Thoreau, as is my wont: Focus, focus, focus.

Quote
Section 306 (a). The name of the senior NASA official or officials responsible...

This could be done in an hour by Mr. Bolden.  The only reason it couldn't be done is if he wouldn't do it.  Which would be only either his choice or his direction from the President.

Quote
A copy of the most recent draft of this report.

Were this person to start working on this report, a draft could be written in one week.  Five eight hour days of working on this report, and nothing else.  The only reason it couldn't be done is if he wouldn't do it.

Each of the requests in this letter, could be readily accomplished.  They are not technical impossibilities.  They do not cover new ground.  They are not irrational requests.  Ample time has already been given for them.  I am personally not as concerned with the "why" that they have not been accomplished, but rather with the fact that they have not been accomplished.  It points to a fundamental inability in the NASA "culture"; perhaps it is an artifact of the years of being in the "ivory tower"?  It needs to be corrected.  The personell department can handle the technical aspects of the corrections that may be needed.

Quote from: Chuck
To bemoan the fact that the members of the committees that oversee NASA are not personal experts on all things NASA, as if NASA was the only thing they did, displays a profound lack of knowledge on just what the members of Congress actually do.

I'll speak in general about this.  There is no bemoaning that they are not experts in all things.  That is a deliberate presentation of a false choice.  I am bemoaning their deliberate affectation of ignorance of matters scientific in the legislative fields of their choice and in which they have been active for many years.  The only area in which they are typically well versed is the area of re-election.  There is absolutely no excuse for their mockery of the concerned citizenry by their affectations of ignorance solely for the maintenance of their priveleged positions.  Especially when they act to destroy our nation's HSF capability year after year.

I hope that this letter marks a change in the philosophy and approach of the Congress to HSF.

BTW, I'm glad that there's not a "Like" button on this site.  However, there is an "Unlike" button.  People who don't like contrary opinions take advantage of the "report to moderator" button.  There is very much a "popularity" aspect of the forum, which only detracts from the site, in my opinion.  It is a thorny issue.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Jim

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Whatever Jim, don't argue with me, argue with the article I cited:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Magnetic_Spectrometer#Launch_cancellation_and_restoration

"The power requirements for AMS-02 were thought to be too great for a practical independent spacecraft. So AMS-02 was designed to be installed as an external module on the International Space Station and use power from the ISS."


That is just pathetic.  You don't know enough not to quote wikipedia.
Also, the statement "were thought to" is lame and is not a basis for an argument. 

A practical independent spacecraft CAN power AMS-02. 
Spacecraft can last 10 to 18 years and it is doubt AMS itself will last that long.

My world is not Atlas centric, it is affordable launch/anti waste centric and SDLV/HLV/SLS doesn't meet that criteria.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2011 03:19 PM by Jim »

Offline baldusi

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Quote
As Chairman ... it is our responsibility to make sure that NASA ... is proceeding in accordance with the law.

If NASA is not in accordance with the law, that can only mean that they are breaking the law, and that deliberately.  We need to start enforcing the laws that we have on the books now.  Across the board, for sure, but starting here, for now.

There's a very important distinction between negative and positive mandates. If you are told not to kill someone, and you kill, you break the law. If are are told to present a report in a definitive time, and you don't, then you fail to comply. This is an important distinction. Let's put a more extreme case.
You have to present your income statement to the IRS on April 14th (positive mandate). But you can't lie (negative mandate). If the IRS finds you lied, you go to jail on the spot (they might arrange something else, but that's on their end). If you don't present it they will keep sending you letters, you will get and audit, and eventually, if a judge decides that the IRS gave you more than reasonable time, that the date was clear, that the task mandated was not unreasonable (can mandate that you make miracles, for example), and such, then it might be decided that you not only failed to comply, but utterly decided against an explicit mandate. Then you can go to jail.
In this particular case, no date was give, the task given was not simply to inform but to make a professional assessment of a very complicated task, with extra constraints put into the law, and the first time they said the couldn't found a solution that was on schedule, on budget and on performance. And they were asked to try harder. You might think that they are delaying. You might even know (I'm not saying) that they are delaying. But from a strict law point of view, to find them on contempt, there's still a long road ahead.
« Last Edit: 05/22/2011 08:22 PM by baldusi »

Offline HappyMartian

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Whatever Jim, don't argue with me, argue with the article I cited:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Magnetic_Spectrometer#Launch_cancellation_and_restoration

"The power requirements for AMS-02 were thought to be too great for a practical independent spacecraft. So AMS-02 was designed to be installed as an external module on the International Space Station and use power from the ISS."


That is just pathetic.  You don't know enough not to quote wikipedia.
Also, the statement "were thought to" is lame and is not a basis for an argument. 

A practical independent spacecraft CAN power AMS-02. 
Spacecraft can last 10 to 18 years and it is doubt AMS itself will last that long.

My world is not Atlas centric, it is affordable launch/anti waste centric and SDLV/HLV/SLS doesn't meet that criteria.

Ahhh Jim, if everything were as perfect as you think it should be, you would have long ago corrected that particular Wikipedia article, and many others too, but you didn't, did you? Around the world Wikipedia is where curious people go for information. Like it, lump it, or make it better. You have the knowledge needed to make it better, but you would rather just trash it.

But the real issue is, as you have made clear many times, you would have preferred an Atlas based SLS launcher over a Space Shuttle derived HLV. You prefer the Soviet Union's arsenal cheap RD-180 rocket engine over the American built SSME. Fair enough. But the folks in Congress had a different perspective, didn't they? Run for Congress Jim, it could be fun and you might even learn a few things along the way. And if you really want the affordability that you claim you want, you might as well offshore the Atlas manufacturing and launch services too. Reality often includes criteria that you seem to be uncomfortable with or simply prefer to ignore. Sorry about that!  :)

Cheers!


Edited.
« Last Edit: 05/22/2011 04:06 AM by HappyMartian »
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Offline Jeff Bingham

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I believe AMS is very worthwhile as pure science, and I appreciate Sen. Hutchison's important efforts on its behalf.  If she supported it principally in the belief that it is a promising avenue leading toward better energy sources in the foreseeable future, then, as others have just point out, she supported it for the wrong reasons.  That said, I'm sure that many of the good things that happen happen for the wrong reasons; they're still good things.

So I suggest you stop foaming at the mouth with the kind of "contempt prior to investigation" that seems to characterize so much of what you have to say.

May I suggest that a constructive path would be to explain to Sen. Hutchison or her staff how nebulous AMS's connection to energy production is.  Given your privileged role in the corridors of power, perhaps you or your colleagues would even be in a position to do so.  I'm glad Sen. Hutchison has supported AMS, but her continuing apparent misunderstanding of it serves none of herself, the Committee, the State of Texas nor the country well.

You characterize my behavior as "foaming at the mouth."  My post above certainly reflects frustration, but I think that's hardly an unreasonable reaction when an one of the country's key policy makers in science and technology repeatedly demonstrates a basic misunderstanding of the subject.  I'd also note that to hold public office in a free country is to be subject to criticism.

EDIT:  Grammar.

You and several follow-on posters appear to have missed the fundamental point I was trying to make; possibly responding to my somewhat intemperate use of the "frothing" description, which was probably ill-advised and unfortunate on my part, but a reflection of my own frustration with what seems a consistent penchant to categorically dismiss any hint that the findings from AMS may turn out to be be anything other than in the realm of science for which it has been specifically designed and towards which its use is focused.

I can only refer you to Dr. Ting himself as he has responded to questions about potential findings and applications from AMS operations. In a lecture for employees at KSC on October 15th last year, a member of the audience asked very specifically a question as to whether or not, as AMS hopefully succeeds in identifying Dark matter, antimatter, or stranglets--the theoretical or partially-observed phenomona it is designed to trace, identify, quanitify and characterize--the behavior of the subject "findings" might potentially lead to the development of new energy sources. Dr. Ting's response was "I am not qualified to answer that question." The reason, he pointed out--and he displayed a graphic which described five previous major instruments and investigations in physics--was that every previous experiment design had very specific purposes for which they were developed, and expectations about what they might discover. In fact, as he pointed out, all of them made their most significant discoveries in areas which were NOT a part of their designed function and planned area of research. The sixth experiment on his chart, the AMS, indicated its "designed purpose" based on "Expert Opinion" of the expected outcome, as noted earlier, as being "Dark Matter, Antimatter, Strangelets....". In the column headed the Discovery with the use of the Precision Instruments," for the AMS he had a simple question mark.  He summarized the point with the statement "Expert opinion is based on existing knowledge. Discovery breaks down existing knowledge." (a summary article about the presentation is attached.) My whole point is that it is premature to cite "Expert Opinion" in either support--or ridicule--of anyone's "prediction" about potential findings from AMS.

A further point that should be noted is that in its basic design, AMS-2 was designed--and initially built--using a superconducting magnet as the beam concentrating mechanism. A key challenge of the design was a system for cooling the supermagnet, and the solution actually resulted in a limitation of the instrument's "life expectancy" to be about three years. As it became clear early last year that the AMS was, in fact, going to be actually flown to ISS, it was determined that a previous attached payload had been positioned next to the planned attach point for the AMS. As it turned out, analyses of the reflective qualities of that payload indicated that it would reflect sufficient light--and heat--towards AMS at certain sun angles that would potentially overcome the cooling system's ability to maintain adequate temperature values for the magnet. In the end, the decision was made to remove the super-conducting magnet and replace it with the original "permanent magnet" from the AMS-1 vehicle, which did not require the cooling system. The result would be a slightly degraded level of beam concentration in the short run, but a better array of data collection over an expanded period of time--beyond the three years anticipated for the super-conducting magnet. This, Dr. Ting has stated publicly and to me personally, will provide an actually improved overall result due to the extended lifetime of the AMS functionality. 

The point here is that, up until last year, when the decision to swap out the magnets was made, it was the superconducting magnet technology itself that held the promise of enhanced energy generation and storage potential, as described in the white paper I have also attached--written by Dr. Ting at my request in 2006. So, for four of the last five years, the potential of the AMS instrument--albeit a "spinoff" from some of the technology used in the design, as opposed to the detection instrumentation of the device itself, HAS included the prospects of proving out the orbital operations of systems that COULD have implications for efficient energy production and storage--among other potential uses, like astronaut shielding, etc. That potential has always been known to Senator Hutchison since shortly after Dr. Ting appeared before the Commerce Committee in November of 2005, and I think justifiably something that she has every right to "hope" might still be a possible outcome. Whether some follow-on application of that superconducting magnet technology could be made on orbit to yet address that potential remains to be seen. What also is not known--as Dr. Ting stated--is whether or not the findings from the AMS in its current configuration without the superconducting magnet "could" lead to some findings that would have application for energy production. Hence the "?" in Dr. Ting's chart in his presentation at KSC. 

« Last Edit: 05/22/2011 04:34 AM by 51D Mascot »
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline yg1968

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I just listened to the archived video of the hearing. That was an interesting hearing. Chyba did a very good job of explaining flexible path. Culbertson's story about September 11 was inspiring.

They spent some time discussing ho to make the SLS more affordable. They specifically discussed the $400M cost of the F9 for SpaceX vs the $1.7B or $4B cost that the F9 would have cost if NASA had been in charge of it.

Offline HappyMartian

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I just listened to the archived video of the hearing. That was an interesting hearing. Chyba did a very good job of explaining flexible path. Culbertson's story about September 11 was inspiring.

They spent some time discussing ho to make the SLS more affordable. They specifically discussed the $400M cost of the F9 for SpaceX vs the $1.7B or $4B cost that the F9 would have cost if NASA had been in charge of it.

Of course one might wonder how much it would have cost NASA to build the F9 if Ross or Clongton or OV-106 was in charge of NASA... Or how soon the J-130SLS would be flying if Ross or Clongton or OV-106 was in charge of NASA...  Lots of interesting hypothetical questions can always be asked.  ;)
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Offline Silmfeanor

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Many, many thanks for this great post 51d. Posts of this quality are why I like this place so much. Please keep up the good work.

Offline major_tom

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While lurking, I happened to pass by this thread and, since I work
in the ATLAS experiment at LHC and as a friend of a few colleagues
that work in the AMS experiment since it began, I feel the need
to make the following remarks:

1. Chances that results from AMS experiment - or any other HEP experiment -
will somehow lead us to develop some new energy production technology
in the next 100 years (a wildly optimistic number) is pretty close to zero.
This is like saying that by discovering the electric properties of amber,
ancient greeks would be on the path to develop turbine generators and an electric
grid...  ::)

2. While I appreciate Sen. Hutchinson's support on behalf of the AMS
experiment I have to say that establishing a link between AMS
objectives and energy production (by her or anyone else, be it politician
or physicist) is either disingenuous or ignorant,
unless we are talking about timescales of several centuries
or even millenia.

3. I personaly think that this is disingenuous spin on her part, but I don't
blame her, she's just doing her job of getting support for fundamental
research in a society which has lost any grasp on the value of knowledge
and fundamental science.
People just got so used to a fast rate of
technological development that they forget that, for example, computers exist
today because some chinese guy, many centuries ago, invested his
time and effort in the fundamental research that created the abbacus.
Politicians are simply obliged to pander to such ignorance prevalent
in our society...

4. Yes, there will be short term spin-offs from AMS and other HEP
experiments, mainly from detector technology development and which
will find their way mainly into new medical diagnostic technology,
or new software/configware tools. Many people already benefit
today of such spin-offs as PET scans, 2D and 3D digital X-Ray imaging,
electron beam radiotherapy, GRID computing and many others.
But it will be nowhere near something as spectacular as a new energy
production technology.
I'm sorry some will be disapointed by that...

5. It would be more productive to invest directly in nuclear fusion
demonstration and development, if a new energy source discovery
is such a priority (and I think it is) - for example transfer a small
percentage from the bloated DoD budget to the DoE budget for such
purpose.
If, tangentialy, by contributing to the better understanding of the
theoretical particle physics models, HEP experiments help us to better
understand the fundamental intaractions and that helps us to perfect
curent fusion demonstrators, then HEP experiments will have played
a part in solving the energy issue, but that is:
a) A pretty indirect way of getting there (direct funding of fusion is better for such purpose).
b) There is a very low probability that things will sort out that way.
« Last Edit: 05/22/2011 03:43 PM by major_tom »
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Offline TerryNaylor

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Well thank goodness you're not in power Major Tom.

Regardless of how unlikely it is, for you to "know" it would be "impossible" is a massive stretch and lacks any forward thinking, the sort of forward thinking that has got us out of the caves and using tools.

Your negative attitude can lead to only one assumption, you didn't want AMS launched and I have to wonder what you're doing on here.

Maybe there's a political site you would prefer to use.

Offline major_tom

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Well thank goodness you're not in power Major Tom.

Regardless of how unlikely it is, for you to "know" it would be "impossible" is a massive stretch and lacks any forward thinking, the sort of forward thinking that has got us out of the caves and using tools.

Your negative attitude can lead to only one assumption, you didn't want AMS launched and I have to wonder what you're doing on here.

Maybe there's a political site you would prefer to use.

Not at all Terry. I'm all for funding fundamental research like AMS.
I earn my living from it.
I'm just telling you that implying that somehow the AMS experiment
will lead to some sort of harnessing of dark energy in the next decades
is ridiculous.
I am also telling you that such a spin maybe unfortunate but necessary
in a society that recognizes no value in fundamental research.
« Last Edit: 05/22/2011 01:50 PM by major_tom »
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Offline ugordan

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Well thank goodness you're not in power Major Tom.

Regardless of how unlikely it is, for you to "know" it would be "impossible" is a massive stretch and lacks any forward thinking, the sort of forward thinking that has got us out of the caves and using tools.

Your negative attitude can lead to only one assumption, you didn't want AMS launched and I have to wonder what you're doing on here.

Maybe there's a political site you would prefer to use.

Wow. Don't let insightful comments from someone who actually works in the high energy particle physics field prevent you from telling him what is reasonable and what is  "impossible" when it comes discoveries in that same field.

Looks like some people just don't want to be realistic about this and will take anything other than "AMS is the greatest thing since sliced bread" as attacks on all science and space exploration.

Get this: noone is against AMS. We are against ignorance about what the machine is actually supposed to do, whether deliberate or inadvertent. Nothing more, nothing less.

If you can't take criticism directed at politicians, tough luck. It's quite amazing that people can jump all over the politicians for whichever silly statement on this forum, but somehow pointing out that AMS will actually not solve the world energy crisis is sacrilege and insulting that politician. Meh.

Offline major_tom

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Get this: noone is against AMS. We are against ignorance about what the machine is actually supposed to do, whether deliberate or inadvertent. Nothing more, nothing less.


Just to add: AMS will be an amazing tool for what it is supposed to do,
and I am sure will be a great HEP experiment, yielding very important
discoveries in that field.
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Offline DavisSTS

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My apologies. I mistook you for one of those anti anything to do with shuttle mission people that have turned up from Space Politics lately. I wrongly assumed you were against AMS.

So it has been proven that the claim is absolutely impossible?

Offline major_tom

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My apologies. I mistook you for one of those anti anything to do with shuttle mission people that have turned up from Space Politics lately. I wrongly assumed you were against AMS.

So it has been proven that the claim is absolutely impossible?

Apologies accepted.

This has not to do with things being possible or impossible.

Of course studying dark energy could one very distant day enable some technological breakthroughs,
but this is in the far, far future.

Look at the trouble we have harnessing nuclear fusion, where the
interactions at play are fairily well understood, and you still hear:
"in the next 50 years".
Now imagine trying a technological breakthrough based in a phenomenon
that is still largely unknown.
I'll say to you "not in the next 50 years, and almost certainly not in the next 100 years".
« Last Edit: 05/22/2011 02:57 PM by major_tom »
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Offline Jeff Bingham

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I will simply excerpt the underlying point from my earlier post, beginning with a quote from Dr. Ting:

"'Expert opinion is based on existing knowledge. Discovery breaks down existing knowledge.' (a summary article about the presentation is attached.) My whole point is that it is premature to cite 'Expert Opinion' in either support--or ridicule--of anyone's 'prediction' about potential findings from AMS."

I just saw a lot of "expert opinion" cited in previous comments, and all I'm saying is what Dr. Ting has said, and that is that the question of what AMS will discover and what, if anything, it will lead to in either pure particle physics science or practical applications, are simply unknowns at this point, regardless of what expert knowledge might suggest as probabilities or likelihoods.

Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline OpsAnalyst

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This whole thread is beginning to remind me of the interminable and nonsensical debates about "basic" vs. "applied" science that invariably cropped up among my graduate students whenever politics or funding entered the discussion.

Jus' sayin'.  ;)

Offline Rabidpanda

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I just saw a lot of "expert opinion" cited in previous comments, and all I'm saying is what Dr. Ting has said, and that is that the question of what AMS will discover and what, if anything, it will lead to in either pure particle physics science or practical applications, are simply unknowns at this point, regardless of what expert knowledge might suggest as probabilities or likelihoods.

If the potential findings of AMS are "simply unknowns at this point, regardless of what expert knowledge might suggest as probabilities or likelihoods" then Senator Hutchison is wrong to claim that it will have something to do with energy sources.  Whether she is ignorant or she's just putting a spin on it is different question.

Offline Namechange User

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Here are a few others to get my point across, that those who proclaim what research into one field or another will yield are generally proven wrong by history.  If they were always right, then what is the point in doing said research?

http://www.ahajokes.com/fp044.html

http://listverse.com/2007/10/28/top-30-failed-technology-predictions/
« Last Edit: 05/22/2011 06:00 PM by Chris Bergin »
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Offline Namechange User

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I just saw a lot of "expert opinion" cited in previous comments, and all I'm saying is what Dr. Ting has said, and that is that the question of what AMS will discover and what, if anything, it will lead to in either pure particle physics science or practical applications, are simply unknowns at this point, regardless of what expert knowledge might suggest as probabilities or likelihoods.

If the potential findings of AMS are "simply unknowns at this point, regardless of what expert knowledge might suggest as probabilities or likelihoods" then Senator Hutchison is wrong to claim that it will have something to do with energy sources.  Whether she is ignorant or she's just putting a spin on it is different question.

Here is the Senate home page for Senator Hutchison:

http://hutchison.senate.gov/

I would request that the "usual suspects" who have filled up the last several pages with why she is "ignorant" send her an email.  I would also think that one could also "man-up" enough to use your real name, contact info and provide your astute sense of understanding and proclomations about exactly what AMS will yield to better inform the Senator and why Dr. Ting is clearly wrong for ever commenting as he has.

I assume this will put this issue to rest now. 
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Offline kch

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http://www.wattpad.com/26359-some-funny-and-totally-wrong-predictions-of-the

Quote
Story not available

The story you requested does not exist or is no longer available

?

It worked earlier.  Here are a few others to get my point across, that those who proclaim what research into one field or another will yield are generally proven wrong by history.  If they were always right, then what is the point in doing said research?

http://www.ahajokes.com/fp044.html

http://listverse.com/2007/10/28/top-30-failed-technology-predictions/

Thought it must've worked when you posted it -- thanks!  :)

Offline Rabidpanda

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@OV-106

No one is claiming that they know exactly what AMS will yield.  People are just pointing out that it is incorrect of Senator Hutchinson to say that AMS is research into energy sources.  As 51D wisely pointed out, what AMS will find is unknown.  The expert predictions (however much you value them) suggest that it will just increase our understanding of particle physics and not have real world applications for a very long time.  But in the end we're all making predictions.  The experts, Sen. Hutchison, everyone who has an opinion about what AMS will yield (or not yield) has made a prediction.  And because all predictions can be wrong (as your links show), it is incorrect to say that one prediction is right before we have seen the outcome which, IMO is what Sen. Hutchison has done.

Edited for clarity.
« Last Edit: 05/22/2011 06:23 PM by Rabidpanda »

Offline simpl simon

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I can't help thinking that the drift of this thread reminds me very strongly of Arthur C. Clarke's three laws:

First law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

Second law: The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.

Third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

And for the curious: http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Arthur_C._Clarke/


Offline Chris Bergin

If Professor Ting says I'll score the winning goal for England in the 2016 World Cup final, I'm going to hit the gym first thing in the morning ;D

That man is rather clever!

Offline Namechange User

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@OV-106

No one is claiming that they know exactly what AMS will yield.  People are just pointing out that it is incorrect of Senator Hutchinson to say that AMS is research into energy sources.  As 51D wisely pointed out, what AMS will find is unknown.  The expert predictions (however much you value them) suggest that it will just increase our understanding of particle physics and not have real world applications for a very long time.  But in the end we're all making predictions.  The experts, Sen. Hutchison, everyone who has an opinion about what AMS will yield (or not yield) has made a prediction.  And because all predictions can be wrong (as your links show), it is incorrect to say that one prediction is right before we have seen the outcome which, IMO is what Sen. Hutchison has done.

Edited for clarity.

And you validated my point.  You, yourself, say you do not know what AMS will yield.  You, yourself, say "not have any real world applications for a very long time".  While you have no foundation to say that, you do suggest eventually there is the possibility for applications.  Yet, you, and others, insist on being rude and disrespectful when in reality you have no idea what her level of insight truly is. 

So, man-up and email her instead of wasting space here.  In reality, I and likely others see exactly what is going on because your perception of the Senator is clouding your judgment on this issue and her record on space issues, or your interpretation of it anyway, does not fit into your world view of how things are or should be.  So lets just call a horse a horse and be done with it. 
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Offline Jeff Bingham

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I just saw a lot of "expert opinion" cited in previous comments, and all I'm saying is what Dr. Ting has said, and that is that the question of what AMS will discover and what, if anything, it will lead to in either pure particle physics science or practical applications, are simply unknowns at this point, regardless of what expert knowledge might suggest as probabilities or likelihoods.

If the potential findings of AMS are "simply unknowns at this point, regardless of what expert knowledge might suggest as probabilities or likelihoods" then Senator Hutchison is wrong to claim that it will have something to do with energy sources.  Whether she is ignorant or she's just putting a spin on it is different question.
But not wrong to HOPE that it might.

Edited: (took out the assertion that I wouldn't say anything more, since it seemed snitty and also unlikely, ;-).)
« Last Edit: 05/22/2011 11:46 PM by 51D Mascot »
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline alexw

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This is why we can't have nice things in space.

{sigh}

Offline Rabidpanda

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And you validated my point.  You, yourself, say you do not know what AMS will yield.  You, yourself, say "not have any real world applications for a very long time".  While you have no foundation to say that, you do suggest eventually there is the possibility for applications.  Yet, you, and others, insist on being rude and disrespectful when in reality you have no idea what her level of insight truly is. 

Please read my post again.  I did not claim that AMS would 'not have any real world applications for a long time', I said that expert predictions suggested that AMS would 'not have any real world  applications for a long time'.  While I personally think that the experts will be proven correct, I don't claim to know anything about the future findings of AMS and I am open to the possibility that a real world application could be found.  In that respect I agree with you and 51D.

The original point raised was that Senator Hutchison was wrong when she claimed that AMS was research into energy sources.  This is what I was trying to say in my previous post. 

However, my personal opinion is that Sen. Hutchison is not ignorant, but rather it was political spin to help AMS gain support in congress.  If this is indeed the case then I commend her for it because I believe AMS is a worthwhile scientific payload.  It's like someone said earlier in this thread, people can do bad things for good reasons.

Offline baldusi

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Is there anywhere a transcript of the hearings?

Offline marsavian

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13163026

In analysing the nature of these particles, AMS promises remarkable new discoveries about how the Universe is put together.

There is a chance it could find anti-matter, the mirror of the material from which we are all made; and even identify the mysterious "dark matter" that scientists say makes a bigger contribution to the mass of the cosmos than all the stuff we see through telescopes.

But as exciting as these revelations would be, to Professor Sam Ting, the driving force behind the experiment, it is the knowledge AMS simply stumbles upon that could ultimately shake us.

"The issue of anti-matter and the origin of dark matter really probe the foundations of modern physics, but to my collaborators and me, the most exciting objective of AMS is to probe the unknown, to search for phenomena that exist in Nature but yet we have not the tools or the imagination to find them," the Nobel Laureate said.

Offline Namechange User

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And you validated my point.  You, yourself, say you do not know what AMS will yield.  You, yourself, say "not have any real world applications for a very long time".  While you have no foundation to say that, you do suggest eventually there is the possibility for applications.  Yet, you, and others, insist on being rude and disrespectful when in reality you have no idea what her level of insight truly is. 

Please read my post again.  I did not claim that AMS would 'not have any real world applications for a long time', I said that expert predictions suggested that AMS would 'not have any real world  applications for a long time'.  While I personally think that the experts will be proven correct, I don't claim to know anything about the future findings of AMS and I am open to the possibility that a real world application could be found.  In that respect I agree with you and 51D.

The original point raised was that Senator Hutchison was wrong when she claimed that AMS was research into energy sources.  This is what I was trying to say in my previous post. 

However, my personal opinion is that Sen. Hutchison is not ignorant, but rather it was political spin to help AMS gain support in congress.  If this is indeed the case then I commend her for it because I believe AMS is a worthwhile scientific payload.  It's like someone said earlier in this thread, people can do bad things for good reasons.

I got the context of your post exactly correct, perhaps you need to re-read mine.

So will you be sending the Senator an email, etc because your "opinion" seems to be changing over the last several posts.
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Offline Proponent

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You and several follow-on posters appear to have missed the fundamental point I was trying to make; possibly responding to my somewhat intemperate use of the "frothing" description, which was probably ill-advised and unfortunate on my part, but a reflection of my own frustration with what seems a consistent penchant to categorically dismiss any hint that the findings from AMS may turn out to be be anything other than in the realm of science for which it has been specifically designed and towards which its use is focused.

I can only refer you to Dr. Ting himself as he has responded to questions about potential findings and applications from AMS operations. In a lecture for employees at KSC on October 15th last year, a member of the audience asked very specifically a question as to whether or not, as AMS hopefully succeeds in identifying Dark matter, antimatter, or stranglets--the theoretical or partially-observed phenomona it is designed to trace, identify, quanitify and characterize--the behavior of the subject "findings" might potentially lead to the development of new energy sources. Dr. Ting's response was "I am not qualified to answer that question." The reason, he pointed out--and he displayed a graphic which described five previous major instruments and investigations in physics--was that every previous experiment design had very specific purposes for which they were developed, and expectations about what they might discover. In fact, as he pointed out, all of them made their most significant discoveries in areas which were NOT a part of their designed function and planned area of research. The sixth experiment on his chart, the AMS, indicated its "designed purpose" based on "Expert Opinion" of the expected outcome, as noted earlier, as being "Dark Matter, Antimatter, Strangelets....". In the column headed the Discovery with the use of the Precision Instruments," for the AMS he had a simple question mark.  He summarized the point with the statement "Expert opinion is based on existing knowledge. Discovery breaks down existing knowledge." (a summary article about the presentation is attached.) My whole point is that it is premature to cite "Expert Opinion" in either support--or ridicule--of anyone's "prediction" about potential findings from AMS.

A further point that should be noted is that in its basic design, AMS-2 was designed--and initially built--using a superconducting magnet as the beam concentrating mechanism. A key challenge of the design was a system for cooling the supermagnet, and the solution actually resulted in a limitation of the instrument's "life expectancy" to be about three years. As it became clear early last year that the AMS was, in fact, going to be actually flown to ISS, it was determined that a previous attached payload had been positioned next to the planned attach point for the AMS. As it turned out, analyses of the reflective qualities of that payload indicated that it would reflect sufficient light--and heat--towards AMS at certain sun angles that would potentially overcome the cooling system's ability to maintain adequate temperature values for the magnet. In the end, the decision was made to remove the super-conducting magnet and replace it with the original "permanent magnet" from the AMS-1 vehicle, which did not require the cooling system. The result would be a slightly degraded level of beam concentration in the short run, but a better array of data collection over an expanded period of time--beyond the three years anticipated for the super-conducting magnet. This, Dr. Ting has stated publicly and to me personally, will provide an actually improved overall result due to the extended lifetime of the AMS functionality. 

The point here is that, up until last year, when the decision to swap out the magnets was made, it was the superconducting magnet technology itself that held the promise of enhanced energy generation and storage potential, as described in the white paper I have also attached--written by Dr. Ting at my request in 2006. So, for four of the last five years, the potential of the AMS instrument--albeit a "spinoff" from some of the technology used in the design, as opposed to the detection instrumentation of the device itself, HAS included the prospects of proving out the orbital operations of systems that COULD have implications for efficient energy production and storage--among other potential uses, like astronaut shielding, etc. That potential has always been known to Senator Hutchison since shortly after Dr. Ting appeared before the Commerce Committee in November of 2005, and I think justifiably something that she has every right to "hope" might still be a possible outcome. Whether some follow-on application of that superconducting magnet technology could be made on orbit to yet address that potential remains to be seen. What also is not known--as Dr. Ting stated--is whether or not the findings from the AMS in its current configuration without the superconducting magnet "could" lead to some findings that would have application for energy production. Hence the "?" in Dr. Ting's chart in his presentation at KSC.

We don't know what will come from AMS-2.  It may indeed provide the basis of a new energy-production technology.  Equally, it may lead to more powerful computers, better medical diagnostics or anti-gravity technology.  Or, like most other particle-physics research to date -- and all of the discoveries listed in Dr. Ting's chart (thanks for the attachments) -- it may yield nothing at all of practical value.  There is just no basis for leaping from Dr. Ting's '?' to "new sources of energy."  AMS-2 might just as well be billed as offering hope for a cure for cancer as leading to new energy sources.

Offline Jeff Bingham

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You and several follow-on posters appear to have missed the fundamental point I was trying to make; possibly responding to my somewhat intemperate use of the "frothing" description, which was probably ill-advised and unfortunate on my part, but a reflection of my own frustration with what seems a consistent penchant to categorically dismiss any hint that the findings from AMS may turn out to be be anything other than in the realm of science for which it has been specifically designed and towards which its use is focused.

I can only refer you to Dr. Ting himself as he has responded to questions about potential findings and applications from AMS operations. In a lecture for employees at KSC on October 15th last year, a member of the audience asked very specifically a question as to whether or not, as AMS hopefully succeeds in identifying Dark matter, antimatter, or stranglets--the theoretical or partially-observed phenomona it is designed to trace, identify, quanitify and characterize--the behavior of the subject "findings" might potentially lead to the development of new energy sources. Dr. Ting's response was "I am not qualified to answer that question." The reason, he pointed out--and he displayed a graphic which described five previous major instruments and investigations in physics--was that every previous experiment design had very specific purposes for which they were developed, and expectations about what they might discover. In fact, as he pointed out, all of them made their most significant discoveries in areas which were NOT a part of their designed function and planned area of research. The sixth experiment on his chart, the AMS, indicated its "designed purpose" based on "Expert Opinion" of the expected outcome, as noted earlier, as being "Dark Matter, Antimatter, Strangelets....". In the column headed the Discovery with the use of the Precision Instruments," for the AMS he had a simple question mark.  He summarized the point with the statement "Expert opinion is based on existing knowledge. Discovery breaks down existing knowledge." (a summary article about the presentation is attached.) My whole point is that it is premature to cite "Expert Opinion" in either support--or ridicule--of anyone's "prediction" about potential findings from AMS.

A further point that should be noted is that in its basic design, AMS-2 was designed--and initially built--using a superconducting magnet as the beam concentrating mechanism. A key challenge of the design was a system for cooling the supermagnet, and the solution actually resulted in a limitation of the instrument's "life expectancy" to be about three years. As it became clear early last year that the AMS was, in fact, going to be actually flown to ISS, it was determined that a previous attached payload had been positioned next to the planned attach point for the AMS. As it turned out, analyses of the reflective qualities of that payload indicated that it would reflect sufficient light--and heat--towards AMS at certain sun angles that would potentially overcome the cooling system's ability to maintain adequate temperature values for the magnet. In the end, the decision was made to remove the super-conducting magnet and replace it with the original "permanent magnet" from the AMS-1 vehicle, which did not require the cooling system. The result would be a slightly degraded level of beam concentration in the short run, but a better array of data collection over an expanded period of time--beyond the three years anticipated for the super-conducting magnet. This, Dr. Ting has stated publicly and to me personally, will provide an actually improved overall result due to the extended lifetime of the AMS functionality. 

The point here is that, up until last year, when the decision to swap out the magnets was made, it was the superconducting magnet technology itself that held the promise of enhanced energy generation and storage potential, as described in the white paper I have also attached--written by Dr. Ting at my request in 2006. So, for four of the last five years, the potential of the AMS instrument--albeit a "spinoff" from some of the technology used in the design, as opposed to the detection instrumentation of the device itself, HAS included the prospects of proving out the orbital operations of systems that COULD have implications for efficient energy production and storage--among other potential uses, like astronaut shielding, etc. That potential has always been known to Senator Hutchison since shortly after Dr. Ting appeared before the Commerce Committee in November of 2005, and I think justifiably something that she has every right to "hope" might still be a possible outcome. Whether some follow-on application of that superconducting magnet technology could be made on orbit to yet address that potential remains to be seen. What also is not known--as Dr. Ting stated--is whether or not the findings from the AMS in its current configuration without the superconducting magnet "could" lead to some findings that would have application for energy production. Hence the "?" in Dr. Ting's chart in his presentation at KSC.

We don't know what will come from AMS-2.  It may indeed provide the basis of a new energy-production technology.  Equally, it may lead to more powerful computers, better medical diagnostics or anti-gravity technology.  Or, like most other particle-physics research to date -- and all of the discoveries listed in Dr. Ting's chart (thanks for the attachments) -- it may yield nothing at all of practical value.  There is just no basis for leaping from Dr. Ting's '?' to "new sources of energy."  AMS-2 might just as well be billed as offering hope for a cure for cancer as leading to new energy sources.

True, but what would really be nice to see you acknowledge, is that there is equally no basis for criticizing someone else's hope--or even belief--that some specific outcome "might" be achieved.

I can tell you with certainty that Senator Hutchison did not "sell" AMS to her colleagues as an expected source of new energy when the 2008 bill was being written--and enacted--which included the requirement for NASA to fly AMS on an additional shuttle flight that was not then in the manifest. The paper I attached to my previous note about potential AMS findings and applications was, as much as anything else, the basis for advocacy in support of that language. The bottom line is, without her advocacy and support, that language would not have been written, would not have been included in the 2008 NASA Authorization Act, and the flight would almost certainly not have been added to the manifest (though I don't want to underestimate Dr. Ting's ability to make "magic" happen all by himself, hehe).
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline madscientist197

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I suspect what many people are picking up on, although they haven't articulated it very well, is that these sorts of comments tend to indicate an unscientific mindset. The comments aren't wrong, they aren't dumb, they're uncritical, optimistic and only weakly supported. It doesn't necessarily reflect badly on Senator Hutchison -- it's just that the very basis of science is doubt. The onus for a claim is always on the progenitor. Good scientists, by their very nature, are sceptics.

True, but what would really be nice to see you acknowledge, is that there is equally no basis for criticizing someone else's hope--or even belief--that some specific outcome "might" be achieved.

Although Senator Hutchison's claims aren't egregious, you can take this sort of logic to an extreme. Hopefully no-one will criticise my most sincere hope that I will invert warp drive in the next few months. ;)
« Last Edit: 05/23/2011 08:00 AM by madscientist197 »
John

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We don't know what will come from AMS-2.  It may indeed provide the basis of a new energy-production technology.  Equally, it may lead to more powerful computers, better medical diagnostics or anti-gravity technology.  Or, like most other particle-physics research to date -- and all of the discoveries listed in Dr. Ting's chart (thanks for the attachments) -- it may yield nothing at all of practical value.  There is just no basis for leaping from Dr. Ting's '?' to "new sources of energy."  AMS-2 might just as well be billed as offering hope for a cure for cancer as leading to new energy sources.

True, but what would really be nice to see you acknowledge, is that there is equally no basis for criticizing someone else's hope--or even belief--that some specific outcome "might" be achieved.

Hope is fine thing.  Had the statement something to the effect of "And, who knows, someday this may even lead to a new source of energy," then I wouldn't be disturbed at all.  What the Senator actually says (34:45 and following) is:

"It was really this committee that first heard from Dr. Ting about the spectrometer, and the ability to use that for energy, the study of the dark matter and the cosmic rays for future energy resources.  That excited this committee...."  That's more than a hope.

During a hearing in March, the Senator said that AMS-2 "has great potential for energy research."  That's simply not true; the potential is very remote.  The same Senator also drew a connection between AMS-2 and energy (and cosmic rays) during an October 2009 hearing.  On that occasion, a number of other statements suggesting a worrying lack of familiarity with technology were also made.

Quote
I can tell you with certainty that Senator Hutchison did not "sell" AMS to her colleagues as an expected source of new energy when the 2008 bill was being written--and enacted--which included the requirement for NASA to fly AMS on an additional shuttle flight that was not then in the manifest.

If you say so, I don't doubt that the Senator did not "sell" it to other Committee members as an "expected" source of energy.  But the Senator's own statements suggest belief in energy production is a good reason for funding AMS-2.  If anyone bought into AMS-2 even as a merely plausible energy source, it's still worrying and wrong.

Quote
The paper I attached to my previous note about potential AMS findings and applications was, as much as anything else, the basis for advocacy in support of that language. The bottom line is, without her advocacy and support, that language would not have been written, would not have been included in the 2008 NASA Authorization Act, and the flight would almost certainly not have been added to the manifest (though I don't want to underestimate Dr. Ting's ability to make "magic" happen all by himself, hehe).

I'm glad AMS-2 got funded.  If it got funded because one or more Committee members think it is a good investment in energy research, then I'm very worried about other the decisions the Committee.  And actually, as a taxpayer, I could be pretty steamed about that.

Offline KelvinZero

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If Professor Ting says I'll score the winning goal for England in the 2016 World Cup final, I'm going to hit the gym first thing in the morning ;D

That man is rather clever!

Being clever does not rule out the possibility it is a bald faced lie just to see if you would actually do it..  ;)

Offline QuantumG

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On that occasion, a number of other statements suggesting a worrying lack of familiarity with technology were also made.

Yes, I remember giggling and sneering.  Usually the evidence you have provided would be sufficient for most people with a working knowledge of technology development to conclude that stupidity abounds in Washington DC, prompting others to suggest that perhaps it is only resident to this particular subcommittee and very defensive people to insist that it is just the particular Senator in question and we shouldn't generalize.  But recently some folks have set the bar much higher, demanding actual drooling on camera or perhaps a leaked IQ test result.. so I'm afraid we're going to need more evidence.  What else have you got?  :D
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Proponent

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I realize that's meant in jest, QuantumG, but I just want to be clear that I'm suggesting anybody's unintelligent.  I'm just worried that perhaps not all of the decision-makers are as informed as they should be.

Offline Jeff Bingham

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We don't know what will come from AMS-2.  It may indeed provide the basis of a new energy-production technology.  Equally, it may lead to more powerful computers, better medical diagnostics or anti-gravity technology.  Or, like most other particle-physics research to date -- and all of the discoveries listed in Dr. Ting's chart (thanks for the attachments) -- it may yield nothing at all of practical value.  There is just no basis for leaping from Dr. Ting's '?' to "new sources of energy."  AMS-2 might just as well be billed as offering hope for a cure for cancer as leading to new energy sources.

True, but what would really be nice to see you acknowledge, is that there is equally no basis for criticizing someone else's hope--or even belief--that some specific outcome "might" be achieved.

Hope is fine thing.  Had the statement something to the effect of "And, who knows, someday this may even lead to a new source of energy," then I wouldn't be disturbed at all.  What the Senator actually says (34:45 and following) is:

"It was really this committee that first heard from Dr. Ting about the spectrometer, and the ability to use that for energy, the study of the dark matter and the cosmic rays for future energy resources.  That excited this committee...."  That's more than a hope.

During a hearing in March, the Senator said that AMS-2 "has great potential for energy research."  That's simply not true; the potential is very remote.  The same Senator also drew a connection between AMS-2 and energy (and cosmic rays) during an October 2009 hearing.  On that occasion, a number of other statements suggesting a worrying lack of familiarity with technology were also made.

Quote
I can tell you with certainty that Senator Hutchison did not "sell" AMS to her colleagues as an expected source of new energy when the 2008 bill was being written--and enacted--which included the requirement for NASA to fly AMS on an additional shuttle flight that was not then in the manifest.

If you say so, I don't doubt that the Senator did not "sell" it to other Committee members as an "expected" source of energy.  But the Senator's own statements suggest belief in energy production is a good reason for funding AMS-2.  If anyone bought into AMS-2 even as a merely plausible energy source, it's still worrying and wrong.

Quote
The paper I attached to my previous note about potential AMS findings and applications was, as much as anything else, the basis for advocacy in support of that language. The bottom line is, without her advocacy and support, that language would not have been written, would not have been included in the 2008 NASA Authorization Act, and the flight would almost certainly not have been added to the manifest (though I don't want to underestimate Dr. Ting's ability to make "magic" happen all by himself, hehe).

I'm glad AMS-2 got funded.  If it got funded because one or more Committee members think it is a good investment in energy research, then I'm very worried about other the decisions the Committee.  And actually, as a taxpayer, I could be pretty steamed about that.

I've said pretty clearly what I know to be the case and it is NOT what you appear intent on believing or what you insist on inferring from occasional hearing statements that you believe are "conclusive" and, in your view, apparently "damning." That interpretation is certainly your right, and as others, like OV-106, have said if you want to mount a campaign of letter-writing or expression of your own concerns directly to the Senator, please, by all means do so. I am the person who handled the negotiations and conversations with other Members' staffs about the value and virtue of supporting the AMS flight, so I know precisely what was said and understood in the process of garnering support for the mission, internally. You appear unwilling to accept my accounting of that, and again, that's entirely your right. But the discussion is now getting far too "cyclical" to be of any more merit, in my view, and certainly consuming more time than I am willing to commit to it any further. So believe and do what you will, and all the best in your efforts to ensure the level of precision in congressional discourse that you believe is appropriate.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline robertross

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(doing a partial re-write after having lost my original post due to some errant keystroke)

This idea of value is in the same context of ISS providing value to the science community & the community at large. We'll probably have a better perspective in 20+ years from now as to how much value it (ISS), AMS, or any other development has provided. As I had writen in the Historical Book thread, project Vanguard was at the cusp of technology back in the day and despite the cost overruns, it provided a miriad of new technologies & capabilities like orbital tracking and electronics miniaturization, among many others.

Obviously not representative of the costs put out to date, but even just having AMS flown has given everyone who worked on the project a sense of gratification that is perhaps unmeasurable but deeply profound going forward, and may lead to them developing that one true capability that might not othewise be found, or delayed several years.

I have no doubt that AMS will be an invaluable scientific learning tool for us. What we get out of it can only be guessed at, and that's what cutting edge science can hold. Is it worth the money? The value we place on some things amazes me sometimes, but I have to believe that the more we learn about our own world, the more we understand how fragile it is and how important having that advanced technology to protect ourselves matters.
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline HappyMartian

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On that occasion, a number of other statements suggesting a worrying lack of familiarity with technology were also made.

Yes, I remember giggling and sneering.  Usually the evidence you have provided would be sufficient for most people with a working knowledge of technology development to conclude that stupidity abounds in Washington DC, prompting others to suggest that perhaps it is only resident to this particular subcommittee and very defensive people to insist that it is just the particular Senator in question and we shouldn't generalize.  But recently some folks have set the bar much higher, demanding actual drooling on camera or perhaps a leaked IQ test result.. so I'm afraid we're going to need more evidence.  What else have you got?  :D


Sneering at people wouldn't get a person very far in running for public office, would it? Maybe that is why lots of folks are not senators... Sneering also tends to indicate a deep level of insecurity about who one is, so maybe it would be wise for some folks to be a bit less smug about what they think they know and maybe even try a bit harder to be more modest or accepting of beliefs that are quite different from their own. But perhaps that would be asking too much from the smug individuals who are in love with their own 'brilliance'. Of course if one could place the supposedly 'brilliant' and smug individuals in a time machine and ship them three hundred years into the future, most likely they wouldn't have much to be smug about, now would they? It has long been true that the wisdom of modesty tends to make the smug folks look pretty foolish. Yep, the real issue is that the "drooling" smugness evident by some posters on the Internet is not very functional in the real world. In most real neighborhoods pretentious swaggering 'brilliance' has to be backed up with more than a quick mouth. Folks in real neighborhoods maybe aren't 'brilliant', but they are usually smart enough to be polite.

Cheers!

Edited.
« Last Edit: 05/23/2011 02:13 PM by HappyMartian »
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Quote from: Baldusi
There's a very important distinction between negative and positive mandates. If you are told not to kill someone, and you kill, you break the law. If are are told to present a report in a definitive time, and you don't, then you fail to comply. This is an important distinction. Let's put a more extreme case.

That is a welcome distinction to have pointed out.  Here, tho, the matter is not simply a matter of incidental non-compliance, it is more a matter of continued, insistant, focused non-compliance with a field of pre-determined, ensconced "winners", and the field of ever suffering citizens, who continue to wonder;  hey, we put a guy on the Moon forty years ago, what's the hangup?  There is no technical or even financial reason that we have not furthered our HSF capabilities. 

Quote
... then it might be decided that [MASA] not only failed to comply, but utterly decided against an explicit mandate.

As to the Administrator, on this matter, I quack in his general direction.

Quote from: Jim
My world is not Atlas centric, it is affordable launch/anti waste centric and SDLV/HLV/SLS doesn't meet that criteria.

An opinion which I whole heartedly support.

Quote from: The ever so cheery Martian
Ahhh Jim, if everything were as perfect as you think it should be, you would have long ago corrected that particular Wikipedia article..

This is a pitiful analysis, and it must not go uncommented.  To ask for affordability and efficient use of resources is not to ask for a world that is "as perfect" as he asks; and in no way would a correction to a popular source of high school general information have changed the "world" of HSF in any measurable degree.  If people are "curious" about information without any desire to know as complete a truth about a matter as may be possible that source has some limited utility.  And though in a certain sense, I am my brother's keeper, I am not responsible for that easily manipulated site, which is not under my control in the least, for accuracy.  Neither is anyone else.  IOW, like Wiki or lump it, but there is no obligation to attempt the futile task of "making it better".

Quote from: 51D
... possibly responding to my somewhat intemperate use of the "frothing" description, which was probably ill-advised and unfortunate on my part, but a reflection of my own frustration with what seems a consistent penchant to categorically dismiss any hint ...

Ya gotta call 'em like ya see 'em.  There's frustration a-plenty to be had, particularly outside of those priveleged halls.  In matters scientific, most of these congress crinoids, who are almost universally intelligent in the highest percentiles, and most of whom have many years experience in this committee, who have astonishingly good communication skills, and so forth, are pretending to ignorance in those crucial scientific matters which directly pertain to the implementation of a sound HSF policy.  There is small wonder in the resultant lack of accomplishment.

As to Dr. Ting's pronouncement, "I am not qualified to answer that question", and the titillating question mark on his chart.  First, the titillation probably results from the press corp's ignorant knee jerk reaction:  "Energy! That's the same word as in the term 'energy crisis'!  Let's ask a question about energy production!  Maybe the 'curious' people who look to Wiki as the final answer will think we're solving the 'energy crisis', and buy more newspapers!"  Dr. Ting should have said, were I writing his script, "AMS is not designed to find practical solutions for the world's energy problems.  It is designed to discover a possible form of energy that physics has theoretically proposed".  The "not-qualified" response is a cop-out.

Quote from: Major Tom
Chances that results from AMS experiment ...
will somehow lead us to develop some new energy production technology
... is pretty close to zero.

Like he said.

Quote
Politicians are simply obliged to pander to such ignorance prevalent in our society...

No, they are not.  Ignorance will not be dispelled with such pandering.  And if funds can indeed be secured with such pandering, it is morally wrong.  And practically wrong as well, since boneheaded research, illogically based, might very well take precedence over good research with this approach.

Quote
Your negative attitude can lead to only one assumption, you didn't want AMS launched and I have to wonder what you're doing on here.

Poor analysis, well covered by subsequent comments.  Ignorance is not truth.

Quote from: OV-106
Here is the Senate home page for Senator Hutchison:

Thanks....

Quote from: JF
Dear Ms. Hutchison:

I have been following Congress's involvement with the future path of our nation's HSF effort for the last two years, since I became aware that the shuttle program is scheduled to be dismantled, leaving the United States without launch capability for an undetermined time.  I am also very concerned about science and the general populist view here in America that the common citizens need not bother themselves with much knowledge in this regard, but rather to trust their politicians to spend money wisely on matters scientific.

As you know, the AMS experiment was recently installed on the ISS, and it is hoped that the new information will shed some light on "dark energy" and related phenomena predicted by theory.

You have made several public pronouncements regarding this important experiment, and you do the scientists a great disfavor by referring to the "energy" searched for as if it will prove to be as easily harnessed as the "energy" we currently harness from fossil fuel.  This is not the intent of the experiment in the least as you know.  You do the nation a disservice by deliberately confusing the idea of "energy" in this fashion.

It may be that you have a jaundiced view of the intelligence of the American taxpayer; I have no idea.  But I am certain that we will not have much success with our HSF programs if political decisions are based on science that is faultily represented.

Sincerely, JF

... for basically a useless suggestion:

Quote from: KBH
Due to the large volume of mail she receives each day, the Senator will only be able to respond to messages from her Texas constituents.

Quote from: MadScientist
Hopefully no-one will criticise my most sincere hope that I will invert warp drive in the next few months.

Ok, I will.  You better hope harder.  I, on the other hand, hope to get mine done in the next few weeks !
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline HappyMartian

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Quote from: MadScientist
Hopefully no-one will criticise my most sincere hope that I will invert warp drive in the next few months.

Ok, I will.  You better hope harder.  I, on the other hand, hope to get mine done in the next few weeks !

Glad you told us. I'll have mine done this morning!  ;)

Cheers!
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Offline Namechange User

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Shouldn't someone *invent* warp drive before someone tries to *invert* it? (See above)
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

Offline majormajor42

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inverting it may very well be the key!
...water is life and it is out there, where we intend to go. I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man or machine on a body such as the Moon and harvest a cup of water for a human to drink or process into fuel for their craft.

Offline stealthyplains

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AMS is a particle physics experiment that has nothing to do with practical energy research.  No amount of optimistic bluster will change that.

Offline HappyMartian

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AMS is a particle physics experiment that has nothing to do with practical energy research.  No amount of optimistic bluster will change that.

Ahhh, it is always good to meet a practical and nonblustering person with a crystal ball. Do you ever rent yours? Mine broke about four or five decades ago and I've been a bit myopic and impractical ever since. It used to be so much fun to look into the future. Every detail was clear and etched in an infinite diamond. We are merely someone else's ancient history. Enjoy your crystal ball while you can, because if it ever breaks you could end up a bit uncertain about so many things.

Cheers!  ;)

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Offline JohnFornaro

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Quote from: Robert Ross
doing a partial re-write...

BT. DT.

This idea of value ... We'll probably have a better perspective in 20+ years from now as to how much value it (ISS), AMS, or any other development has provided. [/quote]

No question.  And its current value is very high as well, even tho the exact nature of its expected discoveries is unknown.

Quote
...even just having AMS flown has given everyone who worked on the project a sense of gratification that is perhaps unmeasurable but deeply profound going forward, and may lead to them developing that one true capability that might not othewise be found, or delayed several years.

Again, no question.  Now, among a great many other things, JWST needs to get itself launched as well.

Quote
... but I have to believe that the more we learn about our own world, the more we understand how fragile it is and how important having that advanced technology to protect ourselves matters.

Here's where I differ.  Not meaning to impugn your motives by any stretch, but "we" already know how fragile our world is, and none of this technology will change the fundamental fragility of our world.  There is literally no need for advanced technology for mankind to realize that the proper way is for mankind to walk gently on the home planet.  As it was worded in the "Whole Earth Catalog", there is no need to get it together.  The planet is already together.  The protection we typically need is from one another.

Let the knee jerk analysts and techie fanboyz say that this is a call for some primitive human utopia; it is not.  The ability of mankind to destroy with his technology always seems to be greater than the ability to create with that technology.  The question is what intangible human interests do the technological tools serve.  One of the things we see continually in our governmental officials, is the willing display of a deep ignorance of matters technical even as they demand control over its development and deployment.

About the idea that "sneering also tends to indicate a deep level of insecurity about who one is", well sure, in some cases.  But in other cases, it is a normal response to the display of intentional ignorance.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline HappyMartian

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.....

About the idea that "sneering also tends to indicate a deep level of insecurity about who one is", well sure, in some cases.  But in other cases, it is a normal response to the display of intentional ignorance.

Intentional ignorance is rarely the case when someone is in a public position and so many Internet folks are always ready and eager to throw rotten tomatoes in a display of their own moral and intellectual superiority. The possibility of ignorance is one thing, but ascribing it to "intentional" is a big stretch. Besides, people do have a right to vastly different opinions and ideas about the long-term potential uses of pure research. One may try to impress others with one's proud and great insight in the exact nonpractical scientific results of a science experiment that might extend into the future for the next 20 years, but essentially future intangible results are not predictable by mere mortals, despite the proclivity of some folks who admire their own 'brilliance' to proclaim their insight about those future scientific results. For such 'brilliantly blind' folks there are no real unknowns and they often trip and fall flat on their clown faces when reality shows up. Such is life and the wisdom of insecurity.

Cheers! 
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Offline robertross

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Here's where I differ.  Not meaning to impugn your motives by any stretch, but "we" already know how fragile our world is, and none of this technology will change the fundamental fragility of our world. 

Well, you can always read HappyMartian's response on the previous page about having that crystal ball.

We got into space and some of the first realizations was how thin our atmosphere is and hence its fragility - but that's just the atmosphere. We (people) live in a day-to-day world, never really looking out for our well being in the long term. I don't want to turn this into a phylosophical debate, but in my view, until we start doing things differently down here on a massive scale, we're going to need every resource available to counter all the "resources" we take for granted: water, energy, land usage, heck even Helium (among many others items & issues).

What we learn & our inner drive to explore might be a fundamental mechanism to say: get off this planet, because its time (and our time) is limited. Only science & technology holds the ability to get us off of here, and then it becomes a phylosophical one if we actually WANT to leave.

So I say let's learn all we can for the next generation.
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline yg1968

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Please see:

http://spacepolicyonline.com/pages/images/stories/Letter_to_Administrator_Bolden_-_5.18.11.pdf

Cheers!

Congress is going too far with this letter. It sounds like a witch hunt. If I were Bolden I would provide the information but still stick with the game plan. NASA is in charge of executing the law not Congress.

You might want to look into the issue of "Congressional Oversight."  The attached Congressional Research Service document provides a pretty good summary of the context in which the letter from the Committee should be seen.

Thanks for the reply. I don't doubt that Congress is entitled to this information. But the amount of details that is requested (including e-mails) makes it clear that they are trying to find the guilty party (i.e. the persons that are behind the caveats in the HLV and MPCV preliminary report).

Offline stealthyplains

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No amount of rhetoric will change the energy scales of physics.  The energy scales under study by the AMS are not within the grasp of human engineering.  They are not even near that grasp.  Nor is the AMS intended to narrow that grasp in any form whatsoever.  The processes studied by the AMS are simply irrelevant to any practical problems in engineering, and they will be irrelevant for at least centuries to come.  It is a basic physical science instrument doing basic physical science experiments.

Offline HappyMartian

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No amount of rhetoric will change the energy scales of physics.  The energy scales under study by the AMS are not within the grasp of human engineering.  They are not even near that grasp.  Nor is the AMS intended to narrow that grasp in any form whatsoever.  The processes studied by the AMS are simply irrelevant to any practical problems in engineering, and they will be irrelevant for at least centuries to come.  It is a basic physical science instrument doing basic physical science experiments.

Yes, I stole your crystal ball. I'm sorry about that. I soon felt overwhelming guilt, so I returned it. I sincerely hope you never even noticed it was gone and are willing to forgive me. I used it for only a few minutes and found out that next month you will have visitors from a nearby galaxy who will teach you how to quickly transform modern human physics and engineering and other sciences with the results of their own highly advanced scientific research. Your computer will be loaded with data and the research results that are too esoteric for you to initially understand with the belief that you and your science friends will eventually be able to make good use of that information. Since you and your friends will be able to comprehend and put to use the generous and massive gift of valuable scientific knowledge from your visitors, you will transform our world and become widely known as responsible for the Stealthyplains Revolution in Science and Engineering. I wish you the best of luck with your visitors and your upcoming scientific revolution. If it isn't too much to ask, could you please let your visitors know that I really want a ride to Mars and I promise to never argue with you on this website again if they give me a ride... Your future visitors are kind and wise folks and they would be quite willing to give me a ride to Mars if you asked them. Thank you for your help in this important matter. And yes, I'm sorry about all the rhetoric too!

Cheers!
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

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