Tyndmyr wrote: J Thomas wrote: Tyndmyr wrote: J Thomas wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:No technology emerges fully mature. There's always the beta version with all it's foibles, and you learn all manner of stuff actually working with tech in practice. That's gonna happen regardless of when the first time is. So, the question really is, do you want the first time to be a small little rock with fairly minor consequences for failure, or do you want to hold off the first time until all of humanity is on the line?
Let's hold off until the technology gets considerably cheaper. Energy costs are high now, and various other early-stage technologies will help with this one. So do this after energy costs go down to a reasonable level and we have more enabling technologies online.
Why do you expect energy costs to automatically decrease? Have a giant lake of oil socked away somewhere that you haven't told us about?
If we put the money into things to get cheap energy first, then we get asteroid-rustling cheaper.
If we put the money into asteroid-rustling first, then assuming we scale up fast enough we don't get clobbered by an asteroid and it's that much more expensive to work on cheap energy later.
So if we put off the asteroids for say 50 years, it will increase our risk of getting hit by an asteroid by about the same as the last 50 years and the 50 years before that and the 50 years before that etc. I think we should take that risk and do the more important stuff first.
What on earth could be more important than, yknow, the continuity and safety of humanity? That seems like it'd be up there, anyway.
Bad reasoning in a good cause is still bad reasoning. Try to do better.
Anyway, I've heard that the risk of a city getting flattened by an asteroid is roughly akin to the risk of dying in an earthquake if you live in so ca.
Would you like to follow that up? Find out who's saying it, and what basis they have to say it? I heard that if we can just get solid gun control in the USA for 50 years we will save more lives than we will with asteroid control for 50 years, and far far cheaper. But I don't remember where I heard it.
Stats are fuzzy for things of this nature, but there's a LOT of rocks up there, and as urbanization increases, the likelihood of one of them coming down somewhere important increases. So, it isn't actually true that the risk is the same every 50 years.
It looks like the risk of a meteor strike with drastic consequences is about the same for 50 years.
Given time, we will have stronger and lighter materials to work with. Better robotics. Maybe some important advances I can't predict at all. The other research we do will have spin-offs that will make space stuff cheaper.
Most of that kind of tech IS spin-off from space tech.
Again, bad reasoning in a good cause is still bad reasoning. Let's do research on this other tech and then we can mostly run the space program on spin-offs from that.
So, when was the last asteroid bombardment that was big enough to justify a giant space program? (Other things equal, the bigger the asteroid the bigger the effort required to deflect it.)
I've heard stories that one in North America ended civilization there a long time ago, creating the Carolina Bays. But now the Bays appear not to have formed that way. If we knew how often to expect expensive meteorites that would give us an idea what we're insuring.
Tunguska Event was considered pretty big. Had another one in russia of late that you may have heard of.
Neither of those had a cost that would begin to justify a space program.
Look -- on a scale of hundreds of millions of years, extinction-level meteor events are pretty common. Our descendents need to be ready for that. And if we get good at space exploration, if it turns out we can live OK in space, then within a few thousand years it plain won't make sense to live on a planet. People up there can drop big rocks on you and there's nothing you can do about it. It's like being at the bottom of a well and trying to defend yourself from people on top. Nobody but peasants will live on planets.
But on a scale of 50 years it just does not make sense. And in the timescale of a US government budget? (I mean, in times when the US government actually has a budget.) It's absurd to spend significant money on this in that timescale.
Put it this way -- if we want to maintain a continuing effort to block big meteors, launch costs will go up as we set up a force that can handle problems of increasing size. And then when we decide the upper limit of the size of asteroid we are willing to prepare for, then launch costs will stabilize and not go down until we develop new technology that makes them cheaper.
If we can't afford it now, why would we be able to afford it every year for 50 years, or 100 years?
Put the money into getting it cheaper first, and then we can catch up for far less cost. If we put our money into cheap energy first, we can fund space off the profits. And if cheap energy doesn't happen? Then we can't afford space.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.