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Comment Re:Why worry (Score 1) 153

I agree it won't hurt for people to spend some time brainstorming about this in their spare time. But before we actually set up a budget to look into this on a more structured scale, it would probably be better to use the same budget to improve road safety, for example, or encourage people to stop smoking.

Comment Re:Why worry (Score 3, Interesting) 153

It would take a huge asteroid to wipe out the entire human race. We're talking once every 100 million years, or so. Before we spend any resources on detecting and deflecting asteroids, let's wait another 1000 years. On the scale of large asteroid impacts, a 1000 year delay is insignificant, but on the scale of human civilization, 1000 years is huge. If our civilization is much more advanced in 1000 years, we don't need our dated asteroid impact plans. If civilization crashes, our plans will be useless anyway.

Comment Re:Serious Answer (Score 1) 193

Are launch costs that high ? I think there are several options in the $10 million/ton range. I'm not an expert on weather satellites, but I assume you can make a decent one that weighs less than 5 tons, putting it in the $50 million range for launch costs. One launch every 5 years, equals $10 million per year, which is a tiny amount by any standard. You could even launch a couple. Don't worry about launching a Ferrari. Just use something simple and reliable.

Comment Re:Next generation? (Score 1) 193

No need to save the exact same 20-year old design and copy it. People launch satellites on a regular basis, and most of them are not too expensive. Apparently, there's quite a bit of knowledge on how to make a reasonably priced, earth orbiting satellite that can do basic housekeeping, and maintain a up/down data link to ground stations. To make it a weather satellite, just slap some useful instruments on it, and call it good.

Comment Re:Next generation? (Score 1) 193

I don't even think the issue is money, or at least not lack of it. They had a $12 billion budget. Compare that to the $2.5 billion they spent on the Mars Curiosity mission, which is much more complicated than a weather satellite. They should have given them a $500 million budget instead, and then it would have much bigger chance of success. The bigger the budget, the higher the risk of making it too complex.

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton