[ExI] Meat v. Machine

Samantha Atkins 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?  

- samantha

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