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Re: starship-design: The Case for Space

In a message dated 10/16/99 10:41:50 AM, zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl writes:

>> From: KellySt@aol.com
>> In a message dated 10/15/99 9:17:18 AM, zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl writes:
>> >> >>>>
>> >> autonomous economy. Cities and settlements are built for profit of
>> >> the builders. If they fail that measure, they become ghost towns.
>> >> We have many current Ghost towns / former idealistic colony. 
>> >> in this country.
>> >> 
>> >Generally you are right, but not exactly.
>> >Towns become ghost because there are other, comparatively near
>> >places where the inhabitants can go for better living,
>> >whatever that means. When the move is hard or costly,
>> >it may be more reasonable to stay and work hard to built 
>> >a better place just here instead.
>> Over here even places that were very isolated were abandoned. Once you
>> packed up to move somewhere, its pretty easy to do it again.
>If we speak of space, it is all okay if some colony 
>in Valles Marineris packs and moves to Tharsis Ridge
>(or even to Ganymede...)  ;-)

But then your not talking colonies, as much as mining camps.

>> >Also, you should distinguish the case when the builders
>> >wanting the profit stay back home and transfer the profits
>> >form the colony back too, and the case when the builders
>> >stay in the built colony and eventual profits remain there too.
>> >Colonization usually starts from the first type of a colony,
>> >but soon - especially when the colonized land is far away from home
>> >the second type starts to prevail and shortly after that
>> >the colony becomes more or less self-sustainable and
>> >(economically) independent.
>> The later only happens after the colony gets big an diverse enough 
>> to absorb the interest and money. That doesn't happen to most places
>> unless they have a huge long term cash flow and are a place people 
>> want to stay at, in space it could take a very long time.
>Possibly, but in space there might be other factors that may 
>change that - see below.

Might is a little word to stack up against centuries of history.

>> >[...]
>> >> >
>> >> >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.
>> >> 
>> >Things run much faster nowadays...
>> >For space colonies, it will however depend critically 
>> >on the technology advances, so it is hard to predict. 
>> >However, let me play a seer for a while: 
>> >with nanotechnology - some 50+ years, 
>> >without - 150-200. OK?
>> >It may be still too conservative, I think - 
>> >for North America it was about 200+ years only...
>> As to time periods a big factor is when does a place become 
>> a preferred home? When will a filth rich space worker prefer 
>> to stay and raise a family on a O'Neil rather then go back to Earth 
>> (on Luna or Mars he/she couldn't).
>A child raised on the Moon (and possibly on Mars too)
>cannot probably live back on Earth (gravity...).

An adult living on the moon and Mars can expect dramatically reduced life 
expectancy due to declining imune and cardiovascular function due to lower 
gravity induced stress.  A strong reason to discourage staying there long 
enough to start a colony.  Mobile space platforms are sounding better.

>> With nano-tech space industry may have the legs shot out 
>> from under them.  Why worry about cheap high grade ore, 
>> if you can process anything and get pure materials?  
>> Why worry as much about cheap power if power plants can grow 
>> from nanotech seeds? Zero-G manufacture is a joke if you can 
>> assemble to the atomic scale down here. Investment funds 
>> to space stations and platforms would be diverted 
>> to the more profitable and promising nanotech development projects. 
>Hmmm, you seem to have a point here.
>I constantly have a hidden fear that it will be nanotech 
>that finally gets mankind rather that other things...
>However, it will also make the space technology much cheaper,
>lighter, and more comfortable for humans to live in space,
>so maybe that side prevails.

Get us?  We can read that as good or bad.  As a tech, its possible 
capabilities are stagering.  Up side we can all become rich, superhuman, and 
damb near immortal.  Downside we could all get killed.

>> Same way space development funds are now being 
>> draw off by internet projects.
>Ahh, so I now see the source of the "Space Internet" idea...


>-- Zenon