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Re: Kelly

Timothy replies to Kelly

> >>After rethinking it, I see what you mean.
> >>The only thing I'm not sure about is what the physics of plasma reflection
> >>are. We may reflect radio-waves to the ionosphere everyday but how does it
> >>work? And does it work in the Asimov also?
>It would certainly involve a much larger scale, and I don't know what the
>reflection efficency is.  Or how much mass would need to be ionized to keep
>up the reflection. One thing for certain, the stuff will be HOT!

I think it is that HOT thing that worries me, it may well be that that will
screw up your whole nice reflection.

>That would be true if all major areas of research were being investigated and
>resonably well funded.  But most areas of fusion research that I know of have
>no funding.  Magnetic plasma fusion is geting funded, but at least in the US
>the systems are dead ends.  Even if they worked they'ld be useless (to large
>to be intergrated into the power grid.).  Where as more inovative designs
>that are considered more promising (like Bussards among others) are geting no

You can't assume that more money is used for this, because I could assume
that more money is used for research for anti-matter containment and
creation. Both fusion and anti-matter are areas where little is known about.

>Oh yeah, the single stage to orbit program (SSTO).  My excorperation, and the
>NASA department I used to work at in NASA headquarters were working on that
>program.  Increadable potential. It could cut costs to orbit by a factor of
>100!  Fed Ex is even rumored to be seriously interested in using them for
>suborbital intercontenental mail carriers.

E-mail is cheaper and faster :)

>I'ld debate that.  Since your stuck in an artificial habitat anyway, one in
>space has easy access to all the floating ores and raw materials in the solar
>system.  Much of which would be hard to get at on a planet (ever see a strip
>mine) and much harder to transport.  I'm a firm beleaver that heavy industry
>will largely move off earth in a century or two.  If your already off planet
>and in a starship, trying to set up on a planet would be hellish.

Hmm, yeps, you may well be right. But the place where people want to live
will be on a nice planet.
Doing research on a planet or building industries is still much more
interesting than flying back to Earth. And if it isn't more intersting, then
research will gives more fruits for the money than flying back would do. 

>People won't see it right away, but they will know people are out there.  I
>think that would be enough to get public interest.  I know public interest in
>robot probes is near nill.  As NASA constantly found.  Robots were thought of
>as scout craft for maned expiditions.  If no manned folowups were planed (and
>frequently mentioned) public interest in funding the robots droped way off.
> Generally a so what atitude.  Drove the Robot probe teams CRAZY!

I think that the mission will not be funded by governments but by commercial
firms. They would use it as advertisement and gain of new technology. Such a
project will not be done by one country, but by all developped countries. So
the competition between countries would not be the same as they were in past
times. So public interest should have a completely other background: love
for the unknown. Ordinary people probably are more concerned about other things.

> >>So where to and when is our new goal? Until now only fusion may bring 
> >>us out of the solar system within reasonable time. Even if you use a 
> >>beam, the fusion is necessary to maintain the beam.
>Well you could power the beam with big solar electric power platforms in
>space.  (The kind of stuff the L-5 socyety kept proposing to power earth.)

No, Earth's consumption of electricity is much much less than that of the
Asimov. As I showed before you would need an array bigger than the moon! And
than you only have the energy but not the beam. For that you need again an
enormous array of high power masers.

>I would definatly prefer a dead world as a possible colony site over a lush
>one like earth.  Wouldn't be as interesting to study, but much more
>survivable.  The problem is any world that could support us, probably has

So how do we solve that? Walking in spacesuits all day isn't that much fun.

>Hell, we're still trying to find cures for all the plagues on earth.  So far
>our best luck seem to be in destroying the worst sections of the ecology
>(draining wetlands, fogging everything with pestasides, etc..) and building
>urban semi-ecologies.  Most of the habited areas of the developed world
>(europe, North America, etc..)  do this so routinely we don't even notice
>anymore.  But then living in a coutry thats largly under sea level I hardly
>have to tell you.  ;)

The place I live is save, even if all the polar ice melts away. :) (33
metres above sealevel)
What you write may be true, but is not complete, we have found cures for
many diseases and our understanding gets better all the time. In 50 years
this will only be better and more advanced.