Re: [gundam] Civilian Space Travel


-Z- (Z@gundam.com)
Wed, 31 Mar 1999 20:15:52 -0800


At 22:51 3/30/99 -0500, you wrote:
>now I know you went on to explain why this was hideously resource-wasting but
>think about it: if its gonna be a one-way trip, then why the HELL hasn't
>anybody
>tried it yet? I'm quite sure if people actually wanted to they could work
for a
>year or so, come up with some designs, build a spaceship and get some real
>progress made.

We'll never even come close to a constant-boost ship so long as we're using
chemical rockets and all of the designs ever proposed for nuclear rockets
were scuttled by the various arms treaties. No one wants an orbiting nuke
of any kind, much less one that's by definition self-propelled....

In any case, governments (all of them, not just ours) want to keep big
rockets a government monopoly. They don't want civilian space travel any
more than they want civilian genetic engineering or civilian nuclear power.
 If they'd had a clue as to where civilian computing was headed, they'd've
tried to quash that, too. They're still trying to stuff the genie back
into the bottle on a lot of the technologies that are already out there and
only they fact that they are way behind on emerging technologies allows
those technologies to emerge.

That and the fact that governments need money like everyone else and the
best way to get it is to allow commercial enterprise -- then regulate and
tax it. But you'll never see them open up nuclear power or space travel,
because they stand to lose much more than they have to gain.

"Cold fusion" and the probable socio-economic and political consequences
thereof scared them all silly just a few years ago. It wouldn't surprise
me to find out the CF actually worked, but was discredited and buried by
the Powers That Be. It would be great for individuals, but murder for
governments and the economies on which governments subsist.

NASA, our supposedly civilian space agency, apparently exists to kill
civilian space travel. You can't become a shuttle pilot unless you've
flown hundreds of hours in military jets. You can't get NASA approval for
anything inexpensive or easy to build from off-the-shelf parts -- their
mandate is to "extend human knowledge" by finding "new ways" to do things.

Do you know how many designs and plans that NASA has turned down because
they were "too easy"? Hundreds, if not thousands. NASA has jacked the
cost of going into space so high that, if you could turn lead into gold
simply by lifting it to near-Earth orbit, it wouldn't be worth the trip.
If it doesn't cost millions, NASA's not interested.

And, by law, no one is allowed to travel into space without NASA approval....

>'sides, if you can get to mars in under three days, we shoulda definitely been
>all over that planet by now. ain't it sad?

Being able to get to Mars in three days doesn't do you any good if you turn
the ship into a small star in a day and a half....

-Z-

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