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Old Yesterday, 07:47 AM
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stylofone stylofone is offline
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Default Re: Stephen Hawking is dead

Strato said View Post
As to be expected, the misappropriation of Stephen Hawking's blessing on space exploration by the visionary billionaires whose motives aren't purely altruistic, obviously. Glory is an end in itself.

Writer, Catherine Bennett.
Maybe this deserves its own thread, but fuck yes to this.

Going to the moon was an amazing thing to do. Yes, part of it was cold war glory. Yes, the rocketry was obviously the same technology as is used in nuclear missiles. But the leadership of the project (NASA) was based on science and engineering, the language and culture of the project was that it was done for all humanity. "We came in peace for ALL MANKIND". Not one company and its CEO.

But there's a reason we haven't been back. Once you've done it, proved it can be done, learned what you can learn from doing it, the benefits you gain from repeatedly going there fall away dramatically. The science can be done with probes, drones, rovers, orbiters. You don't have to send enormous life support systems which take up most of the payload. There's no point.

I note that a Saturn V rocket uses 770,000 litres of kerosene in its first stage. I'm not sure about the fuel type and consumption levels of the SpaceX models. But I would imagine that a single trip to space would use a great deal more fuel than the average car owner would use in several lifetimes (maybe several hundred lifetimes, I haven't doen the sums). It's supremely ironic that the Tesla car that Elon Musk sent into space is seen as a saviour of the environment. The space tourism he espouses is an environmental destruction project for the super rich.

I remember being annoyed at Kim Stanley Robinson's SF novel "Red Mars". Earth is ruined by environmental degradation, so some colonists terraform Mars. But in the real world the challenge of making Mars habitable (even if it's a single sustainable building, let alone a whole planet), needs to be met by experiments here on earth. For the terraforming, we could practice it on earth by successfully REDUCING the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere. We haven't even been able to reduce the rate of increase in CO2 yet! The single building? Can anyone tell me of a successful biosphere type project, not the one Steve Bannon was invloved in?

When Stephen Hawking talked about space being the future of humanity, I think he might have been thinking about a time-frame of millions, or hundreds of millions of years, when changes in the sun make earth ununhabitable. He also spoke strongly about the need to protect earth's environement, which we are going to have to do first to allow humanity to survive long enought to solve the challenges of space travel hundreds or thousands or millions of years from now.

Living on Mars is harder than living on the sea floor in the Marianas trench, or at the south pole. Don't tell Elon Musk. He'll probably try to save the future of humanity by building hotels there and promoting them by delivering Tesla cars there in diamond encrusted rocket ships.

I sometimes think the suspension of rational thought when contemplating space projects is a form of religious or magical thinking, inspired by the deeply-ingrained cultural concept that god, heaven, salvation or creation are above us in the sky. There was a Mars religion in the Kim Stanley Robinson novels.

Last edited by stylofone; Yesterday at 07:49 AM. Reason: added: "in the real world"
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Old Yesterday, 02:18 PM
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Stub King Stub King is offline
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Default Re: Stephen Hawking is dead

stylofone said View Post

I remember being annoyed at Kim Stanley Robinson's SF novel "Red Mars". Earth is ruined by environmental degradation, so some colonists terraform Mars.
Not quite the same but I highly recommend you track down 'Mars' the TV mini series. it was on SBS but has now expired out of their on demand content. but I am sure copies are available for those keen enough.

It is a blend of fiction and docu (aka docudrama), shifting back and forth between the two formats. Each time there is a challenge in the story, they switch back to docu mode, exploring how we are trying to address.
The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it. (Osho)
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