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bbehe
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I think that was just an accelerated look at what would happen. Musk already said it would take 5 refueling trips to supply the vehicle, so I'd assume they'd use a few boosters. I also can't imagine they're be able to relaunch within a few hours considering the amount of inspections (I'm assuming) that would go into it. So yeah, ideally they'd have 2-3 launches primed and ready to go.

Also, what I noticed, he never shows the ship with it's solar panels deployed on Mars, is he not planning on using that for power generation? Also, how easy is it to generate fuel on Mars, especially in the amount required to lift a body that big into orbit and do a Hohmann transfer back to Earth?

I appreciate what he's trying to do, but it really seems like he's skipping from Steps 1 and 2 to Step 99.

9/28/2016 11:39:20 AM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"Bigger question though -- why reuse the exact same booster stage to send both crew and fuel? The concept video had it landing at the launch pad, a crane putting a new upper stage on, and it launching again. Why not just have the fuel stage prepped and ready to go on a different pad and have it launch shortly after the crew? That's just one of many strange things about this concept that I've observed."

They most likely will do just that. After the booster returns, I'm sure they'll do some checks on it before launching it again. But, they won't have six boosters built to refuel five times. These boosters cost a fortune. And by simply waiting long enough to do the checks, they can launch that booster again while the passengers wait in parking orbit. I suspect they'll have three boosters ready to launch and alternate between them.

Quote :
"Also, what I noticed, he never shows the ship with it's solar panels deployed on Mars, is he not planning on using that for power generation? Also, how easy is it to generate fuel on Mars, especially in the amount required to lift a body that big into orbit and do a Hohmann transfer back to Earth? "

Of course. There will be a hundred people there with nothing better to do than feed the fuel making factory with solar power and melted permafrost.

Of course, I'm hoping society is polite enough to let them bring a nuclear reactor.

9/29/2016 4:10:04 AM

mrfrog

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http://giphy.com/nasa

12/10/2016 7:11:57 AM

Nighthawk
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIGt7mFk7as

Michoud Assembly Facility got hit by at least one twister. Looks pretty bad. Hope all are safe.

2/7/2017 8:23:22 PM

Wraith
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https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-to-study-adding-crew-to-first-flight-of-sls-and-orion

Got some push from DC to look into the possibility of a crewed launch for EM-1. Exciting, yes, but very risky. I don't think it will go anywhere.

[Edited on February 16, 2017 at 3:05 PM. Reason : ]

2/16/2017 3:03:17 PM

Master_Yoda
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So Ive been doing a ton of reading lately of Apollo and early space flight journals since all the folks who worked it are releasing memoirs. Compared to the challenges they had, running a rocket first time with a crew just seems plain dumb. Look at SpaceX. They've run theirs how many times and then blow one up on a simple test, much less a real launch? A few folks know there were some test flights between Apollo 1 and 7 , but most dont realize there were loads of tests unmanned even before Apollo 1 of the equipment.

2/20/2017 9:36:14 PM

Mr. Joshua
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Elon Musk says SpaceX will send two tourists to the moon next year.

2/27/2017 5:43:12 PM

dweedle
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*around the moon

2/28/2017 8:49:23 AM

Mr. Joshua
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I got excited and just copied the CNN breaking news headline.

2/28/2017 9:05:42 AM

Wraith
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Not to be outdone by NASA's announcement last week, SpaceX decided that THEY were going to be the craziest space organization in existence.

Both ideas are horrible.

2/28/2017 10:51:25 AM

bbehe
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So realistically, that would be the what? Maybe 3 or 4th flight of Falcon Heavy? And 2nd or 3rd manned flight of Dragon 2?

2/28/2017 11:34:40 AM

Wraith
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I'm not up to date with their expected launch schedule but the concept of sending untrained people around the moon next year WHEN THEY HAVEN'T EVEN LAUNCHED ONE PERSON into space yet is crazy. I'm not saying it can't be done -- if they pull it off then kudos to them but I can't begin to imagine the safety concerns and corners they would have to cut to get there. Their engineers already work something like 80/hr weeks. I know the Dragon was originally designed for deep space but the logistics involved with sending people around the moon are so different from LEO or sub-orbital. I'm sure they'll get around to it, but next year just isn't reasonable. I'm fairly certain this announcement was a marketing ploy to generate hype (and believe me, the armchair engineer fanboys are coming out of the woodwork...) knowing full well they won't meet that goal.

2/28/2017 1:57:56 PM

bbehe
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I mean, they've been pushing back Falcon Heavy for a while now, plus they pushed off Red Dragon until the 2020 window instead of 2018. I would agree this is publicity, but it could be a hail mary like Apollo 8 was.

I would be curious at what the crew makeup of this planned mission is. I know Dragon seats 7, but I really doubt they'd send a full bird up. I'd guess 2 astronauts + 2 tourists.

Like you said though, it's amazing their considering this since they haven't even launched a single manned craft into space. Hate to start that TLI burn and then realize that your untested space toilet doesn't work.

2/28/2017 2:55:35 PM

TerdFerguson
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Quote :
"Hate to start that TLI burn and then realize that your untested space toilet doesn't work."


Sounds like the plot line of an awesome sci-fi thriller!!!

2/28/2017 3:07:11 PM

Nighthawk
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SpaceX just reused a first stage rocket and successfully launched and recovered it. w00t!

3/30/2017 6:42:30 PM

Flyin Ryan
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Major NASA announcement later today believed to be in regards to the Saturn moon Enceledus, which in the past has been believed to have an ocean under its crust.

[Edited on April 13, 2017 at 9:43 AM. Reason : .]

4/13/2017 9:42:16 AM

Doss2k
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Fish people!!

4/13/2017 9:52:43 AM

Flyin Ryan
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Evidence of hydrothermal vents on Enceladus' subterranean ocean floor, which would supply minerals and nutrients that are necessary to support life.

4/13/2017 2:28:10 PM

Nighthawk
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Not manned space flight related, but I am flying down to Orlando on Wednesday and was planning to spend most of Wednesday at KSC Visitors Center with my son. Today I just found out that Orbital ATK is launching an Atlas V on Tuesday at 11:11 am. I am seriously considering pushing my flight up one day and flying from RDU at 7:00 am. If so, that would mean I would land at 8:40. If the plane departs on time, do you think I have a chance in hell of getting a rental and making it out to KSC and possibly over to the Saturn V Center in time to see it? Alternately I could go to Playalinda Beach, but I hear parking can be bad, and its another half hour driving almost. Dunno what traffic will be like at either location but probably not good.

Either way I am stoked about the chance to get to see my first rocket launch in person!

4/13/2017 3:21:01 PM

Wraith
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^Traffic is going to be bad there regardless of a launch, but if everything lines up perfectly you could make it. That is a big if though.

4/13/2017 4:16:24 PM

Mr. Joshua
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Trump says a man on Mars in his first term.

4/25/2017 8:44:15 AM

Nighthawk
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^^Ended up just going the day after. It was great but I would have been hard pressed to make it even out there in time for the launch. Oh well, glad I went to KSC. Got lots of great photos and some shirts and hats for the family.

4/25/2017 12:52:00 PM

Wraith
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Just got word, EM-1 will not be crewed. Thank god.

5/12/2017 2:42:52 PM

LoneSnark
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"I would be curious at what the crew makeup of this planned mission is. I know Dragon seats 7, but I really doubt they'd send a full bird up. I'd guess 2 astronauts + 2 tourists. "

Due to weight requirements, my understanding is that they're only sending the two tourists. From launch to lunar injection requires 11307 m/s, versus only 7723 m/s for LEO, so even with the falcon heavy's extra energy, they're going to need to strip weight down. The craft itself will be entirely automated. Of course, I'm sure they're going to train them quite a bit on how to fix things in the event they break. But, after the ejection burn, the vast majority things that they might need to fix are life support, which is inside the pressure vessel itself, so they'll have plenty of time to be talked through any needed repairs.

[Edited on May 12, 2017 at 4:04 PM. Reason : .,.]

5/12/2017 3:59:31 PM

Wraith
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https://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/biographies/frank-rubio/biography

Next group of astronaut candidates was just announced. If you want to feel like you have achieved next to nothing in your life, take a look at their bios, lol. One of them is an ex Navy SEAL who has an MD from Harvard. Meanwhile I'm like "Yep, I have a BS in Aerospace Engineering".

6/7/2017 3:52:58 PM

LoneSnark
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https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/07/elon-musk-knows-whats-ailing-nasa-costly-contracting/

So, Elon Musk places much of the blame with what is wrong with NASA at the feet of cost-plus contracting, which is obviously true to some extent. A "whatever it costs" contract should be a sure-fire way to guarantee something gets done. But, "whatever it costs plus a percentage for yourself" just reads as perverse incentives: if you can find a way to make it cost twice as much, your profit will be twice as much. It seems to be, that second part should never be a thing. If someone is going to go "whatever it costs", at least the profit at the end should be fixed in the contract. Whether it winds up costing $3.4 billion or $24 billion, your profits should have remained fixed from the beginning. That alone should have caused the contractor to stop saying "yes" to everything and dragging the Orion design on for 17 years.

7/19/2017 1:55:14 PM

dtownral
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that's retarded, no serious competitive bidder would enter into that. if a project takes twice as long for reasons completely out of their control it would mean that their resources would be tied up for the rest of the duration but they would be unable to profit from those resourced. they would just try to get out of the project so they can make money doing something else, which would just delay the project and make it cost even more. you can competitively bid cost plus contracts, they don't need to be sole source.

you have set margins and you manage the project



[Edited on July 20, 2017 at 3:44 PM. Reason : .]

7/20/2017 3:42:13 PM

LoneSnark
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"they would just try to get out of the project so they can make money doing something else"

odd answer, since the only way out of the project where you get your profitable reward is to finish the project. If it isn't finished, then you don't get your profit, just your costs.

7/23/2017 2:37:53 PM

Mr. Joshua
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https://gizmodo.com/donald-trump-reportedly-wants-to-privatize-the-internat-1822913391

2/11/2018 8:27:17 PM

Flyin Ryan
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^ I just read an article written by a particle physicist that was maligning the future of the field of particle physics due to results from the Large Hadron Collider that it found the Higgs boson but it didn't have anything else for them to find or do, in a big negative for the supersymmetry believers. He then brought up manned space flight as an example and say how after Apollo got shut down, NASA spent a ton of money to not do a whole lot, using the International Space Station as an example.

http://inference-review.com/article/higgs-on-the-moon

Quote :
"In the summer of 2012, researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) announced that they had observed the unequivocal signature of the Higgs boson, a cornerstone of the Standard Model. The existence of the Higgs establishes that the theory is internally consistent up to extremely high energies. All the particles predicted by the Standard Model have now been observed, and all eighteen of its free parameters are known with some accuracy. The results indicate that the Standard Model is valid to distances at scales of at least 10^–19 meters.

One might imagine that the triumph is complete.


It may then come as a surprise to learn that particle physics is currently experiencing the most serious crisis in its storied history. The feeling in the field is at best one of confusion and at worst depression. How could this be? A complete theory perfectly describing experimental data is surely cause for celebration! Not so.

The theory may in fact be incomplete. If one takes into account the gravitational force, the Standard Model ceases to be a useful calculation tool at extremely high energies. Given that these energies are 10^16 times greater than those available at the LHC, and 10^14 times greater than the most energetic cosmic rays recorded on Earth, this is not in itself a pressing problem. We could for the time being live with a theory that is sufficient for practical purposes.

The Standard Model also cannot account for some observed features of our universe. It cannot explain the existence of dark matter and the absence of a vast amount of antimatter. Dark matter should be comprised of a stable particle that interacts weakly with ordinary matter and photons. The Standard Model does not offer a suitable candidate; for subtle quantitative reasons, neutrinos are unsuitable. The preponderance of matter over antimatter may, in fact, result from a tiny difference in their interactions, which is a feature of the Standard Model. Here though, the Standard Model fails again at the quantitative level. Its parameters fail to account for the generation of a sufficiently large matter-antimatter asymmetry in the early universe.

There must be a more fundamental theory.

Certain aspects of the Standard Model remain extremely puzzling. Calculations indicate that the observed mass of the recently discovered Higgs boson is highly unlikely; quantum fluctuations should have shifted this mass upwards. It seems that, after all these years, our understanding of quantum field theory is flawed.

Theoretical physicists have proposed many candidates to replace the Standard Model. The most popular postulate a new symmetry between bosons and fermions: supersymmetry. This requires a multitude of new particles, some of which could play the role of dark matter. Another popular idea is that the Higgs boson is a composite particle made of new quarks bound by a new strong force. These are consistent quantum theories, but there is not yet a reliable criterion to judge which (if any) of them is realized in nature. Subjective aesthetic criteria have previously been applied that favor certain realizations of string theory. Researchers have also appealed to naturalness: parameters should not require fine-tuning such that large cancellations between various contributions to the Higgs mass are required to explain its observed value. These approaches seem misguided. Nature does not seem to conform to their predictions. Further experimental clues are desperately needed. None have been forthcoming from the LHC to date, even though it has almost reached its maximum energy.

The possibility that the LHC will only further confirm the Standard Model is often referred to as the nightmare scenario. The puzzles that emerge are not the nightmare; physicists love difficult problems. On the contrary, it is the indefinite persistence of the current confusing situation that is considered nightmarish.

The most efficient method developed thus far for revealing the fundamental secrets of nature has been to increase beam energy to probe increasingly small distances. Larger and more powerful colliders are seen as the solution. The design and construction of the LHC was a gargantuan task that required decades of work and billions of dollars. Such an undertaking will only become more difficult in the future. Would a doubling of energy be sufficient for any new collider project? Is a factor-of-ten increase needed? It may be the case that the answers we seek are to be found at energy levels that are simply unattainable for the foreseeable future. It is also unclear whether a bigger collider would resolve currently unanswered questions.

Is our century-long exploration of the high-energy frontiers coming to an end?


Following the discovery of the Higgs boson, such a question might seem blasphemous. History, on the other hand, is littered with examples of research programs that were at one time or another deemed important but were eventually scaled down, suspended, or abandoned. Consider Christian scholastic theology. In its heyday, the greatest minds of Western civilization were occupied with the problem of proving the existence of God. The tools available were inadequate, and the field ultimately reached a dead end.

A more recent and relevant analogy can be found in the history of manned spaceflight. Founded in 1961, NASA’s Apollo program culminated eight years later in the first manned mission to the moon. This amazing technological feat, achieved only after an enormous investment of resources, seemed at the time to herald a new era in human history. Sadly, the moon landing has been, to date, the apogee of manned space exploration, rather than just the beginning. Runaway costs have been one factor in curtailing spaceflight programs. A failure to define realistically achievable goals has been another. Apollo 17, the final manned mission to the moon, was launched in 1972. In the forty-five years since, mankind has not ventured again beyond the earth’s low orbit.

After the moon missions were discontinued, the space program was downsized. NASA then elected to allocate a large portion of their budget to the space shuttle program: reusable rockets that could carry humans and large payloads into low earth orbit. From the need to find a purpose for the space shuttles came the idea for an international space station (ISS), for which the shuttle fleet would be essential for construction and resupply. The ISS has become an incredibly expensive low-earth-orbit laboratory hosting experiments that are, for the most part, uninteresting. Some exceptions, like the AMS (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer) cosmic ray detector, could have been launched on independent satellites, at a fraction of the cost, without any impact upon the physics program.

Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on the ISS without clearly defined goals, and without significant scientific or technological advances. In the absence of an ISS or space shuttle program, there is no guarantee, of course, that the funds would have been spent elsewhere on innovative scientific experiments. What may well prove to be more damaging to science in the long run is the wasted time. Thousands of talented scientists and engineers have devoted their careers to projects that led nowhere. For the near future, at least, the prospects for manned spaceflight are intertwined with the fortunes of the private companies set up to offer private flights for rich tourists.

On the margins of the failed manned spaceflight program, NASA, together with the European Space Agency (ESA), developed a range of autonomous robotic missions. Probes have searched for water on Mars, dived into the atmosphere of Jupiter, landed on a comet, and passed by Pluto. Sophisticated satellite-based instruments have also had a huge impact on fundamental physics. The Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), and the Planck satellite have provided insights into the very early universe, dark matter, and dark energy. These projects were all much smaller and cheaper than the manned spaceflight program."


[Edited on March 18, 2018 at 9:12 PM. Reason : /]

3/18/2018 9:09:46 PM

LoneSnark
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Don't spend money on dumb things or you'll find yourself not spending money on smart things.

The application to high energy physics seems to be that we shouldn't build any larger colliders until we can demonstrate theoretically what size we need to build to finally settle the questions, rather than just building whatever size we think we can afford or that our technology can manage. Got it. no more colliders it is

3/21/2018 2:50:45 PM

Flyin Ryan
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That guy was actually kind compared to some.

http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-multiworse-is-coming.html

After discussing the failure of anything for particle physics past the Higgs-boson and the faultiness of "naturalness" arguments:

Quote :
"At present, the best reason to build another particle collider, one with energies above the LHC’s, is to measure the properties of the Higgs-boson, specifically its self-interaction. But it’s difficult to spin a sexy story around such a technical detail. My guess is that particle physicists will try to make it sound important by arguing the measurement would probe whether our vacuum is stable. Because, depending on the exact value of a constant, the vacuum may or may not eventually decay in a catastrophic event that rips apart everything in the universe.*

Such a vacuum decay, however, wouldn’t take place until long after all stars have burned out and the universe has become inhospitable to life anyway. And seeing that most people don’t care what might happen to our planet in a hundred years, they probably won’t care much what might happen to our universe in 10^100 billion years.

Personally I don’t think we need a specific reason to build a larger particle collider. A particle collider is essentially a large microscope. It doesn’t use light, it uses fast particles, and it doesn’t probe a target plate, it probes other particles, but the idea is the same: It lets us look at matter very closely. A larger collider would let us look closer than we have so far, and that’s the most obvious way to learn more about the structure of matter.

Compared to astrophysical processes which might reach similar energies, particle colliders have the advantage that they operate in a reasonably clean and well-controlled environment. Not to mention nearby, as opposed to some billion light-years away.

That we have no particular reason to expect the next larger collider will produce so-far unknown particles is in my opinion entirely tangential. If we stop here, the history of particle physics will be that of a protagonist who left town and, after the last street sign, sat down and died, the end. Some protagonist.

But I have been told by several people who speak to politicians more frequently than I that the “just do it” argument doesn’t fly. To justify substantial investments, I am told, an experiment needs a clear goal and at least a promise of breakthrough discoveries.

Knowing this, it’s not hard to extrapolate what particle physicists will do next. We merely have to look at what they’ve done in the past.

The first step is to backpedal from their earlier claims. This has already happened. Originally we were told that if supersymmetric particles are there, we would see them right away.

“Discovering gluinos and squarks in the expected mass range […] seems straightforward, since the rates are large and the signals are easy to separate from Standard Model backgrounds.” Frank Paige (1998).

“The Large Hadron Collider will either make a spectacular discovery or rule out supersymmetry entirely.” Michael Dine (2007)

Now they claim no one ever said it would be easy. By 2012, it was “Natural SUSY is difficult to see at LHC” and “"Natural supersymmetry" may be hard to find.”

Step two is arguing that the presently largest collider will just barely fail to see the new particles but that the next larger collider will be up to the task.

One of the presently most popular proposals for the next collider is the International Linear Collider (ILC), which would be a lepton collider. Lepton colliders have the benefit of doing away with structure functions and fragmentation functions that you need when you collide composite particles like the proton.

In a 2016 essay for Scientific American Howard Baer, Vernon D. Barger, and Jenny List kicked off the lobbying campaign:

“Recent theoretical research suggests that Higgsinos might actually be showing up at the LHC—scientists just cannot find them in the mess of particles generated by the LHC's proton-antiproton collisions […] Theory predicts that the ILC should create abundant Higgsinos, sleptons (partners of leptons) and other superpartners. If it does, the ILC would confirm supersymmetry.”

The “recent theoretical research” they are referring to happens to be that of the authors themselves, vividly demonstrating that the quality standard of this field is currently so miserable that particle physicists can come up with predictions for anything they want. The phrase “theory predicts” has become entirely meaningless.

The website of the ILC itself is also charming. There we can read:

“A linear collider would be best suited for producing the lighter superpartners… Designed with great accuracy and precision, the ILC becomes the perfect machine to conduct the search for dark matter particles with unprecedented precision; we have good reasons to anticipate other exciting discoveries along the way.”

They don’t tell you what those “good reasons” are because there are none. At least not so far. This brings us to step three.

Step three is the fabrication of reasons why the next larger collider should see something. The leading proposal is presently that of Michael Douglas, who is advocating a different version of naturalness, that is naturalness in theory space. And the theory space he is referring to is, drums please, the string theory landscape.

Naturalness, of course, has always been a criterion in theory-space, which is exactly why I keep saying it’s nonsense: You need a probability distribution to define it and since we only ever observe one point in this theory space, we have no way to ever get empirical evidence about this distribution. So far, however, the theory space was that of quantum field theory.

When it comes to the landscape at least the problem of finding a probability distribution is known (called “the measure problem”), but it’s still unsolvable because we never observe laws of nature other than our own. “Solving” the problem comes down to guessing a probability distribution and then drowning your guess in lots of math. Let us see what predictions Douglas arrives at:



Slide from Michael Douglas. PDF here. Emphasis mine.

Supersymmetry might be just barely out of reach of the LHC, but a somewhat larger collider would find it. Who’d have thought.

You see what is happening here. Conjecturing a multiverse of any type (string landscape or eternal inflation or what have you) is useless. It doesn’t explain anything and you can’t calculate anything with it. But once you add a probability distribution on that multiverse, you can make calculations. Those calculations are math you can publish. And those publications you can later refer to in proposals read by people who can’t decipher the math. Mission accomplished.

The reason this cycle of empty predictions continues is that everyone involved only stands to benefit. From the particle physicists who write the papers to those who review the papers to those who cite the papers, everyone wants more funding for particle physics, so everyone plays along.

I too would like to see a next larger particle collider, but not if it takes lies to trick taxpayers into giving us money. More is at stake here than the employment of some thousand particle physicists. If we tolerate fabricated arguments in the scientific literature just because the conclusions suit us, we demonstrate how easy it is for scientists to cheat.

Fact is, we presently have no evidence – neither experimental nor theoretical evidence – that a next larger collider would find new particles. The absolutely last thing particle physicists need right now is to weaken their standards even more and appeal to multiversal math magic that can explain everything and anything. But that seems to be exactly where we are headed."


[Edited on March 22, 2018 at 11:31 PM. Reason : /]

3/22/2018 11:27:48 PM

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