Re: from 6 billion to 500 million: how? (was RE: true abundance?)

From: John Marlow (
Date: Wed Jan 31 2001 - 18:01:22 MST

THAT would be very cool. Also opening it up to someone other than
military contractors accustomed to fabricating test results and cost


On 31 Jan 2001, at 8:55, Chris Russo wrote:

> >In short--it ain't in the near-term cards.
> >You can show a 90% cost reduction, maybe someone will be interested,
> >maybe not.
> There was a very good Scientific American last year where they
> discussed various strategies under development that would lower the
> per Kg costs of getting payloads to space by orders of magnitude.
> Sorry, I don't have a reference to the issue.
> One of the most interesting technologies was a ground based laser
> that would fire up into the launch vehicle, super-heating the air
> until it was able to explosively propel the vehicle up up up. They
> had working models and were gradually getting the things to go higher
> and higher.
> I'm reminded of the Internet. Back in the late 80's, I was using the
> Internet at college for emailing friends in Europe, playing MUDs,
> downloading software, etc. I thought it was the greatest thing, and
> one of my biggest regrets was that I wouldn't have access to it after
> I graduated. I worked for the IT department at school and I knew
> that it cost the school tens of thousands of dollars a month to have
> that connection. I just couldn't imagine how the economies of scale
> would ever allow me to have my own personal Internet connection.
> In less than a decade, as we all know, corporate interests in the
> Internet changed everything. What used to seem impossible is now
> commonplace.
> I think that the same thing will happen with the space industry.
> Some people will keep chipping away at technologies to get us into
> space cheaper and cheaper. Then, one day, some corporation will find
> a way to exploit something in space for a profit - maybe weightless
> fabrication, or mining asteroids, or something not yet imagined (as
> the web was not yet imagined in the late 80's). From there, you'll
> see this corporate explosion into space, and economies of scale will
> make it so affordable that even private citizens of modest means will
> be able to take advantage of it.
> As with the Internet - in a decade or two our whole world will have
> changed. You'll look back and wonder how we ever got by without
> affordable space travel.
> Regards,
> Chris Russo
> --
> "If anyone can show me, and prove to me, that I am wrong in thought
> or deed, I will gladly change. I seek the truth, which never yet
> hurt anybody. It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance
> which does harm."
> -- Marcus Aurelius, MEDITATIONS, VI, 21

John Marlow

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