The Future of the Space Program In Bad Economic Times

With the United States being in a recession as well as many other countries in the world along with Obama’s administration set on increasing government jobs, one wonders which direction NASA will be taking in the next four years. Space exploration is an important aspect in science, and it’s also requires a lot of funding.

We have been blessed by the spacecraft missions in recent years. A wealth of information that has increased knowledge of our designed solar system. The remarkable feats by being able to put a spacecraft on Venus for example. Even though the spacecraft only could survive a few minutes in a very hostile environment on Venus, it was able to return important information.

The rings of Saturn is another great example, we know more about the phenomena now than we ever did. The F ring of Saturn for instance, was found to be experiencing a huge amount of  intensive collisions, about 30 meters per second. These collisions created some features in the ring such as spurs, grooves, gouges and fan-like structures that vary rapidly.

These collisions happen on a daily basis, sometimes even on an hourly basis. What is very interesting about this newer discovery is the fact that it reveals Saturn’s ring is young, not millions of years old as evolutionists claim. The punishment it takes, and the way it appears indicates the ring is young within the framework of the Bible.

Saturn’s moon, Enceladus. It was found to have internal heating on the inside which produces about 5.8 gigawatts of heat. This is another indication of a young solar system with thousands of years old, not billions. If Enceladus is old, it would have frozen out long ago.

Nature is excited about possible space flights and weighs in on which direction it should go, as we see here…

“In just five decades, planetary spacecraft have provided an extraordinary wealth of discoveries: the oddly young surface of Venus, the ancient landscapes of Mars, the volcanoes of Io, the geysers of Triton, the lakes of Titan, the ocean of Europa. But two of the most sought-after things have not been discovered. One is life. The other is how to explore space cheaply.”

A Titan mission, by contrast, would be unlikely to encounter life, but would be much more intimately involved with its environment.

It would include a Titan orbiter with radar and other instruments to map the moon far more thoroughly than the Cassini mission’s ongoing fly-bys can; a European lander designed to float on one of the hydrocarbon lakes; and a hot-air balloon (or more accurately, a slightly-less-cold-air balloon) that would drift around the moon studying its hazy atmosphere and rich landscapes of channels, lakes and dunes.

I believe the funding factor is what nature seemed to over look a bit. I agree though Titan (one of Saturn’s moons) would be a better target for study in outer space. But I believe that cutbacks are needed until the economy gets better even though I think exploring outer space is exciting, and worthwhile.

The space shuttles are about ready to retire in a few years, so there are other things to look at in the space program as well. Just like everything else, things need to be cutback till it gets better.

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11 thoughts on “The Future of the Space Program In Bad Economic Times

  1. You really are insistent …
    Again tidal forces are what you should read up on. Why do you refuse to do that ?

    Tidal heating is the obvious heat source for Enceladus. Just google for Enceladus and read. Tidal heating keeps the inside Enceladus ‘warm’ (and there seems to be some radioactive heating as well). So it could have lived forever, metaphorically speaking.

  2. Yes, I am “insistent” with good reason

    “The source of energy for the observed plumes on Enceladus is a mystery. An explanation using tidal heating has difficulty in explaining the extreme localization of the plumes. That issue aside, the tides cannot produce enough dissipation to either account for the current energy loss or to store sufficient energy for later release, even given the current or likely past orbital resonances (Meyer and Wisdom, 2007).”

    Tidal heating, even though it’s an “explanation” for Enceladus in which your hold too, isn’t a valid one…

  3. Please read that paper more carefully.

    Meyer & Wisdom (2007) show that “equilibrium tidal heating” is not sufficient to produce the heat observed to come from Enceladus. But the authors have indicated what might work. One option is …. nonequilibrium tidal heating. Obviously still tidal heating.

    Other authors have done calculations as well. For example, Hussmann et al. (2007) conclude that
    “Heating rates due to tidal friction would in princi-
    ple be sufficient to power the observed activity on
    Enceladus. However, this will require a decoupling of
    the outer ice shell from the deep interior.”
    So it might be tidal heating plus decoupling then. Fine.

    If you don’t like any of these, what sort of model would you propose instead ? You simply say that Enceladus “has to be” young to be producing this amount of heat, but you do not provide arguments why that should be.

    By the way, tidal heating works pretty well for Io and Europa.
    And there are still some of your other posts where tidal forces are an important part of the solution.

  4. What you quote and believe is purely speculation

    First, “However, this will require a decoupling of the outer ice shell from the deep interior.”Like Meyer & Wisdom said, “The source of energy for the observed plumes on Enceladus is a mystery” to evolutionists. Which is like saying the observation doesn’t match up with the framework (evolution) so we are still in the process of trying to fit it in.

    The temperature at Enceladus’ south pole is about -220 degrees Celsius. A very old moon would have frozen out long ago. It’s an indication the moon is young. The plumes on Enceladus are about 100 degrees warmer. As far as source for what’s causing the heat or what I believe might be causing the heat source. I look at the data, and so far what we have are only glimpses of this newly discovered phenomena.

    A speck of observations. To me, that’s not enough to come to conclusions on what is causing the heat source. I believe more exploration (than just specks of observation) are needed when it comes to Enceladus. This is why I don’t really favor any model at this point in time, other than it’s showing that it’s young in age not billions of years old. It’s a very challenging project. I am hopeful for better observations in the future which will improve a model for it. Then maybe by that time, I can tell you what model I favor for the cause.

    As far as

  5. What has evolution got to say about Enceladus ? You are again mixing up evolutionary biology with astrophysics (or planetary science, if you like). I have no idea why you keep on doing this.

    The framework is *not* evolution. The framework is astrophysics.

    To call my quotations ‘pure speculation’ sounds a bit desperate. These people did detailed calculations, and provided plausible solutions to explain the data.

    So, about your ideas: why is a moon at -220 degrees a young moon ? How do you get from temperature to age ? That is blatantly unclear. What should the temperature be when the moon forms ? Could you do some sums, like everybody else ?

    Have you finally read up on tidal forces ? Including the nonequilibrium ones ? Good stuff, tides !

  6. Oh boy, here we go on with exact titles again. Can’t use “shorthand” or generalize a bit, huh? Evolution means, a gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.Don’t you believe that is what planets, moons, stars have done? Not saying you can’t use astrophysics or the term is not right for talking about Enceladus geological makeup.

    To call my quotations ‘pure speculation’ sounds a bit desperate. These people did detailed calculations, and provided plausible solutions to explain the data.

    Here is what you have trouble understanding…Firstly, the geysering activity on Enceladus even from astrophysics (happy now…lol) best estimates for geysering activity could only have lasted about 30 million years. According to space.com the moon should have frozen out long ago as I have been saying too if it were billions of years old. They have no plausible explanation of a moon as you are trying to imply.

    James Roberts (UC Santa Cruz) lamented, “There is no possible combination of parameters that allow for a thermally stable ocean” under the icy crust.

    Tidal heating nor radioactive decay are sufficient to produce 5.8 gigawatts of heat, given Enceladus’ size and the nature of its orbit. Scientists continue to try and find ways to fit into their framework the billions of years of energy production rather than letting observational data dictate how long or how old Enceladus is. We need to know more about Enceladus to find the source, but already it’s not indicating old Enceladus, but young. And it’s not 30 million years either.

    But even if we knew the source, the moon is still worth exploring and learning more about it…

  7. Generalizing ‘a bit’ ?? Interesting definition of ‘a bit’.
    I’ve looked up ‘evolution’ in your favorite dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary: “evolution: the process by which different kinds of living organism are believed to have developed, especially by natural selection”

    So you think that planetary moons are living organisms ? Interesting. And imagine natural selection with moons …

    As you love quoting people, here is my quote from the same space.com page you mentioned:
    “It’s a no-brainer that tidal heating is happening on Enceladus,” said William McKinnon of Washington University in Saint Louis. “I can conceive of no other explanation for the south polar thermal anomaly.”

    The fact that he cannot conceive another explanation does not mean there isn’t another one, of course. But it is the exact nature of the tidal heating process (equilibrium or nonequilibrium, or global, or local, etc. etc.) which is the big question.

    But now to the important point: you just say people don’t understand Enceladus (some of the models do not work, or not yet), and then simply conclude: it is young !
    But you do not provide a model yourself for why this should be. So I repeat my question: how do you go from temperature to age ?

    You actually acuse scientists of trying to find ways of fitting Enceladus data into a framework. You claim the observational data should dictate that, and according to your reading of that data Enceladus should be young (without saying why/how).
    As you have a framework yourself (6000 years, right ?), aren’t you trying to do exactly that yourself ?

  8. You conclude the moon is old, don’t you? The 4.6 billion year framework? That was assumed before we sent a spacecraft there to get a closer look. It was also assumed before we got a closer look that the moon was inactive and should have frozen out many years ago. So that is where temp and age are connected.

    Well I said the activity on Enceladus means it’s young, but that in itself doesn’t narrow it down to a particular age. It does however affect the billions of years old concept. This is why I didn’t point to it as proof contained what we know from that moon of the exact age, but only that it’s young and not 30 million years. So I’m not exactly trying to fit into the 6,000 year framework. I just don’t believe there is enough known to make a case for an exact date in that framework yet. More exploration and information is needed. Take the Earth’s moon for example. There were three hypothesis that were suppose to answer where the moon came from. In the 1960’s man went to the moon. All three were proved invalid when we got a closer look. They are still searching for answers today where Earth’s moon came from because the US is planning on going to the moon again. I just would like to see an entire study of the moon especially with man being able to go there.

    Yes, I believe scientists are trying to fit the framework of 4.6 billion years rather than saying 30 million years which is what they believe the energy in which resides in a particular area of the moon should have lasted so far.

  9. So again: *how* are temperature and age related then, in your opinion ? You’re not answering that question at all.

    Activity means young ? Why would that be ? You keep on just saying that without any argumentation, and you keep ignoring tidal heating … which in the case of Enceladus seems to have complications (nonequilibrium version of tidal heating etc. etc.), but in the case of other moons doesn’t (Io is a nice example).

    As an aside: is 30 million years young to you, or old ?

  10. Yes, I have answered the question, it’s even related to the Nebular theory which I’m sure you heard of and know what it is about. It also has to do with basic physics. For example, a cup of hot chocolate that sits on a desk for a period of time, the energy in that hot chocolate will dissipate resulting reducing the temp in the cup to room temp. This is why it was surprise to find Enceladus active.

    There is only one activity going on in Enceladus, plumes of water vapor coming from what is known as tiger strips which are narrow ridges. All the models which have been studied say the phenomena couldn’t last longer than 30 million years. I disagree with your example of Io for tidal heating. It also has “complications.” This is because tidal heating within the moon’s interior would deform the surface of Io in a huge way. Every few hours when Jupiter passes overhead the surface of lo would be lifted almost half a mile. Eleven hours later, the surface of lo would then drop a half mile. As a result of intensive severe dynamics the shape of Io would resemble a prolate spheroid, with its long axis directed toward the center of Jupiter. More study is needed with Io too.

    30 million years would be old to the creationist paradigm. So yes, it would be old to me. You hit on target about the 6,000 year framework in one of your previous posts. Sorry, forgot to answer that one.

  11. You have not answered the question. I can only guess what you are trying to say: Enceladus is just cooling, with no internal heat source, and the current heat comes from the formation event, which produced a hot moon that is cooling.
    But which cooling mechanism ? There are plenty, so it matters if you want to work out a cooling time. And you need to assume an initial temperature! What would that be ?
    The cooling rate AND the initial temperature gives you an age.

    As for the heat source that drives the plumes, you still ignore tidal heating completely, just like that. Pretend it doesn’t exist. While everybody else just argues about *how* tidal heating works in the case of Enceladus, you simply ignore it altogether.

    But interestingly, for Io you do accept it and even exaggerate it: the tidal bulge gets up to 100 m, not half a mile. That’s why Io is the most active body in the solar system.

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