Do space lovers lack knowledge of economics.

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Skyskimmer

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I'm sorry if this seems a little like an attack, but it's more of a honest assement in my opinion. I'm not saying space lovers can't crunch the numbers of spaceflight, but there's a tendency to have a hard time making realistic projections for space flight.

I mean were stuck in a culture of economic pestimism. For most lovers of space, soon as we start talking about money, we end up getting very negative, or start making unrealistic expectations (commiting 30 percent of national budget on space flight etc.)

I mean so here feels like they actually have a good handle on what a positive course of actions on space flight would look like.
A good thing to keep in mind is that NASA only spends about 4-5 billion a year on space flight, and most of that is tied up in the ISS. Considering last year star trek made 1/5th of the space budget and an amount to the pratical budget(80percent is waste or redundance.
 
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a_lost_packet_

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Good point.

I don't think space lovers lack an understanding of economics. But, I do believe they lack an understanding of what others may consider is important. :)

I might think that investing twenty percent of our national budget in space would be a great thing with huge benefits down the road. But, other's wouldn't, so it won't be done.

In order to really get people behind a space effort, you have to either show them how it's going to make them money or how it's going to effect them personally, in some other positive way. I think a lot more people would be enthusiastic about space if you told them that with your proposed program, everyone would have a chance to fly to the Moon. (Not going to happen, but it would be nice if it did.)

The real way into space is going to be on the backs of the exploiters of space. That means, we have to discover ways to make space profitable. IMO, the easiest way to do that is to start with Big Pharma and their huge R&D budgets. Get them signing on to leasing production labs in microgravity to grow new host strains of antibiotics with more efficiency and viable stock per unit than they could ever hope to do on the ground. Follow that up with developing new materials and means of construction along with pilot plants in space to produce crystals and hi-tech alloys for precision equipment. Etc.. Yes, start with baby steps. But make those baby steps as big as we possibly can.
 
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Skyskimmer

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Very good point. I think keeping colinzation and science seperate is one of the more important thigns to remember, programs like hubble and all that are pure science and have little interest to most people other than a couple of nice photos every couple of years.

What will sell to people is the knowledge that were going up their to stay, a real backup for the biosphere. Nasa I think really got messed up because in reality it was a goverment stimulus plan, mixed with the department of national defense.

The science is doing fine and needs little change. It's the settlement issues that are needed to be understood. We need to send volumes to get costs down hundreds of people a year, even if they are going their just to have low gravity space bonking.
 
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Boris_Badenov

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Some Space Lovers do understand the economics of Space Exploration & Utilization. Personally I believe that "Space" will not be economical until we have good reason to go "out there" with much, much greater frequency. Two activities can create that frequency, Colonization or Energy. Whether that means He3, Platinum for Fuel Cells or Solar, it makes no difference.
Again, personally, I believe it'll be Colonization that drives the move into "Space."
 
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Skyskimmer

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Boris_Badenov":2hlu5dk3 said:
Some Space Lovers do understand the economics of Space Exploration & Utilization. Personally I believe that "Space" will not be economical until we have good reason to go "out there" with much, much greater frequency. Two activities can create that frequency, Colonization or Energy. Whether that means He3, Platinum for Fuel Cells or Solar, it makes no difference.
Again, personally, I believe it'll be Colonization that drives the move into "Space."
totally agree. I personally thing there needs to be a plan to start colinizing space within the next ten years.
If they can get costs down to launch at 1000 dollars per kilo I think it'll be very much achievable to start sending volume into space.

at $1000 dollar a kilo spending 10 billion a year just on launches(easily done in my opinion) would result in 10,000 tons of stuff sent to space orbit each year. Now if we could get nuclear tugs to pull whatever that mass is, to say the moon or L5, we could have the beginnings of a successful colony.

The key is it's far better for industry to have high volume of units produced than it is, to have low volume super high tech units. If we can get governments to start investing money into large scale colinzation I think we might have a shot.
 
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DarkenedOne

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Skyskimmer":lykcmqpx said:
Boris_Badenov":lykcmqpx said:
Some Space Lovers do understand the economics of Space Exploration & Utilization. Personally I believe that "Space" will not be economical until we have good reason to go "out there" with much, much greater frequency. Two activities can create that frequency, Colonization or Energy. Whether that means He3, Platinum for Fuel Cells or Solar, it makes no difference.
Again, personally, I believe it'll be Colonization that drives the move into "Space."
totally agree. I personally thing there needs to be a plan to start colinizing space within the next ten years.
If they can get costs down to launch at 1000 dollars per kilo I think it'll be very much achievable to start sending volume into space.

at $1000 dollar a kilo spending 10 billion a year just on launches(easily done in my opinion) would result in 10,000 tons of stuff sent to space orbit each year. Now if we could get nuclear tugs to pull whatever that mass is, to say the moon or L5, we could have the beginnings of a successful colony.

The key is it's far better for industry to have high volume of units produced than it is, to have low volume super high tech units. If we can get governments to start investing money into large scale colinzation I think we might have a shot.
I believe this is a perfect example of what the OP is talking about.

The simple truth is that space colonization is as much an economic problem as it is a technological one. There is just no way that the government is going to make that type of commitment.

Secondly the idea of federally funded colonization does not solve the second problem of colonization, and that is the motivation for going. Historically colonies needed an economic or political motivation in order to both attract people to the new colony and raise the capital needed for the investment. They need to have jobs in the new colony in order for it to work. The colonization of North America occurred for several political and economic reasons, including the large amounts of fertile land and the lack of an oppressive government.

Boris is right. There has to be economic motivation. There has to be a profit motive. There has to be economic opportunity.
 
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planetling

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DarkenedOne":3iqili4k said:
I believe this is a perfect example of what the OP is talking about.

The simple truth is that space colonization is as much an economic problem as it is a technological one. There is just no way that the government is going to make that type of commitment.

Secondly the idea of federally funded colonization does not solve the second problem of colonization, and that is the motivation for going. Historically colonies needed an economic or political motivation in order to both attract people to the new colony and raise the capital needed for the investment. They need to have jobs in the new colony in order for it to work. The colonization of North America occurred for several political and economic reasons, including the large amounts of fertile land and the lack of an oppressive government.

Boris is right. There has to be economic motivation. There has to be a profit motive. There has to be economic opportunity.
I agree with most of this, but true explorers don't always or necessarily explore for political or economic reasons. Some do it for the mere adventure. But yes, to colonize, work needs to be cut out for them once there.

This is still a sore subject for me. IMO, there is too much needless political and financial waste.
 
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Skyskimmer

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DarkenedOne":39qn78u1 said:
Secondly the idea of federally funded colonization does not solve the second problem of colonization, and that is the motivation for going. Historically colonies needed an economic or political motivation in order to both attract people to the new colony and raise the capital needed for the investment. They need to have jobs in the new colony in order for it to work. The colonization of North America occurred for several political and economic reasons, including the large amounts of fertile land and the lack of an oppressive government.

Boris is right. There has to be economic motivation. There has to be a profit motive. There has to be economic opportunity.
You do realize that the america's didn't start making magor returns on their intial investment for nearly 150 years. Americans often forget this but it's more or less the truth. Nearly 280 years after columbus There were only about 2 million people in the america's of european descent. It took a very long time for USA to be established, Spain, France, both went bankrupt funding the america's. If it were for the kingdoms of europe getting involved they would of stayed at the grand banks for fishing going no farther.
 
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Booban

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Skyskimmer":3jrf1heo said:
DarkenedOne":3jrf1heo said:
Secondly the idea of federally funded colonization does not solve the second problem of colonization, and that is the motivation for going. Historically colonies needed an economic or political motivation in order to both attract people to the new colony and raise the capital needed for the investment. They need to have jobs in the new colony in order for it to work. The colonization of North America occurred for several political and economic reasons, including the large amounts of fertile land and the lack of an oppressive government.

Boris is right. There has to be economic motivation. There has to be a profit motive. There has to be economic opportunity.
You do realize that the america's didn't start making magor returns on their intial investment for nearly 150 years. Americans often forget this but it's more or less the truth. Nearly 280 years after columbus There were only about 2 million people in the america's of european descent. It took a very long time for USA to be established, Spain, France, both went bankrupt funding the america's. If it were for the kingdoms of europe getting involved they would of stayed at the grand banks for fishing going no farther.
Uh, what? Im sorry I do not have facts to back me up but you make a rather astounding claim and think you need to back up what you said. Just 2 million americans of european descent today and all that inca gold bankrupted the spanish empire?!
 
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Skyskimmer

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Booban":3ook5q00 said:
Skyskimmer":3ook5q00 said:
DarkenedOne":3ook5q00 said:
Secondly the idea of federally funded colonization does not solve the second problem of colonization, and that is the motivation for going. Historically colonies needed an economic or political motivation in order to both attract people to the new colony and raise the capital needed for the investment. They need to have jobs in the new colony in order for it to work. The colonization of North America occurred for several political and economic reasons, including the large amounts of fertile land and the lack of an oppressive government.

Boris is right. There has to be economic motivation. There has to be a profit motive. There has to be economic opportunity.
You do realize that the america's didn't start making magor returns on their intial investment for nearly 150 years. Americans often forget this but it's more or less the truth. Nearly 280 years after columbus There were only about 2 million people in the america's of european descent. It took a very long time for USA to be established, Spain, France, both went bankrupt funding the america's. If it were for the kingdoms of europe getting involved they would of stayed at the grand banks for fishing going no farther.
Uh, what? Im sorry I do not have facts to back me up but you make a rather astounding claim and think you need to back up what you said. Just 2 million americans of european descent today and all that inca gold bankrupted the spanish empire?!
Sorry ment 2 million north american's depending on the exact date. Look up American pop around 1776 was a little over 2 million but counted slaves, and USA had the majority of the people. Still the total panamerica pop of euro's wasn't much higher. It took bearly 120 years for the brisish to set up the first real colony in the united states, it was a long process. There was also many failed colonies atleast ten that I can think of that never lasted. France went bankrupt financing I think your right about spain's silver but I'm thinking it was the dutch that might of had the troubles I get back to you on that one.

Regardless private enterprise can't undertake coloinization on their own it's a multibillion dollar effort and will take decades for a return on investment. Your need to artifically create a market place in orbit, unless helium 3 is mined from the moon but that will take another 30-40 years to have happen.

I strongly believe that nuclear is the only way to go, if you can't get past the politics of it you simply won't be involved. There are loads of nuclear reactors being built around the world , france and india, seem not to have big issues with the tech, it's the only way space will ever work beyond just staying in orbit.
 
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CAllenDoudna

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Actually, the surgar plantations of the Carribean were pretty profitable. One reason the British let the 13 Colonies go was most of the things they produced competed with what could be produced in England and so were marginally profitable but the surgar plantations of Barbados and other Caribean islands were still loyal and making Big Money. France sold the Louisiana Purchase so cheap because the only purpose of all that land was to raise food for the surgar plantations and a slave rebellion in Haiti took that reason away and by selling to the Americans they could at least prevent the British from siezing it.
 
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CAllenDoudna

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Someone mentioned L-5. Please consider this from Chapter 8 of "Colonies in Space" by T. A. Heppenheimer:

So it was proposed that the colonies be near L4 or L5. The mass-catcher was to be near L2, and would shuttle between there and the colony. The lunar powersat would be at L1. (To date, no use has been found for L3.)

In the summer of 1976, though, several new studies were conducted which indicated that L5 was not the best location for the colony. One question considered involved the transport of lunar material from L2 to the colony. It turned out that with the colony near L5, this transfer would need a velocity change of over 1400 feet per second. So there was interest in finding a colony site which could be reached more easily. This problem was studied by the simple method of mathematically letting a catcher depart L2 and following it to see where it would go.

The resulting computer solution showed it would go quite close to a stable orbit around Earth with a period of two weeks. Further, it was found that if the colony were located in 110 such an orbit, it could be reached from L, with velocity change as low as 30 feet per second. When it was also found to be easier to reach such an orbit from Earth than to reach L5, and also easier to deliver powersats from the orbit to geosynch, that clinched it. The colony will be in orbit some 200,000 miles from Earth at its farthest point and 100,000 miles at its closest point, taking a bit less than two weeks for each revolution.

Trajectory followed by a catcher vehicle departing its station at L2. It loops around the moon, then escapes into an Earth orbit with a period of about two weeks, an orbit known as a "2:1 resonant orbit." Such an orbit is the preferred one for the colony, since it can be reached from L2 with very low velocity and also reduces the velocity required to reach the colony from Earth. (Courtesy David Kaplan)

http://www.nss.org/settlement/ColoniesInSpace/colonies_chap08.html
 
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neutrino78x

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The government would not do the colonization -- and the british government did not do the colonization of North America -- but what the government can do is set up the economic infrastructure for people to buy land on Mars, for example.

See the article Paying for Mars.

I also think it is important to change the Outer Space Treaty to make it legal for people to own land on Mars.

It should be like The High Seas: you can't own international waters, but you can own islands.

--Brian
 
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aaron38

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The economics of space are the economics of a frontier. Unfortunately we haven't really gone anywhere interesting yet where a colony can be founded. That's because LEO isn't a destination but a waypoint.

The analogy would be if Columbus had simply circled the Atlantic for ten years. When he returned home and the King asks what was accomplished out on the ocean, Columbus replied that they figured out how to fight seasickness, got real good at plugging leaks, and designed a 1% more efficient sail. How much follow up investment do you think that blockbuster news would generate?

It was the establishment of permanent colonies, and Europeans moving to them that funded the development of new and better ships, allowed new trade routes to emerge, and opened the door to more and more people having access to cheap transport.

Space exploration at this point has to be considered an investment to open the frontier. If there were a permanent growing base on Mars, there would be rich people selling all of their belongings to go and found a new colony. And every time another ship left Earth, it would be cheaper and easier to build the next one. And those who go leave all their money behind. A frontier gives Earth an export - colonists - and that's what pays for it.
 
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vulture4

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I cannot agree. A colony on the moon has some local minerals available but nothing else that isn't available in space, and nothing that isn't available on Earth except somewhat easier access to space. LEO has earth observation, microgravity, easier space observation than the moon, and the tourism and satellite servicing markets. If human spaceflight cannot be productive in LEO, it cannot possibly be productive on the moon.
 
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Skyskimmer

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vulture4":29sfeju3 said:
I cannot agree. A colony on the moon has some local minerals available but nothing else that isn't available in space, and nothing that isn't available on Earth except somewhat easier access to space. LEO has earth observation, microgravity, easier space observation than the moon, and the tourism and satellite servicing markets. If human spaceflight cannot be productive in LEO, it cannot possibly be productive on the moon.

Agreed it would have to be all three, Mar's near earth asteriods, and the moon.

The thing is if private investment does it it'll take forever for anything to get started. Be 40-50 years for anything starts to happen. Goverments role is to artficially create a market place where there is no life. that's kinda how I feel atleast, government invests where there's a population.

That being said the only way to diversify to all three, is A) need nuclear engines in orbit to freight everything around, without this, the idea is sunk. B) you need to create volume to get the rules of economy of scale to work.

If they can make a fleet of space tugs for say about 20 billion (1 years worth of nasa budget). Than mars becomes simply a matter of harvesting enough resources off the moon. The delta V's for mining asteriods becomes very small(as your hauling mass from the belts with nearly free energy). and it gives the moon a vital crossroads for the whole sky.
 
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vulture4

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Let's return to basic economics, specifically the curves of supply and demand. For the government to simply create a market shifts the demand curve, and moves the equilibrium point upward along the supply curve. This increases price. I can't emphasize this strongly enough. Many in the space enthusiast community assume that if the government "creates a market" by demanding additional service, cost will decrease. When the Shuttle was canceled (a disastrous decision, made during the Bush era) NASA had to buy rides to ISS from Russia. The cost immediately went up from about $30 million to over $50 million. Many Americans cried "Foul". But in reality this is what any Econ 101 student would predict. Increasing demand increases price.

The only way to decrease price is to shift the supply curve, through development and testing of fully reusable launch systems. Private industry cannot do this because of the cost, risk, and long payback time. So that is the proper applicaiton of NASA funding. The actual design work can be done by private industry, preferably with unmanned vehicles without arbitrary NASA demands for redundancy and excessive design factors that will make the vehicle too heavy and expensive to fly.
 
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