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Season 1 & 2 Discussion

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I will do a Slow Clap if Mars-Related research through the rest of the 80's and 90's results in a breakthrough cure for Glaucoma.

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Episode 1:

I went into this cold, so it was a big (pleasant) surprise when the moon landing we saw in the beginning was the sovjets landing. Certainly makes things interesting.

Not sure why Apollo 11 would have nearly failed in this universe? NASA pushing too hard after the sovjets got to the moon or just another ccoincidence?

Are they seriously trying to make Wernher von Braum, the Nazi war criminal, into a sympathetic mentor figure? I mean seriously?

I'm sad that this doesn't have its own sub forum. Now I have to catch up before I can actively discuss the episodes without being spoiled...

Episode 2:

LOL. Wernher von Braun arguing about a military installation on the moon and that his work should only be used for peacefull purposes. He never cared about these things. He only cared about advancing his work.

I guess I just gotta think about this as an alternate universe (which it is) where Wernher von Braun wasn't the man he was in ours.

Edit: I guess not, considering the hearing and the talk later in the episode. Then it makes no sense that he would argue against the military base on the moon.

Edited by Zonk
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At the end of season two, Danny was already in the Naval Academy, the season basically was in the summer of 1983 or 1984. Jimmy would be in high school. 

Had the US maintained its level of real spending after Apollo, it very easily could have established a lunar base and headed towards Mars. These were things that were being discuss in our timeline in the early 1970s.

Apollo 11 did come close to being a disaster, though it was kept secret at the time. In fact, Armstrong and Aldrin had to maneuver away from the planned landing spot full of rocks to avoid a crash landing. They landed the Eagle basically on fumes although the fuel for lunar takeoff wasn’t affected.

One of the fun things is watching how historical events and people in our real timeline did or didn’t appear in the FAM timeline. Brezhnev and Gorbachev don’t appear at all. It’s also surprising that John Glenn apparently was never elected as a US Senator. (Or at least not yet)

So that’s a fun part of watching FAM.

Edited by theschnauzers · Reason: Clarity
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What a great and intense season finale!!  I figured that Gordo would die saving Tracy but I did not see both of them dying.   

I am very confused by the timeline for Kelly Baldwin.  Was she an orphan for many years in Vietnam before coming to America?  How could her father not know about her and how coincidental that they both end up in Houston

 

 

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That moon base in the middle of season 1 doesn't look properly shielded. They are all going to die of cancer...

Also I'm a bit miffed that they don't actually have the 2 seconds delay that they mentioned in one of the first episodes. The Expanse incorporated that to great effect. On this show, communication is just instant.

So end of season 1: They didn't have enough guel left to even maneuver but they had enough fuel to get back to earth? Didn't sound like they had that just lying around earlier in the episode. They had to syphon it from an old lander. And they aren't producing fuel on the moon yet. So what gives?

Edited by Zonk

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22 hours ago, Zonk said:

I'm sad that this doesn't have its own sub forum. Now I have to catch up before I can actively discuss the episodes without being spoiled...

I have put in a request for a full forum.  Originally it wasn't clear that the show needed one but there does seem to be an uptick in viewers.  Stay tuned...

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On 2/22/2021 at 5:54 PM, Joimiaroxeu said:

It was funny that the big royal wedding was Charles marrying Camilla. How would that have worked out if she was nearing the tail end of her child-bearing years? Charles would have still needed to produce an heir (and a spare). Maybe in the alternate universe she was younger, hah hah.

There was also news about the first test tube baby in the news reel. I guess reproductive technology got advanced by the space program by a few decades and thus Camilla being older wasn't seen as that much of a problem anymore. At least that would be my guess.

On 2/22/2021 at 5:54 PM, Joimiaroxeu said:

That solar storm thing was scary. Couldn't that happen today? Technology is probably better built now to sustain solar activity though.

Yes and not really. If a massive flare hits us directly, a lot of the satelites will be kaputt. It's just very unlikely since those flares are really rare and the earth is tiny, but it's not impossible.

Edited by Zonk
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3 hours ago, Goldfish77 said:

I am very confused by the timeline for Kelly Baldwin.  Was she an orphan for many years in Vietnam before coming to America?  How could her father not know about her and how coincidental that they both end up in Houston

Yes, Kelly likely grew up in an orphanage. She’s approximately Shane’s age/a year or two younger than Danny. She was old enough to be helping the younger children when the Baldwins first saw her.

The paperwork Kelly was sent said that her father was in the army. Perhaps her other relatives were already killed in the war and he wouldn’t have been in a position to care for her. 

She told Karen her birth father had a restaurant in Arlington—that’s about a four and a half hour drive from Houston. So coincidence that he didn’t end up in California, but most Vietnamese immigrants did end up in CA and TX. 

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6 hours ago, ahisma said:

Yes, Kelly likely grew up in an orphanage. She’s approximately Shane’s age/a year or two younger than Danny. She was old enough to be helping the younger children when the Baldwins first saw her.

The paperwork Kelly was sent said that her father was in the army. Perhaps her other relatives were already killed in the war and he wouldn’t have been in a position to care for her. 

She told Karen her birth father had a restaurant in Arlington—that’s about a four and a half hour drive from Houston. So coincidence that he didn’t end up in California, but most Vietnamese immigrants did end up in CA and TX. 

thanks  that makes sense

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2x03:

I call bullshit on the cosmonaut bugging the base. Why would he have a bug on him while on a normal assignment? He couldn't have known that the base would be empty at any point beforehand. There clearly wasn't enough time to get to his base, get a bug (or even manufacture one, since why would you have a bug on the moon), come back and plant it. Not with how slow travel even with a rover is, how long the airlocks take, etc.

 

2x05:

So at no point during construction did they ever vent the base? Because otherwise those ants couldn't have survived.

Also you can't get earlugs on that moon base? That's like no weight or size and would probably help a lot with the astronauts mental health.

 

2x06:

Ah come on. Am I really to believe that the sovjets would welcome the astronauts that way to their country? Like they wouldn't also make a great media spectical out of it to show what "gracious hosts" they are.

But I guess we can't show the sovjets how we'd show the americans. Have to make show that they are depicted as eeeeevil.

Edit: Or did that supposedly take place after the plane was shot down in 2x07? If so they really didn't make that clear. You shouldn't put shock value before good story telling...

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I am so tempted to make a long post about all the nitpicks that this finale episode has, but of course they can be handwaved by the fact that this all happen in an alternate universe where the John Lennon is still alive. Therefore, I will just have one nitpick. 

Why were there only three caskets in the burial at Arlington? I understand Gordo, Tracy, and Vance. But there was also an astronaut at Ops/Comm who got spaced out by decompression when the Soviets first breached.

While it looks noble in the narrative of the episode, I do not understand Ed's motivation in shooting the Sea Dragon. As far as he knew, the Soviets attacked Jamestown and they had all malicious intent to destroy the Sea Dragon. Again, for all he knew, the Sea Dragon was essential for the survival of Jamestown and his fellow astronauts there.

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4 hours ago, TV Anonymous said:

Again, for all he knew, the Sea Dragon was essential for the survival of Jamestown and his fellow astronauts there.

Jamestown needs more help than a seadragon at this point, The base will need extensive repairs, and most of the astros have probably been evacuated down to Earth for the time being.

If the show goes on to the 2010's and 2020's someone will point out that that the name "Jamestown" could be problomatic.

Edited by marinw

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2 hours ago, TV Anonymous said:

Why were there only three caskets in the burial at Arlington? I understand Gordo, Tracy, and Vance. But there was also an astronaut at Ops/Comm who got spaced out by decompression when the Soviets first breached.

It's possible that he was a civilian NASA employee and was not eligible for that honor. But that brings up the question of why Tracy was buried at Arlington? That's strictly reserved for veterans or active duty servicemembers. She was a civilian, right? And if she was, she wasn't eligible for the Medal of Honor either.

2 hours ago, TV Anonymous said:

While it looks noble in the narrative of the episode, I do not understand Ed's motivation in shooting the Sea Dragon. As far as he knew, the Soviets attacked Jamestown and they had all malicious intent to destroy the Sea Dragon. Again, for all he knew, the Sea Dragon was essential for the survival of Jamestown and his fellow astronauts there.

It's a variation of the "shoot the hostage" trope. By removing the Sea Dragon from the picture, he removed the primary reason for confrontation. He saw that as a better outcome (in large part because of Sally urging him to find another way) than the Russians shooting down the craft and the ensuing dogfight.

In addition, we found out that the Soviets were partially correct. The US was attempting to bring nuclear weapons to the moon.  It's probable that Sea Dragon was carrying the nuclear material the military needed in order to start producing plutonium at Jamestown. (Although Ed wouldn't know that.)

Michael Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut, dies at 90

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Okay, I do like this show. I do wish they'd focus less on the family drama, especially of the Baldwins. But overall, really fun show. Still I have some nitpicks, I have to air:

- I know, showing 1/6 gravity is hard to film on earth. But couldn't they at least have tried? Outside they sometimes do (but more often then not not even there). But as soon as they are in Jamestown, it's like they are back on earth.

- On the same token, how hard is it to actually implement a two second delay in communication? That's a lot more than you would think and should be very noticeable.

-  I said it about the small Jamestown base already, but it goes double for the big one. That base does not look properly shielded from solar radiation, The walls are too thin, there are too many big windows. Everybody there is dying from cancer in a few years, if not directly from radiation poisoning after a few moths up there. No matter what those dosimeters supposedly say.

- So that new space shuttle has nuclear engines? How? Does it have an open reactor and the drive spews radioactive waste everywhere? Through how much Uranium does it chew to get adequat thrust? In space there is no air. You actually have to output something to get an equal but opposite reaction. Regarding the original shuttles. They look an awfull lot like space shuttles in our world. And they are taking those to the moon? In our world they certainly weren't built for that. Maybe possible, but improbable.

- The soldiers/astronauts and soldiers/cosmonauts weren't tought at least rudimentary russian / english? Buh humbug. That whole incident hinging on them not speaking those languages and needing translation cards is ridiculous.  Also that a highly trained soldier who knows what a diplomatic incident it would cause, would fire before they actually saw a rifle seems really far fetched, too. It's not like the russians could quick-draw in those suits. There would have been plenty of time to shoot after seeing the rifle.

In that episode was also the most cringe worthy expository dialouge. Regarding the cosmonaut burning: "We think the bullet made a spark. Like our suits yours contain pure oxygen." Um yeah, I'm pretty sure the russian cosmonaut knows what their suits contain...

 

Regarding the last episode of season two, I won't even go into the political stuff that might only be explained if Reagan already had full blown dementia at that point.

But I really want to know how Tracy and Gordo actually died, except from bad writing, where drama and faking out the viewer is more important than a modicum of realism. They made it back to the airlock, pressed the switch to repreassurize and took off their masks. So at that point they were still concious. Worst that should have happened in that short amount of time it would have taken to repreassurize is that they would have fallen unconcious. But they should have woken up again shortly after. But it doesn't even seem like that happened, since their eyes were still open. So how again did they die?

Would it have been so hard to have them make it into the airlock but pass out before they could close the hatch or press the button? That would have been just as dramatic and tragic, if not more so. But noooo, the writers had to be clever and try and trick the audience. Which didn't work and all they achieved with me was massive annoyence when I should have been mourning those characters.

 

3 hours ago, xaxat said:

In addition, we found out that the Soviets were partially correct. The US was attempting to bring nuclear weapons to the moon.  It's probable that Sea Dragon was carrying the nuclear material the military needed in order to start producing plutonium at Jamestown. (Although Ed wouldn't know that.)

The second reactor was already running. It wasn't hooked up to the second cooling loop yet, was close to melting down and exploding. Which means the sovjets were right, but too late. The nuclear material was already up there.

Edited by Zonk
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9 hours ago, marinw said:

Jamestown needs more help than a seadragon at this point, The base will need extensive repairs, and most of the astros have probably been evacuated down to Earth for the time being.

Ed did not know that when he shot Sea Dragon, though.

7 hours ago, xaxat said:

It's possible that he was a civilian NASA employee and was not eligible for that honor. But that brings up the question of why Tracy was buried at Arlington? That's strictly reserved for veterans or active duty servicemembers. She was a civilian, right? And if she was, she wasn't eligible for the Medal of Honor either.

This is one of the things that I put as 'the show happens in alternate reality'. Maybe the military rules and protocols there differ than IRL. Case in point, Ed wore his civilian astronaut pin on his Navy uniform. IRL, Naval Officers who have gone to space would wear an astronaut device on their Naval Aviator or NFO wings instead.

3 hours ago, Zonk said:

- So that new space shuttle has nuclear engines? How? Does it have an open reactor and the drive spews radioactive waste everywhere? Through how much Uranium does it chew to get adequat thrust? In space there is no air. You actually have to output something to get an equal but opposite reaction. Regarding the original shuttles. They look an awfull lot like space shuttles in our world. And they are taking those to the moon? In our world they certainly weren't built for that. Maybe possible, but improbable.

It is called Nuclear Thermal Rocket. It is still in design and research and not yet in production. Basically, the nuclear reactor is a closed loop with no radioactive materials exhaust.

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13 hours ago, TV Anonymous said:

It is called Nuclear Thermal Rocket. It is still in design and research and not yet in production. Basically, the nuclear reactor is a closed loop with no radioactive materials exhaust.

So the propellent is liquid hydrogen and the nuclear reactor is just used to heat it up. Calling that a "nuclear powered shuttle" is missleading at best. A show about space exploration and rapid technological advancement maybe should have explained the propulsion system a little. But I guess we had to make time for Baldwin family drama...

Also "still in design and research" is imo going a little far. I'd call it "cold war wet dream that will never happen". Just because for a time people thought throwing nuclear fission reactors into everything was a good idea, doesn't mean it is.

But thanks for explaining what they actually meant. 😃

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On 4/19/2021 at 9:32 PM, CarpeFelis said:

True, but the option of living openly with Pam is gone, since Pam led her to believe she’s still in love with her other girlfriend. Unless, of course, Larry fesses up that he has a pretty good idea why Pam did this...

That nobody ever sees through the "Go away I don't love you anymore!"-thing is really annoying to me. It is such a bad trope.

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22 hours ago, Zonk said:

 Calling that a "nuclear powered shuttle" is missleading at best.

 I'd call it "cold war wet dream that will never happen". Just because for a time people

The main power plant of the shuttle Pathfinder is a nuclear reactor. If it is not a 'nuclear powered shuttle', then what it is?

I would not be too fast as to call it 'will never happen'. NASA Mars Design Reference Architecture calls for nuclear thermal engine as the propulsion for Mars-bound spacecraft.

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On 4/28/2021 at 11:06 AM, marinw said:

If the show goes on to the 2010's and 2020's someone will point out that that the name "Jamestown" could be problomatic.

Would that society with intensive space activities and technological advancement that come along with it go through the similar period of social justice movement? For example, the first black astronaut IRL to go to space went in 1983. In the show, Poole landed on the moon sometime in 1974.

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1 hour ago, TV Anonymous said:

The main power plant of the shuttle Pathfinder is a nuclear reactor. If it is not a 'nuclear powered shuttle', then what it is?

Fine, call it nuclear powered shuttle. But maybe on a show about the advances in space flight they should have made it clear, that it's actually liquid hydrogen as a propellant that is heated rapidly to generate thrust (and that it's heated by nuclear fission is kinda incidental). I mean what else are we here for? Certainly not for reheated Baldwin family drama, that seemed to be resolved like a decade ago.

1 hour ago, TV Anonymous said:

I would not be too fast as to call it 'will never happen'. NASA Mars Design Reference Architecture calls for nuclear thermal engine as the propulsion for Mars-bound spacecraft.

There are so many problems with nuclear fission reactors on a space ship. The big one being how to dissipate heat. There is nowhere for it to go (except infrared radiation but that is very inefficient). When you want to stop, you need that reactor to cool. Really the only way is to dump your hydrogen and the heat with it. You can probably use some of it to slow down, but it gets less efficient the colder the reactor gets. So you'd need massive hydrogen tanks. At least on such a small shuttle, for such short flights I have to call "buh humbug". Maybe on massive ships for a long flight to Mars, it would make sense.

NASA has a lot of smart people who could probably figure something out with enough funding, but I kinda doubt we'll see thermo nuclear engines before we don't have small fusion reactors, as those can be turned off instantly. On the plus side, with high temp super conductors going into mass production and becoming cheaper and cheaper, that might be soon-ish.

Edited by Zonk

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On 4/30/2021 at 9:47 AM, Zonk said:

Fine, call it nuclear powered shuttle. But maybe on a show about the advances in space flight they should have made it clear, that it's actually liquid hydrogen as a propellant that is heated rapidly to generate thrust (and that it's heated by nuclear fission is kinda incidental).

I think it fits with how we have historically talked about space exploration. No one (outside of astronautical engineers) talks about the propellants as powering rockets, they talk about the engines. Apollo's legendary F1, the space shuttles' main engine and solid rocket boosters, SpaceX Raptor etc.

But regardless of the engineering terms, I think the reference to the Pathfinder as being nuclear powered serves an in important  narrative purpose. It indicates to viewers, regardless of technical knowledge, that Pathfinder is next generation. Not only better than Buran, but better than the space shuttle that we are familiar with. 

That's why the difference how the show portrays gravity in Jamestown and on the surface of the moon does not bother me. It serves as dramatic shorthand that Jamestown is a place where it is safe for humans to live, while the surface of the moon is hostile alien environment.

 

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Keep in mind that as we’re discussing Mars, experiments on the newest rover and helicopter are demonstrating that Oxygen can be extracted on the Martian surface, we known there’s evidence of H2O underneath the surface, the clouds are water clouds, btw, and breaking down Martian source water will also provide hydrogen. And that’s in our timeline.

The closing scene in season two shows that Man landed on Mae in 1994. So clearly in the FAM timeline these Robles were somehow solved. It just an strange coincidence that Provenance and Ingenuity landed on Mars as we reached the end oof season two. 

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On 4/26/2021 at 12:52 PM, Zonk said:

There was also news about the first test tube baby in the news reel. I guess reproductive technology got advanced by the space program by a few decades and thus Camilla being older wasn't seen as that much of a problem anymore. At least that would be my guess.

IRL the first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978, so no big advance from reality.

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Just finished the first two episodes and I'm hooked.  I really liked Man in the High Castle and am a fan of alternate history shows.  Some great "wow" moments in the first two episodes.

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So I started on 27 May and finished on 16 June. Not my fastest binge, but a respectable pace. When this show is on form, it's great. When it's focussing on the human drama back on Earth, I'm somewhat less enthused.

However, it has reignited my love for somewhat hard SF. Give me proper astrophysics. While I love SW and Trek, I wish they were a few shades harder. B5 and BSG proved you can do full widescreen space opera while still giving us Newtonian physics.

Speaking of which, this is a proto-space opera, right? Ancestors of Zefram Cochrane or Solomon Epstein could walk onto the screen at any time and I wouldn't quibble for a second.

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1 hour ago, Anduin said:

B5 and BSG proved you can do full widescreen space opera while still giving us Newtonian physics.

Have you watched The Expanse?

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2 hours ago, marinw said:

Have you watched The Expanse?

No. I've read some of the books and will watch sooner or later. But I've seen a few clips, and I'm glad they went with proper physics. Or at least enough to pass. Not like I'm an expert. :)

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49 minutes ago, Anduin said:

No. I've read some of the books and will watch sooner or later. But I've seen a few clips, and I'm glad they went with proper physics. Or at least enough to pass. Not like I'm an expert. :)

The Expanse is far and away the best futuristic science fiction show when it comes to realism.  Everyone knows Star Trek will never happen.  But our future in space could very well turn out to be like The Expanse.

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