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Tycho Deep Space: a DIY, Open Source, Manned Spacecraft

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the i'll-order-a-dozen dept.

Space 85

misterbarnacles writes "Can space travel be democratized? Kristian von Bengtson and Copenhagen Suborbitals think so, and they're building a DIY manned suborbital spacecraft to prove it. 'Bengtson describes the craft as "a half sized Apollo-shaped space capsule with a diameter of 2 meters capable of serving one (or two) persons." When complete, Bengtson hopes the suborbital craft will convey a human passenger higher than 62 miles above sea level, allowing him the rare opportunity to escape Earth’s bonds and view the heavens from the ionosphere.'"

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nice (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316848)

So I can send my first post to aliens?

Re:nice (1)

suspiciously_calm (2490714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38321848)

Only if you build a warp drive and listen to Rock & Roll.

Re:nice (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38321916)

Hmm, would Alternative work?

Open source? (5, Funny)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316860)

I can just see it...
Spaceship successfully launched!
OK, guys, who wants to work on the reentry system now?

Re:Open source? (2)

DroolTwist (1357725) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316944)

Re-entry requires an upgrade. Notifications for upgrades are displayed once orbit velocity is reached.

holy gravity's rainbow, Bataman! (2)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318146)

Check out their first attempt, the Tycho Brahe-1 . I wonder where they sourced the Imipolex G needed to construct the S-GerÃt .

Re:Open source? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38316990)

http://365tomorrows.com/08/30/backup-plan/

Re:Open source? (2)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317432)

More likely you reach orbit and see this message pop up on a display:

"The kernel in Space Ship version 0.2 beta (Obnoxious Orangutan) does not provide the driver for your Oxygen regulator. Due to copyright restrictions, you will be unable to use your Oxygen regulator at this time. Developers will not be willing or even able to assist you in resolving your issues. "

Re:Open source? (2)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317524)

This is why the word "tainted" has special significance in environmental systems.

Re:Open source? (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317540)

Oh, come on! You can always just build your own Oxygen regulator and driver. (Provided you can do it all in one breath-hold...)

Re:Open source? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317544)

Should have enabled the restricted extras before blastoff...

Re:Open source? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317592)

Reentry control is fixed in svn, plz update...

Re:Open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317642)

Re-entry is a relatively easy problem to solve at suborbital velocities. A parachute usually does the job just fine.

Re:Open source? (1)

dokc (1562391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323564)

Re-entry is a relatively easy problem to solve at suborbital velocities. A parachute usually does the job just fine.

Is it parachute license GNU compatible?

Re:Open source? (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318800)

I figure that problem will eventually fix itself.

I hope.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38316888)

I hope they are using open source techniques and machinery to build it - otherwise it will be 'closed source' tainted.

Re:I hope.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317198)

What a delightful troll!

Democratized? (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316954)

Does this mean that after he's built it, everyone else gets to vote for who flies in it?

Re:Democratized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317310)

You vote by downloading it and compiling your own copy.

Re:Democratized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318138)

looser goes

Re:Democratized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319944)

Is looser goes, we need to find the most worn out porn star possible and fit her for a space suit.

Re:Democratized? (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38322792)

Why the space suit?

Re:Democratized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352774)

Well played, sir.

Re:Democratized? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319626)

No, that's communism. In a democracy, he picks two people to represent him, they travel around the country shaking hands, kissing babies, and arguing about how much to tax him. In the meantime he builds it and flies it.

Going up... (1)

tesdalld (2428496) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316964)

Its not going up that worrys me, its the coming down.

Watch their video (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38316966)

They have a video of a test flight with a crash dummy in it. It is both awe inspiring and terrifying as the test dumy was pretty much shaken to death before having it's head caved in on landing.

Re:Watch their video (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317316)

its pretty frightening - not sure I want my spinal column along the vertical acceleration vector, I have enough back problems as it is !
I'll pass on this - I like thrills but this seems slightly insane

Re:Watch their video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317804)

They're nuts. It just might work.

Re:Watch their video (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38339950)

Well actually, they must have achieved a significant technological milestone in creating a dummy that was 'alive' to begin with just to shaken to death! I'd say they are ahead of the game hehehehe.

Oh yes, "space travel" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38316972)

and "suborbital"... Take your space meds you delusional lunatics. I don't tell people I travel in space when I take a sub-orbital 747 flight. Then again, maybe I should just to get you Space Nutters to shut the hell up.

Re:Oh yes, "space travel" (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317056)

Well that wouldn't be a suborbital flight. But this could be:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-orbital_spaceflight [wikipedia.org]

That's the difference between SpaceShipOne, a 747 and a kid on a trampoline.

Re:Oh yes, "space travel" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317086)

They are still traveling through 'space'.

Re:Oh yes, "space travel" (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317398)

I'm travelling through space right now, sitting in my cublcle.

That doesn't make it a spaceship, and it doesn't mean I'm NOT travelling through space.

It's pretty much all relative, eh?

Re:Oh yes, "space travel" (1)

suspiciously_calm (2490714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38321892)

I'm traveling through space *and* time.

But launching only for governments & mega-corp (1)

ad454 (325846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316998)

As long as launching capabilities are only within reach of governments and mega-corporations, which are the only ones that can afford to use this spacecraft, this is a useless waste of engineering efforts by volunteers. The rest of the 99.999999% of us will never get a chance to fly in one.

I would be much more interested in an opensource electric car design.

Re:But launching only for governments & mega-c (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317068)

I would be much more interested in an opensource electric car design.

...that can be replicated using a 3d printer 3d printer [dailymail.co.uk]

Re:But launching only for governments & mega-c (2)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317622)

I'm curious. What exactly is 'closed source' about building a car, or an electric car? All you require to build one is tools, materials, skill and knowledge.

Re:But launching only for governments & mega-c (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38321458)

You don't get the design plans, let alone permission to modify and distribute them. You can also decompile and figure out how a program works, you have all the tools. It is just insanely hard.

Re:But launching only for governments & mega-c (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38338314)

Just like in the software world. I don't have the code or distribution permissions for Windows or any other commercial OS. This doesn't stop Linux from existing.

Why is it any different for cars? There is nothing to stop you building your own (And lots of people do).

Re:But launching only for governments & mega-c (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317806)

I'm pretty sure they do their own launches too. Aren't these the ones that built their own rocket and launch platform on a boat?

Maybe that'll work but (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317026)

I'll stick with Kerbal Space Program

http://kerbalspaceprogram.com/ [kerbalspaceprogram.com]

Eugh (3, Insightful)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317062)

I'm all for crazy ideas, and I'm a huge fan of space flight (just ask any of my friends, I drive them up the wall with it), but this has to be the worst idea I've ever seen.

Re:Eugh (1)

tonyt3 (1014391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317414)

May not be the worst ... but it is _way_ up there, past the guy with the jet pack. Be sure to check the O rings. Perhaps might make an entry in the Darwin Awards. If you want the view, send a video camera up there. t

Re:Eugh (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317792)

Oblig. Johnny Test quote: "Cheese pants. Cheese pants were definitely the worst."

2 persons ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317112)

so are we weightless long enough to have zero-g sex ?

Re:2 persons ? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317658)

If you can find two people whose reaction to weightlessness is feeling horny, rather than the more common nausea, then probably...

Well the capsule is the hard part, right? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317128)

The rest is just bookkeeping.

Suborbital does not "escape Earth's bonds" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317138)

...suborbital means you've essentially escaped the Earth's atmosphere, but gravity is certainly gonna pull you back unless you reach orbital velocity. If you want to truly "escape Earth's bonds," you have to reach escape velocity.

Re:Suborbital does not "escape Earth's bonds" (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317812)

I think they were referring to the stock market, as you're right in saying they weren't referring to gravity.

Barely Space Travel Worthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317178)

62 miles up is barely worthy of space travel. It just goes up then quickly goes down. The difficult part of space travel, and why it costs so much money, is to be able to orbit the earth. If you want to leave earth gravity, you will need even more speed to get past earth escape velocity. It then costs a whole lot more. I double private company can do it much cheaper.

Re:Barely Space Travel Worthy (0)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317424)

I double private company can do it much cheaper.

Assuming where you wrote "double" you meant "doubt", I would think its not so much a public versus private debate, as it is an information age / internet / access to knowledge economic factor. Back when NASA first started, information was hard to come by, and being a government run organization, the administrative overhead tends to be quite high, as politics are involved.

Private companies, in the internet age, can crowd source and share all of the intellectual property required to manage space flight, to whatever degree, without the overhead of the administrative issues NASA would be forced to deal with. Combine this aspect with the frictionless information environment that is the internet, and it becomes much less expensive than in previous decades.

Projecting trends into the future, one could easily imagine an open source, cots/open hardware framework, formalized via RFCs, that can simply be deployed by any organization wishing to implement space flight on their own. The task then becomes one of financing, acquiring and fabricating materials, and obtaining licenses, without the giant hurdles of gathering and implementing the IP.

Re:Barely Space Travel Worthy (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318060)

First, the guidance systems required are horribly complicated and need to be extremely reliable with almost no testing (each test is a launch and you get very few launches a year). That means you have to have competent engineers. As the Cobol-vs-Java discussion shows, competent engineers are something of a premium and always have been. The number who could actually put together a fully-functional fail-safe guidance system almost blind - no matter how much knowledge is out there - is extremely small. You also have to bear in mind that "reliable" doesn't just mean "it'll work perfectly under Earth gravity" - it has to work perfectly after being smashed with 3-4g forces along the vertical plus massive amounts of vibration from the rocket motors and side winds.

Second, the materials aren't cheap. I forget exactly how much it costs NASA to put something into orbit - isn't it something like $1000 per gram? - and that's with all the expertise on-site, the launch facilities and communications centers already existing and production-line facilities for the parts.

Third, the level of heath required is staggering. The forces involved are simply too great. Russia, hardly the epitome of transport safety, has refused wannabe millionaire space tourists on health grounds, where the issues would have been insignificant in any other line of work.

IP isn't even remotely a factor in all of this. Until titanium is as cheap as aluminium (which it could be if they ever developed a decent refining process for it), until programmers and hardware engineers are capable of making near-flawless products first time, every time, space travel will remain expensive.

This is why, despite Bloddhound SSC publishing the complete specifications, not a single hacker is going to build and race one. They could - the information is out there - but they haven't the skills. And a car is trivial compared to a spaceship.

Re:Barely Space Travel Worthy (2)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318222)

First, the guidance systems required are horribly complicated

No doubt they are complicated, but they are still governed by physics. Control theory, digital signal processing, etc are all out here in the wild on the web.

Second, the materials aren't cheap.

No they aren't cheap. But ordering some ammonium perchlorate over the phone, takes Xh hours and Xm materials dollars. Developing the complete IP required to facilitate space travel, accounting for all the physics, requires Yh hours and Ym material dollars. Xh+Xm+Yh+Ym is more expensive, every time, barring negative values (which could be obtained via resale of IP), than just Xh+Xm.

Third, the level of heath required is staggering.

The monkey that builds it, gets the monkey that flys and the monkey doctor to sign a waiver. Problem solved.

Bloddhound SSC publishing the complete specifications

For their particular single instance of a space flight vehicle and plan. I was speaking to "space flight in general" and all the mathematical equations that govern its limits. Just as circuit boards and IC's used to be designed by people using an arduous manual process, todays circuits are designed by EDA tools that "govern the limits" of any type of circuit, and drastically reduce the design cost in terms of man hours. The same sort of framework *could* exist for space flight, at some point in the future. It was an extrapolation of past advances in technology with an eye on the future, not a statement on the difficulty in todays environment.

Re:Barely Space Travel Worthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319022)

The whole noise about privately funded space travel has always been private company can do cheaper than NASA, ESA, etc. That may be true for sub-orbital flight where flight lasts in mere minutes. For real spaceflight, at the least flight that reaches sustained orbits, the problem becomes much more difficult. Difficult means you need people, smart and competent engineers, to design and test the system to reach orbital flight. It is true most orbital flight science are old science. They worked out most of the kinks during the Cold War, on both sides. You still need people to design, construct, and maintain it. Smart and competent engineers are not cheap. You many not need the amount of engineers like before but you still need them. Look at how many orbital launch failures SpaceX experienced. The failures are not due to incorrect science but rather inadequate application of engineering.

All competent engineers can devise models, run simulations, and tests. Just like all programmers can code. But putting together a large complicated product where lives are put at risk will take time.

Re:Barely Space Travel Worthy (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319166)

Look at how many orbital launch failures SpaceX experienced. The failures are not due to incorrect science but rather inadequate application of engineering.

As I understand it, SpaceX have built a new rocket engine and two new launchers and a capsule and flown them into space for about the same as NASA spent to put a dummy upper stage on a shuttle SRB and fire it into the ocean.

Re:Barely Space Travel Worthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38321696)

Actually, SpaceX has not launched any commercial satellite yet. They had some piggy back payloads and never published any orbital information yet they published a PR statement saying the launch was a success. And this only happened after 5 FAILED launches.

Now I don't mean to denigrate what SpaceX has done. It was a terrific progress by a private company. However, since SpaceX is a private company, they never publish any financial information of how much it cost them to build each spacecraft. I suspect the cost is closer to what ULA Delta II launch vehicle. So that basically shot down the notion that a private company development cost is drastically cheaper than a government sponsored program.

SpaceX initial launch to resupply the International Space Station has been besseted by delays after delays. Not surprising given the complicated business of launching a heavy payload into orbit. Their cost structure is probably leaner than a traditional defense contractor but I doubt it is that much less.

BTW. They don't design their engines. They bought them from the Russian. Everybody in the launch business bought their rocket engines from someone else, with the exception of China and Russia.

Re:Barely Space Travel Worthy (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318320)

Back when NASA first started, information was hard to come by

Indeed, most of the information needed for spaceflight didn't exist when NASA was formed! That kind of R&D takes serious dollars - billions of dollars, even back then. (and to all those libertarians out there: it was government money, and in no small part government agencies and labs, that did that R&D.)

I wouldn't exactly say that all the necessary knowledge for building and launching a spacecraft is freely available even today, but it'll certainly be cheaper now that the knowledge actually exists!

Re:Barely Space Travel Worthy (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318386)

I wouldn't exactly say that all the necessary knowledge

True. Actual event logs would be hard to come by. I was thinking of the mathematics involved in design and simulation. My wording was a bit optimistic, most likely due to the fact that I recently ordered 30 or so used books on DSP, 3D graphics and mathematics, Artificial Intelligence, etc from Amazon.com for about $120 total, books + shipping. Back in the 60's and 70's, alot of this knowledge didn't even exist. The foundations were present but unrefined.

Billy Bob Thornton (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317200)

Did a documentary on this a few years ago...

Its already been done back in '85 (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317204)

Re:Its already been done back in '85 (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317342)

one of my favourites. This one, too [imdb.com] , although I think the several trillion Dollars cost is a bit out of most peoples' reach...

Re:Its already been done back in '85 (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317378)

And don't forget this classic TV show from the late 70's: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078681/ [imdb.com]

Re:Its already been done back in '85 (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318062)

Hah! That's the first thing I thought of. Glad it wasn't just me. I used to love that. I doubt it would stand up to watching again as an adult...

Re:Its already been done back in '85 (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318334)

not seen that one, although the premise sounds familiar [imdb.com] .

*From my recollection having watched the entire series back to back several times: Humans have colonised the Moon and Mars. Following the decision to send a manned mission to Jupiter and after a series of disasters in low Earth orbit, the decision is taken to clean up the thousands of pieces of space junk - something best left to private enterprise since it would cost Governments far too much to do it themselves...

Re:Its already been done back in '85 (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317678)

Yah Explorers is awesome. I bought the DVD a few years back and watched it with the kids (12,14) they loved it. Its on par with Stand By Me. Contact is pretty cool also.

Few others I downloaded in the last few months

Flight Of the Navigator http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091059/ [imdb.com]
My Science Project http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089652/ [imdb.com]
Monster Squad http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093560/ [imdb.com]

Damn the 80's had lots of cool movies for kids.

Re:Its already been done back in '85 (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318372)

oh yes.

Goonies
Gremlins
When The Wind Blows
Lost Boys

I could go on all night...

democratized (5, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317376)

I do not think that word means what you want it to mean.

Re:democratized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38351638)

One man, one boot.

Space Pollution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317444)

What about all the junk and debris that might result?

You know, flicked cigarettes, empty soda cans, charred human remains...

Not to mention that satellites can be regarded as munitions [fas.org] . What if the Iranians want to let their citizens participate in recreational orbital flights?

Re:Space Pollution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317618)

...also "suborbital" is not "deep space".

Re:Space Pollution? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318088)

It won't be a problem, as all of that (charred human remains included) would most likely be at the launch site, making it a tourist spectacle able to recoup the costs and lawsuits.

62 Mile High Club (1)

wall0645 (1665631) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317498)

Who will be first to join!?

Part way there (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317560)

These folk [slashdot.org] have the DIY, Open Source, and Spacecraft parts down pat. They haven't done much with the 'Manned' part, however.

I'm surprised at you Slashdot.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317614)

Yes, it is really freaking hard, and yes it is really freaking expensive, and yes it's really freaking dangerous and probably downright defiant in the face of reason, logic and safety.... ....but IMHO, if we are ever going to colonize space, we need every attempt possible!

We need to get to the point where anybody can get to space, and STAY out there, and survive in unbelievable, unbearable conditions, with unbelievable challenges, to explore the unknown and dedicate their lives to space exploration OFF of this planet, in addition to everything else we already do.

If we want the universe to be our sandbox, we must evolve into a space-faring and space-surviving species.

Imagine where we would be if a lot of people hadn't pushed the limits beyond everything we could imagine, and yes.... even died trying to accomplish manned flight.

Re:I'm surprised at you Slashdot.. (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317906)

The amusing thing is that much of the technology from the space race is now available for cheap to consumers, much like other technologies from that era. I expect to see a lot more private efforts to reach space in the future, and with more attempts the economy of scale should further bring down the costs, eventually leading to the private sector surpassing the national space program. If I had to bet, I'd say the first person on Mars will be a civilian, and perhaps even the next person to walk on the Moon if there isn't a shift in priorities.

Love it (4, Interesting)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317684)

This is a DIY project that I would love to see more of. I just hope that in my lifetime I would be able to witness amateur space flights that are "built in the back yard" so to speak. Its a throw back to early oceanic exploration. There will be accidents and possible loss of life but hopefully that will be quite rare.

I just hope they are good with vacuum leak detection. They should have a helium mass-spectrometer leak detector, pressurize the craft with a mixture of helium and some other inert gas and sniff for leaks. Once you work with vacuum, you quickly learn that sealing a closed system to atmosphere can be a tricky business. And that is even more apparent when the vessel undergoes thermal expansion and contraction which loosens otherwise tight seals. Lots of good tig welding is needed along with electron beam or laser welding for more intricate parts.

Imagine the opportunity for engineers and students if amateur space exploration ever gets off the ground (pun intended!). I cant wait for the day when garage hot rodding turns skyward.

Re:Love it (1)

toppromulan (1362421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323918)

garage hot rodding would have new remote implications with my idea i post below :) ha ha good times friend, i'll have to bring this up on the sims social forums now, see if we can get some sim-space missions theme peace

Tycho? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317754)

Really? Someone hasn't read up on Marathon... http://marathongame.wikia.com/wiki/Tycho

Or maybe they have...

Not really "opensource" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318586)

I live in Denmark, and the one of the guys working on this rocket came to visit our school to talk about it, and stuff. Well, I asked them what they meant by calling it opensource. It turned out, that it's only opensource as long as you pay them a visit, and look at how it's made. You can't actually download papers describing any of the mechanics in it. Apparently this was due to concerns on it being misused. He also told that one of the first to pay them a visit when starting this project, was PET (politiets efterretningstjeneste), which translated is something like "The police intelligence bureau".

Deep Space??? More like Shallow Space... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318806)

They're using the name "Tycho Deep Space" for a *sub*orbital craft? That's hardly deep space. That's not even wading-pool space. More like "puddle"-space. Go for it guys, but leave of the over-hype naming. Just call it "Tycho", eh?

Exposing yourself unnecessarily to radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38320666)

This is what I don't get about the manned space program. Yes, having people up there is cool. It would be awesome to leave the planet and go populate others at some point if only as an exercise in preservation of our species while we determine what exactly we stand for that's worth preserving in the grand scale of things. However, at the current moment we have no working method of shielding a craft (and the individual inside) from charged particles and cosmic rays.

Yeah it's a great view and all, but personally until we get some basic shielding functional I'll keep as much atmosphere as possible between myself and the chaotic high energy quantum world beyond it. Especially with the sun as active as it is now.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38322360)

Democratized space junk?

this makes me think of non-biological passengers. (1)

toppromulan (1362421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323906)

The abstract makes me imagine.. you know how people book out time on the telescopes in Arizona, Now all the cool kids go on NewEgg and buy a couple of NBPs running NetBSD! shoot it out unplug the house mic and let 'er go! Build some contraptions that shoot pictures and the (within tolerances) direction / attitude / vector / rotation you want the contraption disembarked at, load them up on a public space shuttle deal and a company could disperse them into space from on board. Hmm! And of course the contraptions run NetBSD! lol They could take pictures, and imagine the delight as the customer's latency increased as they plunged farther and farther into the outer reaches! And if it gets lots whoops! The point is it rocked! They could guide their selves with some onboard compressed air and solar action too. Excellent, it really is 2011 isn't it!
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<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>