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Deep Space N
February 14, 2011 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Introducing the Nautilus-X MMSEV, a manned deep space craft proposed by a team at NASA's Johnson Space Centre.
posted by Artw (34 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Spaceship Earth Metafilter!
posted by hincandenza at 9:36 AM on February 14, 2011


The article links to a 17 slide powerpoint presentation, which you can view here in Google quickview, with lots more detail (technical and otherwise).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:41 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


HOLY FUCK! I'm in a spaceship? Am I dreaming in cyro-sleep? Is something wrong? Where's the sexy robots? I AM THE STARCHILD! (I am, right?) Set phasers for stun!
posted by KingEdRa at 9:42 AM on February 14, 2011


[fixed link, carry on]
posted by jessamyn at 9:47 AM on February 14, 2011


a SBSP demo

About freaking time!
posted by mikelieman at 9:56 AM on February 14, 2011


God, if only.

They talk about how it would cost $3.4 billion. Which is a lot of money, but in the context of other types of federal spending... doesn't seem like that much.

And yet. It would be such an easy target for political grandstanding, I can't imagine it ever actually happening. We've lost the political will for things like this.

And I just.

It makes me so sad.
posted by pts at 9:58 AM on February 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I'm reading slides 3 and 15 correctly, they have a "MacGyver team". Where do I sign up?
posted by djb at 10:02 AM on February 14, 2011


So much more of a step forwards than anything NASA has actually proposed lately though, and probably cheap than sending Orion modules to the Moon/Mars/Phobos. Plus it makes all that Mars/Phobos stuff a much more doable proposition.
posted by Artw at 10:03 AM on February 14, 2011


From the Powerpoint presentation:

Nautilus-X:
Non Atmospheric Universal Transport Intended for Lengthy United States X-ploration

Named with the Cyborg Name Decoder, I see.
posted by lantius at 10:03 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is so fricking awesome.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:17 AM on February 14, 2011


Wow. Just seeing a centrifuge like that attached to the ISS would feel like a huge step forward, wouldn't it?
posted by circular at 10:31 AM on February 14, 2011


Inflatable space station modules.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:38 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Very little thart's visionary or interesting has happened in manned space flight for several decades now, but the designs for this thing give me the same sense of excitement as looking at sketches of the future of space flight by Von Braun or Korolev or Arthur C. Clarke - the kind of big thinking people did when they thought this stuff was going somewhere.

I hope *someone* builds something like it, maybe the Chinese.
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on February 14, 2011


They talk about how it would cost $3.4 billion. Which is a lot of money, but in the context of other types of federal spending... doesn't seem like that much.

Also consider that NASA isn't exactly known for hitting their budgets.
posted by smackfu at 11:07 AM on February 14, 2011


Maybe we can supply some assitance to the Indian exploration team that gets to work on this in 2040.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:09 AM on February 14, 2011


You can't fool me. Everyone knows America launched the last of its deep space probes in 1987. Sadly, Ranger 3 and its pilot, Capt. William Rogers were lost in a freak mishap.
posted by fings at 11:13 AM on February 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is exactly what NASA needs to be spending its money on: a reusable, inner-solar-system cruiser. The core should be a drive unit and habitat module, and then you can clip on other modules as needed for whatever your exploration goals are.
posted by vibrotronica at 12:40 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now you're thinking, NASA! Philosophically, I am sure this is the way to go. No need to design a new craft for each new mission; just stick bigger fuel tanks on and off you go!
posted by Mister_A at 12:50 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


That has got to be the ugliest powerpoint presentation I've ever seen.
posted by hootenatty at 2:39 PM on February 14, 2011


Edward Tufte just saw that presentation and started screaming "My God! It's happening all over again!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:55 PM on February 14, 2011


Heh. On the other hand, An Iconvenient Truth was 100% Tufte compatible... I'm pretty sure there's more chance of America building a giant spaceship than taking any solid action on that.
posted by Artw at 3:04 PM on February 14, 2011


Question for space junkies: can an interplanetary vessel be assembled out of multiple components in orbit, along with a rocket to get them out of orbit? Or is it necessary for orbital mechanics reasons to send everything up in a huge expensive mega-rocket like Apollo?

Because this whole thing is a lot more reasonable if it could be assembled over a few decades and dozens of flights like ISS using existing rockets.
posted by miyabo at 3:47 PM on February 14, 2011


Finally! I've been saying it for years: Spin the damn ship.

Studying the effects of zero-g on the human body in preparation for long-term spaceflight is like testing the effects of salt-water submersion on the human body in preparation for crossing the Atlantic.

I'll save NASA the work: just as people shouldn't unnecessarily be left in the water for the duration of a trans-oceanic voyage, people shouldn't unnecessarily be left in zero-g for the duration of a spaceflight.
posted by General Tonic at 4:34 PM on February 14, 2011


Where do I sign up?
posted by arcticseal at 6:52 PM on February 14, 2011


Finally! I've been saying it for years: Spin the damn ship.

Hold up, this just made me think that I really haven't ever heard of them doing any sort of spin testing for gravity's sake for any duration. Surely this is incorrect, and they've been testing spin gravity - right?

Right?
posted by odinsdream at 7:25 PM on February 14, 2011


I wonder if the people who "designed" this have ever heard of something called "Coriolis force"?

I wonder...

I would think that if they were NASA they might have heard of such a thing.

At the spin needed to generate any useful "gravity" none of the crew would be able stand up without having their feet swept out from under them.
posted by orbis23 at 8:53 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Question for space junkies: can an interplanetary vessel be assembled out of multiple components in orbit, along with a rocket to get them out of orbit? Or is it necessary for orbital mechanics reasons to send everything up in a huge expensive mega-rocket like Apollo?
its gravity. You gotta send up x amount. You need y amount of fuel to do it. And you have to use z amount of fuel to lift the fuel off the planet. Fortunately you burn some of it off part way up.

More importantly, you don't want to also have to lift construction equipment. They built Saturn V so big so they could put the lunar module up there with the csm on the same ship, saving costs. Generally a "big dumb booster" is the cheapest.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:18 PM on February 14, 2011


One interesting idea, also from Mark Holderman - using the fuel tanks as construction materials.
posted by Artw at 9:43 PM on February 14, 2011


Now you're thinking, NASA! Philosophically, I am sure this is the way to go. No need to design a new craft for each new mission; just stick bigger fuel tanks on and off you go!

Just like the Space Shuttle!
posted by atrazine at 10:47 PM on February 14, 2011


The shuttle was constructed. Entirely out of shortsightedness and lameitude.
posted by Artw at 10:55 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


At the spin needed to generate any useful "gravity" none of the crew would be able stand up without having their feet swept out from under them.

You're assuming the ring has other purposes than generating artificial gravity. No need to do any work there, just strap in for your 4 hour a day ring time to keep the bones healthy. Afterwards unstrap and join the rest of your crewmates in ten-forward for a nice glass of synthehol.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:13 PM on February 14, 2011


You're assuming the ring has other purposes than generating artificial gravity. No need to do any work there, just strap in for your 4 hour a day ring time to keep the bones healthy.

The problem is that if you don't spin the entire craft you need a bearing system that can withstand significant stresses without maintenance for long periods.
posted by atrazine at 1:19 AM on February 15, 2011


US gov plans interstellar space ship! (the small print... by 2100, and they are going to get someone else to do it)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:11 AM on February 15, 2011


But if you spin the entire craft the crew won't be able to stand up due to Coriolis forces.

You could always do something weird like have the ship spin around only while everyone's strapped down and sleeping, or use a counterweight to spin around a much larger circle than the ship's diameter. But those are pretty complicated too.
posted by miyabo at 2:06 PM on February 16, 2011


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