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RE: RE: starship-design: YES, we might do it.

> From: "Walker, Chris" <Chris.Walker@BSKYB.COM>
> > From:	Zenon Kulpa [SMTP:zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl]
> > 
> >And there is a big bootstrap problem:
> >space mining is impractical without developed human 
> >space infrastructure, and building such infrastructure 
> >is impossible without space mining...
> I see the point you're getting at, but surely the word "impossible" is
> overstating it? It would just be "very, very expensive" 
"Impossible" not in the technical sense, but in the economic-social sense.

> to launch that much
> raw material (for the space infrastructure) - in today's terms at least.
> Maybe in the future someone (private companies?) will be willing to meet
> those costs if they determine that the returns would outweigh the initial
> outlay. If a small mining facility can be set-up, it would provide a
> starting point for the infrastructure to then grow from space mining. Maybe
> very slowly at first, but as more raw materials were mined, further
> facilities could be built, etc (ie. exponential-type growth of infrastructure).
> Of course, I appreciate that it does all depend on a party being willing 
> and able to:
> (a) spend large amounts of money on getting that first facility constructed
> (b) waiting long enough for positive cash returns
> which has been mentioned before on this list.
Just that I call the "big bootstrap problem" - big, because
in this case the initial investment may be much larger than
any needed before on Earth.
Unless some "intermediate industry", like space tourism,
will pave some of the way, making the required investment smaller.
Thou, I am not so sure - we have already tried other intermediate
space industries - commsats, GPS - with rather little impact 
on serious space exploration (except contributing significantly
to the growth of space debris around Earth and outraging Earth-based
astronomers and radio-astronomers...).

-- Zenon