Space Station and Shuttle in front of sun

sunstation.jpg

Take a look at this picture of the sun taken from the surface of the Earth. See the things that look like sunspots in the red box? Those aren’t sunspots!

That’s the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle Atlantis silhouetted across the surface of the sun and captured in this amazing once-in-a-lifetime shot.

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    28 Responses to Space Station and Shuttle in front of sun

    1. Makes you wonder how big the ISS will be in 30 years.

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    2. The ISS won’t be around in 30 years. NASA wants to quit by 2015.
      news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070926/sc_afp/spaceeuropeusrussia

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    3. dumb question: Isn’t the brightness a little low?

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    4. It probably needs to be….since it’s the Sun.

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    5. Now with the news of the Station having 70% of it’s funding pulled in 2015 so that the US could look into building a possible Moon Station, whats everyone’s thoughts?

      I enjoy it, but I think the US could drop its funding down the 25% instead of cutting completely. Its a joint effort between four countries and it should be evenly funded across the board. I know some coutries just don’t have the bill to foot it, but we want our moon base!

      Also, I sense this moon base and its experiments could be what finally unleashed that sweet sweet zombie apocalypse on us. :]

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    6. I think in 20 years, at least 25 more fully prepaired space station will be orbiting the Earth, and they will start terraforming Mars.

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    7. Fuck the moon base….let’s go to Pluto!!!

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    8. Honestly, I think the era of space exploration is over. There will be no more space station, no moon base and definitely no terraforming of Mars.
      It was fifty years ago today that the first man-made satellite went into space. Less than twelve years later two men walked on the moon. In the last 25 years, there has been zero progress in manned spaceflight. Skylab and Mir were more useful Space Stations than ISS.
      Here’s my prediction: the Space Shuttle replacement will be scrapped for lack of funding. The ISS project will end in 2015. No human will go into space for the rest of the century.

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    9. What’s the point of sending people into space? Sending remote-controlled probes and such into space is cheaper, easier and doesn’t occasionally cause bad-publicity funding-cutting tragedies.

      I say, keep sending probes into space, and use the money we save to fix some of the problems on earth. You can’t run away from yourself. If in a hundred years from now we can build cities on the moon, we’ll just take our problems with us there. The only difference between the moon and earth is low gravity, and the fact that you’d have to spend zillions for air and shit.

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    10. Oh, yeah, and no discussion of space travel is complete without mentioning Lisa Nowak:

      Lisa Nowak.

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    11. Dammit Caio. After all these months of planning.

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    12. Sending people into space with chemical rockets isn’t very useful. But if we had some balls, a nuclear rocket would be able to send a 4000 ton space craft to Pluto and back within a year. Or put an entire base on the moon in one launch. Or launch solar arrays that would provide clean power for the entire world.
      Large scale space exploration is feasible. It just won’t happen.

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    13. Actually theres a lot of reasons to travel into space.
      A. When we get good at it theres a whole lot of resources out there just waiting for us to plunder!! yarrgh!!

      B. There are some Zero-G production methods that are only available in (you guessed it!) ZERO-G!! or near zero-g

      C. A moon base is the next logical step, if we want to be able to get out to other planets easily with minimal fuel costs starting from an intermediate such as the moon which requires so little fuel to take off from is just the smart option

      D. There has been plenty of research and development into space vehicles, there was the Antari X competition, theres an entire company called Transformational Space Corporation who are actively designing and testing spacecraft for commercial purposes!!

      E. There hasn’t been a space launch from Nasa since 2003 because of space shuttle columbia and their need to make all the current and future space craft as safe as possible!! that took 2 years and another launched in 05 and there were a further 2 launched to ISS to help build it up in 2006. Hardly dead 😛

      Just thought i’d point these out…

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    14. Bah, if all these wonderful resources and production methodologies were financially feasible, they’d have been done privately by now. Space just wont pay off for a long time. So far, all space has delivered us is the blow drier, which is handy, but probably isn’t worth the billions of dollars.

      The only two reasons to go into space at this point (maybe not in the distant future) are because a) “My country’s collective cock is hueg liek a rocket.” b) It looks cool. c) Hard science. B and C can be done by probes. A is fucking retarded.

      Sometimes I wonder if Americans have actually been to America, or if they’re actually so ignorant, they think the problems of their country are normal. Howabout using some of the space money to make the streets safe from violent criminals, or provide adequate education in the ghettos. You know, it’s hard to believe america is a developed country, when the only difference between a big city in the states and Brazil is lack of Portuguese. But what’s your excuse for being the richest country in the world and simultaneously a third-world hellhole? The space programme, ladies and gentlemen. It gave us hair driers.

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    15. dude, the cost of one mission in iraq could be sending 11 missions to mars instead. so we have the money, we’re just wasting it on stupid shit.
      digg.com/space/Cost_of_Sending_11_Missions_to_Mars_1_Mission_in_Iraq?

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    16. Spectacular photograph.

      Wally, I’m glad you’re standing up for space exploration but you skipped the most obvious reason to continue, and it’s the one that Stephen Hawking has been trying to shout to the world for the last year or so: In order for our species to survive, we *need* to get off this planet.

      Another extinction level event is bound to occur, be-it in two years, two-hundred, or two-thousand – it’s going to happen. Whether we actually cause the next extinction level event [nuclear holocaust, “global warming”, biological warfare, etc…], or it’s a “naturally” occurring one [space rocks, environmental changes, black holes, or any undiscovered-unnameables, etc…], we need to spread our seed. This planet has had 5 extinction level events in the past, I believe (it could be six, google it…), and to think that it’s not going to happen again is as blissful as ignorance gets.

      The more territory we occupy in space, be-they planetary or man-made, the greater our chances are for survival.

      It’s that simple.

      We’re tribal folk stuck on an island staring at the volcano and refusing to believe she’s gonna blow again.

      Those saying that space exploration is pointless are analogous to those that refuse to leave their trailers as the tornado sirens are blaring.

      We need to get off this planet.

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    17. Also, I had to look up the legitimacy of the photo… because this *is* truly spectacular.

      Thierry Legault snapped the shots… here’s one in color, along with some info:

      www.space.com/imageoftheday/image_of_day_070102.html

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    18. Wow, you’re going into all kinds of crazy assumptions now. For example, were all humanity to go extinct, would that be so bad? Man is the measure of all things, and without man around, who’s to say it’s a problem? Death is harder on the mourners than the dead. Applying your monkey instinct to spread your seed whereever you can still isn’t worth the bajillions of dollars. You can get a hooker for less than fifty. Here’s some problems:

      1) Who choses the survivors? Most likely the rich, and I’m not sure how well a future humanity would do if it were drawn from an already small gene-pool filled with people who are accustomed to or even expect idleness as a birthright.

      2) Best bet is that these rich folk are going to be on a terraformed rock. That is, if terraforming isn’t something more than a wet dream, which I doubt. I really don’t think a bubble has much a chance of surviving without restocking from earth. The individual human as an unchanging noncompound is a western myth that science is forcing us to abandon. Each one of us is an infinitely complex series of systems in constant flux, and continually dependent on an infinitely complex group of outward systems constantly in flux. The idea that you could create human fishbowls in space that would last forever is dubious at best.

      3) Even if it was possible to sustain humans forever in some place other than earth, what are our options. Mars and a few moons. There’s no other system with planets even remotely close to us. And warp drive and hyperspace aren’t going to happen, they just are plot devices on silly shows. I’ll leave it to the psychologists to explain why a man confined to a wheelchair would dream about freely and immediately crusing about the entirety of existence.

      4) How far do we plan ahead? Even if we dodge an asteroid somehow, every star will burn out, and eventually the universe will collapse upon itself. Everything is doomed to die: Eternity is just another western myth witch science has began to destroy. Immortality is up there with black cats and walking under ladders. We are running into the limitations of an archaic system of ethics and metaphysics which has even less of a future than humanity. Why live for today, why solve our problems if we (or now our genes) will live for eternity in paradise? No, we’re too shackled by Jesus and Plato, cowards who tried to fight inevitability. We need to live for now, and conquer our mesoworld before we try to tackle infinity. Or else, what other reason is there to survive as a species? Does a miserable machine that only exists to run itself deserve to continue?

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    19. IN OUTER SPACE THERE WILL BE TEN VOMEN FOR EVERY MAN!! MEIN FUHRER, I CAN VALK!!!

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    20. Extinction level events are crazy assumptions? I mean, I suppose they are if you are one of the people that believe that earth was created six thousand years ago… but even then, I think Noah had to prep for an extinction level event.

      Crazy assumptions.

      “Applying your monkey instinct to spread your seed whereever you can still isn’t worth the bajillions of dollars.”

      You are placing a dollar value on the survival of our species. In essence, to continue with an analogy I made earlier, you are saying the “gas money” you’d have to spend getting from your trailer to a tornado shelter just isn’t worth it.

      1) “Who chooses the survivors?” What the hell are you talking about? Who chose the pilgrims? Who chose the miners? Who chose the cowboys? Who chose the scientists? Who chooses anybody? Choices are simply a bi-product of who we are, the “good” and the “bad”… unless you are a fatalist (which it most certainly sounds like you are), these questions shouldn’t even be an issue. Ultimately, the reason we migrate, just like any other animal, is for survival. Migration, pilgrimage, it’s all the same… a collective instinct for enduring.

      2)“Best bet is that these rich folk are going to be on a terraformed rock.” If you understand (or, rather, have any knowledge whatsoever of) history, you would comprehend that most of these people being sent off to these space stations… these new colonies, they won’t be rich people. Rich people don’t typically put their own lives on the line to get something done… they pay the poor to do it for them.

      “The idea that you could create human fishbowls in space that would last forever is dubious at best.” Again, somehow you are misinterpreting what I’ve said. Using your fishbowl analogy, the earth itself is one… and it won’t last forever, that’s the point. So, like any fish looking for survival and growth and contributing future generations to the species, he will begin making new fishbowls… or finding bowls that he can transform into fishbowls. It’s an ongoing process. You don’t still live in the home you grew up in do you?

      3) “Even if it was possible to sustain humans forever in some place other than earth, what are our options. Mars and a few moons. There’s no other system with planets even remotely close to us.” Possibly 200 light years, says the news yesterday.

      “And warp drive and hyperspace aren’t going to happen, they just are plot devices on silly shows.” You do realize how much technology we take for granted today that was merely “plot devices on silly shows” just decades ago, right? Open your eyes.

      “I’ll leave it to the psychologists to explain why a man confined to a wheelchair would dream about freely and immediately crusing about the entirety of existence.”

      Troll much?

      4) As for number 4, I think your entire paragraph is pretty much summed up with this quote: “We need to live for now, and conquer our mesoworld before we try to tackle infinity.”

      I agree.

      We aren’t talking about infinity, or at least I wasn’t… I was talking about now. Today. And staying alive for tomorrow. The next now. The coming Today. By your own philosophy, you might as well not have kids because they are just going to die, right?

      “Does a miserable machine that only exists to run itself deserve to continue?”

      You seem tragically emo and disgustingly goth.

      I’ll leave it to the psychologists to explain why a man unconfined to a wheelchair would forget how to dream freely and imagine limitless possibilities.

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    21. THERE IS NO OUTER SPACE BECAUSE GOD CREATED THE WORLD AND THE EARTH IS IN THE MIDDLE THE BIBLE SAID SO

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    22. I’m delighted to see that so many comments came from one of my posts.

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    23. egnilk66: It’s because it’s a damn good post.

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    24. Or we’re just f’cking bored.

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    25. “You are placing a dollar value on the survival of our species. In essence, to continue with an analogy I made earlier, you are saying the “gas money” you’d have to spend getting from your trailer to a tornado shelter just isn’t worth it.”

      That’s a weak comparison. The gas money, other wise used, couldn’t really buy shit. Let’s say $20? Could you use that to feed all humanity? Potentially cure AIDS? Build an economic foundation and basic infrastructure in third world nations (as the EU has been doing in Europe, so we know it works) so they can tear themselves out of the sludge? The money we’ve spent on space already could have done those things which (aside from AIDS) we know are in the realm of possibility. You want to spend money that we need now, to solve problems that may be unsolvable, which deal with the distant future. I’m talking about solving 100% resolvable problems *within our lifetimes*. I’m not even talking about an altruistic idealism here: How many suicidal terrorists do you think there’d be if people weren’t struggling to eat? Immigration is choking the rich countries to death, and how many people do you think would immigrate if there wasn’t an economic necessity.

      ‘Who chose the pilgrims? Who chose the miners? Who chose the cowboys? Who chose the scientists? Who chooses anybody? Choices are simply a bi-product of who we are, the “good” and the “bad”’

      First off, to build boats you really need trees, saws, nails and a few books which were readily available in the times of the pilgrims. For travel within this system, you need billions of dollars. Maybe at some point travel within our own system will be made financially feasible by solar power, I grant you, but if we ever figure out interstellar travel, there is no way it’s going to be within the financial means of a few religious fanatics or cowboys. More on that later.

      We have our next problem: What did the colonizers of the new world bring with them? Well, the history of Canada is the history of Christian vs. Non-Christian, Catholic vs. Protestant, French vs. English. Problems which the natives never knew. The Spanish brought with them the inquisition, in the person of Diego de Landa, which destroyed the Mayan civilization, one of the greatest to exist. The Portuguese brought with the the most prolific slave-economy in the history of humanity.

      “If you understand (or, rather, have any knowledge whatsoever of) history”

      Actually I’m working on my Master’s in history, and I’ll likely get my doctorate in history. I’ll tell you something: When the Portuguese first started exploring the world, the highest rank a peasant or city-person was allowed to get was something equivalent to deckhand. It was entirely the nobility conducting those voyages.

      I’ll tell you something else: Those white explorers weren’t going to brave new worlds, they were going to corners of a very small planet which had had already been sustaining human life for thousands of years. I’ll get back to this.

      “Troll much?”

      No, the point just went soaring over your head. Why does so much of our mental energy go to distant stars? Or periods of time which can’t be conceived of temporally but rather statistically (such as an extinction event?). You don’t seem to live your own life, but rather live a hypothetical one in your brain. What causes this?

      Well, there are problems in the world which are happening. Not ones which might happen, immediate ones which must be solved now. It’s not always a pleasant place to live in outside of the gated communities, and two ways to solve these: 1) Fix them, now. 2) Ignore them for conceptual problems which may happen at any point in an uncertain future. While the extinction event is a real possibility, you have used it in an excuse to live within your own imagination.

      2 is easier isn’t it? It takes the onus off of producing results, because space travel, in any event, is a long long way off.

      Now, the closest inhabitable solar system, let’s say, is 200 light years away (possibly). Light speed is over a billion km/h. The fastest spaceship we think we have the technology to build (though we haven’t, and many doubt if it will work) clocks in at a good 5000 km/h. I might be screwing up my math, but that means it would take a good four million years to get to that star. And guess what? It’s solar powered. It wouldn’t even get us to Pluto. Even if we went four times as fast, that’s a million fucking years. Good luck.

      Ok ok ok, but say we can go half light speed, we’ve still got a problem (aside from carrying 400 years of fuel that’s better than any fuel we currently know of). We’ve got the small problem of our continued survival. Biologists have figured out that human life is dependent on so many complex factors that we are essentially part of earth. We cannot exist outside our ecosystem. The dynamics of recreating an ecosystem are nearly beyond our control. Abandon the Christian myth that we are dominant lords of the universe. We’re elements of the most complex system of chemical reactions in this corner of the galaxy.

      But ok ok ok, say we managed to exactly replicate the conditions of Earth on a spaceship that contained enough people to propagate the species and was still light enough that an unknown *best fuel ever* could be carried it quantities that it could propel the ship millions of times faster than we can currently go and was also light enough that in the quantities demanded for a four-hundred year flight it wouldn’t slow itself down. Not to mention powering life-support and all. Oh, and an infinitely light but super-strong hull that is still light enough not to slow us down. Because at half light speed, a little pebble would not only destroy our spaceship, but slow us down considerably. We’re not talking about breaking Newtonian laws there, but we’re working in the extreme margins of what’s physically possible.

      But say we manage that. We’ve got another itsy-bitsy issue of terraforming, because even the most self-sustaining spaceship needs fuel from somewhere: Spaceships, even solitary ones, need energy. Perpetual motion isn’t possible and most of the universe is fucking empty. So what would we need to terraform? Roughly we would need to replicate four billion years of chemical reactions without making a single mistake on a planetary scale. Mathematicians and physicists speak of earth as it is today as representing so many interdependent factors that for all intents and purposes it is self-controlling chaos. What is an extinction event by the way? A slight change in chemical makeup and heat distribution that makes most or all forms of life impossible. Now, we’d have to turn a chemically simple but large rock into a chemically complex series of systems without even making the slightest mistake and turning it into a Star-Trek III nightmare. And we’ll have to be the world record of 4 billion years by a considerable number too. Ok.

      But you’re right. The mobile phone was once a dream in the mind of Gene Roddenberry AND IT HAPPENED! Maybe a small group of cowboys will do all this on a
      shoestring budget. Hopefully these cowboys will bring catholics and protestants and jews and muslims and mao-type atheists and blacks and whites. Imagine, a genocide *beyond the stars*. Ghettos on strange new worlds. Gas chambers 200 light years away.

      No, but you’re right. Zooming into space to avoid an extinction event isn’t fraught with problems whatsoever. There is simply no room for disagreement. Unlike avid Star Trek: First Contact fans like me and Trench, anyone who doesn’t think we should be flying around space looking for vulcans is like a totally immature lamoid who lifes in their mother’s basement and like tottly doesn’t know anything.

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    26. No more space shuttle…

      Discuss…..

      Reply

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