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Thread: The Emerging Space Economy

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Hi David,
    I am getting increasingly upset by the emphasis on colonies and space tourism. The reason is the rapidly worsening environment, ocean acidification, etc.

    <snip>

    Those billions should contribute to getting through this century rather than wasting time on billionaire tourism and colonial fantasies. My rant for today.
    What has one got to do with the other? Exactly how is the notion planted in one's mind?

    If tomorrow all human space activity were to suddenly cease, all that money would not magically go only into environmental causes. That false dichotomy is just as outrageous to me as your views are to you.

    I'm tired of hearing about how we should not leave the nest because we are fouling the nest. The logic of that escapes me.

    Certainly I believe the ultra-rich should be more responsible. But there's no need to make space colonization your hobby horse. Most billionaires are also wasting money on things of little value, they just aren't getting on CNN doing it. So the "help Earth at all costs" message is not getting through to most of the 1% Where's your rant about them?
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  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What has one got to do with the other? Exactly how is the notion planted in one's mind?

    If tomorrow all human space activity were to suddenly cease, all that money would not magically go only into environmental causes. That false dichotomy is just as outrageous to me as your views are to you.

    I'm tired of hearing about how we should not leave the nest because we are fouling the nest. The logic of that escapes me.

    Certainly I believe the ultra-rich should be more responsible. But there's no need to make space colonization your hobby horse. Most billionaires are also wasting money on things of little value, they just aren't getting on CNN doing it. So the "help Earth at all costs" message is not getting through to most of the 1% Where's your rant about them?
    My rant is about priorities. We need the science effort in space, OK. Now we can put up satellites, given that there really is a crisis, space technology can help. Sorry that you are tired of hearing dismay that we spend billions toward leaving the nest, while the nest is still salvageable, but it is a luxury we ill afford. We are on the slippery slope now.

    “Tipping points” : a cliche, but these cliches are this century, this lifetime, this decade.

    Individuals have little effect, the billionaires could make a difference instead of upping their game from black slope skiing to space hopping. Some of them do try. The window of opportunity for them is right now. Governments procrastinate, only the super rich can make a difference.

    It would be nice if their legacy were to be saving the planet instead of leaving the planet.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    It's not a zero sum game. Not only can we walk and chew gum at the same time, it's also very likely, all but certain, that manned space efforts will have some benefits for efforts to remediate climate change and recover ecologies. That isn't just a hopeful guess or naïve claim. The past 100 or so years of history has many examples. Most on point is the early US space program. Numerous technologies and materials developed in the course of those programs, specifically for those programs, were very usefully applied in many other applications. Not to mention how the rockets developed enabled larger satellites of all sorts to be launched, including weather satellites and other scientific satellites that study the Earth.

    On this I agree with Noclevername.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell View Post
    It's not a zero sum game. Not only can we walk and chew gum at the same time, it's also very likely, all but certain, that manned space efforts will have some benefits for efforts to remediate climate change and recover ecologies.
    I was going to say much the same thing. My impression of profloater’s claim is that he is picturing some truly massive diversion of production and labor from Earth to space, whereas my picture is of expansion into space that has technological and economic benefits on and off Earth.

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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Individuals have little effect, the billionaires could make a difference instead of upping their game from black slope skiing to space hopping. Some of them do try. The window of opportunity for them is right now. Governments procrastinate, only the super rich can make a difference.

    It would be nice if their legacy were to be saving the planet instead of leaving the planet.
    I believe I asked this before, but have you noticed that Musk, the billionaire that has currently has the biggest chance of revolutionizing space travel, also has companies selling electric cars, battery banks and solar panels? You know, all stuff meant to help the environment? If you’re going to rant about his space efforts, I would hope you give him credit for that.

    Personally, there are a lot of things I would like to see done differently in the world, but that would get too deep into politics for this board, so I won’t go into it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    My rant is about priorities. We need the science effort in space, OK. Now we can put up satellites, given that there really is a crisis, space technology can help. Sorry that you are tired of hearing dismay that we spend billions toward leaving the nest, while the nest is still salvageable, but it is a luxury we ill afford. We are on the slippery slope now.

    “Tipping points” : a cliche, but these cliches are this century, this lifetime, this decade.

    Individuals have little effect, the billionaires could make a difference instead of upping their game from black slope skiing to space hopping. Some of them do try. The window of opportunity for them is right now. Governments procrastinate, only the super rich can make a difference.

    It would be nice if their legacy were to be saving the planet instead of leaving the planet.
    Hello profloater,

    Those priorities you suggest can only be supported by the massive underlying economy, approaching $100T, composed of space activities you may find objectionable, soccer moms in SUVs or whatever. The majority of the world, a good swath of which recently attained 'developing' status rightfully wants to, and will, live as the 'developed' countries do.

    I, and probably most here, don't deny we're on the slippery slope. But that does not mean you are right. I believe as we do develop solutions we will be in better shape to implement them with a robust free wheeling world economy than a smaller one which has been prioritized by well meaning like-minded people.

    And I care about it all as much as you do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I'm tired of hearing about how we should not leave the nest because we are fouling the nest. The logic of that escapes me.
    I would think in general (not necessarily what Profloater thinks) that if a person says that, it's more likely that they are not really meaning to say we shouldn't leave, but rather they are concerned that in the same way that tourists throw away garbage and expect local people to take care of it (they won't be around tomorrow anyway), that people might be concerned about people thinking, "well, we're going to escape anyway so why worry about protecting the earth?" I think it's not a very smart way of thinking, because in reality most people will have to stay on earth anyway, but I do understand the logic of it.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I would think in general (not necessarily what Profloater thinks) that if a person says that, it's more likely that they are not really meaning to say we shouldn't leave, but rather they are concerned that in the same way that tourists throw away garbage and expect local people to take care of it (they won't be around tomorrow anyway), that people might be concerned about people thinking, "well, we're going to escape anyway so why worry about protecting the earth?" I think it's not a very smart way of thinking, because in reality most people will have to stay on earth anyway, but I do understand the logic of it.
    Hi Jens,

    Only dictatorships limit the right to emigrate. Expressing the wish to emigrate, no further explanation should be required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Hi Jens,

    Only dictatorships limit the right to emigrate. Expressing the wish to emigrate, no further explanation should be required.
    Somehow it seems a leap to me to equate someone complaining about all the money being used for outer space colonization to a government forbidding people from emigrating. And even if people vote against candidates who want to spend tax money on outer space colonization, that's not forbidding them, that's just expressing a legitimate opinion about what priorities the government should set...
    As above, so below

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I believe I asked this before, but have you noticed that Musk, the billionaire that has currently has the biggest chance of revolutionizing space travel, also has companies selling electric cars, battery banks and solar panels? You know, all stuff meant to help the environment? If you’re going to rant about his space efforts, I would hope you give him credit for that.

    Personally, there are a lot of things I would like to see done differently in the world, but that would get too deep into politics for this board, so I won’t go into it.
    That’s fair and I admire Musk as an entrepreneur and inventor. But taking him as example, with space x, he directly aims to promote colonisation and perhaps tourism, and there is the Bitcoin issue. The new space race, commercialised, is not about countering the Earth balance tipping points as Attenborough eloquently explains. Those rockets do use up resources and they do push out CO2. And not much of that is for science let alone new ideas for combatting global warming. It may not be too political to say that tourism has to be regulated to avoid damage and space tourism ditto.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Hello profloater,

    Those priorities you suggest can only be supported by the massive underlying economy, approaching $100T, composed of space activities you may find objectionable, soccer moms in SUVs or whatever. The majority of the world, a good swath of which recently attained 'developing' status rightfully wants to, and will, live as the 'developed' countries do.

    I, and probably most here, don't deny we're on the slippery slope. But that does not mean you are right. I believe as we do develop solutions we will be in better shape to implement them with a robust free wheeling world economy than a smaller one which has been prioritized by well meaning like-minded people.

    And I care about it all as much as you do.
    Hi 7cscb, thanks for the reply and I am glad you care too. As an engineer I support these exciting developments and marvel at the rate of progress. I do feel the commercial operators can lead the way for economies to follow. Perhaps they believe, as many do, as I did, that these problems are way in the future. By next century we will have the resources to put it right. There are plenty of people who think the issues are overhyped and cherry picked.

    Scientists are wary of blaming every extreme event on global warming, and that is the right approach, but some of the hidden trends, like acidification of the waters, are progressing to alarming levels within decades.

    So, as an engineer, it is an interesting challenge. Apart from planting trees, there are possibilities, and some of them are space technology related. I listed a few. All such big ideas will need time and money, comparable to developing Mars colony ideas. Some will seem like science fiction today.

    In the oceans, we need to look at converting carbonic acid to carbonate, as life forms do. In the atmosphere we need to control cloud cover. Those two ideas could really make a difference. But the scale of the oceans and the atmosphere will require resources that will need to be reallocated. It is like a military operation. It is an engineering task based on known science.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Hi 7cscb, thanks for the reply and I am glad you care too. As an engineer I support these exciting developments and marvel at the rate of progress. I do feel the commercial operators can lead the way for economies to follow. Perhaps they believe, as many do, as I did, that these problems are way in the future. By next century we will have the resources to put it right. There are plenty of people who think the issues are overhyped and cherry picked.

    Scientists are wary of blaming every extreme event on global warming, and that is the right approach, but some of the hidden trends, like acidification of the waters, are progressing to alarming levels within decades.

    So, as an engineer, it is an interesting challenge. Apart from planting trees, there are possibilities, and some of them are space technology related. I listed a few. All such big ideas will need time and money, comparable to developing Mars colony ideas. Some will seem like science fiction today.

    In the oceans, we need to look at converting carbonic acid to carbonate, as life forms do. In the atmosphere we need to control cloud cover. Those two ideas could really make a difference. But the scale of the oceans and the atmosphere will require resources that will need to be reallocated. It is like a military operation. It is an engineering task based on known science.
    profloater,

    Thanks much for the reply.

    I think we agree on much. 'Slippery slope' may not even be strong enough a term. Some could misconstrue it as meaning we can still apply the brakes. I believe better is that we have crashed through the guardrail and we're not too sure how we're gonna land.

    With the above analogy in mind, it seems to me discussing, at this time, carbon emissions reduction is like discussing a brake job or driving lessons while mid-air. I am incredibly frustrated with the Paris Agreement for that exact reason. It falls short of the Minimum Requirement to get us out of this mess.

    I believe we are in said mess because of our (unquenchable?) thirst for energy. Starting with wood millennia ago, progressing to coal and finally oil, we have unwittingly dirtied the environment. It's got nothing to do with billionaires or greed or personal choices. If clean energy had been available, we'd be worried over any other of a list of existential crises we face. Luckily, our science and technology have progressed such that, while still seeking perfect models, we can measure the effects of our emissions.

    Specific to your last paragraph, yes. We need to undertake projects of an incomparable scale to actually address the negative environmental impacts. And ideas are being discussed. I call them TERrA Projects, yuck yuck. And the resources required will be immense and, indeed, we will need to mobilise, payed for by huge loans payed for by taxes. Much easier with a healthy economy.

    BTW, and half-seriously, but related to space development, how long will it be before Elong talks of parlaying his starship fleet into putting sun blockers at L1?

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Somehow it seems a leap to me to equate someone complaining about all the money being used for outer space colonization to a government forbidding people from emigrating. And even if people vote against candidates who want to spend tax money on outer space colonization, that's not forbidding them, that's just expressing a legitimate opinion about what priorities the government should set...
    Hi Jens,

    You wrote:
    "
    "well, we're going to escape anyway so why worry about protecting the earth?"...but I do understand the logic of it.
    "

    My point is that if somebody wants to go live in Space or Thailand or wherever, they can do so for whatever reason they wish. If I leave Canada, nobody has the right to question my motives. It seems to me it should be, and likely will be, the same for space.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    profloater,

    Thanks much for the reply.

    I think we agree on much. 'Slippery slope' may not even be strong enough a term. Some could misconstrue it as meaning we can still apply the brakes. I believe better is that we have crashed through the guardrail and we're not too sure how we're gonna land.

    With the above analogy in mind, it seems to me discussing, at this time, carbon emissions reduction is like discussing a brake job or driving lessons while mid-air. I am incredibly frustrated with the Paris Agreement for that exact reason. It falls short of the Minimum Requirement to get us out of this mess.

    I believe we are in said mess because of our (unquenchable?) thirst for energy. Starting with wood millennia ago, progressing to coal and finally oil, we have unwittingly dirtied the environment. It's got nothing to do with billionaires or greed or personal choices. If clean energy had been available, we'd be worried over any other of a list of existential crises we face. Luckily, our science and technology have progressed such that, while still seeking perfect models, we can measure the effects of our emissions.

    Specific to your last paragraph, yes. We need to undertake projects of an incomparable scale to actually address the negative environmental impacts. And ideas are being discussed. I call them TERrA Projects, yuck yuck. And the resources required will be immense and, indeed, we will need to mobilise, payed for by huge loans payed for by taxes. Much easier with a healthy economy.

    BTW, and half-seriously, but related to space development, how long will it be before Elong talks of parlaying his starship fleet into putting sun blockers at L1?
    Yes I think we agree. My experience is that all large organisations, like proverbial giant tankers, carry on regardless, unless, they get a huge kick from behind. So, my point about the extraordinary corporations steered by owners into the space business. My prediction is that the unprecedented heat dome will not be the kick that changes course, but when it repeats, or continues, it might be. If ice melt stops the gulf stream, that might do it. If a solar flare knocks out enough satellites, that might do it, and so on.

    i think this might be the decade where the kind of investment I suggest, could get started if we all get kicked hard enough. Humans are best in tough situations and worst when, how should I put it, idly rich?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    My point is that if somebody wants to go live in Space or Thailand or wherever, they can do so for whatever reason they wish. If I leave Canada, nobody has the right to question my motives.
    If you leave Canada, nobody has the right to question your motives? Can you explain what you mean? I always assumed that I did have that right, and this is the first time someone has told me otherwise. Is it some Canadian law?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    If you leave Canada, nobody has the right to question your motives? Can you explain what you mean? I always assumed that I did have that right, and this is the first time someone has told me otherwise. Is it some Canadian law?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Same with most Western countries. They might question you going in but not going out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Same with most Western countries. They might question you going in but not going out.
    I guess I misunderstood you then. When you said, "If I leave Canada, nobody has the right to question my motives," I was thinking you meant that your parents had not right to question your motives. Like I wouldn't be allowed to say, "Aren't you only going because you're chasing that girl?" But when you said, "If I leave Canada, nobody has the right to question my motives," you really meant, "If I leave Canada, no government official has the right to stop me"? In that case I agree of course...

    But then Profloater is not a government official who can stop you, he was just complaining about it...
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    That’s fair and I admire Musk as an entrepreneur and inventor. But taking him as example, with space x, he directly aims to promote colonisation and perhaps tourism, and there is the Bitcoin issue.
    While I really am not that interested in defending Musk (I like what he is doing in certain areas because they are things I’ve long wanted to see someone do, but there are things I’m not impressed with regarding Musk the person), I will note he has reportedly backed off on bitcoin because of the energy issue. Of course, I applaud promoting space tourism and space colonization as goals. I consider expansion into space a very important goal, but it has nothing to do with ignoring Earth.

    The new space race, commercialised, is not about countering the Earth balance tipping points as Attenborough eloquently explains. Those rockets do use up resources and they do push out CO2. And not much of that is for science let alone new ideas for combatting global warming. It may not be too political to say that tourism has to be regulated to avoid damage and space tourism ditto.
    Again, I think you are radically overestimating the size and impact this sector is likely to have on resources and environmental issues. If Starship-like rocket launches from Earth were to get into the millions per year, then there would be a potentially significant amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere and offsets could be important. Hundreds or thousands of launches per year would be trivial in terms of added CO2, however, and that seems far more likely in the next few decades. Also, I am not so quick to dismiss the effects of new economic development, new science and technology all coming as a consequence of lower cost access to space could have to help Earth’s environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    While I really am not that interested in defending Musk (I like what he is doing in certain areas because they are things I’ve long wanted to see someone do, but there are things I’m not impressed with regarding Musk the person), I will note he has reportedly backed off on bitcoin because of the energy issue. Of course, I applaud promoting space tourism and space colonization as goals. I consider expansion into space a very important goal, but it has nothing to do with ignoring Earth.



    Again, I think you are radically overestimating the size and impact this sector is likely to have on resources and environmental issues. If Starship-like rocket launches from Earth were to get into the millions per year, then there would be a potentially significant amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere and offsets could be important. Hundreds or thousands of launches per year would be trivial in terms of added CO2, however, and that seems far more likely in the next few decades. Also, I am not so quick to dismiss the effects of new economic development, new science and technology all coming as a consequence of lower cost access to space could have to help Earth’s environment.
    Ok fuel use is tiny compared with the aviation industry, as an example, 100 billion kg for USA perhaps . A thousand launches might be just 0.3 billion kg. Fair point, but my suggestion is in the use of these launches. Maybe I am exaggerating the engineering need? If we wish to tackle just those two issues, acidification and CO2 in the upper atmosphere, we need to start soon with ambitious designs. Actually the fuel argument supports the idea that space technology can help.

    I agree that if those projects were taken seriously, the trips to Mars would be a small proportion of the Earth saving effort.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Ok fuel use is tiny compared with the aviation industry, as an example, 100 billion kg for USA perhaps . A thousand launches might be just 0.3 billion kg. Fair point, but my suggestion is in the use of these launches. Maybe I am exaggerating the engineering need? If we wish to tackle just those two issues, acidification and CO2 in the upper atmosphere, we need to start soon with ambitious designs. Actually the fuel argument supports the idea that space technology can help.

    I agree that if those projects were taken seriously, the trips to Mars would be a small proportion of the Earth saving effort.
    Mars trips are also a small proportion of the entire everything. Look at the entertainment industry, hundreds of billions spent on stuff that's A. 90% crap and B. could be done much more cheaply anyway. Why single out space travel which at least would provide humanity some benefits?

    It would be nice if their legacy were to be saving the planet instead of leaving the planet.
    Why "instead of"? What makes them mutually exclusive in your mind?

    Humans do a billion things before breakfast. What about this specific goal bothers you so much?
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Hi David,
    I am getting increasingly upset by the emphasis on colonies and space tourism. The reason is the rapidly worsening environment, ocean acidification, etc.
    There is a great potential with existing launch capability to pursue climate science using satellites, and more importantly, to get some technology working....

    Those billions should contribute to getting through this century rather than wasting time on billionaire tourism and colonial fantasies. My rant for today.
    Just picking up on the debate started by 'profloater' around the environment and space tourism.

    The following quote is from a Merrill Lynch article I pasted as part of post 56 and outlines risks to space commerce: "1) Global Economics – shifting economic policy to focus more on Earth-related matters e.g. climate change over Space exploration; 2) Benign ‘space critics’ – social movements that become political and ultra eco-friendly activism could easily become anti-space, e.g. an argument to solve global poverty vs. spending billions of dollars on colonising Mars....".
    So advocates of more investment in space activity need to give arguments like these careful consideration.

    My first point, in response, is demonstrated by the importance of the Apollo 8 Earthrise photo. This perspective from space is widely credited to have given a huge boost to, or even 'started', the modern environmental movement. More in this article on Earthrise, a photo that changed the world which states:
    it changed our perception of our place in space and fuelled environmental awareness around the world.
    It certainly seems to have had an impact on astronauts as demonstrated in Being in space makes you an environmentalist, reveals astronaut Scott Kelly.
    So Virgin and Blue Origin should survey their sub-orbital customers, maybe one year after their space adventure, to see if their much shorter experience of space has altered their environmental outlook and behaviour.

    Secondly, space activity is providing crucial evidence re our understanding of climate change. This article, for instance explains How satellite imagery is crucial for monitoring climate change. OECD documents, such as those linked in post 24 explain the wider socio-economic benefits of space activity including: the national economy (at national GDP level), agriculture, health, transport and urban planning, education, environmental management, climate monitoring and meteorology, energy, telecommunications, disaster management, finance/ insurance, manufacturing, mining and construction, high-tech industries, defence and security, tourism and leisure, research/development and science, data analytics, location based services and other generic services. It is often highlighted how the satellite sector contributes to action to meet the sustainable development goals.

    Thirdly, picking up on Van Rijn's points about the modest actual impact of space adventure tourism on the environment and potential of offsets to mitigate anything which gets substantial, it was interesting to hear the Everyday Astronaut, in his coverage of the recent Branson Virgin flight, answer exactly that question. He suggested that the fuel used was little more than that by a long haul flight yet we take for granted large numbers of these on a far bigger scale.
    However, I think it would be savvy PR if Virgin, Blue Origin and SpaceX were to joint together in promoting some big offset schemes, including some with a strong space component. This could include some of the ideas in profloater's original post if they are shown to be deliverable. Or maybe broader investment in satellite uses which benefit the earth environment and climate adaptation/mitigation. They could require generous offset payments from their space adventure tourism clients - and perhaps encourage their ongoing support for and involvement in space projects which benefit the environment.

    Fourthly, as has already been said, Musk is an example of somebody putting money into both space and action to reduce emissions. The Merrill Lynch paper above lists 16 billionaires who have invested in space. I suspect quite a few of them are also investing a lot in action to tackle environmental and social issues on earth. Another example is Bill Gates with significant social work through his Foundation. He has recently written a book on climate change which is worth a read. They probably need to work harder though, including on increasing awareness of what they do. There are many people who do not think they have earned their extreme wealth.

    I'm not sure if this will convince profloater. But hopefully it has helped in the development of arguments to counter the risks outlined above by Merrill Lynch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidLondon View Post
    Just picking up on the debate started by 'profloater' around the environment and space tourism.

    The following quote is from a Merrill Lynch article I pasted as part of post 56 and outlines risks to space commerce: "1) Global Economics – shifting economic policy to focus more on Earth-related matters e.g. climate change over Space exploration; 2) Benign ‘space critics’ – social movements that become political and ultra eco-friendly activism could easily become anti-space, e.g. an argument to solve global poverty vs. spending billions of dollars on colonising Mars....".
    So advocates of more investment in space activity need to give arguments like these careful consideration.

    My first point, in response, is demonstrated by the importance of the Apollo 8 Earthrise photo. This perspective from space is widely credited to have given a huge boost to, or even 'started', the modern environmental movement. More in this article on Earthrise, a photo that changed the world which states: It certainly seems to have had an impact on astronauts as demonstrated in Being in space makes you an environmentalist, reveals astronaut Scott Kelly.
    So Virgin and Blue Origin should survey their sub-orbital customers, maybe one year after their space adventure, to see if their much shorter experience of space has altered their environmental outlook and behaviour.

    Secondly, space activity is providing crucial evidence re our understanding of climate change. This article, for instance explains How satellite imagery is crucial for monitoring climate change. OECD documents, such as those linked in post 24 explain the wider socio-economic benefits of space activity including: the national economy (at national GDP level), agriculture, health, transport and urban planning, education, environmental management, climate monitoring and meteorology, energy, telecommunications, disaster management, finance/ insurance, manufacturing, mining and construction, high-tech industries, defence and security, tourism and leisure, research/development and science, data analytics, location based services and other generic services. It is often highlighted how the satellite sector contributes to action to meet the sustainable development goals.

    Thirdly, picking up on Van Rijn's points about the modest actual impact of space adventure tourism on the environment and potential of offsets to mitigate anything which gets substantial, it was interesting to hear the Everyday Astronaut, in his coverage of the recent Branson Virgin flight, answer exactly that question. He suggested that the fuel used was little more than that by a long haul flight yet we take for granted large numbers of these on a far bigger scale.
    However, I think it would be savvy PR if Virgin, Blue Origin and SpaceX were to joint together in promoting some big offset schemes, including some with a strong space component. This could include some of the ideas in profloater's original post if they are shown to be deliverable. Or maybe broader investment in satellite uses which benefit the earth environment and climate adaptation/mitigation. They could require generous offset payments from their space adventure tourism clients - and perhaps encourage their ongoing support for and involvement in space projects which benefit the environment.

    Fourthly, as has already been said, Musk is an example of somebody putting money into both space and action to reduce emissions. The Merrill Lynch paper above lists 16 billionaires who have invested in space. I suspect quite a few of them are also investing a lot in action to tackle environmental and social issues on earth. Another example is Bill Gates with significant social work through his Foundation. He has recently written a book on climate change which is worth a read. They probably need to work harder though, including on increasing awareness of what they do. There are many people who do not think they have earned their extreme wealth.

    I'm not sure if this will convince profloater. But hopefully it has helped in the development of arguments to counter the risks outlined above by Merrill Lynch.
    Interesting post with many good arguments. Some of my comments can be taken as perhaps a consumer or voter view, but I make no claims to know about that. My view is personal. Also I am reacting to this forum. It is perhaps a habit to offer a contrary view when many posters are clearly in favour of space development towards colonies, like Musk.

    I think I made it clear I am in favour of space for science, including environmental science. It is true that satellite imaging has greatly contributed. My view is perhaps tangential to this thread. I feel it is too late to concentrate on reducing emissions. We need to address directly the solar balance. This is mainly a space possibility. So I would like to see ideas about using launch capability to do that.

    If a major volcano erupts, it will cause cooling. Ironically the wild fires smoke is similar. Surely we as advanced societies can do better?

    My hobby horse, if you like , is cloud management. That is a big ask.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Interesting post with many good arguments. Some of my comments can be taken as perhaps a consumer or voter view, but I make no claims to know about that. My view is personal. Also I am reacting to this forum. It is perhaps a habit to offer a contrary view when many posters are clearly in favour of space development towards colonies, like Musk.
    But what is it about colonization in particular that makes it any different than other space activities that you are in favor of? They're all expensive and they all provide benefits, so what's the beef?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    But what is it about colonization in particular that makes it any different than other space activities that you are in favor of? They're all expensive and they all provide benefits, so what's the beef?
    It’s the direction of travel. It’s the wild over estimate of benefit / risk and benefit / costs.
    With science, you do not know the benefits, but you have questions, with mining you put a value on resources. That scales with population. With colonisation of space, you elevate the solitude of the wealthy to new peaks of hubris. For me, we have some problems here, colonies in space are part of the problem, not part of the solution. But space technology seems likely to be part of the solution so perhaps the end justifies the means.? That at least would be an argument.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidLondon View Post
    ...The following quote is from a Merrill Lynch article I pasted as part of post 56 and outlines risks to space commerce:"1) Global Economics – shifting economic policy to focus more on Earth-related matters e.g. climate change over Space exploration; 2) Benign ‘space critics’ – social movements that become political and ultra eco-friendly activism could easily become anti-space, e.g. an argument to solve global poverty vs. spending billions of dollars on colonising Mars....".
    So advocates of more investment in space activity need to give arguments like these careful consideration.
    The above quote was pre-Covid. The following Opinion article from the Financial Times, posted a couple of days ago, gives a stark reminder of this risk.
    Branson, Bezos and the pointless billionaire space race.

    It is behind a paywall, so I can only give the main essence of the article. It is basically suggesting that the main driver of recent space tourism developments is self-publicity and just wanting to be the ones in the history books. I guess Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the like probably faced similar criticism. But thankfully it didn't stop previous innovators making transformative technical changes, to benefit humanity.

    Henry Mance, the journalist who wrote the article suggests that if clients want four minutes of bodily contortions - which I guess is one way of understanding the space experience offered by Virgin, Blue Origin etc. - then a massage parlour would be a suitable and less expensive alternative. I would love to know what you can see out of the window of the massage parlours frequented by Henry and his friends!

    Apparently billionaires are experts in self-justification. What - all of them?! Its an opinion I suppose, but rather stereotypical.

    Henry is more sympathetic to humanity becoming an inter-planetary species than sub orbital space tourism. But the next problem is that it is this is the worst possible time for such an endeavour.

    Henry's arguments about the urgent need to tackle climate change are certainly not unreasonable. He questions why ordinary citizens should be asked to restrain their diets, consumption and travel (eg cycling to work) while billionaires blast into orbit. Their money would be better used to save this planet than gazing at from afar.

    And this kind of message, I think, is the risk to space commerce being highlighted in the Merrill Lynch quote above. If a media outlet like the Financial Times is reporting like this, then advocates of more investment in space exploration need to take these environmental arguments very seriously.

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    I would like to follow the ends justify the means argument. An analogy is the development of toys. Because of scale technical toys and gadgets drove the development of chip technology. Racing drives competition and the technology trickles down to mass markets. The improvement of the many is a pragmatic end, it defuses revolutionary tendencies.

    So with space we are in a rather pointless phase, in my opinion, which has evolved from weapons technology, the moon shot, the science based justification to recoverable rockets for tourism in trajectories and visits to planets. The next phase, not too long ahead, IMO again, is engineering in space for resources and climate control.

    Ironically I dipped into a terrible movie about that, where a global climate control system called DutchBoy was sabotaged to destroy cities. It is a reminder that military uses, and unfortunately, military competition are always in the picture. But the climate crisis will not wait for global government to evolve, even if that is theoretically possible, which I doubt. So really useful space technology, getting past internet servers, will remain competitive and militarily controlled.

    Indeed it is the perception of losing ground militarily which puts the brake on international cooperation for this benign purpose.

    All this makes me rethink my opposition. Gung ho for heavy lift rockets, take a few millionaires for a ride, we are going to need and use those rockets for saving civilisation.
    sicut vis videre esto
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    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidLondon View Post
    The above quote was pre-Covid. The following Opinion article from the Financial Times, posted a couple of days ago, gives a stark reminder of this risk.
    Branson, Bezos and the pointless billionaire space race.

    It is behind a paywall, so I can only give the main essence of the article. It is basically suggesting that the main driver of recent space tourism developments is self-publicity and just wanting to be the ones in the history books. I guess Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the like probably faced similar criticism. But thankfully it didn't stop previous innovators making transformative technical changes, to benefit humanity.

    Henry Mance, the journalist who wrote the article suggests that if clients want four minutes of bodily contortions - which I guess is one way of understanding the space experience offered by Virgin, Blue Origin etc. - then a massage parlour would be a suitable and less expensive alternative. I would love to know what you can see out of the window of the massage parlours frequented by Henry and his friends!

    Apparently billionaires are experts in self-justification. What - all of them?! Its an opinion I suppose, but rather stereotypical.

    Henry is more sympathetic to humanity becoming an inter-planetary species than sub orbital space tourism. But the next problem is that it is this is the worst possible time for such an endeavour.

    Henry's arguments about the urgent need to tackle climate change are certainly not unreasonable. He questions why ordinary citizens should be asked to restrain their diets, consumption and travel (eg cycling to work) while billionaires blast into orbit. Their money would be better used to save this planet than gazing at from afar.

    And this kind of message, I think, is the risk to space commerce being highlighted in the Merrill Lynch quote above. If a media outlet like the Financial Times is reporting like this, then advocates of more investment in space exploration need to take these environmental arguments very seriously.
    As always, great post.

    On this sub-forum, I am first to ridicule Elong, Sir Dick and Baldie. Not just cuz they're billionaires but they are primary pitchmen with bewildering egos. It's good for them in an emperor's clothes sort of way and, doggone it, it's just fun. Regardless, my admiration for them is huge. And, yes, they will make it into the history books because they are making history.

    To the Chief Features Writer at FT, it's time for the serious press to examine the global cognitive dissonance(s) related to the growing Climate Crisis we are living through rather than huffy puffy blamey stuff about how we need to reduce future continued heat growth, which will still be growth! IMO, journalism has failed the ordinary citizen by informing her that, yes indeed, restrained consumption is the way forward. The fact is we're in a pickle that no amount of cheaper but more virtuous living will fix.

    Cheers,

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidLondon View Post
    It is behind a paywall, so I can only give the main essence of the article. It is basically suggesting that the main driver of recent space tourism developments is self-publicity and just wanting to be the ones in the history books. I guess Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the like probably faced similar criticism. But thankfully it didn't stop previous innovators making transformative technical changes, to benefit humanity.

    Henry Mance, the journalist who wrote the article suggests that if clients want four minutes of bodily contortions - which I guess is one way of understanding the space experience offered by Virgin, Blue Origin etc. - then a massage parlour would be a suitable and less expensive alternative. I would love to know what you can see out of the window of the massage parlours frequented by Henry and his friends!
    Wow, another example of the invincibly ignorant blathering and putting down stuff they don’t and aren’t interested in understanding, for an audience that are as ignorant as they are (because people that actually aren’t ignorant will see this nonsense for what it is).

    I’ve wanted to go to space for as long as I can remember. I never grew out of it, I just became reconciled to the idea I probably would never get there. With recent activity I’ve come to think there still is a chance, though small. It’s laughable and insulting to have that compared to a trip to a massage parlor.

    As for the billionaires, I don’t know as much about about Branson, but it’s clear from things they have said, Musk and Bezos have much of the same interest in space as I do. They mention familiar things, and Bezos actually had classes from Gerard O’Neill while I just read O’Neill’s books and was in the L5 Society. If I had the money, I would be trying to do much like they are, not for publicity, but for the goal of opening space to real access.
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2021-Jul-19 at 05:32 AM.

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    By the way, I say “invincibly ignorant” because it is obvious this reporter didn’t ask enthusiasts or Bezos, Branson or Musk what they thought, or if he did, he utterly ignored them. I’ve seen this in so many fields where someone has no concept about another person’s actual views, and makes up their own ridiculous notions about things they don’t understand.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

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    I hesitate to label journalists, ignorant, although many are over opinionated. The comparison of a weightless space trip with views of the curvature to being massaged is indeed ridiculous. Coming from the Financial Times, the intent was perhaps to contrast the costs of the experiences. Branson’s space plane has, I understand, four passengers. So an income of a million dollars per flight, minus the direct costs to get a profit. Others have pointed out that it will take a long time for Branson to recoup the investment. Perhaps that is irrelevant, Branson is a showman and has made money by adventure like crossing the Atlantic in a balloon.

    I cannot judge whether that journalist knew of the billionaires’ passions to use their fortunes to get into space. Agreed, many people who cannot afford it may have the same desires in a spirit of adventure. Those who can afford it seem to be lining up to pay for a trip. All that is irrelevant to whether trying to live in space is a good idea for the other people who directly or indirectly have to pay for it.
    Yes, I am cynical about both tourism and colonies but as in my last post, I have convinced myself this phase is necessary for rocketry to evolve to a point where we can do engineering in space, not just for science or to prove that we can.

    In the realm of opinion, we need to be tolerant of other contrary opinions, because that is how we learn. Then we need to try to educate by evidence. Strongly held opinions are often ignorant of great chunks of evidence. Evidence then lowers confidence in opinions. At least we hope so. We are all prisoners in our facticity.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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