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

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Zenon Kulpa [SMTP:zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl]
> Sent:	Wednesday, October 14, 1998 4:57 PM
> To:	starship-design@lists.uoregon.edu
> Cc:	zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl
> Subject:	RE: RE: starship-design: YES, we might do it.
>"Impossible" not in the technical sense, but in the economic-social sense.

OK - my misunderstanding! Although I must admit I'm being pedantic when I
rule out the word "impossible" - I prefer to use that if something really
cannot be done (physically). A better term would be "unfeasible", due to the
expense, etc.

>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

Yes, agreed - the problem with things like commsats is that they tend to
generate money for industries that aren't really space-related, such as the
satellite TV and mobile phone companies. A company puts up a commsat, and
the revenue generated by its use is simply used to expand the comms network
(for example), not to mention lining the pockets of the company directors,
etc. It's just not channeled into space exploration at all, as it's an
Earth-bound commercial interest completely separate from the area of
interstellar travel. 

In this vein - why should space tourism necessarily provide some of the
investment for our space infrastructure? A space tourism company will plough
its revenue back into whatever serves *its* interests, which may or may not
be what *we're* interested in. I guess the only way in which that might
happen is if space tourism grows to such an extent that the company decides
that it is cheaper to mine asteroids for the materials to build its lunar
hotels than to ship these materials up from Earth. Even if it does this
though, would it allow anyone else to use its facilities? Again, wouldn't it
simply plough it resources back into serving its own commercial interests,
rather than our interstellar exploration ones? Et voila - space tourism, but
perhaps no investment that we can make use of.

Chris Walker