McCain: lets go to Mars

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qso1

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<p><font color="#800080">I agree, to a point. When Kennedy made his Moon in this decade pledge Apollo was well under way. It didn't start in 1961, it started much earlier.</font> <font color="#800080">Not that it wasn't all simply on paper, but it was pretty well understood it could be done before Kennedy committed to it.</font></p><p>Right. Apollo was started in 1960 and considered sending three men on circumlunar missions and eventual landings. Even then, as well understood as it was, the big fear was sinking into lunar dust upon landing.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">The same would hold true for Mars, we have sent a fleet of vehicles to Mars and the technology has existed since the Apollo days to send a manned mission, it's more a matter of why bother. Tang, PC's and other leaps in technology came about from Apollo.</font></p><p>Much of the technical capability such as rockets, guidance systems, computers etc has existed since Apollo. Some areas have not been fully established such as feeding a crew enroute and back. Closed cycle life support is one of those areas that still need to be better understood before proceeding to mars with humans. But like you said, its more a matter of why bother now. That reflects the majority of the publics attitude.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">So why could we not expect the same from Mars?The biggest problem is everyone sits back and expects NASA to lead the way, the problem is they have already lead the way, they have shown it can be done so it is up to the commercial sector to do it, not NASA.</font></p><p>Its also up to the commercial sector because the public and the politicians will probably never fund NASA the way it would need to be funded in order to send a human mission. Problem is, one has to wonder how long it will take private industry to get humans to mars considering their prime motivator is profit.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">The White Knight II might be the first answer. It will take tourists to the edge of Space, but it could also take an upper stage that could reach orbit, if you could take a bunch of upper stages to orbit and assemble them then you have a vehicle to go somewhere else. The problem being it would take a number of flights to assemble a vehicle to the moon, on the scale of the White KnightII, but if each flight is a fraction of an existing launcher then so much the better.</font></p><p>The assembly problem is one that the private sector will have to address as to whether its practical to assemble a human mars vehicle utilizing many small launches from a cost standpoint.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">Not having a clear reference, a White KnightII could put 3-4 people into orbit, if they didn't want to come back. It could, maybe, put a return capsule for that number in orbit, with no passengers, so we are on the fringe of commercial Space. The upper stage is the key, air-dropped at 50,000 feet it would take roughly three times the propellant as a Centaur upper stage has now, to make up the loss of velocity with an eqivelent payload. <br /> Posted by scottb50</font></p><p>I'd say and agree that we are on the fringe of commercial space, especially with the activity going on since around the year 2000. Now the question is, can private industry pull it off without going broke?&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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<p><font color="#800080">I'm not here to hijack the initial post but I do think many things are related and thus, have impact on NASA and it's budget.&nbsp; NASA's future is a dead end unless Washington DC gets there head out of their YOU KNOW WHAT.SLJ Posted by spacelifejunkie</font></p><p>Quite frankly, NASA has been at a dead end since Apollo. This was the result of post Apollo extreme underfunding which in turn resulted in a compromise shuttle that failed to live up to its economic promise but did live up to its technical promises and then some.</p><p>The public has some getting their heads outa their you know whats as well. It was a public sentiment that brought NASA to its present situation IMO.</p><p>It started with an argument that went something like this "We should take the money we spend sending men to the moon and spend it for the needy right here on earth". Logical and noble enough. But this argument was made during a time of intense distrust in government resulting from the Vietnam war and Watergate. So why did the people who believe in this argument think the government would cut NASA and suddenly take the money and do the right thing with it?</p><p>Oh the government did cut NASAs budget to be sure. To the tune of some 50% from 1969 to around 1974 or 75. The NASA budget goes up and down year after year in small increments but has been maintained at the 50% cut level since it was cut. Or to better explain it, NASA budgets were from 2-4% GDP during Apollo and dropped to 1-.6% GDP since.</p><p>So where are the bennies from all that cutting?</p><p>No other government agency I'm aware of has been cut by this much and lived to tell about it. Even NASA has come close to be relegated to the dust bin of history during particularly tough times. Post Challenger and Columbia calls for an end to NASA.</p><p>The government fullfilled the budget cutting part of the peoples argument. They just apparently didn't do what the people asked. If they had, we would not have had to go through the S&L scandal of the 1980s or other huge examples of misspent government money adventures. We would also be seeing reports of how the money saved since 1975 from cutting NASAs budget have helped the poor, cured cancer, whatever. I have yet to see such a headline.</p><p>In the meantime, Mcains call to go to mars is something that candidates often do when running for President. They make promises they have no intention of keeping either because they realistically know they can't keep them or do not want to keep them. Promises like a mars mission they know will be forgotten by the vast majority of voters five minutes after election time is over.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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spacy600

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>"All we have to do is go get it.&nbsp; We have enough potential gasoline in North America alone to make cars run for another century.However, this is a short term fix. </DIV></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>From the Wired article:</p><p>"Cutting expenses is always good, but the real payoff for Syncrude will come if its R&D lab can find a way to get at the trillion barrels of oil that currently lie so far below ground that they are beyond the industry's grasp"</p><p>"most successful of which, operated by Imperial Oil, is producing 116,000 barrels per day."</p><p>That is a drop in the bucket compared to 85Million barrels a day now.</p><p>Also:</p>"And yet in July, Shell withdrew a state mining permit to start work on a federal research and development lease granted by the Bureau of Land Management. <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="3" align="right"> <tbody><tr> <td align="center"> <br />
 
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keermalec

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Keermalec, my comment regarding "financing other countries" was not based on government tax money being shifted to overseas as a handout.&nbsp; From that viewpoint, you are absolutely correct.&nbsp; "Misleading" is proabably an accurate word, I should have clarified!&nbsp; But, when corporate taxes are the highest in the world and it's against the law for us to become energy independent (no local drilling), then&nbsp;my&nbsp;point&nbsp;becomes more clear.&nbsp;&nbsp; American business goes overseas and south of the border because taxes and labor are cheap in comparison.&nbsp; American businesses hire illegal labor inside America because it's cheaper.&nbsp; The environmental lobbies have stopped all new paths to energy independence despite the fact that all other nations in the world are drilling new holes.&nbsp; The synergistic consequence of all of these factors has caused a plummetting US dollar and a cash infusion into many, many other countries.&nbsp; Combined with humongous entitlement spending and a war in Iraq and tadaaa, NASA's funding is in deep you know what.SLJ <br />Posted by spacelifejunkie</DIV><br /><br />Thanks for clarifying that SLJ, I fully understand your point.</p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I'm not here to hijack the initial post but I do think many things are related and thus, have impact on NASA and it's budget.&nbsp; NASA's future is a dead end unless Washington DC gets there head out of their YOU KNOW WHAT.</DIV></p><p>There are a number of hurdles which inhibit the world's largest economy from fully deploying its potential in space, most of which have been mentionned above in this thread. I would like to add to these the fact that the US very prudently bans the export of&nbsp;space-related technologies abroad. Other space-faring countries, such as Russia, do not have such a ban and in consequence get a LOT of business from companies in other countries who buy their expertise or the right to use their technology (amongst whom a number of US companies, Boeing, Lockheed, Kistler). If the US were to slacken its laws on technology sharing, a LOT of business would come to US companies, further reducing the cost of access to space. Effectively, instead of having only the US for a market, these companies&nbsp;would now have the world, and the world is a much much larger market than it was in the times of Apollo.</p><p>If congress believes NASA's budget should not exceed 15 billion, so be it. It IS a democracy after all. But open up the market and the projects and play hand in hand with other nations, who's space budgets are growing every year (according to some sources, China's has already exceeded NASA's). Let the business flow to US companies, which, after all, have the highest expertise. If NASA can't finance a mission to Mars, let the world do it, but be prepared to be a team player.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>“An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” John F. Kennedy</em></p> </div>
 
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spacelifejunkie

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<p>Spacy,&nbsp;I have no doubt that getting the oil out of shale or tar sands is a&nbsp;tough nut to crack.&nbsp; But,&nbsp;the sands and shale are only a piece of the giant&nbsp;potential oil and natural gas pie in North&nbsp;America.</p><p>Quote from &nbsp;http://www.moneyweek.com/file/13377/could-coal-replace-oil.html&nbsp;.....</p><p>"The US has the world&rsquo;s largest coal deposits, with 268 billion tons of recoverable reserves. HSBC says that at a standard conversion rate of two barrels of synthetic fuels from one ton of coal, those reserves are equivalent to the 20 times the nation&rsquo;s current crude oil reserves.&nbsp; At capital costs of $700 million for capacity of 10,000 barrels/day and a 30-year life, operating costs of $15/barrel and current coal costs, breakeven for a coal-to-liquids plant in the US would be in the range $39-44 a barrel, assuming no tax incentives."</p><p>You asked what my priorities are, drilling holes or developing alternative energy.&nbsp; My response is <em>BOTH!!!</em>&nbsp; Why restrict any of it?&nbsp; Let the oil companies do their thing without excessive regulation.&nbsp; Let the alt.energy folks do their thing with huge tax incentives.&nbsp; Get the government out of the way and let the ingenuity of Americans lead.&nbsp; The long term winner in this battle will be the alt.energy folks but short term relief to American families and business must also be addressed.&nbsp; My last off topic comment, I promise.&nbsp; It's been a good debate.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>"The public has some getting their heads outa their you know whats as well. It was a public sentiment that brought NASA to its present situation IMO."</p><p>qso, You couldn't be more right on.&nbsp; Average Joe has more interest in moon conspiracy theories rather than actual Apollo history.&nbsp; I fear the American people have become way too self absorbed to understand a large vision like space exploration.&nbsp; Proven by the lack of any real vision by all the presidential candidates over the last year.&nbsp; <em>NONE OF THEM</em> ever voluntarily spoke about NASA or its future.&nbsp; Fear of losing votes makes NASA an ignored subject in presidential debates.&nbsp; John McCain is no different in this regard.</p><p>I fear for the future of NASA.&nbsp; If BA, SpaceX, ULA, and others lead the way to the moon and mars, what is the new role of NASA in the next decade?</p><p>SLJ</p><p>http://www.moneyweek.com/file//.html</p>
 
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tampaDreamer

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<p>If we had a president with his head screwed on tight that would reduce some of the ridiculous spending that we engage in and pay down the debt, perhaps we could more readily afford things like this in a decade or so.&nbsp; We have nearly half a million troops spread around the world.&nbsp; We are paying for the whole world's security, and paying interest on bills that we cannot keep up with.&nbsp; Much of our national budget is wasted money.&nbsp; Why do we need troops in germany, italy, and japan?&nbsp; Surely Japan and the EU can pay for their own security at this point.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>"Private Enterprise will beat Governments to Mars."</DIV></p><p>Private enterprise, of itself, has no reason to go to Mars.&nbsp; There is nothing there that can provide a financial return on&nbsp;the investment. Likewise the Moon.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>The next people to set foot on the moon will ride SpaceX rockets, stay in Bigelow inflatables and wear Orbital Outfitters suits.&nbsp; NASA is perfectly capable of realizing VSE on schedule but politics as usual will hamstring them.SLJ <br />Posted by spacelifejunkie </DIV></p><p>Some company will build the hardware that takes people back to the Moon.&nbsp; They may include the ones you list, they may not.&nbsp; But the people paying the bill will be NASA, or some similar agency, just like last time, when&nbsp;&nbsp;the&nbsp;hardware built by&nbsp;Boeing, North American, Grumman and others.</p><p>Jon</p><p>of other companies &nbsp; But it will be a government agency that plans the mission, issues the contracts, and provides the funding.&nbsp;&nbsp;Like Mars there is nothing on the Moon that at present will take&nbsp; private industry there of its own accord.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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spacy600

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Private enterprise, of itself, has no reason to go to Mars.&nbsp; There is nothing there that can provide a financial return on&nbsp;the investment. Likewise the Moon. </DIV></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Have you ever been to Las Vegas?&nbsp; Arizona?&nbsp;</p><p>Pleanty of reasons for Private companies to go, eventually.&nbsp; We have not figured them out ...yet.</p><p>The American Southwest would not be as big as it is without electricty, air conditioners, and water irrigation.&nbsp;</p><p>Colonizing the Moon or Mars needs the infastructure, raw materials, and ego. </p><p>http://thespacereview.com/article/1151/1</p>"Without getting inside their heads it is hard to know how much their decision was based on hardheaded risk analysis and how much was based on the fact that they just had a gut feeling that this was the right thing to do."
 
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JonClarke

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>&nbsp;Have you ever been to Las Vegas?&nbsp; Arizona?</DIV></p><p>Yes, and a score&nbsp;more desolate places.&nbsp; And the point is?</p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>&nbsp;Pleanty of reasons for Private companies to go, eventually.&nbsp; We have not figured them out ...yet.</DIV></p><p>Indeed, And until we do, companies will not go.&nbsp; Companies will invest billions when there is a very high probability of making billions more.&nbsp; Until then they will only do things if they are contracted to do it.&nbsp; We need to know a lot more aabout The Moon, both how to live and work there and what potential resources exist there, before it is possible.&nbsp; That requires&nbsp;a lot of what is called in the business precompetative exploration.&nbsp; Companies can't and won't do this.</p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>The American Southwest would not be as big as it is without electricty, air conditioners, and water irrigation.&nbsp;</DIV></p><p>And your point is?</p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Colonizing the Moon or Mars needs the infastructure, raw materials, and ego. </DIV></p><p>Sustainable settlements also need marketable products.&nbsp;No marketable products, no settlements, just scientific and political outposts.</p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>&nbsp;http://thespacereview.com/article/1151/1"Without getting inside their heads it is hard to know how much their decision was based on hardheaded risk analysis and how much was based on the fact that they just had a gut feeling that this was the right thing to do." </DIV></p><p>The quoted statement is simply&nbsp;erroneous.&nbsp; There were many studies that showed a sustainable space tourist business could be created beforehand.&nbsp; Other studies show that the the groweth in the satellite sector more than justified new start up companies.&nbsp;I have seen these studies, read the reports.&nbsp;Gut instinct just does not cut it.</p><p>Jon<br /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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spacy600

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<p>My overall point was that it will take time and more technology development, before we see a </p><p>sustainable colony.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>My point about the spacereview article was, through history private people, charities, private and public companies</p><p>have spent money on "the public good" like</p><p>http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/aa/industry/carnegie/phil_1</p><p>http://www.space.com/news/060613_ap_hawking_space.html</p><p>And Mr Bigelow doing great work with the inflatable space stations. Has funded some strange stuff.</p><p>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Institute_for_Discovery_Science</p><p>I guess I am seeing a convergence of Gov robotic exploration programs,&nbsp; Nutty rich guys, private R&D,</p><p>public non-profit organization, like &nbsp;</p><p>http://www.iloa.org/,&nbsp; Gov maned spaceflight, The Xprize, ect...</p><p>Into a opportunity to extend the human presence into the Soloar System.</p><p>I see it as more than just Government vs private enterprise, I see it as possible, a unique time in history.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
 
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spacy600

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Yes, and a score&nbsp;more desolate places.&nbsp; And the point is?Indeed, And until we do, companies will not go.&nbsp; Companies will invest billions when there is a very high probability of making billions more.&nbsp; Until then they will only do things if they are contracted to do it.&nbsp; We need to know a lot more aabout The Moon, both how to live and work there and what potential resources exist there, before it is possible.&nbsp; That requires&nbsp;a lot of what is called in the business precompetative exploration.&nbsp; Companies can't and won't do this.And your point is?Sustainable settlements also need marketable products.&nbsp;No marketable products, no settlements, just scientific and political outposts.The quoted statement is simply&nbsp;erroneous.&nbsp; There were many studies that showed a sustainable space tourist business could be created beforehand.&nbsp; Other studies show that the the groweth in the satellite sector more than justified new start up companies.&nbsp;I have seen these studies, read the reports.&nbsp;Gut instinct just does not cut it.Jon <br /> Posted by jonclarke</DIV></p><p>Oopps! The above post was suposed to be in response to your post. I am tried and going to sleep.&nbsp;</p>
 
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scottb50

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Oopps! The above post was suposed to be in response to your post. I am tried and going to sleep.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by spacy600</DIV></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="-1" color="#440000"><strong>BLACK-GOLD BLUES</strong></font><br /> <font face="Palatino, Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif" size="+2" color="#000000">Abandoned oil wells uncapped</font><br /> <font face="Palatino, Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif" size="+1" color="#000000">Restarting of Southern California sites defies domestic shortage theory</font><br /> </p><hr /><font size="-1">Posted: November 29, 2005<br />1:00 am Eastern<br /><br /></font> <font size="-1"> &copy;&nbsp;2008&nbsp;WorldNetDaily.com </font> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><br />Oil wells in California that were capped are now being opened because rising petroleum demand and new technology are permitting oil companies to profitably extract oil in the Golden State. <p>Wells that are 45 years old are being put back into production, with many wells in Los Angeles having been shut down after only 20 or 25 percent of the oil was extracted, reported the Associated Press. Current technology permits up to 50 percent of the reserves in a well to be drained before the well is capped. While California has some 3,000 abandoned wells, oil experts are predicting that all of them may soon be operating again. "The decision to uncap California oil wells proves that U.S. oil production did not 'peak' because we ran out of domestic oil," comments Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D., co-author with Craig R. Smith of "Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil." "Much oil in the U.S. has been kept in the ground awaiting new <font style="color:blue!important;font-family:'TimesNewRoman',Georgia,Serif;font-weight:400;font-size:17px" color="blue"><span style="color:blue!important;font-family:'TimesNewRoman',Georgia,Serif;font-weight:400;font-size:17px" class="kLink">technology</span></font> and higher prices. Truly, we do not know how much oil we have in the U.S. because environmental objections have consistently blocked efforts to explore for oil and <font style="color:blue!important;font-family:'TimesNewRoman',Georgia,Serif;font-weight:400;font-size:17px" color="blue"><span style="border-bottom:1pxsolidblue;color:blue!important;font-family:'TimesNewRoman',Georgia,Serif;font-weight:400;font-size:17px;background-color:transparent" class="kLink">natural </span><span style="border-bottom:1pxsolidblue;color:blue!important;font-family:'TimesNewRoman',Georgia,Serif;font-weight:400;font-size:17px;background-color:transparent" class="kLink">gas</span></font> offshore and in Alaska."to explore for oil and <font style="color:blue!important;font-family:'TimesNewRoman',Georgia,Serif;font-weight:400;font-size:17px" color="blue"><span style="border-bottom:1pxsolidblue;color:blue!important;font-family:'TimesNewRoman',Georgia,Serif;font-weight:400;font-size:17px;background-color:transparent" class="kLink">natural </span><span style="border-bottom:1pxsolidblue;color:blue!important;font-family:'TimesNewRoman',Georgia,Serif;font-weight:400;font-size:17px;background-color:transparent" class="kLink">gas</span></font> offshore and in Alaska." </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=47618 </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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spacy600

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'> "Much oil in the U.S. has been kept in the ground awaiting new technology and higher prices. </DIV></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The era of cheap oil is over. The remaining stuff is deeper, more remote, more expensive to get to.</p><p>Now is the time to transition to cleaner, more sustainable power.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
 
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scottb50

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'> The remaining stuff is deeper, more remote, more expensive to get to.Now is the time to transition to cleaner, more sustainable power.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by spacy600</DIV></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>If you look at figures from around the country, especially California, Texas and Oklahoma and numerous other states it's more a matter of economics then it is being harder to get to or get out of the ground. It has also been shown that previously thought depleted wells have refilled when left alone because surrounding deposits migrate to the void left by pumping. As the article shows the wells have been capped when less then half the oil has been removed to begin with.</p><p>Rather then drill more wells it would be a simple matter to just turn the pumps back on. That's not what the oil companies or the administration want, they want a Federal givaway of both land and funding to encourage them to drill. The $18 billion tax&nbsp; breaks they are getting now aren't enough.</p><p>The reality is Anwar oil would not be seen until 2030 and the expense of getting it would be enormous, there would also be the problem that the Alaska pipeline has, all it would take is one or two breaches and the majority of domestic supplu would be cut-off. Look what already happened when faulty and neglegent maintenance by BP caused the pipeline to shut down last year. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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<p>Tired or not, I got your point!&nbsp; You post late at night and tired, I usually post first thing in the morning, half asleep!<img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-smile.gif" border="0" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /></p><p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>My overall point was that it will take time and more technology development, before we see a sustainable colony.&nbsp;</DIV></p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>My point about the spacereview article was, through history private people, charities, private and public companieshave spent money on "the public good" likehttp://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/aa/industry/carnegie/phil_1http://www.space.com/news/060613_ap_hawking_space.html</DIV></p><p>There certainly is&nbsp; a place for this sort of thing.&nbsp; I just don't see it as the only way, as some seem to.&nbsp;</p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>And Mr Bigelow doing great work with the inflatable space stations. Has funded some strange stuff.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Institute_for_Discovery_Science</DIV></p><p>You're right! <img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-surprised.gif" border="0" alt="Surprised" title="Surprised" /></p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I&nbsp;guess I am seeing a convergence of Gov robotic exploration programs,&nbsp; Nutty rich guys, private R&D,public non-profit organization, like &nbsp;http://www.iloa.org/,&nbsp; Gov maned spaceflight, The Xprize, ect...Into a opportunity to extend the human presence into the Soloar System.</DIV></p><p>I would put it somewhat differently.&nbsp; Some convergence, certainly, but also the space sector is diversifying rapidly allowing a range of new niches without invalidating old ones.&nbsp; The space sector can't grow at 10% a year and more without this happening.</p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I see it as more than just Government vs private enterprise, I see it as possible, a unique time in history.&nbsp;&nbsp; <br />Posted by spacy600</DIV></p><p>I hope so, we may be at the start of the "real" space age.</p><p>cheers</p><p>&nbsp;Jon</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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