1957 March, Election Debates.
Moderator: Welcome back, next on the agenda is policy toward our amazing space program. As president, you will have the power to influence the direction of missions and technological development. Therefore we care going to talk about what you would do. We have reached a huge milestone when we landed two kerbals on the Moon. So, with this in mind, the question is therefore: “What goals will you request that the ISP work towards.”
Candidate B: Engines, engines absolutely. As the Illyrien science fiction author, Robert A. Kerman, correctly stated: Once you get to earth orbit, you’re halfway to anywhere in the solar system. Simply put, the better engines we get, the easier we can get to orbit, and with heavier cargoes, which..
Candidate N: Exactly, I thing we agree on that Candidate B, but you are only thinking in terms of conventional chemical engines. There is a much much better option. And that option, is Nuclear. Sure, they are heavy, but those ISP, they are just amazing. Numbers we can only dream off. Easily twice as good as current generation chemical engines.
Candidate B: They have liquid fuel problems, just like the hydrolox engines, so if we can solve those problems, we can move much closer to the performance of nuclear engines, so we do not really need those. Besides, even though nuclear engines are more efficient, their own weight means that part of the efficiency bonus is simply lost in moving the engines themselves. Its only really useful for very heavy cargoes, and we need my conventional engines to lift those!
Moderator: Interesting, something to consider, lets move on. Candidate S, what is your vision for space.
Candidate C: Thank you Moderator, indeed, the question about engines is really a secondary one. what is really important what we aim for, and I think we should look at space, not just as something to explore for science, but also to stay, to build space stations and colonies. To that end, I would have the ISP research more towards habitats, greenhouses and the mining and refinery components a self sustaining settlement would need. Obviously, the ISP should also aim towards building space hotels, and I, for one, cannot possibly wait to visit one.
Candidate E: Its a beautiful vision, and indeed, I can see Mars covered with cities and parks… in the future, the far future, far far ahead. We are not anywhere near that point and we should focus on out immediate needs and opportunities. Need I remind people what happened to the Mars Lander? Its electronics failed and it slapped into the surface at 250 m/s. Which accidentally is also my limit for these high minded dreams. We need better electronics, actuators and software for our probes and crewed spacecraft. This should be our highest priority. In additional to benefits, such as softly landing on Mars, and increase in electronics skill will also greatly boost domestic industry and increase our ability to compete, and to generate wealth here on Earth.
Candidate S: The quest for science must never stop, it is what has brought us to this place and there is so much more to explore, sample, scan and measure! Who know what we will find if we search far enough, thoroughly enough. I am of the firm belief that we should have the ISP work had at doing science missions, to unlock new experiments and new orbital scanners. We must not waiver in this effort!
Moderator: Interesting statements from all of you. It seems to me, that many of the different goals, especially longer term, complement one another. So what would you focus on, if we had to look at, say, the next 3-4 techs, regardless of how costly they are. Also, could there be some secondary effect for your choices? Candi…
Candidate N:Indeed, well is an obvious place to start. We can actually get nuclear engines within such a short research window. On the way there, we get better hydrolox engines, which should make Candidate B happy, and we would be pretty damned close towards nuclear power plants, which I am sure that Candidate C would greatly appreciate. This makes nuclear the best possible option. Atoms for Peace!
Moderator: Atoms for Peace, yes, I can add to the audience out there, that was we say in last weeks debate on military policies, that the expansion of nuclear technology would also be a great benefit to the for the military. Indeed, after the UDF finished their Manhattan Project, it has also expressed quite the desire for a nuclear plants everywhere.
Candidate B: Better engines is a mean in itself, it does not really have any secondary benefits, although I guess we can add the advancement of structural elements is noteworthy. Some of these structural elements can be used in space station stations and colonies.
Candidate E: Thank you moderator. For electronics, that is actually quite a difficult question to answer, since electronics add some many things. Both for science and for space stations, and indeed for station science. It can help our efforts in so many ways. As an example, there we could get better range finders, which could have saved the Mars Lander. Besides, in relation to previous debate on military policy, the military would also like more accurate reentry, which only electronics can provide.
Moderator: Good answers, now, the next question is…
A little later, at the Space Bar
Other: Hi Gene, so, I take it you saw the debate? Any thoughts?
Gene: Oh hey, yep, I saw it. Unlike the other debates this one was actually interesting. Some of their arguments where the same arguments, which we hear among our scientists and engineers. So all in all not bad. Not that it matters too much. The election is still a fair bit off, so by the time one of the candidates takes office, we will likely have already done many of the things they want. Some food for thought though, especially regarding research priorities.
Other: True, there is that. Anything interesting from our outreach and trainee programs?
Gene: Oh yes, actually. We have accepted two new trainees, and have many more under evaluation. The first one had written an interesting masters thesis about hydrolox engines, with a few interesting observations. Because of those, we have expanded our upcoming orbital fuels study. In additional she has been accepted as a scientist trainee especially for that reason.
Gene: The other coming trainee is Matt W. Kerman. His masters was a strange mix of biological and mechanical elements, related especially to growing crops, especially potatoes, in harsh conditions. But not limited to that single topic, the thesis was also about the mechanical system related to the growing and to life support. He has been accepted as an engineer.
Other: Ah, good. How about Operation Polaris? Is it coming along.
Gene: Its proceeding well. The design is about finished, so we expect construction and first launch in a few months. After that, well then we will announce it to the world.