Feb 122018

We’ve trashed the oceans; now we are turning space into a junkyard for billionaires

Experts say rocket emissions affect our climate and cause ozone loss, yet too few people seem to care

Unless you think that that opening line doesn’t really hammer home the point, there’s this:

You might be tempted to dismiss this as an expensive publicity stunt by a billionaire playboy with too much time on his hands. But in reality it’s an important step towards a time when space travel for your average indolent millionaire will become commonplace. It will probably become another way of managing your finances when Mars inevitably becomes the ultimate off-shore tax haven.

Quite what our fetish for space exploration and spending billions on the technology required to feed this does to the environment is a serious matter. There’s a dissonance emerging here. On Earth, we’re organising summits and setting up carbon footprint-reduction targets all over the shop. Yet, up in yonder outer space we’ve established a giant garbage dump replete with huge hulks of rusting metal and, as of last week, a $200k American sports car.

Indeed, the whole issue of rocket emissions needs to be considered if we’re serious about the environment.

This is symptomatic of the modern luddite, repeating the latest version of the tired old “why spend money on space when we still have problems here on Earth” refrain. These monstrous reprobates were wrong fifty years ago when they managed to kill off Apollo and the first good chance for the conquest of space; they’re even more wrong now as they try to kill off what may well be not only the best, but perhaps the *last* opportunity for western civilization to save itself. Kill it off now with environmental laws and regulations and treaties, as the nattering chicken livered assassin of joy who wrote that opinion piece for the execrable “The Guardian” would have, and we’ll never get the chance again in any of our lifetimes. The Chinese might conquer the universe, planting their red flag of communist genocide on every chunk of rock within a hundred AU, but we’ll be stuck here in ever-increasing malaise, besieged by hopelessness and diminishing horizons, dark age Surt worshippers and astrologers and flat Earthers. Gormless chickenshittery in the face of THE ENTIRE DAMNED UNIVERSE should not be tolerated, much less celebrated, even less paid for. The yammering pinhead even finished off his ill-informed and ill-intentioned piece by suggesting that space aliens are mad at us for ” disfiguring their neighbourhood with obsolete metal junk.”

Sadly, the English language is simply far too limiting to get across the level of disdain and dislike I have for people who get paid to try to convince the western world to cut itself off at the knees.

 Posted by at 12:19 am
  • Tybarious

    best comment from the page:

    “MightyBuccaneer 1d ago

    They spend billions on sport, and I didn’t care.
    They spend billions on film, and I didn’t care.
    They spend billions on clothes and I didn’t care.
    They spend billions on cosmetics and I didn’t care.
    They spend billions on smartphones and I didn’t care.

    But then they spend billions on rockets, and I thought of starving children in Syria, the wrongness of billionaires, and the environment. I was outraged.”

    I’ll add, we waste trillions on government programs that don’t fix anything and no one cares or says they are good and need to stay.

  • Thucydides_of_Athens

    OI’m rather inclined to go along with Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) and believe the reason people hate things like space exploration is “too few opportunities for graft”.

    If you have no conceivable way go becoming a rent seeker off of Elon Musk’s endeavours, then you might think the better course is to divert the money he gets/makes towards places where you might have a better chance of rent seeking…..

  • Molochnik

    I wanted to express some affirmation regarding disdain for the sentiment in the article, but I can’t really add anything that hasn’t been expressed on the blog or in the comments.

  • George

    Scott, Take out the bottle of Jack, pour a shot, slam it down. Repeat. OK now that your blood pressure has approached normal, I’m with you. I’m willing to bet the only STEM subject he agrees is right is Climate Change-this person sadly thinks the rest of STEM is evil and should be eliminated. Musk, bless his soul, seems to be in “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead” mode. I think he will succeed-he has a vision, and has “fire in the belly” (sorry for the clichés).When Musk starts to make real money, watch everybody and his brother try to catch that wave. Keep the faith-if half the government and private space programs out there start to deliver-the future will be great. Finally, I’ve been doing this Aerospace Stuff (all Space) for 42 years-first in the Air Force, then industry, and now FFRDC. I’ve seen a lot of 20 somethings coming into the space biz-and they do believe. Oh yeah-back to the Jack-have a third one-It’ll help you sleep!

  • Nick Gaston

    This wasn’t by the same author as that “space colonization is a deeply disturbing concept” article from a few months back, is it?

  • Herp McDerp

    It will probably become another way of managing your finances when Mars inevitably becomes the ultimate off-shore tax haven.

    Yes, and maybe that’s a good thing. In the view of right-thinkin’ Brits 24 decades ago, those upstart American colonies became the ultimate off-shore tax haven, too. “‘No taxation without representation’ — how dare those vulgar peasants try to manage their own affairs without wise and benign supervision by the Crown?

  • The sooner the Guardian goes bankrupt the better, it really is an embarrasment to the UK

  • Ulrich Brasche III

    same sh*t soured the Apollo program. I have inherited an album of news clippings from the paper containing the leadup to Apollo 11, the mission, and the immediate aftermath. Attached are stories of protests, the “why spend money on space when there’s poor people on Earth” types. the attempts at sabotage by the same protestors, and other stuff on the backsides of the clippings. Now, we spend almost the ENTIRE Apollo expenditure (all flights, all tooling expenses, research, etc) every year on “the poor” and we have no Apollo. Soon we’ll expend *multiple* Apollos on welfare and “the poor”. Yes, the unit of total expenditure (not just discretionary but mandatory as well) that I use to cover entitlements is the Apollo. Feel free to utilize as necessary.

    What none of the haters or jealous or vote buyers will tell us, is what the end-game is. When is “enough” going to be enough? or do we spend more and more on just “the poor” until there is *nothing* left for any growth? What is the survival outcome for the species when all research is cut to continue enabling “poverty” and increased birth rates? We spend more and more and all we get is more and more “poor”.

    Eventually there will be nothing left. and unlike “Haven” from the Honorverse, there is NO extraterrestrial conquest option to keep the priesthood of The Poor happy.

    edit: I gotta get off my arse and scan these things! I didn’t have a scanner for the longest time and totally forgot to digitize. What’s a good way to store and manage double sided irregularly shaped images into a single document? Preferrably something that can be OCRd. Something by Adobe perhaps?