July 14, 2008
Away with You!
Posted by scott at July 14, 2008 01:50 PM
Right now, in my opinion it's a white elephant, almost certainly "the most expensive thing ever made." But if you strap a rocket to its butt, suddenly the International Space Station gets a whole lot more interesting. Long ago, during the funding debates for what was then Space Station Freedom, I kept thinking, "don't worry, just build it! We'll find lots of cool uses for it once it's built." I've long since chalked that up to youthful naivete, but if this becomes possible it'll be almost prophetic.
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I'm thinking the suggestion is likely fairly workable. Pop some more food up to them (roughly an entire shuttle's worth or more - enough to last a few years), pop the ion drives on there, and send them to Mars.
Of course, one solar radiation storm later and we've got microwaved astronauts, but still. Lots of fun to be had on Mars. The could even set up a nice soccer pitch and kick the ball about a bit.
Suggesting that you could use the ISS to get to the Moon is like suggesting that you could use SCUBA gear to get to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
If you went slow enough...