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Re: starship-design: The Case for Space

In a message dated 10/14/99 11:00:20 AM, zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl writes:

>> From: "L. Parker" <lparker@cacaphony.net>
>> =======
>> NEW YORK (CNN) -- As scientists note the arrival of the six billionth
>> being on the planet, they also are warning that 16 percent of the world's
>> population is consuming some 80 percent of its natural resources.
>> That's the estimated toll the wealthiest populations on the globe --
>> the United States, Europe and Japan -- are taking from the earth's natural
>> bounty to sustain their way of life.
>Still that longing for impossible "equality",
>whose only effect is stifling all development,
>and leading only to equality in misery.
>As the say in Poland - "Shit, but equally distributed..."
>[in Polish it is shorter, and with a rhyme].
>Strange the "equalists" here are still wildly popular...

Generally rich countries who feel guilty for succeeding where others around 
them failed.  Dumb!

>> Resources -- at least in the Western Hemisphere -- do not appear 
>> to be immediately threatened, leading some experts to reason that 
>> the real danger is not scarcity.
>Really, they at least rediscovered the wheel?  ;-)
>> This may be the most serious problem facing the planet -- not how much
>> being taken away from it, but how much is being dumped back into it.
>Pollution is essentially the problem of recycling technology only -
>until we are only here on Earth, we really do not either take away 
>or dump back anything - we only change the distribution of elements 
>between various places...

I have wondered why noone notices that!  ;)

>> =======

>> > of our economy even ignoring cost problems. (Though I do expect Mining
>> > and manufacture will move off planet in the coming centuries, for
>> > these and other reasons, I don't think so in the next couple decades.)
>> As for exporting a major fraction of our economy off planet, 
>> I assume by that you mean that there is a corresponding loss 
>> of income on-planet. This isn't true. 
>> The profit or earnings still end up in the same place, 
>> in Alcoa's bank account, here on Earth.
>[etc. etc.]
>It seems to me that you all think in this thread only in terms of
>"what profit space operations can bring to people living on Earth".
>Generally I must say it is a wrong perspective - space operations
>will be mostly directed at, and bring profits (and sustenance)
>to people living OFF EARTH. Because the real rationale for
>going massively into space is to install a self-sustaining
>populations of people living out of Earth. And it is not 
>the matter of profit or building a comfortable paradise
>for growing amounts of people on Earth, but the matter of survival.
>Because, as I wrote recently in a discussion with one environmentalist

Here we disagree.  No one will build space colony, to build space colonies; 
and it will take generations - to centuries for them to develop a really 
autonomous economy.  Cities and settlements ae built for profit of the builder
s.  If they fail that measure, they become ghost towns.  We have many current 
Ghost towns / former idealistic colony. in this country.

>(specifically, a leader of an anti-cassini group):
>> So, possibly we should simply not go to space? There are many 
>> people saying just that, and promising instead an earthly paradise 
>> of "living with the nature", or something along these lines.
>> However, whether we like it or not, it is completely Utopian
>> and sure to lead to termination of the very existence 
>> of mankind, and all the life on Earth as well, sooner or later. 
>> Proponents of indefinite stay on Earth oversight one single, 
>> but all too important a fact:
>> Earth is NOT a closed, self-sufficient entity, completely isolated 
>> from the rest of the cosmos. To the contrary - it is utterly dependent
>> on cosmic influences: on radiation from the Sun, on impacts of other
>> cellestial bodies, on galactic gamma radiation bursts, 
>> and many other forces. Great many of these influences,
>> either separately or in combinatiom, may put an end to human 
>> civilization, or to the whole life on Earth, at any moment in time. 
>> The Earth's biosphere was very lucky to survive several 
>> such near-extinctions in the past - the best investigated of them 
>> occuring some 65 millions year ago, when, together with dinosaurs, 
>> above 70% of all plant and animal species utterly perished. 
>> The only chance to prevent an ultimate disaster of this kind 
>> is to spread humankind, and the earthly life as a whole, 
>> to other places except Earth - that is, to other planets,
>> and colonies in space. This is indeed a very difficult, 
>> and a very risky business - lots of people will perish in the course
>> of conquering space, but the mankind, and the rest of earthly life, 
>> will get a chance to survive thanks to their noble sacrifice.
>> It is our obligation, as the most conscious and able species of life
>> on Earth, to spread life elsewhere in the universe and in this way 
>> to prevent its extinction in some catastrophic accident that may
>> happen to Earth.
>Sadly, as it was otherwise easy to predict, 
>it did not change his views.
>Of course, the way to the really spacefaring civilization
>most probably will lead through an earth-bound civilization 
>profiting from space exploration, but it will be a comparatively 
>short, transitory phase only.

Define short?  North America was originally a profit center for Europe for 
centuries after settling started.

>-- Zenon Kulpa