robertojh_200 t1_ja0foxf wrote

SLS needs to work for now, but for the mission statement Artemis is setting for itself, they’ll need to replace the SLS entirely with something else. The space agencies want a permanent presents on or around the moon, and that simply isn’t going to happen with the rocket that costs 4 billion a launch.


robertojh_200 t1_j9orw1n wrote

That’s not detached. That’s the reality of rocket science. Delays are baked into the DNA of the process. At the very moment that he made his comments, they probably were a few months away, but then something broke, or the numbers stopped adding up, or something exploded. SpaceX is still the fastest moving launch company in the world even with the delays.


robertojh_200 t1_j83zpv5 wrote

That’s all well and good but blue origin has not proven the ability to be successful, even with a sub orbital joyride. Throwing money at the problem won’t solve anything, this is Amazon We are talking about, Jeff Bezos. Money isn’t the issue, it’s management, it’s pipe lining, I don’t want to say it’s talent because I know there’s plenty of talented people there. But blue origin is a laughingstock in the industry for a reason, and it’s going to take more than contracts to get them to a point where they can compete with SpaceX. They already have contracts with other private launch companies, they license out their engine, but they have been holding them back because of their constant delays. If blue origin wasn’t causing so many delays, there probably would be more substantial competition in the industry right now from other launch companies.

I don’t see how they are ready for a Mars contract within the next 10 years


robertojh_200 t1_j80az62 wrote

SpaceX is the most advanced launch organization in history, lapping the rest of the world twice over in mass to orbit with a nearly perfect safety record and dirt cheap vehicles.

Blue origin hasn’t been to orbit and their suborbital rocket just failed.

Investing in starship is smart based on track record, blue origin? They literally have no track record.


robertojh_200 t1_j3mk9xr wrote

Reply to comment by Michael_823 in Milkdromeda. by Acuate187

To give some more thoughts on the matter, much is often said about the probability of life in the universe, and the possibility of life's emergence in any given scenario. Leaving aside for a moment that developing probabilities with a sampling size of 1 is ludicrous at best, the method behind the conclusions--reverse engineering the requirements for life to evolve at least as we understand it to get some idea of what might likely be out there--can be flipped in the other direction.

We know, from our experiences, at least a little of what it takes to develop life. As far as we can tell, life on earth emerged from a single ancestor, which is to say we have one tree of life on earth that traces its roots back to a common ancestral microbial organism from which all life emerged, and all life shares family with. This original life form is an "emergence event" for life. Should life exist on Mars or Europa or even early Venus (which likely was a water world), it too would have had one emergence event similar to ours, and that life will have evolved along its own branching paths in its own tree of life. What then does it take to develop intelligence out of a microbial organism?

Because the discussion around the search for aliens usually implies the search for other intelligences, ones capable of using technology to communicate over vast distances, develop civilization, and explore the cosmos. Microbial remnants on Mars, aquatic animals on Europa, or whatever might have existed on Venus 500million years ago wouldn't be the holy grail first contact scenario we like to envision, though such discovery would completely change our understanding of life in the cosmos more generally; in one solar system, life will have had up to potentially four distinct emergence events, maybe more. The next question one might ask is, what happens if life emerged more than once on a single planet?

But our concern is with intelligence. Intelligence on earth had its own, distinct emergence event about 200,000 years ago with the emergence of homo sapiens. The thing is though, depending on how you define "intelligence", Earth may have had more than that. If you define intelligence as the capacity to make and utilize tools fashioned from the environment to better improve the odds of survival, than numerous species across the Earth already engage in that, from small maki monkeys using basic hammering implements, to Otters building dams, to other primates using weapons. Even homo erectus and other sub phenotypes of humans, distinct from Sapiens, used tools and built small communities; they now remain silent, but they existed nonetheless.

If you define intelligence as the capacity for language and communication along complex social structures or the ability solve complex problems, again, we see that all over the world, most notably in dolphins, who use a truly complex communication style to form sophisticated battle strategies in either hunting or playing, form social structures, and seem to hold very human like feelings for others--good or ill. And of course, primates have been able to learn sign language to communicate with humans. They even have senses of humor, and it's been argued they even have names.

If you define intelligence as self awareness--or sentience, the ability to recognize ones own feelings either physical or emotional as oneself--we see that everywhere. Dogs, parrots, primates, dolphins, elephants, and many more can look in a mirror and acknowledge that they are themselves, the foundation of consciousness, what one might call the soul.

And if you define intelligence as the capacity to develop civilization, and claim that humans are distinct in that category of all life on earth, than I would argue that civilization is merely the cooperative expression of beings that build with tools, communicate with language, and recognize oneself in the mirror as distinct from others in the group. In my view of the Earth, intelligence has had not one emergence event on Earth, but in fact dozens of emergence events, with humans being the obviously most advanced--but nonetheless only the greatest among many.

And at the risk of sounding conspiratorial, I can't even say with certainty that we were the first. We have no direct evidence of intelligence before us, but we also can't discount the possibility; intelligence's frequent reemergence in our tiny window of time would suggest that complex life naturally lends itself to complex, problem solving brains that lend further to the emergence of intelligence. What, then, may have existed 66million years ago, just before the fall of the dinosaurs, when the oxygen was richer and the life on it larger? What may have looked up at the stars and wondered to themselves--in their capacity to understand that they are themselves--what else might be out there, and what else might yet come?

In this view, while we can't say for certain how common life is, we can say with some degree of certainty that, where life does emerge, intelligence is not that far behind.


robertojh_200 t1_j3kvnnc wrote

Reply to comment by chetanaik in Milkdromeda. by Acuate187

Idk about that, to be in a rogue solar system you'd have a completely unfiltered view of the whole universe, like a night sky without light pollution. Imagine being able to view the universe we can't see because the Milky Way's zone of avoidance blocks it from our sight.


robertojh_200 t1_j3kvi19 wrote

Reply to comment by Fallacy_Spotted in Milkdromeda. by Acuate187

By that token, the paradox makes some sweeping assumptions about the efficacy of interstellar communication to begin with. Space is big, and interstellar communication almost impossible unless both parties already know and are already expecting communication. Establishing first contact across interstellar distances is like trying to shoot a bullet out of the air with another bullet fired from two different guns in two different states; you'd need an exceptionally powerful gun with even more exceptional precision. And the other guy has no idea you're aiming at him. But you, the shooter, are doing on purpose; two bullets don't collide by chance. First Contact happens when one civilization already knows about the other one before hand and so they send a deliberately overpowered signal to reach out.

It's possible, to be clear, and hell it may have already happened. We just haven't been listening long enough to know.


robertojh_200 t1_j3kuhvi wrote

Reply to comment by DroidLord in Milkdromeda. by Acuate187

>But the fact is that we just don't know how common life is (and more importantly intelligent life). Currently we have a sample size of one and that isn't enough to draw any meaningful conclusions.

That's fine, but the baseline statement of the Fermi Paradox is "if there are aliens, why haven't we heard from them?" as if we should have or even could have by now. It makes some serious presumptions about interstellar communication, interstellar travel, the proclivities of aliens engaging in either, and whether they even care about us enough to try and engage with us. Because make no mistake, anything we get from an alien race will almost assuredly have to be a deliberate attempt at communication; local TV and radio signals are far too weak to survive the interstellar void before degrading into indistinguishable background radiation.

Any message we receive would have to be deliberate, and that means that they would have to 1) have spotted us first, 2) recognized that we are a life-carrying planet, meaning their observational technology is at least better than JWST, 3) sent a signal exceptionally powerful enough via tight beam to survive the journey and be recognizable, 4) last long enough for our receivers to be able to parse it from the noise and identify artificial patterns, would need to 5) practically bullseye the solar system as it travels thousands of kilometers per second through the galaxy potentially hundreds of light years away, and we'd need to hope 6) that the Earth is on the correct side of the sun when the signal reaches the solar system so that it doesn't get drowned out by solar radiation, 7) that our receivers are aiming in the right direction at the right time for the right duration, and 8) that during it's travel through the void it doesn't get blocked by some unforeseen object like a black hole. This is all assuming they even use radio.

The amount of things that have to go perfectly right for us to receive a signal are insane; the WOW signal got only partially recorded because the receiver that picked it up was fixed and moved with the rotation of the earth, turning the receiver away from the signal just as it started picking it up. We may literally have missed an alien communication because we just lacked the technology to keep our ear on it for long enough, and it reached us at the wrong time.

We would likely need some kind of space-based radio observatory constellation network to truly survey the void for signals in a manner that leaves little room for doubt. And again, this is communication over vast interstellar distances, which creates its own problems. A 50,000 year old interstellar empire could be engaging in stellar engineering on the other side of the galaxy, and if they're 60,000 light years away, we will be physically incapable of ever knowing about them for 10,000 years. 10,000 years is far, far longer than the timescale upon which we'd been searching for alien life when Fermi asked "where is everybody". What would we have to say for ourselves when, after 9,999 years of not hearing anything, we conclude that we are alone, only to then get the very first light from a sequence of artificially induced stellar collapses on the other side of the galaxy? How foolish would we be, then, to have spuriously decided we were alone when even 9,999 years is a blip on the scale of space and time that separates us from our possible neighbors. At these scales, we will never be able to conclusively state we are alone from the sole vantage point of Earth; surrounded by 400billion stars in our galaxy alone, it would literally be faster and more productive to develop interstellar travel and just go look, than it would be to try and talk ourselves in circles around hypothetical fermi paradoxes, drake equations, and other probabilities all formed out of a sample size of 1 planet.

It's true that the we simply don't know, empirically, but the Fermi Paradox seems to take a presumptuous stance on the subject by implying we're alone and life must be rare simply because, in the vanishingly short amount of time we've been even capable of searching with anything resembling earnest (like, a few decades), we would have heard something. It's the equivalent of our cavemen ancestors approaching the shore for the first time, tasting the water, vomiting, and concluding that the water is poisonous and nothing could possibly live in the ocean simply because we couldn't do it ourselves--when a whole universe of life in fact lives just out of sight, oblivious and uncaring about either our ignorance or our arrogance.


robertojh_200 t1_j2ai51v wrote

Certainly not anytime soon. I could see a space-built ship, like an Aldrin cycler, coming about down the line when we have more established manufacturing infrastructure in space already. The gravity well of earth is something that we are going to eventually have to circumvent, as it’s the single most prohibitively expensive part of space travel.

But we can’t get to that point without multipurpose vehicles like starship, the ships that will establish the infrastructure in space that is needed in order to build something like that in the first place. Colonies, manufacturing, in situ resource utilization, etc. all of that doesn’t happen until starship launches, and hopefully it’s only the first. I’m also excited about the neutron rocket from rocket lab; it’s not as powerful as starship but it is approaching the weight class as a heavy multi purpose vehicle.


robertojh_200 t1_j0nfjrm wrote

Among other things. I’d say that the moon approaching economic viability is a big factor. There’s (actual) gold on the moon that would be profitable to mine and return to earth right now, with currently flying craft. Helium 3 is another ultra rare, ultra expensive resource that the moon has a lot of.

When starship flies, and economics of scale kick in, you see a snowball effect where the cheaper space flight becomes, the more lucrative it also becomes and therefore cheaper still. People want to jump on that next, final frontier.


robertojh_200 t1_iyd6ois wrote

This is one of the reasons why the fermi paradox has always befuddled me. The central question of the fermi paradox is “if the universe is full of life then why haven’t we heard anything“. And it always seemed obvious to me that the reason why we haven’t heard anything is because we’ve been listening for less than a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a second on the full year calendar of the universe‘s existence, and we expect to have just heard alien civilizations that could be millions of light years away.

Like, an entire interstellar empire could exist on the other side of the galaxy right now, literally strip mining entire stars for energy consumption, that has existed for 10,000 years, and we wouldn’t know about it for tens of thousands of years more at the bare minimum simply because of the speed of light. An alien civilization that just invented the radio yesterday that exists 100 light years away would be completely undetectable for at least another 100 years, and that’s assuming that they continue to use Omni directional radio transmissions; already on earth those are being phased out.

It’s just odd to me that the fermi paradox has such an iron grip on the discourse around the search for extraterrestrial intelligence; like, space is really freaking big, and that fact alone is the biggest limiting factor on why we probably haven’t heard anything.


robertojh_200 t1_iy8uynb wrote

Yeah I think it’s always important to put quality of life in perspective when talking about wealth gaps. The wealth gap should not be anywhere close to what it is now, certainly, and it’s easy to fall into a nihilistic cynicism over the state of wealth distribution in the world.

But I would counter that cynicism with the fact that we are even able to have this discussion at all. I’m holding in my hand right now a device that has the full scope of all human knowledge ever conceived accessible too it at the press of a few buttons, discussing the merits of interplanetary colonization with people from all over the world on a platform that engenders open discourse of current events in real time, from the comfort of my carpeted, centrally heated apartment while a machine does my laundry and my speaker plays any song ever written when I tell it too.

The way that Kings used to live 300 years ago would be seen as relatively quaint at best, downright uncomfortable at worst by our standards; it’s not the size of the castle so much as the quality of your life that I think people tend to miss. That’s not to say that life still isn’t a struggle, I think it’s something like 40 % of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and those are problems that need to be resolved. I just think it’s important to keep the development of human enterprise in perspective, the things that it’s allowed us to achieve on an individual level would be unbelievable to people 300 years ago. In that lens, the development of outer space can really only be to everyone’s benefit. Rich people don’t benefit from an infinite supply of resources if they aren’t selling it to a populace that can afford it; there is no doubt in my mind that we are on the cusp of a civilization of outer space trillionaire‘s, probably even quadrillionaires. Access to space would fundamentally change our concept of the economy, at least for thousands, or potentially even millions of years. Right now we face shortages of lithium, silicon, helium, and other raw materials that are vital to modern life. But those things exist in functionally infinite supplies in the solar system, and new technologies such as fusion reactors could lead to a true golden age. The people that crack these technologies or first stake claims to these resources will be the wealthiest people in human history. But they can enjoy their fancy space yachts if that means that free and/or cheap fusion energy, power satellites, and infinite abundant access to raw materials and access to space uplifts all mankind. Look at how far we’ve come on an individual level over the past 300 years, and imagine the kind of quality of life that we could expect in 300 years from now in a society that is materialistically post scarcity. There would not be a need to want for anything, and scarcity-based economies would have to rethink how they function from the ground up.

It’s definitely a scary time to be alive, with all of these potential new changes, but I prefer to see them as opportunities.


robertojh_200 t1_iy8s996 wrote

It may, but the overall quality of life at the bottom ought to go up. The wealth gap today is worse than it was 300 years ago, in a strictly linear fashion, but most people In first world countries live a better, more comfortable life than the wealthiest king of that time period.