Space idea factory & brainstorming school
A nuclear fuel production facility in space might power a nuclear rocket, seen here in an artist's rendering, to Mars.
December 27th, 2011
09:01 AM ET

Space idea factory & brainstorming school

You might call it an idea factory for space exploration. A unique program at the University of Southern California asks students at the Graduate Space Concepts Studio of the Department of Astronautical Engineering to dream up humanity’s next big space adventure.

Program graduates include George Whitesides, a top exec at commercial space outfit Virgin Galactic. Others have worked at SpaceX, NASA, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin joined graduates this month to unveil their amazing ideas. Here are just a few:

  • Make nuclear fuel in space: Nuclear power may be the best viable solution for long-distance space travel. But where should the nuclear fuel be produced? Grad student Jake Dodd proposes a system to create it in space. This would avoid risks posed by creating it on Earth and use rockets to launch radioactive fuel through the atmosphere. Dodd named his idea SNAP: Space-based Nuclear Activision Plant. From a constant position in space, SNAP would “ingest fertile materials shipped from Earth, transmute them into useable nuclear fuels, and aid in the manufacture and distribution of space based nuclear fuel,” Dodd said. He suggests that SNAP might use nuclear power technologies such as molten salt reactors or nuclear-pumped lasers.
  • Build an industrial research park on the moon: The U.S. – especially the private sector – could provide communications, navigation and lunar ground infrastructure for China, India and other nations to send their own vehicles to the moon and back.
  • Use the space station to build space ships: Use the International Space Station as a scaffold to build the next-generation lunar orbiting station. Use the lunar station to develop and build a manned spacecraft called the Cosmic Mariner, which would journey to targets like Mars, the asteroid belt and the outer planets.
  • Build orbiting “filling stations” for rockets: Rockets could fill up at these floating “gas stations” so they could use their powerful engines to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere instead of the traditional method of “falling” through the atmosphere at high speeds.
  • Commercial astronauts build energy satellites: The private sector and NASA should develop a commercial astronaut corps program to start training crew who can go out on weekly missions to build, among other projects, satellites that would create microwave energy from the continually available sunlight and beam it to Earth. Such projects would create high-paying jobs and help bolster the sagging world economy.

This spring, development of the lunar research park idea will be shared with USC’s School of Architecture in a special graduate study topic called “Moon Studio.”

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Filed under: In Space • Mars • News
soundoff (267 Responses)
  1. Gopika

    These are amazing ideas put forward by the grad students.I liked the idea of making nuclear fuel in space and building an industrial research park on moon. This would indeed be the boost the next generation space exploration concepts. These ideas are also environment friendly.

    January 1, 2012 at 4:34 am |
    • Reythia

      Funny. I was thinking they were trivial ideas for grad students. As in, all of them have been suggested over and over again for the last three or more decades...

      Mind you, I don't think it's a bad idea to encourage students to be creative and logical, which such a class would surely do. But anyone who's ever taken an aerospace class should realize that none of this is at all new.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  2. B

    All of these conversation points will ultimately be pointless unless the international community gets serious about impending disasters related to Climate warming and Global Over population. We will soon be having wars over water and other resources.
    Space exploration is a vital part of the continuing quest for now sources of energy and technologies that will help us All deal with a very rapidly changing planet.
    If we don‘t, all of this rhetoric is a waste of time..

    December 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Jing

      The future is not that bad if we, especially the governments in the world take action now. Using current space technology, critical strucutres and infrastructures could be built, which would enable sustainable development. In such manmade environment, there is almost zero CO2 emission, and the energy is from renewable resources, such as biofuel, solar energy. Food will also be produced inside the strucutres. We could actually take advantage of the underground space, such as quarries after mining, natural caves, and we can make underground strucutres much deeper to hold more people. You can see the Masdar city in the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masdar_City

      January 3, 2012 at 1:30 am |
  3. Professor Trollworth

    We should build a theme park on the moon. Also, we should build some low-income level apartments there. As a secondary option, it might be useful to just attach giant rockets to the moon and propel it out of Earth's orbit towards the sun. If we trashed that big gray ball of junk, we could make the oceans less wavy and annoying. It'd make it way easier for me to drive my boat out in the ocean to go fishing.

    December 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Shawn Allen DeBoard

      A fun park on the Moon with the same logic it would take for people to construct this the moon can become living and with this the possibilities are truthfully endless because once space becomes something that the human race can adapt to fit there requirements this will equal the end of the innocence and the possibility is not a possibility it is a fact there are only six requirements for a living environment to exist Water, rock, animals, plants Energy When constructed in the correct pattern this will equal living dome city`s on the moon is the technology And someday I will give the answer as I have countless times before!

      December 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  4. Anthony

    I applaud USC for having a program such as this. I was able to attend thanks to the courtesy of the program staff, and have to say I was very impressed with what I saw. There was plenty of evidence of 'out of the box' thinking of the kind that will make this nation economically strong again. In this context, Robert Bigelow's Oct 19 speech, in Las Cruces N.M., was right in blowing the whistle regarding China's presumed intentions regarding the moon and its resources. But he was wrong - I believe - in concluding that the moon is a lost cause. Ceding the moon to the Chinese is not something that we must accept. A partnership between the U.S. government and the vigorous U.S. private sector together with any other national space agencies and wealthy philanthropists that wish to be keep the moon open to all comers should be capable of giving the Chinese some company between now and 2020. For humanity as a whole, the moon is a piece of strategic real estate without parallel in the solar system, with due apologies to the Mars enthusiasts, including Robert Bigelow and Elon Musk of SpaceX. It is not really very different from the race for the moon in the 1960's, but just with a different cast. Bigelow is right to raise the alarm, and it's true that some factors may favor the Chinese, but now that the challenge is clear it should be possible for a coalition of interested governments and American private sector savvy to give us all something to be proud of again. In fact we should thank the Chinese for being open about their intentions - and perhaps humanity and the human race will be true the winners.

    December 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  5. Captain Obvious

    "•Build an industrial research park on the moon: The U.S. – especially the private sector – could provide communications, navigation and lunar ground infrastructure for China, India and other nations to send their own vehicles to the moon and back."

    You forgot N. Korea, Iran, Pakistan and Cuba.

    December 27, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Jatin Mehta

      Dude his idea is more with respect to countries which has launching capabilities for any space mission...... North Korea , pakistan , Iran does not have food & economy to survive on its own... though they all have nuclear capability but to kill their neighbors & enemies....

      January 11, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  6. Zach Urbina

    I was inspired to hear the grad student's projects during the class presentation. In particular, Mark Smith's ideas re: applications for algae as fuel in long duration space travel showed the most potential commercial promise, in my opinion.

    Additionally, I enjoyed hearing Buzz Aldrin's plan for a potential future Mars mission. To be perfectly blunt, his politics are not mine. His is a different era of American history, perhaps more traditional than I have grown accustomed to. While I have the utmost respect and deference for both his past accomplishments and future plans (his Mars mission looked and sounded ambitious yet achievable), I believe that the way forward in space exploration lies largely in commercial hands, with a modest nudge from NASA's ongoing science and discovery missions.

    December 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  7. aerocrat

    Long live great multifunctional cargo&transport airships! Hope Russians'll be first who make such ДЕФ platforms incl. stratospheric basing (place for aerospace lounching/'groundong' ["airing"]). For far space searchings the time isn't have staied yet...

    December 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  8. Kim

    The United States could increase productivity for years to come by developing a large strategic investment program - so why not look to space? Just look at the benefits of space......

    December 27, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Professor Trollworth

      Space is very useful. I recently got a bigger apartment and now I can store more boxes of products that I frivolously bought over the holiday season.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  9. Human

    STOP wasting money and start using it for "useful" things....we need to re-invest this money in a wise way and not in dreams....we can do that later!

    December 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      Absolutely! We need to stop wasting money on religion and all those silly pipe dreams and concentrate that energy and money on space exploration. Good job Human, you're on the right path.

      December 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Brendan

      no, invest it now – it's already almost too late. The money will be wasted here on earth, there are always local problems that funding could supposedly be put to better use on. We should have had these things decades ago. You will never cease war or 'cure poverty' or disease or any of that. Sending billions to africa or the mid east won't solve anything it will be wasted. This type of innovation doesn't wait for whiners and time wasters who think they know where money should be spent. There will ALWAYS be problems there is no perfect tomorrow where all problems are solved and then we can invest in space. Investing in growing our horizons now will help. Overpopulation alone is an issue that should have us scrambling to the moon bases. Invest MORE in space.

      December 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Professor Trollworth

      I agree. I think we should invest this money in something more useful such as welfare for the entire earth so that no one ever has to work again. Then the world would be a utopia.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  10. Jon

    We need to start thinking about mining space vice reducing our already limited resources on Earth. This is the only planet at the present time that can sustain life until we 1 find another planet that can sustain life and 2. where are able to travel at light speed to study and hopeful colonize if not already colonized.

    December 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  11. Will

    Why not, All of the Above?. It is much better to have multiple ideas and choices and each would compliment the other. It is about time for us to take to the stars. We could do so much if we would just fund it.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  12. Deep North

    Learn to colonize the oceans....They are much closer!

    December 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • lolsigh

      sorry but space is much easier than the ocean, as you have to deal with the pressure.

      December 27, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Deep North

      It may be easier, but you CAN"T GET THERE FROM HERE!

      December 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Professor Trollworth

      Yeah. I want to live at the bottom of the ocean. But only if it's near an Arby's.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  13. jimzcarz

    I hate to sound like the conspiracy theorist of the bunch. But maybe, just maybe. Somebody knows something that we don't.
    That's why we look so hard for another Earth, energy sources etc. These little pointless trips to our orbit do not get us past the technology we already have.We've done it. I believe the space program will be re-funded in a few years but only after we've made advancements in our technology to get us further out there, Faster.
    Happy Holidays everyone
    jimmy
    San Jose
    Earth

    December 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  14. Tonus Maximus

    I would love to see a nuclear explosion happen in space. What a cool 4th of July that would be!

    December 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  15. Jon

    CAPT we have whales!!! Scotty give me all you got!!

    December 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    NASA and the GOVT. are now desperate to find ways to transport humans to these new earth-like planets they've discovered. They know that our planet is slowly dying and since they aren't trying to save it they just figure that we can move to a new one.

    All that'll happen is they'll move themselves and the 1%er's to the new healthy planet(s) and leave the rest of us 99%ers behind to die on this planet.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Athesist #1

      Scientist are smarter than that! THEY WILL FORCE EUGENICS ONTO THE IDIOTS BEFORE LETTING THEM ON THE NEW PLANET.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Chris R

      First, they haven't discovered any earthlike planets. Only planets with similar mass to the earth. Second, it's unlikely that we'd be able to really exploit these new planets. Different planets will likely have different biochemistries that will make it nearly impossible to grow planets, husband animals, or eat native flora and fauna. Third, it will be *very* difficult to make it to these new planets. Even if we could travel at the speed of light we are talking about journeys of a thousand years. You'd need generation ships – or real hibernation (which doesn't exist). Basically, we are stuck on this planet for the foreseeable future. The best we will be able to do is make use of Mars and maybe some of the Jovian moons. That's our fate – not the science fiction of traveling to the stars faster than light.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
      • Deep North

        Thank You...Reason Prevails Again!

        December 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        Going at the speed of light you wouldn't need generation ships. Don't forget about time dilation. For the people on the ship, the trip would be instantaneous

        December 27, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
      • lolsigh

        lol first of all they have found earthlike planets or at least planets within the habital zone. Second you have no clue how FTL would even works, please look up time dilation.
        It is obvious yuor words are merely assumptions based upon what you personally think and not actual facts.

        December 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
      • I'm the Best Idiot

        If it's 1,000 light years away, it will take 1,000 years to get there at the speed of light. Time dilation would cause the people back on Earth to age maybe 1,000,000 years in that same time period, but nothing would be instantaneous. I was just being an idiot in my last post.

        December 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
      • John

        No, im the best, you were right the first time. External observer time = 1000 years. Traveler time = 1000 * sqrt(1-v^2/c^2)=0 at v==c. Unfortunately, v<<c.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        Just like to point out the idiot wasn't me.

        December 28, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • veggiedude

      Okay, the meek shall inherit the earth, blah blah blah.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Professor Trollworth

      Exactly. How did you know that was the plan? Did you also know they are planning on leaving behind a doomsday device to make sure no one tries to follow? I heard it was a 1 teraton hydrogen-based doomsday device.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  17. feoux

    extraordinary – ideawise and costwise

    December 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  18. Athesist #1

    So until SPACE becomes somehow Profitable FOR BUSINESS TO EXPLOIT. science still likes Government Funding Right?

    December 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Hugo

      What was direct the business benefit of discovering quantum mechanics (pure science)? (AFAIK, nothing.)

      What was the business benefit of developing the transistor (applied science and technology)? Huge.

      Care to revisit your point?

      December 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
      • DaleNC

        Hugo. When those items were developed, our govt did not fund those projects.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
      • VO5

        Hugo, I believe an understanding of quantum mechanics was necessary for the invention of the transistor – what's your point?

        December 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
      • Steven R Vogel

        the very hard drive in your computer was derived from the study of quantum mechanics.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
      • Dr. Martinez

        The multiple discoveries and experiments leading to the unveiling of fundamental concepts of quantum mechanics led to numerous subsequent discoveries such as why certain elements behave the way they do which is critical in understanding basic chemical properties. (oxygen's paramagnetism for example) Space provides conditions for experimentation to take place in an environment unobtainable on Earth which could lead to future groundbreaking scientific discoveries with just as much of an impact as Einstein's theory of relativity. While man's greed is exorbitant and selfish, science serves as a lego factory, creating building blocks which serve as ideas, leading to the ultimate creation of a 'lego-space needle'; a collage of intuition and creative thinking which has been advancing humanity since antiquity.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
      • Peter

        As if "business benefit" is the only benefit there is...

        December 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • saywhat

      for businesses to exploit? private industry has been driving technical advances for years. you're a weirdo.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
      • bob

        private industry never invest big money into new technologies. It always was public money funded research (most of the money) and then private sector ripped the benefits when got the technology. I think government and american people should have been paid royalties on all government funded inventions: internet, cellphones, etc....

        December 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
      • Richp

        Bob, they were paid royalties, products that NASA developed they sold licenses too. IMO they sold them too cheap but sell them they did.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
      • Chris R

        As someone who's research is funded by the American taxpayer I do have an insiders view point on this. All of the work I do is immediately placed in the public domain with not restrictions whatsoever. Why? Because the public is funding my work so the public should be able to benefit from it without restriction – you've all paid for it after all. This includes corporations who take the work I've done and, in turn, make money off of it. Some of the work I've done is part of the networking stack of every operating system around now. Other work I'm doing is making it possible for people to engage in very high speed cryptographically secure communications. This work, even when exploited by corporations, do pay dividends to the public by helping create and expand new industries. In your example of the internet, don't you think the public has been paid dividends? Haven't entire industries grown up around this technology? Doesn't that count as a return on your investment? Just curious as to what your thoughts are on this.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Athesist #1

      Ok, I Remember!

      December 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  19. bob

    I'd like to see some more studies of Uranus please.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • John

      Real adult, there, "bob."

      December 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Tonus Maximus

      Hey Bob! Why don't you bend over in the mirror & look at your own anus! Afterwards, if you feel like you discovered something scientific, you can ask the government to fund your research.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Professor Trollworth

      I heard that they plan to rename that planet to eliminate that stupid joke. I heard it was going to be renamed to Urectum.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  20. ScottH

    The only reason we're not doing any of these things is because we do not have the will or the courage to do these things.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Deep North

      Will and Courage are very expensive things!

      December 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Richp

      Mixed opinion on that, our current societies are being run by social scientists as it's easier than becoming a real scientist hence the reduction in pure physical research here in the US. I think the logic behind it is we really need to get more civilized before we are let out of the crib, the flip side is we may kill ourselves off first.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  21. John Luma

    All we have to do is... pay for it! That's not gonna happen soon here in the U.S. Unless... unless maybe The Donald wants to make a contribution. So let's be clear - not in the next 50 or 100 years will any of this happen. IT COSTS TOO MUCH.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Hugo

      1. Do you know what it costs? Did you even define it?
      2. One of the suggestions involves using private funds. What business is it of yours how much it costs someone else? (You didn't define it.)
      3. What are values of the benefits? What is with evaluating cost without evaluating benefit? What did Wal-Mart's MIS infrastructure cost? I'm sure it's well into the tens of millions. But what is the benefit? Did you see the article where Sears is struggling? Which company has a kick*ss MIS system and which doesn't? Which nation is going to take the lead? Which nation is going to gain the rewards? If the U.S. sits on its collective hands, that nation might well be called China. What kind of world do you want your grandchildren living in - one dominated by China or one dominated by the U.S? Well?

      December 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
      • j0eschm0e

        well said

        December 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
      • Human

        Dear Hugo,
        It might as well be China...every single country is willingly donating their "patents" to the chinese. It's ok because they are cheap and work like slaves...so it's clear; the chinese government (wich by the way is communist and promotes USSR like values to a vast mayority of the nation) will rule the world and everyone will have to bend over and bow.

        December 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • j0eschm0e

      lets seee.. 50 to a 100 years from now it will cost a whole lot more

      December 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • DaleNC

      You're absolutely right. The Govt (WE THE PEOPLE) will wind up paying the lions share of any major science project like the ones that are proposed. WE don't have the money right now for experiments like these. And HUGO argues that it'll come from private investors. He also knows better.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Professor Trollworth

      It would cost a couple thousands bucks tops. NASA is always overstating their budget requirements because if they say they need a million bucks, they get 10 bucks. If they say they need a billion, they get 1000. That's just how it works. Heck, I could build a space ship for 500 bucks if I wanted to...

      December 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  22. Deep North

    O SNAP!

    December 27, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  23. Stephen Sirabella

    These and so many other ideas scientist are working on may very well have merit but for now we should be focusing our time and resources on our own planet. Space exploration is important to the future of our own planet however if we don't have the economic strength to develop these explorations we will never be able to reach our objectives. I say let's put on money on earth until such a time as we can afford space explorations, in the long run we will catch up and exceed our original goals.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • j0eschm0e

      ahem... they "did" say private sector.... and someone will get there soon, and some want to be the first to do it. also it said it will create substantial jobs and boost the economy as the "private" sector will be spending big bucks to fund said projects. win win situation.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:57 am |
      • realist

        True j0eschm0e but we're still spending a fortune the current house version for the space exploration budget is $17.8 billion. That's not chicken feed.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • realist

      Good point. Although much is being funded in the private sector we still have people around the world starving death around the world, little or no education, no health care +++++ first things first.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:58 am |
      • milan

        However, with the rising world population and lack of new resources, this catch-up-game will never work! To achieve the equilibrium here on earth, we must find sources outside of our existing realm. I think that this is very clear to anyone from the scientific community.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Dude

      I've been hearing that for over 40 years. We will never "solve all our problems" on earth. There will always be someone that is poor to point to and say "help them before going into space".

      If you could really see the impact of space exploration on the world today you would see a huge payback for a relatively small investment.

      Light helium from the moon may well become the power source that lights our cities. There is virtually none on earth and plenty trapped in lunar soil.

      If all space research ultimately results in having the ability to deflect a small asteroid away from the earth, the payback will be the earth not getting destroyed. Many experts agree that the earth being destroyed would have a negative effect on the economy. Possibly worse than the great depression.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:58 am |
      • saywhat

        "Many experts agree that the earth being destroyed would have a negative effect on the economy" – LOL thanks for the laugh🙂

        December 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Hugo

      What?

      How is addressing the energy demands on the planet not addressing the needs of the planet?

      I don't get it unless you didn't actually read the entire article...

      December 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Mike

      We hear this argument or one similar quite often however it makes little sense. Spending to fund NASA makes up less than 1% of the federal budget. Consider that we spent 4% of the federal budget in 2009 on TARP and 5% on interest on the debt in 2009. I would urge people to check out this link http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/02/01/us/budget.html from the NY Times for a good look at the Federal budget and how your tax dollars are being spent. The reason NASA coms to mind is because of the high profile missions that they do but the impression of the general public about the cost is out of proportion to the actual spending. Too bad we aren't getting such good value from spending on things like the ATF, DHS, FDA, DEA and other agencies.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
      • Amused

        I agree ! There is nothing in the national budget that gives a better return that the space program! In fact, There is really very little in the budget other than the space program that gives ANY returns at all! And yet the general public still thinks space exploration is a waste...

        December 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  24. Deep North

    All this talk about space stations and living in outer space and we can't make a habitat 300 feet underwater that can sustain life. The world is not overpopulated. We just all are living one on top of the other. 3/4 of the planet is uninhabited.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Rick

      That's actually a valid point. I wonder if living under or on water would upset oceanic life.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:47 am |
      • Professor Trollworth

        Who cares about oceanic life. It's not like they do anything for us. I think the government should just drop a ton of dynamite in an area of ocean and "dynamite fish" to free up some room to build stuff. That way we can tear down the world's forests and destroy the oceans at the same time. It'd be a sort of multi-tasking.

        December 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Deep North

      rick. No more than we have upset terrestrial life above ground. Lions and Tigers and Bears....Oh My! Sharks and Octopi and Whales.......Oh My!

      December 27, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Dude

      They did build a habitat under water. They filmed a whole series there called Sealab 2021.

      In space the pressure difference between your habitat and the outside is less than 1 atmosphere. Underwater it far higher. At 300 ft the pressure is over 10 atmospheres.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
      • saywhat

        And don't forget The Abyss – there are aliens down there.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  25. T. Oswald

    NASA should focus on robotics for the near term exploration of our solar system. Put manned exploration on hold since 80% of every dollar for manned space is spent just to keep man alive. Spend the next 100 years researching advanced propulsion systems to achieve near "speed of light" travel since manned exploration makes little sense until we have the capability.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Walter Estrada

      ur probably right, however we want all the glory of being first at putting a man on Mars. We wont let China or anyone else for that matter beat us to it...

      December 27, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  26. Jean Luc Picard

    Engage! then... Make it so.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • William

      Kirk would get it done all the while pleasing the alien women.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:58 am |
      • Dude

        Archer was the only one that actually was on Mars.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  27. C. Smith

    Here's an idea: have NASA and NOAA team up to build a 'sea station' with the specific aim of developing a self-sustaining ecosystem inside at a depth of 200-300 feet (continental shelf depth). Not only would it provide a wonderful base for marine researchers of all kinds, it would provide a cheap, easily accessed, and much safer environment to develop self-sustaining ecosystems for orbital or extra-planetary facilities. We learn more about the seas and get ready to learn more about the stars all at once, and for a fraction of the cost and risk of doing just the latter in orbit. What's more, once successful, it would open the way to both space-based and sea-based colonies.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  28. Jason

    None of this could be possible unless Ron Paul & Jon Huntsman get elected. Until then, keep dreaming.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Andrew Kelly

      Actually, under the Obama Administration the focus has been shifted to private sector space exploration and travel by giving the companies incentives and tax breaks to develope space technology. That is the reason for the recent increase in the private sectors interest in space travel. Companies like Virgin galactic have significantly benefitted from the programs put in place by Obama. It is easier for the private sector to create new space technologies rather than the governement controlling the sector.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:33 am |
      • Lance

        This is what I hate about the internet. The complete falsohoods pushed as fact by idealogues. Are you reffering to the 10% increase in tax rate that all these companies now fork out? There have been no new tax breaks passed for the space industry so I am not sure what you are reffering to. Actually, Obama has pushed the opposite. He fired the best NASA chief we had had since the birth of NASA. I call Michael Griffin the best because he was the first NASA chief on any matter of scale to bid contracts out to multiple private companies, trying to make this NASA's new bussiness model (instead of no bids to the likes of JPL and other classic NASA suppliers). Then to top it off he nominates a political crony like Bolden who is not only a laughingstock in most US acedemic/engineering circles, but has basically turned NASA back into what it was prior to Griffin's "reforms".

        December 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Professor Trollworth

      We should elect a hobo. That'd be fun. He could run the entire country on a can of beans and a pocket full of dreams.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  29. palintwit

    Physicists at the prestigous Sarah Palin Galactic Observatory / Bait Shop have teamed up with Haliburton and are developing methods of drilling for oil in space. As you might imagine, Sarah Palin has taken a personal interest in this project and is spearheading it herself.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Greg

      your life must suck

      December 27, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • saywhat

      it's sad that people can't just discuss the article, without throwing in pointless, unrelated barbs and insults. just having a username like "palintwit" say a lot about your charachter – or lack thereof.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  30. RMc

    WE MUST GET OFF THIS ROCK!!! Its only a matter of time before Earth becomes Sun-food. It's a lofty goal but necessary if Humanity doesn't wish to become a galactic One-Trick Pony. Ps- Doesn't some guy own the moon?

    December 27, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Karl

      100% Correct!

      December 27, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • situationalawareness

      According to a UN ruling, no one can claim ownership of anything in space.
      It's part of the 1967 "outer space treaty".
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty

      December 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
      • spiralhunter

        Sarah Palin says she can see the moon from her house....

        December 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
      • jj

        Sounds good, but who's going to stop a nation with the money and the power to claim parts of space? This policy hasn't helped much in the realm of spaced-based weapons.

        December 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • John

      You're right, it is only a matter of time... a matter of 4-5 billion years or so. Get out while we still can!

      December 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  31. ivan gomez

    first you have to get man on the moon,the biggest lie in mankind and time will expose this hoax,why you think Nasa dont want a moon rover cam to view the landing sites, the LRO images are a joke, wake up

    December 27, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • StarzBranz

      Wow. That little myth has been shelved and debunked a thousand different ways. I hope we can reach out and explore and make good use of whatever we find out there. Not look for weird conspiracies at every turn.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • RA

      Been retarded all of you life, or is this a recent affliction?

      December 27, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • palintwit

      Thinking like that will get you a scholarship at Sarah Palin University ( Floyd County, Arkansas campus).

      December 27, 2011 at 11:33 am |
      • saywhat

        you poor, poor little person. i hope your caretaker realizes you accidentally were allowed to use a computer and puts you back in your padded room soon. Then, you can drival on with your hate speach without wasting anyone elses time.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Ivan the Idiot!

      Ivan! I think you're a hoax & a conspiracy. You actually don't exist & I will omit what you wrote!

      December 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • rosenstingl

      Do you REALLY believe that? poor poor thing!

      December 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  32. Gman

    You would think that the acronymn SNAP referred to in the "Make Nuclear Fuel in Space" idea would have at least been more unique....doesn't anyone ever look back on history ? SNAP "System for Nuclear Auxiliary Power" was coined and used for programs (USSR and US) in the mid 1960's !!!!

    December 27, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  33. RB

    Maybe we could start by having NASA develop affordable toasters, televisions and other day to day products we all use everyday. Then build tham here and maybe employ some people.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • AndrewDFW

      NASA is doing extremely valuable work from mapping the solar system to searching for earth like planets around distant stars. The real question is does it make sense to divert scarce resources away from important projects to advance the boundaries of scientific knowledge just to put humans in space? I would answer wth an emphatic "no". We should put humans into space only when it is cost justified to do so and not before. There will be missions that require a human presence. Human presence should not be the mission.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • situationalawareness

      Somehow, I just don't see how toasters, televisions, and other day to day products have anything in relation to Aeronautics & space exploration.

      N.A.S.A. = National Aeronautics and Space Administration

      NOT toaster and television technology enhancement.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  34. grace

    It's too bad about NASA and the furthering of mankind but we need that tax money to buy healthcare for people who don't work, so they can live long and pop out many useless children who also don't work. vote Obama 2012!

    December 27, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Adam

      Hi, we are having an intellectual discussion here. Can you go back to the Fox News comment section where you can rant about that nonsense? Thanks.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:05 am |
      • grace

        You know it's true. Government cancelled the space shuttle, and the general public is too concerned about Dancing with the Stars than the actual stars. If you want to be realistic, the next big project should be to educate people about their place in the universe, get them interested in what's above us.

        December 27, 2011 at 11:10 am |
      • LuisWu

        @Grace – The cancellation of the shuttle program was long overdue. The shuttles were getting old and they were too complex – accidents waiting to happen. Also to expensive. Manned space missions are not as productive scientificaly as robotic missions. For the price of a manned mission to Mars, we could send out hundreds of high-tech robotic missions that would provide MUCH more in the way of scientific data.

        And your asinine comment about people who don't work was uncalled for. Yes, there are welfare cheaters and they should be caught and prosecuted, but that doesn't mean there aren't honestly disabled people who are uncapable of supporting themselves who need government assistance. You've been drinking too much Fox News Koolaid.

        December 27, 2011 at 11:23 am |
      • Greg

        So talking about a disasterous, moronic Obama isn't intellectual? He's a huge part of the problem, he needs to go...maybe those people who hate working can get a job as well.

        December 27, 2011 at 11:41 am |
      • LuisWu

        Another Fox Koolaid drinker. I'll take Obama any day over Bush, or any of the clowns the Repiglicans are putting forth this time.

        December 27, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • TahoePadreFan

      Most people on this board can tell you in a second how much the tarp bailout was. (about 750 billion). But most cant tell you that NASA has never had that much funding in its liftime. That includes the shuttle program, putting a man on the moon, and our entire space exploration program. Lets try putting 750 billion into NASA and see what they can do, because what they have accomplished with little to no money is to change the world we live in everyday.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:12 am |
      • situationalawareness

        I second that, but unfortunately there's no right answer😦
        I believe we're caught right in the middle of diverting money from everything to everything simply to stay afloat right now...

        The tarp fund fiasco is indeed a sore point with nearly every sentient american. You're right.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Warren

      The shuttle was set to expire before Obama took office and Bush is the one that cut funding prior to Obama taking office. Get your facts right.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:22 am |
      • Greg

        Warren-

        Really, Obama has destroyed the space program and NASA, turning it into a political organization. We need to times ten our budget for NASA and design sensible propulsion systems. With that disaster in office for four more years we can just give up space from a western perspective.

        December 27, 2011 at 11:34 am |
      • j0eschm0e

        Bush is the one that set in motion to go to mars. .... Published March 11, 2004

        Hoping to reinvigorate America's space program following the Columbia tragedy, President Bush will reportedly announce plans next week to build a permanent space station on the moon that could serve as a base for sending astronauts to Mars.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  35. lgny

    In the 60's NASA had a clear public mission to place a man on the moon and return. It was a goal that we could all recognize and relate to. The problem is that once we got there, we discovered that the moon is not a very interesting place to visit.

    NASA is desperately looking for the "next big thing" that will justify the billions it spends (or hopes to spend). It's unmanned science work has been tremendous (e.g. Hubble Space Telescope, Mars Rover Project, earth monitoring satellites, ...) but fails to attract great excitement outside of academia. Its man-in-space efforts gain more public attention but have accomplished little more than confirm that it's prohibitively expensive to keep humans alive and safe in space.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Adam

      I couldn't disagree with you more. Today it is expensive to keep people alive in space, but tomorrow, as the technology has developed, it could be much cheaper. Money/taxes are trivial things when compared to the importance of scientific understanding of the universe and the survival of mankind.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:04 am |
      • lgny

        The engineering problems are massive and expensive. People need a constant supply of oxygen, water, and food along with recycling of the items expelled. Mars travel would require supplies for several months of space travel. The nearest extra-solar-system planet found so far is more than 30 light years. The round trip would be a century even if we could find a way to travel at the speed of light. We can not move large objects to even 0.01 of the speed of light - which would extend this trip to 100 centuries. There is NO mechanical system that we've ever invented that can run flawlessly for 100 centuries.

        December 27, 2011 at 11:14 am |
      • Adam

        I think I misunderstood part of what you are saying...unmanned missions in lieu of manned missions is something that I support. Other than that, we both know that physicists smarter than you and I have theorized ways around the cosmic speed limit. That doesn't mean it can be done, but I think its worth a shot.

        December 27, 2011 at 11:30 am |
      • Funzi

        @Igny
        What is your point? That we should shut the door on space exploration? Did we stop building ships after Columbus reached America?

        December 27, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • AndrewDFW

      Excellent comment. I can think of several worthy "next" objectives for NASA none of which presently involve manned space flight. It makes zero sense sending humans to do something a machine can do far less expensively. Manned space flight may be necessary to repair satellites however in truth I suspect ground controlled drones would be as effective and a lot less expensive. If a lunar base can be economically justified then by all means go for it however sending humans into space for the heck of it makes absolutely no sense at all.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • James Mayfield, Las Vegas

      Great summary!. When I was hired to work at JSC, I was so excited. I really thought that I would be working with "our best & brightest" in a creative environment. What I discovered was a giant bureaucracy without a vision, creative force, or futuristic leadership. Engineering drove the science instead of the science driving the engineering.

      The reason that the unmanned programs are so productive compared to the manned programs is that we should be more impressed by what we don't know than what we do know. I believe that a robust vision of gaining knowledge for the next step can have popular appeal and broad-based support. Transitioning the near-earth projects to commercial companies would maximize the results from these programs, free up government funding for exploratory science, and create new jobs.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:23 am |
      • Cranky

        This is the single most sensible post that I have seen to date in CNN public comments.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • LuisWu

      Totally agree. Manned missions are, for the most part, just grandstanding, cowboy, showoff "look what we can do" fluff with very little scientific payback. To expensive and too dangerous. Robotic probes are the way to go until we can develop safer, less expensive alternatives for manned missions.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:26 am |
      • situationalawareness

        I totally agree, but the quick decision process on-the-fly is what I love about manned missions.
        When remotely controlled, there's massive signal-related delays along with something as simple as a rock in the wrong place putting a mission in jeopardy. With a human in the same position, analog thought can look at a situation in real-time and know it's possible to either walk around said rock in a certain fashion or even just climb over it. (examples only, I know it's very generalized and easily debunked)

        I can't wait until the day that manned exploration is far less expensive than it is now.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  36. Me

    Make nuclear fuel in space- This just shows how uneducated the students in the US are. Nuclear fuel was and is used to power space vehicles. To produce it in space – just plain stupid. The cost of one drop of that fuel will be similar to the cost of our planet. To build anuthing in space costs about one million times more than on earth. It looks like its fun SCIFI workshop though.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Adam

      In which space vehicles is nuclear energy used?

      December 27, 2011 at 11:00 am |
      • Bryan T

        Like... all of them.🙂

        December 27, 2011 at 11:11 am |
      • Adam

        Seriously though...how is nuclear energy used in spacecraft today? I thought it was mainly rocket fuel for propulsion and solar panels to power equipment.

        December 27, 2011 at 11:21 am |
      • LuisWu

        No, not all of them. Very few in fact. The Cassini mission to Saturn was the last one I believe, very few before that. There were demostrations against using nuclear fuel at the launch. But the safeguards were very good. The nuclear fuel was enclosed in a massive protective container that would survive any catastrophic failure of the launch vehicle.

        December 27, 2011 at 11:31 am |
      • Joe G

        See http://www.space4peace.org/ianus/npsm3.htm to answer your question. Many missions have carried / carry small nuclear power generators. Especially for missions to the deep solar system, nuclear power is essential.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
      • situationalawareness

        Remember the Voyager series of satellites? Still pumping out data.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
      • Peter

        Curiosity, the Mars rover launched last month, is nuclear powered.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  37. Adam

    Nuclear powered spacecrafts are nothing new...those ideas have been around for a while. Maybe I'm remembering this incorrectly, but I thought that we signed a pact stating we weren't going to use nuclear energy in space. We could always back out of such things, but it seems like an important hurdle.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Mark

      We're forsworn, then, because we just this month launched a spacecraft with a nuclear power supply. More likely we promised not to put nuclear *weapons* in orbit, which promise by any nation will last exactly as long as it prevents that nation's adversaries doing the same thing.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • g.r.r.

      First off, this is about doing nuclear PROCESSING in space. Sending up safe uranium and then breeding it into various forms of Uranium.
      Secondly, there is NOTHING against have nuclear fuel in space. We are not allowed to put up Nuclear bombs, which is a different issue.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • lgny

      No, the prohibition is against nuclear WEAPONS in space. Many satellites have nuclear reactors on board to provide power. In many situations it's impractical to build large enough solar arrays to power the satellite - particularly the deep space probes where sunshine is very dim.

      Nuclear weapons in space would be tremendously destabilizing since it both eliminates the clear heat plume from a rocket launch and greatly reduces the response time to defend against an attack. At the time, there was speculation about designing "killer satellites" to destroy those nuclear weapon satellites before they could launch their weapons. This lead, in turn, to ideas of adding defensive weapons to kill the killers. Before this all spun out of control, both the USSR and US agreed to abandon the entire notion.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  38. Guest

    Looks like a giant tampon for plugging black holes

    December 27, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  39. Iter

    "Build an industrial research park on the moon: The U.S. – especially the private sector – could provide communications, navigation and lunar ground infrastructure for China, India and other nations to send their own vehicles to the moon and back."

    Yeah, like the Chinese would ever do that. If they want to go to the moon, i dont think they want help from private companies in US.

    Dont get me wrong, i like the ide, but it will never happen. If they ever wil get up there, they will get there by their own....

    December 27, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • g.r.r.

      Not quite accurate. They will get their by stealing loads of western and russian tech. But they will get there.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  40. AZLib

    What a waste of money. This is nothing more than middle class welfare and money into the hands of gov contractors to further milk our tax money away for other truly needed areas of society. When and only when the federal debt is gone and other countries (Europe, Asia) agree to pay their fair share of the costs then and ONLY then should the US embark on such a costly program. Until then.. this is just a fools folly pushed into congress by big pocket contractors and the media will sell it as any good propaganda machine would do... never question anything.. just sell it...

    December 27, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • jeffro

      Man must inherently explore. Exploration is in the human soul, and has been for 30,000 years. If we stop exploring, we lose part of what makes us human. These investments are worth every penny.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:52 am |
      • Guest

        Worth every penny? Until this country can get it's financial house in order the space race is like buying a Mercedes to drive to your job at McDonalds. You can't afford it and there is really no intrinsic benefit to doing it. Mankind's need to explore? Explore the oceans. You never know what you might find 3 miles down a trench.

        December 27, 2011 at 11:09 am |
      • situationalawareness

        @Guest
        It's not like we're going "oh, no more exploration of anything but space". It's also not as if the government is mommy & daddy handing a son some money and saying, "go play".
        Lots of the money used by NASA scientists isn't even government funded, believe it or not.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • g.r.r.

      Interestingly, there is uranium on the moon's surface. This would be possible to use with the breeder to create that fuel. Of course, we still then need to create an engine/generator with it.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • gary

      The really interesting thing about the comment here is that it is not relevant. The story is about students coming up with ideas on what to do in space. Not unlike the 6th grade science teacher asking how can we make the environment better? It is a virtually free way for NASA and other similar agaencies to get ideas. Maybe one of these ideas will spark a huge push which could create jobs and help the whole world. That is unlikely, but you never know!!

      December 27, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  41. Kyle

    Sauce & Mecatfish – what about the support jobs, training and manufacturing? The commercial astronauts would need a lot of support on the ground. The shuttle fleet is retired we need new spacecraft. If you take a look at history you will notice that our shuttle fleet was designed and built during the 70's and 80's a time of recession. The boom of the 90's was in no small part do to technology that was to some degree developed as part of the space program (computers) or dependent on it like satellite communications.

    If this were to happen (soon) the countries where these jobs would most likely be created (Europe/US) drive the world economy. Space commerce can only grow. These ideas are on the money. Build a shipyard in space, so you can build an energy station, use the energy station to power a bigger station/shipyard. You could then do the same thing in lunar orbit. Set up an energy industry on the moon beaming the microwave energy there and use it to power factories that run entirely on renewable energy. The final piece of the equation would be developing energy storage and transportation technology that would get the energy down to earth.

    Each generation needs to improve on what the last generation was able to accomplish. Rockets and Sputnik turned into shuttles and cell phones. What will this generation develop that gets us closer to the goal of interplanetary/interstellar and ultimately intergalactic travel. This is what we were made/ evolved for and every sci-fi geek knows it, its time all the ignorant polarized politics junkies of the world set aside petty bickering over "issues" like defining marriage or trying to avoid taxing any member the most overindulgent greedy population in history. What have most of us done with the money we saved on taxes? Bought better computers and cell phones so we can complain about being broke. Raise taxes an build rockets and maybe our future might look a little brighter, because there will come a point when if we don't want to be extinct we will need to leave this planet and even this solar system.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Idk

      Why not send a welder to space who can weld all the space junk together and make a platform for launching? Or melt it all down and build a ladder to the moon? Sarcasm~

      December 27, 2011 at 10:42 am |
      • Mark

        Tsiolkovsky beat you to it.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  42. engineer long time

    A 6 year old with a little imagination can think up all kinds of nice things too. The trick is designing machinery that makes the dream come true.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Benjamins too

      You forgot about the money. The best problems and challenges are those you can throw money at. NASA's budget is being slashed to and fro, so they are in quite a pickle.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:35 am |
      • Shawn

        Spot on Benjamin. Was thinking the exact same thing while reading the article. People can sit around think tanks all they want. Bottom line every single one of those ideas take one key ingredient – Money. Not sure if all of those minds bothered to take that into consideration.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  43. Tom

    Dispose of our current nuclear weapons by building a giant space ship powered by exploding nukes (see the novel "Footfall" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle for technical details🙂. We get rid of a lot of nukes, and get several factories worth of industrial toehold in space. so we can exploit the resources there and won't need to launch another nuke powered spacecraft. Chernobyl would make a good launch site.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Duke Nukem

      Interesting concept, but two top issues to tackle first would be:

      1. Do not depart Earth by exploding the nukes (please!) – use "normal" propellants.
      2. The spacecraft's structural integrity must be good enough to endure (multiple) detonations measured in the megatons.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:32 am |
      • Uncle Owen

        You couldn't possibly hope to launch a spacecraft the size of the Orion (what the original poster mentioned – look up Project Orion on wikipedia) into orbit using conventional rockets. You'd pretty much have to strap on about ten Saturn V rockets (or more) to even get it off the ground. The only feasible way to do it is build it in orbit.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Timmy

      Forget nuclear power–the latest idea is called an ion drive. Which is basically an electron beam, similar to what the old analog tv sets used to create a picture. The fuel might be xenon, but why hydrogen would be better as it is the most plentiful in the universe (our own star uses tons of it each second).
      Our sun will heat up as time goes by–this we know. Once it is 5% hotter plant life will begin dying off. 10% hotter and all animal life, including us, will die off as well. So we need to colonize another planet or become extinct.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Mark

      Um, those nuclear pusher-plate "engines" would use up all the bombs we've ever built in a few *seconds* of operation. And relax - they're strictly deep-space gear. Nuclear engines for surface-to-orbit use would be more like the Kiwi line: fairly innocuous gas heated by flowing over a *very* hot reactor core that's not supposed to do anything violent itself. I doubt that engineers would seriously consider putting HTGCR engines in atmospheric vehicles until they'd proven themselves in a generation of orbital maneuvering use anyway - they're a conservative lot.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:56 am |
      • Uncle Owen

        No, not seconds. A couple thousand sequential nuclear detonations in the megaton range would be sufficient to accelerate a spacecraft of 1000 metric tons to about 20% of the speed of light.

        December 27, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  44. Ted Wilson

    Don't we need just a basic spaceship to go back and forth to the moon without launching from the surface of the earth or re-entering the atmosphere? A pure space vehicle, sort of like the Lunar Excursion Module that landed non the moon, but bigger and more capable. Possibly it wouldn't even need to land on the moon, just go from earth orbit to lunar orbit and back. To land on the moon a permanent refuelable lander could remain in lunar orbit for use as needed.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  45. Rick

    Space travel is crucial to our survival. The current world population is 7 billion and in 100 years it's estimated to be 24 billion. Some short sighted people may say that space exploration is a waste of time and we should focus on feeding our hungry with that money. Want to guess how many people will be hungry on this planet in 100 years if we don't find additional resources and real estate elsewhere? The engineers and scientists that are researching space traveling could possibly be saving your grandchildren's existence.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • 21k

      of course it's so much more reasonable to spend trillions(quadrillions?) on setting up a completely artificial habitat on mars or the moon. much easier than educating people here to wear condoms.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:27 am |
      • Captain Obvious redux

        Too late for your father to do anything about it.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:39 am |
      • Rick

        Most of the population is expanding in India/China/Indonesia, maybe you can fly over there and just tell them to start wearing condoms. Good idea, I think it will work.

        The world population will be 24 billion in 100 years, then 100 billion, then a zillion. You think condoms is the answer?

        December 27, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  46. Brad

    Too Cool!! Great idea, the earth is only so big, we need to begin expanding out, and the technologies needed to do that will benefit those on earth most likely.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  47. forsingle

    Bigtalls.c0m..a nice club for tàll people to date. You need not to be beautiful or handsome,if you are over 5'8", as long as you are tàll, you are very popular here.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • bristoltwit palin... America's favorite dancing cow

      I like tall black guys. They can set their beer on top of my head.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  48. Deep North

    We have an entire untapped world of exploration just 7 miles below us, and yet we want to go billions of miles into space and find What? How about under water cities that can support life right here?

    December 27, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  49. krishna

    i now know why the chinese will conquer space

    December 27, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  50. Mark in Phx

    We don't do these things anymore. We're too busy living off of past achievements, not creating new ones! New achievements require imagination, education and money. A good imagination needs eduaction. Education means science, technology, engineering, math. Money means stop spending on self-gratification. All of which require too much effort.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  51. 21k

    how about this: have an honest discussion about the vastness of our own galaxy, let alone the distance to the closest galactic neighbor. and that no human alive now or in the next few hundred years(if at all) will ever set foot on another planet that can support human life.

    yes, we never would have settled north america if it weren't for pre-historic native americans and the vikings taking risks to explore new lands, but it was a bit different back then: they didn't need spacecraft that could travel at light speed, they didn't need to carry oxygen, protect against micrometeors, solar radiation and hundreds of degrees of temperature extremes. and of course nasa brought us tang and velcro. but doesn't it just make a little more sense to put our resources into simpler solutions to our existing problems here on earth before we bankroll orbiting solar power stations? doesn't it seem just a tad more sensible to put solar panels on existing rooftops to get half our electrical energy for zero fuel costs? that would spur the development of more efficient, smaller photo panels , and the economy. no keep out zones for aircraft, no high-cost manned missions needed. just electricians and carpenters, and we have an awful lot more of them that need work than a few astro-engineers.

    sometimes the simplest solutions are the most eloquent. and also happen to make the most sense.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Deep North

      Thank You. Common Sense Prevails Yet!

      December 27, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Pete

      And reducing human population would be great too.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:21 am |
      • K Kammeyer

        You first

        December 27, 2011 at 10:26 am |
      • Pete

        The everpresent response. Yes, seven billion humans is fine! Let's pile on more and more! If anyone says otherwise, just say to them "You first!"

        December 27, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Captain Obvious

      "yes, we never would have settled north america if it weren't for pre-historic native americans and the vikings taking risks to explore new lands, but it was a bit different back then: they didn't need spacecraft that could travel at light speed, they didn't need to carry oxygen, protect against micrometeors, solar radiation and hundreds of degrees of temperature extremes."

      It's called "atmosphere", professor. Without any, you'd probably reconsider your statement.

      "sometimes the simplest solutions are the most eloquent. and also happen to make the most sense."

      So what explains your Rube Goldgerb-esque post which utterly fails at both simplicity and sense?

      December 27, 2011 at 10:25 am |
      • 21k

        uh, i don't know, maybe you are just a big dewshe, who can't tolerate someone else's opinion.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Brad

      What you say makes a lot of sense, however, we have the funds to do that and explore space. Less war and more science.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • RC

      Why can't we do both. Your comment is thoughtful and has good ideas, but I also don't think we should become hermits in this vast universe.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  52. Bill

    lol, Buzz never walked on the moon.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Tom In Dallas

      News for you, Jack. Buzz Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon. Maybe you should read something before you just barf something up for a post.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:13 am |
      • jimbo0117

        Indeed Tom! In fact, all of the pictures on the moon's surface from Apollo 11 are of Buzz Aldrin. There are no surviving pictures of Neil Armstrong. The only one of him is his refection in Buzz's visor.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • William's Butler

      Your tinfoil hat is ready, Sir.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • rosenstingl

      ???????

      December 27, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  53. dave

    Strange how we are so willing to spend Billions to head on out into space when we can't even take care of our own planet.
    Millions of peaple dying of starvation... Millions more dying of cancer, MS,alzhiemers, and a host of other things that if the money we spend on space travel where put to finding cures, maybe we would all be better off.
    Go and ask a person who is starving to death or someone dying of cancer, if they give a rats - whether or not there was ever water on mars.
    When did our priorities get so screwed up that we lost sight of helping our own?

    December 27, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Benjamins

      Your angst is duly noted. However, NASA's budget continues to dwindle while the gears of the military machine are well-oiled. NASA's discoveries are trickled down to our daily lives through science and technology. The military just keeps ensuring more nations "unfriend" you in the "real-world facebook".

      December 27, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Robert G

      If we wouldn't spend any dollar to space travel anymore, we still would have only a very small amount of the money needed to solve all the problems.
      Just keep space travel intact and solve the problems at the same time. That's a better idea

      December 27, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Mark

      If the money spent on space exploration were diverted to curing Disease X...it would disappear in the rounding errors. Space is one of the cheapest things we study. Going to Pluto costs less than a single hospital.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  54. Dale

    The problem with people today is, they want Star Trek and all we have is NASA. This is regardless of all the achievements NASA has done in the past.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  55. palintwit

    One idea would be to build orbiting colonies of double-wide trailers. These colonies would then be inhabited by teabaggers and birthers. Once settled, they would begin working on the Phase 2, an orbiting nascar track.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • 21k

      git 'er done!

      December 27, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  56. doug

    Star Trek thought of most of these, but these young engineers will need to fill in the blanks and make it happen. and idea is good but to bring it to fruition is another thing.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  57. Deep North

    We aren't going anywhere. Intelligent life out there does not want us messing up the rest of space.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  58. Dell Stator

    Some great ideas, processing nuclear fuel in space is a great way around the problems launching nuclear materials, still, yellow cake exploding on launch, might want to UN sanction so only a single safest launch point, like that floating facility that was around a few years ago can be used, and base it in orbit around the moon, so if it crashes, it's into the moon. The trick would be to farm it out to a corporation on a bid plus keeping whatever is saved. Control cost and so very capitalist. At same time couldn't complain if it dosen't meet NASA 500% redundent (and still explodes). As to life safety, if it's that dangerous, they won't get anyone to run it. Luckily, I'm sure it could be mostly robotic. With that in place, lunar / earth transfer would be very cheap, and might make lunar facilities possible. Some nuclear fuel could be used to power a mass launcher on the moon to decrease the cost of getting out of that gravity well, hurling volatiles to the space station, etc..
    Of course, it would take a GREAT nation to dare to do this, and the world lacks great nations, just great greed. If you think space is wasteful, iIf you don't agree with spending money on space instead of earth, then how do you reconcile the top 1% of the people amassing over 1 trillion dollars in extra (I mean extra as in in addition to the hundreds of millions and billions they had before) cash over the last 10 years. The gov't lost 1.7 TRILLION in taxes from the tax cuts in a decade. Don't tell me you wouldn't have rather seen that spent on space efforts! Then at least some of it would have filtered to workers, middle management, as well of course as corporations and the rich. However, the 95% would have gotten SOMETHING! The US would still have boasting rights, the technology (remember what the moon race tech did to our economy, HUGE boost), and if there is money to made in space, THE US WOULD BE MAKING IT!

    December 27, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  59. english101

    nobody gives a damn about NASA...all NASA do is spend billions of tax dollars on stuff people will never see in there life time.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Howard

      Well, in your case, it appear NASA's funds were diverted from providing a quality education to individuals who would be able to use good grammar and know how to tell the difference between "there" and "their."

      December 27, 2011 at 10:03 am |
      • Ironic

        And it's quite ironic that the original poster's handle is "english101".

        December 27, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  60. gman

    Weren't all of these ideas thought of in the 50s? Just read Issac Asimov or Carl Sagan. This passes for innovative thinking? Yikes!

    December 27, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Norm

      There are no more original ideas.
      If you've noticed the trend over the last 50 years is to repeat or remake old things and take credit for them.
      The dumbing down of the planet is moving along quite nicely.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:58 am |
      • mindcrime

        Then why didn't they build them in the 50's?

        Oh, because the majority of the technology didn't exist.

        Yes, innovation is involved here.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:08 am |
      • palintwit

        With the republicans in charge of the "dumbing down".

        December 27, 2011 at 10:08 am |
      • Nate

        I believe it has been the liberal left who's been in control of our education system, better luck next time😉

        December 27, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Deep North

      Asimov did a short story about microwave energy transmission as a power source to earth.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:02 am |
      • Mark

        "Reason". The powersats were there mainly to make the conflict suitably urgent since those beams *were* focused tightly enough to slag a city if they went off-aim. The main story is about a robot inventing religion.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:30 am |
      • Deep North

        Yes, and it's religion is what causes it to do it's job magnificently!

        December 27, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  61. Badly-Bent

    Why don't we move JPL to a moon base?

    December 27, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  62. supernova

    if you guys wanna get anywhere in space you will all have to get along it will take a world effort with no corruption each country performing a task and i promise you in 50 year we will have conquered the solar system

    December 27, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • André

      I wonder what Afghanistan's contribution would be ?
      Maybe they could supply the space station with virgins ?

      December 27, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Mark

      Sadly, I would be willing to promise that in fifty years or fifty thousand years we will *still* be talking about peace and harmony without really practicing them. World harmony would be great, but it can't be necessary or even greatly significant, or nothing would ever have been accomplished. There are always those who would rather create the future than stab somebody over a piece of the past.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  63. sameeker

    Oh sure, let's just let BP commercialize space too. Then, the entire planet would be trashed instead of just the gulf. Oh the exploitive possibilities.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  64. SpaceCase

    There's a Robert Heinlien book based on the nuke fuel in space.. in the book the thing crashes into the US and destroys a huge chunk of it...

    December 27, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • André

      Why would that be a bad thing ?

      December 27, 2011 at 9:54 am |
      • Norm

        @Andre...
        Because the only people worth having on this planet live in the USA.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  65. Jessy

    Seeing most of these comments, I can agree that I'm glad that these students are getting the degrees they need to progress because some of the people posting their comments here are not even worthy of earning a typical high school diploma.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  66. vbscript2

    "Commercial astronauts build energy satellites"

    Ummm... Satellites are built on earth. It would cost way, way too much to build them in space. Also, most astronauts aren't engineers. The only "assembly" that's done in space is connecting parts that have been mostly assembled on earth. The same goes for the idea of building spaceships in lunar orbit... that would cost be incredibly difficult. The construction of the average spaceship involves at least dozens, if not hundreds, of individual factories making components and usually thousands to tens of thousands of workers, including either hundreds or thousands of engineers. We're nowhere close to being able to do that in space and we probably will not be until we get a permanent lunar or martian base set up.... even then it will probably be a while before such a facility would be able to do anything more than just connecting a few parts that were built on earth and sent there. It would cost a lot more to send all of the materials and workforce somewhere else than it would cost to just build the stuff on earth and send it into space fully assembled. Now, if we had a way to produce fuel in space, that might actually be helpful, due to the huge cost of blasting fuel off from earth. However, if they start using nuclear fuel, then it's not nearly as expensive to launch that from earth, though there is some danger involved.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • ED

      "most astronauts aren't engineers" Wow really! Use your computer to learn more 95%of astronuats have engineering degrees READ, LEARN..........

      December 27, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  67. Jesse

    The space exploration industry is the next big growth industry that has real economic value. It has been proven with the colonizing of America and before that as each empire expands out. Pioneers have ALWAYS jump started the economy and ease social tensions. One of the current problems is the world has already been carved up and claimed. We are just fighting over who gets what. The very very real risk of this industry collapsing in the US at least is the legal red tape. Huntsman Sr. Put it best don't let Lawyers run your business. Lawyers run this country and overly restrict everything and stifle growth. Sir Ernest Shackleton would be shocked at how we crush exploration behind red tape. People will get hurt and killed but growth will come and as a bunch of us pioneers leave. It would ease tensions back home the key to a healthy economy is people spending money (weird I know). However to maximize the dollar in everyones hand you need a shortage of workers. People compete for jobs, but back in the day when we ad very little immigration and stay at home moms jobs competed for people. Some places like Canada have a huge shortage of employees so they have lax immigration laws to fulfill their demand. Pioneering would open up a whole new sector of jobs from janitors to astrophysicists. The problems is this is pioneering in a whole new way and now we have legal red tape.

    Otherwise if we don't do this we end up with another false economy and rampant inflation like in the 90's. Dotcoms were never going to do anything, real estate is non liquid so it slows the economy, couple that with cutting our military and intelligence fields buy 75% and it looks like a nice budget on paper but your defenseless.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  68. Village Idiot

    If this is the quality of thinking that's going on for space right now in this country we're all doomed.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  69. fr33d0m

    I think I mirror the sentiment here. The US had its place in the sun, now the only planetary body we will be circling is Uranus while swirling down the toilet. But at least we still have enough money to give the Koch Bros billions in corporate welfare, gotta have priorities.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  70. Darren Sisco

    Wow, they give degrees to these people for that concoction of ideas? All is lost. Brain storm? More like Brain fart in the astro wind.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  71. Ken

    Giant solar trashbags to send our waste to the sun...

    December 27, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • b

      Ha, I've actually thought about that myself. Probably impossible to make it cost-effective, but this always struck me as a possible solution to earth's growing garbage and waste storage problems, or with the problems associated with the disposal of nuclear waste and byproducts ... shoot that crap to the sun, problem solved.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:40 am |
      • Mark

        Hard to believe that people actually consider such stuff. Throwing our resources away in megaton lots until our home is nothing but a ball of silicon oxide decorated with the bones of the last handful of our hapless descendants. Almost as crazy as the idea of *importing* megatons of metals or water or what-have-you with no significant export.

        Unless someone comes up with a practical way to build an interplanetary ecosystem, I think we'd better learn to live within the limits of what we have and can cope with. In each place that humans may learn to call home.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  72. lgny

    Nearly all of these rely on very dubious science. They are cute PR but crap science.

    Consider just one example: beaming power from satellites back to earth. In order to be effective, one would need to employ very powerful microwave beams to the earth receivers. The technology would not only be prohibitively expensive, it would also be extremely dangerous. If the beam malfunctioned and was redirected to an inhabited space, it would quickly cook every living thing there, much like your microwave oven currently cooks foods.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Enthalpy

      Not sure about the other tech's they are speaking of but as you stated (and for many other reasons than you stated.) We will not be beaming power from space anytime in the near or even not so near future. I reveiw emerging energy tech for private equity firms – this premis does work at about one meter but even then is has horrible efficiency and off the chart expense (that't 3 feet with no obstruction and perfect aim.)

      December 27, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • ED

      I f people read more they would see the studies inmicrowaves That beam wouldn;t be concentrated to small area, but to a large array on earth. The beam would"t even hurt a bird flying through it. Read more it might make comments more intelligent.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:48 am |
      • lgny

        BZZT, Tilt! If you disperse the energy that broadly, the array would be extremely expensive. Indeed, it would be much more cost-efficient simply to build very large arrays of solar cells to convert sunlight into energy.

        December 27, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  73. Norm

    It's all wishful thinking.
    I'm still waiting for the flying cars and jet packs I was promised in the 60's.
    People have to stop killing each other and work together before any of this can happen.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Mark

      Me too: waiting for the flying cars and jet packs...while using for idle chit-chat a computer that would have bankrupted a national government to build in 1960, except it couldn't have been built then at any price. Nibbling an almond hot from a few seconds in the microwave oven. Dressed in made-to-order molecules.

      History may or may not be bunk, but the future sure is. The real future will be what we build, but people who don't imagine and, yes, get it wrong sometimes, don't create anything.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  74. richard

    This makes me very excited and happy to read this article. I just wish the world could come together with a common goal of space exploration and the continuation and advancement of humanity as a whole.. not our individual nations.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Norm

      We would have a united world government by now if it wasn't for the divisiveness of religion.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:34 am |
      • Kev

        Can I get an AMEN?

        December 27, 2011 at 9:41 am |
      • Enthalpy

        Maybe yes maybe no. Religion has/does cause too many conflicts but so does greed for land and resource. Without religion humans would likely find something else to war over in it's place. That's not a defense of religion it's a statement about humans and their primevil urges that we have yet to concur with logic, reason and compassion.

        December 27, 2011 at 9:48 am |
      • André

        Ramen.

        December 27, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  75. Aesop

    Who will bell the cat? (Figure out how to pay for it, solve all the hard technical details, etc.)

    December 27, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  76. lwl

    Get out the eraser and start over.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  77. John

    For cryin' out loud ... let's get some Americnas to Mars!

    December 27, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • André

      Americnas ? For cryin' out loud...check out your typos before posting.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:57 am |
  78. Those ideas are... THey're a good start...

    How about. Use ununpentium combined with Andrea Rossi's cold fusion LENR device to power the 115 and manipulate gravity? It will create a void in front of a spacecraft thereby propelling it! Much faster than rockets too.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  79. stvnkrs10

    You have to be able to get to orbit to move further in to space lol! Is this what NASA has become? A think tank of possibilities instead of action?

    December 27, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Guy with the 16 foot multi-colored scarf

      Not think, just tank.

      NASA wasted money with the space shuttle program rather than working to venture further out in to space. Also, everything cost too much in the 21st century. Money is a big problem.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Doug

      When you don't have the money to do things, you can only think of what you want to do.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  80. Phil

    I wouldn't mind be a commercial astronaut. "Hi honey, yeah I have to go to space again today, yeah I know I went two days ago. I'll be back in time for dinner."

    December 27, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  81. Ken

    I see flashes of Space 1999

    December 27, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  82. Mark

    What about wiring up the Solar system with a prepositioned communication network, instead of having to put finicky, high-powered radios on every robot and habitat to signal across interplanetary distances?

    The first thought I always have about bringing more solar energy to Earth is: how do we get rid of the heat? Better to use that energy where it's gathered, to make or do things that don't need to come to Earth.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  83. mecatfish

    Great idea.....Gotta go and buy some dog food for my family to eat today.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  84. Karaya

    Those ideas are pie in the sky. The reality is the US lost the manned spaceflight capability and has to hitch a ride with the Russkies.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Joe

      Lost it? No, the United States did not "lose" manned space flight capability, they simply scrapped the current program to focus on other areas – such as a Mars mission. How did you come to the conclusion that voluntarily closing down the shuttle program is equivalent to "losing the capability"?

      December 27, 2011 at 9:31 am |
      • Karaya

        Joe, I've heard Zimbabwe is focusing on the mission to Alpha Centauri – I guess by your definition that makes them a space nation too...

        December 27, 2011 at 10:34 am |
      • situationalawareness

        @Karaya
        Someone's been playing Civilization:Revolution a biiiit too much....

        December 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • FauxNewz

      I agree. I don't know why they call them "astronauts" when they are all cosomnauts now.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:33 am |
      • situationalawareness

        The term astronaut derives from the Greek words ástron (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and nautes (ναύτης), meaning "sailor".
        The word cosmonaut is an anglicisation of the Russian word kosmonavt (Russian: космонавт Russian pronunciation: [kəsmɐˈnaft]), one who works in space outside the Earth′s atmosphere, a space traveller,[19] which derives from the Greek words kosmos (κόσμος), meaning "universe", and nautes (ναύτης), meaning "sailor".

        Information you don't know is easily researched within seconds. I got that information for you in less than 10 seconds.. literally.

        December 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • helpermonkey

      How's the view from the wrong side of history?

      December 27, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Guy with the 16 foot multi-colored scarf

      This sounds like Commie Propaganda.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:24 am |
      • Captain Obvious

        Ok, if you think this is propaganda, how are we getting American astronauts into space then? I'd love to know.

        December 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • situationalawareness

      You realize that there is no cold war any longer, and Russia is an ally. They also have alot of skill in rocket-based space technologies. America didn't lose anything, or give up, or whatever. America is re-tooling their transportation mechanism(s), and retiring the shuttle project because it was a dieing technology that required a teardown/rebuild every space-shot.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  85. Sauce

    Such projects would create high-paying jobs and help bolster the sagging world economy.

    ....no

    December 27, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • astro

      yes..

      December 27, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • richard

      Such projects could help booster the world economy. All countries could be envolved and reap the rewards together. WE could all do our parts. Some countries would put more technology in, some more raw materials, some more labor and manufacturing. If we all worked together, it could be done quickly and in a way that will help us ALL.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • situationalawareness

      The world economy is not going to just "be okay" without some advancement in the world.
      Arguing that is akin to saying that exploring "the new world" of the Americas is not economically friendly.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |

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