Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

Post by scottydog »

Great question. Assuming that these first billionnaires' space missions don't end in disaster, passenger moon missions may begin within five years, don't you think?

For Mars to be colonized, do we need transportation time there to be one month max instead of the current seven months?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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scottydog wrote:
Fri Jul 09, 2021 11:44 pm
Great question. Assuming that these first billionnaires' space missions don't end in disaster, passenger moon missions may begin within five years, don't you think?
The technology is there. I think we're fast reaching the same critical point that home computing did back in the 80s. If NASA's return-to-the-Moon-by-2024 program works out and the private sector develops a parallel infrastructure, this could be the time.
For Mars to be colonized, do we need transportation time there to be one month max instead of the current seven months?
Not necessarily, and it would be very difficult. The thing to do is send the habitats and supplies ahead and make sure everything is functional before sending people, and then keep a regular supply run going, maybe on a cycling ship.

Do you think pets should go to the Moon and Mars settlements?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Good question. Maybe not at first, but I can imagine them being phased in within a few months or years.

Regarding moon and Mars colonization -- If low gravity has been shown to adversely affect human health, don't we need artificial gravity in place that approximates Earth's gravity?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Well, a few thoughts: We don't really know if microgravity adversely affects human health. We know that it causes muscle and bone mass to diminish, but that's probably only a problem if you're going back down. If you plan to spend the rest of your life in zero-G, it will likely have health benefits. Another thing is that nobody has spent more than a couple of days on the Moon and no time at all on Mars, so we don't know if lower gravity will have similar effects or not. If so, it will have to be countered with some kind of medical vitamin supplement, because artificial gravity of the type on Star Trek is almost certainly impossible. The only way to have artificial gravity in space is to get something big, like a hollowed-out asteroid or O'Neil Cylinder, and spin it.

Did you catch Richard Branson's voyage to the edge of space?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Yes, I'm thrilled about it, actually. The billionaire space-race is kind of amusing to witness. Bezos was a good sport about it and congratulated Branson. All sorts of rich people who are able to afford the price tag will soon be making these trips.

What do you think of criticisms of these billionaires that argue that these billions of dollars should be directed instead toward more humanitarian causes such as solving world hunger, saving the planet from greenhouse gases, etc?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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For one thing, they're doing all that. For another, those are more political problems than financial problems. For yet another, you can't put life and civilization on hold until you think the world is perfect (and who knows from which direction solutions to these problems may come?). And for yet another, how many of these critics would be willing to give up their TVs or vacations and give the money to charity?

Do you think we're at the threshold of space technology taking off like home computers and the Internet did?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Space technology or space travel?

I haven't been keeping up with recent advances in space technology. One of my previous questions centered on speed of travel, which I think is big factor when considering the pragmatics of colonizing our solar system. Right now the pragmatics aren't there.

But maybe Branson-like space flight tourism is now a real deal. But do you think there's enough demand, given the sticker shock?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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scottydog wrote:
Tue Jul 13, 2021 2:09 am
Space technology or space travel?
I was mainly referring to space travel, but space technology in general will have an enormous economic impact-- just think of all the side effects of computer technology in society today.
I haven't been keeping up with recent advances in space technology. One of my previous questions centered on speed of travel, which I think is big factor when considering the pragmatics of colonizing our solar system. Right now the pragmatics aren't there.
Throughout most of human history, travel time between countries and continents has taken weeks to months. I think this may not be a bad thing. In fact, I wrote a poem about it, but unfortunately it's in my second volume of poetry, not the one you bought. :lol: I'll dig it out and post it later.
But maybe Branson-like space flight tourism is now a real deal. But do you think there's enough demand, given the sticker shock?
There is right now, and that should be enough. Remember that in the late 70s a VCR cost well over a thousand dollars and now you can get a DVD player for under fifty bucks. But that's really the question: Has the field reached that same critical mass that computers and home entertainment did in the 80s?

Since all technologies and human endeavors are a double-edged sword, what do you think the downside of space colonization might be?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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RJDiogenes wrote:
Tue Jul 13, 2021 10:36 pm
Remember that in the late 70s a VCR cost well over a thousand dollars and now you can get a DVD player for under fifty bucks.
I remember that. Sort of the same thing happened with flat-screened TVs. For that reason, I'm never an early adopter and will wait for the prices to come down. So yeah, I can see the same thing happening with space travel.
RJDiogenes wrote:
Tue Jul 13, 2021 10:36 pm
But that's really the question: Has the field reached that same critical mass that computers and home entertainment did in the 80s?
From the New York Times, two days ago:

“We’re here to make space more accessible to all,” Mr. Branson said on Sunday as he was presented with his astronaut wings after his milestone flight.

The price tag now is about $200,000. But the article said that even at that price, more than 600 people from some 60 countries had signed up for one of its flights. And they expect to start flying these commercial passengers as soon as next year!

How much lower would the price have to get for people like you and me to consider it? I'm thinking I'd pay 5k, maybe. I'm not sure and will have to ponder.
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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^^ I think 5k is reasonable. People spend that much on a regular vacation easily. And this is space travel. A lot of people have that dream.

Here's that poem:

JUST AFTER SUNSET
© 2021 Rick Hutchins

Just after sunset,
the Western sky still deeply violet,
I stand in the backyard
with the tray in my hands
and take a moment....
Beyond the grassy lawn,
the fragrant summer flower beds
and the sweet honeysuckle vine,
the silhouette of the forest edge
sighs gently in the breeze.
In the East, the sky is black
and a billion stars sparkle
through the clear and crystalline air.
To the South, the orbital ring
arches across the heavens
like a rainbow made of gold
to where it disappears in the Earth’s shadow.
As I watch, a speck of light
seems to break away from the ring
and dwindle in the sky.
A slowboat to Mars, or maybe Ceres.
Once upon a time,
the world had grown crowded;
Humanity felt trapped and tense.
Rapid transportation
and instant communication
exacerbated the claustrophobia.
Anger and hatred spread like a plague.
Then the sky was opened
and the world was big again– was huge.
Civilization spread out
among the planets, moons and habitats
and breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Now I place the tray of cookies
on the table between the lawn chairs.
The screen door opens and closes behind me.
Here she comes with the tea.

*****

Since all technologies and human endeavors are a double-edged sword, what do you think the downside of space colonization might be?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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RJDiogenes wrote:
Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:06 pm
JUST AFTER SUNSET
© 2021 Rick Hutchins
Very nice. I love the transitions you make between small here-and-now descriptions of the natural other-world (and tea) with big grand ideas of space colonization. Then it's back to tea again :tea: It's an optimism and idealism that's got me thinking....
RJDiogenes wrote:
Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:06 pm
Since all technologies and human endeavors are a double-edged sword, what do you think the downside of space colonization might be?
Gosh. The history of colonizing new territories shows us the upsides and downsides. Think of the diseases that Columbus and his men brought back to Europe. Think of the lost lives at sea as we first circumnavigated the globe. Think of the ways Europeans contaminated cultures that they contacted and colonized.

Think of all the times the prime directive was violated, sometimes justifiably so and sometimes not.

Do you think that humans are ready to learn from these mistakes and avoid making them again?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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scottydog wrote:
Thu Jul 15, 2021 1:09 am
Very nice. I love the transitions you make between small here-and-now descriptions of the natural other-world (and tea) with big grand ideas of space colonization. Then it's back to tea again :tea: It's an optimism and idealism that's got me thinking....
Thank you. I wanted to drive home the idea that the entire mood of humanity had relaxed with the opening up of the frontier.
Think of the diseases that Columbus and his men brought back to Europe. Think of the lost lives at sea as we first circumnavigated the globe. Think of the ways Europeans contaminated cultures that they contacted and colonized.
Well, diseases are unlikely, though not completely impossible. Space explorers are equally unlikely to contaminate any cultures, since the rest of the Solar System is uninhabited (and human cultures have been interacting since Olduvai). As for lives lost, that's part of the deal no matter what you do.
Do you think that humans are ready to learn from these mistakes and avoid making them again?
Yes, but they'll learn the wrong lessons and therefore make new mistakes. :lol:

In asking about the double-edged sword of space exploration, I was thinking about the Internet: A great repository of information that spreads ignorance, a communication medium that brings together friends from all over the globe and also serves as a focal point of extremism and ideology. Do you think the colonization of space will also somehow grow a Dark Side?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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RJDiogenes wrote:
Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:44 pm
I wanted to drive home the idea that the entire mood of humanity had relaxed with the opening up of the frontier.
Yes, I can see that for sure. It's amazing how we take these innovations, advances, and expansions for granted, perhaps within a generation or two.
RJDiogenes wrote:
Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:44 pm
In asking about the double-edged sword of space exploration, I was thinking about the Internet: A great repository of information that spreads ignorance, a communication medium that brings together friends from all over the globe and also serves as a focal point of extremism and ideology. Do you think the colonization of space will also somehow grow a Dark Side?
That's the 64,000 dollar question. There seem to be unintended and unforeseen consequences of new innovations. Did anyone anticipate the myriad of effects, both good and bad, of the Internet? I don't think so.

We should write a collection of short stories on the Dark Side of Space Colonization. We've mentioned some physical issues, such as travel time and gravity effects on physiology. What might be a dark psychological consequence of space colonization?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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That is actually one of the purposes of my Spacious Skies universe, to see what kind of colonies people would create in space and how they would develop after 700 years in isolation. Just extrapolating from the current environment, you might have urban habitats and country habitats, or you might have religious communities or Black-only (or whatever-only) colonies, or college towns in space, or artist's colonies (like Woodstock in my script), or eugenics experiments, or anarchists or socialists or libertarians, or even Nazis and communists and UFO cults. Some may be based on specific historical periods or even fictional worlds-- some even for the purpose of tourism, like Sturbridge Village or Colonial Williamsburg. So they can be good or evil-- or start one way and turn out the other.

What kinds of planned space communities can you imagine?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Are you assuming that space colonies would not operate under the same laws of their host countries? If a community of Americans colonized Mars, I would expect the community to be governed by American laws. But that leads me to the question of who "owns" Mars....
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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According the Outer Space Treaty currently in effect, "Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means," so theoretically nobody can own Mars. Of course, nobody has yet had the means to claim any outer space territory, and the treaty is pretty unenforceable. It also doesn't prevent individuals or non-national groups from claiming territory. I expect that the treaty will be superseded by something more realistic once colonization becomes actually possible. For the purposes of Spacious Skies, all asteroid habitats and artificial habitats are independent nations, and some Earth nations have territories on the Moon and Mars (for example, the United States has two States, the Commonwealth of Tranquility and New Dominion, on the Moon).

What kind of societies do you think that special interest groups will try to found in space?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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That's a great question because you can imagine a horrifying scenario in which a bizarre cult decides they want the freedom to live their lives the way they want to, and so they establish a settlement on another planet and end up doing horrible things such as sacrificing first-born children into lunar volcanos. There's no shortage or crazy cult groups who may seek refuge on another planet

Do you see such groups posing a danger someday?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Sure. They pose a danger today, with many people dying of suicide or terrorism. And there's no telling which crazy cult will catch on, like QAnon did.

Of course, there are many other kinds of groups that would want to create a space colony to preserve or perfect or create a way of life. The Amish could be one example, or an updated version of ancient Greece, or a free love society. And the other question is how these cultures would develop in isolation over the centuries-- something well meaning could go very wrong and something based on insanity could turn out surprisingly grand.

If you had the opportunity to design and create a space colony, say for a couple of thousand people, what kind of society would you create?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Well this sounds corny, but I'd create a society based on the enlightened teachings of many traditions, ranging from Buddhism to communism. My society would treat criminals with love and compassion rather than imprisonment. It would teach children at a young age how to manage their emotions, how to cultivate compassion, and how to think nondualistically. There would be an emphasis on building a sense of community and living a life of service to others. Leadership would be rotated among all the adults, and of course there would be an abundance of chocolate.

Can you find fault with any of that?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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^^ Will it involve people? :D

It looks kind of good on paper, but what is the actual government? Will the people living there be required to live by the rules or move out, or will it be a democracy that can vote itself out of existence? What about intractable criminals or the incurably mentally ill?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Yes, I'm very much pro-democracy. And I'm very much pro-rotating leadership, so I'm imaging a blend of the two. And you're right that there are some intractable criminals who won't respond to therapy. So there will be some, but very few, prison cells. No capital punishment, though.

If you were starting a nation from scratch on Mars, would you duplicate the US system of three branches of government, the constitution, etc?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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scottydog wrote:
Tue Jul 20, 2021 12:06 am
No capital punishment, though.
You're not going to space anybody? :D
If you were starting a nation from scratch on Mars, would you duplicate the US system of three branches of government, the constitution, etc?
It depends on the type of nation. If it were to be a real, independent country of the type we have on Earth, then I would basically recreate the Constitution with appropriate modifications (such as including the Bill of Rights and other Amendments as part of the main text). Also, it may have to be restructured a bit depending on whether we had States or not. But probably the best idea there would be constructing a self-governing territory that could apply for Statehood.

But my preference would be to create an independent space habitat of the type I depicted in Spacious Skies, which was a privately-owned artists' colony. There would naturally be some sort of representative community government, but in the end it would still be a privately-owned retreat with residents either being invited or applying, and mainly for the purpose of artistic freedom.
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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RJDiogenes wrote:
Tue Jul 20, 2021 9:48 pm
You're not going to space anybody? :D
Only my 3 stepchildren :devil:

I'm enjoying this space conversation but today a question occurred to me that relates to our previous topic on laboratory meats. When lab-grown meat becomes cost-competitive to slaughtered meat, would you be OK to harvest one of your cells and grow it into meat for eating?

If not, what rational logic you have to justify eating some other animal's cells but not your own?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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scottydog wrote:
Tue Jul 20, 2021 10:56 pm
Only my 3 stepchildren :devil:
Add that to your list of stories to write. :lol:
I'm enjoying this space conversation but today a question occurred to me that relates to our previous topic on laboratory meats. When lab-grown meat becomes cost-competitive to slaughtered meat, would you be OK to harvest one of your cells and grow it into meat for eating?

If not, what rational logic you have to justify eating some other animal's cells but not your own?
As far as I know, there are no physiological drawbacks to cannibalism (and it has been a normal practice in some societies), so I would have no general objections. The specific reason may impact my decision. If the purpose is to fight hunger with cheap and nutritious RJ Burgers, that would be fine. If it would be for high-priced delicacies in a bizarre cannibal cult, I might have to think it through.

How about you? Would you market Scotty's Human Chow?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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There's no rational reason for me not to enjoy Scottyburgers. The hard part would be getting over the psychological barrier. I mean, really -- eating my own flesh? The resistance would be purely emotional and I think I could do it.

Why wouldn't you want other people to enjoy your RJ filet mignon?
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