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posted by cmn32480 on Sunday January 24 2016, @12:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the time-to-invent-the-Botany-Bay dept.

The recent demonstrations of successful rocket recovery by Blue Origin and SpaceX herald a new era of space exploration and development. We can expect, as rocket stages routinely return for reuse from the fringes of space, that the cost of space travel will fall dramatically.

Some in the astronautics community would like to settle the Moon; others have their eyes set on Mars. Many would rather commit to the construction of solar power satellites, efforts to mine and/or divert Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs), or construct enormous cities in space such as the O'Neill Lagrange Point colonies.

But before we can begin any or all of these endeavors, we need to answer some fundamental questions regarding human life beyond the confines of our home planet. Will humans thrive under lunar or martian gravity? Can children be conceived in extraterrestrial environments? What is the safe threshold for human exposure to high-Z galactic cosmic rays (GCRs)?

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24 2016, @04:37PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24 2016, @04:37PM (#293981)

    The majority of the launch thrust for the space shuttle came in the form of two giant solid state rockets. Solid state rockets are basically like giant firecrackers. You set them off and a reaction of the 'solid state' matter inside begins resulting in an uncontrollable detonation. Even if these things had been recovered in tip top shape it would take enormous refurbishing to get them back into launch condition. And NASA was getting them back in anything but tip top shape. What NASA was getting back from the ocean was basically two giant steel tubes that'd been bashed on impact and then had the salt water have its way with them. NASA has never publicly elaborated on their reuse procedures for the RS-25s that were mostly responsible for orbital maneuvers, but suffice to say they weren't being put back up anytime soon after use.

    Comparing the space shuttle to what we're doing today is inappropriate.

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