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The Cold Equations
james_nicoll
Unpleasant truths about space travel

It would let me protect the Earth from asteroids. In fact, for a small fee I would protect the Earth on a monthly basis, locating rocks that could be steered into the Earth and then not doing it if the cheque didn't bounce.

We could finally commodify sunlight. A large solar collaector at the Earth Sun L1 would block all the light that otherwise falls on the unworthy and could be sold to those that deserve it (Litmus test is the same as with Operation Nice Planet You Have, Shame If Anything Were To Happen To It).

"It would let me protect the Earth from asteroids. In fact, for a small fee I would protect the Earth on a monthly basis, locating rocks that could be steered into the Earth and then not doing it if the cheque didn't bounce."

This strikes me as the classic example of something you can exploit if access is cheap, but not something you can leverage to drive down the cost.

SPS strikes me as even worse. Again, don't misunderstand. I'm as big a fan of solar death rays as the next guy, honest. But it seems to me to be exactly the same sort of justification as "we will go out to the asteroids and retrieve commodity X, which sells for $1000 on the open market! (Current global consumption of commmodity X: 100,000 tonnes) Our very first mission will bring back 10,000,000 tonnes, netting us 10,000,000,000 dollars! On our very first mission! If only the stupid government would step out of our way, investors would flock to our door.

Its easy to think of things to do with space, if you can get there on the cheap. Its hard to see how to convince people with money to spend lots and lots and lots of it to maybe come up with infrastucture that drives down the cost to orbit if there is no way they will recoup these fund in their livetimes.

By the by, I was aware that you were probably not being entirely serious. I just needed a handy place to hang my critism of Power! From Space!