A new, epic view of planet Earth from NASA satellite

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Or what we call the “AlGore POV”.


A pale imitation of the Earthrise one.

When are we going to be on the Moon again?

EPIC launched a satellite? Hmm, I’ll have to reconsider my donations to them.

/joke works until Xeni changes the title.

I disagree. It’s the next in the evolution.

We’re at Pluto, we’re on mars, we’re on a freakin’ comet and we’re orbiting the moon amongst several other orbiters and probes.
Now just imagine where we could be by transferring a large chunk of defense to astronomical research.

Depends. If you mean manned then probably never (If not manned, probably in the next couple of years if the Lunar X-prize ever gets anything off the earth. Possibly another Chinese rover before that happens though). Since the American people have made it clear that while they like having a space program, they aren’t too keen on paying for it. Even though NASA’s budget keeps falling adjusted for inflation.


Don’t expect anyone else to step into NASA’s shoes either.

ESA can’t even launch a Mars rover without needing a partner. ExoMars was first proposed in 2005, and will MAYBE launch in 2018 if there aren’t any further delays due to its Russian partner.

Russia is in decline, and hasn’t launched anything of their own beyond low earth orbit since 1988. That’s unmanned alone, since Russia has never sent any manned spacecraft beyond low earth orbit. The Soyuz is a great vehicle, but not so great for getting you beyond low earth orbit and its unclear when if ever a replacement will happen. Considering the past Soyuz replacements have gone nowhere.

China? I’ll believe it when they invest heavily in their space program enough for such a mission to be possible. At the moment though, it seems they wont even consider a heavy launcher needed to get a manned mission beyond earth until 2020. What is clear is that pure science missions like New Horizon aren’t a priority for China.


I only mention those three, because those are the three most capable space powers after NASA. Nobody else comes close even to their capability after that. Japan’s a distant 4th IMHO, but after that there isn’t much of anyone.

A viable way could be opening a manned military base on the Moon, then later, when they inevitably get tired of it, handing it over to NASA.

They at least have it in plans. Which itself is better than nothing at all.

I wonder if a mission could be financed by an unmanned bot that would come there and return with rocks for sale…

I believe India has a somewhat successful space program.

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Sure, I’m not saying that there aren’t other space programs. Its just from a capability standpoint. NASA, Russia, ESA, China, and Japan have the most capable space program’s on earth. In that order.

India is probably a distant 5th place beyond Japan. Mainly because what India lacks is a dedicated launcher that can lift even moderately heavy payloads to LEO (22,046 - 33,069 lb). Granted, they’re working on that with a smattering of successful test flights with their GLSV program and maybe they’re close to a break through. At the moment though most reliable dedicated launcher can only carry about 7,170 lb to low earth orbit and about 3,000 lbs beyond low earth orbit.

To put that into perspective, just the Lunar Module. The module that landed on the moon with astronauts 46 years ago today weighed 36,200 lbs.

NASA had plans too. Constellation Program was great on paper. The problem was it was an Apollo sized manned program, without an Apollo sized budget to go with it. Constellation lite is Space Launch System/Orion. It has the same problem though. NASA says its going to Mars by 2030 or so with SLS/Orion but that is unrealistic at best. Everyone acknowledges for that to happen NASA’s budget would have to increase in the future.

Building a giant rocket and then hoping for funding into the future from future Presidents/Congresses that haven’t been elected yet is a terrible idea. The past 40 year’s NASA’s funding has only decreased steadily, ignoring that fact is stupid. Especially when SLS cost a billion dollars a year.

So yes, plans aren’t enough. Funding, funding, funding.

We need to trick the superpowers into another dick-measuring contest…

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Deep Space Climate Observatory, originally known as Triana, named after Rodrigo de Triana, the first of Columbus’s crew to sight land in the Americas.

More commonly known as GoreSat.

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If we found huge tungsten deposits on the moon the DoD would be up there in a second. Rods from God? Think Rods from The Moon!

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Sadly, good luck to find anything heavier than iron there, in any significant quantities. :frowning:

Asteroids, maybe. Slam them to the Moon, then drive to the impact point to collect the debris.


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This kind of picture does have much power because of the lack of frame of reference.

The famous Earth rise first taken on Apollo 8 really packed emotional punch because it has the barren moon landscape in the foreground, and Earth as small blue ball in a vast blackness.

These full Earth picture look like weather photos and hence rate a “meh”.

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It’s a somewhat glorified weather satellite, after all…

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