May 18, 2019

On Bezos and Space

Jeff Bezos, last week, gave a talk on his plans for facilitating the expansion of humans into space.


"We're convinced. We're dressed and ready to go!"

Indeed! That's fantastic!

And yet...I'm conflicted. 

Now I'm firmly in the Dandridge Cole / Jerry O'Neil school as opposed to the Musk/Zubrin (MARS!MARS!MARS!MAARRSS!1!) camp.

There are reasons for this.

The perils of raising kids in 38% gravity is not being given any study. We don't know how much gravity is needed for extended human habitation, but we know that zero gravity is bad, sometimes surprisingly so.  Furthermore, the whole point of going into space is to get out of the gravity well.  Being in a 38% gravity well is better than the 100% gravity well of Earth, but it's vastly inferior to orbiting Ceres, Pallas or Psyche. So I think we should certainly go with Stanford Torus's and such.  With those we can make 1g habitats and we can go pretty darn big.

...but it's Bezos. He's banning books from his bookstore, spying on us and seems to be an authoritarian prick. "Seek a Brighter Future in the Outer an Employee of Vault Tech or Weyland Yutani" This is not frontier I'm looking for. 

Elon Musk is striving like mad to the bottom of a gravity well.

OTOH Musk is working hard to make it accessible financially to middle class people willing to, say, sell their houses. Musk seems to me to be much less likely to set up a dystopian  hellhole at the intersection of 1984 and Outland than Bezos, who seems to be a member of the authoritarian tech-weasel association in good standing (which is odd, given that his parents risked everything to escape Castro's Cuba in the 1960s.

On the other hand, Bezos is completely right about best to go about becoming a spacefaring civilization. Rather than Mars and a couple of moons, we can place rotating habitats in or next to any of the thousands of asteroids, and we can use solar power as far afield as Jupiter.

One other thing I will say about both Bezos and Musk. They are thinking big and they are thinking ahead. Despite all the crazy nonsense we see today that fills us with trepidation for the future of our society, this fact can give us hope: Both men are working towards starting something truly noble that will not come to fruition until long after they are gone.

"A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit."

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:52 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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