Author Topic: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?  (Read 3897 times)

Offline KelvinZero

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It just struck me that despite NasaSpaceFlight being probably one of the most prominent sites when searching on Google for example, I still recognize most of the names of the posters.

Without looking up any real numbers, surely there are on the order of a billion english speakers with access to the internet.

What fraction of this population would be interested enough in space to converse regularly on the internet? Of course it is probably not huge as a percentage but Nerds Are Among Us!

For example, apparently there are about 0.043 murders per 1000 people in US. Are there less space geeks than that? I really doubt it, but even that tiny fraction applied to one billion people would imply 43,000 regular posters and we would never be able to keep up with a fraction of them.

NasaSpaceFlight does not seem to be one among hundreds of similar scale sites on the internet so where is everyone? are space geeks less common than murder?

Offline Danderman

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #1 on: 01/07/2012 03:29 AM »
Studies show that about 15 percent of Americans have some interest in space (ie that TV commercials with a space theme would grab their attention). Of that 15 percent, you need to factor in people who don't use computers, or are too busy to post much, or are just lurkers, or never found any of these sites, etc. And then you should factor in the names of people who post, but you never found them.


Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #2 on: 01/07/2012 03:50 AM »
I don't mean to be pessimistic, but most people interested in 'Space' are interested in the Science Fiction variety. Sci-Fi space is faster moving than Real space and can portray an unlimited budget!!

I used to correspond with Arthur C Clarke many years ago. I told him about how an American school teacher friend of mine once took his class on a trip to the Space Center Houston. They were shown flown capsule spacecraft from Apollo and Gemini. Several of the kids said that the spacecraft, including the Shuttle "sucked" because they didn't have laser cannons and warp drive. This anecdote inspired Doctor Clarke to right an article on the problem!

Just imagine if you could channel all the Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica etc fans enthusiasm into the REAL Space program: as soon as they were old enough to vote, just think how their power and resources could be tapped to support real space exploration.

It's a thought...
« Last Edit: 01/07/2012 03:52 AM by MATTBLAK »
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline edkyle99

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #3 on: 01/07/2012 04:01 AM »
NasaSpaceFlight does not seem to be one among hundreds of similar scale sites on the internet so where is everyone? are space geeks less common than murder?

I suspect that large numbers of the individuals who are the most-interested in space exploration cannot participate in discussions because they are or have been working in the field and are prohibited from doing so.  There were more authoritative participants, it seems to me, in various space forums until the mid/late-1990s, when NASA and others laid down harder rules about Internet use.  The whole ITAR thing was part of the deal.

NSF has the best forum going today, and it rivals the old Usenet forums in their heyday. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/07/2012 04:03 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #4 on: 01/07/2012 05:02 AM »
Just imagine if you could channel all the Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica etc fans enthusiasm into the REAL Space program: as soon as they were old enough to vote, just think how their power and resources could be tapped to support real space exploration.

It's a thought...
That is another of my hobby horses. I would love to see a scifi series set in just this system and with no imaginary physics. Look at all these worlds:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Solar_System_objects_by_size

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #5 on: 01/07/2012 05:16 AM »
NasaSpaceFlight does not seem to be one among hundreds of similar scale sites on the internet so where is everyone? are space geeks less common than murder?

I suspect that large numbers of the individuals who are the most-interested in space exploration cannot participate in discussions because they are or have been working in the field and are prohibited from doing so.  There were more authoritative participants, it seems to me, in various space forums until the mid/late-1990s, when NASA and others laid down harder rules about Internet use.  The whole ITAR thing was part of the deal.

NSF has the best forum going today, and it rivals the old Usenet forums in their heyday. 

 - Ed Kyle
Surely there are a lot more fans than practitioners though? Think how many star trek fans there are compared to people who work on that series.

Also where do all the space science geeks hang out? One thing I miss since the Space.com forum closed down is people with a bit of experience actually discussing the findings of recent science missions such as Dawn. NSF largely focuses on the rockets. Not much discussion between space scientists interpreting data.

Offline martin hegedus

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #6 on: 01/07/2012 06:24 AM »
I've asked my aero friends at NASA in the past if there was a rule against posting, and I've been told that it is OK to post if the discussion can be backed up by information in the public domain, papers, etc.  After all, a forum like this is no different than going to a public conference and discussing issues with "outside" individuals or presenting a paper.  The number of times I've seen someone refuse to answer a question after a presentation due to ITAR is very rare.  I've seen more refusals due to proprietary knowledge, but that excuse, when used, is generally used by private firms.

Offline Archibald

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #7 on: 01/07/2012 07:43 AM »
Quote
I would love to see a scifi series set in just this system and with no imaginary physics.

So true.  Why didn't Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke  wrote near term sci-fi novels involving Apollo ?
Why was Marooned an exception ? why is Voyage an exception ?
Why are all the novels involving space shuttles techno-thrillers and not near term sci-fi ?
The Cape was a brave atempt in this direction, and unfortunately it didn't lasted very long.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cape_%281996_TV_series%29


According to Frederick Ira Ordway (in 1962 !)

Quote
ASTRONAUTICAL OBJECTIVES IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM
“If we consider the Sun there are 34 major objectives in the Solar System, including one    star (the Sun) and eight planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and    Pluto).
Also included are 22 satellites with diameters of more than 150 miles (the Moon, 5 satellites in the Jovian system, 9 in the Saturnian system, 5 in the Uranian system, and 2 belonging to    Neptune) and 3 asteroids (Ceres, Pallas, Vesta).
Obviously, surface landings are not going to be made on the Sun ; and the four gaseous giant    planets are improbable, and perhaps impossible, objectives. Thus, there are 29 remaining    major worlds susceptible to surface exploration:
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto, Rhea, Japetus, Europa, Io, Moon, Triton, Callisto, Titan, and Ganymede. Vesta, Pallas, Ceres, Amalthea, Mimas, Enceladas, Tethys, Dione, Hyperion, Phoebe, Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, Oberon, and Nereid.

No need for Galaxies far away !
...you have been found guilty by the elders of the forum of a (imaginary) vendetta against Saint Elon - BLAAASPHEMER !

Offline Jorge

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #8 on: 01/07/2012 08:08 AM »
I've asked my aero friends at NASA in the past if there was a rule against posting, and I've been told that it is OK to post if the discussion can be backed up by information in the public domain, papers, etc.  After all, a forum like this is no different than going to a public conference and discussing issues with "outside" individuals or presenting a paper.  The number of times I've seen someone refuse to answer a question after a presentation due to ITAR is very rare.  I've seen more refusals due to proprietary knowledge, but that excuse, when used, is generally used by private firms.


You're going to see a lot more of the latter from NASA in the future. With greater emphasis on commercial services, NASA will need to protect an increasing amount of proprietary information owned by its commercial partners.
JRF

Offline martin hegedus

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #9 on: 01/07/2012 04:20 PM »
I've asked my aero friends at NASA in the past if there was a rule against posting, and I've been told that it is OK to post if the discussion can be backed up by information in the public domain, papers, etc.  After all, a forum like this is no different than going to a public conference and discussing issues with "outside" individuals or presenting a paper.  The number of times I've seen someone refuse to answer a question after a presentation due to ITAR is very rare.  I've seen more refusals due to proprietary knowledge, but that excuse, when used, is generally used by private firms.


You're going to see a lot more of the latter from NASA in the future. With greater emphasis on commercial services, NASA will need to protect an increasing amount of proprietary information owned by its commercial partners.

Maybe, but I am unable to predict this sort of thing.  NASA also has strong ties to universities and they, as educational institutes, tend to be open.  Of course nothing is blank and white about this.

Which brings up another point.  I don't think I see many university space nerds (launch vehicles, satellites, or even aircraft) interacting on forums like this.  Where do they go for their technical questions?  Aerodynamics, thermodynamics, trajectories, guidance and control, image processing, software design, rocket engine design, hardware design, etc.  In regards to aerodynamics, I gather, to a degree, they go to cfd-online.  Maybe there are sites for other disciplines which I'm not aware of since I'm out of those loops.  Or, maybe, these discussions stay mainly within the universities.

Offline scienceguy

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #10 on: 01/07/2012 05:09 PM »
At least 5 of my friends are interested in space but 2 of them are married with children and don't have time to check space forums. One of them is more into Star Trek but still interested in space, but he doesn't check this forum. The other two either don't know about this site or it is too technical for them.
e^(pi*i) = -1

Offline SpaceFan

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #11 on: 01/07/2012 05:14 PM »
It just struck me that despite NasaSpaceFlight being probably one of the most prominent sites when searching on Google for example, I still recognize most of the names of the posters.

Without looking up any real numbers, surely there are on the order of a billion english speakers with access to the internet.

What fraction of this population would be interested enough in space to converse regularly on the internet? Of course it is probably not huge as a percentage but Nerds Are Among Us!

For example, apparently there are about 0.043 murders per 1000 people in US. Are there less space geeks than that? I really doubt it, but even that tiny fraction applied to one billion people would imply 43,000 regular posters and we would never be able to keep up with a fraction of them.

NasaSpaceFlight does not seem to be one among hundreds of similar scale sites on the internet so where is everyone? are space geeks less common than murder?

I've been a lurker here for several years.  The problem with this forum is that it tends to be very technical and I just don't have the time to keep up with the discussions.  I have a hard enough time trying to understand a lot of the threads and there is no way I'd contribute anything useful to the discussion.


Offline Phillip Clark

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #12 on: 01/07/2012 05:34 PM »
Before committing myself to a specific description, what is the difference between a geek and a nerd? - if there is one!
I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane - WJ.

Offline mrkmrsk

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #13 on: 01/07/2012 05:45 PM »

[/quote]

I've been a lurker here for several years.  The problem with this forum is that it tends to be very technical and I just don't have the time to keep up with the discussions.  I have a hard enough time trying to understand a lot of the threads and there is no way I'd contribute anything useful to the discussion.


[/quote]

What he said.

Offline Phillip Clark

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #14 on: 01/07/2012 05:47 PM »
I've been a lurker here for several years.  The problem with this forum is that it tends to be very technical and I just don't have the time to keep up with the discussions.  I have a hard enough time trying to understand a lot of the threads and there is no way I'd contribute anything useful to the discussion.
[/quote]
What he said.
[/quote]

I tend to concentrate on a few subjcts and then a few threads within those subjects: for example, Soviet/Russian and Chinese programmes.   It is easier that way.
I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane - WJ.

Offline SimonShuttle

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #15 on: 01/07/2012 05:57 PM »
I mainly ask questions. I'm relatively stupid, so if I can, you all can :D

But knowing Chris personally and seen the behind the scenes stuff, I know how busy this site is. I hope those posting wishing it was even busier are L2 members.

In fact, maybe Chris can start a thread showing some of the history behind this all, from the site's birth. I'll start it as a splinter thread :)

Offline LaunchedIn68

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #16 on: 01/07/2012 06:04 PM »


I've been a lurker here for several years.  The problem with this forum is that it tends to be very technical and I just don't have the time to keep up with the discussions.  I have a hard enough time trying to understand a lot of the threads and there is no way I'd contribute anything useful to the discussion.


[/quote]

+1

I was told that on July 20th 1969 at 17 mos old I was sat down in front of the TV to watch Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon.  I don't remember that but I certainly remember April 12, 1981 and those golden summers in the early 80's launching countless Estes rockets.  I must say that the internet has reinvigorated my interest in spaceflight and have been following all the programs religiously.

I remember the days when it was hard to follow up on the shuttle missions as I was in school.  It came down to asking my grandfather, who was the only one with a VCR, to tape all the launches, spacewalks and landings for me and then wait days until his visit to view the tapes.  It's amazing how far we came that I can log on here and be provided with links to all amounts of space news.  Chris Bergin's articles are the best.  I can log on to see a live launch, get a play-by-play, or maybe a link to the video on YT.

I lurk here everyday and basically skim the latest postings in threads for tidbids of news.  I mostly check out the commercial, SpaceX, Orion/SLS, Space News and Q&A thread sections.  So while I really don't feel I have anything to contribute, I am here checking in regularly.

So there you got me to make my first post.
"I want to build a spaceship, go to the moon, salvage all the junk that's up there, bring it back, sell it." - Harry Broderick

Offline space_dreamer

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #17 on: 01/07/2012 06:06 PM »
I'm a space geek and I every day I check nasaspaceflight.com, space.com, spacedaily.com, and nasawatch.com. I don't post that often but I read the threads. I think there are lot of people like me who uses the NSF forums to find new space info/ gossip but don't post.

I used to post on the space.com forum until they disappeared, what happened to them?

Offline Danderman

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Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #18 on: 01/07/2012 06:13 PM »
Anyone here remember the discussions on alt.space? There were a lot of people at one time on that part of usenet.


Online Chris Bergin

Re: New Fermi paradox: where are all the space geeks?
« Reply #19 on: 01/07/2012 06:16 PM »
Will do, later, Simon.

 But to answer the question - this is a slideshot of the site visitation numbers (just for the forum, not the news site) for the last 12 months....click to enlarge.

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