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Race To Space: Exploration, Commercial or Tourist Driven?


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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2010 7:51:27 AM PST
You got that right. Whenever I post, its a spur of the moment thing and I type directly into the little post box. Hey, I'm only human.

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 8:09:07 AM PST
Sailor -

You're right, not much has been done with Space Tourism in the entertainment media. But, since you like the idea of "inflatable hotels in space", below is a link to a picture of Arthur C. Clarke's "CSS Skywalker", his vision of an inflatable hotel in orbit:

http://technovelgy.com/ct/Science-Fiction-News.asp?NewsNum=335

Posted on Jan 26, 2010 12:40:03 PM PST
Thanks for the link, Marilyn. Yeah, that's the proposal from Bigalow Aerospace. Bigger than what they've orbited already, but they are building hardware and launching stuff. If those launch costs can be brought down, we'll have the big rotators.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2010 6:24:25 PM PST
To Marilyn Martin:
Thank you for the link to several VERY interesting sites!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2010 2:37:02 AM PST
Ronald Craig says:
Only a LAZY human.

Most browsers have spellchecking in text windows these days. (THAT's what those little red lines mean!!!) Upgrade lately?

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 8:24:34 AM PST
I heard a song about ten years ago: "I'm Only Superhuman." Can't find it. Wanted to link to it. Ah well.

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 10:30:56 AM PST
Developing and colonizing space is eventually inevitable - assuming we survive long enough to do it. Climate change may very well pull the rug out from under all of us. But if we don't Burn up or freeze first, It Will happen. The last time men did anything of this magnitude is when we boarded wooden ships and sailed across the sea to the "new world". (interesting phrase) Those countries that invested in the new world are still world powers. Those that either did not or only raped the americas are not really players on the world stage today. But there's a problem. Money. Until there's profit to be had, or at least the appearance of it, there won't be a hell of a lot of venture capital available, which is why only governments are funding serious developement so far. And consider - when we were sailing those wooden ships, the number of lost ships was around fifty percent. Would we be willing to undergo that kind of learning curve today? Nevertheless, it is our destiny.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2010 1:50:16 PM PST
RON:
Have "spellchecking" but never use it.
I use a "Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary" (eleventh edition, copyright 2006)!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2010 2:05:38 PM PST
Russell Marra:
First: there is no such thing as "destiny".
Second: There is no comparison between those wooden sailing ships and their crews sailing the ocean blue in 1492 and interstellar spaceflight. The order of magnitude is so much greater and the laws of physics so much different that a comparison is not possible.
Do you consider Spain, Portugal and The Netherlands to be "world powers"?
Only Great Britain and France are still "world Powers" and neither one of those two (2) is really a "world power".
Only the U.S., China, Japan, Russia and the E.U. should be considered "world powers" anymore.
"Nevertheless, it is our destiny."
You sound like Darth Vader in "Star Wars":
"Luke! It is your destiny!"
OR
George McFly in "Back To The Future": "I am your destiny!"

Give me a break!

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 6:10:22 PM PST
Glenn, why must you take an insulting tone? It's one thing to tell somebody, "I don't think you're right about that, because <insert reasons here>." It's another to say things like "You sound like Darth Vader in "Star Wars"" and "Give me a break!"

Also, who's talking interstellar spaceflight? Mostly, we're talking cislunar, and cislunar-plus-asteroids at most.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2010 9:42:55 PM PST
Sailor:
What's insulting?
It's the truth.
It struck me that way. So what.
I posted. What are you "The Grammar Police"?
Give me a break!

Posted on Feb 13, 2010 7:55:12 AM PST
nextbigfuture.com reports that "Space X is Assembling a Falcon 9 and Targeting a March 8, 2010 Launch"
("... all flight hardware for the debut launch of the Falcon 9 has arrived in ... Cape Canavernal, Florida.")

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18516-seti-opens-up-its-data-to-citizen-scientists.html
Just announced at the TED Conference in California, SETI has set up a new website for the general public:

SETIQuest.org

Posted on Feb 13, 2010 12:40:34 PM PST
nextbigfuture.com is a very cool site, and it's fun to visit from time to time.

Posted on Feb 14, 2010 8:34:08 AM PST
http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/31/business/la-fi-cover31-2010jan31
This Los Angeles Times article (from last month) discusses the current pool of space entrepreneurs and their projects.

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/component/multimedia/?type=video&videoid=127
The above is a cool video on MIT's new course: "Bubbles: And Introduction to Designing and Building Inflatable Structures". (More inflatable space hotels, Sailor?)

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/fusion-Idx-0125.html
"Levitating Magnet Brings Space Physics to Fusion" (Still in the theory-stage, MIT's LDX Project "... is one of the most novel fusion plasma physics experiments underway today...")

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2010 5:39:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 16, 2010 2:46:50 AM PST
Ronald Craig says:
Marilyn Martin, *speculating* on Heaven only knows what, wrote:
"(More inflatable space hotels, Sailor?)"

Just ... wow.

Edit: OH! So it was a "Hey, Sailor!" kind of situation! :P

This link did work for me:

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/component/mitmultimedia/?type=video&videoid=127

Posted on Feb 15, 2010 5:54:15 PM PST
I've mentioned Bigalow Aerospace and his inflatable space hotel modules. Marilyn obviously remembered that, and mentioned it right back at me.

Marilyn, I couldn't make the link work. Sounds like something I might not mind checking out.

Posted on Feb 15, 2010 6:26:53 PM PST
Bill S says:
This may be of interest: KITE

There're tourists in it.

Yes, Thanks for the interesting links, M, and the interestng thoughts all.

Space tourism will drive commercialization of space, I'd think. Vast improvements in user-friendliness will be needed and that will take longer if it's left to governments, which tend to go bare-bones. A commercial endeavor, however, will sell the sizzle. Artificial gravity would be just one of the key improvements needed, allowing walking around upright, and pools, and roulette wheels.

So in a weird way it's encouraging that NASA is ending the shuttle. The other big improvement might need to be a replacement for the chemical blunt instruments that boost stuff. Maybe the space elevator...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2010 8:53:39 AM PST
Sailor -

Sorry about the first link. I had left out a "mit" before "multimedia". Sorry.

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/component/mitmultimedia/?type=video&videoid=127

Posted on Feb 16, 2010 9:39:44 AM PST
Thanks. I was able to watch it this time. WHAT was the thing with all the inflated gloves!? I guess if you really like getting groped...

Posted on Feb 16, 2010 10:31:07 AM PST
Sailor -

Yes, the video kinda had a Lotsafun! quality to it, like it should have been on some amateur-inventor site, like Instructables, Makezine or Boing-Boing. I have no idea what the glove thing was all about, nor the giant gumball machine filled with balloons. I guess I was just tickled that MIT is offering a course in "Building Inflatables".

I did a little research on Inflatable Buildings on-line. Most companies are in Canada and the UK, and use terms like "portable" and "relocatable". So inflatable-hotels in orbit are still in our future.

But those kids at MIT, with their plastic-and-duct-tape projects, may be the ones to design and build space-inflatables someday. ("... And then you hang a left at this cylindar with all these gloves, and Voila! You've arrived at the Duct Tape Inn!")

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2010 8:39:02 PM PST
To Bill S:
RE: "The other big improvement might need to be a replacement for the chemical blunt instruments that boost stuff. Maybe the space elevator... "

I would guess that the space elevator will take a minimum of half a century to come online, both for technical reasons and financial reasons. For the near term, a better solution would be the single stage to orbit (SSTO) spacecraft. If such a spacecraft had the capability to lift only a pilot and two or three tons of cargo, a fleet of such craft would be a huge improvement over the Shuttle and would probably bring down launch costs considerably.

Posted on Feb 17, 2010 10:47:40 AM PST
MORE IMPETUS FOR ASTEROID MINERS?

http://www.technewsdaily.com/shortage-of-rare-earth-elements-could-thwart-innovation-0206/
According to TechNewsDaily, rare earth minerals we rely on for our most high tech innovations, may soon dry up. China is the world's top producer of rare minerals, but they've announced that their own rising demand will soon force it to stop exporting these precious elements. There are already calls for the U.S. to subsidize creation of mining and refining industries of these precious elements, lest a shortage cripples production of our beloved high tech products.

http://www.tricitiesnet.com/donsastronomy/asteroidtable.html
According to this list of the mineral content of asteroids, the three rarest/most-needed minerals in the above article (europium, lanthanum and neodymium) ARE also present in asteroids.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2010 11:37:24 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 17, 2010 11:38:48 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"MORE IMPETUS FOR ASTEROID MINERS?"

This was touched on in the 'Project to 2100. What does our civilization look like?' thread. I posted on Jan. 9, 2010:

We are approaching the near depletion of exploitable sources of many metals within a handful of decades or even years: Antimony, Gallium, Hafnium, Indium, Platinum, Silver, Tantalum, Terbium, Uranium and Zinc. Even supplies of Copper may run out relatively soon. Some of those are essential for a varety of hi-tech items. We can probably eke them out by improved recycling, but that only goes so far.

Those essential metals can be found on the Moon or in asteroids. But the cost of obtaining them...

"According to this list of the mineral content of asteroids, the three rarest/most-needed minerals in the above article (europium, lanthanum and neodymium) ARE also present in asteroids."

Not all 'rare earths' are rare.

Europium is an element found in many minerals. It ranks 50th in order of abundance of the elements in the Earth's crust. This one is relatively rare.

Neodymium is an element and although called a 'rare earth' it isn't rare: reserves are estimated to be about 8 million tonnes; it stands as the 27th most common element in the Earth's crust.

Lanthanum is also an element, a non-rare 'rare earth': being the 28th most common element in the Earth's crust.

Posted on Feb 17, 2010 11:45:52 AM PST
MINING THE COSMOS IN THE FAR FUTURE?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202172211.htm
From Dec. 2009, the Suzaku (Orbiting) X-Ray Observatory has found a virtual treasure trove of (rare) intergalactic metallic ions, in the Perseus Cluster Galaxy.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2010 12:02:52 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 17, 2010 12:07:12 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"From Dec. 2009, the Suzaku (Orbiting) X-Ray Observatory has found a virtual treasure trove of (rare) intergalactic metallic ions, in the Perseus Cluster Galaxy."

Not 'metallic ions' but atoms: they've detected chromium (22nd in abundance in the Earth's crust) and manganese (12th element in abundance). These elements are 'rare' in the 'intergalactic medium' which makes the discovery interesting, and is indicative of how energetic the cluster was more than 250 million years ago with '3 billion supernovas' required to produce the observed elements.

The Perseus Cluster is a gigantic cluster of galaxies 250 million and more light-years away and is receding with a red shift of 5,366 km/s. It's one of the biggest clusters in the observable universe. We won't be mining it even in the far far future.
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  93
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Initial post:  Jun 2, 2009
Latest post:  Aug 31, 2013

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