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Comment Re:We care...about cozy? (Score 2) 149

In theory, Mars could be terraformed. It practice, we just don't have the technology to do it yet.

I suspect we have the technology to establish a laboratory base there, but the effort and overhead required to just stay alive there would make accomplishing any actual research a side project. And it certainly wouldn't be self-sufficient. The soil is poisonous to any earth crops, the radiation levels are fatal and the atmosphere is so thin that the lack of air pressure would kill you even if it was breathable. True, establishing an artificial magnetic field would address the atmosphere issue, but again, we don't have sufficient technology to do that. We just aren't ready yet.

The more we learn about Mars, the less I'm convinced colonizing it would be practical, at least with our current state of technology. And I suspect there are a lot of things we don't know about ourselves, and about living in the Martian environment, that we're only going to find out the hard way. For example, we didn't know that we're dependent on certain kinds of bacteria living in our intestines to digest our food until fairly recently. What else are we dependent on that we're not yet aware of?

I support the effort, because you don't learn without trying, but I expect we're going to pay a high price for it. Both financially and in terms of lost lives.

Comment Re:Competition (Score 1) 32

You never know. Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites beat everyone, including SpaceX, into space. They were the darlings of the space industry for a couple years. Then they just quietly faded away. Virgin Galactic is supposedly developing the craft, but nothing much has happened in over 10 years, and in the meantime SpaceX has stolen everyone's lunch. It's a young and volatile industry. I wouldn't write Blue Origin off yet.

Comment Re:More slashdot fake news (Score 2) 574

Given the intelligence of the typical Washington Pest reporter, this really shouldn't be a surprise:

When I came home from my last TV hit, the kids, ages 4 and 5 months, were asleep. The house was quiet. I was still full of caffeine and do-gooder energy and decided to tidy up.

Among the clutter on the coffee table, I found my 4-year-old’s Party Popper, a bright yellow gun that fired confetti. For some reason, I held the gun up to my eye and looked down the barrel, the way Yosemite Sam always does.

It looked unloaded.

Then, for some reason, I pulled the trigger.

When I got to the ER, I had a swollen face, metal-foil confetti in my hair and a faint odor of gun smoke. Finally, the doctor could see me.

“I shot myself in the eye with a glitter gun,” I said. I showed him the Party Popper, which I had brought with me, in case he wanted to send it off to the National Institute of Morons for further study.

I got home from the hospital with a scratched cornea and a tube of eye ointment. The next day, with some of my dignity permanently lost, I got started on a bigger story.

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