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Re: Engineering Newsletter

> > From KellySt@aol.com Wed Jan 17 05:30:37 1996
> >
> > > [Zenon:]
> > > Horrific and ruthless? 
> > > If you send them for such a trip against their will - 
> > > then you are possibly right.
> > > But if they are willing?
> > > There is a good ol' rule of Roman law: ---
> > 
> > So, If you find someone willing to blow their brains out on camera, if
> > footage will be shone on the evening news.  You don't think the news
> > photagapher who says "sure, go for it" has any moral responsibility?
> > 
> That is quite another story - publicizing somebody's
> desire to make a grisly spectacle for no purpose except shocking others...
> Anyway, if that someone wills to blow their brains - it is their, 
> so let them do it - one fool less will be a service to humanity...
> Being the photographer, I would simply say that I'm not interested.
> You see, would anybody climb at the window ledge
> threatening to jump twenty stories down if nobody
> will come with cameras, psychiatrist, negotiator,
> fireman's brigade with long ladder and wailing siren?
> And 100% of such "desperados" somehow becomes easily
> persuaded not to jump (after he is sure all the media
> gave enough coverage of his attempt...).
> So do not mince matters, Kelly...

You seem to be arguing my point.  You are proposing to be the mission
control/cameraman eager to send crews out to die on the frountier for fame
and fortune.

> > [Zenon:]
> > > Besides, everybody must die some time -
> > > what is that real & shocking difference between dying
> > > in Antarctica and in Sometown, Montana?
> > > With the starflight, another important factor is added:
> > > the return flight is long (of the order of at least 10 years, say),
> > > thus those returning will have only few years to enjoy
> > > their medals on Earth, not to say of the boring years
> > > on the ship with nothing exciting to do (except betting 
> > > if the next ship gear failure will be fatal...)
> > > and rather risky - the probability
> > > of irreparable failure of the ship during the flight
> > > is much larger than the failure of the outpost base.
> > > I, frankly, would prefer to stay at the outpost.
> > > It might significantly increase my life expectance...
> > 
> > You have a choice of 10 years in the ship betting on its systems not
> > on its return flight.  Vs the rest of your life in that same ship parked
> > the system, or a base built out of the ships parts, still better the
> > don't fail.  Unless your assuming you'll die in less than 10 years of
> > causes.  I can't see how you could take the return flight as safer.
> > 
> Return flight is much less safe than living at the base, Kelly.
> That collossal engine, with all its terawats boiling inside - 
> ready either to blow out or to stall, rather worn out after
> years and years of the first half of the flight.
> No resources to find in the void, nor means to stop and search...

But its a simpler system then the life support, and only needs to keep
working for a few months at eiather end of the trip.  Life support would need
to work for decades, and even if it does how long will the crew last in a
ship without cutting edge medicine or (at the end) anyone left healthy enough
to maintain and operate the remaining systems.  

Personally I can't think of too many worse ways to go then locked in a dieing
ship with a dieing crew, better which of the two would lose it first.

> > In any event its accademic.  No political organization would be allowed
> > support or allow such a flight.  Since such a flight can't be done
> > them in the next 50 years.  The option, ruthless as it is, is closed.
> > 
> Political organizations (and opinions) are not laws of nature,
> but emanations of people's opinions and attitudes.
> If they (the people) have such attitudes as you seem to propagate
> in our discussion, that it's not surprising that they possibly
> will not "support or allow" ANY flight (that's risky, you know -
> untested technology, not complying to these mountains of government 
> rules and regulations of safety, no guarantee of safe return, 
> high probability of accidental loss of life, 
> probably far larger than in Kuwait...).
> So, if we want to go to the stars at all, 
> we must fight off such attitudes.
> Not to say of other resons to do so.

Why fight off such an attitude?  Your proposing throwing away a crew like
they were expendable parts.  All for the convenence of a flashy, but non
crytical, program.

> I wonder - Lindbergh would be certainly not allowed to cross
> the Atlantic - in his personally constructed and build plane,
> without all those attestations and safety inspections, completely
> on his own, with no detailed progress reports to the government, 
> etc., etc. - surely a suicide mission...
> If such attitude really prevails, farewell the future of humankind,
> either among the stars or right there on Earth...

Linbergh had a comercial ship customized for his purposes and had every
intention of geting there alive.  He got sponcership because everyone was
fairly sure he wasn't a suicvidal ameture who would take stupid unnessisary

Comes the time we blithly throw away a few hundred people to save ourselves a
little time and trouble, for a cause of no urgent critical importance,
humankind doesn't deserve.

As you may remember I was working in NASA shuttle flight planing when the
Chalenger (almost exactly ten years ago) ripped itself apart in mid air.
 Largely because some political types desided not making waves and bad PR was
more important than a few astronauts lives.  After that a lot of political
types got fired and a lot of astronauts quit.  NASA had violated a cardinal
rule of test pilots.  They'ld risk their lives if it was important enough,
but the people on the ground had to keep them informed and do everything
possible to keep them alive.  Doing a cost benifit analysis and deciding
their lives arn't cost effective, doesn't cut it.

I don't know what kamakazis you could get for such a flight, but they'ld be
the dregs of this race, and I'ld be assamed for them to be my representatives
to the stars.