Private Space Exploration, The Free Frontier


Via Instapundit, here's a vid from PJTV's Bill Whittle and Rand Simberg talking up the ongoing one-small-steps and giant-leaps-for-mankind that are taking place now in the world of private space exploration.

Reason on the same topic.

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  1. Welcome to the late 1950s, invisible hand!

    The Soviet and US governments were doing this 50+ years ago.

    1. Jesus tap dancing Christ you are dumb. For the last 50 years the government had quite a few things to say if you tried to build your own rocket and attempt space travel.

      1. That’s right. Now we’re subsidizing “private” space “exploration!”

  2. I’m pretty sure that NASA holds the space patent on space travel.

  3. Very nice. Cheap access to orbit and a sustained manned presence in space–not just LEO, either!–is on the horizon.

    1. Jam tomorrow, but never today. However, if they need to send a chemical engineer/programmer to some other world, I’m in.

      1. If I ever get rich I’ll let you know. You can work for my space brewery.

        1. Fuck yeah. But I feel like we need a ‘still, just in homage to Heinlein — no need for it to be commercially viable.

          D’you think we could get rich by creating a breathalyzer for airlocks?

          1. TANSTAAFL!

        2. floculation in zero G…that would be interestuing…filters a

          damn I amuse myself.

          1. The idea of fermentation in a zero gravity environment is pretty interesting. I’d like to see how the yeast react.

      2. you’re chem/eng and a programmer? I’m seeking libertarian-oriented science/engineering people for a project. Drop a line.

        1. I’m seeking libertarian-oriented science/engineering people for a project.

          Isn’t that pretty much all of us?

        2. Where is this project?

  4. The Soviet and US governments were doing this 50+ years ago.

    The Truth in his angst now refutes Obama and parrots southern Republican talking-points to protect SpacePork.


    1. Does he say the same thing about the Chinese space program?

      1. Well, the Chinese did invent the rocket.

        1. True enough. Or so they claim.

          1. The Chinese managed to put a few space dumplings into low Earth orbit as early as 1232 A.D.

      2. Actually, there is pretty tragic story with Chinese space program vis-a-vis the USA. Ever heard of Dr. Tsien? Thread of the Silkworm by Iris Chang. Highly recommended for Space Cadets everywhere.

      3. It will rain the hot, molten slag of central planning down on your country Yankee Dog!

  5. Well, China will most likely be on Mars before we are at this rate.

    1. Dey tuuk ar jerbs!

    2. Well, it is the red planet. I think it suits them.

  6. Anyone else think the video is a bit….xenophobic? Who cares if it is American companies or foreign companies putting people into space? We all benefit, no matter what imaginary geographical distinction you happen to hail from while you blast off.

    1. Are there private efforts underway in other countries? Other than the private efforts ordered by the Central Committee in Bejing, that is.

      1. Craziest space-story of individual really shaking up status-quo of space powers and rocket vehicles is the OTRAG system of the 70’s. Amazing story there, Google it, its worth it. Could be a movie.

    2. I think xenophobic is a strong word. However, it’s definitely saying that it would be nice if it were American companies that led the charge.

  7. Interesting, but why is he asking for the government to look at them, so that they can get subsidies ?

    The best way to get into space is to stop trying to sell space travel by making it seem as noble as superman or like a utopian Star Trek adventure.

    How about space hotels and casinos, space sex porn will no doubt be a hit, “Retire on Mars and leave all your earthly problem behind”. These will really be the spark to create a space boom.

    1. The limiting factor on space is the technology. Either you get costs down through economies of scale or have some breakthroughs for Buck Rogers vehicle.

      I’ve always suspected Mars will be the draw. Geologically, all the same thermal and hydrologic processes occurred there as on earth. Separating minerals into ores and such. Yet no plate tectonics happened on Mars, its why the geologic features like volcanoes and valleys are so big there – they never got recycled.

      Think of the ore bodies such an environment has the potential to create. Veins of yellow-speckled quartz miles and miles long I suspect as one example. As soon as such goodies are uncovered, we will figure out space travel quickly.

      And all the UN-feely-good bullshit about space is for everybody, no borders, will all go out window once money is to be made instead of spent in space.

      1. Yet no plate tectonics happened on Mars, its why the geologic features like volcanoes and valleys are so big there – they never got recycled.

        True, and this is because Mars is a former moon. It’s former parent of course is scattered all over the solar system. Interesting to see how far and wide a tunnel system could be built on a stable planet sucha as Mars. The resources would be even easier to obtain from such an environment…it si just the transport that is a bitch.

        Little green miners
        two for one today:
        Minors, sure they are like six or seven.
        Miners not minors.
        You lost me.

        1. Whoa whoa whoa. Mars is not a former moon. The exploded planet hypothesis is completely incredible.

          The volcanoes and such on Mars are big not because of erosion, but because of low gravity. Just as a body needs to be a certain size to pull itself into something roughly spherical, which is why asteroids are potato-shaped, smaller bodies allow for larger mountains. If you stopped all plate tectonics and put Olympus Mons on Earth it would collapse like a pile of sand that’s just a little too high.

          1. Olympus Mons would sink into the crust same way mountain blocks in the Great Basin subside and float on the mantle. But collapse under it’s own weight? No.

            Also, no tectonics has huge impact on size of geologic features. Common sense man. You’re telling me if the Yellowstone Hotspot had just stayed in place on the Idaho/Oregon border for fifteen million years…or if Hawaii’s hotspot was just one place (instead of making whole island chain) those features wouldn’t be bigger and more exotic than their current incarnations? I disagree.

            1. I wonder if Al Gore would be for or against terraforming Mars? On the one hand, it would involve catastrophic climate change. On the other hand, it would make things more Earth-like.

              1. Even more circular-reference errors in the Algore’s 80386 (Al Gore: That’s 80386DX to you bitches!) PowerPoint processor would be encountered when the slide showing Mars atmosphere is already ~90% CO2!

            2. I’m a geology PhD student, so I know what I’m talking about.

              Yes, collapse under its own weight. There’s a limit based on the physical characteristics of the rock to how high something can get. Just like you can’t build an infinitely high tower of concrete, you can’t build an infinitely tall mountain. The material will break or flow away depending on temperature.

              Yes, they would be bigger, and tectonics obviously has an effect, but my point was that Olympus Mons specifically would be untenably tall on Earth.

              1. Olympus Mons has a very slow slope. It is not that impressive at ground level. I think it could maintain it’s shape on Earth, having such a broad support base. As an engineer, you are still stating opinion when you say it would collapse, unless you provide specific calculations.

          2. I have stated many times on Reason that I am a believer in a lot of Van Flander’s work…not cause I am a nutcase, that is reserved for talking to the clowns in my head, but because his a priori approach is spot on scienctific method and his predictions have come true (albedo differentiation on hard celectial bodies with no atmosphere etc.). Another that was treated the same way Van Flandern was (he has died btw)is Louis Frank and he was vindicated after about 15 years of bullshit and vitriol from the same people who gave you AGW.

            Just sayin.

            1. I haven’t read Van Flandern’s paper because it isn’t available (which really screams legitimacy), but my understanding is that it relies on “some universal flux”, which is pretty sketchy.

    2. It’s funny watching 2001 today. There are 4 large and successful private companies explicitly shown aboard or related to the space station:

      Howard Johnson’s
      Bell Telephone
      Pan AM

      I hear the Chinese are bringing back the first 3 companies back by 2019, so that they can dominate the half-built space station industry.

      1. IBM is in there. They’re still around. Odd trivia…HAL of HAL9000 fame is IBM’s acronym minus one letter for each space. Coincidence? Or the ILLUMINATI!? Dun-dun-dun!

        1. True that, but they weren’t on the space station.

          Clarke swears in the vignettes on the 2001 disc that HAL is an acronym (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic), but I don’t believe him either. You can see him give the secret Illuminati code with eye-blinks throughout his monologue.

      2. It would be funnier if we had a giant space station in orbit and a permanent presence on the Moon and the capability of sending a manned mission to Saturn (Jupiter for the movie).

        1. I’m impressed! You managed to sling together a Star Wars, Moon, and Saturn III all in one post!

          1. Well, I have to give some credit to Clarke and Kubrick.

    3. I think you’re on to something with the space sex porn. Srsly.

      Travel to Mars is too prohibitive (time, energy, radiation shielding), lunar retirement is much more feasible.

      1. Odd factoid. Delta-V to get to surface of Mars is less than delta-v to reach surface of Moon, assuming aerocapture at Mars. Takes more time but less energy.

        That little fact demonstrates the whole “lunar-waypoint” scheme for lunar bases to support Mars missions to be stupid as that concept truly is.

        1. God damnit. I’m heavily invested in retro-rockets.

          1. What am I gonna do with all these windmills? I thought someone said energy!

        2. I’m laying claim to Phobos and Deimos.

      2. Space porn is what Robert Bigelow has in mind with his space hotels. Has to be.

  8. Bill Whittle has a calming voice… looks like I’ll be replacing “Mountain Springs” with Bill Whittle monologues for bed time music.

  9. I love the idea of private space exploration, the Russians have been doing it for years to finance their space programs, why not us? What has NASA given us? They are an elitist organization that only flies eggheads and scientists yet who gets the bill? We do!

    I say it’s about time to stop acting like a bunch of socialists and let the invisible hand of the marketplace guide us.

    Privatize NASA Now!

    10 Questions for La Raza.…..-raza.html

  10. The real question is: do Space Food Sticks and Tang make a comeback as a result of all this?

    Cause if there’s no Space Food Sticks and Tang involved, then I just can’t get excited about this.

    /child of the 70’s

    1. Space Food Sticks? Is that like freeze-dried ice cream or did it come in other flavors?

      /child of the 80s

      1. It was chocolate that looked like Slim Jims. I never cared that much for the taste, but SPACE!

        1. You know, what got me into space was watching Cosmos by Carl Sagan when I was a kid. And I didn’t believe the global warming horseshit parts even back then.

    2. The real question is: do Space Food Sticks and Tang make a comeback as a result of all this?

      It don’t mean a thang
      If it ain’t got that Tang?

  11. I feel like I have gotten really lucky with the timing of me finishing school. Assuming I can manage to snag a job with one of these companies I’ll be working in the most exciting time in the field since the ’60s.

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