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Comment: Re:Well (Score 1) 594

by JoeMerchant (#48293927) Attached to: Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

No, no, NO! What the Space program really needs are a bunch of people who never actually do anything beyond their day job and some hobby reading to espouse theories about what should be done. We should give all these people a forum where they can argue about what _should_ be done and let the argument proceed until a clear and obvious answer is arrived at - then we should set about doing exactly what the masses have decided, because, obviously, that will be the right thing to do.

Until then, we should redirect the funding that would go to the Space program to subsidize the cost of Cheetos and craft beer, because that's obviously what people need today, based on their observable behavior.

Comment: Re:Jeez, just come clean (Score 4, Interesting) 146

by JoeMerchant (#48287995) Attached to: A Mysterious Piece of Russian Space Junk Does Maneuvers

Take a sailboat out in the South Pacific sea, get 500 miles from any port, and tell me how crowded the ocean surface (a 2D structure) feels.

The only thing that's crowded about space is the delta-V, there's plenty of room, but you really want that when relative velocities can be > 1 km/sec.

Comment: Re:That's a shame (Score 1) 445

by JoeMerchant (#48282795) Attached to: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crashes

$200,000 is actually in reach of far more than 1% of the US working population... it's not an easy thing, but if it's all you ever want to do in your life, it's attainable with median income and a few decades of living frugally and wisely investing every spare penny.

This is a huge change from the late 1960s where your odds of becoming an astronaut were roughly equivalent to two lottery wins in the same year.

Comment: Re:Farm topography (Score 1) 94

by JoeMerchant (#48262507) Attached to: Drones Could 3D-Map Scores of Hectares of Land In Just a Few Hours

Think about the labor pool - when you put out a want-ad for new employees, what type of people are you likely to find? 3D projection software operators with understanding of how it works, when it lies to you due to sketchy input data, etc. - or.... can you find somebody willing to work for minimum wage who can watch TV and count cracks?

Comment: Re:The incredible shrinking nucleus (Score 1) 47

by JoeMerchant (#48198485) Attached to: Mars Orbiter Beams Back Images of Comet's Surprisingly Tiny Nucleus

The Oort cloud is supposed to be a veritable treasure trove of these things, all you have to do is tip them sunward (decrease their negligible orbital velocity just a little) and be precise enough about it to achieve Mars impact. The trick is getting a ship with any kind of delta V capability into the Oort cloud in the first place - solar power ain't gonna cut it out there, probably need a massive Thorium or Plutonium pile to make it go. Extra bonus, when you get there, the objects you are moving provide the reaction mass you need to move them (volatiles!)

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