Why Haven’t We Built Cities In Space?

There’s a long piece over at Gizmodo, mostly about the NRC report. Sadly, the reporter didn’t seem to talk to anyone except Ariel Waldman:

The US has a plan for Americans to live in space. In 2012, the National Research Council was commissioned by Congress to roadmap the future of human space exploration. Last June, the team published its findings in a massive report, which called for several action steps to be taken immediately.

No, actually, the NRC report was not really a plan. It was a set of fairly vague and broad recommendations. There is no plan.

Statistically, China’s space program is a few decades behind the US, but consider these facts: Just in the last two years the country has sent ten people into space.

Really? No, not really. In the last two years, China has sent three people into space. Go back three years, and they’ve sent six.

The agency is currently working on a mission to Mars and a proposal for its own space station, which is planned for sometime in the 2020s. Soon, China will undoubtably surpass the US in its efforts for space colonization.

That’s ridiculous. China is using legacy Soviet-type hardware. No one is going to colonize space that way.

Thanks to a 2011 Congressional act that bars the US from collaborating with China’s space program, NASA is not allowed to work directly with the most quickly accelerating efforts to get humans into space. Thanks to a 2011 Congressional act that bars the US from collaborating with China’s space program, NASA is not allowed to work directly with the most quickly accelerating efforts to get humans into space. This is a huge problem. “There are only two places that are going into space,” says Waldman, referring to current crewed missions by Russia and China. “We’re not one of them, and we’re not in collaboration with the other one of them.”

This is delusional. China is not the place with the “most quickly accelerating efforts to get humans into space.” That is happening in Hawthorne and Mojave, California, and Seattle. We do not need to work with China or Russia to get into space, and we are not in a race with them.

So much of what seems to motivate any space exploration is the concept of flag planting, which the US pretty much invented: I HEREBY CLAIM THIS MOON FOR AMERICA. Take away these imperialistic aspirations and the goals of human spaceflight become unmeshed with these ideas of nation-building—and a lot more pragmatic.

Ummmmmm…no. We did not CLAIM THIS MOON FOR AMERICA. We “came in peace for all mankind.”

Anyway, you get the idea.

Sid Blumenthal


Of course, one basic difference between Iraq and Libya is that the Bush administration had a plan for what would happen after Saddam was gone, and they executed it, with mixed results. The almost incredible fact is that the Obama administration–most notably, Hillary Clinton–had no meaningful plan for what would follow Qaddafi. The result was, almost immediately, a disaster. This is the fact that should be pounded home whenever Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State is under discussion.

Just to recap. She didn’t turn over the Sid’s emails to Congress, despite their clearly being related to Libya and Benghazi. This is called “obstruction of justice.” It runs in the family, I hear.

Mark Steyn’s Latest

Go read it. You know you want to:

As for my basing a large part of my career on attacking Mann, I do sometimes marvel at the way people who profess to be saving the planet can be so fantastically parochial. In 2001, I wrote about the then-newish hockey stick in Britain’s Sunday Telegraph and Canada’s National Post, and some five years later in The Australian. But, as far as I recall, until November 2009 I had never ever mentioned Michael E Mann’s name in print. That was the month Climategate broke, of course, and I alluded to him a handful of times in the ensuing weeks. (Mann knows all this because I responded to his discovery requests almost a year-and-a-half ago, since when he’s refused to respond to mine.) And after that handful of times, I never mentioned him again until a 2012 blog post for which he’s suing me.

So now I mention him somewhat more often.

The same is true of me, in fact. If this does go to trial, Professor Mann is going to be very disappointed to discover how little attention I paid him up until I wrote that blog post.

Mission To Mars Orbit

The FISO presentation from May has been released. I’ll definitely use this in the project, to show how it could be improved by dumping SLS/Orion.

[Update a while later]

OK, I’ve glanced through it. There isn’t much in the way of numbers (Isp, mass, etc.) to make it easy to come up with alternatives. I will note that they are looking at 17 or eighteen SLS flights over a two-decade period, or about once a year. That probably implies a couple billion per flight, ignoring all the money we’re currently wasting on development.

The Country’s In The Very Best Of Hands

OPM outsourced root to China.

Well, then I guess they do have a point that encryption wouldn’t have been very useful

Seriously, I think it’s time to completely overhaul the civil service system. We just had a cyber Pearl Harbor. Will anyone be punished? We know the answer to that one.

[Thursday-morning update]

The military-clearance OPM breach is an absolute calamity. And Obama can’t even bring himself to admit that the federal government screwed up.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!