[ExI] Meat v. Machine
sjatkins at mac.com
Fri Dec 31 07:04:54 UTC 2010
On Dec 30, 2010, at 8:03 AM, spike wrote:
> Current access to space is good enough, if your payload has a lot of magic.
> The longer you wait, the more magic it gets....--Eugen* Leitl
> As a spacecraft controls guy I am reluctant to admit it, but this comment is
> really right on, the conclusion I eventually reached with much kicking and
> screaming over 20 yrs ago. I was new to the field right when the Challenger
> exploded in 1986. We really looked at the numbers that the space shuttle
> was making at the time, and most of us concluded that system had not the
> potential to be a game changer. We did calcs on heavy lifters for the next
> several years. I and others concluded by around 1989 that all the real
> potential was in miniaturization and vastly increased sophistication of
> payloads. That is perhaps why the K. Eric's book Engines of Creation had
> such an impact on me, and why I became Mister Nanotech at the aerospace
> weight engineers conferences
Well now we don't have the heavy lifters we had before. Are you sure you believe that the current huge cost to orbit is good enough? I have rarely been so utterly amazed and had as much trouble believing a statement as that one. Hell, we still don't have much better than 80% success putting payloads into orbit. Why in the hell is this good enough?
Again, we are three decades from machine phase. Are you sure we have that much time?
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