Ditto

Brian Dunbar stumbled across a great quote on the whole robots vs humans discussion:

Manned and unmanned space exploration go together, hand in glove, and we shouldn’t rule out one in favour of the other. The real question is what is the most efficient way of getting out there, and the answer to that is to take the project out of the hands of the bean counters, bureaucrats and politicians and into the hands of those driven by that most basic of human desires, greed. While businessmen and corporations may not be paragons of human virtue, at least they have a tendency to get things done, because if they fail they cannot hide behind walls of bureaucracy and political manoeuvring, instead they go bust, and the technology and patents they have developed are snapped up by their competitors to be used again, rather than disappearing into the governments’ archives, never to be seen again. We will get out there someday, but as long as the space program is a slave to the whims of government, of national expediency, of the military, and indeed of science, it will be a long, long road with many switchbacks, reversals and pauses, and I for one could do with rather less white elephants sitting in the middle of the road.

I think this comes quite close to perfectly summing up my feelings on the matter. If space transportation was as free and healthy of a market as most other markets, I don’t think anyone would care about robots vs humans. It would be so obvious that the answer is “depends on what you want to do” that nobody would even ask the question. The saddest thing about the mainstream robots vs humans debate is that it isn’t really a robots vs humans debate at all, but merely people arguing over who gets the pork.

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
Jonathan Goff

About Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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2 Responses to Ditto

  1. Monte Davis says:

    If space transportation was as free and healthy a market as most other markets…

    Point taken… up to a point. One of the central arguments of my book is that the biggest obstacles to CATS are (as they have always been) the physics, engineering, and economics involved: the chicken-and-egg problem of driving cost down and volume up when you’re starting in a high-cost, low-volume corner of trade space. Compared to that, the political/legal obstacles, from NASA inertia through ITAR and liability issues and the rest — really are trivial.

    Where I depart from SFF and the “ideological” faction of alt.space is the heavy emphasis they put on the latter — you know, “if only the #@$% bureaucrats will get out of the way [while supplying COTS contracts, tax breaks, and other pump-priming], Burt Rutan will be waiting on the moon when the first VSE lander arrives.”

    Come on, folks: your real opponents are Newton and Tsiolkovsky. Demonstrate that you can take them on, get Adam Smith on your side, and the bogeymen in Washington will fall into line.

    If the market can be made healthy — brought to self-sustaining growth — through cost reduction and demand/volume growth, the free part will take care of itself.

  2. I LUV CATS says:

    #

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