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

> From: KellySt@aol.com
> In a message dated 10/13/98 1:40:52 PM, zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl wrote:
> >> From: David Levine <david@playlink.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...
> >> > 
> >> And that's where space-tourism comes in.
> >> 
> >Or something other we may not yet foresee.
> >Usually sooner or later something surfaces.
> >Space tourism may, but it may not, mostly because
> >it will be rather short-distance (at most to the Moon) 
> >until advances fuelled by other areas of space exploration
> >make the trip to, say, Mars at least no harder 
> >than trip to low orbit today.  
> Space tourisms ability to leverage costs to LEO orbit down to current trans
> ocean air-freght cost numbers is a big step up in accessing and using space.
I wonder why commsats, GPS, meteoats did not have 
any significant impact on lowering costs to LEO significantly?

> >Hence I think that bulding a permanent base on Mars, 
> >even by a governemnt agency, will be a good step in
> >this direction. Necessity to sustain people there 
> >for years will drive advances in cheaper propulsion 
> >systems and other advanced technologies, opening
> >this area for space tourism and early asteroid-mining 
> >assessment missions.
> Government programs like this or our arctic and deep sea bases tend to have
> little significant impact.  They have no reason to develop or use practical
> systems, and large reason to do flashy but useless projects for political
> reasons.
Yes and no. At least Mars Base will bring a lot of data
on the conditions there, necessary to design and build
further non-governemnt facilities and colonies.
Hence, it will lower significantly the initial investment
needed for the private exploration of Mars.

The analogy of Antarctic or deep-sea exploration
is not valid here - they are not pursued for quite different reasons
(e.g., international treaties asking for leaving Antarctide
pristine [e.g. banning assimilating any outside animal species],
or exluding private rights to deep-sea resources).
There will be one more fight needed from space-exploration 
advocates: stopping atempts to make space & cellestial bodies 
equally "protected" from human enterprise.

On the other hand, of course I would like better 
the first Mars Base to be build privately by Mars Society 
& private companies (possibly supported by government
throuh the "Mars Prize" system)... 
But just in case, let NASA try this too -
some competition may be healthy here.

> >I think NASA should abandon completely the ISS
> >(which in current situation seems only a complicated 
> >way of transferring funds to Russian mafia),
> Big agree!!
> >leave low-orbit human missions to space tourism companies,
> >(or possibly to an occassional Hubble repair ;-)
> >and use the money for frontier-breaking endeavors 
> >like the Mars Base.
> At least a Mars base would be pushing a frounteer. Its not in itself usefull,
> but its better then ISS. I think NASA should be leveraged out of launching
> and routine ops and focused on cutting edge research and exploration efforts.

-- Zenon