[XKCD] Age of powered flight versus age of space flight

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by AggieMike88, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
  2. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Rather a sad commentary.
    We have accomplished so little, since 1961.
     
  3. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Not sure if serious. Accomplished so little in terms of flight, or in terms of technology advancement?
     
  4. TCABM

    TCABM Cleared for Takeoff

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    All of it.
     
  5. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 Pattern Altitude

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    Both,
    We haven’t landed a man on another planet.
    We haven’t landed a man on the moon in 40 years.
    We haven’t developed another type of rocket propulsion (I like ion engines).
     
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  6. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    We've perfected our information systems, we've improved our materials, improved our manufacturing process, etc. We're far more capable now than we ever were but we don't do anything with it. I am honestly not sure why although I could speculate on several things but it's probably a combination.

    I would argue scientific research programs and programs like NASA probably bring more good to humanity than any ideologies, movements, or economic policies but I guess it just doesn't capture the public's attention anymore. What seems to be the biggest obstacle to me is these projects are very expensive, take more than a presidential term to complete, and could fail so nobody wants to take a chance on it. It's hard for a politician to put resources into something like that with no immediate or even definite payoff when people are screaming for healthcare, more military, more money in general for immediate concerns. I wish they would, I firmly believe technology is the only way to solve our problems in the long term but there you go...
     
  7. SoonerAviator

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    Can't take that seriously. The advancement of computer tech alone from the 1960's to now has been exponential, both in terms of actual computing power and in the extent to which it has become available to just about every human on the face of the planet. Advancements in space exploration via space telescopes have been stellar. Advancements in medical technology have been enormous as well. I wouldn't call that "accomplishing so little", and those are just a few examples. Implying so reeks of the "get off my lawn" syndrome that everything in the past was just better.

    Don't get me wrong, manned flight and space flight are enormous milestones in the human timeline, but let's not pretend that "so little" has happened of consequence since the 1960's. Plenty of technological advancement has occurred in a myriad of fields. QoL is better now than it ever has been.
     
  8. TCABM

    TCABM Cleared for Takeoff

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    What it took to get from zero to manned space flight exceeds what humans have achieved in the aerospace realm since then.

    Take technology for instance. If Moore’s law applied to aerospace technology, it would appear saturation was reached a long time ago, and Rock’s law doesn’t apply at all.
     
  9. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    My Grandmother was born at the turn of the century. She went from traveling in horse drawn wagons to automobiles, from trolleys and steam trains to jet airplanes.
    All from 1903 to 1961. She died, age 101 years old, waiting for her chance to fly into outer space. I know this because I sat with her while she died. It's one of the things we talked about.
    How many rocket flights have you been on?
    I was born in 1949. I'm still waiting for my flight to outer space.
    Don't tell me "It's a different/tougher/harder technology". It isn't.
    We, as a people, as a country, as a culture, just. gave. up.
    We gave up our heavy lifter space programs, the space shuttle, the American space station. We build little space Roombas to sweep up dust, instead of going there and picking up the stuff ourselves.
    It was more profitable, and easier for the politicians to spend our resources on "The Great Society" than to spend it on science and technology.
    We have become a society of paper pushers instead of adventurers.
    Just my humble opinion.
     
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  10. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We managed to stick our toe in the ocean, then said, "OK, been there, done that."

    There's an author I used to follow who liked to say, "I always thought I'd live to see the first man land on the moon. I never thought I'd live to see the last."
     
  11. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    The technological step for the Wrights was far less. They had to gain ~40 MPH in speed. Spacecraft have to gain a minimum of 17,000 MPH, and none of the technology developed for aircraft helped. Even air-launched rockets see only a minor advantage, as far as the total delta-V is concerned.

    Also, the step from manned flight to space flight was about 150 years longer than XKCD claims.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  12. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Someone mentioned quality of life above. I think that’s the key. We’ve improved our quality of life to the point where, for many, there is no need to strive for something more.

    It’s sad.
     
  13. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Pattern Altitude

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    Ion drives were in space a half-century ago. I believe several are slowly pushing some probes outward toward the great unknown.
     
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  14. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtis, Lindbergh, Earhart, and many many more were all privately funded. So I think it’s great that some members of the billionaire’s club is getting into private spaceflight as I believe it is the private sector that must lead the way. I really don’t want to see my tax dollars spent on space exploration. To me the potential for any meaningful personal ROI is far too remote and far too small. I’d rather keep more of my own money for my own personal flying and exploration here on earth than pay for the space flights of others.
     
  15. SoonerAviator

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    Along with those Roombas have come probes and rovers that have taken away the NEED to have a manned-space mission. Send another human to the moon . . . What the hell for? Nostalgia?! Until we decide that there’s a need for man to search out a new planet to migrate to, there’s just not enough justification to pursue expensive missions that offer little payback. We gain tons of knowledge about deep space from telescopes and radio arrays, which don’t leave much left for manned missions to cover. The Mars rover did light experiments and sampling the same as a human would do, without the toll and risk associated with human lives at stake.

    The problem with manned space travel is the high risk with such an inhospitable environment. It’s not much different than deep sea operations in that aspect.

    As much as I love the idea of space travel, I think there are bigger priorities to tackle at the moment.


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  16. TCABM

    TCABM Cleared for Takeoff

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    The problem with discontinuing manned space flight is that you put the genie back in the bottle and make it harder to let it back out again.
     
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  17. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    They're also common in geostationary satellites.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  18. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 Pattern Altitude

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    But they are weak, not capable of propulsion of enough magnitude to change our flight times to Mars from 8 months to 8 days for example.
     
  19. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Spaceflight is hard, it's hard on humans. A year in ISS was enough to make genetic changes that were heavily studied.

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-twins-study-confirms-preliminary-findings

    A manned flight to Mars is a long way yet from being anything other than a one way trip. Doing it like the moon program would mean a lot of baby steps, but each step builds on previous knowledge. It may be generations away, but expeditions in wood sailing vessels didn't know what was on the other side of the oceans, either.
     
  20. nauga

    nauga Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    There are people there now. Did you apply to any of the programs sending people or put down a deposit for one of the commercial "soon"-to-be operators?

    Technological advances (aerospace and elsewhere) in my lifetime amaze me.

    Nauga,
    who has watched friends go
     
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  21. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Y'know, they put doors on those stalls for a reason......

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  22. skier

    skier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When I was born in the 1980s, you had to open an encyclopedia if you wanted to learn about some obscure topic. You had to send letters to people in other countries because phone calls were either prohibitively expensive or impossible. You had to actually know how to spell. You had to know how to write in cursive. And computers were massive machines that only large corporations had access to.

    In only 30 some odd years I now have a computer in my pocket that is more powerful than anything dreamed of in the 1980s. I can talk to people in other countries in real time for free without being physically connected to anything. My letter gets across the globe in seconds rather than days. I can keep in touch with friends that work throughout the world. I can run calculations in seconds that would have taken weeks to run in the past. Those faster calculations allow me and my peers to design aircraft that are so much more efficient than what was possible in the 1960s that air travel, once a marvel that few could dream of experiencing, has become so inexpensive and mundane that people don't think twice about it. I have a device in my car (and phone) that can pinpoint my location within meters.

    The world has shrunk enormously in recent years. And that's all due to modern technology. It's an awesome time to be in engineering. And the technology advancements are nothing short of amazing.
     
  23. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    And we have companies that use the device that pinpoints your location to push advertising to you, or tell a government where you were located. People steal the information from those companies and use the computer power and instant cheap communication to try to scam you from your hard-earned money. Inexpensive air travel fills those efficient planes with yahoos who shouldn't be allowed on a bus; and the aircraft efficiency is such that people are packed so tightly as to shame a slaver from the early 1800's.

    Not the fault of the technology- just the uses people choose to make of it.
     
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  24. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Ain't that the truth. <sigh>

    5976dd3dde655a7eb2507d0a1befe59f.jpg
     
  25. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Cleared for Takeoff

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    Watch a movie set in 1961 and compare it to life today.
     
  26. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Watch a movie set in 2018 and compare it to life today. Just as far off.
     
  27. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    My wife had a romance novel published in 1998, and a new publisher recently contracted for a re-release. She's had to update it extensively to reflect the changes in everyday life.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  28. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Electronic locks on the dungeon shackles?
     
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  29. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Safe words in binary.

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  30. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Line Up and Wait

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    Y'all seen this, right?
     
  31. drjcustis

    drjcustis Pre-takeoff checklist

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    So, how long was it from the time man first hopped on a floating object and paddled to a nearby island until mankind was circumnavigating the world in schooners?

    Putting space travel in context with the entire history of man’s travels puts the recent advances in the stunningly gorgeous perspective they deserve.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  32. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Son, I saw it decades ago when it was this:

     
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  33. skier

    skier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sorry, this thread is still bugging me. The latest generation of commercial jet engines (CFM Leap and PW GTF) advertise ~15% improvements in fuel efficiency. That’s insanity in a world/field where 1-2% improvements are lauded as game changing.

    As for another type of rocket propulsion, Blue Origin has gone through 3 different chemistries in the engines, that I know of. Maybe not completely different than our old technology, but still a lot of changes. They also managed to be the first ones to reuse a rocket, which is another pretty cool advancement.
     
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  34. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    I'm guessing that's pronounced "00000000000000!" No need for 1s.
     
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  35. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Ah, but we've landed plenty of unmanned spacecraft, and we've even sent unmanned craft out of the solar system!

    That's largely because the science we want can be done more efficiently, more safely, and with less expense with unmanned automation. There have been remarkable advances in space exploration, but it's been without manned space travel. The leaps in computer processing and in miniaturization have allowed us to build machines to do what would have required humans not too long ago.

    Like most others here, I would love to see more manned flight, but that comes from a desire for adventure and human accomplishment, not from scientific needs. USG funded research will continue further down the unmanned path as that is a better research investment. It will be up to the private sector to give us Buck Rogers.

    At the moment, there might not be much of a business case for private business, so space flight will be a fantasy hobby for the very rich, and maybe for like-minded po-folk who may donate a few bucks by buying a share or two.
     
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  36. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Maybe, but where’s the adventure in that?

    We don’t really need to fly anymore since we can experience it with VR and we can meet with people remotely via telepresence. But again, where is the fun in that?
     
  37. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Some good points. We're making huge technological advances that do let us explore remotely. But have we gone from humanity being explorers to drone operaters?
     
  38. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    I fear so. I offered someone a ride, they said they could see the same thing with their drone.

    I'm starting to feel like that echo scene just before Yeager takes that last NF-104 ride.
     
  39. Half Fast

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    AGREED! But I don't want the USG blowing money on fun. :)
     
  40. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Drones are just a high-tech version of this ...

    80726555-happiness-little-boy-smiling-and-flying-paper-airplane-studio-portrait.jpg

    But at least the kid with the paper airplane gets the satisfaction of designing, building and test-flying his craft.
     
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