Re: Orpheus [Was: Re: SPACE: Why so much EVA on ISS?]

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sun Mar 18 2001 - 16:16:04 MST

"Robert J. Bradbury" <> writes:

> On 18 Mar 2001, Anders Sandberg wrote:
> > Upon arrival, the craft divides into two. The nuclear reactor part,
> > cargo and habitat modules land on Orpheus, becoming a mining base,
> > while the (nearly empty) fuel tanks and an auxillary propulsion system
> > remain in orbit as a heavy cargo transport.
> Oh my god, Anders is actually inventing another boondogle
> that requires *people* to do the work! I explained how this
> should be done in my previous (somewhat lengthy) post from
> a week ago or so. You do it with microsats.

Actually, the reason for the humans is a bit better than just making
things expensive. First, robotics and AI in this scenario isn't quite
up to par, and second the initial base is intended to be expanded into
a fairly large habitat-builder complex.
In reality I would likely go for autonomous systems and microsats.

> > The crew will have to spend a long time in microgravity; I have been
> > toying with the idea of rotating the ship but I'm not sure it would be
> > worth it
> Why don't you just have the biotech engineers come up with a drug that
> simulates the stress-signals produced by gravity (or amplifies those
> produced naturally, so you can cut the treadmill time down to something
> reasonable).

Because I want to torture my players with my rules for bone
decalcification :-) Actually, it is not obvious that you can convince
bone cells that they are being stressed without real mechanical
stress. The biotech in my scenario might come up with something, but
it will take a while (space colonisaton has up to the moment the
storyline starts not been a high priority for anybody).

> > The business plan is rather long-range and mainly interested in
> > building the industrial infrastructure needed for large scale habitat
> > production (of which there is a predicted tremendous jump in demand
> > within 20 years of the start of the operation, due to external
> > factors).
> Long range business plans can only be financed by very rich people.
> VC & Investment bankers wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole.
> You can of course wait until 20 years when a new generation of
> hot-shots thinks they know everything and buy into the stupidest stuff
> (The marketing plan for Iridium must now be a B-school classic.)

In this scenario the reason for going into space at all is simply that
a form of runaway bio-goo slowly is overrunning the biosphere, and the
people behind the space effort calculate that the value of owning a
sizeable fraction of all human living space would outweigh the risk of
a project failure. Of course, the vast majority of people and
investors is betting (or just hoping) better biotech or nanotech will
solve the goo problem. But having a world filled with people with
nanowarfare capabilities is in itself a good reason to want to
emigrate. The investors in this case are a few national consortia and
long-range foundations with somewhat extropic agendas.

I agree that this is a somewhat weak case, but then again, it is a
game. I try to make the science and economy as hard as suits the
story, but I do fudge a little bit to make (more) interesting things

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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