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Thread: The Emerging Space Economy

  1. #91
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    We can critique opinions and point out flaws in bad arguments without it being intolerance. Opinions are subjective after all.

    Humans able to survive indefinitely off one planet increases our odds of the human species continuing to exist. That is not an opinion, just a natural consequence of existence. If we only inhabit one niche then the loss of that niche is a species ender.

    The continuation of humanity is in my opinion, a goal worth pursuing. Whether billionaire desires or government programs allow us to accomplish that survival is irrelevant to me. Or some other resource. The survival of our species needs no justification, only a means.

    To save the Earth is certainly a contributing factor for continued human existence but it's a single point of failure. To lose Earth means the end of everything we live for, period. Human colonization of the rest of the universe expands that option to more than one. I've often used the lifeboat analogy but it's much more akin to building our own islands. And if we can make one we can make many.

    Plus as I've already pointed out, the requirements for building colonies will also be useful for any other space activities. We would have to have large scale space access and an industrial infrastructure that could have many other applications from science to exploration to possibly building interstellar probes. And we'd also have to learn all about creating stable ecosystems which would have obvious benefit to saving the biosphere of Earth, which will still be the home of billions. So the two goals can reinforce each other.

    There's no logical reason to object to space colonization if you want to also improve our relationship with our ecosystem. The resources devoted to the former will not take away from the latter any more than any current human activity does. And it will provide some contribution to the Terrestrial goals as well.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  2. #92
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    And regarding the economy, if the goal of colonization acts as a net driver of space access, for example by inspiring a billionaire to invest lots of research into creating relatively cheap reusable launchers making space access much more affordable, all to the good.

    Sure, that money could be feeding the homeless or reforesting the Amazon basin instead, but historically it wouldn't. At least its being spent on future plans to help humanity instead of a backyard amusement park or a private stealth bomber or the world's most expensive toilet paper or other wastes of resources.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  3. #93
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    If you take a nihilist view, or even existentialist, it does not matter in the long run or indeed now, because there is no destiny to look forward to. If your view is survivalist, it is arguable whether space expenditure is positive or negative for any individual or for the species homo sapiens. Too soon to tell. But like many technologies it could go either way, depending on who is in charge. I am not sure any of the players takes a humanist view of space exploration or commercialisation.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    If you take a nihilist view, or even existentialist, it does not matter in the long run or indeed now, because there is no destiny to look forward to. If your view is survivalist, it is arguable whether space expenditure is positive or negative for any individual or for the species homo sapiens. Too soon to tell. But like many technologies it could go either way, depending on who is in charge. I am not sure any of the players takes a humanist view of space exploration or commercialisation.
    I don't personally care about the motives of players, I care about the results.

    What do you mean by, the technology could go either way?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I am not sure any of the players takes a humanist view of space exploration or commercialisation.
    I'd argue that at least one does, Elon Musk. He has stated many times that his efforts are an attempt at improving society. In the very earliest days, after Paypal but before Tesla, SpaceX or SolarCity could be called anything more than startups, Musk said, paraphrasing, that what led him to choose these endeavors was sitting down and figuring out what capabilities humanity needed most to improve society. One answer he came up with was to drastically reduce fossil fuel use, and to that end he decided to try and make electric cars, electrical storage and solar power ubiquitous. Another answer he came up with, as is better known and earns him plenty of mockery, is to develop the capabilities, namely spaceships, to enable humans to become an interplanetary species.

    Not only has he said these sorts of things many times but he has backed them up with his actions many times. Of course Musk is not an angel. There are no angels and I don't do fanboy. Musk clearly has all the same sorts of failures all humans tend to have. And no doubt his motives are not pure. Whose are? And of course it is entirely possible that he is wrong about what technologies would be best to develop. But I have not seen any reason to doubt that one of his motivations is to better the lot of us all.

    Your primary concern, and very laudable, seems to be the welfare of people and the protection and recovery of the environment at the same time. I don't think that's all that uncommon. What is common is disagreement on characterizing the issues and how to deal with them. Apparently you don't agree with Musk on at least one issue he thinks is important enough to dedicate a lot of time and effort to. But consider 2 things. 1) As I already mentioned the capabilities SpaceX is developing will almost certainly help in addressing the issues you think are more important, that's just the way things like this work. 2) With Tesla, electric cars, electrical storage and solar power, Musk has had, and will continue to have, a large and significant impact directly on some of the issues you feel are most important.
    Last edited by Darrell; 2021-Jul-27 at 11:59 AM.

  6. #96
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    Space exploration is coming closer to cutting-edge technologies being developed for most industries now.
    Machine Learning. It is already proved that robots bring cost effective and precise fast results (e.g., Sea bed exploration). Still have huge potential for development for the Space exploration.
    Parallel development of vertical flying facilities for aircraft and aerospace fields (e.g. the Moon surface topology exploration successfully started in April this year).
    Each successful or unsuccessful launch brings a lot of data for analysis and further improvement. Space exploration process comes algorithmic and regular as never before.
    I would like to believe that the synergy of co-woring within technologies evolution for both Earth and Space purposes together with involvement of universities research programs brings ‘rocket science’ more common and cheap.

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell View Post
    I'd argue that at least one does, Elon Musk. He has stated many times that his efforts are an attempt at improving society. In the very earliest days, after Paypal but before Tesla, SpaceX or SolarCity could be called anything more than startups, Musk said, paraphrasing, that what led him to choose these endeavors was sitting down and figuring out what capabilities humanity needed most to improve society. One answer he came up with was to drastically reduce fossil fuel use, and to that end he decided to try and make electric cars, electrical storage and solar power ubiquitous. Another answer he came up with, as is better known and earns him plenty of mockery, is to develop the capabilities, namely spaceships, to enable humans to become an interplanetary species.

    Not only has he said these sorts of things many times but he has backed them up with his actions many times. Of course Musk is not an angel. There are no angels and I don't do fanboy. Musk clearly has all the same sorts of failures all humans tend to have. And no doubt his motives are not pure. Whose are? And of course it is entirely possible that he is wrong about what technologies would be best to develop. But I have not seen any reason to doubt that one of his motivations is to better the lot of us all.

    Your primary concern, and very laudable, seems to be the welfare of people and the protection and recovery of the environment at the same time. I don't think that's all that uncommon. What is common in disagreement on characterizing the issues and how to deal with them. Apparently you don't agree with Musk on at least one issue he thinks is important enough to dedicate a lot of time and effort to. But consider 2 things. 1) As I already mentioned the capabilities SpaceX is developing will almost certainly help in addressing the issues you think are more important, that's just the way things like this work. 2) With Tesla, electric cars, electrical storage and solar power, Musk has had, and will continue to have, a large and significant impact directly on some of the issues you feel are most important.
    You are right, he is very smart. To pioneer Paypal was a great start and he was right to make a glamorous car to get electric cars popular. I do not know whether his stated aims about Mars are another example of getting heavy lift rockets into both the reliable category and glamorous too.. But I do not understand his support for crypto currency. It may be that he distrusts government, and sees some kind of international money system as a good thing, he says the huge energy cost of running Bitcoin, for example, is OK if half the energy is sustainable. So, logically, if Bitcoin could be all solar powered, that overcomes the other problems? Like being ideal for criminals? As an engineer myself, I suspect it is the engineering challenges that really motivate him, and it will be others who work out how to use his transport links and clever technology. He has said he prefers physics to running a corporation, and I believe him about that. For humanism I prefer Epicurus, “learn to be content with simple pleasures”, but for chasing the limits of invention, Musk will go down among the greats.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What do you mean by, the technology could go either way?
    I mean the usual meaning. Advanced technology can be used in war or in peace. The V1 and the V2 were ingenious ways to deliver large bombs, and paved the way for a moon shot. The nuclear story is well enough rehearsed. Genetic manipulation is perhaps the biggest example and that is rather new. Ad for crypto currency, that is already showing the bad side, like social media, amazing technology exposes the worst of humanity.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I mean the usual meaning. Advanced technology can be used in war or in peace. The V1 and the V2 were ingenious ways to deliver large bombs, and paved the way for a moon shot. The nuclear story is well enough rehearsed. Genetic manipulation is perhaps the biggest example and that is rather new. Ad for crypto currency, that is already showing the bad side, like social media, amazing technology exposes the worst of humanity.
    Ok, so how would human space colonies be weaponized? Aside from dropping large structures on a planet, which could be done much more simply and cheaply with an uninhabited mass of rock.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Ok, so how would human space colonies be weaponized? Aside from dropping large structures on a planet, which could be done much more simply and cheaply with an uninhabited mass of rock.
    I said technology not colonies, high load rockets will have many uses.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I said technology not colonies, high load rockets will have many uses.
    Well those are already on their way regardless of use. Too late now for misgivings, we can only deal with the situation as it is.

    But you weren't complaining about heavy lift and calling it a waste of money. You were doing that for space colonies, so that's what I responded to.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    You are right, he is very smart. To pioneer Paypal was a great start and he was right to make a glamorous car to get electric cars popular. I do not know whether his stated aims about Mars are another example of getting heavy lift rockets into both the reliable category and glamorous too.. But I do not understand his support for crypto currency. It may be that he distrusts government, and sees some kind of international money system as a good thing, he says the huge energy cost of running Bitcoin, for example, is OK if half the energy is sustainable. So, logically, if Bitcoin could be all solar powered, that overcomes the other problems? Like being ideal for criminals? As an engineer myself, I suspect it is the engineering challenges that really motivate him, and it will be others who work out how to use his transport links and clever technology. He has said he prefers physics to running a corporation, and I believe him about that. For humanism I prefer Epicurus, “learn to be content with simple pleasures”, but for chasing the limits of invention, Musk will go down among the greats.
    Please stop denigrating bitcoin with populist mass media arguments. The energy usage is large compared to things most people are familiar with but not at all large on the planetary scale. If you were to take some of the things that people already waste and add them up they would be a far larger figure. For example tvs left on standby, cars left running while stopped, giant refrigerators with screens on, inefficient lighting, the military waste of endless wars over oil and other resources.

    Ever wondered how much energy it takes to keep the current fiat system running? How much energy the US wastes to maintain the dollars status as the reserve currency?

    Similarly, saying bitcoin is useful to criminals is misguided. Bitcoin is a ledger technology. Every transaction is recorded and kept for ever. Bitcoin addresses can be traced to specific organisations. There have already been major seizures of bitcoin that was used for illicit purposes and the use of cash and the existing banking system for money laundering is on an epic scale. The banks just pay the fine and carry on.

    Ledger technology will make this all far harder to get away with. Plus it gives transparency to government spending and prevents them from printing money to finance their pet projects and get themselves out of political problems.

    There are many many arguments for the use of distributed ledger technology, and very few, weak arguments against it. It's not a bubble, it's not a ponzi. This is the beginning of the the next Internet in terms of scale of change. I've been involved for the last 7 years and count myself fortunate to be here at the beginning.

  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by headrush View Post
    Please stop denigrating bitcoin with populist mass media arguments. The energy usage is large compared to things most people are familiar with but not at all large on the planetary scale. If you were to take some of the things that people already waste and add them up they would be a far larger figure. For example tvs left on standby, cars left running while stopped, giant refrigerators with screens on, inefficient lighting, the military waste of endless wars over oil and other resources.

    Ever wondered how much energy it takes to keep the current fiat system running? How much energy the US wastes to maintain the dollars status as the reserve currency?

    Similarly, saying bitcoin is useful to criminals is misguided. Bitcoin is a ledger technology. Every transaction is recorded and kept for ever. Bitcoin addresses can be traced to specific organisations. There have already been major seizures of bitcoin that was used for illicit purposes and the use of cash and the existing banking system for money laundering is on an epic scale. The banks just pay the fine and carry on.

    Ledger technology will make this all far harder to get away with. Plus it gives transparency to government spending and prevents them from printing money to finance their pet projects and get themselves out of political problems.

    There are many many arguments for the use of distributed ledger technology, and very few, weak arguments against it. It's not a bubble, it's not a ponzi. This is the beginning of the the next Internet in terms of scale of change. I've been involved for the last 7 years and count myself fortunate to be here at the beginning.
    Well you must be an expert so is this subject worth its own thread? I am not against ledgers and the old idea of cash as a fungible token was surpassed centuries ago by the idea of credit and recorded transactions. We moved off the gold standard as a measure of the wealth backing a currency because growth requires money generation. We got used to computers storing transactions without mining a new currency not controlled by government. I think the argument would not be against computerised transactions but do we need crypto currency at all? The status quo has nation states printing their own money and intermediary banks deciding the exchange rates. What is the equivalent for cryptocurrency.? That is a real question not a rhetorical one.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Well you must be an expert so is this subject worth its own thread?
    A legit question. If you want a discussion of Bitcoin and cybercurrency, please take it to a new thread; let's not derail this one.
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  15. #105
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    Anyway, my point was that human colonization of space is a process and a goal, not a specific money making venture. Is entertainment a purely economic activity? It is surely profitable, it contributes to economic activity tremendously, but people are also entertained by many free activities. The entire industry exists because people have a desire that can be filled. The human habitation of space is in the same category, it is not by itself intended as a business model. However, striving to accomplish it has already led to a revolution in space access and will continue to do so
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  16. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Anyway, my point was that human colonization of space is a process and a goal, not a specific money making venture. Is entertainment a purely economic activity? It is surely profitable, it contributes to economic activity tremendously, but people are also entertained by many free activities. The entire industry exists because people have a desire that can be filled. The human habitation of space is in the same category, it is not by itself intended as a business model. However, striving to accomplish it has already led to a revolution in space access and will continue to do so
    Ok I understand your point. Colonisation is at this point a private venture, at least I think so for all the countries in the space business. As such it is a business model with payment not yet defined. If a nation adopts colonisation it will be a different matter.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  17. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Ok I understand your point. Colonisation is at this point a private venture, at least I think so for all the countries in the space business. As such it is a business model with payment not yet defined. If a nation adopts colonisation it will be a different matter.
    The methods are not yet resolved well enough to make any definitive statements about impact. But any permanent effort to live off Earth will be the result of a well developed infrastructure, industries, and research. It will be the culmination of many diverse efforts and economic growth in space. It's not dependent on any one specific project or business.

    Right now the heavy lift capacity is the most influential factor. Next up will be things like orbital mining and processing materials. But the biggest and most challenging problem is creating stable, closed ecosystems that can act as life support for generations. This is research that can be done right now, today, and will provide tangible benefits to the goal of keeping Earth habitable. We will learn a lot about balanced biomes and the interactions of humans with ecosystems. We can rebalance the way our species lives as part of a biosphere. In fact, we'll have to.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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