[ExI] Why space tech isn't cutting edge

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 24 17:44:58 UTC 2012

On Monday, November 19, 2012 3:37 PM Adrian Tymes <atymes at gmail.com> wrote:

>> On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 2:30 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
>>> Be aware however that the path to such a
>>> coating in littered with the corpses of those who have gone before and
>>> failed.
>> Are you available for sweeping the corpses aside?  I'd imagine they
>> would also greatly impede progress.

> On the contrary.  When inventing something like this, it can be quite
> helpful to look at past efforts and understand why they failed: they can
> often identify non-obvious problems, at the cost of their research
> funding.  Too bad, so sad for them, but at least subsequent efforts can
> learn from their fails.

I have no problem with looking at past failed efforts and see this a problem with some research: not having enough perspective to choose likely better approaches or just retest something that failed because maybe the general concept was sound but they muffed the implementation. And the attitude here should be that even failures expand the knowledge base. (Well, to be sure, depending on what failed. If the failure is of the sort that the thing blew up on launch, so it never made it to space to be tested in situ, well, it's not like ignorance in that area was pierced.:)

That said, as the cost to orbit drops, which seems more likely now (especially with NASA pulling back in some areas; less funding likely means less of a corporate welfare approach -- less of an approach that keeps prices high because the stationary bandit is footing the bill), it might be easier just to do all kinds of trial and error tests that lead to solutions that might never be found if one worked from known theories or known working applications alone.



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