Talk:ISS into the Pacific

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Not yet:

The great successes of the ISS, and there were many, were mostly about international politics and the dissolution of the USSR. We need to do a very large and public analysis of the contribution and weakness of the ISS program to generate the critical lessons learned we need for a large back to the Moon program.

Only after such a study is made, should we decide the fate of the ISS.

The ISS also shows us how a bad name can kill a program.

--Jriley 04:37, 10 March 2007 (PST)

This article yields no information about the moon, and from a technical standpoint, its assertion that the ISS is in the wrong orbit for access to the moon is just plain silly. It appears to be motivated by purely political intent, which again means it has no place in the Lunarpedia unless you want to open a section on Idiotic Political Smoke Screens.

Recommend deleting it.

-- Greg

The purpose of this article, and a number of simular entries, was to start a discussion to provide incite into what gets people hot about space. This approach is detailed in Show Stoppers and the Purposes List.
Had a technical person wished to defend the ISS, then they could provide technical information on the use of the ISS as a safety station on the way to the Moon and exactly what this would mean to launch windows. No such defender has come forth.
So far the input on nearly all of these articles has been extremely low. All these articles have demonstrated so far is how increasable low interest is in returning to the Moon and how much work we have ahead of us.
This type of article belongs on Lunarpedia if, and only if, one of Lunarpedia's purposes is to make returning to the Moon happen. That is to be an active tool.
--Jriley 22:15, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

It may be too early in Lunarpedia's development for the controversial question concept to take off. Most of our contributors are too busy trying to create new content to make Lunarpedia a major attraction to stop and think of such subtleties at this time. As it stands, Mike and I don't even really have time to even write many articles, as we're too busy with top level maintenance and administrative stuff -- and that was bad enough before the wiki project got multiplied by a factor of five... -- Strangelv 22:46, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

It could be helpful to create a tag template for your controversial question series to clarify the purpose of them so that people aren't looking at them hoping to get something from them that they aren't meant to provide. -- Strangelv 22:52, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Broken Promises

The ISS has failed to provide the promised medical and pharmacuetical advances that were used to sell the space station plan to congress.

That has a lot to do with designing so much of the station so it could only be launched by the Shuttle. Between the groundings caused by fuel line fractures and the extended grounding of the fleet after the loss of Columbia and then the very careful and conservative return to service, the ISS construction program is now close to 7 years behind schedule and still slipping. Add to this that in its' present configuration it takes the entire crew of 3 just to run the station, there is little or no science done.

But they do still find time to run the Boston marathon.

-- Mdelaney 06:09, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

I genuinely hope that this will change once the crew is expanded. Letting such a large investment go to waste doesn't seem logical to me. The boston marathon stunt does provide the opportunity to get physiological measurements on a female who has been in microgravity long enough to begin experiencing muscle/bone loss. It's too good of a data gathering opportunity to pass up. -- Jarogers2001 01:44, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Jriley makes sense. I was opposed to building the space station as planned because it is permanently manned before the proper infrastructure is in place to make reasonable use of people. I would have gone with a remotely operated lunar base instead of the space station and shed no tears over the loss of expertise in the manned space program as employees drifted away. They could have archived as much of the details of how they do their jobs as possible, and then gone on to do something useful. It would take a long time to restart a manned program when it is finally needed, but the need is a long time away. What we have is a show space program. Some people would be better impressed if we were efficiently doing something to further humanity's future in space. We can learn things like how to avoid the bearing problem that threatens the space station's solar arrays. We may need to keep the space station for a while to satisfy international agreements. We may be able to convince other nations that keeping space station agreements is just too expensive, and we can make up the debt some other way. Then we might be able to convert the space station to all robotic operation and lower costs. I am not sure we can lower costs but we should look into it. --Farred 15:27, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Political Difficulties in National Funding

Mdelaney wrote that medical and pharmaceutical advances were promised to sell the space station to congress. Its more complicated than that. Congressmen were generally not fooled by the probability that such advances and others would occur. They needed a story to tell constituents to explain the reason for their votes. The second layer of persuasion was political support from people whose employment would cease if the space station failed, and people in communities where employment would be lost if the space station failed. These were highly motivated supporters of a program that they saw as having "lunch" written all over it. There were true believers too. The harm they have done by saddling the U.S. with a manned space program that is mainly a welfare program for a dependent constituency is worse then the mere cost of the program. The argument comes up (I won't say from whom) that as long as we are going to have astronauts up there anyway lets save a particular task for them. So, efficient methods of doing things like robotic servicing of satellites are never given a serious effort, no matter if plenty of money were available. It is not the space station so much as the whole manned space program that is the enemy. It just keeps sailing on with no destination like the Flying Dutchman, just as much a curse to those who do know where they are headed. Some say that the division between manned and robotic space programs is a competition wrongly foisted upon space enthusiasts by congress which lumps their funding together, and that we should support both programs. But I say that the average congressman does not know beans about our future in space and cares less. Our message should be that the main effect of the current manned space program on our future in space is to detract from it. This is so much the case that having to coexist with a manned space program is likely to kill any serious attempt to develop industry using the raw materials of Luna, if it has not already done so. That is just for the United States though. Other nations are poised to make attempts at Luna, and they might not copy our mistakes. --Farred 00:32, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

I am not opposed to manned spaceflight, but I am opposed to the promotion of an environment where it would be the sole domain of governments. Instead of seeking to eliminate the manned program we should take an industry building approach in the same way that NACA did for atmospheric flight. There are many things that can be done by robots, but a robot is never a substitute for a human in tasks that aren't redundant processes (such as maintaining robots in the field). Instead of seeking to eliminate a manned program we should instead foster the development of private replacements which can carry people for much less than NASA, allowing more funding to be freed up in the long run for the support of a lunar base. I am of the opinion that the ISS should remain in place until a suitable private LEO destination is in place for private flights. Today we have reached a technological nexus where this is finally possible. Google search for Bigelow Aerospace. -- Jarogers2001 00:24, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

problems with a manned spaceflight bureaucracy

I am not opposed to manned spaceflight. I am opposed to the farce that constitutes the current U. S. manned space program. I did write "robotic servicing of satellites [is] never given a serious effort" but I should have written remote control servicing. I do not propose that an artificially intelligent robot perform maintenance on satellites. I propose that technicians perform this maintenance by remote controlled devices while the technicians remain comfortably on Earth. This method properly developed would likely be more convenient for any particular task than working in a space suit and allow shifts of technicians to stay on the job for much less than the expense of having them in space in person. The space station we have now is a special case. Every thing there was designed to maximize its convenience to human operation on site. In an ideal world the space station would have been designed to maximize convenience for remote operation. However even using the robonaut and others of similar make, it might be cheaper to run the space station remotely than to keep men there in person. I do not think employees of the manned space program have the intention of doing harm, but just look at the program's record. First the Apollo program sent astronauts to Luna. That was the first and last worthwhile thing it did. It made more sense then to send men to Luna. Remote control was not as highly developed then. When the decision was made to have a human pilot for the space shuttle, that was a big mistake. This wasn't done because of lack of ability to land a shuttle by remote control, even the Russians landed their version of a shuttle by remote control. Robotic autolanding can be done today and I guess that it could have been done when the first shuttle was built. Flying a space ship is naturally a computer's job, but the shuttle's designers built a man into their design because they wanted to give astronauts something to do that had prestige. Then the space station was a make work program for astronauts from the word go. Astronauts being there was always the primary consideration. Actually accomplishing something on the space station was something to be considered when the program got around to it. The only thing that couldn't be done more cheaply remotely on a space station is testing human endurance of weightlessness. The results of the test are only applicable to working on a space station or flying to Mars, two expensive things that are not at all urgent. If lunar industry is developed first, respectable size spaceships could be built to take people to Mars in comfort. The Hubble Space Telescope is grand, but for the cost of each servicing mission there could have been a whole new telescope in orbit. A remote controlled space station would not have been hung up with all of the life support problems. It could have been developed to assemble a multi mirror telescope better than the Hubble. I have read the words "permanently manned base" referring to Luna, and it just makes me sick. It does not seem at all likely that the current manned space program is in the mood to let remote controlled devices develop local resources until most of the mass needed to support people can be gotten from Luna. That would almost make it seem as if people were not needed. The manned space program wouldn't tolerate that. It is bound and determined to ruin the moon base like it ruined the space station and the shuttle, and for the same reason. It insists on making every other consideration secondary to having a man on site. For the U. S. manned space program a few men would not go to the moon for a purpose. A few men on the moon would be the purpose. They turn everything into a show. I set my sights higher. A civilization in space is my purpose.


I might as well sign this stuff. I can summarize everything with four words. Industrial Infrastructure in Space. Humanity can establish itself as a space faring civilization if it chooses. However "buy in" is as old as the hills. People lost considerable sums of money on typewriter schemes before someone came up with a typewriter that was good enough. Hucksters continued to make money on rain making schemes long after people had had enough time to learn about them because another sucker is born every minute. Don't fall for any modern equivalent of a rain making scheme. --Farred 10:58, 23 June 2008 (UTC)


There are some worthwhile things associated with the manned program. The sponsoring of research such as fuel cell research was good. I oppose the program as a hole.--FARTHERRED 3:01PM Central Daylight Time

The Start of Political Problems

Although the Apollo program accomplished much of great value, as much as could have been expected, it also had a detrimental legacy. As Apollo was a showpiece of U.S. technical competency, so the later manned space program carried on this tradition. Commitments were made to bring competent people into the Apollo program. Their bosses, the president and congress, did not want to say, "Thanks. We are finished with your services now. Go look for some other position." Politically powerful interests seemed to believe, without any technical justification, that having a man in space was central to further progress toward a future in which travel to Luna and Mars was part of ordinary economic life. In any case a hiatus in the launching of men into space was seen as a step backward in technical ability. So the continued launching of men into space was ordered as a way to show technical competency. For the last twenty years the U.S. has had the ability to begin development of the infrastructure that would support human economic use of lunar materials. This process is necessarily slow, and there is nothing that people in space suits on Luna could do during the early part of this development that would be worth the cost of supporting them there. The actual technical development has been neglected in favor of the show of technical development. The expected result of continuing this line of effort is that the manned space program would remain an appropriations farming operation run by people content to work in an appropriations farming operation. It would not contribute except accidentally to any economic use of lunar materials. I see no reason to believe that any such accidental development would ever occur. If those who claim to seek economic space settlements allow themselves to become part of the government show program, they are not serving their professed goal. Corporations that want to sell big boosters to such efforts will subject their corporate efforts to feast or famine at the whim of political expediency. One year congress will support big manned space efforts. The next year the large line items will tempt cuts in manned space programs. I would not invest in such a company. --Farred 02:09, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

For Full Honesty

I must admit that there is a function that humans on Luna could perform better than machines if it was at all reasonable to support humans on site. That is conflict. Naturally a response time of 0.37 seconds would be superior to a response time of 3 seconds for many applications in war, but in covert conflict with those whom you are openly applauding and helping, a quick response time is even more important. The space station is a reasonable training ground in case covert agents are needed on Luna. There are many reasons for avoiding covert conflict. Its messy. Its wasteful. Its embarrassing when it is found out. Let us just admit that there are serious differences of opinion between various governments, and no one country will always get its way. When there is a need for people on Luna, let us be open and honest about our concerns. Let us leave covert operations back on Earth for as long as possible. Of course you can trust fully what I write. I am being completely open and honest, except of course for my name. --Farred 00:24, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

You have yet to demonstrate an existing technical capability for robots, tele-operated or not, to use a variety of standardized, and especially improvised, tools to repair other robots. This would require a detailed plan for using lunar resources to manufacture replacement parts and then install a part into a unit in the field, as well as designing those robots to be field reparable. There is also the issue of dust fouling your equipment whenever a sensitive area is opened, which will result in an increase in equipment breakdowns and the need for regular strip downs and maintenance in a dust free environment. The repair bot idea has been bandied around for years and we still haven't pulled it off in ANY sector. It is perpetually "right around the corner" along with flying cars and other futuristic technologies that have yet to appear. Until that capability is proven your entire point is moot in reference to the lunar surface. I really really like the idea, but without any supporting evidence or technical research it's going to seem like you are blowing smoke. - Jarogers2001 02:15, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Robot Repairs Robot

I am uncertain which of my statements you consider doubtful. If you think that people might not be able to service satellites with remote controlled devices, I say certainly no one can do so now. People can do remote control surgery, [1] but remote control satellite servicing is impossible because no one has done the development work. There is reason for no one developing remote control servicing of lawn mowers. It would be physically possible to develop a pair of remote controlled manipulators that a couple of guys at consoles could send out to a customers pick up truck. They could grab the lawn mower, carry it into the shop, take the thing apart completely, fix what needs fixing, shine up the mower, and present the customer with a bill for $1,763,487.95. For some reason lawn mower repair shops prefer to hire human mechanics. For servicing satellites the repairman can not go around the corner for a greasyburger and soft drink at lunch time. So it’s hard to get repairmen to show on location for satellite servicing, but NASA managed to get a few to take on the work. If someone did develop remote satellite servicing, it would need to include remote control rendezvous and docking besides having the satellite designed to be serviced. On Luna robot servicing of robot would be restricted to those things designed to be serviced. Swapping out replaceable bearings might be included in the set. I certainly think such repairs would be done in a lighted, thermally controlled, dust controlled enclosure.

Financial Concerns

The remote control servicing of satellites might not be ready to make money. It would have cost less to design the Hubble to be serviced by remote control and design, build and launch the devices to do that than it cost to build the Hubble that was built and service it with the Shuttle. I do not need references for that. If you have insufficient knowledge to realize that is true, just take my word for it, or don't. --Farred 19:01, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

I do not disagree, but there will be others who will unless you explain your viewpoint using reason, references and example. "If you have insufficient knowledge to realize that is true, just take my word for it, or don't." I recommend that you handle your statements more diplomatically in the future if you wish to make your point in a convincing manner. Supposition, conjecture, sincerity, and argumentum ad populum are insufficient for producing a viable rebuttal in any credible scientific or technological forum. - Jarogers2001 06:17, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Things Fall Apart

The entire lunar enterprise might fail from a cause of which I am ignorant. That is a vast area of potential problems. The thing to do is be flexible in facing new problems as they present themselves, and have a good exit strategy. So, if after sending a few rovers to Luna, nothing is working out as hoped, rejoice in all of the scientific data and the glory of having done that much and move on to other things. --FARTHERRED 6:00 pm Central Daylight Time

The Need for References

References are helpful for many things, but I do not really need them to show the superiority of remote control devices to astronauts in person as means to get things done on a space station. What references to cost data could show would be a complicated accounting system designed more to hide costs than reveal them. Beyond the reference I made to remote control surgery, things that are common knowledge are sufficient to show that the astronauts on the space station add to the expense of what they do. For work in the vacuum of outer space special tools and lubricants are needed. That is true whether the tools are wielded by astronauts or remote controlled manipulators. The difference is that astronauts need constant life support and three square meals a day. Remote control devices are happy to have some electricity, a reasonable operating temperature, and some lubrication now and then. Either by swapping out bearings or finding some way to lubricate them in space remote control devices should last a dozen years or more in space. The electronics on the voyager spacecraft lasted more than 30 years, and were still going the last time I checked. Twelve years of consumables to support astronauts plus crew change amounts to quite a few pounds launched into space that would not be required for remote control devices. If remote control devices are not as swift for some tasks, they can stay at them for much longer for the same money. New models of devices can be designed to overcome the shortcomings of old models. The task of repairing a remote control manipulator by remote control to the extent of swapping out bearings does not seem more difficult than remote control surgery. If NASA can not do it, the reason is that they do not see that as their mission. It is NASA's political bosses that want astronauts on the space station. I want people in space too, but I can see how the development of industry on Luna could lead to a situation in which a couple of mechanics on Luna could go around the corner for a greasyburger and a soft drink and you would have nearly the same situation that makes remote control devices to repair motors on Earth uneconomic. However, until there is a reasonable amount of industrial infrastructure, astronauts in space suits will not be the most economic way to get industrial infrastructure.

I really do not see how references can improve that much, but I will give a few.
There has been work with low volatility liquid lubricants for bearings in space.[2] Promising substances are found among the silahydrocarbons.
The need for dry film lubricant and special tools for use in vacuum are among the problems faced by astronauts in space. [3]
Molybdenum disulfide is among the substances that made an early contribution to lubrication problems in space. Research is ongoing. [4]

Do People Care?

If no one writes any substantive disagreement with anything I have written, does it mean that no one disagrees or that I have scared off readers with boredom? If there are good arguments, can they be reworked into a really slick glad-hander special of political persuasion? The lunar development concept might be able to survive keeping the space station in the space program for a while, but if men are sent to Luna in a mere remake of the Apollo program, people will see that as representing what the outer space effort is. After seeing that nothing comes of it, they will not want to pay for anything like that for a long time.

Capability of Robots

The distinction between robots and remote manipulators is important. Whenever the use of robots is suggested there is likely to be the argument against it that the robot can not substitute for the intelligence of a human. With remote manipulators one does not substitute for the intelligence of a human, one moves the intelligence to the work by radio through the remote manipulator. This has drawbacks. Working with a pair of gloves is something most of us have experienced. The clumsiness of gloves in an inconvenience. Working with remote manipulators is worse than an inconvenience. Work can take 30 to 100 times as long as doing the job with bare hands. [5] Even with the avoidance of human life support in space and crew change, can remote manipulators really be more economic? They are helped out by the possibility of one device combining remote manipulator and robot functions. A computer can follow the actions directed by the human operator and learn some tasks that are repetitive. In satellite servicing well marked points can be painted on the satellite for a computer to orient to. When operations get to Luna, tasks had better have a high proportion of dull repetition, or the whole notion of for profit operations will simply not apply.

--Farred 21:18, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

ISS is a failiure, due to design.

Many people, i.e. Grant Bonin, will argue that HLVs are white elephants and that MLVs are suitable for all our operations in space. however, I will show that this is wrong, using the ISS as an example.

The ISS is made of of segments- modules. These were either brought up in the Space Shuttle, or the Proton rocket. Despite being a monsterous launch vehicle, the shuttle is of comperable performance to MLVs like the proton, due to the generally parasitic and unwanted orbiter going along for the ride.

Thus, all the delays and the operating costs of the shuttle made the construction a disaster. If it were for one simple launch on a Saturn INT-21, the ISS could have been launched in one, no hassle flight. Minimal setting up would have been performed in orbit, and the shuttle could fly logistics flights.

I am not saying that all MLVs are as bad as the shuttle. However, MLVs will also experiance disasters, cost cuts, political hurdles, etc. The advantage with shuttle is that the module was just a module. The shuttle trucked it there, and then set it up in place. Mir was differant. Each module was a spacecraft with orbital manuvering systems, etc.

The advantage of an HLV is that most contruction goes on on Earth, where things are relativly easy and safe. Our HLVs need to be big and dumb, Sea Dragon is a good example. I wonder how easy it would be to make a 100-ton range launcher using the same principles as Sea Dragon, and launch it from land like the Saturn V.

Plus, a gigantic HLV will stir the imagination of the people. It wasn't when a road was resurfaced last that people got excited about a construction project. It was when a bridge, gigantic skyscraper or dam was constructed.

As for the ISS itself, the US should complete it, leave it to ESA and Russia, and when they get tired of it, they'll probably sell it off to Biglow as a hotel.

The ISS gave us a vital lesson in the return to the Moon and the colonization of the solar system. Go BIG. T.Neo 10:51, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

I think that every internal room should also be capable of supporting a teleoperated waldo like robonaut. All equipment that is part of the station should have teleoperability and remote control built in, or it should be operable via a robonaut. This will allow people on the ground to do routine maintenance tasks as well as a good deal of research without having to expand life support. Humans would be available to do logistics, research, and problem resolution without having to spend most of their time doing routine maintenance like on the ISS. This robotic-human syneregy will be applicable to other space construction projects like Solar Power Satellites and lunar operations. - Jarogers2001 17:16, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Your idea sparks to mind the "teleoperator" concept in the '70s, to reboost skylab. This would have been ideal, espcially since STS-2 "skylab boost" never materialized. With Skylab-shuttle we might be in a very differant place today. T.Neo 14:36, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

the following from:--Farred 02:01, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

  • T.Neo wrote: "ISS is a failure, due to design." but can he prove it? Not without defining failure. Not without defining the purpose that the ISS failed to achieve. NASA has become expert in writing fuzzy goal statements. However, if you read between the lines you find that their underlying purpose is to keep the manned space program busy. At this the Space Shuttle and the ISS have been successful. What they have failed at is accomplishing any worthwhile purpose in a cost effective way. For the money spent on the Hubble we could have gotten more and better telescopes launched on expendable launchers. There is no way to measure the cost effectiveness of keeping astronauts busy any more than one could measure the cost effectiveness of a vacation trip to a lake home. The ISS did not fail in any particular measure because of a lack of heavy lift launchers. They failed to meet schedule and cost goals because of a lack of a reasonable goal that would allow measurements of cost effectiveness and allow reasonable planning. They fell victim to an idea. The idea is: "As long as we will have astronauts there anyway, save that for the astronauts to do." There should not be astronauts up there as a first consideration. Astronauts or technicians should be passengers into orbit only if they are needed to do something that would be more expensive to do remotely. In the Size of Infrastructure article there is reference to a space station for assembling and refueling space vehicles. Not only can this task be done without people on the station, people would be a considerable detriment to the mission by their vibrations and bouncing around. Indeed, people made many experiments on the ISS difficult for these reasons. If astronauts could not assemble the space station on time and under budget, it does not mean that remote controlled devices could not assemble a useful space station if people made a serious effort to do that. However, the assembly and refueling station ought to fit in one launch and be nearly self deploying. Remote manipulators should have an easy task in setting it up. --Farred 02:01, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Projects like the ISS have not kept the space program busy, they have drained time and resources that could have been spent on other things (Mars missions, lunar missions, etc.) Your fuel depot concept doesn't even need teleoperated setup, as it could be entirely self deploying. Something derived from a rocket upper stage might be a good start. Add long-term storage systems, solar panels and pumps. The ISS was derived project freedom, the spacestation back in the days when the shuttles were to fly every week, etc, etc. T.Neo 09:11, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Being Nearly Kind

by FARTHERRED 5:37PM Central Standard Time 9 September About 323 of my words ago I had written something that impugned the motives of NASA employees. Certainly I find fault enough with what NASA does without impugning motives that no one can know. So I deleted it. NASA must deal with political superiors who consider a show of U.S. technical competency as worthwhile in itself. They have reasonable grounds for doubt about a program to build industrial infrastructure on Luna. Admittedly it is such a long range program that it can not be accounted worthwhile from the anticipated return on investment by accepted financial practices; and lunar base advocates have so far done an insufficient job of showing that such a program would be likely successful even with long term effort. For instance, it has not been mentioned that the lack of long endurance lubricants in vacuum could be worked around by robots wearing space suits. At least a gas tight covering of knee of elbow joints could be done with a bellows that has a flange pressed to a point above and below the joint by a threaded ring. Electrical power wire, control wire, and thermal management fluid hoses could run in a bundle outside of the bellows and have connectors for wires and hoses that would run around the bellows to the joint. That way the wires and hoses could be disconnected, the bellows unfastened, and the joint unpinned for maintenance. NASA should have been working on problems like this instead of testing human endurance in weightlessness. How much testing of human endurance of weightlessness is needed anyway? As much as such endurance was tested in the Apollo program was enough. In the People Carry article there is a section on exercise that suggests how people might live in one gravity on Luna. While some details might be different in implementation, the basic idea is sound.--FARTHERRED

I find the axing of the Robonaut project to be infuriating. Just my $.02 - Jarogers2001 17:30, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

I find robonaut too anthropocentric. Space robots need not be anthropocentric. For example, something derived from the MSL rover to be used on Mars, equipped with robotic arms and able to recharge from an external power source. Could something like this be used on the moon? T.Neo 14:31, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes, all robots need not be human-like. Since telepresence with a unit on the moon would be near real-time, it will be possible to do tasks that require the coordination innate in a pair of human hands. With this in mind, it would be wise to have human-like waldos available for many tasks such as construction and repair of structures and other robots. Specialized tasks, not so much. Specialized machines would be better for those, and anything that can be fully automated is the way to go. - Jarogers2001 02:38, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I do not know where to find the latest information on Robonaut. Search results that I get have always been crowded with information that is years out of date. The idea of waldos is attractive. The first ones had force feedback by direct mechanical link. That could be done in orbit by electric motors in the operator’s gloves, but the three second reaction time for remotely controlling devices on Luna would interfere with force feedback to the point that I doubt it would be practical. Robonaut did not have force feedback which would mean the operator would have to visually keep track of his fingers to maintain a grip on a wrench. It seemed to me like a project designed to fail. It would have required a major advance in robotics to have a robot using anthropomorphic shadow hand control to do tasks that human astronauts do with the same tools. It seems that that major advance was lacking. The right way to do remote manipulators in orbit and on Luna is to use special targets for robot vision to lock on to, special grappling places to anchor the robot manipulator, exchangeable tools as end effectors at the end of a manipulator arm instead of a hand, tasks designed along with the remote manipulator to get the job done efficiently, and any other trick or help that remote manipulation can use. This was not done on the ISS because it did not match the purpose of the ISS, having somewhere for astronauts to go and something for astronauts to do. It is possible to develop space resources including Luna to the point that it would be possible to calculate the time and money necessary before getting a financial return, but such development is inconsistent with the purpose of the ISS. It should be scrapped as soon as international agreements concerning it can be properly terminated and its pieces should be used in building a useful robotic space station.—- FARTHERRED 3:50PM Central Standard Time
  • T.Neo has the right idea with a rechargeable robot. A remote controlled manipulator that could go into a shadowed crater on Luna to look for volatiles and whatever else is there would need some power source other than solar cells. Battery packs could provide power for years if a remote controlled device could return periodically to a mobile charging station to exchange a depleted battery pack for a charged one. The charging station could in turn use solar cell derived power to recharge battery packs. It would follow along with the devices exploring shadowed regions as far as the sunlight extends. Retreat to an area served by a nuclear power plant is one option for surviving the winter.--Farred 19:01, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
  • There is still the consideration of what a useful space station ought to do. Without a technical study of cost/benefit considerations but only from my general impressions I would suggest a few things. A space station ought to provide 1) a refueling station for spacecraft 2) an assembly station for plugging together prefabricated plug and play units for standard satellites and assembling large structures out of compact prefabricated parts with integral fasteners, such as radio antenna high gain reflectors 3) a station for receiving experiment packages, unpacking them, supporting them with utilities, initiating, monitoring, repacking them, and returning the experiments. An efficient tug to geostationary orbit and lunar orbit ought to be among the spacecraft to be refueled.
  • How does ISS stack up? It has no refueling capability. It has no assembly capability. It is difficult to believe that an intelligently designed remotely controlled facility could be anywhere near as expensive on a per experiment basis. The human tolerance of zero g experiments have been sufficient long ago to show that we do not want to subject humans to long term zero g environments. It is not needed. When there is more industrial development in space there will be communication between zero g and near one g areas provided by centrifuge. People should be sent into space when they can earn their keep, which time will come along if development is directed to a goal of eventually profitable human presence and the long term nature of the goal is accepted.
  • NASA has been working with a fixed idea of developing cheap and reliable access to space (CRATS), and insisting that it must be done with the development a launch vehicle that is independent of any assistance from an orbital space port. NASA has been wishfully thinking that this would result in people being supplied with everything they need to be economically productive in orbit, soon. It seems mostly accepted now that a man piloting a launch vehicle and pretending it is an airplane is a bad idea. Robots can pilot rockets to orbit without people on board. People can not do this task without robots.
  • CRATS dependent on an orbiting space port certainly has technical challenges and certainly would take a long time. Like some other CRATS schemes it would require a high volume of traffic to result in lower per pound costs, but it seems like the best bet to me.
  • Where do we start? This can be done in moderate sized steps, no Saturn V sized budget busters needed. The remote assembly of spacecraft from plug together parts seems like a good first step.--Farred 23:34, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Why we can not move the ISS to the lunar vicinity?

It has cost an enormous amount of money to send ever kg of equipment to space. Lets keep the things up there and better if we just attach some rockets to the ISS and the we move it to the lunar vicinity. perhaps we an land everything on the moon one day... even for scrap every single kg has a very high price.-- 19:26, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

I am not familiar with all of the maintenance requirements of the ISS. Moth balling it might be a considerable task. It just does not have an assigned task that is worth the expense of continuing to send people up there. Sending it to lunar orbit mould make it that much more difficult to send people, and it was never designed to accomplish anything by remote control. What should it do in lunar orbit?
It might be possible to send it to lunar orbit with ion thrusters. It already has considerable installed solar electric capability. It just does not have a sufficient purpose. If there is any place that should have automated industrial activity, it is outer space, because the cost of a man working in orbit is more than $25,000/day. The space station could research putting together a large heat shield in orbit. Then the perfected process could be carried out by robots to make several large heat shield landers for getting heavy equipment to Mars. See Landing on Mars #A Sure Way to Land on Mars. If we get a colony running on Mars, colonizing Luna from there would be easier that colonizing Luna from Earth. --Farred 01:39, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
I cannot let such an egregious error alone. I wrote above: "...the cost of a man working in orbit is more than $25,000/day." I do not recall how I got that figure but the actual cost as well as I could determine it from cost data from the days of Space Shuttle operations is over a million dollars a day per each astronaut. - Farred (talk) 22:25, 5 March 2017 (GMT)

Back to robots repairing robots

The use of remote manipulators to repair remote manipulators is a necessary capability for industrial development on the moon to to proceed before people arrive, as Jarogers2001 pointed out (02:15, 9 July 2008(UTC)). This capability might have been demonstrated without my noticing it, but if not, demonstrating remote repair of a lawn mower would be sufficient. Repairing a robot and rpairing a lawn mower are tasks that are different in degree, not different in kind. For a demonstration, a lawn mower and a pair of remote manipulators should be made suitable for each other. The lawn mower should be a model specially modified to have nuts and bolts particularly accessible to the tools the robot will use and surfaces identifiable by remote viewing. The task should be planned from lifting the mower with a mobile little hoist through taking every piece of the mower apart inspecting and replacing parts as necessary and putting it all together. As for remote use of improvised tools, I am not sure that is necessary. Remote controlled repair would be limited to the types of repair that were planned and if some improvised solution to an unexpected problem is possible, that is an added benefit. If an industrial process fails because remote devices cannot handle unexpected problems, it is time to send up the improved model of machine.

Jarogers wrote that I had not demonstrated the ability of remote operated devices to repair remote operated devices and that that capability had not been demonstrated "in ANY sector". What he meant is that it had not been demonstrated on Earth. There are remotely operated devices to do surgery, to haul the ore form open pit mines, to spot weld auto bodies, and to paint just about anything that industry produces, but not to remotely repair the remotely operated devices. There is a good reason for that. On Earth a repairman is always nearby. A paint robot can be hauled out of a paint shed when the painting operation is shut down, taken to a repair shop and maintained. With a remotely operated device on the moon that cannot be done. Suggesting that a remotely operated ore hauler must be remotely repaired on Earth before considering using remotely operated equipment to repair remotely operated equipment on the moon is like saying that a man in a space suit would need to install replacement optics in a telescope on Earth before it would be done for Hubble. That is just what was done. It was practiced extensively on Earth before being done to Hubble. So why do they not do the remote lawn mower repair on Earth to show possibility in concept of remote repair on the moon? Something similar might have been done but it is not talked about because NASA has a goal of demonstrating success of their missions. So they do not want any part of the human spaceflight program to seem like a mistake if they can help it. The problem with not being able to admit a mistake is that when a mistake really is made, it can never be corrected.

Is the idea of people initiating industry in space in zero gravity and every possible engineering task done on Earth a mistake? It is if people expect an industrial operation on the moon or Mars someday. However, T.Neo suggested: "If it were for one simple launch on a Saturn INT-21, the ISS could have been launched in one, no hassle flight." There is talk of generating enough greenhouse gasses on Mars to terraform the planet. How will that be done if there is not even enough experience in industry off of Earth to assemble satellites and space stations from modules in orbit? People do not worry about the incongruity if the talk about terraforming Mars is just talk, just blowing smoke, which it is.- Farred (talk) 00:06, 2 December 2016 (GMT)

The demonstration of remote repair of remote equipment is not done because it is not urgent. The nations that launch satellites cannot first decide on industrializing the moon one month and launch a robotic first portion of that mission the next month. Many details must be decided. There are many different ways to make a start on such a mission. I think news of Japan planning a robot base for 2020 came out at least 10 years ago.[6] The launch time may have slipped so that there is still 15 years until launch or they may have given up. In any case I have read no recent news. No matter how difficult the industrialization of the moon is, the ISS is not making appreciable progress toward that goal or doing anything worth a million dollars per day per astronaut. Even if the money saved is not in any part diverted to industrializing the moon, people would be better off without the ISS. It gives space development a bad reputation. It soaks up money for a stunt and has no long range goal.

Now, is the argument of T.Neo, (10:51, 5 September 2008) cited just above true? A great big rocket launching the space station at once would be a no hassle project only if the big rocket, its launch facilities and the adaptation of the station to be launched and deployed in one flight were no hassle. Now the Space Launch System is being developed. This big rocket has already cost billions in development of the rocket and launch facilities without counting the cost of adapting any payload to be launched on top of it. Billion dollar expenses count as hassles. The way to waste even more money on the SLS would be to actually launch something with it. The only reason that some people think that construction is space is unreliable and prohibitively expensive is that they consider the work done by astronauts as the only possible example. This false impression is another reason to get rid of the ISS and the whole human space flight program. Efficient transportation of people to space should be instituted when the industrial infrastructure is developed enough to make people in space worth while. Efficient robots for constructing things in the hostile environment of space need to be developed to avoid the expense of billions of dollars for making monstrous heavy lift vehicles, making their launch and construction facilities, maintaining those facilities year after year for a few launches every couple of years, and designing every payload to be self deploying.

When should robot construction is space commence? When people finally decide to make a commitment to a project that makes some economic sense, such as building a space based solar power system from lunar materials. It would not likely make a return on investment quickly enough to satisfy financial planners that it is a good investment, but like the Panama Canal it should continue to add to the wealth of humanity year after year once it is successful. - Farred (talk) 18:30, 3 December 2016 (GMT)

With DeepMind and similar self-learning systems, the problems of robots engaged in repairs and actions in microgravity are probably a lot more solvable than they were before 2016. With a sufficiently developed simulation the AI could be trained in a consequence-free environment at the fastest rate permitted by the speed of the information hardware involved, then move on to real-world tests. -- Strangelv (talk) 09:40, 15 February 2017 (GMT)
I do not think that the considerable problem solving abilities of DeepMind are necessary or applicable to the problem of remotely repairing machinery on the moon. The proper techniques for designing machinery and repair robot together as a system in which the robot can used to remotely repair the machinery are known. What is required is the money, engineers accurately specifying a great many details, and building the system. One problem is that metals, like those that come into contact to close an electrical switch, have a tendency to cold weld in the vacuum of outer space. Because repeatedly making and breaking electrical contacts in the vacuum on the lunar surface could be a problem, people might need to have repairs done inside a gas pressurized chamber. I would suggest (as a guess) that carbon dioxide at one hundredth pound per square inch (0.01 psi) would be a suitable atmosphere to try. Carbon dioxide is reasonably nonreactive in the absence of water and it can be pumped down to near vacuum pressure by cryogenically condensing the carbon dioxide in a storage chamber at liquid oxygen temperatures. Oxygen is handily available for heat transport on Luna. Thus the carbon dioxide would be nearly 100% recycled instead of being lost when airlocks are cycled.

I want to make it clear that the only evidence offered on this forum that remotely repairing machines is not possible is the statement byJarogers in his 19 May 2007 post that a robot is never a substitute for a human in maintaining robots. This statement is backed only by his own authority. The lack of any reasonable attempt to repair machinery remotely as a demonstration is due to the fact that the human space flight program is institutionally jealous of robots and scared of them. No industrial robot uses a shadow-hand end effector as Robonaut does. Robonaut can use shadow-hand control because it has no serious industrial purpose. Astronauts cost a million dollars a day at ISS, probably three times that on the moon. That is an incentive for developing the robotic repair of machines which is completely ignored by the manned space program which sees the immediate launch of people into orbit as a good in itself without regard for the lack of any economic benefit to humanity. Jarogers shows this bias in suggesting the development of "a suitable private LEO destination" without showing any economic benefit such development would have. The advantage (if any) of having a Bigelow Aerospace space station instead of the ISS is that private funds would be wasted for rich people camping out in space as opposed to tax dollars wasted for astronauts camping out in space. Jarogers wrote (9 July 2008) that I (Farred) have not demonstrated an existing technical capability for robots to repair robots. He in turn has not demonstrated that it cannot be done. Sending astronauts to the moon along with their millions of dollars each per day expense is a serious matter. People ought to be sure that robots cannot do without people before going to such an expense. I expect that, if the matter is fairly tested, robots will be found able to do without direct help by people if they can be supported by radio signals containing instructions. What kind of human being would sacrifice the future of humanity to preserve bureaucratic funding in the face of technological obsolescence? Mdelaney suggested above (19 May 2007) that failures of the ISS are related to its being tangled with the Space Shuttle program. There is something to that but the main cause of lack of results commensurate with expenses is that the basic idea of men floating around in outer space supported by engineering efforts on Earth with all consumables lifted by rocket is just unsound. Weightlessness hampers recycling efforts on ISS because systems that people have used on Earth for similar purposes require gravity to operate as designed. People are sickened by weightlessness and efforts to mitigate the effect consume a large fraction of effort at ISS. The testing of human response to weightlessness has been done in excess of our immediate needs for knowledge of these limitations. Until cis-lunar space has seen more thorough capital development, it should be left to the machines which are not subject to the inherent dependence on weight that people are. Machines can go through design cycles to improve their fitness for outer space more quickly than people can evolve fitness. - Farred (talk) 22:25, 5 March 2017 (GMT)

To illustrate a problem that can be solved by engineering efforts but not by near term envisioned artificial intelligence, consider the application of a wrench to a bolt head without the benefit of force feed-back to the operator of a remote device. First, the lack of force feed-back is a reasonable expectation on the moon because the nearly three second response time makes force feed-back impractical. Second, the dexterity ordinarily expected of a human being manipulating tools by hand is dependent upon a sense of touch such as was communicated to the operators of early waldos used in doing chemistry on radio-active substances from behind shields. The sense of touch detected the force feed-back communicated by direct mechanical link of the operator's hands to the waldos. There is no force feed-back in the Robnaut control system. Third, using machine vision and targets painted on a machine to be repaired it is possible to identify exactly the plane of orientation of the machine under repair. From that and the plans of the machine the plane in which a bolt head turns can be exactly determined. Using a remotely controlled mechanical arm with an adjustable jaw wrench end-effector and a number of joints controlled with computer aid it is possible to restrict the motion of the wrench to move within the plane of the bolt head. By moving the open jaw of the wrench around the bolt head; adjusting opposing flat sides of the wrench to parallel flat sides of the bolt head; and then closing the adjustable jaw to match the bolt head; a firm grip is obtained. The story of how all the bolt heads in a lawn mower are gripped, loosened, removed, replaced and tightened in the process of disassembling and reassembling a lawn mower is too tedious for this forum. I am not a master of the engineering language to specify that story and the wiki format is not suitable for it. However, I expect that nothing new to engineering experience will be necessary.
DeepMind and some other artificial intelligence programs are useful for specifying behavior to follow rules and accomplish some purpose within the limits of following those rules, such as the traffic rules followed by a robotic car. The engineering required for repairing machines remotely on the moon would write a set of rules. DeepMind would not be able to write those rules because it only processes elements according to rules. It does not understand what the elements are or why the rules are as they are. When the engineering is done to specify industrial infrastructure sufficient to build a system for launching massive amounts of cargo from the surface of the moon, something like DeepMind could possibly run that infrastructure until something unexpected happened and it needed to consult its human masters. When this is possible, it should also be possible to use similar strategy in producing an industrial infrastructure with an artificial intelligence to control it on Mars. - Farred (talk) 19:33, 7 March 2017 (GMT)

Jarogers wrote on 22June2008 that we should not stop human spaceflight but promote alternatives to government run spaceflight. He held up the example of what NACA did for aviation as a guide to what NASA could do for human space flight. The trouble with this is that when NACA produced their better lift to drag ratio wing shapes and turbochargers that would allow engines to operate at high altitudes there were settled human populations at widely separated spots on Earth so that airplanes could profitably transport people from one to another. In the solar system there is no other place than Earth where there is a settled human population or even environmental conditions that come close supporting human life. There is no place worth traveling to outside of Earth unless people first transform the characteristics of another celestial body through industry to be hospitable to life. This is something that we know how to do in general outline, but the specific tasks to transform even the area under a small dome anchored to a hemispherical inverted-dome-basement are daunting tasks requiring the transport of considerable amounts of industrial equipment. Promoting astronaut travel in spacecraft is not enough. Promoting industry in orbit with all materials shipped up from Earth is not enough. If people ever want to be able to emigrate from Earth in substantial numbers, industry on other celestial bodies must be promoted along with the means of traveling there. Supporting astronauts in space suits on the moon to do the initial set-up of industrial equipment, bulldozing regolith, and various construction tasks would require multimillion dollar payments per day per astronaut, just to keep them alive, with only a small fraction of their total time being possibly used for outdoor in-spacesuit tasks. Working in a spacesuit is extremely inefficient and there is no evidence that all of the required work cannot be done by remotely controlled machines. The ISS is a net detriment to human advance into space because it perpetuates the notion that everything must be done by direct manual labor instead of remotely controlled machines. The robots operated on Mars have an average response time for a command that is about 250 times as long as the response time for a remotely controlled device on Earth's moon. If people seriously care about making use of the enormous resource base that is the rest of the solar system other than Earth, then the moon is the place to start, with robots, and the ISS should be scrapped. - Farred (talk) 20:56, 9 March 2017 (GMT)