Sci Station Canada

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Commercial Future For Space Travel

"The bottom line at zero gravity" By ROBERT SAWYER

You really must read this upbeat, optimistic article by the Hugo winning author of "Hominids". Erudite, authoratative and backed by facts and figures - isn't that the formula for winning Science Fiction? - he reiterates what many have been saying recently about the commercialisation of space.

Now, yes, there will always be a role for government-funded manned space flight. Basic exploration should be done for reasons other than making a buck. I do believe governments should be working hard to establish permanent settlements off-Earth so that humanity will survive even the worst terrorist or environmental disaster.

In other areas, the government should butt out, and let the capitalists take their shot. Dan Goldin, former administrator of NASA, had a mantra: "Better, faster, cheaper." Of course, he was never able to make that work in the bloated bureaucracy he headed. But those same goals are routinely achieved by businesses. Where governments fail -- on Earth or out among the stars -- the private sector will succeed.


I am wary of capitalism as a philosophy. At it's best it has a sound basis for showing that ethics = profits but it can also be so wrong when corporations lose sight of the necessity of ethics & morals and drive for profits at any cost ... was that a tautology?

With intelligent, realistic government controls (neither too little nor too much) and public support it *WILL* happen.


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