Blast Off Into Space with Reason Magazine's Matt Welch


"For decades now people interested in free markets have been talking about a glorious future of private space exploration and travel," says Reason Magazine Editor in Chief Matt Welch. As Reason Magazine's latest issue makes clear, "that glorious future… is now."

Welch previews the February special issue on the "Rocket Men" such as Virgin's Richard Branson and Amazon's Jeff Bezos who are underwriting a new generation of space exploration. 

The stories from the February issue will be rolled out at over the coming weeks. Go here for a list of stories that are already on the web. 

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About 1:20 minutes. Shot and edited by Meredith Bragg.

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  1. Damn. I saw the title to this one and thought it was an opportunity to smoke a fatty with Welch.

  2. Hopefully Reason does an issue on the Age of Aquarius. I want to see Welch go full Shatner.

  3. Didn’t you guys write a book or something?

    1. Surely we would have heard about it if they did.

    2. It’s a cookbook.

      1. “To Serve Man”

        No, that was The Twilight Zone.

  4. Maybe they can use the spacecraft for rat relocations.

    VA AG Fears DC Law May Relocate Rat ‘Families’ to Virginia

    January 13, 2012 ( — Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says he is worried that a new District of Columbia law that governs how pest control operators must handle rats may result in entire rodent “families” being relocated across the Potomac River into Virginia by D.C. pest control personnel.

    Lately, there have been reports of growing rat infestations around the Occupy DC protests at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square.

    Cuccinelli said D.C.’s new rat law–the Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 (Wildlife Protection Act of 2010.pdf) –is “crazier than fiction” because it requires that rats and other vermin not be killed but captured, preferably in families; no glue or snap traps can be utilized; the rodents must be relocated from where they are captured; and some of these animals may need to be transferred to a “wildlife rehabilitator” as part of their relocation process.

    The law does not allow pest control professionals “to kill the dang rats,” Cuccinelli told “They have to capture them–then capture them in families. [Not sure] how you’re going to figure that out with rats. And then you have to relocate them. That brings us to Virginia. Now, if you don’t relocate them about 25 miles away, according to experts, rodents will find their way back. Well, an easy way to solve that problem is to cross a river, and what’s on the other side of the river? Virginia.”…..s-virginia

    1. Holy shit that’s retarded, even for laws pushed by eco nuts. Have fun with that, DC.

      1. Just pretend the rats are fetuses. In that case, the DC government wouldn’t give a damn about protecting them.

    2. WTF? Kids get shot in DC while the district wastes its time relocating rats? WTF?

    3. That has to be an Onion article. What does CNS stand for?

      1. was launched on June 16, 1998 as a news source for individuals, news organizations and broadcasters who put a higher premium on balance than spin and seek news that’s ignored or under-reported as a result of media bias by omission.

        Study after study by the Media Research Center, the parent organization of, clearly demonstrate a liberal bias in many news outlets ? bias by commission and bias by omission ? that results in a frequent double-standard in editorial decisions on what constitutes “news.”

        In response to these shortcomings, MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell III founded in an effort to provide an alternative news source that would cover stories that are subject to the bias of omission and report on other news subject to bias by commission. endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story and debunk popular, albeit incorrect, myths about cultural and policy issues. has a full staff of credentialed journalists at its world headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to news, is proud to present commentary and analysis by some of the brightest minds and sharpest wits in the nation, including cartoonists. is a division of the Media Research Center, a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. Like National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System, is able to provide its services and information to the public at no cost, thanks to the generous support of our thousands of donors and their tax-deductible contributions. However, unlike NPR or PBS, does not accept any federal tax money for its operations.

        1. Thanks, so this is a legitamate news story. Apparently some legislators were concerned they would be confused with an actual rat.

    4. “They have to capture them–then capture them in families. [Not sure] how you’re going to figure that out with rats.”

      I almost choked on my lunch laughing at that.

      1. Grab one and then see which other rats start crying. Those are the family members.

    5. “Lately, there have been reports of growing rat infestations around the Occupy DC protests at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square.”

      Hippies attract rats? No, say it ain’t so!

    6. Wow, that is dumb. But killing rats doesn’t do much good either, unless you can destroy the colony. Rats are very social and live in huge colonies. Catching a few rats here and there does nothing.

  5. I could’ve sworn that Matt wasn’t into space. Maybe I’m confused.

    SpaceX is delaying the Falcon 9 launch to make sure everything checks out. Not a bad idea with them carrying so much of the private space torch right now.

    1. SpaceX is delaying the Falcon 9 launch to make sure everything checks out.

      I think they were just concerned about the possibility of gambol lock.

    2. Katherine Mangu-Ward deserves all credit for this issue, is a way of addressing your semi-question.

      1. I knew the answer all along–I was just being nice.

        We’ll get you into space one of these days. Maybe with Burning Man Luna or something like that.

  6. I like the idea of privatizing space, but the only two business opportunities I can see is tourism and the insertion/maintenance of orbital satellites. I’m not sure there will be too much “exploration” going on, as there is really no return on investment. Let’s face it, while extremely cool, we aren’t anywhere near being able to cost-effectively mine off-planet resources.

    1. The big nut to crack right now is cheap access to orbit. If we could get down to, say, $100/pound, then all sorts of things become feasible and economically desirable. And that figure is likely achievable in the nearish term.

      I see big things on the horizon for space business, provided that the government doesn’t interfere too much and that we don’t suffer an insane economic collapse first.

      1. Hate to break it to you but the government already interferes, and we already suffered an economic collapse.

        1. But it apparently doesn’t interfere quite enough, or collapse the economy quite enough to stop private space companies from getting going.

          1. Just wait. Soon NASA will start requiring the companies working on CCDev (Commercial Crew Development) start complying with the FARs instead of doing their work under space act agreements. When that happens the costs will go up, schedules will get delayed, and all the CCDev companies will find out the hard way just what a pain in the ass working with NASA is.

            Just give it time, they’re still warming up.

            1. My biggest fear, of course. I just don’t see the government being content to allow hundreds of people who don’t work for the government being allowed to cavort in orbit or on other celestial bodies. God forbid someone deface the surface of the Moon for economic gain or something.

              1. How much would it cost to carve some golden arches large enough to be seen from Earth?

      2. Creative destruction at its finest.

    2. Mining will only become more profitable as time passes. Technology will improve and resources here will become scarcer. How far off it is till those two push the space industry into high gear I don’t know but I suspect it will be before I die.

      1. It could be quite soon, if things break right.

        1. Umm, PL, when a comment ends “before I die”, jumping right in there with “It could be quite soon, if things break right” is a little, oh, I dunno, microaggressive?

          1. It’s okay. I’ve bought some microaggression credits.

      2. The question will be whether it is ever cheaper to get something from space than it is to create/reclaim it here on Earth.

        Basically, space mining needs to come way down in price before it out-economizes recycling.

        1. Or “mine” something not easily found on Earth, like Helium-3.

          1. H3 has potential, but you gotta get the price down to the point to where it’s more efficient than fossil fuels or current nukes.

            We are several breakthroughs away from being even in the ballpark.

            1. That’ll happen before your techno-salvationism.

        2. ever is a real long time. That’s my two points address. Technology making it cheaper to get something from space and scarcity making it more expensive to get it here.

  7. That video would be better if Nick was backing up Matt by playing the harpsichord.

  8. Questions for libertarians on Self-Ownership:

    ? To how many species on the evolutionary Tree of Life* does this Principle apply?

    ? If only one, at what point in biological evolution did “self-ownership” (which I correlate with the more widely used scientific term autonomy**) become “axoimatic” for that specie, and why only for that specie?

    * Evolutionary Genealogy
    The Great Tree of Life

    ** Life is a complex phenomenon that not only requires individual self-producing and self-sustaining systems but also a historical-collective organization of those individual systems, which brings about characteristic evolutionary dynamics. On these lines, we propose to define universally living beings as autonomous systems with open-ended evolution capacities, and we claim that all such systems must have a semi-permeable active boundary (membrane), an energy transduction apparatus (set of energy currencies) and, at least, two types of functionally interdependent macromolecular components (catalysts and records).

    Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo, Juli Peret? and Alvaro Moreno. (2004) “A Universal Definition of Life: Autonomy and Open-Ended Evolution.” Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres. Volume 34, Number 3, 323-346.

    1. Speaking of gambol lock…

      1. I’m surprised some Randroid hasn’t Galted me yet with “His particular distinction from all other living species is the necessity to act in the face of alternatives by means of volitional choice.”

        I suppose Ayn never observed any other animals. Or much else.

        “Animals left the natal site on their own volition and settled down where no close relatives were present.”

        Natal dispersal in the European wild rabbit
        by J. K?NKELE and D. VON HOLST
        Lehrstuhl f?r Tierphysiologie, Universit?t Bayreuth, Germany
        Animal Behaviour
        Volume 51, Issue 5, May 1996, Pages 1047?1059…..7296901062

  9. Pfft! Sounds like a nice vacation for the 1% types.


    1. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

      But that agricultural city-Statist culture turned the cedar forests of Mesopotamia into the Iraqi desert.

      Now the hierarchical elite don’t live such good lives there. Same shit is happening here.

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  12. Speaking of space….. There are some great classic NASA recordings mixed with spacey electronic beats on the Mission Control station at somafm. The site rocks, it has a bunch of stations playing commercial free music 24 hours a day in different formats. Secret Agent radio is also superb. Lots of great music with classic spy and Bond excepts mixed in.

  13. I have a question. Is a company that takes huge public contracts as its’ largest (only) source of cashflow still in fact private?

    Until there is a viable reason to go into space on a large scale there will be very few if any private space ventures.

    No amount of pie in the sky hopes and dreams from politicians is going to usher in the golden era of private space exploration. It will instead be very similar to the military industrial complex where many ‘private’ companies put up some seed money in the hopes of securing the rights to suckle at the tax dollar tit.

  14. Muad Dib has the game figured out. The only part of this business that is really commercial are the unmanned satellites, for example the people who bring us satellite TV. Possibly suborbital tourism will prove to be viable, although it is iffy. And some of the military satellites serve a useful purpose. But the manned orbital stuff that is now calling itself “commercial” has been for decades, and will be for decades to come, an economic fantasy with over 99% of its revenues coming out of your taxes. Sci-fi bridges to nowhere.

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