[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: RE: RE: starship-design: The Case for Space

In a message dated 10/14/99 9:48:30 PM, lparker@cacaphony.net writes:

>> Sounds like a good concept, but it would have to take less
>> energy to heat the
>> stuff down here, then to ship it up there for heating?
>I was thinking more of dealing with the pollution produced in space by
>manufacturing and habitation. On Earth a typical mining operation sends
>to a refinery where basically it is heated to some temperature to separate
>the desired mineral from the rest of the ore's components. The remainder,
>called slag, is a waste product which must be disposed of. Earlier proposals
>have suggested simply using this slag as a radiation screen on the sunward
>side of the habitation. Not only does this seem wasteful, but there remains
>a great deal of usable material within the slag that using this new process,
>can now be cheaply extracted.
>Secondly, refuse and waste such as plastic bottles, foam cups, paper, etc.
>can be subjected to the same process, breaking it down into chemicals which
>can then be reused to make new plastic, etc.

Ok, that makes sence.

>> But the jobs, and the jobs those workers support, would all
>> move off planet.
>Here you have to start looking at multiple time spans. At first, it will
>matter where the workers are, their money is kept and spent on Earth, in
>nation, state and city in which they normally reside. This is true even
>after there is a permanent presence in space up until, there are people
>live solely, or for the great majority of their lives anyway, in space.
>The next stage occurs when multiple consumer oriented industries are present
>off planet with money being exchanged solely between these businesses.
>Somewhere along this period a balance of trade MAY become important. It
>really depends upon how tightly coupled the economies of the off-planet
>institutions and the planet are. There is a good possibility that there
>never be a problem at all.
>The last stage I doubt we will see within fifty years. This stage requires
>companies whose ENTIRE business is off-planet, having and requiring no
>with Earth at all. All monetary transactions including banking are now
>conducted without the money ever going planet side. Now at last there is
>viable off-planet economy where your objection becomes real, the jobs,
>workers, AND THIER MONEY have moved off-planet.

Ok, I buy this but given the platform in space can get workers and support as 
easy from any natio, one nation may not see jobs there as jobs in its 

>> Ignoring the construction costs, again, why could you compete
>> with earth
>> bound farms?  Construction costs would have to be less,
>> easier access to
>> water, fertalizer, etc.  Much lower transportation costs.  I
>> could see
>> nanotech manufacture of food taking over for agriculture
>> someday, but no way
>> space farms would outsell earth side sources on earth.
>Farms in orbit might or might not be cost effective, but thousands of acres
>of hydroponic farms on the moon would be. Even allowing for construction
>costs, the cost of transportation is precisely what makes them cost
>effective. All else being equal, it is much cheaper to boost food from
>Moon than it is from Earth.

Thats in invalid assumption.  Theres no particular reason to assume it would 
cost less to boost from Luna to L-5, rather then Earth to L-5.  For that 
mater if your trying to feed folks in L-5, why in hell put the farm on the 

>Like much else, technology developed for use in space would end up finding
>startling uses on Earth as well. The same nano tech used to construct
>hydroponic farms on the Moon could be used in countless ways on Earth to
>improve farms here, which would in turn lower the cost and increase the
>yield of Earth produced food also. This may turn out to be a draw.

Earth hardly needs big improvements in farm yields!  A large fraction of 
farms are being run out of business now.  On the other hand Nanotech is so 
useful it would dwarf space!

>> Not true.  Oh the third world would lose its major current
>> economic source of
>> selling raw materials to us, but they have shown a very
>> obvious ability to
>> advance faster then us.  Its far easier to copy then innovate.
>But they can only copy what has already been done...so they can only advance
>to a very finite level. Besides, as has been already pointed out, we have
>almost all of the resources we need without importing, so perhaps we need
>look at why we import, which is quite simply, cost of goods.

Yes, by your logic they are limited to advancing up to OUR level!

Most of our resource inputs are for materials we don't want to mine here for 
pollution reasons (oil to a degree), shortages in north America (cobalt, 
titanium,..), or others can produce it at a lower cost (oil and some ores).

>The Third World is able and willing to sell both raw materials and
>manufactured goods for less than the equivalent domestic product. Something
>to remember when addressing an off-planet economy centered around mining
>It must be able to either:
>1) Provide a product which is available only from space, or
>2) Provide a product for less than it can be purchased on Earth.

Obviously.  The key tech seems to be the cost of landing the material.

>I think both of these conditions will apply, and off-planet industry might
>eventually become sort of a high tech "Fourth World", supplanting the Old
>World, the New World and even the Third World. These things tend to run
>cycles, after a century or so, the societies of the solar system will
>amalgamate and there will be a new frontier, the first colonies among the
>stars, and it will begin again.

They will all be assimilated.  ;)

I do think the plentiful ore, power, and transport ease (assuming you can 
land stuff economically) would draw heavy industry and manufacture into space 
eventually.  Of course nanotech could turn that inside out.