Saturday, March 23, 2019

Wonders from space... and beyond


Naturally, I'll have much to say about the Mueller Report, but not today. (Well, maybe in a coda, at the end.) For now, let's boost our spirits by...

... looking toward space!  Starting with...

A
 stream of terrific shadow selfie images from Japan's Hyabusa-2 probe touching down on  asteroid Ryugu, then getting blown back as it fires a bullet to kick up sample material. 'If all goes according to plan, these three samples will come down to Earth in a special return capsule in December 2020.” And this after deployment of three mini-landers.

This seems a perfect partnership with NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex probe, sampling another asteroid. Below, I'll discuss how the U.S. and Japan plus a few tech wizards should go do these treasure rocks (where the vast wealth is) while letting China, Russia and all the other Apollo-wannabes scamper to sterile-useless Luna for their coming-of-age rites. 

And yet.... we now find that incoming asteroids may be harder to break than scientists previously thought


== It's quiet out there... maybe too quiet ==

My paper on the ethical, logical and theological  bases for METI – Messaging to ET Intelligences – is now in the journal Theology & Science. ‘The “Barn Door” Argument, The Precautionary Principle, and METI as “Prayer”—an Appraisal of the Top Three Rationalizations for “Active SETI.”’ Yes, so far it is restricted by subscription. But let me offer you the abstract:

“Proponents of Active SETI, or METI, defend their messaging-to-aliens agenda with fallacious arguments like the Barn Door Excuse, that technologically advanced extraterrestrials must have already listened to our radio leakage, (e.g. “I Love Lucy”), hence more direct beaming will not betray Earth’s location. 


"Further, they claim that sending pinpointed, collimated messages will only lead to positive outcomes. In fact, laser-like “messages” are far more powerfully detectable at great distances than old-time television, and concerns about potential downsides should be appraised by scientific risk-assessment. It is argued that METI is psychologically driven as a version of the ancient human practice of prayer.”


Yes, there truly was a reason it got published in Theology and Science.


== Yes, humanity should keep exploring the moon ==

We’ve learned so much from lunar bits, especially taken by the Apollo missions. This Apollo14 sample apparently formed deep under the crust of the Earth, then got blasted to Earth’s surface, then blasted to land on the Moon, got buried and modified, then got blasted onto the moon’s surface to be plucked by an Apollo14 astronaut. How do we figure all this? We’ve learned to track an amazing suite of physical and chemical and isotopic clues thanks to … well, science.  Federally funded R&D that propelled half of our economy, since WWII.

And yet...  Come see a screed of utter-drooling nonsense –  declaring that China is “winning the new space race‼!” Oh, no! They just put a tiny solar rover on the Moon!  "The stakes are high: Who will be able to obtain the vast resources in space, for example, water/ice, iron, titaniumplatinum and nickel; secure the routes of trade; and write the rules of space commerce such as trade in energy propellant and precious metals."

Sigh. I am forced to get repetitive. The moon has what? It has absolutely none of those things except possibly some buried water as a source of propellant, at the difficult to access poles. And even that is likely to be eclipsed by vast amounts of water available in asteroids... along with actual, rather than make-believe gold, platinum etc. 

Why pretend to justify joining the Apollo-wannabes with faux claims of lunar 'resources' that don't exist? Even the normally smart and cogent Isaac Arthur breaks his arms desperately waving away any need to justify that claim with actual numbers. Oh, and here’s another cock n’bull story about moon mining and Helium 3 mythology, without a hint of due diligence on actual numbers or plausibility.

The only way that China wins any "space race" would be either militarily (as in the first chapter of Ghost Fleet; and yes, be wary) or else if the $%$#! Republicans force us into a "united/international consortium to go back to the moon." In that case – a lose-lose for the U.S. -- we'd have to transfer all our technology, boosting the Chinese and Russian while gaining nothing. 

Show us the "ores" you blithely armwave to be on the moon! Show us clear charts how it would be a 'way-station" to Mars. You can't. Oh, but with no one else apparently calling out this insanity, with a sigh, let me reiterate. 

The moon started out resource depleted because it came from Earth's crust, after most metals sank into our planet's core. Then the newborn-molten moon fractionated again, sending most of what was left settling into it's own core! As for what remained, there were no water processes which concentrated most useful ores on Earth. 

True there's aluminum and silicon and smidgeons of titanium in Luna's crust... and all of it is in super tight oxygen bonds that will take truly major energy input to separate -- possible, but hugely non-trivial. A little scattered meteoritic iron might get collected by dragging magnets endlessly through dust. Or we could go where it came from...

In contrast, half of the asteroids seem to have come from a shattered proto-planet. Some of them come from its carbon-volatiles-water rich outer crust. Some from the stony middle and many of them from the purified metal/iron/gold etc core. Pre-refined metal! 

Again, the only resource advantage of the moon is purported Helium Three. And please show it to me. Show me a customer. Hold me back from strangling the next cultist raving "Helium Three!" 

Yes, I do think we should keep exploring Luna!  Humanity is going back there, no matter what. And that's fine, Chinese and later Indian, Russian and Saudi and European and billionaire tourists will skip about, planting footprints in that dusty, useless, utterly resource-free plain. (And the U.S. should sell them services, maybe landers! Indeed, we might send a few small robots to explore some of those lava tube tunnels, partly to prevent the Chinese from claiming them all. But joining their mad rush for footprints? Why?)

Their surface reasons will be 'scientific,' but we all know it will be tourism and national pride. Having their Bar Moonzvah (“Today I am a man!”) 

Mazel Tov. The Americans and Japanese and Diamandis-ovs and Musk-ovites should transmit congratulations. Let's blow them kisses from the asteroids where we're getting spectacularly rich, doing things that only we (with our fellow true modernists) can do.

Wake up and smell the platinum.

== More news about deadly rocks ==

Fascinating evidence suggests that two of the super-Earths orbiting very close to a Kepler studied star may have collided in the past and that one of them is so dense it might consist only of the stripped iron core of an earlier, larger version.

Evidence suggesting that the rate of asteroids impacting the Earth-Moon system actually went up, starting about 290 million years ago, and the rate probably rose by 2.6x.  Perhaps a major asteroid broke up around then. In any event, all the more reason to support the B612 Foundation’s work, helping count and study potential impactors and concocting plans to deal with them.

Meanwhile, the theory that Earth’s volatile elements arrived through the steady bombardment of ancient meteorites during the Late Heavy Bombardment has been challenged by those who propose that a catastrophic collision between Earth and a Mars-sized object, sometimes referred to as Theia, some 4.4 billion years ago --- which many believe created Earth’s moon – may have delivered those volatiles.

== Go-go! ==

In preparation for it's first potential test fire, followed by hover trials, SpaceX had moved Elon's Starhopper suborbital vehicle to a launch pad at its Boca Chica test site near Brownsville, Texas

== And finally ==

Ah, but then there’s the Chinese orbital tracking station in Patagonia, operating without the slightest supervision by Argentina’s government or public. One more highly… assertive… international action. Only note that Patagonia is also where some of the world’s oligarchic elites have been buying up whole mountains for their post-apocalyptic retreats. All based on their weirdly smug assumption that we all won’t know exactly where they’ll be, when we decide to get mad.

Can you see patterns under the patterns? If Alien meddlers wanted to ensure our failure... or get hilarious reality TV ... the perfect plan is is to use their agents -- (Rupert? Vlad) to craft what we see right now. Oh, but let's not get all science-fictional!  Not till next time.

136 comments:

Daniel Duffy said...

dr. Brin,

You all got a tad snippy in the last thread about Moon industrialization. It seems that even if the Moon is not as proportionally as rich in industrial metals as the Earth it just might have enough to justify industrial operations that meet the material needs of an expanding space industry. The energy transfer argument (it is cheaper to ship materials from the the Moon to Earth LEO than from the Earth's surface to Earth LEO) gives lunar industrialization a leg up.

In any case, long term robot surface prospecting missions, ice finders and crawlers sent down Lunar lava tubes are certainly worth doing. A few dozen, remotely controlled from Earth,should do the trick.

Be that as it may, you might be interested in this article that combines two of your themes from this thread: human presence o the moon and space rocks:

http://www.pagef30.com/2009/09/could-paraterraforming-plus-large-scale.html

Could paraterraforming plus large scale minor terraforming of the Moon be an ideal solution to colonizing it?

That's where the idea of paraterraforming comes in. This is basically the building of a greenhouse-like environment that humans could live in from the start, which could then be expanded bit by bit as a colony grows. ...

However, there is one problem: the rest of the Moon will have no atmosphere at all. This is no problem in living within and expanding on a colony, but the lack of atmosphere means that at any time a tiny meteor could impact the surface, and protection against this might not be an easy task. And even if the colony is fortified against meteorites there will always be trips made outside the colony to explore parts of the Moon and gather resources, and it's possible that a person could be struck by an undetectable meteorite just a few millimetres in diameter, and that could be fatal.

So why not adopt a middle of the road approach? The creation of an Earth-like atmosphere may be impossible in the beginning, but what about an extremely thin one? Even a very thin atmosphere would provide protection against the smallest of meteorites, which are the most dangerous since they are nearly impossible to detect. An atmosphere just thick enough to create weather patterns would also help to alleviate the problem of moon dust, which is extremely sharp due to the lack of wind. Dust on Earth is constantly being pushed around, and this constant pummeling acts like a kind of rock grinder to smooth it out. Considering the colossal size of the Moon, it would probably be in our best interests to create a small atmosphere of this sort that could move the moon dust around without us needing to do anything, and this would likely remove the problem in a short time. It would also moderate the temperature extremes on the Moon to a certain extent, which would make it easier to work outside the peaks of eternal light as the nights would be a tiny bit less extreme. Instead of simply having light areas that are hot and dark areas that are cold, the winds would cool down the light areas next to the dark ones, and warm up the dark areas next to the light.


Daniel Duffy said...

Dr. Brin: "In contrast, half of the asteroids seem to have come from a shattered proto-planet. Some of them come from its carbon-volatiles-water rich outer crust. Some from the stony middle and many of them from the purified metal/iron/gold etc core. Pre-refined metal!"

No argument, the near term future of manned colonization of space is the asteroid belt. Screw planets. So instead of Mars, we should colonize the dwarf planet Ceres (the largest body in the asteroid belt) in order to establish a logistical base for asteroid prospecting and mining. Ceres has no significant gravity well to overcome and lots of water for life and fuel.

So instead of Star Fleet planting human colonies on the surfaces of planets, we'll have the Weyland-Yutani Corporation contracting out the space equivalent of oil rig and crab fishing work - extremely dirty and dangerous work with a high death rate. Think "rough necks in space" performing work that makes investors back home extremely wealthy, mankind more prosperous and the workers themselves a small fortune with each service contract (if they live long enough to return to Earth to spend their money). Maybe we'll have the occasional scientific base established on Mars or floating in the atmosphere of Venus, but they'll be no bigger than a current Antarctic weather station.

So forget about the bright, shiny and clean Enterprise, our future in space is the dirty, gritty and dangerous Nostromo. In fact, our whole future in space will look more like the "Alien" universe instead of "Star Trek" (face huggers and chest busters optional).

Send a few semi-autonomous 3D printers to the asteroid belt to mine local resources and create millions more 3D printers. Then change their programming to begin construction of space factories and infrastructure – all controlled by only a few thousand humans which are actually in space. Do the same on the surface of Mars to create habitable enclaves before the first colonists even arrive. Do that in the Venusian atmosphere and create vast structures made out of carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes while making the place habitable. And so we have the sources of the materials we will need to build the physical infrastructure of a colonized solar system. Water ice for fuel, oxygen, and life from Ceres, ice asteroids, comets, and Saturn's rings. Volatiles from carbon asteroids. Metals from nickel-iron asteroids. Nitrogen from ammonia ice asteroids. Carbon fiber from the atmosphere of Venus.

Eventually, the wealth generated by asteroid mining will create the resources and infrastructure needed to colonize the planets. But asteroids have to come first.

Daniel Duffy said...

As for colonizing Ceres instead of Mars, here is an interesting article:

http://www.pagef30.com/2009/04/why-ceres-might-be-better-location-for.html

Ceres has one important detail that makes it much more interesting than one might expect: apparently it has lots and lots of water... the actual surface area of Ceres is some 2.8 million km2, which is the equivalent of the surface area of either Argentina or Kazakhstan, or the total surface area of the largest three states in the US put together: Alaska plus Texas plus California. Ceres isn't just some tiny asteroid with nowhere to explore.

David Brin said...

Feh! I have a perfect right to get “snippy” when you repeat nonsense!

“even if the Moon is not as proportionally as rich in industrial metals as the Earth…” It’s VASTLY less rich, in all ways except (maybe He3.

“The energy transfer argument (it is cheaper to ship materials from the the Moon to Earth LEO than from the Earth's surface to Earth LEO) gives lunar industrialization a leg up…”

Sorry, but drivel. While asteroids take more time to get to, and hence aren’t as convenient for humans, for robots there are thousands of near Earth crossing asteroids that are energetically much more accessible than the mon’s surface, both ways. And their goodies are readily harvestable, by comparison.

Want to talk longer range? Sure, I want to live to see lunar colonies, an aim advanced by ANYONE going there across the next 20 years. But that means leaving lunar polar water alone! Unless there’s vast amounts, it should be left for lunar colonists later, not wasted for fuel when we can get it from asteroids.

I use the moon super long term in my video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai8x-ZqjXPc

But a domed crater would be a better bet.

“So forget about the bright, shiny and clean Enterprise, our future in space is the dirty, gritty and dangerous Nostromo. In fact, our whole future in space will look more like the "Alien" universe instead of "Star Trek" (face huggers and chest busters optional).”

Sorry more baloney. We’ll mostly use robots. And while I like THE EXPANSE, its portrayal of impoverished-oppressed Belters is silly. Over the 200 years described, there’s no way human females could create enough babies to keep up with the vast wealth we see in order to maintain a huge underclass. Wealth-spreading would have to be actively prevent ed.

I am interested in Phobos. We need to know if there are volatiles. If so, It changes everything.

David Brin said...

Annual warning. Be careful traveling from April 15-20. Various kinds of fascists focus on this period for special nastiness. Eyes open. See something, shout something.

Jon S. said...

"So instead of Star Fleet planting human colonies on the surfaces of planets, we'll have the Weyland-Yutani Corporation contracting out the space equivalent of oil rig and crab fishing work - extremely dirty and dangerous work with a high death rate."

Why does it have to be either/or? Even Star Trek gave us Harcourt Fenton Mudd running shipments to isolated mining colonies and Cyrano Jones the frontier trader, and the Enterprise was only dispatched to the Janus mining facility in response to a distress call.

Mike Will said...

I just hope it will be less of a brutal, 'lust for gold' expansion than previous ones. We should grow as a civilization as we spread out as a species. It doesn't have to be Star Fleet, but it should at least be optimistic, kind, and Asimovian.

"A manuscript I wrote on January 14, 1918… and deposited in a friend's safe… speculated as to the last migration of the human race, as consisting of a number of expeditions sent out into the regions of thickly distributed stars, taking in a condensed form all the knowledge of the race, using either atomic energy or hydrogen, oxygen and solar energy… [It] was contained in an inner envelope which suggested that the writing inside should be read only by an optimist."

- Dr. Robert H. Goddard, Material for an Autobiography, 1927

Duncan Cairncross said...

The report that asteroids may be more difficult to break up is a GOOD thing!

99.9% of the time you don't want to break up a possible city killer - you want to divert it a tadge so that it misses

David Brin said...

Depends how early you can break it up... and how thoroughly.

Anonymous said...

Be careful traveling from April 15-20. Various kinds of fascists focus on this period for special nastiness.

First I've heard of that. What's the occasion?

Paul Smith said...

I still have a little private night mare about Lunar mining. A train of Kilo ton sized cans of Titanium ore gets shipped through the mass driver to earth and comes in a little to hot. They burst and micron sized sized particles of Ti O2 scatter about 20 Km up and remain for a while. Enter blank white sky's for years

Daniel Duffy said...

"Be careful traveling from April 15-20"

Adolph's birthday?

David Brin said...

Also Oklahoma City and several other fascist milestones.

David Brin said...

I watched Mimino. Very sweet and pleasant. But even though it had English subtitles I was less impressed than I was with Peregov.

progressbot said...

>> Mike Will said...
\\progressbot: "I only heard, but never read. So what?"

You are, as AI-savvy person, might know what mean LOTS of information.
Like that lifetime experience of a human.
And that's why we have so much problem with building AI.
If we'd be in more simple environment, or with more simple, more comp-like brains...
but than that would be not us.
So, there is too much of chances why nothing impossible in that.


>> David Brin said...
\\I watched Mimino. Very sweet and pleasant. But even though it had English subtitles I was less impressed than I was with Peregov.

Well, of course. Peregon its modern movie made by Hollywood standarts.
While Mimino, its movie made in a country where was no herediary wealth, was constant war with alkogolism and etc, and all nation was concentrated on Building Big Rockets. (smug face)

How much of everyday trivia of that late USSR you was able to see and understand? What episode interesting?


One asteroid mission is proposed to throw a baggie around one of the "wet" asteroids and let sunlight evaporate water that can be collected and turned into rocket fuel . That is from one mission. Yes, many new technologies are needed. But useful profit can come one mission at a time.

Under what concept of profit? All what you described -- its mining of raw material.
Which, with our current level of development and techs... need tons of high-grade machinery, with constant need of spare parts and lots of energy... and solid ground and gravity, just to work.

Water. Cannot be that precious raw material. Only some rare minerals. Like gold.
But even more rare. Iridium, etc.

\\and write the rules of space commerce such as trade in energy propellant and precious metals

For now we know only one propheted rule of "space commerce" -- "let's set as high as possible price for Our oxigen to Them". Heh.

\\we'd have to transfer all our technology

You know about "knowledge rot"? So, what precious contemporary techs you think you have, for next Moonshot?

In contrast, half of the asteroids seem to have come from a shattered proto-planet. Some of them come from its carbon-volatiles-water rich outer crust. Some from the stony middle and many of them from the purified metal/iron/gold etc core. Pre-refined metal!

Well. But Moon is just there. Under our heads. Where even students can try to send their ameteur robots to try to do something. Where other robots can be tele-controled directly from Earth.
And... asteroids somewhere after Mars orbit. That must be mapped, and chased individually. And hardly seen from our distance which one is Jeckpot one.

\\Again, the only resource advantage of the moon is purported Helium Three. And please show it to me. Show me a customer.

Well. That's why relying on "markets will emerge and give us the Space" its stupid idea.

\\Wake up and smell the platinum.

Did you read about first Inflation(econ.) ever? After lots of gold and silver delivered from New World?

\\Sure, I want to live to see lunar colonies

Isn't "live to build one" would be more predictable and fullfilling?
Or you so stuck with idea that all new thing must be done the grandpa way, and no way other... even if there *is* other, innovative ways.

Like. You say that it is too hard to mine something valuable from under Moon surface?
Well, of course, if we talk abour our earth-like mining facilities only.
But I'd propose artificall trees, that'll dig their roots in there and separate material on the go. Why not?

There *vast* spread of new techs already exists: bio-techs, computer simulations, 3D-printing for God sake.
But all what you see, and what proposed by NASA and even Musk... it's the same Big Rockets, etc.
Instead of really modern approaches. :(((

Alfred Differ said...

progressbot, {way off topic for everyone else}

You wanted references, so here is a short list of books on my shelf I've used over the years. The physics theory books date back to my graduate studies. The philosophy books came later and aren't as thoroughly read and bled over. 8)

QM & Field Theory as a physics tools

Principles of Quantum Mechanics - Ramamurti Shankar
Lectures on Quantum Mechanics - Gordon Baym
Relativistic Quantum Mechanics - Bjorken and Drell
Field Theory [A Modern Primer] - Pierre Ramond (written like professor's lecture notes)
Relativistic Quantum Fields - Bjorken and Drell
Quantum Field Theory - Itzykson, Zuber
Quantum Electro-dynamics - R.P. Feynman (lecture notes) [You can't go wrong reading Feynman] 8)


QM and Fields from the philosophical angle

The Logic of Scientific Discovery - Karl Popper [a must read to understand what the argument really is about]
Postscript to The Logic of Scientific Discovery - Karl Popper [odd in places, but vol II of III should be read]
On Physics and Philosophy - Bernard d'Espagnat (challenging without a philosophy background)
Philosophy of Physics [Space and Time] - Tim Maudlin (well written - should be read by physics students)
Philosophy of Physics [Quantum Mechanics] - Tim Maudlin (don't have this one yet, but I've perused it)
QBism - Hans Christian von Baeyer [written for popular consumption]


I have a not-so-tiny library that I get to move each time I pick up and change jobs. I'll be doing it again in May (buying a house!) and I hope it is the last time I have to do it. I intend to pay someone else at some point. Maybe this time. 8)

Jon S. said...

Bot, you miss the point. It's not that it's "too hard" to mine anything valuable from the Moon, it's that there's nothing there to mine. The "artificial tree" idea certainly sounds futuristic, but in this example also pointless. It doesn't matter how sophisticated or advanced your processes are if there's nothing to process.

As for He3, I confess to having had no knowledge of the uses of this substance. So I spent a few minutes Googling. Looks like its only real value is as a potential fuel source for a form of nuclear fusion that doesn't yet exist in labs, which has to fuse its fuel at a far higher temperature than conventional hydrogen fusion in order to glean its sole advantage, a lack of neutron pollution rendering things radioactive. So again, it's about as valuable as the rock and dust it can (potentially) be found in (its presence apparently hasn't been verified, merely assumed due to Luna's direct exposure to solar radiation).

Alfred Differ said...

I have a friend who has worked hard at this stuff who used to advocate for asteroid mining. He switched one year to focus on our Moon. He was initially interested in where asteroids struck the surface because that would be the only location where minerals would be differentiated enough to be worth the effort. There is a small problem associated with arrival speeds, though. If they land at speeds faster than sound at the impact site, the whole mess gets vaporized. Differentiation becomes diffusion if they arrive fast enough.

He's no fool and he won't touch the He-3 topic. He just rolls his eyes. He's a big fan of our need for fusion power, but early sourcing of He-3 fusion from Luna is something he treats as magical thinking. It's taking us a while to develop the tech for controlled fusion, but we will likely have it figured out long before we can make Lunar He-3 make economic sense.

The one and only reason my friend switched away from asteroids had to do with the time cost of money. Getting government money to back this extension of the mining industry (that's what it naturally is) is also magical thinking. Private money has to be devoted to make this really work and the interest rates they change for really challenging tech explorations are well above what VC's charge. Most VC's won't touch these projects until some Angel investor has already shown how the vision might work.

Luna as a first step for building industry really does NOT make sense. It's not a giant asteroid. It's a piece of the Earth's mantle broken off AFTER Earth was well differentiated. Unless some other refined body landed on the surface in a way we can exploit, Luna is mostly useful for shielding material. It's not a gold mine. It's more of a gravel pit. We CAN do useful things there, but the early, useful stuff that makes economic sense involves using certain lunar orbits for waypoints.

What Luna has going for it is that it is close. That means we can use it to demonstrate rapidly that we've defeated certain technical risks that might inhibit private money flows. That most likely means staying in orbit and using L1 or L2 and the fuzzy boundary for some neat orbital acrobatics.

progressbot said...

>> Jon S. said...

Thank you for your comment.

"Nothing there" is greatly depend from what you need, isn't it? And as well as techs I propose (like that techy tree) deliver different abilities, from our earth-like techs. The same way they'll need other raw materials.

In a nutshell, techs I propose is deeply ecological and evolutional one. And as such that techs must be able to adapt to substrate, to raw material avilable. *Not* try to impose our Earth-bound prejudjes onto the sky. ;)

By re-inventing the whole idea of engineering.

\\As for He3...

Exactly!


>> Alfred Differ said...

It's not what I have asked, but well, thank you.
I have my own lib. Not that big thought. With some QM and general physics books. And pearl in it -- Feynman's lectures books, for example. And such rarity as ru-translated W. Heisenberg "Introduction to the unified field theory of elementary particles", scooped on flea-market (actually, from local lib leftovers).

Still, there is technical difficulties with that "x-raying the atom" (hope there'd be no misunderstanding, that I do not know about ionisation, this time) experiment. How to localize single atom into collider chamber. Well, we do have atom microscopes and stuff. Maybe some lasers. To make it stand where we want, to meet that hot particles beam.
But also I think there could be some other, theoretical issues. Like that, electron in atom are in entangled state.
But well, that exactly what could make that experiment interesting and viable.
Could be interesting opinion from some CERNian.

About philosophy. Though I seemingly philosopher myself, I have not big regard toward proffecional philosophers. Especially that one who trying to spout something about Physics, Math and Science in general.
Their thoughts tend to be the same kind viability, as about baking bread and work of bakers... from outsiders POV. :)


\\Most VC's won't touch these projects until some Angel investor has already shown how the vision might work.

And how to find and succumb one? :)

It seem like we need to wait a decade or two, for such savvy investor to emerge. (And than again decade or two for R&D... not a stark development. Well, that's why I started bothering people with my ideas, too.) Nevertheless that possibility of techs already opens and we can start to reserch and develop them.

Well, only hope that there is already exist some smarties, that working on something like that already, just without media attention. Well, that'll be wise.

But I do not like to believe in such conspiracy miracles. :(((

Tim Wolter said...

Hey, sorry I was not available to respond to assorted comments at the end of the last thread. Busy times.

Regards what can be believed on the basis of facts and what we believe By Faith Alone, I will of course be interested in what Mueller has to say in the days ahead. Also a revisit of the DOJ Inspector General's report and a look ahead at the ongoing probe into FISA abuse could prove instructive for those worried about the integrity of our institutions.


TW/Tacitus

Anonymous said...

So. What would you regard as fact from that a,b,c,d... options?
And most important, where'd you place plausible denial?

Daniel Duffy said...

The subject of lunar resources is an interesting study, a paper providing a summary of our current knowledge can be found here:

http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbiac/Lunar_resources_review_preprint_accepted_manuscript.pdf

From the Abstract (yes, He3 is a waste of time):

In this paper I review what is currently known about economically exploitable resources on the Moon, while also stressing the need for continued lunar exploration. I find that, although it is difficult to identify any single lunar resource that will be sufficiently valuable to drive a lunar resource extraction industry on its own (notwithstanding claims sometimes made for the 3He isotope, which are found to be exaggerated), the Moon nevertheless does possess abundant raw materials that are of potential economic interest.

See Fig 10 for a comparison of Earth v. Moon transport energy, the difference providing a significant advantage to Lunar resources provided there are enough of them (magnetic anomalies, mostly in the southern hemisphere, could - maybe - represent remains of iron and/or chondritic meteoritic debris in the near sub-surface) and they are in economically accessible concentrations:

"escaping the effective gravitational influence of the Earth (the zero level in the diagram) requires the same energy as climbing a 6400 km high mountain; the corresponding value for the Moon is only 290 km (i.e. it requires 22 times less energy to escape from the Moon as from the Earth). Note that all locations in cis-lunar space, including low Earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary orbit (GEO), require far less energy to access from the surface of the Moon than from the surface of the Earth."

It would be great if the Moon had economical exploitable raw materials in sufficient quantities to at least kick start an orbital industrial infrastructure. From the Conclusion:

"However, while resources from NEAs will doubtless come to play an important role, the Moon is likely to remain of central importance because of its constant proximity, its probable concentrations of accessible volatiles (especially water ice at the poles), and the fact that diverse lunar geological processes have concentrated many economically important materials (e.g. Ti, Al, the REEs, and U) in crustal reservoirs to levels which far exceed those found in most known asteroid classes. The Moon also has abundant energy, in the form of sunlight, to extract and process these materials in situ. Moreover, although it has long been considered that NEAs would be the preferred extraterrestrial sources for iron, nickel and the PGMs (e.g. Kargel, 1994; Elvis, 2012), the possibility that the Moon may retain partially intact iron and/or chondritic meteorites (Wingo, 2004; Wieczorek et al., 2012) means that it may become a useful source for these materials as well."

It sounds like an issue worth studying further.

Tim Wolter said...

Anonymous

Please, to participate in a conversation specify to whom you are speaking, and identify yourself by a nickname at least. Otherwise, and sometimes even with this help, it is impossible to figure out what you are asking.

TW/Tacitus

Anonymous said...

My comment to previous post. I'll reproduce it here.

Levels of "factuality" are:
a) death/ execution
b) court judgment
c) evidance in court
d) actual public/witnessed deed
(plausible denial ordinary here)
e) facts in media, possibly fakes too

Your opponents tend todisregard p.d. at all.
And it known from history that even death of the king was not reliable to stop rumors that he alive.

I repeating my question. What is your levels of factuality? And where would you place plausible deniability.

Me being anonimous. My identity is not important. And it must not change your judgment.

Tim Wolter said...

Anonymous

I'm sorry, I still don't follow your line of questioning here. And my point about picking at least a forum name is that it is the only way to keep track of which "anonymous" is presently speaking.

If the topic is US politics, and if it indeed interests you, I suggest waiting a day or two, things will probably be getting much more interesting.

TW

David Brin said...

-DD: that paper only reinforces the conclusion that there’s nothing useful on the moon except dirt for shelter and some water we might rob from future lunar colonists. The metals are all locked tight in oxides that will require truly huge energy inputs to refine. Maybe those energy sources will come available! Till then, hah!

“lunar geological processes have concentrated many economically important materials (e.g. Ti, Al, the REEs, and U) in crustal reservoirs to levels which far exceed those found in most known asteroid classes.”

Um… “most asteroid classes” means stony and carbonaceous, completely ignoring that we can CHOOSE which asteroids to exploit. And guess what? In order to get metal we’d choose… um? … the metal ones.

David Brin said...

Tim you are still in utter denial with this: “and a look ahead at the ongoing probe into FISA abuse could prove instructive for those worried about the integrity of our institutions.”

Be clear. ALL that you are clinging to - in this frantic effort at false equivalence - is the notion that some US counter-intel officials, smelling a terrible stench of Russian acts of war against our republic, might have LOOKED at some possible sources of stench a bit over-eagerly, skipping a procedural due diligence test. Or one or two of them might have (horrors!) had a political opinion.

Dig it. Bias is to be rooted out… LATER in the process, during adjudication and especially trial. It is a very minor sin when it comes to sniffing original clues. A sin hugely counter-balanced by skill and professionalism.

That’s it! That’s all you are clinging to. Never mind that the FRUITS of their investigation have all turned out to utterly, utterly substantiate their worries and suspicions. All of the fruits of those FISA warrants showed tsunamis of criminal activity, treason and obstruction. Seriously? You would ignore all that we learned, because the Steele report pointed at this cesspool CORRECTLY? But someone with an agenda might have helped to fund initial phases of that private report?

Tim, read that paragraph above carefully. Tell me how, with a foreign enemy actively suborning our elections and an entire American political party, in clearcut acts of genuine WAR, you are going to lawyer that we should ignore it all because Strzock and Page were (correctly, it turns out) terrified of what they smelled? And (stupidly) expressed it to each other?

Yes! And those Japanese planes attacking Pearl Harbor had fresh paint! And one of them waggled its wings to a salza beat. They could have been Brazilian!

David Brin said...

Anonymous, if you don't start signing your postings, at least with a consistent monicker, I will ask that members here ignore you utterly.

David Brin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brin said...

progressbot: In Mimino the trial scene was funny… if a bit slow by modern standards. The scene in which his older friend tried to help him get the pilot position by saying “your father spent 3 years with me in a tank” showed a type of inheritance influence at work… but the hero refuses to lie, and wins his position that way.

Sweet and moral, but not as interesting as Peregon.

Other matters: Water, in space, is fantastically valuable. It is the most costly thing we lift from Earth into space.

Please read more carefully. There are thousands of “near Earth asteroids” that approach very closely and are cheaper to get to (with robots) than the surface of the moon.

I don’t care if the price and gold and platinum plummet when we get them from space. They are very useful. In fact, it is one reason why rich mine owners want us to go to the moon, instead. To preserve their wealth.

“I'd propose artificall trees” I show these in several short stories. One of them has all-Russian and Ukrainian characters, See “The Logs” in my collection INSISTENCE OF VISION.

=== someone else

“Most VC's won't touch these projects until some Angel investor has already shown how the vision might work.”

There are a dozen billionaires investing right now in asteroid mining. Show me one investing in lunar resources.

“What Luna has going for it is that it is close”

Yes. There’ll me no human miners on the asteroids. Just robots. People on the moon? Sure. But Andy Weir says the only purpose will be tourism.

Jon S. said...

I suppose Luna could serve as a forward operating base, a remote HQ for asteroid (and other celestial) mining operations. There's no "there" there, to be sure, but the smaller gravity well might prove advantageous, and it's always in a good position in its orbit for launching to Earth. :)

David Brin said...

Jon S dynamically the Lunar surface is a large net loss for going anywhere else in the solar system. Lunar orbit is another matter. It offers a number of advantages and is truly the high ground.

Mike Will said...

Dr. Brin: "Lunar orbit is another matter. It offers a number of advantages"

Oh, good. I won't have to defend the Gateway Station investment. Canada and the Heechee thank you.

David Brin said...

MW - especially if we offer hotel stays at the Gateway and parking slots and services for landers, and even the landers themselves. Make em pay. Welcome to "our moon."

David Brin said...

Ilithi Dragon, wow! dang busy vivid action! You guys should all have a gander at his prologue... futuristic space combat.

--

I am appending below my latest capsule of "advice blips." Though Ilithi is pretty far along, it's still worth mentioning these:

Advice blips from David Brin:

* By far the most important pages are the first ones, when you hook the reader. And you need a great first paragraph to get them to read the first page. Starting with the Pov’s name is certainly okay… even Heinlein did it now and then. But it would be better to start with an italicized internal thought, or an ironic observation or spoken words or actions. (See the example below.)

* Many readers are hard on writers who give info dumps from the narrator's point of view. It's better to reveal info as efficiently as possible via conversation, action and the point of view character's internal thoughts.

* Many readers hate “repeatitis” where a word gets repeated a lot. English is so rich with synonyms and alternate ways of saying the same thing, that you can usually avoid it, unless repetition is a deliberate poetical device. This stricture has no strong reason for it, and indeed, authors like Hemingway violated it a lot. But most professionals cater to this common reader irritation and hence, you’ll pick up a habit of minimizing even too many close repeats of “the.”

* A more important habit to acquire, with stronger reason, is to feel uncomfortable with 'was' and 'had.' Oh, sure — “had”, “were” and “was” are permitted and sometimes necessary, but always regrettable.. each time should cause a wee bit of pain! Because ‘had’ – and to a lesser extent “was” often indicate the narrator, instead of the point of view character (Pov) is telling instead of showing. If you look at my books, you'll find I include lots of ideas and background of past events, but I pace them in with movement, action, conversation...

David Brin said...

More advice blips:

* POV (point of view) is the hardest thing for a new writer to master. It gives your characters a “voice,” and presence and offers the reader a sensed of vesting in the protagonist’s feelings and needs and will. This is all destroyed by authorial data-dumps, that make you feel lectured-to by a narrator.

* Prologues can be nice. But often they serve as crutches.

Example:
Lieutenant Jade Mahelona hated the noise and confusion of crowds, yet now she was stuck on crowd control in a busy tunnel-street of Deep Indianapolis while her carrier ship was in airdock for repairs. She'd joined Solar Defense Force to get away from Earth cities, and she'd loved every minute of her month of relative quiet on pirate patrol in the asteroids.

Try this instead:
Damn I hate crowd control duty. (italicized)
Over the tunnel noise and throng confusion of Deep Indianapolis, Jade could barely hear her sergeant growl in agreement, as if reading her mind.
“How long till the ship is fixed lieutenant? I didn’t join SDF for this shit.”
Of course it was a coincidence – Mulcraft didn’t have her electric-empath sense…
“Belay that,” She snapped. “Well be back out there on comfy pirate patrol in no time.”

Do you see how I dumped in far more information via internal (italicized) thoughts, sensory input and conversation, without once using “had” or even “was”? Now throw in some action… someone in the crowd throws something, and you’ve started rolling along, supplying lots of background info without an intruding narrator dump!

* Find a dozen openings of novels you greatly admire and RE-TYPE THEM!  Just re-reading them will not work.  I guarantee you will only understand how those authors did it if you retype the opening scene.  And you’ll grasp that establishing POV early while minimizing data dumping is the hardest thing for neos to learn, and absolutely essential to learn. No matter how wonderful your ideas are, they are useless unless you master how to hook.

Talk this over with your colleagues.  Read aloud together and critique the first 5 paragraphs of lots of writers. Do nothing else in your workshop, till you all understand how to establish both the scene/situation and POV laced into conversation, action and internal thoughts.

Alas, that’s all I have time for. But I hope it’s useful. Remember to read carefully my “advice article” at http://www.davidbrin.com/advice.htm And above all keep at it! That’s the to key to success.

Good luck!

Ilithi Dragon said...

Thanks, Dr. Brin!

I've read your advice article a couple times, and I'm going to save these tips, too.

That good example/bad example tip is particularly awesome! I've read a lot of articles and advice guides, etc. that happily tell you that using had/was/etc. are bad and should be avoided, but nobody ever actually gives examples of how to go about doing that!

Seeing an example of how not to do it/how to do it poorly, and an example of how to do it properly/well goes a very long way of helping make things click.

And there is a HUGE difference in going through my editorial process and seeing had/was/etc. and knowing that I need to make them go away, vs knowing what I need to turn them into. I already had some idea, but this helps a LOT.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Oh, and so nobody has to scroll through the previous thread to find it, here's the link to Episode 0 again: https://www.reddit.com/r/HFY/comments/b3z677/to_touch_the_stars_episode_0/

yana said...


David Brin thought:

"Sigh. I am forced to get repetitive. The moon has what?"

The moon has nothing for investment bankers. It only has one thing, but that thing is the most important thing in all the world. Species survival. Every day longer, wasted arguing about money and investment, we are playing russian roulette.

Granted, the gun has millions of chambers, but we know, for a fact, that at least one of those chambers has a slug big enough to wipe out all the animals in South America, and the total effect not so neatly localized.

"Evidence suggesting that the rate of asteroids impacting the Earth-Moon system actually went up, starting about 290 million years ago, and the rate probably rose by 2.6x."

Hey, i love impacts. They are what made earth a great place, frothing up plenty of heavy junk to the surface where we can find it and play with it. Comets brought us water, which is such a great heatsink that the skin of rock is stable, cycling under to the hellstorm downstairs on the order of aeons, instead of monthly.

Chixalub gave mammals our big break, a big whack gave NE Canada lucrative mining, have even heard people say that the entire Pacific is an impact crater. The Iceland impact accelerated species differentiation and gave us all those lovely fjords, sorry Slartibardfast.

But for every three years we delay, getting off the earth to stay, we pull that roulette trigger 1100 more times, 1100 more chances that we leave the cockroaches to evolve into earth's dominant species. They'd archaeolog our stuff, but they'd never figure out how to use it.

Have to repeat: we must get off the earth, in numbers large enough to self-suffice, as soon as possible. That means the Moon. We can do it in 20 years, if we pull together and organize something on a scale only governments can do. If we wait for the needs of a nomadic mining corps to develop the Moon as an appendix or backfill, you're talking 80 years. 22,000 more chances that Bowie's tune "Five Years" comes true, instead of Arthur C Clarke's whole symphony.

"Again, the only resource advantage of the moon is purported Helium Three. And please show it to me. Show me a customer."

Screw helium. If humanity has a non-earth colony, then our chances of surviving a large impact are doubled, our entire future possibility rises by 100%. All of our science fiction becomes 100% more possible. If, subsequent to that, we happen to land roots on Mars, or Titan, Ganymede or wherever, our third non-earth foothold will also increase the survival of our species. But only by 50%. Our fourth toehold insures against the future, but only by 33%. And dogs and cats too, chimps and dolphins, and probably the rats.

The first one is the most important, and there's nothing there for investment bankers. There's only the survival of our race. That's the job of government, not investors.

All we'd use the helium for is 79% of our air, so we only have to heave nitrogen up there to grow food. Yep, that'd make moon folks squeak like mice all the time, which would have the ghost of Douglas Adams doubled over laughing.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Yana
For the same effort/cost as a colony on the moon we could build everal at the L5 point

Why go "down a hole"? - it cost a lot of fuel to go down that hole and "land"

Why not stay "half way to everywhere"

If you want raw materials hook onto an asteroid

A moon colony will need MORE materials from earth than an asteroid settlement would PLUS the extra fuel to land it all

David Brin said...

A few things.
We need nitrogen to grow food.
Luna will only be of real use to humanity once there are at least 10,000 colonists, which simply won't happen till economics kicks in. Tourism might do that -- see ARTEMIS. But asteroid mining has best chances. If republicans don't cancel it..

If asteroid impacts are your concern, join B612! I am on the advisory board.

David Brin said...

Duncan, in fairness, asteroids are for robots till we're able to work on them really well. When we can move bigger ones and melt or hollow them out, then the O'Neil dream starts to unfold. Several plateaus till then.

Treebeard said...

Where's the urgency? Build an asteroid defense system and you can live comfortably on earth for millions of years. It's more realistic and useful than trying to force engineer some lunatic migration of earth primates to places they aren't designed for. Yana sounds like one of those Pol Pot-types who are ready to use the state as a battering ram to try to realize her childhood utopian space fantasies. Star Trek-type science fiction is fun and all, but it's just a map of the human imagination, not a map of plausible futures, let alone holy scripture that *we must* obey.

David Brin said...

Cripes, no wonder he likes kings and feudal lords. Zero-sum unable to image that anyone who proposes anything at all MUST be trying to force and impose it on everyone, he prefers those who are at least up-front about it as their 6000 year old lorly right. Their droit de seigneur.

Sitting bathed in the riches and freedoms and vast plenitude of opportunities provided by this rare, creative, fair-competitive Positive Sum civilization, he knows all the goody-goody nostrums have to be lies! All this 'positive sum" stuff has to be a trick! Far batter to just hand things back to the old lords who won't pretend to be fair.

No, lad. The fault is in your brain. There really is something you just cannot perceive, even though you wallow in comforts it provided. Your color-blindness may not be your fault.

Glaring, spectacular ingratitude is.

progressbot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\progressbot: In Mimino the trial scene was funny… if a bit slow by modern standards.

Hmm... that one difference in perception. Thank you. From post-soviet POV that scene is of no importance. And not about justice that much, as about "hot mauntain people" antiks.

\\The scene in which his older friend tried to help him get the pilot position by saying “your father spent 3 years with me in a tank” showed a type of inheritance influence at work… but the hero refuses to lie, and wins his position that way.

It was genuine missunderstanding. And not friend, just random old guy with his delusions. And all history totally thought off. Just to make it "looky-looky, how warm and welcomed" was that time. For nostalgia sake.

And what do you think/understand about the way he was settled in hotel? ;)

Really, it's totally like one of your films. For example "Brewster's Millions". Where you know that this or that scene is plausible, but in general -- script is totally fairytail-like fictional.
That is the question -- is it possible to feel what part of it -- fictional, and what realistic, to you?

\\Sweet and moral, but not as interesting as Peregon.

That is the case. It still watched. While peregon I never saw on TV.


\\Other matters: Water, in space, is fantastically valuable. It is the most costly thing we lift from Earth into space.

??? What costs more? kg of water or kg of Hubble? ;)

\\Please read more carefully. There are thousands of “near Earth asteroids” that approach very closely and are cheaper to get to (with robots) than the surface of the moon.

I checked. No one of them have stable orbit, or can be redirected to Earth orbit.
And approach them is as easy as catch the bullet with one's teeth.


\\I don’t care if the price and gold and platinum plummet when we get them from space. They are very useful. In fact, it is one reason why rich mine owners want us to go to the moon, instead. To preserve their wealth.

I tried to talk about comparative prices here.

\\“I'd propose artificall trees” I show these in several short stories. One of them has all-Russian and Ukrainian characters, See “The Logs” in my collection INSISTENCE OF VISION.

:(

\\There are a dozen billionaires investing right now in asteroid mining. Show me one investing in lunar resources.

Moon is marked by big nation. And asteroids are just "freebees".

\\Yes. There’ll me no human miners on the asteroids. Just robots.

We have *no* robots with such autonomity and robastness. Well, I have exact idea how to build ones, where to start... but who cares. :(((


>> Treebeard said...
\\Where's the urgency?

Peak Oil.


>> yana said...

If you are smart. And care for "survival of the specie" so much. You'd must topple your pedal for exploration of Ocean and underwater cities. Because it'll warranty for survival in short term -- even biggest asteroid cannot shake the deeps.
And... it'll make race of people who are know how to live in tin cans. And selfsustain.

But you are just shallow screaming activist. Good for nothing.

So. Do something. Start donation company or crowd-funding. Try to fundraise for at least some vision of HOW we can achieve that you are blubbering about.

yana said...


Sorry, but there are three holes in your argument:

First, from previous comments,

David Brin thought:

"The aluminum and silicon is in super tight oxygen bonds."

This blogpost, David Brin thought:

"True there's aluminum and silicon and smidgeons of titanium in Luna's crust... and all of it is in super tight oxygen bonds"

This comments section, David Brin thought:

"The metals are all locked tight in oxides"

Really, you need to leave this red herring behind. Is an Al2O3 bond mystically stronger on the Moon than on earth? Yet, magically, we seem to find a way to refine aluminum, in spite of it being "locked" down "super tight". Your gut reaction is the energy required, but Daniel Duffy quoted someone:

"The Moon also has abundant energy, in the form of sunlight"

Unfiltered by any atmo, solar energy conversion on the Moon is more efficient than down here. We can refine aluminum, and did i mention that the process gives off plenty of oxygen? Yeah did mention that, but bears repeating. Early colonists might ask earthen governments to send up a load of carbon, just so they can make their abundant oxygen into carbon dioxide, to make more plants grow bigger.


Second hole:

David Brin thought:

"asteroids take more time to get to, and hence aren’t as convenient for humans, for robots there are thousands ... goodies are readily harvestable, by comparison."

And do what with? I do not believe, that you might think that mining a mountain of gold, in space, will result in a significant amount of that gold being dropped down earth's gravity well. Any gold we find out there, will be used to make super nice saferooms from coronal mass ejection. None but trinkets will be shipped back to earth.

Just like water on the Moon.

David Brin thought:

"it should be left for lunar colonists later, not wasted for fuel"

later, David Brin thought:

"Water, in space, is fantastically valuable. It is the most costly thing we lift from Earth into space."

This is another red herring, a mcguffin which looks lustrous but in the end only serves to drive a narrative. What would make any non-stupid person ever allow one molecule of water to ever leave the Moon?

I mean, we have to assume at this point, that if we undertake the task of colonizing the Moon as soon as possible, that we pick people who are non-stupid, right? OK i know what gov't projects are like, and so laughing along with you, but smarter ideas should percolate upwards nonetheless.

1. Everyone who flies to the Moon has to drink 6 liters of water just before liftoff, after a 3000-calorie diet for a week beforehand.

2. Upon landing, all gases liquids and solids aboard any ship becomes property of the Moon Patrol.

3. Water for food plants is free, water for ornamental plants is $8,000 a liter.

When we get to the point of needing lunar polar ice, not one ounce of that is going to be rocket propellant. That would be really, really stupid.


The third hole in your argument is equating luck with probability.

We have been lucky, that a Chixalub happens about every 100 million years and it's been only 65 million years since dino-die-day. The probability, however, is the same today as yesterday, as it will be tomorrow.

We could whine "bad luck" that our nearest non-earth rock is poor in stuff we like to eat. But the real tragedy in this solar system is that the Asteroid Belt exists. Forever, it will keep on kicking out rocks which could kill the earth in a day's notice.

The problem is not in the placid acceptance of recent luck as boon, it is the gamble which is all or nothing, and this being left to the whim of stock markets and billionaires. We have learned enough, we're better than that, as a species. We have the governmental skill to prove it, right?

yana said...


Treebeard thought:

"Star Trek-type science fiction is fun and all, but it's just a map of the human imagination"

Everyone else seems to hate you, but i like reading your msgs. Mostly some nutty stuff, but once in a while you lift up the corner of a real philosophical rug. Not the quote above, that's prosaic. But sometimes one of your sentences make me take a step back and re-evaluate something i'd taken granted.

progressbot said...

Some good insights, like...

...None but trinkets will be shipped back to earth...

...not one ounce of that is going to be rocket propellant. That would be really, really stupid...

...whim of stock markets and billionaires...

but so much of bull crap in between. :)

dr.Brin's position looks at least concise.


\\But sometimes one of your sentences make me take a step back and re-evaluate something i'd taken granted.

TiBi, write more often. Yana really need it.

Alfred Differ said...

David,

“Most VC's won't touch these projects until some Angel investor has already shown how the vision might work.”

That's my quote. Read it in context and I think you'll see my position is not inconsistent with yours. Same for the other quote too.

I was arguing 1) against depending on public money to extend the mining industry to asteroids (too much magical thinking) and 2) that private money will come in when angel investors show how the vision works (basically that it is NOT magical thinking). We both know the angel investors are in there right now making things happen. Very rich ones. I also know some of my friends have learned how to turn their business plans into bits and pieces too. Each smaller part has smaller technical risks and earlier exits for investors. Each part provides milestones that demonstrate management savvy too enabling investors to build confidence in the team or cut bait as needed.

If it was my money, I'd be looking at lunar projects for orbital depots and staging areas FOR the asteroid folks. Lunar dirt isn't interesting right now. Services near the fuzzy boundary are. Lunar gravity and Luna's orbital eccentricity are the useful things about it for now.

Alfred Differ said...

progressbot,

Sorry about the ionization thing. I'll blame it on our language differences. I'm having a hard time telling how much physics you've already learned.

However, lots of physics people dismiss the philosophers. I think it is a mistake to do so, but I recognize that I'm in a minority of the community. I did not fell this way when I was a student, but I began to realize it later when I could not articulate some of our ideas when I was trying to teach them. Teaching physics forces us to learn a great deal more about what we do than simply doing it.

As for the colliders and specific details, that's not what I was imagining. One doesn't have to localize a single atom and prep it in a special initial state to recognize than a high energy photon ionizing the atom will leave evidence of the electron's state during the collision. I remember having to learn how to interpret cloud chamber images. it's old tech. Really old. Zap. Two charged particles leave the scene. One really light and the other much heavier. Start with hydrogen and you've got a pretty good idea what both of them are. Zot the stuff and take lots and lots of pictures and you'll get a sense of what the many, many atoms were capable of doing, but not everything they might have been doing. How much precision you get depends on the effort you put into to simply the initial state and measure everything. There are still Heisenberg type limits of course.
______________
As for the space investors, they are already on the scene. They weren't when I was getting started… except for a couple of guys. [One of them was convicted as the biggest US tax cheat in history, so you have to be a little careful around these folks.] There are many more involved now including internet billionaires. Hopefully they will stay out of legal trouble. Mostly. Heh. They DO have a way of annoying the SEC. More than one.

If you want to play the game, learn what other businesses are doing and what problems THEY face. Solutions to those problems can be monetized and that will be easily understood by investors. They might not believe that YOU can deliver the solutions, but the problem/solution approach uses their language. They will get that at least.

Your favorite technology for accomplishing something useful (whatever it is) might look like 'yet another whizbang' idea. They want solutions to problems THEY face. Whizbangs are actually pretty common and don't usually get as far as their inventors hope. I know this from personal experience. My efforts have involved three whizbangs. No success yet, but they are REALLY neat ideas.

progressbot said...

>> Alfred Differ said...
\\If it was my money, I'd be looking at lunar projects for orbital depots and staging areas FOR the asteroid folks. Lunar dirt isn't interesting right now.

It all depends from techs avilable. And we didn't even started researching XXI ones.
Well, started, but they still not came into maturity enough, so investors tend to not look that way. :( (or it just look that way to me... still, I'm outsider) Only for toy-things. (and I fear that it'll need WW3 to put them into real use, as it was before)

\\Sorry about the ionization thing. I'll blame it on our language differences. I'm having a hard time telling how much physics you've already learned.

Non-taken. For years in forums and etc online, I become quite accustomed to that even simplest assertion can be percepted by other side in very strange way. And it is in native lang.
And of course, it is very uneasy to assess the real level of understanding... via (moderately) short comments.

So, not a problem. And I appreciate your meta-communicaton efforts much. It's better then our great host "give him benefit of a doubt". By a margin.

\\However, lots of physics people dismiss the philosophers. I think it is a mistake to do so...

Yes... and no. As person who have at least half-step here and there. They have their point. But mistaken too.
Well, it need to be new Theory Of Everything, everything including Mind, devised, to fix it properly. That my self-lebeling as post-positivist are from.
But saddly, we are not even close to one.

\\One doesn't have to localize a single atom and prep it in a special initial state to recognize than a high energy photon ionizing the atom will leave evidence of the electron's state during the collision. I remember having to learn how to interpret cloud chamber images. it's old tech.

That, exactly that theoretical issue, which lurked my mind. Why we didn't see some systematic error in that images, from colliding not with target, but with electrones and nucleons in atoms? Why there ionization tracks of hot particles, but not them collide with each and every atom?
I never meet mentions of such things. That's why I wondering. So persistently.


\\Your favorite technology for accomplishing something useful (whatever it is) might look like 'yet another whizbang' idea.

Thank you for your suggestions. I need to think about it.

yana said...


Alfred Differ thought:

"We both know the angel investors are in there right now making things happen."

At this point, 45 years after people on the moon, this sounds like apologism. Not that you have anything to be sorry for, you've been trying all this time. Thank you for that, but it's not a matter of investments or returned banker yields.

It is literally any day, a speedy rock can stunt us back from scifi funthought, back to the death of all people who can not rub sticks together. Every day we delay getting people off the earth, is a stupidly wasted day. What will get us up there faster, in numbers?

Either private angelic saviors prospecting for riches, or all of us banding together to save ourselves? I'll bet on all of us, rather that a few richies of us. It's not all about economics, colonizing the closest possible sphere. It's about politics too, people want to survive, the eco-this'N'that movement proves it.

Waiting for investors to decide the time's right to save the human race.... seems like an unsafe idea. Mildly put. Actually a dumb idea, there it's said. Putting the survival of the human race in the hands of mineral prospectors sounds like a profoundly stupid idea.

progressbot said...

Yana, are you taking bath/shower everyday? If so, why? It's dangerous. Look at statistics of death in bathrooms. :P And chances are humongously bigger then "a speedy rock can stunt us back from scifi funthought".

You are disgrace for calm and rationally thinking fact-based users.
And a screaming grimacing clown (they can point on while meaning each of us) to their counter-actors.
Shame on you. I mean it.

Mike Will said...

The phrase, "force engineer some lunatic migration of earth primates to places they aren't designed for" caught me eye.

We evolved in east Africa, although the exact latitude seems to still be hotly debated. Apes that could climb down from the trees, bang rocks together, and one day chat around the campfire had a big selection advantage. However, comfy good times become dangerous when the winds start to blow (which is why I fear BNW more than 1984). In time, our beloved savannah damn nearly killed us off. Sort of a parallel with Greek and Shakespearean parent issues I guess. We dwindled to just a few tens of thousands. The way we avoided extinction was to leave that deadly cradle and strike out across the 'alien' deserts, tundra, and eventually oceans.

Today we use transistors to chat around a global campfire. We play around with DNA and explore space. Hurray for 'lunatic migration'. Pollyanna, Star Fleet, and Foundation may be just fantasy, but archaeology and recorded history aren't. It's not all milk and honey, but it's far better than dust and oblivion.

jim said...

Space nerds have been talking about space based power, materials and manufacturing techniques sense the 70’s and it is still a nothing burger. No solar power satellites, no asteroid gold and platinum or water , no zero g pharmaceuticals, no foamed metals, no space based manufacturing techniques. Let alone the complete and total fantasy of a self-supporting space colony on the moon or L-5 or anywhere in space. Hell, we couldn’t even get one to work on the earth (biosphere II).

Space has shown itself to be a good place for information technology and it may be a good place to pre deploy military equipment, but all the other stuff looks like wish fulfilment by trekies.

Larry Hart said...

This will sound like a joke, but I'm kidding on the square.

Zero-gravity sex hotels.

The rest will follow.

jim said...

Larry
I kind of doubt it.
Being bloated, disorientated, dealing with motion sickness and the smell of all of the vomit mixed with other bodily fluids and cleaning supplies all over the space based brothel will dampen almost everyone's libido.

Alfred Differ said...

Progressbot,

It definitely DOES depend on the tech available. The thing to remember about private money, though, is the less developed the tech, management team, and market niche are, the more risk they perceive. Risk correlates strongly with interest rate on the money they put up. If the money is a pure loan, the interest rate gets to be outrageous if there is even moderate risk. Loans have little upside potential and lots of downside danger to lenders. If the money is offered for equity, the interest rate works out in a way that has the same net result, but look different to the inexperienced entrepreneur. If you want $1 million from me and I want a 50% compound interest rate for the risk I see in your project, I’m going to look at what you and I think the business will be worth the year I plan to exit and work the compounding formula backwards to discover the percentage of your company I will demand for that $1M. Why bring that math up? Every unpolished technology your project needs equates to risk which equates to internal rate of return which finally winds up as how much of your company you get to keep if you really want the money. It’s in your interest to minimize risks and cut the project into pieces to develop some parts on a shorter timescale. Do that right and the compounding periods are also kept to a minimum. Private money works like this and people who understand it might get listened to by private funders. All others don’t get meetings.

It's better then our great host "give him benefit of a doubt". By a margin.

Heh. If you read some of his books and some patent paperwork, you’ll see I’m doing exactly as he had certain characters suggest in the stories how these social networks might be well used. He knows exactly what I’m doing, but doesn’t have the time to do it the way I do right now. It has nothing to do with you, though, and everything to do with competing demands for attention. One of the best definitions for ‘famous’ I’ve ever seen is that it is a condition one is in when they cannot possibly give back as much attention as is being given to them. It covers famous and infamous. It’s opposite is what happens when people are largely ignored by others. Our host is more famous than I am. See? That’s why I have the time.

That my self-lebeling as post-positivist are from.

Okay. I’m not quite sure how I self-identify right now. I know a number of arguments I reject, but they are still worth learning I think. We always seem to come back around to old arguments with fresh information. We also occasionally lose track of old arguments and they pop up again as if they are new.

Why we didn't see some systematic error in that images…

Well… I studied theory more than experiment. The experimentalists are the REAL physicists as far as I’m concerned. Thin, cold gaseous targets carefully prepped by tuned lasers and all that stuff. What they know how to do to prep target states is worthy of a lifetime study, but I chose theory. I’m more of an applied mathematician with an added job to deal with contentful formalisms. I don’t think we will ever find a single theory of everything, but it’s grand fun to try anyway.

jim said...

Review form The Orbiting Bunny Ranch

I thought my worst decision was buying that time share (or maybe the 3rd wife) but no I now have a new stupidest thing I have ever spent a ton a money on.

A sex vacation in orbit.

The rocket ship ride up was intense but when the I floated through the air lock I was overcome with the stench of Santorum, Vomit and 409 cleaner. It was far worse than Bourbon Street on a hot august afternoon. I guess they haven’t really figured out how to effectively clean the air they recirculate. I soon lost my lunch and added to the vomit and I was not the only one. It was a truly surreal scene, old wealthy mostly men, spinning round and round powered by projectile vomiting and scantily clad women with vacuum back packs trying to clean up the mess. I never recovered.

Larry Hart said...

I saw this on-line essay about Asimov's stories. Among many other things, it helps explain why the Galactic Empire didn't have non-human aliens:

http://www.asimovonline.com/oldsite/Robot_Foundation_history_1.html

...

Asimov had written several earlier stories featuring a galaxy-wide civilization, notably "Homo Sol" and "The Hazing". Those stories had featured a multispecies Galactic Federation of which humanity was the newest addition. In the course of writing and submitting those stories, as well as others featuring alien races, Asimov learned of Campbell's insistence that humans should always be superior to other races in some way. It was clear to Asimov that Campbell's own views on race were the source of the imperative: just as whites were superior to other humans, so humans had to be superior to any alien race. Asimov didn't share Campbell's views, and he didn't want his stories to reflect them, even allegorically. (In the robot stories, the problem didn't exist. Campbell didn't mind if robots were superior to humans.) For the falling Galactic Empire in "Foundation", however, Asimov chose to sidestep Campbell's racial views by creating a galaxy-wide civilization with no alien races -- a galaxy inhabited only by humans.

...

Larry Hart said...

jim:

I kind of doubt it.
Being bloated, disorientated, dealing with motion sickness and the smell of all of the vomit mixed with other bodily fluids and cleaning supplies all over the space based brothel will dampen almost everyone's libido.


But they'll already have your money by then. :)

Darrell E said...

jim,

I think you might be overly pessimistic about space. It is hard but progress has been made. It may seem like a long time to us, the living, but we really haven't been at it for very long. We've just become spoiled because of how quickly the rate of progress increased over the past 120 years or so.

jim said...

It is not just space that I am pessimistic about.
We are past the peak of surplus energy per capita that means we are past the height of our societies energetic capabilities. Everything that requires energy will become more difficult to do from now on.

Positive sum interaction are easier to do when there is increasing access to cheep energy. With declining access to cheep energy there will be a need to make trade offs. I don't think space colonies and similar activities can be afforded.

Mike Will said...

It's hard to be pessimistic living in Toronto. Two philanthropists just donated $100M to the U of Toronto for AI research. I miss Carson's Ribs in Chicago, but other than that, I'm good.

David Brin said...

DD, the quotations from that latest lunar “resources” paper are just as vague and arm-waving as ever. The moon is nearby and has gravity and regolith for shelter and some water, hence it is better for a manned base in the near term. So the F- what? It doesn’t advance our ability to create an economic plateau that is self-sustaining.

“It sounds like an issue worth studying further.”

And I am fine with Humanity going back to further explore the Moon! Humanity will absolutely do so — via Chinese, Indian, Russian, Euro and zillionaire ego missions. And the US can send cheap robotic landers any time we like.

Dig it, I am not arguing moon INSTEAD of asteroids. That is what Republicans and US loonies want! The moon is going to happen anyway. But ONLY the US and Japan + some far-seeing zillionaires can do asteroids. And we can only do it if we leave the silly moon to the pre-schoolers.

Anonymous I did not read your postings and refuse to ever do so till you choose a monicker and sign them. You will be ignored as a deeply rude jerk, here.

Progressbot it is good advice for you not to make judgements about others by offering insults or believing you have been insulted. When you feel that way, please suppress the reflex. It is usually wrong.

Alfred Differ said...

Yana,

Thank you for that, but it's not a matter of investments or returned banker yields.

I’ll take your use of ‘apologism’ in the formal sense. Yes. I’m offering an explanation of past behaviors. However, you shouldn’t dismiss the ‘matter of investments’ so easily. There is no doubt we can be blown back to the stone age any day with the arrival of a big rock. The debate is over what to do about it. I’m arguing that we ARE doing something about that in the only sustainable way that actually works. You want us up there fast and in large numbers? You absolutely need human markets on your side and that means investors, banks, and everyone else with anything ranging from ideas to silver coins.

It really IS about economics. Move the political people if you can and I’ll applaud, but they usually follow instead of lead. Move the faithful if you can, but I’ll argue any day that a person’s self-interests executed through fair markets moves us faster. Try to organize this all if you can, just don’t block the people who want to try anyway and wish to follow their own plan.

We aren’t waiting for investors. They are already acting. Seriously. My friends at the Space Frontier Foundation pushed real hard to get them to pay attention and they are now. We pushed hard to break open the barriers to participation at various price points for services and people came into the new niches. Not everyone realizes what we did, but WE do and I’m telling you. We won. Don’t fret. Don’t panic. It’s happening. Help out if you can, but don’t despair for our future and the pace we are on. It’s happening as fast as we think it CAN sustainably be done.

Alfred Differ said...

I'm not the pessimist Jim is, but I'm inclined to agree on the difference between fantasy and reality when it comes to orbiting brothels. They might happen anyway, but I don't think most early patrons will realize what they are buying. As a possible investor, I'd avoid those business plans and not because of a moral objection.

Fantasy rarely remains attractive when made real.
We love the glamour more than the event.

Jon S. said...

Jim, why do you assume that air-filtering technologies will move backward once we're more actively in space? I mean, we can already filter that stuff out of the air - why can't the Space Bunny Ranch?

As for the other technologies, they aren't there because they were never pursued. Space mining was stunted by the Outer Space Treaty, which interferes with private exploitation of space resources (although ISTR hearing of a company that got around that by incorporating in a small country that wasn't signatory to the treaty), and space-based solar gets stymied by people suing over the desert rectenna farms.

David Brin said...

"Space mining was stunted by the Outer Space Treaty, which interferes with private exploitation of space resources (although ISTR hearing of a company that got around that by incorporating in a small country that wasn't signatory to the treaty), and space-based solar gets stymied by people suing over the desert rectenna farms."

Blame Fairy Tales. Sorry.

Alfred Differ said...

I used to think the OST held us back too, but I don’t and haven’t for many years. There are certain things the OST DOES prevent (like reasonable property rights protected by a sovereign power’s judicial system), but I think that is being used as an excuse not to invest by some private sources. What actually holds the money back is a lack of experience investing in the field. It’s a chicken-and-egg thing. One guy I met explained it very simply. He wouldn’t risk money in market niches about which he knew little. Think about it with your own money in a brokerage account. Do you risk any buying stocks for companies about which you know little? Maybe. Many of us do. Do you extend that risk by buying into sectors about which you know little? Maybe, but less likely. The quintessential example of a stock buyer who does this all the wrong way is a medical doctor following a tip from a patient. What are the odds the doctor actually knows enough to minimize their investment risk? Low. What are the odds they think they are smart enough to do it anyway? High. The investor I know said his job was NOT to be that doctor.

So… just how much does your average VC screener know about asteroid mining? Lunar colonies? Fuzzy gravitational boundaries and cheap orbit insertion maneuvers? Not much. Probably not even enough to embarrass themselves by asking stupid questions. Such a person shouldn’t be risking anything until they learn a few things or find someone they actually trust who has demonstrated an understanding… by actually making money in the niche. Fortunately, there are a few getting their feet wet and demonstrating what to do and what not to do.

[I do still think the follow-on Moon treaty is a drag on the world, but the US didn’t sign on to that one.]

SBSP won’t get built because it doesn’t close economically in the early years except for one particular customer. If the US gets into a land war against Russia IN RUSSIA, SBSP begins to make sense. It’s all about supply lines at risk. SBSP would solve one particularly thorny issue with supporting entire armies over there. The cost to put up such a system would be absolutely staggering, but the US could potentially do it if we were motivated enough. Once SBSP is up there, secondary business cases for its use would close, but only because government built the system in the first place. Absent a war, it isn’t going to happen for many, many decades.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I'm not the pessimist Jim is, but I'm inclined to agree on the difference between fantasy and reality when it comes to orbiting brothels. They might happen anyway, but I don't think most early patrons will realize what they are buying.


I didn't realize I was such an influencer. :)

I wasn't thinking "brothels" so much as the equivalent of those motels with heart shaped hot tubs and such billed as romantic getaways. That crossed with the fact that my wife and I continually complain about the inconvenience of gravity during...shall we say, compromising activities. Put that together with the idea that the first profitable internet-based venture was pornography. The self-evident conclusion is that if you want to get human beings to voluntarily go forth into space, it's probably going to happen because of a sex-based reason for doing so.

Larry Hart said...

continuing...

Fantasy rarely remains attractive when made real.
We love the glamour more than the event.


That's true of the more pedestrian forms of romantic getaway advertising. The Love Boat, for instance. And how often are people getting sick and throwing up on cruise ships lately?

The trick would be to sell the fantasy. The same way one sells lottery tickets.

Larry Hart said...

I was going to conclude my first post on that subject with the appropriate tag-line from Field of Dreams. But the unintended-but-inevitable pun which that line creates in this context would have completely obliterated any point I was actually trying to make.

Unfortunate.

David Brin said...

LH you made me groan just by the penumbra of your joke. Anyway it will all be robotic/VR

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

I didn't realize I was such an influencer. :)

Heh. On that topic you didn't expect to re-focus the conversation? Really? 8)

My bet is that the ONE useful thing that might sell on the surface of Luna is... that industry. Zero-gee and a mental state that ignores looming dangers strikes me as a sure recipe for bruises. We are built for 1-gee activity, so any big muscle activity in zero-gee can easily produce large delta-vee's. Lunar gravity, however, when combined with large, air-filled, rad-shielded volumes and strap-on wings should be MUCH more interesting. Even water does funny things at 1/6th-gee. [I'm still not investing in any of those business plans just in case someone here decides to put one together.]

As for Terran motels with heart-shaped hot tubs, those are brothel incubators and wanna-bee's. Not that I mind. Did I mention I used to live in Nevada? heh. There is a huge mismatch between fantasy and reality that they already know. That's where the early investors for these projects might be found. 8)

progressbot said...

>> Mike Will said...
\\Today we use transistors to chat around a global campfire. We play around with DNA and explore space. Hurray for 'lunatic migration'

Hallelujah, bro!
But it seems we need the bottleneck again, to go further. :(


>> Larry Hart said...

Retirement houses... much more needed. But for that we need a tech for delivering fragile things in space.
My Balloons Tower. Or something else.


>> Alfred Differ said...
\\It definitely DOES depend on the tech available. The thing to remember about private money...

That much I understand myself. Well, they can eat their money. Stuff them into pillows and matraces. If they so fear of risk (where they personaly risking nothing, personally).

Well, it's interesting to me -- they have had plan of exit out of Apple? Goggle? too? And then used it strictly after 1 year? 5 years? :P

What I'm talking about is tech which can give as the Space. Maybe even Galaxy.
But well, whatever. To trinke money on hi-grade prostitutes -- way more interesting, I bet. And to invest in some funny gimmicks, or bitcoins... way more non-ricky plan. Heh.
"You need to be smart yourself, to listen for smart advices" (c) Stanislav Lem


\\It has nothing to do with you, though, and everything to do with competing demands for attention.

I have no reason to take it personally. But. I (can?) have my reasons to assess his priorities, can I? ;) Like that wasting his time on political missives. Hawking for example used it to facilitate young to do some documentaries for him.

\\We also occasionally lose track of old arguments and they pop up again as if they are new.

Well, that one is truism. And I commented it here to show that I see it and agree with it. And because I'm not famous (thank you, you described perfect reasons to not wanting to be one, too) and have time for that.

\\I don’t think we will ever find a single theory of everything, but it’s grand fun to try anyway.

Well... as said one old teacher, in beginning of my universities... it could be we already have one.
Our language already full of any possible theories we need. :)


\\ a person’s self-interests executed through fair markets moves us faster.

Observation from beholder of soviet economy -- it just move. Selfish self-interest -- it's the sole thing that moves progress further. Burocratic systems of either capitalism or socialism -- are just the same in making economy stall. Now I have clear evidences of it. I thought and researched for long time -- that it's inability to perceive and to run computer industry (although the vast strong points of soviet centralised economy for/from it introduction), its what made USSR stagnant and break in result.
But then, I found that USA (with their corporative burocracy) was just the same.
And only private initiative saved the day for you.

\\Absent a war, it isn’t going to happen for many, many decades.

You said it yourself. :( We need a war to make progress.


>> David Brin said...
\\It doesn’t advance our ability to create an economic plateau that is self-sustaining.

And what does?

\\But ONLY the US and Japan + some far-seeing zillionaires can do asteroids. And we can only do it if we leave the silly moon to the pre-schoolers.

Well, you anyway will not have a good use of them... until nanotech or similar tech would emerge.
But it seems, its too far from you, that simple truth. Well, whatever.

\\Progressbot it is good advice for you not to make judgements about others by offering insults or believing you have been insulted.

Isn't what Yana doing here is shallow political activism?

Daniel Duffy said...

I know it may shock you that a James Bond film got science and physics wrong, but sex in space would be nothing like the closing scene in "Moonraker".

If you look at the mechanics of zero-g sex, all you accomplish once you get going is to set the couple spinning around their combined center of gravity which would be about chest high depending on the average height of the couple (spin fast enough - near the end they wold be going very fast indeed - and they will throw up on each other) or without any traction they'd be literally bouncing off the walls and banging their heads instead of each other.

Neither result being very pleasant, he couple wold have to where special suits with harness and lanyard to anchor themselves in place. Or maybe a sleeping bag built for two and anchored to a wall like the ones astronauts already use to sleep in on the ISS.

Then why bother?

Daniel Duffy said...

Dr. Brin:

"POV (point of view) is the hardest thing for a new writer to master."

That is for books, but what is the hardest thing for movie and TV adaptions or original scripts?

It would seem to me that the hardest thing to do is exposition, informing the viewer what is going on and why something will happen. In a book, this can all happen in the character's head and the reader has no trouble following what is going on.

It is hard to translate thoughts into words on the screen without the hero always saying: "Well, as both know John (followed by detailed exposition and explanation which is not how people talk in real life)". Or worse, actually verbalize a character's thoughts as in the David Lynch "Dune" movie.

I noticed this problem watching Stephen King's "11.22.63" on Hulu. I had just finished the book (which is excellent) and wanted to see the mini-series version. The mini series is very good (and James Franco does a very good job as the lead character) but the mini-series had to create an amalgam character that hung around with the hero in order to give the hero somebody to explain time travel and the JFK assassination to, and thus deliver exposition to the viewer who may have never read the book.

It works, but is not nearly as good as the book in delivering detail and depth.

Which is the reason "the book is always better than the movie" (they even have an inside joke about that in a scene in the min-series).

progressbot said...

About that Yana stuff. I think I have to explain myself.

Whole problem of it. It looks so good only in scifi novel text. Where all details can be sweeped under carpet of broad assertions "we went through times of blood and tears... and rised to the star... somehow". Or in a movie. Where computer generated figures can be shown like working ant over something Big and Great constructing.

Reality is *not* that pleasant. That could be seen on example of China's Great Leap Forward, or our building of DneproGES or Belomor-canal... by people with their bare hand and barely feat foot, instead of excavators, or yes, Pol-Pot's Great Deeds. Ones interested can goggle for ducumentaries themsels.

Even if we'd accept and do as Yana suggest. With our current abilities. Postpone all other tasks and waste of resources on anything else. For a Greater Good and for a Greatest Goal (if only you'd know how foul such words resonate in my post-soviet ears). All USA, no, all Humanity. Will build nothing else but Big Rockets, to deliver as much as possible people and resources to the Moon. By making 1000th of it, no, 1.000.000th.

It'll still would give as NOTHING.

Colony of the Moon... even with population... lets take biggest (im)possible number -- Ten Million. Would not be "our ticket to survival". Because of shrinking gene pool. And even if we'd mitigate it with gene-banks, somehow. Even though we cannot do it here on Earth. Institution of gene preservtion facility... which would work for centuries. But ok.

Such society, size of just one big city on the Earth. Would not be able to self-sustain technologically. Because on Earth, only because here 8 billions of us, we can have that nifty smartphones in our pockets. Just look at historical examples -- Germany in WW2. Or USSR. How bitter it was. And impossible. But ok.

Even if we could mitigate that thing too. There still such thing as Cultural Decline. Thing we do not know how to mitigate at all. What could we do, how motivate that Ten Million, if they'd start to feel themself prisoners of the Moon? Rise of suicides? Loss of purpose in life? Some despotic tendencies?

And that, I was talking ONLY about All-Happy Path Brunches.

Without mentions of inevitable revolts and wars, needed to force to work "as one", inevitable ecological damage, because of resource ripping and rocket launches, social struggles, from every scum of the Earth will surely try either have corrupted profit from that "Greatest Leap For Humanity" or push oneself or his progeny into that crowd of "smartest and brightest" Ten Million. Et cetera, et cetera.

But Yana... tend to think so shallow, and talk so nonchalantly-eagerly about so complex and so touchy things. With such "mission acomplished" attitude.

PS Sorry for longread. I dunno how to explain it shorter... without use of foul language and acid sarcasm I surely would be scolded for.

Daniel Duffy said...

I have to admit, despite all its flaws (and I never was a fan of Roger Moore as 007), Moonraker gave us the best line in the entire Bond series:

Sir Frederick Gray, Minister of Defence: My God, what's Bond doing?

Q: I think he's attempting re-entry, sir.

Darrell E said...

Regarding sex in space, I think some of you are lacking in creativity on that particular subject. Might take some practice but love / lust will find a way. And people will enjoy it. And barfing on each other won't be common. With the right person I'd be willing to test this.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

LH you made me groan just by the penumbra of your joke.


The thing is, I didn't want to make that joke. I wanted to post the Field of Dreams line straight as an allusion to the dynamic of what I was proposing in space. But there was no way to separate the line from the pun.


Anyway it will all be robotic/VR


That's a natural progression from internet porn. However, I still think there's something to be said for the zero-gravity aspect of it. Or as Alfred suggests, at least low-gravity.

Alfred Differ:

"I didn't realize I was such an influencer. :) "

Heh. On that topic you didn't expect to re-focus the conversation? Really? 8)


No, I didn't expect it to be controversial. I thought the most anyone would have to chime in on the subject was "Yeah!", or maybe specify some personal fantasies.

I do like your compromise of using lunar gravity. though, especially inside a pressurized dome or something like that which simulates earth air pressure.

Larry Hart said...

Daniel Duffy:

I know it may shock you that a James Bond film got science and physics wrong, but sex in space would be nothing like the closing scene in "Moonraker".


My mental image of the subject isn't from movies, but rather from Arthur Clarke's novel Imperial Earth (which is nothing at all like what the title suggests, not even a little bit).

The spaceship which brings the protagonist from Titan to Earth does a maneuver at the halfway point in which it spins around and points itself in the opposite direction in order to go from acceleration to deceleration. During the four hour interval without thrust, the passengers experience zero-g. An unspoken but well-understood ritual during this part of the trip involves finding the person one wishes to spend that time with.

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E:

Regarding sex in space, I think some of you are lacking in creativity on that particular subject.


Ya think? Geez.


Might take some practice but love / lust will find a way. And people will enjoy it. And barfing on each other won't be common.


In the Clarke novel I mentioned above, the characters are said to make use of a guidebook called The NASA Sutra.


With the right person I'd be willing to test this.


And I'd bet you wouldn't be the only one. In fact, you suggest a way to sell the idea which maximizes "selling the fantasy" while minimizing the general understanding of the disappointment of the reality--make it a lottery. Only trillionaires would be able to afford a stay at the Bunny Ranch, but you sell people lottery tickets, and the winner gets an all-expenses paid excursion.

Alfred, you sure you're not in on this?

jim said...

'I was touring the Harris County Jail, and there’s this room that smells like space station - combination of antiseptic, garbage, and body odor,' Scott Kelly astronaut.

At the orbiting bunny ranch we can add in vomit, smegma, santorum, with a strong undercurrent of moldy fish, peppered by flicks of fermenting fecal matter. Smells like a money maker ;-)

And I can just imagine Mrs Spaceman - "Honey, my face is bloated, I have a sinus headache, I am PMSing, I just vomited and I have been feeling like I am falling for hours and it won't stop. And now you want to have sex??!!??"

Larry Hart said...

jim:

At the orbiting bunny ranch we can add in vomit, smegma, santorum, with a strong undercurrent of moldy fish, peppered by flicks of fermenting fecal matter. Smells like a money maker ;-)


Let me go out on a limb here and guess that you're not in advertising?

You've seen ads for regular earth-bound romantic getaway locations, right? Or ads for lottery tickets, for that matter. You don't sell the gritty reality; you sell the fantasy.


And I can just imagine Mrs Spaceman - "Honey, my face is bloated, I have a sinus headache, I am PMSing, I just vomited and I have been feeling like I am falling for hours and it won't stop. And now you want to have sex??!!??"


Heh. Ok, but I'm not sure old married couples would be the target demographic.

By the way, after the couple takes a month off of work and spends twenty million dollars to vacation at the Bunny Ranch, the husband would be forgiven for echoing a Woody Allen line from Play It Again, Sam, "How could I have misread those signs?"

Larry Hart said...


"...and I have been feeling like I am falling for hours and it won't stop."



"You've got me? Who's got you?"

Jon S. said...

You know, among skydivers at least, "feeling like I've been falling for hours and it just won't stop" is a feature, not a bug. Maybe not everybody will have the same reactions you do to the sensation? Just sayin'.

OTOH, if you're married, you ought to have at least some vague idea what your wife's cycle is like, so you wouldn't schedule your trip to the Zero-Gee Boinkfest Hotel during her premenstrual (or full-on menstrual) period, so that's not a concern. And air filtration aboard the ISS is aimed at making sure the air is technically breathable, not springtime-fresh - it's a bit like trying to figure out what taking a cruise aboard a Holland America liner might be like by consulting a Navy lifer about the details of a six-month deployment aboard a guided-missile cruiser.

Honestly, Jim, you make being in space sound like constant hellish torment for the astronauts. Why then are so many reluctant to return to Earth, and eager for the day they might go back?

jim said...

Larry
I think that space tourism is a horrible idea.
A bunch of rich a-holes finding a new way to stomp on the Earth.

I am more interested in sucking the glamour and joy out of the idea of Space Tourism. I want to reframe Space Tourism from being a peak human experience only open to the few and the best into an expensive, shitty, smelly experience that only wealthy earth crushing a-holes do.

Larry Hart said...

@jim,

Ok, I see we've been talking at cross-purposes.

Remember that the subject at hand was reasons why humans would begin venturing out into space in the first place. I opined that sex would be the lure that gets people motivated.

If you're trying to discourage the very idea of humans venturing out into space, you might be on the wrong blog. :) If it's just the specific notion of space tourism you object to, then what's your better idea for getting the ball rolling.

Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

Honestly, Jim, you make being in space sound like constant hellish torment for the astronauts. Why then are so many reluctant to return to Earth, and eager for the day they might go back?


Probably for the same reason women have second babies.

jim said...

Larry
I am in the right place but...
I am against expanding the size of the ecological footprint for space exploration. Especially if it is expanded so that shit bag oligarchs and their suck ups can have a new playground.

Larry Hart said...

@jim,

I'm with you on the politics.

But I'm trying to bring zero-gravity noogie to the little people. :)

And daydreams don't often include negative externalities. One of my least-favorite episodes of Star Trek was that TNG episode which established that warp travel degraded the fabric of space, so starships had to limit themselves to warp 5. I was all, "Way to take the fun out of the concept!". The only worse buzz-kill was the movie which casually mentioned that Picard's brother and his son had died off-screen.

sartar said...

If you want to transport water to the moon, all you send is hydrogen. There is sufficient oxygen in the regolith that forms the Lunar surface, and removing it you get aluminium and silicon from which to build orbital mirrors, solar collectors and structures (up to a launching system or a space lift on Luna).

Nitrogen, carbon and phosphorous are the next requirements for biotopes or at least hydroponics in domed habitats. Again, you would preferably send them without all that superfluous oxygen, which you might dump as reaction mass on the way. Other crust trace elements should be available in situ. For heavier elements, go asteroid hunting, whether on Lunar impact sites or in near earth orbits around the sun.

The one thing the moon offers that NEOs don't is a huge heat dump potential. Possibly using molten salt as carrier. Lots of cheap shielding (as in loosely fused regolith) can be carried off the Lunar surface if wanted for geostationary or L4/L5 habitats.

The moon offers bulk material put into earth orbit at a fraction of the cost for lifting from our own gravity well once initial instalments have been made. And it offers (subsurface) real estate in a low gravity environment which allows use of gravity-based separation methods like flotation, counter-current sedimentation, or stills. You can get these in rotating orbital stations, too, but that takes control, seals to connect to non- or counter-rotating segments, etc. which are much easier to install and maintain in non-moving tunnels.

A good portion of the US trade deficit is in cheap products from base material. The moon could take that role for an orbital development of our planet.

Alfred Differ said...

Progressbot,

…they have had plan of exit out of Apple? Goggle? Too?

Yes. Always. Investors with no exit plans are not investors. Even little investors like me have exit plans. If you buy stock in a company with no plan for when you sell it, you are giving away your money. You are BELIEVING in the good will of that company and their ability to make your money turn into more money either through growth or dividends. That belief might still exist even with an exit plan, but the exit trigger you write into the plan tells you when enough is enough. It is the trigger that limits the trust one offers. Real investors ALWAYS have exit plans.

But. I (can?) have my reasons to assess his priorities, can I? ;) Like that wasting his time on political missives.

Yes… and then no. You can have your opinions and he his own. It’s his time, though, and not ours. He gets to define what is and isn’t a waste of it. He’s the one who will have to face his own judgement on his death bed some day when he decides if he has regrets. All of us should be allowed to make those decisions for ourselves. What you CAN do is try to influence his decisions. Mine too. Everyone’s. That requires persuasion, though, and not so much reason. Persuasion might or might not work. Persuasion might be on target or not. We don’t actually know much in the way of objective truths about each other, so we should self-limit our persuasion attempts to avoid force spreading and error we believe to be truth.

But then, I found that USA (with their corporative burocracy) was just the same.

If you look at the government and corporate bureaucracies in the US, you are missing about 90% of what makes the US what it is. The funny thing is you already know this. I can see it in other things you write. Private initiative saved and continues to save the day.

(if only you'd know how foul such words resonate in my post-soviet ears)

You said that in reference to something about Yana that I don’t think Yana actually meant to imply, but that’s a different issue. In these American ears, you are pointing to what we knew as “The Five Year Plan”. When we were taught about Soviet government planning, it was generally in terms of these action plans that sound good on the surface. Of course, that’s not what they were. Most of us knew better and struggled against similar efforts in the US, but ‘planning’ sounds like such a GOOD idea. It’s not, though, when it limits the amount of creativity needed to solve the unknown. Soviet planning was a bit like war planning, but also a lot about enforcement of conformity. If it is such a good idea, how can people morally oppose them? Especially when we are at war with a Great Enemy? Obviously such people should be shot or imprisoned to protect everyone else from their harm.

You’d probably make a good American. Be careful. That’s not necessarily a safe thing to be.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Alfred, you sure you're not in on this?

Heh. I know a few people who are big into the space tourism angle. I know the guys who arranged for Tito to be the first paying passenger to ISS. These same people were trying to privatize the Mir station and had the Russians interested for a time. Look up MirCorp and the documentary film “Orphans of Apollo” and you’ll see some of my social network from that period.

I was interested in the tourism efforts, but not enough to divert me from the CATS efforts. Cheap Access to Space was necessary to make tourism sustainable. Not everyone had 20 to 30 million dollars to throw at an experience like Tito did, so I was generally found among the small, entrepreneurial rocket folks.

I’m still supportive of space tourism and disagree sharply with Jim about the value of rich boys spending their money doing it. I’m generally supportive of separating rich boys from their money, so if I can do that and advance a good human cause at the same time, so much the better. Where Jim is most mistaken, though, is in not thinking through what happens next. Rich boys are imitated by semi-rich boys who are imitated by boys in general. A space tourism company with expensive access to space has to charge a lot, thus they have a small market niche. When the semi-rich boys show up with $1M each and can’t buy their way in… what do you suppose happens next? No investor with any brains will want to leave that money on the table. No customer wanting to imitate their ‘social betters’ will simply give up and accept their inferiority. Unsupplied demand and investors who see it. Seriously. What happens next in a fair market economy? 8)

But I'm trying to bring zero-gravity noogie to the little people. :)

Yeah! That’s what happens. Slowly at first, but then things catch on @#$%ing fire and everyone seems surprised. Those of us who worked at making it happen are not so surprised… up until the thing explodes into brilliance and we join in marveling at the flames… while hoping our investment accounts aren’t in the red.

Darrell E said...

ZGN. Now I've got a Marvin Gaye earbug. As earbugs go, not bad at all.

jim said...

Sorry Alfred
It is not that I didn't think though what is next, I did and basically agree with you on it being expanded to the less wealthy. But apparently you did not think what that does the ecological footprint for space based activities.

We are in the middle of a massive ecological crisis and there is no spare environmental capacity to absorb the damage that sending these rich and nearly rich a-holes into orbit will do.


In other words it is Space Tourism verses the Extinction Rebellion.

Bob Neinast said...

Re: sex in zero-g.

Two words: bungee cords.

I leave as an exercise for the reader how to configure them.

David Brin said...

DD & Darrell and Mob N.: Think stirrups. His feet… leading to backside of a belt around her waist. Other aides might help, but that’s all that’s really essential.

But look up an ancient, notorious short story “The Day They Tested The Rec Room.” Tell us if you find a copy. 1980s. Speculated women might enjoy 0g and men not.

===
jim. Not sound thinking. Space assets have helped us immensely to better understand ecosystems and climate. Why do you think Republicans have sabotaged or canceled so many missions?

----

sartar offers good arguments, re: heat sinks and bulk materials. Not so good re Hydrogen, which is bulky and doesn’t do much to break up oxides.

===

Progressbot: Water can be got from moist asteroids fairly easily with a baggy and sunlight. With solar concentrators you might melt and form all the steel you need in space.

Later: blow great bubbles of platinum that can drift down to Earth and float at sea. No nanotech required.
Space colonies descended from super-smart emigres would be well-motivated to keep innovating.

You make interesting arguments. It is completely unnecessary to add angry remarks like the following: “But Yana... tend to think so shallow, and talk so nonchalantly-eagerly about so complex and so touchy things.”

Alfred Differ said...

Jim,

there is no spare environmental capacity to absorb the damage

No. You think you know that, but you don’t. You can’t possibly know it. The reason is simple. You don’t know HOW we will make it happen. I don’t either, though I might have some better guesses. You CAN’T (literally!) know how because this is an economics problem and predictions in that field are notoriously awful. The knowledge you need to make decent predictions isn’t available to you. It isn’t available to anyone… yet. You’d need one hellavu information aggregation system AND a time travel machine to get what you need to know what you think you know.

I’m not arguing that you are ignorant because you haven’t done the homework. I’m arguing that it is THEORETICALLY impossible to actually know what you think you know. That means, at worst, you and I are on equal footing in predicting the future. Where we really stand depends on who has aggregated the most useful information for making a prediction and we won’t know that until the event has passed.

I’m not ignorant of the ecological issues. I have my copy of ‘Limits to Growth’ and it shows I haven’t treated it as a coffee table book. IF we tried to expand into space using the old (and often toxic) tech from the previous generation, we would indeed be toast. That isn’t going to happen, I argue, because it costs too much for people to do it. You and your friends help make sure it costs a lot and I’m supportive too. The new space companies know this, though, and haven’t built the old rockets that create super-fund sites if one blows up on the pad. For them to be viable as businesses, they must control costs whether those related to the cost of goods or the cost of litigation.

I get that you want to punish the rich a-holes. I’d rather strip them of some their money while you are at it. I can do that through alliances with a few of them who are merely rich.

yana said...


Mike Will thought:

"We dwindled to just a few tens of thousands. The way we avoided extinction was to leave that deadly cradle and strike out across the 'alien' ... It's not all milk and honey, but it's far better than dust and oblivion."

Genetics points to something terrible happening to humans 120K to 80K years ago. Not just the 'daughters of eve' posit from mitochondria, but other markers on the Y, seem to say that our species might have dropped to only a few dozen animals at one point. Hate to quote a Captain of Industry who was talking about the rationalization for the tragic idea of maximizing shareholder value, but "If you're not growing, you're dying."

jim thought:

"Space nerds have been talking about space based power, materials and manufacturing techniques sense the 70’s and it is still a nothing burger."

Right, 45 years gone by. We've better tech and ideas now, but consider how quadrupled both of them would be, if we'd had 15 failed moontowns by now. Another 17,000 pulls at the russian roulette trigger for our species. You might not appreciate the urgency of our situation. There are real big rocks simply zinging around this system at all times.

David Brin thought:

"It [the Moon] doesn’t advance our ability to create an economic plateau that is self-sustaining."

And above, Mr. Differ fredsplains competently about risk and investment. I feel that both gloss over the real point of expanding off earth as soon as we can. It's because we need a biologic plateau, not an economic one.

I understand your logic, you wish to use current sociocultural mechanisms to achieve what we both want. The difference, me believes that it is not an ego mission but pure survival, thus robot missions are biologically moot.

yana said...


Alfred Differ thought:

"It’s happening as fast as we think it CAN sustainably be done." and... "It’s a chicken-and-egg thing."

Investors, banks and economics, OST and VC. OK, i know i sound like Chicken Little. The sky, however, is actually falling. It's not like global warming, where the absurdists can dredge up a handful of bearded guys with capital letters after their names to "refute" it. In the case of speedy rocks flying around, there is no scientist who can guarantee that an impact will not kill every animal in North America three days from now.

If it happens, the haggling of money owners and money seekers will seems like a profoundly dumb thing to have wasted our time on. We need government to pave the highway this time, maybe this one last time. One only has to look at the rise of eco-bio altruism over the sosh meeds, help for disaster victims and the lower indiv contribs to leftward pols, to see that Survival, writ large as Species Survival, is an emergent trend in the post-modern groupthought.

More fredspaining admits:

"The cost to put up such a system would be absolutely staggering, but the US could potentially do it if we were motivated enough."

That's it, the big projects like interstates and FEMA and Chunnel and SilkRoad, et alia, they are the work of government because private investment is too fearful of the larger inherent risk the larger the project is. Tellin' ya, the work of going to the Moon might be the last thing we need Big Gov't to do, ever.

While we still have governments, it's the body politic which pulls the strings. This is truly a question of species survival. The more connected we are, the easier it will be to translate the geist into policy, for a more purely visceral avenue towards species survival than climate change. A more clear threat, even if the timing is more kismetic.

Do it now, and humanity's chances grow by 100% in twenty years. Leave it to investors and bankers, and the in-filling of the Moon as a waystation or pleasure dome will take decades longer. But every day we dally, over money and squabbles, it's one more day closer to spotting that rock... five years, that's all we got, five years, that's not a lot...

yana said...


It is funny yet a bit disappointing that 1/3 of the posts here degenerated into salacious postulation (positioning?) but then again, considering the demographic makeup... though there is a useful point to be made:

Larry Hart thought:

"wife and I continually complain about the inconvenience of gravity during..."

Daniel Duffy thought:

"special suits with harness and lanyard"

You two have answered each other's concerns. Such suits, as well as frameworks and platforms with various use of straps and pendular supports, already exist for use in 1G. Notably, suspension systems designed compassionately for differently-abled people to live a fuller life, have found an audience... beyond the initial intention.

David Brin thought:

"“The Day They Tested The Rec Room.” Speculated women might enjoy 0g and men not."

Would not be considered "notorious" today, actually it's fairly tame nowadays. Thus cartoonish, but fun at the time. If we can design a vertical wall with pebbles and nubbins for faux rock climbing in 1G, there is no problem designing an environment of handholds, lanyards and straps for 0G.

The male ethos of domination via penetration need not be sacrificed sans gravity, just a different subset of muscles may be called into service. Will we adapt? Haha, what do you think?

David L. Seikel said...

Capture the asteroid.It is prime real-estate.

Alfred Differ said...

Yana,

Yes. The sky is falling. Try running around claiming that as a good motivation to spend tons of money. It doesn’t work. I know because I’ve tried. My friends have tried. Chicken Little is the nicest thing they call us. 8)

The money involved in a crash course isn’t on the order of the interstates. It’s on the order of WWII. It’s stunningly huge if we push for it early much like pushing for a 2019 model consumer grade laptop would have been in 1969. Half a century of market and government forces have wrought the miracles we have today. Another half century is likely to do the same. Can you imagine what they will be? Nah. Probably not with any accuracy. I can’t either. I’d bet the entire human race, though, that we will be much closer to preventing the sky from falling than we would be if we tried to do a crash course now. What? They aren’t mine to bet? Sure they are. Each of us who chose to have children are making that bet. 8)

Do it now, and humanity's chances grow by 100% in twenty years. Leave it to investors and bankers, and the in-filling of the Moon as a waystation or pleasure dome will take decades longer.

Nope. You can’t possibly know that for the same reason I was ranting about to Jim. IF we could see a doomsday rock coming at us right now, THEN we might be able to motivate the crash course, non-market solution you advocate. Absent that, humans are ornery critters who coordinate just enough to make markets work.

Here’s the real ‘splaining’ thing, though. Humans don’t economize on a large scale unless we absolutely have to do it. ORNERY! We ask “Why should I believe you?” Humans do economize on a small scale (think families), but we don’t for anything much larger than a small community without obvious, immediate threats of death. (Even then we might not.) What we do on the large scale is FAR more interesting than mere economization. What we do at scale is what distinguishes us from the other apes. It is the one thing that might save our sorry butts from having the sky fall on us.

David L. Seikel said...

Build starship,find Earth2.

yana said...


Alfred Differ thought:

"Try running around claiming that as a good motivation to spend tons of money."

Yup, that's what i'm doing. And it really looks like a good wave to surf, it seems to be something that is cresting as communication between people swells without regard to national borders or economic "class". Because it's a matter of absolute survival of the human race.

You can not avoid the basic economic arguments for sustainable energy, notwithstanding the sycophantic whitewash "party line" from the latest Davos: just wait for it, you feeble proles, and we the powers will bring you renewables. Lol. It was reactionary, not visionary, and what was it reacting to? People all over the planet want to survive. How do we do so as quick as possible?

Moonbase. Oh but it's so difficult, snuffle-sniff, and no way for rich people to get even richer, boo-hoo. Or, we can suck it up and get to work. The line between public works and private works is we, the people, making things in our best interest. I truly think you underestimate the power of your beliefs, particularly the way your beliefs are more resonant as more people are casually drawn into a worldwide conversation.

"I’d bet the entire human race"

I would not.

One of the greatest tragedies in all of history, to my eyes, is that Tunguska happened 100 years too early. If it happened in 2008, the whole human race would be doing exactly what i'm advocating, once they cleaned out 7 billion sets of underwear.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Yana
Re- doomsday rock

It would need a pretty big rock to kill us all off
A dino killer would not even come close

If you were seriously worried then a moon colony is a really bad solution

A much cheaper and more likely to work solution would be a number of well distributed "refuges" on earth

Even after something incredible had happened to the earth the earth would STILL be somewhere that is easier to survive on than the moon

yana said...


Duncan Cairncross thought:

"A dino killer would not even come close"

Contrary, the Chixalub impact ripped the crust wide open on the other side. You can't think of a speedy rock as a pinprick which is simply gulped by the earth's mass. Shockwaves, akin to thwapping a balloon filled with jello, travel through the earth, just like any other planet. The pinprick at Yucatan produced vast curtain volcanism in Siberia. It was this, which killed off so many oxygen breathers.

"A much cheaper and more likely to work solution would be a number of well distributed "refuges" on earth"

Not a solution. Did i mention that Siberian curtain volcanism stretched for thousands of miles? For the same money, we can get 1,800 self-sustaining people on the Moon, at the same time that we, the people, provide waystation services to prospectors. Vanity trips? Tourism? The price for that is 10% of a passenger's total wealth, minimum 10 million in 2020 US$.

How do we determine what is 10% of wealth? Brin's Rule, of a period for everyone to declare real property or it's forfeit. After that, if someone has the gumption and the gasmoney, they can go.

"Even after something incredible had happened to the earth the earth would STILL be somewhere that is easier"

But perhaps not for a few years. Maybe not for 20 years. It could be, that all we can do from the Moon, is drop titanium oxide dust into the high clouds of our former home, to cool it down and to crutch the water cycle, and to do this for 120 years before we can send a ship of recolonists back down.

Hope we never have to figure that out, but in 21 years, hope we have the option.

Progressbot said...

>> Alfred Differ said...
//Yes. Always. Investors with no exit plans are not investors.

Yes. Of course. You could read it, that I become emotional there. A little bit.
Of course, investments -- its technology too. And as any tech it have its limits and prerequsites. I understand it. And would like to learn it.

But well. I think that my idea of omni-potent robots, even if not expell idea of the markets. Will change it substantially.

Well, what market you need, and for what? If you'd have ability to plant cities (as you'd plant a tree) on the Moon or Mars, under just your fingertips? ;)
What business plan or plan for exit could be comparable to such an adventure???
Isn't good investor need to be avanturistic... in good sense of word?


\\What you CAN do is try to influence his decisions. Mine too. Everyone’s.

Well, maybe its my problem. My issue. But I do not like "to influence". Feel it like some crookery. As all that psycho-tricks, hypnosis, etc. :(
I more like idea of "brain-shake" from Simak. ;) Two sapient existances just share some ideas, for the pleasure of both. (shy)

\\You said that in reference to something about Yana that I don’t think Yana actually meant to imply

WAT? He/She didn't proposed Heavy Foot of Government? For a Greater Good reasons?
We. In Soviet Union. Was living for 70 years Under Such Foot. And for such Reasons.
Years of death, wars and oppression.
Yana -- is just plain boring ignoramus, to suggest such things, without proper understanding of what it mean. To the people.
And not Yana alone...

\\but ‘planning’ sounds like such a GOOD idea.

Yep-yep, the same as remove herediary property rights, make war against alkoholism, banish "parasites", etc.
That all, is so old story for us, post-soviets. And zat story is not pleasant one, for the least.

\\Soviet planning was a bit... war with a Great Enemy?

YES. You gotcha it. I betcha. (well, if you want some additional details, I could provide, just ask)


\\The money involved in a crash course isn’t on the order of the interstates.It’s on the order of WWII...

That's why we need a clever roadmap. But know what? I have one.
That thing about flexible soft-bodied robots.
That first can be and should be made as simple as fish-like robots, and can be sold for ecology control, and to recon nuclear u-boats (like that scary-satanic Putin's super-torpido).
And then, step by step raised into more and more complex things.
And from the start, we already have techs and experiences (like with 3D-printing) for it, it would need not more investments than some amateurs rocketry.



\\I’m arguing that it is THEORETICALLY impossible to actually know what you think you know.

There is no way to predict (because of non-linerity, I talked about), but there (still) is possibility to make The Future that way as we'd like.
That's why.

\\That means, at worst, you and I are on equal footing in predicting the future.

Instead of trying to predict what cannot be predicted. Isn't it better to spend time MAKING it?


>> David Brin said...
\\Water can be got from moist asteroids...

For all this... you need fine-tuned machinery. That can be constructed only on Earth?
Imagine your "Conquer of the West"... but where all built not from local materials, but constructed in Britain... and hauled to the place. And again not with local bizons, but with fine english persherons... destined to die on the road. What a waste of such beautifull creatures.

\\Space colonies descended from super-smart emigres would be well-motivated to keep innovating.

I. As person well-motivated to innovate. Can tell to you my experience. Francly.
That ones motivation -- is just *nothing*, if there is no resources, no tools, no colleagues...


\\You make interesting arguments. It is completely unnecessary to add angry remarks

Well. I figured it myself. Wikipedia:Sarcasm. That not in all cultures sarcasm treated the same. Well, Ok. I'll try to do something with it.

J.L.Mc12 said...

I find it odd that the best way you people can think up to save humanity from extinction is to waste colossal amounts of fuel, materials and cash trying to move people to worlds that can best be described as a mix between a vacuum chamber, a chemical waste dump, Chernobyl and the Death Valley desert .

progressbot said...

It's not US. It's just yana here. For whatever personal issues he/she has.

progressbot said...

\\a vacuum chamber, a chemical waste dump, Chernobyl and the Death Valley desert .

And well... here is no one. Who propose to relocate humanity to Mercury (closest to described, I presume).

J.L.Mc12 said...

Progessbot
I’m sorry, it is true that not all of you share the same views on space colonisation.

progresbot said...

>> Anonymous J.L.Mc12

I just googled for your pecular nick-name. If judge by topics you rise here and there, you are quite interesting one, for my liking.
Would like to talk more with you. About different stuff. ;)

PS dr.Brin, I know about my sinnful bechavior. Sorry. :((

J.L.Mc12 said...

Progressbot
I don’t own a personal blog, if that is what you are searching for.

Everyone in general
While I support robotic exploration of space many of the fact lead to the conclusion that the vast majority of space projects people want to pursue, mainly any form of colonisation but also to a lesser extent mining, will require so much money, fuel resources and not to mention the problems with living with inhospitable condition of space in general, shall never be accomplished.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

Tellin' ya, the work of going to the Moon might be the last thing we need Big Gov't to do, ever.


If your bugaboo is big rocks flying around, isn't the moon a bit close to earth to be a safe alternative? I get your cause for concern, but your solution to end all solutions sounds a bit...I dunno, "weak" maybe? If your species lives on an island which is about to flood, you don't escape extinction by migrating to the neighboring island.


It is funny yet a bit disappointing that 1/3 of the posts here degenerated into salacious postulation (positioning?)


Degenerating into discussions of celestial noogie may seem as if we're not taking the subject seriously, but I'm tellin' ya, that sort of thing is what motivates actual people to actually get things done. If there were green Star Trek babes out there, we'd already have starships. Absent that, we work with what we have. Think again of internet porn. The technology and logistics that are worked out in order to get us the Bunny Ranch in Space will then be available for other uses.

yana said...


Larry Hart thought:

"If your species lives on an island which is about to flood, you don't escape extinction by migrating to the neighboring island."

Yes, you do. You do whatever makes you and your kids survive. If the next island over is 15 meters higher, then that's where you go. Nobody seems to understand the urgency, dang i wish Tunguska had happened 100 years later. If Siberia had got all blowed up in 2008 instead of 1908, there would be no argument about any of this.

"Degenerating into discussions of celestial noogie may seem as if we're not taking the subject seriously"

No need to be sheepish, we saw what success erotica had in the scriptorium days, what influence it had after printing was invented, and the explosion now with digital publishing. What were covens in the 1600s became sexclubs in West Berlin, and will become "r+r stops" for the people doing the hard work of going to the Moon and miners on their way back from a tour of duty on asteroids.

Historically, we can not discount the role of the Kit Kat Club in bringing down the Iron Curtain. In space it's not going to be barfing and Formula 409 like 'jim' frights. It's just that we can't sell that aspect, not yet, not aloud. Sign me up, if there's a list to do sex in 0G. But i'll tell Mom and Dad that i'm going to do research, yep research, on a potential job on Ceres, that's the ticket.

Mike Will said...

I've been reading US leaders' proclamations about space exploration. I could be summarized by: We choose to go to the moon, not because it is hard, but because it is easy.

I'm all for the moon, but it's being used not as a stepping stone, but as an excuse. This is how we got 40+ years of low Earth orbit. NASA signs the SLS postponement notice with 'Ad Astra'. Bit cheeky what?

Larry Hart said...

yana:

Nobody seems to understand the urgency, dang i wish Tunguska had happened 100 years later. If Siberia had got all blowed up in 2008 instead of 1908, there would be no argument about any of this.


What if the moon had gotten hit in 2008? That's my point. I'm not arguing that it's a good idea to eventually colonize. I'm wondering why you think the moon is a safer place than earth is.


If the next island over is 15 meters higher, then that's where you go.


But if it's 15 meters lower than it does you no good. Even if it's at the same elevation, it does you no good. You seem to be saying more than "There are big, dangerous rocks out there". You perceive a specific threat to earth that doesn't pertain to the moon and insist on an emergency evacuation to a place that IMHO is more likely to be wiped out by the kind of disaster you envision than the earth is.

Unless you know something you're not telling. Something specific, I mean.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

But i'll tell Mom and Dad that i'm going to do research, yep research, on a potential job on Ceres, that's the ticket.


Venus. It's already got a salable name.

My biggest fear is a huge space hotel with a visible-from-earth "TRUMP" logo degrading the universe.

jim said...

In other news
Senate Democrats clearly demonstrate to the world that they stand for nothing. Oh they love to talk about Climate Change because it allows them to paint Republicans as evil and use that as a substitute for action. But expecting elected democrats to actually support taking effective action to address climate change is just wish fulfillment.

I didn't really think that Trump would have a good shot at a second term but now I think democrats are very busy showing us all how useless they are and that does not bode well for the election.


I know most people here think I am way to pessimistic about our ongoing eco-crisis but we are not really taking effective action to prevent it form getting much worse, so I think the only honest expectation is for things to keep getting worse. Sure there will be a lot of talk, and maybe some show programs but nothing really effective. We will probably keep on that track until a major crisis hits (my guess for the crisis is famine) and then we will switch to panic mode. And depending on what we do in panic mode things could get much worse.

Jon S. said...

If Tunguska had been in 2008 instead of 1908, you're right, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Because someone would have assumed that was a first-strike attack, the missiles would fly, and contrary to what the Fallout games show, computers wouldn't be working very well after a nuclear war.

The discussion of 0g sex reminds me of a throwaway bit from Spider and Jeanne Robinson's Stardancer:

"Full disclosure: I never cared much for simultaneous oral sex, the classic '69', because of the mutual distraction. In freefall, though, it becomes natural, inevitable."

JL, you seem unaware of a famous Heinlein quote: "The Earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all its eggs in." Lunar colonies are quite possible; Lunar vacations would probably be easier for most people to manage than orbital ones, as this avoids motion sickness during the actual vacation part. (IME, the misery of motion sickness fades quickly once the cause is removed - getting off the fishing boat greatly improved my fishing experience. :) ) Something similar could be said for Mars; it's the asteroid colonies that I would expect to be primarily about profit from mining and such, while Luna and Mars would be either lebensraum or scientific outposts. And frankly I wouldn't expect these offworld colonies to be founded before profits from space start rolling in, because, well, people.

Larry, I wouldn't worry about that logo too much - the man couldn't even run a casino in Atlantic City at a profit, back when there were only two places in the US to gamble legally. He's not going to actually build an orbital habitat, although he might crowdfund on the process then redirect the funds to his personal accounts.

Treebeard said...

The only threat I'm hearing about are asteroids. So put resources into asteroid defense. Sending a few humans to a dead, unliveable rock doesn't solve anything. What Yana is suggesting is like someone who lives on a very nice estate near a river, and instead of building a dike to protect against a once a century flood, decides to sell everything and buy a one-way ticket to Antarctica because they read some fantasy stories about it as a kid. It's pretty silly.

raito said...

Geez, we're referencing Resnick's 'Tales of the Velvet Comet' AND Vance's 'The Face' here. If you see the similarities.

jim said...

I follow the situation in the Arctic pretty closely and this years melt season has just begun. The winter was a little bit colder than the last 2 years in the arctic and we ended up at the 7th lowest maximum surface area for Arctic sea ice.


But the beginning of this melt season is a bit disconcerting. We have lost more than 400,000 square kilometers of ice in the last 4 days (that is more like summer time melting). And the weather forecasts for the arctic are stable and show that this melting should continue for many more days.

The early part of the melting season in the arctic is critical in determining the total melt for the year. A cold spring in the arctic means that getting a new record low is almost impossible. But a warm spring creates the albedo feedback loop with lots of melt ponds all over the ice and tundra.

It is too early to tell if this spring in the arctic will give us a new low in arctic sea ice (by the middle of May we should have a good idea) but this doesn't look good.

David Brin said...


Mike Will made a good snark: “We choose to go to the moon, not because it is hard, but because it is easy.” Dig it again: HUMANITY is going back to the dusty, useless lunar surface, because it’s a close, easy sandbox for kindergarteners to learn to walk. To strut around and declare: “Today I am a man!” Sure, there are almost no resources down that gravity well and no wealth or near term benefits. But sure, I might be wrong! So let the Chinese, Russians, Indians, Euros, billionaire tourists and other Apollo wannabes romp around “exploring” at the bottom of that gravity well. Happy bar moonsvah!” Let us know if you find anything surprising or valuable and we’ll drop in for a look.

Meanwhile, there are much harder things for the U.S. and Japanese to do out there.

Yana, sorry, I am all in favor of human colonization of space. But the lifeboat argument is weak. Almost any dollar spent putting humans and habitats in one cubic meter of lunar lava tube will create 1000 cubic meters of shelter in some mineshaft or new excavation down here on Earth. Even if the air became unbreathable, it will remain accessible for easy purification, with infinite supplies of water. And generations would have a nearby city ruin to mine for almost anything they’d ever need.

Mind you if I saw some doom approaching, I’d spend whatever it takes to do both!

==
jim your attack on democrats is utter malarkey. They do not have power, at the national level. So look at what Dem-led STATES are doing. And they are doing a lot.

Jon S a major future lunar tourist attraction will be dome flying, with wings.

Treebeard, we got plenty of threats other than falling rocks. Like trog-jerks helping shortsighted lords to poison the atmosphere till gigatons of methane come boiling out of the tundra. A ruthless future humanity won’t have qualms about culling the gene pool of such.

jim said...

The democrats in the senate have no power and no spine.
I think the two are related.

Treebeard said...

I'm not helping the evil feudal lords. My idea of a good time is walking in the woods. I'm sure I produce less carbon than you, who jets around lecturing people about how to save the world. If humanity is going to have a bright future, I'm pretty sure it will be in spite of Dr. Strangelove-types who spend a lot of time thinking about mine shafts, subersive Russkies and culling troglodytes from the gene pool, not because of them.

jim said...

You make a good point there Treebeard. If you look at the environmental impact of people’s leisure time you should be able to separate out those who walk the walk from those who just want to tell you what to do. Everyone has more control over their leisure time activities than anything other activity.

I really don’t understand how someone can believe that we are in the middle of an environmental and ecological crisis, think of themselves as an environmentalist, yet still flies around the world for fun.

Alfred Differ said...

Yana,

You can not avoid the basic economic arguments for sustainable energy, notwithstanding the sycophantic whitewash "party line" from the latest Davos: just wait for it, you feeble proles, and we the powers will bring you renewables

Pushing out the space frontier doesn’t have much to do with renewables. It does have to do with some rich people risking money, but not the kind of rich people who tend to stay in the relatively low risk bond markets. Those are the people who might sound like deficit hawks in public, but they buy the bonds when our governments borrow and benefit.

The line between public works and private works is we, the people, making things in our best interest.

Hmm… There is another view of this too. That line is where ‘We the People’ decide to stop taking other people’s money to do what we think best. What I’m pointing out to you is there are already rich people who agree that it is best to push out the space frontier. Please don’t screw with the market in which they are doing this.

You want it done faster? So did I. When I was a kid I was fed a vision of the future that didn’t materialize. I wanted government to fulfill that vision. Didn’t happen. I wanted the big space companies to do it. Didn’t happen. I acquired an education suited to entering into employment with either one of them to roll up my own sleeves and deliver. They weren’t hiring for that. Eventually, I came to the realization that I’d been given a beautiful fantasy. Reality was different. Many of us came to that realization, talked about it, and then decided to @#%@ them all. We’d do it ourselves. It’s been a lifetime of work, but we learned a number of things that don’t work (I could write a big fat book on that) and a few tricks that do work. Oddly enough, those tricks were already well known to the entrepreneurial community.

Want it done faster? Learn those tricks. Don’t steal people’s money to do what your people think is best. Earn it and the respect that goes with successfully persuading people to save humanity.

David Brin said...

treebeard you are -- what? -- a more grownup version? A replacement? You made a strong point forcefully and well. Huh?

You and jim make a hostile argument that certainly must be made... that guys like me should be challenged about whether we do more good than harm. Problem is:

1. That's my tune you are whistling. You are on CONTRARY BRIN and questioning assumptions has been my bag longer than you've lived.

2. One man -- the Nobel winning inventor of the white light LED -- did more good for the world than all you smug Thoreau-wannabe woods-walkers. I've been supporting Greenpeace and the Sierra Club in their ongoing (and productive) efforts since 1969. EARTH converted many people I once did a back of the envelope calc of footprints vs effects and sorry guys, it was orders of magnitude against your sour grapes slur.

But still. It's no lie that guys like me should be put on hypocrisy alert, from time to time. You had a better day, today.

Alfred Differ said...

Progressbot,

Cities are grown, so your tree analogy is close. The seed, though, is generally a few people with stuff to trade. Where they trade is where the city grows. If the trades are fruitful, other people go there because it is easier to find risk capital and people to trade where they already are. Take a look at a US map and plot where our cities with more than one million people are. You’ll find there is a pattern if you squint at the map. They are generally along old trade routes where capital accumulated. The people with that capital built stuff to help themselves and others followed.

So… Imagine a Moon colony or a Mars colony. Why would it exist where it gets planted? We don’t trade goods and services out there yet, so why would anyone with spare capital go to these places and plant a seed? I argue they won’t unless government does it. Wasn’t that tried by Soviet planners and the Romanov’s before them? We DO have examples of this kind of attempt on Earth, so we should be able to look at the history and ask how well this approach works. From that we should be able to make some projections about such attempts on the Moon or Mars. I’ve tried this thought experiment and the future it creates isn’t viable without HUGE expenditures.

So… Imagine the asteroid boys out there trying to get filthy rich instead of a colony. Maybe they do it all robotically. Seems like the most likely way they would. When they bring that stuff back to Earth for sale, are there any waypoints on the path were they could make an early sale? Water in space can be used for a number of things. Why bring it all the way back? Makes sense to sell it to people up there who want it for fuel or just it’s component parts. Where will those waypoints happen? Will capital accumulate there? Won’t traders be drawn to those accumulation points?

Yana would advocate for a planned solution to save humanity from itself, but probably not one with Stalin-style overtones involving starvations and gulags. That’s why I don’t react too strongly. It’s one of those ‘good intentions’ plans that I know won’t work, but there is little immediate danger to me or my family. Yana is simply mistaken and not immoral.

Cities form around markets like chickens form around yolks. Anyone who wants an actual, viable space colony needs to consider this piece of human economic history.

So… how does your whizbang help facilitate trade out there? That is an important question to ponder.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

J.L.Mc12 said...


Everyone, the whole question about space colonisation is a moot point since for all practical reasons it is impossible.
For a start the amount of energy needed to fly someone to mars or the moon, make an adequate habitat(s) large enough and in the case of mars terraform it is so colossal that it should be obvious that it is a no go. (Don’t try and B.S. your self that fusion is the answer, the experimental ones are already so expensive that even if a working reactor was made it would be to expensive to mass produce, let alone take into space.)