The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums

Full Version: Nasa can't send humans to Mars until it gets the food right
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2 3
(03-30-2018, 04:01 AM)iancampbell Wrote: [ -> ]My opinion is rather like yours, with a twist. We already have the horrible example of Apollo (which was magnificent, but actually a Cold War stunt that wasn't sustainable in any way) to look at. I would like to see commercial exploitation of space be the main emphasis for a great many years, including ain industrial/mining Moonbase with a mass-driver or two and construction bases (very small, to start with) in some appropriate Earth orbit to use the materials thus launched. The most obvious import from space, because it's cheap to transport, is electric power - and completely clean electric power is something we could really do with down here.

This feels me with cold dread and revulsion. The same as proposing that a goal for humanity should be to tear down every tree in a national park and construct oil pumps and factories. Asteroid capture by robotic probes followed up by teleoperated miners is one thing, but whenever people start proposing heavy industry on the moon...ergh. I'm not sure I want to live in a future where the rest of the solar system is seen as an exploitable pile of resources just as much as Earth is today.

(03-30-2018, 04:01 AM)iancampbell Wrote: [ -> ]Hell, Gerard O'Neill said all this in 1985. Humanity has wasted THIRTY YEARS. Why, in the name of the god of your choice, haven't we got started yet??

Because beyond nebulous ideological reasons there is really no reason to. As for the "eggs all in one basket" argument if we cared that much about our eggs we wouldn't be shredding the only basket we have.

EDIT: To balance out the negativity of this post I'll add this; I have the same "Why aren't we funding this to the tune of hundreds of billions a year?!" reaction to ecological sciences as many people seem to have for space industrialisation/colonisation. IMO most people who advocate the latter should advocate the former, either also or as an important step to get to the latter. We only have one functioning biosphere and already we're doing a decent job of triggering a global shift to another state that in the process may kill of a high percentage of species on Earth, drain pools of replenishable resources faster than they can be replenished (see also: clean water shortage) and create a potentially civilisation ending catastrophe of growing uninhabitable land with all the social conflict that will create. Not only should we be vastly improving our ability to collect oceans of data in real-time about all our ecosystems on Earth but our fundamental knowledge of ecosystems needs to be improved to the point we can reliably identify negative trends, extrapolate their specific consequences and implement custom interventions to correct them. The best outcome of that is a global medisystem for the environment that means we've averted disaster and, providing we don't balls it up out of stupidity, can live on this planet indefinitely. For those passionate about living in space it also means that we have the knowledge on how to actually make sustainable space habitats. We'll be able to transplant ecosystems with the knowledge they will reliably continue. It will even go some way towards fulfilling the terraforming dream a lot of people have. And it's better to do it this way round rather than trying to build habitats in space first and learn how ecosystems work because the latter is going to be vastly more expensive for the same ROI.
Rynn - Regarding the basket argument I probably agree with you, but taking care of a basket doesn't help much if you take it into a military training area and someone drops an incendiary grenade in it by accident or design. (To stretch an analogy perhaps too far.)

And IMHO, the Moon is much better as a resource than any part of the Earth is - because it doesn't have an ecosystem to ruin.

And finally, a significant space presence is one component of the procedures necessary to protect the ecosystem of Earth. An SPS rectenna does take some resources to create, true. But it doesn't preclude other uses for the land it sits on, because the antenna is going to be open meshwork and not solid. And it is a source of clean power, without any of the problems associated with other "clean" power sources.

The shortcomings of ground solar and wind are well documented and I won't repeat them here. But even such apparently benign power sources as geothermal and hydro have problems of their own - having to dispose of big piles of toxic minerals leached from subsurface rocks in the first case, and gross disturbance of river systems and erosion of river deltas, combined with silting of reservoirs, in the second.

And finally: Space colonisation has two very great advantages. Living space, and energy for our use. There is four hundred trillion terawatts of power going to waste at present, and the potential to build living space for quadrillions. Which pushes out the long tail of human potential a very long way; think a hundred Einsteins.
I fully agree with Rynn here - the Moon is a time capsule with the history of our Solar System carved into its surface and we should desecrate it as little as possible. I don't mean that we shouldn't colonise extraterrestrial environments at all, but just because there isn't an organic ecosystem on the Moon doesn't mean it's not worth preserving in its own right. The Apollo missions left enough trash on the lunar surface as things stand.

I'm not even really a fan of terraforming when it comes down to it. I'd rather see humanity learn to adapt to living on other worlds rather than warp their natural environments to meet our needs. Or better still, stick to orbiting space habitats and leave the worlds of our Solar System untouched.
I don't see any reason we can't do both space development and ecosystem repair/management. But I'm against taking a 'we have to solve all of Earth's problems before we do space' approach because a fair number of problems might be solved using resources from space and I also feel that approach is just a cop out along the lines of 'when will we do X - someday' that parents so often do - with the only intent to shut the kids up and with full intent that 'someday' will never come.

I see no problem with exploiting the moon as long as the exploitation is managed in a way that doesn't cause sufficient changes to interfere with the Earth's biosphere (i.e., changing the moons brilliance to such a degree that it threw off the breeding patters of some animals that use the moon as a trigger or guide or somesuch). For similar reasons, I'm not overly wild about terraforming the moon - at least until/unless the state of the art on ecosystem knowledge has advanced to the point that we can be reasonably confident it won't have undesired side effects. Besides Sol System has lots of moons - we can readily terraform some of them (and take some of the rest apart or otherwise re-engineer them).

For similar reasons I'm a bit leery of SPS - the long term effects of low level microwave radiation on either anything living under it or the atmosphere is something that needs to be looked at before we take the approach of constantly beaming energy down to Earth - let alone letting cows graze in the receiver antenna as someone once suggest. If an environmental study is positive in its recommendations than we could give it a go - but also watch it like a hawk. But I don't think it's realistic to say that we know for sure that SPS will have no downsides at this early state of things. Of course, I also don't think its realistic to demand energy sources that have no downsides - either in general or from the pov of every possible person who might have an issue with it.

On a larger scale - I basically want to make the engineering of the OA setting real and then some. Terraforming, space habs, dysons, and beyond. Whether I'm most supportive of 'turning the galaxy green' or imploding it down to something like the Leviathan (not necessarily to move it anywhere, but barring wormholes or something else, current interstellar distances are inconvenient), or maybe breaking the whole thing down to its component atoms and then converting it all into computronium (with Earth and its entire biosphere down to the smallest lifeform uploaded and stored in virtual reality), I'm not really sure, yet. But in a nutshell, I want to upgrade the entire universe and all other universes we can reach or create or simulate (or all of the above).

ToddSmile
(03-30-2018, 11:13 AM)Drashner1 Wrote: [ -> ]I don't see any reason we can't do both space development and ecosystem repair/management. But I'm against taking a 'we have to solve all of Earth's problems before we do space' approach because a fair number of problems might be solved using resources from space and I also feel that approach is just a cop out along the lines of 'when will we do X - someday' that parents so often do - with the only intent to shut the kids up and with full intent that 'someday' will never come.

Short on time today but just to clarify; my position isn't that we shouldn't invest in space research and development, it's more than I don't believe it's any sort of priority. Not picking on Ian at all but his comment along the lines of humanity wasting how ever many decades not funneling significantly more money into space is the position that I object to (and that a lot of people seem to have). Basically if we lived in a world where people could fill out a form and choose where and how much of their tax went (which would be an awful idea) space science would be very far down on my list of things to pay for, over anything to do with ecological science.

The reason why I bring ecoscience up in a discussion about space rather than listing all the other things I think are a greater priority is that progressing the former significantly is a great pre-requisite for the latter. Learning how to better model and maintain ecosystems, developing extremely efficient recycling infrastructure, production gains from swarms that observe and keep the biosphere healthy etc...well space habitats fall right out of that.
There seem to be some lava tubes available, too, which could provide some shielding, on both the Moon and Mars.
(03-30-2018, 10:00 PM)Rynn Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-30-2018, 11:13 AM)Drashner1 Wrote: [ -> ]I don't see any reason we can't do both space development and ecosystem repair/management. But I'm against taking a 'we have to solve all of Earth's problems before we do space' approach because a fair number of problems might be solved using resources from space and I also feel that approach is just a cop out along the lines of 'when will we do X - someday' that parents so often do - with the only intent to shut the kids up and with full intent that 'someday' will never come.

Short on time today but just to clarify; my position isn't that we shouldn't invest in space research and development, it's more than I don't believe it's any sort of priority. Not picking on Ian at all but his comment along the lines of humanity wasting how ever many decades not funneling significantly more money into space is the position that I object to (and that a lot of people seem to have). Basically if we lived in a world where people could fill out a form and choose where and how much of their tax went (which would be an awful idea) space science would be very far down on my list of things to pay for, over anything to do with ecological science.

The reason why I bring ecoscience up in a discussion about space rather than listing all the other things I think are a greater priority is that progressing the former significantly is a great pre-requisite for the latter. Learning how to better model and maintain ecosystems, developing extremely efficient recycling infrastructure, production gains from swarms that observe and keep the biosphere healthy etc...well space habitats fall right out of that.

Or the other way around; in practice, the two will probably feed on each other.
Yes, I believe that assuming we don't screw everything up and actually survive the current climate catastrophe relatively unscathed, ecosystem repair and light space exploration would happen pretty much in parallel. Not necessarily because they need to, mind you, but because it won't be long before the need for ecosystem repair becomes apparent enough to shoot it high up on people's priority list.
(03-30-2018, 10:00 PM)Rynn Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-30-2018, 11:13 AM)Drashner1 Wrote: [ -> ]I don't see any reason we can't do both space development and ecosystem repair/management. But I'm against taking a 'we have to solve all of Earth's problems before we do space' approach because a fair number of problems might be solved using resources from space and I also feel that approach is just a cop out along the lines of 'when will we do X - someday' that parents so often do - with the only intent to shut the kids up and with full intent that 'someday' will never come.

Short on time today but just to clarify; my position isn't that we shouldn't invest in space research and development, it's more than I don't believe it's any sort of priority. Not picking on Ian at all but his comment along the lines of humanity wasting how ever many decades not funneling significantly more money into space is the position that I object to (and that a lot of people seem to have). Basically if we lived in a world where people could fill out a form and choose where and how much of their tax went (which would be an awful idea) space science would be very far down on my list of things to pay for, over anything to do with ecological science.

The reason why I bring ecoscience up in a discussion about space rather than listing all the other things I think are a greater priority is that progressing the former significantly is a great pre-requisite for the latter. Learning how to better model and maintain ecosystems, developing extremely efficient recycling infrastructure, production gains from swarms that observe and keep the biosphere healthy etc...well space habitats fall right out of that.

This thread had fallen 'off the edge' of the forum, but was meaning to reply to this:

Actually I was agreeing with you re the need to fund both space and ecoscience on a much larger scale and that they dovetail togetherSmile The bit about only going into space after 'fixing' the Earth was really more of a sidebar.

To use a phrase that used to appear in OA discussions a good bit: We seem to be agreeing violently hereTongue

Todd
Actually, it's mostly just discussion between you two Smile
Pages: 1 2 3