5 thoughts on “China”

  1. Almost two decades ago, I made an estimate of what income a family of four would need in order to live at the poverty level, if they bought everything they needed to live under the Federal Acquisition Regulations. It was something like $1,250,000.00, though the family would never have survived long enough to award the first contract. This, of course, was an estimate based on my own experience as a government contractor at the time. It really needs to be studied in depth, in my opinion. Most of the cost is associated with processes that “prevent” the government from being overcharged, and is simply a guarantee that it will spend far, far more is needed for anything whatsoever. There’s a lot to be made by the bureaucrats doing all of that “oversight.”

  2. Whether or not they are, we shouldn’t be complacent. China is rapidly expanding their military capabilities. They have an aircraft carrier, a space station, and super computers. While seizing territory in the seas, they are also working on trade routes overland in case the sea is not available to them. Many in America don’t view them as competition but they certainly view us as competition.

    The problem with the Sputnik analogy is that it is usually applied as an event which causes awareness. This is not the case here. There is no broad awareness about China’s capabilities. I suspect there is a rather large segment of society that would mock you for being paranoid for bringing it up, just like they did with Russia. On the flip side, there are people who have too much faith in our black budget. Both lead to complacency.

  3. I don’t think China is problem in regards to space. Nor in regards to anything.

    What the US should do in regards to Space is start new markets. If instead China started new
    markets in space, it could an emotional problem, but I don’t think who starts new markets in Space is
    much of problem. Though it would be impressive if China could start new markets.
    Suppose China started a suborbital travel market, that might make the US seem like Europe.
    One can not really have suborbital travel market without involving other countries, US would also get involved suborbital travel market.

    Anyhow, NASA or US govt can’t really do much in terms of starting suborbital market (it was merely an example of a new space market). Nor do imagine the China government would be “more succesful” but perhaps some Chinese billionaires could and if they did, I fail to see the problem (other than being quite surpised).
    I don’t think exploration of space is very important unless such exploration leads to new markets in space.
    Or were we to discover alien life on Mars, that is not important. And I can not think anything as significant to find, other than say first contact intelligent space aliens. And neither would important unless it lead (somehow) to new markets (which is possible).

    Now, what mean by markets, is something like settlements on Mars. Towns are market places and market places have numerous markets.
    And what NASA should be is explore the lunar poles to find it there is minable water.
    The total value of all minable lunar water, could be trillions of dollars, but get it all requires time and
    “Labor” and in terms actual value in terms couple decades of time is less than say 100 billion dollars.
    The important value of lunar water is it be the beginning of market in space.
    Or as comparison, the value of Martian real estate of a town, could a small amount, say 100 billion dollars, but town built could be trillions dollars. And likewise the value land real estate of all of Mars surface could be trillions of dollars, but it is like all water minable on the Moon (it’s an unrealistic and long term valuation).

    So NASA lunar program could cost 40 million dollars, and lunar water it finds could total value of Less than 40 billion dollars.
    I don’t think it is improvement, if NASA spends say 50 billion (10 billion more) in order to find trillion dollars worth of lunar water.
    Likewise, NASA might spend 100 billion dollars exploring Mars, but it does need to find more than trillions worth of potential Mars real estate. Or if NASA finds good location that would viable place to have a settlement, the value of land does not need to exceed the total cost of Mars exploration.

    If NASA is successful exploring the Moon, it will cost a lot more money than the exploration cost, or the amount money invested related it, over next couple decades, could be 2 or 3 times more than NASA total budget costs (if wildly successful).

    1. The thing about moving lava is the handling issues. For example, the most common sort of lava from eruptions in mainland US is rhyolite lava, which has viscosity around that of room temperature peanut butter. And basalt lava, which has low enough viscosity that one could send it through a tube, can range well past the melting point of steel.

      In other words, to transport lava, especially in the volumes you speak of, it needs to be in a tube, with a trade-off between the viscosity of the lava and the structural integrity of the tube. Then one gets to valves and such things. How would you maintain valves at 1200-1500 C for volume flows measured in the cubic kilometers?

      There may be other issues such as the higher density of lava (it’s about 2.5 times the density of water).

      Then we get to the heat load and maintaining the temperature of the lava. I think this is equivalent in difficulty to moving molten steel around. They just don’t do it for great distances. Instead, when molten steel is required at the destination, they cool off the steel and transport it in solid form and then melt it at the destination.

      And if you use lava for roads, you have to cool the lava once it arrives so that it doesn’t melt pipes, wires, etc or burn nearby flammables (like trees) that were already in place.

      And that’s the key problem with any such scheme. If you’re going to transport lava a great distance, you’ll need infrastructure that not only can handle those temperatures, but doesn’t lose more energy than if you cooled the lava to ambient temperature solid form, transported it (say via rail or boat), and then melted it into place.

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