Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Demand the Truth about Benghazi

There’s been a special line set up for this:  PLEASE CALL AND TELL THEM YOU WANT A PUBLIC HEARING on BENGHAZI before the elections!!!  OGR (Office of Govt. Reform) Committee:  (202) 225-5074.

The media now has a storm to serve as cover on this issue.

Lies about Gen. Ham.

When Obama called the Seals, they got bin Laden. When the Seals called Obama, they died.

Media Benghazi coverup
American lives were abandoned while a sitting U.S. president allegedly watched.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Where are the other two parachutes?


See? Three chutes.

Remember the Benghazi

Obama is an absolute disgrace.

More...

The final call was by the POTUS. No military action to Libya from Italy or elsewhere could have been undertaken without the POTUS signing off. In the end, his “leading from behind” strategy and failure to realize the nature of the situation in Benghazi led to the deaths of at least Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. His meeting at 5 p.m. was 5 hours before they were killed. That is why there is a cover up, the POTUS failed to act. The screw up of not having enough security on the ground in Benghazi can be passed off to Charlene Lamb, Hillary, etc., but in the midst of the crisis, when the lives of the 30+ Americans were on the line, the POTUS froze, and Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed as a result. He can’t pass that blame off on anyone, he was informed of the attack and as a result of the decisions he made in the Oval Office with Biden and Panetta, those two brave Americans died. The Panetta smokescreen does not hold water because US personnel WERE sent into harm’s way, they just weren’t US military personnel. If there was enough info to send the 8 men from Tripoli, why was that not good enough for our military? This is 100% on Obama.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Obama killing middle class and poor?

He should have said something sooner.

Can you borrow millions of dollars at zero interest and loan it out with interest? At 5% that would be $50k a year for each million.

If that were not enough, could you then just print yourself more money?

Einstein once said, "compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe." At least, that's what financial planners like to tell us. What is that force when your savings are earning zero percent?

The real cost of living has about doubled during Obama's term in office. How does that affect the middle class and poor? Does Bernanke have anything to do with that?

Obama claims to represent the non-rich but has been a disaster for them. Why do people keep buying his lies?

Historically the inflation rate has been about 7%. During Obama it's been closer to 20%.

Ka-Ching

Let's see... $1.6b divided by 12 is... $133m. Hey, I don't know the details of the contract, but somewhere along the line they get paid for this and make a profit. This is in line with $140m they will charge to deliver astronauts. Will it still be $20m per if they don't deliver seven?

Two Seals kill 60

Imagine if the president let them have support.

Modern Technology: Return of the blacksmith

There is a particular kind of handwaving done by the can't doers. It is the claim that something requires modern technology. Handwaving this way indicates a profound lack of knowledge regarding some fundamental principles. People (for whatever reason) like to complicate things that are fundamentally simple.

Can't doers not only don't understand manufacturing, they don't understand economics either. A basic principle of economics is replacement. Everything has an alternate use and everything has a alternate replacement. For example, corn is used for feed but also for making ethanol. Other things can be used for feed or ethanol. The market determines which (unless politicians get involved.)

What is modern technology? It's specializing and distributing manufacturing for greater efficiency. It is dependent on quality tools to produce the next level of product. But everything produced is done by a person with the skills. What products can be made is more a result of design than capability because good designs make more things capable of being produced.

Forging is a production method that goes back to the earliest times yet is an element of modern production. Forging involved adding pressure to a material (anything from steel to plastic) that is often heated to below liquid temperatures. Pressure can mean hammering, rolling or pressed hydraulically or by screw. Extrusion is a type of forging for creating tubes, wires and beams of any shape or length. It doesn't require modern technology and the machines themselves can be designed to be easily built and repaired.

Unless we're making wire we can ignore the puller and winder. For metal beams (of any shape) cooling just means having a long enough bed for the beam to air cool on. For metal (which holds it's heat) we don't really need heater bands but they are simple enough to include (and you would not want metal cooling in your extruder... what a mess.)

The heater coil is simply a metal turning electrical resistance into heat. For metal extrusion, you don't use a screw as pictured. You use a hydraulic ram. Rather than a hopper (which allows continuous operation... a modern technology!) You would start with a liquid metal cast into a cylinder of the right size for input into the extruder. An extruder can be made up of simple parts and produce beams one at a time, but at a fast enough rate to support a martian industrial ecology. Yes extruders can be really simple.

Having a little bit of capability over time can lead to modern technology levels of production and quality. It's not magic. Extruders themselves are not required to make beams. They just make it a lot easier.

Any shape can be produced depending on the die and closed shapes can be made of open shapes with a couple of simple additional steps.

How do you make a hydraulic press? Do I really have to explain a lathe to you? It is used for making both the tube and the cylinder. You first extrude the cylinder and machine it on the lathe to a required tolerance. You don't actually have to extrude the cylinder because a lathe will also work with just a hunk of metal, but that's very inefficient and wasteful. You also machine the tube on the lathe which can be multiple parts welded together after machining. This also doesn't require any magic modern technology. These parts, all in a days work, provide some of what you need to make a tractor. If you need a dozen tractors, they could all be produced in less than a year with the few dozen colonists available (not all will be involved.) Final assembly from all required parts takes less than a day for each tractor in your shirtsleeve mars garage. Many garages are made possible by these tractors.

BTW, 3D printers are a type of extruder that can replicate itself (with a few extra machined parts.) They do require a computer to operate, but the electronics of the printer itself can be martian ISRU made discrete components.

Just too funny

Mann commits scientific misconduct in his legal complaint that he's been falsely accused of committing scientific misconduct.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hurdles to mars colonization

This paper (pdf) discusses how 'to avoid exploration without settlement' to which I wholeheartedly agree. Right off the bat there is an undeclared assumption...
...it is not clear whether the support of permanent bases would be strong, costly and would last several centuries or if it would be possible to settle the red planet and to establish self-sufficient bases in few years.
Did you catch it? It's that word 'support' which is highly suggestive of government funding. There is an extremely good reason for not involving govt. in any capacity. Free people have the right to make reasonable property claims. They do not need the government to grant permission. Bringing the government into it means giving them control they have no right to. Property claims have the potential of fully funding any level of colonization efforts. So let's assume a private venture without any govt. support. Now the second part of that statement...
...would [it] be possible to settle the red planet and to establish self-sufficient bases in few years[?]
Which is addressed in the paper in this way...
There are basically two different strategies. The first one is to use high-technology devices to build the main infrastructures, grow rapidly and achieve partial autonomy, but relying on complex tools that could not be repaired or rebuilt on Mars. The second is to use more simple tools, which would not allow fast growing, but would make it possible to repair or to rebuild objects using local resources.
I intend to show this is a false choice and that there is a third way. Mars colonists will need to do all three.

Until we establish the colonists are able to gather ISRU resources for self sufficiency they are going to have to have resources from earth guaranteed. This doesn't have to be that much. The goal is to get off this dependency ASAP. For example, they will need to have enough water between resupply missions, but it may be that on the first day they establish that enough water can be baked out of the soil so no more water need be supplied from earth. Mars One suggests doing this robotically before the colonists arrive. They may find that it takes more time and they can only provide themselves with part of their water requirements for a while. But the fact is a mars colony paid for with private funds must be totally self-sufficient with regard to essential life support requirements within a few missions or colonization is over.

The paper is correct in identifying heavy equipment as a requirement for rapid growth. The mistake is thinking it can't be built on mars with the skills and capability of a few dozen colonists. (Update: Two high school students build tractor.) They absolutely must be able to build and repair equipment using only local resources. They can if the designs are appropriate for their situation. The paper then goes on about some specifics...

Power is required for industry. Let's assume nuclear is not a near term option and no nuke power plant will be sent from earth. They can and will bring light weight, low cost, solar cells from earth to get them started. They can then make more panels ISRU. However, would it be enough for industry? It does not have to be. The requirements for industry do not need to be constant. Instead, enough to complete a process is the requirement. So assuming there is never enough solar available, there would still be enough to make methane and oxygen. That can produce enough energy for any industrial process they may need. They can always make more fuel. With industry they can make the equipment required to use that fuel. This power is also a backup for solar in case of the dreaded months long sand storms. Eventually, without a government to tell them they can't, they will also develop nuclear energy (my bet is on thorium.)
A greenhouse also requires a lot of power for growing plants. The sun can provide part of it, but since it is half as strong as it is on Earth, a complementary and artificial illumination will be deployed to make farming efficient. LEDs or other lighting devices can be used for that purpose.
Another false assumption. The sun can provide all of it. Perhaps mirrors will be used to concentrate it as suggested in his slow development section. Mirrors are simple. Artificial lighting is not a serious solution. Enough production is addressed by having enough farms. The plants will grow.
Long range pressurized rovers will make it possible to go far and explore the surface in an efficient way.
The assumption here is these have to be high tech. equipment from earth. Pressurized rovers actually make it more difficult to explore compared to unpressurized since you are less likely to take the time to go through an airlock for marginal possibilities. Instead, the rover can be two low tech parts. A simple electric tractor that does nothing but provide a fifth wheel hitch. This pulls an even simpler trailer that can have many adjustable configurations loaded on it as needed. Both of these could be easy for the colonists to build ISRU.
New structures will be built for storage, habitation, industrial development, research, etc. A bulldozer for clearing and a crane for carrying would probably be chosen to make it easy and fast.
Of course they will need bulldozers. But of a design they can build ISRU themselves. They don't need a crane immediately, although it is a simpler thing to build. The dozer itself is a sort of crane.
In order to extract water or to get access to underground mines, a drill is required. Then, if large quantities have to be carried, a truck is also needed.
The rover with trailer is a truck. So is the dozer. A drill is a simple implement powered hydraulically by the dozer.
Automation is a key issue for the maintenance of the base.
No. Dependable systems that do not require computers are.
[Paraphased] There is a risk of losing tools and their corresponding capability.
[Paraphased] Tools wear out. 
A risk that must be mitigated by never depending on a tool that can't be produced ISRU.
How many persons are required to develop and maintain a modern industry?
This question includes the same false assumption. Mars does not require modern industry, it requires sufficient industry. Modern technology will develop over time as the colony population grows. To answer the question, based on the industrial ecology needed (which is the only intelligent way to answer that question) as little as a few dozen with the right skills are required. More hands simply increase industrial capacity and capability.

Then we get into the central planning fallacy...
What  industrial processes?  How much power?  How much  time? These important questions have to be addressed by engineers to assess the sustainability of a modern Martian base and to determine the feasibility of the fast development scenario.
Yes, certain core processes have to be identified and colonists trained to do them. More likely, colonists will be selected from people like machinists and chemists that already have the skills. Beyond that they just need to be over supplied to start so they can expand their capabilities over time. New colonists can bring new capabilities with them. In a free society, each colonist can concentrate on different things needed.

Now about the slow development section...
All engines are complex and can not be easily repaired.
Simply not true. It is a question of the chosen design.
...it is doubtful that any vehicle could be built on Mars without a modern industry.
False assumption. Again, it is a question of design and industrial ecology.
The simplest vehicle is the bicycle, eventually with three or four wheels. It is perhaps possible to build one using in situ resources and by means of simple industrial processes. However, such a vehicle can not help in transporting heavy loads and moving far and fast.
Thanks for the imagery. Try riding a bicycle in a space suit on a martian sand dune! Martians will be iron workers (15% of soil.) Heavy concentration of iron is toxic to plants so removing the iron is part of the production of soil for farms. The vehicles produced will handle any heavy load. Range can be enhanced to any they require precisely because they will be able to haul heavy loads of fuel. These vehicle are not required to move fast but will certainly be capable of moving at faster than a walk. Somebody is going to build dune buggies just for the fun of it.
However, some electronic devices are part of the life support system, the spacesuit, the rover, etc. They play an important role and they can not be replaced by other tools.
No. That would be a really, really bad design. Computers and electronics coming from earth will not be a part of any essential equipment. With experience, the martian colonists will design and produce a spacesuit suited for their environment and not costing millions of dollars to produce. Fabrics will be an industry some colonists will pursue in a growing free economy aided by chemists and others. Most of the time martians will work in shirt sleeve environments in large environmentally controlled living and working spaces because it's just easier and more efficient. Only a fraction of martians will even need spacesuits (but all will have one hanging in the closet because they arrived in one.)
...it is [not] possible to avoid the use of high-tech devices.
To get to mars this is true. To live on mars this is a false assumption. This is why mars is such a good choice for colonization. Also, much of the electronics they do feel the need for (radios?) can be made from discrete components they can make ISRU.

Finally the paper describes some hurdles...
Access to water; Food production; Gathering ores; Not enough energy for specific needs.
Taking the last first. If they have enough energy to start with, they can grow to any future requirement. They will have more than enough even with just the solar panels they bring with them from earth to do that.

The most important ore is iron. Their biggest problem with that is NOT gathering it. Imagine future kids having the daily chore of gathering soil and dust off boots to produce iron nuggets as part of their homework education. They will need vehicles made from iron to gather other minerals.

For food production they will need water, soil and plastic. Nitrates will probably have to come from the atmosphere at first. Chemistry required. Living soil from earth will be a valuable import.

Water is the first essential (power gives you oxygen or they could just wet the ground.) It appears this will not be a problem but is yet to be determined for sure. We know the water is there. We suspect there is enough in the soil that drilling may not be required.
the quality of spare parts might be uncertain if the metallurgic process is not driven by high tech sensors and devices.
What did the industrial revolution ever do before high tech. came along? This is called manufacturing your own roadblocks. It's all about mindset.
It is difficult to establish a clear strategy for the first stages of the settlement of a Martian base.
That mindset and it's false choices make it appear so. Lose that mindset and it's all rather straight forward. The insistence that capabilities will degrade is just weird. Let's not call it a base either. We are talking about founding a growing, thriving colony of free people.

Finally, the central question...
Is the risk acceptable? Update: I look forward to Rand's discussion of risk.
Yes, but not based on anything discussed in this paper. Let's discuss what's missing.

Funding.

It is unlikely that the cost to individual colonists will come down anytime soon to a point where many or even any could afford to go. However, with the right plan they can go for free and arrive with more than enough resources to pursue their own personal happiness. They are risking their lives to improve humanity. That deserves a reward that covers that risk. A one sq. km. property claim could be worth millions to each colonist and provide a lifetime of investment capital.

Forty-two colonists may be transported to mars for a cost as low as $3b. This is within the range of a single company or group of such. It's not about the cost (which everyone keeps focusing on) it's the return on investment. According to the terms of a legally binding settlement charter (that I propose) they could claim a thousand sq. km. for each colonist they transport (free to the colonist.) Each thousand sq. km. claim is potentially worth a billion dollars. So if they transported 40 colonists at a cost of $10b, they would make a $30b profit as the value of their land matures. This value matures the faster they bring colonists. Which makes land speculation from earth buyers come into play. Mars has 144 million sq. km. of land. They will not run out anytime soon.

Having this correct mindset we can go now. SpaceX will have the Dragon 2 Red Lander ready in about 3 years. Everything else will be ready before that. Will we be ready?

I would like to tackle this paper (pdf) in a future post.

John says, "Some of the high technology available from Earth will be a highly desirable partner to the low tech solutions you are advocating."

John is absolutely right. For example, at the end of this post I discuss 3D printing which requires computers that martians must import from earth in order to use. My point is that 3D printer should not be on the critical path of survival. My funding plan assumes existing colonist will probably pay new colonist to include products from earth in their mass allotment which they get for free as part of their passage in my settlement plan.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dragon 2

Interview with Elon...

Anderson: And Dragon, the spacecraft you berthed with the ISS in May, has features that might eventually prepare it for a manned Mars mission.

Musk: Eventually, yes. The thrusters on Dragon are sized so they’ll be able to do launch escape—which means being able to move away from the rocket at a force of approximately 6 g’s. That same thrust level happens to be kind of a good number for supersonic retro-propulsion for landing on Mars.

Anderson: Could you have sent Dragon to Mars instead of the ISS?

Musk: Well, it would have gone very slowly—and when it arrived, it couldn’t have landed. It would have made a crater.

Anderson: The issue is stopping once you get there.

Musk: Version two of Dragon, which should be ready in three years, should be able to do it. But really, if humanity is to become multi-planetary, the fundamental breakthrough that needs to occur in rocketry is a rapidly and completely reusable rocket. In the absence of that, space transportation will remain two orders of magnitude more expensive than it should be.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Talk. Talk. Talk.

It's nice that they got this right...
Thus, at present, an individual acting on his own behalf or on behalf of another individual or a private association or an international organization could lawfully appropriate any part of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies.
What these pinheads continue to fail to understand is that they're interpretation of the OST DOES NOT MATTER. It has no jurisdiction over free people. Nobody owns anything in space (other than things they put there.) Any person has the legal right to make reasonable claims by possession regardless of what anybody on earth has to say about it, yea or nay. What we need to do is set a precedent and hope others will follow it (they will because it pays the cost and is legally enforced by its members; otherwise it's not) which will open up space because the enormous cost is covered for anybody that wants to risk their lives and go if we do.

Otherwise these Bozos will enforce UN control of space...
...it has been suggested that only the United Nations acting on behalf of the world community as a whole should be entitled to appropriate...
There goes liberty and freedom if we allow that to happen. UN control has worked out so well in the past, hasn't it?

People have been looking for a way to cover the cost of space exploration since the beginning. All they need is a light bulb to go off. Let the transportation company make a reasonable claim (1000 sq. km.) for each colonist (each gets one sq. km. claim) they transport for free. This pays for everything and rewards a colonist with assets they can use to grow the economy of the colony in exchange for risking their lives to expand the economic sphere of humanity.

Related: Land patents.

Why Elon is right that we need a backup for humanity.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Can they get there?

"No bucks, no Buck Rogers" is still true today. Mars One thinks they can send four colonists to mars in ten years for $6 billion financed by a reality show. If they produce one episode a week every year that gives them 520 episodes (including best of and other reruns.) So they would have to make $11.5m per episode. According to this calculation ($3.75m) they would only make about a third of that.

How to make up the shortfall? With a show a week they can not expect to get superbowl ratings which would allow them to charge more for commercials. But being a reality show, it should not be too hard for them to increase production to three or more shows a week. They may also want to include some ringers from other reality shows to boost ratings. You need drama and suspense to have a hit.

Is it doable? I think perhaps, but more likely is they will use the reality show as a place to solicit other donors and partners as well. Combine this with extraterrestrial real estate claims and you could cross over the finish line. It would be our first actual new world. We'd have to update all our history books to talk about the old new world. Now you can return to looking at Christina.

The correct term is Yowzer!

Full figured is an insult because it's often used instead of just saying fat.
The correct term is Yowzer or just plain Hawt.

What me worry?

South China Sea dispute (Japan and Taiwan, China and USA next to meet.)
This looks like a Marx brothers and Three Stooges episode.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Romney tax plan

A win, win.

How terrorism wins

Islamic terrorism is financed by Saudi Arabia (and a tiny percentage of other sources) in the form of a myriad of organization that reach inside our government to corrupt it. Here's how Obama helps that.
Mr. Obama chose to define America's enemy not ideologically but organizationally, as al Qaeda and its affiliates.
A similar tactic to Acorn changing its name and continuing to get tax dollars.

Update: It's worse than that.
The revelation that the Obama administration has presided over the development of an arms pipeline to al-Qaeda in Syria — and Biden’s apparently deliberate untruth about it in last week’s debate — is the latest Obama foreign policy coverup.
The anti-American president. Update: more.

Government losers

Politicians give out funds, not to help America, but to help themselves.

List of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies.

Obama, as Mitt said, doesn't pick winners or losers, he picks losers.

Logical absurdity of 72 cents

Maryland Vos Savant explained this absurdity a long time ago.

If it's true that women earn 72% of men for the same work then only women would be hired.

Sarah exposes other aspects of the myth.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nitrates on mars

This is encouraging for future mars colonists.

Exactly like Greece

Death threats and riots if food stamps are taken away. Didn't we see this in Greece?

It is definitely time to get tough with these good for nothings (make them all felons and take away their right to vote.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Crowley was disgusting

In answering the question, who won the debate you have to keep in mind it was a two against one fight. The rules that Crowley violated were...
The moderator will not ask follow-up questions or comment on either the questions asked by the audience or the answers of the candidates during the debate or otherwise intervene in the debate except to acknowledge the questioners from the audience or enforce the time limits, and invite candidate comments during the 2 minute response period.
Romney was correct, but Crowley said he wasn't on camera, but that he was off camera.

She should never be allowed to moderate another debate. I want to see Megyn Kelly or Laura Ingraham as moderator. Would that make the lefties heads blow?

Update: Narrow Obama win is actually huge Romney win. Because Benghazi position of president will now be the news story for next few days.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg weighs in. :-)

Update: Did Obama really say to Candy, “go to the transcript.”

How would he know she had a copy of the Rose garden speech without collusion?

Not just Crowley, but CNN should be barred from debates.

Alternative energy

The president talked about it in the second debate. Nobody should be allowed to say anything about the subject until they read these three classic posts... Energy Scale, Conservation, Feasibility.
In order for "alternate energy" to become feasible, it has to satisfy all of the following criteria: 
1. It has to be huge (in terms of both energy and power)
2. It has to be reliable (not intermittent or unschedulable)
3. It has to be concentrated (not diffuse)
4. It has to be possible to utilize it efficiently
5. The capital investment and operating cost to utilize it has to be comparable to existing energy sources (per gigawatt, and per terajoule). 
The only sources of energy available to us now that satisfy all five are petroleum, coal, hydro, and nuclear.
Instead, those in charge will continue to beat dead horses.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Destination focus: Moon or Mars?

If we focus on the moon we will neglect mars. If we focus on mars we can't neglect the moon. Please try to convince me in comments that I'm wrong.

Update: Whereas a stronger case can be made for use of ISRU on human missions to Mars, the case for lunar ISRU in the current ESAS architecture does not stand up to scrutiny.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Selenian Trading Post/Inn

John Hare has another of his great posts which requires me to defend my mars focus. Keep in mind that focusing on mars does not mean ignoring the moon. I applaud his incremental free market approach to the moon. An approach that too few consider.
The only way that Mars will be developed first is by a top down, massive effort with myopic focus on the red planet.
Forgive me John, but this is a strawman. An incremental free market approach, as he advocates for the moon, is also the best way to develop mars. The thing that will hold back settlement is government interference and regulation. Space is not owned by anyone. We need to reinforce the historical precedent that something not owned can be claimed by possession by anyone (as long as the claim is reasonable.) A charter with all members following the rules makes it legal.

A free market approach isn't going to work anywhere in space if it cost too much for individuals and families to afford. This is why I advocate a charter that provides transportation for free and rewards a colonist's risk of life with assets that make every colonist a potential millionaire with immediate wealth. Those going for flags and footprints do not get these benefits and would have to pay their own way.

It doesn't have to be a massive effort either. Done right it wouldn't be. We could send 42 colonists to mars for $3b. That $3b is paid by a company that could afford it, not the colonists. Those companies would receive assets potentially worth many times their investment made valuable by the very colonists they transport and by other means. This works on mars and not the moon precisely because of the distances and times involved.

I agree somewhat that a myopic focus has some benefits. What about his other points?
...a Lunar ship can be sized at 2% of the Mars ships size, and still haul at least equal tonnage.
There are three steps to either location. Getting to orbit cost the same for either location and today is one of the most expensive steps. That cost can come down by sending more people at a time and using reusable vehicles. But it is the same cost.

The quote above is about the second step, going from orbit to orbit. Ships should of course all be reusable with costs amortised over many round trips. Ships that make more round trips are going to wear out faster requiring expensive replacement, but still there is no question that this cost favors the moon. I would argue that the real expense is political and ease of access works against a colony. You are not free when government dominates all aspects of your life. I strongly believe the moon will be dominated by earth politics where the distance to mars makes it much easier for them to become politically independent. A private venture can self finance to go to mars and no government on earth has the jurisdiction to run (or ruin) their lives. They have the natural right to assert their liberty. This will not be so easy to do if only three days from earth. The precedent is best established on mars.

The third step, landing on either mars and the moon could be done with a Falcon Heavy launch and a Red Lander for nearly the same cost. A reusable SSTO lander would soon provide service for either location; a methane engine for mars and a hydrogen engine on the moon.

Yes, it cost more to send a person to the martian surface than to the lunar surface and it's much harder to come back. The moon also has a ready trade item: Oxygen in its rocks everywhere and probably enough water in certain locations. Those trade items are valuable, but only become really valuable if you are going somewhere else like mars. For a colony to be viable it either has to be self sufficient or have a reliable trade item that can cover costs. Mars has everything it needs to be self sufficient while the moon must depend on trade.

Trade will not be based on massive trade items. People on earth will get wealth from colonies because they will own shares of transportation companies that will operate for profit as well as other companies pursuing their own free market goals. Those companies will profit by getting assets that appreciate the more colonists exist pursuing their own happinesses. How much is a whole world worth? One that isn't dominated by the crushing regulations found on earth?

John is right that a free market is the key. Update: Another mars mission profile. Thank you for the reference John. Real rocket scientists (unlike bums like me) are going to make these things happen.

Let me emphasize: There is no 'colony control authority' as I envision it. Transportation to the surface of mars is simply a ticket paid transaction, with the price covered by land claim. The colonists by their number provide legal enforcement of the transportation companies reasonable by charter claims. Once on the surface of mars each colonist is totally independent and can pursue their own course of action made possible by ownership of valuable assets. They just agree to ownership by the terms of the settlement charter which all members will enforce. They will have to agree to a registry which tracks claims and becomes the first title office tracking chain of title (other title companies will come into existence over time.) Of course survival will require a high level of cooperation and some agreement about who does what, but this does not require they establish some form of government. Common sense and freedom works in small communities. What happens over time is up to the colonists.

The whole point of my vision, as opposed to the Space Settlement Initiative, is to avoid the company town. Wealth is initially distributed to balance risks with, as Thomas Sowell points out, land ownership without odious regulations being the most important element of economic expansion.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

VP debate

Before I read what others have to say...

Biden started out looking goofy and ended up looking mad. My 70 yo parents don't watch debates, but they did these last two. They lean democrat but not this year. When it comes to health care mom said, "Biden is lying through his teeth that seniors aren't seeing cuts."

Ryan did ok, especially his summation. I wish he had pointed out that GM will probably end up going through bankruptcy after all but it may have been better to handle it the way he did.

I was surprised at how well Martha moderated. She did a good job. She did seem to try to get Ryan on the abortion issue but not as much as a devoted lefty might have.

Update: Sometimes you don't see because you expect to see it. Martha did interrupt Ryan a lot as he was getting to make a point. I kept seeing it as the moderator keeping time, but you could see it as being a way to control the message. Biden kept interrupting to ask for equal time to the point of being annoying. This is probably why I think Ryan could have done better. I know he had some devastating points to make that didn't get out.

Update2: This certainly fits...

Proverbs 29:9 When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest. #VPdebate

Transcript. Biden's lies. Martha Raddatz.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mars transit game changer

I've been using 5.7 km/s as the delta V for going to mars. Now mmeijeri points out this chart which allows a 1.1 km/s cost to mars. So how does that impact per passenger costs?

I have proposed the first mars mission send a dozen colonists on two BA330 class ships to prepare for those that follow because fewer means we really aren't serious about settling mars. Survival requires more than a few hands. The second mission sends 42 at a much lower cost per settler. With 54 colonists on mars you have more than enough to support a full industrial ecology (capable of full self sufficiency.) This means $75m per year is all the support they would require from earth (one Red Dragon lander every 2 yrs) and even that is not absolutely essential.

I'm going to assume a Falcon Heavy (FH) capable of launching 50mt for $100m. I'm also going to assume an upgraded BA330 to a 40mt BA700 with life support for 21. Musk has put the per passenger cost to orbit at $20m, but the FH would be able to launch a stretch Dragon with 42 passengers to orbit for about $2m to $4m each.

So we send 42 settlers to mars on two BA700 which includes the vacuum Merlin upper stage that put it in orbit at no extra cost. Assume 1mt for each passenger we have a dry weight per ship of about 70mt. Two ships tethered together provide gravity and redundancy. Update: See Mars ref. mission.

To get to the surface from mars orbit we need six Red Dragon landers which cost about $900m total to put in mars orbit which would be $22m per settler. This is the highest per colonist cost item so if there is a way to reduce this it could be another major game changer.

Putting a BA330 in orbit cost $100m for the BA330 and another $100m for the launch. Let's say a BA700 would have a total cost to LEO of $300m (or $600m for two.)

The final cost to consider is how much fuel to send 140mt on a delta V of 1.1 km/s using 340s engines at $2m per metric ton. Using Trent's calculator I get 194mt for fuel or 4 FH launches. So the fuel cost is about $1m per settler and the ship cost to orbit is $14m per each colonist (ship cost may be amortized over multiple flights.)

So that gives you a total cost of $41m per colonists vs. $81m I previously calculated. That's huge, our mission cost has been cut in half from $6b to $3b (and lower if we consider reusability.)

Compare that to Mars One $6b for 4 colonists vs. $3b for 42 colonists. The Mars One plan does include other costs beyond just transportation.

I still see no way to get to Musk's $500k per settler, but there is no real need.

Update: Martijn points out this low delta V is from very high Earth orbit to very high Mars orbit. This is true, so there are some costs not included in the above. Specifically, you have to move everything from LEO to EML1, but the most expensive item, fuel can go by the least expensive means (which is to say over time in perhaps small amounts.) The link above doesn't include mercury for a specific reason. All the planets on the chart have atmospheres to circularize orbits at almost no cost. Once the general purpose passenger ship arrives in high orbit around mars, Red Dragon landers will be both on the surface with supplies ready to prepare the site and landers in orbit to take them there. So the first order of business would be to circularize the passenger ships orbit so the landers could reach it. The ship will also probably need to carry fuel to top off the landers. More fuel gives them safer margins.

Update 2: The ships taking passengers to mars orbit would return empty to earth orbit for reuse. This could probably be accomplished with ion thrusters at very low cost relatively. Unused fuel could provide the initial push.

Is that really your question?

This guy is right. We need to start being as consistent in our counter attacks as they are on the attack.

This is an existential war and the media is the enemy. Cut off their air and let them die.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lies that work

Most people will reject a lie if they know it's a lie. However, people still do believe a lot of lies. If you just can't believe the lies that other people believe you should have just one question...

How is it possible? Well, two... What can we do about it?

To say it's because people are just stupid is unhelpful and is not the central problem.

To say self interest over rules truth is closer to the problem. This is certainly evil when it's the case, but not everyone that believes lies are evil. Is there an explanation that includes a benefit of doubt?

Yes, it is that the best lies contain large elements of truth. People that believe those lies may simply be focusing so intently on the true part they miss the false part. Once they do that, if you don't acknowledge the true part you will have a difficult time arguing to get the lie rejected.

Pragmatically you want lies rejected, but paradoxically focusing on the falsity can work against that. Pointing out what is false will simply be ignored. First you have to acknowledge what is true.  One problem is that the media in this country will often embrace you when you acknowledge truth, then cut you off when you go on to expose the lies. Face it, they really are evil while considering themselves saints but this post isn't about that.

Most people still consider Lincoln to have been a good president. He gave us a warning in the Gettysburg address when he said, "...that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." That government is in jeopardy today. It could perish.

What is the source of that danger? Lies that contain enough truth that they can destroy us financially. Lies that aren't rejected because people can focus on the elements of truth or apparent truth.

Which lies? Competition is bad. Ownership is unfair. People have rights that makes it ok for government to steal from some to give to others. Arguing what to call it is fruitless. The important thing is for people to realize they are being lied to and come to reject the lies. This isn't easy and will take time, but there is no alternative assuming we don't wish to perish. I'm pretty sure that if Obama is reelected this American experiment in exceptionalism is all but over.

So what truth should we acknowledge? Let's start with one from the bible: "...man dominates man to his  injury." We that believe in competition and free enterprise have to acknowledge that business people are not angels. They aren't doing it for the public good but for themselves. But you can't fix human nature by trying to regulate it with more and more laws. Especially when these laws are made by people looking for their own advantage... dominating others to their injury.

Another truth to acknowledge? Many people have few resources to compete. So it's easy for them to give up while thinking that competition itself is bad. Which is somewhat ironic since they still compete for resources. They do have resources, but the demagogues will focus those resources on redistribution of wealth rather than working the slow path to success. It's not just that some people are lazy. It's not just any character flaw. We have a responsibility to educate enough people when they are young so they know they have to work for their own future regardless of the where they start. It is our fault if we let others educate them to believe they have rights which the government must supply by theft.

We have a lot of work to do. Hopefully it's not too late.

A must read.

One of the best posts I've ever read. The target has been nailed. Every voter should give his point a serious, strong consideration.

The difference between bad and worse is magnitudes greater than between good and better. Our future hangs in the balance.

We need to survive another four years to find better.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Google update

Google has updated it's interface so I can't edit my step to mars page. Wonderful. So it's time to make lemonaid. I'm going to rewrite that page and a few of my other old pages soon...

Against mars.