Re: [gundam] Civilian Space Travel


Prabal Nandy (nandy@U.Arizona.EDU)
Wed, 31 Mar 1999 23:29:58 +6500 (MST)


> 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
  
  Yepper.

> 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....

  Absolutely, too damn dangerous. Look at all the stupid greenie
protesters who tried to sink Magellan! If those bug-eyed hippies had been
around in 1491, America would still be a vast untapped wasteland and
Columbus would be famous for his special creamy Alfredo sauce.

> 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

  That's totally not true, at least in the American case. There are _many_
civilian launch companies around, several of which we've used for sounding
rockets and stuff like that. The truth of the matter is that only
government agencies can _afford_ the monstrous costs of LEO right now.

> more than they want civilian genetic engineering or civilian nuclear power.

  There _is_ civilian genetic engineering, _and_ 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

  I don't believe that for a second. Nobody's profited more from the
driving power of civilian technology, particularly computers, more so than
the US military and government. Look at those bombsight camera footages on
CCNN! That kind of technology has made some of our people here _very_
wealthy, and they like to spread the loving around if you know what I
mean. These pocket wars have been doing wonders for our Art.

> 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.

  This is a very paranoid and fortunately very untrue mentality. Hell, so
many government and military outreach departments have been virtually
_giving_away_ their equipment to any researcher or scientific team that
needs them it's almost ridiculous. I almost got to use a Vietnam era
"Bronco" Reconnaisance aircraft for my own experiments just last year. (I
couldn't afford the pilot unfortunately, and we don't have anyone on hand
with a twin-engine license).

> 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.

  I don't think you can accuse NASA of making a profit. They're just
trying to make ends get within the same solar system, much less meet!

> "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

   Absolut Paranoia
   That whole Fleishman thing was a big fat hairy scam based on a stupid
idea and really really awful experimental discipline. Science doesn't work
on secrecy and news-conferences, and the very way these bozos were
handling the whole CF fiasco made it immediately obvious to me that
something dumb was going on. Let the Japanese keep 'em, says I.
   Oh, and BTW, you can't "Bury" technology any more than you can ban
cusswords or kissing. These kinds of ideas have a way of getting around.
Hell, if the boogey-man Government couldn't even keep _nuclear_bomb_
technology secret for more than a decade, what makes you think that they
could keep, say, microwave ovens and pulsed laser technology secret?
   Now, I'll fully admit that there are some technologies that probably
shouldn't be made available to the public sector and for good reason,
after all, we don't want people slicing each other's limbs off or blowing
up heads at 200 yards with a walkman, but the basic theory is out in the
open and published.
   Scientists are particularly hard to 'silence'.

>governments subsist. > > NASA, our supposedly civilian space agency,
>apparently exists to kill > civilian space travel. You can't become a

 The same thing is said about the FDA. Problem is, people don't remember
what hell life was before the FDA.
 Besides, what 'private company' could possibly AFFORD the costs of space
travel right now? And you should note that NASA is helping promote the
X-38, quite possibly our last best hope for civilian space technology.

>shuttle pilot unless you've > flown hundreds of hours in military jets.

  Good... I wouldn't want some bozo with 200 hours flying some spitwad
prop-plane flying a 40-bazillion dollar space vehicle!

>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,

  Do you know how many freaks, bozos, idiots, and even politicians we have
to deal with, each with their own stupid pet projects? For the record,
NASA new-millenium projects and hitchiker series of satellites are all
geared towards low-cost civilian space-technologies. And anyone who owns
an Iridium cell-phone or one of those Primestar TV dishes so he can watch
Bulgarian folk opera while calling his Hungarian cousin who's vacationing
in the Alps will be able to attest to the fact that Civilian space
technology is alive and WELL in America today. All thanks to the
benevolent leadership of our friends at NASA, working together to keep our
nation safe from its enemies.

>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

  If you can find a better, cheaper, faster way that doesn't screw the
environment, they'd like to hear about it.

>millions, NASA's not interested. > > And, by law, no one is allowed to
>travel into space without NASA approval.... > > >'sides, if you can get

  Wouldn't you complain if every yahoo in town could drive out into the
street with a hand-made freakcycle or dumbasscar? The rules exist to
protect the American public from itself. The price of security is eternal
regulation.

>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- > > - > Gundam Mailing List Archives are

  Which is why Mars won't be reached by Man for another 50-100 years at
_least_, no matter what anyone does. The Technology, civilian or
otherwise, simply doesn't exist right now.

                                                                -Probe
-
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