Monday, April 7, 2008

Just sit back, and work like crazy.

I'm pretty sure I've made it clear we don't know much about what we're doing yet. The massive complexity of what we have now (the shuttle) isn't working too well right now. Should we just wait? That's a good question. The thing is, will we be able to advance space technology while not being in space? This is also a good question. One aspect against could be that some form of motivation would be lost by not being in space. People and robots wouldn't actually go into space except for things that we don't already understand in depth and we need at least somewhat (mostly satellite communications and observation). However, trying things out on Earth could very well be a lot cheaper. If we can figure out how to accurately test space apparatus on Earth would probably be far less expensive than sending it into space and then testing it, where we can hardly see a thing. If something went wrong, then we'd be hard-pressed to figure out what that even was. The sheer degree of complexity involved when it comes to working with things that are 10000+ kilometers away and in almost total vacuum is incredible, simply because robots are extremely difficult to observe and repair, while to get a human presence requires super-complex life support just for the people to go, never mind the constraints to maneuvering while in an area with virtually no matter and a highly variable hell storm of cosmic radiation. If experimenting in an Earthbound environment is tricky because we have to simulate extremely low gravity and near-complete vacuum with background radiation is expensive, in addition to the subject of experiment having to monitor itself where it cannot take intervention from us. Maybe backing out temporarily is something worth considering, but until we can make the Earth a viable area of experiment, space is the only available option. Now, if only we had a better idea of how gravity worked, and how to mess with it...

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