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65 comments

Hey! (1)

eniac42 (1144799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21610471)

Thats no Odyssey Moon, its a Tycho Magnetic Anomaly!

Re:Hey! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21610665)

I was probably like any other fifteen year old when I was growing up, seemingly aways having to fight off a hard-on. Maybe it was hormones, maybe it was because I was still a virgin, but my almost daily jack-off sessions didn't seem to help much. I still wanted to experience the feeling of my dick actually plunging into some beautiful young girl's tight, wet cunt. Hell, she didn't even have to be all that beautiful!

This feeling was driving me crazy. I HAD to have me a piece of ass soon, or I was simply gonna explode! I just couldn't keep out the thoughts of some young girl's pointed, jiggling tits slipping between my lips while my dick plowed between her moist slit.

My imagination, summer bikinis, and dad's PENTHOUSEs helped me to fill out my favorite fantasies of what the girls in my classes looked like naked. Those vivid images of beautiful, naked young girls coming into my room looking at my dick with lust, or my plopping them down on a desk right there in school and fucking our brains out seemed to dominate my every waking moment. Hell, even my nights were filled with wet dreams of these nubile young girls offering their naked bodies to me on sight!

The truth was I had never even seen a live naked girl since I was about seven-years-old playing doctor with a neigbor girl. Even then I didn't know what it was all about, just that my little dick got hard when I touched her bare pussy and that it felt REAL GOOD when she touched my hard dick. 'If only I new then what I know now,' I thought. Furthermore, I was much too shy to even approach a girl my age to ask for a date, much less to ask for a piece of ass or a blowjob.

I was sitting under a tree fretting about all of this one summer day, when I was startled by the voice of a young neighbor girl who had walked up behind me.

"What are you doing out here all by yourself?"

Pauline was a typical eleven-year-old, her body just beginning to show the first signs of maturing into an hourglass shape, but she still was flat-chested. Her personality had definitely not matured, and I even cosidered her to be quite a brat.

"Nothing much, just moping around," I told her.

"What's wrong?" she asked in a soft tone, touching my knee as she sat down beside me on the ground, her small skirt riding up her smooth legs.

I had never looked at her in a sexual way before, but the combination of my frustration and her uncharacteristic soft-spoken manner caused me to take a second look at her. She was actually a very pretty young girl, with long dark brown hair that flowed down onto her flat, preteen chest. Her innocent dark brown eyes looked deeply into mine as she pondered my troubles, and I began to get an idea on how I might exploit this budding motherly instinct of hers.

"Well , it's just that a lot of the other guys my age have dated girls already," I began, "some of them have even had sex."

I paused to check her reaction. She was still sitting there looking at me intently, her knees pulled up near her chest and her arms draped around them casually leaving her skirt to gape open under her legs. I was sure that anyone passing by would be able to see her panties, but she didn't seem to be aware of her immodest pose.

"I'm just too shy to ask anyone out, though. I guess I'll never have the guts to either."

She sat there silently, bending her head down and resting her chin on her knees. She seemed to be in thought as she began to stare blankly at the ground in front of her, possibly wondering about her own lack of boyfriends and whether she too would ever have the experience of having sex one day.

"Have you ever wondered what it's like to have sex?" I asked her, hoping to guide the situation into a possible encounter.

She looked at me momentarily to see if I was sincere, or just trying to poke fun at her before answering.

"Well ., yeah ., sometimes ., but nobody really likes me much around here. All of the boys in my class just want to play by themselves. I'll probably never have a boyfriend or anything," she said solemnly.

"Have you ever thought about doing it with anybody around here?" I asked, pressing further.

"EEEWWW, NO!" she said, raising her voice defensively.

"Don't get mad, Pauline! I was just wondering." I said, trying to salvage the situation. "I wouldn't tell anybody if you had thought about it."

After that exchange, we both sat silently for a few moments. She resumed her position of resting her head on her knees, and her skirt still left her entire bottom open below her legs. Hoping to get a better view of this sight, I stretched and yawned, feigning fatique. I then bent forward and crawled along the ground until I was stretched out on my side facing Pauline, my feet resting against the large tree. She looked at me momentarily before reaverting her gaze to the ground directly in front of her, resuming her thoughts. I waited until she looked away before looking under her legs, but when I did, I was greeted by the sight of her beautiful tanned legs disappearing into the rumpled bottom of her skirt. Between them was a bright white strip of cotton cloth, covering what I knew had to be her young twat. The tightness of the cloth stretched across her little pussy, clearly identifying just where it was by the indentation of the fabric along the slit. My dick immediately began to respond, and I quickly stuck my hand in my pocket to adjust it before it was too late, leaving it there to help hide the effect it was going to have on my pants.

"I've thought a lot about having sex," I said, looking back up to her eyes just as she turned her gaze back to me.

"Really? Who with?" she asked curiously.

Now she had me on the spot. If I told her all of the girls my fantasies revolved around, it would be just like this little brat to go and tell them. As I studied her face though, I noticed a look that I had never seen before. It was as if she was trying to form a mental image of two people having sex, me being one of them and the other still left blank.

"Well ., I don't know. You might think it's gross if I tell you. What's more, you'll probably go right off and tell them if I told you who it was," I said.

"I won't think it's gross, and I promise I won't tell ., please .." she pleaded.

Now I was beginning to feel I was getting somewhere. I really had her curiosity up, and I even thought that she might even be enjoying this line of conversation.

"Well ., OK," I began. "But you gotta promise you aren't gonna tell. And it's not like I would really do it with them or anything. I've just thought about it, OK?"

"OK, sure!" she replied, just a tinge of excitement in her voice.

"Um , well , you know Jodi McAllister? I've thought about doing it with her." I said.

"Oh," she replied, sounding slightly disappointed.

"Yeah, she's got a nice body. Blonde hair .., blue eyes ., and pretty nice tits too! And she's got a REAL nice ass on her!" I said, hoping to get Pauline's gears going.

Pauline raised up, resting her chin on her hands, her elbows on her knees. She shifted her geet out from her body, keeping her thighs together. Her little feet were pointed inward slightly, giving her a very little girlish look. Her gaze seemed to be far off now as she thought about what I had said.

My eyes returned to that magic spot between her legs momentarily, as I pondered how to word my next sentence.

"Who else have you thought about?" she asked in a faraway tone.

"Well ., if you promise you won't think it's gross ..," I said, pausing for a response.

"No , no, I don't think it's gross!" she said, looking back at me with pleading eyes.

"Well ., I'm kinda embarrased to tell you who else I was thinking about," I said teasingly.

"Aw, c'mon .., I promise I won't tell!" she begged.

"Well ., you really won't have to ., 'cause ., I kinda have been thinkin' about doin' it with you," I said softly, not really lying about it now.

A look of complete surprise came over her face as her head raised from its resting place slightly and her hands came apart. Her mouth gaped open as she took in what I had just said and I noticed a distinct deep red blush spread across her face.

"Larry !" she exclaimed, not really knowing what to say next.

"Y-y-you've really .. thought about ., y'know , having sex .. with me?!" she asked in disbelief.

"Well .yeah," I said, more confidently. "You're a pretty girl, and even though you don't really have any tits yet, you still have a nice body."

She blushed again, instinctively reaching down and wrapping her skirt around her legs, drawing them together and hunching over to rest her chin on her knees once more. It was obvious that she had been flattered about my remarks, but at the same time she was totally caught off guard with the thought of someone wanting to have sex with her. I could see her playing out the scene in her mind as she sat there, rocking back and forth slightly.

A long, pregnant pause elapsed before anyone said anything again. It was me who initiated the next question.

"Well , what do you think?" I asked her. "Do you think you would want to have sex with somebody like me?"

"NO!" she exclaimed. "I couldn't .., I mean .., I'm only eleven-years-old. I shouldn't be doing stuff like that. And besides, you're fifteen!"

"So, I know some girls who did it when they were nine- years-old," I lied.

"Oh yeah .., who?" she demanded.

"Well ., I promised I wouldn't tell. And promises are promises," I said, trying to get myself out of that one.

Pauline thought for a moment before saying, "Well ., I dunno .., I just don't think I better do anything like that."

"OK, OK , but if you COULD do it, do you think you would do it with somebody like me?" I asked, trying to keep on the topic.

"Well ., I dunno," she said blushing. "I ., I guess so."

I just smiled back at her, "Thanks, Pauline. I needed to hear that!"

She looked back at me, and an embarrased smile flashed across her face as she had to look away. I wasn't through with her yet, however. I just HAD to get something out of all of this. My dick was pressing against my pants with one of the most raging hard-ons I had ever had. I had noticed Pauline looking down at my crotch a couple of times as we had talked about doing it, but I wasn't sure if she saw anything as my hand was still in my pocket, paritally hiding the tent-like effect my dick was having on my pants.

I waited a few more moments before starting again, "You know ., I don't even know what a naked girl looks like."

"What about your sister, haven't you seen her naked before?" she asked.

"Well .yeah. But that was a long time ago, when she was just a little baby. Besides, it's not the same when you see your sister, especially when she's only one-year-old."

I continued to look at Pauline. She was all balled up, and refused to look at me when we weren't talking. I had decided that I just had to at least see her bare little pussy, even if she wasn't gonna let me fuck her. At least I would have something to go whack off with for a while.

"What about you ., would you let me see you naked?" I asked hesitantly. "I'll let you see me naked."

"I , I don't know. I better not," her voice showing her uncertainty.

"Aw, c'mon Pauline," I begged. "I'll probably never get to see a naked girl until I get married ., if I ever DO get married."

"I-I don't know, Larry." she said nervously.

I could tell she was actually considering it, but she still would have rather I hadn't asked. Even so, the thought of seeing a naked boy probably for the first time intriqued her.

"I'll make it worth your while," I went on. "I'll buy you an banana split when the ice cream man comes by."

She paused for a moment, biting her upper lip as she contemplated my proposal. The agony of the moment was almost unbearable for me.

Finally, she spoke, " Well .OK ."

I almost leaped for joy inside, but I kept my cool on the outside. At least as much cool as I could considering my state of excitement.

"But you've got to promise that you'll not touch me. And you've got to promise not to tell ANYBODY. And you still have to buy me the banana split." she rattled on.

"OK, OK," I interupted, "I promise, I promise."

"C'mon, let's go to my grandpa's barn where nobody will see us," I said, grabbing her by the hand and rushing her away before she had a chance to change her mind.

Grandpa's barn was way off in a field by itself, surrounded by a few old oak trees on the sides and back. He used it mainly to store hay for his cows, and hardly ever came there during the summer. He also kept an old Studebaker out there, and that is where Pauline and I stopped to carry out our deal.

"You go first," I told her.

"Can't we both just go at the same time?" she asked.

"Well ., yeah , sure," I said almost reluctantly, not wanting to miss one second of her bare pussy being exposed.

"Remember, you can't touch, and you've got to buy me that banana split," she said.

"I know, Pauline. You don't have to keep reminding me," I said, as I unzipped my pants and she pulled her panties down under her skirt.

I quickly shucked my cut-offs down, exposing my underwear and the large bulge sticking out into it. Pauline had bent over to pull her panties down to about her ankles, then stood up, stepping out of them with her left foot and flipping them off with her right. As she stood, she became transfixed by the sight of my bulging underwear.

Knowing that her pussy was naked under her skirt, and that I was about to see it seemed to make my dick even harder than ever. What's more, knowing that my naked cock was going to be so close to a naked pussy, and me not getting to at least stick it in was more than I could bear. I just had to have more than just a look. My mind raced over what I could say to coax her into letting me at least try to stick it in her as we both slowly began to expose our sex to each other.

I bent over as I slowly lifted the waistband of my underwear over my pulsing cockhead, sliding them down my legs. My face was about a foot and a half from Pauline's crotch, as she slowly lifted her skirt. The hem slowly inched it's way up, and just as I saw the first signs of a tiny hairless slit she stopped.

"Well, stand up so I can see it. We've got to do it together," she demanded.

Reluctanly I stood up, my hard dick pointing up at her face at about a 45 degree angle. Pauline gasped as she looked at it bobbing slightly in front of her.

"OK, Pauline, take your skirt off," I said impatiently.

"I'm just going to lift it up so you can see it, I don't want to take it off," she replied.

I was at the point where I didn't care, just so long as I could see her whole pussy. Quickly she jerked her skirt up over her waist to expose my first full view of a live girl's pussy. It was so beautiful, just a tiny little hairless slit laying there between her closed legs. I marveled at the smooth folds of skin, and the lack of anything else around them.

"Spread your legs a little bit, Pauline. I can't really see anything yet," I asked, my voice almost choking in my throat.

Pausing for a second, she then stepped outward with first one leg, then the other, leaving me a clear view of the little line running down her crotch and disappearing up under her. We stood lie that for a little bit, both of us in awe of each other before I spoke again.

"Pauline ..," I began, "Just let me stick it in you one time ., PLEASE! Just one time, that's all."

"I don't know .," she said cautiously, "besides, you said all I have to do is show you my thing, then you would buy me the banana split."

"I know, I know .., but you look so pretty down there ., a-and guys who have done it before tell me that it feels REAL good when you do it. I promise I'll only stick it in and then pull it right back out ., OK?" I pleaded as I watched her let the hem of her skirt relax downward a little as she thought.

"Well ..," she thought for a moment, looking at my cock, "I , I guess it will be alright .., just one time though."

"OK," I said, "I get to stick it in you all the way one time, then I'll pull it out."

"Then you buy me the banana split," she added.

"Then I buy you the banana split," I acknowledged. "C'mon over here to the car, we can do it in the backseat."

She dropped her skirt back down and stood by the car door as I opened it. Then she jumped in and lay down on her back across the seat, pulling her skirt up. One leg draped off the edge of the seat, giving me my first good look at her whole, hairless little pussy slit. It started just a little ways up the front of her body and continued down all the way between her legs connecting with the crack of her ass, making one continuous line. The lips of her hairless twat were tight together, leaving no clue as to where her little hole might be.

Slowly, I climbed in the car over her until my dick hovered right over the top of her slit. I wasn't quite sure just where it was supposed to go, so without further ado, I began poking at her slit with my dick. The first prod ran along the very top portion of her hairless slit, the head of my cock parting her lips slightly as it slid up and onto her lower belly. She giggled a little bit at this new stimulation, as the shaft of my dick slid against her preteen clit. I raised up and tried again, producing the same effect. I propped myself up with my left arm as I backed up a little and eased my dick head down her slit with my right hand. 'Where is her little cunt hole,' I thought as my cock head explored the length of her slit. Suddenly, my dick felt something slightly more moist and hotter than before. 'That must be it," I thought, as I held my dick in place and pushed slightly. Her hole was tight, and my dick glanced off and ran down between her ass cheeks.

Again, I backed up and placed the head of my dick at the entrance to her tight, hairless hole and pushed. This time I felt the head go in slightly. As hard as my dick was, it began to bend so I backed off of the pressure a little, but keeping my dick in the same place. Once more I pushed in, and again I felt my dick slip in a little more. This time when I stopped, I felt the walls of her pussy begin to slip down around my cock, readjusting themselves to where they had formerly been. Again I pushed, and I noticed that her pussy lips seemed to go with my dick inside her. When I stopped again, I could see her slit slowly reappear as the walls of her pussy slowly slid back down my dick.

Again I pushed, and suddenly Pauline gasped. I wasn't sure what happened, all I was sure about was that the feeling was incredible. It was like pushing my dick through layer after layer, fold after fold of hot, moist skin. Her tiny hairless hole was so tight that I could only go in a fraction of an inch at a time. Each time I pushed, her whole twat would go with me, and each time I stopped her hole would slowly ease it's way further down my dick, giving me the feeling of passing yet another fold of her inner skin.

I could tell that Pauline was experiencing some discomfort, but she was not protesting. This was a business deal. Both of us had a bargain to keep, and she was certainly going to keep hers. After all, it wasn't very often that a kid around here got a banana split.

I kept up my assault on her tight, hairless, virgin cunt. I had almost gotten my entire dick in her on the last push when I felt the bottom of her pussy come into contact with the head of my dick. The last push had only allowed her pussy to slip down my dick part of the distance of my thrust, and her tiny slit was just barely visible between her legs, my dick resting snugly between them.

Well, I was all of the way in now. We looked at each other, both of us breathing heavily as I stayed inside her for a moment, relishing the feeling of my cock buried deep inside this eleven-year-old's tight, hairless pussy.

"Pauline .," I managed to speak between gasps, "how about if I move my dick back and forth inside your pussy some? I'll still buy you a banana split!"

She lay there with my dick inside her for a moment, panting heavily as she thought before asking hoarsely, "How many times do you want to do it?"

I looked at her for a moment. I hadn't thought about that. How many times does it take before I can cum?

"I dunno ," I gasped, "maybe about ., a hundred?"

I hurried to quell the look of apprehension on her face by explaining, "A hundred times is not a lot. Hell ., I can count to a hundred in less than a minute!"

She looked at me for a moment, then nodded in agreement as I began to slowly withdraw my dick until it was about halfway inside her. As I withdrew, the inner walls of her pussy seemed to hold onto my dick, creating an effect similar to the one when I entered her.

Gradually I began pumping back and forth. The grip of her pussy, combined with the wetness and moisture was causing that familiar feeling deep within my loins. Her gasps became little "Ahh's" that came in time with each quickening thrust of my dick inside her.

I don't think I needed to bargain for "about a hundred times", as the combination of the feeling of her tight hairless cunt wrapped around my dick, the feeling of her tiny body under mine, and the fact that she was looking me right in the eyes as I fucked her brought me over the edge with the most ball busting orgasm I had ever had.

The force of my orgasm forced me to thrust completely inside of her, burying my dick to the hilt. I could feel the hard little nub of her cervix pressing against my cock head as I erupted spurt after spurt deep inside her preteen pussy. The amount of my jism was so much, and the room inside her was so little, that after I filled her preteen womb completely with my spunk, I began to feel it spurt out between my dick and the walls of her twat, running down onto my balls and between the crack of her ass.

I had expended so much energy on my orgasm that I collapsed on top of her, my dick still buried deeply inside her. I rolled over slightly and eased my dick back out of her tiny twat, and as my cock head emerged from between her hairless pussy lips, one last spurt of pent up jism held inside my dick from the tightness of her pussy splashed across the bare lips of her slit, covering them completely.

Our deal was done. It was late however, and the ice cream man had already gone by for the day. It was also getting on to be about supper time, so Pauline slipped out of the car and put her panties back on under her skirt, leaving my cum dripping out of that sweet hairless hole and soaking those pretty white cotton panties.

I saw Pauline around the neigborhood a lot after that. I heard from my freinds that she eventually fucked almost every other boy in the neigborhood, but we never again got together like that, nor did we ever speak of it again. Come to think of it, I never did buy her that banana split!

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21610869)

I prefer the shit eating one :(

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21618071)

how do you feel about eating an 11 year-old girl's shit?

What a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21610587)

So they offer US 10 Million to simply get a craft into space twice within two weeks. Any self respecting nerd knows that the challenges of even getting into orbit are a lot higher. Yet, for this challenge, you need to get a craft into orbit, then TO the moon, orbit the moon, land on the moon, then deploy your vehicle and move it around. And they only double the prize to US 20 million? Wow, talk about incentive. I think they're a little low on the reward by a factor of 10 or 20.

Re:What a joke. (2, Insightful)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21610703)

Well, what do you think it should be then? 100 million? If you have 100 million, I'm sure no one would mind of put that up as a prize as well. If you don't have 100 million, you can only be happy that someone with a lot of money is willing to put it up as a prize, rather than complaining that the prize is too small.

Besides, someone is apparently willing to do this, and that means the reward is good enough.

Re:What a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21610867)

"Besides, someone is apparently willing to do this, and that means the reward is good enough."

Anyone that referes to the competition in "internet bubble terms" ("moon 2.0") might have a skewed view of economics.

Re:What a joke. (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21610733)

There are costs you don't have to bear also in the new expedition. You don't have to transport humans and your craft does not have to come back.

That aside, getting to the moon (250k miles away) does seem to be a different order of magnitude than getting 100km above Earth....

Re:What a joke. (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21610855)

IANARS but I think it would not be orders of magnitude getting to the moon. The hardest part of the trip is getting out and back into the Earth's atmosphere and gravity well. Lots of energy required out, and lots to dump in.

It is like climbing a rather steep hill to reach a plateau. After the climb the long walk on the top is much easier. Now if you want to get from Earth to Moon quickly you may need to bring along more energy, thus even harder to get out of the gravity well, but that is choice.

I think if I was going to the moon I'd toss up fuel and supplies in an unmanned launch first. The module to get me to the moon from orbit to orbit could be a simple container with control rockets. Now if I want to land on the moon ???? Profit?.

I am bad with titles but I remember Robert Hienlien wrote a book about some kids who traveled to the moon. I hope we get back there and not just by government effort.

Re:What a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21610957)

> IANARS but I think it would not be orders of magnitude getting to the moon. The hardest
> part of the trip is getting out and back into the Earth's atmosphere and gravity well. Lots
> of energy required out, and lots to dump in.

          There are two other hard parts: doing a soft landing on the Moon, and controlling the rover
in real time. The control issues are, for the most part, well understood and can managed, thanks
in no small part to the work that NASA has done building Lunar and Martian rovers. The soft
landing part, however, is going to be difficult. It is a solved problem, again thanks to NASA, but
the engineering is complex and there is a lot that can go wrong.

          Leaving and entering Earth's orbit is actually not that hard, it just takes fuel and timing.

A drawing is worth a thousand words (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611019)

This should be in every interplanetary hitch-hiker guide : Delta-V budget [wikipedia.org]

The energy budget to go from Low-Earth Orbit to the moon is half of the one to go from earth to LEO. So I would say that the reward is surprisingly on-spot. Of course this is not taking into consideration the fact that the weight of a spacecraft increase exponentially the closer it comes to escape velocity, and the fact that lunar landing, lunar-earth telecommunications, space travel are a different kind of challenge than in the Ansari X-prize, but I think that 15 millions are quite fair for this.

Re:A drawing is worth a thousand words (2, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614539)

The energy budget to go from Low-Earth Orbit to the moon is half of the one to go from earth to LEO. So I would say that the reward is surprisingly on-spot.

It gets even better when you consider the issue of thrust. To lift from the Earth you need a lot of thrust simply to raise from the ground. This translates directly into consuming a lot of energy and reaction mass, which rules out things like solar panels and forcing the spacecraft to carry all its energy within. This makes the spacecraft heavier, increasing the needed thrust and thus fuel usage even higher and leading to a vicious circle.

On the other hand, once you're in LEO, you're in freefall. There is no more any minimum thrust treshold to change your velocity. You can use solar sails, ion engine powered by solar panels, or whatever to speed you on your way. It will take weeks, if not months, to get to the Moon this way, but you will get there eventually.

The hard part is getting into an orbit, any orbit as long as it's outside of atmosphere. Once you're there, the rest is (relatively) easy, at least as long as you're not in a hurry.

Re:What a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21610943)

>getting to the moon (250k miles away) ... getting 100km above Earth....

You work for NASA, right? Designing Mars orbiters perhaps?

Missing the point. (5, Insightful)

untree (851145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611387)

You don't need to recoup all the winner's costs. You just need to give the company a bit of a reward to help them get back out of the red more quickly.

Take the $10M prize, as an example. It is estimated that the winning team spent around $25M to win that $10M. But they now have a contract with Virgin Galactic to build many more vehicles, because they have the know-how and a workable basic design.

The goal is to stimulate, not to reimburse all costs.

Dilbert (4, Funny)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21610627)

Currently, Dilbert contains material related comics.
For example:
http://www.comics.com/comics/dilbert/archive/images/dilbert2007152781206.gif [comics.com]

Coincidence ?

Re:Dilbert (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21616219)

Currently, Dilbert contains material related comics.

I have long since stopped marveling at how apropos Dilbert can be at times.

Scott Adams has been able to consistently put out stuff for a long time that at any given time, a whole lot of geeks read and say "how the heck did he know that?".

It's eerie sometimes. Really, who among us hasn't come into work in the morning, fired up our daily Dilbert fix, and see our lives right in front of us?? At least three times in as many months, the latest daily describes my 'yesterday' to T.

It's probably coincidence, but impressive nonetheless.

Cheers

Googles Comment.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21610637)

Google has released quite an interesting report [google.com] about this.

Re:Googles Comment.... (3, Informative)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 6 years ago | (#21610707)

WARNING: This is a link to a corrupt site. It contains script virus and other malware.

Re:Googles Comment.... (1)

Branc0 (580914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613117)

It is a link to a gif image... where is that script?

Re:Googles Comment.... (1)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 6 years ago | (#21613787)

It is a google search to a site which presents a gif image, but there is a vb script which is presenting the gif image, and the vb script is being flagged by my Avast program as a "VBS:Script-gen" warning on //members.on.nimp.org/?u=timecop\unp233996323

Productivity... (4, Insightful)

Slashidiot (1179447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21610685)

I'm eagerly waiting for this to develope. It's all stuff that has been done by a government agency, but a private company is certainly bound to be more efficient and productive, lowering the costs of lunar travel. This is serious fuel for a new space war, when prices go down, and it ends up becoming something normal for the people. Let the free market do its thing.

It is following the exact path of civil aviation. I have high hopes of it developing in the same way.

Sorry, a bit of daydreaming is good for me... let the SciFi lover in me have a bit of fun.

Re:Productivity... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21610761)

Firstly I doubt they could get the costs down that much.. Space flight is very complex and dangerous. Secondly the costs of entry to the market mean that it's likely to be a natural monopoly anyway, so competition won't exist in any meaningful sense (I also doubt there's any profit in it in the medium term so most companies wouldn't bother even if they could afford it - the 20 million prize wouldn't pay for a tenth of the development costs).

Re:Productivity... (3, Insightful)

Mutant321 (1112151) | more than 6 years ago | (#21610777)

Some people thought there'd be a world market for about 5 computers, for similar reasons. Wasn't even that long ago either.

Re:Productivity... (1)

your_neighbor (1193249) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611145)

Civil aviation was something complex and dangerous too! At the beggining, aircraft had "militar" genes, reusing bombers wings etc. Maybe it can evolve, although I cant see actually great economical use of such technology... space tourism? Its usually something that comes after commercial exploration! Get ships-> War, commerce, fun Get planes-> War, commerce, fun Get steam engines -> War, commerce, fun etc I cant see where commerce appears in space exploration.

Re:Productivity... (2, Interesting)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614835)

Space flight is very complex and dangerous.

So, how did it happen the way it did the first time? (moon 1.0)

With computing power on par with an 86 Chevy Citation and slide rules, how did we send living breathing men to the moon, and bring them back, without a hitch?

I'm not saying we didn't, just that either it wasn't that hard, or there is more to the story as to how hard it really was, or some reason why it's "so hard" now. It's been almost 40 years, I'm just asking why it hasn't been done since. Is it cost? Red tape? Why?

Is it one of those things where Kennedy's mandate allowed the US to throw everything plus the kitchen sink at it, so we pulled it off, but now the budget has been cut so much that the "big hammer" approach isn't feasible? Tech advances hasn't been in areas that have simplified anything critical enough to make space travel ubiquitous? The risk the first time was so high we'd never be allowed to do it that way now? All the above?

"Without a hitch"? (1)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 6 years ago | (#21618341)

With computing power on par with an 86 Chevy Citation and slide rules, how did we send living breathing men to the moon, and bring them back, without a hitch?

Apollo 1 [wikipedia.org] was a pretty damn big hitch.

Even if we just look at the Apollo 11 mission itself, there were hitches. For one thing, the landing went "long" and that "computing power" was taking them toward a rock-strewn crater. If Armstrong hadn't taken manual control for the landing, things might've gotten really hitched.

Re:Productivity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21610861)

> It's all stuff that has been done by a government agency, but a private company is certainly
> bound to be more efficient and productive, lowering the costs of lunar travel.

          There are lots of cases where private companies have been far less efficient than governments. One of the big reasons that this company will probably be able to put a rover on the Moon for less than it cost the US government is that NASA has already done the fundamental research, and developed much of the technology, needed to do it. This tends to be rather expensive for space flight, so having had the government already do it is going to save them a lot of money.

Re:Productivity... (4, Insightful)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21610877)

No, its not following the path of aviation. See, aviation competed with trains and boats, and eventually won. The space industry isn't competing with any other industry. While there are many reasons to go from London to New York, there are few reasons to go from some pacific island to the moon, other than research or publicity.

Now, as long as there are no reasons to go into space, the Free Market is getting nowhere here. All these projects you see are funded on charity. People with too much money pay to do something mostly to keep the industry alive.

Space exploration is actually following the path of polar exploration. Many people got both private and government funding to go to the poles, and some of the succeeded. But very few things except for science came of it, and that was the government funded kind of science.

Sure, some fishermen had semi permanent settlements on the the south pole, but they have mostly been replaced by scientists now. It's possible we'll see mining or oil drilling on the poles, but this hasn't happened yet, partly for legal reasons but also actually for practical reasons. There is some tourism too, but its pretty insignificant, and it will be the same for space. Once the hype fades, interest will drop. After all, a private island in the pacific is nicer than orbit around space.

Don't get me wrong, I think this is exciting too, but don't get too optimistic. Comparing it to aviation doesn't make sense at all. There is no brave new world here, just barren wastelands. Obviously, one day it will become profitable to bring platinum and other really expensive metals back to earth, and at that point the free market will take over, but I'd say that's atleast 100 years away. Deep sea mining will happen long before that, for example.

Re:Productivity... (1)

gogodidi (885953) | more than 6 years ago | (#21612439)

What about the space elevator? Teleportation? Yeah, those arent really there yet, and much less developed than the spacecraft, but airplanes were pretty unrealistic from a locomotive conductors point of view also. There will be competition for getting into space. Just because they arent around yet doesnt mean there wont be.

Re:Productivity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21612523)

All these projects you see are funded on charity.

As in voluntary association? The core principle of free market economics?

I don't think you understand the meaning of free market economics. There are precisely two ways to achieve funding: voluntary association (i.e. persuasion), or coercion (i.e. taxes or theft). Free market economics is founded on the former, not the latter.

Obviously, a true charity must be 100% voluntary, and therefore derived from the basic concept which makes a free market work: free choice. The fact that you may or may not not recieve a monetary return on your investment is irrelevant; the defining prerequisite of a free market transaction is voluntary association.

Re:Productivity... (4, Informative)

ultranova (717540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614413)

While there are many reasons to go from London to New York, there are few reasons to go from some pacific island to the moon, other than research or publicity.

Actually, the fastest way from London to New York (or any other point on Earth) is a ballistic arc. And the ballistic arcs for any significant distances - meaning you'd consider using an airplane - go through space.

A ballistic arc from London to New York isn't far from LEO as far as speed and altitude goes. From New York to Tokyo would be even closer. And the hard, dangerous and expensive parts of space travel are precisely entering orbit and entering atmosphere.

Re:Productivity... (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614611)

True but I don't think most people would really enjoy a ballistic arc.
Now for next day or same day ship cargo this could be useful.

Re:Productivity... (2, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615591)

True but I don't think most people would really enjoy a ballistic arc.
Now for next day or same day ship cargo this could be useful.


If it meant that I could travel from Chicago to Beijing in under 3 hours? Or London to Syndey in less than 5 hours?

You had better believe that there would be demand for genuine ballistic arcs around the world. Indeed there is demand for sub-orbital flights right now.... if the equipment technology (read safety concerns) and the costs dropped to something a little cheaper than the current $1 Billion USD per flight that NASA does for Shuttle flights.

Also, next day cargo is already being done by current air freight businesses. It is in fact a huge industry in its own right. "Previous day" shipment (crossing the international time line to travel to yesterday) suddenly becomes a reality when you include potential ballistic arcs for shipping cargo.

A hard data point on what people are willing to pay for high speed travel can be found with the Concorde super-sonic flights between New York and London. People were routinely paying $10,000 per seat, and strong sales whenever it was available. Certainly there were some sound business reasons why you might want to send a salesman or corporate executive on one of these high-speed flights instead of a sub-sonic commercial flight.

The reason the Concorde isn't flying any more had more to do with safety concerns and the age of the airplanes that were in service, rather than a lack of demand for something which could go that fast. The market certainly is there... if you can build the machine to make it happen.

Not only would I, myself, be willing to "volunteer" to take one of these flights, there certainly is a price well above normal commercial air travel that I'd be willing to pay for the privilege myself. I could also calculate and demonstrate from a raw energy and physics perspective how you could eventually save money and make a ballistic flight through the vacuum of space cheaper than plowing through the troposphere in an airplane, especially for longer flights. In other words, even for point to point travel from different locations on the Earth and nowhere else, you can make a hard case for space travel being something eventually routine.

And once you are already in space (essentially LEO), getting to the Moon is in comparison trivial. Or the rest of the Solar System. In fact, I've seen some good numbers that show it is easier to get to Phobos than to the Moon, but that is irrelevant to this discussion.

Re:Productivity... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21616771)

I would go also but most people I just don't think would want a 3 hour roller coaster ride.

Re:Productivity... (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625415)

Define "most people"?

When was the last time you flew in a commercial airliner during bad weather?

I remember one particularly nasty flight that went through what I swear was a hurricane that was essentially a 3 hour ride in a roller coaster. And that was a regularly scheduled commercial flight with over 300 passengers on board. I'm sure the pilots of that plane weren't exactly having an easy time on the flight either, but the point is that even existing transportation systems experience some interesting acceleration forces. This particular flight lasted nearly 10 hours (going from the USA to Brazil) but for at least 3 hours it was a real wild ride. And I experienced G forces that were very much equivalent of what I would have in a roller coaster... including some very unpredictable direction changes going up, down, and side to side, that simply wouldn't be found in a rocket. In some ways, going into space is quite a bit more predictable than air travel.

I know that most air travel happens at high altitudes that try to get "above the weather", but my point is that I don't think most of those passengers of nearly every age that I was traveling with (newborns to senior citizens...certainly not all of them at peak physical fitness) ever considered that it would be their last flight when the plane landed on the ground. And this isn't an isolated experience.

I just don't buy this argument against people going into space even for point to point travel on the Earth.

Re:Productivity... (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21633757)

I would go also but most people I just don't think would want a 3 hour roller coaster ride.

Roller coaster ? Being in a ballistic arc means you're in freefall most of the trip. Being in freefall means it is impossible to tell the whole thing is moving without looking outside. You aren't subject to any forces - not even Earth's gravity - during the ballistic part of the trip, so you'll simply float, weightless like a feather.

Re:Productivity... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21617809)

The reason the Concorde isn't flying any more had more to do with safety concerns and the age of the airplanes that were in service, rather than a lack of demand for something which could go that fast.

The only reason Concorde could afford to fly was the two goverments involved wrote off the development costs and presented them to the respective airlines for free. (And, not incidentally, save face for the respective goverments and enlarge the size of the virtual national penises.)
 
 

The market certainly is there... if you can build the machine to make it happen.

Sure, the market is there for supersonic flight. We can also build a machine that can make it happen. (So long as you constrain it to essentially transatlantic ranges.) What can't do is build said machine at a price the (fairly small) market will support.
 
Supersonic civil aviation is one of those technologies that was hyped long before the reality was known.

Re:Productivity... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21618705)

The only reason Concorde could afford to fly was the two goverments involved wrote off the development costs and presented them to the respective airlines for free. (And, not incidentally, save face for the respective goverments and enlarge the size of the virtual national penises.)

Well, it can't have been too large an expense, if the planes flew until there was an accident. As I see it, if it were a real burden, they would have found some way to kill it much earlier while saving face.

Sure, the market is there for supersonic flight. We can also build a machine that can make it happen. (So long as you constrain it to essentially transatlantic ranges.) What can't do is build said machine at a price the (fairly small) market will support.

Maybe all such modes of transportation will be too expensive for the market size, but we need more than one data point.

Re:Productivity... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21621277)

"Well, it can't have been too large an expense, if the planes flew until there was an accident. As I see it, if it were a real burden, they would have found some way to kill it much earlier while saving face."
Oh the UK and French Goverment lost there shirts on the Concorde. They where for prestige only. Why do you think so few where made? Take a look at the 777. It was much cheaper to develop than the Concorde but it took over 100 planes for Boeing to make a profit. I think Britsh Airways eventually made a profit on the operations but just. I don't think the French ever did.

Re:Productivity... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625077)

The only reason Concorde could afford to fly was the two goverments involved wrote off the development costs and presented them to the respective airlines for free. (And, not incidentally, save face for the respective goverments and enlarge the size of the virtual national penises.)

Well, it can't have been too large an expense, if the planes flew until there was an accident. As I see it, if it were a real burden, they would have found some way to kill it much earlier while saving face.

You confuse two different costs. The airlines could afford to operate the aircraft - but the could not afford to buy the aircraft, because the enormously expensive development program, when amortized across the few aircraft built, meant they would have been unaffordable. Ticket prices that included both the purchase cost and the operations costs (as ticket prices usually do) would have been in the high six figures. But the British and French goverments paid off those development costs, and presented the aircraft to the airlines for free.
 
 

Sure, the market is there for supersonic flight. We can also build a machine that can make it happen. (So long as you constrain it to essentially transatlantic ranges.) What can't do is build said machine at a price the (fairly small) market will support.

Maybe all such modes of transportation will be too expensive for the market size, but we need more than one data point.

We have a whole stack of data points - Concorde wasn't the only SST under development, just the only one that had someone willing to foot the [enourmous] bill so that it could it be completed.

Re:Productivity... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626029)

You confuse two different costs. The airlines could afford to operate the aircraft - but the could not afford to buy the aircraft, because the enormously expensive development program, when amortized across the few aircraft built, meant they would have been unaffordable. Ticket prices that included both the purchase cost and the operations costs (as ticket prices usually do) would have been in the high six figures. But the British and French goverments paid off those development costs, and presented the aircraft to the airlines for free.

Development costs are sunk costs. But I will grant that they are relevant to developing further supersonic transport vehicles.

Re:Productivity... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21629547)

No, development costs are not sunk costs, if an aircraft builder does not recover development costs, they go out of business.

Re:Productivity... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21633079)

Look up sunk costs. Point is that it can still make economic sense to fly a plane even if it doesn't recover development costs because you lose less money that way. And even successful aircraft builders routinely fail to recover development costs.

Re:Productivity... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21634317)

I know quite well what sunk costs are. I also know that loss aversion is a fallacy - doubly so in this instance as the profit margins aren't that big on commercial aircraft. And no, sucessful aircraft builders don't 'routinely fail' to recover development costs - because if they did, they would be bankrupt. Period.

Re:Productivity... (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625551)

Sure, the market is there for supersonic flight. We can also build a machine that can make it happen. (So long as you constrain it to essentially transatlantic ranges.) What can't do is build said machine at a price the (fairly small) market will support.

Supersonic civil aviation is one of those technologies that was hyped long before the reality was known.


You miss the point I was trying to make here. I'm suggesting that the price that people were willing to pay for commercial point to point services at high speed can be derived from the price they were willing to pay for a Concorde. Not that I was defending the costs of the next generation of super-sonic aircraft or the technical challenges that would go into building them.

If you have at least a rough idea what people will pay for these services, at least you can begin to come up with a business plan if you want to even design something like a sub-orbital spacecraft.

In addition, sub-orbital can do distances much larger than just trans-atlantic travel, which in comparison is a trivial distance. This makes for a much larger time savings that can be justified for paying yet higher prices.

This still says nothing about if a particular spacecraft design can be financially successful, but I am suggesting that there is a non-zero dollar figure you can use right now to make a business case for making a competitor to Virgin Galactic that would do a trans-atlantic flight hop... provided you could bring the cost of the aircraft/spaceship down to something under the budget based on these numbers.

It is entirely a different issue if such a spacecraft could be built for that cost.

Re:Productivity... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21618797)

Most people probably don't enjoy air flight as it is. Speed (or just getting there in a timely fashion) is often the primary concern.

Freight is a strong point too. You probably could do eight hour delivery end to end almost anywhere in the sufficiently developed world. Maybe even six hours.

Re:Productivity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21619279)

Actually, the fastest way from London to New York is by teleporter. If those lazy scientists would get off their butts and invent one we wouldn't be bothering with this discussion.

And given how much a ballistic arc looks like a ballistic missile on radar, I think I'd rather return from my vacation to the UK by airplane for the time being, even if one does take 12 hours and the other 45 minutes.

Ice Fishin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21614505)

>>Sure, some fishermen had semi permanent settlements on the the south pole

What exactly would one fish for at the South Pole? Wikipedia describes it as "a featureless windswept icy plateau at an altitude of 2,835 meters (9,306 ft), about 800 miles (1,300 km) from the nearest sea" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Pole).

I do, however agree with the spirit of your post. I have never seen a business model for the Moon that makes sense, even with far-flung technology.

Re:Productivity... (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614625)

No, its not following the path of aviation. See, aviation competed with trains and boats, and eventually won. The space industry isn't competing with any other industry. While there are many reasons to go from London to New York, there are few reasons to go from some pacific island to the moon, other than research or publicity.

Most of the business that airlines serve didn't exist when there were only boats and trains. I'd say most of the passenger traffic is short term business or tourism trips. Go somewhere else in the world by plane, stay a few days or weeks, and return. Airlines don't compete with anything else for that business. Same goes for cargo. Most of the cargo is probably urgent to some degree. In the absence of airlines, there is no "next day delivery" for example unless the destination happens to be near by. Also, let us remember that suborbital transportation would compete directly with airlines.

Now, as long as there are no reasons to go into space, the Free Market is getting nowhere here. All these projects you see are funded on charity. People with too much money pay to do something mostly to keep the industry alive.

Wait, you go from "few reasons" to "no reasons". Research and publicity are reasons to go into space. Further, you seem to confuse capitalism with charity. Most of the funding goes to businesses that have some expectation of turning a profit.

Space exploration is actually following the path of polar exploration. Many people got both private and government funding to go to the poles, and some of the succeeded. But very few things except for science came of it, and that was the government funded kind of science.

Sure, some fishermen had semi permanent settlements on the the south pole, but they have mostly been replaced by scientists now. It's possible we'll see mining or oil drilling on the poles, but this hasn't happened yet, partly for legal reasons but also actually for practical reasons. There is some tourism too, but its pretty insignificant, and it will be the same for space. Once the hype fades, interest will drop. After all, a private island in the pacific is nicer than orbit around space.

When it's illegal to look for resources in the Antartic, then it doesn't make sense to consider the "practical reasons".

And look we have another reason that you ignored above. Space tourism may be a flash in the pan. But it is interesting to note that many other tourist destinations have remained active for centuries, a few even for millenia (like Rome or Jerusalem). I see some level of long term interest in space. After all, its where the rest of the universe is.

Finally, I don't know the price comparison of an island in the Pacific to a trip in space. But my take is that the former is more expensive even than the trips on the Soyuz. But maybe you can get an island and the necessary living arrangements for around 20 million dollars. At least with a space trip, you aren't paying for it years down the road.

Don't get me wrong, I think this is exciting too, but don't get too optimistic. Comparing it to aviation doesn't make sense at all. There is no brave new world here, just barren wastelands. Obviously, one day it will become profitable to bring platinum and other really expensive metals back to earth, and at that point the free market will take over, but I'd say that's atleast 100 years away. Deep sea mining will happen long before that, for example.

You need to come up with valid reasons why aerospace isn't comparable to outer space. Saying that their competitive environments are slightly different isn't really saying much.

As you can see from the criticism, I don't agree with you. I think the problem with space development is a bit different. IMHO, there are a huge number of things that people would want to do in space. Visit Pluto, the furthest and coldest "planet" in the Solar System? Sure, I'd pay $5000 for a three day stay there even if everyone and their kids are there too. But if it's going to cost say $200 billion and take 20 years one way? Um, it doesn't sound so good any more.

There are several problems. The biggest is cost. There's plenty to do in space, but no one is willing to pay the current cost to do it. Current rates to get mass into space seem to be around $5000 per kg, maybe a bit less with the Russians and Chinese. In addition to the person, a lot of hardware needs to be lifted to orbit to support that person. So you end up paying for 500-1000 kg of person and support. That's a cost of up to $5 million right there. The second problem is that everything is difficult. It's a nasty environment and nothing is close by. It's going to be a while before casual trips to space occur. And nobody (at least for the forseeable future) is ever going to casually visit Mars or Pluto for a few days.

Re:Productivity... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21617947)

No, its not following the path of aviation. See, aviation competed with trains and boats, and eventually won. The space industry isn't competing with any other industry. While there are many reasons to go from London to New York, there are few reasons to go from some pacific island to the moon, other than research or publicity.

Most of the business that airlines serve didn't exist when there were only boats and trains. I'd say most of the passenger traffic is short term business or tourism trips. Go somewhere else in the world by plane, stay a few days or weeks, and return. Airlines don't compete with anything else for that business.

You are confusing then and now. At the time aviations infancy - most travel was commercial or high end tourist. The aviation industry took on those markets head on, competing with ships and trains, and beat them hands down. The short term business and tourist trips common today came about much later as the industry matured.
 
 

You need to come up with valid reasons why aerospace isn't comparable to outer space.

He came of with plenty of valid reasons. You need to come up with better criticisms than incorrect historical references, airy handwaving, and unsupported "I believe"'s,

Re:Productivity... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21618563)

You are confusing then and now. At the time aviations infancy - most travel was commercial or high end tourist. The aviation industry took on those markets head on, competing with ships and trains, and beat them hands down. The short term business and tourist trips common today came about much later as the industry matured.

Exactly the model that space flight would use if it gets anywhere. Start with small markets that can be served best by space flight and expand from there. A good part of the reason space flight is a lot like airflight.

You need to come up with valid reasons why aerospace isn't comparable to outer space.

He came of with plenty of valid reasons. You need to come up with better criticisms than incorrect historical references, airy handwaving, and unsupported "I believe"'s,

So you say. I point out two relevant details. First, it's not terribly important that airplanes had competition from other transportation sectors. In fact, that would inhibit air travel because the presence of alternate forms of travel would take some of the demand that would otherwise go to airplanes. Second, space flight can compete with all these modes of transportation via suborbital flights. So space flight inherits whatever magical property airflight gets from that.

The original poster's ultimate flaw was the assertion that there were "few reasons" (elsewhere "no reasons") to go into space. I point out that the real problem is that there are plenty of reasons, but space flight costs too much. Why does this matter? Because we can consider what happens if space flight goes down significantly in cost. If there are "few reasons" to go into space, then that price drop is not going to result in a jump in demand. But my scenario means that we see considerable rise in demand because there will be reasons that were too expensive in the past to entertain, but are now affordable to pursue.

Re:Productivity... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625027)

You are confusing then and now. At the time aviations infancy - most travel was commercial or high end tourist. The aviation industry took on those markets head on, competing with ships and trains, and beat them hands down. The short term business and tourist trips common today came about much later as the industry matured.

Exactly the model that space flight would use if it gets anywhere. Start with small markets that can be served best by space flight and expand from there. A good part of the reason space flight is a lot like airflight.

Sure - but first you have to have a competitive market where spaceflight is better. There isn't any, which pretty much invalidates the entire comparison.
 
 

You need to come up with valid reasons why aerospace isn't comparable to outer space.
He came of with plenty of valid reasons. You need to come up with better criticisms than incorrect historical references, airy handwaving, and unsupported "I believe"'s
So you say. I point out two relevant details. First, it's not terribly important that airplanes had competition from other transportation sectors. In fact, that would inhibit air travel because the presence of alternate forms of travel would take some of the demand that would otherwise go to airplanes. Second, space flight can compete with all these modes of transportation via suborbital flights. So space flight inherits whatever magical property airflight gets from that.

First, it's vitally important that said competition exists, because (as in any market) demonstrating a demand makes it far easier to get capital, far easier to market, etc... etc... It also means that space travel can start small and compete in a segment of the market rather than the entire market. (So far, just like the development of aviation.) But it's on your second point that your comparision falls apart - because suborbital travel cannot compete with air travel. Air travel got it's start on short high demand routes (between NY and Chicago, or between London and Paris, for examples), and no such analogous route exists for suborbital travel. You pretty much have to leap from short routes to intercontinental routes, which is leaping from the Ford Trimotor to the 747 in a single bound. The cost of development and the cost of the infrastructure means the flight costs cannot possibly be competitive - unless you can find somebody to write off a few tens of billions of dollars.
 
And that's ultimately the key problem - the extraordinarily steep learning curve and incredibly high entrance costs.
 
 

The original poster's ultimate flaw was the assertion that there were "few reasons" (elsewhere "no reasons") to go into space. I point out that the real problem is that there are plenty of reasons, but space flight costs too much.

You confuse far fetched science fiction scenarios with reasons to go into space. Even if what is usually considered space flight in these discussions (LEO) is cheap, your destinations will remain expensive - because they have special requirements above and beyond orbital acess. The rest of us are discussing how to cross the English Channel - and you are discussing voyages to Australia. Your arguement is thus moot.
 
 

But my scenario means that we see considerable rise in demand because there will be reasons that were too expensive in the past to entertain, but are now affordable to pursue.

The problem is your scenarion bears no relation to reality, it much more resembles that of the underpants gnomes [wikipedia.org].

Re:Productivity... (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614631)

Saying there is no reason to go into space is like saying there is no reason to go into the air. We go into the air because it is the fastest way to get from point A to point B, not because there is something intrinsically useful about the air itself. Same with space: you could design a plane that could go from New York to Tokyo in 3 hours if you used a space plane, even though the space itself is not useful. Air became tactically useful in warfare, and space can be the same way. Also, the barren wastelands you refer to are also inexhaustible non-polluting power sources. That is like saying there's nothing in the desert but sand. Yet people live in deserts all around the world because some of them are on oil fields, on giant aquifers.

As it was with air, so it shall be with space.

I second that (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611051)

I'm normally the first to be wary of businesses and the whole corporate idea, but given Congress's penchant for stripping NASA's budget, this seems like it's going to be necessary to jumpstart any exploration of space. The possibility of civil space travel is far off, but the possibility of discovery is immediate. Space travel has a special way of presenting all new angles of attacking problems that have historically led to fantastic inventions. Having a private monopoly on space research would be bad, but using market forces to stimulate is a great idea in my book, though.

Re:Productivity... (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21619265)

Urm...no. Aviation was started by inspired, (and slightly crazy) amateur inventors.

But the, civil aviation, (not GA), took off (sorry) after sucessive wars provided the civil market with massive amounts of cheap matériel, ('planes, pilots, runways, navigation, engines....)

Even today, Boeing and Airbus are propped-up by massive Govt. subsidies, as are many airlines.

People Are Sheep! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21610849)

The majority of computer users are stupid, mindless sheep.

      They are the ones whose eyes will glaze over with delight when they fondle the next Wintendo offering in the stores.

      They are the same who when asked what kind of computer they have respond "Windows".

      These are the people who are nothing more than virtual nipples to be milked for money and spread the dark philosophies coming from the Electronic Mordor.

      Chains fall upon us all by the rule of big corporate devils because of the permissiveness of the mass public.

      In time if this idiocy continues, all open source will be illegal at the whim of corporation number one with the votes in the politicians pockets.

      Lovers of open source need to make their voices heard peacefully before it's too late.

      Open source hippies they call some of us, failing to realise that the hippy culture served to stir more action and thought than much of the current generations of pale skinned, overweight, ipod clutching couch lizards who whine if they're not in an air conditioned environment and forced to walk further than a block for anything.

      Attack my spelling, grammar, abuse of the Enter key, what have you, but you know deep down in your soul that I am right, and because of this you will either ignore this post, or attack it.

With some Canadian Content (1)

farrellj (563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611089)

One of the companies behind the project is MDA (MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates) out of Richmond BC, the Canadian company that buils the Canadarm for the Space Shuttle, and the Canadarm 2, which is on the Space Station. So these people are really "rocket scientists" from Canada, and other places around the world.

ttyl

Re:With some Canadian Content (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611705)

Well, to be fair, the Space Shuttle Remote Manipulator systems on the shuttles were designed/built by SPAR Aerospace in Bramton, Ontario. SPAR Aerospace's robotics division was acquired by MDA, but well after the arms were built for the shuttles. MDA is doing the work for the Canadarm2, in use on the International Space Station (as well as the boom extension for checking the shuttle underbelly tiles, I believe)

The Chinese got there first (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21611271)

You know how the chinese people will get there first? They will climb one upon another, stepping on the shoulders, one chinese above one chinese, above another, above another, above another...

gn4a (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21611913)

baatled in court, they are Come on
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