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Monday, April 22, 2013

Taking a break from writing about fictional spaceships.... are some photos, from a NASA FLickr stream, of an actual real spaceship launch. Specifically, the Antares rocket, developed by a private company. I think that the human future in space will depend in great part on private enterprise, and also that the future of the human economy will depend on our future in space.

Plus, there's still something awfully thrilling about a rocket launching for space.

Antares Rocket Preparation

Rocket at Sunrise

Antares/Beach Front

Antares launch

Antares Rocket Test Launch

Space still beckons!


Thee Earl of Obvious said...

Keep the govt out of it and watch space exploration thrive.

I noticed Rachel maddow pointed to the Hoover dam as an example of how govt builds things that are valuable but since such things are without a profit motive, át least initially, theywould not have otherwise been built without govt involvement

I contend that had the hoover dam not been built the market Price of electricity would have rose thus making alternative,ie green, forms of energy profitable and thus allowing for their feasible development.

In addition, we would have avoided the drastic environmental consequences the dam caused.

Keep the govt out of space and we will return

Earl said...

Methinks the kingdom is in peril. Normally even the slightest admonisment of lady Rachel Maddow would evoke his majesty's ire resulting in a slew of barbarous texts.

Yet the birds chirp and the daiseys host a herald of butterflies. The sky has nary a cloud. Not one black Knight has thundered into my home.

We are worried dear sír, worried indeed.

Kelly Sedinger said...

Well, first off, Hoover Dam really IS green energy -- hydroelectric, using the flow of water to turn the turbines. But second, with all due respect, you'll have to color me unimpressed with the hypothetical in play here, as it's a pretty much unprovable one. But the implication seems to be that privately-run energy development would have been (a) 'greener', and (b) less environmentally harmful. Nothing in the history of human energy consumption seems to me to constitute evidence of such a conjecture.

Additionally, the whole idea of just getting government out and watching the entire thing just blossom is pretty much exactly the type of wishful-thinking 'magic of the market' notion that Libertarians tend to push, absent of any evidence that any such thing has EVER happened. In our industrial world, I can't think of a single industry that bootstrapped itself into existence, all the way up from the very basic conceptual research or scientific insight, free of the assistance or investment by governments. Free markets simply aren't that far-seeing or far-reaching; they're more concerned with the short-term allocation of existing goods and almost completely separated from long-term thinking.

With regard to space exploration, we're only just now seeing private companies starting to enter a putative market for launch vehicles. This after over seventy years of governments doing the basic work on rocketry. No company is going to invest in decades of investment in completely unproven technology, even if there's huge potential profit to be had, because they just don't know. I'm reminded of another Libertarian friend who once tried to convince me that private companies would have totally developed the Internet on their own, and sooner, and better.

In short: it's a nice notion, but one that has absolutely no basis in history. As such, I pretty much discount it entirely. It's the Libertarian version of academic Marxists protesting that Marxism really will be awesome, and we can't hold the USSR and Cuba and other examples against it because they just weren't Marxist enough.

Thee Earl of Obvious said...


A gobblet is hoisted at the tavern and a rondo is being sung ás merriment ensues

From the village of obvious said...

Btw a dam is only green energy after it floods a valley and destroys the resources it contains

Ohhhhh snap