Achieve the Four Modernizations.

Awesome Person 2011
Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA, USA, Earth, Sol, Sagittarius Arm, Milky Way Galaxy
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COMTE is the online handle of Christopher Paul Comte, a native of the great State… more »


  • What piece of art would you steal?: "The Lion of Nimrud", because it's already been stolen, and it seems only proper to steal it from the Asshole who now has it.
  • Frank Gehry or Rem Koolhaas
  • If you found out you were going to have a pit-bull baby, would you have an abortion?: Yes
  • Ivar Haglund or Jean Enerson
  • Dina Martina or Jean Godden

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3:16 PM yesterday COMTE commented on Do You Have a Favorite Demolition Derby?.
Kitsap Destruction Derby in Bremerton.
12:27 PM yesterday COMTE commented on Sarah Palin Is Probably Not Running for Senate....
Well, on the plus side, she'd probably only last about two years before resigning anyway...
Apr 14 COMTE commented on Conservative Gun Nuts Proudly Defend Rights of Man to Use Federal Land Without Paying.

So, as one of these taxpayers, I can just squat a few hundred head of cattle on any old "public land"? Great! I think I'll start at the closest intersection to where ever you work. I mean, it's public land, so it's perfectly legal, and you clearly won't object to the minor inconvenience of not being able to drive to your place of employment, or having the public sidewalks blocked by my herd, right?
Apr 13 COMTE commented on Green Sunday: Hanging Your Laundry.
So apparently, all it takes is a couple of beautiful days to turn good ole' cynical SLOG nostalgic for clothes lines. What's next? Waxing poetic over iced lemonades, brass bands in the gazebo, and soap box derbies?
Apr 11 COMTE commented on Recycling Astronaut Urine.

As I understand it, Musk is simply advocating a "brute force" method: massive boosters sending lots and lots of hardware, along with many people. He thinks we could do this in a decade, maybe a little more, but I think the cost of such a program would be rather prohibitive.
Apr 11 COMTE commented on Recycling Astronaut Urine.

These things have all already been well-thought through, and in fact numerous "proof of concept" demonstrations have been conducted. The scienctific principals for extracting resources, particularly the "big three" (air, water & volatiles) is solid, and the technological challenges are not, frankly, terribly difficult.

As for the human factor, these are precisely the sort of studies currently being conducted aboard ISS, where astronauts spend up to 6 months at a time in a microgravity environment far more unforgiving than Mars' comparitively benign .38G. And solutions for overcoming these challenges during the outbound and return phases (centrifugal spin, being just the most obvious example) are also very clearly understood.

Seriously, while this may indeed be quite literally "rocket science", the people who work on this stuff are smart - probably some of the best engineering and medical minds on the planet - the only real obstacles at this point are cost and the desire to do so; everything else is solvable.

Again, I would point you in the direction of Weir's book (a novelization to be sure, but based on real-world principles and techniques), along with the work of Robert Zubrin and Apollo 11 astronaut "Buzz" Aldrin for more detailed examinations of what it would take - and what we can do currently - to launch and successfully return a manned Mars mission.

Going to the moon and back was once thought to be just "science fiction"; so was moving through the air or under water, or even travelling faster than a horse can gallop. People said they couldn't be done, it was simply impossible - until we set our minds to overcoming the obstacles. The only thing we lack to turn "fiction" into reality is the will to do so.
Apr 11 COMTE commented on Recycling Astronaut Urine.

Despite some of the more sensationalist ideas being bandied about in the media recently, return trips are now, and always have been, part of the mission objectives for manned exploration of Mars.
Apr 11 COMTE commented on Recycling Astronaut Urine.

While those considerations might be somewhat attractive, the simple fact is that going to Venus is quite literally "going in the wrong direction", not only because of the considerable energy requirements to travel into and out of Sol's gravity well, but also because of the relative dearth of resources. And of course it presents its own particular challenges in terms of extracting resources; atmospheric pressures make exploitaion of resources from the surface extremely problematic, to cite just one example.

On the other hand, the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter probably is rife with minerals; the Jovian moons are starting to look more attractive in terms of both resourses and perhaps even the sorts of protective atmospheres lacking on Mars, and we have a pretty good idea about the prevalence of water resources regularly shuttling into the inner system from the far-distant Kuiper belt. So, the opportunities for colonization and exploitation of resources in the long-term appear to be much better going in that direction.
Apr 11 COMTE commented on Recycling Astronaut Urine.

This is one of the reasons why Mars is a much more attractive destination than, say, going back to the moon. Because Mars' atmosphere is primarily carbon dioxide, it actually provides most of the chemical raw materials for manufacturing air, water and fuel, not to mention sustaining plant life. So, technically it's feasible to transport only some of the raw consumables astronauts would need, and create enough in situ to resupply for the return trip, thus cutting down considerably on the all-important weight considerations.

And Chaz, I suggest you get your nose out of the Hegel and Marx for a bit and pick up Andy Weir's "The Martian" for a good primer on exactly why manned spaceflight is not only NOT a dead-end, but absolutely necessary to our long-term survival as a species.
Apr 10 COMTE commented on God Sends Sign to Mars Hill Church.
One has to wonder that Clear Channel vetted this.

Or DID they?

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