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Re: Re: Re: starship-design: scoops and sails and something to push against.

KellySt@aol.com writes:
 > In a message dated 10/5/98 1:59:07 AM, stevev@efn.org wrote:
 > >With our current level of technology and planet-bound economy, I
 > >can see how it would be hard to imagine how to fund interstellar
 > >exploration.
 > >
 > >When we have an interplanetary economy, with the level of
 > >technology and access to resources that implies, answering the
 > >question "Why should we go to the stars?" with "because we can"
 > >will make a lot more sense.  If we have self-sustaining orbital
 > >colonies, then the expertise and infrastructure needed to build
 > >interstellar spacecraft is far more likely to be there, and the
 > >expense of obtaining the materials and construction labor will be
 > >far less.
 > >
 > >In other words, the culture that goes to the stars will be a far
 > >different culture than we have now, particularly in the economic
 > >sense.  This isn't the first time I've had to remind Kelly of
 > >that.
 > Two problems with that.
 > 1 - such a economy is unlikely to develop to that degree (where interstellar
 > missions can be aforded as a lark rather then for a valuble purpose) within
 > the next century or two.
 > 2 - within that time period all current sci and tech limits will be invalid.

I'm willing to concede that; there's no guarantee that by 2050
we'll have the technology or the willingness as a society to
stage an interstellar exploration mission.

Is the original target goal of the Lunar Institute of Technology
still feasible?  I don't know, but the possibility of manned
starflight by 2050, without some major adjustments in society and 
technology, is beginning to look a bit slim.

 > In other words, yes at some point in the future our technology will bring down
 > the cost enough, and our our economy will make indeviduals or clubs rich
 > enough, to pay for a star flight.  Not soon, and they likely will just be a
 > flight out, a few tourist or research photos, then everyone comes home.
 > Colonies, regardless of the tech, are done for reason of profit and loss.

That seems to be a very selective view of history, as there are
plenty of examples of colonization that were never intended to
bring home a profit (at least when the society in question had
that concept), such as the people who colonized the South
Pacific, or for that matter that left Africa a million years ago.
You seem to be considering only recent European examples of