simcoder t1_jdyg9e4 wrote


But, even beyond the sharing/kumbaya aspects, I think that world leaders/space forces need to recognize that earth orbit is more MAD than traditional battlespace. Trying to push back against that unfortunate fact is very, very expensive and countermeasures/denial are comparatively cheap. And, in the worst case scenario, virtually unstoppable.

It's much more a "hold on loosely" situation than something you can fortify and establish hegemony over.


simcoder t1_jcxe4ye wrote

Mars does absolutely nothing to ensure the survival of the human race. At best, you're condemning a bunch of colonists to a terrible death if something happens to mothership Earth. (or, much more likely, some petty squabble on Earth leaves the colonists to fend for themselves)

I know Elon said it all those years ago and then everyone else jumped on the bandwagon. But, it's a quite facile take on the issue that's more about wish fulfillment than reality.


simcoder t1_jb178i8 wrote

>No one's dismissing it

Yes...they are.

In fact the other guy just said that whatever collateral damage happens is just the sad wreckage we'll need to leave in our wake to move up the technological ladder.

It's pretty scary to be honest. All the things that the SpaceX fanbase is willing to sacrifice to achieve Elon's goals.


simcoder t1_jazcq1a wrote

Both space stations and Hubble are in the debris path to deorbit. As are a lot of other things that people would prefer not get shredded or have to burn all their fuel dodging broken dreams.

So, a lot can happen in 5 or 10 years. Or however long it takes for the full evolution to occur. And the geopolitical ramifications could cause all sorts of strife here on the ground above and beyond the collateral damage in orbit.

To dismiss the potential consequences of a worst case scenario would be very, very foolish.


simcoder t1_jayapsk wrote

A XX,000 satellite constellation going full debris cascade is going to leave a mark on LEO for quite a while. And that debris will have to traverse the orbits of the space stations and Hubble and who knows what else as it deorbits.

It's pretty common for the SpaceX superfan to completely disregard the impacts of such a thing. I'm not sure how they do it but they seem to be able to filter out any and all bad outcomes when their favorite corporation is involved.

I guess it's their super power.


simcoder t1_jay4u4v wrote

I think they may have nailed one of the problems right on the head.

A couple excerpts:

“Starlink is the densest patch of space that has ever existed,” Lawler says. The satellites are constantly navigating out of each other’s way to avoid collisions (SN: 2/12/09). And it’s a popular orbital altitude — Hubble is there, and so is the International Space Station and the Chinese space station.

So far, there are no international regulations to curb the number of satellites a private company can launch or to limit which orbits they can occupy.

The speed of commercial development is much faster than the speed of regulation change,” McDowell says. “There needs to be an overhaul of space traffic management and space regulation generally to cope with these massive commercial projects.”


simcoder t1_j9m9caa wrote

I would bet that the rate of technological advancement at the furthest ends of the tech tree will slow. I think it applies more broadly but certainly there will be areas where things continue to advance rapidly.

Regarding commercial opportunities here in Earth orbit, I'm sure there is huge potential. Particularly on the defense side, I'd imagine that's pretty much open ended as far as potential revenues and profits go.

But, I do think those profits will end up coming at the cost of the long term stability and commercial viability of Earth orbit. So, it's a bit tricky.


simcoder t1_j9lp1x6 wrote

Complexity adds a diminishing returns factor the further you get down the tech tree. For instance, in the very early 1900s, a huge number of the tech advances were a result of someone figuratively tinkering in their garage. These days you often need the collaboration of large institutions or even nation states to continue those efforts.

We're also approaching the limits of material properties/chemistry. We're extracting just about all the useful work that is available by burning hydrogen in a rocket engine. There will always be improvements to be made but those will likely require large efforts for minor improvements. OFC, nanotube advances and such are also possible. But, those will tend to be fewer and farther between.

Tech advances will never stop. But the rate of change will likely slow down overall, maybe quite a bit. You will have the gamechangers like carbon nanotubes and maybe even fusion happening every once in a while. And those will be huge. But taking fusion for example. That might happen in 20 years. Or it might be 200 years.

That's not to say you shouldn't be excited about the future and advances and so forth. But maybe it wouldn't be the worst idea to temper the expectations a little bit.