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Nasa can't send humans to Mars until it gets the food right
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(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.
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RE: Nasa can't send humans to Mars until it gets the food right - by Rynn - 03-30-2018, 04:25 AM

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