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The average woman on Earth is born with an approximately 38% chance of developing cancer sometime in her lifetime. And the average man  is born on our planet with about a  44% chance of developing cancer sometime in his lifetime.

Oxidative stress from the production of oxygen free radicals created during the metabolism of  proteins, carbohydrates, and fats (food) appears to be the primary cause of cancer and aging amongst humans and other animals on Earth. But ionizing radiation from space and from  the natural geology of the  Earth and in the food we eat and the water we drink can also  contribute to cancer and aging.

Ionizing radiation interacts with the tissue of humans and other animals by stripping away electrons from molecules, leaving behind  chemically active radicals that can be harmful to the cells of the human body.  As our civilization begins to expand off the Earth in the 21st century, the human species will encounter substantially higher levels of ionizing radiation from the cosmos.   Enhanced exposure to Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR)  could significantly increase the rate of cancer and aging  and even brain damage amongst explorers and settlers in the New Frontier-- unless appropriate  means are  utilized to mitigate the potentially  deleterious effects  of cosmic radiation and major solar events.


How long would you be willing to stay at a large outpost on the surface of Mars?

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Wed May 21, 2014 at 07:59 PM PDT

Replacing the ISS

by newpapyrus

With Russia threatening to end its participation in the International Space Station (ISS) program and possibly even removing one of its major components from the orbiting space station after 2020, some have questioned whether the US can continue its $3 billion a year commitment to the ISS program beyond 2020.

Originally, the US had planned to decommission the ISS after 2016 in order to utilized those funds for the Constellation program which was supposed to place American astronauts back on the surface of the Moon before the end of the decade. But the Obama administration decided to end the lunar program in order to continue the ISS program. But now thanks to tensions with Russia over the Ukraine, the future of the ISS is cloudy.

Congress, however, decided that America needed to develop a heavy lift vehicle (the SLS) in order to enable American to have the lifting capability to deploy human spacecraft destined for the Moon and Mars. But the ISS could also provide America with the means to quickly and cheaply replace the ISS with a new generation of larger and cheaper private and SLS derived space stations.


What should NASA do with the $3 billion a year ISS after 2020?

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Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 08:46 AM PST

Ocean Nuclear Synfuel Production

by newpapyrus

Land based commercial nuclear power  is the safest form of electricity production ever created. No one died as the result of radiation exposure at the Fukushima nuclear facilities in Japan-- despite three meltdowns-- thanks to the inherent safety of the containment structures. But even if you include the mortality rate of the Chernobyl nuclear accident which didn't have a containment structure, the mortality rate for commercial nuclear energy is 90 deaths per trillion kWhr compared to:

Wind, 150 deaths per trillion kWhr

Rooftop solar,   440 deaths per trillion kWhr,

Hydroelectric, 1400 deaths per trillion kWhr

Natural gas,  4000 deaths per trillion kWhr

Coal, a whopping 170,000 deaths per trillion kWhr.


What should the world's energy mix be in 2050 in order to halt the increase of atmospheric CO2

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Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 06:58 PM PST

Case for a New Lunar Lander

by newpapyrus

In 2009, President Obama inherited an annual  manned spaceflight related budget from the previous administration of approximately $8.4 billion. Approximately $3 billion was for operating the Space Shuttle. Another $2 billion was for the ISS program. And an additional $3.4 billion was for the future Constellation program with primary funding going towards the development of the Orion manned spacecraft and  the Ares I  launch vehicle. Further increases in  Orion and Ares I funding were set to occur after the end of the Shuttle program.  But significant funding for the core vehicle of the Ares V heavy lift vehicle,  its upper stage, and for the Altair lunar lander weren't set to occur until after Orion and Ares I development was completed  and the  ISS program had come to an end.    

A year later, of course, the Obama administration canceled the Constellation program and, surprisingly,  NASA's efforts to return to the Moon.


Does NASA need a new lunar landing vehicle?

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Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 05:52 PM PST

Was the Swamp Ape Bipedal?

by newpapyrus

Tuscany is renowned for its beautiful cities of Florence and Siena, and is  historically famous as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. But amongst the paleontological community, Tuscany is also known as the birthplace of an  extinct Late  Miocene ape-- that some paleontologist controversially believe may have been the earliest primate to walk predominantly on just two legs-- and possibly the earliest bipedal ancestor of humankind.


Did human ape ancestors go through a semiaquatic phase or phases in their evolution sometime during the last 10 million years?

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The ruling oligarchy in China is currently using both capitalism and big government in order to economically dominate the world and the new frontiers of space. In the US, on the other hand,   many in Congress have purposely crippled the American economy with their  ideological war against a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Ironically, the Obama administration has used this right wing philosophy to cripple one the few government programs that the American right usually favors: NASA.


At the current level of expenditures, NASA will probably spend more than $175 billion dollars over the next 25 years on its manned space program. What should NASA's spending priorities be for its manned space program during that time period?

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During the  82nd annual meeting  of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists on April 2 of  2013, an international group of scientist presented strong evidence that the 7 million year old North African fossil hominoid (humans and apes), Sahelanthropus tchadensis,  possessed numerous cranial features in it's brainstem, occipital lobes, and prefrontal cortex that are characteristic of hominins (humans the bipedal fossil relatives of humans). The reconstructed endocast of Sahelanthropus  was compared with other fossil apes, modern apes, australopithecines, and modern humans. The results of the  volumetric, linear and angular measurements strongly suggest that Sahelanthropus was indeed the earliest African human ancestor.


How old will the last common ancestor for humans and apes turn out to be?

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by Marcel F. Williams

With the end of the Space Shuttle era, there has been much focus on the emerging commercial crew industry in America with the hope that these vehicles will be ready to transport humans into orbit by the middle of the decade. However, by law, NASA's new SLS (Space Launch System) must also be capable of launching humans into orbit and beyond while also serving as a backup system for delivering crew and cargo to the ISS if such missions cannot be met by the private commercial crew companies.

It has generally been assumed that the crew launch vehicle derived from a shuttle space launch system (SLS) will simply be composed of an inline LOX/LH2 rocket coupled with two 4-segment or 5-segment solid rocket boosters (SRBs). Such a system would be capable of carrying a 20 tonne Orion-MPCV (Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle) to LEO plus perhaps an additional 40 to 50 tonnes of payload to orbit.

However, without an upper stage (US), such a crew launch vehicle would have very limited beyond LEO capabilities.


The primary mission for NASA's next space launch system should be to:

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by Marcel F. Williams

The US Senate has now made it clear that they want the immediate development of a heavy lift vehicle and a crew exploratory vehicle capable of beyond LEO missions and as a back up transport to the ISS. They have also made it clear that they want NASA to utilize technologies derived from both the Space Shuttle and Ares I/V programs since billions of tax payer money has already been invested in these technologies.

Some, however, have argued that utilizing a heavy lift vehicle as a crew transport to LEO violates the philosophy of improving safety by not combining crew transport with cargo transport. This was part of the driving philosophy of former NASA director, Griffin, when he decided to advocate the development of the Ares I as an ultra-safe crew transport vehicle and the Ares V as a mega-heavy lift cargo vehicle.

Recently, NASA has been promoting a philosophy of developing new transport systems that can be utilized not only by NASA but also potentially by the military space program and by private commercial space programs. The advantage of such a philosophy is that increased demand for common transport systems or components could reduce cost for everyone that utilizes such vehicles or components.


How important is manned spaceflight to the future of humanity?

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Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 08:17 PM PDT

Why We Don't Need Oil

by newpapyrus

by Marcel F. Williams

In the President's speech last night about the BP Gulf Coast environmental crisis and the petroleum industry, he said the following:

"I am happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party –- as long they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels. Some have suggested raising efficiency standards in our buildings like we did in our cars and trucks. Some believe we should set standards to ensure that more of our electricity comes from wind and solar power. Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development -– and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development.
All of these approaches have merit, and deserve a fair hearing in the months ahead. But the one approach I will not accept is inaction."

We've already known how to convert urban and rural biowaste (garbage) into gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel for decades. Such local resources could replace nearly 20% of our petroleum needs and provide jobs practically everywhere where garbage is produced (that's every city, town, and farm in America).


Is it time for the Federal govenrnment to mandate that a growing percentage of transportation fuel in the US be derived from non-petroleum carbon neutral sources?

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by Marcel F. Williams

The Constellation program was supposed to return America to the Moon-- to stay!

But in the words of President Barak Obama on April 15 "Now, I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon first, as previously planned. But I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before." So the President Obama makes it pretty clear that he sees no value in a permanent human presence on our closest neighbor in space.


What should NASA do with $300 billion in expenditures over the next 15 years?

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by Marcel F. Williams

First of all, I applaud the Obama administration budget for providing $1.2 billion in annual funds over the next 5 years for the development of private commercial manned access to low Earth orbit. If humans are to truly open up the New Frontier for human colonization and commerce, private industry is going to have to have the capability of transporting humans into orbit. Hopefully, such a measure will be extended for at least a decade so that several new rocket vehicle options will be developed.

However, I strongly disagree with the notion the NASA should move out of LEO and leave that solely to private industry. Why should NASA should have to resort to a private middleman in order to access a government funded space station for government employed astronauts?


Would you be willing to purchase $1 space lotto tickets every year in order to attempt to win a chance for a round trip ticket to:

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