I recently heard an author writing about the U.S. say in an interview, “The truth is out there and trust no one. ” It was meant in the same sense as the old joke, “it is not my fault I am an other-blamer.” The theme of this Ice on the Moon entry is how humans constantly lower the likelihood of surviving as a species through the practice of deceit. I went to the wiki Space Launch System (SLS) page last night and found it to have been so obviously spun by NewSpace that it was disgusting. Now for some words on this unhappy state-
Perhaps the best answer to the Ayn-Rand-in-Space fans critical of the SLS is to simply talk about what just three new DOD weapon systems are going to cost. First…understand these weapons will accomplish nothing except to threaten our world with Armageddon. For decades to come they will only exist to destroy civilization if an all-out nuclear attack is launched against the United States. As you will see, the price of peace is very high.
The replacement for the Ohio class missile submarine: “The total lifecycle cost of the entire class is estimated at $347 billion. The high cost of the submarines is expected to cut deeply into Navy shipbuilding.”
The B-21 stealth bomber, which will replace the B-52 and B-2: “The Air Force initial plans were to acquire 80 to 100 LRS-B aircraft at a cost of $550 million per unit (2010) and envisions some 175 to 200 to be in service eventually.” I could find no “total lifecycle cost” but just buying them, let alone operating them, will run over 100 billion.
The replacement cost for the Minuteman ICBM is going up: “The Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office previously estimated the total cost of the program as anywhere from $85 billion to $100 billion.” In addition there is Reagan’s Star Wars legacy Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) program, which is hard to pin down, but missile defense in various forms will cost well over 100 billion over the next decade, and more than likely double that.
The first figure of approximately 350 billion as the total cost for 12 new submarines might just as well be applied to bombers, missiles, and warning systems, and this tends to confirm as accurate the many estimates of over a trillion dollars to modernize our strategic deterrent in this decade alone. Again, this does nothing but guarantee the destruction of civilization in the event of a nuclear war. “Nuclear” is the key term and more on this in a moment.
Neoliberalism continues to take control of the world, the examples of which are Bezos, Gates, and Buffet having more wealth than half the population of the U.S. combined. As long as “entrepreneurs” like Elon Musk continue to manipulate the economic system to further their hobbies there will be no progress toward an insurance policy for humankind. In the past I have often used the term “Orwellian” to describe NewSpace due to Musk advancing his vision of a second home for humankind when nothing could be further from the truth. Mars was ruled out as a second home early in the space colonization movement for the obvious reasons. Not enough Solar Energy, no Earth Gravity (only possible with artificial worlds) and Nuclear Energy are all why Mars is a scam. NewSpace is a confidence game peddling shiny starships and space junk.
Nuclear technology is the key enabler for expanding humankind into space and only state-sponsored projects on the scale of the Panama Canal or the Hoover Dam will be allowed to use atomic energy. No private permits are going to be issued for craft carrying a couple thousand nuclear devices (bombs) and pulse propulsion is the only practical interplanetary propulsion system that will be available for a long time to come.
In the linked interview Chris Hedges talks about Christian fascists in America and how “Jesus did not come to make us rich.” Heretical preachers and the pernicious drive to corrupt all things beneficial so only the few can benefit will result, if left unchecked, in the destruction of our species. It is as if those ocean moons conceal monstrous super-intelligent beings influencing our minds from across space- manipulating us and insuring our destruction. H.P. Lovecraft would have wrote his stories set in different locales if he were alive today. This world continues to deteriorate as concurrent political corruption and climate change run their course.
One of a couple dozen projects I have never undertaken is to edit a foreign-dubbed version of “Fantastic Voyage” with subtitles that change the story. The new mission would not be inside a human body but inside an ocean moon or icy body that is acrually a single or group super-brain. Again, I get the feeling we are so messed up as a species that we must be under the influence of some ultra-entity to be so destined for self-destruction.
image from parigi books
At this moment in history, truth is on trial. Not for the first time. In 1974 the checks and balances and a free press worked and the most powerful leader on Earth resigned before being removed from office. The same leader who effectively ended the U.S. drive to expand humankind into space.
“Nixon was unwilling to keep funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the high level seen during the 1960s as NASA prepared to send men to the Moon. NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine drew up ambitious plans for the establishment of a permanent base on the Moon by the end of the 1970s and the launch of a manned expedition to Mars as early as 1981. Nixon rejected both proposals due to the expense. Nixon also canceled the Air Force Manned Orbital Laboratory program in 1969, because unmanned spy satellites were a more cost-effective way to achieve the same reconnaissance objective. NASA cancelled the last three planned Apollo lunar missions to place Skylab in orbit more efficiently and free money up for the design and construction of the Space Shuttle.”
Of those four actions condoned by Nixon regarding space exploration, rejection of a Mars expedition was the only one that would ultimately make sense. Mars, like Low Earth Orbit (LEO), was and is a dead end. Ending visits to the Moon by stopping Saturn V production instead of funding further development to make the vehicle partially reusable like the Shuttle was the really bad mistake, along with the Shuttle program itself. As his predecessor Johnson had feared, the great capability of the Saturn V Super Heavy Lift Vehicle (SHLV) was “pissed away.”
Manned platforms were the best option in terms of Missile Early Warning and keeping the cold war cold but only in Geostationary Earth Orbit and this was a problem. Such “True Space Stations”, touched on by Arthur C. Clarke in his book “The Promise of Space”, were not going to happen without a base on the Moon. This, as the Parker-Dyson-Spudis Continuum makes clear, is only practical with cosmic ray water shielding brought up from the lunar poles. It would seem we have failed to learn anything by our mistakes.
The second time truth went on trial, a quarter century after Nixon, the most powerful leader on Earth should have resigned or been thrown out for being a liar. He was not, after having sold his soul and his party to the god of this world, Mammon. And now, another 20 years later, with that god in control and the 1st amendment crippled (in blatantly Orwellian fashion with “fake news”) the future is not bright. The film maker Michael Moore has said however, there is “a sliver of a chance.” We will see.
In conclusion, I would like to relate a personal experience that might clarify the message I am trying to deliver. In the mid 90’s the big management fad was Total Quality Management (TQM). It came to us mandated and when I was informed I would be getting so many hours of this training I went to the library and read up on it. I read a lot of books back then, at least one a week and sometimes more. Not so much now. I read about the success of the Japanese auto industry by way of TQM and became a believer. Then came the training my organization gave and the big disappointment. The people in charge had decided TQM was a little too radical and watered it down. This, of course, was what Mr. Deming specifically warned against and violated the 2nd of his 14 points. I challenged our instructor on this and was told be quiet and ask no more questions… or leave.
We are all being deceived in some way by a minority of sociopaths at every level of human existence. This is what is going to make us one more silent question mark in the Fermi Paradox. We blindly imitate these creatures and they take advantage of that lack of vision to build on their collective scheme. The Military Industrial Complex, the Medical Industrial Complex (which charges twice as much as any other country) and the Media Industrial Complex, all have us headed toward extinction. Space is the way to escape the trap of our stupidity, our escape from stupid-world. A trillion dollars for a Green New Deal with Space Solar Power as the cure for climate change is that escape. Moving the nuclear deterrent months away into deep space is one way to move in that direction.