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View Diary: Space Entrepreneur: AWST Person of the year (33 comments)

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  •  I don't support this (0+ / 0-)
    In a world struggling for survival (really) this seems to be the ultimate in conspious consumption for self gratification.

    It is not scientific research for common good but catering to the whims of the wealty.

    Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

    by koNko on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:06:02 PM PST

    •  You consider things like (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, SJLeonidas

      Zero-G manufacturing and Space Based solar Power, and the markets offered by cheap space access to be conspicuous consumption?

      You'll forgive me if I don't see it that way

      •  I'm not against technology development (0+ / 0-)

        Or against wealthy patrons of the arts or science if it meets a good end; being a materials scientist myself I know how to beg, borrow and steal to do that, but I don't actually see much application or urgency for manned space travel as long as we continue to screw-up things here on earth and the money could be put to better use on technology to correct that first.

        I actually don't see much need for Zero-G manufacturing; beyond some basic R+D, most of the applications I've seen for that seem to be more an excercise in justifying space flights than producing genuinley useful things we can't otherwise make or find alternative technologies for. On the other hand, some Zero-G bioscience is promising at least to understand how gravity effects organisms! Other areas of pure science might also benifit from such working environments, but at what cost/benifit?

        Today, so much of our work is computational, requiring limited proof-of-concept work (the success of these spacecraft proves that) I really don't envision lot's of these things full of Richard Branson clones creating extra-terrestial trafic jams for a useful purpose; smaller craft without humans can cover most research on the cheap.

        BTW, the space-solar farming idea is interesting but has a LOT of problems (1) - methinks we can do a lot better a lot sooner on the ground; in any case we need better batteries for any of this stuff to work closer to maximum possible efficency.

        OK, all that said, I never like to discourage curiosiy, experimentation or creativity as long as the side effects don't result in too many missing fingers or deaths of innocent bystanders with my name and general appearance, and I wasn't trying to rain on the parade, just voicing my opinion.

        As long as there are enough Richard Branson clones, these guys will get funding and do their thing, I will be totally ignored and more power to them.

        (1) Not the least of which is the debris & solid particles from all the Krap we have already left up there crashing whatever new gizmos we put in orbit, a Big Mess with N.K.S. except tracking and avoidance of the big stuff (but the tiny stuff gets worse each year - yes, we have already polluted space).

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 04:15:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

          Let me offer a short list of the near-term industries that are related to human spaceflight (you won't necessarily see it all at once, but the relation is there - they either enable cheaper human spaceflight, or actually require humans in the loop)

          1.  Space debris removal
          1.  Satellite & spacecraft refueling
          1.  Humans to Space/Orbit (space tourism is part of this, but only part - you can also include scientists, professional astronauts and so on)
          1.  Cheap remote sensing
          1.  Space Sports
          1.  Space/Zero-G Science and R&D
          1.  K-12 Education
          1.  Space Burial
          1.  Large scale cargo to orbit

          All of these are potential markets, that could easily be tapped within 5 years, or less, without much difficulty.  And, in fact, there is a company working on every single one of these various markets.  

          We've discussed the zero-g manufacturing a little, but I am fairly optimistic about it, considering the comments that Tom Pickens 3rd raised at ISDC a few years ago (You can find it on Youtube - search for Tom Pickens ISDC ).  You may know more than I have heard, but my understanding is there is real interest in things like pure substrates and bio-tech (as you alluded to).  That is a little more long term, but we don't know much about it, so I would submit that its worth while

          Carrying it further down the road, there is the potential for space based solar power, which we've already talked about as well.

          What we are doing here, is creating industries, high-tech industries, that will hire people, and put them to work.  Much like we did with the internet - look at all the jobs that created.  We didn't know the jobs and companies that would be created, like Facebook & Dailykos, back in the early 90s.  But this expansion of society has created a number of jobs.  Doing space development (of which most space entrepreneurs are engaging in) is expanding society, so we become spacefaring.  To expand on this further, (and I should be fair, these are more long term prospects, but should not be ignored, I am embedding a short video

          This isn't about conspicous consumption - this is about societal expansion, and getting access to the space resources, to help society. IMHO, The Space Option has to be part of our plan to save the planet, and we'll need The High Frontier

        •  To add (0+ / 0-)
          1.  Those of us who support actual space development (and not the crap like Ares) are fighting so that we actually GET a return from human spaceflight.  Right now, most of the $8 Billion we spend on human spaceflight doesn't actually give us any substantive return.  But that doesn't mean it has to be like that.  If we spent most of that $8 Billion on industry creation, we could do some really incredible things.  
          1.  I am well aware of the space debris issue.  Actually, the real concern right now is collisions between big things, not just the small stuff.  But, as I alluded to, this could easily become another industry.  
    •  Many technologies were once the perview of the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FerrisValyn, SJLeonidas

      uber rich, but breakthroughs have often made them cheaper, better and available to the masses.  I consider this a small price to pay for the possibility of getting some of our eggs out of this one basket.

      Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

      by Sychotic1 on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:24:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Compared with the mega-yacht market (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FerrisValyn, SJLeonidas

      this is not a big deal.

      http://images.google.com/...

      Governing well shall be the best revenge

      by Bill White on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 06:28:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did I suggest sending mega-yachts into orbit? (0+ / 0-)

        Obviously, now that Paris Hilton has runined her looks and made a complete ass out of herself she needs somewhere to party beyond the 12 mile limit so my daughter doesn't get any big ideas too soon, but what has the upper atmosphere ever done to deserve unscheduled visits from Bible-toting, sex-crazed, doper ex-cons (even though the idea of rocketing her and her pals into geo-syncronus orbit has some merrit) ???

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 04:25:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This one looks reasonably useful (0+ / 0-)

        Mega-Sub-mini-me

        So I'm prepared to make a down payment if you accept cash

        Photobucket

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 04:35:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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