[FoRK] Losing my religion

Damien Morton dmorton at bitfurnace.com
Sat Feb 13 10:18:40 PST 2010

On Sun, Feb 14, 2010 at 4:49 AM, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:

> Of course there is, and it's been articulated well and often by various
> folks, notably Robert Zubrin and crowd.  (Cf. The Case for Mars, etc.)  A
> commercially-sponsored trip-to-Mars would be the biggest show on Earth.
>  Think about how much advertisers / sponsors spend on e.g. NASCAR.  Think
> about how much --- now approximating a half-billion at the top end --- we
> pay to make really big movies like Avatar.  Zubrin estimated that a
> Mars-direct mission could be mounted at a cost of < order-10 billion (in
> late-90s dollars, IIRC;  would need adjustment, however...)  That's actually
> in the realm of what private interests can fund, certainly given the payoff
> economics involved:  ads, sponsorship, direct subscription, special-access
> content and subscriptions, merchandising, etc.

Why go to Mars when you can write NASCAR on the moon with giant frikken
lasers. Its Solar Power Satellites in reverse, cranked up to 11, and a whole
lot cheaper and easier, and more profitable too.  If you have to go to mars,
take a page out of Avatar's playbook and send telepresences instead. Its
just so much cheaper, and its can be timeshared amongst thousands of paying
customers. More profit for the ferrengi. Hell, once you have people plugging
in to experience this, why not take a play out of the Matrix and mix in a
little fabricated reality to help pad out your telepresence timesharing a
bit. Its not like the sheeple will notice whether they are 'live' or not,
and think of the profits. Yes, commercial interests can really drive this

(BTW, even the Big Showy Trip To Mars isn't the biggest opportunity out
> there.  Drag a middling-sized S-type or M-type asteroid back to earth orbit
> from the belt:  payoff in the > $1T range, and likely to grow even higher.
>  Etc.  Cf. Mining the Sky by John S. Lewis.)

Fuckin eh man! Call the space tug the Exxon Valdez II. Isotopic manna from
heaven. Have to make sure we dont put a company that can go bankrupt in
charge of a ELE sized chunk of rock in earth orbit. Bring a whole new
meaning to the term "too big to fail".

> Why haven't private interests pursued this sort of thing before?  Already
> answered this one.  The zombie-like corpse of NASA sits atop to body of the
> relevant industries, pinning it down.  It is the mere *presence* of NASA
> that dominates, directs, and ultimately muddles the incentives of the entire
> space industry, and has for years.  Its presence distorts the entire
> landscape;  its failures create fear and FUD, its budgets create pools of
> easy money, the pursuit of which often delivers no relevant derivative or
> durable good.

Yep. All those dilapidated budgets, empty buildings and decade old computers
are just too competetive. Not just in actually making money, but on a more
existential level as well. This is why we see private industry focussing
only on highly productive ecological niches such as
throwing billionaires into minute-long zero-g experiences on the border of
the atmosphere. The vision is breathtaking. In a few short years, we will
all be able to rocket to the border of the atmosphere, where we will see
billionaires and movie stars in space hotels 100 miles above us.

> Is it our representatives who have the attention spans of a gnat? Or is it
> us and they are merely responding to it?
> Well, that too.  But the system insures that our reps have the attention
> spans of gnats;  that, at least, is fixable. ;-)

Right. Because corporations have a longer term vision than those in public
service. This is an incontrovertible truth, and everyone knows it.

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