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posted by martyb on Monday May 28 2018, @05:44PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it-takes-a-[moon]-village dept.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin are looking to partner with NASA and ESA to help create settlements on the Moon. However, he implied that he would fund development of such a project himself if governments don't:

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos says his Blue Origin space venture will work with NASA as well as the European Space Agency to create a settlement on the moon. And even if Blue Origin can't strike public-private partnerships, Bezos will do what needs to be done to make it so, he said here at the International Space Development Conference on Friday night.

[...] To facilitate a return to the moon, Blue Origin has a lunar lander on the drawing boards that's designed to be capable of delivery 5 tons of payload to the lunar surface. That's hefty enough to be used for transporting people — and with enough support, it could start flying by the mid-2020s. Blue Origin has proposed building its Blue Moon lander under the terms of a public-private partnership with NASA. "By the way, we'll do that, even if NASA doesn't do it," Bezos said. "We'll do it eventually. We could do it a lot faster if there were a partnership."

[...] It's important to point out that moon settlement isn't just a NASA thing. Bezos told me he loves the European Space Agency's approach, known as the Moon Village. "The Moon Village concept has a nice property in that everybody basically just says, look, everybody builds their own lunar outpost, but let's do it close to each other. That way, if you need a cup of sugar, you can go over to the European Union lunar outpost and say, 'I got my powdered eggs, what have you got?' ... Obviously I'm being silly with the eggs, but there will be real things, like, 'Do you have some oxygen?' "

So how far is Blue Origin willing to go? Bezos has already committed the company to build rockets and landers. How about rovers, habitats and all the other hardware that a moon base will need? "We'll do anything we need to do," Bezos said. "I hope we don't need to do any of that. I want other people to do it. But if need be, we'll do it."

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross published an editorial in The New York Times (archive) emphasizing a return to the Moon and President Trump's recent Space Policy Directive 2 (here's the first one).

Just don't call it a colony.

Also at TechCrunch and Engadget.

Rebuttal: Dear Jeff Bezos: Forget About The Stupid Moon

Previously: Jeff Bezos' Vision for Space: One Trillion Population in the Solar System
ESA Expert Envisions "Moon Village" by 2030-2050

Related: How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently
Bigelow Aerospace Forms New Company to Manage Space Stations, Announces Gigantic Inflatable Module
Blue Origin to Compete to Launch U.S. Military Payloads
2020s to Become the Decade of Lunar Re-Exploration
Blue Origin Conducts its First Successful Suborbital Test Flight and Landing of 2018
Lunar Regolith Simulants Damage Cells
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Serious About Returning to the Moon


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How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently 56 comments

Howard Bloom has written a guest blog at Scientific American addressing the Trump Administration's plan to return to (orbit) the Moon. That mission would use the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule, which have cost $18 billion through 2017 but are not expected to launch astronauts into space until around 2023. Bloom instead proposes using private industry to put a base on the Moon, using technology such as SpaceX's Falcon Heavy (estimated $135 million per launch vs. $500 million for the Space Launch System) and Bigelow Aerospace's inflatable habitat modules:

[NASA's acting administrator Robert] Lightfoot's problem lies in the two pieces of NASA equipment he wants to work with: a rocket that's too expensive to fly and is years from completion—the Space Launch System; and a capsule that's far from ready to carry humans—the Orion. Neither the SLS nor the Orion are able to land on the Moon. Let me repeat that. Once these pieces of super-expensive equipment reach the moon's vicinity, they cannot land.

Who is able to land on the lunar surface? Elon Musk and Robert Bigelow. Musk's rockets—the Falcon and the soon-to-be-launched Falcon Heavy—are built to take off and land. So far their landing capabilities have been used to ease them down on earth. But the same technology, with a few tweaks, gives them the ability to land payloads on the surface of the Moon. Including humans. What's more, SpaceX's upcoming seven-passenger Dragon 2 capsule has already demonstrated its ability to gentle itself down to earth's surface. In other words, with a few modifications and equipment additions, Falcon rockets and Dragon capsules could be made Moon-ready.

[...] In 2000, Bigelow purchased a technology that Congress had ordered NASA to abandon: inflatable habitats. For the last sixteen years Bigelow and his company, Bigelow Aerospace, have been advancing inflatable habitat technology. Inflatable technology lets you squeeze a housing unit into a small package, carry it by rocket to a space destination, then blow it up like a balloon. Since the spring of 2016, Bigelow, a real estate developer and founder of the Budget Suites of America hotel chain, has had an inflatable habitat acting as a spare room at the International Space Station 220 miles above your head and mine. And Bigelow's been developing something far more ambitious—an inflatable Moon Base, that would use three of his 330-cubic-meter B330 modules. What's more, Bigelow has been developing a landing vehicle to bring his modules gently down to the Moon's surface.

[...] If NASA ditched the Space Launch System and the Orion, it would free up three billion dollars a year. That budget could speed the Moon-readiness of Bigelow's landing vehicles, not to mention SpaceX's Falcon rockets and could pay for lunar enhancements to manned Dragon 2 capsules. In fact, three billion dollars a year is far greater than what Bigelow and Musk would need. That budget would also allow NASA to bring Jeff Bezos into the race. And it would let NASA refocus its energy on earth-orbit and lunar-surface refueling stations...plus rovers, lunar construction equipment, and devices to turn lunar ice into rocket fuel, drinkable water, and breathable oxygen. Not to mention machines to turn lunar dust and rock into building materials.

An organization that Howard Bloom founded, The Space Development Steering Committee, has been short one member recently (Edgar Mitchell).


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Jeff Bezos' Vision for Space: One Trillion Population in the Solar System 39 comments

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos talked about his vision for Blue Origin and humanity at the Apollo 11 Gala at Kennedy Space Center:

For Bezos, colonising space is a more a simple necessity for continued life on Earth. The compound effect of the incremental increase in energy requirements will mean us having to cover every inch of Earth in solar cells, he said, while the solar system offers virtually unlimited energy resources.

"We can harvest resources from asteroids, from Near-Earth Objects, and harvest solar energy from a much broader surface area – and continue to do amazing things," he said. The alternative, he said, was an era of stasis and stagnation on Earth, where we are forced to control population and limit energy usage per capita.

"I don't think stasis is compatible with freedom or liberty, and I sure as hell think it's going to be a very boring world – I want my grandchildren's grandchildren to be in a world of pioneering, exploration and expansion throughout the solar system."

He also suggested that exploration and colonisation of the solar system would make it possible to support one trillion people.

"Then we would have 1,000 Einstein's and 1,000 Mozarts, how cool would that be?" he said.

"What's holding us back from making that next step is that space travel is just too darned expensive because we throw the rockets away. We need to build reusable rockets and that's what Blue Origin is dedicated to."


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ESA Expert Envisions "Moon Village" by 2030-2050 42 comments

https://phys.org/news/2017-09-moon-lunar-village.html (AFP)

By 2040, a hundred people will live on the Moon, melting ice for water, 3D-printing homes and tools, eating plants grown in lunar soil, and competing in low-gravity, "flying" sports.

To those who mock such talk as science fiction, experts such as Bernard Foing, ambassador of the European Space Agency-driven "Moon Village" scheme, reply the goal is not only reasonable but feasible too.

At a European Planetary Science Congress in Riga this week, Foing spelt out how humanity could gain a permanent foothold on Earth's satellite, and then expand.

He likened it to the growth of the railways, when villages grew around train stations, followed by businesses.

By 2030, there could be an initial lunar settlement of six to 10 pioneers—scientists, technicians and engineers—which could grow to 100 by 2040, he predicted.

"In 2050, you could have a thousand and then... naturally you could envisage to have family" joining crews there, Foing told AFP .


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President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1 100 comments

No more sending humans to an asteroid. We're going back to the Moon:

The policy calls for the NASA administrator to "lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities." The effort will more effectively organize government, private industry, and international efforts toward returning humans on the Moon, and will lay the foundation that will eventually enable human exploration of Mars.

"The directive I am signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery," said President Trump. "It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints -- we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond."

The policy grew from a unanimous recommendation by the new National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, after its first meeting Oct. 5. In addition to the direction to plan for human return to the Moon, the policy also ends NASA's existing effort to send humans to an asteroid. The president revived the National Space Council in July to advise and help implement his space policy with exploration as a national priority.

President's remarks and White House release.

Presidential Memorandum on Reinvigorating America's Human Space Exploration Program

Also at Reuters and New Scientist.

Previously: Should We Skip Mars for Now and Go to the Moon Again?
How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently
NASA Eyeing Mini Space Station in Lunar Orbit as Stepping Stone to Mars
NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station
Bigelow and ULA to Put Inflatable Module in Orbit Around the Moon by 2022


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Bigelow Aerospace Forms New Company to Manage Space Stations, Announces Gigantic Inflatable Module 26 comments

Bigelow Aerospace has created a spinoff company that will manage its orbital space stations, and has announced plans for an inflatable module that would be even larger than the B330:

Bigelow Aerospace — the Las Vegas-based company manufacturing space habitats — is starting a spinoff venture aimed at managing any modules that the company deploys into space. Called Bigelow Space Operations (BSO), the new company will be responsible for selling Bigelow's habitats to customers, such as NASA, foreign countries, and other private companies. But first, BSO will try to figure out what kind of business exists exactly in lower Earth orbit, the area of space where the ISS currently resides.

Bigelow makes habitats designed to expand. The densely packed modules launch on a rocket and then inflate once in space, providing more overall volume for astronauts to roam around. The company already has one of its prototype habitats in orbit right now: the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, which has been attached to the International Space Station since 2016. The BEAM has proven that Bigelow's expandable habitat technology not only works, but also holds up well against the space environment.

Now, Bigelow is focusing on its next space station design: the B330. The habitat is so named since it will have 330 cubic meters (or nearly 12,000 cubic feet) of interior volume when expanded in space. That's about one-third the volume provided by the ISS. Bigelow hopes to launch two B330s as early as 2021, on top of the United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rockets, and the company even has plans to put a B330 around the Moon. After that, Bigelow has bigger plans to create a single station with 2.4 times the entire pressurized volume of the ISS, the company announced today. Such a huge station will need to be constructed in an entirely new manufacturing facility that Bigelow plans to build — though the company hasn't decided on a location yet.

Bigelow's BEAM is currently attached to the ISS and has a volume of about 16 cubic meters, which has been described as that of "a large closet with padded white walls". The B330 will have 330 cubic meters of pressurized volume. The newly proposed module is called the BA 2100, or "Olympus", with 2,250 cubic meters of volume, compared to the ISS's total 931 cubic meters. The mass of the BA 2100 could range from 65 to 100 metric tons, likely requiring a super-heavy launcher such as the SLS Block 1B/2 or SpaceX's BFR.

Also at Space News, Motherboard, and Space.com.

Related: How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently
Bigelow Expandable Activity Module to Continue Stay at the International Space Station
Bigelow and ULA to Put Inflatable Module in Orbit Around the Moon by 2022


Original Submission

Blue Origin to Compete to Launch U.S. Military Payloads 1 comment

Blue Origin's orbital rocket in the running to receive U.S. military investment

Blue Origin submitted a proposal late last year in what's expected to be a four-way competition for U.S. Air Force funding to support development of new orbital-class rockets, a further step taken by the Jeff Bezos-owned company to break into the military launch market, industry officials said. The proposal, confirmed by two space industry sources, puts Blue Origin up against SpaceX, Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance, which could use Blue Origin's BE-4 engine to power its next-generation Vulcan rocket. It also sets up the New Glenn rocket, in development by Blue Origin, to be certified by the Air Force for national security missions.

Blue Origin received funding in an earlier phase of the Air Force's initiative to help companies develop new liquid-fueled U.S.-built booster engines in a bid to end the military's reliance on the Russian RD-180 powerplant, which drives the first stage of ULA's Atlas 5 rocket. The Air Force's money supported development of the BE-4 engine, which was designed with private money, and is still primarily a privately-funded program. The Pentagon funding announced in early 2016 for the BE-4 program was directly awarded to ULA, which routed the money to Blue Origin's engine program.

SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne also received Air Force funding in 2016 for propulsion work. SpaceX used the Air Force money for its methane-fueled Raptor engine, which will power the company's next-generation super-heavy BFR launcher. Orbital ATK is developing its own launcher for national security missions, which would use solid-fueled rocket motors for the initial boost into space, then use a hydrogen-fueled upper stage for orbital injection. Aerojet Rocketdyne's AR1 engine is a backup option for ULA's new Vulcan rocket.

Previously: U.S. Air Force Awards SpaceX $40.7 Million for Raptor Engine Development
Aerojet Rocketdyne Seeks More U.S. Air Force Funding for AR1 Rocket Engine

Related: Jeff Bezos' Vision for Space: One Trillion Population in the Solar System
NASA Opens Door to Possibly Lowering SLS Cost Using Blue Origin's Engines
SpaceX BFR vs. ULA Vulcan Showdown in the 2020s


Original Submission

2020s to Become the Decade of Lunar Re-Exploration 56 comments

NASA is going back to the Moon, perhaps permanently, as seen in a new road map (image):

Four months after President Trump directed NASA to return to the Moon, the agency has presented a road map to meet the goals outlined in Space Policy Directive-1. The updated plan shifts focus from the previous "Journey to Mars" campaign back to the Moon, and—eventually—to the Red Planet.

"The Moon will play an important role in expanding human presence deeper into the solar system," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA, in a release issued by the agency.

While the revamped plan may share the same destination as the Apollo program, NASA said it will approach the return in a more measured and sustainable manner. Unlike humanity's first trip to the Moon, the journey back will incorporate both commercial and international partners.

To achieve this, NASA has outlined four strategic goals:

  • Transition low-Earth orbit (LEO) human spaceflight activities to commercial operators.
  • Expand long-duration spaceflight activities to include lunar orbit.
  • Facilitate long-term robotic lunar exploration.
  • Use human exploration of the Moon as groundwork for eventual human missions to Mars and beyond.

This may be the best outcome for the space program. Let NASA focus on the Moon with an eye towards permanently stationing robots and humans there, and let SpaceX or someone else take the credit for a 2020s/early-2030s manned Mars landing. Then work on a permanent presence on Mars using cheaper rocket launches, faster propulsion technologies, better radiation shielding, hardier space potatoes, etc.

Previously: President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1

Related:


Original Submission

Blue Origin Conducts its First Successful Suborbital Test Flight and Landing of 2018 10 comments

Suborbital test flight moves Blue Origin closer to launching people

The privately-developed New Shepard booster, designed and built by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos's space company Blue Origin, took off from a launch pad in West Texas, briefly flew into space with an instrumented capsule, and returned to a rocket-assisted landing Sunday in another test before humans climb aboard the suborbital spaceship.

[...] A live webcast of the test flight provided by Blue Origin showed the vehicles coasting to an apogee of roughly 351,000 feet, or about 107 kilometers, around four minutes into the mission. The rocket achieved a top speed of around 2,200 mph (3,540 kilometers per hour), according to data released by Blue Origin. Ariane Cornell, who hosted Blue Origin's launch webcast, said engineers intended to "push the envelope" of the New Shepard's capabilities, aiming to reach an altitude of 350,000 feet, around 20,000 feet higher than the rocket's typical target. "That's the altitude we've been targeting for operations," Bezos tweeted after Sunday's flight.

The two vehicles then made their descents, and the New Shepard booster fell back through the atmosphere, deployed an airbrake and reignited its throttleable BE-3 engine to slow its velocity for touchdown. Four landing legs extended from the base of the New Shepard booster just before it settled gently on a landing pad around 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the rocket's launch site.

The rocket landed about seven minutes after liftoff, while the crew capsule deployed three parachutes and fired retro-rockets to cushion the craft's landing on the desert floor approximately 10 minutes after launch. A live view from a flying drone captured spectacular views of the capsule's final descent.

Also at TechCrunch.


Original Submission

Lunar Regolith Simulants Damage Cells 20 comments

Breathing Lunar Dust Could Give Astronauts Bronchitis and Even Lung Cancer

[In] a recent study, a team of pharmacologists, geneticists and geoscientists consider how being exposed to lunar dust could have a serious effect on future astronauts' lungs.

[...] Previous research has also shown that dust can cause damage to cells' DNA, which can cause mutations and eventually lead to cancer. For these reasons, Caston and her colleagues were well-motivated to see what harmful effects lunar soil could have on the human body. For the sake of their study, the team exposed human lung cells and mouse brain cells to samples of simulated lunar soil.

These simulants were created by using dust samples from Earth that resemble soil found on the Moon's lunar highlands and volcanic plains, which were then ground to a fine powder. What they found was that up to 90% of human lung cells and mouse neurons died when exposed to the dust samples. The simulants also caused significant DNA damage to mouse neurons, and the human lung cells were so effectively damaged that it was impossible to measure any damage to the cells' DNA.

Assessing Toxicity and Nuclear and Mitochondrial DNA Damage Caused by Exposure of Mammalian Cells to Lunar Regolith Simulants (open, DOI: 10.1002/2017GH000125) (DX)


Original Submission

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Serious About Returning to the Moon 26 comments

NASA chief on Moon return: "This will not be Lucy and the football again"

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush announced the Space Exploration Initiative, a long-range commitment toward the human exploration of deep space, beginning with a return to the Moon. "Major parts of that policy went forward, but establishing permanence on the Moon was abandoned," Bridenstine said Tuesday. Then, in 2004, President George W. Bush announced a bold plan to send humans back to the Moon, where they would learn how to operate in deep space and then go on to Mars. This became the Constellation program. Again, major parts of that policy went forward, Bridenstine said. But NASA abandoned the drive back to the Moon.

Before the US Senate confirmed pilot and former congressman Bridenstine, the Trump administration announced a plan to send humans back to the Moon. "To many, this may sound similar to our previous attempts to get to the Moon," Bridenstine said Tuesday. "However, times have changed. This will not be Lucy and the football again."

How have times changed? During his brief address, Bridenstine listed several technologies that he believes have lowered the cost of a lunar return. These include the miniaturization of electronics that will allow for smaller robotic vehicles, the decreasing costs of launch, private investment in spaceflight, commercial interest in lunar resources, and new ways of government contracting. (Bridenstine did not mention the Space Launch System rocket or the Orion spacecraft).

The speech was only a few minutes long, so I wouldn't read too much into the absence of SLS/Orion. But it's no secret that BFR could deliver 150 metric tons to the Moon or Mars by using in-orbit refueling, vs. a lot less when using the expensive SLS.

Previously:

Related:


Original Submission

Jeff Bezos Talks about Blue Origin at Yale Club Event 29 comments

Jeff Bezos just gave a private talk in New York. From utopian space colonies to dissing Elon Musk's Martian dream, here are the most notable things he said.

  • Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, gave a talk to a members-only event at the Yale Club in New York on Tuesday.
  • During the 30-minute lecture, Bezos said his private aerospace company, Blue Origin, would launch its first people into space aboard a New Shepard rocket in 2019.
  • Bezos also questioned the capabilities of a space tourism competitor, Virgin Galactic, and criticized the goal of Elon Musk and SpaceX to settle Mars with humans.
  • Ultimately, Bezos said he wants Blue Origin to enable a space-faring civilization where "a Mark Zuckerberg of space" and "1,000 Mozarts and 1,000 Einsteins" can flourish.
  • Bezos advised the crowd to hold a powerful, personal long-term vision, but to devote "the vast majority of your energy and attention" on shorter-term activities and those ranging up to 2- or 3-year timeframes.

[...] Bezos: I don't think we'll live on planets, by the way. I think we'll live in giant O'Neal[sic]-style space colonies. Gerard O'Neil, decades ago, came up with this idea. He asked his physics students at Princeton a very simple question, but a very unusual one, which is: Is a planetary surface the right place for humanity to expand in the solar system? And after doing a lot of work, they came back and decided the answer was "no." There's a fascinating interview with Isaac Asimov, Gerard O'Neill, and their interviewer that you can find on YouTube from many decades ago. And to Asimov, the interviewer says, "Why do you think we're so focused, then, on expanding onto other planetary surfaces?" And Asimov says, "That's simple. We grew up on a planet, we're planet chauvinists."

Blue Origin Led Industry Team Will Work on Lunar Lander 6 comments

Jeff Bezos announces Blue Origin will form new industry team to return to the Moon

At the International Astronautical Congress in Washington, D.C. today, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos announced a new "national team" that will join forces in order to help return humans to the Moon via NASA's Artemis program. They'll focus on developing the Human Landing System that will be used to achieve this goal.

Blue Origin will serve as lead contractor for this new industry collaboration, which will also include Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper. The partnership will serve to pursue NASA's stated mission of getting the first American woman and next American man to the surface of the Moon by 2024.

Each partner in this new alliance will take on specific roles pertaining to helping NASA achieve its goal. Blue Origin is going to be acting as the primary contractor and lead the program management of the partner involvement, as well as take on systems engineering, and responsibilities for safety and mission assurance. They'll also provide the descent element of the overall the human landing system, which will consist of the Blue Moon lander and the BE-7 engine that will provide its propulsion.

Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin will be developing the 'Ascent Element' vehicle and Northrop Grumman is building the 'Transfer Element' to get the whole landing element Blue Origin is providing in place towards the Moon. Longtime space industry non-profit Draper will lead the descent guidance efforts and produce flight avionics.

Also at Ars Technica and CNBC.

Related: Jeff Bezos Details Moon Settlement Ambitions in Interview
NASA Announces 19 Space Act Agreements, with a Focus on Returning to the Moon


Original Submission

Space Policy Directive-3 Calls for U.S. to Manage Space Debris 10 comments

NASA Administrator expresses support for Space Policy Directive-3

With the threat of space debris destroying satellites, crewed spacecraft and even the International Space Station increasing, processes have been initiated to help alleviate and prevent this threat. NASA's new Administrator Jim Bridenstine made several statements about the new Space Policy Directive-3, which was signed by President Trump. During the June 18, 2018, meeting of the National Space Council, Trump signed SPD-3, which directs the U.S. to lead the management of space traffic and mitigate the effects of space debris.

[...] This comes less than a month after the signing of SPD-2, which called for the reform of the United States' commercial space regulatory framework. Additionally, SPD-1 was signed in December 2017, which instructed NASA to return U.S. astronauts to the Moon with the eventual goal of human flights to Mars.

[...] One of the main features of SPD-3 is the management of space debris. It calls for the U.S. to utilize government and commercial technologies to track and monitor debris and set new guidelines for satellite for satellite design and operation.

Additionally, it calls for the update of the U.S. government's Orbital Debris Mitigation Standard Practices, which currently states that spacecraft and upper stages should be designed to eliminate or minimize debris released during normal operations. Additionally, any debris larger than five millimeters that is expected to remain in orbit for more than 25 years is to be justified on the basis of cost and mission requirements.

NASA Administrator statement.

Related: President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1
2020s to Become the Decade of Lunar Re-Exploration
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Serious About Returning to the Moon
Jeff Bezos Details Moon Settlement Ambitions in Interview


Original Submission

NASA Administrator Ponders the Fate of SLS in Interview 4 comments

Rocket Report: Japanese rocket blows up, NASA chief ponders purpose of SLS (and other news)

NASA Administrator ponders what to do with the SLS rocket. During a Q&A with Politico, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was asked about how the space agency views commercial launch vehicles. His response: "As we move forward, we're going to have to maybe rethink... at what point do we start taking advantage of those commercial capabilities to the extent that they drive down cost, give us more capability, and what do we do with SLS?... We're not there yet, but certainly there's a horizon here. Is it 10 years? I don't know what the answer is, but what we can't do in my view is give up our government capability, our national capability, when we don't have an alternative."

Speaking of timelines ... NASA doesn't exactly have the "national capability" of the SLS rocket yet in the heavy-lift class, either. We've heard rumors of a slip to 2021 for the first launch date, in which case Blue Origin's New Glenn has a fighting chance to fly first, as SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket has already done.

Blue Origin targets Moon landing by 2023. Blue Origin's business development director, A.C. Charania, said at a conference that the company's Blue Moon program is "our first step to developing a lunar landing capability for the country, for other customers internationally, to be able to land multi metric tons on the lunar surface." The company has not said what role its large orbital rocket under development, New Glenn, would play in a mission to the Moon.

BFR is a privately funded next-generation reusable launch vehicle and spacecraft system developed by SpaceX. It was announced by Elon Musk in September 2017.[8][9] The overall space vehicle architecture includes both launch vehicles and spacecraft that are intended to completely replace all of SpaceX's existing space hardware by the early 2020s as well as ground infrastructure for rapid launch and relaunch, and zero-gravity propellant transfer technology to be deployed in low Earth orbit (LEO). The large payload to Earth orbit of up to 150,000 kg (330,000 lb) makes BFR a super heavy-lift launch vehicle. Manufacture of the first upper stage/spacecraft prototype began by March 2018, and the ship is projected to begin testing in early 2019.[5]

Related: First SLS Mission Will be Unmanned
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?
President Trump Praises Falcon Heavy, Diminishes NASA's SLS Effort
SpaceX BFR vs. ULA Vulcan Showdown in the 2020s
NASA's Chief of Human Spaceflight Rules Out Use of Falcon Heavy for Lunar Station
NASA Could Scale Down First Manned Flight of the SLS
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Serious About Returning to the Moon
Jeff Bezos Details Moon Settlement Ambitions in Interview
This Week in Space Pessimism: SLS, Mars, and Lunar Gateway


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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @05:53PM (14 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @05:53PM (#685245)

    People can't live at 1/6 Earth Gravity. Short stints are too expensive.

    The sharp dust particles have been shown not only to destroy lungs, but also to cause DNA mutations!

    As yet, there's no business case for maintaining a colony there; of course, Bezos never worried about making a profit.

    How can mankind spread out when its authority figures (scientific and otherwise) refuse to recognize the reality that we live in an Electric Universe?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @05:57PM (10 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @05:57PM (#685248)

      How about solid foundations for spreading out?

      These guys should be pouring resources into building a space elevator; screw all this primitive rocket launching nonsense!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @06:33PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @06:33PM (#685261)

        How about solid foundations for spreading out?

        Bollocks! I can spread out jolly good in my bed, why should I leave it for the Moon?

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday May 28 2018, @06:46PM (7 children)

        by c0lo (156) on Monday May 28 2018, @06:46PM (#685266) Journal

        These guys should be pouring resources into building a space elevator; screw all this primitive rocket launching nonsense!

        Unobtanium carbide molecular monofilament needed for the tensile properties and able to resist the radiation during solar storms and van Allen belts.
        Humongous quantities of material to make the threas from. Have to actually drag an asteroid into Earth orbit, launching the material for the threads from Earth is too expensive.
        On top of that, a space elevator is a (military) strategic nightmare.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by deimtee on Tuesday May 29 2018, @04:12AM (6 children)

          by deimtee (3272) on Tuesday May 29 2018, @04:12AM (#685440) Journal

          You build a non-tethered rotating one with a length of four or five thousand km. Stick it in an orbit at about half its length plus 50 km. Set it rotating so that the tip closest to earth has zero sideways movement. (The movement is basically that of two opposing spokes on a wheel that is rolling around the earth).
          The tips of the cable will experience about 1.4 G. Your space vehicle has to ascend to the height of the tip (50 km) and grab on. it will be swung around at 1.4G until you let go at the top of the arc, (or at whatever point your velocity is closest to your desired one.) From the point of view of the vehicle the tip will descend vertically, decelerating at 1.4G until it comes to a stop and starts moving up again.

          You could throw cargo to the asteroid belt with very little use of on-board fuel, and that could all be ion drive.

          The delta V isn't free though, lifting cargo will drop the orbit of your elevator. You fix that with a big bank of solar cells and high efficiency ion drives at the halfway point (zero-gee hub). Conversely, catching inbound cargo and lowering it gently to Earth will raise your orbit.

          The efficiency is lower than a tethered elevator, because you can't steal energy from Earth's rotation, but the engineering is possible with current materials and techniques.
          The orbits/control/use calculations are conceptually more complicated, but I think that even if you had a tethered elevator you would be doing that just as much.

          For future improvement you add more pairs of spokes.

          --
          No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday May 29 2018, @06:03AM (1 child)

            by c0lo (156) on Tuesday May 29 2018, @06:03AM (#685456) Journal

            1. Coriolis forces as you move up/down the cable - compensate or bust. Various strategies - from "rigid rod with compensation at ends (good luck with a rigid rod 4000-5000km long)" to "compensate-sideways-on-shuttle-as-you-go" (any limp cable will do, but then the majority of delta-V to reach the top comes from the compensation).
            2. The equilibrium is unstable - any non-compensated delta-Pos is going to amplify if not corrected. The higher delta-Pos that needs compensating, the higher the energy expenditure.
            3. Mass of the cable some orders of magnitude higher than the payload - to have delta-H for the cable+payload within something that you can compensate.

            Somehow, I don't thing the cable can be less than 100m or so in thickness - which doesn't spell "cheap" when considering the perturbation that need compensated all the time - fuel (even ion engines need ejection mass).
            - the lower end of the cable is well inside the atmosphere (rarefied, true, but "space" starts at 100km+)
            - the distal end of the cable is exposed to radiation pressure. Second-order effects - such as Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) effect [scholarpedia.org] - may create troubles (light energy absorption during day - pushes on the incident surface - then thermal emission of the heated surface at night - the heated surface during day will emit thermal photons like a rocket, impulse in the same direction as the absorbed photons).

            Other things that may interfere:
            - high energy electric discharges [wikipedia.org] - sprites/space lightning - 50-90km altitude.
            - micro- and not so micro meteor strikes
            - solar storms with variable magnetic field and induced currents
            Maintenance and repair budget, baby, literally skyrocketing.

            Nah, I don't think any of the current billionaires have the money to take on such a project.

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Tuesday May 29 2018, @08:26AM

              by deimtee (3272) on Tuesday May 29 2018, @08:26AM (#685487) Journal

              You steal energy/momentum from the cable to get to orbital velocity in space. It changes depending on how you use it.
              (Case A) - If you grab the end and climb to the centre and then let go, you will be in orbit at 2000km.
              (Case B) - If you just hang on and then let go at the top, you will be travelling much faster, either escape velocity or an elliptical orbit with a much higher apogee.

              1/ (Case A) When you grab the end, you increase the moment of inertia of the system, without increasing angular momentum. This slows the rotational speed. As you climb to the Hub the rotational speed increases back to what it was. Think of a spinning skater pullling their arms in. Coriolis forces are just a manifestation of this, and would be designed in. The system of cable plus vehicle will drop into a lower orbit. How much lower will depend on the relative masses.
                    (Case B) Your rotational speed will increase again when the vehicle lets go, but the cable on its own will drop into an even lower orbit than case A.

              2/ Delta-Pos? Change in position or momentum? That's what the honking great solar panels and ion drives in the centre are for. You can use small climbers to send fuel and supplies to the hub. You would also have some drives well out from the centre to adjust the rotational speed.

              3/ Yes, of course. That's what gives it stability. You impart some of the stored kinetic energy of the cable to the payload to throw it into space, then slowly recover that kinetic energy using solar energy and low-reaction-mass ion drives. Your payload doesn't need to carry fuel or massive engines. You can also recover some energy by gently landing incoming payloads. (Dropping something from 50km high might not seem gentle, but it beats the hell out of hitting the atmosphere at >7km/s)

              Somehow, I don't thing the cable can be less than 100m or so in thickness

              The cable will most likely be a ribbon, one or two metres wide (not thick) at the centre, a few cm at the ends. Actual thickness would be measured in mm. Possibly fractions of a mm. Very rough BOTEC for a starter cable : 4000 km of cable, average 1m wide, 0.1mm thick, density of 1, gives you a cable mass of 400 tonnes, plus whatever mass your hub station has.
              Large, but not impossible. You start with a small one and use it to lift the bits for a big one.

              the lower end of the cable is well inside the atmosphere (rarefied, true, but "space" starts at 100km+)

              The lower end of the cable is only periodically in the atmosphere, and it travels effectively vertical both ways. If it worries you, raise the whole thing. It just means your pop-up rockets have to lift it a bit further. You can model the tip as an object that is travelling vertically at 1.4G upward acceleration. At 100km it has a downward V of 1.2km/s. If you raise the endpoint to 75km then your V at 100km is only 800 m/s. (One of the reasons for picking 50 km was you can just about get there using high altitude lighter-than-air vehicles. Makes hanging around waiting for the end a bit easier. Imagine something like a helipad on top of a huge hydrogen zeppelin. :) )

              - the distal end of the cable is exposed to radiation pressure.

              Seriously, reflective/emissive radiation pressure? That is so minor it probably wouldn't even be detectable amongst the other forces such a cable would be exposed to.

              --
              No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday May 29 2018, @10:13AM (3 children)

            by c0lo (156) on Tuesday May 29 2018, @10:13AM (#685519) Journal

            Hang on, are you in the Skyhook scenario [wikipedia.org]? '
            Cause "The tips of the cable will experience about 1.4 G." suggests you are, but I'm baffled by "Set it rotating so that the tip closest to earth has zero sideways movement."
            The latest seem to suggest that the rotational speed of your skyhook is 1RPDay (the proximal end of your cable hovers above the same point. with the mass centre of the cable being on a geosync orbit), but this doesn't fit with 1.4G experienced by the ends.

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Tuesday May 29 2018, @11:42AM (2 children)

              by deimtee (3272) on Tuesday May 29 2018, @11:42AM (#685540) Journal

              I wasn't on wikipedia, I was actually cribbing that from a bunch of sources going all the way back to a Jerry Pournelle article, but that article provides a pretty good overview.
              What part of matching the tip speed to the centre of mass orbital speed in the reverse direction is confusing you? That page you linked even has an animation explaining it.
              It certainly isn't geostationary, that does require unobtanium tensile strength.

              If you optimise the length, orbit, etc, you could set it up so that it always came down over the same points, but given a 4000 km length there would probably be about eight or nine of those points spaced equally around the equator. Haven't done the actual math on that, so I wouldn't be surprised at any answer between 6 and 12 TBH. Also haven't done the math on non-equatorial orbits, but I think you would be able to set it up so that it came down over the same points, there would just be more of them by a factor of rotations/day.

              Actually the traditional space elevator is a special case of this. As the tether gets longer the orbit is higher, the tip G forces get smaller, the orbital speed gets lower, and the required tensile strength gets higher. Eventually the tip is at 1G, the tether is 72 000 km long, and it takes one day to go around the planet. At that point you tie it to the ground and call it a space elevator.

              --
              No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday May 29 2018, @11:52AM (1 child)

                by c0lo (156) on Tuesday May 29 2018, @11:52AM (#685543) Journal

                It certainly isn't geostationary, ...

                That bit drove me astray.

                Eventually the tip is at 1G, the tether is 72 000 km long, and it takes one day to go around the planet. At that point you tie it to the ground and call it a space elevator.

                New approaches/computations [wikipedia.org] for the tethered elevator.

                Since 2001, most work has focused on simpler methods of construction requiring much smaller space infrastructures. They conceive the launch of a long cable on a large spool, followed by deployment of it in space.[2][13][58] The spool would be initially parked in a geostationary orbit above the planned anchor point. A long cable would be dropped "downward" (toward Earth) and would be balanced by a mass being dropped "upward" (away from Earth) for the whole system to remain on the geosynchronous orbit. Earlier designs imagined the balancing mass to be another cable (with counterweight) extending upward, with the main spool remaining at the original geosynchronous orbit level. Most current designs elevate the spool itself as the main cable is paid out, a simpler process. When the lower end of the cable is long enough to reach the surface of the Earth (at the equator), it would be anchored. Once anchored, the center of mass would be elevated more (by adding mass at the upper end or by paying out more cable). This would add more tension to the whole cable, which could then be used as an elevator cable.

                One plan for construction uses conventional rockets to place a "minimum size" initial seed cable of only 19,800 kg.[2] This first very small ribbon would be adequate to support the first 619 kg climber. The first 207 climbers would carry up and attach more cable to the original, increasing its cross section area and widening the initial ribbon to about 160 mm wide at its widest point. The result would be a 750-ton cable with a lift capacity of 20 tons per climber.

                This... doesn't seem that expensive or technological difficult any more.

                --
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Wednesday May 30 2018, @07:01AM

                  by deimtee (3272) on Wednesday May 30 2018, @07:01AM (#686148) Journal

                  This... doesn't seem that expensive or technological difficult any more.

                  Yeah, until you read the fine print and find that you need to make multithousand km fault free graphite fibres, and the best they have done so far is fractions of mm.
                  The rotating tether can be built with spectra 2000 (tm), which is already in production by the tonne.

                  --
                  No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @11:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @11:42PM (#685345)

        What advantages does a space elevator have if it's less expensive to fly (rocket) to orbit?

        When/if 100% reuseability becomes a thing, the limiting cost is the energy required and that is about the same either way.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @07:24PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @07:24PM (#685278)

      How can mankind spread out when its authority figures (scientific and otherwise) refuse to recognize the reality that we live in an Electric Universe on a flat Earth?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @10:58PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @10:58PM (#685335)

        Not flat.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @02:44PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @02:44PM (#685628)

          No, the earth is perfectly flat. The moon is the hollow body. That's where the lizard people broadcast the matrix from. Mountains, hills, and valleys are illusions created by the matrix.

          Presumably, the lizard person moon matrix also prevents the Shadow Object from being directory observed except during lunar eclipses.

          Let me get some coffee in me, and I'm sure we can work the weather war into this.

  • (Score: 2) by choose another one on Monday May 28 2018, @06:49PM (3 children)

    by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 28 2018, @06:49PM (#685267)

    Blue Origin has proposed building its Blue Moon lander under the terms of a public-private partnership with NASA. "By the way, we'll do that, even if NASA doesn't do it," Bezos said. "We'll do it eventually. We could do it a lot faster if there were a partnership."

    When someone says they can do stuff _faster_ in partnership with NASA it is clearly bovine excrement.

    • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Monday May 28 2018, @07:18PM (2 children)

      by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 28 2018, @07:18PM (#685274) Journal

      When someone says they can do stuff _faster_ in partnership with NASA it is clearly bovine excrement.

      I noted that immediately as well. NASA is only known for making decisions in favor of speed when it kills people or blows expensive things up, and then only in a negative sense.

      Not only that, but consider Bezos' statement:

      'I got my powdered eggs, what have you got?' ... Obviously I'm being silly with the eggs

      I don't accept this at all. Research would have to be conducted into the economic and practical feasibility of storing foods in various conditions (dehydrated/powdered, fresh, raw-frozen, precooked-MRE style, etc.) and data produced before anything of that nature becomes "obvious."

      Maybe it's a small point, but it's a bad sign that the proponent of the moon expansion divisionTM seems to be going on assumptions instead of knowledge.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by frojack on Monday May 28 2018, @08:42PM (1 child)

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 28 2018, @08:42PM (#685299) Journal

        He was using an example common among neighbors on earth, of sharing resources.

        That was not an invitation (he said so in the next sentence) for you to launch off on some poorly thought out rant about powdered eggs (which would work just fine on the moon, by the way).

        So its not a small point, its an invalid point.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Monday May 28 2018, @11:03PM

          by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 28 2018, @11:03PM (#685336) Journal

          for you to launch off on some poorly thought out rant

          are you new here?

          He was using an example common among neighbors on earth, of sharing resources. [For example], powdered eggs (which would work just fine on the moon, by the way). So its not a small point, its an invalid point.

          I salute your insight, and agree 100%. Up until the part where he called powdered eggs on the moon, which you, by contrast, assume would work just fine, "obviously silly", which may be conversationally lubricious, but is a bad assumption-oriented instead of evidence-oriented way to run a space program. And making assumptions in fields of endeavor such as aerospace leads those otherwise not terribly useful accidental death and dismemberment policies to finally start paying out.

          So instead I'll just say that you differing opinion is appreciated, and noted.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @07:08PM (24 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @07:08PM (#685273)

    So the three people mentioned in TFS, Bezos, Ross, and Trump are all billionaires. Is it any surprise that the country is going to hell for regular people?

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday May 28 2018, @07:20PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday May 28 2018, @07:20PM (#685275) Journal

      I hear you can get a job unclogging toilets on the Moon colony.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by requerdanos on Monday May 28 2018, @07:24PM (19 children)

      by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 28 2018, @07:24PM (#685279) Journal

      So the three people mentioned in TFS, Bezos, Ross, and Trump are all billionaires. Is it any surprise that the country is going to hell for regular people?

      Lawrence Lessig explains the reasons for this in a semi-interesting video comparing our current political system with Hong Kong, and with Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall. He also proposes a relatively simple and promising solution.

      Our democracy no longer represents the people. Here's how we fix it | Larry Lessig | TEDxMidAtlantic [youtube.com]
      TEDx Talks | 631K views | 2 years ago | 20:54
      Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig makes the case that our democracy has become corrupt with money, leading to inequality...

      The solution he proposes is

      for Congress to pass a law making it illegal for rich people and rich special interest groups to give money to congressional campaigns. (Congress surprisingly has decided to keep taking the money.)
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @07:38PM (18 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @07:38PM (#685282)

        Pretty much and this is why the people need to demand that all political campaigns to use only public funds. No donations from anybody at all, just whatever the state and local government is willing to give you for the race. Also, restricting campaigns to just a few months would be greatly appreciated. It's just so tiresome dealing with the bullshit for years at a time. It's only 2018 and we're already hearing about the 2020 elections. And the press is already declaring certain people to be front runners. It's disgusting.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday May 28 2018, @07:55PM (17 children)

          by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday May 28 2018, @07:55PM (#685285) Journal

          The billionaire Trump was able to get by without spending nearly as much as Clinton by manipulating the media (similar story during the primary [politifact.com]). It turns out you don't need all those TV ads when news networks will give you all the free air time you want.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Monday May 28 2018, @08:16PM (4 children)

            by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 28 2018, @08:16PM (#685291) Journal

            It turns out you don't need all those TV ads when news networks will give you all the free air time you want.

            Well, it turns out that this, too, is uneven and inequitable.

            Many of the people desirable as public elected servants are not dumpster-fire assclowns who generate their own press by their undesirable antics (the two things being antithetical and all).

            I think the idea is to mostly fairly and equitably present the candidates in a fair and impartial system.

            Your observation does raise a way to "get around" such requirements. If, in addition to the usual-fair-and-impartial coverage, Candidate B also happens to say that everyone from a certain country is a rapist, for example, or that if he or she is elected, torture will not only resume but will get worse, or other such vaudville attention-getters, does the press not have some responsibility, or at least the first amendment freedom, to report on that, even if it unbalances the fair-and-impartial system?

            • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @08:45PM (3 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @08:45PM (#685300)

              We had something like that for a bunch of decades.
              It was the FCC's Fairness Doctrine, established in the 1930s.

              ...then along came Ronald Reagan, who stopped enforcing it.
              No USAian president since then has been enforcing it either.
              Yay, Neoliberalism!

              -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

              • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @08:52PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @08:52PM (#685305)

                Pretty much.

                But it's even worse than that, we've also allowed the total number of news outlets to shrink in the decades since. When I was a kid, we had 2 major daily papers as well as a number of smaller publications that were on differing schedules. We also had like 4 or so different TV stations covering the news. Now, we've got more TV news, but much of that is owned by the same people, and we only have one daily newspaper. The moment the other one went other, the surviving paper took a hard turn to the right as it no longer had to worry about losing customers to the left leaning paper they had been competing with.

                Not to mention that Fox "News" managed to get itself declared as entertainment rather than news and can air whatever likes they want as long as they don't cross the line into defamation. But, even that doesn't seem to stop them most of the time as they're making so much money that paying off lawsuits isn't an issue.

                The only bright side in all of this is that the internet has brought a number of outlets into existence that couldn't have existed previously. The big downside is that few of them have the resources to have their own people covering things like city hall where there might be no news for days or weeks until something major happens. Traditional news outlets would have somebody covering it on the off chance that something happened. As well as investigative journalists looking into suspicious things in case there's hidden corruption and the like. That's largely a thing of the past as the lack of competition has reduced the amount of money that news organizations are willing to spend looking into people in power.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @11:46PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @11:46PM (#685348)

                Why didn't Clinton start enforcing it again?

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @12:19AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @12:19AM (#685364)

                  You missed an important word in my comment.
                  Here it is again: Neoliberalism [soylentnews.org]

                  Bill Clinton's 5 Major Achievements Were Longstanding GOP Objectives [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [truth-out.org]

                  The Dumbocrat ethos has been increasingly corporate-friendly + worker-hostile/consumer-hostile since the Donkeys got their asses kicked in 1972.
                  We haven't had a president that was actually Progressive since LBJ.
                  ...and Nixon was more Progressive than anyone who has followed him--even if he had to be dragged kicking and screaming to e.g. sign the act which created EPA.

                  -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @08:39PM (4 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @08:39PM (#685298)

            You left out "self-proclaimed".
            Trump biographer David Cay Johnston (a former NYT tax reporter) has reckoned that Trump has $700M max.
            Now, with Trump's daily violations of The Emoluments Clause(s), that may have changed.

            when news[1] networks will give [an orange clown] all the free air time [he] want[s]

            A sad commentary on USA's media in the 21st Century.
            Even more sad is that to get actual political analysis you have to turn to comedians.
            (A shout out here in particular to Jimmy Dore, who got his initial media exposure via Pacifica Radio KPFK in Los Angeles.)

            [1] Using the term in the broadest possible context.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @08:54PM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @08:54PM (#685307)

              I'd be surprised if he had even $700m. People with that kind of money are unlikely bother with scams like Trump University, the money in that is just not good enough for somebody that's already worth 8 figures. For people who don't have much money, it can be worthwhile, up until getting caught, but somebody that's on the verge of becoming a billionaire is unlikely to be willing to take that risk.

              • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Monday May 28 2018, @11:05PM (1 child)

                by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 28 2018, @11:05PM (#685337) Journal

                I'd be surprised if he had even $700m

                Even if it was only $350m, I think it would not break the observation that rich people sitting around smoking $100-bill wrapped cigars are not likely to come up with anything that benefits the vast majority of citizens.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @12:38AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @12:38AM (#685369)

                  My point is that he is a perennial liar (as well as a self-agrandizing fraud).
                  He even lies when it doesn't matter at all.
                  His brain is just defective.

                  Why anyone would bother to report what he *says* is beyond me.
                  He proves at least 4 times a day that his word can't be trusted.
                  Putting his stupid name in the headlines just strokes his gigantic, undeserved ego.
                  Better to wait and see what he actually does|what can be proved via tax returns.

                  -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @11:57PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @11:57PM (#685354)

              Even more sad is that to get actual political analysis you have to turn to comedians

              +∞ Insightful

              I'll get my dose of common-sense wherever I can. So comedians it is for the present.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @08:46PM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @08:46PM (#685302)

            Yes, but had Clinton not had the Democratic primaries rigged in her favor and had she not made some massive strategic mistakes, she probably would have won anyways. Besides, I doubt the press is going to make the same mistake any time soon with covering a crackpot.

            A lot of the issues came from the media depending upon ad buys from the candidates. It's why you saw that empty podium on TV for so long, normally that's time that they would have spent on the Sander's campaign that they were purposefully ignoring.

            Having more ads only works when you're not running a massive deficit in popularity. Most people hated Hilary and Trump, the ads themselves as well as the press coverage weren't really doing him any favors. Against virtually any other candidate the free publicity he was getting would have just dug him into a deeper and deeper hole. Sort of like now how he can't get anything done in part because of all the distractions.

            • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday May 28 2018, @10:14PM (2 children)

              by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday May 28 2018, @10:14PM (#685325) Journal

              Besides, I doubt the press is going to make the same mistake any time soon with covering a crackpot.

              It's tempting to believe this, but given that they are in a clickbait competition, they might end up doing it anyway. And of course, online media outlets that are more than willing to cover the fringe are on an ascent.

              Also, Trump was more than a mere crackpot, he was a showman.

              --
              [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @02:17AM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @02:17AM (#685398)

                > ...more than a mere crackpot, he was a showman.

                I'd stop short of "showman", but I'm willing to go as far as snake oil salesman. Willing to say whatever it takes to sell the product.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @04:26AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @04:26AM (#685441)

                  Steve Earle - Snake Oil
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqk5of8LgLE [youtube.com]

                  It was an anti-Reagan song.
                  Listen to the lyrics. Nothing has changed in more than 30 years.

                  Also, being a showman was the major part of selling snake oil.

          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday May 28 2018, @08:53PM (2 children)

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 28 2018, @08:53PM (#685306) Journal

            when news networks will give you all the free air time you want.

            Didn't work for Hillary, did it?

            The News Media in the US was running Hillary for President. She was their candidate from beginning to end. [washingtonexaminer.com]

            Yes, they (eventually) covered Clinton's scandals, (more dismissively than anything else). But she got the bulk and majority of the fawning press.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @09:14PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @09:14PM (#685313)

              1 of a number of media outlets purchased by a Reactionary to spew his Reactionary opinions.
              Not a reliable source of information.

              -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Monday May 28 2018, @10:26PM

              by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday May 28 2018, @10:26PM (#685329) Journal

              President Trump did plenty to deserve his "negative" coverage. (Is reporting that Trump said something incredibly offensive "negative", or merely obligatory?) Apparently, negative coverage was not a bad thing for Trump, so the MSM did him a favor. Stuff like attacking the Khans or "grab 'em by the pussy" may have stung a bit later, but early on in the primaries, the negative coverage and Trump doubling down was simply beneficial and helped him stand out in a crowded Republican primary. On this fine Memorial Day, let's pause to consider: Who would have thought pre-2016 that a candidate could survive a "[McCain is] a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured" remark? I'll admit that I didn't at the time, and it was a good lesson for things to come.

              Hillary got dogged by multiple email-related scandals for months, and the email leaks were conflated into one long, overarching scandal for voters. Benghazi was nothing compared to emails, emails, email server, a steady drip of WikiLeaks (just more emails). Although Comey may have been the deciding factor in the election, it was ultimately a situation of Clinton's own making.

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    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @07:36PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28 2018, @07:36PM (#685280)

      First off, only 2/3 of those folks are billionaires, it's highly unlikely that Trump is currently a billionaire, he's just too incompetent to be. He lost money operating a casino for crying out loud. I can only assume that he was using it as a front for money laundering.

      Anyways, you're on point about how stupid this is. Bezos has accumulated roughly $130bn by screwing over his workers and undercutting competitors that were paying a decent wage. He literally has ambulances parked outside of his warehouses because that's cheaper than having AC inside to keep the temperature down to something reasonable.

      And this is what he's allegedly going to do with the money. Never mind the massive waste if it doesn't go anywhere or that even if it does go somewhere the money being spent mostly doesn't benefit the average people. But, this is the excuse he has for accumulating the money rather than solving world hunger or homelessness in the US.

      Disgusting piece of shit.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @01:56AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @01:56AM (#685390)

    It's a capitalist space race! The first to a moon/mars base: Amazon vs. some dork on a couch!

    I want to root for the dork on the couch. However, that means that Amazon will win.

    In totally unrelated news, I think the Musky One's problem is that he is not [consortiumnews.com] chums with the CIA [theatlantic.com].

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @02:21AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @02:21AM (#685402)

      I'd be pretty careful signing up for Bezo's moon outpost. He's likely to renege on the return trip and leave you there.

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @04:58AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @04:58AM (#685442)

        But it's got Free Shipping!!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @01:38PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @01:38PM (#685587)

      So if Blue and X really wanted to get humanity safely off this planet, they would be working together.

      Instead, they are playing my thing is bigger than yours.

      It kind of limits the credibility of Blue's long term story.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday May 29 2018, @02:42PM

        by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Tuesday May 29 2018, @02:42PM (#685625) Journal

        Blue Origin isn't "playing" on SpaceX's turf until New Glenn [wikipedia.org] launches. SpaceX isn't playing an ego game or dick waving contest with Blue Origin, they are just getting things done. SpaceX can't lose customers to Blue Origin until Blue Origin has the right rocket(s).

        Blue Origin could license its superior BE-4 engine to other companies, particularly ULA.

        Some customers, particularly NASA and the U.S. Air Force, desire multiple launch providers. They don't want to be hit by months of delays if something goes wrong with one of them.

        Bezos and Musk have different visions. Bezos wants to move heavy industries into orbit and is more interested in the Moon than Mars. Musk wants permanent colonization of Mars, and soon.

        I guess you could argue that if Bezos invested a billion dollars in SpaceX, or bought a larger amount of services from them, then SpaceX would have more cash with which to accelerate BFR development. But SpaceX is continuing apace anyway.

        Does it matter if SpaceX is one to five years closer to facilitating Mars colonization? Maybe it does if you think that humanity is on the verge of a global nuclear war or other species-threatening event.

        You want some kind of cooperation instead of the competition that is happening. But we can already see that SpaceX has forced other launch providers, such as ULA and Ariane, to think seriously about reusability and launch costs. The competition is having a positive effect that will greatly lower the cost of access to space, and through lower $/kg, make colonies on the Moon or Mars much more feasible. Maybe SpaceX and Blue Origin really are "working together", having entered into an industry (in 2000-2002) that was previously stagnant.

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