Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Weekend in NM

I had a nice weekend outside of Albuquerque visiting with friends at a 3 day imitate Jesus convention. Even an atheist has to be impressed by the life of Jesus and consequence of his life. The illogic is to apply what stupid things some that call themselves Christians do in the name of the Christian faith to the message in the bible. Unlike Islam, where the 'radicals' are doing exactly what the Koran calls for.

My brother is drinking again. I will have to tell him I will have nothing more to do with him. I will tell him he's getting ready to go back to prison because that's exactly where his drinking is going to take him. You can not imagine how upset I am. For all these months he's been out of jail I've been able to be proud of him, but he's flushing it all down the toilet.

I have no pithy wisdom here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Is it true?

Americans have it within their power to make the federal government an insurable hazard.
I don't know about that because we can't seem to even come to terms with an even more basic truth...
American freedom is being gutted.
It's easy to find people that are oblivious to this truth, even willing to argue otherwise.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The general store

Many mars naysayers claim the colonists on mars will all die when they run out of some critical supply item. First, staying alive is an individual responsibility. Second, the general store and basic economics insures this does not happen.

The general store performs a number of beneficial functions. It buys in bulk and sells items at a markup. This provides a buyer for those that produce stuff. This provides a buffer of items for before they need replacement. It balances supply and demand. Competition establishes the best rates and a further supply buffer.

This is so obvious it shouldn't need a post, but naysayers never seem to acknowledge this... because they don't believe in free enterprise.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dragon landing

Dragon 2 has 8 SuperDracos in pairs each producing 15,000 lbs of thrust and throttleable to 20% (10% effectively since they are paired.)

Lowest throttle would be 12,000 lbs (4 x 3,000) total. Which is about what the Dragon weighs (landing would be more difficult if it weighed less than minimum thrust. If you didn't contact ground at zero velocity and shut down you'd go up again.) Landing legs should compensate for some imperfection.

From the pad abort test we learn that Dragon has 5 seconds of fuel at full throttle which would last longer at lower throttle settings. We assume it was fully fueled.

It went from zero to 100 mph in 1.2 seconds and reached 345 mph.

What is its terminal velocity in one atmosphere? I don't know. Somehow it would have to slow down enough to land on land, probably in less than a minute. I'd like to see that.

On mars it would make a crater, but SpaceX may bypass the wider red lander (Dragon version 3?) for the MCT. I guess we shall see, when we shall see?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The 'Just do it' architecture

This dismal report starts with this paragraph...
Significant strides towards the goal of sending humans to Mars have been made over the last few years, not only through advancements in planning and capabilities, but also in the political realm. However, despite this progress, there is a common misperception that there has been little or no motion forward in humanity's efforts and ability to actually achieve this goal.
Probably because 'can do' people understand that planning, while useful, is what you do before any moving forward actually occurs. Current plans seem more like, 'running in place and getting nowhere' plans. We can do better by identifying a simple truth: all plans fall short. Plus, we can turn the naysayers to our advantage by making them part of the plan.

The 'just do it' plan is based on the simple observation that all plans should have two major phases. 1) Getting enough supplies to a base location. 2) Only send colonists after enough supplies are waiting.

But how much is enough? What should the mix include? This is where naysayer input is valuable. We aren't going to be able to predict perfectly all the things the colonists are going to need. Humbly acknowledging this means sending less than what is required for survival wastes the entire mission. Sending more is only marginally bad and can't be avoided anyway, so why not embrace it?

We already know how to send stuff to mars, but should lower the cost. What lowers cost? Competition. So let's have one using just a small part of NASA's mars budget. The best part is we can implement this plan today instead of 20 years from now and avoid costly, decade long detours as well.

Every 26 month launch window, NASA will pay for one Falcon Heavy launch to mars. On board will be two 5.5 ton landers, each with a ton of cargo. The lander that safely lands first within a target ellipse gets $50m, the second gets $30m. We do this every launch window until sending colonists becomes irresistible to some private company. Let the naysayers come up with the cargoes.

Let the Russians or Chinese get there first and steal our cargo. It doesn't matter because the point is learning how to survive on mars. We just keep sending cargo. If we have to embarrass ourselves to get our act together, that works. It's also magnitudes cheaper than the progress suggested above.

This also allows NASA to save face regarding SLS/Orion. They can continue telling us Orion will put crew on mars, spending billions, while $200m a year goes unnoticed actually doing the mars mission. We've put rovers on mars costing billions while gaining valuable knowledge. It's time to take a fraction of that cost and actually move forward.