X-Message-Number: 12123
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 07:16:16 -0700
From: Rand Simberg <>
Subject: why I chose 75 years [Thomas Donaldson]

At 05:00 AM 7/13/99 -0400, Thomas Donaldson wrote:

>While I do not plan to argue about the exact number of 75 years (I meant
>it to be approximate) I will explain that figure here. I was not just 
>taking account of the required TECHNOLOGY. I was also discussing the
>politics and the vision of people at large. That is why I came up with
>a figure longer than you seem to expect.
<remainder of irrelevant kvetching about the difficulty of getting
politicians to take asteroid collisions seriously snipped>

Thomas, you seem to have missed the point of my post.  I said that we would
be moving asteroids within the next couple of decades *for their resource
value* (probably water initially for use in space, but the platinum group
metals may be a viable market for use on the planet), and this will be done
by private concerns--not governments.  Thus there is no need for the
politicians to be involved in the development of the required technology.  

Based on my many years of experience in dealing with NASA, I agree that
getting governments to do anything useful in space, even something as
critical as planetary defense, would be painful, difficult, and perhaps
futile.  If I thought that this was the only way that we would ever develop
asteroid-diversion technology, I would consider your 75-year estimate to be
laughably optimistic.
  * 310 372-7963 (CA) 307 739-1296 (Jackson Hole)  
interglobal space lines  * 307 733-1715 (Fax) http://www.interglobal.org 

"Extraordinary launch vehicles require extraordinary markets..."

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