Re: SPACE: Roton in New Scientist

Philip Witham (
Fri, 14 Aug 1998 12:16:01 -0700

(This is a reply to an email from Robin Hanson. Robin, I glitched by replying directly to you, sorry, and I hope you don't mind my quoting you on the group.)

>>The early units were Nitric acid and Aniline motors.
>Umm, help me out here. Aniline as in rubber?
It's a liquid, a hypergol with several things.

>>>the PR (/perceived environmental) impact of a *BIG* boom can be daunting,
>>Yes. Perception again. Sea launch=little boom.
>I know. But sea launch + BDB = too many new things for investors' milklike
>perceptions (see below).
Yes, and I personally am not so hot on sea launch, after doing some testing at sea, it looks like you loose as many benefits as you gain.

>I do have a vivid mental image of mutant spacefaring barnacles, descended
>from sea launches many millennia before. :)
Yes! Complete with their own water vapor jets, spreading from satellite to satellite. Eeek!

>>Never say that, have you forgotten our principles?! Gasp!
>Sorry, I balked for a moment. Residual sarcasm. :)

>>Us space enthusiasts are our own worst enemy, all pointing to the stars,
>but all in different directions.
>Didn't Bucky say "out, not up?" :)
>But I definitely ditto your "sheesh!"
>I hope we're not our own *worst* enemy. But I think it is instructive to
>remember "when the natural human urge to explore is too long thwarted,
>perversions arise." This includes acting on impulses such as "What can I
>convince someone sounds plausible, incremental or sexy so I can get a
>job doing it and milk it forever?"

Hmmn... Interesting thought.