15 votes

Open letter to NASA Administrator Nelson from Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos

14 comments

  1. [6]
    AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes In the context to the two bullet points above it, I'm not sure I understand this one: If I'm reading it correctly, they're saying that the $2B+ is the contracted...

    Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

    In the context to the two bullet points above it, I'm not sure I understand this one:

    Finally, Blue Origin will accept a firm, fixed-priced contract for this work, cover any system development cost overruns, and shield NASA from partner cost escalation concerns.

    If I'm reading it correctly, they're saying that the $2B+ is the contracted waived amount for a scope of work and if the costs to achieve it go above $2B because of subcontractors, cost increases/overruns, etc. they'll eat that too.

    I could be way off, so looking for people to confirm or correct my interpretation.

    11 votes
    1. mat
      Link Parent
      Reads the same to me, but I'm not very good at reading that sort of language so I could be wrong. It does appear to have a fairly clear subtext of "Jeff really wants to go to the moon please...

      Reads the same to me, but I'm not very good at reading that sort of language so I could be wrong.

      It does appear to have a fairly clear subtext of "Jeff really wants to go to the moon please please please let Jeff go to the moon Mr NASA please if it's money he's got money don't worry about money just let Jeff beat Elon to the moon pleeease"

      12 votes
    2. [3]
      vord
      Link Parent
      I mean, is there any reason that Bezos couldn't jist entirely self-fund this and hand it to the world on a platter? Complaining about needing to compensate for NASA's lack of funding definitely...

      I mean, is there any reason that Bezos couldn't jist entirely self-fund this and hand it to the world on a platter?

      Complaining about needing to compensate for NASA's lack of funding definitely feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy to me. Perhaps his legal team could draft some legislation so he and the other richest men in the world will be marginally less-wealthy and we can fund more social programs.

      3 votes
      1. mat
        Link Parent
        I get the impression he wants to get those NASA wings on his stupid flightsuits. He wants to be a proper astronaut like he dreamed of as a child. It's the same reason all his spacecraft are named...

        I get the impression he wants to get those NASA wings on his stupid flightsuits. He wants to be a proper astronaut like he dreamed of as a child. It's the same reason all his spacecraft are named after Apollo-era people, which is kind of creepy and weird. Musk at least reads sci-fi..

        7 votes
      2. AugustusFerdinand
        Link Parent
        Could he? Sure. So could Musk and any other billionaire. But that's bad business. They want to go to space and have taxpayers foot the bill. The $2B is a start and once he's in the door it'll go...

        Could he? Sure. So could Musk and any other billionaire.

        But that's bad business. They want to go to space and have taxpayers foot the bill. The $2B is a start and once he's in the door it'll go from "let's get this back on track" to "you need me".

        Random numbers: Launches are ramping up, SpaceX charges Space Force $316M per launch, even if we say they only have a 30% markup, they're making $100M per launch. Only takes 20 launches to recoup the $2B.

        4 votes
    3. vegai
      Link Parent
      $2B is about 1% of his net worth.

      $2B is about 1% of his net worth.

      2 votes
  2. [7]
    post_below
    Link
    I love the renewing interest in space exploration. And also... You know how half of the interplanetary future science fiction genre features giant corporations that have eclipsed governments in...

    I love the renewing interest in space exploration.

    And also... You know how half of the interplanetary future science fiction genre features giant corporations that have eclipsed governments in power and rule in service of profit not just as a goal but as a core virtue?

    If that turns out to be prescient, the current race to get the biggest, whitest cocks onto space has gotta be what the more romantic historians will settle on as the key inflection point on the way to distopia.

    Side note: Mining the moon, really? We'll never learn.

    6 votes
    1. [4]
      spctrvl
      Link Parent
      What do you mean? Seems to me that if we have to mine, it's best to do it where there's no biosphere to damage. Mining is incredibly destructive. My only problem with Bezos' vision is that the...

      Mining the moon, really? We'll never learn.

      What do you mean? Seems to me that if we have to mine, it's best to do it where there's no biosphere to damage. Mining is incredibly destructive. My only problem with Bezos' vision is that the next steps for humanity being taken on the whims of capitalist tyrants is going to taint the whole venture for decades or centuries to come.

      8 votes
      1. [3]
        post_below
        Link Parent
        Asteroid mining makes a lot of sense. Moon mining is something else entirely. Grabbing some hydrogen for a few missions doesn't sound like a big deal. Neither did any of the resource pillaging...

        Asteroid mining makes a lot of sense.

        Moon mining is something else entirely. Grabbing some hydrogen for a few missions doesn't sound like a big deal. Neither did any of the resource pillaging we've done here on earth.

        Fast forward to a time when unregulated mining has left the moon a different satellite than it once was, maybe enough to change it's gravitational interaction with earth, or cause some other unforeseen consequence. Maybe it turns out to be a big deal. Once it's too late to do anything about it.

        If we're not talking about potential impact, however far away or seemingly unlikely, then for profit entities will absolutely compete with each other and find a way to make a mess. History seems pretty clear on this.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          spctrvl
          Link Parent
          I'm more in favor of asteroid mining than moon mining, but it's not one or the other. And there really aren't environmental concerns even theoretically with mining the moon. The scale you'd need...

          I'm more in favor of asteroid mining than moon mining, but it's not one or the other. And there really aren't environmental concerns even theoretically with mining the moon. The scale you'd need to operate at is totally ludicrous for it to have gravitational impacts, orders of magnitude of orders of magnitude more than the total historical resource consumption of humanity, and the rest is totally baseless speculation.

          As far as I'm concerned, I agree that the main problem is a social one with capitalism, but we're going to need to overthrow it anyway if we're to survive long term, whether we leave earth or not, so I don't see it as a reason to not do things in the interim.

          5 votes
          1. post_below
            Link Parent
            Is that really true? Any change in mass means a change in gravity, the question is how much of a change would have an impact that matters. Mining to support space exploration, combined with...

            Is that really true? Any change in mass means a change in gravity, the question is how much of a change would have an impact that matters.

            Mining to support space exploration, combined with resource mining for things we'll use on earth, in a low gravity environment with none of the environmental impact limits terrestrial mining comes with, facilitated by automation...

            I mean sure, we're not going to mine the moon onto oblivion any time soon. But it doesn't seem unreasonable to imagine that we could acquire the ability over time.

            In any case gravity is just the first example that came to mind.

            The idea that, given the huge abundance of resources, it's silly to worry about ever running out or there being unforeseen side effects of exploitation... That's exactly what we said about earth.

            1 vote
    2. [3]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [2]
        post_below
        Link Parent
        Why does that have to mean the moon?

        Why does that have to mean the moon?

        1. [2]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. post_below
            Link Parent
            Oh... I see what you did there :)

            Oh... I see what you did there :)

            2 votes