Re: SPACE: Beyond Apollo

Date: Sun Apr 02 2000 - 18:53:04 MDT

In a message dated 4/1/00 9:39:16 AM Central Standard Time, writes:

> Also, I don't think the whole space age dream failed -- if it even failed;
> wake up! there are both public and private space programs!:) -- because of
> anything inherent in technoprogress. Rather, the culture changed. After
> Apollo, sadly, people on the whole, from my readings (I'm too young to know
> firsthand, but perhaps some of the people who were adults back in the 1970s
> could fill me in -- and correct me if I'm wrong), became more critical of
> visionary technological programs.

You're right, Daniel, that people in general lost interest in visionary
technological programs and, for years I thought that was the only reason that
"the space program" ran aground in the 1970s. But I've come to a different
conclusion now. The truth is that space didn't pay and with 20th century
technology it never could. I've yet to see a good economic justification for
the kind of truly massive public spending required to do anything outside of
LEO with that kind of technology and, believe me, I WANT to see such a thing.
> Though I agree GNR will help make CAtS better, if we just took that old
> Saturn V design, which, if I'm right, is now unpatented, we could be making
> disposable launch vehicles that could put huge cargoes in orbit NOW! We'd
> be using a proven technology.

I'm no rocket scientist (but I play one when I take people down to MSC for a
tour), but I think simply reproducing the Saturn V would get you nowhere
fast. It was designed on the premise of non-reusability and LOTS of public
money. I think you agree that that design philosophy is NOT the way to go.
> I also don't agree with the self-sustained model Greg Bear and others buy
> into. The fist European colonies in the New World were not
> People in Antarctica live for long periods without be totally
> self-sufficient. Etc. Surely, living in space is more extreme than these,
> but if you can get oxygen from Moon rocks or asteroids, there's no need for
> a perfectly closed ecosystem.
> The model we should be focusing on is open systems and looking for ways to
> get resources to pump into them cheaply. This way, we don't need to do all
> kinds of fancy development, testing, and extensive monitoring after
> deployment. I'd rather have spare air tanks than rely on an intricate
> ecosystem to keep me breathing. (Surely, one could have both, but I think
> all of you get my point.:)

Daniel, if you're going to ask Earth to support an extraterrestrial economy,
I think you have to come up with an economic rationale. I'm waiting . . .

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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