Author Topic: Jeff Bezos believes in space as an industrial park, but not as a backup  (Read 31693 times)

Offline Pipcard

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http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/10/jeff-bezos-dismisses-idea-of-a-backup-plan-says-we-must-protect-earth

Quote from: Eric Berger
During the last year Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has begun to open up about the scale of his ambitions with the rocket company, Blue Origin, explaining that he envisions millions of people living and working in space. Additionally, Bezos has talked about moving heavy industry off of planet Earth to create a garden paradise on our home planet.

In this view Bezos' philosophy differs significantly from the other titan of the new space industry, Elon Musk of SpaceX. Both men agree that reusable spaceflight is essential to lowering the cost of access to space, but they disagree about what to do once we get there. Musk has spoken openly of providing humanity with a "backup plan," and recently revealed his ultra-ambitious plans to colonize Mars with 100 passengers at a time via his Interplanetary Transport System.

Bezos dismissed this approach on Oct. 22, during the Pathfinder Awards at the Seattle Museum of Flight. In remarks first shared by GeekWire, Bezos said Earth should be zoned as a residential area. "I don't like the Plan B idea that we want to go into space so we have a backup planet," he said, noting NASA's efforts to send probes throughout the solar system. "Believe me, this is the best planet. There is no doubt this is the one you want to protect. This is the jewel. We evolved here, we're kind of made for this planet. It's gorgeous, and we can use space to protect it."

Humanity has two futures, Bezos said. It can continue to grow, or it can settle into some kind of population equilibrium. As an example of the planet's limitations he offered energy as an example. Taking the baseline energy use on Earth, and compounding it at 3 percent for 500 years, would require covering the entire surface of the Earth in solar cells to meet the demand by the year 2500. "We need to go into space if we want grow as a species," he said. "Another route would be just to face stasis, but I don't think that's as interesting. I don't think we want to just survive on this planet, I think we want to thrive and do amazing things."

With his reusable approach to lowering the cost of spaceflight, Bezos said Blue Origin will try to provide the infrastructure needed to enable humans to do interesting things in space. Bezos said he believes that if he can provide low-cost access to space, the next generation will figure out how to creatively use zero gravity, 24/7 solar power, as well as valuable resources on the Moon and asteroids.

Not sure what to think; he might be right - it might take too long for a Martian colony to become practically self-sufficient and a viable "back-up" to Earth. Or, both Musk and Bezos may be correct (about backups and industrializing space, respectively); their goals would even complement each other in expanding humanity's presence in space.
« Last Edit: 10/31/2016 04:53 AM by Pipcard »

Offline RonM

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Jeff Bezos is right. Earth is by far the best planet in the Solar System for us to live on. We should take care of it.

Mars as a backup for humanity is a feature of a fully sufficient Mars colony, but from a practical standpoint it is not a good reason to colony Mars. It will cost too much. Reaching a one million person colony that needs no input from Earth will be incredibly expensive. Good luck on getting funding if that's the primary reason.

For a fraction of the cost of a fully sufficient Mars colony, most of the civilization collapsing scenarios on Earth can be mitigated. Asteroid defense, civil defense, disaster relief, securing food production, reducing poverty, renewable energy, etc.

Humanity should try both ideas. Bezos' plan to utilize space to improve life on Earth and Musk's plan to colonize Mars (with less emphasis on doing it as quickly as possible).

Offline GalacticIntruder

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I seriously doubt that either the need or the economics of moving to space industrialization, space mining makes any sense in our lifetimes. Maybe in 200 years, and only after advances in space propulsion. That is where Mars comes in, as the driver of such tech and demands.

Bezos' ideas at best is a very long-term hope/wish. Musk's plan is a short-term concrete goal and destination for humanity.

Billionaires have no need to justify and rationalize their space dreams. It is there, and they want to go, and might have the means one day.

If Congress had to choose who to fund, Mr. Musk is the clear choice.
« Last Edit: 10/31/2016 03:20 PM by GalacticIntruder »
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Online b0objunior

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I seriously doubt that either the need or the economics of space industrialization makes any sense in our lifetimes. Maybe in 200 years, and only after advances in space propulsion. That is where Mars comes in, as the driver of such tech and demands.

Bezos' ideas at best is a very long-term hope/wish. Musk's plan is a short-term concrete goal and destination for humanity.

Billionaires have no need to justify and rationalize their space dreams. It is there, and they want to go, and might have the means one day.

If Congress had to choose who to fund, Mr. Musk is the clear choice.
Then humanity will be bound to earth until it's inevitable death. If we can't learn to live in space, not on a actual body, we cannot go anywhere, even if the tech to go to other solar systems existed. What the point of technology even? Going to Mars, Jupiter? No, it's to find another planet like earth elsewhere. The Mars plans are futile. But again, my take on Mars is that people had their dreams crushed when they where younger, so they are now finding excuses to go to Mars, like the one of living there permanently for saving humanity. That's just funny now.

Offline WBY1984

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It's not about just saving humanity. It is about saving technological civilisation. It is arguable that creating an asteroid deflection capability will be cheaper than a Mars colony. I find it much less certain that such a capability could be maintained over the necessary millennia. Even an underground ark requires an effort of technology and more importantly, a consistency of will over many generations in order to serve its purpose.
 I don't worry about asteroids - I worry about the myriad ways in which our civilisations have fallen in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Amidst that chaos, maintaining a planetary defence capability is not something I'm comfortable relying on.

Offline guckyfan

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Jeff Bezos is right. Earth is by far the best planet in the Solar System for us to live on. We should take care of it.

He may be right. But Mars will be self sufficient before his idea of industrializing space to make earth a nature reserve can even start to take effect.

Offline guckyfan

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I don't worry about asteroids - I worry about the myriad ways in which our civilisations have fallen in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Amidst that chaos, maintaining a planetary defence capability is not something I'm comfortable relying on.

Full agreement. I am not so much worried about humanity being eradicated from earth. But technological civilization may fail, exactly because it is so easy to live on earth. We can afford to fall back on earth.If technological society fails on earth, industrial complexes in near earth space can be evacuated or just die.  Not so on Mars. A society there can only survive by maintaining a technological society and it can survive.

Edit: BTW I find it interesting and encouraging that ideas come forward to be discussed. It was always very fuzzy and unclear to me what Jeff Bezos is aiming for.
« Last Edit: 10/31/2016 06:43 AM by guckyfan »

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Then humanity will be bound to earth until it's inevitable death. If we can't learn to live in space, not on a actual body, we cannot go anywhere, even if the tech to go to other solar systems existed. What the point of technology even? Going to Mars, Jupiter? No, it's to find another planet like earth elsewhere. The Mars plans are futile. But again, my take on Mars is that people had their dreams crushed when they where younger, so they are now finding excuses to go to Mars, like the one of living there permanently for saving humanity. That's just funny now.


But that's the crux of it. You can't live -in- space. You have to live on, or in, a body. We cannot function without specific temperature, pressure and atmospheric enviroments. They require containers.

Earth is a natural container. Mars is a natural container.

The "had their dreams crushed when they are younger" thing is fallacy. I'm a millennial. I wasn't around for the Space Race and only for the tail end of the shuttle era, yet I am still incredibly passionate about manned spaceflight, and more so the colonisation of exo-Earth. I am not a generational freak. I see more passion for spaceflight in the post-lunar generations than the pre. People are now accepting that this is possible and actively moving along the realisation road. If SpaceX fails, somebody else will pick up the torch.


When you have to create philosophical and not technological reasons for why an act is impossible, you are doomed to be proven wrong. The same applied for flight, the same applied for polar exploration. Pessimism is unrewarding - if you are right, you get no satisfaction, nor are you going to be written into the history books. If you are wrong, nobody is going to commiserate you. The onus of proof is not on the dreamers why they dare to dream, but on the doubters who request the dreamers stop.


Nobody is expecting to go to Mars to find Earth. People are expecting to go to Mars, to find Mars.


Now, I would love for us to live in gigantic interplanetary Culture-esque archologies just as everybody else - but we're not going to get there by leaping a hundred steps at once. Did cave men whine about the lack of nuclear fission when we first started to harness wildfire?

Get to Mars. Develop another world, then industrialise the roads between.


Build the wagons to make the wagon train. Settle the towns. Build the interstates - only then do you start developing industries along the trade corridor.

Space is the future, but space itself is mostly worthless. Space is absence. We travel through Space in order to reach an entity of much greater objective value: Stuff.
« Last Edit: 10/31/2016 01:04 PM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
Resident feline spaceflight expert. Knows nothing of value about human spaceflight.

Offline TrevorMonty

Our best hope for colonising space is not living on planetary   bodies but artificial free floating habitats. Listen to isaac arthur youtube series and read Arthur Clarke Rama books. The technology  to build these type structures is not that far way, it does require us to mine moon or asteroids in a big way. The economic hurdle to overcome is probably more of an obstacle than technical hurdles.   
Economics requires any space asset to export something to earth to pay its way, energy/electricity is one thing that earth is hungry for and demand is only going to grow.

The infrastructure to build space solar power satellites from ISRU would also enable use to build these large habitats.
« Last Edit: 10/31/2016 05:40 PM by TrevorMonty »

Online b0objunior

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Then humanity will be bound to earth until it's inevitable death. If we can't learn to live in space, not on a actual body, we cannot go anywhere, even if the tech to go to other solar systems existed. What the point of technology even? Going to Mars, Jupiter? No, it's to find another planet like earth elsewhere. The Mars plans are futile. But again, my take on Mars is that people had their dreams crushed when they where younger, so they are now finding excuses to go to Mars, like the one of living there permanently for saving humanity. That's just funny now.


But that's the crux of it. You can't live -in- space. You have to live on, or in, a body. We cannot function without specific temperature, pressure and atmospheric enviroments. They require containers.

Earth is a natural container. Mars is a natural container.

The "had their dreams crushed when they are younger" thing is fallacy. I'm a millennial. I wasn't around for the Space Race and only for the tail end of the shuttle era, yet I am still incredibly passionate about manned spaceflight, and more so the colonisation of exo-Earth. I am not a generational freak. I see more passion for spaceflight in the post-lunar generations than the pre. People are now accepting that this is possible and actively moving along the realisation road. If SpaceX fails, somebody else will pick up the torch.


When you have to create philosophical and not technological reasons for why an act is impossible, you are doomed to be proven wrong. The same applied for flight, the same applied for polar exploration. Pessimism is unrewarding - if you are right, you get no satisfaction, nor are you going to be written into the history books. If you are wrong, nobody is going to commiserate you. The onus of proof is not on the dreamers why they dare to dream, but on the doubters who request the dreamers stop.


Nobody is expecting to go to Mars to find Earth. People are expecting to go to Mars, to find Mars.


Now, I would love for us to live in gigantic interplanetary Culture-esque archologies just as everybody else - but we're not going to get there by leaping a hundred steps at once. Did cave men whine about the lack of nuclear fission when we first started to harness wildfire?

Get to Mars. Develop another world, then industrialise the roads between.


Build the wagons to make the wagon train. Settle the towns. Build the interstates - only then do you start developing industries along the trade corridor.

Space is the future, but space itself is mostly worthless. Space is absence. We travel through Space in order to reach an entity of much greater objective value: Stuff.
By body I meant a planetary body.

Offline IRobot

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I seriously doubt that either the need or the economics of moving to space industrialization, space mining makes any sense in our lifetimes. Maybe in 200 years, and only after advances in space propulsion. That is where Mars comes in, as the driver of such tech and demands.
Makes more sense than a colony on Mars for... what is it really for?

Offline Robotbeat

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This is a strawman. "Let's protect Earth." Well, duh. No one who is aiming to settle Mars disagrees with that.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online Space Ghost 1962

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This is kind of ... dopey.

If either of them get what they are after, the cost of space drops for both. So ... doesn't matter. Except for ... ego.

OTOH ... the first one to bring off an operational mass spaceflight system ... might undercut the other. Being number 2 might carry a penalty.

Could envy or dominance play a role in this "plan B" dissing? Needs to be "my way"?

Sounds like Dr. Malthus is behind Bezos. While Musk fits more with D.D. Harriman. Musk's "win" might be more deterministic (a Mars city), while Bezos more subjective (how does one develop industrial space?).

Also, same means to setup a city on Mars could be applied to all other solar system bodies as needed, just the same two parts. Can the same be said of what Bezos lets us see?

No.

Offline woods170

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This is kind of ... dopey.

If either of them get what they are after, the cost of space drops for both. So ... doesn't matter. Except for ... ego.

OTOH ... the first one to bring off an operational mass spaceflight system ... might undercut the other. Being number 2 might carry a penalty.
Emphasis mine.

Or not. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_the_handicap_of_a_head_start

Offline Robotbeat

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Or yeah. Just because someone has a clever name for being second doesn't mean it's better.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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The arguments are about two different approaches that end in the same result - COLONIZATION OF SPACE.

Bezos wants to establish the industry first and Musk wants to establish the habitats first. At this point we do not know which approach will work or even both or neither will work. The settlement of the Americas had both approaches, industry establishment and the habitation "settler" approach. Both worked to some degree and resulted in rapid expansions in the Americas.

Offline daveklingler

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Then humanity will be bound to earth until it's inevitable death. If we can't learn to live in space, not on a actual body, we cannot go anywhere, even if the tech to go to other solar systems existed. What the point of technology even? Going to Mars, Jupiter? No, it's to find another planet like earth elsewhere. The Mars plans are futile. But again, my take on Mars is that people had their dreams crushed when they where younger, so they are now finding excuses to go to Mars, like the one of living there permanently for saving humanity. That's just funny now.


But that's the crux of it. You can't live -in- space. You have to live on, or in, a body. We cannot function without specific temperature, pressure and atmospheric enviroments. They require containers.

Yes!

Quote
Earth is a natural container. Mars is a natural container.

NO!

Good god, no.  Absolutely, categorically not.  Stop it, stop it, stop it, please stop.

Mars is not a "natural" anything.  Mars, for all practical purposes, is just another place in the universe not on the surface of the Earth.  It has a little bit of gravity, but that's at least as much of a disadvantage as an advantage, if not more so.

As O'Neill pointed out many times, it's very easy for people to look at Mars and imagine that humans might live there because all humans come from Earth, and Earth is a planet, and Mars is a planet, therefore humans should live there.

But ALL destinations for human beings offworld are built by human beings, whether in the space between planets or on them.  They all entail building pressure vessels and being limited to living in them.  Functionally speaking, there's no difference between living in a pressure vessel on Mars versus living in a pressure vessel in LEO, except that the pressure vessel in LEO is closer to help in an emergency, in addition to being easier to build and supply.

And as O'Neill pointed out, over and over again, there is no reason that a technologically-advanced civilization needs to live on a planet...except that people have trouble imagining it.

Quote
Get to Mars. Develop another world, then industrialise the roads between.

Build the wagons to make the wagon train. Settle the towns. Build the interstates - only then do you start developing industries along the trade corridor.

Space is the future, but space itself is mostly worthless. Space is absence. We travel through Space in order to reach an entity of much greater objective value: Stuff.

Keep the supply lines short.  The success of every human settlement depends on logistics.

Build an outpost village near civilization.  Industrialize the village and grow it into a town.  Now use that town to build more villages.  All of this can be done with spinning habs at one gee, bringing in resources from asteroids and Earth. 

A town in LEO that can produce materials from asteroid resources would be the biggest enabler of space exploration and colonization that can ever exist. 

As you said, space is worthless.  It's what we plonk into space that creates a destination.  Patiently plonking destinations into LEO, then into GEO, then points further out creates the best chances for success, instead of getting fooled by the mirage of Mars.

Offline daveklingler

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This is a strawman. "Let's protect Earth." Well, duh. No one who is aiming to settle Mars disagrees with that.

If we concentrate on developing the ability to utilize NEO material for industrial purposes in orbit, we also develop the ability to protect Earth.  Colonizing Mars doesn't protect Earth, and it sucks resources and mindshare for a task that's demonstrably unnecessary if we can build 1G colonies and breed in orbit.

Bezos seems to have read the High Frontier and glimpsed the Golden Path.  :)

Luckily, I think economics will lead us in the right direction.  LEO colonies are so much cheaper and more straightforward to build, and once the first spinning colony is built, the paradigm shift will begin.

Offline JasonAW3

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This is a strawman. "Let's protect Earth." Well, duh. No one who is aiming to settle Mars disagrees with that.

If we concentrate on developing the ability to utilize NEO material for industrial purposes in orbit, we also develop the ability to protect Earth.  Colonizing Mars doesn't protect Earth, and it sucks resources and mindshare for a task that's demonstrably unnecessary if we can build 1G colonies and breed in orbit.

Bezos seems to have read the High Frontier and glimpsed the Golden Path.  :)

Luckily, I think economics will lead us in the right direction.  LEO colonies are so much cheaper and more straightforward to build, and once the first spinning colony is built, the paradigm shift will begin.

David, I can't say I can completely agree with you, but your point about using NEO's for resources is taken.

     The problem is the amount of delta V required to first rendezvous with a NEO, be it an asteroid or comet, (the delta V required for a comet rendezvous would be substantially more than with most asteroids) Fuel costs a lot.  In fact, depending on the NEO, it might actually cost less to go to Mars.

      Mars, on the other hand, is an excellent stepping off point for both the Asteroid Belt as well as the outer planets.  The Trojan Asteroids, preceding and following Jupiter, would likewise provide an abundance of resources for long term use.

      The use of stations and colonies around Earth is more of a step stone to other planets.  There is no reason to suppose that both they and a Mars colony are incompatible with one another.  In fact, the way space is colonized will largely depend on both which companies choose to concentrate on which approach to that colonization, and what the profit margins are for each approach.

      As much as many may wish it were otherwise, companies are in the business of making money, not for true altruism.  Some companies are simply taking a longer term approach, to maximize profits over the long term, rather than for the next quarter.  As companies see better and better opportunities to make a profit in space, they will come to depend less and less on the government for income.

     In fact, there will likely come a day where providing services for the government will be the least profitable customer that these companies will have.  true, this maybe twenty to a hundred years from now, but unless something catastrophic happens in the meantime, I have no doubt that this will occur.
My God!  It's full of universes!

Online Coastal Ron

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Not sure what to think; he might be right - it might take too long for a Martian colony to become practically self-sufficient and a viable "back-up" to Earth. Or, both Musk and Bezos may be correct (about backups and industrializing space, respectively); their goals would even complement each other in expanding humanity's presence in space.

In the whole scheme of things, I think both efforts can exist without interfering with each other.  And since both require reducing the cost to access space, both are complementary to a great degree.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

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