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Back to the Moon

Apparently, Pres. Bush will shortly announce plans for a permanent moonbase and a manned Mars mission.

Sounds like a recipe for an Allen Steele or a Ben Bova future. Which, to be honest, isn't such a bad thing - even if I do want to live in a Michael Flynn tomorrow...

Comments

daveon
Jan. 9th, 2004 02:49 am (UTC)
Although the bases in Steele were mostly private having been sold off by the government.

Not sure I see that happening.
nmg
Jan. 9th, 2004 06:04 am (UTC)

Almost everything in Steele's fiction was privately-owned (with the possible exception of Space Station Freedom/Alpha in Orbital Decay). I agree that this is unlikely, since there just isn't the potential for low-risk profit in manned space operations, and few shareholders would stand for a visionary CEO who would advocate such a direction for a company.

muninnhuginn
Jan. 9th, 2004 09:06 am (UTC)
I'm never certain whether the improbability of private sector space exploration is a good thing or a bad? Either it means there aren't likely to be evil corporations taking over the frontiers or just that it's one fewer possibility of funding anything at all. There's no guarantee that the private sector would be any less capable or more evil than states.

It's a shame tho': I'd definitely go for an Allen Steele future.
nmg
Jan. 9th, 2004 09:29 am (UTC)

Yep, I'd be happy with an Allan Steele future as well. I think that private sector investment in space exploration is acceptable (it's more funding, as you point out) as long as there are sufficient curbs on what they can do and claim as their own. The Kim Stanley Robinson future of trans/metanational corporations is a worrying one, and one that's all too easy to envisage if the current trend towards corporate democracy in the US continues.

Unfortunately, I think that we're only likely to see corporate investment in such a high-risk and long-term enterprise as space exploration if they believe that there is a chance that they could end up laying claim to large parts of the solar system.