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Re: Re: starship-design: One way (again...)

In a message dated 12/6/97 2:52:53 PM, lparker@cacaphony.net wrote:

>Several months ago I made the statement that there is more incentive to 
>stay in space where power is cheap, resources are plentiful and 
>(comparatively) easy to get at. So I really have a hard time seeing why 
>anyone would want to go to another star just to _settle_ on a planet.
>If you bear that in mind, and look at the mission profile as one that is 
>designed to begin building an outpost in orbit in that system for the 
>purpose of continuing exploration and creating a spaceborne infrastructure 
>for follow on missions, only some of which might be concerned with actually 
>landing on a planet, then it is not a one way mission. Nor is it exactly a 
>colonization mission.
>It is a team of scientists, and engineers and technicians with a definite 
>purpose - build a fully self sustaining outpost in orbit around another 
>star. Once they have done that they can then build power stations to 
>produce more fuel so that 2-way travel becomes more practicable. There 
>would be additional personnel arriving on follow on missions and maybe 
>eventually some of the original personnel might even get to go home.
>Remember that most of the people who will be going on these missions will 
>probably have come from our off-planet population in the first place. They 
>aren't going to see a great deal of difference between a colony on Luna or 
>Ceres and one orbiting another star.

That is an interesting mission profile, but has two problems.  

One it assumes your sure you want to keeping going back to that star systems
on a regular basis.  So far I never heard any credible reason we'ld want to.

Two - your sure you want to keep using that system for decades.

Three - it assumes you want to come back and forth so often that you'ld pay to
send a much (10-100 times?) bigger construction expidition, and not just a
couple exploration expiditions.

First you send Lewis and Clark, then the pioneers, then the rail roads.  ;)

Seariously a big question we've never gotten very far with is why anyone would
send such a mission?