7 thoughts on “The High Frontier”

  1. Got it the first time they offered it a while back. Read the original back in the 70’s, and found it quite inspirational. The technology is a bit outdated, as it relies heavily on shuttle based components. On the other hand, what’s happening in the commercial world makes the math of space settlement work even better.

  2. What remains is still the breakout technology that makes them economically viable. In O’Neill’s book it was Space Solar Power Satellites. But to make that work economically and to scale up a working process the last I recall it was believed necessary to set up an infrastructure on the moon to ship regolith to orbit for conversion to solar cells? In other words shipping up the raw materials from Earth is a loser and should only be done for initial start-up not for operational feed-stock. Otherwise it’s too expensive. So as far as I can tell its either moon + cis Lunar (colonies) or asteroids + cis Earth (colonies). But there is always that colony + ? in the equation…

    PS: Great talking with you last night Rand…

    1. Space Solar Power Satellites have always been economical… for the people living in space. First you choose to go, then you figure out how you can pay for it. If you try to do it the other way around you can always find something else you could be doing that would be more profitable.

      1. That’s actually also the argument I’ve seen for why to colonize the Moon or Mars. O’Neill likes to point out early in his book about the advantages of not living in a gravity well. But there are also distinct disadvantages as well. The primary one being you have to leverage nearly all that so-called “free energy” (let’s call it cheap energy) to either recycle or provide transport for raw materials that can be easily had on the surface of body X but not so much for a space colony. You pay the price twice. Once to get it there and unless you are using it all yourself another to get it somewhere else. Whereas a Moon or Mars colonist has easy access to the raw material where use and leverage of it in-situ is cheap. Also I would believe the main argument for either the Selenian or Martian colonist is exactly as you say. First they choose to go, then they figure out how to make it pay.

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